Thursday, July 31, 2008

Opponent's Notebook: July 31

From the shadow of the Walkup Skydome on the campus of Northern Arizona University, it's your weekly look around ASU's opponents.

Speaking of NAU, the Jacks open camp on the same day as ASU, and for the record, the new turf at the Skydome is pretty sweet. (Arizona Daily Sun)

Our boy Jon Wilner gives Stanford six things to accomplish during camp, which opens tomorrow. Here's #7: keep running that Tavita Pritchard to Mark Bradford (or any other receiver) fade. Every play. It'll never get old. (San Jose Mercury News)

UNLV also opens camp next week, but too bad Rebels fans, you can't go see your boys practice. (

One of UGA's Arrested 7 will only sit one game after his DUI was downgraded to a reckless driving charge. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Oh boy! It's time for "Tedford Talk"! (

Actually a fairly interesting uniform note: the NCAA might let the Trojans and Bruins renew their old tradition of wearing their respective red and blue home jerseys when they play each other. (Los Angeles Daily News)

The police blotter (non-Georgia edition) includes recently suspended starting LB Kevin Garrett getting arrested on suspicion of DUI. If he was looking to get reinstated quickly, these three words should end that thought: "There was resistance." (The Oregonian)
OSU to potential starting QB Lyle Moevao: Jesus Christ, STOP EATING! (The Oregonian)

While Moevao is avoiding unnecessary cheeseburgers, Jake Locker is trying to avoid unnecessary contact. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Rick Neuheisel has put together a vastly improved staff on the same budget that Karl Dorrell had. (Los Angeles Daily News)

Yeah! UA has no major injuries! Tuitrauma must have stayed inside. All summer. (Tucson Citizen)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pac-10 Baseball Tournament Could Start by 2010

With Oregon starting to play under George Horton in 2009, there will be no excuse for the Pac-10 not to at least entertain the idea of holding an annual baseball tournament. Kendall Rogers of outlines some of the possible benefits of such a tournament, mainly highlighting fringe teams like Washington State who would have a better shot at the field of 64 with a decent showing in a post season tournament:

Washington, Oregon State and Washington State were snubbed from
the tournament in 2008, while California and Washington in 2007, and Washington and Washington State in 2006 are additional examples. By instituting a conference tournament, the Pac-10 would level the playing field with other power

"Come selection time, it's not hard to notice teams that get into the tournament because of how they play in their conference tournament," Marbut said. "If you're under .500 in our league, you're not going to get in. Having a conference tournament would only help teams in that regard."

If You Live Near Rhode Island, Pick Up Your Pedroia Bobblehead on Saturday

*Bobblehead is actual size.

Bring a kid with you to the Pawtucket Red Sox game, because they are given out to the first 4,000 entrants 14 and under.

Is Rudy ASU's best ever?

I'll have a more in-depth piece later on this week on this topic...I don't have the time to do it now. I'm up in Flagstaff all week covering that other big time football team that plays in the Valley of the Sun, severely taking my time away from covering ASU football.

I had to take some time to post this article that the Republic's Dan Bickley had this week, comparing Rudy Carpenter to the bigger names in the history of Sun Devil quarterbacks. Statistically, he's up there with Andrew Walter, Danny White, Jeff van Raaphorst and such. However, in my opinion, Rudy still lacks that big game win that White and Rapper had (still an APB out for A-Dub's...I GUESS you can count the 2002 win at Oregon).

I'm also rather impressed by Carpenter's sudden jump of 20 pounds since the pounding he took in San Diego last December. I'll have to wait to see how much bigger he really looks when ASU opens camp next week.
For now, read the article and judge for yourself.

Monday, July 28, 2008

ASU Poster Schedule Not Very Impressive

I picked this off of the media guide section on the team's official website. I hope this isn't the official poster schedule that is going to be given out this season, because if it is, it's a real uninspired effort. It leaves out seniors Rudy Carpenter, Keegan Herring and Troy Nolan, and also doesn't include Dennis Erickson. I guess it says a lot about the depth of this team, but I'm guessing someone in the Sports Information Department could have done a better job putting this together.

If anyone sees ASU SID put out another schedule, please forward it over.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How the Pac will REALLY shake down

If there's anything we know for sure, it's that Media Polls usually are never correct by December.

Trust me. As a credentialed member of that media, I know this to be fact.

