29 December 2009

Jimmer Fredette is pretty good

Most points ever scored by a BYU player.

Most points ever scored at Arizona's McKale Center.

BYU is now 13-1 on the season.

18 December 2009


For some reason, this Christmas season I am reminded of Legos. From the time I was seven years old until I was 14 or so, I loved Legos. I'd ask for sets for almost every birthday and Christmas. I spent hours playing Legos with my friends and cousins... in my room, in the backyard, running around the neighborhood, at the grandparents'.

Good memories.

So, without further ado on this Friday afternoon, I give you a tour of the Lego highlights from my life:

This is the Spy-Trak I. It is the first Lego set I may or may not have owned. As it was released in 1989 (or 20 years ago, holy cow), I was pretty young at the time. Memories are fuzzy. It seems familiar enough, though.

Auxiliary Patroller. This is one of the oldest sets I remember actually owning. The distinctive bubble shield over the cockpit and the laser on the front were super awesome.

Pulsar Charger. This thing was cool. One of the first M-Tron sets I ever had... I used to fly that thing all over the house. I remember being bothered that the antenna on the right side threw off the symmetry of the model. Came out in 1990.

Vector Detector. Another M-Tron set. I may have owned this, or my best friend did. Either way, I remember playing with it a lot. If you look closely, you can see the magnet box hanging off the back. M-Tron was big into magnets, which was pretty cool back in the day.

The Mega Core Magnetizer. Holy smokes was this thing cool. Unfortunately, I never got my hands on it, resorting instead to looking at it longingly in the pages of my Lego catalogs.

The Super Nova II. Blacktron was sweet. The neon yellow pieces and cool logo were enough to draw me in.

The Solar Snooper. I got this for my 10th birthday, and boy, was I excited. So excited that I immediately, in the middle of my birthday party, went down to the basement to assemble it by myself. What did my friends do? I have no idea. I was kind of a dumb kid.

Anyway, the Snooper was the bomb. I loved the green tinted plastic, the big wheels, the portable jail cell. Note the Blacktron prisoner. I guess they were space bad guys or something. The mythology of Space Police never really caught on.

Mixed in to all this space stuff is castle-and-knight type stuff. I distinctly remember owning this set, Black Monarch's Ghost. The glow-in-the-dark ghost was awesome, and the knight's lance and sword were pretty much the coolest things ever made to that point. I'm not sure what this set is about, however. There's a closet, and the ghost lives inside, and a knight wandered past and got scared? Is the knight supposed to fight the ghost?

Ah, pirates. Pirates way before Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom were pirates. This is the Black Seas Barracuda, and boy did I ever covet this thing. Unfortunately, it ran near $200 in 8-year-old me dollars, so I never got it. The pirate theme introduced cool stuff like the monkey, treasure chest, cannon and gold coins. Also sharks.

This is the Caribbean Clipper, the good guys' answer to the Barracuda. About half the size of the pirate ship, this Imperial boat was cheaper, but still a bit out of my price range. Cool hats.

This was more along the line of what pirate sets I owned. The Raft Raiders were pretty cool... I liked how the captain's shirt was all torn and stuff. The pirate life is a rough and tumble life, that's for sure. This is the only Lego set that has a flag with a black skull and crossbones on a white background.

I got the Renegade Runner for Christmas one year. It was pretty sweet, while not as large as the Barracuda or Clipper. The sail swung from side to side, and the rudder moved. I liked this one a lot.

Somewhere along the line Lego redesigned their castle-and-knights setup and the Black Knights came about. I distinctly remember buying this set from the local Shopko. The new oval shield was awesome, and I liked the dragon wings on the sides of the knight's helmet. I believe the breastplate was also new.

The new Black Knights needed someone to fight, so Lego invented the Wolfpack. Near as I can remember, these guys lived in the forest and stole stuff. I got the Wolfpack Tower for Christmas one year. Hey, look, another ghost! The drawbridge went up and down, and to access the inside of the tower you opened the rocky-looking sides.

The Dragon Masters premiered in 1993, introducing... wizards and dragons! I owned this set, the Fire Breathing Fortress. The wizard's glow-in-the-dark wand, beard and hat were all new. This set included a half-spiral staircase.

Also from 1993, Ice Planet. Neon orange skis, neon orange chainsaws, neon orange everything. Paired with the white and blue, the Ice Planet stuff looked pretty cool. I owned this vehicle, the Ice-Sat V.

1994 introduced the Islanders models. New mask, new take on the oval shields. Vaguely cool. I had one or two of these guys, but nothing really sticks out in my memory.

The Sea Sprint 9 from the Aquanauts is one of the last Lego sets I ever remember having. The flippers and scuba gear sets were pretty neat. The blue octagonal cockpit top is unique to Lego sets.

I never got into any new lines Lego released after 1995, but Legos remain one of my best childhood memories. Searching the interwebs for more information for this post, I discovered I'm not the only one who's nostalgic for these toys. There are multiple websites set up to buy and trade Lego sets, and then there's eBay.

Legos might turn out to be my generation's Tinkertoys. The genius of making imaginative worlds for kids to explore while allowing them to build their own creations was a good move. Nice work, Lego.

Of course, today, everything is licensed. Harry Potter Legos. Star Wars Legos. Lego Indiana Jones. Where's the imagination?

