Monday, January 28, 2008

Current Duke compared to past Duke

Last night while watching the Duke-Maryland game I couldn't help but think to myself that the current group of Duke players remind me of former Duke players. Here are the comparisons:

  • DeMarcus Nelson - Chris Carawell:

  • Carawell was an ACC player of the year who was a tough, physical player. He could shoot the ball well from beyond the arc, rebound well, and he improved year after year. Nelson has all of those qualities and has definitely shown a ton of improvement this year. He doesn't stand a chance of being named ACC player of the year (because Psycho T has it already has that locked up), but he is the leader of the team in a way that reminds me of Carawell in 2000. Both players are what scouts would call "tweeners" in the fact that they lack the height and/or speed to project out to the Nba.
  • Kyle Singler - Mike Dunleavy:
  • It was difficult for me to come up with a comparison for Singler, but now thinking about it is almost too easy. Both Singler and Dunleavy are tall forwards from Oregon who are more comfortable on the perimeter than in the paint.
  • Jon Scheyer - Chris Collins
  • While most people would want to compare Scheyer to JJ Redick it is not the best comparison. Redick was a star as a freshmen for Duke and went on to be one of the best players in ACC history. Scheyer is a good player, but not in Redick's tier. As for Collins comparison, both Collins and Scheyer are undersized (Collins is 6'3" and Scheyer is 6'3"), streaky shooters, who need good players around them to be successful. Collins was a career 38.8% three point shooter and so far in his career Scheyer is a 37.7% three point shooter. Both are very intelligent players who routinely made/make the correct read.
  • Gerald Henderson - Ricky Price mixed with Grant Hill
  • I know this is kind of like writing a "Kia mixed with a Lexus", but let me try to justify my selections. All three players listed are the type of athletes that are tall, strong, fast, and not to be cliche can jump out of the gym. The sophomore year numbers for Henderson aren't too dissimilar to Price's sophomore year numbers. The points per game and assists per game are very similar. After his sophomore year though Price was a disaster. Because of Henderson's abilities and lineage, I can't imagine the same situation. The closer the comparison gets to Grant Hill and the farther away from Ricky Price, will ultimately determine how Henderson's career is remembered.
  • Nolan Smith - William Avery:
  • After watching the Maryland game it is getting tough for me to reign in the optimism I have for Nolan Smith. If you guard him too close he will blow by you for a lay-up. If you don't guard him close enough he will knock down the outside shot. He is a 48% field goal shooter, who also shoots 80% from the line. With time I can see his 28% 3pt percentage going up since his shooting form looks above-average. Those freshmen year numbers are similar to Avery who shot 43% from the field, 74% from the line, and 30% from the 3 pt line during his freshmen year. Avery really made the leap his sophomore year where his numbers improved to 48%, 81%, and 41% respectively. I could definitely see the same type of leap next year for Smith. Lets just hope if that does happen that he doesn't turn pro like Avery did. My advice (which is worth next to nothing) is for Smith to stay in school and work on having a career like Daniel Ewing.
  • Taylor King - a rich man's Lee Melchionni:

  • Taylor King is a cocky shooter, whose goal in life seems to be to shoot as many 3 pointers as possible. I have compared him in the past to Kyle Korver and I still think that comparison is the best. Still if I had to pick a former Duke player I would pick the senior version of Lee Melchionni. Melchionni was an emotional left handed shooter (like King) who became a key player his senior year at Duke. He averaged 7.7 ppg, made 3 pointers at a 40% rate, and the majority of his shots (73%) were 3 pointers. King is averaging 8.6 ppg, makes 3 pointers at a 43.5% rate, and the majority of his shots (75%) have been 3 pointers. Also, both players average or did average less than 1 assist per game. When they are in the game they are supposed to take advantage of their strength and shoot the ball. Here is one more stat to show Taylor King's ability to score: If Taylor King played as many minutes (31.4 min/game) as Duke's leading scorer DeMarcus Nelson and scored at the same rate that he currently does then he would average 21.3 ppg or 44% more than Nelson's 14.8 ppg.

