When you think of the great college shooters in the past few years, you think of guys like Redick, McNamara, Lofton, and Abrams.

One guy who is never mentioned, but who defininitely should be is UCLA’s Darren Collison.

 

There are a couple of reasons why Collison doesn’t receive fanfare for his shooting ability, in my opinion. One of the big things is that Collison doesn’t jack up nearly as many threes as the other guys, making his shooting ability less noticeable. Another reason is the fact that his other attributes (speed, defense, leadership) overshadow his shooting in the minds of fans.

Perhaps the biggest reason is the weird looking hitch in his shot that many people thought needed to be changed when Collison came into college. People see guys like Chris Lofton, J.J. Redick, Shan Foster shoot and think ‘man, that’s so pure.’ Yet someone who had never heard of Collison would cringe at first sight of him launching a three-ball.

But if you like percentages, Collison beats everybody. Collison has knocked down 104-214 (48.5%) of his three pointers over the past two years and is currently shooting a sick 53% from behind the arc (53-100) this season. By comparison, Redick shot 41.2% in his final two seasons at Duke (his first two seasons were slightly worse), Lofton and Abrams have both shot exactly 40% the past two seasons, and McNamara was a career 35.4 % 3-point shooter in college, never passing 40% for a single season.

Like I said before, I realize that all of the other names I’ve mentioned shoot more three’s than Collison does, but 214 attempts over two seasons is still statistically significant. And if part of the reason that Collison’s percentage is so much higher than the other guys is because he shoots less threes, well, doesn’t that suggest that perhaps, Collison’s shot selection is better? You never see Collison taking rushed, wild threes, and that is something that should be looked upon favorably, not held against him.

Hitch and all, Collison is also an 87% free-throw shooter this season. The man can clearly shoot with the best of them in the college game. 

Despicable Behavior

March 7, 2008


I had never heard of Tripp Isenhower before this incident. Probably because he sucks.
But what he did at a Florida Golf Course in December is beyond reproach. Granted, I am a little biased because the Red-Shouldered Hawk is my personal favorite bird of prey, but I think we can all agree that hitting multiple golf balls at a bird and shouting excitedly “I’ll get it now!” when it moves to a different tree is pretty juvenile. The fact that he actually left the hawk dead with blood bleeding through its nostrils is just plain sick.
If there is one really annoying thing about a Red-Shouldered Hawk, it’s the noise. Unlike many birds of prey, Red-Shouldered hawks make extremely loud and annoying high-pitched shrieks that could definitely prove as a distraction. But that’s no excuse for hitting golf-balls at one with an intent to kill. What’s even more abysmal is this guy saying he is an animal lover. Maybe he loves his pet cat or dog, but what he did is an example of somebody who has no respect for nature or the ecosystem. He deserves all of the negative attention he is getting.

Why not Maicer?

March 5, 2008

Greetings! Some of you may remember me. I’m Ben, the other guy that used to post on this site.  Well, after a long layoff, I’m back at you with what else, an Angels post.

I, like Gilbert, love the Angels and I can’t really complain too much about the way the organization is run from either a baseball standpoint or an organizational standpoint. The one thing that continually frustrates me about the Angels is their perpetual inability and non-desire to get the most out of some of their commodities.

Juan Rivera is my favorite Angel and his presence made it totally unnecessary to sign Torii Hunter, especially when there are capable outfielders like Reggie Willits and Terry Evans on the team. Nonetheless, I will concede that signing Hunter does make the Angels a slightly better team offensively and a much better team defensively. Plus, when you add the fact that Hunter is as good as it gets in the community and will put even more fans in the seats, I can understand why the Angels were so eager to sign him.

I also am in the minority of Angels fans who thinks that Dallas McPherson was brought up too slowly, used improperly, and cut too early, despite his injury problems. I think he is going to rake for the Marlins and have the same kind of success that Bobby Jenks had for the White Sox the year after the Angels cut him in favor of keeping Chris Bootcheck among others.

For me, Maicer Izturis also falls into the category of improperly used commodities that the Angels have.

When the Angels let Orlando Cabrera go in the offseason, I thought it was a great sign for Izturis. Cabrera was fun to watch and had a really good year last year, but Maicer Izturis is making a lot less money and has proved he can do basically the same job Cabrera did with playing time. It seemed to be a good idea to have Izturis start and groom along Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood.

