Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson claims he could be one of the top four cornerbacks in the NFL. “One, two, or three, I’d say, because (Darrelle) Revis is pretty solid, Patrick Peterson is pretty solid, and you got my man (Richard) Sherman holding it down.”
Followup question: Last week the NBA fined you $10,000 for pushing and striking an opponent. How do you avoid pass interference?
Boston Celtics rookie Kelly Olynyk, a Canadian: “Playing basketball in Ontario, you shovel a lot of snow. You couldn’t shovel the whole court, so you shoveled a few spots to take your shots. I guess those places I shoveled became my sweet spots.”
Mike Keenan, former National Hockey League coach, is now coaching in Russia, for the Mettallurg Magnitagorsk. He raves about the economic growth of the former USSR. He told USA Today: I think part of what (Vladimir) Putin has done is to bring life to the country.”
Followup question: “What about the deaths he’s brought?”
ESPN Magazine’s Molly Knight: “One day in the not-so-distant future, when 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has burned every bridge from San Mateo to Oakland and skips town in the middle of the night to, say, resurrect the Browns, David Shaw will be heralded as the best football coach in the Bay Area. But truth be told, he already is.”
Knight (Oct. 14 “Bay Area Issue”) quotes the “thoughtful, methodical” Stanford coach saying of Harbaugh: “He’s fiery and excitable and a pusher and a big personality. I appreciate him for being who he is. And that’s not me.”
ESPN’s current issue, Oct. 28, is recommended reading, for, among other things, Phil Steele’s midseason look at possible BCS Championship Game matchups with Alabama. He puts Ohio State as a 7-point dog with Oregon losing by 3.
ESPN calls this its “LeBron Issue” and states, right upfront, that “it is absurd to devote an entire NBA preview to one player.”
They are right about that.
But the mag did draw an interesting quote out of King James, who admitted the Spurs got into his head in the Finals. He said he was doubting his jump shot, that his problem was “more mental than anything,” that “they dared me to shoot, and it worked for the first few games, and it became a mental challenge for me. I started thinking too much.”
And there’s insight into Michael Jordan, whom he wishes was a close friend: “I know MJ definitely thinks he can beat me one on one right now.”
OK, LeBron is worth HALF an issue.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after Game 1 of the World Series complained about the new rule that allows umpires to overrule a call by one of their own. Even though he admitted the reversal was correct, “it’s a pretty tough time to debut that overrule call, in the World Series.”
Followup question: So you’d rather see a wrong call stand in the World Series?
Matheny from pregame on looked as nervous as an innocent man on death row. As Tony Luftman put it on Rome (CBS Sports Network): “Mike Matheny’s team played as tight and nervous as he LOOKED. Whether it was him protesting too much the first-inning reversal, or at the end of the game he had that sleeping-with-the-enemy stare across the diamond where he just looked maniacal.”
Carolina safety Mike Mitchell summarizes his career: “I’ve been a Bluebird, a Bobcat, a Raider, and now a Panther. I do best when I’m part of the cat family.”
CBS Sports Network’s Steve Beuerlein says Peyton Manning “can’t throw the ball 40 yards upfield.” And Tony Romo “has been so affected by his bad luck or bad fortune or his bad decisions, whatever you want to call it, he gets very tentative at the end of ballgames.”
Romo’s team, the Dallas Cowboys, came under fire from Rich Gannon on CBS Sports Network’s Monday QB. Reviewing the last-minute collapse in Detroit, Gannon said: “I don’t think as a team they’re good enough in situational football. . . . A back not getting out of bounds, Tyron Smith not understanding on third down in that situation, a negative run is not gonna hurt you, but a penalty will absolutely kill you.
“Even on the last play of the game, the quarterback’s saying ‘Clock, clock, clock,’ that doesn’t mean you take a play off. That means that as a defensive line, you fire out and penetrate. They stood up. (Matt) Stafford jumps over the pile and wins the football game.”
On the same show, Phil Simms warned that Dez Bryant’s late-game “throw-me-the-ball” theatrics could cause lasting damage to the team’s morale. “Tony Romo’s gonna have to deal with it, Jason Garrett. Football teams are a lot of angry men that play the game, but it’s a very fragile thing. Something like this could upset the chemistry between Tony Romo and some of the other receivers, the receiver’s coach. If you lose one game because of that, that could be the difference in your year.”
Mike Lupica of ESPN’s Sports Reporters: “Even with one arm, Johnny Manziel is the most exciting player in college football.”
Prior to being routed by the Alabama Crimson Tide, Tennessee coach Butch Jones referred to his opponent as “the red team.”
Tony Barnhart, speaking on CBS Sports Network’s Tim Brando Show: “You don’t need to motivate Alabama. Don’t call them ‘the team in red, the red team.’ Alabama is getting better and better and better.”
Commenting on Steve Spurrier coaching South Carolina to an upset of Missouri, Barnhart said: “He’s the most instinctive play caller I’ve ever met. He knows the flow of the game and how to change it.”
Brando agreed: “If I need to win one game, one stinking game, who do I want? It’s been Spurrier for me for a lifetime.”
Alabama fan calling in to Brando’s show: “I wanna make a comment about them Alabama fans staying in their seats in Tuscaloosa Saturday. It’s not because we’re afraid of Nick. It’s because the administration down there locked up the jumper cables til the end of the third quarter.”
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, on the Ohio State Buckeyes: “They need a league that’s worthy of them. . . . When did the Big Ten suddenly become the Wac?”