Occasionally, there is a news story out there with enough dimensions to it that a consequence of that story goes under-reported – – or unreported. Such may be the case with the folding of the AAF. Reporters and analysts can focus on:
- Are the Orlando Apollos the AAF champions with the best record in the league’s only partial season?
- Where did this business model fail?
- Can professional “Spring Football” survive?
- Did the AAF project any players to the NFL or resurrect any NFL careers?
All those questions are interesting; the second and third questions there might even border on important. Nonetheless, there is another aspect here that needs to be considered:
- With the folding of the AAF, Johnny Manziel is yet once more a free agent. Let the rumors and the paparazzi shots begin…
Speaking about football players with a history of notoriety, it turns out that Pacman Jones is going to do some jail time for that arrest at an Indiana casino a little over a month ago. He was arrested for a skirmish with officers called to the casino to investigate cheating at one of the table games. There are now reports of a plea deal. When all the smoke cleared, Jones was charged with 9 felonies and 5 misdemeanors in the matter; according to reports, he plead guilty to 1 felony count of cheating at gambling and 1 misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. According to reports Jones will spend 10 days in jail and will be on probation for 18 months. Not surprisingly, he is also barred from ever going to that casino again.
- Ten days in jail and 18 months of probation may seem light for a menu of 9 felony counts and 5 misdemeanors, but it is more severe than a four week stay at an anger management counseling session held at a spa somewhere…
UCLA is searching for a new head basketball coach. The program that once won 10 national championships over a 12-year span in the 60s and 70s has not resembled that stature for years. Yes, UCLA won another national champio9nship in 1995 and made three consecutive Final four appearances about 15 years ago, but the last several years have been dismal. Two years ago, UCLA had to win a play-in game to be part of the tournament; last year they fired their coach in mid-season and finished with a 17-16 record with no tournament slot available to them. As bad as that is, I believe that UCLA struck out twice in the past several days:
- First there was the report that they tried to hire John Calipari away from Kentucky to resurrect the program at UCLA. Cynics may say that Calipari used the noise surrounding that story to get a new deal from Kentucky that will make him the coach there for his lifetime AND when he chooses to retire, he will be a “Special Ambassador for Kentucky Basketball” for as long as he wants. In any event, UCLA was told to take their offer and – – you know the deal…
- Then, the guy that UCLA could have hired – and should have hired – took the job at Texas A&M. Back when Steve Alford was fired, I said that UCLA should target Buzz Williams as their next coach. Williams put Marquette basketball back on the map; he has had Va Tech in the NCAA Tournament for 3 straight years now and Va Tech is a football school not a basketball school. Buzz Williams is a very under-rated coach and that is the kind of guy that UCLA must find because the fact is that UCLA is no longer “the gold standard” of college basketball. In fact, it’s much closer to a slag heap than it is a gold nugget.
The Sacramento Kings made a run at the playoffs in the NBA this year; they won’t make the playoffs, but it appears that they will finish 9th in the NBA West. That is a big deal because the last time the Kings saw post-season action was in 2006 when they were eliminated in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. As of this morning, the Kings’ record is 38-40; if they win 1 of their remaining 4 games, they will have their best record since that 2006 playoff season.
The Kings’ franchise is a mess. I think it gets less scorn that it has earned because it is in Sacramento; and even though Sacramento is the capital of the largest State in the US, Sacramento is a backwater in the sports landscape. Here is some Kings’ history:
- In the 13 seasons since that 2006 playoff appearance, the Kings have had 9 head coaches.
- Of those 9 head coaches, the best record belongs to Reggie Theus – – 44-62, a .415 winning percentage.
- Rick Adelman coached the Kings from 1998 – 2006; he had an admirable record of 395-229 (.633) with playoff appearances every year. Adelman’s contract with the Kings expired and the team did not renew it.
- Prior to Adelman’s 8 years of success, you have to go back to Cotton Fitzsimmons coaching tenure (1978-1984) to find another coach with a better than .500 record – – and it was only a little better. Fitzsimmons was 248-244 over an almost 6-year stint on the bench.
The current coach is Dave Joerger. If you live more than 100 miles from Sacramento and could recognize Joerger on the street, you are a true NBA junkie. Joerger’s deal with the Kings is entering its fourth year; according to ESPN reporting at the time the contract was initiated, this upcoming fourth year is a “team option”. Joerger’s record is nowhere near .500 over the past 3 seasons, but this year looks promising. So, what might the Kings’ front office do now? Maybe they will make an offer to John Calipari? It would fit right in with the decisions made by these folks in the past decade or so.
Finally, Dwight Perry had this observation about another less-than-brilliantly-run NBA franchise in the Seattle Times:
“President Trump paid a recent visit to America’s last tank factory.
“Apparently, it was his first Knicks game in years.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………