Archive for the ‘Posted by Rob Jones’ Category

Sports Buzz Fantasy Football Friday

Posted: October 7, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Bloggin' Interns: John Hammon

**Quick Note: I will personally answer ALL fantasy questions posted to this blog. I eat, breathe, and sleep this stuff, so you can have Matthew Berry. Post your question here or on the 1450 The Sports Buzz facebook page today and you’ll get an answer from your very own Intern/Fantasy friend.**

I admit it. I can be guilty of enjoying some good schaudenfreude. (Enjoying the failure of someone else.) Last night watching A-Rod whiff on two separate HUGE at-bats in the later innings of the Yankees-Tigers game five, I couldn’t help but think about you and your fantasy league (that’s right.)

Are you that guy? Are you a schauden-freak? Are you the guy that got just a little bit excited when your league’s hottest team lost Kenny Britt for the year? When your opponent in week 2 lost Jamaal Charles were you guilty of a small fist pump? Do you realize that Arian Foster thinks you’re sick?

First of all, don’t be that guy. And secondly, you can’t get anywhere by the failure of others. The success of others can and should be your success as well. However, when it comes to fantasy football, falling asleep at the wheel can lead to the success of others at your own expense. So let’s take a look at some matchups you can take advantage of on Sunday. Hopefully you were able to take advantage of some of the pickups I recommended Tuesday. Now it’s time to take advantage of our superior knowledge and go out there and hang an “L” on that sucker who’s not reading this blog… For the record, I’m not saying to bench anyone in the “Ten Down” column or start anyone in the “Ten Up” column. Use your own best judgment. But these are players who for matchup purposes will play better or worse than their usual expectations…

Ten Up

Darren Sproles– Elite in PPR. He’s the reincarnation of Jamaal Charles. There’s still a few seats left on the hype-wagon.

Larry Fitzgerald– Antoine Winfield being out means a fantasy feast for Fitzy. I love alliteration and hate facing him in my main league this week…

Cam Newton– He’s matchup proof. Accept it. You can throw on the Saints and he’ll be passing from behind all day.

Titans Defense– Against a banged up Pittsburgh offense, the underrated Titans defense will actually be a top 4 defense this week. Great bye week start here.

Vernon Davis– With Aqib Talib draped all over Michael Crabtree, Alex Smith will lean on the shorter passes to his tight end and running backs. Should be a nice PPR day even if he doesn’t find the end zone.

Fred Jackson– Again… he’s elite as long as he’s healthy. He’s a fantasy Ron Popeil. You can set it and forget it. (You’re not here for the comedy, you’re here for the fantasy info…right?)

Kevin Walter/Owen Daniels– Andre Johnson being out will create a ton of new targets to go around in this offense. Jacoby Jones is banged up, and Schaub will be looking for guys he knows he can trust in the passing game. Should be a decent week for Walter and a huge week for Owen Daniels.

Mike Tolbert– Mainly just a hunch here. But while Tolbert is quickly losing fantasy value as Ryan Mathews continues to emerge, Denver’s putrid defense should allow him to score some late points and hopefully give you a passable day. He makes a good bye week start and if he does produce you need to start shopping him around before he really drops off in value.

Sidney Rice– This is a terrible matchup for the Seahawks, flying cross-country for a 1:00pm start against a gritty Giants team. But while the ‘Hawks are gonna get walloped in this one, they’ll also be passing all game, and I see Rice getting a garbage time score that makes you glad you stuck by him while he was hurt.

Denarius Moore– Moore is a great flex play this week as the Raiders will also be throwing from behind and Houston’s secondary is mediocre. Moore is a homerun hitter who will find pay dirt again Sunday. Get him in your lineup!

Ten Down

Legarrette Blount– Blount finally had a dominant performance on Monday night, but against the 49ers he’ll be facing a stiff run defense, and his style of straight ahead, downhill running will be straight into the teeth of this defense and Patrick Willis. If you have better options, sit him down.

Jets Defense– Don’t start any defense against the Pats. Just don’t. Trust me.

Matt Forte– Picture yourself watching the Monday Night game and needing eight points. It’s the 3rd quarter. Detroit has a 14-point lead, the crowd is going bananas, and Jay Cutler just sailed one just out of the cornerback’s reach. Meanwhile Forte is blocking and getting blasted by Suh. You can’t sit him. I get that, but if you’re depending on him you may want to throw a high-risk/high-reward player into the lineup to try and gain an advantage over your opponent. Just don’t put yourself in a position to trust any bears this Monday night.

