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Daily Buzz March 31st 2015: Bryant’s demotion, Jameis Winston’s Pro Day and Coach K on Michigan State

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By Travis Duncan

Quote of the Day:  “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Stat of the Day: Final Four coaches John Calipari, Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski have combined for 2,490 wins…25 Final Four appearances …6 National Championships

— The Kris Bryant controversy is good for baseball; its been a moment that a meaningful debate has taken place surrounding the game other than something about steroids, HGH, pace of play…etc…. This is something we can all get excited about because we know in due time we will get to see Bryant take his first big league at bats.  Maybe that’s what the Cubbies are doing…building the momentum. None the less there is no shortage of opinoions on the the topic in today’s Daily Buzz we include a sampling beginning with Dan O’Dowd formerly front office man of the Colorado Rockies whose team was poised to have Bryant on their roster only to loose out on him. O’Dowd argues that from an organizational and positional standpoint Bryant going down is a justifiable decision by general manager Theo Epstein.

Via MLB.com 

As an organization, the key is consistency when making decisions like this. If this is how you behave with every top prospect — keeping them in the Minors to start the season to save service time — it’s hard for the player and agent to really gripe.

The MLBPA on the other hand had this to say about the decision:

Today is a bad day for baseball. We all know that if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great game,and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both.

 You can read my thoughts on Bryant’s demotion here. 

Coach K states Michigan State is a program of excellence, writes Mick McCabe of the Detroit Free Press.

“They’re really good, and that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Krzyzewski said on a conference call today. “Nothing surprises me that he and his program would do. They don’t have a team, they have a program.

“So as he develops each team … that group understands what the program is about — whether it be offense, defense or just characterwise. But they’re going to keep improving because it’s a program. It’s a program of excellence.”

Arizona coach Sean Miller to dissatisfied fans: ‘Go cheer for ASU’

George Mason has hired Dave Paulsen as its men’s basketball coach.

Sally Jenkins of the WaPo writes that college basketball tournaments teach lessons.

Andy Katz of ESPN points to four underrated final four players.

Kyle Korver scored 11 points in 65 seconds Monday night.

Sam Bradford almost quit football last year after a devastating knee injury, a coach from his past gave him a pep talk.

An elementary school reporter calls for Cam Newton to be benched

ESPN’s Todd McShay writes that Jameis Winston looks like a No. 1 pick. 

Cubs send Kris Bryant , Addison Russell and Javier Baez to minors; MLBPA responds

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By Travis Duncan

—How many mediocre MLB’ers have started the season on the Chicago Cubs 25-man roster in its history of relative mediocrity?

Great traditions-but not a hoard of legendary players have donned the red white and blue on the north side.

Would it be so bad to strike while the iron is hot; ride the wave of positive feelings towards your franchise and place Kris Bryant on the MLB team Day 1 in 2015?

It wouldn’t be. But the Cubs did not back down from Bryant nor his agent’s preference that the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball be with the Cubbies next week.

Instead, Monday afternoon, the Cubs made it official.

Bryant has been optioned to minor league camp along with Addison Russell while Javier Baez has been sent to Triple-A Iowa.

That oomph you hear is the punch to the gut of the Cubs nation.

Cubs GM Theo Epstein has not done a whole lot to defend his position other than to say he has never started a player with zero MLB experience with the big league club in all his time as an MLB GM.

He said Tuesday, “It’s always difficult to send young players down because it is news they don’t want to hear,” via ESPN Chicago.

“We entered camp with the presumptive move of sending him to Triple-A, and it is always the presumptive move for us with young players who haven’t played in the big leagues yet. You see how camp develops and how the roster shapes up to see if there is grounds for an exception to the rule.”

The Major League Baseball Players Association responded by stating “Today is a bad day for baseball” and that the issue will be addressed either in court or through bargaining. And further went on to claim that the Cubs made the decision early on before Bryant’s hot spring training and instead of changing course based on the results-they are sticking with their initial decision.

The Full Text of the MLBPA statement is as follows:

Today is a bad day for baseball. We all know that if Kris Bryant were a combination of the greatest Players to play our great game,and perhaps he will be before it’s all said and done, the Cubs still would have made the decision they made today. This decision, and other similar decisions made by clubs will be addressed in litigation, bargaining or both.

Meanwhile Cubs manager Joe Maddon diplomatically said that he would have liked to have Bryant in his lineup but is looking forward to working with the 23-year old for the next 15 years.

