Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NBA Playoffs

Well, I rarely talk about the NBA. There is too many games, and I would go nuts trying to write about it often.

I can't even write about the Warriors, which to be honest, we didn't do a whole hell of a lot for seeing as how they are listed as one of our teams over there to the right.

But now that the Playoffs have begun, I can reflect on something I said back on October 22nd of last year. Back in this "Weekend Sports Roundup" I mentioned that the Warriors and the Raptors were the only undefeated teams in the preseason. And obviously I called this as a sure sign the Warriors would win it all.

I know alot of you scoffed at this notion, the Warriors hadn't been in the playoffs since the Simpsons were actually good, and the Raptors couldn't do anything in the postseason since Vince Carter was gone.

The Raptors, behind stud all star Chris Bosh, dropped the first game of the series at home, but came back strong last night to even the Series at 1 game a piece. The Warriors stole game 1 from the Mavericks on the road, surprising many, but not me. Ok I was a little surprised, but when I look across the scoreboard for the layoffs, every series is going the way I want.

The boring Spurs are down a game on the Nuggets, The Cavs are handling the Wizards(minus Agent Zero), Andrei Kirilenko is crying and the Jazz are down 2 games on the Rockets(minus Tracy McGradys youth), the young are up on the old(bulls/heat), the Suns are decimating the Lakers... Pistons are being the playoff team we know they are, but the most interesting series is still the Warriors Mavericks. Can't wait for their matchup tonight, 6:30 pm Pacific on TNT.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Two new faces on Clevelands staff

-Cleve rounds out the coaching staff-

What was needed in the replacements:

Since the loss of Associate Head coach Heath Schroyer who took the Wyoming head job and Fred Langley the FSU assistant whom Schroyer took to be an associate head coach, Bulldogs head coach Steve Cleveland has had the task of replacing those two key assistants.

Thankfully, Senque Carey is staying and is taking on a bigger role, but after Carey there were questions left about the caliber of coaches Cleveland could bring in. This is a difficult and arduous task because of the amount of applicants and the pressure to come up with two replacements in a timely manner coupled with trying to get recruiting done.

Cleveland stated he had over 100 people inquire, apply, or speak on behalf of someone for his open positions. What he needed was an associate head coach who could relieve him of certain duties and that could also help with the defense, post players, and have recruiting connections. The other coach would preferably be young, hard working, and have experience with game film and scouting.

New Associate Head coach Jeff Reinert:

Reinert comes in to become Clevelands associate head coach after a five year stint as an assistant at Oregon State under Jay John. Based on the recent success level of the Beavers both on the court and on the recruiting trail this may appear as a rather weak hire but Im optomistic about what Reinert will be able to add to the staff and team.

Cleveland has a relationship with Reinert dating back to when Cleveland was brought in as a candidate for the Utah Valley State job. Reiner won the job as Cleveland felt as though he was not ready for that position for a few reasons. Reinert even inquired about joining Clevelands BYU staff but the time wasnt right for the two to coach together at that time.

Reinert will be in charge of scheduling, which is to be finished up in three weeks or so. He will be integral in working with the defense and fill that slot that Schroyer left vacant. Reinert will also help with the post players (the few that the Bulldogs have) and my hope is that he can strike a bond with Center Sean Taylor and help him make huge strides. With no impact post players coming in from this recruiting class, it is up to Taylor to show marked improvement in the off season. Im extremely hopeful, but not optomistic.

Lastly, Reiner is a graduate of Gonzaga and played with John Stockton during Reinerts junior season, lets hope he can bring some of the Zags upward mobility to Fresno.

Jeff Reinert Bio

New assistant coach Lee Moon, Jr:

The second assistant brought in by Steve Cleveland is someone that has a familiarity with the Fresno area as Lee Moon Jr returns for a second stint as a member of the Bulldog staff.

He was the video Coordinator for the Bulldogs in 05-06 and also assisted with strength and conditioning and scouting.

Moon got his start as a graduate assistant under Florida coach Billy Donovan. He was involved in film preparation and breakdown, recruiting mailings, and player instruction.

Lets hope that coach Donovans magic touch extended to Moon in his short stint in Gainesville. Donovan has become quite the factory for solid assistants and assistants turned head coaches.

Moon graduated in 2002 from UNC Wilmington but played to years at TCU prior to transferring to UNCW.

