While still recovering from a spring cold that managed to kick my ass all over the place this week...
The long nightmarish, though sort of expected, season has come to a conclusion.
The Celtics dropped their final two games of the season to finish at 25-57 for the year.
They lost to the Sixers 113-108. Kelly Olynyk established a new career high with 28 points and had 9 rebounds as well. Jeff Green scored 27 points and Avery Bradley added 23 points. Rajon Rondo scored just 8 points, but had 11 boards and 14 assists.
The season finale on Wednesday night saw the Wizards win 118-102. It was Olynyk again leading the way offensively with 24 points and 7 boards. Green scored 20 points and Bradley had 18. Brandon Bass scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Chris Johnson hit double figures with 10 points. Rondo sat out the last game and Phil Pressey scored 9 points and dished out 10 assists in his place.
It is hard not to be disappointed in a 25-57 season. There is no way to sugar coat such a bad record. And while a lot of people will be disappointed that the Celtics are likely not going to get one of those top 3 draft picks, given the level to which the expected names to fill those three slots were exposed in the college basketball tournament, they may not really be missing out on much.
The Celtics have a good coach who actually coaches. Brad Stevens did the best possible job he could given the situation. And it isn't like he doesn't have talent on the team. The Celtics have a ton of guys that are decent players and seemingly pretty good people off the court. They are missing that one dominant player to tie everyone together.
I'm not sure how they will go about finding that type of player or even who that player might be, but if they can tie the team together through that type of upgrade, the puzzle pieces they have in place right now just might be enough to turn things around faster than expected.
Kelly Olynyk has shown that he can be a force on the court. Jeff Green may never be the #1 scoring option he shows flashes of being able to do, but being able to put up 20 plus points on any given night is a nice second or third option to have.
The point guard situation is nicely outfitted with Rondo as the started and Phil Pressey showing he can be a capable backup and spot starter as needed.
Avery Bradley has developed into a capable two guard as an offensive player (his defensive capabilities having already been established), Brandon Bass is a solid post player and I love the hustle shown by Chris Johnson.
Of course, I know that some of the players are likely to hit the road in the offseason and I'm by no means suggesting that my thoughts on the players are going to be correct. But I liked the team on the court this year despite their struggles. Why? Because they played their asses off. It was not good enough to win a lot of games, but seeing the effort night in and night out during a "lost" season gives you a little bit of hope.
In other NBA news, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman will not be returning to the job next season. While his record over three seasons was not good, the reason for the departure is tied more to the health situation with his wife than anything else. He was profiled in a SI.com piece that I read this week written by Joan Niesen and it delves into how great a coach he is on a variety of levels. You can read the piece here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140415/rick-adelman-minnesota-timberwolves-kevin-love/index.html
ORR Girls Track - The Bulldogs track team keeps destroying their competition when it comes to track and field. They beat Bourne 122-13 this past week and my former player Rachel won the 800 meters event in 2:36.
Wareham Girls Track - My former player Paige had a huge week this past week. She finished 3rd in the 800 meters (2:31.4) during the Freshman/Sophomore meet which qualified her for States in that event.
When the Vikings faced GNB Voc-Tech later in the week, they ran away from their competition 94-36 to improve their record to 2-1. Paige was a big part of that as well. She won the 2 mile event in 12:16. She qualified for states in the event and broke the 37 year old school record (12:31). She was also part of the winning 4x400 relay team that finished with a states
qualifying time of 4:32.2.
Wareham Girls Softball - The varsity team dropped to 0-7 on the season after an 11-6 loss to Seekonk and a 6-5 loss to Bourne. Breanna had 2 hits in the Seekonk game. Raelyn got tagged with both losses on the mound.
Upper Cape Girls Softball - Improving upon their no-hitter earlier in the season, the Lady Rams beat South Shore 18-0 in a five inning PERFECT GAME! They are now 6-1 on the season.
I don't write a lot about the Bruins, I know. But with the playoffs starting I thought I'd make note that the Bruins finished as the best team in the NHL. This finish brings them the President's Cup and makes me wonder...so what?
Okay, now I'm not opposed to them being the best team in the league heading into the Quest for the Cup, but the press over them beating the Sabres and sealing the President's Cup was completely ridiculous.
Personally, as long as a team qualifies for the playoffs, do you really care where they end up? Any team can win from whatever seed they start out as. Winning the President's Cup doesn't mean you will win the Stanley Cup. And being the best regular season team means nothing if you aren't the best team after the playoffs are over.
And while it is only the first game of the series, the Bruins losing 1-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night does not exactly inspire confidence.
Heading into the game, I was listening to the sports guy on the radio station I have on in the car. He was voicing the opinion I've heard from others that the Bruins facing the Red Wings is not a typical one vs. 8 seed kind of matchup.
Boston College - The Eagles finally got some good news when Olivier Hanlan, the men's basketball team's best player announced he would be returning to school for his junior year. There had been talk of him entering the NBA draft.
He met with new coach Jim Christian and made the decision to come back to school. For me, I think he made the right decision. He's the team's best player but I don't see him making a big impact on the NBA level just yet. I know if you stay and become a four year player in college, you are seen as having something wrong with you in this day and age. But I think that is pure poppycock. Some players might just benefit from a full college experience and have matured enough that you don't have to worry about a team babysitting him in the NBA.
By the way, Twitter helped rake NCAA president Mark Emmert over the coals this week. It seems he was a guest on the Mike & Mike radio show when they took questions via Twitter with the #AskEmmert hashtag.
TV - The network shows are heading into their season finales with the CBS comedies Mom (already renewed) and The Crazy Ones (fate yet unknown) ending this past week.
BBC America started the second season of their critical and cult hit Orphan Black last night.
Still nothing could top last Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones which featured the most well deserved and well earned death in cinematic history.
