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Wes

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    Twitter: @WesKCrochet
    Senior student & Sport Management major at The University of Texas, and a lifetime Longhorn. Hook'em

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  1. We've awoken from another Dwightmare and this time Dwight Howard has emerged as a Houston Rocket. There's been an endless amount of opinions about Dwight's move in a wide variety ranging from hate all the way to strong support. And it seems like everyone from fans, to players, to front office officials, to members of the media have all chimed in about the move. I myself am a Rockets fan and also have an opinion. But with my opinions, I try to be realistic with my take on situations involving the teams I support and other subjects in the world of sports. So I'm treating this situation with the same realistic approach in an attempt to see Dwight's decision for what it is and the effect his move will have on the Rockets. I'm not shy to admit that I've criticized Dwight Howard in the past for his attitude and behavior. My first criticisms started when the first Dwightmare began in Orlando. But before he flip-flopped back and forth with Orlando, I really liked Dwight. I liked that he was a dominant NBA player who liked to cut up and have fun with his teammates. And I liked watching the Youtube videos of him pulling pranks and being a goofball outside of games when he was around his team. I wasn't a big Dwight follower and didn't always keep up with him. But at the time, I found his "fun" attitude to be acceptable because he was leading a mediocre Orlando Roster to 3 Division Titles and 1 Conference Title from 2008 to 2010. My opinions, however, began to change when he started flipping back and forth with Orlando. I really do like seeing professional athletes have fun while they do their job. But when it's time for business, I hope all athletes use a business-like approach. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. And when Dwight couldn't make a decision and drug Orlando around, that rubbed me the wrong way. I still thought he was a great basketball player (still do) and one of the top Centers in the league (definitely is, if not the best), but I didn't like how he was treating the organization and his mentality. But in that whole process, I realized that Dwight's personality was a bigger factor in his basketball profession than I had realized. And from that point on, I knew there were certain teams, players, and coaches he likely wouldn't mesh well with. Why Not L.A.? Dwight still has youthful qualities to this day. Nothing and no one said it better than Dwight himself when he talked about what he did while he made his recent decision. "I went up to Colorado and had a good time. Man, I had a good time. I really enjoyed myself. I played chess, ping-pong and just got away." Playing ping-pong, chess, and enjoying nature? Sounds like my 11-year-old cousin. But because Dwight has these qualities, they are often looked upon negatively. And because he has these qualities, I never saw him fitting in with Kobe and the Lakers. Kobe is a different animal. He seems like a dying breed. He has that old school, step on your throat when you're down, competitive nature. Every chance he gets he wants to not just beat you but dominate you. It's why people either love Kobe or hate Kobe. And this type of attitude and personality doesn't always mesh well with someone like Dwight. I'm not saying Dwight can't be a dominant player in the NBA. Obviously he has been and should continue to dominate down low. But the only way I saw Dwight fitting in L.A. was if Phil Jackson came back to coach the Lakers. Only the Zen master could have balanced all of the egos and personalities on that roster. But Jerry Buss had other plans and decided to blaze his own trail by hiring Mike D'Antoni after he prematurely fired Mike Brown. Hiring D'Antoni was one of the worst decisions Buss could have made. It was terrible due to one simple fact… You can't build the future of the franchise around a low-post center if the coach is trying to implement an up-tempo, fast break style of offense. That just won't work, nor does that make sense. Not to mention D'Antoni hasn't won anything in the NBA, ever. But on top of having problems from a basketball standpoint, Dwight also wasn't a fit from an age and mentality standpoint with the Lakers roster. Which was also a big reason why he decided to leave. In that same interview where Dwight talked about going to Colorado, he added "I want to get back to that person. That's who I am. That's the person that made me who I am and who people love. I have to get back to being that." And Dwight started doing just that by deciding to move to Houston. Kobe, Nash, and Pau are all older players who are more mature (I'd add MWP to this since he's older, but I struggle calling him mature). Dwight is a younger guy with a different mentality. The chemistry wasn't where it needed to be between him and the old guys. With that, Dwight also saw the Lakers aging/injury riddled roster as a concern. And I can see why. Kobe is 34, coming off an Achilles injury, and not getting any younger. Nash will be 40 by the time playoffs start. And both Pau and Metta World Peace are both 33 (I know MWP got amnestied, but at the time he was still on roster). Sure, Dwight could have signed a 5-year deal. But of those 5 years, how many years would that core actually be there and playing at a level high enough to contend for a title? I'd argue 2 years, maybe. So for 3 years of his contract it's fair to think he either has no clue who he will be playing with or he's playing with a very old roster. Compare that to a Rockets core where Dwight is the oldest and where he can be guaranteed to be playing with James Harden for all of his time in Houston (and hopefully Parsons if he resigns in 2015), I can see Dwight's thinking. And then add in the fact that he feels more comfortable around the younger guys, can get low-post help form McHale and Olajuwon, and he doesn't have to deal with the intense media in L.A… It makes sense why he wants to play in Houston. Of course walking away from extra money and from having Kobe Bryant playing alongside you is always a risk. But I get why Dwight decided to become a Rocket. It definitely upset Lakers fans. And I find it funny that they wanted him so badly in LA yet they talk about how terrible he is once he's gone. I think part of their frustration stems from the fact that they realize they are somewhat screwed for this upcoming season, and especially for whatever comes after that. But that's a different discussion in itself. Bottom line is the Rockets are a better fit for Dwight, and Houston should allow him to play better basketball. Remember, having success with your job is largely related to finding a working environment that works for you. The Rockets Moving Forward The Rockets obviously got better by acquiring Dwight. He's arguably the