Enough is Enough Jameis Winston

“D’s Corner”

By Daryl Wren

Enough is enough! Jameis Winston…just go straight to the damn NFL already!

In what can only be described as the ‘latest’ in the ‘ongoing’ saga called…”Jameis Winston…Student Athlete”…we now have ‘new’ allegations that Mr. Winston has ‘allegedly’ signed upwards of 950 autographed items through a broker that has been authenticated by a company called “James Spence Authentication” (let me clarify that this company only ‘authenticates’ and ‘certifies’ that items being sold are actually those that were ‘signed’ by the athlete and not forgeries…they do NOT actually sell the items themselves).

This is the SAME company who authenticated the over 500 autographed items signed by Todd Gurley, FORMER star running back of the University of Georgia who is now suspended!

Of course Mr. Winston (along with his coaches and Florida State University) is denying he signed any of these items for money…yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah!

I’m not going to waste your time and go the ‘politically correct’ route here (anybody that really knows me knows I couldn’t be ‘politically correct’ if I tried…it’s called having ‘tact’…I know what to say, when to say it and how to say it…I don’t need to be ‘politically correct’)…

I think he’s as guilty as sin!

It’s my opinion (not a fact)…If I’m proven otherwise I’ll apologize…but I have his history on my side…what you got?

Speaking of history…let’s start from the beginning with this young “student athlete”…

November 2012 Mr. Winston (along with several other teammates) is questioned regarding 13 broken windows at an apartment complex that ‘allegedly’ stemmed from a ‘BB gun’ fight Mr. Winston and some of his teammates had with each other…no charges are filed…
December 7th, 2012 a young woman files a sexual assault complaint against Mr. Winston with eventually no charges being filed (although the case is STILL under investigation…and before any of you ‘street lawyers’ get started…there IS NO ‘double jeopardy’ here BECAUSE no charges were ever filed…he wasn’t found guilty or innocent of anything…yet…stay tuned…
July 2013 Mr. Winston (who was accompanied by 3 other men) is accused of stealing soda out of a Burger King restaurant…at first out of ketchup cups (ketchup cups)? After being asked to stop by an employee he asks for a water cup…and then CONTINUES to steal more soda…no charges are filed…
April 29th, 2014 Mr. Winston is caught (on tape…I saw it myself) literally walking into a supermarket grabbing a bunch of crab legs and walking out…he was given 20 hours of ‘community service’ and suspended from the FSU baseball team until they were completed…
September 17th, 2014 Mr. Winston is suspended 1 game against Clemson (originally it was a half until public pressure mounted) after several students tweeted that Mr. Winston stood atop a table in FSU’s Student Union and shouted…”F— Her Right In The P—-“!
September 20th, 2014 Mr. Winston shows up for the Clemson game in FULL uniform (what does the word SUSPENSION or ANY rules for that matter mean to this young man) which prompts his VERY visibly agitated coach to send him back to the locker room to undress…
October 11th, 2014 it is discovered by ESPN (and authenticated by the James Spence Authentication company) that Mr. Winston has signed upwards of 950 autographed items…’allegedly’ to be sold…

And I had the nerve (in a previous article I wrote) to call Johnny Manziel an idiot!

What else do we need to see from this idi– ah…young man? As talented an athlete as he is he is just plain bad as a person! He is your classic ‘spoiled brat’ athlete who clearly feels NO rules apply to him!

He is costing himself millions of dollars (as his draft stock plummets) and runs the risk (as Todd Gurley did) of getting suspended and not only losing the rest of his college career (which he obviously doesn’t care about because he’s about to get ‘broke off’ in the pro’s) but more importantly costing his teammates and the university another possible National Championship because he’s too selfish and only thinks about himself!

Look, I have serious issues with the NCAA and some of their rules, particularly regarding revenues and whether student athletes should receive some for the sale of their name or likeness (I think they should)…but until the rules are changed they are the rules!

When these brokers offer these young men let’s say…$25 per autographed jersey or helmet of course some of them are going to sign as many of them as possible! Here’s some advice for these ‘dummies’…because of your pending pro status if you would just WAIT a couple of months until AFTER your season is over (and avoid being suspended and costing yourself and your teammates possible bowl victories and affecting your draft status) your autograph will be worth even MORE! Also, like anyone else with sense will tell you something ‘rare’ is worth a lot more than something in ‘abundance’…in other words, the LESS items you sign the MORE those items will be worth! Oh, the broker didn’t tell you that? Why should they? They know a “student athlete” when they see one…they already know you don’t know!

Enough is enough! Jameis Winston…before you do yourself and your school (more importantly your teammates) more harm…’drop out’ of school…NOW…and just go straight to the damn NFL already!

They are the biggest ‘Pimps’ in the land and trust me…they know a ‘Hooker’ when they see one…you’ll fit right in!

D

Who is the best MLB Hall of Famer you hardly ever hear about ?

By Daryl Wren

Why that would be Frank Robinson!

You might be saying to yourself…ok…why are you bringing him up? I mean, he’s still alive right (yes)? He’s not in ill health (not that I’m aware of)? He’s not about to get another managerial or front office job is he (doubt it)?

So why then are you bringing him up? Granted, he was a fantastic baseball player in his day and had a very good managerial career but what’s the relevance?

The relevance is this week marks the 40th anniversary of Frank Robinson being named the first…FIRST I said… African American manager in Major League Baseball and that deserves to be recognized!

On October 4th, 1974 Frank Robinson was named player/manager of the Cleveland Indians!

Before I delve into his managerial career let’s look back on an absolutely stellar playing career…

Robinson had a long and very successful playing career. He split his best years between two teams: the Cincinnati Reds (1956 – 1965) and the Baltimore Orioles (1966 – 1971). The latter years of his career were spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1972), California Angels (1973 – 1974) and the Cleveland Indians (1974 – 1976). He was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1956. He is the ONLY player to be named MVP in both leagues (in 1961 with the Reds and again in 1966 with the Orioles). He also won the Triple Crown in 1966 (his first year with the Orioles). His career batting average was .294 with 2,943 hits, 586 Home Runs and 1,812 RBI’s. He was inducted into the MLB Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 as a Baltimore Oriole (the cap he ‘wears’ on his plaque) in Cooperstown, N.Y..

