Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Stuff

Various things that interest me this Monday Morning:

1. NCAA Tournament - The way I watch it.

I won't lie. In 2010, I watch college basketball purely to see the NBA Draft prospects. I wish I cared if ol State U could get out of the region, but I guess I just would rather see next year's lottery picks. So, with some help from Chad Ford , here are his thoughts on the Top 10 - and I have added the seeds for those who made the tournament (sorry UNC):

1. John Wall - PG - Kentucky - East #1
2. Evan Turner - SG - Ohio St - Midwest #2
3. Derrick Favors - PF - Georgia Tech - Midwest #10
4. DeMarcus Cousins - C - Kentucky - East #1
5. Wesley Johnson - F - Syracuse - West #1
6. Ed Davis - F - North Carolina
7. Al-Farouq Aminu - SF - Wake Forest - East #9 (vs Texas)
8. Cole Aldrich - C - Kansas - Midwest #1
9. Greg Monroe - PF - Georgetown - Midwest #3
10. Hassan Whiteside - C - Marshall


2. Landon Donovan Feature in NY Times :

Landon Donovan, from that soccer guppy the United States, joined the 132-year-old club Everton in January on a 10-week loan from Donovan’s primary team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, that was to end this weekend. At the time not even the instigator of the arrangement, Everton’s manager, David Moyes, foresaw the glee that would ensue. Trained eyes did not envision the impact of Donovan’s “coruscating pace down the flanks,” as Greg O’Keeffe wrote in The Liverpool Daily Echo.

For all his record-setting scoring and assisting for the United States national team, the 28-year-old Donovan had not wowed many in his previous stints in the German Bundesliga. And in the English bastions of soccer wisdom known as pubs, fans, when rarely asked, can flash a knack for sipping and sneering simultaneously while pooh-poohing American soccer for its ostensibly laggard pace and physicality.

Moyes “seems to have mistaken Landon Donovan for someone who can hack it in European football,” sneered one unmistakably knowledgeable writer in The Guardian, an assertion barely noticed and hardly outlandish. Peter Howard, an Everton fan who witnessed his first Everton match in 1952, thought Moyes would employ Donovan “sparingly” and said, “I thought he’d be slower than he is.” Mark Tolond, an Everton fan for all 48 of his years, thought Donovan came “as a cover” for “four or five players injured.” Anthony Golding, 22, standing alongside a rack of Donovan T-shirts in the Everton merchandise store, said, “I thought he’d be a fringe player.”

Plugged into a strong roster for 13 heady matches since, Donovan has propelled a seeing-eye corner kick for an assist in a stirring win over kingpin Chelsea and flourished in a stirring win over kingpin Manchester United. He has gone airborne courtesy of the 19-year-old Everton prodigy Jack Rodwell, who hoisted the smallish Donovan for homage from a rousing home crowd after Donovan’s goal on March 7 in a 5-1 win against Hull City. He has elicited routine chants of “U.S.A.! which, according to fans, doubles as a dig across the park toward the other major stadium just a stroll away, that of the colossus Liverpool, where fans roil in ire with that club’s American owners.

For an autograph signing, Donovan’s presence coaxed a line that zigzagged through the merchandise store, snaked out the door and hogged about 300 yards of sidewalk. He has triggered Facebook pages like “Keep Landon Donovan at Everton!!” (10,240 fans by Saturday) and “Evertonians Will Never Forget Landon Donovan!!!! (1,867 fans). He has thrived while donning the beloved No. 9 shirt worn by a lineage of Everton luminaries beginning with the 1920s and Dixie Dean, whose muscular statue outside the stadium wears an Everton scarf.

“How quickly he has settled in has surprised me,” Moyes said of Donovan early and, in variations, often.

And in that common assessment, Donovan has tweaked the image of the United States as a country that needs to use its hands to excel. Its exports to England have entailed mostly a stash of outstanding goalkeepers (like Brad Friedel, Marcus Hahnemann and Everton’s Tim Howard) and a sprinkling of credible outfield players, including John Harkes in the 1990s, Claudio Reyna in the 2000s and, of late, mainstays like Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey at Fulham.

From the first moments in a well-reviewed debut match at Arsenal in North London on Jan. 9, Donovan materialized with Premier League pace. “He really impressed me from the first whistle,” Tolond said. “When we got the ball, he was taking on their fullback,” a tack English fans adore with uncommon relish. “He was dangerous.” By February, he “took apart” the elite Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, according to Tolond, before Cole broke his ankle in an honest collision with Donovan.

Everton has had strong finishes of sixth, fifth and fifth the past three seasons, and Donovan’s charges helped lend the offense a fresh dimension of precious space as Everton elbowed into 9th place, from 12th. His distaste for trepidation made a six-decade viewer like Peter Howard marvel that Donovan “takes players on,” that he is “not frightened” and that, in loftiest praise, “To me, he’s an old-fashioned English winger.”

Fans have forgiven even his howling miss from two yards on Feb. 28 at Tottenham. Golding said: “I can’t picture him out of the team, to be honest. He’s made his mark.”

Donovan, while asserting in February that previous European tours found him unready “technically, tactically, mentally and physically,” said he studied and prepared utterly this time. “It’s been really great,” he said to reporters, “and I can’t imagine many players in the world, let alone Americans, can say they have played against and beaten Chelsea and Manchester United in the space of 10 days.”


3. NHL Prospects - The Hockey News has released its Hockey Future issue :

Stars Top 9 prospects:

1. Scott Glennie, RW, Brandon (WHL)
2. Tyler Beskoroway, G, Kington (OHL)
3. Philip Larsen, D, Frolunda (Sweden)
4. Alex Chiasson, RW, Boston University (Hockey East)
5. Colton Sceviour, RW, Texas (AHL)
6. Reilly Smith, RW, Miami (CCHA)
7. Tomas Vincour, RW, Vancouver (WHL)
8. Curtis McKenzie, LW, Miami (CCHA)
9, Richard Bachman, G, Idaho (ECHL)

Order the Issue Here

Stars #2 Prospect, Goalie Tyler Beskoroway

4. Yesterday's Stars Chat

No comments: