Thursday, April 30, 2009

Magic dismantle Sixers

114-89 is your final. Sixers serenaded off the floor with boos and deservedly so.

Sixers getting blitzed at the half

Philadelphia, PA - This game had trap written all over it and sure enough, the Sixers fell in.

Tony DiLeo should have come up with a simple game plan without Dwight Howard in the lineup.

Run the Magic off the 3-point line and drive the basketball on the offensive end.

For some reason, the Sixers thought it would be a good idea to give the game's most one-dimensional player, JJ Redick, and Rafer Alston all the easy looks they wanted from beyond the arc.

Meanwhile, Andre Iguodala and Willie Green were content to shoot jumpers that just weren't there.

The result? Magic lead 62-48 and shot 57.5 percent, including a ridiculous 66.7 percent from long range.

Rashard Lewis ate Thaddeus Young for lunch and Green was just awful in the first quarter.

Iguodala was a miserable 2-for-10 from the floor...
The Sixers were a minus-19 when young was on the floor...
Sixers outrebounded 19-15 and 6-5 on the offensive glass despite Howard's absence
Here's the Magic 3-point info: Redick 3-for-3, Alston 2-for-4, Turkoglu 1-for-1, Lewis 0-1.


Sixers - Magic Game 6 pre-game thoughts

Good news on the officials. There will be no Steve Javie, Dick Bavetta, Joey Crawford or Bennett Salvatore so the star@#$%ing will be kept to a minimum. It's Scott Foster, Tom Washington and Derrick Collins. Of course, that's probably bad news for a potential Game 7. That has Javie written all over it.

JJ Redick gets the start over Mikael Pietrus for Courtney Lee. Doesn't matter, Pietrus will get most of the minutes. Stan Van Gundy just hopes Redick bangs a few threes. By the way, I called Redick at Duke...Thought he would be an awful NBA player but I didn't think he would be this bad.

Speaking of threes, the Sixers, save Andre Miller aren't a very smart team, so this has trap written all over it. I'm quite sure Tony DiLeo and his assistants are imploring their players to run everybody and their mother off the 3-point line with no Dwight Howard in the lineup. You can live with Martin Gortat and Tony Battie making 14-footers. The only way Orlando wins this came is with a ton of treys.

On the offensive end, Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams better not settle for the jumper. Drive, drive, drive...

For those of you wondering why Marresse Speights has been benched. Understand he's a poor defensive rebounder and defender so he's not an option when Howard is around. I would expect him to get a few minutes tonight. If he's hot early, DiLeo will stick with him...

5,000 tix left as of an hour ago. Philly's a basketball town? A couple members of the Magic press are ripping the fans and it's kinda tough to defend.

Big cheer went up when Matt Cord announced Dwight Howards's suspension...

Champs Sports

Wrestler's son shot

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Lemarcus Skipper, son of former WCW and TNA star Elix Skipper, was fatally shot last night in his grandmother’s Columbus, Ohio home.

Tonight at the Center: Dwight Howard as Clark Kent

By Steve Lienert

(The Phanatic Magazine) - Not even the Sixers can blow this chance, right?

I mean, no Dwight Howard, no Courtney Lee… there’s no way the Philly-Orlando series isn’t going back to Florida for a Game 7 this weekend, right?

The 76ers have mostly done a good job in frustrating the young Howard in the series so far, which ultimately manifested itself with a violent elbow in the opening minutes of Game 5.

He’s lived up to his billing as Superman, punctuated by his 24-point, 24-recound performance in Game 5. But Howard still lives in Smallville -- he’s still in his formative years.

Howard’s still learning how use the awesome powers he’s been given. Meanwhile, he acts like an awkward high-school kid wandering down the hallways between classes trying to keep his elbows tucked in so he doesn’t accidentally break the nose some poor, unsuspecting co-ed.

Or, in this case, some poor, unsuspecting starting guard. Lee was the victim of a wayward Howard elbow as well, and he’ll miss Game 6 of a playoff series with a fractured sinus.

Somebody asked ESPN hockey analyst and former NHL coach Barry Melrose if a player he’s ever coached would miss a playoff game with a fractured sinus.

Melrose’s reply? “Their wives wouldn’t miss a playoff game for a fractured sinus.” It’s almost as if Melrose balled his fist in front of his mouth and coughed out the word ‘soft’ (for lack of a better term).

This Superman is just a Superboy, still slamming into buildings while trying to perfect the art of flying.

He blushes when he uses his x-ray vision.

He let some midget in a green “kryptonite” suit dunk over him on national television.

And tonight, during an intriguing Game 6, he’ll be in a suit himself; a nifty, stylish ensemble to be sure. But he won’t be breaking anybody’s nose, or a sweat, until sometime on Friday.

If Howard has the same sense of humor as he did during the Slam Dunk contest in which he was a prop in Nate Robinson’s winning dunk, he’ll sit on the bench with Drew Carey-like glasses adorning his face.

“Tonight at the Wachovia Center: Dwight Howard playing the role of Clark Kent, the Magic’s mild mannered man-child.” There will be no phone booth at the Wachovia center tonight.

So now the only things that stand between the Sixers and a date with a ticked off superhero in Game 7 are Hedo Turkoglu, who seems to have developed a distinct fear of Andre Iguodala, and some guy who seems to be in the country for the Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Pakistan.

I’m interested to see how well Samuel Dalembert will fare against Borat, er, uh, Marcin Gortat, because if he stinks up the joint like he has for the last half of the season, it’s time to end the ‘Sammy Can Play’ project.

For once, the Sixers can defend the perimeter without fear of reprisal in the paint, which should lead to an easy victory over a severely depleted Magic team. On paper, it looks all too easy.

There’s no way they can blow this, right?

Steve Lienert is still mourning the Flyers’ playoff defeat, but he can be reached at

NBA Sale

Orlando's Lee done for playoffs

Orlandos rookie guard Courtney Lee is expected to have surgery on his fractured sinus and miss the remainder of the playoffs


Erving on ESPN950 this afternoon

Julius "Dr. J" Erving will be a guest of Mike Missanelli in the 5 o'clock hour this afternoon.

Rotating Banners

Speights mentioned in All-Rookie voting

NEW YORK, April 30, 2009 - Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies were unanimous selections to the 2008-09 T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today.

Rounding out the T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie First Team are Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (53 points), New Jersey's Brook Lopez (49 points) and Miami's Michael Beasley (44 points).

The 2008-09 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, Rose led rookies in assists (6.3 apg), was second in scoring (16.8 ppg), and averaged 3.9 rebounds. A three-time T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month selection (November, December, March), Rose represented Chicago at All-Star Saturday Night in Phoenix, becoming the first rookie to win the PlayStation Skills Challenge with a time of 35.3 seconds.

A two-time T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection (November, April), Mayo led rookies in scoring (18.5 ppg), ranked fifth in assists (3.2 apg), and averaged 3.8 rebounds. Mayo, who shot .438 from the floor and .879 from the free throw line, set a Grizzlies rookie record with 1,516 points this season.