One of the main reasons he remains an ‘underrated’ figure in baseball has to do with his perceived ‘attitude problem’ (which was nothing more than pure honesty, integrity and bluntness) during his playing and managerial career which did not endure him to many opposing players, teammates, coaches or writers. He also was as “tough as nails” as the saying goes. On the base paths he had a very aggressive style and often went into second base ‘spikes high’…he also had a tendency to ‘crowd the plate’ which drove opposing pitchers nuts. Especially, guys like Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale and Juan Marichal to name a few who had no problem pitching ‘inside’ or putting one ‘in your ear’ if they felt necessary. Also, playing most of the productive years of his career in small markets did not help him gain the recognition he truly deserved.

As for his managerial career, he entered the 1975 season as the player/manager (which was not then, nor now common) of the Cleveland Indians. While the Indians organization deserves credit for making what was at the time a ‘bold’ move keep in mind, when Frank got the job the Indians organization refused to give him not even a ‘penny’ over his player’s salary…in other words, he was only being ‘paid’ to play…he was managing for FREE! Think of the Indians logic, “he’s black, who else will give him a shot”? If he turns the job down at least we can say…” we tried offering a black man a managerial job but he said no”! Frank knew he really had no choice but to take the job…not only for himself but for all of the black men and men of color to follow him. In his first game as player/manager against the New York Yankees he put himself in as the DH and as only Frank could…hit a home run!

Frank went on to have a stellar career as a manager (the Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals) winning Manager of the Year (once again) in BOTH leagues (the San Francisco Giants in 1982 and the Baltimore Orioles in 1989)! He also has the distinction of being the first black manager in (one more time) BOTH the American and National League. Frank also served in the MLB front office as Vice President of On-Field Operations from 1999 – 2002, responsible for player discipline, uniform policy, stadium configuration and other on-field issues.

He helped ‘pave the way’ for so many future managers of ‘color’ to follow in his path (Larry Doby, Cito Gaston, Dusty Baker, Jerry Manual, Lloyd McClendon, Don Baylor, Willie Randolph, Jerry Royster, Davey Lopes, Ron Washington, Cecil Cooper, Dave Clark, Juan Samuel, Felipe Alou, Manny Acta, Fredi Gonzalez and Ozzie Guillen) to name a few.

Frank Robinson is still a man who displays honesty, integrity and at times bluntness and in today’s sports climate how refreshing is that?

On this being the 40th anniversary of you making history in Major League Baseball take a bow Frank…you deserve it!

D

This weeks edition of D’s corner

By Daryl Wren

Let’s talk about the two greatest owners in sports history who came from the…ABA?

No…I didn’t mean NBA…I meant ABA!

I thought with all the negative news that’s going on in sports right now (particularly in the NFL) which I’m tired of hearing or talking about (and I will not mention ANY of it in this column) I’d discuss something completely different. The ABA and two owners most sports fans have probably never heard of…Ozzie and Daniel Silna!

Let me start by saying I was a huge ABA fan back in the day (don’t ask me why because I don’t know why). If I had to guess I would say that while there was never a Chicago franchise in the ABA I always liked watching (though not very often…you didn’t see the ABA on TV much) the overall style of play and some of the ‘best’ and ‘coolest’ players of that era…with some of the biggest ‘fro’s’ you have ever seen…way more exciting than most of the players in the NBA at that time.

Greats such as Rick Barry, Mel Daniels, Billy Cunningham, George “The Iceman” Gervin, Julius “Dr. J” Erving (who together were known as the “Erving and Gervin” show with the Virginia Squires), Artis Gilmore, Connie Hawkins, Spencer Haywood, Dan Issel, Freddie Lewis, Maurice Lucas, George McGinnis, Doug Moe, Charlie Scott, David Thompson and sadly the recently deceased (even though during his day he was as we call it today “a hot mess”) Marvin “Bad News” Barnes…and trust me…he earned the nickname…”Bad News”!

You might look at this list and say hey? Didn’t most of these guys play in the NBA? Yes! But in most of their cases before they played in the NBA they started in the ABA! Whenever you see a guy shoot a three pointer or dunk in a game or whenever you watch the All Star festivities (Slam Dunk Contest, Three Point Contest) think ABA…because that’s where it all came from.

Back to the Silna’s…while there’s a lot to discuss regarding their claim to fame so to speak I’ll simply ‘cut to the chase’. The Silna brothers owned the Sprits of St. Louis team in the ABA from 1974 through 1976 and their hope when they purchased the team was to eventually become an NBA franchise (especially since St. Louis was the largest city to have an ABA franchise).

When the ABA finally folded in 1976 (with only seven teams remaining) four teams where allowed into the NBA…the New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs! The other remaining ABA teams had either completely folded or negotiated buyouts amongst themselves. The Silna’s however held out for more…a lot more it would turn out!

The Silna’s negotiated a deal with the four teams that merged into the NBA for the following…$2.2 million in cash up front and an additional 1/7 share of the four teams TV broadcast revenues…for as long as the NBA exists…in other words…perpetuity!

At the time however, that seemed like a very good deal for the NBA…for those of you who don’t remember or are too young to know…NBA ratings at that time were in a word…TERRIBLE! The NBA Finals (yes, the Finals) were often seen on ‘tape delay’ AFTER your local news…can you believe that?

The first two years of the deal the Silna’s received NOTHING…in 1979 they received a paltry (by league standards) $200,000 and by 1980 a modest $521,749.

However, as the NBA’s popularity exploded in the early 80’s (Magic and Bird) and 90’s (MJ) the league’s TV rights were first sold to CBS and then NBC (with additional deals being struck with TNT and TBS cable networks) which resulted in the league’s TV revenue soaring into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Thanks to the deal the Silna’s made all of a sudden their annual share of the TV revenues started averaging about $4.4 million through the 90’s.

By the turn of the century their shares increased to $12.53 million, from 2003 through 2006 their take was at least $15.6 million per year. By 2010-11 they were receiving $17.45 million annually. This year that deal the Silna’s made all the way back in 1976 for near nothing at the time was now costing each of those ‘final four ABA teams’ $5 million dollars a year…all going to…you guessed it…the Silna’s. Add it all up an the Silna’s have earned roughly $300 million dollars from that deal.

And oh by the way, since the original deal stipulated ALL “visual media” revenues the Silna’s took the NBA to court to receive monies from internet rights, international broadcasts and NBA TV cable network money. These are money sources that were unimaginable back in 1976.

Needless to say, there have been numerous attempts by the NBA and the former ABA clubs to buyout the Silna’s but each time the Silna’s said…NO! Wouldn’t you?

Earlier this year the league finally made the Silna’s and offer they couldn’t refuse…(as “Vito Corlone” would say)!

