The NBA Draft comes up later this week and because several players opted to stay in school last year with the threat of a prolonged NBA work stoppage staring them in the face, this is a deeper draft than normal. Anthony Davis is going to be the first pick by the Hornets. The Bobcats draft second and this morning there is a report at CBSsports.com that the Bobcats are considering trading out of that position. There will be plenty of intrigue and subterfuge in the next couple of days and so I will only try here to give you my impressions of a dozen players I saw on TV before leaving for Australia and/or in the tournament after getting back from Australia. I’ll list them in alphabetical order because I have not the foggiest idea what the various NBA teams have in mind as they enter the draft.
Harrison Barnes (UNC): All the physical skills anyone would want but he does not seem to play hard some of the time.
Brad Beal (Florida): The kid can score; there is no doubt about that.
Jay Crowder (Marquette): Not real big, but he is tough on defense.
Andre Drummond (UConn): Reports say he will be a high draft pick; I think he is a project – - and not a short-term project.
John Henson (UNC): Will need to add a lot of strength to survive an 82-game NBA season.
Perry Jones (Baylor): Big and very athletic but like Henson will need to add strength and weight to survive in the paint in the NBA.
Terrence Jones (Kentucky): Overshadowed at times by Anthony Davis but he can play a bit himself.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrest (Kentucky): I like this kid a lot!
Fab Melo (Syracuse): He is big; that asset will get him picked sometime in the draft but the team that gets him had best not expect much offense from him.
Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State): Based on his tournament play, this guy is big and plays at 100% all the time. He is a project, but …
Thomas Robinson (Kansas): Big, strong and plays hard all the time.
Jared Sullinger (Ohio State): I have thought he was over-hyped before news of his bulging disk hit the streets.
Dwight Perry had a different slant on the draft fate of Jared Sullinger in the Seattle Times:
“NBA doctors have red-flagged Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger because of back issues, multiple sources told ESPN.com. In other words, ‘With the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select … ‘ “
If you are ever confused about how different societies deal with situations, consider this item from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“Andrzej Bojanowski, deputy mayor of Gdansk, Poland, on hosting Eurocup 2012:
‘I thank residents and city employees for behaving like normal civilized white people toward our guests who have in turn also behaved like normal white people.’ ”
Professor Rock asked, “Just wondering, does this particular white guy seem normal to anyone?” Well, he certainly does not seem normal to anyone here in the US who had listened to politically correct speech for the last 20 years. Since there has not been an uprising in Gdansk that has made it onto the news reports since those remarks, I guess he must seem close to normal in that milieu…
The Boston Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis (plus cash) to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman, Brent Lillibridge and pitcher, Zach Stewart. I did not see anything about the cash involved in this deal, but it would not surprise me to learn that the Red Sox will pick up much of Youkilis’ salary as part of the deal. It surely seemed as if Bobby Valentine wanted to get rid of Youkilis all the way back to Spring Training and the fact that Youkilis has not played up to the level he had played to in the past led to this exchange. On the surface, it looks like the White Sox got the best of the deal.
Youkilis has been an All-Star; he was part of two Red Sox World Series teams; he can play first base and third base. Yes, he has had injury issues and yes, he has not played as well in 2012 as he had in past years. Nonetheless, Brent Lillibridge is a journeyman utility guy who is currently hitting .175. That is miserable; but understand that his career batting average is only .215. Zach Stewart is a young pitcher who could develop but his stats to date include an ERA for 2012 of 6.00 and a career ERA of 5.92.
Finally, Dwight Perry had another interesting observation in the Seattle Times soon after Joel Peralta was found to have pine tar in his glove and was ejected from a game:
“Hear about the Cubs infielder who got caught with a foreign substance in his mitt last week?
“It was a baseball.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………