Monday, April 30, 2007

Hear her singing

Nuggets stew

Don't be surprised, don't be hurt. The Nuggets didn't have a chance against the Spurs in the team's first-round playoff series. Winning the opener was an aberration.

Losing Game 3 cooked them for the series.

Now down 3-1, it is but 48 minutes from the pain being over.

It hasn't been all bad, though. Allen Iverson's presence has finally allowed Carmelo Anthony to become a playoff factor and Nene has upped his profile greatly with a strong effort against San Antonio. Keep him healthy and the money Denver spent on him in the offseason will look like a greater bargain with each passing year.

The team still needs help in the backcourt and with long-range shooting. J.R. Smith's lack of defense and immaturity makes him a no-play with coach George Karl.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Rockies' pitching -- not good. Losing 9-5 to San Francisco when Barry Bonds does nothing but draw walks? This team is lost right now, doing nothing of quality, consistently.

Now for the positives -- shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is hot with the bat. He torched the Giants for a 4-for-4 night and first baseman Todd Helton finished with 17 RBI in April.

Still laying money on 90 losses.

Still wondering where all the power is this season.

Still wondering why third baseman Garrett Atkins has become a nobody.

Thought outfielder Brad Hawpe was a player, too.

Oh, brother

Only Denver coach Mike Shanahan could feel good or be fooled by a young man saying anything necessary to land a big NFL contract. Shanahan thinking he got a quality young man in Florida defensive tackle Marcus Thomas is laughable. Shanahan is just drunk with desire over Thomas' physical talent, so much so that he is unwilling to see the truth -- that Thomas, now with big money and bigger temptations, will fall big in the future and will be out of the league, at great financial and draft pick expense. Sorry, lengthy rap sheets don't lie.

National Notes

Talk show hosts never learn.

Check it out...bagging the Nuggets.

Former Rockies' draft pick gets stung and you know it's going to hurt for a while. The man flat out blew it, being on the verge of returning to the fantasy land that is the major leagues and the paycheck that goes with it. Go to the back of the line!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Monday Heat

It's Monday, you're busy, here's a quick glance at some of the big stories from the weekend.

The Nuggets are in trouble in their playoff series with the Spurs. San Antonio is comfortable defensively and Denver can't slow the Spurs' guards.

Meet the new Broncos' draft, same as the old Broncos' draft.

The Rockies have too much ability with bats in their hands to be a scrub team.

Still don't know how CU kicker Mason Crosby fell to the sixth round of the draft to Green Bay. The man is a third-round talent, at worst. Pro-Bowl caliber. Strong under pressure. With the importance of special teams, it defies logic. The WSN Word -- the Packers will look awfully smart for years.

CSU offensive tackle Clint Oldenburg getting picked by the Patriots (5th round) should make him smile, not only for the opportunity it affords him but something more. It's like getting hired by a top firm in your industry. New England defines success. And Oldenburg getting attention from the Pats must mean he has the requisite talent to play and that he is their kind of player. All good news for him and those who love him.

Former Colorado prep, guard Kasey Studdard (University of Texas) stays in state when getting selected by Houston, a good place for his skills. He's smart, durable, productive and coach Gary Kubiak's type.

CU defensive end Abraham Wright does get picked, finally, landing in Miami. He may not have all the physical measurables the pro scouts love but if he can become a player by hunger and effort, he could stick in the league as a situational player. I'll put the money on him.

The National Sweep

So Randy Moss gets his wish to get dished out of Oakland. Great talent acquisition by the New England Patriots but he does come with a warning label, too: beware of fool. Moss is simply not one to keep his head right when he's not happy. He is not a true professional. When he's right, mentally, however, he certainly still as All-Pro skills. The Patriots are hungry for more titles. This was an aggressive move, one that Denver should have looked at, as it was written here yesterday.

Kobe Bryant is rare, Lamar Odom is excellent and the Lakers are still not in Phoenix's class because of the Suns' talent and ability to play cohesively. Phoenix is not invincible like it seemed past champions were but it is the best the Western Conference has to offer.

The Bulls aren't all the way back but their series victory over Miami was as much a statement about where Chicago is headed these days as it is about the Heat's loss.

Better drafting -- Atlanta, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay.

Broncos breakdown

Interesting draft for Denver.

It usually is, isn't it?

Taking a one-dimensional athlete (Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss) who has an injury history and is reed thin in the first round, despite the desperate need for a pass rush, is highly questionable. Then nabbing Texas DE Tim Crowder, a productive but mechanical bull rusher in round 2 leaves the WSN lukewarm. Notre Dame tackle Ryan Harris (third round) fits the team profile for an offensive lineman and that was a position of need. He is an intriguing selection. Florida DT Marcus Thomas is even more intriguing. A well-liked player by scouts who also note the Gator comes with a reported wooden head.

Bottom line -- getting talent and depth on the defensive line was impressive. Now, the questions are can any of these of these guys play, stay healthy and off the Mary Jane? It says here Harris is the conservative choice to prove himself the best of the bunch with Crowder a reserve, Moss a disappointment and Thomas a flunkie.

Hey, you think I like being the bearer of bad news?

O.K., let me try to say one nice thing -- the team was no wallflower when it came to securing the rights to people it found attractive.

One more note -- not going hard after Randy Moss (that we know of) was a mistake. Yes, he's muy loco but Rod Smith is a hundred years old, Brandon Marshall has off-field issues, and Javon Walker and Tony Scheffler are begging for help. Wonder who's more upset now -- Broncos' QB Jay Cutler, for not getting Moss or Pats' signal caller Tom Brady, who did?

Scoreboard Grumblings


Colorado's pitching got a failing grade for its' series with Atlanta but the offense broke out Sunday to overcome the lack of arms in a 9-7 victory. Matt Holliday, one of the best developing hitters in the game, homered, had another hit and drove in three runs and Brad Hawpe, in the 25th game of the Rockies' season, hit his first home run. Hawpe and Garrett Atkins have been major disappointments to this point, puzzling many with their lack of production.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki continues to dig himself out of a poor start by driving in two more runs. And this Tulowitzki guy, that unassisted triple play he pulled off will be nice clubhouse talk for the rest of his career.

This team does not lack talent. Answers, yes. Talent, no. So who is supposed to bring the answers to class? That's the job assignment of general manager Dan O'Dowd and manager Clint Hurdle, and those two need are in need of some immediate tutoring.

Post Office

A word from the street from Paul, who has something to say about the Broncos and more.

"Truth - I didn't like the Broncos trade yesterday at all either, although I still like Moss. He was the best pass rusher available, and he should have been around at 21. (Reggie) Nelson was the Jags pick all along, and we just handed them an extra 3rd rounder. I would have just taken either Moss or Nelson at 21.

"Also, I would have to disagree with you on the your evaluation of the Cardinals and (Levi) Brown. Come on, "low motivation" is something that is tagged to many players, including Trevor Pryce. Its such an overused and often unwarranted term that it doesn't mean anything most of the time. (Allen) Branch might be the steal of the draft and they NEEDED to keep (Matt) Leinhart on his feet. Brown is an excellent pass blocker, and just needs to fine tune his run blocking.

"I've written before about Buster Davis, and I still think he'll be a solid player - was disappointed they selected him one spot before Broncos were up. Call it anti-Notre Dame bias, but I think (Brady) Quinn is way overrated. If he went to any other school, he would have been less thought of.