Westbrook, a two-time T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month selection (December, February) was fourth among first-year players in scoring (15.3 ppg) and second in assists (5.3 apg). Westbrook was the only rookie to record a triple-double this season, posting 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 96-87 win over Dallas on March 2.

Lopez averaged 13.0 points and was second among rookies in rebounds (8.1 rpg) and double-doubles (18). The two-time T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month selection (January, February) led first-year players in blocks (1.8 bpg) and his 151 blocks this season is a Nets rookie record.

Beasley averaged 13.9 points and was eighth among rookies in rebounds (5.4 rpg). The T-Mobile Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in April, Beasley led the Rookie Team in scoring with 29 points at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.

The T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Gordon (39 points), Minnesota's Kevin Love (34 points), Miami's Mario Chalmers (29 points), Memphis' Marc Gasol (25 points), Charlotte's D.J. Augustin (tie, 17 points) and Portland's Rudy Fernandez (tie, 17 points).

Sixers forward/center Marreese Speights got three points while former Rider star and Lenape, NJ native Jason Thompson received seven points.

The voting panel consisted of the NBA's 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

All-Rookie teams:


Player Team First (2 pt) Second (1 Pt) Total
Derrick Rose Chicago 29 - 58
O.J. Mayo Memphis 29 - 58
Russell Westbrook Oklahoma City 24 5 53
Brook Lopez New Jersey 21 7 49
Michael Beasley Miami 17 10 44


Player Team First (2 pt) Second (1 Pt) Total
Eric Gordon L.A. Clippers 13 13 39
Kevin Love Minnesota 7 20 34
Mario Chalmers Miami 5 19 29
Marc Gasol Memphis 2 21 25
D. J. Augustin Charlotte - 17 17
Rudy Fernandez Portland - 17 17

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first place votes in parentheses): Courtney Lee, Orlando, 12; Jason Thompson, Sacramento, 7; Marreese Speights, Philadelphia, 3; Greg Oden, Portland, 3 (1); Robin Lopez, Phoenix, 2 (1).

eSportsonline - 20% Off Plus Free Shipping with Flyer Code L1

Penn State's Warner among Colleg Football Hall of Fame class

-Courtesy of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame

NEW YORK, April 30, 2009 - From the national ballot of 76 candidates and a pool of hundreds of eligible nominees, Archie Manning, chairman of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, announced the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) Class, which includes the names of 16 First Team All-America players and two legendary coaches.


  • PERVIS ATKINS - HB, New Mexico State (1958-60)
  • TIM BROWN - WR, Notre Dame (1984-87)
  • CHUCK CECIL - DB, Arizona (1984-87)
  • ED DYAS - FB, Auburn (1958-60)
  • MAJOR HARRIS - QB, West Virginia (1987-89)
  • GORDON HUDSON - TE, Brigham Young (1980- 83)
  • WILLIAM LEWIS* - C, Harvard (1892-93)
  • WOODROW LOWE - LB, Alabama (1972-75)
  • KEN MARGERUM - WR, Stanford (1977-80)
  • STEVE McMICHAEL - DT, Texas (1976-79)
  • CHRIS SPIELMAN - LB, Ohio State (1984-87)
  • LARRY STATION - LB, Iowa (1982-85)
  • PAT SWILLING - DE, Georgia Tech (1982-85)
  • GINO TORRETTA - QB, Miami (Fla.) (1989-92)
  • CURT WARNER - RB, Penn State (1979-82)
  • GRANT WISTROM - DE, Nebraska (1994-97)
* Selection from the FBS Veterans Committee, deceased


  • DICK MacPHERSON - 111-73-5 (.601) - Massachusetts (1971-77), Syracuse (1981-90)
  • JOHN ROBINSON - 132-77-4 (.629) - Southern California (1976-82, 1993-97), Nevada-Las Vegas (1999-2004)

"The NFF Honors Court and its Chairman Gene Corrigan did an exceptional job in selecting the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame Class," said Manning, a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss. "This year's class represents two centuries of outstanding football players who have reached the pinnacle of success in the collegiate ranks, and we are happy to preserve their legacies in the Hall of Fame."

The 2009 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Class will be inducted at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 8, 2009, at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. They will be officially enshrined at the Hall in South Bend, Ind., during ceremonies in the summer of 2010.



  • Two Heisman Trophy winners (Brown, Torretta)
  • Seven unanimous First Team All-Americans (Brown, Hudson, McMichael, Spielman, Station, Torretta, Wistrom)
  • Five consensus First Team All-Americans (Cecil, Lowe, Margerum, Spielman, Station)
  • Seven multiple-year First Team All-America honorees (Brown - 2, Hudson - 2, Lowe - 3, Margerum - 2, Spielman - 2, Station - 2, Wistrom - 2)
  • One Maxwell Award winner (Torretta)
  • Two Walter Camp Players of the Year (Brown, Torretta)
  • One Davey O'Brien Award winner (Torretta)
  • Two Lombardi Award winners (Spielman, Wistrom)
  • Two NFF National Scholar-Athletes (Dyas, Wistrom)
  • Five Academic All-Americans (Cecil, Dyas, Margerum, Station, Wistrom)
  • Four members of National Championship teams (Lowe, Torretta, Warner, Wistrom)
  • Eight members of conference championship teams (Atkins, Hudson, Lowe, McMichael, Spielman, Station, Torretta, Wistrom)
  • Six decades and two centuries represented: 1890s (1) - Lewis; 1950s (2) - Atkins, Dyas; 1960s (2) - Atkins, Dyas; 1970s (4) - Lowe, Margerum, McMichael, Warner; 1980s (10) - Brown, Cecil, Harris, Hudson, Margerum, Spielman, Station, Swilling, Torretta, Warner; 1990s (2) - Torretta, Wistrom


  • Nine Conference Championships (MacPherson - 4, Robinson - 5)
  • 15 Bowl berths (MacPherson - 6, Robinson - 9)
  • 32 First Team All-Americas coached (MacPherson - 14, Robinson - 18)
  • Seven NFF National Scholar-Athletes Coached (MacPherson - 2, Robinson - 5)

1. First and Foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.

2. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation's Honors Courts ten years after his final year of intercollegiate football played.

3. While each nominee's football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and his fellow man with love of his country. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.

4. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years*. For example, to be eligible for the 2008 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1958 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

5. A coach becomes eligible three years after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage*.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule and coaches that have not won 60% of their games may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.


Did You Know?

  • Only 846 players and 182 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the more than 4.65 million who have played the game over the past 140 years.

  • Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 19 coaches, including Illinois' Red Grange, Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, Amos Alonzo Stagg and Carlisle's Jim Thorpe.

  • 276 schools are represented with at least one College Football Hall of Famer.

  • In South Bend, Ind., the current building was built in 1995 as a $17 million state-of-the-art interactive facility for fans of all ages. It attracts over 60,000 people each year to more than 200 events.

  • Induction for this class of Hall of Famers will take place December 8, 2009 in New York City.