Mike Wallace– I’m a charter member of a Wallace owner support group. Such a complete receiver, but it’ll all be for nothing if Big Ben gets injured. I’m not benching him either, but I don’t like the looks of this Titan’s game. Could be a defensive battle and Wallace could be forgotten as he has in the second half of the last two games for the Steelers.

Maurice Jones-Drew– Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. I’m a happy Deji Karim owner, let’s put it that way. And the Bengals front seven is one of the more underrated units in sports. These guys aren’t pushovers.

Stevan Ridley– Congratulations on the sexy waiver pickup. Now bench him for a week. The Jets don’t care if he’s sexy. Rex Ryan might if he was a foot, but that’s neither here nor there.

James Starks– I’m of the philosophy that you can’t trust either Starks or his battery mate, Grant. This team doesn’t run, and you’re losing touches to both Rodgers and Kuhn. Then you’ve got a timeshare on top of that. You need to dump Starks/Grant on some owner desperate for a running back. Let them play the guessing game. I also have a feeling Atlanta will be pissed and out for blood in this one. Can they stop the Pack? Hell no. But they can make life difficult in the trenches.

Bernard Scott– This one seems pretty obvious. Benson is still waiting to hear on his suspension and so he’ll play this week, making Scott worthless for now. But I have heard that the ruling will be coming in the next few days. Keep your eyes out for that, and if Scott is somehow unowned in your league, I would absolutely grab him. A starting back during the bye weeks is invaluable.

Chad Ochocinco– Cut. Bait. Now.

Nate Washington– Since Kenny Britt’s injury everyone is going nuts over Washington’s potential. I don’t know what I’m missing, but has Washington ever been good before? Does this look like a pass-first offense to you? Well, it has been, but Washington’s not a burner and as I said earlier, this one will be a grinder. Own Washington, but don’t trust him. He’s a bye-week fill-in at best.

That’s all for this week, Buzzers. Again, send me your questions in the comments here, or on the 1450 the Sports Buzz facebook page to get your question’s directly answered by a self-proclaimed fantasy insider!


Steve Jobs’ Randoms for Thursday

Posted: October 6, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Bloggin' Interns: John Hammon

Thoughts compiled while wondering if I’m allowed to look at these ESPN the Magazine “The Body Issue” photos at work…

– “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” -Steve Jobs. The link below is to a commencement speech given at Stanford about a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. You may have already seen it, many have. But it’s excellent, so I hope you enjoy.

Word bouncing around Twitter last night that Mike Sanford was out as offensive coordinator at Louisville. If the decision is a realization that they’ve made a wrong choice and the chemistry truly doesn’t fit, then good for them to have the courage to pull the trigger now. I’ll always believe in decisiveness. But if it’s just a knee-jerk reaction and he’s just a sacrificial lamb for the Marshall loss and the poor offensive output in that one, then that’s not decisiveness, it’s pandering. And it’s troubling. Only time can really tell whether it’s the former or the latter.

-Did they seriously make a movie about Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? It’s getting solid reviews, but I don’t care. I can’t take that seriously.

-If you could somehow sign Adrian Beltre to a series of 162 one-game contracts, he’d rewrite baseball history.

“We are the poster child for compliance…” -Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. I think I’m just gonna leave that quote from Tuesday there for you.

-You know what, Brett Favre? Might want to stop talking for awhile… maybe sit the next few plays out.

-North Carolina rookie running back Giovani Bernard doesn’t blow me away with his overall speed, but it’s good enough. Where he hurts you is his ability to fight out of contact and keep moving downfield. If Louisville doesn’t wrap him up and tackle on first contact, he’ll make them pay. He runs hungry.

-Hey, yeah, so everyone on my Facebook feed… I don’t have time to watch Breaking Bad right now. I promise I’ll get to it. I’m sure it’s great. Now leave me alone.

-Am I crazy or is there any reason they can’t pick the Monday night game the week prior instead of before the season starts? There’s nothing else on Monday nights and we need that game to be a hit every week! We need to call an audible on some of these games! Next week is Miami against the Jets. Seriously. We get the Jaguars and Chiefs twice apiece from here on out, and the Packers once. You’ve got to give me something to watch, because I’m not going back to trying to figure out how that guy met the kid’s mother. They lost me after about the sixth girl turned out to actually just be another skank.

-I can’t explain it but does anyone feel a little guilty when you teach the autocomplete on your cell phone a new swear word?

-There were 150 tents lined up around the new Chik-Fil-A on Hurstbourne Lane on Wednesday night. They were giving away free chicken for a year or something to the first hundred customers Thursday morning. When I asked a friend who was working there why there were more than one hundred camping out even though the free chicken was just for the first hundred, they said “They’re just there to have a good time.” What is Chik-Fil-A putting in that chicken? Who tailgates a restaurant opening? What are they gonna do tomorrow, just get a chicken sandwich and go home to blog about it? My head is spinning.