"Anyways, the trade today the Broncos made brings up ambivalent feelings. I love the pick, as Marcus Thomas is NOT (Maurice) Clarett or (Randy) Moss. He seems to humbly learned a lot from his mistakes and he has tons of talent. But we traded a THIRD rounder, sixth and seventh, for ONE FOURTH rounder?? It just doesn't make sense...couldn't we have dealt a fifth rounder next year instead of a third rounder?"

WSN: Denver gave up too much on each trade they made. It don't mind tossing around draft picks like show offs to get what it wants, sort of like the Nuggets.

Now on to Thomas, whom the Broncos' PR people could have fun with in the future. I doubt he is Clarett crazy or Moss-like indifferent but he is far from Joey Boy Scout, too. We'll have to wait and see on him but if I were to have to file a recommendation report on him as part of my job, I couldn't do it. His past indicates future transgressions. And yes, he was seriously overpriced.

Regarding Arizona, the Cardinals do need protection for Leinart but Brown is not a franchise player and going no. 5 should be that type of talent. Branch passes the eye test but isn't motivated. Davis, I like, but he went to high.

Quinn, by the way, my man, is going to be a big winner in time. Especially with Joe Thomas his left tackle and running back Jamal Lewis out to prove he's not cooked. I am also a fan of wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Quinn, for all the Browns' fans, is not another Tim Couch.




Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday Truth

The Nuggets are in deep waters.

Their backcourt has been outplayed in back-to-back outings and now the team is down 2-1 to San Antonio in the team's best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series after a 96-91 setback Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

Tony Parker, Michael Finley and Manu Ginobli totaled 56 points, 16 rebounds and 14 assists while Allen Iverson struggled to get to 20 points. Steve Blake offered handouts as he always does, finishing with seven but he couldn't guard his shadow. J.R. Smith, well, everyone knows his defense is notorious for being worse than horrible.

Carmelo Anthony and Nene continue to play at a high level (46 points and 19 rebounds combined) but without more balance the tide will not change.

This game was big in the series. A Denver win and the Nuggets truly have the Spurs on the ropes. The loss gave San Antonio complete confidence and put doubt in the minds of eighth seed.

Call it negativity if you wish -- this series is over. The WSN will say it now, as it did before it all began, the final note will be played in five but for those fantasize about it going six, that works too.

Still laughing


Denver will always be jesters at the NFL draft. Yeah, once in a while they score a player but they continually jack up their postseason chances with moves that leave educated observers around the league punching the sky in joy.

Trading up to get Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss, a talented but unproven product?

With Florida playmaking safety Reggie Nelson still on the board?

Maybe the Broncos didn't need a cornerback but Texas' Aaron Ross, who also went after Moss, will become a better player. He could have become a safety, a good one.

Safety Brandon Meriweather of Miami who was snapped up by New England also would have been a more proven talent. The Patriots have won some games lately, haven't they? Wonder why?

Honestly, even Auburn guard Ben Grubbs going to Baltimore was a smarter move. He's the type of blocker the team would have loved.

Denver is well coached but like the Dan Reeves' era before, this leadership is poor at talent procurement.

Moss is not a scrub but he has serious question marks despite the glee you will hear from Broncos' management.

Denver will pay the price in the playoffs...again.

Unless they believe Moss will become the next Jason Taylor.

Outside the box

A truly creative-thinking mind would have seen Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn available at no. 17 and taken him.

Wait.

Regardless of him slipping, Quinn is still a strong talent. You select him even with Jay Cutler on the roster then open up the bidding around the league. No doubt whatsoever that the Broncos would have been able to score a first-round pick, if not this year then in next year's draft, in addition to at least one other high selection.

On the other hand, the good news is Quinn came off the board one pick before Kansas City had a chance to grab him, which they would have.

Broncos first day
  1. Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida -- potential is there to hound QBs, but can he stop the run?
  2. Tim Crowder, DE, Texas -- guess Denver is selling out today to improve pass rush
  3. Ryan Harris, OT, Notre Dame -- position of need; Broncos-type lineman; a reach
How it should have gone

The team should have stayed at no. 21 and not dished extra picks to Jacksonville.
  1. Drafting and trading Brady Quinn would have been fresh thinking but since that never would have happened, it should have come down to CB/PR Aaron Ross of Texas, WR Dwayne Bowe of LSU and safeties Brandon Meriweather of Miami or Reggie Nelson of Florida with Nelson being the pick.
  2. Laurent Robinson, WR, Illinois State, because he is tall, polished and a solid no. 2 receiver-type.
  3. Aaron Rouse, S, Virginia Tech, and Paul Soliai, DT, Utah with Rouse taking care of the safety position, along with Nelson, for the foreseeable future with his size and productivity and Soliai stuffing up the middle.
White gets wake-up call.

What's it say about former Colorado prep Lendale White when a year after getting drafted, Tennessee grabs overrated, under-productive Chris Henry out of Arizona in the second round.

White obviously still doesn't get how to be a professional. Too bad because he isn't lacking talent.

NFL notes

As written here before, Brady Quinn will be a player in this league. Cleveland scored big. Also getting Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas earlier just gave that organization the jump-start it needed.

How sad did Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson look to be going to Detroit. I'd cry too.

John Clayton of ESPN.com reported that Oakland called Denver about a Randy Moss trade. Regardless of the mercurial Moss' issues the Broncos would be fools not to be interested if the contract terms of the Raiders' wide receiver weren't death.

If exiled Lions' wide receiver Mike Williams can be convinced to become a tight end for his former college assistant coach at USC and now top dog for the Raiders, Lane Kiffin, he could become a high-quality player. If he insists on staying split out wide, he will out of the NFL in two years.

Al Davis likely erred in not taking Quinn over LSU's JaMarcus Russell, who is talented but raw meat. Arizona State's Zach Miller will help at tight end and Georgia's Quentin Moses has potential at DE. Not a great draft.

The Chargers reached for LSU receiver Craig Davis, S Eric Weddle and LB Anthony Waters. All have potential but were picked too high. It looks like a Broncos' draft.

The Chiefs improved with quality receiver Dwayne Bowe of LSU and DT Tank Tyler or N.C. State but they won't move up in the AFC West standings unless they score big in Sunday's portion of the draft.

The Giants came up big with Texas CB Aaron Ross and USC receiver Steve Smith.

The Cardinals are a terrible organization and will remain so (sorry, Matt Leinart). Penn State OT Levi Brown at no. 5? Lazy Michigan DT Alan Branch? Can't-see-over-the-driver's-seat LB Buster Davis of Florida State in the third round?

What's Donovan McNabb thinking with Philly taking Houston QB Kevin Kolb in the second round? Thanks for the support!

The Falcons were rock solid for new coach Bobby Petrino getting Arkansas DE Jamal Anderson, Texas OL Justin Blalock, Arkansas DB Chris Houston and Illinois State WR Laurent Robinson.

Carolina was wonderful getting speedy Miami LB Jon Beason, a playmaker, USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who will catch 60 balls a season and USC center Ryan Kalil.

The Rams toughened up with Nebraska DL Adam Carriker and Rutgers' back Brian Leonard.

Pittsburgh getting Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons and Michigan DL Lamar Woodley continued the team's philosophy of getting hard-nosed players.

Minnesota hit paydirt getting Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson and South Carolina receiver Sidney Rice.

