Basketball, BCS, Brian Shaw, Florida Gators (Football), Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike Brown, NBA, Phil Jackson, Sports, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized, Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp

I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy


I Wanna Be That Guy But Not The Guy Who Succeeds The Guy

Well the Phil Jackson era is now said to be over in Los Angeles with the Lakers having said good bye to their much beloved coach for the second time over that coach’s illustrious career . And under the auspices of the team’s owner Jerry Buss , senior executives EVP Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have hired former Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown . Surprising as it may seem I felt that the organization would stayed in-house and hired one of Jackson’s assistants either Jim Cleamons or Brian Shaw , with the latter in most circles believed to be have been the heir apparent to Phil Jackson. But as the saying goes …… ‘ out with the old and in with the new ‘ . As this clearly seems to have the mantra best felt that would serve the Lakers’ hierarchy and the team as they now move forward.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Now there’s no denying that Brown has some big shoes to Phil when one considers Phil Jackson’s legacy within the city and with the Los Angeles Lakers . Five NBA titles over the course of his tenure with the organization and seven appearances in the NBA Finals . Not bad at all but it’s going to be one hell of an act to follow for an experienced coach such as Mike Brown. From my own perspective I think that the hire is a good one although as I alluded to earlier I felt that Brian Shaw would be Phil Jackson’s successor. I’ve got to wonder whether or not Kobe Bryant perhaps the team’s most respected player had any say as to the organization’s next hire might have been . The player himself , hasn’t yet issued a formal statement as to Jackson’s successor but Mike Brown , himself , has made it clear that this is still Bryant’s team . And if anything the newly installed coach will have to prove his worth to the player , who may well have felt somewhat slighted that his former teammate wasn’t hired . That being said , I do believe that there’s room for two to co-exist and form a successful partnership . As to whether or not it is as successful as the one that was attained and sustained between Bryant Phil Jackson remains to be seen. Certainly if Mike Brown is able to continue the level of success achieved by Phil Jackson by winning at least a pair of titles , his hiring will undoubtedly be viewed as being an initial and instant success.

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There is no denying that the fallout in light of the demise of the Lakers in the postseason with their series loss (4-0) to the Dallas Mavericks was if anything a surprising one. One might be even more inexplicable was the lackluster effort of the team by anyone not with the last name of Bryant . If you could tell me that the likes of Pau Gasol , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum would be an absolute non-factor in the series I would be laughing at you ! But low and behold this was the type of effort where the Los Angeles Lakers were complacent , they looked old and simply didn’t give a damn ! OK you had the atypical postgame interviews from the players but in reality I believe that the players were not only dumb founded but they were outplayed in absolutely every facet of the game ! Mike Brown has a tough off season ahead of him as he and Mitch Kupchak will have to assess the needs of this team and also look to get rid of the dead weight on this roster . I certainly do believe that this might be the last time that we will see Derek Fisher in a Lakers’ uniform ! And certainly the Artest experiment has to viewed as a ‘ dud’ after his postseason travails this year. Steve Blake cannot be considered a starting point guard in this league , at best he’s simply an adequate backup. As for the so called role players on this roster well let’s just say that they knew their role in during this series against the Mavericks . They were bitch slapped and showed their immaturity during the series , enough said I think !

Given the expectations of the fans in Los Angeles the scrutiny with which Brown will be placed under and his every moved analyzed and judged . I just hope that he has the mindset and temperament to last the length of his contract . I’d hate to see him flame out much as in the same way that Rudy Tomjanovich did in his shortened tenure with the Lakers ! Egos asides , anyone who undertakes such a task in coaching an organization such as the Los Angeles Lakers with all of the brouhaha , then having to deal with the Hollywood A list celebrities , fans seated at the Staples Center and all that it brings , that type of pressure cooker atmosphere can’t be at all good for one’s psyche .

As I alluded to earlier I believe that the Lakers will have to look to bolster this roster be it through free agency or through the NBA Draft . From my own perspective these crop of players within the draft seem extremely short on real talent with one or two exceptions . The Lakers for their part do not have a draft pick in the first round of the upcoming draft having traded the rights to that pick (25th) to the New Jersey Nets . However, in the second round they will have multiple picks which ought to prove to be fortuitous for the organization if they make prudent choices .