In the deal, the Silna’s will receive an UPFRONT one time payment of $500 million dollars from the four remaining ABA teams pursuant to the Silna’s dropping their suit against the NBA for the additional media revenue streams. Add it all up and it turns out that the ‘at the time’ lousy deal the Silna’s made with the NBA all the way back in 1976 has netted them roughly $800 million dollars!

My guess is if the NBA had it to do all over again there would be a team in the NBA right now called the St.Louis Spirits (I doubt the NBA would have allowed the name “Spirits” to go first)!

Ozzie and Daniel Silna never got into the NBA but man did they ever GET the NBA…way to go Silna brothers! I ain’t mad at ya!

Finally, to Marvin “Bad News” Barnes (who played for the Silna’s as part of the Spirits of St. Louis)…REST IN PEACE!

D

Jackson Park Clubhouse

The Starting Lineup’s coverage of the BIG TEN’s Media Day

An Interview With:

OHIO STATE COACH URBAN MEYER

THE MODERATOR: Coach, an opening statement.

COACH MEYER: It’s an honor to represent Ohio State as we start our 2014 journey. It was a very good summer because we were able to spend time with our players. It’s the first time we’ve been allowed to — I think we had six or eight sessions with our players, and they were also helped in the transition of our high school guys when they showed up in June. So it’s been a very good summer. Our quarterback — I know we’ll get asked that question — is ready to go. He’s full speed, in the best shape of his life. We have a bunch of good, young players that we’re anxious to see what they can do. The two areas that concern the offensive line is, number one, a little disappointed what happened in spring. We just didn’t see the growth that we would like to see. However, I really admire our coach, Coach Warinner, and I know we have good players. So they’ve had a very good summer.

The second area is pass defense. We completely have blown up and started from scratch, an area that we were not very strong in, pass defense. And Chris Ash has done an admirable job of installing a brand-new pass defense that we’re going to test and see how it goes during training camp. Went very well during spring.

Very good group of young people that I’m looking forward to work with. They come in on

Sunday for good and we start practice on Monday.

Q. Can you talk more about the offensive line? You mentioned it’s a concern. Do you think Chad Lindsay will be your starting center? And just talk about the offensive line as a whole, if you would.

COACH MEYER: Jacoby Boren is right in the middle of that, and so is Chad Lindsay. And there’s a kid named Billy Price that we redshirted a year ago. Three guys that are talented. Chad is — all I know of what I’ve seen, he’s a tough guy, he’s a hard worker, and he has a lot of experience. That’s why we took him. Normally we don’t get involved in those type of things, but we needed some maturity in the center of that offensive line. So it remains to be seen. I kind of like the work ethic. I think they’re hungry. And the fact that spring didn’t — I wanted to see a little more growth. And so it’s easy to coach hard, and we’ve coached them real hard all the way through.

So anxious to see what they’ll do. We’ll know more obviously in a couple of weeks.

Q. How stacked is the East Division, and what are your thoughts on getting through that division?

COACH MEYER: East Division is very strong. As we get close to the season, start looking at the schedule, there’s a tough run. We have three very tough road games. But the East is strong. And I have learned a long time ago you control what you can. Scheduling is certainly not who is in the East and who is on the other side. But very strong conference. You can tell by the recruiting, too, on that side, some very good recruiting that’s been going on. So that’s going to be a challenge.

Q. Urban, you’ve long lamented the production and depth at linebacker. What have you seen out of that group so far this summer?

COACH MEYER: One of our stronger groups. We operate under the unit principle, and it’s the power of the unit, nine units. And the last two years they weren’t what we expect. Actually, two years ago, not bad, but anytime, in Division I, upper-level football, to move a fullback to middle linebacker, you’ve got a problem. And we had a problem.

Zach Boren did a very good job, but you don’t — I’m used to hearing about Laurinaitis’s and

July 28, 2014

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Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer 2

A.J. Hawks and those guys, and we weren’t at that level. Ryan Shazier played excellent last year. However, it’s the best the group’s been right now. And that’s just as far as chemistry, as far as trust, as far as operating as a unit. So I’m anxious to see them play.

We took three freshmen there. Dante

Booker, Raekwon McMillian, and Kyle Berger. And Sam Hubbard, we might move him back to tight end or linebacker. Then we have some — Josh Perry’s done a great job at leadership and so has Curtis Grant.

So it’s about time we played linebacker ball, linebacker play the way Ohio State is used to.

I think you’re going to see it this year.

Q. New president, Michael Drake, took office on June 30th. Have you talked to him much, and how does that presidential change affect your job as a football coach?

COACH MEYER: We’ve spoke briefly on several occasions. I invited President Drake to come visit with our team. I’m looking forward to him doing that. I’ve looked on his background and had many conversations with some administrators at our university.

It doesn’t really impact how I do my job, I don’t think, as long as you just take care of business. But I look forward to spending a lot of time with him.

Q. What did your team learn last year from kind of being the hunted? And, granted, that’s something that you go to Ohio State to play for. And is that something that you specifically address in training camp?

COACH MEYER: Well, probably. You play at Ohio State, they’re the hunted because they’re at Ohio State. Ohio State has traditionally been a very strong program. We won a nice run last year. But we don’t spend much time on that. There’s some great story lines about this and that, but it’s all about execution, getting our team ready to go. We spent an inordinate amount of time on leadership building, and we call it brotherhood of trust. That’s where the focus is, and it was excellent, the two sessions we put our players through.

So that’s our focus.

Q. Urban, I know you said that Braxton is in the best shape of his career, but he was hurt in the beginning of the season, at the end of the season. How concerning is it that the

offensive line isn’t where you would like it to be after spring? And how focused will August — how much time will you spend in August making sure you get a group together that can protect the franchise there?

COACH MEYER: Concern number one. I mean, that’s it. There’s a bunch of concerns you always have. It’s A through F, A through Z, A through X, whatever it is. But the number one on the list is development of that offensive line for the reasons you just said, among many others.

You want to win that game, but protecting our quarterback is paramount. So that’s — I don’t want to say that’s all our focus — but that’s where a lot of our focus is right now.

Q. Is there any update on the Tracy

Sprinkle situation? And overall with your team, how did you think they handled themselves off the field since you guys last played in the Orange Bowl?

COACH MEYER: Pretty good. Tracy

Sprinkle is no longer with the program, and I will readdress it if there’s some changes. That’s all I know. That’s the way we handle our situations. If something happens, especially if you hear something serious, just remove from the program and evaluate at the appropriate time. So at this time he’s no longer part of the program.

Q. Without Carlos Hyde, are you looking to — can you afford to look to try to cut back Braxton’s rushing attempts, or is that something you’re going to monitor?