Anyway, the media today released its annual predictions on how the Pacific-10 Conference will shake down. This is how it went:

1) USC
2) Arizona State
3) Oregon
4) California
6) Oregon State
7) Arizona
8) Washington
9) Stanford
10) Washington State

My biggest problem with the media poll is how retroactive it is. Media members tend to look backward way more than they look forward, basing most of what they predict on what happened last season rather than actively taking the time to examine the way their schedule shakes down, roster moves and the such.

My favorite line from the media poll is "The preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 25 of 47 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last eight years in a row."

Pretty nice and easy when USC has been the runaway favorite every year since 2003.

Let's not forget last season, Cal was picked #2, UCLA #3 and ASU #4. We all know how well that played out.

So, on the day that the rest of my brethren (and sistren? is that a word?) released their picks for the final Pac-10 Standings, I figured I'd make it the day that I release my official predictions for the conference and how it will all finish up.

1) USC Trojans. Despite their unsettled situation at quarterback, the Men of Troy are still clearly the class of the conference. By far, the best linebackers in the nation play at USC. If they can get through Ohio State at home (which they should), the Trojans will have to screw up badly to not go 11-1 or undefeated. ASU, Oregon and Cal all come to the Coliseum.

2) California Golden Bears. Yes, they lose DeSean Jackson. Yes, they lose Justin Forsett. But they bring back both Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley, two highly talented quarterbacks, and we all know that Jeff Tedford's QB's have collegiate success (the jury on their NFL careers is still out). Jahvid Best is a terror, Alex Mack is the best O-Lineman in the conference and having ASU and Oregon at home help out a lot. A weak non-conference slate is highlighted with a trip to Maryland.

3) Arizona State Sun Devils. There's still plenty of skepticism around the conference about the Devils' running attack without Ryan Torain as an option. While the receiving corps is among the best in the Pac, the offensive line still leaves a lot to be desired. Then there's that killer three-game stretch with Georgia at home and Cal and USC on the road back to back weeks. Still enough talent on this team to win 9 games.

4) Oregon Ducks. The nightmarish end to last season gave their young quarterbacks some much needed seasoning, which bode well in their bowl drubbing of South Florida and for this season. Boise State will come to Autzen and prove to be the Ducks biggest non-conference challenge, and Purdue on the road could prove to be a bigger problem than you would think. They're going to miss Jonathan Stewart big time, but their defense will still be stout.

5) Arizona Wildcats. Sorry, Pitchfork Nation, but I'll swallow my pride and say it: the Wildcats schedule is set up for them to be bowl eligible this year and maybe even get to the postseason for the first time since 1998. They've got the best tight end in the conference (Rob Gronkowski) and a deep O-Line. This team will give up a lot of points, but they should emerge from their NC schedule 3-0 and be able to steal at least three conference wins in addition to their seemingly yearly upset.

6) Oregon State Beavers. The Beavers entered 2007 with a quarterback controversy, and now they enter 2008 with...the same one. Will it be Sean Canfield or Lyle Moevao? They both played last season and combined for an 11/21 ratio. Yvenson Bernard's 1,214 rushing yards definitely bailed them out. They're not going to get much pressure on opposing quarterbacks and NC trips to Penn State and Utah (both potential BCS qualifiers) will get them off to a slow start. The top teams in the conference come to Oregon State though, making an upset just a bit more possible.

7) UCLA Bruins. When you're starting Osaar Rasshan down the stretch, you've got problems. When both Patrick Cowan and Ben Olson both go down during Spring Ball, you've got a nightmare. Cowan is definitely out for '08, and Olsen potential effectiveness has been called into question after breaking a bone in his foot. Unsettled at RB and their top two WR's from last season are gone. They will not win a NC game (Tennessee, at BYU and Fresno State) and I find it hard to believe this team can compete with the top four in the Pac.

8) Stanford Cardinal. I like their receivers (Richard Sherman is pretty underrated) and their running backs (Gerhart and Kimble are stout) but the defense is still porous. We definitely will not see anything close to the upset of USC that left the nation floored last October. While Jim Harbaugh has the program back in the right direction, they're still a year away from competing for bowl eligibility.

