Today in the World of Sports…
My love for sports grew exponentially as I watched the Cornell Big Red in their locker room after defeating Wisconsin on Sunday, 87-69. The majority of the team stared and listened intently at the television as their teammates – Ryan Wittman and Jeff Foote – conducted their post-game press conference. The group looked like children opening presents on Christmas morning. Along with the players, other Cornell representatives were smiling from ear to ear. After winning two Tournament games and setting the Ivy League record for wins in a season (29), who wouldn’t be smiling?
Not only did Cornell outplay the Badgers on Sunday, Big Red head coach Steve Donahue outcoached Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan. If Donahue does not take a major conference job after this season, then he is either incredibly loyal to Cornell or loves Ithaca, New York, way too much.
No. 1 seed Kentucky should be worried about Cornell. The Big Red has a player who can create his own shot in Wittman. And, they possess a center in Foote who not only is a top-notch passer, but dominates the post like few others in the nation. In my opinion, the four-loss Cornell squad could very well make it to the Final Four.
California Golden Bears forward Jamal Boykin, who played his first two seasons at Duke, seemed to rush shots and make poor plays against the Blue Devils on Sunday. From the same spot on the floor, Boykin took four open 15-footers and missed three. Considering Boykin played only 100 minutes in 29 games at Duke, he made the better decision to attend Cal and play for head coach Mike Montgomery.
Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is the loudest basketball coach I have ever heard in person. The only people who could not hear Pitino yelling at his Cardinals on Friday night were Kentucky Wildcats fans counting their wins.
During Friday’s night session, I spotted Pat Riley, president of the Miami Heat, in attendance. He was cordial to fans wanting their picture taken with him. Also, on Sunday, former Duke power forward Christian Laettner was enjoying the Duke-California game with his family. The 6-foot-11 Laettner greeted numerous spectators during the half.
The New York Post has reported that Florida head coach Billy Donovan has spoken to a person within the St. John’s University basketball program about their open head-coaching position. St. John’s fired their head coach Norm Roberts on Friday. Donovan is also being linked to the Oregon Ducks. With Oregon’s close ties to Nike, the school is willing to dump money for a new coach to replace Ernie Kent. Donovan, a Long Island, New York, native, earns $3.5 million per year. At St. John’s, Donovan could eventually have his pick of the litter. As a media colleague of mine pointed out on Sunday, not including the Red Storm’s Big East title in 2000 under Mike Jarvis, St. John’s has not been relevant since forward Chris Mullin left after the 1985 season. Mullin won the Big East Player of the Year award three times and left as St. John’s all-time leading scorer. Donovan should coach in the Big East. It will give him an opportunity to really hone and prove his coaching skills.
Newly-acquired Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman took out a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week. In the three paragraphs, Kampman thanked the Green Bay Packers fans for their “support, encouragement and friendship.” The two-time Pro Bowl selection ended it with – “I look forward to the day when I’ll bring my three boys to Lambeau Field and reminisce about what it was like to be a part of Packer Nation.” That is how one acquires fans.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is practically becoming a regular on the NFL Network with Rich Eisen. During an appearance last week, Jones-Drew showed off his bubbly personality and received a few laughs. It is nice to see the Jaguars have at least one player who is noticed on the national level – and for positive reasons, too.
If you are one to root for your team’s conference, do you cheer on the Duke Blue Devils since they are the last remaining ACC team in the Sweet Sixteen?
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show. Richard also contributes to Inside the Game every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on WBOB.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.