Now don’t get me wrong I have the utmost respect for former Florida Gators’ coach Urban Meyer . But in all honesty his departure from the program the second time around left a great deal to be desired . Health issues or not, Meyer flip flopped as to whether or not he was departing in the same way that John Kerry and Mitt Romney would go about making political decision in order to seek out the public’s sympathy. What might be even more asinine was in light of his departure he still wanted to remain a part of the program’s decision making process even in the advent of his successor being named ! The AD of the school’s athletics program Jeremy Foley knew that he had to cast his net far and wide in order to seek out a high profiled and proven coach. The hiring of former Texas Longhorns’ assistant Will Mushchamp seems to have gone over well amongst the fans of the Gators and it has been met with a great deal of positive vibe from the state’s sports print , radio and television media that cover the football program .

A great deal is being asked of Will Muschamp in having to succeed a successful coach . Urban Meyer’s record with the Florida Gators simply speaks for itself , with two national titles , two SEC championship game titles and a number of All Americans , never mind the recruits to the NFL from one of the most respected programs in the SEC . In light of that one has to admit that last season was something of a disappointment for this program. Having finished the season 8-5 within the SEC Eastern Division a non BCS Bowl appearance in the Outback Bowl against Penn State was in reality all the team had to show for the year .

One of the main reasons I believe for the letdown last season with the Gators was the loss of Tim Tebow to the NFL and the mere fact that Meyer simply hadn’t adjusted or completely comprehend the magnitude of the loss would mean to the team overall. John Brantley , Tebow’s understudy along with Jordan Reed and Trey Burton may well have been viewed as suitable replacements but it was belied in the fact that their statistics and performances didn’t bear that out. However , in saying that I also felt that there was a great deal of complacency which the coach at the time would fail to admit . And with such teams within the SEC as Auburn , Alabama , South Carolina , Arkansas , LSU and Mississippi State all looking to show their dominance within a powerful conference you can well understand why it is that the Florida Gators have to be a formidable team in all aspects .

Muschamp along with his coaching staff will most certainly look to assess the roster looking for its strength and weaknesses. And certainly from a defensive standpoint I expect to see an improvement by this team . It will also be interesting to see how the juniors and seniors on the team perform this upcoming season . I’ve no doubt that we will see an improvement in the play of Chris Rainey , Jeffrey Demps , Moses Jenkins , Deonte Thompson , Jonathan Bostic and Dominique Easley . If these players can instill a sense of leadership and maturity then I firmly believe that the Gators can be seriously challengers within the SEC and quite possibly for a major BCS Bowl berth .

Now as many of you are aware Florida Gators fans are about as passionate as they come and in terms of bragging rights within the state especially when you have the likes of Florida State and the Miami Hurricanes no one when it comes fan worship wants to left on the outside looking in . College Football within the state in terms of its supports plays second fiddle only to the NFL with baseball (MLB) bringing up the rear . The passion for the game at the collegiate level is almost as bright as an incandescent light bulb. And speaking as an outside observer looking in I have seen heated debates between all three sets of fans . So much so, that I would never want to interject and make a case for any of the teams in question . Hence the reason I feel that there will be so much pressure placed on Will Muschamp to succeed and should he fail by the program’s own lofty then there’s no doubt in my mind that he will be ran out of town faster than a registered sex offender in a rural town. Does anyone remember how Meyer’s predecessor Ron Zook was treated not only by the Gator fans but also the print , radio and television media across the state ? He was persona non grata and a pariah within three years of accepting the position , solely because he was unable to win with any great consistency . The fact that he was one of hell of a recruiter simply didn’t seem to matter to the press or the fans at all as he relinquished of his duties as coach . It was unfortunate however that he had to succeed a coaching legend , Steve Spurrier . I know winning is meant to be everything but it also takes time for the coach to acclimatize himself with his players and the environment of that program but within collegiate athletics and in particular college football , winning means everything not only terms of the success it brings the numerous financial bounties and the notoriety for that sport.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) EL SEGUNDO, CA – MAY 31: Mike Brown, (L) the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, shares a laugh with owner Jerry Buss (C) and Buss’ son Jesse Buss after Brown’s introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images…..

(2) Jim Buss, (C) executive vice president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, team owner Jerry Bus and player Matt Barnes listen to new coach Mike Brown’s speech during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaced Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(3) Mike Brown, the new head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his introductory news conference at the team’s training facility on May 31, 2011 in El Segundo, California. Brown replaces Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who retired at the end of this season. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …..

(4) Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, leaves after his last official Lakers news conference at the team’s training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(5) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Jackson (left) is seen here on the sidelines along with his former assistants Brian Shaw (center) and Jim Cleamons during an NBA game earlier this season . Courtesy of ESPN …..