Movies - You can check out the final trailer for the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie below.
I saw the movie Frozen last week and found it to be pretty enjoyable. Even funnier was the Honest Trailer for the movie.
Books - I finished reading the Rob Thomas / Jennifer Graham mystery novel Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line before I got sick this week. It is set right after the events of the Veronica Mars movie and with the series/movie creator Rob Thomas involved with the writing, the book did have the right feel to it. The only flaw I saw in the book was the continued insanity of the fully grown adult title character to use a gun, or learn basic self defense tactics.
Music - Did anyone take part in Record Store Day yesterday? I usually try to go to the event which celebrates independent record shops with exclusive vinyl releases from artists both big and small. You can check out what was offered to fans yesterday via http://www.recordstoreday.com
I didn't pick up any of the vinyl releases, but I got three new CDs with the help of the special Buy 2 Get 1 sale at the Newbury Comics location closest to me.
I picked up the debut solo album from former Nightwish singer Anette Olzon called Shine. I grabbed a disc from last year called All Hell Breaks Loose from the band Black Star Riders (the remaining guys from Thin Lizzy). And finally, Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers had a solo album out last year called The Royal Sessions. It celebrates the songs and musicians of Memphis.
I also picked up (via online purchase) the 2013 self-titled debut from the rock trio The Winery Dogs. I had heard three songs when the album was originally released but hadn't yet gotten around to purchasing the CD. Now I have and hopefully there will be a review coming soon.
While still marveling over Storrs, Connecticut being the center of the college basketball universe...again...
COLLEGE BASKETBALL WRAP UP
UConn - Monday night saw the rise of the men's basketball team to the top of the heap after their 60-54 defeat of Kentucky. Kevin Ollie did a marvelous job in guiding the team to the title and Shabazz Napier was just awesome.
Following that up was the UConn women's team completing a 40-0 season with their defeat of Notre Dame, 79-58. As a matter of fact, the game and entire women's tournament went pretty much how I thought it would. I told a co-worker that the women's tourney would come down to a matchup between #1 UConn and #2 Notre Dame and then UConn would win by 20 points. Which is pretty much what happened.
Speaking of the tournaments themselves, the final breakdown of the four brackets I had going broke down like this:
Men's NCAA record - 43-26 (Won the YouGabSports ESPN Bracket Challenge Group)
Women's NCAA record - 48-15 (Picked the national title winner)
Manhattan - After it was learned that Steve Masiello did not have the degree he claimed to have received and lost out on a job, he decided to try and stay at Manhattan. But the school put him on leave until they decided what they were going to do.
The news this past week was Masiello would keep his job but is on unpaid leave until he completes his degree studies at Kentucky. Associate head coach Matt Grady will run the team in the meantime.
UNLV - Former Runnin' Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian was hospitalized on Thursday. The 83 year old complained of feeling weak and having trouble breathing. His son was quoted as saying his father was having trouble keeping his eyes open as well.
It was later reported that Tarkanian is being treated for pneumonia and while improving is still hospitalized.
Men's Basketball - There has been a lot of activity with the men's team this week. Between the introduction of the new coach to a flurry of transfer news both real and rumored, it has kept the fan base very engaged.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles faced off against Union College on Thursday in the Frozen Four.
They owned the first period, leading 1-0 at the break. But the start of the second period saw Union dominate the first 9 minutes. They took a 2-1 lead during that time. After that, the Eagles controlled the next 9 minutes allowing just one shot on goal for Union.
It was tied 2-2 after the second period. Union took a 3-2 lead. Boston College then got the benefits of a five minute power play. They weren't able to capitalize on it though. Union then took a 4-2 lead and things looked very bleak.
BC pulled their goalie with 2:32 left in the third and they managed to score to make it 4-3. Union countered with an empty net goal to make it 5-3.
Not to go down quietly, BC's Patrick Brown scored to make it 5-4. But with just 3.2 seconds left in the game, Union prevailed by that 5-4 score to end the Eagles season.
Also, while it doesn't reduce the hurt of finishing short of a national title, BC's junior forward Johnny Gaudreau capped his year by being named the 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner.
Despite holding a 19 point lead in the 3rd quarter, the Celtics week started off with a 115-11 loss to the Detroit Pistons. The loss featured three Celtics going for more than 20 points apiece and Phil Pressey having a 12 point 11 assist night with Rajon Rondo sitting out.
Things didn't get much better on Wednesday night when the Hawks handed Boston a 105-97 loss. Avery Bradley scored 24 points to lead the offense while Rondo had 19 points and 12 assists. Jared Sullinger added 15 points and 11 boards.
However, the Celtics did manage to break their losing streak on Friday night thanks to a 106-103 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Bradley again led the offense by scoring 22 points and Sullinger had 20 points. Rondo was out with a bruised shin so Phil Pressey handled the point with 10 points and 13 assists.
They followed that up with a 111-99 win over Cleveland on Saturday night. It's been quite a while since they won 2 games in a row and over the first three quarters, the Celtics looked like the dominant team of yore as they built up a 31 point lead. A combination of them slacking off and Cleveland getting hot saw the Cavaliers outscore the Celtics by 19 points in the fourth quarter, making things tighter and the final score more respectable.
Kelly Olynyk scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Celtics. Avery Bradley also scored 25. Jeff Green and Brandon Bass also chimed in with 19 points apiece.
In other NBA news, Joe Dumars is reportedly going to resign as GM of the Detroit Pistons. He's been with the team for 29 years including a front office job since 2000. It's really too bad because he's been the one Bad Boys era Pistons player that you could actually root for.
But the team has been terrible the last few years and I don't think anyone can really argue that a change isn't needed.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Now that he's with the Buffalo Bills, ex-Patriot Brandon Spikes mouthed off on Twitter this week about his time with the Pats. While most of his comments were inconsequential hype, the one comment that is sure to tick off a lot of people was how he termed his time with the Patriots as "Four Years a Slave".
