Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nets Land Deron Williams?

In what might be the best rebound move the jilted New Jersey Nets could have made it seems as if they have landed all-star Utah Jazz point Guard Deron Williams. After giving 'great' presentations to stars like Lebron and Melo they came up empty but that does not appear to be the case here. The reported deal would send Devin Harris and Derrick Favors to Utah with the Nets landing Williams. Apparently the Golden State Warriors have a role in this deal also, but the specifics are not yet known. This is a great move by the Nets front office and mega owner Mikhail Prokhorov and all Nets fans out there should rejoice. Now he is not Melo or LeBron but he is a top 3 point guard in this league and can be a major piece  in building the Nets future. It is not yet known if he will sign an extension with the Nets but they have a year and a half to convince him to. They still do not have pieces to put around Williams to become a legit playoff contender with but they now have a very attractive piece to lure other superstars like a Dwight Howard. Tip of the cap to the Nets for giving their fans a reason to get excited for. Look out thoughout the day for more specific details of this deal to be announced.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Melo is a Knick, the Johnnies are ranked, and New York Couldn't be Happier

I will apologize in advance for those of you who came here expecting to see the Sports Undergrad preview the upcoming MLB season but for a few reasons I have decided to put that off until next week. I think you will all agree with me that due to the following reasons this is a very appropriate decision:

  1. St. John's Red Storm cracks top 25. After a huge win in the Garden against #3 Pittsburgh the Storm has made it to the national top 25 for the first time in years. Who would of thought that the Knicks (pre-Melo) would not be the major reason that basketball in the Garden was meaningful again? With wins against the likes of Pitt, UConn, Duke, Notre Dame, and Georgetown (along with other prominent Big East schools) and a somewhat soft remaining schedule left, the Johnnies are heading into not only the Big East Tourny but March Madness, as well, on fire. It seems like as of right now Coach Lavin and the Storm have no plans on losing in the Garden, no matter who they play. (remember the Big East tournament is held in the Garden)
  2. I Know My Calculus*. I should probably replace that with "I don't know my calculus*..", because that is closer to the truth. And this week it told me that 'You' + 'Me' = Me probably failing calc. Unfortunately, not only am I a 'Student of Sports' but I am also a student of Professor Rainsford's 135 Calc class. Now rest assured my allegiances will stay with sports but because of an upcoming exam I didn't have the necessary time to do a ful MLB preview.
  3. The Melo has landed. On Monday night, February 21, 2011, sources came in reporting that finally, after all the hooplaw, Carmelo Anothony was a Knick. In a deal, involving the Timberwolves, sending Carmelo Anthony along with Chauncey Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, Corey Brewer, and former Knick 'great' Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks while the Nuggets received Raymond Felton, Danilo 'the turkey' Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Timofey Mozgov to the Nuggets along with some picks. The Timberwolves also receive Mr. Potential, Anthony Randolph and Mr. PayMeToDoNothing, Eddie Curry. Although the Knicks did give up practically half their team they are setting themselves up to me a legit contender. When receiving a player of the Melo variety it is much more important to keep players like Landry Fields than Galo and Chandler. While Galo and Chandler are scorers who thrive with the ball in their hands Fields makes things happen without the ball, and believe me with Melo and Stat on the team not many other players will have the ball. Billups will probably be more of a rental since he is likely to leave after this season is over. But with the core of Stat, Melo, and Fields + a new point guard in the offseason, the Knicks are in good shape. Expect the Knicks current rotation to have Billups and Fields at the 1,2 with Melo, Stat, and Turiaf starting at the 3,4,5. Expect to probably see legitimate minutes of the bench from point guard Toney Douglass and Corey Brewer, Shawne Williams backing up both the forwards, and Sheldon Williams being the back up big man. All and all Knicks fans should be happy with what they have currently but look for the team to continue to add pieces. Also, don't be surprised to see the Nuggets trade one, or more, of the players they received from the Knicks to another team for picks. (this is where Nets fans should hope they get a plan B)

P.S. If you're a Nets fan you were once again reminded that in this town your team is perceived as a second class organization that will never get the love and respect on your big brother Knicks. Also check out this pretty catchy remix of "Black an Yellow" about the Knicks new formidable duo: 

