Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The best golfers in the world visit Texas for the Shell Houston Open this week at Rees Jones’s Redstone Golf Club. Many top international players are in the field as a final tune up for the following week’s Masters Tournament.

Do You Know the Code?

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
Calling all Baseball Fans, calling all Baseball Fans,

With the MLB season less than a week away, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty at Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media.

Have you ever found yourself watching a baseball game and wondering why a player stole a base during a blowout? Or maybe you watched your favorite hitter at the plate and salivated at his 3-0 count? Those are the kind of questions we ponder this week while reading Jason Turbow and Michael Duca’s new book, “The Baseball Codes.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Slammin Sam's Sweet 16 Links

It’s Thursday, and of course we’re talking Tourney here at Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media and Free Keon. Let’s get right into it with reports from each of the four regions.

Bernie Miklasz extends his best hospitality and good luck to Midwest Regional teams. They’re going to need it.

Gotta plug my friend Kurt Kragthorpe’s story about the Xavier-K-State rematch in Salt Lake City. This game figures to be a gritty battle just like Jazz coach Jerry Sloan appreciates.

In Syracuse we have what is setting up to be a battle of foils – good vs. evil, smart vs. dumb, David vs. Goliath – at least that’s what the hype is about. Dan Shaughnessy represents Cornell and is already caught in crossfire. John Clay speaks for Kentucky.

Baylor needs no welcome in Houston. These Bears are the first Baylor team to score a tournament victory in almost 60 years.

Thanks for reading, and remember, don’t let your bracket get in the way of good basketball.

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – One of my favorite events of each Tour season is the Bay Hill Invitational. The King, Arnold Palmer, annually hosts a strong field playing a fabulous course with an exciting finish.

Make a (Baseball) List and Check it Twice

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
Isn’t it a great time of year when exhilaration for two sports nears its simultaneous zenith? Yep, here we are again. The NCAA tourney extended an invitation to several Cinderellas for the Sweet 16, while baseball fans are welcome to delude themselves with fairytale endings for 30 darlings.

Today, Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media stops (or at least puts a pause on) the Madness and shifts to baseball.

In 2008, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman developed an unlikely friendship in “The Bucket List.” As two men stared the end of their lives in the face, they arrived at the same realization. All of us want to look back on our lives with no regrets. Knowing you enjoyed some adventure is important as well.

If you enjoyed the movie, or if those ideas resonate with you, now’s the time to start planning your list. Fortunately “The Baseball Fan’s Bucket List” contains a full season’s worth of suggestions.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Favorite Moments in NCAA

What was your favorite moment(s) during the first week of action in the NCAA tournament? Biggest upset? Biggest surprise? Biggest disappointment? Feel free to discuss.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Slammin' Sam's Links Tourney Style

The time’s finally arrived, and it’s as if everything else slows to pay homage. Yes, the tourney tips off today, and Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media Links has a report from each regional site. The good news is that the links are sound free. No need to listen to commentators jabber 24-7, right?

We start in New Orleans where Notre Dame and senior Luke Harangody picked the right time to pick up steam.

From a traditional power to an upstart in St. Mary’s, we head to Providence.

As far as I can tell, fans are firmly against tourney expansion. Some would argue March Madness is the best thing in sports. Why change it, writes the Mercury News.

Despite back-to-back NCAA titles, consecutive NIT appearances left Billy Donovan and Florida forgotten.

Eric Maynor’s shot to slay Duke, Nelson and West leading St. Joe’s, and Bob Knight’s final game as a Hoosier all took place in Buffalo.

Are you surprised that Jacksonville is still stuck on Tim Tebow? You might not realize the city has NCAA Tournament action this weekend by reading its paper.

Closer to home, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features an article on the plethora of options to pursue between games at the Bradley Center.

And finally, Tom Izzo’s Spartans begin the 2010 run in Spokane.

Thanks for reading, and good luck with your bracket!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The Florida Swing switches coasts to the Transitions Championship near Tampa this week. The Transitions is played at the beautifully wooded Innisbrook Copperhead course.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dan Jenkins on The Masters, Tiger and More

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
We’ve been hearing escalating rumors for the past couple weeks. Now we know the truth. Tiger will be in the hunt for The Masters. What better day to review a golf book? “Jenkins at the Majors” is a collection of stories by one of the sport’s great chroniclers, Dan Jenkins.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Join Our Bracket!!