COACH MEYER: I think we’re going to try to — not think. We have to be much more balanced than we’ve been. Everyone’s looking for a 50/50 ratio. We’ve been close a few times. When Alex Smith was our quarterback, we were pretty close to 50/50. With Chris Leak, I want to say we were pretty close. With Tim we were pretty close to I think 60-40, 65.

Braxton, last couple of years, especially last year, Carlos was so good. The offensive line was so good, and we were still trying to develop that receiving corps to be on par with the rest of the team, and I think we have. I’ll be disappointed if the receivers aren’t now ready to carry their own weight. The first year they weren’t. We just weren’t very good. Second year got much better. Philly Brown had an

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excellent year. Evan Spencer really developed. Devin Smith keeps coming on. I really like our two tight ends, Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett, so we’re trying to improve the surrounding cast around Braxton.

So I’m hoping — not hoping. We have to be. That’s where we’re going to pick up those yards are getting in the hands of Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall and the outside receivers as well.

Q. Despite the fact what you’re doing on the offensive line, rebuilding the guys you’re replacing on defense, most projections around the country, I think Cleveland.com had a poll the other day that said you guys are favored to win the Big Ten. Some people think you’ll get that playoff. What has to happen between now and November for you guys, and are you comfortable with those projections?

COACH MEYER: Well, there’s many variables. The injury, obviously injury is number one. Chemistry and — I shouldn’t say that. Chemistry and trust and development of young players is by far number one. And that’s — I can’t think of putting more time and effort into, number one, development of our coaching staff that we did. We had some leadership training for our coaches for about five weeks, and then we carried it right over to our players, about an eight-week session that we had with our players. So the amount of time on the most important element of any team is the trust within the team, a trust with the leaders of the team, which is the coaching staff.

Then number two is going to be injuries. If we can stay healthy, I think we’re very good, if we develop the offensive line.

So, Tim, I think you know me very well. There’s zero conversation about tomorrow or November. We’re just trying to get the training camp healthy, in the right frame of mind, and then have the best training camp we’ve ever had.

Q. How big of an improvement has

Dontre Wilson made from the bowl game to this point right now? And how big of a role and how important is he going to be in your offense this offseason?

COACH MEYER: Great question. He’s an impact guy. Last year he was a hybrid guy that really wasn’t great at anything. He had potential, but very little, couldn’t block at the level we expected him to. Was not quite strong enough to

run inside like you need that hybrid guy to do. Was simply an outside running player.

He’s gained the weight. He’s much stronger. He’s much more prepared for this level of football. He’s always had the talent and he’s always had the effort, so he will be — he’s an impact guy for us in a lot of ways.

Q. A lot of the other coaches in the East have been talking about the toughness and the physicality of that division. Can you just touch on that? And how do you think that characteristic in your division is going to either help you guys or whatever it may be this season?

COACH MEYER: I think it’s one of the toughest divisions in college football. Once again, you just have to look at the recruiting that takes place at the schools and then the style of defense and offense. It’s a rugged conference.

So all those comments that you said the other coaches were making, I see it. And we’re going to do our best to be prepared for it.

Q. You have one of the most talented defensive lines in the country, most people say. How big was the hire of Larry Johnson to replace Mike Vrabel, and how big has he been throughout the spring and coming into the fall? COACH MEYER: We lost a home run. I love Mike Vrabel. Did a great job for us, was a great Buckeye. Hated to see him go. I understood, you know, his NFL background and great family and a very good recruiter for us. So when he left — it’s like a player. If you lose a great player and you don’t replace him with a great player, it’s just going to happen, you’re not going to be as good.

We replaced Mike with a top-shelf coach, a guy that has great respect, very good recruiter, a very good coach, the players love him already. There’s an incredible trust and esprit de corps in the D-line room right now. He walked into a good situation. He’s got a bunch of good young — a good mix of young and old players in that room.

Q. You just got done saying Braxton’s in the best shape of his life. He’s had some durability issues during his career. A, do you guys have to take any steps to make sure that you ensure that he stays healthy, any special steps? And what are some reasonable

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expectations in your mind for his senior season?

COACH MEYER: Well, I’ve had some players that have had the durability issues, and John Simon had a little durability issue. It’s because he went a lot of times above and beyond what his body was telling him to do.

So I look at it, sometimes you do, and I’ll be the first to tell you, someone just isn’t meant to play or they’re just maybe not tough or so on. But Braxton Miller, his issues are he goes sometimes above and beyond what his body is going to allow him to do.

So he’s got an incredible — some of the guys with durability issues, the ones I just mentioned, Tebow, John Simon, Braxton Miller, Christian Bryant, those are guys that have the competitive spirit at the highest possible level, and that’s all they do is know how to go.

So do we try to slow Braxton down?

Absolutely not. We try to protect him, surround him and maybe come up with a good scheme to get the ball out of his hands maybe a little quicker.

Those are all the things that we address.

But the durability issue isn’t because his body wasn’t meant to play college football. It’s because of how hard he plays.

