published Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

5-at-10: College football countdown, NBA draft, study of numbers and fifth-grade hoops stars

Gang, let's start the pursuit of another 700, and as Grateful Dawg noted Monday, we've got a long way to go and a short time to get there to catch Cal Ripken Jr.

From the "Talks too much" studios,

  • photo
    Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson waves as he is introduced before the start of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Numbers, numbers everywhere and not a spot to think

We talked about the big numbers across all sports on Monday as we celebrated out 700th 5-at-10. (And a belated shout out to our web crew — past and present — who have helped shape this little endeavor on a daily basis.) We concur that 10 has a place at the table.

Today, let's continue our numbers run.

Let's look at the Rushmore of jersey numbers across all sports.

Here's the rule, you need at least three different sports represented. What's the best cross-sport numbers?

We'll start with these four, but as always feel free to state your case.

* 7 — Mickey Mantle, John Elway, Pete Maravich

* 3 — The Babe, Dale Sr., Joe Montana (college — stretch, yes, but the first two are all-timers in their sports so go with it)

* 32 — Jim Brown, Sandy Koufax, Magic Johnson (this one is pretty outstanding)

* 34 — Bo Jackson, Hakeem Olajuwan, Nolan Ryan

————

Draft countdown

The NBA draft is Thursday. We love the draft. You know this.

We are tepid about this draft, and it has to do with a limited pool of known talent.

Compare this draft with the collection of future stars of 10 years ago — a group of guys that included LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh among the first five picks — and the drop is noticeable and staggering. Granted, the 2003 draft was one of the all-timers, up there with 1996 (Iverson, Kobe, Nash, Ray Allen) and 1984 (Olajuwan, Jordan, Barkley, Stockton).

The lack of star-studded names and impact talent also belies the ups and downs of the current NBA draft conundrum: Drafting on potential and promise rather production and polish. It's the million-dollar question for the league's GMs and front office types. The flip side of that coin is that while there appears to be few sure-things among the forgettable names of Oladipo, Noel, McLemore and Porter (is that the cream of the draft class or our accounting firm?), there is little chance of missing big.

Think of it this way, there is no Darko Milicic, the 7-foot Serb who was drafted second by the Pistons behind LeBron in '03 ahead of Anthony, Wade and Bosh. (And by all accounts, every GM in the league loved, Loved, LOVED Darko after a series of workouts that left mouths open and eyes watering. And even some eyes open and mouths watering.) There can't be a Darko — who announced this week he is done with the NBA after 10 forgettable years — this year because there is no highly regarded players that a GM will have to skip. If there is no consensus star, there can hardly be a certified draft failure.

Side note: It is now a pretty good time to share that Darko spent 10 years with five different teams and averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and less than an assist a game. For that "production" he made a touch north of $52 million. Yes, 52 million.

So looking at this draft class, we like Nerlens Noel the best because he has an elite skill. We like Victor Oladipo because he has good-to-great skills across the board. We are less high on Ben McLemore, the former Kansas star who is athletically superior but vanished at times in college games. We also are less high on Otto Porter Jr., who maximized college match-up situations that likely will not be as common in the NBA.

————

Auburn, Day 2

As we discussed last week, we're going to look at some of the area's high-interest college football teams as we crawl toward the start of college football season.

We started this week with Auburn, and offered an overview Monday.

Today, let's examine the two biggest worries for the Tigers.

The first question facing the Tigers is quite similar for Johnny Vols Fans: Is there an effective quarterback on campus.

The prospects seem slim since Auburn — and Tennessee for that matter — completed spring practice without a QB1.

For Auburn, that means the contenders in the crowded group huddled around new head coach Gus Malzahn and OC Rhett "Mini-Me" Lashlee better make splashes quickly.

Here's our overview of the names you need to know:

* Kiehl Frazier — the former USA Today high school player of the year was a debacle last year; he at least appears to have the skills, but was he a Nuke LaLoosh (million-dollar skills, five-cent head) or was he shell-shocked by the tidal wave of suckitude that was the AU offensive changes last year?

* Jonathan Wallace — Wallace was forced into action late last season, doing his best Gerald Ford impression — trying to look the part and occasionally falling flat on his face. As the TFP SEC football ace David Paschall says frequently, Wallace did not even threaten the first-team defenses of Georgia and Alabama last year in season-ending shutout beatdowns. If Wallace is the guy, there seems to be little hope for a quick turn around on The Plains this fall.

* Jeremy Johnson — a highly regarded true freshman from Montgomery that is big and physical and can fling it. He has the tools to be a star in a Malzahn offense, but quick, name the last true freshman who made a splash in the SEC at quarterback?

