Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Euro Trip

The high top fade decided that "hash brownies man" and making some cash ASAP, are more important than blonde coeds and college basketball glory.

Brandon Jennings is headed for Europe, regardless of the results of his third SAT score.
This of course, is a hit, if you will, to Arizona's chances of extending their NCAA tournament streak of 24 consecutive seasons.

Aside from Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, the Wildcats have a very thin roster. Nic Wise showed signs of being capable last season and will most likely be the third option. But then what? Jamelle Horne and Fendi Onobun are your next two best players. Freshman center Jeff Withey is a complete unknown. Zane Johnson would be a 13th man on UCLA.

Had Budinger known Jennings was Euro-bound, you think he would have stayed? Probably not.
"I would like to thank the University of Arizona for their interest and support through this process," Jennings said in a statement from his agent.

I'm sure the fine folks in the Arizona program were thinking of a few choice words for Jennings, starting in F and ending in you.

According to this True Hoop blog, Jennings may be overestimating how much he'll make playing overseas.

"He's not strong enough and he's not experienced enough to run an elite club. He has a world of talent, and he'll be unbelievable down the road, but experience trumps athleticism and talent every day European basketball," explained Jonathan Givony. "I'd be very surprised if a top team offered him more than $100,000, at most, but stranger things have happened.

NBA's Aran Smith thinks going to Europe will actually hurt his stock as well. Smith dropped Jennings to No. 11 in the 2009 draft.

The loss of the No. 1 point guard in the country obviously hurts Arizona, and I figured this would be the year their tournament run ends. But then I looked deeper at the Pac-10 and reevaluated the original assessment.

Stanford, Oregon State, and potentially Cal, who lost Devon Hardin and Ryan Anderson, are on the downturn, and will battle for spots 8-10 in the Pac-10.

The Cardinal lost the Lopez twins who accounted for both its offensive and defensive strengths. It's now left with Lawrence Hill as its best player and a ton of bad guards led by Mitch Johnson. Oregon State has been horrible for the past decade and that won't change this year.

The next tier includes the rest of the Pac-10 except for UCLA, who's head and shoulders above everyone else.

USC lost Davon Jefferson and OJ Mayo, but gain Demar Derozan, who will team with Taj Gibson for well coached Tim Floyd squad. Oregon lost Maarty Leunen, Bryce Taylor, and Malik Hairston. Washington State lost Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver, and Robbie Cowgill.
Washington has pretty much everyone back but it finished 7-11 last season.

As crazy as it sounds, I would vote for ASU to finish second in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils showed a lot of signs last year and finished tied for fifth with a 9-9 record. They return every key contributor including stud sophomore James Harden. It will be Herb Sendek's third season so the players are really starting to become comfortable with the system, and they come off a disappointment at the end of last season when they didn't make the NCAA tournament, which should serve as motivation.

With ASU as the favorite to finish second, at least by my calculations, it goes to show you that the Pac-10 isn't nearly as strong as it was last year. That means Arizona has a chance to finish anywhere from second to seventh.

Barring an injury to Hill or Budinger, this should be another first round exit team. But at least the tournament streak will be alive.

Hot Sauce to Canada
Hassan Adams signed a two year deal with the Toronto Raptors.
The article calls him a tenacious defender, a statement at which I seriously lol. The only thing tenacious about Adams, who played in Italy last season, is his dancing in the huddle.

Turiaf signs offer sheet with Warriors

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Ronny Turiaf signed a four-year, $17 million deal with Golden State. The Lakers have seven days to match the offer for the restricted free agent. My Turiaf jersey and I, as well as those who love to watch his bench antics and appearance in Kobe commercials, are hoping they do.

Can "The Hit Man" teach the Dodgers to hit?
According to an L.A. Times report, Don Mattingly will take over as the Dodgers hitting coach.
Unless he's bringing metal bats with him, that will be a tough task, but maybe a change in leadership will give the Dodgers a spark.


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