-The Yankees using CC Sabathia in the bullpen for tomorrow’s game 5 while Detroit has Verlander on ice represents everything wrong with baseball. From the willingness of teams to put the team above the player’s career, to the difference between a smaller market team’s limitations and a large market team’s ability to be frivolous with a valuable asset. Here’s hoping the Yankees get bumped off tomorrow and we can celebrate another season free of a New York or Boston championship.

Until next time, Buzzers…

Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!

Duck and cover, buzzers…basketball season is in the air here in the bluegrass. Whether it be the falling leaves, the firing of offensive coordinators, or Kentucky entering the portion of the SEC slate where a string of 49-7 beatings is inevitable, this is the time of year when hearts and minds in Kentucky turn to basketball. While other basketball “meccas” like Tobacco Road, and Lawrence, Kansas are still thinking about football, it seems the state of Kentucky sets itself apart by heating things up a little earlier every year. A new tradition on the  calendar this year seems to be Rick Pitino and John Calipari reminding everyone that they don’t really care for one another either. If you’re behind on the news, here are a few links to catch you up and then a few thoughts…

The original geographically-challenged barb thrown by John Calipari. (Maybe I’m crazy, but it sure seems like Cal is trying to hold back the grin.)
A link to the quote from Pitino, describing his strategy of (ahem) ignoring Calipari.
Rick Bozich fires away at Calipari this morning, saying Calipari has a bad case of “Pitino-Envy.”
And we’ve hit the national news, as Jeff Goodman of CBS has weighed in…
I for one want to say kudos to both Calipari and Pitino. Most coaches see their fans as a “nature of the beast” type obligation at best, and a hindrance at worst. When asked for a comment from a fan boy turned reporter, they would give a pre-packaged response. Something like “it’s a great rivalry and they look forward to it, but the next game on the schedule is the focus, blah blah blah, good to see you, I’ve got to get going.” Not here. Like generals leading their armies out onto the field of battle, Cal and Rick don’t mind getting into the trenches with us and like Rob said Tuesday on the Afternoon Buzz (Weekdays from 5-6pm… I am a company man.) it’s a Player Hater’s Ball here in Kentucky, and the two heads of state are leading the charge.
I say raise a glass to both of these crazy guys, to their candidness, and to their desire to smash each other’s face into a jelly. I definitely think Cal is watching what Rick is doing. Taking that job with the Dominican team is a dead giveaway. He absolutely has a massive ego, and looks for any chance he can get to feed it. I also think his shot at Louisville did exactly what he hoped it would do. It got the cameras on him, and stirred up both fan bases.
I really enjoyed Rick’s counter punch as well. Saying that he’s simply ignoring Cal. Ignoring him in all his jealous, malicious, ignorance. Rick has a way of delivering that wry condescension that says “Slow your roll… I’m still the one with the ring.” I’m sure Cal would claim that he’s ignoring Rick as well. He’d probably claim that his quote was just an oversight. The cards just slipped his mind. Yeah, right.
Sure, that’s all this is. Just two guys ignoring each other. And instead of getting hot under the collar about it, we as the fans need to sit back, get our popcorn ready, and be thankful for the best rivalry in sports.
I’m interested to hear the response from you guys on this. What are your thoughts on the shots our coaches are taking at each other? Who got the better of this exchange?

Andy Rooney called it a career this past weekend. His eyebrows however have announced a 12-city farewell tour. Seriously, it looks like two adorable white rabbits have burrowed into his face to seek warmth.

Anyway, Here are your highlights from all the area teams for October 4th… we’ve got a couple notes apiece on the Cats and Cards.

John Calipari suffered a rare defeat on the recruiting trail as the #2 overall player and top power forward in the 2013 class, Mitch McGary eliminated Kentucky, narrowing his choices to Duke, North Carolina, and Michigan. Michigan is said to lead at this point, if it’s any consolation to Cat fans.

-Speaking of Calipari, he ruffled some red feathers today when he gave this locker room material up, talking about the state of basketball here in Kentucky: “There’s no other state –none– as connected to their basketball program as this one, because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State. California, UCLA has all those… North Carolina has Duke. It’s Kentucky, throughout this whole state, and that’s what makes this unique.” This is a significant shot-fired in the rivalry between the two schools and between Calipari and Coach Pitino. Generally we’re used to hearing veiled shots and backhanded compliments between the two coaches, but Calipari has opened the floodgates with this one. Expect the rivalry to get a little more heated this winter, if that’s possible.

