- DraftKings, FanDuel are illegal gambling websites, N.Y. AG rules, must cease operations – My initial linkage was to a Washington Post synopsis of this story but good grief it was the most egregious display of advertising popups I’ve ever seen. I’d rather the forced quiz I’m taking for smaller news outlets. It looked like Don Draper threw up on the page. So instead I’ll link to – goodness the Sun Times is the same boat! Here’s Wall Street Journal analysis. Cease and desists have been sent. I find this case interesting but not fascinating. It’s ultimately another case of a smart business being more agile than governance and regulators (Uber? AirBnB?) in a technological climate that’s well equipped to move and adjust rapidly. This one, however, isn’t meddling with cabbies and hotels, their meddling with sin: Gambling!
- Gonzaga Fires Mark Few, Cites Poor “In-Game Coaching” – I am so sorry I didn’t link to this beautiful piece of trolling satire sooner.
- Five minute season preview: Pac-12 – Absolutely worth the read considering: 1) I’m releasing my conference preseason standings and superlatives today and I don’t agree with all of this, 2) Eisenberg is a UCLA grad, I believe a San Diego resident, and definitely a West Coast guy.
- West Coast Bias: Opposing coaches assess five of this year’s top teams – Aside from this being a great series by Jeff Eisenberg, Cal State LA’s Dierter Horton explains to us that UCLA’s most effective lineup looks just like theirs did last year. Which is effectively what we said here on Tuesday. The specific, however, that I didn’t delve in to, was Aaron Holiday’s ability to play the role of Norman Powell – a supersized guard with defensive prowess. Powell was a bulldog, and while I’m not much of one for “replacing” players, if the Bruins can manage to not miss a beat with the losses of Powell and Kevon Looney (Horton says Bolden is great at being a long, versatile PF) then they’re a year up on everyone else.
- On Grantland and Sports Media – I really appreciate this article. It takes a very macro view of the entire happenings with Grantland. As I noted in Monday’s #34B the actions of the Mother Ship are consistent with their other activities. The Grantland product is highbrow in a lowbrow medium. It wasn’t making money and that’s a fact. Of course there are Skipper and Simmons’ proclaimed BSDs and now even stretches that Simmons’ podcast intro song (TuPac’s “Picture me Rollin'”) is a slight at his former employer. My big takeaway: the internet is the greatest mouthpiece an individual has for self-promotion. So please tell your friends about pachoops.com!
- Ranking every team in college hoops from Grambling St. (351) to UNC (1) – Dan Hanner and Luke Winn do it again. This is my favorite list as I believe it’s more comprehensive than the KenPom preseason ratings and more analytical than the AP (who usually isn’t far off in the preseason). Of course what none of the current polls can account for are the injuries to Robert Cartwright (shoulder done for the year) and Dylan Ennis (foot injury out one month). I tweeted this, but between Cartwright (PG), Ennis (combo/PG), Ray Smith (SF), and Xavier Johnson (PF) the All-Injured Pac-12 squad DOES NOT NEED A CENTER. Thanks and take care.
- Cal’s Cuonzo Martin product of tough environment – And it shows. Well, I gathered as much in just a morning with the man but in what little interactions we had (he was leaving the kitchen as I was entering and he shook the two hands in front of me and then we awkwardly looked at each other and just carried on) the man carries that toughness. Repeatedly he discussed being comfortable while uncomfortable and getting outside of one’s comfort zone. He wants his team going hard at all times. Here’s why.
- Tim Miles denied position with Nebraska student group after humorous application – This is gold, utter gold, and reminds me of this blog post from Minnesota’s Richard Pitino. Always love it when coaches not only break the barrier, but do so in a human way.
- College basketball’s only ‘homeless’ team finds humor in misfortune – They say you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and this squad has mastered just that. They’ll be stronger and better and – in a completely unrelated note – I’ve really enjoyed the off-the-beaten-path stories Eisenberg has been sharing in the lead to this season. Really good stuff.
I got the opportunity, through my work with Pacific Takes, to interview Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg. He’s a hoops guru based in the west so he knows his westerly hoop. He’s also from the Bay and a UCLA grad so he really knows this conference. And the rest of the nation as well.
Alas, the assignment came through and I really had no idea what I was to accomplish with the thing. It was offered, I accepted. End of expectations.
