Archive for July, 2010

Blame Mark Richt? He’s not the one who’s embarrassing UGA

Even a tougher brand of love goes only so far.

Even tougher love goes only so far. (Special to the AJC)

Mark Richt is a nice guy. Mark Richt believes in forgiveness. Mark Richt looks for the best in people. Mark Richt coddled Odell Thurman.

All of this is true. None of it explains, at least not fully, why Georgia players keep getting arrested.

Let’s stipulate that Richt was too lenient for too long. But he has toughened since the egregious offseason of 2008, when eight Bulldogs got arrested and stole a goodly part of the luster that should have descended on a team ranked No. 1 in preseason for the first time in school history. He has kicked more guys off the team. He has instituted an automatic one-game suspension for anyone arrested (for the first time) on an alcohol-related charge. Yet here Georgia sits, two summers later, having cut its offseason arrest total by …

One.

Seven Bulldogs have been arrested this calendar year. Three have been dismissed from the squad, including Montez Robinson, who figured to play at …

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A Josh Childress sign-and-trade for not much in return? Wow

Couldn't the Hawks at least get some shoes in return? (AJC photo by Andy Sharp)

Couldn't the Hawks at least trade him for a bunch of shoes? (AJC photo by Andy Sharp)

Esteemed colleague Michael Cunningham reports that the Hawks are close to a sign-and-trade with Phoenix for Josh Childress, who last played for the Hawks in Game 7 against Boston in May 2008. That the Hawks aren’t terribly interested in having the Grecian earner rejoin them should come as no shock.

Back to 2008: Billy Knight, who drafted Childress with the No. 6 pick in June 2004, resigned as general manager after the Boston series. He was replaced by Rick Sund, who knew Childress as a Hawk only from what he’d seen on TV/film, and what Sund saw wasn’t necessarily what we Atlantans had seen.

A lot of us around here believed Childress was a substitute of the first rank — the kind of high-octane reserve every good team needs. (Childress had been stellar against the Celtics, you’ll recall.) Sund saw a guy who couldn’t shoot. He wanted to keep Childress, but not at any price. Thus did a rising NBA …

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The World Cup final: Fresh faces and much pretty football

Usually the World Cup final rounds up the usual suspects. The past seven finals have been contested by teams from  five nations — Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Italy — that collectively have won 15 of the 18 World Cups. This one is different.

This final will break the first-place tie that exists between Spain and the Netherlands for the dishonor of being The Best Nation Never To Hoist The World Cup. The Netherlands — for brevity’s sake, we’ll go with “Holland” from here on — should have won in 1974 and could have won in 1978. Spain has always tripped over itself before it got this far.

But times change, and the Spanish stand on the cusp of becoming the new standard of both footballing excellence as well as style. Even when it doesn’t win the World Cup, Brazil invariably wins the beauty contest, but this Brazil played an unappealing-by-Brazilian-standards brand of futbol and won’t be much missed in the final.

Spain is the rage now, Spain with its deft little passes — …

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Remember what I said about not gloating over Da’Rick?

Here we see Georgia and Tennessee involved in on-field competition. (AP photo)

Here we see Georgia and Tennessee involved in actual on-field competition. (AP photo)

I’m pretty good about not saying, “I told you so.” This is, I submit, because I so seldom have the chance. I’m almost never right about anything ever. (But you knew that already.)

Yesterday I cautioned Georgia fans about not gloating over the arrest of Da’Rick Rogers, the Tennessee signee who spurned the Bulldogs at the 11th hour. I mentioned that these things have an uncanny way of evening out. So uncanny that …

Esteemed colleague Kristi E. Swartz has just reported that two Georgia players were arrested this morning in Athens.

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UGA fans should curb their enthusiasm over Rogers’ arrest

That rumble you heard earlier today was the sound of laughter rolling across the great state of Georgia. Da’Rick Rogers, the receiver from Calhoun who famously spurned the Bulldogs to sign with Vince Dooley’s son at Tennessee, was arrested in Knoxville at 1:50 a.m. for disorderly conduct after what we old folks used to call a barroom brawl.

(If you haven’t read esteemed colleague Chip Towers’ explanation of the matter, please do. The Chipster is to college recruiting as Target is to shopping — comprehensive and classy.)

It’s human nature to delight in the misfortune of a rival, especially a rival that snatched a recruit who’d committed to you eight months before Signing Day. But we must also note, for the sake of fairness, that the Georgia program isn’t immune to arrests — not of teenage athletes, not even of a 40-year-old athletics director.

I was talking to a Georgia Tech man last weekend, and he was trying — and mostly succeeding, I should report — not to chuckle over Damon …

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A great team? The Heat mightn’t be better than the Hawks

LeBron James’ new motto: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

And here’s the funny part: He still might not be able to beat the Orlando Magic. Or the Boston Celtics. Or, believe it or not, the Atlanta Hawks.