But alas, it seems like Aybar will at least split time with Izturis and likely get the majority of playing time at shortstop once the season starts. I really hope that is not the case. Aybar proved last year that he isn’t major league ready yet. He swings at every pitch, makes foolish decisions in the field, and his high stolen base numbers are more than offset by the amount of times he is caught stealing or picked off.

Meanwhile, Maicer has been great when he’s had stretches of consistent at bats. He gets on base pretty well, makes contact, and even hits for a little bit of power. And his defense has been sensational at both third base and shortstop. In other words, he is Orlando Cabrera! Never mind how much both players are being paid- if Cabrera was good enough to start and short without petty competition, why isn’t Maicer? He is so clearly the best option there for this season (barring a breakout first half of the season in AAA by Brandon Wood) that it shouldn’t even be a debate. Here’s hoping that the Angels make the right decision when the season starts.

Torii Hunter: WTF??

November 22, 2007

I am beyond trying to understand the Angels. Last year, they pay $50 million over 5 years to an overrated center-fielder coming off a career year.

This year, they pay $90 million over five years…to a slightly better overrated center-fielder coming off of a career year. WTF?

Thats $140 million of waste. And this team is still paying good money to Garrett Anderson!

I’m not saying Hunter won’t be a good player for the Angels this year- he probably will. Actually, he probably makes the team a little bit better. What is frustrating to me is that if they did not have Anderson, Matthews, or Hunter, their outfield of Rivera, Willits, Guerrero would be almost just as good.

The best part about it is that now, Matthews is going to be used as a designated hitter/corner outfielder. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought a huge part of the reason the Angels paid him so much was because of his center field defense, which is stellar. Obviously, Hunter is a pretty incredible defensive center-fielder too, but basically, the Angels are now paying Matthews 10 million a year to be an average major-league hitter.

What’s even worse is that this move pretty much makes Juan Rivera, who is a much better hitter than Matthews (he is also making a hell of a lot less money than Matthews), a part-time player. Juan Rivera has proven that with consistent at-bats, he can be one of the most productive hitters in the league- and now there is no place for him at all. I’m just praying that the White Sox are interested in trading for Gary Matthews.

Whatever. If the Angels want to waste a bunch of money and the team still wins- and they will win the West again next year- I guess I shouldn’t care as a fan. What bothers me is that they could be saving this money for Miguel Cabrera or another legitimate hitter that would essentially book a ticket to post-season play for years to come and help their chances to get to the World Series.

Absolutely Awful

November 22, 2007

Even with the recent struggles of a few conference teams, it’s easy to argue that the Pac-10 is the best top-to-bottom conference in college basketball right now.

Unless you are talking about the very bottom.

Oregon State is absolutely awful. I mean beyond bad. I don’t know how they are even going to win one game in conference play this year.

The Beavers lost to the Alaska Nanooks on Saturday in the Top of the World Classic. Alaska is a Division II team that lost by 58 points to Cal – another team picked to finish towards the bottom of the Pac-10 Standings. They also lost by 35 points to IUPUI in the same tournament. And they somehow beat Oregon State.

Granted, Oregon State will get former Kansas starter C.J. Giles for conference play, but to watch this team try and compete in the Pac-10 this year should be nothing short of amusing.

Before I brush my teeth or eat breakfast in the morning, I always visit firejoemorgan.com to see what new buffoonery in the sports-writing world they have espoused.

This morning, when I checked, I was not disappointed. Maybe it was because I hadn’t eaten yet, or maybe it was because I was especially on edge today, but I got so wound up over what Jon Heyman had to say that I decided to write him a letter. For those of you unfamiliar with Jon Heyman, the link is a link to all of the times the fine folks at firejoemorgan have found it worth their time to write about Heyman. You will quickly understand how my bubble burst this morning.

AGHHH! I wanted to post my letter here, but since I sent it from SI’s website and forgot to copy what I sent, I don’t have it any more!

At any rate here is what Heyman said that had me so worked up:

“The Red Sox disproved the old “crapshoot” theory espoused by a lot of folks who keep losing in the playoffs. The best team won in 2007, and that is no fluke.”

Did Heyman forget that the freaking CARDINALS WON LAST YEAR!!!! The 83-win Cardinals!!! Has he forgotten that Wild Card teams won the World Series from 2002-2004! Is he willing to overlook many years of data that proves that yes, the playoffs are pretty much a crap-shoot. And I’ll be the first to say that the 2002 Angels were not the best team that season.