That said, we did rent Lego Batman from Gamefly last month. That's a fun game. :)

08 December 2009

Sports post

1. Jake Heaps won his third-straight Washington State championship Saturday. He threw for four touchdowns and no picks as his Spartans rolled the Ferris Saxons, 45-21. I watched the game and he has a nice long ball... plenty of arc with a soft touch. He also throws a tight spiral and has good velocity on his other throws. Excited to see what he brings to spring ball in a few months.

2. The Jazz lost to the two-win Timberwolves on Saturday, then beat the Spurs for the third straight time night. Bottom line, as predicted, they are another 48-win team who may or may not squeak into the playoffs.

3. The Knicks have won four of their last five games, beating Phoenix (14-3), Atlanta (13-5) and Portland (13-8) in the process. If they keep this up, they could compete for the eighth spot in the Eastern playoffs this spring.

In short, the Jazz's hope for a high lottery pick next summer are vanishing rapidly.

The Knicks have stunk consistently for a decade, and now, when their ineptitude is finally about to benefit the Jazz, they start winning. Here's hoping this is a temporary phenomenon.

And one more thing: Matt Harpring, whose season, and possibly career, is over, joined Craig Bolerjack and Ron Boone on the sidelines to help call the game last night, and Harp was awesome. He had interesting insights into the players, noticed strategies used by both coaches, and generally seemed to love the game. He was miles better than Boone, and improved Bolerjack's play-by-play. Please, FSN or the Jazz or whoever makes these decisions, please hire Harpring to do color commentary. Please.

02 December 2009

Jake Heaps

Find more videos like this on PrepTicket

Good story about BYU commit Jake Heaps. I really, really like this kid. He'll be graduating from high school early and enrolling at BYU this January, which should give him time to learn BYU's system and be ready for spring ball.

At this point, I like him to start in 2010. I'm open to Riley Nelson, James Lark or Jason Munns showing up this spring and blowing everyone away, but Heaps has four years of eligibility and a high, high ceiling.

01 December 2009

2010 NBA Draft

Seeing as to how the Jazz own the New York Knicks' pick this summer, and seeing as to how the Knicks are among the worst teams in the league as usual, I'll be spending some time over the next few months looking at who's available and what Utah can do with whatever pick they end up with. I am upset about how terrible the Nets are this season, as there is no reason they should be winless, but the Jazz are still virtually assured a bottom-three pick.

As Utah has decided they're interested in winning games this season, my plan for them to just tank it and have two lottery picks in 2010 is out the window. Blowing out a bad Memphis team at home is exactly what I expect this team to do. No more struggling against bad teams, okay guys? It does help that undrafted rookie Wesley Matthews is playing well and coach Sloan has actually decided to play Fes lately (11 points on 5-6 shooting, five boards and a block in 20 minutes last night). Eric Maynor keeps impressing, and if Korver can come back healthy and able to be an assassin from downtown, I like this team in the playoffs. CJ Miles returning and actually contributing would be icing on the cake.

But back to the draft. Chad Ford discussed the top three possible picks in a recent blog entry:

There may be 168 days until the NBA draft lottery but, given how poorly a handful of teams are playing this season, we already have a pretty good idea of who will be hoarding the pingpong balls this year.

The New Jersey Nets are a historically pitiful 0-17. The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't far behind at a pathetic 2-15. And the New York Knicks aren't faring much better at a paltry 3-14. While there are plenty of other teams struggling, it seems like these three teams in particular are in for a long season.

That means that fans of all three teams are already focusing on this summer and the 2010 draft. Whom would each team draft if they were to win the lottery?

The Jazz already have a young, All-Star-caliber point guard in Deron Williams. Williams may not be as explosive athletically as John Wall, but I don't think they are giving up on him any time soon. They could try to play Wall and Williams together -- they are different players -- but I'm not sure how well that would work. They'd have a very small backcourt.

Derrick Favors seems like the logical choice if Utah gets the No. 1 pick. Carlos Boozer is on his way out via free agency and Mehmet Okur has only a few years of productivity left. Yes, the Jazz just signed Paul Millsap to a huge contract, but Favors would be a nice complement to him.

I think the Jazz are the one team of the three that seems likely to pick Favors over Wall.

EDGE: Derrick Favors

Favors isn't having quite as strong of a season as Wall, but he's got two things going for him. Size and athleticism come at a premium in the NBA, and Favors has both. He has the chance to be a dominant inside presence -- a cross between Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard. However, Favors isn't there yet. His early numbers at Georgia Tech (13.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks in 24 minutes per game) are very good for a freshman but not quite dominant. If he really gets it going in the second half of the season, he'll be a legit No. 1 pick.

I'm down with that. Of course, he's only 6' 9", but it's a legit 6' 9", unlike Paul Millsap's 6' 9" that is really more like 6' 5". Favors is also rumored to have a wingspan of seven feet. People say he's better than Dwight Howard was in high school. Highlights (mostly from high school) show good ball control, nice touch around the rim and fantastic jumping ability.

Here are a couple highlight reels:

Again, this is high school competition, but he looks good. If the Jazz can get him, and if he can be a decent offensive presence and a fairly dominant defensive presence, that could push the Jazz over the top and make them a legit championship contender with Boozer gone in 2010 or 2011.

Deron and Maynor as possibly the best 1-2 punch in the NBA at point guard.

Korver, Matthews, Miles all hitting from deep.

Brewer and AK as weak-side defenders, Brewer acting as a slasher.

Okur stretching the defense and getting some points in the post.

Millsap, Favors, Fes, Kosta all scoring and defending in the paint.

I really like that team. It's solid all the way down the bench, has great balance and everyone has a role.

So we'll see. In the meantime, keep on keepin' on, New York!