28 June 2010

CNBC's take on LDS business

An interesting look at Latter-day Saint influence in business worldwide, and the missionary program's assistance in that area.

Countdown to college football, 2010 style

Every year, towards the end of the college football season, I start getting burned out by all the games, and by the time it's all over, I'm not that sad to see the sport go.

But then after a few months of NBA overload and the realization that the summer months are filled with nothing but NASCAR and golf, I look longingly towards the days when there are upwards of 27 college football games on TV during an average week in the fall.

So to help you get in that same state of mind, I introduce you to an incoming freshman at BYU: Josh Quezada.

Out of La Habra high school in California, this running back is 5'11" and 210 pounds. He was All-Everything in 2009, and I am excited for this kid to don Cougar blue.

I could say more, but all you really need to know about him as a runner can be seen in this Youtube video (skip to 2:15):

Breaks tackles, can see the field well, good speed, changes directions quickly... haven't had a back with this level of talent come to BYU in a while. Soothes the sting of losing Harvey a bit.

I'll be profiling other BYU players as the weeks drag on.

Go Cougars!

25 June 2010

Gordon Hayward

Well, I didn't see that coming.

After spending most of the year wondering about who the Jazz would take in the 2010 NBA Draft with the Knicks pick they got a few years ago, the expectations went from "Hey, Utah could get Evan Turner or Derrick Favors!" to "Hmm, maybe they can get Greg Monroe," to "Uh, Cole Aldrich?"

Readers of this blog know I fervently believe the most glaring weakness on this Jazz team is lack of interior defense. This has been a major problem in the playoffs for the last three years, and so far Jazz management have been unable to solve the problem.

Despite the lack of home-run big men available to Kevin O'Connor at the ninth pick last night, I had hoped the Jazz would at least take a stab at Aldrich or Ed Davis in an attempt to give the team what they need.

So what happens? Utah takes Gordon Hayward.

My honest reaction was, "Who?"

Here's who: Hayward is a 6'7" small forward from Butler. He shot 29% from the 3-point line and made 46% of his field goals last season. He averaged less than one assist per game.

You may remember him as the guy who missed the last-second fadeaway baseline jumper against Duke in the NCAA title game.

I am displeased. After watching a few highlight clips of this kid, his dribbling is terrible, he can't jump and he can't defend.

So to sum up:

1. The Jazz gave Ronnie Brewer away for nothing last season because they had too many players at the shooting guard/small forward spots.

2. Then they draft Hayward, who is essentially Brewer, complete with poor shooting numbers (30% from deep last season at Butler), but without the impressive defense or ability to get to/finish at the rim.

3. In the draft, you either pick based on need or take the best player available. Hayward is neither.

4. I'd much rather have seen Utah take Davis or Aldrich (even if he measures small) or even Patrick Patterson.

5. But even if the Jazz absolutely coveted a small forward, Kansas' Xavier Henry is a superior pick to Hayward.

6. Does this mean the Jazz now feel that Fesenko and Kosta are the answers to their interior defensive weakness? Because last time I checked, the answer was a resounding NO.

Bad news all around.

However, I'm waiting until free agency is over before getting too upset. All that matters is that the Jazz acquire someone who can shore up the defense under the hoop. If they end up trading Hayward and another player to get that done, this draft was a success.

The only problem is that I can't imagine there's a team out there salivating over the possibility of getting Hayward.

Boy, what a pick.

23 June 2010

The goal that saved soccer in America (for now)

If this goal doesn't happen, Americans go back to not caring about soccer for the indeterminable future, and who knows how much longer it takes for the sport to gain real and serious ground in the United States? We'll follow and support national teams as long as they're winning, but as soon as they start losing or otherwise choke (and a tie to Algeria most definitely would have been classified as one of those) we go back to watching Wipeout and wishing (real) football would start.

As it is, Landon Donovan kicks the ball in the net and we care about this sport for at least another few days.

Also, I find it interesting that the two most important goals for the U.S. came when the opposing goalie was unable to fully control a save. Not sure how frequent an occurrence that is, really, but in general I like it when the team I'm rooting for actually beats their opponent, rather than the opponent beating themselves. This feels kind of cheap. Maybe I'm way off base here, though.

03 June 2010

Catch up on the NBA playoffs

The Jones: 2010 NBA Playoff Recap from The Basketball Jones on Vimeo.

I have been woefully neglectful in my coverage of the NBA playoffs since my initial first round predictions (where I went 5-3). Part of that has to do with my annoyance that the Jazz experienced a repeat of the last two seasons, and part of that comes from seeing an inevitable Lakers/Celtics matchup coming our way.


And frankly, I don't care. I know the league wants me to believe Boston/L.A. is the pinnacle of basketball evolution, but I don't believe them.

Both of these teams reached elite status thanks to major free-agent acquisitions that ranged from kinda iffy (Garnett) to flat-out dirty (Gasol). I don't feel either organization got where they did through honest dealings and that bothers me.

Or maybe I'm just jealous that the Jazz never seem to pull off these "Wilt Chamberlain for spare change" trades.

Anyway, go Boston, but only because my hatred for the Lakers exceeds all of my other dislikes in sports.

And for those Laker fans who are crowing about Kobe's recent stat lines, keep in mind he's been playing against Utah and Phoenix, the two worst teams in the playoffs when it comes to defending an elite shooting guard. We'll see how he performs against the Celtics.

Here's hoping it's similar to his 2008 showing, when he scored 25 points per game on 40% shooting.