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Melo Drama

Carmelo Anthony
There is no doubt that if you've lived in the New Jersey/New York area than you have inevitably heard of a certain NBA basketball player who currently resides his talents in the Mile-high City. The back and fourth, 'will they?' 'won't they?' 'if they do will Chris Paul follow?', has been more interesting an more heart breaking turns than Ross and Rachel.
First there was the on-again, off-again relationship with Melo and the Nets. For what seems like ages the Nets and their owner, crazy Russian zillionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, have been courting Anthony and at times seemingly on the verge of landing the star. Unfortunately for Nets fans time and time again they have come up short. Whether it was not enough star power in New Jersey, not a good enough 3rd team, Melo not knowing if he'd sign the extension once a member of the Nets, or the Nets not wanting to pick up the redonkulous contract of Al Harrington the deal has just never been able to get done. 
Unfortunately for Nets fans the real reason that the deal didn't get done was that Melo wants to be a Knick. Unfortunately for Knicks fans this deal doesn't seem to be going too well. Knicks GM Donnie Walsh feels comfortable waiting this deal out knowing very well that if they don't get Melo by season's end they can just sign him without giving up any of their key pieces. The Nuggets see this and are in no rush themselves to give up their elite talent if they aren't going to get top value in return. The Nuggets could end up using rumors of other teams getting involved to help further motivate Walsh and the Knicks.
What should the Knicks and Nuggets do? And what about the Nets? Well here is what The Sports Undergrad thinks:

  1. Denver should not give in to the threat of losing Melo for nothing and hurry into a deal where they feel they are being ripped off. Take up all the time until the deadline to push teams and get more teams involved in the sweepstakes. If the trade deadline comes and Denver loses Anthony in return for players like Wilson Chandler, Andy Routins, and a pick... Nuggets fans can officially consider themselves screwed.
  2. Originally I wasn't opposed to the idea of waiting for the offseason for the Knicks tog get Anthony and if that fails just use that money to help the team in other places. (after all, I personally think there are other, cheaper moves that could help the Knicks) But, if the Knicks can somehow get Anthony with only giving up Chandler, Routins, Eddie Curry, and Anthony Randolph then that's a slam dunk. Talk about stealing candy form a baby, if the Knicks can pull that deal off all Knick fans can rejoice and the Garden will go nuts. If however, the Knicks can't score Anthony with that lay-up then they might want to consider keeping Galo, Felton and Fields  (Chandler's deal is up at the end of the year anyway) and try adding a few cheaper pieces that can do a lot for their team overall, if and only if they are somehow unable to get Melo in the offseason. Ideally I'd like to see them get a solid big man to put a long side Amar'e  who can play a little defense. (think New Jersey Nets PF, and current boy toy of the stunning Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries) They could also improve their bench by bringing in a back up point guard. But remember Knicks fans this is only if you can somehow not get Carmelo Anthony! But that seems highly unlikely right about now.
  3. A great and very wise man once said "I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in." This is probably the best plan of action for the New Jersey Nets. It is clear owner Prokhorov has his mind set on entering their new arena in Brooklyn, there is no better way to do that than to bring in Melo. I know it seems possible and it probably sickens Nets fans just thinking about opening negotiations again. But the Nets need to be that girl Carmelo uses the get the much hotter girl, Knicks, jealous with. No matter how degrading that may seem the Nets need to make this happen by any means possible, and by "deal" I not only mean the trade but also getting Melo to sign the extension. 

By the way make sure to check out the Around the Keg blog for a funny and interesting perspective on various sports topics. Around the Keg Sports!

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hello everyone (seeing as this is my first blog everyone pretty much consists of my mom and I but that's besides the point..), I am the Sports Undergrad and I'm going to use this blog to explain my views on the world of sports. I should put a disclaimer out that that since I live in New Jersey a good majority of my posts will probably have more of a focus on sports in the tri-state are since I will admit I get a lot of influence from local sports talk radio. However, as a student of sports I do have a great interest in more than just my local teams so you can rest assured big league wide topics will be covered here. I'm sure most of you are asking yourselves "what does it mean to be a students of sports?" (once again, 'most of you' is really just my mom since I'm assuming that's the only person reading this) Well as I student of sports I devote hours of my day to finding out and obtaining as much knowledge about sports as I possibly can. This includes watching countless hours of ESPN (an addiction my beautiful girlfriend cannot stand by the way) and listening to sports talk radio on a regular basis (Another thing my girlfriend isn't a huge fan on, thus the reason I am forces to take a break from listening to some of my favorite radio personalities. After all trust me when I say, she's the boss.). To be a true student of sports you need to take in all that is going on in the world of sports and make a commitment to becoming a well-educated, level headed, and logical sports fan (basically the opposite of most Jets fans). Another question you all (my mom) may be asking yourselves is where did I come up with the name 'The Sports Undergrad'. Well this is an easy one to answer since I am currently a college undergrad and wanted to keep up with the 'Student of Sports' theme. So there really was not a great amount of thought that went into that one. So after that cute little intro I think it's only fitting that we get into the real reason we're all here, SPORTS.