The Miami Heat aren’t yet a team and might never be. It’s tempting to call them a collection, but it’s more a mismatched set. There’s a power forward (Chris Bosh) who’s less power than finesse, and there are the two All-Stars whose styles most mirror each other.

Put LeBron alongside Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen or even Joe Johnson (when not in Iso mode) and you’ve got a working partnership. One drives and dishes and the other shoots and finishes. Station Lebron next to Dwyane Wade and you’ve got Miami Twice.

What does LeBron do? He dribbles and drives. Sometimes he shoots a jump shot, but shooting is the least part of his game. What does D-Wade do? He dribbles and drives and dishes. Sometimes he shoots a jump shot — he’s a better shooter than LeBron, but he’s still not Kobe.

How …

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LeBron goes from Cleveland to Miami, from hero to villain

In an hour of unbelievably overcooked live TV, LeBron James went from being the nice guy you hoped would someday win a championship to the schemer you hope never does. He went from being John Elway to being A-Rod, from hero to villain.

It must have seemed a good idea at the time: LeBron and his “team” went to ESPN and pitched an one-hour special, and the Worldwide Leader does as the Worldwide Leader invariably does — it turned a news story into a circus. It offered up Stuart Scott, who said “two-time MVP” so often in the space of 10 minutes you wanted to shout: “Bill Russell was a five-time MVP, and he never needed a one-hour special to remind us!”

Bill Russell also won 11 titles, and he never had to cherry-pick his team. Neither did Michael Jordan, who took six, or Magic Johnson, who won five, or Kobe Bryant, who has five, or Tim Duncan, who has four. Even if LeBron does win a championship with the Miami Heat — and there’s no guarantee he will — it won’t be seen as a great …

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Live on LeBron: ‘The Decision’ reaches its bloated climax

Depending on your slant, “The Decision” — so named by ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in hyperbole — represented either a harmonic convergence of news, sports and entertainment or the surest sign yet that our world is doomed. LeBron James, a basketball player of some note fawned over to no end by ESPN (and, to be fair, other outlets), offered to announce his choice of teams on the Worldwide Leader, and the Worldwide Leader waited all of two-tenths of a second before saying, “Yes, please!”

The result of this might not have been what LeBron intended. The Internet overflowed with screeds directed at LBJ and ESPN. (Full disclosure: I wrote one of them.) The always-reactionary world of Twitter went nuts, spawning all manner of “who-does-he-think-he-is?” Tweets and a couple of pretty fair jokes. To wit:

Have you heard? During LeBron’s announcement, Kanye West is going to run to the microphone and tell the world that Michael Jordan was better.

And this:

Have you heard? Apple is coming out …

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The LeBron overkill: We can run but, alas, we cannot hide

We might run from the LeBron overkill, but we cannot hide. (Unless you turn off your computer/iPad/smart phone, in which case you wouldn’t be reading this.) The man whose team lost in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs — same as Joe Johnson’s team, I might note — is going to announce something tonight, and we, even if we don’t partake of the made-for-ESPN broadcast, are certainly going to take note.

The announcement is scheduled for 9 to 10 p.m. EDT. Being helpful, ESPN is going to lead us into that announcement with a THREE-HOUR “SportsCenter.” (Pause to compare/contrast: A NBA game itself lasts roughly 2 1/2 hours.) Until then, we have time to parse the latest developments, such as they might be. And the latest is this:

Alan Hahn of Newsday, perhaps ensuring that he will never appear on ESPN’s air, has Tweeted that LeBron will join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Miami Heat. Quoth Hahn: “The new Big Three is here.”

And now we’re left to wonder: Was LeBron’s apparent inclination …

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The ideal candidate to be UGA’s AD, except for one thing

A great candidate for any AD job -- except this one.

A great candidate for any AD job — except this one.

There’s this guy, OK? He has been an athletics director at a BCS school for four years, OK? And he’s really good at his job, OK? And his football team just won its conference title and played in a BCS game, OK? And he has an SEC background, OK?

Perfect for Georgia, he is.

Except for one thing.

Dan Radakovich would seem to fit Michael Adams’ stated preferences — someone from the outside, someone who has experience at the highest level of athletics oversight — to a “T.” Alas, the “T” in this case stands for “Tech.” And UGA would never ever raid Georgia Tech for a job so important.

Georgia has never had a problem hiring someone from Auburn — Joel Eaves, Vince Dooley, Tevester Anderson — but it has no real history of raiding its in-state enemy. And it works the other way, too. Mac McWhorter worked at both schools, but he has worked pretty much everywhere. Tech did hire Bill Lewis to coach the football team, but only after the …

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