Bryce Drew wants you to join the official Free Keon March Madness Bracket Challenge.  The winner will receive a free one week personal instructional camp at the Bryce Drew Center for Shooting Excellence*.

So if you are a free keon fan or writer or someone who hates free keon but really wants to be in our bracket challenge, go to the yahoo march madness page, and go to group name: Free Keon and password: keonclark , and group ID #125898

It should be a good time.

* not a real thing

And another thing...

So far I've been able to rationalize most of the bubble teams that made it into the NCAA tournament ahead of Illinois, even the ones Josh pointed out. Still, there's at least one team whose presence I just can't come to terms with.

It Just Doesn’t Add Up

I’m not shocked that Illinois was left out of the NCAA tournament; I’m simply very frustrated and a bit befuddled about how they were left out, and how other teams were chosen over them. All I ask for is consistency, logic, and honesty. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, however, as these three things are obviously lacking in every other facet of the NCAA (officiating, investigations, etc.) So in order to let off a little steam and see who beat us out and why, the following is a listing of the 5 teams that most likely stole our spot in the field of 65:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Illini Player Rating: Vs. Wisconsin BTT

Mike Davis: 6
He didn't piss me off as much as he normally does.  He grabbed 10 solid boards and would have had at least 13 or so if he could bring the ball into his chest without someone knocking it out of his weak little arms.

His fast break lay-up was a great moment in the game.  I think it took 3 years off of Bruce's life expectancy. 
The truth is that it was not the right decision by D-mac.  We were up by 6 with the ball and roughly 1:15 on the clock. 
He should definitely have taken the ball up top and set up the offense.
Given the number of horrendous block/charge calls that have gone against the Illini this season, it was a huge relief to have a correct call in a crucial situation. 

Demetri McCamey: 7
Even though he didn't shoot the ball well (6-15), I thought that he played a great game.  D-Mac made shots when he needed too, especially with the shot clock winding down, and just made great decisions all game long. 
The thing that stuck out about McCamey's game on Friday was his defense.  He really got after it and shut down Jordan Taylor.  It's frusterating because obviously he can D' it up, but he just doesn't.
For now it seems like the fallout from he and Bruce's dust-up on Sunday is nothing but good.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nick Schuyler: Not Without Hope

Slammin Sam on Sports Media
“We almost sold out of that yesterday,” said one Barnes and Noble employee. That sure caught my attention. Let me tell you why “Not Without Hope” is flying off the shelves and sits No. 1 in its category.

Mike Miller Hair update

I wrote back in October about my concerns with Mike Miller and the direction his career has taken in terms of his haircut decisions.
The good news is that Mike took my advice (I'm gonna assume that he is a free keon fan) and has gone with the old school clean cut look.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The CA Championship at Doral is being played this weekend near Miami with the strongest field we have seen this young season. All nine of the top ten active players in the world rankings are in the field to play the challenge that is known as the Blue Monster at Doral.

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Why, hello Everyone!

I flipped a coin today, and it turns out I’m going with links in this Tuesday Edition of Slammin’ Sam on Sports Media. Get ready, cause here comes a blitz of mostly football stories.

First, an update on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. File this under the “not again” file. Take note, Big Ben hired the same legal council Ray Lewis used for his murder trial.

Talk about an impact! Let’s turn from a half-empty glass to an overflowing one. Read this interesting story about an altruistic young man picked to detonate the old home of the Dallas Cowboys.

While a new stadium excited Dallas fans, new digs have Anquan Boldin happy.

We’ve covered the rising stories for today. Unfortunately that leaves the falling column.

Nowadays, Manny Ramirez might not want to be Manny, T.J. Simers writes in the LA Times.

Like Manny feels about himself, Illini fans do not like where the basketball team’s sitting right now. Instead of finding itself among select company, Bruce Weber’s bunch lies with plenty of not-so hopeful college basketball programs, Loren Tate writes.

As always, thanks for spending part of your day with Slammin' Sam and Free Keon!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Illini Player Ratings: Vs. Wisconsin

Mike Davis:  3
Now can we all agree that the "real" Mike Davis is just bad.  He has officially regressed from last season.

Davis shot 53% from the field and 68% from the line and 11.3 pts last season.  This year he is shooting 46% from the field, 6% in important clutch situations (I made that up but it's how I feel) and 60% from the line, along with 10.3 pts.
As Stacie King would say, 'Get in the weight room!'
Jon Leuer made him look like a fool.