Really Brandon? Seriously? You are trying to compare being a well paid pro athlete with the black mark on US history that is slavery?
While I'm not in the habit of rooting for ex-players that leave the teams I root for, I generally leave them alone in terms of the booing and such. But with the idiocy of his comments, I'm going to actively root against Spikes during the two games he faces off against the Patriots.
My fandom for the league has hit a downturn with the news on Thursday that the Chicago Sky had cut former Boston College standout Carolyn Swords.
She saw her season end early last year with a knee injury but when I saw her a couple of times at BC games this winter, she said rehab had been going well and expected to be back in Chicago for the upcoming season.
I don't know what if anything happened to make the team change their mind and release her. But I do know that they are losing out on a decent backup.
I don't know what her plans will be now. She could go overseas again or look for another WNBA team. (The Connecticut Sun would be a nice landing spot for my own selfish reasons of being close enough to actually go see her play again)
However, with her departure from the team, my interest in the Chicago Sky just went into the crapper. And with Katie Smith retired, there are currently no active WNBA players I have any interest in following. Yes I'll keep track of the New York Liberty because Smith will be an assistant coach there this season but it will be a different experience to not be rooting on a particular player.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Track - The team picked up their first win of the season by beating Bourne 106-30. They won all but one of the individual events in the meet. My ex-player Paige picked up individual wins in the long jump (14 feet 4 1/2 inches) and the 800 meters (2:41.4). She and another of my former players (Kali) were part of the quartet that won the 4 x 400 meter relay event (4:41.4).
Wareham Girls Varsity Softball - The Vikings got blasted by Fairhaven on Wednesday, losing 19-4 in a mercy rule shortened game. Rae-Lyn got tagged with the loss on the mound.
On Friday, the Vikings lost to Old Rochester 15-5, despite Gina going 2-3 with a home run.
They are now 0-4 on the season.
Upper Cape Girls Varsity Softball - The Lady Rams are 4-1 on the season after beating Cape Tech 16-0. The Upper Cape pitcher threw a no-hitter.
Friday's game against Old Colony saw the Rams take a 14-13 thriller to improve to 5-1 with a 2-0 conference record.
You can check out the video for the new Winger song "Tin Soldier" below.
Books - I finally finished reading a book this week. It was the Star Trek Enterprise novel Rise of the Federation - A Choice of Futures by Christopher L. Bennett. It was a surprisingly good read and much like the other books based on the Enterprise TV show, far better than anything that came in the first three seasons of the series. I loved the fourth season which was just awesome until the abomination they call the series finale.
I also picked up the Ingrid Thoft thriller/mystery Loyalty. It is the first book in her series featuring PI Fina Ludlow. I read a review of the second book in the series and thought it sounded good so I wanted to read the first book.
TV - The extended trailer for 24: Live Another Day has been released online. You can see it below. I get more excited as May 5th draws closer.
Men's Hockey - The Eagles beat UMass-Lowell 4-3 last week and advanced to the Frozen Four. They'll play Union on April 10th in the national semifinals. BC is 28-7-4 on the season and it would be great if they could win another championship.
By the way, does anyone know why there is such a long delay before the Frozen Four games?
Men's Basketball - For those who didn't see my Coaching Carousel entry this week, the men's basketball team has a new coach in Jim Christian. He spent the last two years at Ohio University where he went 49-22.
In demonstration of the fact that I don't actually know EVERYTHING, when I first saw the report of his hiring, my reaction was "Who?!"
He seems like he's a pretty good coach, though coaching at Ohio is a bit different than coaching in the ACC. His first order of business is going to be convincing sophomore Olivier Hanlan to stay in school. Rumor has it Hanlan is considering entering the NBA draft.
If he's successful in keeping Hanlan in school, he has to recruit ACC ready talent, win with them and re-energize a fan base that has come to expect losing rather than winning. It is a tall order. Here's hoping he can do it.
Women's Basketball - While their season is over, preparations for next year are already underway. The women's basketball team's Twitter feed has been covering the workouts the team is going through the past week or so.
The losing has finally started to fray the patience of coach Brad Stevens over the last week or so. He hasn't gone ballistic or anything but his comments in the press after games and such have had a bit of frustration in them.
After four more losses this week, it isn't hard to imagine him at least metaphorically pulling out his hair at night. A 23-53 record will do that to you.
The week started off with back to back games against the Chicago Bulls. The first game was a 107-102 loss that saw Rajon Rondo score 17 points and dish out 11 assists to lead the team. Jared Sullinger had 16 points and 10 boards. Five others also hit double figures in scoring.
Jerryd Bayless scored 18 points in the second Bulls game to lead Boston but they lost 94-80.
The Wizards pasted Boston 118-92 despite 25 points from Sullinger.
On Friday night, the Sixers knocked off the Celtics 111-102. Bayless scored 23 points and Rondo had a triple double (11 points, 11 rebounds, 16 assists) but Philly's Michael Carter-Williams had 24 points to power the Sixers.
The season is winding down and Boston is obviously not headed to the playoffs. I'd imagine Stevens and GM Danny Ainge will be looking at these final few games to see which players continue to play hard despite having nothing to look forward to in terms of postseason play. Those that do will have a good shot at returning, and those that play as if they've given up will find their roles either reduced or recast with someone else.
Four games into the season and the Red Sox are 2-2. Nothing spectacular, nothing horrifying. I saw the end of the opener and was bummed when Jon Lester gave up that homer to Nelson Cruz. I missed the 2nd game but saw the start of Game 3.
I was happy to see the Fenway crowd boo the hell out of Milwaukee's Ryan Braun yesterday during opening day in Boston, even though the Brewers won 6-2.