(7) GAINESVILLE, FL – APRIL 9: Coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis of the Florida Gators direct play during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(8) Running back Chris Rainey (3) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(9) Quarterback John Brantley (12) of the Florida Gators runs upfield during the Orange and Blue spring football game April 9, 2011 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……..

(10) Will Muschamp, center, the new head coach for the University of Florida’s football team and his wife Carol, right, are escorted to the media room by Florida’s athletic director Jeremy Foley, left, where he is to be introduced to the media at a news conference in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010 . Muschamp comes to Florida after being the coach-in-waiting at the University of Texas since Nov. 2008. AP Photo/Phil Sandlin ….

(11) Tim Tebow (left) is seen here with Urban Meyer celebrate the second of the duo’s two national BCS titles . AP Photo / Robert Phillips ….

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Phew I’m Glad That’s Over …….. !


Phew I’m Glad That’s All Over !

Well the sporting weekend was filled with a litany of stories that may well have found its way into your time spent resting and taking anyone of a number of events on offer. Both the NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and as those episodes play themselves out the fans there I’ve no doubt will be thoroughly entertained. Now I’m not nor have I ever been that much of an enthusiast when it comes to the game of hockey and I doubt I ever will be ! Suffice to say that when it comes to being physical in such a way when the opposing players are throwing down and landing punches like effeminate school girls I’d rather throw my weight behind a good mix up in a martial arts dojo !

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In what is allegedly said to be baseball’s biggest rivalry the Boston Red Sox and their divisional arch rivals the New York Yankees met in a three game series which the Yankees hosted at Yankees Stadium . Having lost the the first two games 5-4 , 6-0 respectively the Yankees were looking to redeem themselves in Sunday’s game in front of a soldout crowd and a national cable broadcast on ESPN .

Much has been made concerning the New York Yankees this season and the frailties of this team in particular with their pitching rotation whom many believe to the team’s Achilles’ heel. If anything with both of the losses in question it simply wasn’t about the weakness of the pitching but also that the bats wents extremely cold for the Yankees . Last night’s game in light of the furore created by the team’s veteran catcher Jorge Posada has pretty much summed up how things could very well go for the Yankees this season .

Posada is having a brutal season batting a mediocre .165 , much to the dismay of the player and the coaching staff led by Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long . That being said it was somewhat inexplicable the way in which the player informed GM Brian Cashman that he wouldn’t be able to play in Saturday’s game. His excuse seemed to be contrived , with him suggesting that he was suffering from a back-ache and that his head wasn’t where it needed to be. Pardon me for saying this , but if you’re unwilling to suit up when it’s all on the line and your teammates are counting on you then you have no part being on that team ! Either Jorge Posada was genuinely hurt or he wasn’t but for him to take umbrage when Cashman made it public to the press before the game that he wouldn’t be playing , I find it rather naive on the part of Posada ! After-all it was his decision to withdraw from the team and not face their AL East rivals the Red Sox . Now in light of that , it now appears that there’s a great deal of friction and an apparent rift between the player and the upper levels of the executive heirarchy of the New York Yankees . This I believe is what tends to happen when things become contrived and the players who feel that they ought to be treated with deference from their peers within the locker room . Posada, if he’s to be seen as a veteran and an example to the younger players on this Yankees’ roster then he ought to act accordingly , and not like some infantile child who has had his pacifier taken away from him.

I’m not about to suggest that after this Sunday loss ( 7-5 ) which gave the Boston Red Sox a clean three game sweep in this series that the season for the New Yankees is now up in the air as that would be rather asinine ! The Yankees’ situation won’t be made any easier knowing that they now have to face a red hot Tampa Bay Rays’ —- team that has the best away record (13-5 ) in the league this season and whose confidence at a real high. Having lost that game to the Red Sox the Yankees saw their lead within the division erased with the Tampa Bay Rays now leading the AL East with a 23-17 mark with the Yankees two games behind and the Red Sox a mere 3 games behind the division leaders. Things are hotting up within that division and there’s a great deal to play for , nevertheless I do believe that it’s still too soon to write the Yankees off at this juncture but I do believe that the chasm that has now been created between Jorge Posada and the front office could well be irrevocably broken . With Cashman having stated that he’ll approach the commissioner’s office to see what , if any punishment can be levied against the player , you simply get the feeling that Posada could be on his way out with the Yankees unless there’s a contrite apololgy from the player to the organization. The chances of that happening might just be diminishing by the second given the demeanor shown by Posada and his own remarks in light of the series loss.