What a terrible time to start writing a sports blog, right? The NFL season just ended and we won't be getting any meaningful basketball for another month (sorry hockey fans I haven't jumped on that train yet). Well I do think this will be a great opportunity to reflect on the past season that was. Here are 10 points that I learned from this past season. (get used to this numbering format by the way)

  1. My beloved New York Giants will continue to be inconsistent and will over achieve on week and under achieve in the next. I'll admit I am a young sports fan so my reach doesn't go far past the late 90s but if there is one thing I've gathered from the Giants in my 10 years of being an obsessed follower is that whenever they aren't expected to do anything of significance they almost always prove everyone wrong (i.e. Super Bowl XLII, also known as 'THE GREATEST DAY OF MY FREAKING LIFE') yet, somehow when everyone sings there praises and they finally get some respect from the national media they seem to crumble to the ground and do nothing (i.e. the 2008-2009 season when it actually felt like Plaxico Burress shot me in the leg that terrible night). This season was a clear example of this when after they were pretty much dead after a terrible 1-2 start after week 3 they rebounded with extremely impressive wins against Bears, Texan, Lions, Cowboys, and Seahawks (2 playoff teams, 2 underachieving teams but with talen to match up against anyone, and 1 up in coming team in the Lions). After a 6-2 start I was riding high feeling like the Giants were clearly the best team in the  NFC until dropping back to back games against the division rival Cowboys and Eagles. Luckily they rebounded, winning three straight, and looked like they were poised for a playoff run when the Philadelphia Eagles cam to town on December 19th (for reasons of personal health I will not be discussing the events of this game seeing as it is too difficult to relive..) Well after that they had a no show against the Super Bowl bound Green Bay Packers and were finally out of the playoffs, putting me into an postseason of misery and 'what if?'. What a year.
  2. The New York Jets, as annoying and loud a team they are, are a legittimate contender in the AFC and have a very exciting and talented young QB in Mark Sanchez. As much as Rex Ryan can tick me off in his press conferences prematurely anointing his players and team as the best at what they do, he seems to have a real hold on this team and the players seem to play for him. They really seem to be putting there best foot forward heading into the future (<-----get what I did there, huh? huh? huh? I know it's getting old but as Wes Welker proved, it's just too funny). But seriously, with the core of the Sanchez, David Harris, Nick Mangold, and Reevis Island the Jets are heading in the right direction.
  3. No matter where he goes Donavan McNabb will be the least respected player at his position in the league. This is a guy with a career passer rating of 85.7 who took and the Eagles to multiple NFC championship games, and even a super bowl and who has over 100 more touchdowns than interceptions in his career and he cannot get any love! Now I'll be the first to admit that at this point in his career McNabb is not a franchise quarterback, but when I saw that the Redskins brought him in last offseason I thought it was brilliant. Have a veteran QB like McNabb come in and give the franchise a face for the season or two in which they will probably not have that much on the field success.  Then you draft or acquire a young QB (think Cam Newton) and let him sit and watch McNabb for maybe a season or so. You get probably around two productive seasons out of the veteran and have him mentor your future franchise QB and then have him stick around as that sort of player/coach type player. But for some reason the Redskins completely disrespected McNabb and put him through probably the most embarrassing season of his already pretty rough career. Hopefully this McNabb situation resolves itself before the border line hall of famer's career is put in even more turmoil. 
  4. Carson Palmer is just simply put not good anymore.
  5. The greatest coach/quarterback combo in the league is still and will continue to be Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. I must admit after getting rid of Randy Moss midseason I was concerned at how they would be able to completely transform their offense on a week to week basis but my concerns were proven fruitless. The evil genius himself, Belichick, and his all timer Tom Brady combined for one of the most impressive offensive seasons of both of their careers using short white receivers and rookie tight ends as their weapons. Tip of the cap to you Bill and better luck next year.
