Sunday, June 24, 2007

WSN Big Sunday Truth

Going to say it right here, right now -- Colorado preps are going to impress on NBA draft night next week. We all know about Kersey's Jason Smith's attractiveness to scouts but Ralston Valley's Nick Fazekas is wowing scouts too. Fazekas looks as weak as a runway model but his skill set is so strong that he will still thrive. Once he gets to the pro game, hires a nutritionist and personal trainer he will put on 15-20 pounds to at least give himself a chance to survive the rigors of the Association against the muscle hounds he will face. Both of those trees will exceed the pro contributions of former CU center and current Indiana Pacer David Harrison, he of solid talent but questionable motivation.

If there is one intangible to admire about new quarterback Jay Cutler it is his apparent comfort zone with the expectations and pressure that go with being the Broncos quarterback. Brian Griese and Jake Plummer each had their shining moments in Denver and looked the part of Cool Hand Luke in moments but come the tough times, both wilted. Cutler may too but there is a vibe that the guy has some cowboy in him, a rough-and-tumble dude who will roll with the punches and shut people up with his determination, competitiveness, will and talent.

When did Vanderbilt become a jock school, a sports factory? With Cutler (NFL), pitcher David Price the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft (Devil Rays), reliever Casey Weathers the eighth choice to the Rockies and Derrick Byars expected to go in the first round of the NBA draft this week, the Commodores look more like Texas than they do Stanford.

2006 NFL draft, one-year review

Vince Young
, Tennessee
---Showed electric running ability, leadership skills and a winner's edge. Too bad he resembles Michael Vick as a passer right now.
Matt Leinart, Arizona
---In a difficult situation in Arizona, a loser's paradise, but with an offensive line and better coaching, he could become the heady, steady leader and premier passer he was drafted to be.
Jay Cutler, Denver
---Gunslinger who looked stiff and mechanical but showed flashes of big, big talent too.

Walt Weiss was solid, Neifi Perez certainly had his moments and Juan Uribe showed promise of a thunder bat but none of them flashed "IMPACT" like current Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Maybe he never makes an All-Star game, maybe he doesn't go to the hall of fame but if the cat stays healthy, he is going to be a Derek Jeter-type influence in Colorado -- the glue, money and a strong heartbeat for this franchise.

Cha-ching. Do you hear the cash register ring with each season outfielder Matt Holliday puts in the books? His price tag for Colorado or any new suitor just keeps going up and he just might become too rich for the Monfort family's taste. Remember this one mighty big detail -- the very last thing the Rockies want to do is dole out another Todd Helton anchor-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean contract, which again proves to be one big hammy for the organization if Holliday gets hurt and can't produce at previous levels of excellence. Not many teams have been taken to the cleaners hard like Colorado has over the years with bad deals -- Bill Swift, Bret Saberhagen, Daryl Kile, Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton. Watching Holliday walk one day soon is a very real possibility. Brace yourselves.

Final Salvos

Yo, Blazers, don't go dumb now. Forget Greg Oden, a broken-down horse already, even if a rare thoroughbred, and go with Texas freak of nature, Kevin Durant as the first overall pick. If you don't have the stones to do so, trade out of the top spot so you don't end up with egg all over your face -- again. LaRue Martin, Sam Bowie, need we say more.

Dan O'Dowd, don't be shy. Sack up and look hard for a trade that will improve you for the next three-to-five years. Don't look beyond that as too much changes. Rockies fans deserve some hope. Give it to them. Trade prospects if necessary to get some punch in the lineup and a front-line starter, if available. You don't have to make a deal but you better sell out trying.

Dan Hawkins, hate to say it but allowing your son to sign with CU was a bad idea. Unless Little Hawk becomes all that and a bag of chips, you will suffer with low blows over nepotism while also struggling to bring in a top quarterback recruit outside of Idaho for the next few seasons because they won't trust you to make an unbiased decision on the starter's job.

Allen Iverson proved the naysayers (like me) wrong with his play in Denver. He can change his supposed stripes and go from being primarily a street baller to good teammate and still have an impact because you showed team play is not foreign to you. That said, you're not going to win here either until the front office brings a quality 2-guard, and some better role players to town. Playoff celebrations also won't happen until this group can pass a chemistry test.

Marcus Camby, hey, how did you like being named the best defensive player in the entire Association and then have people, almost exclusively the media have the temerity to question your ability on that end of the court? Wow. Yeah, Tall Cool One, I thought all that was real funny too. Better yet, now there is talk of shipping you out of town even though you are the best middle man in this basketball wasteland since Dikembe Mutombo. That, well, not so funny.

D.J. Williams, time to show up for work, brother. You've been over-hyped since you first hit campus in Coral Gables. You've given us glimpses of talent here in Denver but how about busting out in 2007 and showing us what you're all about as a linebacker in that Broncos "D." I think there's mad game in you somewhere. How 'bout getting hungry to make plays?

Speaking of getting hungry

Was thinking of taking y'all to lunch today up Boulder way but word on the street is that CU shut down the gravy train on discounted meals. I know that every five-star recruit in the country just crossed the Buffs off their preferred-school list. See, it's not playing time, party atmosphere or academics that lures the big fish and it's not even being groomed to go pro in a winning program or TV face time; no, see, instead it's all about the cafeteria food. Who knew, amigos? For this blatant transgression, CU is getting punished. Lost now is all hope of a Big 12 title and a national championship, I'm sure. God bless the NCAA infractions committee. Justice served. I'm sure they can sleep better at night knowing they policed the ranks like the gestapo they are. Anyway, can I still get a cookie?

Happy Birthday

Broncos cornerback supreme Champ Bailey turned 29 on Friday, the same day rags-to-riches quarterback Kurt Warner woke up 36 years old.

Today, former CU punter Mitch Berger's birth certificate shows him to be 35.

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