Monday, November 9, 2009

12 @ 12: Weekend randomness

1. Pete Thamel, one of the best writers in the nation that covers high school sports, traveled to Israel to see how Jeremy Tyler is doing in his quest to becoming a decorated professional basketball player.

To no one’s surprise, Tyler is struggling in a foreign land and on his own.

Tyler left sunny San Diego to play at Maccabi Haifa for a $140,000 two-year deal. The end result, in Tyler’s eyes, is being drafted in 2011. His play was to follow in the footsteps of Brandon Jennings, who is having a surprisingly successful start to his NBA career.

The difference between Tyler and Jennings was this: Jennings was always good and a producer. Tyler, however, was not. One game he’d be a dominant force and clearly the best player to step foot onto the court. The next game, he’d complain, throw his arms up in frustration and immediately point fingers as to why his teenage world was rocked. Jennings never did that.

The other difference was work ethic. Jennings is a gym rat. When Tyler left the 2008 Pangos All-American camp after one night of action, Jennings, then out of high school, was constantly on the court and inside the gym.

Both are incredibly arrogant. Tyler’s is/was unjustified. Jennings, like him or not, was an arrogance that was competitive and it gave him an edge. Clearly, the trip to Italy was a life reality that your world is not the only world. Humility is life’s great reset button.

Perhaps a giant slice of humility is what Tyler, who would be graduating high school in May of 2010, needs.

2. The college basketball season officially starts today and the hoops world will be watching Isiah Thomas’s college coaching debut at North Carolina. And, sure, that’s a big time storyline to watch. But the game won’t be fun to watch. In fact, it will probably be a 25-point blowout.

3. But the game that is the most intriguing game on Monday’s slate is the Albany-Syracuse tilt. It is no secret that Syracuse lost to Le Moyne, Division II school, in a preseason exhibition. The Orange are sitting back on their heels at the moment while a team like Albany, certainly talented enough in the starting line up with Will Harris and Tim Ambrose. While Syracuse is much more talented, Albany will give the Big East team a run for their money to start the year.

4. High-major freshman that was ranked outside the top 25 that will have the biggest year: Noel Johnson of Clemson.

5. High-major freshman that won’t live up to his top 25 billing: Milton Jennings of Clemson.

6. Mid-major freshman that will have a huge rookie season: Keith Clanton of Central Florida.

7. Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated nailed it. College hoops needs an opening day or an opening weekend.

8. I know I pump them every week but if you love college hoops, Rush the Court should be one of the first five websites you check everyday. Here is one of the reasons why.

9. Where will Harrison Barnes be going to school? I’ve seen that sentence via text, twitter and email more than any other question this year. My answer? Duke. That’s my guess. Take it for what it is worth.

10. I spent the weekend counting the number of blogs that the University of Kentucky men’s basketball has “covering” the team. Unofficially, the count was 1,685,095.

11. If this guy would have gone to one of these fake schools that boast "national prep players", he would have gotten away with his plan of playing high school basketball.

12. Here are my 12 football thoughts from the weekend:

A. Well, thanks Oregon. Right when everyone believed in you, Stanford outsmarts you with your own game. The Cardinal just ran all over the Ducks to the tune of 254 rushing yards on 52 attempts. Ball control, clock management and power football.

B. Iowa, it was only a matter of time. Really, it was.

C. Who are you Boise State? Seriously. Are you as good as your record? Or was the Oregon win a matter of emotion at home and on national television? Or are you just that good?

D. Texas is the most consistent of all of the top tier programs this season. The closest game the Longhorns have had was a three-point win over Oklahoma at a neutral site. Florida and Alabama have been up and down all season.

E. However, Alabama’s win over LSU was one to help lock their position into the top two positions. The Tide would be my No. 2 team in the country (if my voice meant anything). Texas would be No. 1 while Florida checks in at No. 3.

F. Cal's Jahvid Best's touchdown dive against Oregon State was one of the scariest airborne accidents I've seen in quite some time. That was a terrifying leap for six points.

G. Twitter note number one that amazed me over the weekend: ESPN’s Joe Schad wrote “Jimmy Clausen Heisman? ESPN Research says 6 TD, 0 INT when trailing in 4th Quarter.”

H. Twitter note number two that amazed me over the weekend: ESPN’s Adam Schefter wrote “On third down, where Dallas won the game, Tony Romo was nine-of-11 for 140 yards, one touchdown and that quarterback rating of 149.1.”

I. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again. I’d play for Atlanta head coach Mike Smith a million times over. His antics against DeAngelo Hall (the worst role model in any professional American sport) were outstanding. Hall wanted to take on the entire Atlanta Falcons sidelines after a cheap shot on Matt Ryan by Laron Landry. The Falcons gladly obliged to take on the world’s biggest moron. And out of nowhere Smith, who is in his 50s, plowed through the pile and got right in the grill of the helmeted Hall. That’s leadership I’ll get behind any day.

J. The top two wide receivers for the Dallas Cowboys played at Northwestern Oklahoma State (Patrick Crayton) and Monmouth (Miles Austin). And the two play in a billion dollar stadium. Jackpot!

K. Stat that caught my eye this week: Peyton Manning threw the ball 40 times in the first half against Houston. 40 times! Only five quarterbacks threw over 40 times in the entire game this week. Manning finished with 50 attempts in a lucky win against Houston.

L. Who is the Heisman leader right now? Finally, a weekend for separation for some players. Let’s throw Stanford’s Toby Gerhart and Clemson’s C.J. Spiller onto the ballot. But Colt McCoy then Jimmy Clausen are my one and number two picks right now.

M. Who is the early NFL MVP leader right now? It is still a two-horse race between Manning and Drew Brees. And a million other guys chasing after the top spot.

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