This two game series between the Yankees and Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida could go a long way in telling us about the direction that both teams are now presently heading in. The Rays need to win and win consistently if they’re even to be thought of as legitimate contenders within the division much less a wildcard entrant or for that matter to have a legitimate shot at the World Series Series . It’s a near on certainty that the wildcard entrant from AL will undoubtedly come from the AL East unless there’s a major surprise to come from within any of the other divisions . At this juncture with how the teams are now playing nothing can be taken off the table as of yet .

I don’t know about you but with all the talk of the Miami Heat strolling their way to the NBA title this season , I’m so glad they were given that proverbial wake up call ! Last night in their conference finals game opener against the Chicago Bulls played at the United Center in Chicago showed us why the Bulls should be written out of this series based on their so called inexperience . Complacency I believe has already has set in with the Heat especially amongst the role players on this team !

The Miami Heat showed why there are still many flaws on this team none more so than on defense as the Bulls laid an almighty can of whup ass on the self absorbed Heat . This game may well have started off as a sprint with the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ looking to stamp their identity on this game . But as good as LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are said to be , on the night Luol Deng , Derrick Rose , Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer simply better , as the Bulls took the Heat behind the woodshed and fuc_ed them proverbially in the ass ! Statistically the Bulls won this game by being aggressive and simply beating up on the Heat on the boards (45-33) on both ends of the floor .

Inexplicably the Heat were simply no match for the Bulls and the idiocy came about even further when the Heat had six players on the floor during this game but somehow the officials , Dan Crawford , Michael Smith and Ken Mauer as incompetent as we’ve known the referees to be didn’t call a technical against the Miami . Inasmuch , I had expected the Heat to win game one I certainly didn’t believe that they would be upended and embarrassed in the way that they were on the Bulls’ homecourt . But as I alluded to earlier , there’s a complacency about this team that I don’t believe that Erik Spoelstra or Pat Riley can deny . I think that there’s connivance and a belief about the Heat that having beaten the Boston Celtics with effortless ease they may well have felt that they would walk the Bulls like a hot knife through butter. Well it’s game on bitches and you’re now going to be in for a hard fought battle and one hell of a war .

The result a 21 point defeat ( 103-82) of the Miami Heat simply ought to remind us all that we ought to also take note that the Bulls did also sweep the Heat in their regular season meetings 3-0 . And though one could allude to the fact that the Heat as a team weren’t playing cohesively as a unit you simply cannot discount those results as being a one off at all ! The Heat were beaten and albeit that the regular season tends to mean nothing at all once the postseason comes around , you can’t deny that this would be the last thing that Miami Heat would have wanted at this juncture . And that’s to be in a battle where they’re expected to win soundly ____ but instead they’re now in the midst of what could turn out to be guerilla warfare and they’ve simply shown that based on last night’s display they simply haven’t the arsenal to compete against their younger foes.

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece and as such what sporting even over the weekend had your undivided attention ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as usual for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) VANCOUVER, CANADA – MAY 15: Mason Raymond (21) of the Vancouver Canucks skates after the puck on the forecheck against Joe Pavelski (8) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(2) Chris Higgins (20) of the Vancouver Canucks makes contact as he screens goaltender Antti Niemi (31) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(3) Teammates, including catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia congratulate Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis, second from left, after he led the Red Sox to their 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees for a three-game sweep in their baseball series at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011, in New York. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, right, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez join in the celebration. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez watches his seventh-inning RBI double in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(5) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a home run in the fifth inning as Russell Martin(notes) #55 of the New York Yankees looks on and J.D. Drew (7) of the Boston Red Sox gets ready to bat during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …..

(6) Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees is caught in a run down against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

(7) A woman holds up a sign supporting New York Yankees five-time All-Star and designated hitter Jorge Posada one day after Posada pulled himself out of the lineup in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Posada apologized to him in a face-to-face conversation. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(8) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees cheers his team on from the bench against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ….

(9) From left to right Kurt Thomas (40), John Lucas III, Joakim Noah (13) and Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls celebrate late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 103-82 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(10) Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts as he coaches against the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ……..

(11) Chris Bosh (1) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat talk on court against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Gregory Shamus/ Getty Images ……..

(12) Kyle Korver (26) of the Chicago Bulls reaches for a loose ball against LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

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Fabolous …… feat’g …….. Nate Dogg ……” I Can’t Deny It”