Chris Mullin to be named head coach at St. Johns

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Chris Mullin is returning home to St. Johns as its next head basketball coach according to multiple reports Monday. 

Last week the Red Storm and Steve Lavin parted ways after five seasons.

The school is expected to introduce Mullin at a press conference on Monday.

Mullin has yet to coach at the collegiate or pro level.  Mullin was an All-American twice as a player at St. John’s and averaged 18.2 over a 16-year NBA career. He was the National player of the year in his senior at St. John’s in 1985.

Mullin has worked in the front offices of both the Golden State Warriors and most recently the Sacremento Kings. he has also done television work for ESPN.

 

Rick Barnes will reportedly be the next head coach at Tennessee

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—That didn’t take long.

When Rick Barnes was asked Sunday if he would be coaching again, he told reporters “sooner than you might think”.

Barnes and the University of Tennessee have reportedly come “close” an agreement making Barnes the next head Vols men’s basketball coach, according to ESPN.

The deal and the paperwork is not done according to ESPN, but it looks like barring an unforeseen circumstance Barnes will be head man over the Vols very soon.

Tennessee fired head coach Donnie Tyndall last week after allegations of NCAA Violations that Tyndall may have committed at Southern Miss came to light.

Barnes was dismissed after 17 seasons at University of Texas, he left the school as the winningest coach in the schools’ men’s basketball history but was forced to get rid of his assistant coaches, he refused to do so and the school let him go.

Daily Buzz Monday March 30th 2015: Spring Training is Broken; Pete Rose’s chances, and PATs

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-Compiled by Travis Duncan

-Spring training is horribly, utterly broken; here’s how it can be fixed, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

I can’t say I disagree with him. It was the great Harry Caray who said:

“It’s the fans that need spring training. You gotta get ’em interested. Wake ’em up and let ’em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.”

For the players it’s just much a do about nothing, save for the very few fighting for a roster spot.

Grant writes,  “As a marketing tool for the game, spring training has never been better, but as a prep tool for the championship season, it’s never been worse.”

Read the full story here.

Fast Facts: Coach K is making his 12th Final Four appearance, matching John Wooden for the most by any coach….The Big Ten will have two teams in the Final Four for the eighth time in history, leading all conferences, second best is the ACC with 5 Final Fours with multiple teams….Jose Abreu leads MLB in batting average this Spring training at .479 in 48 ABs……..CBS and Turner report that the NCAA Tournament is averaging 9.9m million total viewers its highest average viewership since 1993.

Pete Rose may actually get a listen from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, reports John Shea. Bud Selig simply was not willing to do it under his watch. He couldn’t consciously agree to the idea.

Meanwhile, in a very well researched and lengthy piece detailing the Pete Rose case by the Courier-Post, the man who investigated Pete Rose John Dowd says he believes Rose should not be reinstated. Via the Currier-Post

“I’m not particularly proud of the result as this is an incredibly tragic story,” Dowd said. “But at least it stands as an example for all of baseball, and hopefully for all time.”

In news which is difficult to hear, Craig Sager‘s son Craig Sager Jr., says that his father’s Leukemia is back 

Wisconsin stars strike back at those who doubted the Big Ten, writes Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger.

Via the AP, Professional tennis player John Isner appears to be the only celebrity to accurately pick the Final Four this year. 

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times on Derek Jeter’s journalism venture “The Players Tribune”

Harvy Araton of the New York Times on Chris Dailey, UConn’s associate head coach, who joined Coach Geno Auriemma in 1985 and has been part of nine championship teams in 29 years.

Richard Pitino at Tennessee. A move from Minnesota to Tennessee is not out of the question according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

The Dodgers are favorites to win NL West

Steph Curry does the moonwalk after a fall away three.

Billy Witz writes that Alex Rodriguez has been on his best behavior, so far this spring training.

Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson banners have been removed from Angel Stadium entrance

The Boston Celtics likely will be interested in Kawhi Leonard who will be a restricted free agent this summer, reports Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. 

Basketball Insiders has released its Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects list. Karl Towns of Kentucky is No. 1 followed by Jahlil Okafor of Duke.

 Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback writes all 32 NFL teams are near unanimous in believing the point after touchdown needs to change.

The time Mark Cuban bumped Magic Johnson off a flight using his unlimited airline flying pass. 

Marc Stein of ESPN Tweets, “San Antonio has dressed its true starting five in a mere 22 games this season. Parker/Green/ Leonard/Duncan/Splitter are 17-5 in those games”

Via @AnnFrazi on Twitter, what a batter sees in terms of different pitches. 