* Nick Marshall — see if this storyline rings a bell: Former highly regarded high school recruit who left an SEC school after some trouble, went on to star at a junior college and arrives at Auburn with Malzahn needing a QB. Now this is not saying Marshall is Cam Newton, but Nick has some serious skills. There was some concern about whether he was going to be academically qualified, but he reportedly is on campus ready for the second summer school session. He threw for more than 3,000 and rushed for more than 1,000 yards and accounted for 37 total TDs in 11 games last year for Garden City Community College in Kansas, and is easily the fastest of the four.

The second biggest concern is the lack of difference-making linebackers. This is somewhat downplayed by new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson' 4-2-5 system, which will move Justin Garrett around the field as a super-strong safety, and if the spring reviews were any indication, Garrett could be a break out star this fall. If Garrett struggles, the linebacker-thin Tigers defense will do likewise.

Alas.

————

  • photo
    Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland (36) celebrates his game winning goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. The Blackhawks won 3-2.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

This and that

— Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning Lord Stanley's Cup Monday night. They scored twice in the final minutes for a thrilling/painful win over Boston. (Sorry Spy.) It was good theater. It also was the end of any meaningful sporting event other than baseball for the foreseeable future. Buckle up Bravos, we need you to go on a run.

— We're puzzled by the disinterest NBA teams have in good coaches. We know that professional sports teams can much more easily replace the coaching staff than overhaul the roster, so some times the coach is tossed with the bath water. Still, the guys that got got this season is head-scratching — Karl, Del Negro, Hollins, et al. — and growing now that the Clippers are finalizing a deal to send a first-round pick to Boston for Doc Rivers.

— Raffy Nadal lost in round one o Wimbledon. It's a strange juxtaposition of where to rank Nadal and Federer all-time. Federer has an incredible resume — an all-time resume to be sure — but Nadal has worked him. That said, Nadal's resume is quite impressive from 30,000 feet but too French fried to be considered to be the all-time best. And yes, that puts halfway to our tennis quota for the year.

— The WNBA season is most likely still going on. That's all we got, but we wanted to make sure we shared.

— Jay Z's quest to control music and sports just got a major boost. Kevin Durant signed on with Jay Z as his agent. This is either going to be a monster idea or a disaster, right? There's little choices in between.

Today’s questions

Dwyane Wade's fifth-grade son Zaire is ranked as one of the top fifth-grade basketball players in the country.

This leads to the following questions:

a) Which goof balls are trying to accurately rank fifth-grade basketball player?

b) Which offspring would you instantly offer a scholarship to (and yes, if we're a coach of just about any sport, we're already offering LeBron's kid a scholarship)? Side note: If you had done this 20 or so years ago, Ken Griffey Jr. would have been high on that list and his kids have earned a football scholarship and a women's hoops scholarship to Arizona.

c) And, if you were going to name your kid after a country, what are the best and worst? Zaire Wade is pretty cool. Guam Smith, not so much. Lil' Luxembourg Jones also leaves a lot to be desired.

Discuss.

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

Bye-bye, Kyle Wiltjer. See you at Gonzaga, where you have a better shot at some actual PT.

Saw an article the other day that described UCLA as one of the top five basketball schools in the country. I say no way. Historically, of course, but what have you done for me lately?

June 25, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.
jgreeson said...

From friend of the show StuckinKent

Wimbeldon? British Open? PGA? Baseball? Tour de France? Confederation Cup?

OK- so some of those are wacky, but I'd say there is plenty of sporting events left that matter between now and the start of football season.

That being said, I agree. It's the dregs of summer now.

I'm not an expert on numbers people wore but Jordan wore 23 (as does every great basketball player, it seems like) and Sandberg wore 23. Has to be a football player somewhere who wore 23. Preferably a Bear, so that it can be a trifecta of Chicago players. And what about 42? Has to be two others that wore it other than Jackie Robinson, because by himself he almost deserves a mention.

Also, if Trey Burke (or someone not drafted #1) develops and turns into a massive stud, then everyone will talk about the idiots that passed on him, even though right now it does not seem obvious. Darko was obvious at the time- at least from someone sitting on his couch. You don't pass on Lebron, Melo, or DWade to take Darko. But he has about 51.95 million more dollars than I do for being about as important to a basketball team as I was. So who am I to complain? I take Noel, because I really think he was a better defensive player than Anthony Davis. His offensive game isn't as advanced (and that's saying something, because Unibrow didn't have a great offensive skill set), but if he develops, he could be a Dikembe Mutombo type player. That's pretty good work.

June 25, 2013 at 10:31 a.m.
WilliamRscott said...