best defensive big man in the league and one of the best, if not the best, rebounders in the league as well. And since acquiring Dwight, I've heard many people saying that the Rockets are easily one of the top teams in the West, specifically speaking, top-3. Even Vegas seems to agree with that thinking. Personally, I think the Rockets can contend for a title with this roster. But I'm not ready to say they are easily one of the top teams in the West. Really, there are about 6 teams that are all strong teams in the west (Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Memphis, Golden State, & Houston). Yes the Rockets do have James Harden, and yes they now have Dwight. Parsons is also a good player on the wing. But the reality is Harden still has to improve his game to the next level. He had some bad decisions and costly turnovers in the playoffs. Dwight needs to prove he can A) stay healthy keep his attitude and mentality in check. The Rockets still need an answer at PF since right now all they have are young players in Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, and Greg Smith (Smith plays C & PF). And there needs to be some improvement at PG, whether it be by Jeremy Lin or someone they pick up (I love Patrick Beverly, but as a bench player. I haven't seen enough from him to feel good about him being a consistent starter. Though I have no problem with him starting in certain situations). And though it's not a huge deal, I'd like to see the Rockets pick up another shooting guard to come off the bench. Bottom-line, the Rockets still need to improve if they want to win a title. And we have to remember that they haven't even stepped on the floor yet… Don't get me wrong; I'm very excited about the Rockets. I've had my criticisms about Dwight in the past but there's no denying he's one of the best Centers and players in the NBA. Adding him to a Rockets roster that made it to the playoffs as one of the worst defensive teams in the league can only help the team from a basketball standpoint. And Daryl Morey deserves a ton of credit for sticking to his plan and acquiring Harden, Dwight, Parsons, etc. But realistically, the Rockets aren't the clear-cut favorites to win the West. The West is still a strong conference. But having Dwight roam the paint definitely increases their odds of getting to the finals and it's safe to say they are a "title contender" in the NBA.
  2. Brewer was a Harsin guy. When Harsin left, Brewer's main advocate was gone. Also doesn't help having Swoopes impress more than anticipated and having Heard on the way. I'd have made the same move if I was Brewer and wanted to play. Wish him well.
  3. It's been far too long since I've posted anything here on Hornsports so I thought I'd come by and post a brief run down of the picks last night. I'm not grading these picks, rather giving reasons as to possibly why each team chose who they chose. It was a fun draft to watch even though there wasn't "top talent". There were still surprises and a lot of team/player movement via trades. There was so much movement going on that the ESPN crew couldn't even keep up with it as they broke down the picks. Woj and Yahoo did a great job as usual announcing the trades as they happened. Too bad they can't do the coverage. I actually would rather see Charles Barkley and the TNT crew cover the draft, and really anything. Just anything is fine with me if they cover it. Funny guys when they are together. Let's jump in and try to sort this all out. Round 1, picks 1-30 1. Cavs - PF Anthony Bennett, UNLV Arguably the most stunning pick of the night, the Cavs selected Bennett after many "experts" pegged Noel, Len, Oladipo, and McLemore here. But when you think about it, is it really that stunning? One of the greatest things about drafts is the poker/chess game teams play. The Cavs clearly wanted to trade out of this spot, that was a fact. So in order to try to find a trade partner, they expressed interest in guys other teams may want. They were intentionally letting it leak that they had interest in Noel, Len, etc. But did you ever hear anything about them having interest in Bennett? Ideally, the Cavs would have liked to move back to 4-6 range. Bennett was largely projected to go around there. Had the Cavs traded back, they could have picked up another pick or asset and likely still gotten their guy. But Bennett is no scrub #1 pick, and a guy my roommate has been clamoring about ever since the NCAA season ended. He has a strong NBA body at 6'8" and can score down low or beyond the arc. He weight is a bit of a concern, but he's a driven player so I don't think it will be an issue. I like the pick for the Cavs, as it gives them a big who can do a lot of different things for them. 2. Orl - SG Victor Oladipo, Ind I didn't think there was any question who Orl would pick. They had already made it be known they wanted to shop their current SG, Afflalo, and they are continuing to work with the Clippers about Eric Bledsoe for Afflalo. But more so, Orlando's GM comes from OKC. Well OKC just so happens to have an athletic guard they covet by a guy named Russell Westbrook. Oladipo won't be a PG like Westbrook, but he has the athleticism and some intangibles Westbrook has. Watch out for ORL. Their young core will be good in a couple of seasons. 3. Wash - SF Otto Porter Jr, GT I missed on this pick. Many different sources pegged Otto here and I fell into the trap thinking it could be a ploy. Why? I saw that Trevor Ariza had opted back in for a year and Chris Singleton, a former 1st Rd pick was still on roster at SF as well. But I over thought this pick. Trevor Ariza will be gone after a year. And Singleton hasn't improved that much at all since coming into the league. Porter Jr. teamed with John Wall and Bradley Beal gives the Wizards a solid back court with a variety of specialties. Many thought Otto Porter Jr. was one of the safer picks this year and I agree. Comes from a basketball family and knows the business of the NBA. If Washington can improve their locker room culture, this trio is another young group to watch out for. Now Washington's focus should shift to post players. Nene and more so Okafor are getting up there in age. 4. Cha - F/C Cody Zeller, Ind When making Mocks, I try to take into account the personality and past decisions of those in charge of the teams. With Ben McLemore still on the board, I was almost positive that MJ would want to select the talent scorer. But luckily MJ went with his basketball guys and realized that Josh McRoberts starting at PF isn't ideal at all. I was wondering if MJ would go with Zeller and he did. He also passed up on the injured Nerlins Noel, which I thought was another smart move by Charlotte. Zeller wasn't talked about as much as other prospects but I'm very high on him, as some of you may know. At worst, he will be an athletic 7'0" PF/C who gives 110% effort on both ends of the floor and can score some. At best he will be an All-Star, blue collar type post player. Solid pick Mr. Jordan and he will go well next to Biyombo. 