Monday, June 4, 2007

Buffs shooting, passing center; Sheff speaks

Quick thoughts before we hit a story on CU's newest big man (picture, right) in its' basketball program, a piece sent this way, written exclusively for the Warrior Sports News by Chris Wells.

Just wondering, does Gary Sheffield get a pass for punk statements about Latin baseball players and about Major League Baseball? If a white player were to make such an obnoxious, unfounded, stupid assertion, he'd be, well exiled to Cuba. Or Nebraska.

Whatever Alex Rodriguez's stripper friend is serving up must be fine as A-Rod beat the Red Sox with a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning off ace reliever Jonathan Papelbon. Mmmmmm, good, that must be! Rodriguez might be in a meat grinder at home but at work, he's still the man.

Billy Donovan looks bad, very bad, flirting with others in the basketball universe, ditching Florida for the NBA and then dumping the Orlando Magic to return, his tail between his legs (or it should be) to the Gators. Hey, a man is allowed to change his mind, get his bearings, but to be the waffler he's been for weeks has been selfish and embarrassing. Wonder if recruits will ever know if he's going to be around the next day, no matter what he will tell them now "I'm here forever." Sort of like A-Rod telling his wife, "honey, just going out for a while. Don't worry, I won't be talking to any chicks."

CU's new football uniforms -- nice, but did we need new threads? They could wear leather helmets again if that would mean a Big 12 title.

One more season of struggle is the pick here for CU football. Breaking in a new quarterback, finding receivers, hoping the offensive line is good enough and generating a pass rush are all big concerns. If Dan Hawkins can weather one more storm and show progress some how, some way and recruit his tail off then year 3 could be the season when he and the Buffs start to reap the fruits of labor and faith. Success doesn't come quickly, it is a process. Hawkins has the plan and is working it. Patience is needed. Five wins might disappoint many but that would be a big step forward, quality improvement.

Rumor has it, according to the Denver Post, that rotund defensive tackle Sam Adams could be the next addition to the Broncos defensive line. Adams is at the end of his career but could be motivated to dig deep for one more quality season if the money and winning atmosphere are right in Denver. Dude is larger than a Colorado mountain and would clog opposing running games like a visit to a roadside rest stop plugs a toilet.

The Rockies outlasted the Reds, 10-9, Sunday, taking two of three in the team's series. What impressed here was the continued hot hitting from pesky Willy Taveras and Kaz Matsui (one of general manager Dan O'Dowd's premier acquisitions), more wood from red-hot Brad Hawpe, who is playing some of the best ball of his career, a Garrett Atkins sighting (3 hits, 2 RBI) and Manny Corpas moving to the back of the bullpen with his excellence.

The day of the 40-homer swatter in Denver is over. Coors Field just plays differently, which is only going to hurt Todd Helton's post-career accolades. All Rockies hitters will now be seen as products of the environment more than be respected for their skills and production. That successful pitching is possible here now, a 10-9 game Sunday not withstanding, is a very good thing. Give me real baseball and not some carnival act any day. The Rockies can win with hitting, it is just a little more difficult now. It's not a day at the driving range or batting practice all day and all night long.

Sleeper big man arrives in Boulder

The recent departures of 6-10 Sean Kowal and 6-11 Marc Van Burck leave new CU men's basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik with a glaring shortage of big bodies as he prepares for his first season in Boulder.

Returning senior Marcus King-Stockton (6-9, 230), little-used walk-on Trent Beckley (6-10, 220), and incoming 6-11 freshman Caleb Patterson (see picture) are the only options available at the center position.

Bzdelik has made it known that he "wants players at every position who can dribble, pass and shoot the 3-ball." Clearly, Kowal and Van Burck were lacking in one or more of these areas, or they would still be on the roster. What is to be made then of Patterson, former coach Ricardo Patton's final recruit? Will he suffer a similar fate a year from now, or is the player from Ringwood, OK more suited to Bzdelik's style of play?

Basketball recruiting guru Greg Swaim said on his website a year ago
"Caleb has terrific size and knows how to get the most out of it with his long arms and shot-blocking ability. He shoots over 500 shots a day and is undergoing a rigorous daily workout schedule. He could play for a lot of mid-majors, but with a year of strength conditioning could easily blossom into a higher level player."
Swaim's latest evaluation is promising.
"Caleb is a legit 6'11 and actually more prepared to play outside right now, in that he is a little light to play inside in the Big 12 and certainly has more outside game. To be honest, I think the way Coach Bzdelik likes to play, Caleb is more ready to play early than he would have been for Coach Patton."
A close observer of Caleb concurs.
"Caleb is currently 7-feet, 230 lbs. He has never been on a good weight program because he went to a very small high school. He has a large bone structure and will readily put on weight in college, I believe, once he is working with the staff at Colorado. It wouldn't shock me for him to be 245 or so by the start of this season and at least 270 or more by the time he graduates.

"Caleb runs the floor very well, passes great and sees the floor exceptionally well. He has about a 30-inch vertical and has range out near the NBA three-point line.

"Coach Bzdelik was interested in Caleb at Air Force but he never showed any interest in AFA so they quit recruiting him. He can one-hand windmill dunk a basketball. Strength is his most glaring weakness at this point.

"I feel that Bzdelik's system fits him perfectly. He can face the basket and shoot anywhere on the floor but is also comfortable with his back to the rim shooting with either hand. I would say his ball-handling for a big man is very good and his hands are excellent. He had 376 blocked shots in two and a half years of high school basketball.

"His senior season Caleb averaged 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. His junior season numbers were 17.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.7 blocks."
If Patterson is able to provide solid minutes at the post his freshman year, it would address a major need for Bzdelik's first team at Colorado. Patterson is now on campus for summer school and will be working with new assistant strength coach for basketball, Jared Aurich, who is receiving rave reviews from current players for his innovative training techniques.

*story courtesy of Chris Wells.

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