Phil Jackson disses his top pick: another Shawn Bradley?
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson took some verbal shots at his team’s lottery draft pick, saying he may have made a mistake with Kris Porzingas, 19-year-old from Latvia. Jackson told ESPN that Porzingas, listed as 7-1, 220 pounds, reminds him of another stringbean, Shawn Bradley, who was 7-foot-6 and was mostly a reserve, averaging just 8.1 points for his NBA career. Jackson said that Porzingas, like Bradley, “might almost be too tall for the game.” The player’s lack of bulk and agility, Jackson fears, could make him vulnerable on defense: “His core strength might never be good enough.”
Between the Lines: Negative psychology can work. Bobby Knight wrote a book about it. When Jackson was coaching the LA Lakers, he greeted one of his players, a too-passive Kwame Brown, by saying, ”Meow.” And George Karl once put a bag of dog food in Joe Barry Carroll’s locker.
Texans QB Savage has a camera on his nose
Tom Savage, second-year quarterback of the Houston Texans, has a unique look during 7-on-7 drills. He wears special glasses attached to a tiny camera on the bridge of his nose. “I look like a moron with the glasses on,” Savage told ESPN. “But if it helps, I’m willing to try it. . . . It hears everything I’m saying in the huddle. It shows what I’m looking at.” When practice is over, the coaches can review what Savage saw, said and heard. They can see where his head is turning, and they believe he’s becoming a better quarterback with this technological aid. “It’s been good,” Savage said, “even though I look idiotic.” He played well in the preseason opener, throwing a touchdown against San Francisco and posting a passer rating over 100.
Griffin claims he’s ‘the best quarterback in the league’
Preseason is the time of unrealistic optimism, and self-confidence is always a good thing. But the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III may have crossed the line into delusional when he said, “I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that.” He was benched for much of last season and remains in a battle with Kirk Cousins to be the team’s No. 1 QB.
Michael Sam quits football for ‘mental health’ reasons
The emotional stress of being the first openly gay player in professional football may have become too much for Michael Sam. After being cut by NFL teams in St. Louis and Dallas, Sam joined the Montreal Alouettes in May. But last week he took his second leave of absence from the Canadian Football League. “The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” Sam said on Twitter. “Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time. Thank you for your understanding and support.” He also thanked the Alouettes and said he hopes to return to the team when his mental health improves. Sam was the Southeastern Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and subsequently was selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. The pass-rushing end has yet to play in a regular-season NFL game. It’s looking increasingly doubtful that he ever will.
Another football exit: Snoop Dogg’s son to Hollywood
Cordell Broadus, 4-star football recruit for UCLA and son of the rapper Snoop Dogg, did not show up for the first day of Bruins practice, and coach Jim Mora explained that the freshman receiver had decided to give up football. Broadus instead is pointing to a film career – “The Industry” in LA. “Cordell is an amazing young man with many talents,” Mora said. “We wish him nothing but the best.”
Jarryd Hayne switches from rugby to the NFL
One of the few encouraging signs from the San Francisco 49ers’ camp is the running of Australian rugby player Jarryd Hayne. Though he’s not quite the rugby “star” that American press reports have him to be, he has played professional rugby for nine years. He has impressed as a running back and kick returner for the 49ers. He had a 53-yard rush in the preseason opener against Houston. He also returned a kickoff 33 yards and two punts for 24 yards. “He’s a world-class athlete,” said 49ers coach Jim Tomsula. Although the 49ers feel Hayne runs more upright than a running back should at 6-3, he’s No. 2 on the depth chart behind Carlos Hyde.
Saban denounces unauthorized biography
Alabama football coach Nick Saban expressed disapproval of an unauthorized biography written by Monte Burke. Saban said he someday will write his autobiography, but until that happens, “anything else is unreliable.” In Saban, the Making of a Coach, he’s quoted telling his players that if he were ever to cheat on his wife, it would be “with Hillary F-ing Rodham Clinton.” Burke insists his book is no hatchet job, that “it humanizes him.” Tide fans will be happy that Burke believes Alabama is Saban’s final coaching job, despite his rambling past.
Scherzer skid: Arm fatigue, mechanics or both?
Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer had his worst outing of the season in Friday’s 8-5 loss to San Francisco. He lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. It was his third shortened start in a row. He has yielded 13 earned runs in 15 innings, causing media speculation that he’s suffering from arm fatigue. Scherzer claims otherwise. “I stunk, there is no getting around that,” he said. “My arm slot is a little low right now. It causes my fastball to flatten out.” He said he will make some adjustments in his delivery but it may take a while to achieve results. “It’s going to take some work,” he said. “You have to create a good habit with it. I have to throw the ball 10,000 times to a wall just to make sure I have this good habit. This isn’t a huge fix, but it’s a time-consuming fix.”
Between the Lines: One of the symptoms of fatigue in a pitcher is that he lowers his delivery.