-Calipari wasn’t the only one taking shots, as Jim Calhoun took one at Louisville Coach Rick Pitino. In response to Pitino saying that Connecticut trying to join the ACC was “the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Calhoun said “The coach who said that has been talking to every conference in America.” Calhoun is more of a curmudgeon than Andy Rooney, and you knew he was good for a sound bite on Pitino’s comment. I doubt Pitino is doing any talking to anyone though, other than his Athletic Director. Anyone who thinks that basketball coaches are having anything to do with the drive behind conference realignment exhibits a fundamental lack of understanding on the subject.

-And finally, according to, the heaviest bet college football game in early betting has been the Louisville-North Carolina game. 61% of betters are taking the Tar Heels and giving two touchdowns. Apparently betters think they can make more money off of North Carolina football than last year’s front seven did. (zing!) On a serious note, it’s not uncommon for betting to reflect a poor performance from the previous week, but while North Carolina has been flashy so far with the nation’s leading freshman rusher in Giovani Bernard, and a 6’4 highlight reel receiver in Dwight Jones, they have struggled with consistency this year, winning impressively at East Carolina and at home against Virginia, but losing to Georgia Tech and looking listless in a close win over Rutgers earlier this year. Damn the sharks. Give me the Cards and the points.

John Hammon is an intern at 1450 The Sports Buzz

West Virginia to the SEC?…Again?

Posted: October 4, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Bloggin' Interns: John Hammon

Dogs and cats, living together… MASS HYSTERIA!

Rumors were swirling Monday evening about West Virginia potentially being in the final stages of a move to the SEC. The ‘Neers have been rumored to be looking for the first chance to get out of the Big East since the start of conference realignment, especially for a chance at the SEC. This move, coupled with Pitt and Syracuse leaving would seem to signal the beginning of the end for the Big East as we know it, and it’s hard to imagine that if West Virginia were to leave, Louisville wouldn’t completely set their sights on doing the same. That is, if they haven’t already.

As stated previously in this blog, Tom Jurich is almost certainly already firm on contingency plans based on various different possibilities. It seems very likely at this point that we are headed for a reality of four major conferences consisting of around 16 teams apiece. Everyone else at that point will be on the outside looking in. Everyone needs to find a dance partner, but it’s foolish not to have faith that Tom Jurich has been expecting this for a while and is working the back channels to keep Louisville on the inside track.

Comment on this post and let us know what you think the next step for the Cards will be… come on, get those opinions out there…

You must unlearn what you have learned.

Every year in the NFL, more than any other sports league, trends emerge and fade with each passing season. Whether it be new tweaks to rules that drastically affect the style of play, or new players arriving or being injured that change the face of entire teams and divisions. Week Four is now in the books and this is the perfect time to step back, look at the data we now have, which is finally at a usable, if not completely accurate sample size, and say “What do we know?” Chew on this:

There are two teams, left undefeated in football, both in the NFC North, and one of them is the Detroit Lions.

During the preseason, Ndamukong Suh was fined multiple times for big hits on opposing QBs. There were rumblings that he was turning into a dirty player. But that was our first sign about this team. When you’ve been pushed around like this team has, taken for granted, not taken seriously, it’s not enough to change the personnel, you’ve got to change the culture. On both sides of the ball, Suh, and the defense, have changed the culture. The Lions have successfully left the past in the past, and this team is a real threat to make a Super Bowl run. The offense, led by Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson is explosive, but everything in Motown starts with the defense. Leading me to my next point…

There are only two elite defenses this year, and only two truly inept offenses.

This is important. Because generally there are about 4 elite defenses for fantasy purposes, and you can usually stream defenses effectively by finding the worst teams in the league and finding and grabbing whoever they face. This year that’s not an option. Who are you planning to pick on? Cincinnati? The same Bengals who jumped the Bills this weekend and have weapons like A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham? Sure, it’s not a playoff team, but any given week they can hang 30 points on you. Pick on San Francisco? Have fun. I started the Philly “Dream Team” Defense on them and wound up with a nightmare this week. They run the ball down your throat which not only keeps your defense from getting sacks and INTs, but also runs out clock and puts them in position to score. They can put up 14-20 points and keep the turnover column cleaner than most teams. Last year you could pick on the Bills and Lions… good luck there as well. You’re more likely to put up a negative number than win anything against these new look squads. You must have a defense, or this year, even two, that you can trust. And you need to look for matchup problems. Oh, and the two elite defenses and two inept offenses? Baltimore and Detroit, and Kansas City and St. Louis. Finally, and most importantly…

The first four weeks of this season, are also the four weeks with the highest passing yard totals in NFL history.

