Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, turning down a chance to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps LeBron James.(WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE LIVE >>)

“I knew at the beginning that whatever decision I made would be a decision for life,” Izzo said during a news conference on campus.

“I am going to be a lifer. This is what I’m going to be, and I’m damn proud of it.”

For the past nine days, Izzo has been trying to decide whether to leave the place that has been his home since 1983 and jump to the NBA to perhaps make $6 million — doubling his salary — and possibly coaching one of the best basketball players in the world.

“Just as I decided to stay home, I hope a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home,” Izzo said in a statement released by the school.

He admitted the idea of coaching the 25-year-old superstar was very tempting.

“I thought playing one-on-one with LeBron James every day would be a good thing,” Izzo said. He admitted turning down the Cavs was a difficult decision.

“How many more offers do you get? How many more opportunities?” Izzo said. “People asked ‘why would you want to leave?’ I didn’t. I didn’t want to leave.”

James’ uncertain future will make for a difficult decision for any prospective Cavs coach. The 25-year-old superstar is unlikely to tip his hand publicly before free agency begins July 1.

Izzo’s decision ends a nearly two-week courtship by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who was hoping a reported five-year $30 million contract would be enough to land the Spartans coach, and perhaps show James he intends to remake the Cavs following a bitter postseason loss.

“The entire Cleveland Cavalier organization has nothing but respect and admiration for Coach Izzo and his family,” Gilbert said in a statement. “Tom is a special person in so many unique and positive ways. We only wish great things for him and his family in all the years ahead.”

Izzo did not look at ease as he walked into Tuesday night’s news conference along with his wife, Lupe, Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis.

He kept his head down when Simon made her opening remarks, sipping water, tapping his feet and fidgeting with his fingers and rubbing his hands.

This past season, Izzo led the Spartans to the Final Four for the sixth time in 12 years. Only the late John Wooden at UCLA and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski also have done that.

“It’s a great day, knowing he’s coming back,” said Mateen Cleaves, perhaps Izzo’s favorite player and one of the stars from his 2000 national championship team. “It put the biggest smile on my face to know he’s coming back.”

Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell, who played on the 2000 national championship team, was also glad to hear Izzo’s staying: “Izzo is Michigan State basketball.”

Two of the five former assistants who are Division I coaches were thrilled, too.

“Thought he handled very difficult process very well,” Utah coach Jim Boylen wrote in a text message. “It was a win-win situation for him. Happy for him, his family and his team that it’s over.”

South Florida coach Stan Heath sent a text that read: “Tom is great for Michigan State and for college basketball.”

For the NBA franchise in Cleveland, Izzo’s decision appears to be another setback.

Izzo’s snub has further tangled a tricky summer for the Cavaliers, who are weeks away from knowing if James will be back with them.

Since losing to Boston in the second round of the playoffs, Gilbert fired Mike Brown, the most successful coach in team history; general manager Danny Ferry left after deciding not to renew his contract following five banner years; and now Izzo, a friend of Gilbert’s, doesn’t want to be in the Cavs’ future.

James’ decision hangs over all of it. Without knowing if he’ll return, the Cavs’ pursuit of a coach has been nearly impossible. They can’t promise candidates that No. 23 — soon to be No. 6 — will be around to make another run at a title.

The Cavs were adamant that James would not be consulted during their coaching search. Even if a coach had talked to the two-time MVP, he wasn’t going to reveal his plans before hitting the free-agent market with an All-Star class that includes fellow Olympians Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Cleveland’s next option appears to be Byron Scott, who spent an hour on the phone last week with Cavs GM Chris Grant and assistant Lance Blanks. Scott may not be a slam-dunk backup plan for the Cavs because the former New Jersey and New Orleans coach would be interested in the Los Angeles job if Phil Jackson retires.

Scott won three titles playing for the Lakers and has dreamed of coaching in L.A. He had an “out clause” built into his contract with the Nets so he could pursue the Lakers’ job if it ever opened. He also loves the West Coast after being fired by the Hornets and might seriously listen to the Clippers if they’re interested in him.

The Cavs also have contacted Milwaukee assistant Kelvin Sampson and former Atlanta coach and Cavs assistant Mike Woodson. The

team could bring one of both of them in for interviews, but may wait until after they have a better sense of James’ next off-the-floor move.

Gilbert knew finding Brown’s replacement would be difficult. He said it would be ideal to have a coach in place by July 1, but that may be unrealistic. The draft is next week, and although the Cavs don’t currently have a pick, they’ve been shopping around to obtain one.

They’ve also talked to several teams about possible trades, hoping to upgrade their roster and make it more appealing to James.

Brown was fired after five seasons for failing to win a championship. His successor will be hard pressed to match Brown’s success over a five-year span, when the Cavs went to the finals, won two division titles and had the league’s best regular-season record the past two seasons.

