Posts Tagged ‘Buzz’

Bradley’s Buzz: Another young arm for the Atlanta Braves?

Baseball 101: You can’t have enough pitching

Kris Medlen is on his way and Tommy Hanson will be here soon enough, and if Keith Law of ESPN.com’s Scouts Inc. is correct, the Braves could add another prized young arm (link requires registration) in the June draft.

Writes Law: “Consensus has Atlanta taking local prep star Zack Wheeler, but the Braves had a huge contingent in to see him during arguably his only bad start of the spring [last week]. They would love to find a bat at No. 7, but that player isn’t there this year.”

Wheeler plays for the East Paulding Raiders, who face Lowndes in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals Tuesday. According to the Scouts Inc. report (requires registration), he’s a “tall, loosed-armed right-handed pitcher who’s a lock to go in the first round.” He stands 6-foot-4 and throws as hard as 96 mph and has a “slurve” (combo slider/curveball).

Here’s a Law post that contains video of Wheeler working (requires registration), and if you listen close you can …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Is UGA’s recruiting hold getting slippery?

Fasten those seat belts; we’re going recruitin’!

I’m not Max Emfinger or Tom Lemming. I’m not Michael Carvell or Darryl Maxie. I am not the world’s greatest source on football recruiting. But I can, contrary to popular belief, read. And here’s what my reading of Brian McLaughlin’s exhaustively annotated list in Sporting News Today of the top 100 prospects for 2010 tells me:

Other schools are coming at Georgia hard — in Georgia!

From Page 1 of McLaughlin’s report, we learn the white-limo crowd at Auburn is in on three of the nation’s top 15 prospects.

On Page 2 it gets more intriguing, as we find that running back Mack Brown (ranked No. 32 overall) of Lithonia’s MLK has declared the hated Gators as his leader in the ol’ clubhouse, and also that receiver Markeith Ambles (No. 39) of Henry County is assessing West Coast schools as well as Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

From Page 3: Georgia is tracking running back Brannan Clay (No. 40) of San Diego and defensive linemen …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Is there hope for the Hawks? Next question

How to stop LeBron James

Here, from ESPN.com, is the most fascinating nugget from a series so devoid of fascination that some bloggers have taken to writing about me: In Game 3, the Hawks fared best against LeBron when they didn’t guard him.

According to ESPN, LBJ made five of six shots against Mo Evans, five of seven against Joe Johnson, three of four against Mike Bibby … but only one of five when uncovered! So there’s your answer, Woody. Forget matchups. Forget double-teams. Just let him go. Really, how many more points can he score that way? Didn’t he just get 47 of his team’s 97?

From Paul Newberry’s Associated Press game story — I’ve said it before, but here it is again: Newberry, based in Atlanta, is the best AP writer in the country — is this priceless quote from LBJ: “There’s only a few guys in this league that can get into a zone like that, and I’m blessed to be one of those guys.”

For the record, LeBron is not the best player I’ve ever seen. But he is the second-best …

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Bradley’s Buzz: More bad news for Georgia Tech hoops

Hewitt’s program takes yet another hit

Georgia Tech announced Wednesday it had “elected to forego” two basketball scholarships for the 2008-2009 season for what it believed would be its failure to meet the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report standard of 925. Sure enough, the just-released APR showed the Jackets falling to 914 in the reporting year of 2007-2008, down from 931 in 2006-2007.

This comes on the heels of Tech’s third losing season over its past four, the possible early loss of Gani Lawal to the NBA and the loss of assistant coach Charlton Young, who became head coach at Georgia Southern. It also follows Hewitt’s assertion that “our academics are in the best shape since I’ve been here.”

His point was that any academic issues might have had — in 2007-2008, say — have since been ironed out. In the same March interview, Hewitt noted that six Jackets made the dean’s list last semester. He also admitted he “tried to fight the APR hard because I thought it could have an effect …

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Bradley’s Buzz: The Hawks win a series, and people notice!

A change of pace: Glowing Hawk reviews

Back in October, John Hollinger of ESPN.com picked the Hawks to finish 31-51, 13th among the 15 teams in the NBA East. On Sunday he sat in Philips Arena and watched them beat the Miami Heat to advance to Round 2, and it’s safe to say he was duly impressed.

Focusing on Joe Johnson’s breakout game, Hollinger also wrote: “If Atlanta’s All-Star could match Miami’s All-Star [Dwyane Wade} shot for shot, as he finally did Sunday, there was no way Wade’s supporting cast could lift him past Johnson’s.” (Oddly enough, a guy I know had been saying much the same thing. Not that I’m ever right. Though I was, kind of, this time.)

For the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman wrote essentially the same thing and played heavily off Wade’s assertion that the Hawks have five guys who can make a play. And five tends to beat one.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

On SI.com, Bill Trocchi called Zaza Pachulia’s dive-on-the-floor offensive …

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Bradley’s Buzz: “The Falcons select Terrence Cody”

After the draft, more draft!