The league is finally catching on to what New England, Green Bay, Indianapolis, and New Orleans have known for years. New rules affecting pass interference calls and protecting quarterbacks have created an imbalance in the league, and the quickest way to win games is to build a strong pass offense, and then throw, throw, and throw. This is a large reason why defenses have been mediocre and no teams truly look lost. Also, this is why no lead has been safe all year. The Bills just choked away a huge lead to the Bengals, Detroit just stormed back from 21-0 to upend Dallas, and Minnesota has been giving away large leads all season. Teams are passing all day long, and scoring is rampant. As I said earlier, it’s a new league, just as it is most years. Unlearn what you have learned. On to the pickups…


Matt Hasselbeck shouldn’t be on anyone’s waiver wire, but if he is, he makes a great grab-and-stash for your bye weeks. Andy Dalton has some excellent matchups coming up, especially in your fantasy playoff weeks, and finally, Jason Campbell makes a great plug-in for you Tony Romo owners headed into the bye week.


It’s a great year for receivers as the all out passing has opened up more options than ever for fantasy owners looking for that WR3 or flex play. Eric Decker is simply too good not to continue to produce. He makes a suitable WR2 in some leagues. I have nothing to back this up with, but I believe in the red zone connection between Drew Brees and Robert Meachem. I think with Colston coming back and Lance Moore getting healthy, even if Meachem is still owned in your league, he could be easily snatched away in a low trade offer. I think he continues to be a steady, reliable option. Antonio Brown makes a strong pickup, as the offensive line isn’t creating enough time for the deep balls to Mike Wallace, so especially in PPR leagues I see Brown’s scoring going up in the near future. Finally, run to the wire and put in a bid for Jacoby Jones. Andre Johnson may be out for awhile, and somebody’s got to step up there. Maybe this is finally the year for JJ. A $10 bid wouldn’t be out of the question.


All of this weeks options at the ground and pound position are possible beneficiaries of injury or suspension. The running back position after all is about opportunity as much as talent. Isaac Redman is your top pickup of the week, as Mendenhall has been ineffective and is now banged up. Also go after Ryan Torain, since apparently Mike Shanahan saw his name spelled out in his Alpha-Bits cereal Sunday morning. And Deji Karim and Bernard Scott both make great stashes… Mojo Drew will get banged up at some point, especially at the pace he’s being used, and Cedric Benson will be suspended at some point in the near future as soon as his appeal goes through. Even if it’s only for a couple games, (it’s currently set at 3) all a backup can ever ask for is an audition, and Scott will certainly get a long look at that time.


Ed Dickson hasn’t done much yet, but he seems to always be in Joe Flacco’s cross hairs. Last but not least, Jared Cook finally exploded this week. If a careless owner in your league dumped him after his slow start, and if you need a tight end I suggest you rush to get him. He’s a stud and with Kenny Britt done for the year I think they could simply plug Cook in as their top deep threat.

That’s all for this week hypothetical GM’s. Find that hole on your roster and plug it with one of these guys, or snatch a couple of them up cheap and tuck them away on your bench for a coming bye week or trade bait. The important thing to remember is if there’s a worthless player on your bench, a guy no one would pick up if you dropped him… You’re not fully managing that team. Every bench spot should at least be housing a speculation play. Even if it’s just a backup running back who is waiting for the right injury.

See ya next week with another set of pickups.

1450 The Sports Buzz Hits the Airwaves

The landscape of Sports Talk radio in the Kentuckiana is changing in a big way with the birth of 1450 The Sports Buzz (WQKC Jefferson).

The area’s newest sports talk station will feature entertaining and informative local sports talk, the immensely popular Dan Patrick Show from 9-12 AM, and Yahoo! Sports radio throughout the day. The station will also feature live broadcasts of local high school, NCAA, and NFL games. Southern Indiana and the Louisville area will now have a fresh, innovative source for their sports fix 24 hours a day.

“I am very excited to bring another option to sports fans in the area and thrilled with the possibilities as we embark on this new journey” said owner and general manager Dugan Ryan. “The opportunities we have to offer Kentuckiana are endless.”

The Morning Sports Buzz with Greg Brohm, which has been a staple of the morning lineup at 1080 AM for months, will be moving to the new signal with The Afternoon Buzz presented by Sam Swope from 5-6 PM along with more surprise local programming that will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

The Dan Patrick Show is nationally syndicated through The Premier Radio network and simulcasts live to over 85 million homes on Fox Sports television affiliates. The show is known to to book top-notch guests without taking the company line. 1450 The Sports Buzz will be the area’s only station where “The DP Show” will be available.