9) Washington Huskies. No team with a player as dynamic as Jake Locker will finish last in any conference. The problem is the rest of the team. No effective running back, their top returning receiver chalked up only 136 yards last year and the only defensive player worth a damn has a completely unpronounceable last name (Daniel Te'o-Neisheim). There's a significant chance they'll be 0-10 going into the Apple Cup with Oklahoma, BYU and Notre Dame on the NC docket and trips to Oregon and USC mixed in.

10) Washington State Cougars. Welcome to the Pac, Paul Wulff. Wish you had more to work with. Last year's band of overachievers squeezed out five wins. They will not come close this year with a new quarterback in Gary Rogers. Having Michael Bumpus (1,180 yards in 2007) is nice, but those numbers will drop off without Alex Brink. It's going to be a long, cold season in the Palouse.

Saving the Best for Second to Last

PAC-10 Media Day is upon us. Here is a look at the schedule:

9:35 am - Tyrone Willingham/QB Jake Locker - Washington
9:50 am - Jim Harbaugh/C Alex Fletcher - Stanford
10:05 am - Paul Wulff/FL Brandon Gibson - Washington State
10:20 am - Jeff Tedford/C Alex Mack - California
10:35 am - Mike Stoops/QB Willie Tuitama - Arizona
10:50 am - Mike Bellotti/ROV Patrick Chung - Oregon
11:05 am - Break
11:15 am - Rick Neuheisel/DT Brigham Harwell - UCLA
11:30 am - Mike Riley/CB Brandon Hughes - Oregon State
11:45 am - Dennis Erickson/QB Rudy Carpenter - Arizona State
12:00 noon - Pete Carroll/SLB Brian Cushing - USC

Go to to watch the press conferences live.

Also an interesting list of note is the Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll. My question is, how does Cal get a first place vote ahead of us? I'm looking at you Wilner. Whoever smelt it dealt it my friend.

 1. USC (38) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  389
2. Arizona State . . . . . . . . . . . 330
3. Oregon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
4. California (1) . . . . . . . . . . . 274
5. UCLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
6. Oregon State . . . . . . . . . . . 192
7. Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
8. Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
9. Stanford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
10. Washington State . . . . . . . . 61

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Opponent's Notebook

Before we get into this week's roundup, it's of your interest to know that my 2nd annual ASU Position-by-Position Preview series will start to be rolled out in the coming days. Same format as last year...starting with quarterbacks and ending with special teams.

Now, on to what's going on around the country, including an Atlantan's take on Tempe...

While Montana has been tabbed as the favorite in the Big Sky, the NAU Lumberjacks are picked to finish 3rd. (Arizona Daily Sun)

You a Georgia fan? Heading out here to beautiful Tempe? Here's a travel guide. However, if you REALLY want to experience Tempe and Phoenix, e-mail me at and I'll help you out personally. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A Cal standout QB recruit is going to an elite camp that once hosted Matt Leinart and Vince Young. (San Francisco Chronicle)

NO! Why are people HELPING them??? (Oakland Tribune)

You've missed your early chance to score ASU/USC tickets. (Los Angeles Times)

Oregon players healing after Todd Doxey's death the only way they know how: on the field. (The Oregonian)

They may have lost Jonathan Stewart and Dennis Dixon, but damn it, they've got a new scoreboard! (Eugene Register-Guard)

Calling Corvallis: Who wants to replace Yvenson Bernard? (Building the Dam)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Midweek Links

Terrell Suggs will probably sit out for training camp.

September 20th is probably
the biggest day of the college football season, not just for ASU.

Paul Lo Duca, New York Yankee?

Paul Rieckhoff, author of Chasing Ghosts, gives his two cents about the Bush Administration and their coverup of the death of Pat Tillman. California Congressman Mike Honda also shares his take on the issue.

Does ESPN have a man-crush on Dustin Pedroia?
A run down of one Bronco fan's expectations of Ryan Torain. talks at length about Mike Pollak's work ethic.

John McCain endorses Dennis Erickson.

IGN Simulates Season, ASU goes 11-1 with a Rose Bowl Berth, Georgia Mediocre

IGN writer Bill Barnwell conducted a simulation and analysis of the 2008 football season, conducted on EA Sports NCAA Football '09. It looks like ASU wins the Pac-10, apparently beating USC in the process and clinching a Rose Bowl Berth. Apparently, we lost to Oregon State at Corvallis in the simulation and finished the season ranked 5th. Since I haven't actually manned up and paid the $59.99 plus tax for the game, this is the closest I'm getting to the action right now. Interestingly enough, preseason favorite Georgia goes 7-5 on the year. This would be quite the season if it were actually to happen, even though the Rose Bowl doesn't turn out as we'd all hope.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Brooks Conrad Called Up To The Bigs

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland A’s today selected infielder Brooks Conrad from Triple-A Sacramento and designated infielder Donnie Murphy for assignment.

