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John Rooke - Thinking Out Loud

Saturday, December 22, 2012

 

Thinking out loud…and wondering how I never realized that Rhode Island was the true center of the universe?

• Well, if you’re reading this, congratulations. We survived the apocalypse, and the Mayans were apparently wrong. Or at least incorrect…for now…

• No more meteors dropped from the sky on the college landscape this week…but that doesn’t mean a stray rock or two won’t still fall. ESPN.com reported Friday night Boise State may be considering staying put in the Mountain West for 2013.  CBSSports.com reported Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco has spoken to Fresno State, UNLV and BYU about joining for football. And Aresco also told the Washington Post it’s very possible for the basketball schools to depart in 2014, rather than 2015…and that he expects the league naming issue and post-season tournament at Madison Square Garden to be settled amicably…

• I hope the “Hoop Seven,” and whoever is hired to run the league, brings a big checkbook to that meeting…

• I was wondering when the sour grapes would show up – finally. Here’s what UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma told the Hartford Courant: ““I hope they all leave tomorrow. But they can’t, because we have to play out the (2012-13) schedule. But as soon as it’s over, let them go and do what they need to do, just like Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia did. West Virginia did it the right way. They said they didn’t want to be in the Big East anymore and said, ‘See you later, I’m out of here.’ I hope they all take that approach.”

• Umm, Geno? Might want to check in with your bosses. They still hope to follow everyone you listed out the door…

• And West Virginia did it the right way? So breaching a contract, then suing to get out of it is the right way? What are they teaching at Connecticut and West Virginia?

• Something else to consider here…I can’t imagine the league offices will remain in Providence once the “old Big East” assets are divvied up. The “new Big East” certainly could originate from here, but what will the football-centric league decide to do?

• Speaking of the old Big East…two of the schools made significant football hires in the past couple of weeks…one, Cincinnati took former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville right from under the nose of Texas Tech in a huge hire for the Bearcats, and two…former Jim Harbaugh disciple Willie Taggart was hired from Western Kentucky to take over at USF. Both moves are seen as strong positives for their respective programs…

• And just why are college football programs scrambling to find the right coaches, and follow the money? Because it’s still out there. Texas was just announced by Forbes.com as college football’s “most valuable” program, thanks to $104 million in revenue during 2011, for an overall worth of $133 million. It hasn’t been that long ago where pro franchises were sold for less…

• The tragedy in Newtown, CT initially left me with a feeling of hopelessness that I haven’t felt since 9/11. However, after learning that our President is planning to tackle the all-too-powerful gun lobby and push through a package of gun-control bills next year, I am encouraged. Being reactive – while very, very sad – is better than no-active…

• And as far as being reactive is concerned, no sports team did it better than what the Friars did to honor the 26 people who perished at Sandy Hook Elementary. National plaudits and accolades were deserved, because it was a prime example of putting others first – which no one does enough…

UConn also deserves credit for leadership in this instance, as they have created a scholarship fund to cover college costs for any students who currently attend Sandy Hook, for the siblings of those killed, and for the dependents of teachers and other adults who lost their lives…

• I’m not sure how to respond to this, or even how I should respond…but sales of bullet-proof backpacks (according to the New York Daily News) are up more than 500% since the Newtown tragedy…

• The case of Texas guard Myck Kabongo should be a lesson to college players everywhere – including PC’s own Ricky Ledo – about listening to so much idle chatter. Friends, family, supporters, groupies who get in players’ ears to say “you da man” only have one thing on their minds – their own best interests. Kabongo listened to someone tell him he was a potential NBA first-round pick last year, even though he clearly needs help with his overall game. He’s a very talented player, but because he accepted some “help” from agency ties, the NCAA now says he’s ineligible to play for 23 games this year for Rick Barnes and the Longhorns. Kabongo is hurt here, no one else…

• Speaking of Ledo – he’s staying on the radar of NBA teams and scouts, apparently…a CBSSports.com story has him listed as the 3rd best pro prospect in the Big East right now – without having played a game this year – behind Syracuse guard (and St. Andrews product) Michael Carter-Williams and Georgetown’s Otto Porter. He is not, however, listed in their mock draft for next summer. Ledo has maintained all along he intends to play for PC next year and Tweeted this week he finished his first semester of school with a 3.1 GPA…

• If you follow college hoops at all, are you surprised uber-recruit Jabari Parker from Chicago decided to attend Duke? Umm, nope

• My choice for NFL MVP, Tom Brady’s play notwithstanding, has rushed for more yards by himself than 24 entire teams. All Day, Adrian Peterson

• I know a way to keep the Patriots’ Steven Ridley from fumbling. Hit his pocketbook, and he’ll hold onto that ball like he’s holding onto a beautiful girl during a slow dance. He won’t let go…

• Consider this if you think the Patriots might be in for a letdown at Jacksonville Sunday - the Patriots have scored more points in the last 6 games they’ve played (244) than the Jaguars have scored all season (219)…

• As pointed out by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss this week – and talked about on Patriots.com Radio – this week will test the true professionalism of the Patriots. Going from the penthouse of playing Houston and San Francisco back-to-back to the outhouse of matching up with 2-12 Jacksonville will be difficult. Just how difficult is up to the Patriots to decide…

• Please, oh please let this happen…the Michael Vick-to-the-Jets rumors have begun…

