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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sports News & Some Commentary

Here are a few current events in the sporting world that are all worth some commentary:

1. Pitino told "No" for coaching stint for Puerto Rico in upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament

Here's the story from

SAN JUAN (FIBA Americas Championship) – Puerto Rico had their man, and now they don’t.
The Puerto Rican Basketball Federation (FBPR) announced late Tuesday that Louisville coach Rick Pitino will not lead their national team at the FIBA Americas Championship this summer due to complications with NCAA rules.
Pitino and Puerto Rico had reached an agreement on a deal before Christmas for the American to lead the national team and try to get them to the London Olympics, but Pitino was not allowed to coach his Cardinals in the Caribbean country this summer as it would be a violation of NCAA rules.
He is not allowed to coach the team in another US state, or territory.
Puerto Rico considered the idea of holding a training camp with Pitino and Louisville in the Bahamas but that was not deemed feasible by one of the two parties.
"The important thing is that from a professional level, he (Pitino) understood it,” FBPR president Carlos Beltran said. 
“Now the next stage is to activate the negotiations we had before and appoint someone before May 15.
"It's a bit frustrating, the situation, but when one works with a manager of this caliber, you have to be ready for these type of situations. 
“But we are working to bring the best.
"Really we arrived to this point due to the negative of the NCAA of not allowing Louisville against Puerto Rico."
Two of Puerto Rico’s most important players, Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Barea and Boston Celtics playmaker Carlos Arroyo, had spoken enthusiastically about Pitino’s arrival as their  national team coach.
Now it’s back to the drawing board for a team that is hoping to at least have a top-five finish in Mar del Plata in order to book a spot at next year’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
A few comments:

1. First... there's no relation on the Carlos Beltran reference.
2. I'll take a pass on cheap-shot Pitino jokes.
3. Notice the fact the basketball federation from Puerto Rico threw the NCAA under the bus?  Seems the entire coaching stint was predicated on Pitino's Lousville team getting some practice vs. PUR national team, doesn't it? The NCAA comes off looking like Officer Krumke to Pitino's "West Side Story."
4. As an aside, Georgetown and Duke will be touring in China this summer, tuning up against the Chinese NT.
5. I remember, back in 1987, (then) Indiana Coach Bobby Knight criticized the NBA and the Atlanta Hawks for training against the (then) USSR national team as he conveniently overlooked the fact many an NCAA team had played the same USSR team in exhibitions the prior season.  Now, the NCAA teams, including USA national Team Coach Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils are practicing and training against international teams that will try to upset Coach K in London 2012.
6. Kentucky Coach John Calipari has been negotiating with the Dominican Republic to coach their national team in Olympic Qualifying.  Let's see where the NCAA comes in on that?
7. The USA has already qualified for London 2012 by virtue of their 2010 World Championship gold medal.
8. There's nothing like Mar del Plata in the wintertime.
9. If there's an NBA lockout, will NBA players boycott the various FIBA qualifying event like the USA players did in Greece in 1998 after being encouraged to do so by Patrick Ewing?  In '98, Chris Anstey of Australia was the only NBA player who participated in the worlds, and no one noticed that he played against players association guidelines.
10. Brazil's going to be the team to beat in the tournament.

2. Lady Gaga concert in Montreal forces NHL back-to-back for Games 6 & 7 of Bruins vs. Canadiens.

Playoff scheduling is not an easy task, especially in buildings that house both NHL and NBA teams that qualify for the playoffs.  Add to that concert tours, the circus and a handful of other events, like NLL playoffs and the teams and leagues are bound to the "dates" they secure in advance.  The NHL was forced to slide Game 6 in Montreal from Monday to Tuesday while Wednesday remained the date on hold for the Boston Bruins.  So, back-to-back with Game 7 tonight at the TD Boston Garden.

Hey Claude, It might be time to activate Tyler Seguin, eh?

3. Jon Gruden's Quarterback Camp on ESPN is one of the better "original" programming efforts in ESPN history.

While HBO's Real Sports and the HBO/NFL Films co-production of Hard Knocks are the best sports shows on TV, ESPN has a gem with Monday Night Football color commentator and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden taking the current crop of draft-worthy QB's into his office and film room for one-one-one sessions, job interview type questioning and sheer coaching brilliance.  After seeing the show, I am sure NFL team owners and GMs were sprinting to call Gruden to check his interest in coaching.  Norv Turner beware.

 4. Wouldn't it be great if NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith did a Ronald Reagan impersonation and proclaimed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, "Mr. Goodell, open this gate.  Mr. Goodell, tear down these walls."

The legal posturing by the NFL and its players has forced the majority of fans to turn a deaf ear on the current work stoppage while each side cemented its legal strategies to build a brick wall between players and owners.  First decertification, then the owner-imposed lockout, then federal mediation and now a court ordered (and appealed) end to the lockout.  The NFL countered with their appeal but kept players away from the team owned workout facilities in an embarrassing 24-hour stretch before the NFL planned to go on with business as usual by conducting their annual college draft.  (Go figure?).

I have one question: If the NFL collective bargaining agreement has expired, how can the draft be conducted?  Isn't the draft up for discussion in the CBA?

Isn't the only interim solution, considering the federal court order to end the lockout, to revert back and operate the league under the 2010 rules - as most labor laws call for while there's labor unrest?  

5. If Donald Trump decides to run for POTUS, I suggest his running mate be Charlie Sheen.

Both men have, obviously, lost their minds.

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