Houston is gambling on potential with Louisville DL Amobi Okoye and Lane WR Jacoby Jones.

Bring it on

Here's a fantastic idea, although it needs to be refined as CU-Vanderbilt leaves me cold. Combining the SEC and the Big 12 is a power union sure to create something exciting as well as recruiting ties. Coaches may not like it, and they wield a lot of power, but fans would love the trips and visits by SEC schools and their legions. The tailgating would be memorable, too.

Smooth leads sweep

Chauncey Billups, the former George Washington High School and CU star guard, hit for 25 points Saturday to lead Detroit to a first-round playoff series victory over Orlando. The more years that go by the more you realize just how special he was in this state. Billups-type players just come around in the Colorado prep ranks very often. Surprising really that more top-notch talent isn't developed in the state.

Rockies Farming

AAA Colorado Springs -- outfielder Sean Barker (.462, 4 homers, 12 RBI) is off to a torrid start but is blocked at the big-league level, as are third baseman Ian Stewart (.313 average) and first baseman Joe Koshansky (3 homers, 12 RBI). Outfielder Ryan Spilborghs (4 homers, 1o RBI) is a spare outfielder in Denver or trade bait.

Reliever Josh Newman might be angling for a spot as a lefty reliever in Denver if he can continue his current pace (2-0, 2.16 ERA, one walk, no home runs, 8 1/3 innings).

AA Tulsa -- Starter Greg Reynolds, last summer's top Rockies' draft pick, has been mean on opposing hitters (1-1, 2.16 ERA), while showing more dominance than was expected of him. Power arm Franklin Morales is starting to come around (3.38 ERA) while reliever Jarrett Grube has been overbearing (one earned run, 12 innings) and former starter Steven Register (2.70 ERA, 14 strikeouts, no walks, 1o innings) may have finally found a comfortable place to pitch.

Shortstop Jon Herrera is hot (.337 average) but is showing little pop in his bat with only four extra-base hits.

A Modesto -- Starter Brandon Hynick remains a name to remember (no runs allowed, 23 innings). Alan Johnson dealing as well (2-1, 2.56 ERA). Reliever Pedro Stop shows promise (2.77 ERA, 16 strikeouts, three walks in 13 innings). No hitters are impressing to this point.

A Asheville -- first baseman Michael Paulk, a 13th-round pick in 2005, has but one homer but is hitting a torrid .397 with great strike-zone judgment (15 walks, 13 strikeouts).

Starter Josh Sullivan is winning (3-0) but has issues (17 walks, 23 innings). Fellow starter Keith Weiser (3-0) is hittable (22 in 23 innings) but his control is outstanding (20 strikeouts, 2 walks). Relievers Ethan Katz (no runs, 15 innings), Andrew Kreidermacher (one run allowed), Zach Simons (2.25 ERA) and Sean Jarrett (no runs allowed) are all on top of their games.

Scoreboard Grumblings

John Smoltz won his 196th career game at the expense of young Jason Hirsh, 6-2, at Coors Field. While Smoltz held the Rockies to two runs in seven innings, Hirsh was five runs by the Braves in six frames. Troy Tulowitzki did hit his second homer of the season and Matt Holliday continues to own opposing pitchers, bagging two more hits. Todd Helton did him one better with three knocks. Stats, stats, stats but the only one that matters is this one -- LOSS.

Random Ramblings

Seems White House staffer Karl Rove is upset that Sheryl Crow touched him during an argument he was having with another person. Maybe I just don't get it but regardless of how attractive or not that you believe her to be is him being wound that tight a little funny or what? Yeah, maybe he felt disrespected in the discussion but Crow was hardly coming on to him. I sure she finds this hilarious, "like I want Karl 'freakin' Rove!"

I'm not writing any manifestos against technology and I don't want to come off sounding like the Unabomber or anything and lead you to believe I'm any more loco than I am but what is it anymore where some web sites hide all people from you? Where are they? The supply closet? Out back smoking? Taking a nap? These companies are happy to solicit business, get the money and then offer zero human contact for customer service. You know they are trying to hide when you get one-line sentence responses via email. Three different web sites, same experience, all this week. Think they need to hire a business consultant.

Tough
being Tiger, don't you think? I guess you have to sacrifice to be great.

The Saturday Score

The clock says today's when it all starts.

The NFL draft is here again and it's time for Denver to prove they can put together a group that is remembered five years from now as a catalyst to playoff victories. An unresolved issue is the Broncos see themselves as too smart when in fact they usually only out-smart themselves.

Willie Middlebrooks a first-round pick?

Paul Toviessi in the second round?

Travis McGriff in the third?

Denver should just try to stop over-thinking and reaching and just decide to get smart. No, the draft isn't as easy as fans would like to believe it is but it certainly isn't akin to finding a cure for death and taxes either.

The Broncos are a good football team but they aren't great and they have more holes than you would think. If coach Mike Shanahan and his crew can find a star or two strong players out of this draft then they will have done very well. Fall short of that mark as they often do and they can continue losing playoff games. Simple really.

The Top 10

Here is a top-10 list of how the WSN would draft if no trades were to go down.
  1. Oakland -- Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame -- he's ready to play and well coached
  2. Detroit --Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin -- stud talent at premium position
  3. Cleveland -- Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson -- help that defense with a pass rusher
  4. Tampa Bay -- JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU -- Jon Gruden needs a QB
  5. Miami -- Calvin Johnson, WR, Ga. Tech -- Dolphins need a guy like this
  6. Washington -- Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville -- 'Skins need to build in trenches
  7. Minnesota -- LaRon Landry, S, LSU -- excellent talent at no. 7; playmaker
  8. Atlanta -- Jamal Anderson, DL, Arkansas -- win with defense
  9. Arizona -- Adam Carriker, DL, Nebraska -- not glamorous but stout defender
  10. Houston -- Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma -- missed Reggie Bush; get star quality now

Camby shows potential

One of the Brittle Brothers came through large in 2007. Marcus Camby, the other half of the Nene-Camby Brittle Brothers, stayed healthy long enough to make a significant impact on one end of the floor with his rebounding (11.7 per game), blocked shots (3.3 pg) and busy hands (1.2 steals pg) to earn NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

He wiped out his competition in the voting -- Bruce Bowen and Tim Duncan, both of playoff opponent San Antonio.

Uh-oh.

Ironically, I read in more than one place this season how Camby was little more than a serviceable weak-side defender.

Here's some more detractors.

Bottom line, maybe the Nuggets' center winning this award is debatable but the fact is Camby is a big man many teams would line up to get should he be made available in a trade (he won't).

Beats Blair Rasmussen in the pivot.

Quick hitters

Koy Detmer
could become a backup quarterback in Cincinnati, according to some rumors floating around the NFL. Detmer may not have much physically but his mind is sharp and he can fill in admirably in short stints. He can also hold for kicks. Throw in that he's no Jake Plummer-kind-of-flake and you have a low-level, quality reserve.

Really don't wish to beat others down but is Kobe Bryant a pimp these days? I mean, the colors, the shoes, the hat? If I had such a get-up going on, well...I think I do. But last time I put it all together it got me arrested.

Have to say, with Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa still addicted to the long ball it just makes me shake my head at the players like them, and Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro before they retired, who have stolen thunder from legitimate players from the past. Maybe Alex Rodriguez and others will partially erase their memory one day.