Say what you want, but Boston sure does put on a good opening day show, particularly after a World Series win.
I know there are those who are already breaking down stuff about these four games and will predict greatness or divine tragedy for the season but for me, it is just far too early to have an opinion on how I think the team will do this year.
Plus, I'm a Red Sox fan, my default setting is hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
By the way, here's a look at the World Series ring:
CBI Tournament - The best of 3 series between Siena and Fresno State came down to the final game on Saturday.
After splitting the first two games, it was the Siena Saints (the alma mater of one of my cousins) who put the 81-68 beatdown on Fresno State to win the 2014 CBI Championship.
WNIT - It was Rutgers vs. UTEP for the WNIT championship on Saturday afternoon. Rutgers went up big, but blew the lead. The game was tied with 8 seconds left before they went the length of the floor for a layup with 2.1 seconds left and went on to win the championship.
Tennessee Lady Vols - The Lady Vols season ended in the Sweet 16 with a loss to Maryland last weekend. They finish 29-6 and lose leading scorer Meighan Simmons to graduation.
The two biggest reasons for their loss were the 22 turnovers in the game and the fact that they had no defensive answer for Maryland's Alyssa Thomas. She scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Simmons led Tennessee with 31 points but Jasmine Jones was the only other player in double figures for scoring in the game. Bashaara Graves had 14 rebounds and Isabelle Harrison had 10 boards.
But with Simmons gone, the question becomes how do you replace her offense? And let's face it, Tennessee is no longer an ELITE team. They are very good and they have a lot of talent, but it doesn't seem to be the same quality as in past seasons.
And on the Rebkell message board, one poster even posed the question of whether it was time to move on from coach Holly Warlick or not. This was a ridiculous question in my mind. She's been there for decades of course, but she's only in her 2nd year as the head coach. And she's been reasonably successful. Not as successful as Pat Summitt (very few coaches ever could say that) and maybe not as successful as the fan base wants, but all in all she's done more than enough to stay in charge.
But there are things that need to be done. At times this season it seemed as if the team was completely out of synch. They failed to forge a distinct identity. Sure they mostly beat the teams you expected them to, but the wins over the BIG programs were few and far between.
They need to find an identity that incorporates the talent they already have and the incoming freshman class. They've got Bashaara Graves, Isabelle Harrison and Cierra Burdick in the post as well as seemingly underused Mercedes Russell. Andraya Carter took over as the point guard when Ariel Massengale just disappeared from the rotation. But their guards are definitely going to have to step things up immensely.
And in the recruiting wars, Tennessee simply has to start landing those high level blue chip players again. The ones currently heading to UConn, Stanford, Notre Dame and Baylor.
Otherwise, the Lady Vols will end up seeing a coaching change sooner rather than later. And the more you clear the tradition from the program the more the school's AD will be able to put his stamp on the program and he's already demonstrated he's less concerned about the women's teams at the school than he is about the men's teams.
Wake Forest - It's now official. The Demon Deacons have hired ex-Tulsa coach Danny Manning as the new men's basketball coach. In my coaching carousel post this week I noted about Manning being interviewed for the job and how I didn't think it was such a good idea to go to a program that is never really going to compete in the fully stacked at the top ACC.
Men's Final Four - I won't be able to include coverage of the 2nd national semi-final game, but Kevin Ollie and the UConn men's basketball team just destroyed my bracket.
After being down early, the Huskies dominated Florida and advanced to the national championship game. This is one hell of a turnaround for UConn who on March 8th got annihilated by Louisville and for sure looked like they were not even going to make the Sweet 16.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The spring sports season has gotten underway. I'll be keeping track of the Wareham girls track team, the JV and varsity softball teams for Wareham and the varsity girls softball team at Upper Cape.
While the track team hasn't started yet, Wareham's softball teams have.
The JV team won their season opener against Middleboro 4-3. Gabby is the catcher and she had a hit and a RBI in the game. She also threw out a runner at 2nd base.
The varsity team lost to Middleboro 7-0. Breanna had 2 hits. Rae-Lyn pitched giving up 5 hits with 8 K's. In their Friday afternoon game against GNB Voc-tech, Rae-Lyn got the loss on the mound as the Lady Bears rolled 13-2. Breanna had 3 hits in the loss.
As for Upper Cape, the girls team won their first two games, including a 22-5 win in Game 2. Unfortunately they lost to Bourne yesterday afternoon 6-5.
TV - This past Monday was the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and it was an so bad that it ruined the entire series for me.
This is what I wrote on Facebook about the finale:
"How do I feel about the How I Met Your Mother series finale? The show ended at 9:01 pm EST tonight and I was glad that I had never invested in the DVD sets of each season, because by 9:02 pm EST, I would've been listing them on eBay.
It took 9 years for them to tell this story and 60 minutes to absolutely F*CKING DESTROY IT. What a horrifically bad piece of crap final episode.
People should be ...ashamed of themselves and their ability to discern good from garbage if they thought this was a good way to end the show. And I mean both the fanbase and the people responsible for the show.
Much like the reboot Battlestar Galactica show, HIMYM becomes another series where the ending was such a catastrophic travesty, that I can never watch the series again.
And while, yes, it is JUST a TV show, I invested 9 years in it...the return on investment should've been better than what the ending was.
Just an abomination of a series finale."
The Walking Dead season finale last Sunday was excellent. Oh and the funny people populating the Net had a couple of good fake photos related to the show this past week. You can see them below. Believe me, if you are fan of the show you will TOTALLY get the meaning to each photo.
Game of Thrones starts tonight (9pm EST on HBO) and I'm really looking forward to that. Before that though, you can check out this hilarious NSFW Honest Trailer about the first three seasons.