  • Greg Paulus - Steve Wojciechowski, but he thinks he is Bobby Hurley

  • I don't know if there has been a more frustrating player in Duke history than Greg Paulus. He could be a good point guard in the mold of his current assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski (career numbers: 5.4ppg, 38% - FG, 36% - 3pt), but unfortunately for him the hype had placed him at a Bobby Hurley level before he even played a game. He is inconsistent (not to sound like Joe Morgan) from play to play, game to game, and even season to season. If you check out his stats you will see a player who averaged the most points his sophomore year, the most assists his freshmen year, and the best assist/turnover ratio this year. The year he had his highest 3 pt % (last year) was also strangely the year he had his worst free throw percentage. His play of late (especially the Maryland game) makes me wonder if I am the only one who thinks the team would be off with Nolan Smith as the starting point guard? Still I have hope that the enigmatic Paulus will eventually live up to the hype.
  • Lance Thomas - Antonio Lang: The FSN announcers from last night's game made this comparison, so I will give them credit. I don't remember much of Antonio Lang's career (I was only 11 when he graduated from college), but I can only hope that Thomas follows the same career path as Lang. Lang averaged 4.3, 6.4, 6.9 ppg before breaking out his senior year by averaging 12.5 ppg. Thomas averaged 4.0 ppg his freshmen year and so far has upped that slightly to 4.3 ppg.
  • Brian Zoubek - Casey Saunders: They are both tall (Zoubek is 7'1" and Saunders is 6'11") and they both play UNC post players surprisingly well. Other than that there isn't much else to write.
  • David McClure - Nick Horvath: This might be a poor comparison, but it is hard to find someone who is like McClure.
  • Overall team - 2000 Duke basketball team: After the mass exodus of stars like Elton Brand, William Avery, Corey Maggette, and Trajan Langdon from the 1999 National runner up team, the 2000 Duke team had much lower expectations (think Florida this year) than normal Duke teams. They were lead by senior leader Chris Carawell, junior star Shane Battier, and a bunch of freshmen like Jason Williams, Mike Duneleavy Jr, and Carlos Boozer. The 2000 Duke team exceeded expectations by finishing 29-5 (15-1 in the ACC), winning the ACC tournament, and finishing the regular season ranked #1 overall. Unfortunately the year ended with the team losing in the Sweet Sixteen. The following year's team was able to win Duke's 3rd national title.
  • The good news is that I could see this year's team finishing with a similar record and it isn't inconceivable to see them win the ACC tournament It is hard however to imagine them taking over the #1 ranking because Memphis and Kansas are playing so well right now, but a #1 seed is a possibility.
  • The bad news is that I could see this Duke team losing in a Sweet Sixteen game to a team with an athletic front line. I am hoping to be proven wrong on this point since this team has been extremely fun to watch and have played better that preseason predictions. This team gives me the feeling that they are one year (and one Elton Brand/Carlos Boozer type post player) away from being special. Lets hope that if this team does suffer a disappointment like a Sweet Sixteen loss, that they are able to come back next year and win the national title like the 2001 Duke team.
Final note: Don't worry about me doing a UNC comparison mainly because I don't want to try and find a player like Tyler Hansbrough in UNC's history.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Crying Game

My previous post was during halftime of the UNC-Maryland game.  It was a close game and UNC fans were booing the refs or the team.   At the time I thought it was poor sportsmanship. Also, at the time I thought that there was no way that a team like Maryland (who lost to American University and Ohio University) could hold on and beat the #1 ranked Tar Heels.  I guess karma had another idea on the game.  Despite a horrible call at the end of the game (how did the refs not see two Carolina players hit the ball out of bounds is beside me) the Tar Heels ended up losing on a last second miss from Tyler Hansbrough.  (Seriously, if anybody thinks Hansbrough is going to be a decent pro after watching him shoot from the outside then I have some 2008 Timberwolves playoff tickets to sell you).  I was glad to see that UNC lost, but not too happy since it is only a January game that matters little to the overall season.   Some Carolina fans took it a little different than me:

Now a lot of other bloggers have pointed out how crazy it is that so many UNC fans (mostly unattractive girls) were crying after this particular loss.  If these fans are so emotional I wonder how much they cried after Georgetown, George Mason, or Weber St.  Or how about the 2001-2002 season. Seriously check out how many times UNC fans must have cried that year:

Now if Duke lost to Hampton, Davidson, or Ohio I probably would be on the verge of tears as well.  If you want to check out other blogs on this check out:
Between these fans crying and Hansbrough's delicate emotional state, maybe Dr. Phil needs to make a trip to Chapel Hill?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

University of No Class

Congrats to everyone in the Dean Dome for booing at the end of the 1st half of the Maryland-UNC game. Whether or not you were booing the refs (who had the audacity to call an offensive foul on Psycho T) or your own team (who is losing 41-35) it really shows great sportsmanship. At least the private school transplants from the Garden State are able to come up with clever chants. The wine (or in this case whine) and cheese crowd at the Dean Dome on the other hand are only clever enough to boo.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Random Thoughts and States 20-11

Here are my random thoughts of the day:

  • Is there anything more sad than seeing a homeless man in Minneapolis during the winter (it is 3 degrees/-10 wind chill) wearing a Dolphins jacket?
  • I need a translator to understand some songs. One of my favorite current songs is "Low" from the rapper Flo Rida featuring T-Pain. It is a catchy song for those in the 18-35 demographic. Anyway, I looked up the lyrics ( and the video ( and honestly I need an urban dictionary ( to figure out anything that Flo Rida is trying to say. Side note: M asked why the rapper had the state name Florida tattooed on his back.
  • In the next Georgia Tech practice the first two things they should practice are 1) Going for a two for one and 2) Coming up with a decent end of game play. They had the game won (not as much as Clemson did) and blew it at the end. At least Tyler Hansbrough got a bloody lip.
  • Just in case you were wondering (from the first comment on my last past) who DQ Qualls and Sandra Bernhard are do a Google Images and you will definitely agree that Tyler Zeller is a spot on spawn of those two.
  • Taylor King is definitely my favorite current Duke player. Greg Paulus is definitely not.
  • On my previous post on the SEC, I did inaccurately write that Louisiana-Lafayette beat Alabama. My apologies to the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe, who beat Alabama 21-14.
  • Slowhio St. is a funny name, but as an SEC fan (which apparently automatically makes you an adversary of the Buckeyes) I wouldn't be too confident that OSU won't win the title next year. They are returning most of their starters and will have plenty of talent and speed to win a title next year.
  • The best thing I read about the SEC-pride thing was on Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports ( :
  • "Hi, I'm an LSU fan, and my team is about to win an improbable BCS national championship despite having suffered a pair of regular-season losses. The final seconds are ticking down, and we are glorious, victorious … hey, I know, let's start a chant: 'SEC. SEC.' " To which I say … What? Your conference pride is so pronounced that, at that indelible moment, your first thought is to tell Ohio State fans and the whole world that the best team in the Big Ten isn't as good as the best team in the Southeastern Conference? Really? Is this a Civil War residue thing, or are you actually sitting there at the Superdome thinking, "Boy, I want to share my happiness with Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Arkansas. Pig sooeeeey." I can only relate this to my experience as a proud Cal alum – and, granted, my fellow Golden Bears and I are a little out of practice when it comes to celebrating football championships – but if and when we finally score that long-awaited Rose Bowl victory, sharing the moment with the Washington State Cougars and Oregon State Beavers will be the furthest thing from my mind.

Anyway, here are States 20-11:

  • 20. Alabama: The "Yellowhammer State" - What is this state known for? Nascar
  • 19. Mississippi: The "Magnolia State" - What is the state known for? Hospitality
  • 18. Washington: The "Evergreen State" - What is the state known for? Coffee and rain
  • 17. Massachusetts: The "Bay State" - What is the state known for? Clam Chowder
  • 16. Ohio: The "Buckeye State" - What is the state known for? Football
  • 15. Wisconsin: The "Badger State" - What is the state known for? Cheese
  • 14. Hawaii: The "Aloha State" - What is the state known for? Vacation
  • 13. Colorado: The "Centennial State" or my favorite "Switzerland of America" - What is the state known for? Skiing.
  • 12. Illinois: The "Prairie State" - What is the state known for? Chicago
  • 11. Nebraska: The "Cornhusker State" - What is the state known for? Steaks

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Terrible Tyler part Two

If you are an tall, awkward, post player named Tyler do you have to go UNC? The past two and a half years watching Tyler Hansbrough have been extremely painful for any Duke fan and/or basketball fan. Next year UNC is bringing in a high school center from Indiana named Tyler Zeller. Check out his rivals profile and highlights at the below link:

Or just check out his picture. Does the guy below look like a future star?

