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Jerry West predicts NBA draft will disappoint

Hall of Famer Jerry West believes the next NBA Draft will be “a poor one.”  He told ESPN Radio:  “Everyone is excited about an incredible draft class this year.  I think it’s just the opposite.” (at 11:17 in the link below)

West’s complaint is that with the top college players going pro after one or two years, the lottery picks will not be ready for NBA prime time.  “At one time you could get a branded name,” he said.  “These kids are not branded.”

Projected lottery picks Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas, Jabari Parker of Duke and Julius Randle of Kentucky are freshmen.   

Click here for the full ESPN Radio interview with West


Clowney, Manziel stir debate at NFL Combine

The NFL Combine may have raised more questions than it answered.  South Carolina defensive end Jadaveon Clowney astounded scouts with his 4.5 in the 40, but he bench-pressed like a punter, creating doubts he will be a run-stopper.  And by skipping some drills because of a hip flexor he confirmed suspicions that he won’t “play hurt.” 

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said Clowney has the skills “to be the most dominant player in the league” but might not be drafted in the top 5 “because of inconsistencies off the field and the work ethic.” 

Clowney’s college coach, Steve Spurrier, said his work habits are “not quite like Marcus Lattimore or Stephen Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, some of those guys.  But when the ball is snapped, he’s got something no one else has.”

But can he diagnose and make plays?  His fellow pass rusher – and hardly an unbiased source — Dee Ford of Auburn said Clowney “plays like a blind dog in a meat market.”

Also drawing mixed reviews: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, who stood short of six feet, at 5-11 ¾.  His hands measured larger than most, which scouts said will make him less prone to fumbles.  But  interceptions could be a problem, which Ron Jaworski said is one  reason “I wouldn’t take him in the first three rounds.”

The ultimate mixed review came from Barry Switzer, who called Manziel “a prick,” but added, “I’ve never seen a quarterback in college football control the game like he does and put up the numbers he does.” 

Despite flaws in the top prospects (no standout QB), NFL talent evaluators are excited about the upcoming draft.  Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert: “I’ve been doing this for 30 years.  This is the deepest draft I’ve ever seen.”


Dan Jenkins: Today’s coaches and athletes are ‘so guarded’

Legendary sports writer Dan Jenkins told Texas Monthly that college football is not as much fun to cover as it once was.  “I got the best of the Darrell Royals, the Bear Bryants, the John McKays.  They were fun.  You could drink with ‘em.  Now everyone’s so guarded.  There’s so much electricity out there, they’re afraid of it. . . . The athletic directors became CEOs instead of travel agents.”

Asked to comment on “the recent Mack Brown saga,” Jenkins showed he hasn’t mellowed much at 84.  “I never thought he was a great coach.  He’d have been gone sooner if it hadn’t been for Vince Young.”

Jenkins isn’t happy with trends in some other sports.  Having covered 63 Masters tournaments, he’s an avid fan of golf, but not necessarily Tiger Woods.  “He won’t let anybody know him.  I think the reason is that he doesn’t have anything to say.  All he knows is how to hit a golf ball.”

As for pro football and pro basketball, Jenkins cites “a certain sameness” in all the games“Every game’s the same, every player’s talented.”

Dear Dan:  With you on Mack and Tiger, but did you really prefer the days when quarterbacks couldn’t run, white men couldn’t jump, and power forwards couldn’t pass or shoot?

Click here for the full Texas Monthly Interview


15-yard penalty is a ‘triviality’ for using N-word

Concerned that racial slurs may be picked up by increasingly prevalent microphones on the sidelines, the NFL will penalize players 15 yards for such slurs.  Bob Ryan of ESPN’s Sports Reporters said the penalty should be much more severe:  “I am a bit troubled by the triviality of it.  Fifteen yards?  I don’t like that linkage.”

Also on Sports Reporters, Israel Gutierrez unloaded on the New York Knicks:  “These guys aren’t just losing, they’re not trying.  Guys are waltzing to the rim.”

Tiger Woods’ physical problems continue, from Achilles to knee and now to his back, which caused him to withdraw from the Honda Classic and Jim Rome (CBSSports Network) to remark:  “He’s not getting better and he’s never coming back.”

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