Yahoo! Sports radio has made a huge splash nationally since acquiring Sporting News Radio on August 1, 2011. It’s programming features nationally known personalities such as Tim Brando (CBS), Steve Czaban, Travis Rogers, and Sean “The Cablinasian” Pendergast. Their shows cover all national sports and feature big-name coaches, players and media members as guests. Yahoo! Sports is the country’s most-visited website and they expect their journey into radio will have similar results.

1450 the Sports Buzz will also feature “The Joe Morgan Show”, an hour-long interview show where the baseball Hall-of-Famer talks candidly with different guests nightly on an array of sports, not just the national pastime. He will share stories on his playing career and also touch on current events in the world of sports.

Online streaming, smart phone applications, and social media will also be available to listeners to listen to the station anywhere and interact with the hosts. Ability to access these mediums will be announced on 1450 The Sports Buzz. Also, updates will be announced via Twitter (@1450SportsBuzz) and by “liking” 1450 The Sports Buzz on Facebook.

The Kentuckiana area has a new, real option for sports talk in the form of 1450 the Sports Buzz. Adjust your radio dials accordingly.

Any questions can be directed to General Manager Dugan Ryan at 502.419.4744 or Director of Programming Rob Jones at 502.819.0806

Ware Should Not Be Counted On

Posted: August 25, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Louisville Basketball, Posted by Rob Jones

Kevin Ware still not eligible

In what seems to be an annual late-summer ritual for the Louisville basketball team, another top-notch recruit is having eligibility issues. This year, the recruit is G Kevin Ware from Georgia who has seen his fair-share of status already this off-season.

The newest blogger in town, coach Rick Pitino, posted today that Ware  “still has not been cleared to play.”. As he was breaking down each player individually, Pitino went on to say senior Chris Smith is “working on his passing skills as he may need to play some back up point.”. Using deductive reasoning, that says to me that Pitino is preparing a contingency plan in case Ware does not show up on campus.

If history is an indication of anything, odds are against Ware ever donning the red and black. Just last season, Huntington Prep swingman Justin Coleman was in Ware’s similar situation and never showed up. Previously, guys like Donte’ Smith and Amir Johnson who went on the play in the NBA, saw a similar fate.  It almost seems like it wouldn’t be an off-season recruiting period without some academic controversy surrounding an incoming recruit.

After de-committing from 2 different schools in less than a year, Ware picked the Cards a few weeks after competing in the Derby Festival Classic at the Yum! Question marks surrounded Ware, who was at the center of the Caldwell/Bender/Central Florida fiasco that was reported by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel. Ware is a great player who would give Louisville quality minutes off the bench early. Yet, it seems like problems just follow him around whether he had any hand in them or not. Just another reason why the odds don’t look to be pointing in the youngster’s favor.

However, Ware is not the missing ingredient in a potential national championship run for Pitino’s Cards. At least he doesn’t seem to be. Pitino was looking for Ware to play a little back-up point, a position he has never played before, so the learning curve would be greater than that of the other incoming freshman. Also, Pitino had an outstanding class before the late addition of Ware. He was icing on an already delicious cake…or maybe even just some sprinkles. Louisville will have a Final 4 caliber team with or without Ware’s services.

Nothing official has come out as to whether or not Ware will become eligible. However, the writing is on the wall and (to me) his chances have become slim. We can all hope he becomes eligible to both further himself and the potential of this year’s Cardinal squad…I just wouldn’t get my hopes up. Time and time again, Louisville fans have been burnt in eerily similar situations. I don’t think they will be burned again.

Follow Rob on Twitter – @RobJones502

Tough Decision for Strong

Posted: August 19, 2011 by robjoneslyes in Louisville Football, Posted by Rob Jones

Clint Hurtt named in Yahoo! probe on Miami

Louisville coach Charlie Strong came into the program 18 months ago as a breath of fresh air for a team that had endured 3 years of smog under Steve Kragthorpe.`Attitudes changed, wins came, and the Cards returned to a bowl game. Top recruits decided Louisville was the place for them and groundwork was laid for a successful program. Louisville fans are infatuated with Strong. He can do no wrong.

Then came the Yahoo! Sports report on the Miami football program last week which implicated assistant coach and star recruiter Clint Hurtt in a larger-than-life cheating scandal while he was recruiting coordinator for the Hurricanes. Although no charges have been levied against Hurtt in his time with the Cards, Coach Strong is faced with his toughest decision thus far in his time as head coach: whether or not to retain Hurtt on his staff.