And you can look around the country, and there’s guys — you know who they are. Every program’s got a couple of those guys that play just so darned hard that sometimes things happen.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach. BIG TEN NETWORK PRESIDENT MARK SILVERMAN
MARK SILVERMAN: Hello everybody. I hope you’re doing well. We’ll be starting our eighth year on the air this coming fall. Yes, it’s only eight years since the network has launched, which seems a little incredible. But as you look back, we had an incredibly successful last year. We produced over a thousand events. We continued to grow our list of advertisers, our advertising revenue, and we began that process of integrating Maryland Rutgers into the Big Ten. And obviously that should be a big theme for the network this coming year. This year we’re really excited. Our prime time schedule, which you just saw on the clip, it’s by leaps and bounds our best prime time schedule ever. Five key conference matchups and games that are going to have more relevancy to our Big Ten fans than we’ve really ever had before. These prime time games are really important. These are our opportunities to bring viewers to understand more aspects about the network, to watch our shows, to understand our digital properties, and the fact we can launch with such a strong conference schedule, something we’re really happy about. To that extent, for the Penn State/Rutgers game week three, we’re going to be traveling, our studio show, with Gerry, Dave and Howard. Two Rutgers are going to be there before the game, after the game. We’ll have some special guests showing up on set. It’s really a great opportunity to take advantage of all the buzz going on in the northeast. With Rutgers and Maryland joining and all the Big Ten fans in that part of the country, we’re so excited about the Big Ten expanding to that
area. So we’re really happy and it’s a great opportunity for us with the prime time schedule. Integrating Maryland and Rutgers into the network is a major, major initiative of ours. And the thing we’re very happy to say today is that we’ve gotten our distribution deals done in advance with Cablevision and Time Warner and Comcast. And all the Rutgers and Maryland fans that live D.C., Maryland, New York, New Jersey, are going to be able to enjoy their teams in the Big Ten games just like the other fans in the Big Ten are. So the fact that we’re sitting on this stage in July being able to say that, we’re way ahead of where we thought we’d be at this point. So we’re thrilled to be able to offer that type of distribution, and now that it’s for us to start working on programming. To that end, we announced last week some new hires for both our studio and for games with people with Rutgers and Maryland, ties that we’ve never really had before. And we really need to treat our two schools as full-fledged Big Ten members. We need to educate all the rest of the Big Ten community on what these two schools’ histories and traditions are, and it’s something that we think hiring some of the localized talent can help us achieve that going forward. We’ve also built out our on-campus studios. You’ll be seeing interviews with student-athletes and coaches from two new schools, just as much as you will from the existing Big Ten universities. And having seen the schools, it really helps us grow the BTN brand. You remember a few years ago we moved from the Big Ten Network to focus on the BTN brand. To that end, we really focused on launching big events, growing this afinity Big Ten fans and college sports fans can have with BTN. To that end, we had an event at Rutgers last month, as well as New York City at Cipriani’s, and 1,000 Big Ten alums show up. We had the largest group of Heisman Trophy winners outside of the actual Heisman Trophy ceremony show up
in New York to entertain fans, and over 1,000 fans show up at that event. We also had an event with Maryland and Baltimore. We had a big Big Ten day at the Nationals Park in DC. Commissioner Delany and myself, along with all the Big Ten mascots were there. And you’re seeing this effort with the network and the conference to really treat New York, New Jersey, and Maryland/D.C. area like they are part of the Big Ten. This is not a fly-in add schools and that’s not really part of the Big Ten geography. The Big Ten geography has expanded. All of our states are contiguous. All are similar in what our goals are, what our aspirations are. We’re really going out of our way to make sure these new territories and all the fans and alums there are treated the same way. And back here in Chicago, I don’t know if any of you were here on Saturday, but we had our Big 10K. We had 15,000 runners participate right here by Soldier Field, not far from where the hotel is. This event, when we launched this two years ago, we had 5,000 runners. We had 15,000 on Saturday. It is now one of the top 10 10k races in the country. Had to slow down when I said that so I didn’t trip over my words, which I’m glad I didn’t do. And it’s something that we’re really proud of. And the fact that we could bring Big Ten fans together and we could show our unification and really leads ourselves to this national relevancy of a conference. Our 10k had 47 states represented who ran in this race. There’s people from countries abroad flew in so they could run in this race. And the fact that we’re expanding geographically just kind of only embellishes the Big Ten as a national conference. We’re a national network, and we’re able to reach fans all over the country in something we really aspire to do as a network. Another one of our big initiatives this year is just to improve on behalf of programming. Our studio shows continue to grow in our ratings every year. We have got to keep doing more of it, keep getting better at what we do. BTNLive moved to five days a week last year, and BTNLive will start on Monday. On Tuesday, Gerry, Dave and Howard will take a tour bus out. We’ll start visiting all the Big Ten schools. Indiana will be on starting next Tuesday. The show will actually start on Monday.
In addition to BTNLive, Big Ten Football and Beyond – moving to five days a week, we’ll look at the overall college football scene, how the Big Ten fits into the overall national scene, something that our fans have been asking for, to show more of this kind of programming. Our BTN Originals group has probably been an area that’s been the most awarded element within BTN. We received our second Emmy award nomination for The Journey. We’re going to do The Journey for football and for basketball this year. We’re adding a couple new Big Ten Elites to our staple of shows and we’re adding a documentary. Last year we did the Tiebreaker between Ohio State and Michigan. This year we’re going to focus on Brook Berringer, former Nebraska quarterback who died tragically in a plane crash. That’ll be later on in the fall. And we’re doing a different kind of show as well, trying to broaden our programming and expand our appeal. We’re going to do a show a little bit different called Big Ten Treasure Hunter where we follow a Chicago memorabilia expert who travels around the Big Ten area, meets crazy fans with wonderful unique collection, and then tries to purchase some items from them, as you drop in and see some of the most dynamic fans that are out there. And finally our BTN2Go product is something we’re going to continue to enhance. It will be available on more platforms this year. It’s the third-most downloaded free TV sports app that’s out there, which is a very crowded sports landscape. It’s a great testimony for our team back here. And we’re going to continue to make it better. You can watch our live games on your phone, on your iPad, on your other device. More and more youngsters, and older people as well who are out doing things on weekends, are able to follow their teams, follow the conference, and it’s something you need to do. So to sum it all up, it’s a big year. We’re thrilled to have Maryland Rutgers to join the Big Ten. We’re going to continue to grow the network. The future looks bright for us. We’re going to continue to do all we can to push the ball forward. With that, I’ll take your questions. THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Is there going to be any kind of