Movies - I went and saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Friday. It was fantastic. A really great movie that combined all the expected heroics of a comic book movie and infused it with the great drama of both a political and spy thriller. It was extremely well done and one of the better Marvel Comics movies they have made. I'd pay to see it again in the theaters and it will be a must buy when it hits DVD.
I also saw 47 Ronin on PPV. It was a decent enough movie but I don't feel it was one that I'll end up watching multiple times.
Oh and I saw the Vince Vaughn "comedy" Delivery Man yesterday. It had moments of funny but the concept of the story doesn't really lend itself to a hour and 45 minute comedy movie. Especially when they try to cram in some relatively dramatic situations as well.
Comics - I'm a big comic book fan and one of my favorite comic writers is Peter David. I have boxes and boxes of all the comics he's written and even that isn't complete. And now he's returning to one of his previous characters. Marvel Comics is doing another Spider-Man 2099 series! Peter David wrote the first series and they are bringing him back for this one too. This of course means that I will be adding the title to my pull list when it gets solicited next month.
I picked up Volume 5 trade paperback of the series DMZ this week. Entitled "The Hidden War" it tells 6 smaller stories about characters both new and established. Unfortunately I didn't really connect with this round of the story much at all.
Books - I picked up the new Faye Kellerman book The Beast this week. It's the latest in her Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus mystery series.
Music - I'm a reader of Classic Rock magazine and each issue comes with a free CD that has about 15 songs on it from a variety of bands both new and old. Usually, there is one or two songs I like and the rest kind of just leave me feeling EHHHH about them. The latest CD has one particular song on it called "Julie (Hang Out a Little Longer). It's by Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band. I found it to be superb and made sure to mention it on FB. The band saw it and hit the like button on my comment. I thought I'd include a Youtube link to the song for you to hear it as well.
Also, you can check out the new Red Dragon Cartel video for the song "Shout It Out" below.
While trying to figure out how to watch four different TV shows tonight that all air at 9 pm...
Don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
Today's column is dedicated to my dad. It would've been his 70th birthday this past Friday. We lost him 8 years ago to the scourge that is cancer and my family misses him greatly. He was the one who brought me to my first rock concert and my first Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins games...despite not being a fan of rock music or sports. He made it possible for me to be able to indulge in all my various avenues of interest.
I don't know what happened between March 13th's Thamel article and the March 18th announcement, but Donahue was fired as the coach of BC men's basketball. It isn't like it didn't come with cause as the team was not very good his last three years in charge. You can read the details of his dismissal and quotes from AD Brad Bates here: http://www.bceagles.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/031814aac.html
By the way, I sent a tweet to Pete Thamel asking what had happened between his article and the firing announcement but unsurprisingly didn't get a response.
Now the question becomes who does the school try to hire to take Donahue's place and rebuild the program. The first thing they have to realize is that barring a miracle, competing in the ACC is near impossible. I don't know what they can do about it, but a talent upgrade and maybe actually playing defense would help make them a middle of the pack team...at best. The Eagles have two top flight players in Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson, but the rest of the team just isn't ready made to be the BMOC guys in the ACC.
Before Donahue was fired, there was talk about trying to lure Bruce Pearl to be the coach, but that wasn't going to happen regardless and certainly not after the events of this past week surrounding Pearl (more on that below).
With the success of Harvard's men's basketball team, Tommy Amaker has become a hot name. And after all, Amaker's Crimson team has beaten BC the last five years. But I don't see why in the world Amaker would want to leave what he has built at Harvard for a near to the bottom rebuilding job with the Eagles.
I don't see it happening but I wonder if the success of the Providence College men's team might put coach Ed Cooley into the candidate mix. He used to be an assistant under Al Skinner at BC.
There was also reports saying that ex-UConn coach Jim Calhoun had "significant" interest in the BC job. He's got the pedigree, but at 71 I don't see him as a long haul coach.
Whatever way this new coaching search shakes out, the new guy is going to have to figure out how to raise the team up while re-energizing a fan base that has become accustomed to being downtrodden.
Women's Basketball - Coach Erik Johnson is interviewed in the two clips below recapping the season.
The annual round of coaching news and moves brought about more than just the Steve Donahue firing. In fact, the ACC conference played a role in three of the bigger coaching news stories of the week.
Virginia Tech was even worse than Boston College this year. Into the abyss comes Buzz Williams.
After quite a run as the coach at Marquette, Williams made a surprise move to leave there and take over the Hokies program. But with a 7 year deal in place, you know he'll have time to build things his way as they try to get in a better position to compete in the ACC.
Then there was the resignation/firing of Jeff Bzdelik at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons used to be a decent ACC program but after four years under Bzdelik, they are just AWFUL. The news of his departure caused the student body to "roll the quad", something usually only done when the teams win a big game. Yes, there was a shortage of toilet paper in the dorms at Wake Forest. Ironic, considering the crappy way the team has played of late.
This is going to pay off down the road for Auburn. Despite a casual relationship with the truth during the investigation that led to his firing at Tennessee, Pearl is a fantastic coach. He's been successful at every stop on his coaching path including winning a national title when he coached in Division 2.
I know it wasn't going to happen but it would've been great if he'd been asked to coach at Boston College, the school he graduated from.
By the way, for those of you who may have entered that Billion Dollar Perfect Bracket Challenge, don't feel bad if you are out of the running. So is everyone else that signed up. Yes, there isn't one bracket left out there that is perfect. Good luck to everyone next year I guess.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
It is hard enough to be a successful program. It is harder still to win a state championship. In order to make things harder than that, try suspending half your team. Then, suspend that half of a team the day of the state title game. What do you think your chances of winning the championship will be?
And my ex-player Paige got an Honorable Mention for the girls winter track Standard Times All-Star picks.