Conrad was batting .242 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI in 93 games for Sacramento. He was leading the River Cats in hits (88), home runs (21) and RBI (67) and was tied for the lead in doubles (21). The 28-year old switch-hitter had appeared in 38 games at second base, 13 at third base, 18 at shortstop, 15 in the outfield and nine as designated hitter. Conrad hit .455 (15 for 33) with four home runs and 11 RBI over his final eight games with the River Cats. His average included a .267 mark against right-handed pitchers, .176 against left-handers and .242 with runners in scoring position. Conrad, originally an eighth round draft pick of the Houston Astros in 2001 out of Arizona State University, elected free agency on October 29, 2007 and was signed by the A’s organization to a minor league contract on December 8, 2007. He will be making his Major League debut after batting .261 with 135 home runs and 587 RBI in 969 games in eight minor league seasons.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Leake Shining for Team USA

Mike Leake, who has been playing on Team USA this summer, displayed what he is capable of at the plate today. Leake was one of 7 Americans to homer against Lithuania in a 30-1 route. Playing in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Leake had a 4 RBI game, 3 of them coming on his 1st home run of international play. Team USA is currently 17-0.

Leake got the start today at 3B over Fresno State's Tommy Mendonca, who was the toast of Omaha this year with his stellar play at third base. He continues to struggle in the field, with a fielding percentage of .885. Leake is hitting .261, but his best work by far has been on the mound, where he is 2-0 in 6 appearances (1 start), with a 0.90 ERA and a K/9 ratio of just a hair under 9.

Sun Devils in the Bigs Links

Ian Kinsler's hit streak ended as the Rangers were shut out yesterday against the Twins.

ESPN is known for covering the Red Sox a little too much. The good part is that means they have obligatory articles on Dustin Pedroia.

Jeff Larish just got sent back down to AAA Toledo.

Brooks Conrad and Travis Buck (Athletics AAA affiliate) led the Sacramento Rivercats to a 10-1 win last night over the Las Vegas 51's.

Conrad, Buck, Matt Spencer and Petey Paramore are a part of the work in progress Oakland A's.

Eric Sogard continues to dominate in A ball for the Padres, hitting at a .306 clip.

A DC sports blog thinks Zech Zinicola will be in the Nats bullpen by next season. He's made the jump from A to AAA just think season, and he could make the major league level by September.

Saw this on Deadspin the other day...check out Beau Vaughan's picture on

CJ Retherford is doing well in Winston-Salem (White Sox, A ball) with 15 homeruns this season. Nice picture of him at the top of the article.

Brett Wallace got to go to the All-Star game this year, being in town for the Golden Spikes Award Ceremony. The award, obviously, went to Buster Posey.

Seth Blair a Cape Cod All Star

If you would have told me that Seth Blair would be a Cape Cod All-Star and that Jason Kipnis would be struggling at the plate for the Cotuit Keetlers, I wouldn't have believed you. But Blair has turned it around since his freshman year struggles at ASU, with a 2.28 ERA and a 2-1 record in 4 starts, including a complete game shutout.

The big turnaround for Blair is attributed to his improved strikeout to walk ratio, which is at 3.6:1, which is infinitely better than the 1:1 ratio he posted for the Sun Devils this season in 9 appearances.

His last appearance is something that Sun Devil fans should be looking at for next season. Complete game 1 hitter, 10 K's. It looks like our pitching staff has a very promising #2 starter next season behind Mike Leake.

ASU in the UFC: Cain Velasquez improves to 4-0

I went to the Affliction fight last night at the Honda Center, which was way cooler than I ever expected it to be. I'm still not going to pay $60 for a freaking t-shirt, but they put on a great show. Having Megadeth play in between some of the fights was awesome, plus Fedor actually was better than the hype.