5. Suns - C/F Alex Len, Maryland The Suns got their guy. I wasn't sure he would be here but they lucked out and were able to draft the traditional low post center. With Gortat in his last year, and likely on the trade block, and Scola as your only other post player, Len has the chance to turn into the Suns franchise post player. He has good moves on both ends of the floor and has the potential to be one of the best centers (and maybe play some PF as well) in the game. I'm a Len supporter and I think the Suns got a good one. 6. Philly - C/F Nerlins Noel, Ken Biggest surprise of the draft was Philly trading Jrue Holiday for this pick to get Nerlins Noel. When New Orleans drafted him, I just couldn't picture Noel and Davis together side by side. But I also find it weird that New Orleans coveted Holiday as much as they did when they have a pretty good PG in Vasquez already. But this also may be a move to help satisfy Eric Gordon so who knows what their reasoning is. Anyways, for Philly, the Bynum experiment blew up in their face. So they needed a center to replace the free agent. Is it weird that Philly went after another Center who has injury problems? Yes. But at 6, the value is good for Noel so I can't blame Philly for taking him. They also did a decent job of adding back a PG and a coveted 2014 draft pick once it was all said and done. If healthy, Noel can be one of the premier shot blockers in the league. Though his offense needs work. 7. Kings - SG Ben McLemore, Kan This pick is solely best available. And I think it's also safe to say the Jimmer Fredette experiment is done. They were also trying to trade him before the draft and still may. What's interesting about this pick is the Kings have Tyreke Evans playing SG and Isaiah Thomas at PG. I suppose something will happen with Thomas, either a demotion or trade. But he isn't a terrible guard so I'm not sure exactly what the plan is. Maybe McLemore comes off the bench is first season and they go from there? Not sure. But the Kings got a player who could turn into one of the stars from this draft. And at #7, this is great value for McLemore's potential to become a scoring machine and a good all-around guard in the NBA. 8. Det - SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia The best thing Detroit has going for them right now are their young twin towers down low, with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. I thought Det would have targeted a SF to take Tayshuan Prince's minutes, but maybe there wasn't a guy they liked here. Instead, Detroit took a guard who can flat out score. Though he is still young, it doesn't look like Detroit has been happy with Brandon Knight so this could push Knight to either play better or see his minutes decrease. Also, Jose Calderon isn't getting any younger so finding a replacement for him was inevitable as well. 9. Utah (from Minn) - PG Trey Burke, Mich Surely Minnesota wouldn't draft ANOTHER point guard right? Well they did but later in the draft. This pick went to Utah, and the Jazz may have found a long-term answer at point guard. Trey Burke graded every where from potential all-star to bench warmer. I personally think Burke will be somewhere in the middle as a guy who is a decent guard but could be a journey man or make a living as a back up PG. But he has shown flashes of great ability and he could very well become one of the better PG's in the league. Plus, Utah's best PG was Mo WIlliams. Trying to find improvement over him isn't a bad idea at all. 10. Portland - SG C.J. McCollum, Lehigh All season long last year, I felt that if Portland had better help from their bench they would be a much more dangerous team. They lacked a true scoring threat off the bench and C.J. McCollum can be that guy. Or he could pair up with Damian Lillard and allow Portland to move Matthews to the 6th man role. Either way, Portland needed more depth at guard and they got it. Like Lillard, McCollum comes from a small school so the question marks are there about the competition he's been playing. But if there's any team who's knows something about small-school guards having success in the NBA Portland is up there right with the Spurs. 11. Philly - PG Michael Carter-Wiliams, Syracuse What better way to get over losing a player than to draft his replacement not even an hour after. In a surprising move, Philly traded Jrue Holliday to New Orleans for Nerlins Noel and a 2014 1st rd pick and then picked up PG Carter-Williams with this pick. Carter-Williams is a big 6'5" PG who knows how to dish the rock. But the concern for Philly now is scoring. Evan Turner and Carter-Williams don't necessarily score the ball well so finding points could be an issue. I actually think the Sixers will be one of the worst NBA teams next season. But if there's any season to tank in order to rebuild, this up-coming season is the one to do it in because the 2014 draft is filled with studs, especially at #1 with Andrew Wiggins. 12. OKC - C Steven Adams, Pittsburg My boy James Harden's response on twitter to this pick was "LLOOOOOOOOOOOLLL" which he lated denied ever sending and deleted it. I then lol'd once I read it. But if OKC has been as frustrated as I have been with their starting Center Kendrick Perkins these past couple of season then I see why they wanted to target a big man. OKC was actually trying extremely hard to move up for Alex Len but it didn't work out. Harden's "LOL" was due to the fact that Adams didn't really show much of anything in his only year at Pitt. But he's still a 7-footer who's young and has some potential. And considering that their back-up C is Hasheem Thabeet, OKC could either have found suitable depth and possibly a replacement for Perkins. Or they could have a stable lackluster Centers. These next couple of years will be interesting for OKC. 13. Bos (from Dallas) - C Kelly Olynyk, Gon Boston is in complete rebuild mode after trading Pierce and KG away, but I would have done the exact same move. The last thing you want to be as an NBA team is mediocre. And by trading away their agin stars, Bos got a lot of great assets (mainly draft picks and expiring contacts) to help build for the future. But the building has already begun, and Kelly Olynyk is a great low post pick up for Boston. Olynyk can shoot the rock, but he will need to prove himself as a tough low post player. I like the idea of Sully and Olynyk handing low-post duties. One can bang around down low and one can step out and shoot a jumper. 