It was a four game week for the Celtics that saw them pick up just a single win. They lost to New Orleans 121-120 in overtime despite a 39 point scoring binge from Jeff Green. The Celtics had no ability to stop Anthony Davis who scored 40 points and grabbed 21 rebounds.
A five point loss to the Mavericks saw Jerryd Bayless score 19 points to lead Boston.
When you see that the Celtics beat the Heat, you might get a little excited. After all, the game they played early in the season when Jeff Green hit a buzzer beater to win, that was EXCITING. And while any win is good, the 101-96 victory this week over Miami wasn't quite the same when you factor in that LeBron James wasn't playing for the Heat in this game. Avery Bradley led the Celtics with 23 points.
Friday night, the Celtics were on the road against the Nets. Despite 28 points from Avery Bradley and a 12 point, 12 assist night from Rajon Rondo, the Nets took the game 114-98.
The loss drops the Celtics to 23-47 on the season. That's bad to be sure, but considering the 76ers have lost 20 plus games in a row, not bad enough for those wanting the Celtics to hit rock bottom to get the highest possible draft pick.
In other NBA news, commissioner Adam Silver stated this week that he foresees sponsor logos on NBA jerseys within 5 years. This to me is horrifying news. With leagues in need of money to stay afloat at all, I can see the need for a sponsor on the uniform.
Heck, the WNBA has a number of teams set up that way, including the newly added Minnesota Lynx (or should I say the Minnesota Mayo Clinic after they unveiled their new uniforms this past week).
And while the NBA is no longer the biggest financial draw of the big four sports, the last thing I want to see is them messing with their uniforms in such a way. It is bad enough they've added sleeved uniforms. But can you imagine rooting for a Boston pro basketball team wearing a uniform that doesn't have Celtics on the front?
I just can't see myself getting excited over a change to a classic Celtics uniform. The Boston Sam Adams or Guinness or whatever business signs up to smear its logo feces all over the best uniform in basketball just doesn't do it for me.
Food - My favorite season restaurant is open. I've been eating at Kool Kone since I was a little kid and despite the adverse affect their delicious food has had on my waistline, I wouldn't change a thing. For a brief taste of what they have to offer, check out this video clip below.
Books - I picked up a couple of new books this week. The first was the paperback edition of the C.J. Box novel Breaking Point. The other book was It's One Thing After Another! For Better or For Worse Treasury Volume 4 by Lynn Johnston. It's the latest collection of the For Better or For Worse comic strip. I'm a huge fan of the series and have eagerly collected these hardcover editions. And because I love it so much, I have already finished reading it.
I also finished the C.J. Box mystery Nowhere to Run that was published back in 2010. One step closer to catching up all the way with his Joe Pickett series.
TV - Game of Thrones has had what is now the fourth trailer for the upcoming season released. It seems the trailers get more exciting as each new one comes out. You can see the latest one below.
Music - A couple of new videos for you to check out this week. The first is the Chastain song "Evil Awaits Us". I reviewed their new album a while back and while I've always liked the band, I wasn't completely enthused about the new album.
A new band with a good musical pedigree is hitting the literal and metaphorical stage. California Breed features bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, his former Black Country Communion bandmate Jason Bonham on drums and guitarist/vocalist Andrew Wyatt. You can check out their first offering from their self titled debut album due out in May below. The song is called "Sweet Tea".
While deciding on whether to attend a high school girls All-Star game...
And don't forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @TheOneTrueJay
MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
There's been a number of games that I've caught here and there over the past week. While nothing has really made me stand up and cry out to the heavens, "THAT WAS FREAKING AWESOME!", the games have been largely entertaining from what I've seen.
As we await the men's bracket announcements tonight, I can say that I am hoping for my buddy Brian's Providence College to do well. They've had quite a run for themselves so far this year despite a lack of available bodies. Whether due to injury or suspension, they've got little in the way of a bench. Their top player, senior Bryce Cotton (pictured below), has played nearly every minute of every game.
Since neither of my Boston College basketball teams are headed to tournament play, I might just have to find myself pulling for the Friars.
Oh by the way, the Friars pulled off a huge upset on Saturday night by beating #14 Creighton in the Big East tourney final and clinched the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. The Friars are going dancing. Bryce Cotton led the team (playing just 6 players in the game) with 23 points.
It's not a school you hear much about come tournament time. After all, it isn't like Wofford is expected to win a game much less make a run for the title. But after the Terriers won the Southern Conference title and the automatic bid to the Big Dance, it was the post game interview from Aerris Smith that got a lot of buzz. The senior has dealt with knee injuries all year and during the post game interview the senior told the radio announcers that the tourney final win was his last college game as he heads for surgery. The following link tells the story and contains a Youtube link to the interview. The emotion coming out of Smith is amazing. Read it here: http://extramustard.si.com/2014/03/13/wofford-aerris-smith-interview/
Before moving on, has there been a more exposed as an overly flawed team than Syracuse the last few weeks? When they won on a buzzer beater to improve to 25-0, they looked like they were unstoppable.
Then came a stunning loss to my BC Eagles and thing seemed to unravel for the Orange from there. They had dropped all the way down to #11 before losing again in the ACC tourney to NC State. They've lost 5 out of their last 7 games and unless Jim Boeheim can figure something out, Syracuse looks to be an early out this season in the tourney.
BOSTON COLLEGE ATHLETICS
Men's Basketball - Speaking of BC men's hoops, the Eagles closed out the regular season with a 78-68 loss to NC State. Of course, when you give up 42 points to any player (as they did to the Wolfpack's T.J. Warren), a loss can't be too much of a surprise.
The Eagles finished their ACC schedule with a 4-14 record despite getting 29 points from Olivier Hanlan and 15 from Ryan Anderson.
The Eagles then saw their season come to an end in the first round of the ACC tournament when they fell in overtime to Georgia Tech 73-70. The loss ends their season at 8-24.
