Who is Gary Neal and what is he doing dropping 24 on the Heat in game three of the NBA Finals last night? Turns out that he’s a product of the ‘basketball bushes’, playing in lower to mid leagues in Europe for three years after a college career at Towson State. He was brilliant last night and had everyone reaching for google search.
He hasn’t exactly been missing in action, but King James has played more like a pauper over the last two games. The Spurs were daring him to take the jumper last night and he ended up just 7-21 from the floor. That makes him 14-38 over his last two starts, this series is over if he can’t score any easier than that.
Every time I watch the Heat and see Norris Cole knocking down three pointers, I think back to the only time I saw him live in college. It was in November of 2009, Wichita State beat his Cleveland State team by 15 points on the road in a game that Norris was held to 8 points on 2-11 shooting. Meanwhile, Clevin Hannah and Toure Murry were combing for 31 points. It just goes to show you that first impressions aren’t always the right ones.
As reported here on Monday Dallas Baptist’s Dan Heefner has emerged as a strong candidate for the baseball job at Wichita State. The fact that he brought his family along for the interview could indicate that the two sides are pretty far along in the negotiation process. He may not take the job, but I believe that Heefner will be, or has been, offered it.
Robinson Cano was pretty direct when asked if he would pick Kansas City’s Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game in New York this summer-- “no chance” he said, still stinging a little from the way Royals fans reacted to his exclusion of Butler in last summer’s classic in Kansas City. In truth, that reaction was the only bad thing in an incredible baseball experience at Kauffman Stadium. Even though Cano jokes about it a year later, he was clearly affected by behavior that, he thought, crossed the line.
Take preseason prognostications for what they’re worth, but the best in the business is Phil Steele. I highly recommend his magazine, it’s something that you’ll use all season long. How he handicaps the Big 12 race is interesting---he’s really bullish on Texas , which he ranks number four nationally. Oklahoma State is eight, then you drop all the way to nineteen with Oklahoma and Twenty first with TCU. Baylor and K-State are also in his top 39. His is the most bullish prediction I’ve seen on the ‘Horns who’ve been consistent underachievers over the past few years.
No more domes---
The NCAA continues to downsize at the regional level of the tournament eliminating dome stadiums from the equation. Domes will still be used going forward in the Final Four—Cowboys Stadium gets it next year, with Indianapolis and Houston to follow. I really enjoyed the arena experience at the Staples Center in LA during the Shocker’s run this season. It provided a much better atmosphere than other regionals I’ve attended in the past. This is a good idea.