Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good thing they weren't playing the Grizzlies

We're two days from the NFL Draft, and I was trying to figure out where Tim Tebow might have gone this season had he put his name in. We can't know for sure, of course, but I believe he would have been behind the three anticipated first rounders - Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman - but ahead of everyone else at QB. If supposed "draft guru" Todd McShay is right in maintaining Brian Hoyer of Michigan State is currently fourth, there's no other conclusion you can draw. Remember, SI's Peter King has already quoted a scout from a successful franchise who says his team will take Tebow in the first round next year if he's available. I watched Hoyer plenty, and he's a complete stiff - the guy "led" MSU to 12 points on that same UGA defense UF put up 49 on and Georgia Tech destroyed. If a QB with a 51 percent completion mark and nine TD passes in 13 games went ahead of Tebow, it would be a travesty. Either McShay has no clue, or Tebow would have gone fourth at QB. Actually, both those statements could be accurate.

Not news: a star junior basketball player skips his senior year to take his game to the pros. News: it's a junior in high school. Jeremy Tyler, a Louisville commitment who's supposed to be finishing his junior year of high school, has instead left San Diego High and will head to Europe. He expects to make six figures over there for a couple of years and then be the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Sounds like a great plan, as long as...

1. he doesn't get severely injured while playing overseas and become irrelevant to the NBA while being ineligible to play in college
2. he doesn't flop in Europe and wreck his NBA stock like suppposed "lottery pick" Christian Drejer once did
3. he doesn't wind up with a fly by night team that stiffs him on his pay and abandons him somewhere with no notice (as happened to Matt Bonner and tons of other players over the years)
4. he places no value on being around anyone his age who speaks his language and having something resembling a normal social life
5. the NBA doesn't have a massive labor upheaval prior to the year he envisions himself returning which creates a season cancelling lockout, massive salary cuts, etc. - which many people think will happen.

Other than that, it's foolproof. The thing is, this kid may be able to handle it. If he succeeds, how many more will try to follow his path who aren't as gifted and cost themselves enormously? This will not end well. The most predictable thing in the entire story, by the way? Sonny Vaccaro's at the root of the whole thing. No one's done more to profit off young basketball stars for decades than him.

The Atlanta Hawks were such an embarassingly bad organization for years that's it's still hard to believe they're good enough to have home court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs. I was at a game when Lon Kruger was their coach where his assistant coach Gar Heard actually got on the PA mic and promised the 4000 or so of us who were about to watch them get killed by the Knicks that the Hawks were going to play really hard that year. It reeked of amateur hour. Last night, we got a reminder of true Hawks tradition: not only did they lose to Miami, but a key factor may have been players getting intimidated by the live Hawk mascot getting loose. Maybe they could make this a selling point for dull games against teams like Memphis or Minnesota - come see if a live hawk will attack you or the players during the game! The Hawk should have stuck to motorcycling.

They're making a movie out of The Blind Side, Michael Lewis's book that told the story of this year's likely first round pick Michael Oher. The big tackle was recruited to Ole Miss by Ed Orgeron's staff, and now Orgeron will be starring as himself in a scene opposite Sandra Bullock in the movie. It's not clear whether all professional actors were too scared of Orgeron to try and portray him, or whether he's just so out there that no one else could. We can only hope the scene includes the immortal line "Tell 'em about it JoJo!"

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