And the loss gave one final showing of a pattern that developed for the Eagles during the season. They were down big late in the game (13 points against the Yellowjackets), rally back to tie things up and force the OT, and then take a lead in the extra period. Then somehow manage to blow the game regardless.
It is frustrating as hell because the Eagles have talent, they just have absolutely no idea how to play defense. I understand that they are in the toughest conference in men's college hoops, but when the game is on the line, they play defense as if they were 80 year old men with walkers instead of college athletes in prime athletic condition.
Patrick Heckmann, who's scoring touch seemed to return late in the season, led the team with 21 points. Hanlan scored 16 points and Anderson had 15 points.
The team is only losing one player to graduation this year. I'm hoping that everyone else returns (not getting deluded into thinking they are ready for the NBA). And the news came late in the week that coach Steve Donahue would be back for a fifth season at The Heights.
But if they can't figure out how to play defense, it will be another long season.
Football - The school held their Pro Day for BC players looking to get themselves drafted by the NFL this year. The headline player on the day was of course, running back Andre Williams.
Tennessee - The Lady Vols once again found themselves trailing by double digits in the first half of their SEC tourney game, but they rallied back and ended up beating Kentucky 71-70 to improve their record to 27-5 on the season. Oh and since this was the tournament final we're talking about here, they got the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Meighan Simmons scored 17 points (becoming the fourth Lady Vol to go over 2,000 career points). Isabelle Harrison added 16 points and Jordan Reynold had 11 points.
While in the early rounds, the Lady Vols will likely not be faced with an overly daunting opponent (that doesn't mean they can sleepwalk through the games of course), if their streak of games where they face deficits of 10 points or more continue, their "Grind for 9" campaign is going to be coming to an early and decisive end against the teams they will face in the later rounds.
Hartford - The Hawks season came to an end with a 65-51 America East tourney loss to top seeded Albany. They finish at 13-18 for the season. Amber Bepko finished with 21 points to lead Hartford. Going into the offseason, they have certain pieces of the puzzle in place (Bepko, Mayza, Moore in particular), but coach Jennifer Rizzotti is going to have to see a talent infusion and more cohesion from her team if they want to get back to the tournament.
Bepko will be a senior next year and after finally getting to see her play in person when the Hawks traveled to Boston College this season, she's going to have a great final year if she can be consistent in her scoring all season long. But she can't do it alone and everyone is going to have to raise their games to become better as a team.
You can see highlights of the final game below.
Missouri State - The first regular season under coach Kellie Harper came to a close with a 93-56 loss to Wichita State. The Lady Bears finished with a 13-16 overall mark (8-10 in conference play).
They had a season high 27 turnovers in the game against the Shockers. Hannah Wilkerson led the team with 14 points while sisters Bry and Tyonna Snow added 10 points apiece.
In the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, MSU picked up a first round win over Southern Illinois thanks to a game ending 15-0 run, giving them a 61-39 victory. Wilkerson and Tyonna Snow had 12 points apiece to top the scoring column while NiJay Gaines had 10 boards.
But any hope of post season play came to a screeching halt on Friday night when they lost to Wichita State 71-53. According to the game recap, the Lady Bears held strong with the Shockers for the first 30 minutes of the game before falling to defeat.
Desiree Phillips scored a career high 13 points in her final game. She is one of four graduating seniors on the team. Seniors Hannah Wilkerson (11 points) and Bry Snow (10 points) were also big for the team in their final games.
A 14-17 record under Harper duplicates the record the team had last year (though the conference mark was a couple games better). Not a stunning turn around but at least they weren't worse off. But now with the need to replace Wilkerson and Bry Snow in particular, not too mention weathering the absence of Kenzie Williams (ACL tear) until late in the season, the Bears are going to need more talent and a team that quickly adapts to their new roles next year.
The Celtics had a busy week that started off nicely then crashed and burned. They beat the Pistons 118-111 behind 27 points from Jeff Green and 20 points, 11 rebounds from Kris Humphries.
Kelly Olynk (18 points), Jerryd Bayless (15 points) and Jared Sullinger (14 points, 8 boards) also contributed in the win.
The most notable thing from the statistical viewpoint was Rajon Rondo's game. I mentioned in the previous Sunday Musings how he'd had 9 assists but 7 turnovers in the game before this Pistons matchup. And how that was a bit worrisome to me.
So what does Rondo do against the Pistons? The 11 points he scored were a sideshow compared to the 18 assists he dished out to go with ZERO turnovers. Guess I'm just going to have to keep my opinions on his turnovers to myself.
But that was kind of the end of the good news for the Celtics.
First there was a 94-83 loss to the Pacers. Sullinger led the team with 17 points and 9 boards. Given that the Pacers are the best team in the East, a loss is not a surprise but rather just disappointing.
They then lost 116-92 to the Knicks. I watched the first half of that game and defense was a dirty word for Boston as the Knicks just shot the lights out against them. Dave Cowens was the in studio analyst for halftime and when asked how the Celtics could come back from what was then a 20 point deficit, the best he could offer was for them to make all their shots and not let the Knicks hit any shots...for the entire second half. Jeff Green had 27 points to lead the Celtics in this game.
On Friday night, the Suns beat Boston 87-80 to drop Boston to 22-44 for the season. Kris Humphries had 11 points and 13 boards to lead the Celtics. They also got 11 points from Chris Johnson. Kelly Olynyk had 8 points and 10 boards.
The painful season to watch continues. Hope abides for improvement down the line, but it doesn't make each paper cut of a loss any easier to bear at the time.
In other NBA news, the Lakers announced this week that Kobe Bryant would officially be out for the rest of the season. Given the status of his injury and the total crapfest that is the Lakers season, this is not much of a surprise. I guess the only surprise is why it took so long to announce what seemed to be a foregone conclusion by most anyone paying attention.
