Monthly Archives: November 2010

NBA: Was Phil Jackson Wrong?

They call him The Zen Master, a man who uses holistic approaches to coaching influenced by Eastern philosophy. Phil Jackson has been called many things, but controversial is hardly one of them. Jackson recently went on “The Waddle & Silvy Show”on ESPN 1000 in Chicago and said, “The scenario that sits kind of behind the scene, is that eventually these guys that were recruited — [Chris] Bosh and [LeBron] James — by [team president] Pat Riley and Micky Arison, the owner, are going to come in and say, ‘We feel you [Riley] can do a better job coaching the team. We came here on the hopes that this would work,’ and whatever, I don’t know. That’s kind of my take on it, is that eventually if things don’t straighten out here soon, it could be the Van Gundy thing all over again.” This raised a lot of eyebrows in the media and many people questioned the 11-time NBA champion’s remarks. I decided to write about this after listening to Jeff Van Gundy ramble on and on about it during ESPN’s broadcast of the Heat-Magic game on the 24th.

Was Phil Jackson wrong in his remarks? No, absolutely not. I completely agree with what he said. Remember, this same kind of situation happened in 2006 when Riley fired then-coach Stan Van Gundy for his struggles with Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal. What happened when Riley took over as coach? They won a championship. How is this situation any different? Let me tell you.

That 2006 Heat team is much better than the 2010 version. Why? Because they had an inside game. What’d Chris Bosh say when he was deciding on where he would sign? He didn’t want to be an undersized center. What is he in Miami? An undersized center. You may be saying to yourself, “Christian, he doesn’t play center in Miami. They have Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Erik Dampier and Joel Anthony.” Yes, they do. Clearly the cream of the crop. They simply don’t match up against the likes of Dwight Howard or Kevin Garnett. I’ll go ahead and be so bold as to say they don’t even match up well against Shaq, Anderson Varejao or Brook Lopez.

Now I’m not going to say that the Heat aren’t one of the most talented teams in the league. On paper, they are. You can’t argue with the raw talent of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, you just can’t. The team is not built to play inside and that’s always been a huge part of the game. Think about it – Kobe didn’t get his respect until he won without Shaq. The Spurs have won with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. The Pistons – Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups. The Celtics with Rajon Rondo and the Big Three. If you want to win, you have to have talent at every position. People will say that Phil Jackson won with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen only, but people forget about how good Steve Kerr was running the point and that solid inside game.

Back to the original point. Is Erik Spoelstra the guy who should be coaching the Heat? In my opinion, no. What has the guy done in his career? Nothing. And even with the most talent on any roster, the team is struggling to get wins. On the night of the 24th, they were coming off of back-to-back losses to the Memphis Grizzlies and the Indiana Pacers. Now, a change of coach isn’t going to suddenly make the centers on the Heat roster suddenly be able to match up to the better post players in the Eastern Conference. It certainly will help, though, to have a proven winner on the bench, a guy who instantly commands respect. So no, Phil Jackson, you were not wrong. You were completely within your rights to say what you did and I will not be surprised if Pat Riley fires Spoelstra in the middle of the season to retake his spot on the bench.

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WSOE On the Road: Virginia Tech

In honor of WSOE Sports first Women’s Basketball away game of the season tonight, Thursday November 18 against the Virginia Tech Hokies, here are some photos of the games broadcasters, Matt Curry and Greg Brzozowski, walking around Virginia Tech’s athletic facilities. Be sure to tune in tonight at 7:00 PM here by clicking our listen live page to hear their call.

Virginia Tech's Gym


Elon Practicing at shoot around


On the field at VT's Lane Stadium


Press Box




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NFL: Vick for MVP?

Two years ago, the first thing that came to mind when anybody said “Michael Vick” was “criminal.” Today, it’s “MVP.”

Talk about a turnaround. Not just in football, but in life. Everyone knows the story – dogfighting, prison, mentoring sessions with Tony Dungy, signing by the Eagles. But you look at how much this guy has changed from a football standpoint and it’s really something to behold.

Let’s take a look at his best statistical years while he was with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2002, he had 231 completions on 421 attempts for a 54.9% completion rate. He threw for 2,936 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also had 113 rushing attempts for 777 yards and an additional eight touchdowns. In 2006, the only full season Vick has ever played, he attempted 388 passes, completing 204 of them for a 52.6% completion rate. He threw for 2,474 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran 123 times for 1,039 yards and two touchdowns. Those teams finished 9-6-1 and 7-9, respectively.

Fast-forward to 2010. Despite missing three games, Vick is having, undoubtedly, the best season of his career. Through six games, he’s completed 96 out of his 153 attempted passes for 1,350 yards and a 62.7% completion rate, nearly 8% higher than his career average. The telling statistic here is this: 11 touchdowns to 0 (that’s right, ZERO) interceptions. According to Mike Sando of ESPN.com, every other player with more than two touchdown passes has at least one interception and every player with more than six touchdown passes has at least three picks. In case you were wondering, Vick’s passer rating is 115.1, nearly 40 POINTS higher than his career average. He’s also carried the ball 44 times for 341 yards and four scores. What’s more, every game that Vick has started and played in its entirety, the Eagles have won. And in case you missed it, Vick put on a clinic in Week 10 against the Washington Redskins, passing for over 300 yards with four touchdowns (QB rating of 150.7) while rushing for 80 yards and two more scores.

