Matt Scott's verbal commitment to Arizona on Friday was a huge announcement for the Wildcats football program, and a major reason why the Friday Fizz is posting on Sunday. Scott, the 4-star recruit and #9 ranked QB, nationally, deserved a weekend in the top spot on the Wildcat Insider site so that's what he got. Similar to the year Willie Tuitama committed early to Arizona, hopefully the recent verbals to Arizona from 4-star commits such as Scott, Gerell Robinson and Robert Golden will trigger another highly ranked recruiting class for the Wildcats in 2008.
Preseason College Football magazines began hitting newsstands recently. So far, Arizona is not getting much love. In fact, I was reading bowl projections on a national website the other day and not only was Arizona not projected to make a bowl game they weren't even listed as a "potential team" to make any particular bowl. This is a good thing for Wildcats fans because for as long as I can remember, Arizona has always played the underdog role well when we've had the potential to be good (the Mackovich Era no longer counts). The bad thing is Pac-10 opponents won't view Arizona as an underdog – only the national media will. Arizona is good. Really good, and they have the potential to be great. Every key player on an already solid defense returns and this year they'll compete with USC and UCLA for the best defense in not only the conference, but perhaps the country. On offense, there's still a ton of doubt but with Sonny Dykes on board, a healthy Tuitama at the helm and a solid back-up in Tyler Lyon who can step in and play well in a moments notice, Arizona is in a much better position to compete this year than last year. I think the reason why Arizona is not getting much hype is not that people don't think Arizona will be good, it's just that every other team in the Pac-10 looks to have also dramatically improved heading into 2007-08. Arizona could again go 6-6 this season and yet be twice as good as last year's team It's really early so no projections just yet, but to state the obvious, Arizona needs to find a way to win their games against BYU, NAU, New Mexico, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State and Stanford. All are definitely winnable. Home games against UCLA and Oregon are also winnable since UCLA is UA's Homecoming Weekend and the Oregon game is a Thursday night special in Tucson, televised on ESPN.
Shifting gears, baseball is a funny game but you already knew that. The other night John Kruk made a comment, bragging about how the Colorado Rockies had won 19 of their last 36. Sounds impressive right? Say the same thing another way though, like maybe, "the Rockies are 19 and 17 in their last 36," and suddenly the Rockies' recent stretch doesn't sound so impressive anymore.
Miquel Tejada's consecutive games streak of 1,152, the fifth-longest in big league history, came to an end Friday night. Even though Tejada's streak fell 1,480 games short of Cal Ripken's record, it's still impressive. In a sport where pulled hamstrings are as common as colds and a hang nail will earn you a stint on the 15-day disabled list, Tejada deserves much more praise for his achievement than he's getting.
It would be so much better for baseball if Bonds hits numbers 755 and 756 at home. The Giants kicked-off a nine game home stand Friday night and Bonds treated the fans to number 749 in a 7-3 loss to the Yankees.
I find it odd that so many hate Bonds, yet have embraced Sosa during his run to 600 dingers. Sosa used to be a 175 lb. kid, just like Bonds, when he first came up. Like Bonds, he averaged a respectable 30 plus home runs a season before he began putting up monster power numbers with just about everyone else in baseball. So why does the media despise one slugger and love the other? Is it because one guy is nicer to them than the other? Steroids or no steroids what Bonds did in 2001 is not unlike what Roger Maris did in 1961 when he broke Ruth's record. What am I talking about? Well, this: In the two years prior to hitting his record breaking 61 home runs, Maris only hit 16 and 39, respectively. In the three years following the 1961 season, Maris only hit 33, 23 and 26 home runs. Similarly, Bonds hit 34 and 49 in the two seasons leading up to his 2001 record season of 73 homers. Over the next three years, he hit 46, 45 and 45. My point is that Bonds and Maris each had one of those incredible, once in a lifetime, record breaking seasons. After all, that's what makes record breaking seasons phenomenal is that they're so rare. If guys threatened Ruth's 61 every single season then it wouldn't have been so special when Maris got hot in the summer of 1961. Similarly, Bonds got hot 40 years later and hit 73, making it arguably the best season any player has ever had. Did performance enhancing drugs play a role in this? Did they play a role in Maris' season? Everyone on planet Earth would emphatically say NO for Maris but YES for Bonds. I guess I'll just remain in the minority on this issue. For me, I'll say this – Bonds has the best eye in baseball, a pure swing, fast hands, and has always hit for power. Maybe he used an illegal substance or maybe he didn't. Regardless, he's still one of the best players, maybe even the best, the game's ever seen and for one season he was able to put it all together. Is that so unbelievable? You know my answer.