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BTN President Mark Silverman 3
discussion of either a second effort or going to be a big push to make sure that those games, especially on the basketball side, get aired? MARK SILVERMAN: Yes. There’s definitely been an increase — especially basketball. I think it’s really the relevant question. We’re evaluating all of our options. We do have a digital product. We have our Big Ten Digital Network and BTN2Go, which will be merged into BTN2Go this coming year. I don’t see a second linear network in our future. I do see digital being the answer to taking care of a lot of those issues that we’ll have when we have seven, eight non-conference basketball games at the same time. We do have the opportunity to offer those games, not only for one game on the linear network, but it’s something that we’re well aware of and we’re working with our distribution partners to try and figure out the best way to do that. We’ll have more of an answer to that as we get closer to basketball season this year. There will be more volume of games than we’ve ever had in November and December.
Q. (Indiscernible). Do you think that that problem may not present in the conference you’ve seen and you would like it seen? MARK SILVERMAN: My first thought is it’s great that a writer Tennessee is watching the Big Ten Network. When I first saw that, I thought that kind of gives credit to a lot of what we’re talking about, that our programming really has national relevancy. I think our coverage is quite candid. I think that we do a really impressive job of balancing the fact that we are a conference-branded network with the need to be candid and credible with our audience. And I think as we’ve gone forward now, seven years in, we’ve gotten better at how we do that. And I think our goal is we need to talk respectfully. We’re not a bunch of people that are just going to sound off and throw statements out there without a lot of support. We obviously want our schools to do well. We root for our schools to do well, but that doesn’t always happen. And when things happen that are not positive, we need to cover it and we need to be credible in how we do that. So I feel that we actually did quite a good job of doing that, given what we’re charged to do as a network.
Q. Curious from the football standpoint, now that you have 14 schools, kind of questions a little bit about the number of non-conference games you have to show. At what point do you guys work with the other TV partners so that one doesn’t cannibalize the other and televise against each other at prime time and things like that? So go over maybe what those discussions are like in terms of who gets what game, what week. MARK SILVERMAN: Yeah, there’s definitely a desire on BTN’s standpoint not to have our games go up against extremely popular games on other networks. So it’s not so much that there’s a discussion between ABC and ESPN and ourselves as to how this works. ABC has the first pick, and they’ll set their game time each week. Other than that, ESPN and BTN have a selection process. Whoever has that second pick after ABC will determine what time that game starts. And most often we will see what games we have and we’ll try to schedule them around the most attractive games on ABC and ESPN. For prime time, it’s definitely consideration, and we have to weigh, and ABC and ESPN, they select their prime time games first. And then we select our prime time games. So when we pick our games, we’re trying to evaluate a variety of different circumstances. We’re trying to pick a game that could bring enough high viewership. We’re trying to pick a game that will feature teams that will provide a competitive theme. We’ll try to spread it a little. We don’t want to be overly dependent on only a couple of schools that will be on our air. We are going to try to pick games where the schools actually have lights so we don’t have to deal with bringing lights to a stadium. So we kind of are balancing a lot of different initiatives. Sometimes for a good enough game, if we can get a good enough game, but it’s going to have to go up against a game on ABC or ESPN, we’ll decide, okay, we’d rather get that game and have that competition than not get that game. And other times we’ll think, you know what, this is just too loaded a schedule. Week two this year, you have Michigan State/Oregon, you have Michigan/Notre Dame, you have Ohio State and Virginia Tech. You’re a Big Ten Network, that’s not a week you are looking to put a primetime game against those three. Right? So those things do play into how we think about

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BTN President Mark Silverman 4
these things. Very evolved. Frankly, it’s one of the more fun parts of the job as I do kind of enjoy that aspect, but it’s something we have to be very smart about because it is primetime football, and football selections really play a large part with indicating how many people are going to watch the network for the months ahead. So it’s an important aspect of what we do.
Q. (Indiscernible)? MARK SILVERMAN: You know, we change — we continually evaluate what we do each year, and we try to make it better. And how we go about deciding that is a combination of factors. We do look at ratings. We look at the production and see, is it compelling television? We gauge the schools. Is this something that they like having us there? Is it working well? And one of the things, because there was never really a network doing what we’ve been doing the last seven years, we’ve just really tried to be candid in our analysis. And the last thing I want to do is just kind of roll out the playbook and replicate what we did the year before. It means we didn’t learn a thing. What we have to do is evaluate our program and our shows, make changes where they need to be, and there should need to be changes every year because we’re surely not bringing all the viewers I know we can. So just like all of our other programming production, we’re going to watch all of our BTNLive shows starting next week. We’re going to see how the show with our traveling on studio hosts works on campus. We changed this around quite a bit, and the reason we’re doing it way this year is we often found we’d be at a campus and we’d be focusing a half hour or an hour on that one school and news was happening somewhere else at another campus that we weren’t really equipped to be able to cover. So having the show originate from Chicago, go to our studio guys and talk about what’s going on on each campus that they’re at, but then having an ability to report if there’s other news, what else is going on in college sports, that gives us, I think, an ability to deliver a better product to our Big Ten fans. THE MODERATOR: Thank you. discussion of either a second effort or going to be a big push to make sure that those games, especially on the basketball side, get aired? MARK SILVERMAN: Yes. There’s definitely been an increase — especially basketball. I think it’s really the relevant question. We’re evaluating all of our options. We do have a digital product. We have our Big Ten Digital Network and BTN2Go, which will be merged into BTN2Go this coming year. I don’t see a second linear network in our future. I do see digital being the answer to taking care of a lot of those issues that we’ll have when we have seven, eight non-conference basketball games at the same time. We do have the opportunity to offer those games, not only for one game on the linear network, but it’s something that we’re well aware of and we’re working with our distribution partners to try and figure out the best way to do that. We’ll have more of an answer to that as we get closer to basketball season this year. There will be more volume of games than we’ve ever had in November and December.
Q. (Indiscernible). Do you think that that problem may not present in the conference you’ve seen and you would like it seen? MARK SILVERMAN: My first thought is it’s great that a writer Tennessee is watching the Big Ten Network. When I first saw that, I thought that kind of gives credit to a lot of what we’re talking about, that our programming really has national relevancy. I think our coverage is quite candid. I think that we do a really impressive job of balancing the fact that we are a conference-branded network with the need to be candid and credible with our audience. And I think as we’ve gone forward now, seven years in, we’ve gotten better at how we do that. And I think our goal is we need to talk respectfully. We’re not a bunch of people that are just going to sound off and throw statements out there without a lot of support. We obviously want our schools to do well. We root for our schools to do well, but that doesn’t always happen. And when things happen that are not positive, we need to cover it and we need to be credible in how we do that. So I feel that we actually did quite a good job of doing that, given what we’re charged to do as a network.
Q. Curious from the football standpoint, now that you have 14 schools, kind of questions a little bit about the number of non-conference games you have to show. At what point do you guys work with the other TV partners so that one doesn’t cannibalize the other and televise against each other at prime time and things like that? So go over maybe what those discussions are like in terms of who gets what game, what week. MARK SILVERMAN: Yeah, there’s definitely a desire on BTN’s standpoint not to have our games go up against extremely popular games on other networks. So it’s not so much that there’s a discussion between ABC and ESPN and ourselves as to how this works. ABC has the first pick, and they’ll set their game time each week. Other than that, ESPN and BTN have a selection process. Whoever has that second pick after ABC will determine what time that game starts. And most often we will see what games we have and we’ll try to schedule them around the most attractive games on ABC and ESPN. For prime time, it’s definitely consideration, and we have to weigh, and ABC and ESPN, they select their prime time games first. And then we select our prime time games. So when we pick our games, we’re trying to evaluate a variety of different circumstances. We’re trying to pick a game that could bring enough high viewership. We’re trying to pick a game that will feature teams that will provide a competitive theme. We’ll try to spread it a little. We don’t want to be overly dependent on only a couple of schools that will be on our air. We are going to try to pick games where the schools actually have lights so we don’t have to deal with bringing lights to a stadium. So we kind of are balancing a lot of different initiatives. Sometimes for a good enough game, if we can get a good enough game, but it’s going to have to go up against a game on ABC or ESPN, we’ll decide, okay, we’d rather get that game and have that competition than not get that game. And other times we’ll think, you know what, this is just too loaded a schedule. Week two this year, you have Michigan State/Oregon, you have Michigan/Notre Dame, you have Ohio State and Virginia Tech. You’re a Big Ten Network, that’s not a week you are looking to put a primetime game against those three. Right? So those things do play into how we think about