• Between Vick and soon-to-be-erstwhile NY QB Mark Sanchez, the two have more than 80 turnovers between them over the last two seasons. Say that slowly. 8-0 t-u-r-n-o-v-e-r-s…

Sports Illustrated’s media awards for 2012 were announced this week, and in the category of best sideline reporter, the pick was former Friar Doris Burke. “Retire the category now. A remarkable combination of editorial independence, professionalism and smarts,” said Richard Deitsch

• And kudos to two friends and colleagues in the “Best National Radio Voice” category – Bob Valvano (who won) and Chuck Wilson (honorable mention). Valvano is the brother of former NC State basketball coach and icon Jim Valvano, hosts the overnight program on ESPN Radio (where I subbed-in for him for years) and is a part of the Louisville basketball broadcasts. Wilson is a Rhode Island Radio Hall of Famer, who many know used to ply his trade around here on WEAN, WICE and WPRO in the ‘80’s and early ‘90’s…

• Did you see where father beat son this week? Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals defeated Richard Pitino’s FIU Panthers 79-55 Wednesday night. Richard, a PC grad (and former Louisville assistant to his dad), is in his first year as a college head coach at Florida International, and brought in eight new players to his roster this season…

• One of my favorite writers, Joe Posnanski, has an excellent idea to put the “fame” back into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. So as to distinguish the truly great from the marginally great…create a “Golden 100” room or exhibit, for the best 100 players in history. And let the fans have a say, along with the requisite qualified writers and experts. Just do it

Tweet of the Week – from RIC basketball coach Bob Walsh (@CoachBobWalsh): “You wanna know what takes a lot of courage? Being the only male cheerleader…”

• My buddy Statbeast sez he thinks cheerleading is a cult. Think about it – they all scream chants at the same time (which you would think would bother the players more than help them)…they all follow one leader, and they all look exactly the same. Like in a cult…

Not for nuthin’…but after a win this week over Johnson & Wales, RIC’s Walsh is now 18-3 against other Rhode Island teams in his coaching career…

• My colleague Scott Cordischi pointed out this week that former URI coach Jim Baron was off to a great start at Canisius. And then, the Golden Griffins go out and beat Big East newbie Temple by 10. Wait for it…why can’t we get coaches like that?

• Great line by NBC Sports Network and Cox hoop analyst Vin Parise this week: “At SMU, Larry Brown has an associate head coach, two assistant Coaches, one video Coordinator, an executive assistant, a strength coach, an assistant strength coach, a director of administration, a director of player development, a basketball intern, an academic liaison, an athletic trainer and a ‘partridge in a pear tree…’”

• In this week’s Sign of the Apocolypse, I offer a story that might make you wince…just a bit…

• This week’s Sign # 2 – an Olympic athlete’s double life as a prostitute

• It’s a long way off yet…but the URI baseball program received votes this week in Collegiate Baseball’s pre-season Top 40 rankings…as did the Bryant Bulldogs

• Attention Rhode Island lawmakers – as if you needed any further evidence, in addition to the state’s near-the-bottom-of-the-national-barrel-in-business ranking, please consider the fact that Rhode Island is one of only two states to LOSE population from 2011 to 2012. Vermont – which most people can’t find on a map – was the other, actually ranked Number One. So we’re Number Two! Just sayin’

• The fact that Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo won the Miss Universe pageant this week (representing as Miss USA and ending a 15-year drought) is a moment that should be treasured by every Rhode Islander. Forget that – it should be especially treasured by every Cranstonian and Bay View Academy graduate (with and without big hair). Former politico Darrell West, who now resides in Washington D.C. working for the Brookings Institute, tweeted this week he always knew Rhode Island was the center of the universe. And now we have proof…

• Happy holidays – stay safe out there, and play nice. And know that you too, in this wonderful world of ours can gain fame, possible fortune and 1 billion YouTube hits by turning into a dorky dancer

• Our mailbag question/comment this week comes from Edward in Johnston, RI via Facebook – “The Big East Tournament is usually an annual vacation for me and I was wondering if you had any guesses to how many more Big East Tournaments the Friars will participate in after hearing the news on the Catholic schools departure?” Edward: It’s really anyone’s guess at this point, but if we go by the league bylaws, PC will have at least two more Tournaments to participate in at MSG after this year. But while the logical thinking seems to weigh toward an earlier departure than 2015 for the Catholic schools, I’d also like to believe that their post-season future beyond 2015 lies with the Garden as well. In other words, I think you can keep your vacation plans intact for a while…

• Interested in having your questions on local RI sports (including the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions and comments to jrooke@golocalprov.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

• You’re up early anyway…don’t forget to join us for GoLocal Sports on 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am! Call in (401) 737-1287, or text 37937…and send email to the show - golocal@weei.com .

• Looking for your midweek football fix? Jump into the “Patriots Playbook” on Patriots.com Radio, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00-4:00 pm ET. We’re live with commentary, interviews and your calls and questions on the Patriots and the NFL via social media. It’s a great way to break up the day at work! But if you can’t make it for the live webcast, never fear…the podcast will be near…

• The recently released “Rhode Island Radio,” from Arcadia Publishing is available for sale, and the book tells the story of the 90-year history of radio in our state through photographs, clippings and memories from many of the personalities who have graced our airwaves. If you’re in search of the holiday gift that says “Rhode Island,” you’ve found it. Or, find it in local bookstores and online right here…  
 

 

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