Bullets Wizards went down last night to the Indiana Pacers, and go home for the season as Indiana advances. Consider this:
The Washington Wizards team accomplished a hell of a lot this season. They accomplished more than any Washington team in most of our lifetimes. They did so led by a 23-year-old point guard and a 20-year-old shooting guard. They thrilled us in ways none of us have ever experienced as fans. Their end came far later than many of us expected. They perished with honor, losing to a better team rediscovering its game.
Classy. Washington will be better next year, and that's good.
Tweet of the Morning
Yeah, A.J. Reed is pretty good...
- USA Today has Kentucky at #104 in their rankings. This is a really fine and detailed preview by Paul Meyerberg. There is a vast discrepancy between his dream season and nightmare season, and I suspect that is more a reflection of Kentucky's youth than anything else. You never know how so many young players are going to perform.
Karl-Anthony Towns Sr. says his son will bring things not seen before at UK. I'm not sure about that, but Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. is a remarkable player. And I think this is right:
"Because he didn’t play AAU, a lot of people did not get to see him play against elite talent. Then when you see him play, you realize everything you hear about him is believable. He proved in those (all-star) games that he is just as talented as anyone. You hear about the kid, but you want to see him play and a lot of people were impressed by his skill set and what he brings to the game."
James Young's NBA Draft Combine media session:
Julius Randle's NBA Draft Combine media session:
Other Kentucky sports
Bat Cats get off to a great start in Athens, blasting the Bulldogs 13-0. Naturally, A.J. Reed figured prominently — he got the win as the pitcher and went 4-6 at the plate. Also, with this win last night, Kentucky clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament.
Softball kicks off their Lexington regional play tonight versus Ohio at 5 p.m.
Jerry Tipton writes about the pitching duel today between Kelsey Nunley and Ohio's Savannah Jo Dorsey.
Matthew Mitchell picked up another big commitment yesterday as the #30 player in the class of 2016, Sydney Shelton from Fortville, Indiana, committed to Kentucky.
- Don't even think about accusing Nick Saban of cheating.
Johnny Jones, coach at LSU, did not renew Anthony Hickey's scholarship due to clashes with him and other players. Consider:
Anthony Hickey Sr., the guard’s father, told The Advocate that his son was informed last week that the program does not intend to renew his scholarship. The rising senior had his run-ins with coach Johnny Jones in the past two seasons, largely over missed classes and study hall periods.
Hat tip: John Clay
This photo of Andrew Wiggins is all the rage around the Internet today. It's impressive, to be sure, but not Darrel Griffith or David Thompson impressive. Judging by his feet, l'd say he's got about a 36-38" vertical. But that's quite enough with Andrew's length.
In the SEC, it's Kentucky, Florida, and everyone else again. Well, yeah.
Other sports news
Adam Zagoria says Dante Exum benefited from not playing college ball, because he didn't have his game picked apart in college. To me, that's a red flag if I'm an NBA GM, although the times he has been seen in public make it hard to pass him up.
Nerlens Noel may be the most interesting NBA rookie next season:
"He is an elite athlete; he is a different athlete," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "There's a speed, there's a quickness—he has the ability to jump twice all under the mentality of he wants to play defense. His athleticism is something special, and now we've just got to continue to add weight to his body and to teach him when to use it. We pride ourselves on playing with a lot of pace, and I think he'll fit in tremendously in that regard next season."
He will definitely be worth watching.
The NBA Draft Combine is dying a slow death as players eschew it to avoid hurting their draft stock. I'm not sure this is a bad thing, but now you can see why the NBA would really like to extend the draft eligibility age out another year.
Sports agents, at least in basketball, are going to eventually undo the sport, and may wind up killing it off altogether as currently constructed. They are opposed to anything that reduces their power, but that can only continue for little bit longer. There is major resistance building up to them, and the next NBA contract year is likely to be a lost one as the owners try to assert their authority. I suspect a long, and possibly crippling lockout will be forthcoming.
Donald Sterling has decided to go nuclear on the NBA, and judging by this, he's not fooling around even a tiny little bit:
SI.com has learned that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has hired prominent antitrust litigator Maxwell Blecher, who has written a letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan threatening to sue the NBA. The letter, sources tell SI.com, claims that Sterling has done nothing wrong and that "no punishment is warranted" for Sterling. Blecher also tells Buchanan that Sterling will not pay the $2.5 million fine, which is already past due. Blecher ends the letter by saying this controversy "will be adjudicated."
That pretty much lays out the intentions in no uncertain terms. Michael Mann, the author of the piece (whom I do think has a very good take) might have this one a little off:
Any lawsuit by Sterling against the NBA would face a daunting task, as Sterling contractually agreed to follow the NBA's system of justice. Sterling's failure to pay the fine is additional evidence of his insubordination of league policies. His failure triggers other contractual provisions that can be used by the NBA under Article 13(d) to justify his ouster. It is also possible the NBA could deduct $2.5 million, plus interest, from proceeds the NBA would share with the Sterlings after the league sells the Clippers.
I'm of two minds on this. Anytime you submit to an act of punishment, it is an admission of wrongdoing in a sense. Sterling is asserting that he has done nothing colorable under the NBA constitution, so the logical thing to do would be to refuse to willingly pay the fine. So if you are going to assert that the fine was essentially wrongdoing by the NBA, paying it undermines that position.
The problem with all this is that Sterling has already admitted it was a "terrible mistake" to make the utterances that brought him to such a pass. Legally, though, that's not the same thing as an admission of guilt — making offensive comments could be a "mistake" in the personal sense without being one in a legal sense, especially if Sterling's argument that they weren't actionable under the constitution turns out to be right.
This is a good analysis which you should read if the topic interests you. Those of us who enjoy a good legal drama will surely be entrtained by this as it develops. I'm gong to have lots of popcorn handy. I agree with Mann that this will be an uphill battle with the NBA, but I'm not convinced that it's as uphill as Mann thinks it is.
As we have seen, NBA executives, granted anonymity, will say the dumbest things:
An NBA exec is quoted saying it's "potentially disastrous" that McDermott measured 6-7 1/2 instead of 6-8? The combine just jumped the shark— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) May 16, 2014