Demitri McCamey: 2
Loren Tate wrote that D-mac is reminiscent of Frank Williams.  He is right in the sense that there are peaks and valleys with both players.
 It is difficult to define McCamey's season right now, (maybe I'll right about it once the season is over) but one
thing is clear; he has been the Illini's best player this season, and that has not always been a good thing.

D-mac had a pretty standard game on Sunday, with 11 pts and 4 dimes, but his meltdown with the intentional foul and blow-up with Bruce is obviously unacceptable.
Maybe what separates McCamey from being a great player is his mental make-up.  There have been times where he has killed the team with his decision making.
His intentional foul was just one of those 'what in the name of perfect hell were you thinking?!?' moments.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Illinois' daddy issues

Somewhere between making off-the-wall analogies and praising Evan Turner, Steve Lavin commended his broadcast partner, Dave O'Brien, on the way he and his wife raised their kids.

Through the exchange he evoked the name of John Wooden (not the first time) and extolled the virtues of presenting an example of leadership as coach. The point, if I remember correctly, was that if you want to stymie your players' youthful immaturity, you must not be given to such fits yourself. Did the official send the other team to the line for the 24th time? Whining about it isn't going to help. Hustle back on defense. If your the coach, keep a cool head.

Lavin was speaking in general, but it didn't take much to connect his comment with his old colleague's behavior. Inadvertent or not, it may have been the best point Lavin made all night. Does Bruce Weber's courtside manner rub off on his players? Does it kill their desire to play for him?

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media Links

Happy Thursday, Free Keon and Slammin' Sam Readers!

You would think with football fervor in full swing, according to the media, that is, that the NFL Draft is next weekend or something. Actually, it's April 22, but what's the difference? Plenty of football stories - We'll focus on Da' (Dud) Bears with these two local reports.

While Bears fans hope for their team's resurgence, Cubs fans are eager for Alfonso Soriano to come around.

Sticking with baseball, no need to wait for the Yankees to return to form. The Bombers won their first Spring Training contest yesterday. Here's an inpiring story about the man who connected on the walk-off winner vs. the Pirates. This story transcends baseball, whether or not you are a Yankees fan.

Next up, everybody seems to be talking about Manny Pacquiao, so here's a story about his upcoming fight that may be his last.

Finally, Hank Gathers' legacy continues to live on 20 years after his life was cut short.

Thanks for taking time out to visit Slammin' Sam's links today!

Sam Miller/Free Keon

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Illini Player Ratings: @ Ohio State

Mike Davis: 3
Mike spent most of the game watching David Lighty drive right past him.  The Illini's lack of depth (we have one bench player) really hurt them in this game.  They were not able to go to the bench to match up with the smaller Buckeyes.
And Davis not being able to post-up a 6-5 player (because he is weak) and take advantage on the other end compounded things.

Demitri McCamey: 7
D-mac came back after the Minnesota debacle and shot the ball well.  Just in case you are wondering if he is important to his team, when he came out for 3 minutes after picking up his 2nd foul OSU went on a 10-0 run.

Had 7 assists and 0 turns, and did a pretty good job of running the team and getting people involved for the first 2/3 of the game.
D-mac did play worse defense than Soriano (it's almost that time of year) and was a main culprit in allowing Jon Diebler to go nutso.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This Week in Golf

PGA Tour – The Florida Swing kicks off with the Honda Classic this week at Jack Nicklaus’s PGA National Champion Course in Palm Beach. The field is packed with elite international players including defending champion Y.E. Yang.

Lazenby Comes up Clutch with Jerry West

Slammin' Sam on Sports Media
Jerry West is the epitome of the NBA. (You can change the tense of that statement if deemed necessary.) His silhouette remains the NBA logo – sewn, printed and emblazoned on every piece of official merchandise – but why West?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Maurice and Freddy: A Tale of Two du

For the past two years I have patiently dreamed for a World Cup U.S. lineup that would include a diamond midfield formation with Maurice Edu as a defensive mid and Freddy Adu as an attacking mid. Aside from the marvelous surname aesthetics, I believe both players bring a youthful spark and imagination that the U.S. squad has been lacking of late (aside from the three confederations cup games where a temporary bliss was achieved and Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, and Charlie Davies all played to their potential).
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