We all know about Kobe's work ethic, but as the season started spiraling downward for the Lakers, anyone but a moron would've realized that it would be better to shut him down and let him focus on getting as completely healthy as possible and starting again NEXT year.
And the Knicks being the worst kept secret team of the week will introduce Phil Jackson as their new president on Tuesday. Yep, they are making official what everyone guessed would happen a week ago.
The problem with the Knicks remains the product on the floor. What will be done with Carmelo Anthony? How soon do they fire Mike Woodson? Who will be the new coach? How will they import more talent to the roster? And the biggest question...will Jackson be able to provide answers to all these questions?
Most importantly, the hope is that Jackson will be given full control of the team's decision making. He hasn't done anything like this before but he can't possibly be worse than Knicks owner James Dolan has been. Dolan needs to step aside and just be an owner. He needs to not be seen or heard. And he needs to let actual basketball people do actual basketball jobs.
Will this happen? I doubt it, egomaniacal rich people don't change their tune. But here's hoping that will become the case. Otherwise, the Knicks will remain the mess they have been for most of the last decade.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The good, the bad and the ugly managed to worm their way into the Patriots offseason this week.
The Pats signed cornerback Darrelle Revis to a 1 year 12 million dollar deal. After losing Aqib Talib to Denver in free agency, they had to make a move to shore up an already weak secondary. This is a big dollar deal for the Patriots who are usually loathe to lavish such a high salary on anyone not named Tom Brady.
But it had to be done to show they are serious about improving a team weak spot. They also signed Brandon Browner to a 3 year 17 million dollar deal. His talent almost guarantees the secondary will be highly improved instead of just treading water from where the grouping was last season. But unfortunately, his signing comes with the realization he won't be available for the first four games of the season while serving a PED suspension.
On the offensive side of things, it was going to be bad if their primary receiver last year, Julian Edelman, found a new home in free agency. He was testing the open market. Danny Amendola cannot be our #1 receiving option!
Thankfully, yesterday afternoon, the news broke (by Edelman himself on Twitter) that he had re-signed with the Patriots.
As for the bad, it actually spills over into the ugly as well. After the Patriots approached Vince Wilfork about restructuring his contract, Big Vince not only turned them down, but told the club he wants to be released from the team.
I know the 11 million dollar cap hit and the fact he is coming off a major injury are factors in the decision to try and work out a different deal with him, but this is Big Vince we are talking about. The Patriots were demonstrably worse off when he got hurt and he is one of those franchise cornerstones teams need.
I don't know how this is going to be resolved but 10 years with Wilfork as the massive presence in the middle deserves a better ending than a simple cold hard "It's a business" finale.
In regards to the Rich Peverley situation down with the Dallas Stars, I saw the news announcement that he was out for the season. I had to shake my head and wonder why it took a few days to actually come out with the release.
THE GUY HAD A FREAKING CARDIAC EVENT ON THE BENCH IN THE MIDDLE OF A GAME!
It should've been something that was immediately tied into the news story that it happened in the first place.
There's a lot of injuries that you can come back from over the course of one season, but of all things that could possibly happen, a damn heart attack in the middle of game should be an automatic YOU ARE DONE FOR THE SEASON!
The former Boston Bruin scared the hell out of both teams so bad, they had to postpone the game because the players were so shook up.
Maybe I'm being overly cautious but if he doesn't have to take and pass a list of tests a mile long with flying colors, then doctors and teams are likely to be the biggest idiots on the face of the planet. And even if Peverley does pass those tests, should he really come back? There would have to be some sort of system in place that could completely guarantee something like this would never happen again. It is a hard hoop to make someone jump through to continue being employed, but if I'm a team owner the last thing I want to do is explain to the man's family why he was allowed back only to collapse and die on the ice.
Here's to a return to full health for Peverley (pictured below from the Bruins Cup win) but goddamn man, please consider every aspect of your life before rushing back will ya?
I had a good time with the two games I was able to do the call for and the guy in charge of filming and the coach both want me to do more games next season.
Speaking of UCT basketball, a hearty congratulations goes out my ex-player Michaela. At the banquet for the winter sports teams this past week, she received the team defensive player of the year award.
And as you might expect, with tournaments underway everywhere right now, there had to be some buzzer beaters to check out. And I saw this one from Michigan on Yahoo Sports! It was a hell of a shot to be sure. A regional final with .8 seconds left on the clock at you get this finish:
Books - My book review for the spy thriller I Am Pilgrim by author Terry Hayes went up late Sunday last week. I've gotten good feedback on the review from the publisher including "what a well thought out review" and "didn't realize it was your first ever book review and honored it was for Pilgrim and impressed that it was so good". You can check out the review here: http://www.pop-topia.com/book-review-pilgrim-terry-hayes/
I picked up a couple of new books this week too. The new Mary Daheim mystery The Alpine Xanadu and Robert K. Tanenbaum's thriller Tragic.
And thankfully, I've already finished the Daheim book.
Movies - Busy week for me, I actually saw two movies. The first was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I thought it was far and away better than the first movie in the series.
And on Friday, I borrowed a friend's Kindle device and watched the Veronica Mars movie on it. I'm hoping to do a full review of the movie and have it up so I can include a link next week. But the quickie review was that I liked it.
TV - Three returning series released trailers this week. It was third preview trailer for Game of Thrones on HBO, while the first new trailers for the new seasons of Orphan Black on BBC America and Falling Skies on TNT.
Music - The band Helstar has a new album called This Wicked Nest due out April 29th in the US. The first song off the album is called "Fall of Dominion" and you can listen to it below. I've not been a fan of the band usually, but I do like singer James Rivera from his work with another band called Seven Witches. So I'm likely to pick up this Helstar CD and review it.