The Philadelphia Eagles are taking a look at wide receive Miles Austin, reports Pro Football Talk.

Chris Mullin expected to be next head coach at St. John’s

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According to multiple published reports, St. John’s has offered its head basketball coaching job to former Red Storm player and legend Chris Mullin.

Mullin has yet to coach at the collegiate or pro level.  Mullin was an All-American twice as a player at St. John’s and averaged 18.2 over a 16-year NBA career. He was the National player of the year in his senior at St. John’s in 1985.

Mullin has worked in the front offices of both the Golden State Warriors and most recently the Sacremento Kings. he has also done television work for ESPN.

A great hire in terms of pedigree basketball knowledge and a person. His ability as a college coach and recruiter, 100% unknown but worth the risk at St. John’s. 

More to come. 

Rick Barnes still wants to coach-a possibility at Tennessee

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—The colors are close, the initials are the same, according those in the college basketball community it’s not so far fetched that Barnes could finish up his coaching career at the University of Tennessee.

Barnes was officially let go Sunday by the University of Texas after 17 seasons as its men’s basketball coach. He leaves Texas as its winningest men’s basketball coach in school history.

Seth Davis of CBS and Sports illustrated Tweeted out that the Vols could look to Barnes to fill their men’s head coaching vacancy. Tennessee recently fired head coach Donnie Tyndall with cause for alleged violations he committed as head coach at Southern Miss.

 

Barnes was asked if he will coach again, and he replied, ” Yeah. Probably quicker than you think,” according to Chip Brown of Rivals.com

The Final Four court at Lucas Oil Stadium is a beauty

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finalfour

By Travis Duncan

The court is ready for the Final Four in Indianapolis. Traditionally this is a blue town; blue for the Colts, blue for the Pacers, State Basketball Tournaments with blue accents, at least that’s how I remember it.

Just about every court I can remember has shades of blue.

But I really like what the folks at Lucas Oil and the NCAA did with the court for this year’s Final Four. Red. Yes Red.

Watch a time-lapse video of the court construction:


Via IndyStar.com Time-lapse video of Final Four basketball court at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Daily Buzz: Dekker’s draft stock, Aaron Rodgers on the court and Calipari on winning

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Digital Sports Daily Buzz Sunday March 29th 2015


-By Travis Duncan

Junior forward Sam Dekker scored a career high 27 points Saturday night in Wisconsin’s 85-78 win over second-seeded Arizona to earn his school’s second straight trip to the Final Four.

Dekker was also an astonishing 5-of-6 from three-point range in perhaps the biggest game of his life.

Most notable is the assessment, not only from in-game commentator Reggie Miller, but among other experts, that Dekker has serious NBA potential.

DraftExpress.com ranks Dekker as the 16th best player in the 2015 draft.

http://www.draftexpress.com/rankings/Top-100-Prospects/

Dekker is a junior so there’s no guarantee he’ll be in the NBA Draft this June 25th, but the buzz is with him. At 6-9 NBA people will love his size and his ability to shoot.

Here is a sampling of praise for Dekker today.

Wisconsin star Dekker silencing critics with each March outing

Sam Dekker named most outstanding player of the West Region

Wisconsin star Sam Dekker’s many three-pointers impressed Blake Griffin, everyone

Quote of the day: (John Calipari following his team’s win over Notre Dame Saturday night)

My mind is never on we may lose. My whole mindset all the time is how are we going to win, how do we win this game. That’s all I keep saying to myself, how do we win the game. I want them to know we’re not playing not to lose; we play to win. That means be aggressive offensively. And so I’m telling you, I was trying every combination I could just to keep us in the game.

Today’s NCAA Regional Finals:

2:20 p.m. ET CBS East Region final: Michigan State vs. Louisville

5:05  p.m. ET CBS South Region final: Gonzaga vs. Duke

Other news and notes making headlines this Sunday:

-ESPN Outside the Lines reports that according to recent research, many hockey helmets are unsafe.

-Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and CBS Sports writer Dennis Dodd engaged in a Twitter spat over on court access at the NCAA Tournament. Rodgers was at the Staples center both Thursday and Saturday night to cheer on the Badgers.

John Feinstein of the Washington Post on Travis Trice and Michigan States’s hard earned spotlight. 

-Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez died Saturday night as a result of head injuries he suffered in a boating accident last month.

 

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