  6. The NFL simply was not ready for the evil genius part 2. After a very disappointing 3-9 start to the season the Denver Broncos fired Josh McDaniels. Now I'll admit that an 11-17 start in your first two seasons as a head coach is not the best way to go about keeping your job, and it doesn't sound as if he is the most personable of people but in terms of just pure personel and game planning skills you need to give this guy his props. At first glance getting rid of you teams two best players in Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall seems like the work of a crazy man but after they left the Broncos passing attack didn't miss a beat. But look at the stats of those players and the ones who replaced them, first take Jay Cutler who was replaced with the fairly ordinary Kyle Orton. In the two years after Orton replaced Cuter, Orton had more than 7,500 yards 41 TDs and 21 Ints. Compare that to Cutler's  less than 7,00 yards 50 TDs and 42 Ints. Orton, who never gets any love, had 600 more yards and half the interceptions! The Broncos quarterback didn't miss a beat. Now let's compare the receivers, in the year after Marshall left Denver, the "star" Brandon Marshall had admittedly an impressive year with 86 receptions 1,014 yards and 3 TDs but compare that to relative no name Brandon Lloyd's (who until now was only known for making one jaw dropping catch a year for the 49ers back in the day) year of 77 receptions 1,448 yards and a whopping 11 TDs. So you can be the judge and pick which QB, WR combo you would rather. I'm not saying McDaniels was doing a great job in Denver but he clearly was talented and should have been given time. Luckily McDaniels landed a job as offensive coordinator with the Rams and talented young QB Sam Bradford.
  7. The league has more parody than ever. Never was this more obvious than when the 7-9 Seahawks knocked the defending Super Bowl champion Saints out of the playoffs in the first round of the playoffs. Teams like the Lions, Raiders, Rams, and Jaguars came out of practically nowhere to give supposedly 'elite' teams. Can you honestly remember a more topsy turby season than the one we just had? I cannot. From one week to the next we had a new 'best team' because the previous one had been knocked off in an upset nobody saw coming. It is a great time to be a football fan.
  8. The Steelers will be good, no matter what Big Ben does in the offseason.
  9. I know I'm a young fan but I cannot imagine their being a period where the league was much stronger at QB than it is right now. With young talents like Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco the league should be set for the next 10 years. Sitting back and evaluating that guys like Eli Manning, Matt Schaub and Tony Romo at the back end of the top 10 QBs in the sport you know the league is in good shape. Both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are continuing to put up great years and don't appear to be slowing down. Then you've got  Big Ben who came extremely close to joining the likes of Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman and the afore mentioned Tom Brady as the only QBs in NFL history with 3 super bowl rings. That leads us to the the quarterback who won this year's Super Bowl Aaron Rodgers. Has there ever been a more impressive start to the career of a passer? Now I'll be the first to admit it gets a little annoying to hear every ESPN 'expert' jump on the bandwagon of the league's new hot thing but let me tell you, Aaron Rodgers is the real deal. I've heard him compared to a more accurate John Elway and a mobile Dan Morino all in the same week! Admittedly that might be jumping the gun a bit but in terms of the skill set this guy clearly has it all. And the poise he showed not only in dealing with the Brett Favre situation but leading his 6th seeded team to a Super Bowl title. So in this one case I give all those ESPN 'experts' out there full permission to be all over Rodgers like he's the new girl in town, because clearly this chick is here for the long haul. 
  10. The Packers are for real. I'm sure I've already made it painfully obvious how good I think Aaron Rodgers is (and part of that is because he has guided my fantasy football team for the past 2 seasons) but it's safe to say that as long as Green Bay has him throwing to stud wide out Greg Jennings their offense is in good hands. Add to that young studs like Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji, and the very underrated Tramon Williams on defense and you've got a solid nucleus for years to come. Not to mention chiseled veterans Donald 'best-smile-in-sports' Driver (I mean seriously I wouldn't be surprised if ever time he flashed those pearly whites a baby was born) and future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. Possible the most impressive part of this team is the fact that they just proved that they can win a Super Bowl without anything resembling a running game. Now people can talk all they want about the emergence of James Starks but he only worked as the elusion of a running game. This Mike McCarthy led passing game covers up for any holes in that running game. All the cheese heads out there should sleep well knowing that the Pack are here and they mean business.

This was one heck of a season and now all the true football fans out there will wait patiently for draft season. Till then I advise all of you to go out, buy a nerf football and just go nuts.

That's all I have for this post, feel free to comment and give me a grade on how I did. Hopefully I should be able to get some more of these up in the near future. Till then keep studying sports!

Class Dismissed,
The Sports Undergrad