Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Jam with Spears interview

Here is the valued outside-of-state lines opinion of the new hires for the CU and CSU basketball programs, from the desk of Andy Katz of ESPN.com.

CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk has nothing to prove to anyone after what he accomplished at Southern Illinois but Katz's comments are impressive nonetheless.

CU AD Mike Bohn zeroed in on Jeff Bzdelik and got his man. There has to be credit for getting a hot name and achieving your ultimate goal.

In another interesting note, look what Katz writes about Denver University's program with the hiring of Joe Scott.

Katz also dishes on new Liberty coach, Ritchie McKay, a one-time CSU coach.

Warning: Northern Illinois' Ricardo Patton isn't getting much confidence in this piece.

Spears dishes on his experience with Bzdelik

Had a chance to get some time with Marc Spears, the Denver Post columnist with the All-Star quality basketball page. We discussed new CU coach Jeff Bzdelik from his days in the NBA with the Nuggets and what Spears remembers from their interactions.

WSN: Your first impression when the deal was consummated -- Bzdelik and CU marry themselves for the common good of the Buffs' program?

Spears: Definitely a good move for both and probably more so for Colorado. CU, getting Jeff Bzdelik, is probably the best they were going to get. He loves challenges and CU is definitely a challenge.

WSN: When he was with the Nuggets, what did you notice about him and how we worked with the team? What did you observe about his communication and leadership skills?

Spears: Now, Jeff's arms are probably more open to players than they were before. I think he realized it can't be basketball all the time -- you have to get to know them as people too. He is probably much more in tune with that now.

WSN: You played the game in college, Marc. How do you think you would have liked to played for a coach such as him?

Spears: It would have been an honor because Bzdelik is fair. If you play hard and work hard you will be rewarded and what more can you ask for from a coach.

Having somebody who's not only a great coach but truly one of the best people you'll ever meet in life on your sidelines is definitely a blessing. I think those players at CU really don't know how lucky they are to have him.

WSN: People question if Bzdelik can go from the built-in discipline of the Air Force Academy to a public institution and remain successful. Your thoughts?

Spears: Yes, it's a different environment but CU is terrible. It would behoove the Buffaloes to pay attention to a coach who beat them by more than 30 points last season.


WSN: Another issue brought up is recruiting. Is Bzdelik a dynamic enough personality to sell his package -- the NBA experience, the stunning success at Air Force? Does he have the goods?

Spears: I think he will do exceptional recruiting. He's the type of guy, who after your mom hears him speak, she is going to send you there because she thinks you'll leave school a much better man.

He coached Carmelo (Anthony) with the Nuggets. That's not that far ago in the past, so recruits remember that.

Before Jeff came to the Nuggets no one knew who he was but now he's a household name in the basketball world.

WSN: Ricardo Patton didn't leave the cupboard bare although they are potential holes on the roster if the big men don't develop but what can Bzdelik do next season or over the next couple of years? Can they have a winning record in 2007-08?

Spears: I think Bzdelik is a good enough coach where I'd be surprised if, at the very least, they weren't .500 next season. He's one of the most competitive people I've met in my life and that's why I think he's going to be successful because everyone's telling him he can't do it. And that stuff makes him mad inside. His work ethic is hard to duplicate. I know he will be successful.

Broncos believe there's more

So Denver still thinks they can make David Terrell into a football player with coaching? It must as it just signed him to a one-year contract.

The one-time Michigan Wolverine standout has been a bust since being drafted eighth overall coming out of Ann Arbor and despite his size has not been able to get open and catch balls.

Now 28, Terrell didn't play last season and has but 128 career receptions for 1,602 yards and nine touchdowns.

WSN: Terrell, I believed, could be a star when he first entered the league but his skills haven't transferred. He is not being brought back to the team to become the next Rod Smith. He is training camp competition, a body, and if the stars align right (injuries) he might be a fourth receiver.

So we'll now see if NFL teams pay attention on this guy. You make the call, is he Jerry Rice or the next Terrell?

Rockies top pick impressive

Greg Reynolds
was the second pick in last June's amateur draft, going from Stanford to the Rockies' organization.

He looked the part at 6-foot-7, played at a solid baseball school and was unimpressive most of the time. Hardly a dominant pitcher for a franchise starving for one. And he's looking strong early in 2007.

A terrible pick I thought with all the other high-ceiling talent available, from LHP Andrew Miller (Tigers), RHP Kyle Drabek (Phillies), LHP Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and 3B Evan Longoria (Devil Rays), and the WSN still feels that way.

Miller and Kershaw were the ones that drew me like a moth to a flame and both passed through Colorado's fingers.

Who knows, in time, maybe Reynolds becomes Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine, a soft-throwing control-and-command ace who wins huge.

Just not betting on it.

Where are the Buffaloes and Rams

Can you find one CU or CSU player on this list, outside of a big-legged kicker?

Air Force, you get a pass.

Wonder why those schools are struggling?

Hmm...

Crosby getting boxed

CU kicker Mason Crosby wowed fans unlike any kicker should be able and now he is getting rewarded for it by the university, as his name and number will be enshrined into the Fred Casotti Press Box facade.

A kicker.

Think of how much of an impact Crosby had to have at his position, and he did booming 88 percent of his kickoffs through the end zone and hitting field goals from his Texas home. He set 33 school records on his way through Boulder.

Nuggets gearing up for playoffs

Denver must be excited for the playoffs and they have just signed...

wait a minute, who did they sign?

Hey, Joe, who did the Nuggets just get again?

Oh yeah, Von Wafer.

To be fair, the guy could play a little at Florida State and has been scoring (21 ppg) in the bushes so maybe there will be a place for him to make his mark. After all, we all know what Denver is most missing is...

another scorer?

Ben Maller bits

Now, the Arnold-Barr scratch fest was nice but this one is even better, and so...on...the...money. Bernard Goldberg taking a foolish statement to task and exposing the truth. Funny, before he spoke up, I never would have put Katie Couric and Jackie Robinson in the same sentence other than to say, "I know Jackie Robinson and you, ma'am are no Jackie Robinson."

And more on the Don Imus idiocy -- as stupid and hateful as what he said was, is this really the way you are going to continue to deal with moments like these in this country? Try to ruin someone and throw them in the gutter? Obviously, figuratively speaking. For years, one ignorant slip of the tongue and we want to throw everyone to the lions. Aren't there bigger issues to be pissed off about, to really throw ourselves into as people? Now, Imus has been dumped. Personally, his work does little for me but what about punishment with a chance at redemption? Is he as bad as Pacman Jones? Did he kill someone like Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams did in a drunk driving accident and yet, Little is still collecting fat paychecks.

The real juice on the Imus "national incident," courtesy of a Kansas City honey, at least from the pictures she sent my way, and the link she sent this direction, from the pen of columnist Jason Whitlock. Nailed.

Ah, divorce, such a pretty thing. Check out Tom Arnold dishing his ugly best and Roseanne Barr going me-owwwww. And a Saddam reference, to boot. How sweet is that.

A little bonus for you for going deep in this column

For those NFL draft junkies and you know who you are, here's a prescription for you. Pages worth.

Buffs and Falcons have weekend plans

CU and Air Force have spring games this weekend. Check back for recaps Sunday.

1 comment:

Commish CH said...

Don't forget Barry Helton is up on the facade too. Goes to show how very important special teams are in the game of football, especially if you have a great punter and kicker.