Anyways, I got back to my brother's bar and watched the replay of the UFC fight on SpikeTV and see ASU's own Cain Velasquez take down Jake O'Brien in less than 3 minutes. Here's an interview of Cain Velasquez from a few days ago; stay tuned until the end when he talks about Sun Devil wrestling.

Also, it looks like Dan Henderson will be fighting next at UFC 88 in Atlanta.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kipnis Ends Cape Cod Slump

Jason Kipnis has been slumping this summer playing for the Cotuit Keetlers of the Cape Cod League. The 4th round pick by the San Diego Padres might have been trying to up his value through a good summer, but he might just be worn out. The guy played nearly every inning for the Sun Devils this season, then had to go right into the Cape Cod League.

That slump came to an end yesterday. From
Cotuit 8, Wareham 3
WAREHAM — Jason Kipnis picked a good time for his first home run of the season. With Cotuit leading 3-2, Kipnis(Arizona State) lifted a three-run shot over the left-field fence in the fourth inning to give Cotuit a lead it didn't relinquish. Kipnis went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

Kipnis is hitting .261 in the Cape this season with only 5 extra basehits. For the Sun Devils this season, Jason hit .371 with 16 HR.

Oregon State Baseball Players Get Jail Time

It's no Loren Wade, but needless to say it was probably a huge distraction this season.

From the Wenatchee World Online:

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State outfielder John Wallace and
former Beavers pitcher Anton Maxwell have been sentenced to 15 days in jail for
firing rifle bullets that struck a neighbor's house and car.

Maxwell, 22, and Wallace, 21, pleaded guilty in Benton County
Circuit Court to recklessly endangering another. Charges of criminal mischief
and unlawful use of a weapon were dropped.

"Let's call this what it was," Benton County Judge Locke
Williams said at Wednesday's hearing. "It was monumental

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Catching Up After Entering the Real World

When I started this blog about a year ago, I was entering my fifth and final year as a Sun Devil. Since then, I have graduated and moved back home to Yorba Linda, California, and have gotten a real job working at a newspaper (sales, not editorial). This means I'm in the office usually from around 8 to 5 and miss breaking news on such things as SI naming ASU the #1 sports program for 2007-2008, and Robert James signing his NFL contract.

I've had great help from a few friends this year, mainly JKarp, TJ, and our graphic artist/guest ranter Nicholas D. Saia (USA). We're still updating when we can, but we definitely need help where we can get it. So if you hear of a breaking story or see something directly (like Carpenter getting in the O'Brien list) or indirectly (like a U of A player deciding he doesn't want to pass his exams and instead play in Italy or Lute Olson "allegedly" stealing his wife's assests) related to ASU, just send an email and we'll comment on it as soon as possible. I mean, I could just click on Sparky's Pigskin every day and regurgitate stories I see on there, but I think you would catch on.

I know there's some of you that click to this page every day, and I want the content to be fresh so you continue to come back. This is not meant to be my personal page at all, I want it to be as informative as possible, while giving credit for story tips. So in saying all that, if you have any recommendations, original ideas, want to contribute to the site, or just want to talk college football, leave a comment or send me an email at Even though I would love to be living in Tempe (well, maybe from October to May), I still want to keep this page going and be relevant. So I hope to hear from you soon.

- Mark Rafferty
ASU Class of '08

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bruce Snyder Hospitalized for Cancer Treatment

Scott Bordow of the EVT and The Fan AM 1060 are both reporting that former ASU head coach Bruce Snyder, the architect of the 1996 Sun Devil Rose Bowl and Pac-10 Champion team, has been hospitalized in Tucson.

Friends close to Snyder and an ASU spokesman say that Snyder has cancer, but there are no specifics to what type of cancer he has or how far the disease has progressed.

Snyder compiled a 58-47 record between 1992 and 2000 at Arizona State. He was most recently seen publicly giving a stirring speech to begin this year's Pat's Run.

Use this post to share your thoughts and well wishes for Bruce.

UPDATE (6:15 PM): If you want to send a note to Coach Snyder, ASU has provided an address to mail them to:

Bruce Snyder
c/o Media Relations Office
Arizona State Athletics
P.O. Box 872505
Tempe, AZ 85287

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Opponent's Notebook: 7/15/08

We've truly reached the dog days, and I'm sure we all look a little bit like the dude in the picture...but don't worry...keep telling yourself there's only 48 days until kickoff.