Before we take our leave of the 2009 NFL draft, we look ahead to the 2010 edition. Andrew Perloff of SI.com has been kind enough to do a mock for next year and, while it’s way too soon to take such things overly seriously, a mock draft is always fun to scan. And Perloff has the Falcons, who just took a big defensive tackle from the SEC West in Round 1, taking an even bigger one 12 months hence.

He’s Terrence Cody of Alabama, also known as Mount Cody. (He weighs 365 pounds, or thereabouts.) It’s also interesting that Perloff has the Falcons, who drafted 24th overall this time, picking 16th in 2010, which would seem to indicate he foresees some slippage in the 2009 season. Feel free to disagree. But, as you’re griping, take note of these names:

  • Sam Bradford, the Heisman holder from Oklahoma, goes No. 1 overall;
  • Eric Berry, the Tennessee safety, goes No. 2;
  • Tim Tebow, who plays for some school (I forget which) goes 13th;
  • Jonathan Dwyer, the Georgia …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Post-draft grades show B’s for TD the GM

Draft grades! Get your draft grades right here!

They’re as much a part of the NFL draft as Chris Berman’s forced jocularity and Mel Kiper’s gelled follicles — the post-draft grades, I mean. And here, without further ado, we go.

On CBSsports.com, Pete Prisco gives the Falcons a B-plus. He likes the Peria Jerry pick — hey, who didn’t? — and thinks defensive end Lawrence Sidbury could be a Round 4 sleeper. Prisco does, however, wonder about the choice of William Moore in Round 2.

Writing for USA Today, Larry Weisman bestows a solid B on the Birds. Weisman applauds the Tony Gonzalez trade, the selections of Jerry and Sidbury but wonders if third-rounder Chris Owens will be any more than a nickel back. And you’ll never guess what grade Clifton Brown of Sporting News Today assesses this Falcons’ draft class. Or how Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports rates this crop.

More Prisco? You got it. He called Jerry’s selection “a great pick,” likening him to Warren Sapp, and gave the choice …

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A special Bradley’s Buzz: All-draft edition with T. Gonzalez!

Late-breaking update: The Falcons have a tight end!

And he isn’t Brandon Pettigrew. He’s Tony Gonzalez, the 10-time Pro Bowler. Per esteemed AJC colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter, the Falcons have acquired Gonzalez from Kansas City for a second-round draft pick in 2010.

This does two things: First, it enables the Falcons to go hog-wild in the pursuit of defense over the weekend, and second, it pretty well cements the bond between Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his Kansas City counterpart Scott Pioli, who used to be Dimitroff’s boss in New England.

Me, I’d call it a win-win for the local club, which gets its tight end and still keeps all its picks in this draft. But maybe that’s just me.

“In Round 4, the Atlanta Falcons select …”

I said I wasn’t going to do it, but I did it anyway. And you know why I did it? For you, Buzz readers! So you’ll be able to feel clever come Sunday afternoon when the Falcons take the legendary Fenuki Tupou and your friends say, “Never heard …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Fire Woodson? Hey, only I get to write that!

Hands off my man Woody!

In my capacity as outside observer, I’ve fired Mike Woodson more often than George Steinbrenner canned Billy Martin. I count at least four times I’ve done the (theoretical) deed, including this rant of February 2008, and even after the epic Celtics series I offered this vote of non-confidence. But here’s where I rally to my punching bag’s defense.

Writing for SI.com, Chris Mannix contends Woodson remains on the ol’ hot seat even after leading the Hawks to the East’s No. 4 seed, and I don’t believe that’s the case. Rick Sund, the general manager these past 11 months, has said repeatedly that his goal for his new team was to return to the playoffs with a better record, and Woodson has more than managed that. The Hawks improved 10 games without adding a starter. (Indeed, they lost sixth man Josh Childress to Greece.)

There were many times over Woodson’s first four seasons when I didn’t feel he was the man for this team, but I don’t feel that way now. Yes, …

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Bradley’s Buzz: Danger, Jair Jurrjens! Danger!

Sometimes you eat innings; sometimes innings eat you

He’s 2-0, but Jair Jurrjens is in trouble. So writes Tom Verducci of SI.com, who places the 23-year-old Braves ninth on a list of 10 young pitchers at risk. The Verducci Theory: A pitcher under 25 whose workload has increased by 30 or more innings is in immediate peril.

Yes, there’s evidence to support his case. On the other hand, what exactly is a club to do? Jurrjens went from working 143 innings in 2007 to 188 in 2008. That happened for two reasons: First, he was really good in 2008, and second, he was the only member of the Braves’ rotation not to get hurt.

Writing for ESPN.com, Buster Olney examines the innings-equal-arm-trouble dynamic as it applies to Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, who has indeed developed soreness in the ol’ soupbone. But Olney makes the same salient point: Philly was trying to win a championship in 2008; would it have made sense to shut down its best pitcher in October — indeed, Hamels would be MVP of …

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