Big 12 basketball -- Kansas guard Brandon Rush is entering the NBA draft and so is Oklahoma State's JamesOn Curry. Rush will stick as he will be a first-rounder but Curry is too one-dimensional and inconsistent to earn that same grade. Bad move. The Jayhawks have now lost Julian Wright and Rush and suddenly don't look like an elite power.

Scoreboard Grumblings

The Rockies finally get some offense going but Jeff Francis proves he's still sick as Colorado falls 9-7 to Atlanta at Coors Field. Willy Taveras is starting to hit, Matt Holliday continues to hit, Garrett Atkins drives in three runs and Troy Tulowitzki finally homers but Francis' ERA is now an ugly 6.52 after giving up four runs in five innings. Could be a 90-loss season for this bunch.

Sunday Truth

Tomorrow, WSN will break down the first day of the Broncos' draft, discuss local players selected, print your draft comments and more.

Will have a breakdown of the Nuggets-Spurs performance in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series and will have a Rockies' farm update.

Will also find other bits from around the country.

Random Ramblings

A new kind of hit list. Don't let the world sell you that girls aren't as lusty as guys. Sometimes it's looks, sometimes it's fame and sometimes it's what you have in your pants.

And bank account.

Motives? They want motives? Sadly, there are no answers sometimes. Well, other than someone is plum bent and mangled in the head.

Love the phrase "friendly fire." This one has to hurt. The family of the victim will have to swallow hard on this one. Do you have hatred for the home team as much as you would if it would have been the nut-job criminal doing the killing?

Dad says the school overreacted. Really? Something else I love, families condoning, almost encouraging any sick, twisted thing their children do solely because...they're their children. Interesting how that works. Go to the mat for them and then wonder why your offspring jack up their lives. The boy was a straight-A student we hear. So, it's not always the outcast in school, like the Virginia Tech shooter, who wig out.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Jam

You sure got that right, coach.

Nuggets' ringmaster George Karl has it down and who knows, maybe he can even sell it to his team now.

Game 3 of Denver's first-round playoff series matchup with San Antonio is big, very big. Lose and doubt creeps in for an organization that doesn't win in the postseason. Win and you make the Spurs realize you are in it to win and you put extreme pressure on them in Game 4.

Will say it now -- if the Nuggets fall Saturday, they will end up losing the series. Win and the odds of winning go way up, making Game 4 the contest that tells all.

Here's the bonus -- check out David Ramsey of the Colorado Springs Gazette for a factor not being discussed much in this series. He's money with this story.

The Bzdelik difference

Did you catch the Neill Woelk story on CU basketball player Marcus Hall in Thursday's Daily Camera?

There it is -- more proof of the changing of the guard in that program

Hall talks about new coach Jeff Bzdelik being hands on instead of delegating authority on teaching. Prior to this article, star guard Richard Roby talked about Bzdelik making the team do things the right way as opposed to just asking and telling. Kal Bay also made glowing statements about the new basketball professor.

You don't think differences like that are going to have a significant impact as far as what happens on the floor, the scoreboard and standings?

Throw in some quality recruiting and you have something worth appreciating and cheering.

Ah, teaching fundamentals...who knew?

The hungry Buffs are finally being fed.

Rams hungry for money

CSU knows it needs to find a well to dig, financially, to take its' sports programs to higher ground and it's bulking up to do just that.

Inspiration, creativity, committed, sustained effort and belief can change the status quo and those supporters of Rams' athletics appear to be up to the challenge.

Paul Kowalczyk, the athletic director at the school, told me in a past conversation that sports at his school are a gold mine of potential. With people coming together to work for the common goal, as Kowalczyk said, positive things can materialize.

Buff notes

Had a question about CU's recruitment of Ponderosa star linebacker, Jon Major, and hit up Adam Munsterteiger of BuffStampede.com about it all.

So how would Major fit into the defense.

"I heard CU is looking at him as a "Mike" linebacker that Michael Sipili is playing and that Thaddaeus Washington manned for a couple of years but I've also heard from a lot of other schools that he's going to develop into a defensive end," Munsterteiger said.

So, what about the spring evaluation?

"Being out there, you'd be optimistic or pessimistic just given the day," he said. "Their talent level isn't where it needs to be but last year they where in so many games, so if familiarity with the system makes a difference, maybe that's room for optimism."

Movin' on up or down

We all know the Denver Broncos love to be aggressive and move up every draft season but take a look at this article here and ask yourself, "what?"

Patrick Willis of Ole' Miss is a strong character guy, highly productive and not a difference maker. Lawrence Timmons is high risk. The Broncos, as usual, are swashbucklers, gambling big. Of course, they lose their, well, they lose often with this approach.

How about being smart for a change and look for more stable stock. Maybe you can't get Georgia Tech wonder-boy receiver Calvin Johnson, Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, LSU safety LaRon Landry or Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams but you might be able to reel in, with a trade up, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye of Lousiville or Florida safety Reggie Nelson, both playmakers.

If the team can't move up, it could surprise and move down to refortify the mid-round picks it doesn't have and needs.

Former Bronco gets stung, again

San Francisco wide receiver Ashley Lelie, a former Bronco dealt to Atlanta before ending up out West, got bad news for his bank account. Lelie had something good in Denver, just like Bobby Humphfrey and Clinton Portis once did and all three of them didn't recognize it at the time and were shipped elsewhere where problems followed. Humphfrey was never the same, even getting shot, Portis has been dinged up and Lelie is even less a factor than he was as a Bronco.

Denver brings in training camp meat

No offense to linebackers Warrick Holdman and D.D. Lewis, two fine Texans I'm sure, but them signing with the Broncos two days before the NFL draft is little more than the team having some bodies to bang around this summer, before Denver cuts them before the season starts.

Guess it's big money for a short amount of time, although pain for the green is not exactly something I'd be excited about. Of course, they can hit the bars and tell the chicks they're pro football players and have the groupies fall under their spell. They've got that going for 'em.

Draft mocking


Catch the written roast of the NFL draft, courtesy of Gene Wojciechowksi of ESPN.com.

How true, how true. The whole coverage of the event, while great fun, is full of laughable foolishness. It's so over-the-top theater but it's also a time of great hope for fans. It's their Christmas. Let them enjoy.

Chris Berman is P.T. Barnum and Mel Kiper is the court jester.

It's more weird than serious, but strangely satisfying on some level, in moderate doses.

By the way, a little note for the media who do this -- there is no such thing as a can't-miss prospect. With the human variable, anyone can become a bust. The evidence "don't lie."

Gotta love it

How about this little juicy little nugget from Jeff Legwold of the Rocky Mountain News on the draft. He presented the following comment in trying to defend the Broncos' poor overall track record in the draft. Problem is this -- Denver has not consistently hit on enough picks, especially on top talents as other teams. Said it before, with any kind of acumen in this area, both Dan Reeves and Mike Shanahan would have more Super Bowl trophies because both men could, and can coach.
"I've spent most of my professional life around scouts and personnel people and some of their frustration with the public perception of the draft is that somehow a team has to hit on all the picks to make it worthwhile

That's an impossible bar to set in what is certainly an inexact profession. Really, about 60 percent is big-time."

Rockies farming

Check out no. 8 on this list of high-flying prospects. He's been good from day 1 for the organization but buried deep in the minors, he is a long way from ever making it to Coors Field. So much, history shows, can go wrong from the starting line to the finish line. For now, he looks extremely promising.