Hopefully Psycho T can mentor him when he comes to UNC. Hansbrough can teach him how to flail his arms when he shoots the ball in order to get the foul. Or he can teach him how to put on SPF 50 sunscreen before he leaves his dorm. Or possibly he can teach how to be a ladies man in Chapel Hill by looking like this:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

SEC vs. Big Ten and States 21-30

Can people stop talking about how the SEC is a better football conference than the Big Ten? I listened to parts of a few sports shows (Colin Cowherd, Jim Rome specifically) on Tuesday morning and heard both the callers and the hosts get on their high horse about how the Big Ten is terrible and how LSU’s victory just showed how superior the SEC is at football. There was even one caller who said that Ole Miss (which he jokingly refereed to as THE University of Mississippi) would be a good team in the Big Ten. There was another caller from my hometown of Jackson, MS who was extremely irate at the Big Ten and the Ohio St University despite the fact that he probably has never even been to the beautiful state of Ohio

It seems like people in the Southeast are more concerned about any SEC team winning than their particular SEC team winning. A fan of Ole Miss has no reason to celebrate LSU’s victory over Ohio St. the other night. For the majority of the year Ole Miss hates LSU and their fans. In the same regards LSU fans are known for being none too kind to opposing team fans as they yell “Tiger Bait” to anyone walking in the opposing team’s colors. Now these enemies are cheering for each other? I don’t get it. Another example of this weird phenomenon is that at a party in Columbus, OH I had Buckeye fans talk to me about how they were rooting for Michigan . These Buckeye fans that proudly sing the song “We Don’t Give a Damn About the Whole State of Michigan” are now rooting for the Wolverines just because they are playing an SEC team?

The SEC is the better conference. Despite that SEC fans are still upset because of a few arguments/reasons. Below are the 3 main arguments and my counterargument to SEC fans:
  • Argument: Lack of Respect: Auburn went undefeated in the hardest conference in the country in 2004 and didn’t play for a national title or even get to split a national title. Also, LSU had to share a title with USC back in 2003 despite the fact that they won the BCS championship game. SEC fans are upset that their teams didn’t get the respect that they deserve. They feel like Auburn should have played for the title and that LSU shouldn’t have had to split their title.
  • Counterargument: Auburn did get a tough break in 2004, which wasn’t all too dissimilar to the tough break that Penn St. (a Big Ten team) got in 1994. If you are curious how angry some Penn St. fans feel about this check out:
  • That site has much the same anger as this site in support of the 2004 Auburn team: My advice to those Auburn, Penn St, or SEC fans who feel like they didn’t get what they deserved is to buy a punching bag, take a break, or do whatever you need to do to get over it.
  • Argument: Depth of conference leads to SEC teams “beating up” on themselves, while the Big Ten teams like Ohio St. play nobody. The national argument is that because of the quality of play in the SEC it is next to impossible to survive the schedule without any losses and injuries. On the flip side it is extremely easy for a team like Ohio St. to go through the Big Ten.
  • Counterargument: Yes, that is true that the SEC is the best conference in terms of depth. Still there have been plenty of non-conference losses at the beginning ( California over Tennessee), middle (West Virginia destroying Mississippi St.) and end (Louisiana-Lafayette beating Alabama) that show that the league isn’t unbeatable. I am not arguing that it isn’t the best conference; just that it isn’t the only conference. As for Ohio St. you can’t fault them for their schedule because of 2 reasons. 1. They have scheduled tough non-conference opponents like Texas the previous two years and USC the next two years. It isn’t there fault that Washington wasn’t as good as they should have been at the beginning of the year. It isn’t like they are Michigan who bought Hawaii out this year because they thought Appalachian St. would be an easier opponent. 2. What is Ohio St. supposed to do in terms of their Big Ten schedule? It isn’t like they can join another conference or control their in-conference schedule. Again, it isn’t Ohio St. ’s fault that the Big Ten isn’t as good as it used to be.
  • Argument: The talent level (specifically speed) is much better in the SEC. Even a player (Patrick Willis) on a bottom feeder SEC team (Ole Miss) can win the Nfl's Rookie Defensive Player of the Year award.
  • Counterargument: If you are going to use that argument, then look at the votes for the Nfl’s Rookie Offensive Player of the Year. The player who won the award (Adrian Peterson) came from a Big 12 team (Oklahoma) that is known for blowing big BCS games. The player who came in second (Joe Thomas) was a Big Ten player. The top 10 players predicted to be drafted according to consist of 1 Big East player, 2 Pac 10 players, 2 ACC players, 3 Big Ten players, and 2 SEC players. It seems like if the SEC was definitely the best place for talent that the NFL would want to draft more SEC players in the top 10 than from the talent-less Big Ten. The SEC does seem to have more talent overall than the Big Ten, but that doesn’t mean that the Big Ten doesn’t still have top notch talent.