Cleveland makes a good hire here in my opinion, getting a solid young coach who is a hard worker and has a lot of experience in game film, preparation, and scouting. I hope he injects an energy into the staff and helps with player development, he could become a great asset to Cleveland and the team.

Lee Moon, Jr. Bio

Recruiting thoughts:

Coach Cleveland had a solid radio interview today and part of it touched on the recruiting efforts. He stated there are two scholarships available. Everyones hope that he could land any sort of impact post player to play immediately were all but shot down. Sadly, it is not happening. He also stated that any recruits that have ended up at Wyoming were not "taken" away by former assistant Heath Schroyer.

3 D1 transfers have expressed interest which is good, but none of them can help next season. I have been calling for at least one or possibly two transfers to hopefully make their way to Fresno to lessen the recruiting burden that will come after the 07-08 season with so many players graduating.

Transfers have played a large role in getting the program back on its feet, but they bring issues with them. First, they have less eligibility because they will be sitting one season out. Second, they left another program for some reason but thankfully it hasnt caused any problems for Cleveland thus far. Lastly, they may leave early like McGuire which not only hurts the team but also the APR.

The advantage to the transfers is that they are generally a higher quality player then the Bulldogs could have attained either from the high school or JC ranks. These players were high level D1 recruits for a reason and would not have considered FSU out of high school, but the Bulldogs become attractive only when they decide to transfer.

I along with many other express some concern with a lack of high school players that are being recruited and committing to FSU. A high school point guard or post player would be a great addition to the program. Four seasons to help a player become a much better physical and mental player. Now the issue becomes would you rather have a marginal high school player or a stellar transfer?

As the program hopefully contintues to grow, one can only assume the program will become more attractive to high school players and especially local talent. Being able to choose from above average talent that would like to attent the university is the ultimate situation everyone is hoping for. At that point, when there are position needs, Cleveland and the staff can choose who they would like to fit the position and program and not scramble for below average to marginal high school talent.

Dom update:

Interesting that during the interview Cleveland told the host that he and the staff were caught off guard when junior forward Dominic McGuire decided to test the NBA waters. He said it may have hurt in early recruiting because they werent looking at a McGuire vacancy and a need to fill his spot.

He also spoke of Doms sensitivity to the program and the university and how much he wants success to be had. He would like to be part of it but obviously has to take care of himself and his family first. When Cleveland spoke of McGuire with respect to academic commitments and the programs APR it raised a red flag in my eyes and I hope that the topic isnt leaning towards someone not keeping up with classes.

The tone towards McGuire when Cleveland spoke leads me to believe what I have since he first decided to pursue the NBA dream-he is about 80% gone at this point.

I wish Dom nothing but the best and ultimately hope that whatever decision he makes he succeeds. He was such a pleasure to watch this past season and in one year became one of my top 5 all-time favorite Bulldogs. He was an extremely hard worker on and off the court and he was an unselfish teammate who played where he was needed not where he wanted to.

Lastly, does Clevelands inability to land a true impact post player help McGuire decide to stay in the draft? McGuire needs to be playing the 3 spot to take advantage of his slashing abilties, ball handling, and to showcase his perimeter skills for the next level. If he is stuck in the post next season, how does that prepare him for the NBA or show the scouts what they say he is lacking now?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

NY Auto Show

There have been many unveils. I don't feel like talking about all of them. I will see them all later this year at the next LA Auto Show, so I don't want to analyze too much before seeing in person.

The Ford Flex minivan was shown. Who cares about vans?

My personal favorite, the Mercedes CL63 AMG Black Series. Huge wheel flares, huge brake rotors, sweet stance... Nice looking car.

Hyundai showed its sweet looking new RWD concept, the Genesis, that has other car companies shaking.. This car has the look, and if they build it, it will be a competitor. Hyundai is slowly growing, gaining a better reputation, and if you doubt me, think about those little junk cars from Japan called Toyota's... not so much junk anymore?

Lexus showed its new LX570, that was in large need of a redesign. I am sure it will sell. It will still be overpriced. It will still not be as good as competition, but it will be fine.

Chevrolet showed 3 mini-car concepts, the Trax Beat and Groove. My personal favorite is the Groove, a "5 door" concept that makes good use of space. It is a Scion XB like vehicle, and if it can be brought here, marketed correctly and have that low chevy price tag, it could do very well. But that is the problem. These cars are WORLD cars, not US cars. So we may never see them here.

Check out Autoblog and Jalopnik for more coverage.