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Finally football fans the NFL Draft Picks 2010 are here! Round 1 of the NFL Draft Picks has begun with Sam Bradford, formerly of Oklahoma University leading the pack & off to the Rams and The Lions grabbing Ndamukong Suh for their NFL team. Round 2 begins tomorrow and we are excited to see who gets picked then. And then the Buccaneers nabbed Gerald McCoy. We can watch NFL Draft Live, here: http://www.nfl.com/

1 Rams Sam Bradford QB

2 Lions Ndamukong Suh DT

3 Buccaneers Gerald McCoy DT

4 Redskins Trent Williams OT

5 Chiefs Eric Berry SS

6 Seahawks Russell Okung OT

7 Browns Joe Haden CB

8 Raiders Rolando McClain LB

9 Bills C.J. Spiller RB

10 Jaguars Tyson Alualu DE

11 49ers Anthony Davis OT

12 Chargers Ryan Mathews RB

13 Eagles Brandon Graham DE

14 Seahawks Earl Thomas SS

15 Giants Jason Pierre-Paul DE

16 Titans Derrick Morgan DE

17 49ers Mike Iupati OG

18 Steelers Maurkice Pouncey C

19 Falcons Sean Weatherspoon LB

20 Texans Kareem Jackson CB

21 Bengals Jermaine Gresham TE

22 Broncos Demaryius Thomas WR

23 Packers Bryan Bulaga OT

24 Cowboys Dez Bryant WR

25 Broncos Tim Tebow QB

26 Cardinals Dan Williams DT

27 Patriots Devin McCourty CB

28 Dolphins Jared Odrick DT

29 Jets Kyle Wilson CB

30 Lions Jahvid Best RB

31 Colts Jerry Hughes DE

32 Saints Patrick Robinson CB

Article Source: http://www.nfl.com/draft/2010

If Amir Johnson was a project when the Pistons drafted him, I have no idea how to categorize what Latavious Williams will be.  Williams gained headlines when he elected to play in the NBA Developmental League out of high school rather than go to college. Now, he’s old enough to enter the NBA Draft, although he’s currently considered only a late second round pick at best.  Measurables: 6-8, 205 pounds, PF from the D-League.  Stats: 7.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 53 percent field goal percentage in 20.5 minutes per game.  Projected: Undrafted (DraftExpress); 57th (NBADraft.net).  Why he fits: As an undersized teenager playing in a league of NBA hopefuls, Williams had some incredible games and moments as a member of the Tulsa 66ers, who went to the D-League Finals.  He has tremendous athleticism, he can rebound, run the floor, block some shots and finish. Just a year removed from high school, whichever team ends up taking a flyer on him could get someone with great potential for improvement.  Why he doesn’t fit: He’s undersized — both in height and bulk. He doesn’t have an offensive game to speak of right now, other than put-backs and hustle plays. When the Pistons took Johnson a few years ago, he was a similar project. The difference was size — Amir was 6-foot-10. And, it should be noted, that Johnson absolutely tore up the D-League every time he was sent down. Williams had moments, and he definitely improved as the season went on, but his numbers were still pretty so-so.  Why I’d take him: I’m rooting for him to find some professional success, but the Pistons draft too high in the second round to risk using a pick on him. There are simply much better players who will be on the board when the Pistons pick.  He’d definitely be worth a look as a rookie free agent — check out his playoff numbers for Tulsa. Not only did he get better in the postseason, but he improved drastically in each round.

The day that many Detroit Red Wings fans could not have imagined arrived Tuesday. After 27 years as a player and front-office executive, Steve Yzerman no longer is part of the franchise that he, to a large degree, resurrected.

He is the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. And it will be difficult for Red Wings fans to accept this Detroit icon — the longest-serving captain in NHL history — now is working for another organization.

Many surely are sad to see him go. Others might be upset at Yzerman for leaving or angry at the club for not doing what it could to keep him.

That is nonsense. There is no reason for anguish or anger. This is an ideal situation for the Red Wings and Yzerman.

The NHL’s model franchise of the past two decades can maintain its continuity with the best management team in the league, headed by general manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill. And instead of stepping into a pressure-packed role as Red Wings GM, where expectations are as high as any club’s in the league, Yzerman will be able to cut his teeth in Tampa Bay, where the Lightning will be patient after signing him to a lucrative, five-year contract.

YZERMAN HIGHLIGHTS
1983: Selected fourth overall in the 1983 entry draft by the Detroit Red Wings.

1984: Finishes second to Buffalo goaltender Tom Barrasso in voting for the Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie.

1986: At age 21, named youngest captain in Red Wings’ history.

1988: Scores 50th goal, a milestone he would attain five times in his career, and tops the 100-point mark for the first of six consecutive seasons.

1989: Wins Lester B. Pearson Award as NHL Players Association’s most valuable player as posting what would be career-high totals in goals (65) and points (155).

1996: Scores memorable goal in double-overtime in Game 7 vs. St. Louis in Western Conference semifinals.

1997: Wins first of three Stanley Cups as a player, helping franchise end 42-year championship drought.

1998: Leads Red Wings to second Stanley Cup in a row by winning Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

2000: Wins Frank J. Selke Trophy as NHL’s top defensive forward.

2002: Overcomes painful knee injury to help Red Wings win third Stanley Cup in six seasons.

2003: Wins Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

2006: Retires after 22 seasons as a player, all in Detroit.