The the whole thing jumped on me when I was told the interview would take place on Monday afternoon. Boom, I did it and let’s be serious, it’s always great talking Pac-12 hoops. This was my first venture into asking OTHERS about the conference and so there’s no doubt some amateurism shining through (I think I say absolutely following almost all of his questions. wtf). It was also my first dabble into Garage Band which I found to be remarkably easy. Note that the intro and close took a few extra takes to get to where they are because my roommate wouldn’t let me publish until I cut some “ummms.”
Despite this being a new venture for me, Jeff was the consummate professional and I appreciated his time. We chatted about the state of the conference, Arizona, UCLA, Andy Enfield running his mouth, Jahii Carson running the world, and what is the Stanford.
I’m hoping this serves as just the beginning to further vocal ventures and that you enjoy what Jeff’s got to say. I had fun.
I went to the showdown at Haas on Thursday night with a good crew and discovered a few things.
- Cal is not a basketball school
- Colorado is for real
- Soft pretzel trumps nachos
- The best Haas Pavilion parking spot
- Andre Roberson will be drafted in 2013
It was indeed a great night and now I’ll elaborate, discovery-by-discovery.
1. Cal is not a basketball school – Granted, it was a late start (8pm) but it was also the Thursday before a three day weekend so who was really going to get any work done Friday? Haas got to about 65% capacity with first place on the line and rarely recognized their cheering moments. The crowd’s greatest effort to get into the game came with a West-to-East: “GO!” … “BEARS!” call and response. This got the volume up and the fans approaching vertical but it also came as Allen Crabbe toed the line at a critical juncture in this battle of conference leaders. Bad timing if you ask me. But the Cal fans were comfortable and looked good. Thusly fulfilling the goal of the arena/pavilion’s namesake, Walter A. Haas, Jr. the philanthropic San Franciscan who ran Levi Strauss for some twenty years. However, I firmly believe that Monty will begin putting butts in the seats just like Haas made butts look good in jeans. He’s got a good thing going in Berkeley and it’s a fan base that I believe wants to erupt.
2. Colorado is for real – In an interview with Jeff Eisenberg, Tad Boyle said he wanted his team to play defense and rebound to remain atop the conference. He didn’t mention that he wanted to shoot the ball well or not turn the ball over – both of which his team didn’t do Thursday night. Getting back to the his remarks, Boyle’s Boys play some tight defense and move well. It may not be the prettiest brand of basketball but Carlon Brown has some skills and there is a supporting group there understanding their supplementary roles to the Brown-show. Andre Roberson fills in nicely for any defensively minded team as he’s incredibly versatile on that side of the ball. I like that the Buffs are making the Ski Trip a lot more than a bunny slope and I think – particularly considering their forthcoming recruiting class – that Colorado is for real for 2012 and beyond. Welcome to the conference.
3. Soft pretzel trumps nachos – This may be a given but when your diet for the day consisted of coffee, a scone, animal crackers, and some beers, soft pretzel definitively trumps nachos. The key here, of course, is to garner a bite-for-cheese agreement. If you can pull this off – and I did – you’re in the money. This purchase got me through to the post game meal at Triple Rock Brewery; a must if you’re ever in Berkeley and a need if you haven’t eaten all day. Try the A-B-S burger and the IPA. Legit.
4. The best Haas Pavilion parking spot – Not telling.
5. Andre Roberson will be drafted in 2013 – Sure, this too may be a given but to see him in person is to see what scouts talk about when they talk about length. He can grab anything. The lanky sophomore swallowed fourteen boards and guarded nearly every position on the floor. Athleticism for days. He had a tip dunk where he appeared to hover for half the shot clock awaiting the ball out of the cylinder (debatable whether he waited long enough but filthy nonetheless). He highlighted his night, however, late in the second half with a drawn up isolation play from the wing. The Buffs cleared out and Roberson used a jab then drive for an easy layup. It was impressive and demonstrated just what how high a ceiling he has. His shot is less than pretty but he has time still (I did say 2013, yeah?). Worth noting in this section is the block Carlon Brown put on the Bears during a fastbreak. There unfortunately isn’t any footage I could find (someone in this league has gotta get ranked) but anytime someone gets pinned above the square it’s gotta get mentioned.