    New Mexico State University
    Running Back, 1958-60

    The only First Team All-America selection (1960) in New Mexico State football history, Pervis Atkins led the Aggies to a perfect 11-0 season and a Border Conference title in 1960. Atkins twice topped the nation in all-purpose yards (1959-60) and holds the New Mexico State single season record with 1,800 all- purpose yards in 1960. During the 1959 season, he led the nation in rushing (971) and punt return yards (241). A two-time all conference selection, he caught touchdown passes in each of two Sun Bowl victories (1959-60). Atkins graduated with a B.A. in Sociology in 1962.

    Atkins was drafted in the third round of the 1960 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played seven seasons in the NFL, including stints with the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders. He finished his career with 3,300 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.

    Upon retiring from football, Atkins became part of a television sports show and eventually took a job with the Ashley-Famous Talent Agency. The running back turned actor then landed an executive position with ABC and later founded his own talent agency, Atkins and Associates.

    Atkins and his wife have four children and five grandchildren, and they currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

    University of Notre Dame
    Wide Receiver, 1984-87

    The first wide receiver to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, Tim Brown set 19 school records during his career at Notre Dame giving him the name "Touchdown Timmy."

    The two-time All-American (1986, 1987-uanimous) set a freshman record with 28 receptions his first year on campus. The following season he tallied 25 catches and three touchdowns while starting all 10 games. During his junior season, Brown was named an All- American after setting a Notre Dame single season record with 1,937 all-purpose yards. His senior year, Brown hauled in 39 catches and three touchdowns while being named a consensus All-American, the Walter Camp Award winner and the Heisman Trophy winner.

    Selected sixth overall in the 1988 draft by the Los Angeles Raiders, Brown holds the NFL rookie record for most combined yards gained (2,317). A member of the NFL 1990's All-Decade team, he was named to nine Pro Bowls and hauled in an NFL record 75 receptions in 10 straight seasons.

    Brown is the national chairman of Athletes & Entertainers for Kids and currently resides in DeSoto, Texas.

    University of Arizona
    Defensive Back, 1984-87

    A two-time First Team Academic All-America selection (1986-87), Chuck Cecil becomes only the second Arizona player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

    A consensus All-American in 1987, Cecil was the Aloha Bowl MVP and a two-time All-Conference selection. He was named Pac-10 Defensive Back of the Year in 1987 and Pac-10 Player of the Week on three occasions. He is a recipient of the NCAA Top Six Award, the Pac-10 Conference Medal and a three-time Golden Eagle Award (3.0 GPA or better) honoree. The defensive back set school records for career passes defended (38), interceptions in a single game (four) and career interceptions (21).

    Drafted in the fourth round of the 1988 draft by the Green Bay Packers, Cecil spent seven seasons in the NFL with the Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Oilers. Cecil is currently the assistant coach for safeties and nickel backs for the Tennessee Titans.

    Cecil has served as co-chair of the University of Arizona Medical Center Foundation campaign for UMC Trauma Center with his wife and founded the Chuck Cecil Scholarship Golf Classic benefitting University of Arizona scholarships.

    Auburn University
    Fullback, 1958-60

    A legend in the SEC on both sides of the ball, Ed Dyas led Auburn in rushing and scoring, was named the SEC's Most Outstanding Back and First-Team All- Conference in 1960.

    Dyas played fullback, linebacker and handled all kicking duties during his four years at Auburn. As a freshman, Dyas started at fullback for Auburn's 1958 undefeated team. A First Team All-America selection in 1960 at fullback, Dyas set an NCAA record for field goals in a season with 13. Dyas was also selected an NFF National Scholar-Athlete. He was a Phi Kappa Phi All-America team member, a three-time Academic All Conference pick, received the Bill Streit Award for highest senior GPA and won the Cliff Hare Award, the highest honor an Auburn athlete can receive for academic, athletic and leadership achievement. Dyas received his Bachelor of Science in pre-med and earned his master's from Tulane.

    Currently an orthopedic surgeon in Mobile, Ala., he has served on the committee, board and staff of the Mobile Infirmary Hospital for 19 years and the Providence Hospital Foundation Board for six years. He is head of physicians for the Senior Bowl and has served on the Senior Bowl Committee for 26 years.

    Dyas is an Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.

    West Virginia University
    Quarterback, 1987-89

    A three-year starter at quarterback, Major Harris became the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 2,000 and pass for more than 5,000 yards in a career.

    As a freshman, Harris led the Mountaineers to the 1987 Sun Bowl. The following season, the quarterback led West Virginia to an undefeated season and a match-up versus Notre Dame for the national championship in the 1988 Fiesta Bowl. He accounted for 20 touchdowns that season while earning ECAC Player of the Year honors and finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting. During his junior campaign, Harris threw for 17 touchdowns and ran for six while setting school records for most total offense and quarterback rushing yards. He was voted a First Team All-America, named the ECAC Player of the Year and finished third in Heisman voting.

    Drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1990, Harris spent several seasons playing in the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and other semi-pro leagues.

    In 1989 he was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Brigham Young University
    Tight End, 1980-83

    A two-time unanimous All-American (1982-83), Gordon Hudson holds the NCAA records for most passes caught per game by a tight end (5.4), most career yard per game by a tight end (75.3) and most yards in a game by a tight end (259 vs. Utah).

    As a sophomore, Hudson started at tight end and received All-WAC Second Team Honors as well as honorable mention All-America. He tied the NCAA record for receptions by a tight end in a season with 67. His junior season, the tight end was the only unanimous All-WAC selection, also earning unanimous All-America status. As a senior, he teamed with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young to haul in an NCAA record 44 catches and six touchdowns in an injury-shortened season. And for the second straight year, Hudson earned All-WAC First Team and First-Team All-America honors.

    Upon graduation he played two seasons in the USFL with the LA Express and one season in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks.

    Named to the WAC All-Decade team, Hudson is currently a real estate officer for Fairbanks Capital in Murray, Utah.

    Harvard University
    Center, 1892-93

    The first ever African-American to earn First Team All- America honors and a selection from the NFF's FBS Veterans Committee, William Lewis helped Harvard compile a daunting 22-2 record during his career with the Crimson.

    Born in Virginia, Lewis started college when he was 15 at Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (now Virginia State University), the state's first college for African-Americans. He then transferred to Amherst College where he played three seasons before attending Harvard Law. Named Harvard's first African-American team captain, he became an All- American center even though he weighed only 175 pounds.

    After his playing career, Lewis coached at Harvard for 12 years. During that time he proposed the "neutral zone" rule that is still used today to lessen the brutality of the game at the line of scrimmage before the snap. Elected to the legislature in 1901 and named assistant U.S. attorney general for Boston in 1903, U.S. President William Howard Taft later appointed him as an assistant U.S. attorney general. He passed away in 1949.

    * Deceased

    University of Alabama
    Linebacker, 1972-75

    The second player in Alabama history to be a three- time First Team All-American (1973, 1974-consensus, 1975), Woodrow Lowe led the Crimson Tide to the 1973 national title.