Hurtt’s misgivings at the U were small in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the massive pile of dirt going down in Miami, but improper nonetheless. He took a few recruits to the mansion of booster Nelvin Shapiro (the center of the scandal) and accepted 2 interest-free loans of $2500 from the man set to spend 20 years in prison for a $930 million ponzi scheme. Both accusations are illegal by NCAA standards and backed up by multiple eyewitness accounts and paper trails. I think it is safe to say that Hurtt won’t spend a lot of time attempting to vindicate himself of the allegations in the Yahoo! story.

Coach Strong has been known not to give up on someone for past transgressions. Just last month, starting cornerback Daruis Ashley was charged with his second DUI, an offense that most would greet with a shown door. However, instead of abandoning Ashley in a time of need, Strong suspended him for a year and the /Louisville native will rejoin the team with good behavior next season. If no new information surfaces in the Hurtt matter, I don’t see Strong simply cutting ties with a model employee over something that didn’t even happen while representing the red and black.

Having said that, all T’s need to be crossed and I’s dotted when deciding whether to retain Hurtt as a coach. For all the pipelines he has opened and studs he’s signed, it’s not worth drawing the ire of the almighty NCAA. Ideally, Hurtt will be up front with both Tom Jurich and NCAA investigators who have asked to speak with him, so he can put that part of his life behind him and continue to build the Cardinal program with Strong.

Recruiting, along with an increase in performance on the field, has been what has driven so much excitement to the football program thus far under Strong. Hurtt has been a main cog in process as recruiting coordinator being responsible for big-time recruits like QB Teddy Bridgewater and WRs Michaelee Harris and Eli Rogers defecting Miami for the Bluegrass state. Speculation is rampant that Hurtt may be using the same tactics from his Miami day at Louisville. Although it is just speculation, even the thought of that can not sit well with Strong and Jurich. The last thing a program on the rise needs is a fresh recruiting scandal to end the honeymoon.

All that speculation is just that…speculation. Under Strong, Louisville has signed top-notch kids from all over the south (not just Miami area) that they weren’t in on before and have no ties to Hurtt. A lot of this vague speculation comes from fans of teams who will be perennial doormats or radio hosts/bloggers who have no idea what they’re talking about and are dying for attention to be shifted away from their program’s shadiness. This report involved 72+ current or former Miami players and a multitude of other recruits and coaches. Hurtt was not the epicenter of this scandal even though some would lead you to believe he was. Also, the name “Louisville” was not mentioned in the report, despite the focus locally.

Knowing Tom Jurich over the years, I’m sure he and Coach Strong are working with both Hurtt and NCAA investigators to gather details and make a decision on  Hurtt’s future. For all we know, a decision has already been made. What we do know is the Charlie strong and his AD will have to think long and hard before they decide on the future of a coach who was named national recruiter of the year in his inaugural season withe the Cards. A rushed choice based on accounts by a convicted felon in an internet report will not happen.

Were Hurtt’s transgressions isolated to his time at Miami? Is the black-eye laid on him by Yahoo! too much for Strong/Jurich to overlook? These are questions that need to be answered soon, so both sides can move on and focus on the season at hand.

In my opinion, if this is the end of the allegations, Hurtt has done far more for the university in his 18 months than has been taken away because of this report. Charlie Strong has always been forgiving of players. His coaches should be no different. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hurtt received a slap on the wrist from Jurich/Strong in the form of cutbacks on contact for a year just ton save face with the public/NCAA.

However, if this is just the tip of the iceberg with Hurtt and the NCAA, a change needs to be made. It would be a shame to see him go, but it would have to happen.

I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of this saga. Stay tuned for updates.



Today was the first day coaches could go out and watch prospective recruits play basketball. The July Evaluation Period as it is called in the recruiting circles. Coaches can’t actually talk to the guys that might take them to the promise land in the near future…they can just watch…which makes absolutely perfect sense when it comes to the way things are handled in the NCAA.

The only thing you can compare it to is a Peep Show at some slimy adult store off a remote highway. Not that I’ve ever been to such an establishment, but I’ve heard stories that give me the gist of what they are all about. You can look…and gawk… and become infatuated with…but dare attempt to touch or talk…it’s curtains. It might not be the most politically correct comparison for millionaire college coaches evaluating 15-18 year-olds, but it’s the best example I’ve heard. It fits perfectly. Recruiting is a sleazy world, but interesting nonetheless.

All that being said, at least the coaches can actually watch the players for a few weeks without getting beat about the face with a wet noodle by the NCAA. Coach Pitino and his new staff of Wyking Jones, Kevin Keatts, and son Richard hit the scene today in search of 2 players in the 2012 class (according to Pitino) and build relationships with the ’13 and ’14 classes. First stop was the adidas Invitational in Indianapolis.

