Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Discussing Wes Johnson's departure, Mariano's wonder and Jim Nantz's attacks on Tiger

Some mock NBA drafts have Wes Johnson going as early as the third overall pick behind only Kentucky’s John Wall and Ohio State’s Evan Turner. Those projections are probably too high. I believe Wes will be selected somewhere between 6-10 overall and have a solid but not all-star caliber career in the NBA.

He is a go-with-the-flow-rather than a go-to player, who lacks both the talent and drive of a Carmelo Anthony. That’s not a knock. Heck, few have the talent and drive of Melo, who has the potential to become a Hall-of-Famer down the road. When all is said and done, I think Wes’ NBA career will be closer to those of former SU stars Billy Owens (11.3 points per game; 6.7 rebounds pg) and Louis Orr (9 ppg; 4 rpg.) than Melo’s.

• Two things about the incomparable Mariano Rivera continue to amaze: one, that he’s still getting guys out with basically one pitch – his cutter – and, two, that his 40-year-old arm is seemingly as elastic as a 30-year-old’s.

• Jim Nantz is a nice man and a solid announcer. But he always struck me more as a master-of-ceremonies than a journalist of the events he covers. So, it’s been somewhat surprising to see him do the talk-show circuit the past few days and criticize Tiger Woods’ profanity. I would have respected Nantz’ opinion more if he had taken on Woods’ lack of golf decorum before Tiger became a punch line. I don’t know where Jim has been, but Woods has always been profane on the course and within the ear-shot of impressionable young fans and television microphones. Heck, I took him to task for such behavior following his F-bomb filled first round at the 2003 PGA at Oak Hill.

• Another indication that a Tiger doesn’t change his stripes was evident during his post Master’s interview. You’d think that, given the circumstances surrounding Phil Mickelson and his wife and mother battling breast cancer, that Woods could have shown a little class and at least congratulated the winner and recognized the enormity of the moment. Instead, as usual, Woods was totally fixated on his narcissistic self.

GIVE US A CALL: Friend and co-author Jim Mandelaro and I will be talking about our revised book, Silver Seasons and a New Frontier: The Story of the Rochester Red Wings, on Bob Matthews’ radio show on WHAM 1180 AM Thursday evening from 7-8. Please give us a call at 222-1180, *1180 for Verizon subscribers or 1-800-295-1180. Also, my taped interview about the book with Chet Walker will air on WHAM Friday morning at 7:18.

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