14. Minn (from Utah) - SF Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA No one saw his stock plummet faster and further than Shabazz Muhammad did this past season. Once thought to be a number 1 pick, some were wondering if he'd get picked in the top-20. Muhammad has NBA potential in him but he also has a lot of question marks. I liked his interview with Shane Battier once he got drafted because Muhammad seemed motivated to start working on his game right then and there. I see Muhammad coming off the bench his first season but what happens after that is up to him and what type of player he wants to be. 15. Bucks - SF Giannis Antetokounmpo Try to say that name 3 times fast... or just one time fast. The 6'9" SF from Greece was one of the more intruiging Euro's in this draft and someone I'm very interested in. He has a body very similar to that of Kevin Durant, though is scoring is no where close to KD's ability. I think a better comparison on how he handles the ball is Nicolas Batum. But either way, Giannis could turn into a dangerous NBA player, or he could never be anything more than a big body. Period. The Bucks really don't have a lot going for them and I would have picked Dennis Schroeder with this pick knowing that it's likely Monta Ellis and/or Brandon Jennings will likely be looking to play else where soon. But if Giannis pans out, he could easily become a focal point for the Bucks. 16. Hawks (from Dallas) - C Lucas Nogueira, Brazil If you didn't know who he was before the draft, you now know him for his huge afro. I honestly don't know much about Lucas other than he's an athletic big who doesn't do one thing great, rather does a lot of things well. And given the Hawks don't have anyone dominant at Center, Lucas could come in next to Al Horford and provide a pretty good duo if he pans out. Good value for the 16th selection. 17. Hawks (from Dallas, from Bos) - PG Dennis Schroeder, Germany Atlanta's biggest win of the night was Dennis schroeder. I think Schroeder could be the best PG of the draft when it's all said and done, though he does need to polish his game. But it's a win due to where they got him in the draft and what they need. Current starter Jeff Teague could be on his way out. But if nothing else, Schroeder will be good depth and could be the starting PG if he proves himself. Another good value pick. 18. Mavs (from Hawks) - PG Shane Larkin, Mia I originally thought the Mavs would take Schroeder due to their need for a back-up PG. But instead they kept sliding back to save money for their pursuit of Dwight and also landed a back-up PG. Many are knocking Larking due to his 5'11" size, but Shane wouldn't be the first short PG to succeed in the NBA and the Mavs didn't seem to worried about that. Larkin has athleticism in his genes from his dad, former MLB and current Hall of Famer Barry Larking, so professional sports isn't a new world for him either. 19. Cavs - SF Sergey Karasev, Russia Daniel Gibson is gone via free agency, and the rebuilding Cavs are in need of another shooter. Karasev is a sniper from the floor and will provide the Cavs with more scoring. The only issue with Karasev (and the Cavs back court) is their need for more defense. So that's still an issue. But Karasev already has a jump-shot that's NBA ready, though he still may play overseas next season. If the Cavs can't defend you then they may just try to out-score you. 20. Bulls - SG Tony Snell, New Mexico When I think about the Bulls roster, I think about a team that needs another scorer from their guards to go along with Derrick Rose. And on top of that, Snell is a shooter who can benefit from the kick-outs Derrick Rose provides from his drives into the lane. Snell is also a good defender. Those attributes combined with Rip Hamiltons increase in age and decline in production give Snell an opportunity to come in and earn some serious playing time early on. 21. Minn - C Gorgui Dieng, Lou With Pekovic gone in FA, the Wolves are in need of body down low to grab boards and play D. Dieng is exactly that guy. He didn't blow anyone away with his play and workouts, but he's a decent option in the middle who could turn into a good post defender and rebounder. 22. Brooklyn - C Mason Plumlee, Duke Plumlee will be a great body to have come off the bench to spell both Lopez and newly acquired Kevin Garnett. He's a smart post player who hustles and can provide a few good minutes in games and playoff series. Also arguably the best player available at this point that's NBA ready. 23. Pacers - SF Solomon HIll, Arizona I honestly don't know much about HIll other than he's a tough and versatile player. But with a couple of other SF's on the board rated higher, seems like the Pacers saw something in Hill that stood out amongst the other guys left and they stuck to their draft board. 24. Knickerbockers - SG Tim Hardaway Jr., Mich Decent selection for the Knicks considering J.R. Smith may be wearing a different jersey next season. But Hardaway Jr.'s name often outweighs his realistic value. Can Hardaway Jr. be a pretty good role player in the NBA? Yea. But I don't see him becoming more than that unless he shows flashes that we've never seen before. But he has good energy and knows the NBA business from his dad. 25. Clips - SF Reggie Bullock, UNC Catch and shoot player, Bullock will likely benefit from all the jump shots the Clippers take with Chris Paul running the point. I also wouldn't be surprised if Bullock is involved in the Afflalo for Bledsoe trade that still may go down between the Clippers and Magic. Not a star in college, but he played for UNC so that's saying something. Likely will ride the bench early on if he stays in L.A. 26. OKC (from GSW, from Minn) - SF Andre Roberson, Colorado I've questioned the Thunder's picks in these drafts. But then again they've turned other draft picks into stars so you have to cut the Thunder some slack with their picks. Roberson will not be a star but he could be a decent role player as he excels in rebounding. I would have gone in a different direction here, but what do i know? 27. Jazz (from Denver) - C Rudy Gorbert, France I don't know much about Gorbert other than he needs a lot of work but that he's the tallest player in the draft. But if you're going to take a flyer on a guy with size like Gorbert, this is a great place in the draft to do it. Who knows how this pick will pan out. 28. Los Spurs - SF Livio Jean-Charles, French Guiana The Spurs draft a foreigner and you almost expect that he will have some type of positive NBA impact at some point. Charles needs a few years overseas to develop. But again, I wouldn't bet against the Spurs when they draft a foreigner. I don't know much else about this guy as well. 29. Suns - SG Archie Goodwin, Ken Suns are clearly building for the future (as they should be) and drafted a project guard who could turn into a solid option at shooting guard down the road. 30. GSW - PG Nemanja Nedovic, Serbia Come again? With Jarrett Jack possibly going to another team, GSW was looking for depth at the guard position. I don't think he is the immediate answer to take Jack's spot but he could be solid, athletic back up in a season or two. Or he could never see the floor... Well folks, that's all I got. Nothing too in depth but some reasons on why teams drafted who they drafted. It was a fun one to watch (though I'm still wondering why the Rockets didn't make any moves... In Morey we trust). Let the Dwight sweepstakes begin, and the rest of the Free Agents fall in line after him. Is it football season yet?