Because the best team (and yeah, the Red Sox were the best team this year) wins in one year, that doesn’t mean the best team always wins. Anyone can win a five or seven game series. Nothing makes me angrier than when writers like Heyman use one convenient example to “prove” their points. It happens all the time and it’s amazing how many people actually buy it.

Weighing in on Joe Torre

October 18, 2007

torre_joe21.jpg

UPDATE by Gilbert: Joe Torre has turned down an offer to continue as the Yankees’ manager. Wow.

I know a lot of Yankee fans are passionate about Joe Torre. Either they desperately want him gone or are hugging trees to save his job.

My question: Does it really matter? The arguing points being thrown out are wrong on both sides.

Sure, Torre’s teams won four World Series’, but to give Torre all the credit is misplaced. If he was managing the Devil Rays for the last 12 years, they would’ve been fighting to stay out of last every year. You have to give Torre credit for making the appropriate moves, but he had insanely good options.

On the other hand, to blame Joe Torre for the Yankees’ post-season failures the past few seasons is just as insane. No team can win the World Series every year. With eight teams in post-season, its a crap-shoot who wins the World Series (the 2006 Cardinals are a classic example…and look at how this year is panning out). 4 in 12 years is way ahead of the curve and the Yankees were right on the brink of winning two more. It’s not Joe Torre’s fault Chien-Mien Wang went completely cold and Derek Jeter left his “clutch” pants at home this year.

My personal opinion of Torre is mixed. I don’t think he’s the best in-game manager; but whatever small negative effect his actual managing skills have on the team is probably equaled out by the fact that his players love to play for him and that he can handle the pressure and the New York media.

Nonetheless, whether it’s Torre or Don Mattingly managing the Yankees next season, their success will all depend on what they do with their roster this off-season, and very little to do with who is managing the team.

Rankings Madness

October 14, 2007

After another upset-laden weekend with a bunch of one-loss teams lurking, Ohio State and South Florida are 1-2 in the BCS standings. That is just bizarre.

Every team should learn from Ohio State. I think you’d be hard-pressed to make an argument that the Buckeyes are the nation’s top team right now (although who COULD you argue for), but because of an incredibly patsy nonconference schedule, Ohio State is now in a position to get to the title game once again.

Think about it. UCLA would be either the number one or number two team in the nation if they had scheduled Akron, Youngstown State, and Kent State (they beat Washington in conference play). UCLA – a team that has no business anywhere near the top 25 – might be the number one team in the nation if the Bruins had really gone out of there way to ensure nonconference victories.

Now I know what you Bruin fans are thinking: never underestimate the ability of Karl Dorrell to lose a game. But lets be honest- UCLA couldn’t lose to those three teams.

The point is, the rankings are a lot about non-conference scheduling and luck with conference scheduling almost as much as they are about how talented a team actually is. The scary thing is, Ohio State has a great chance to go undefeated, with their biggest remaining challenges coming at Penn State and at Michigan.

Sickening

October 6, 2007

I’m honestly more sick to my stomach after this game than I was after Josh Paul caught strike three against the White Sox.

The smug look on the face of the freaking kid that robbed Mathis and the fans patting him on the back really got to me.

Why K-Rod wasn’t in the game to start the ninth inning is another mystery.

And if anyone besides Steve Stone can justify the strike call on the fifth pitch to Cabrera in the ninth inning, I’d like to hear them vent it right here (the same Steve Stone that thought that Scioscia took Vlad out of the game for defensive purposes when he was due to bat second in the top half of the next inning). Sorry if this post is really irrational, I’m just so sick right now.

All that said…I still think the Angels still have a chance to win the series. Lackey is a beast at home if we can get to game 4 and I wouldn’t mind seeing the same Escobar-Dice-K match-up in game 5.

It was touching to hear that the Rockies are going to donate a full share of the team’s playoff winnings to the widow of Mike Coolbaugh , who was fatally struck by a foul-ball while coaching first-base for the Rockies AA affiliate in Tulsa. Not that I already hadn’t adopted Colorado as my favorite National League team in this year’s playoffs already, but now, I’m really really going to be rooting for them to pull through.

Apparently, it was the players idea too, which I find to be refreshing in a day in age where athletes get so much negative press. The Rockies players are going beyond their team obligations to cheer up and help out an ailing family within their organizational family and that deserves commending.

Coolbaugh’s five and three-year old kids are apparently going to throw out the first pitches of game three as well, which is also pretty neat.

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