Random Ramblings

Funny how I have never seen her smile at her husband like this.


An amazing concept to think on here, further connecting the world. The internet has done it and now, a tunnel could do it, further. I see many obstacles but the ability of the human mind to conceive, believe and achieve is almost limitless, isn't it?

Are beatings allowed for stupidity? No one is cheering for child abuse but any fool, before Virginia Tech or after, that brings a gun or any weapon to school, should be tied to the goal posts, naked, for a week and subject to whatever mockery comes their way. What kind of mindset ignores common sense and current events to say "gonna take a gun to school today along with my books, cell phone, computer games, condoms, weed and sack lunch. Just being a kid."

Someone wants accountability and more. Sign of things to come. Virginia Tech is watching. While it says here all potential hazards cannot be accounted for that doesn't mean attorneys, most of whom fit the sleazy stereotype, won't try to sell it that way. All victims want some kind of retribution, some kind of acknowledgment that wrong was done and punished but it doesn't always come in court. That is a sad, sometimes devastating reality.

A man with one interesting arrest record. Some people just seem to be attracted to trouble, like me.

Good thing he's not a diplomat. Not sure he gets foreign cultures.

I tried to get her to live with my in-laws but no such great fortune as my ex-wife had to have the last word, the same word, on everything.

Karen, a reader from Kansas City, sent in a story that left me wondering how to respond. Has she noticed something about me? Is she trying to tell me something? Personally, while I think the subject of this story is odd, I admit I do not, thankfully, know the emotional torture he's endured for years. I also respect the grace in which he handled the announcement and pray for how the world, despite the courteous small sample in his story, will likely treat him, especially in the amped-up testosterone field of sports.

Now why do we have to use national television for apologies on family matters? Is it really necessary or helpful? That's Hollywood for you, all about show and perception. The equally sad parts of this little drama are that the dad doesn't get it, talking about what is "proper" and not and the mother is a control freak breaking the parenting degree out of her rage. They're both disgusting, "selfish, little pigs."

Final note

And for an industry friend Sam Amico, congratulations on a new gig.

"I am happy to announce that the Amico Report is hitting the airwaves, as I will be hosting my own radio show on sportstalkCLEVELAND.com. The show will air live each Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. Eastern beginning May 1.

You can listen to archived versions anytime, by linking to it on either sportstalk CLEVELAND.com or ProBasket ballNews.com.

The Amico Report radio show will be two hours of nothing but pro basketball talk. It will include my analysis and reporting, as well as guests from around the NBA."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spurs strike back; Halladay love; receivers

Wonder how that Nuggets' confidence is now after getting stoned at the gate Wednesday down San Antonio way, losing to the Spurs in a grinder, 97-88, in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Denver shot a robust 39 percent from the floor, earned just 17 free throw attempts and got minimal bench help in allowing the home team to even the series at one game each.

Tim Duncan (22 points) and Tony Parker (20 points, six assists) played as expected, Manu Ginobli rebounded (17 points) from a poor effort and Michael Finley (14 points) and Francisco Oberto (eight points, 10 rebounds) also proved mighty.

The Nuggets' starters played well but Linas Kleiza (five points), J.R. Smith (two points) and Eduardo Najera (scoreless, two rebounds, one assist) offered little off the bench.

The complexion of this series just changed significantly -- the stress is now back on Denver. Not only do they have to "D" up at home but they must call AAA to get the offense out of the mud.

Promise you one thing. Right now, San Antonio is smiling and thinking the series is in its' control.

Shanahan gets a call from well-wisher

Broncos' coach Mike Shanahan doesn't have to do this NFL draft thing all himself.

Adam Schein is certainly willing to help.

Hey, the WSN, well, doesn't like that move at all.

Unless...

Denver can score LSU safety LaRon Landry or Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams mysteriously falls to the tenth spot in the round.

Since both of those scenarios are doubtful, stay put and enjoy the variety of more selections.

My turn to help

Like I haven't already done enough for Shanahan and the Broncos but let's dig deeper because I'm just the giving sort.

Today, we try to help Denver find depth at wide receiver. No talk about Calvin Johnson, though, o.k.?

Sidney Rice, S. Carolina
---Very tall and productive. Could pass Brandon Marshall and become the no. 2 receiver if drafted in round 1 or early in round 2. Not polished but potential 1,000-yard pass catcher.

Dwayne Bowe, LSU
---Solidly built, productive, no. 2 receiver to line up across from Javon Walker.

Aundrae Allison, E. Carolina
---Big, raw, skilled. Needs time but could be a third receiver soon. Good blocker gets Shanahan's attention.

Laurent Robinson, Illinois State
---Tall type of receiver the team likes, has big-play potential but needs work. Could bust out in a couple of years with some strong coaching, dedication on the behalf of Robinson and some Broncos' patience.

Jacoby Jones, Lane
---Tall, bust-out receiver who needs a couple of years of coaching and weight-room work but who could really help stretch the field.

Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State
---Don't love him but he is strong blocker, which Denver loves and can get open. Solid no. 3-type pass catcher.

Steve Smith, USC
---He is being knocked for being small and slow. The man just makes plays. Not a blocker but if you need someone to catch Jay Cutler passes', this guy would be attractive.

Joel Filani, Texas Tech
---Would have to work hard to stay on the roster every season, and would. Good hands, productive, and could be quality third receiver in his second-to-third year in the league.

Coloradoan keeps rollin' along

Former Arvada West prep Roy Halladay beat the odds.

A player from the state, especially a pitcher, who went on to excel in Major League Baseball.

After his easy win over Boston on Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays' sheriff is now a sparkling 98-48 in his career, including an 80-31 mark over his last five-plus seasons.

Wow.

Still, he doesn't get all the love from the national media he should. Trust me, in baseball circles, he is lusted after as an innings-eating, All-Star arm and competitor.

One day, maybe the Rockies can get a pitcher like him, if that isn't too much to ask.

Just stop it

So, Barry Bonds (see picture, upper right) really expects us to believe that he didn't use substances not quite natural to prepare his body to be more powerful while hitting.

O.K., whatever.

But now the liar, or is that The Joker's newest weak offering is this -- he really would be alright with Alex Rodriguez breaking his home run marks for a season and a career?

Really?

Does it hurt to lie that much?

Since Bonds can't or won't tell the truth, I will for him -- the man is a habitual liar, a bad person and Rodriguez, without dope, may not break the single-season record for home runs because he's human but he has a tremendous chance, without drugs, to become baseball's all-time homer champ.

While A-Rod is a big diva, he is, at least, all real as a player and is deserving of the accolades for his accomplishments, which are history in the making each season.

And for my money, what little there is, give me a chronically-inured Ken Griffey, Jr., as a better pure talent and person and one who would have bested Bonds had his body not blown up near annually.

Go home, Bonds.

Soon.

No first-round picks for you

Denver has rid itself of draft picks in the first round like they were spoiled mysteries from the refrigerator and that has hurt them. Yesterday a college freshman announced he is going to test the draft waters and while young and mistake prone, he was potential star talent and would have been a great "get" late in round 1 (sorry, Nuggets) or early in round 2 (a possibility).

He's a developing point guard with size who can also shoot. He's an above-average passer now who will get better. In a few years he could be a real player.

His name -- Crittenton, Javaris -- from the Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech.