Here's what's up amongst ASU's foes this week:

The Lumberjacks are a top-20 FCS team in both 1-AA polls, and their joined by several Big Sky buddies. (Arizona Daily Sun)

Nike is still slowly taking over the world. Next stop: the UNLV Rebels. (UNLV Rebel Yell, pictures here)

Athens police insist there's not a behavior problem with the UGA football team. I beg to differ...7 times over. (AJC)

Uga VII will have his coming out party on opening day. (AJC)

Pete Carroll blogs about his trip on the USS Stennis. No word on whether Matt Leinart fell overboard. (

On a serious and tragic note, a UO freshman FS drowned and passed away this weekend. PFN sends thoughts and prayers. (The Oregonian)

Todd Doxey was considered a high character player for the Ducks...a "coaches dream." (Eugene Register-Guard)

Folks in friendly Winnipeg are NOT happy with the Blue Bombers slow start, but at least they're not taking it out on poor former OSU K Alexis Serna. (The Oregonian, Winnipeg Sun)

While ASU's marketing campaign declares Rudy Carpenter and Luis Vasquez "superheroes," Oregon State declares USC and California "#1 wannabes." (

Chris Chandler, the most easily injured QB in the history of football, not a fan of UW anymore. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Our good buddy, recruiting insider Eric Hess, has the fallout from the Nick Foles ASU to Michigan State to UofA debacle. (Arizona Daily Star)

The University of Arizona...the next Tight End U? (Tucson Citizen)

Mary Tillman Still Not Satisfied

"It disappoints me that there is no recommendation and they are not trying to
take this further," Mary Tillman, Pat's mother, told "What's particularly troubling is these top officials all have convenient amnesia. That
is absurd. Everybody in the White House can't remember?"
More on the story from Mike Fish of
And by the way, if you haven't picked up Boots on the Ground by Dusk yet, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Monday Morning Roundup

To start it all off, I found this video of Pedroia talking about being recruited by Arizona State. Courtesy of

Mike Leake had two hits in the Gold Medal Game against Cuba. (The College Baseball Blog)

Kiel Roling has signed with the Rockies (Grand Junction Sentinel)

ASU is building a robot to play baseball. (ASU Research Mag)

Ian Kinsler is your first half MVP. (Washington Post)

Andre Ethier comments on the impending battle with the D'Backs in the second half (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Here's some rules and etiquette when playing NCAA '09 on Tuesday. (So Cal Sports Hub)

One writer thinks leaving Camp T is a huge mistake. (Payson Roundup)

Mike Nixon disagrees, says "I'm not going to miss Camp T at all." (State Press)

A Georgia defensive end has been kicked off the team. (Athens Banner-Herald)

A little late, but Stuart Mandel praised ASU football in his last mailbag. (SI)

Matt Lubick notches another California recruit. (AZ Central)

Former QB commit Nick Foles is transferring to Arizona. (Austin American-Statesman)

An Oregon safety drowned. (The Oregonian)

Lisa Love talks about being a female AD. (USA Today)

James Harden wows NBA Scouts at Lebron James Skills Academy

From the Long Beach Press Telegram:

AKRON, Ohio - The hook for the many college basketball coaches who have shown up in the James A. Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron over the past couple of days is the presence of 75 of the best high school players in the country, who have gathered for the LeBron James Skills Academy. But what lured about a dozen scouts and personnel directors of NBA teams into the same building Sunday and Monday were the 25 players projected to be among the very best on the college level next season. None of those players has been more impressive than James Harden, the 6-foot-5 guard who graduated from Artesia High 13 months ago and earned first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors this past season as an Arizona State freshman. (click here for entire article)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

You Too Have The Ability To Mute Him

Bill Plaschke on Brandon Jennings

Friday, July 11, 2008

ASU Player Rankings on NCAA '09

Above is a screen shot of the player rankings for ASU on NCAA '09. Surprisingly, Thomas Weber is considered the top player. I figured Mike Jones would be rated higher due to last season's performance. What do you think about these ratings? (Click to Enlarge)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Midweek Roundup

Wow, Brandon Jennings is actually going to Europe. At least he didn't spurn U of A for India.

Georgia players will be on the cover of the SI College Football Preview Issue.

Speaking of Georgia, their stud fullback may be ready for the ASU game...and it's not a return from probation!

Brett Wallace took batting practice with the big league club in St. Louis. No fights were reported.

