Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Two Days in The Middle of Nowhere

Much to my surprise the State of Illinois does not end at the Chicago City Limits. It should. But that's a discussion for another day. What also surprised me about Illinois is that it is a looooong state running north south. Over the past two days, from Chicago to the tip of southern Illinois, I managed to rack up 700 miles in work related travel and see more signs for "adult entertainment and McDonalds next exit" than I ever care to see again. Though those roads led me away, they brought me home safe. Which is more than I can say for Ben Roethlisberger.

Basketball Recruiting Update: Plus/Minus Edition

Michigan has accepted Rutgers transfer Zach Gibson. Gibson's presence eats up the final open scholarship in Michigans possession and gives Michigan another big man in the paint.

While I'm happy Gibson got what he wanted (has stated repeatedly that Michigan was his one transfer choice), I'm neutral on this pickup. Gibson wasn't recruited at all by Michigan out of high school. His stats at Rutgers during his first year (10 games, 1.1 ppg, 1 rpg) do not inspire confidence that he'll provide anything more than five fouls on Greg Oden. The Scout report on Gibson is he's a big man better suited for the outside game. The line "needs to be more physical" from the 2006 recruiting hotwire reminds me of a certain other big man currently on the team.

On the plus side, the Ann Arbor News has given him some praise as a big man who can put the ball on the floor, has a decent outside shot and moves relatively well. He's not going to be Graham Brown, but if he can pour in a few more points than Graham, we're in business. What gets lost in the shuffle is Gibson was the third rated prospect out of the State of Michigan in 2005. What's also a plus is he's grown two inches since his senior year, now standing at 6' 10". His senior year stats at Grand Blanc were 16.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 2.6 assists. Not bad for a center who's still growing. Finally, he was also a high school teammate of incoming freshman K'Len Morris. Having some familiarity with a teammate going in should help both of them develop.

Bottom line: Gibson must have impressed at the voluntary shoot arounds at Michigan's open gyms. I didn't think Gibson was in line for a scholarship, but Tommy saw it otherwise. Since he's had the opportunity to view the kid, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. This is by no means an earth shattering development. However, with Hunter and Brown gone to graduation, center was a huge hole for Michigan. Now, at least, we've got some filler in that hole.

Johnny Goes Off Again

You're better off in the center of the sun than in Johnny's sites these days. The good folks over at Blue-Grey Sky posted his "Why I Hate Notre Dame" essay, the haters went after Johnny, and he responded by doing his best Little Boy impersonation. The ground is still scarred from his latest volley. Vicous.

Sportwriters Delight, U.S. Loses First World Cup Game

I know I'm a day late, dollar short, and missing my pants, but the U.S. got its ass handed to it by the Czechs. Not that this was much of a surprise. FIFA's got the Czechs at #2. Hell, they've got Chelsea's goaltender and Arsenal's best forward. The U.S. has, Landon Donovan?

I don't wish to make light of the game. Really. I don't. Going in, I figured we drop a game to either Italy or the Czechs. There were no two ways around it, we weren't getting through this bracket unscathed. If anything I had my money on the U.S. beating an older, screwier Italian team before it was able to top the Czechs. All is not lost, despite how bad they played.

The problem was the U.S.' dismal performance gave the talk show morons all the amunition in the world to mortar the sport and the team. It's too bad. But, they got two days to make it up.

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