  4. From the second last season was over, the questions arose and the expectations were set. In order for the Longhorns to improve upon last season, and the past three seasons, a 10 wins, including a win over Oklahoma, were the expectations for the Texas football program and still are. And in order to reach these expectations, the question marks lie with David Ash, the defense, and the offensive line. But since that first second after the bowl game, I've seen many, many articles stating what the Longhorns must do, how it's now time for "so and so" to step up, that it's now or never for the Longhorns to rally together, etc. All of those articles are nice to read, often optimistic, and can usually get most Longhorn fans excited for the up-coming season. But what if the Longhorns don't meet expectations? What if David Ash has the same ups and downs we saw last season? What if the defense stills struggles to stop the run, and the secondary continues to miss tackles? And what if the offensive line still struggles to become the dominant force we are hoping they can be? Could we be looking at another 4 loss season? Luckily for the Longhorns, their schedule appears to be one of the easier ones around. The Big 12 is in a bit of a down year due to many turnovers on rosters, specifically at the QB position. But with that said, there are 3 games that stand out to me as potential losses and 4 additional teams that are wild cards. Oklahoma, TCU, and Oklahoma State are the three games that stand out as potential losses. Oklahoma: Sure OU may not be as strong as they were last season, but until David Ash and Texas beat the Sooners you can't write them off. Plus, this game is a rivalry game, it can never be written off. TCU: The Horned Frogs are in an interesting situation at quarterback with Casey Pachall returning to the roster. If he ends up winning the job over Trevon Boykin, TCU's passing game would be elevated from last season. And on top of that, you know a Gary Patterson led football team always plays tough. Oklahoma State: Plug whoever you want in at quarterback, the Cowboys seem to have a handful of QB's that can get the job done in Gundy's offense. The Longhorns got the best of them last season, but it was a close game. You better believe OSU will be fired up to come to Austin to try to take down the Longhorns again. Other than those three teams, I'd say Baylor, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, and BYU are all wild cards. Each have potential of some sort to perform better than expected. And if the Longhorns have a performance where the defense can't seem to slow down the opposing offense and consistency lacks from Ash and the offensive line, the Longhorns could find themselves in another depressing situation. Personally, I see the Longhorns having 10 win season. Or I may just be hoping it all comes together on both sides of the ball... But the Longhorns do have a relatively easy schedule and a lot of returning players compared to most teams. The expectations are a 10-win season and a win over Oklahoma. But the questions still remain and can only be answered during the season. Is it football season yet? Hook'em
  5. Johnny Manziel went back to Kerville this weekend for a homecoming celebration, and he brought his Heisman trophy with him. Except his trophy appears to have been customized in this picture. Johnny Manziel's Heisman Holding a Joint In the Stiff Arm : Outkick The Coverage I know the guy throwing up the horns in the picture. That's funny stuff if you ask me.
  6. No matter what part of the year or season it is, I always enjoy these NBA conversations/debates. Often times there isn't 1 right answer. The conversation itself is what's fun about it. So here's another 1 that's been rolling around in my head. If you could choose sign 1 NBA player to a contract of 6 years to build a team around, who would it be and why? And you cannot choose Lebron James or Kevin Durant. My vote would be James Harden. Why? Well yes, I'm a Rockets fan. But when I try to take my Houston love out of it, this is what I come up with. First off, he's a guy who can score from all over the court. He can hit a 3, he can pull up for a jumper, and he can get into the lane and muscle his way to the rim. And his scoring can come at any point during the game, including the closing minutes. He also is a good free-throw shooter, shooting a little over 86% on the season right now. He also isn't a PG. I'm agree with an that in today's NBA it's tough having your best player also be your PG. Find the last NBA team to win a ship that had it's PG as it's best player? Tough answer to find in recent years. And Harden is not a PG. Besides scoring, Hardin also is a pretty good distributor and rebounder. He averages almost 5 rebounds a game and almost 6 assists a game. And he has his games where he has double digit rebounding and/or assists. And a big key in basketbal, IMO, is ball movement and rebounding. One knock I have on Harden is his defense. He's not terrible, and he's gotten better as the season has progressed. But it's not where it needs to be. In the end, I feel like it would be easy to find players that would play well with Harden. He also has a good team-mentality and demeanor. Not a locker room cancer. Who you got?