I've been struggling with this all week because I just can't get my head around what I'm about to do. In fact, I feel like the Skipper in Top Gun> after Cougar turned in his wings. "I've gotta' do something, I, I can't believe. I've gotta' give you you're dream shot. You two…are going to Top Gun." Well, I'm not sending Maverick and Goose to Top Gun but I am putting myself in Kobe Bryant's corner on this whole Lakers/Mamba mess. After the Lakers again this week expressed hesitation in trading Andrew Bynum and/or Kwame Brown along with Lamar Odom to the Pacers for Jermaine O'Neal, I hold out little hope that Mitch Kupchak will ever make the right move. With O'Neal's size, inside presence, and impressive 19.4 PPG and 9.6 RPG season averages, a starting line up of Kobe, O'Neal, Walton, Mihm and Farmar would be a heck of a lot better than anything they've put on the floor in the years since the Big Diesel left for Miami. The simple fact is that Odom and Kobe do not play well together. Odom only goes off when Kobe's not on the floor. And Bynum or Brown, puh-leez. These guys are nowhere near the caliber of player the Lakers need to compete down low with Western Conference centers such as Duncan, Ming, Stoudemire, and the soon to be Trailblazer, Oden. Why the Lakers insist on hanging onto these guys I'll never know. I know this, though. If they stay the course, Kobe will be gone, either through a bad trade or willingly in two years, and I won't blame him for leaving one bit.
Further signs that I'll need a psychiatrist sooner rather than later: My wife and I recently made the decision to switch the food we serve our dogs from traditional kibbles to a natural diet, consisting of chicken, turkey, green vegetables and brown rice that we prepare and cook ourselves each week. Tonight I was tired and in a rush so, in a nutshell, I literally had dinner with Rocky and Bella. One scoop of the food mix for each of them and two scoops for daddy. The funny thing is it was the healthiest meal I had eaten all week. I wonder if my coat will be shinier tomorrow.
Reports claim that USC's Tim Floyd has received a verbal commitment from eighth grader, Ryan Boatright. Boatright, who's yet to choose which high school he'll be attending in the Fall, apparently has made his decision on what college he plans to attend. When thinking of Floyd recruiting a 14-year old, the only thing that comes to mind is when Booger was combing the local high schools for a date to his fraternity party in Revenge of the Nerds.
The NBA Draft is less than a week away and things are not looking good for Marcus Williams, Ivan Radenovic and Mustafa Shakur. Williams, at one time considered a first round lock, appears to be slipping into the second round unless the Suns pull the trigger and take the small forward with their 29th pick. Radenovic is also sliding, but should still get drafted. Shakur, well, things aren't looking so good for his potential future in the NBA. If he ever does get into the league, it'll have to be via the road less traveled.
Kevin Durant might prove to be the best player in this year's draft but how on earth could any GM in their right mind pass up Greg Oden for the Texas stud. Brandon Roy and Oden will make for a very nice 1-2 punch over the next 10 years if the Trailblazers can find a way to keep them both in Portland after their rookie contracts expire. As for the Sonics, you'll hear no complaints out of them if Durant doesn't go in the top spot. The talented guard/forward is capable of dropping 40 on any given night and indeed will on many occasions next season in the NBA.
Many analysts are saying that this year's NBA Draft is not very deep. I beg to differ. There are many guys in this year's draft who, unlike previous drafts in recent years, have actually accomplished many great things in college. All the Florida kids are proven champions, Oden and Conley proved that they have the mettle to be champions, Green from Georgetown is a stud, and a winner, Young and Pruitt from USC proved they could play with anyone in the country – and beat them, and even players like Spencer Hawes, Josh McRoberts, Acie Law, and Derrick Byars who may not grow up to be superstars are still about as fundamentally sound as a player can get.
After Kevin Garnett rejected a possible trade to the Boston Celtics, the Suns now have an opportunity to pick up the athletic big man. It's one of the big questions heading into the draft. Are the Suns willing to part with the younger Stoudemire for the older Garnett? Both have the same physical skills, but perhaps Garnett has more of that killer instinct the Suns need to get over the hump so they can beat David Stern in the playoffs next year. New GM Steve Kerr has a huge decision to make and one that could define his legacy as an NBA Executive. Knowing the kind of person Kerr is, whatever decision he makes will be the one that's best for his team.
Once the College World Series ends, the draft is concluded and the All Star game is played, we'll be left with little more than counting the days until football camps open across the country. And you know what, that won't be so bad.
Until next week, Bear Down!