    The 1973 Churchman's National Defensive Sophomore of the Year, Lowe set an Alabama single season record with 134 tackles. That season the Crimson Tide played in the Sugar Bowl, claiming the national championship. His junior year, Lowe earned consensus All-America honors and led the Crimson Tide to a third straight SEC title and a birth in the Orange Bowl. In his final season, the linebacker again earned First Team All America honors and served as team captain as the Crimson Tide wrapped up their fourth straight SEC title and a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Following his senior season, Lowe played in the 1976 Senior Bowl and entered the NFL Draft.

    Taken in the fifth round by the San Diego Chargers in 1976, Lowe missed only one game in 11 seasons with the Chargers and tallied 21 interceptions. He returned four of those for touchdowns.

    Following his career with the Chargers, Lowe served as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He is currently an assistant coach at Jackson-Olin High School (Ala.).

    Named to Alabama's First Team All-Decade Team and a Second Team All-Century selection, Lowe was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

    Stanford University
    Wide Receiver, 1977-80

    A two-time consensus All-American (1979-80), Ken Margerum graduated Stanford, after a stellar career that established him as the Cardinal all-time leading receiver with 141 receptions for 2,430 yards and 30 touchdowns.

    A three-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection, Margerum led Stanford to back-to-back postseason berths in the 1977 Sun and 1978 Bluebonnet bowls as well as top 20 national rankings in 1977 and '78. The 1980 Second Team Academic All-American shares the conference record for most touchdown receptions in a game (four) and holds three of the top five spots on the school's all-time single-season list for touchdown receptions. He also ranks fifth in receiving yards at Stanford (2,430) and sixth in yards per catch (17.2). He claimed the 1980 Pop Warner Memorial Trophy, given annually to the most valuable senior player on the West Coast.

    Drafted by Chicago Bears in the 1981 he played in the pros for seven years with the Bears and the San Francisco 49ers, earning a Super Bowl ring with Chicago in 1985.

    A Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Margerum currently coaches the wide receivers at San Jose State University.

    University of Texas
    Defensive Tackle, 1976-79

    Selected a unanimous first-team All-American, Steve McMichael led a Longhorn defense that allowed less than nine points per game in 1979.

    A four-year letterman at Texas, McMichael was a member of the 1977 Southwest Conference Championship team. Twice selected All-Southwest Conference (1978-79), he graduated as the school's all-time leader in career tackles (369) and sacks (30). A finalist for the Lombardi and Outland Awards in 1979, McMichael claimed team and Hula Bowl MVP honors. During tenure at Texas, the Longhorns posted an impressive 34-12-1 record.

    Drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots in the 1980 draft and picked up by the Chicago Bears as a free agent in 1981. He spent 13 seasons with the Bears, including six Central Division Championships and a victory in Super Bowl XX. McMichael retired as a five-time All-Pro selection and holds the Chicago Bears record for most consecutive games played (191).

    Following his playing career, McMichael became a pro wrestler. He is currently the head coach of the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Indoor Football League.

    Ohio State University
    Linebacker, 1984-87

    The 1987 Lombardi Award winner, Chris Spielman earned back-to-back First Team All-America honors (unanimous in 1987 and consensus in 1986) en route to leading Ohio State to three consecutive bowl games and establishing himself as one of the all-time greats in a storied Buckeye program.

    A three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, Spielman was named the top defensive player in the 1987 Cotton Bowl. He was also a member of two Big Ten championship teams (1984, '86). He twice led the Buckeyes in tackles and graduated as the school's all- time leader in solo tackles (283). Spielman finished his prolific defensive career at OSU with 546 tackles, eight sacks and 11 interceptions.

    After graduating in 1988, Spielman was drafted by Detroit in the second round of the NFL Draft, playing with the franchise for eight seasons and becoming the first Lion ever to register 1,000 career tackles. He spent two seasons with the Buffalo Bills and was named to the Pro Bowl six times.

    Spielman currently works as an ESPN college football color commentator and with several local sports talk radio shows in Columbus, Ohio. He also is a visible participant for increasing resources for breast cancer research.

    University of Iowa
    Linebacker, 1982-85

    Equally impressive on the college gridiron and in the classroom, Larry Station twice earned First Team All- America (1984, '85) honors while leading the Hawkeyes to four consecutive bowl games and a Big Ten championship in 1985.

    A four-year starter, Station remains the only player in Iowa history to lead the team in tackles for four years, finishing his career with 492 tackles. The team captain and team MVP in 1985, he was a finalist for the Lombardi and Butkus awards. A three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, he led Iowa to a 35-13-1 record during his career. In the classroom, he twice earned First Team Academic All-America honors and First Team academic honors from the conference.

    Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1986, Station returned to Iowa to receive his B.A. in Business in 1987. He later returned to school again, earning his M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 1990.

    Station is a member of Iowa's All-Time Team and was inducted into the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. He was selected as the 38th greatest sports figure in the history of the state of Nebraska (by Sports Illustrated) in 1999. Station currently owns several businesses in Omaha, Neb.

    Georgia Tech
    Defensive End, 1982-85

    Rebuilding a program on the brink of collapse, Pat Swilling became a four-year letterman, leading the vaunted Georgia Tech "Black Watch" defense that allowed only 10.7 points per game during his final campaign in 1985.

    Named to Georgia Tech's All-Time Team (1892- 1991), Swilling set the NCAA record for sacks in a game (seven against North Carolina State in 1985) while sitting the Georgia Tech mark for sacks in a season (15). Voted First-Team All-America by the Football Writers Association and First Team All-ACC in 1985, Swilling was named to Georgia Tech's All-Time Team (1892-1991) and inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He graduated as Georgia Tech's all-time leader in sacks (23) and tackles for loss (37), currently ranking fourth in both categories.

    Selected in the third round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, Swilling was named to five Pro Bowls. Named the 1989 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, he recorded 17 sacks that season, and his 107.5 career sacks place him in the Top 20 in NFL History. Traded to the Detroit Lions in 1993, he played two seasons for the Lions before finishing his career with the Oakland Raiders. Swilling was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2000.

    Following his football career, Swilling was elected to the Louisiana State House of Representatives in 2001 and served one two-year term. He is currently a real estate developer in New Orleans.

    University of Miami
    Quarterback, 1989-92

    A key factor in many of Miami's national championship- contending teams, Gino Torretta became one of the most decorated players in college football history, claiming unanimous First Team All-America honors, the Heisman Trophy, Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards in 1992.

    As a freshman on the 1989 National Championship team, Torretta posted a 3-1 record as a starter while filling in for injured quarterback Craig Erickson. As a junior, Torretta led the Hurricanes to the 1991 National Championship game and was named the Big East Player of the Year. During his senior season in 1992, Torretta once again led Miami to the National Championship game and a Big East Championship. Torretta again took home Big East Player of the Year as well as the 1992 Tanqueray World Amateur Athlete of the Year. He currently holds the conference record for lowest career percentage of interceptions (1.94), passing yards in a single-game (485) and longest passing play (99) yards, also an NCAA record. Torretta led Miami to a 26-2 record as a starter and was part of Miami's NCAA record 58-game home winning streak.

    Torretta was drafted in the seventh round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. The quarterback played five seasons in the NFL and spent time with the Vikings, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.