Here are the middle rankings (21-30) for the states:

  • 30. Kansas : The “Sunflower State". What is the state known for? Agriculture?
  • 29. Kentucky : The “Bluegrass State" ” What is the state known for? Horses
  • 28. Louisiana : The “Pelican State” What is the state known for? Cajuns and Cooking
  • 27. Pennsylvania : The “Keystone State” What is the state known for? The Constitution
  • 26. Delaware : The “First State” What is the state known for? Being the first state.
  • 25. Indiana : The “Hoosier State” What is the state known for? Basketball
  • 24. South Carolina : The “ Palmetto State ” What is the state known for? Coastal towns.
  • 23. Connecticut : The “Constitution State” What is the state known for? Espn
  • 22. New York : The “Empire State ” What is the state known for? Statue of Liberty
  • 21. Arizona : The “Grand Canyon State” What is the state known for? The Grand Canyon

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ranking of the states (States 31-40)

Before I get to the ranking of states 31-40, I thought it would be only fair to provide a counterargument to Maine being ranked 49th on my scale. One of my friends is from Portland , Maine and had this to say about his home state:

"Kevin, your evaluation and "ranking" of the state of Maine is completely bogus.

True, we do not have a professional sports team...but I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. People in New England identify with and support New England sports...whether the team is based in Foxboro or Boston . It brings a certain camaraderie to the region that transcends state lines.

Maine is one of the most geographically diverse states in the country. We have rivers, lakes, mountains, wilderness, and more coastline than any other state on the eastern seaboard...yes including Florida . Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to Maine every year for it's natural beauty, state and national parks, beaches, and yes...the incredible sea food. To discount any of these fine points would be a true injustice to the state, as well as your method.
And regarding the "awful weather," it's not nearly as cold as your home here in Minnesota . True, we do have more annual snowfall, but is because of the snow we can enjoy incredible skiing, snow showing, snow snowmobiling, ice fishing, dog sled racing, etc. And if you ever get a chance to experience the Narnia-like winter wonderland scene that follows a fresh snowfall it will all make sense.

I could keep going about education, employment, politics, crime rates, etc...and that it is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live / raise a family in the country.
I am truly flabbergasted and blown away by your dismal evaluation of a truly unique and extraordinary state, and would urge you to reevaluate." - former Maine resident

If you care for my response I have left it on the comments section of this post.

Here are the rankings of states 31-40:

40. Alaska: The “Last Frontier” What is the state known for? Outdoor beauty

Alaska is 1st in size and 47th in population of all of the United States, which means that like Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas there is plenty of open land. The state has brutal weather and despite having produced both Trajan Langdon and Carlos Boozer a terrible sports scene. Also, the state has a high cost of living (7th), but thankfully a good disposable income rank (12th). That should mean that Alaskans at least have the money to afford the high cost of living. However, all of that is assuming that you have a job in Alaska though since Alaska ’s unemployment is at 6.1%, which is 48th worst. The reason the state isn’t ranked worse is because of how unbelievable everyone says it is to vacation there. The natural beauty and the perceived friendliness of the people prevent this otherwise barren, frigid state from being ranked in the bottom 10.