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BTN President Mark Silverman 4
these things. Very evolved. Frankly, it’s one of the more fun parts of the job as I do kind of enjoy that aspect, but it’s something we have to be very smart about because it is primetime football, and football selections really play a large part with indicating how many people are going to watch the network for the months ahead. So it’s an important aspect of what we do.
Q. (Indiscernible)? MARK SILVERMAN: You know, we change — we continually evaluate what we do each year, and we try to make it better. And how we go about deciding that is a combination of factors. We do look at ratings. We look at the production and see, is it compelling television? We gauge the schools. Is this something that they like having us there? Is it working well? And one of the things, because there was never really a network doing what we’ve been doing the last seven years, we’ve just really tried to be candid in our analysis. And the last thing I want to do is just kind of roll out the playbook and replicate what we did the year before. It means we didn’t learn a thing. What we have to do is evaluate our program and our shows, make changes where they need to be, and there should need to be changes every year because we’re surely not bringing all the viewers I know we can. So just like all of our other programming production, we’re going to watch all of our BTNLive shows starting next week. We’re going to see how the show with our traveling on studio hosts works on campus. We changed this around quite a bit, and the reason we’re doing it way this year is we often found we’d be at a campus and we’d be focusing a half hour or an hour on that one school and news was happening somewhere else at another campus that we weren’t really equipped to be able to cover. So having the show originate from Chicago, go to our studio guys and talk about what’s going on on each campus that they’re at, but then having an ability to report if there’s other news, what else is going on in college sports, that gives us, I think, an ability to deliver a better product to our Big Ten fans. THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

COMING HOME

NBA Free Agency- Winners and Houston

By

Lamar Battle

One of the most fascinating NBA free agent signing periods was just preceded by one of the deepest drafts in years and I tell you, It was a doozy.

The Miami Heat had no idea that they would actually lose all universe player Lebron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers until the very end. Along those same lines N.Y. Knick star Carmelo Anthony vacillated back and forth between the Knicks, The L.A. Lakers and Chicago Bulls before finally deciding to return to the Knicks who, coincidentally could afford to pay him the most money.

Prescient issues were thrown around like say the Chicago Cubs in late August and among them were: The emergence of smaller markets in the power dynamic including of course Cleveland along with Indiana, Portland, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and rapidly rising New Orleans. The new CBA made it tough to put together super teams thus spreading the talent around. San Antonio’s model for growth becoming a barometer of success around a league which has been accused on more than one occasion of following the leader. Teams will now have to choose players wisely and develop them accordingly.

Some of the winners:

Cleveland Cavaliers,

Spent most of Lebron’s absence working through his agent in hopes of preparing for his eventual return. Financial flexibility and incredible luck ( three number one picks in four years) allowed the CAVS to offer a young and talented team in need of leadership. Can you believe that the CAVS can put LeBron in a position not unlike Tim Duncan as he ages. Kudos to Lebron for exercising vision personified as he fights the good fight for a sports town with real and long suffering fans.

Chicago Bulls,

Why don’t free agents love Chicago ? Could it be the weather, the owners tight pockets, a mad man coach, The Cubs ?

This could be a breakthrough year as the Bulls planned carefully to draft the man they wanted all along, Creighton’s Doug McDermott who should flourish under coach Thibodeau’s tutelage. After failing to get Carmelo Anthony (for money no less) the Bulls nabbed free agent Pau Gasol, a 34 year old seven footer who will make more of a difference than most realize.

A big part of the Spurs success is their incredible team sacrifice and chemistry.
The Bulls are second to them in that department with the Cavaliers coming on strong. The core is intact and newcomers Gasol, Mirotic and McDermott along with a newly commited ( if you count summer league) Tony Snell the Bulls have upgraded their dire need for scoring. Oh, and did I mention Derrick Rose is healthy now.

Dallas Mavericks,

In what some describe as the grift of the century Dallas signed unrestricted free agent Chandler Parsons with a three year 46 million dollar contract that also boasted a 15% trade kicker making it extremely tough to match.

The Houston Rockets left themselves open and the Cuban took advantage. Dallas, the same team that took San Antonio to seven games in last years playoffs now have Tyson Chandler and up and coming All Star Chandler Parsons. Throw in coach Rick Carlisle ( perhaps the league’s second or third best coach) and you have the makings of a championship contender.

New York Knicks,

They kept Carmelo Anthony. I could leave it there but deciding to return to New York was wise for a number of reasons most notably Team president Phil Jackson’s status as the resident super star whisperer.

Phil has already made moves to improve the teams shooting and chemistry. The Knicks will be free of the salaries of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani next season and in play for what looks like another wild free agency period. Draftees Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo are excellent players and are part of a solid future. At the current pace the Knicks should be in contention for the conference title in a year. This process amounted to a sort of crossroads for Melo. New York is his town through and through and it was high time that he made a stand ultimately becoming part of the solution.
Oh, and an extra 30 mil never hurt anybody.

The Losers

Miami Heat,

Anytime you lose the best player on the planet you have to be considered a loser. The Heat rebounded keeping Chris Bosh ( for max money no less ) and adding Loul Deng but at this stage they are prolonging the inevitable. At the end of game five of the finals LeBron gave out appropriate hugs to the winners, paused, threw back his shoulders, lifted his head and walked directly to the tunnel. Heat president Pat Riley had to sense that his star was resolute in moving on. Days later Riley conducted what many consider to be a bizzare 55 min press conference challenging Lebron to man up and stay in Miami. It was too late. The faux Heat fans should be proud of winning two titles in four years so they can now arrive late to games and cheer on a 45 win team.

Houston Rockets,

Tough calling any team that boast James Harden and Dwight Howard losers but in what seemed like the blink of an eye the Rockets went from potential championship contenders to a middle of the western conference team with limited depth.