The Berkeley tree-sitters recruited some fresh talent.

Ian Kinsler is the Rangers' team MVP at this point.

Dustin Pedroia was a key to victory again last night for the Sawx.

Troy Nolan was added to the Thorpe watch list yesterday. A lot of good that did for JB last year.

Vince Marotta previews ASU for SoCalSportsHub, thinks Locker is better than Carpenter.

Where does Ryan Torain fit in with the Broncos?

Wazzou's QB is a beast.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

If You're Golfing Torrey Pines This Weekend, Pack a Driver

The 4th of July brings the time honored Arizona tradition of invading San Diego for the Holiday weekend. If you happen to be playing a round of golf at Torrey Pines as part of it, here's a tip that Phil Mickelson should have taken in hindsight; bring your driver. From Lou Riccio of GolfDigest and Columbia Business School:

The Mickelson strategy, to jettison his driver and carry only a 3-wood (and five wedges), was based on the assumption that he'd improve his score by trading distance for accuracy off the tee. In the end Mickelson hit 25 fairways in 52 chances, placing him last among players who played all four rounds. Clearly, the decision did not turn out well, but that doesn't mean it wasn't rational. (more)
Have a good 4th everyone.

Coach Erickson REALLY Doesn't Like Camp T

Old time Sun Devil fans...set your face to stunned.

People who like might want to find some other recreational activites to do during your usual planned week to follow preseason ASU football.

The era of ASU's training at Camp Tontozona is pretty much long as DE is at the helm, at least.

It has been no secret from the start that Dennis Erickson wasn't the biggest fan of taking the team to Camp T, which has been a staple of the Sun Devils preseason training camp since the days of Frank Kush.

The preseason practice schedule was released today, and it included the following:

Friday, August 15: Depart for Camp Tontozona, 4:15 PM
Satudray, August 16: Traditional Scrimmage, 11:15-1:45 PM
Depart for Tempe, 3:15 PM

One day. Not even one day. 1/2 a day. One scrimmage. The tradition is over.

Granted, it's DE's decision what he wants to do with his team during August. It's especially easier to train in Tempe since the Dennis Dome (that's right, I'm calling it the Dennis Dome from here on out) was erected, making practicing in the summer heat actually tolerable.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Got Your Watch Lists Right Here

We're still about two months away from the college football season starting...and really...what gets you more excited than Preseason Award Watch Lists being released?

Give me 15 seconds, and I can rattle off at least ten things, including root canals, fractured testicles (see: D-Backs catcher Chris Snyder) and any movie with Hugh Jackman.

However, I guess it's worth noting that three ASU players were added to Watch Lists yesterday.

The Maxwell Award, given annually to the nation's Most Outstanding Player (unlike the Heisman Trophy, which is annually awarded to a player which a bunch of wiley ol' coots think is halfway competent), added QB Rudy Carpenter and RB Keegan Herring to their list of players to keep an eye on.

To a player that actually could win his award, S Troy Nolan, who burst on the scene last season and had an absolutely tremendous 2007, is on the Bednarik Award list as one of the top defensive players in the country.

Also, check out today's Arizona Republic for a story on ASU's new indoor practice bubble, which can fit 75 and 45 yard fields with end zones of FieldTurf. No word on whether or not Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin are hanging out blasting Safety Dance on a ghetto-blaster outside the dome.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More Bulldogs to the Clink

I don't know what it is about the SEC and having players arrested this offseason. Right now, Alabama is the leader in the clubhouse with 10, but Georgia apparently seems committed to being Tiger Woods to the Crimson Tide's Rocco Mediate.

Georgia offensive linemen Justin Anderson and Trinton Sturdivant were both briefly incarcerated late last night on charges of simple battery. They were both released on $1,500 bail.

Sturdivant was a stud last year. He was an SEC All-Freshman 1st Team selection and was (is?) still on track to be one of the nation's finest young offensive linemen. Anderson is a guard and is nowhere near as highly decorated as his prison buddy.

They just missed hanging out with their buddy, D-Lineman Michael Lemon, too. He was taken to the pokey on Saturday night for giving a kid at a BBQ a high five...with his fist.

If you're keeping score at home, and trust me, I have, that's three Bulldogs in jail in the last 72 hours. Can we chalk any of this up to horrible reactions to their grieving of the death of Uga VI?