39. Nevada. The “ Silver State ”: What is the state known for? Las Vegas

Unfortunately, for Nevada it is really only known national for Las Vegas. Until Vegas get an Nba team or UNLV goes back to their Jerry Tarkianian years the sports scene is pretty dead and that pulls the state down in the rankings. Of course you can always go to Vegas and gamble on every game known to man, but that is probably not the best long term idea. Nevada ’s job situation is below average since it has an unemployment % of 5.2%. The Disposable Income Rank (15th) and the Cost of Living Rank (13th) pretty much cancel each metric out, so it really comes down to the question on whether or not you would like to live in a city known for sin. I would much rather take a weekend trip to a place like Las Vegas or New Orleans than live there.

38. Iowa. The “ Hawkeye State ”: What is the state known for: Not much.

All I can really think of is: Field of Dreams, Wrestling, and Presidential Primaries. I welcome any challenge to that from any readers/friends from Iowa . Anyway, does it really matter that Iowa isn’t really known for anything? Does it matter that there are no professional sports teams and besides wrestling Iowa and Iowa St. aren’t really top-notch athletic schools? Does it matter that there are no attractions (living in MN I have no desire to go to Iowa for anything besides the Field of Dreams set) and below-average weather? In my mind, yes that matters. The good news and the reason Iowa is ranked higher than expected is that the cost of living (38th) compared to the disposable income (28th). Also, the unemployment % of 3.9% (ranked 18th) is above average. It seems like you can live a nice, good if not somewhat boring life in Iowa .

37. Oklahoma. The “ Sooner State ”: What is the state known for? Indians

Oklahoma with the self-titled state song is a state that I rarely think of when thinking of possible states to live in. Much to my surprise when I filled out the survey on (I recommend the website) I once got Oklahoma City , OK as the top city I should live in. I guess the only times I really think of Oklahoma is in discussion of the Indians (which is rare) and the football team. Like Iowa this state has a low Cost of Living Rank (46th) compared to the Disposable Income Rank (39th), so if anything it is a cheap place to live. Also, the state gets points in my books for being such a rabid basketball loving state. Who knew Oklahoma would support the Hornets so much better than New Orleans ? Overall there isn’t much else to say about the state, so lets move on.

36. North Dakota/ The “ Peace Garden State ”: What is the state known for? Buffaloes

The Cost of Living Rank (36th) is favorable and the Disposable Income Rank (29th) is only slightly unfavorable, so it seems like North Dakotans should have a fine monetary situation. Also, another positive (who knew there were so many positives about ND) is that they have a low employment rank of 3.4%, which is tied with Delaware for 13th best . The negatives of North Dakota are that the weather is awful and there is absolutely nothing to do. M and one of my good friends came up with a top 10 list of things to do in North Dakota and I am pretty sure a statue of a white Buffalo on the side of the road was in the top 3. North Dakota isn’t even the most famous of the Dakotas , which leads me to:

35. South Dakota. "Mount Rushmore State": What is the state known for? (Surprise) Mount Rushmore.

South Dakota is average or below-average in every ranking besides Cost of Living where it comes in as the 12th cheapest state to live in. At least there is Mount Rushmore and the fact that it isn't North Dakota.

34. New Jersey. "Garden State": What is the state known for? Being a suburb of New York

Have you ever tried to write down all 50 states? It is much tougher than you expect and for me I was able to name 49 out of the 50 states. The one I missed was New Jersey. That being written New Jersey has a great job market, a high disposable income rank, and a great intelligence rank. I think 34th out of 50 is a good spot for the Garden State.

33. New Hampshire. "The Granite State": What is the state known for? Self-Sufficiency

32. Arkansas. "The Natural State": What is the state known for? The Ozarks

From all indications Arkansas football fans are crazy as evidenced by them hiring Bobby Petrino and then holding a press conference where they "called the hogs":"

31. Utah. "The Beehive State" Or (seriously) "The Mormon State": What is the state known for? Mormons

I am partial to Utah because A) I am a Utah Jazz fan and B) M and I like the show Big Love.

Stay tuned for the rest of the rankings.