  7. These scrimmages come every year and they are always a tease for football season. Nothing compares to game days in Austin with the food, drinks, music, friends, football, and all the pretty ladies dressed up in burnt orange Longhorn gear. But football season is still months away, and right now the Texas team is in annual process of organizing their depth chart and working to improve on last year's campaign. Below are my thoughts and reactions from Today's scrimmage. Keep in mind, it was a scrimmage. I know we all love dissecting each and every player, but remember these players are all working on certain aspects of their game and it's still just a scrimmage. Let's jump in. -Hurry Up - The first drive Texas had was entirely in hurry-up, which is what Major Applewhite wants to implement more of next season. During this drive, the offense was clicking and the ball was moving until it go into the red-zone and stalled out, forcing the squad to kick a field goal. But during the drive, two things stood out to me. David Ash was connecting with his receivers and Jonathan gray picked up right where he left off and ripped off a few nice runs. I'm a fan of the hurry-up being used at different points during a game and like that Applewhite is using this in his offense. -David Ash - I'm sure almost every person in attendance was keen on watching David Ash this evening. On the first drive he looked good connecting with different receivers on a handful of short throws. He did have a couple of misfires, like his shovel pass that was intercepted by Jordan Hicks. But he looked comfortable, was in control of the offense, scored through the air, and had accurate passes to a number of different receivers. The physical ability is there, but whether or not he can compose himself and show consistency through out and entire game and season is still a question mark. But he is the unquestioned starter heading into the fall and it's nice to finally be able to say that again regarding the Longhorn football team. -Jonathan Gray - Gray had a scrimmage to remember. He reminded everyone why he was highly touted coming out of high school and was making guys miss. You can definitely tell that he is more comfortable with the speed of play and that he is seeing holes easier. I also was impressed with his burst through the creases in the line, his success to get to the second and third levels, and his ability to make guys miss. He was the best running back on the field today and easily can be the best in the fall. -Malcolm Brown (RB) - I'm a big Malcolm Brown fan because of how physical he is when he runs. He doesn't have the body of a bruiser like Joe Bergeron, but that doesn't keep him running over and bouncing off people. But with the emergence of Jonathan Gray, it will be interesting to see where Brown fits in. I really would be disappointed if he decides to transfer (I'm not hearing that he will so don't start that rumor from me) because he can be productive for Texas in the fall. Having him and Gray is a luxury because both of those guys can be effective in any situation during the game. And it also gives Texas the advantage of having fresh legs and talented depth in case there is an injury. Tonight he ran well when he had opportunities and if he can avoid the injury bug that seems to always nip at him at some point during the season, then he could also be an impact player during the season. -Daje Johnson - Getting Daje the ball in creative ways should be a focus during the off-season. If you know me, then you know how much I harped about the lack of touches D.J. Monroe and Marquis Goodwin received during their tenure on the 40-acres. Daje isn't an every down back, but guys with that type of speed can completely change games. And each time he touches the ball, he has a chance to break it open and take it to the house. He did pretty well tonight with the few plays he saw on offense, and showcased his speed on a long kick return. Hopefully Major will utilize Daje much more than Harsin did with Daje, D.J. and Marquis. -Joe Bergeron - He's still a bruiser who gives Texas another option in the backfield when the situation calls for a power running game. He too only had a handful of snaps tonight, but he did what he always does and ran over a few players. -Mike Davis - You may not find another person as happy as I am to have Mike Davis back. Tonight he showed off the moves, speed, and skills to be the best receiver on the team and in the Big 12. Of course I think the same about Jaxon Shipley. But having Davis back gives Texas a legit downfield threat. Yes, he has had some drop problems in the past. But if he can avoid some of those miscues then he could win an award or two at the end of the season. -M.J. McFarland - On the first drive, McFarland was the starting tight end out there with the squad and he actually saw a few passes come his way. I'd love to see McFarland emerge onto the scene as a consistent option for Ash to go each game. Having a tight end as a weapon in the passing game would give the offense another element and give Ash a lifeline if he gets in trouble. I'm also a Greg Daniels fan, but McFarland was the best tight end on the field tonight. -Duke Thomas - Coming into the scrimmage I wasn't aware Duke had made the switch to receiver. I actually thought he would be seeing a good amount of playing time at corner. I was wrong, but he still saw playing time at the WR position and he looked good. He caught every ball that hit his hands and showcased nice quickness. With Cayleb Jones out of the picture right now as the 3rd wide-out, the position is open and Duke looked good in the slot tonight. It will be interesting to see how much PT he gets in the fall. -John Harris - As I just stated, with Cayleb Jones out of the picture for now the 3rd receiver spot is open for the taking. The soon to be Junior, Harris, is a guy I've been wanting to emerge ever since he walked on campus. At 6'3", he has great size for the position and he was a talented receiver coming out of high school. He saw a lot of action tonight and even scored a touchdown with one of the squads. I'd be happy to see him be a bigger factor in the offense come August. -Case McCoy - I do not see any plus to having Case McCoy as the team's backup. The only logic I see behind it is the fact that he has a lot of game experience. But he does not have a strong arm and misfired on a number of passes tonight (though he did have a nice toss down the sideline to a streaking receiver). But he's a senior who isn't getting any better. And if I were coach then I'd want one of my younger guys to be getting more reps and developing. -Tyrone Swoopes - WOW! Swoopes looked much further along in his development than I was expecting. He didn't throw all that much but he looked much more comfortable in the pocket than I was anticipating and showed off his elusiveness and running ability on a number of different plays. There's one specifically where he escaped the pursuit of Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens, reversed field and then had a nice gain down the sideline for what l remember to be about 10-15 yards. Though he often gets compared to Vince Young, he is nothing like VY other than the fact he can run. But doesn't glide like VY did and doesn't shy away from contact at all, which I also wasn't expecting. I still want to see more of his passing ability before I get ahead of myself with him, but he's flying up the depth chart and may not be red-shirted after all. -Connor Brewer - I see Brewer transferring. He's fourth on the depth chart but could probably start at a number of schools. He has a nice arm and threw some nice passes tonight. But he really didn't get that much playing time and if he wants to play in football games in college it likely won't be at Texas. Jalen Overstreet - GET HIM ON THE FIELD! Overstreet also didn't throw too many passes tonight but the dude has blazing speed. He escaped out of the pocket and raced down the sideline for what looked like a 40-yard gain. Like Brewer, Overstreet is stuck at the bottom of the depth chart right now. But whether it's in a wildcat package or at a different positon, Overstreet needs to get on the field. His speed is something that needs to be utilized, and right now I'm afraid he will get lost on the team like Sherrod Harris and John Chiles were. -Defense - As a unit, they played pretty well but it's always tough to really gauge the defense in these scrimmages. I was glad to see Jordan Hicks back out there getting reps. And Malcolm Brown (DT) was running with the starters, which I'm all for. Sheoid Evans is another guy who stood out to me because he didn't see much playing time last season but he saw a good amount of reps at cornerback. I did also notice that Adrian Phillips was playing the safety position close to the line where Kenny Vaccaro played much of last season, while Josh Turner and Mykelle Thompson were still the 2 deep safeties. Those three guys have to elevate their play if the defense wants to see improvements. That and stopping the run consistently has to be improved upon for this defense to get back to where it needs to be. -Nick Rose - One of my biggest question marks for this offseason is finding a reliable kicker. Nick Rose was the man who saw a lot of reps during the scrimmage with kickoff and field goal duties, so he seems to be leading that competition. Though accuracy is the concern, there's no question Rose has a very strong leg. He was killing it on kick offs. All he needs to improve on is his accuracy and he could be a solid option. Final Thoughts By the time the scrimmage was over, I felt good about the team. It's hard to really asses the team during these scrimmages because they are just that, a scrimmage. The players know one another, know mannerisms, and are all in the middle of working on specific aspects of their game. I will say that I didn't walk away thinking Texas had gotten any worse. But the questions still remain... Can David Ash show consistency in games and during a full season? Can the offensive line be more of a dominant force? Can the defense play at a high level again? Can Texas find a reliable kicker for field goals? The way those 4 questions are answered in the fall will determine Texas' season. At the scrimmage, the 2013 season was flashed onto the jumbo tron and it reminded me that the Longhorns don't have a tough schedule. 10 wins is very doable, and that should be the goal and expectation of the 2013 football season. But until the season starts, I'll be counting down the seconds to kick off much like many of us will. Hook'em
  8. The rumor I got was that another player is considering the action of transferring. I don't know who or the likelihood that unknown player does transfer. My guess is it's Julien Lewis. But that's all I have for now.
  9. Last night we learned that in addition to losing Forward Jaylen Bond to a transfer, the Texas Men's Basketball team will also be losing Shooting Guard Sheldon McClellan as well, as he looks to transfer away from UT. McClellan's transfer should be seen as a red-flag, as he was the team's leading scorer for much of the season until Myck Kabongo returned. McClellan finished the season as the team's second leading scorer and best free-throw shooter, percentage wise. But towards the end of the season, he found himself in the notorious dog-house with Rick Barnes and decided to seek a place that would be a better fit for himself. With these two roster moves already done and possibly another 1 coming in the form of an NBA declaration, below are my initial reactions to the transfer news and thoughts on next season. Snap Judgements Losing McClellan The first name that popped into my head when I heard the news that McClellan would be transferring was Ioannis Papapetrou. When a guy who had as big of an impact in scoring, like McClellan, leaves a roster, that lack of scoring has to be picked up by someone. Though he doesn't always play shooting guard, Papi has the ability to score the ball in a number of ways and I'd love to see him take advantage of this opportunity and be a bigger part of the offense. Losing McClellan can hurt because of the points he put up. But McClellan was basically a jump-shooter. And he wasn't being utilized as best as he could. Before Kabongo hit the floor, the Texas offense revolved around a lot of players who couldn't score in the paint consistently. And that caused the ball to float around the perimeter until the shot-clock ran down and then a player, often McClellan, would be forced to shoot a heavily contested shot. That's not the ideal situation you want to put your shooters in and it was not maximizing his potential. I would have loved to seen McClellan and Kabongo on the floor together much more than they actually were. With Kabongo's ability to drive and dish, McClellan likely could have seen many more open jumpers this past season. Don't forget that Texas has another 6'4" shooting guard committed for the 2013 class. 