    Founder, President and CEO of Touchdown Radio Productions, Torretta currently resides in the Miami area. He is also the vice president for Institutional Sales with Gabelli Asset Management.

    Penn State University
    Running Back, 1979-82

    An All-America selection in 1981, Curt Warner finished his career at Penn State with 11 season, 14 bowl and 42 school records. Equally impressive, the Nittany Lions posted an 18-0 record when Warner rushed for 100 yards or more.

    A four-year letterman at Penn State, Warner played in four bowl games, including two Fiesta Bowls (1980- 82) and a Sugar Bowl (1983). Named Most Outstanding Offensive Player in both Fiesta Bowls, he led the Nittany Lions to the 1982 National Championship with their Sugar Bowl triumph. That season, in spite of Penn State's record-setting pass offense, Warner contributed 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns. While at Penn State, he set records for career rushing yardage (3,398), career all-purpose yardage (4,982) and 100-yard rushing games (18). Warner is also second all-time in career kick-off return average (28.8 yards), tallying 922 yards and three touchdowns on 32 returns.

    The third overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, Warner spent seven seasons in the league. During his career in the NFL, Warner was a four-time All-Pro selection.

    The owner of Curt Warner Chevrolet, Warner currently resides in Vancouver, Washington. He is also the founder and president of the Curt Warner Autism Foundation.

    University of Nebraska
    Defensive End, 1994-97

    During Grant Wistrom's time in Nebraska, the Cornhuskers posted a 49-2 record and collected three National Championships behind the pivotal play of the two-time unanimous All-American selection (1996- 97).

    As a freshman on the 1994 National Championship team, Wistrom notched 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks en route to being named the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year. During his sophomore season, he recorded 44 tackles, including a team leading 15 tackles for loss while be named First Team All-Big Eight as the Huskers won their second straight national title. In 1996, Wistrom helped the Husker defensive unit to a Top 10 national ranking in all four major defensive categories. As a senior, Wistrom won the Lombardi Award; earned a finalist spot for the Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year Award; and claimed an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award. In 1997, he again stood in the forefront as the Cornhuskers notched another national title and he took home a second-straight Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year title.

    Drafted in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, Wistrom earned the Ram's Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Wistrom played in three Super Bowls during his six-season career, including a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams. He retired as a player with the Seattle Seahawks after the 2006 season.

    Following his NFL career, Wistrom started the Grant Wistrom Foundation, which funds efforts to help pediatric cancer patients. Wistrom currently resides in Kirkland, Washington, along with his wife Melissa and their son Wyatt.

    University of Massachusetts, Syracuse University
    Head Coach, 111-73-5

    Named NCAA National Coach of the Year in 1987, Coach Dick MacPherson led the Orange to an 11-0-1 record and the fourth spot in the final Associated Press ranking.

    Named head coach at Massachusetts in 1971, MacPherson led the Minutemen to four Yankee Conference titles in seven years. During that span, he twice claimed New England Football Coach of the Year honors. His 45 victories at Massachusetts rank him third all-time in school history, and his 28-8-1 mark in Yankee Conference games notches a .778 winning percentage, which places him fifth in league history. The first UMass coach to win eight or more games in three different seasons, his nine-win campaign in 1972 tied the school record for single- season victories first set in 1901.

    After his success with the Minutemen, Syracuse gave him their head job in 1981. MacPherson ranks third all- time at Syracuse for wins (66) and most seasons coached (10). During his tenure as head coach he led the Orange to five bowl games while posting a 3-1-1 record in post-season play. In 1987, the Orange posted an 11-0-1 record, playing Auburn to a 16-16 tie in the Sugar Bowl and finishing fourth in the national polls. He coached two College Football Hall of Fame players, Tim Greene and Don McPherson, eight All- Americans, two NFF National Scholar-Athletes during his 10 years at Syracuse.

    MacPherson currently works as a color commentator for Syracuse Football radio broadcasts, splitting his time between Palm Bay, Fla., Princeton, Maine and Jamesville, N.Y.

    University of Southern California, University of Nevada- Las Vegas
    Head Coach, 132-77-4

    In 1978, Coach John Robinson led Southern California to a 12-1 record and the UPI National Championship after winning the Rose Bowl.

    After becoming the Trojan head coach in 1976, Robinson led Southern California to five Pac-10 titles during two separate coaching stints (1976-82; 1993- 97). His Trojans made eight bowl appearances, posting a 7-1 record with three Rose Bowl victories. His overall bowl record of 8-1 ranks first all-time in bowl winning percentage (.888). He received National Coach of the Year honors in 1979 and was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1976, 1978). During his time at Southern California, he coached two Heisman Trophy winners (Charles White and Marcus Allen), a Lombardi Award winner Brad Budde and 18 First Team All-Americans.

    Hired by UNLV in 1999, Robinson posted a 28-42 record in six seasons. His 28 wins rank him second in all-time wins by a Rebel coach. In 2000, he claimed WAC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Rebels to a Las Vegas Bowl victory.

    Robinson currently works as a football analyst for the Sports USA Radio Network and resides in Carlsbad, Calif.

  • ESPN Shop

    Swine flu shuts down University of Delaware baseball team

    With 10 probable cases of swine flu already identified among University of Delaware students, the school's baseball team decided too cancel a series at North Carolina-Wilmington after one of its players took ill.

    The player's name was not released.

    Athletic director Edgar Johnson says all decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis.

    Delaware's three-game softball series at Hofstra is still scheduled, as is Saturday's Delaware Open track meet.

    Mother's Day Coupon

    Sixers release $15 tix

    The Sixers have released a limited number of $15 tickets for tonight's Game 6 vs. Orlando. Call 800.298.4200 or bang the link...

    Just In Time For Mother's Day! 10% Off All Packaging Collections, May 1-3. Promo Code: MOM10

    Sixers' ratings spike

    Tuesday night’s Sixers playoff game vs. the Orlando Magic on Comcast SportsNet delivered a 2.6 rating (77,000 households) and peaked at a 4.1 rating (122,000 households.) Through five playoff games, the Sixers on Comcast SportsNet are averaging at 2.9 rating, a 107% increase over the regular season average of 1.4 (42,000 households).

    In the important advertising demographic of persons 25-54, last night’s Sixers game on Comcast SportsNet delivered a 1.9 rating, a 26% increase over Game 4.

    MBL Gear! Your teams, your size at Casual Male XL!

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    NBA suspends Howard for Game 6

    Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been suspended for Thursday's Game 6 against the Sixers.

    Howard received a technical foul in the first quarter of the Magic's 91-78 win Game 5 over the Sixers Tuesday night for throwing an elbow at Samuel Dalembert as the pair fought for position underneath the basket.

    With Howard out, the Magic are expected to start either Marcin Gortat or Tony Battie in his place.

    Champs Sports

    Theo's a fan favorite

    ESPN Shop

    Is the NBA greasing the skids for Superman?

    By John McMullen

    (The Phanatic Magazine) - You have heard the whispers for years.