General manager Daryl Morey acted prematurely by unloading Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, a first round pick and leaving forward Chandler Parsons open to a poison pill contract gladly engineered by the Dallas Mavericks. Morey, who had been accustomed to leaving rival GM’s in his dust made his move too soon incorrectly assuming that Chris Bosh statement( If LeBron leaves Miami I am going to Houston) was a commitment.

Losing Parsons was particularly painful as he could score long distance, off the dribble, finish strong at the rim, run your offense, play above average defense, recruit, assist in maintaining a good locker room and I hear drove a mean bus.

Honorable mention on the winning side,

Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, why ? Cat just seems to be on a roll.

NBA Draft Hotline

 

 

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By Lamar Battle

Looks like It’s that time of the year again. The Moon is in the seventh house, Democrats and Republicans are drinking buddies ? ( Who am I fooling), Campaign finance reform is a reality and young men once again look for the answers to their dreams. You guessed it,  the NBA draft is once again upon us.

This years draft promises to be one of the best in recent memory and since this is my posting I will comment on players I like or feel the need to talk about. Now having said that here is the:

 The Skinny:

-Joel Embiid, 7’0″ Center.
With back issues and a broken right foot he is starting to look
injury prone. However his skill level dictates a gamble albeit to
a team that afford to wait on him.

-Andrew Wiggins 6’8″ Shooting Guard.
Off the charts athleticism and potential Allstar who is a no
brainer as the 1st pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Why ?
The prospect of a fast break led by Kyrie Irving, Wiggins
and LeBron James. This scenario puts LeBron in the
position of mentoring young thorough-breads. Not unlike
Tim Duncan.

-Jabari Parker 6′ 8″ Small Forward.
Can you say damn skippy ?

This player is the real deal (Just
ask Joe ). Picture DNA, breeding, background and strength in
a 6 ‘ 8″ linebacker with ( just scratching the surface) quickness
and the bearing of Julius Erving. Jabari can post up, drive,
shoot off the dribble from either the 3 pt line,medium range
or floaters. He has great basketball IQ, is a natural leader and
is poised to be somebody’s “Face of the Franchise as a rookie.

-Shabazz Napier 6′ 1″ Point Guard.

Really cannot believe the number of people sleeping on this
guy. He is easily the best point guard in the draft. remember
he was schooled by Kevin Ollie and has two NCAA titles.
Warning, do not be fooled by his size. Look at his smarts and
heart and think Isiah Thomas. Yeah, I said it.

 

Julius Randle 6′ 8″ power forward

Think Zack Randolph 2.0 minus the edge. nuff said.

Nik Staukas 6′ 6″ shooting guard

Great shooter who can fire off the dribble, drive and dish.
potential all star.

 

Zach Lavine 6’6″ shooting guard

Great athlete. Picture Electro with handles. could be a great
defender. needs to improve his out side shooting.

 

Dante Exum 6′ 6″ point guard

Could be a solid contributor or the best player in the draft.
depends on his motor. Can handle the rock, penetrate and
shoot off the dribble. Can he develop as a play maker ?

 

Noah Vonleh 6′ 10″ power forward

7′ 2″ and 3/4. wing span 45% from the three point line
biggest hands in draft, not afraid to mix it up ? Damn!

Doug Mc Dermott 6′ 8″ small forward

More than just a spot up shooter.Can post up, shoot mid
range and is over 40% from the three. Four year player
who literally carried his team(Creighton) to NCAA’S.
Smart, high motor and a possessor of the dreaded
Dirk Nowitzki move.

 

Elfrid Payton 6′ 4″ point guard

Above average penetrator and defender. Wiry and fast.
decent floor general but poor outside shooter.

Adrien Payne 6′ 10″ power forward

Typical Michigan State player, overachieving, aggressive
and hungry. Will contribute off the bench for a lucky
team.

 

Also of note: Clint Capela, Gary Harris, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart,
Kristaps Porzingas, Jusuf Nurkic. Kyle Anderson.

 

 

 

All Hail the Spurs

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By Lamar Battle

 

At last, balance has been restored to the galaxy. With their game five victory over the Miami Heat the San Antonio Spurs cemented themselves in the hearts of basketball purist and Heat haters world wide as the premier organization in the NBA.

The Spurs won the last three games over Miami by no less than 15 points per game and the 2014 championship more than made up for the heart breaking loss suffered at the hands of the Miami Heat in 2013.

San Antonio coach Greg Popovich used the entire regular season to prepare his team for this moment. No Spurs player averaged more than 30 mins a game as Popovich carefully developed a bench comprised mostly of cast offs and ex Developmental League players. NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said it best. ” A lot of teams try to play like the Spurs but they can’t because they don’t have the players”. What Charles meant more than anything was that every player can’t play for San Antonio because first of all you have to be hard working, unselfish and highly coach-able.

It is no accident that 9 of Spurs players are foreign born. Interestingly enough these players are raised with out the inherent sense of entitlement displayed by most American born players; residue left over by the AAU/shoe culture so prevalent now a days in the states. The Spurs are coached hard by coach Popovich who has won their trust, especially that of future all time great Tim Duncan. Duncan’s willingness to sublimate his ego for the good of the team has helped maintain a culture that has led to a playoff birth in each of Duncan’s 15 years in the league.

The above mentioned culture allowed the Spurs to run a disciplined, highly organized offense that broke down the previously un-breach-able Miami defense… Over and over again.

Miami’s defensive focus was to swarm the ball after almost every pass, especially when the ball entered the paint area.
Consequently the Spurs would consistently bait the Heat with screen rolls and drives to the basket with the intent to catch the Heat defenders out of position and pass to an open shooter. In essence, what the Spurs did offensively was use the Heat’s greatest strength on defense against them.

On defense the Spurs played Heat superstar LeBron James one on one and stayed home on Miami’s shooters, most notably sharpshooter Ray Allen. This approach coupled with limited turnovers prevented the Heat from going on prolonged runs of fast breaks and three point shooting. It was a devastating display of precision that had Heat players admitting that they were spanked royally.

To their credit, the Heat players conducted themselves admirably in defeat knowing that roster adjustments will be needed going forward if they have any hopes of winning another title. LeBron James can opt out of his contract and leave if he so desires so the Heat’s brain trust will have to convince their star players to stay home while fortifying a thin and rapidly aging bench.

Changes to the Heat will have to be serious as the Spurs have broken their code and I’m certain other teams were paying attention.

It was instructive to observe the Spurs during their trophy acceptance ceremony. There was Timmy in the background and coach Popovich way in the back allowing his team to soak it all in.
This series was good for the game of basketball as it displayed what we teach our kids about sport and It’s numerous benefits.