Addicted

Larry Brown will coach until the day they put him in the ground -- the man is insatiable.

And he gets around.

One city to the next to the next and so on and so on and so on.

He's good so he keeps getting interest and he's strange so he keeps puzzling people with his exits.

Interesting guy, that Larry Brown.

Next up -- Memphis?

Allen Iverson is shaking his head right about now, thinking of Brown coaching again.

Ain't gonna happen in Boulder

CBSSportsline.com's Gregg Doyel just comes in the door and gets plain nasty with the Colorado basketball program -- again, saying change is not going to be enough.

Oden no Bowie replica

Here is one strong voice for Greg Oden as the top pick in the June NBA draft, going ahead of Texas wunderkind Kevin Durant. Not sure I agree with that choice but obviously aren't concerned that Oden could be the next Sam Bowie.

Not saying Durant is Michael Jordan only that KD is more dominant than Oden.

Scoreboard grumblings

The Rockies' went door to door for to raise money to buy bats and look what happened -- they pounded the Mets at Shea, 11-3, on Wednesday. Some old dude named John Mabry homered and drove in four runs, red-hot Todd Helton had four hits and three RBI, Matt Holliday drove in three and some lost soul, Willy Taveras, had five hits.

Guess Colorado was throwing a party because everyone decided to show up to support starter Josh Fogg in an easy victory.

The Rockies have always been capable and its' about time, don't you think, that they start showing it?

Post Office

A letter today from Paul on the Nuggets roster of pain and their backcourt.

"Truth - I do not like this about Nene's knee, and I really hope he gets better. Looking forward to next season though, I agree keep (Steve) Blake, but the Nuggets might be interested in (Sebastian) Telfair. He should be a free agent after being released from the Celtics. I think he has much potential, and is capable of reaching it. All the controversy surrounding him is a bunch of BS, as it's carrying around a handgun...he just needs to learn how to stop that. He hasn't fired anything or fought anyone, nor have drugs been found on him. He supports his entire family and he seems like a decent kid."

WSN: Nene is playing so hard and he's making things happen but Kenyon Martin came back too early and look at him know -- his body has been a wreck. Great competitor but a lemon of lower body.

I'm sure the Nuggets are checking Nene out frequently but they better be careful or the rest of his contract could be a monster if his body breaks down like the previous Denver forwards I wrote about in the last few days.

As for Telfair, he is wondrously skilled but the hype has always been bigger than the deliverance on the product. He is a very poor man's T.J. Ford. I wouldn't give up on him yet but he is damaged goods in a public relation's sense right now. He would best be served as a backup point who can push it, push it hard, hand out bread to the boys and accept his place in the league as a reserve. He has more talent than Blake but I'd still prefer to hold on to the mature Terp who we know what he can do.

Hot links

Check out the new Hot Link in the left hand margin of this web page, Football Outsiders.

Still hungry? Try this one -- The Fifth Down, from the New York Times.

Random Ramblings

Let's make this simple for the boys out fighting in the school yard. Democrats or Republicans in the White House, it won't matter, no one is going to look perfect fighting terrorism. Either party is going to have soft spots to attack by the insatiable media or the disillusioned public. So quit showing off spouting tough words, both of you. Shaaaaaaaaaaaad-upppppppp.

Who was more scary -- the Russians, Fidel Castro or today, some extremists fighting in the name of Allah?

Who, amongst us, is cool enough to handle this ride? Stephen Hawking? I'll admit it, I'd soil myself. If my heart didn't blow up first.

One man's valiant but ill-conceived idea to cut rising health-care costs. Get an oil change thrown in for free.

Have always had an appreciation for this girl's outgoing personality. Maybe she isn't the most beautiful as listed in the article but her philosophy these days explains the reason she catches my eye.

Another girl on the list -- maybe not a knockout, physically, but still wins many men over easily.

No fan of Ben Affleck but he got this right.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Denver question; Kilby acting; Wilson done

The Nuggets did it once before before getting knocked out cold by San Antonio in the playoffs.

They just angered the Spurs by punking them in their backyard Sunday.

Can they do it again?

Three more times?

That's going to be a challenge and yet many are giddy that Denver can actually pull it off. Thing is hope disappears quickly when one team is superior to another and the facts are San Antonio plays defense consistently. The Nuggets don't. The Spurs have size guards in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli who give them fits and a big man, Tim Duncan, who is a stats' machine.

Carmelo Anthony looked good in one playoff game. Ditto, Nene.

Allen Iverson has done this before but can he do it again against the San Antonio "D?"

This test ain't over yet.

Shhhhh...still like the team with all the rings.

CSU forward due in court

CSU's Xavier Kilby will sweat more between now and Monday then he ever did in practice and a game for the Rams. The wanna-be gangsta' who pointed a gun at teammate Ronnie Aguilar's head will get to tell his rap story to a judge in Larimer County and I'm sure it will be good.

Don't think the magistrate will be impressed, do you?

Say goodnight, the party's over
They say that all good things must end

What size of jumpsuit do you wear, Mr. Kilby
?

Wilson officially done in Denver

Difficult to accept that Al Wilson's talent and fire are no longer part of an organization that sorely needs both attributes but the truth hurts sometimes and the truth is Wilson has been given the bad news by the Broncos -- you're not wanted.

A bad body and a contract that is too ugly cost him his job.

Here's hoping the true professional lives a good life, first, and if he can regain his health, maybe take another shot at the NFL, just as long as it's outside the AFC West.

By the way, in the article link above, Chicago 'backer Lance Briggs is mentioned as a candidate for trade by Denver.

Foolish.

Briggs is a talented, productive player but at what cost when the Broncos have many needs to be filled if they truly want to get to and win in the playoffs.

Scoreboard grumblings

The Rockies are not a terrible team. Their record just indicates such.

Losing 2-1 in 12 innings on the road to the Mets showed again the bullpen stinks (Brian Fuentes' blown save) and the offense is chronically sick (one run?).

Starter Aaron Cook got no support but then again he should be used to it as it happened numerous times last season. If it wasn't poor hitting it was an awful bullpen that cost him wins. Both illnesses have cost Colorado often again this season.

General manager Dan O'Dowd did not correct what needed to be fixed.

But he received a contract extension anyway.

He has pictures.

Falcons' assistants

Two assistants have been hired under new coach Jeff Reynolds at Air Force.

Random ramblings


O.K., here's an idea for the day -- look in the mirror. Will never understand our fascination in this country in treating perpetrators of ugly, vicious, scar-leaving crimes with more courtesy and care than we do the victims as if their rights are of superior importance. Do those who were destroyed and yet remain living or were murdered get such civil treatment from the animals who are now vocally supported in this land, all in the name of 'no cruel or unusual punishment.' We really are full of ourselves, aren't we, to care so much about those who care so little about us, society's rules and humankind?

We pass off murder as mere tragedy and move on with our lives but slam on the breaks when it comes to the lives of those convicted of those crimes.

A quick shout out to one tough hombre -- Caden Thomas. So happy you are are recovering, little brother. Enjoy the attention and hold on to the story that many will ask you about for years.

Bonus Tuesday; fresh, updated

A rare morning bonus round of coverage, from the NFL draft to the Nuggets, Air Force and more.

Was looking over the work of Jeff Legwold of the Rocky Mountain News, primarily his list of offensive lineman and have to share the inside dope from the mind that controls this space.