    The NBA is a league built upon stars and those stars receive preferential

    "The Jordan Rules" still exist for the Kobes, LeBrons and Dwight Howard's of
    the world.

    There is little question that NBA commissioner David Stern considers his
    product a fusion between sports and entertainment with a heavy emphasis on
    the "entertainment."

    In fact, I often wonder what Stern considers his competition. Is it the NFL,
    NHL, Major League Baseball or American Idol?

    Conspiracy theorists believe Stern would rather see Howard and the Orlando
    Magic advance in playoffs, rather than watch a plodding, offensively-
    challenged Philadelphia team, featuring Samuel Dalembert and Theo Ratliff in
    the middle.

    So, in their minds, Stern and his embattled officiating program are, shall we
    say, nudging Howard and his underachieving Magic teammates toward the second

    Is it true?

    Well, let's just say it got a lot easier to make the argument this morning.

    The self-proclaimed "Superman," a 6-foot-11 monster of a center, dominated the
    court to the tune of 24 points and 24 rebounds in the 91-78 Game 5 Magic win
    on Tuesday that gave Orlando a choke hold on the first-round series.

    Problem is, Howard should have been ejected in the first quarter after
    throwing an elbow to the head of Dalembert.

    NBA rules call for an immediate ejection in such instances but the officiating
    crew, led by the controversial Joey Crawford, allowed Howard to remain in the
    game. Meanwhile, plausible deniability, as in "We didn't see anything" isn't
    an option since Howard was hit with a technical foul.

    The league will probably suspend Howard for Game 6 in Philly but so what -- he
    will be rested in ready for the deciding game in Orlando on Saturday.

    If the officials did their jobs Howard would have hit the showers early, the
    Sixers likely win Game 5 and have a chance to wrap things up on their home

    That's a big difference, folks.

    You hate to bring up Tim Donaghy in these situations but Stern has left
    himself open to this type of scrutiny.

    The league officially wiped its collective hands of the disgraced referee on
    late last year by releasing the results of a review of the league's
    officiating program.

    Lawrence B. Pedowitz, a former chief of the Criminal Division in the United
    States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, was appointed
    by the NBA to review the officiating program and make recommendations.

    Following a 14-month investigation, Pedowitz recommended significant changes.
    The 116-page report recommended increased monitoring of games for suspicious
    activity, and thought the league should increase efforts to eliminate the
    perception of referee bias by making more information available about the
    referee program and increasing access to the referees by fans and media.

    Pedowitz' last point is the one Stern should have taken to heart.

    Even before Donaghy alleged that the NBA routinely encouraged refs to call
    bogus fouls in order to manipulate results, that's how most fans felt about
    the league's officials. Sixers coach Tony DiLeo is likely feeling that way
    right now.

    Despite the fact that four or five NFL games a week are decided by men in
    striped shirts, and any Major League Baseball game can hinge on whether the
    home plate umpire decides to give some junkballer the outside corner, the
    perception has always been that NBA officials are the corrupt ones.

    While I hesitate to throw Crawford under the bus, I quickly got over it since
    the veteran ref has done it to himself time and time again. We all know the
    Philadelphia native's history.

    In 1998, Crawford was one of eight NBA referees charged with filing false
    income tax returns. An Internal Revenue Service investigation alleged that
    cash was being pocketed by Crawford and the other refereed when airline
    tickets provided by the league were downgraded.

    At the conclusion of the four-year investigation, Crawford pleaded guilty on
    for falsely stating income of $82,500 from 1991 to 1993 and resigned from the
    NBA effective immediately. He was quickly reinstated by Stern in 1999.

    On April 15, 2007, Crawford ejected San Antonio Spurs superstar Tim Duncan for
    supposedly laughing at him from his seat on the bench during a game against
    the Dallas Mavericks. Duncan alleged that Crawford challenged him to a fight
    on the court.

    Since the NBA suspended Crawford for the remainder of the season and the 2007
    Playoffs as a result of this altercation, I guess we know who was telling the
    truth. In fact, Stern said Crawford's actions "failed to meet the standards of
    professionalism and game management we expect of NBA referees."

    The result?

    Crawford was back the next year and chosen to officiate a critical Game 4
    between the Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the closing seconds of that
    one, there was a crucial no-call where the Spurs' Brent Barry was fouled by
    Derek Fisher. Crawford was the closest official to the call, and the NBA later
    apologized for the faux pas.

    Before Tuesday's game in Orlando, Crawford was already at it again with a
    number of questionable calls in Game 2 of the first round series between the
    Rockets and Trailblazers in Portland. A phantom call in the final seconds in
    that one secured the game for the Blazers

    So why does Crawford keep getting key games in the postseason?

    According to the conspiracy theorists, he's doing his job.

    I think there is a far simpler explanation, one that's far less sinister.

    Crawford and his crew made a mistake...a big one that may affected the outcome
    of an entire series.

    NBA Sale

    Flyers' Richards to have shoulder surgery

    Flyers captain Mike Richards will have surgery on Friday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

    Richards scored 30 goals and had 50 assists this season during the regular season and added a goal and four assists in the first round of the playoffs as the Flyers fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

    Richards signed a 12-year, $69 million contract extension in December 2007.

    ESPN Shop

    DMac YardBarks

    Donovan McNabb latest blog is up over at and the enignatic one is happy for once...

    It's been a terrific offseason for me. I have spent most of my time in Arizona with my wife and three kids. Having a chance to be a dad - going to my daughter's soccer games and dance recitals, and seeing the babies grow and develop; there is nothing better than that. I am truly blessed and fortunate that the American Diabetes Association will honor me and two other men in June as Father of the Year. But I'm not the only McNabb that is blessed...Saturday night my parents will be honored by the Allied Athlete Group in Atlanta for their work with the Professional Football Players Mothers and National Football Players Fathers Associations. And on Saturday my wife will hold her annual Philadelphia Community Baby Shower for expectant mothers.

    Make no mistake, I've been training like crazy to make sure that I can improve as a quarterback and do everything necessary to try and win a championship for this city. I said it before, I was inspired by the way the Phillies won the World Series and how they were treated by the City and their fans and I want to experience that myself in the worst way.

    Now down to some football talk.....

    You'll notice that I am ready to move forward. I'm the first to admit that you must learn from your failures, I also believe that you cannot change the past. It's time to focus on the future.

    As with every minicamp since I've been in the league, I'm excited about meeting my new teammates, getting to know them and working together on the field. We now have a lot of new, young skill position players and it will be exciting and interesting to see how they become acclimated to what we do here. If they can come in here and take their game to the next level, they will be productive pros and we can achieve great successes together. I want to welcome the new rookies and am excited to get to work with them.

    I haven't taken the tim e yet to welcome some of the veteran free agents to the team. I'm looking forward to working with a new set of bookends on the o-line. Stacey Andrews and Jason Peters are young, athletic and physical. They will help in both the passing and running game. The same can be said for fullback Leonard Weaver. As for the additions on defense - Ellis Hobbs, Rashad Baker, and Sean Jones - I can't wait to see how Jim Johnson uses all the talent he has at his disposal.