Just to rehash, Pitino & co. started off the 2012 recruiting class strong with commitments from top-flight guards in Rodney Purvis and Negus Webster-Chan. Then came the recent assistant coaching turnover with Steve Massielo and Tim Fuller leaving the school leading Purvis and Chan to re-open their recruitment. Purvis has since been quoted that he would still be a committed had coach Fuller stayed. Chan has since fell out of’s Top 100.

Looking at the depth chart for 2012 (assuming no one goes pro), the Cards’ biggest needs would be a swingman to replace departing seniors Kyle Kuric and Chris Smith along with some depth on the front line should Jared Swopshire depart or Rakeem Buckles struggle to recover from knee surgery. There is also the possibility of PG Peyton Siva leaving for the NBA, which Pitino said he would prepare for, but is highly unlikely. Another option would be some post help should incoming freshman Zach Price not work out according to plan. So, basically the Cards don’t necessarily need help in one particular position, but that could change as the season progresses. Here is what the 2012 depth chart would look like with all underclassmen coming back…

PG- Peyton Siva, Elisha Justice, Kevin Ware

SG– Wayne Blackshear, Kevin Ware

SF– Jared Swopshire, Angel Nunez, Luke Hancock (transfer from George Mason)

PF– Chane Behanan, Rakeem Buckles, Steve Van Treese

C- Gorgui Dieng, Zach Price, Steve Van Treese

Not bad…Not bad at all.

I believe Pitino has the ability to take the best available talent in 2012 and not get caught empty-handed like he has in previous years. With that depth chart, the team will be solid even in a doomsday-like scenario. I can imagine the dream scenario for the Pitino staff would be a combination of either SF Alex Pothyress of Nashville, SG Gary Harris of Indy, or PG D’Vantes Smith-Rivera of Oak Hill. All are ranked in the top 25 overall by Scout, all fit the needs of the teams, all are talented enough, and all have the Cards high on their early lists. The flip side is, all are being recruited by the best of the best including UCLA, Michigan St., Duke, UNC and (gulp) Kentucky. That $7 million Pitino cashed last year and his new staff will be put to test early in attempting to put together a class like that with the talent coming back.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that either Wayne Blackshear or Chane Behanan leave early as well, but like Siva, it’s also highly unlikely. None of the 3 are projected first rounders by any of the major mock draft site and only Siva is listed as a second round possibility. A new NBA collective bargaining agreement could make it an impossibility for Blackshear and Behanan to even attempt to leave. Cards’ fans have seen worse, so this scenario will not be ruled out until all 3 are back in red and black about a year from now. That would give Pitino room to bring in a bigger class.

Other possibilities in 2012 who Pitino likely will miss out on are #1 C Andre Drummond (likely headed to UCONN), #3 C DaJuan Coleman (son of Derrick, likely headed to Syracuse), #1 overall player G Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA or Kentucky), and former commit G Rodney Purvis (left Cards off last narrowed list). All are listed as showing interest in the Cards by, but I would be absolutely shocked if the Cards got even a visit from any of them.

If Pitino decides to go the big-man route, C Joel James of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, who was coached in AAU by Louisville director of basketball ops Mark Lieberman with the Florida Rams, would be a logical play due to his relationship with both Lieberman and former AAU teammate Rakeem Buckles. Also, Mitch McGary of Brewster Academy in NH via Indianapolis is soaring up the charts and has received interest from the Cards’ staff in recent moths, according to multiple outlets. Should Pitino decide he can afford to take a quality big-man, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came from one of those two. However, many believe it will be hard for Pitino to grab a top-notch center with Dieng, Van Treese, and Price hogging all the playing-time that first year.

Point guard targets include J-Mychal Reese of Texas (who plans to visit campus according to Jody Demling), Kris Dunn of New London, CT (who is listed as interested by Scout and not Rivals, but is close with Wyking Jones according to Demling). Both are highly sought after, but will take a back-seat to Smith-Rivera when it comes to who the staff’s main focus is on…in my opinion.

Of course, by the time you have read this a kid will have changed his mind and eliminated the Cards completely or another guy will suddenly show up on Pitino’s radar. It’s just how recruiting works. However, if the 2 guys that make up the 2012 freshman class are a combination of either DSR, Harris, Pothyress, James or McGary; coach Pitino will be a happy camper and the Cards will be re-loaded for 2012.

That’s assuming Siva, Blackshear and Behanan stay…

God, I hate recruiting.