4-star commit, Demarcus Croaker is on his way to Texas (as long as he stays committed) and will also be competing to fill the void left by Sheldon McClellan. And the fact that he is committed also likely played into McClellan's decision to transfer. In McClellan's mind he probably thought my playing time drastically decreased AND another talented shooting guard is committed, not to mention there are young players on the roster developing... I could see myself getting lost on the roster. You can't blame McClellan for leaving at all. So what about Julien Lewis? That is an interesting question and one I actually am not entirely sure about. Though he was the team's third leading scorer, he struggled to find a consistent role for Texas. He can shoot the ball from outside well, is active and scrappy on defense, but he isn't the best ball-handler. It will be very interesting to see where he lands on the depth chart and what his role will be next season. He played well in the last 4 games Texas had. Losing Bond After being one of the team's best rebounders last season, Bond never fully regained his dominance after he returned from his ankle injuries. Though he also provided some solid minutes here and there, the transition to a team without Bond had already begun as other players began eating into his minutes. Conner Lammert will continue to be a Barnes favorite and see playing time. He always seems to make the right play and his scoring improved a bit as the season went on. But Lammert is not the rebounder Bond was, and Texas' lack of rebounding is one reason they struggled as much as they did this past season. A couple of players need to step up in the rebounding department. His height and weight are almost identical to Jaylen Bond, but Jonathan Holmes' game is actually a bit different. Before his wrist injury, Holmes was a monster around the basket grabbing rebounds. But the similarities stop there between Bond and Holmes as Holmes displayed better scoring ability than Bond ever did. With the improved 3-point shot, Holmes his a physical forward that can score down low or step out for a three. Had he not been injured, I actually think he would have seriously flirted with the idea of declaring for the NBA. But UT fans should expect Holmes to be back next season, and there's no question he could be an impact player for the Horns on both ends of the floor. Camron Ridley undoubtedly did not have the season many of us expected. Once considered a 5-star before he hit the 40 acres, Ridley was never able to establish himself in the paint as a dominant presence. Though he did show some flashes of skill, his offensive game has to elevate past dunks and he has to be a better defender and rebounder if Texas wants to see any improvement in the paint. His biggest problem was being out of position too often. With how big he is, he should be able to control the paint with ease. Though he didn't have as much hype surrounding him as Ridley did, the 6'10" big man may be the best NBA prospect currently on the UT roster outside of Myck Kabongo. If anyone can pick up the rebounding slack, Ibeh should be very capable of doing so. He has nice athleticism to go along with his height and he needs to be a bigger presence protecting the rim and fighting for rebounds. IF Kabongo leaves... With Kabongo sitting the first 2/3 of the season, we saw what Javan Felix can do and what he can't do. He is a guy who can handle the ball well and run an offense decently. But unlike Kabongo, he lacks the ability to drive into the lane like many points guards today can. And with a team that is scarce is scoring around the paint, that can really hinder the ability of the offense. I like Felix and think he can give solid minutes. But the way this Texas team is built requires a point guard that can get into the lane, push the ball up the floor on fast breaks, and make plays. Felix hasn't shown he's the ideal guy for that role. Like Lewis, I'm very interested to see where Demarcus Holland fits in next year. Originally thought to be a red-shirt, Holland was forced to play this season once Kabongo was suspended. I like the effort he gives on the floor, but he's not a natural at either shooting guard or point guard. And if he wants to see his playing time increase rather than decrease, he will have to find his niche. That could come in the form of a tireless defender. Or if he improves his ball-handling, he could develop into an option at point guard that has the ability to slash to the basket. Either way, Holland's off-season will be all about finding a consistent role and developing certain skills. If Isaiah Taylor stays committed, I'm not entirely sure where he will fit in on the depth chart his first year. If Kabongo leaves, Texas will desperately need a guy who can push the ball up the floor and get to the rim in the half-court offense. If he can do that, the Taylor may play more than expected. Otherwise, I wouldn't expect him to see a ton of minutes barring injuries. Final Thoughts There's a lot of time between now and the start of next season. And Texas does have depth all across the roster. But if the team wants to improve certain players will have to step up in certain ways, mainly with interior scoring and rebounding. Otherwise Texas could be in store for another mediocre campaign much like the 2012-2013 season.
  10. That guy is giving us all hope...
  11. I'm not a huge soccer fan. I enjoy the World Cup every four years and like watching the U.S. men's (and occasionally women's) team play. But I know for a fact I will never be a huge soccer fan as long as there are ties in games. A tie at the end of a competition completely diminishes the point of the competition. The point of a competition is to declare a winner of the game or match... A tie negates that and simply provides entertainment in the form of people running around the field kicking a ball (I'm talking about soccer specifically) for over an hour. If I wanted to see that I'd go watch them practice. A tie also takes away from all the efforts of everyone involved. From the coaches and players to the media that covered the game. Everyone is putting in effort into the competition, yet at the end of the game we are at the same place we always were as far as who is better or worse. My solution? At the end of regulation, add a 10 minute overtime. If there is still a tie after that, then do a shoot-out until someone wins. And if a team wins in regulation, they are awarded 2 points in the standings. If they win in any form of overtime then the winning team receives 1 point. Enough with this tie nonsense soccer, or should I say futbol. It's lame and boring.
  12. Inspired by walking past Vince Young as I walked into the stadium today, I've decided to take this question to the public jury. VY will be working out at Texas' Pro Day in an attempt to enter back into the NFL and I want to know what you think the odds are that he will land with a team. And where do you think he will end up. I personally say there's an 80% chance he makes it to a camp with a team. Teams like Oakland or Arizona could be in the mix to take a chance on VY. What are your thoughts?
  13. A 1 loss season would be great, but there at still too many question marks for me to buy into that right now. O-line, Ash, and DEFENSE are the big 3. Sprinkle in special teams and those are key question marks that could still derail a season.
  14. I really think the success of next year almost relies completely on the defense. The offense shows flashes last season of being great and will continue to improve. I also liked Major's play-calling (though it was really in one half of a bowl game), but I also think his relationship with Ash will help. But the defense is where the questions lie. If they continue to perform as one of the worst groups in college football then there is no way Texas can win 10 games.

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