The lineman that the WSN most is drawn to is offensive tackle Joe Thomas of Wisconsin. Some experts have pegged Central Michigan's tackle, Joe Staley, as a possible Denver pick, but other names from Legwold's work that stood out as Broncos' types are USC center Ryan Kalil, whom I wrote about in the past at the Black and Gold Truth, Arkansas tackle Tony Ugoh, written about here recently as a potential Denver player and Auburn guard Ben Grubbs, an athletic, experienced talent who played for a successful Tigers' program. Remember these names come Saturday.

This made the newspaper
but it's zero surprise to anyone who has stayed awake in Broncos' class over the years -- Denver can't draft worth beans. All those experienced minds and they are horrible. From the Dan Reeves to the Mike Shanahan eras, this franchise has been miserable. What has saved it from ruins has been the stellar coaching. Truth? If Reeves had just capable drafting during his time in town, he would have won Super Bowls, as in plural, and his legacy would be that of one of the best coaches of his time. Shanahan, with better talent procurement, would own another ring.

Nuggets Noise

Point guard Steve Blake could be packing his bags soon after his arrival in Denver, maybe for Portland, according to the Rocky Mountain News, and that would be considered a loss. Blake is no star but the Nuggets should try to do what they can financially to retain his services. He runs, he passes, he's a quality player. Is he perfect getting big minutes? No, but who will replace his unselfishness and passing? Denver would be wise to ask themselves that question. That said, never overpay for goods. This franchise can't afford any more bad contracts.

Nene
is hurting and you just hope he can continue playing well without hurting himself. His knee has not been right all season but his play has been strong. This franchise must feel cursed, from Calvin Natt to LaPhonso Ellis to Kenyon Martin. For Nene to become chronically injured would be a little too much to take. The Nuggets would be wise to be err on the side of caution, especially with Nene's talent and huge and long contract.

Fantastic article by Marc Spears of the Denver Post on the truth of Denver's success in Game 1 of its' playoff series against the Spurs. Carmelo is not the only horse pulling the wagon anymore.

Falcons' new boss

What struck me reading Irv Moss' interview in the Denver Post with new Air Force basketball coach Jeff Reynolds was the new boss' intelligence and perspective. With his past success, I get a good feeling that Reynolds can be as solid a hire as the Falcons' program could expect. He wasn't the young, fire-breathing prodigy that garners headlines or the old sage looking for one more run at glory but there is something about him that seems right.

Random ramblings


The tale of two sisters, so to speak, right here. One is the good sister and one, well, isn't. So why do you care? You probably don't but it caught me because good sister is a prostitute for her career while bad sister is honest but self destructive without restraint. Good sister is a phony, which never gets a pass here while bad sister is just a mess.

Is this guy disgusting or what? As much for who he is as for the way he makes his fortune. Once a victim of a violent break-in at his house, constantly being pursued by the law, and he just doesn't get it. Who he is, what he does, makes him a target. And he deserves every bit of it. Without his $$$, he really isn't much. Probably has to buy his friends.

And you think rush week, or whatever the nerds called their fraternity fun, was bad. Imagine this degradation coming your way. In this country, the less accomplished do without but how about this celebration of the human spirit -- ahh, I feel cleansed.

She seems pleasant enough if you read her work but my word, is this girl also one of those women you hope you never date, or have dated and wish you had not? A trip, to say the least.

Going gangsta' at CSU; Buffs' recruiting

I guess CSU forward Xavier Kilby doesn't have a TV.

How else do you explain the news coming out of Fort Collins?

What is going on in this funky little world of ours?

Are people are playing cops and robbers or are they just mimicking video games?

Or is everyone just plain crazy?

Guns are cool?

Guns are what men carry to make sure respect comes their way?

Did these people ever get love at home? Discipline?

When did people get so stupid?

Pointing a gun at someone's head?

Then pointing it elsewhere and shooting?

Soon-to-transfer-if-he-doesn't-end up-in-jail-or-prison Kilby points a gun at teammate Ronnie Aguilar on Sunday before aiming it elsewhere and firing?

If this proves factual, this is beyond reprehensible, but especially on the heels of Virginia Tech. The man should be forced to wear a clown outfit and dunce hat, daily. Check Kilby's brain and his heart. I don't think he has either organ.

Truly, how many athletes or students need guns?

Lost in translation

Maybe not determined in the Nuggets' surprising road win at San Antonio in Game 1 of the team's first-round playoff series was the origin of Carmelo Anthony's schooling.

In an Associated Press story, the Denver forward discussed the difference in this team to the 2005 edition that also won the opener of the playoff series against the Spurs, in San Antonio, before losing four straight and the series.
"Two years ago we probably were just happy to be in the playoffs," Anthony said. "Now we ain't just happy to be in the playoffs. We know we're a good team and when we play good we can play with the best of them."
All the WSN can gather is -- that's either evidence of a Syracuse education and why high schoolers should steer clear of that campus or it's the fact that Melo likely missed a class or two coming up through the ranks while ballin'.

Rush to give


The Broncos need help, as in depth at running back, even with former Bill and Titan Travis Henry on board. So how about some names to consider for adding to the mix?

Sorry, not going to be mentioning Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson or Cal's Marshawn Lynch in this space. Here are the other guys.

Ken Darby, Alabama
---A serious match for Denver. Tough, runs hard, finds holes, makes the cut and goes. Would have to be around in round 3 for Denver to be interested, which they would as a strong running attack allows quarterback Jay Cutler to keep defenses from screaming, spitting and jumping on him. An upgrade over Mike Bell.

Kenny Irons, Auburn
---The talent is there. Slipped at the conclusion of his career, which is not a good indicator for his future but he would add some explosion to the backfield. Coach Mike Shanahan would have to be convinced Irons is going to be a worker bee.

Kolby Smith, Louisville
---
Some size and the aggressive, one-cut back the Broncos crave. Has faults but could be desired if he's around late on day 2.

Jon Cornish
, Kansas
---Late-round possibility. Extremely productive. Not flashy or dominant but could be Denver's type -- hard working, simple skills, competitor.

Danny Ware, Georgia
---Once a premium prospect, now an afterthought. Is thick and runs hard. Needs proper motivation but could be a last-call kind of back for the Broncos.

Draft, II

Best ever...find the local names.

Buffs recruiting with Munsterteiger

CU coach Dan Hawkins and his staff have to keep moving on the recruiting trails to build the Buffs' program back up. Doing so after a 2-10 season isn't easy but the school has to keep putting its' nose in there and take some pops along the way.

Spoke to Adam Munsterteiger of BuffStampede.com about some of the big early stories coming out of Boulder, from the verbal of elite wide receiver Corey Surrency out of the JC ranks to Mullen offensive tackle Bryce Givens ditching the state and Ponderosa linebacker supreme Jon Major's decision-making process.

I've been amazed a talent like Surrency would be hot for CU with so many other power schools likely to be tempting him and Munsterteiger agrees, in part because the big wideout has not been on campus or met the coaches yet.

"If I'm a Colorado fan, I'm not feeling too comfortable with that commitment right now," Munsterteiger said." He has offers from LSU and Minnesota and Cal is coming after him hard.

"If I'm putting the odds in Vegas I don't like the Buffs' odds even though he is listed as a commitment."

So what's up with Givens leaving the state for hated Nebraska? Were the Buffs ever in the race for him running interference for their offense?