Where has this production come from? It’s unprecedented in his career. My theory is this: while he was playing in Atlanta, the offensive system was built around him and he had a run-first mentality. In Philadelphia, he stepped into a West Coast Offense that emphasizes passing first. Honestly, if you watched Vick play in the early 2000s, you weren’t watching for his arm. You were watching for his athleticism. Anybody remember the Michael Vick Experience commercial? Watch him this year. He’s delivering strikes on nearly all of his pass attempts, putting the ball where only his receivers can catch it. His evolution as a quarterback in only his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles has been truly remarkable. I’d be wrong if I said that it’s his quarterback play is the only thing that’s making him great because he’s as fast as ever, but he’s only using his speed when he doesn’t have a passing option. And this makes scheming for him almost impossible. An opposing defensive coordinator has no way of knowing what he’s going to do on a given down because he’s a threat to pass or run and it could go either way. Michael Vick for MVP? He has my vote.

So here we are, Week 11 in the NFL. In what was expected to be a down year for the Eagles, they find themselves in a tie for first place in the NFC East with the New York Giants. Now this is where things get interesting. The two teams haven’t played each other yet. They meet up in a Sunday night bout at Lincoln Financial Field, one of the toughest places to play in sports. The Giants are coming off a terrible loss to the Dallas Cowboys, while the Eagles have all the confidence in the world after their drubbing of the Redskins. The winner of this game will take control of the division and be in the conversation for best team in the NFC. It’ll certainly be one worth watching even if you’re not a fan of either team.

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Elon Phoenix V.S Fordham Rams

Listen live at 4 o’ clock as the Elon Women Basketball team takes on the Fordham Rams.

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Women’s Basketball: Elon Phoenix vs. Chowan Hawks

Tonight starts WSOE Sports’ coverage of the 2010-11 Elon Phoenix Women’s Basketball team as Tom Waterman and Brian Dudiak bring you play by play coverage as Elon welcomes the Chowan Hawks in an exhibition matchup at the newly renovated Alumni Gym. Jackson Brodie will also be following the game with a live blog which you can follow by clicking the link below. Our coverage starts at 6:45 PM.

http://www.coveritlive.com/index.php?option=com_altcaster&task=siteviewaltcast&altcast_code=0e5f7f067b&height=550&width=470″ target=”_blank

mlb: world series in perspective

“There’s a long drive… it’s gonna be, I believe…THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT!! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant and they’re goin’ crazy, they’re goin’ crazy! HEEEY-OH!!!”

In case you didn’t already know, that’s Russ Hodges’s call of Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in the 1951 National League Championship. Couple this with the 1954 World Series that included “The Catch” by Willy Mays and you have the top two moments in San Francisco/New York Giants history. Well, you can add the 2010 World Series to those moments. No, there wasn’t any defining spectacular play that will live on in the annals of sports, but this series represented a momentous occasion in the world of baseball. A once-storied franchise seeking its first title in over 50 years finally gets it. And what’s more, it represents the end of a dark period for that franchise.

 

For a franchise that was marred by the steroid cloud that came with Barry Bonds, this championship means more than a ring or a trophy. It means the club has moved on, forgetting what happened in the early 2000s. Led by a trio of fantastic starting pitchers in Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants closed the door on the upstart Texas Rangers in a series that was never really even close.

 

How did they do it? As a team. Not one player in the Giants’ lineup is considered a superstar. Buster Posey, the team’s 23-year-old rookie catcher, bat .300 in the World Series. Edgar Renteria, a 35-year-old shortstop in the twilight of his career, smacked the series-clinching three-run homer off of arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Cliff Lee. Tim “The Freak” Lincecum struck out 10 Texas Rangers in Game 5, tied for the most ever in a clinching game. Madison Bumgarner, only 21 years old, pitched eight shutout innings in Game 4. Cody Ross, a castoff from the Florida Marlins, bat .294 with five home runs and 10 runs batted in over the course of the entire postseason. Brian Wilson, an openly Christian and oddly eccentric closer, had six saves with a 0.00 earned run average.  No, one person did not carry the team. It was a coherent team effort.

 

There’s a saying that the best team always wins. There’s a truth to that, but it’s also misleading. Over the course of the season, the Giants were not the best team in the league. They weren’t even the best team in their division. This was a case of a team getting hot at the right time. In recent history, though, no team has ever sustained that kind of play for as long as the Giants did. They defied all odds – a team built around youth with only a few veterans – and believed in themselves. Now, as World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants can call themselves the best team in the league.

 

The path to the World Series was long and arduous for the Giants. First, they had to face an Atlanta Braves team that was fighting for their manager, a legend set to retire. Then, they had to take on the three-headed monster of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt along with the potent Philadelphia Phillies offense. And to top it off, they squared off with the Texas Rangers, a team that had beaten arguably the best two teams in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees. Through all of this, they came out on top, realizing the dream that fans and players alike have shared for so many years.

 

Now to be fair, there was another team in the World Series. The Texas Rangers, under the ownership of pitching great Nolan Ryan, showed a never-say-die attitude. That attitude stems from star center fielder Josh Hamilton, who has become the proverbial face of redemption. The Rangers can’t be upset with their failure. It was the farthest the team has advanced in its 38-year history. Granted, anything short of a championship is considered a failure by many, but the Rangers can go into next season knowing what they are capable of. A few tweaks to the roster and they can contend for a title again next season.

 

But here’s to the San Francisco Giants. Enjoy the moment, you’ve earned it. Never forget how it feels, because once you are content, you lose the will to go to the next level. The defense starts in a few short months.

 

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