    I want to congratulate all the newcomers and let them know that I am excited to be working with them and taking the first step towards moving forward and get ting something accomplished.

    Champs Sports

    Phanatic Magazine Radio

    Will be on Troy Derengowski's Sports Report WHON Radio tonight between 5-6 pm (et)...Check it out.

    ESPN Shop

    Dwight Howard's elbow on Sam Dalembert

    ESPN Shop

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Silva - Griffin set for Philly

    UFC President Dana White told Yahoo!'s Kevin Iole today that Forrest Griffin will face Anderson Silva on August 8 in Philadelphia.

    Champs Sports

    Flyers get new AHL affiliate

    by Bob Herpen
    The Phanatic Magazine

    The American Hockey League announced on Tuesday that three new cities will welcome franchises to the league in 2009-2010.

    The league Board of Governors approved Glens Falls, New York, Austin, Texas
    and Abbotsford, British Columbia to receive affiliates for current National
    Hockey League teams.

    Glens Falls returns to the AHL fold after a 10-year absence, as the town will host
    the new farm club of the Philadelphia Flyers, which had been located in
    Philadelphia since 1996-97.

    Previously, the town had played host to the Detroit Red Wings' top minor-league club from 1971-72 until 1998-99.

    There is still no word on whether the Phantoms name will be retained with the change in location.

    The Flyers have previously placed AHL teams in Quebec City, Richmond, Virginia, Portland, Maine and Hershey.

    ESPN Shop

    Rondo takes his seat at the 'Big Boy Table'

    By John McMullen

    Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - I don't have a large family but I've been around plenty of people that do, and the holidays tend to be a very stressful time for them.

    A Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, almost inevitably, can offer a bit of comic relief for the outsider.

    Whether it's the drunken uncle, the foul-mouthed grandmother or the socially inept sibling, these occasions provide plenty of excuses to keep the Tanqueray-and-tonics flowing.

    A tradition at most large family celebrations is the "kids' table" and it's almost a rite of passage to get bumped up to the dining room with all the adults.

    Gone are the annoying cousins and the incessant questions from your younger brother about video games or Pokemon cards, replaced by the "Big Boys" regaling you with stories about that time they dropped 22 in their rec-league game.

    If an NBA team is like a family, Rajon Rondo was firmly entrenched at the "kids table" for the world champions Boston Celtics last season.

    In fact, when general manger Danny Ainge remade the team in the offseason, there were only two questions asked about the loaded C's:

    Could All-Stars and future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen co-exist?

    And, could a second-year point guard with no jump shot, Rondo, really take Boston to the promised land?

    "I feel like I am one of the best in the game already," Rajon Rondo recently said.
    A 17th NBA Championship banner answered both questions emphatically.

    This time around, things are a bit different.

    Garnett, the team's leader, is likely gone for the entire postseason with a nagging knee injury. Fellow forward Leon Powe is also sidelined after shredding his knee and the team's best bench player, Tony Allen, is spending most of his time dodging questions about reported death threats, along with the actual death threats.

    As good as Pierce and Ray Allen are, the Celtics are a now just an afterthought to LeBron's Cavaliers and Kobe's Lakers when people talk about the NBA title.

    Boston currently finds itself entangled in an extremely entertaining series with the young and improving Chicago Bulls. The set is deadlocked at 2-2 and has been a bit of a coming out party for the young points guards on both teams, the lightning-fast Rondo and the reigning Rookie of the Year, Chicago's Derrick Rose.

    Despite a balky ankle and foot, Rondo is actually averaging a triple-double in the series - 23.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 10.0 assists - and Rose, although hot-and-cold, has been nearly as spectacular, netting 19.5 points and dishing out 7.5 assists.

    "I feel like I am one of the best in the game already," Rondo recently said. "I have a lot of confidence. I will continue to work on my game. But I play confident regardless to how people may view me."

    The NBA, which evaluates the total performance of its players through a convoluted efficiency formula, says the only player on the 16 playoff teams playing better than Rondo right now is LeBron James.

    "King" James, who averaged 32.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in Cleveland's four-game sweep of Detroit, has a 39.0 efficiency rating to Rondo's 35.5.

    "He has been [the Celtics'] best player in the playoffs, which is saying a lot," ABC analyst and former NBA point guard Mark Jackson told the Boston Globe. "He's been playing outstanding basketball."

    Counting the Celtics out of the tile picture because they are struggling with the Bulls may be a bit of a specious argument.

    Remember, Boston had to win three pivotal Game 5s during last year's postseason run with Garnett. The Celtics were deadlocked 2-2 in their series with Atlanta, Cleveland and Detroit last season, before going on to beat the Hawks and Cavs in seven games and the Pistons in six. They then won the NBA title in six games over the Lakers.

    If Rondo sparks a similar run in this year's postseason, Garnett, Pierce and Allen should make room for one more at the "Big Boy Table."

    Champs Sports

    Sheldon will show

    Unhappy Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown will report to the Eagles' mandatory minicamp this weekend.

    Brown has requested a trade and could be replaced in the starting lineup by Ellis Hobbs, who was acquired from the New England Patriots last weekend.

    Brown, a seven-year veteran, will attend the camp to avoid daily fines of up to $14,000.

    "I have to prepare to play the season, no matter where I'm playing, Brown told The Associated Press . "This is where the season starts.

    Brown is under contract with the Eagles through 2012.

    Champs Sports

    Richards a finalist for Selke Trophy

    by Bob Herpen
    The Phanatic Magazine

    Philadelphia Flyers forward and captain Mike Richards is among the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's best defensive forward.

    Richards led the NHL with seven shorthanded goals and finished the year with 30 goals overall and 80 points. He also had a plus-22 rating, tied for the NHL lead among forwards with 90 blocked shots and was third among front-line players with 83 takeaways.

    The Kenora, Ontario native also set an NHL record for most career 3-on-5 short-handed goals, with his third on February 15, 2009 against the New York Rangers.

    Also in the mix is Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk won the honor for the first time last year and is joined as a finalist this year by Philadelphia's Mike Richards and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.

    In addition to finishing fourth in the NHL in scoring with 97 points, Datsyuk was second in the league with 89 takeaways and third in plus-minus with a rating of plus-34. He also won 56 percent of his faceoffs to finish ninth in the NHL.

    Kesler had a plus-eight rating with two shorthanded goals and finished with 26 goals and 59 points. He played on both a checking line as a center or on the wing of Vancouver's top line, ranking seventh among forwards with 70 blocked shots and tied for seventh with 74 takeaways while winning 54 percent of his faceoffs.

    The winner will be announced during the NHL's season-ending awards ceremony on June 18 in Las Vegas.

    Bobby Clarke (1983) and Dave Poulin (1987) are the two Flyers who have won the award previously.

    Sixers Viewing Party

    The Sixers will be hosting a viewing party for Game 5 tonight at McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1310 Drury Street). Stop on by and get $.76 Bud Light Drafts.

    Delaware may allow betting on all sports

    The Delaware legislature will consider allowing wagering on all sports when its session resumes today.

    While there is agreement among the governor, key legislators and the state's gambling interests on the broad issue of sports betting, making it a reality bogged down early in the session over the details.

