As some of you know, I’ve embarked on a freelance career. Since January 1 I’ve put myself out there as a play-by-play talent and I’ve been pleased with the results. In the last week I’ve worked the Arkansas spring football game with ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes and called three softball games at top ranked Oklahoma with two-time gold medalist Dr. Dot Richardson.
It’s been interesting to see their work ethic reflected in their preparation, both are professionals and both are delightful people to work with. It’s easy to say that I aspire to their level; I only hope I can someday approach it.
I was so pleased to see Wichita’s Arthur Brown picked in the middle of the second round. He was the first of three K-Stater’s taken in the draft, the programs most since 2007. It’s also the twentieth straight year that the Wildcats have produced a draft pick. I feel that Brown is a can’t miss guy with the Ravens, which have a pretty good history with linebackers and are in need of them with the retirement of Ray Lewis and the departure of Danelle Ellerbe. Not only is Brown a tremendously quick player, he’s also a very sure tackler and great student of the game. I said it during the season and I’ll stick with it now---Arthur Brown will have a more productive pro career than Heisman runner-up Manti T’eo. I was no less pleased for Chris Harper who went to Seattle. The Northwest product is the type of big receiver they like in the league, although his deep speed is questionable. Braeden Wilson was an interesting call by the Chiefs in the sixth round, the fullback out of Smith Center was called the best blocking back in the draft by Chiefs coach Andy Reid. They really like his size and versatility and expect him to be able to help at tight end on occasion.
I watched Tanner Hawkinson grow up in McPherson as a tight end for head coach Tom Young, he was quickly converted to the offensive line in Lawrence and that move lead to his pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. Hawkinson is an incredibly personable young man and, by all accounts, is a real student of the game.
Joseph Randle, who prepped at Southeast, was tabbed by the Cowboys in the fifth round. At least he won’t have to switch nicknames, having played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Dallas is said to like his versatility, especially as ikt relates to catching passes out of the backfield. Felix Jones is out in Big D and with Demarco Murray somewhat injury-prone—Dallas could be a good destination for Randle, who becomes the second City-Leaguer in as many years to be drafted by the Cowboys. Kapaun’s David Arkin made the club as a rookie last year out of Missouri State.
What’s really cool about these five guys—is that they’re all natives of the state of Kansas and four are Wichita area guys. Four natives taken in the NFL Draft—that’s pretty cool.
Just when it looked as though we would have a ho-hum opening round of the playoffs—the Golden State Warriors are rising up to make things with the Denver Nuggets interesting. The loss of Russell Westbrook won’t hurt the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Rockets, but all bets are off after that. These playoffs may be better remembered for who’s not playing; Kobe Bryant, Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose are some of the biggest names in the league. Besides, does it really matter? What team is going to beat LaBron and the Heat four times in ten days?
Have you noticed?
The Royals are off to a great start, but not the best start in baseball. That distinction belongs to the Boston Red Sox. The same Red Sox that went 69-93 a year ago under Bobby Valentine, a year that I’m sure I suffered through as some form of penance for something terrible I’ve done along the way. I can only hope that my score is settled.