Thursday’s Den; Happy 4th of July, everyone……

13) If you know a kid who plays high school or college basketball who is really good and who dreams of making it to the NBA, make sure he watches some summer league basketball over the next couple weeks. 

Lot of guys who were GREAT high school players, really, really good college players, all fighting like hell just to make an NBA roster. It ain’t easy, only the very best make it. 

After the kid watches ball for a while, have him go out and practice his butt off; thats the only way to become a great player, to really work at it. 

12) Speaking of which, golfer Nick Faldo said recently that when he changed his swing as a pro, he hit 1,500 balls a day to get his swing right.  Thats about 38 buckets of balls. Every day. 

11) If you’re going to be in Las Vegas and are interested in betting on summer league games, remember that teams need to find out what their players are capable of- the same guys aren’t going to play the same amount of minutes every game. 

I’ve told this story before, how I sat behind a guy at a game a few years ago, and he was 100% sure he had a great bet, because Team A had won by 20 the day before and now today’s line was kind of low. Well, that was because Team A sat most of their better players, so they could take a look at the back end of their roster- they lost by 15. 

That guy was not happy. Don’t be that guy. 

10) Chicago Cubs have lost 15 of their last 19 road games; Joe Maddon is in the last year of his contract, things have to be a little tense in the Windy City. Cubs are only 45-42; first place is only 5.5 games ahead of last place in the NL Central. 

9) Looking at SEC football teams are I begin prepping for this fall:
— Auburn’s offensive line has 104 returning starts, but is starting a new QB.
— Florida has a QB with 21 career starts, but its whole OL has a combined 24 starts.
— Mississippi State’s OL has 71 returning starts, but none of their QB’s have started a game.
— Missouri, Georgia, LSU have the best combination of experience at QB, offensive line.

8) This is why rookie head coaches need an experienced head coach on their staff:

Michigan’s new basketball coach Juwan Howard was asked on a radio show about recruit Franz Wagner, the younger brother of former Wolverines star Moritz Wagner. Franz Wagner  is uncommitted, and could stay overseas and play pro ball instead of playing college ball. 

Howard speaking publicly about the young man’s future recruiting decision is technically an NCAA violation, albeit a minor one. I’m guessing Howard got some advice from new assistant Phil Martelli when this hit the fan. 

7) Baseball stuff:
— Twins put P Jake Odorizzi (blister) on the IL. 

6) Coby Karl is coaching the Lakers’ summer league team; he is the son of former NBA coach George Karl who happily beat some health problems he had a few years ago. Good for him. 

5) Bad news if you have Wilson Ramos on your fantasy team; Jason deGrom, Noah Syndergaard both want Tomas Nido as their personal catcher. 

Mets need the DH to come to the National League as soon as possible. 

4) OK, I get confused when NBA teams trade for a player, then buyout the guy’s contract and he goes to a better team as a free agent. They do it for salary cap reasons, but to sign who? Teams like the Suns are always going to suck unless they get some good players who actually stay there and play.

3) Back in the 90’s, Pat Riley wrote a book called The Winner Within; it dealt with stages of team building. One of the stages was called “The Disease of Me” which is when people who are a part of the team start to think they’re “THE reason” a team wins, rather than “A reason” 

NBA free agency reminds me of this, players scattering to get paid and the whole league re-booting. When the dust clears in August, we’ll look at which rosters got better/worse, but all 30 teams re-boot this summer, with teams near the top of the league re-booting the most.

2) RIP to former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen, who passed away way too young this week at age 38; he appeared in four NFL games as a backup with the Giants, threw for 10,354 yards and 78 TD’s at Kentucky. RIP, sir. 

1) When Virginia Tech lost basketball coach Buzz Williams to Texas A&M, they also lost almost all their players; all four of their incoming recruits jumped ship (three went with Williams to A&M), plus three of their seven returning players entered the transfer portal.

Former Wofford coach Mike Young will be a first-time ACC coach at age 56; the Hokies saw their top five scorers leave, five kids that accounted for 90% of Tech’s scoring and 73% of its rebounding in 2018-19. Young will have his hands full, for sure. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.