"He was pretty impressed with CU in mid-March," Munsterteiger shared. "But you have that childhood favorite and they offer you a scholarship and the rest is history."

Major is a big, hard-hitting linebacker on the nation's radar. Does CU have a chance to convince him to come to Boulder or is he another heartbreaker ready to happen?

"For everything I'm hearing at Ponderosa, CU has as good as chance as anybody," Munsterteiger said. "This is a kid who really enjoys the recruiting process. I think he'll milk it for all it's worth and there is nothing wrong with that. I think it's going to be a while before we find out where he's going to go."

Scoreboard grumblings

Ah, brother, look at those Rockies. Taylor Buchholz is not a starter. Guess I don't have all the baseball experience necessary to have a say but that news was obvious back in Houston town. Those Colorado boys, led by Buchholz, fall to the Mets, 6-1, and the only positive I can bring to the table from that disappointment is that Matt Holliday is radioactive right now -- three more hits, his third-straight game with a trio of knocks. So far, little power from the big Okie but he's streaky with the longball and it should only be a matter of time before balls start leaving the yard.

In the oven

Spoke to Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun yesterday and will post that conversation later this week. Today I will speak to Kelly Lyell of the Coloradoan about CSU's spring work on the field. Look for that, as well, later this week.

Random ramblings

So, the Spurs' Tony Parker has Eva Longoria as his girl and the Warriors' Baron Davis has Jessica Alba in his arm? Maybe you should check the classifieds and look for 'NBA players wanted' and apply, pronto.


About time and long overdue. Disgraceful, really, to think it's taken this long and all the excuses have been accepted. Every improvement in culture is taken a step back from ugly and two steps towards healthy.

Best albums you've never, ever heard of (well, probably not anyway),
courtesy of Bullz-Eye.com, part 1 and part 2.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Heat

Wondering if I'm sauced or something as Denver out-defensed the Spurs in San Antonio, 95-89, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

The Nuggets, pitiful defending their own goal since the preseason decided they wanted something kinky on Sunday and jumped in with passion, besting the Spurs at what they do best -- shutting down the other team.

While Denver got the one-two superstar efforts it needed from Carmelo Anthony (30 points and eight rebounds) and Allen Iverson (31 points, five assists), the rebounding and interior scoring from Nene (double-double) and Marcus Camby (10 boards), San Antonio struggled checking the visitors and running their offense, hitting but 42 percent from the floor while only earning 10 trips to the foul line.

Do I seem drunk to you or do I just feel that way?

The questions now that beg asking are can the Nuggets do this again? Can coach George Karl get victory three more times by reducing the exposure to risk by significantly limiting the court time of his bench players as he did Sunday.

One more key point that should not be underestimated is how Manu Ginobli did not abuse the Denver backcourt as he usually does. Being shackled and held to nine points aided the victory greatly as did Tony Parker's eight-of-20 shooting.

Still not sold on the Nuggets winning this series but this win wasn't smoke and mirrors.

In the money

CSU's Jason Smith and Nevada's Nick Fazekas, by way of the Colorado prep ranks, are going to be getting guaranteed money by being selected in the first round of the NBA draft come June, or so says a new link for this page (check the left-hand margin), DraftExpress.com.

The WSN agrees Smith is a lock. Fazekas gets differing reviews from pro scouts so his placement in the draft is more tenuous. If I had to lean one direction, I say he's a first rounder but just don't ask me to bet the house -- unless it's yours.

For CU fans, notice that Acie Law of Texas A & M is projected to go no. 14 overall. He wasn't that highly thought of last year at this time. With the coaching of Jeff Bzdelik, hard work and good health, Buffs' swingman Richard Roby could fly up the charts in the minds of the NBA minds come 2008 and be where Law is now.

Drafting


Here is the WSN draft help for the local pro football team who rarely has harvests worth a nickel, with 2006 being the very rare exception with the selections of prospects Jay Cutler, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Marshall and Elvis Dumervil.

Ideally, the WSN would prefer the Broncos trade up in round 1 to grab a premium prospect such as Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams or LSU safety LaRon Landry, even if that means putting all the team's eggs in one basket. And while it is expected Denver will do all it can to advance, the picks below for the team's initial choice in the opening go-around will be based on the assumption the team is unable to do so.

The Six-Pack

Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
---His talent is undeniable. Nelson isn't the biggest safety and there are concerns about, hate to say it, his intelligence but on the field, he simply makes plays, and more plays. The Broncos could use a talent like him in the backyard. That said, while some experts believe he could be around at the end of round 1, I don't. If he shockingly is, Denver would be a fool (and it often is in the draft) to not rip him out of other team's hands.

Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
---Not the aggressive mauler scouts love. More of a finesse player with technique, which is the type of lineman the Broncos usually like. Wouldn't be a glamorous pick to get fans' hearts beating fast but would add much needed talent and depth up front for the team's skill players.

Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
---Call me crazy but I believe Denver needs help at this position and any dependable playmaker they can find they need to (my ex-wife's favorite phrase to me) consider. Old-school tough and productive. Like the linebacker the Broncos used to employ in the 1970s and 80s.

Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
---Not in love with the super-thin rusher but if Denver's top targets are off the board when its' their turn to pick, Moss should be considered, solely because the team's extreme deficiency in getting to the quarterback. In time, with the proper work ethic, he could become another Simon Fletcher.

Aundrae Allison, WR, East Carolina
---Most don't think he's first-round caliber but since when did that ever stop Denver from picking that type of player. Face it, Jay Cutler is the horse the Broncos want to ride. So, surround him with talent that will maximize his skills. Rod Smith is done, Brandon Marshall is still not proven and Javon Walker is begging for less double coverage.

Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
---Denver may not want to pay huge money to another cornerback with Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly taking home CEO portfolios but consider this idea -- taking the playmaking Ross, if unavailable at no. 21 (unlikely) and plugging his skill set in at free safety. Wow. Can we say, Pro Bowl? Sometimes we have to think outside of the box.

Scoreboard grumblings

Maybe Dan O'Dowd knew what he was doing after all. The Rockies general manager allowed workhouse pitcher Jason Jennings to get away to Houston, via a trade, and although centerfielder Willy Taveras and pitcher Taylor Buchholz are early busts, starter Jason Hirsh, a minor-league phenom a season ago, is looking like the real deal.

Sunday, he bested Greg Maddux and San Diego, 4-2, going seven strong innings, lowering his ERA to 3.16, a mark we just don't see out of Colorado starting pitchers. The man is even capable of strikeouts (7), something else this franchise is not used to but has always desperately needed at Coors Field.

Red-hot Matt Holliday had three more hits to bump his average to .382.

It's but one day, one game, but it was a good, good day.

Random ramblings

So imagine, if you will, a world different than we've ever known it. Could it be better, would it be worse, or because we're human, would the song remain the same.

Maybe one day these two schools of thought will leave the attitudes at the door and collaborate for the common good of the world.

Five dating myths to take a look at, courtesy of Maxim.com and Tango magazine, via Yahoo. My favorites? Men and women as friends and men and women -- forgiveness and forgetting (not for the faint of heart because it's too true).

Imminent record holder or not, he still is an arrogant, disrespectful, disgraceful person representing his sport. Hope the adulation is enough because he won't have much else one day. Reminds me of the reported personality of Ty Cobb, minus the racism.