    "Delaware is a gaming state, and the governor wants to do what's necessary to protect Delaware's gaming industry," Joe Rogalsky, Markell's spokesman, told the Baltimore Sun. "Plus he wants to use it as an economic development tool."

    Sports wagering in Delaware has become an appealing option thanks to a massive $750 million deficit in the state's budget and increased competition for gambling dollars from Pennsylvania's new slots casinos and Maryland's future slots parlors.

    MBL Gear! Your teams, your size at Casual Male XL!

    Sixers, Magic square off in Game 5

    The Philadelphia 76ers had a great chance to seize control
    of their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Orlando Magic on
    Sunday but Hedo Turkoglu had other ideas.

    Turkoglu, who had struggled in the first three games of the set, drilled a
    game-winning three-pointer over Thaddeus Young with 1.1 seconds remaining,
    helping the Magic even the series with an 84-81 Game 4 triumph over the 76ers.

    It was the third game in this tightly-contested series to come down to the
    final possession.

    The Sixers came storming back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth
    quarter to tie it on Samuel Dalembert's dunk with 14.8 seconds remaining.

    Orlando called timeout and drew up a play for Turkoglu, who missed an off-
    balanced trey at the buzzer in a Game 1 loss. The Turkish sharp-shooter didn't
    let history repeat itself, rubbing Andre Iguodala off on a pick from Rashard
    Lewis before rising over Young for the dagger with just over a second left.

    "We don't have a lot of isolation guys, but Hedo's our best. He did a very
    good job and left them very little time on the clock," Magic head coach Stan
    Van Gundy said.

    Iguodala's desperation heave from well beyond the three-point line glanced off
    the front of the iron, and Orlando regained home-court advantage in the set.

    Turkoglu, who has been limited in the series with a sprained left ankle, made
    8-of-11 from the field for 17 points, while Dwight Howard recorded 18 points
    and 18 rebounds for the third-seeded Magic, who made just 6-of-20 from three-
    point range and 12-of-20 from the line in the win.

    Lewis, who has been dealing with serious illnesses to his one-year-old
    daughter and has been slowed by right knee tendinitis, finished with 17 points
    and seven rebound sin the win.

    Andre Miller paced Philly with 17 points, while Young and Iguodala chipped in
    15 and 13 points, respectively. The Sixers shot better from long distance (8-
    of-19, 42.1 percent) than from two-point range (23-of-61, 37.7 percent).

    The Sixers are now in an eerily similar position to the one they were in a
    year ago in the quarterfinals, when they took a 2-1 series lead on Detroit
    before losing in six games.

    These two teams have met in the postseason just once in 1999 when the Sixers
    beat Orlando in four games during the first round.

    Game 6 of the series is scheduled for Thursday in Philadelphia.

    Champs Sports

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Truths that need to be told

    By Jeff Glauser
    The Phanatic Magazine

    I hate to say it, but it needs to be said.

    I’d like to say it pains me to say these things, but, as a Philly-area guy, many of us somehow seem to rise to the occasion when it comes to bitching and moaning about something. It’s the reason why talk radio and blogs work so well around here: There’s always something to complain about.

    So as the World Series hangover continues to fade and we become a little bit more lucid each day, some things that have been gnawing at me for a while need to be expressed, if only for my own personal catharsis:

    Sixers fans should be ashamed of themselves
    It’s been a roller coaster ride of a year, where expectations started high with the acquisition of Elton Brand, then shot down way low when a disappointing slump cost Maurice Cheeks his job and an unavoidable (but perhaps predictable) thud to the floor cost Brand his healthy shoulder and the rest of his season. After backing into the playoffs, it’s safe to say postseason expectations were even lower than last year’s bunch which scared a sleepwalking Detroit team into actually giving a damn just in time.

    With that said, to badly paraphrase an old local icon who himself has recently helped to lower his own expectations: We’re talking playoffs now. Not a game. Playoffs.

    So for a city with such an enormous basketball tradition, with such a traditionally loyal and passionate following, to see chunks of open seats at a home playoff game is simply inexcusable.

    This isn’t Miami or Los Angeles, where the fair-weathered fans crawl out of their fake, plastic shells to come out in droves when it matters. This is Philly, where heart, drive, determination and character go a long way. It’s the land of Rocky, where we love to see the underdog take continuous shots to the gut and keep bouncing back. It shouldn’t matter whether or not we believe our boys are going to win this fight. The fact that they’re fighting it should make all the difference in the world.

    The Phillies’ luck is wearing out
    Okay, if one team in town gets a mulligan right now, it’s these guys. But with that said, how they have a winning record at this point when yesterday was the first time all season they won again without being behind, without needed to resuscitate themselves in the ninth inning, is beyond me. Yesterday was also the first real quality start by a pitcher – 17 games in – and it had to come from a guy practically on Social Security.

    Luckily, the rest of the division is either underachieving (Mets, Braves), coming back to earth (Marlins) or sucked to begin with (Natiionals). Last season, this team never really dominated, but got hot at the best possible time and rode that wave of momentum all the way to the finish line. But this current ensemble, very much the same as that one – can’t expect to catch lightning in a bottle twice – certainly not with this starting pitching rotation laid out as it is right now.

    The Eagles have done well this offseason
    Now why would I hate to say something as positive as this? Probably because, in recent years, this organization has become so divisive to its fanbase that we run into the paradoxical conflict of loving the team and despising how its run. We find ourselves so close to tasting success, only to come up with a mouthful of crap every time. We don’t appreciate a perceived quasi-effort to win it all from a team which hasn’t done so in nearly a half-century, especially when the opportunities to go all-in at the table and clean house seem to be there. And when the cards are folded, we really don’t appreciate getting patronized as to why it made more sense to do so.

    With that said, it’s hard to complain about what the team has done. Boldin or no Boldin, Edwards or no Edwards, Gonzalez or no Gonzalez, The Birds’ brass went out and filled the needs we were craving to be filled. There were no high picks needlessly spent on O-Lineman and D-Lineman to add to the redundant roles already filling out the roster. Running and receiving slots – too often passed over as non-essential by Reid, Banner and the boys, were addressed. Yes, contract drama remains with disgruntled players (fastly becoming an annual tradition), but this time around, we’ll give them some leeway for heeding our call.

    The Flyers may be coming the new Eagles
    How many times lately have the Flyers now fallen short in the postseason because of the same reasons: Lack of defensive depth and lack of a clutch goaltender? True, management here usually doesn’t have a problem opening up its wallet for whom they believe was the right fit, but the prior two areas were simply not addressed going into this season. The departure of Jason Smith hurt times two, because his talent nor his proven leadership were completely replaced.

    And it’s been clear to many for a while now that Marty Biron is of the good-not-great mold where he is unable to stand on his head a win a couple on his own in the playoffs, seemingly a requisite lately for Stanley Cup winners – unless of course you have crazy offensive talent like the Red Wings, which the Flyers do not.

    So now that it’s all been said, I can relax a little…and begin searching for the next thing to bitch about…

    Champs Sports