Friday, November 28, 2008

Practice? ... Iverson Skips Thanksgiving Practice

The Detroit Pistons held a morning practice session on Thanksgiving. But he team's newest player, guard Allen Iverson, didn't show up. According to Detroit coach Michael Curry, part of the rationale for holding a Thanksgiving practice was to help Iverson get acclimated to his new team's system and to develop chemistry with his new teammates:

"Some things you have to do," Curry said, "to pay the price to get to where we need to be."

Detroit will fine Iverson, and he won't start when Detroit hosts Milwaukee Friday night.

Iverson's indifference to practice is nothing new. After missing a practice when he was playing for the 76'ers in 2002, Iverson famously told the Philly media that he didn't understand why skipping practice was a big deal:

"Practice? ... We talkin' about practice, man! Practice! ... It's about practice ... We talkin' about practice ... How da hell can I make my teammates better by practice!?!"

Perhaps another press conference in which Iverson wittily ponders the merits of practice is on the horizon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Curry Held Scoreless in Bizarre Davidson Win

Tuesday night, Loyola (Md) had an unconventional plan for stopping Davidson's star guard Stephen Curry: they double teamed him on every possession, everywhere on the court, for the entire game. And it worked. Curry was held scoreless. But, left with a 4 on 3 advantage for 40 minutes, the rest of his Davidson teammates steamrolled Loyola 78-48.

Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos offered an explanation for his unconventional -- if not off the wall -- strategy:

“We had to play against an NBA player tonight,” Patsos explained. “Anybody else ever hold him scoreless? I’m a history major. They’re going to remember that we held him scoreless or we lost by 30?”

OK. I guess that's one way to look at it. But after Tuesday night's stunt, it's probably fair to say that when the college basketball season concludes, and Athletic Directors look to fill coaching vacancies, Jimmy Patsos' name won't be on many ADs' short lists.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hall of Fame Coach Newell Passes Away at 93

On Monday, Legendary basketball coach Pete Newell died at the age of 93. Newell led the University of California to the 1959 NCAA National Championship and led the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1960. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1979. But Newell is probably best known for founding the Pete Newell Big Man camps. Through his decades long work of tutoring post players, Newell's influence on the modern game of basketball has been profound. John Doleva, President & CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame issued the following statement:

"Coach Newell was one of the most beloved and revered coaches in the game influencing the careers and success of so many others --including many contemporary coaches now elected to the Hall of Fame. His wit and wisdom will be missed but certainly not forgotten. He truly loved the game and has contributed so much to its growth and popularity..."

In a 2007 interview with Mike Greenberg on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning, Bob Knight said of Newell, "he was as good as anybody who's ever coached this game."

Mike DeCourcy has an excellent tribute to Coach Newell in the Sporting News.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kentucky Loses Opener to VMI

Friday night, Virginia Military Institute's basketball team made the college basketball world stand at attention when it walked into Kentucky's vaunted Rupp Arena and upset the Kentucky Wildcats 111-103 in their home opener. Some observers are already calling it the greatest win in the history of VMI basketball.

Last year, the Billy Gillispie era got off to a rough start when Kentucky lost its second game of the season to Gardner Webb. Gillispie had been hailed as the savior of Kentucky basketball, but doubts arose all over the bluegrass state as soon as the Wildcats fell to a supposed "cupcake" opponent in Gillispie's second game as head coach.

Gillispie will be afforded the benefit of the doubt if the Wildcats make considerable improvements over the course of the season. But Kentucky fans have extraordinarily high expectations, and as such, Gillispie had better get things turned around soon. Tubby Smith won a national championship in his first season at Kentucky, but it didn't endear him to Kentucky fans (although it probably did buy him time with regard to the Athletic Department and the university's administration). With no championship ring on his finger, Billy Gillispie won't be granted as much of a honeymoon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Newsflash: Stoners' Brains Not as Sharp as Non-Stoners' Brains

Breaking news: long term marijuana use may not be good for your brain.

A study performed by Australian researchers and just released in the American Medical Association's journal Archives of General Psychiatry, reveals that heavy use of marijuana may cause two important brain structures to shrink. According to Reuters,
"brain scans showed the hippocampus and amygdala were smaller in men who were heavy marijuana users compared to nonusers." And here's a shocker:
The study ... also found the heavy cannabis users earned lower scores than the nonusers in a verbal learning task -- trying to recall a list of 15 words.

The marijuana users were more likely to exhibit mild signs of psychotic disorders, but not enough to be formally diagnosed with any such disorder, the researchers said.

(Emphasis mine).

Equally shocking is the what the results of the study have caused the researchers to conclude:

These findings challenge the widespread perception of cannabis as having limited or no harmful effects on (the) brain and behavior," said Murat Yucel of ORYGEN Research Centre and the University of Melbourne, who led the study.

Did the medical community really need to conduct a study to determine that stoners' brains don't quite work as well as the brains of people who don't spend their lives in a perpetual blazed-out haze? I don't know what kind of financial resources went into funding this study (I hope the
Australian taxpayers didn't have to foot the bill for the research grant), but the results of the study certainly seem to fall into the "no shit!" category. Anybody who knows, has ever known, or has otherwise come into contact with stoners could have predicted the result of the study (save for monitoring the shrinkage in the stoners' brains).

Hell, even a 9 year old third grader who doesn't actually know any stoners (glue-sniffing kids don't count, although they will -- no doubt -- eventually grow up to be stoners) would probably be able to tell you as much so long as he or she is even halfway familiar with the lifestyles of many/most of our current generation of American celubutards.

(Stoners pictured clockwise: Brad Pitt, Diddy [Sean Combs], Steve-O [Jackass], Paris Hilton, Lil Wayne)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

US News to Abandon Weekly Print Edition; Redirecct Focus to Online Edition

Via Yahoo! Finance:

U.S. News and World Report plans to cut its publishing frequency by half for the second time this year, making it the latest news publication to embrace an online-heavy approach, according to a published report Tuesday.

This comes on the heels of last week's announcement by The Christian Science Monitor that it plans to discontinue its print edition in order to refocus on publishing online (The Christian Science Monitor is the first national newspaper -- but, almost certainly, not the last -- to make such a decision).

Expect more magazines and newspapers to make similar moves in the next few years, lest they go the way of the New York Sun.

Drive and Dish Prediction: Within 5 years, the Chicago Sun-Times will be forced to make a similar move (I hope I'm proven wrong).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Iverson to Detroit; Billups, McDyess to Denver

Allen Iverson is headed to Detroit.

On Monday, the Denver Nuggets traded the 33-year-old, 13 year NBA veteran guard -- who happens to be in the final year of a $21.9 million dollars contract -- to the Detroit Pistons for guard Chauncey Billups, forward Antonio McDyess, and Senegalese center Cheikh Samb.