2006: Named Red Wings vice president.

2010: Team Canada, with Yzerman as executive director, wins gold medal at Olympics in Vancouver.

2010: Hired as general manager by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch could have insisted Holland accept a figurehead position as team president to pave the way for Yzerman to be the GM. But that would have been a huge mistake.

There was no need for a change and no reason to put Yzerman in such a tough spot.

And there was no reason for Yzerman to wait around for a few more years — maybe more — for his opportunity. He has spent four years learning the intricacies of management as Red Wings vice president, and he showed his team-building acumen by assembling the gold-medal-winning Canadian Olympic squad in Vancouver.

He is ready to put his knowledge to work, and Tampa Bay is an ideal situation. It’s an underachieving Eastern Conference team that has high-end talent (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman) and isn’t really competing against the Red Wings.

Yzerman, one of the biggest names in hockey, brings instant credibility to a franchise that needs to energize an apathetic fan base, which includes many Michigan transplants. It’s a coup for Tampa Bay because Yzerman would have been at or near the top of the list of candidates for most GM jobs that become available in the next couple of years.

“I understand the situation in Detroit, that they have a very successful management group, and I realized very early that if I want to run a team one day in all likelihood I’d have to leave,’’ Yzerman said. “So I kind of prepared for this. It’s time for me to seize it and go. It was a difficult decision, but it’s a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do.’’

The Red Wings knew this day would come, but it still had to be a bit surreal watching the press conference streamed on the Internet from Tampa, seeing Yzerman sporting a Lightning lapel pin while his new employer’s logo was prominently displayed in the background.

Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch said in a prepared statement: “This is not easy. We’re having a difficult time.’’

Club senior vice president Jimmy Devellano, who drafted Yzerman in 1983, likened it to “losing a good friend.’’

Long-time teammate Kris Draper called it “a big loss.’’

Holland, a minor-league goaltender in the Detroit system when Yzerman joined the organization, like the others, said he has mixed emotions seeing him leave.

“To see what he meant to this organization, to this team, to the city, what he’s done to put hockey on the map as the leader of the hockey renaissance, it’s sad to see him leave,’’ Holland said. “On the other hand, he gave his heart and soul to this organization every day for 27 years. He’s earned the right to move on.’’

They all wished him well and there certainly are no hard feelings. He is a legend who left on excellent terms.

And, in a few years, when Holland is ready to step aside, a polished and experienced Yzerman might be ready to return.

“It’s a win-win from everybody’s standpoint,’’ Devellano said. “That’s what makes it nice.”


Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor was arrested early Thursday morning and will be charged with third-degree rape involving a 16-year-old girl!
The incident is alleged to have occurred at a Holiday Inn hotel in Montebello, N.Y. and the victim was a runaway from the Bronx who was taken to the hotel by a pimp, according to Ramapo police supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.

She was a runaway since March and there was a pimp involved. She got punched in the face. We’re not sure who did it.
The girl was was treated at a hospital.

Taylor was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and is considered one of the best defensive players of all time. He had a 13-year career with the NY Giants that was marred by problems with drugs and alcohol.

I recently watched A&E’s new “Fame & Recovery” series just the other day, where Taylor was one of the show’s participants. The show delved into his family life as well as his sports career and showed how his addiction to crack cocaine nearly destroyed his life.

In the episode, which also featured former Miss U.S.A. Tara Conner, the former football star revealed that he’d hit rock bottom after his family left in 1996 and that their huge family home became his personal drug den.

I tried to find that episode, but it’s not online yet but LT also discussed his issues with drugs on 60 minutes back in 2003: follow the link—- Lawrence TAYLOR

A It aint Trickin if you got it

So much for the divorce heard ‘round the world! While we all thought Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren would be long kaput by now—the big D was basically a 100 percent done deal, just waiting for one-half of the dunzo duo to file first—we may have spoken too soon.

Could Tiger be an even better actor than we thought, enough to win back almost ex-wifey and Swedish hottie Elin with his new ‘tude? Or maybe he’s using another tactic to keep her around?

A very reliable source spotted Tiger and a woman who appeared to be a dead ringer for Elin at the Tesla dealership on Santa Monica this afternoon, driving off in a brand-spankin’-new, charcoal gray Tesla—which, if you’re not a car expert, is a way sexy (and über-pricey) electric sports car.

Elin, or a doppelgänger of Missus Woods (she does have a twin sister after all) sported some dark shades as the two sped off. We wouldn’t want to be seen with Tiger either, trust.

We tried to confirm the purchase with the dealership, but when we dialed them up, we were instantly transferred to the manager who told us he could not confirm or deny any purchase made—buyer protection blah, blah, blah.

Sounds like a yes to us!

Regardless, we are waiting to hear back from Tiger’s reps about this high-gear news.

Hmmm, might this mean Tiger’s recent injury (read: “injury”) was to appease his almost ex-bride, too?

We know Elin wasn’t pleased about his return to the green, what with Tiger making a mockery out of the couple’s love life. Now he’s out of commission for any upcoming tourneys until his (pain in the) neck is healed.

True love…It’s beautiful, isn’t it?