I think Pistol Pete wore 23 as a LSU Tiger. His 1st # with the Hawks was 19 [Johnny U], because he signed a contract for $1.9 million. Then he switched to 44 [Hammerin' Hank] before settling on 7. BJ Coleman wore 19 as a Moc. Russ Huesman wore 44 as a Moc, after starting off with 20.

Billy-In-Brainerd

June 25, 2013 at 10:59 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

UCLA has to be on everyone's top-five college program list. History has to count for something.

Stuck —

Wimbledon, ehhhh.

British Open, you bet.

Regular season baseball, ehhhh.

Tour de Farce, no thanks.

Confed Cup — is that Kool-Aid drinking contest that coincides with the July 4 hot dog eating contest?

Concur on Noel. At worst he is a defensive-minded center that protects the rim and rebounds.

We thought about 23. And 44. And in truth, we actually would put Sweetness over Bo on the all-time 34s, but you know we have a soft-spot for one Vincent Jackson.

B-i-B —

What's your four favorite UTC numbers?

— 5-at-10

June 25, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
Todd962 said...

You mean to tell me that if the Five-clan had another girl that the world wouldnt be graced with Djibouti Greeson?

June 25, 2013 at 11:59 a.m.
JonathanMCook said...

Hockey is definitely a regional thing. While I'm sure the Windy City is having an Ewok celebration thanks to "Da' Hawks", the rest of the country has it buried at the bottom of the dung heap of stories no one cares for.

I remember going up to Raligh-Durham for an anime convention back in 2002 when the Carolina Hurricanes were in the playoffs. That's all the local news ever talked about during my three days over there. Got back to Chattanooga Sunday night and caught the 11:00 PM news on WTVC, one sentence about it from Dave Staley.

Anyway, nothing major going on down here except the fact the "new" Rangers and starting to revert back to the "old" Rangers which means I can probably find a mid/week game to go to via StubHub (at Lookouts prices). ^^()

And for the zinger, if I were addressing sports teams like actual people..

"If you're from Chicago and have won a championship since I've been alive (1975), please take one step forward."

"Not so fast Mr. Cub."

"If you're from Chicago and have won a championship since my father has been alive (1942), please take one step forward."

"Not so fast Mr. Cub."

Keep working at it Mr. Cub. :P

June 25, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, augmenting your list @34 with Earl Campbell.

Thanks for the Kitty report. I'm never happier when Georgia and Bama are stepping on their necks. Shazbot! In Knoxville it's just the same.

How's the book coming?

June 25, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Todd —

That's wrong on some many levels.

In fact, there are a few names that secure future occupation.

If you have a Jadeveon, well, he's going to be a bad-A on the football field. If you tempt fate with a Djibouti, well, here's saying that she would be called to work over a loud speaker and her desk would be the Starlight Stage next to the bar.

Not good times.

JMC —

Ewok celebration... well-played indeed sir.

And you could even say, "If you're from Chicago and have won a title since WWII's daddy, ole WWI was around, take a step forward...."

Keep working Mr. Cub.

June 25, 2013 at 12:15 p.m.
dawg747 said...

10 Cup: I would not be a true Georgia Bulldawg fan if I did not have Herschel as # 34. Bo, Sweetness and Earl along with Herschel would make a fantastic Mount Rushmore.

June 25, 2013 at 1:27 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

I was at UTC 1976-82, and the legal drinking age was 18. With what brain cells I have left, these Men's Basketball guards come to mind: 10 [Wayne Golden, Edsel "Buddy" Brooks]; 14 [William "Too Quick" Gordon]; 20 [Darryl "Toe" Yarbrough, Gerald Wilkins]; 44 [Willie White (+ PF Fred Rayhle)]. Magic wore 33 at Michigan State, but it was taken when he got to the Lakers...some guy named Kareem. Bird wore 33 as a Sycamore + a Celtic.

Billy-In-Brainerd

June 25, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Love Earl Campbell back in the day. What a beast.

The book is done. Even been printed. It's called "The Game of My Life: Tennessee Volunteers" by Jay Greeson and Stephen Hargis.

It was a bear to wrestle, but we think it turned out pretty snazzy. Thanks for asking. It reportedly will be at the Barnes & Noble soon, and if we can get it into the area Cracker Barrells, well Amen and pass the biscuits.

747 —

Even with our love for Vinny Jackson, we begrudgingly admit that Herschel was better in college. Dude was the on the losing side of an SEC football game the same number of times as you and the 5-at-10 — ZERO. Amazing stat.

B-i-B —

Love the nickname "Toe" — that's top shelf.

No Johnny Taylor or Brandon "Don't call me Michael" Bourn?

June 25, 2013 at 2:25 p.m.
WilliamRscott said...

The story on Yarbrough's nickname: it is short for "Tojo", as in Yamamoto (sp?). DY was not one to back down from a rumble.

JT + B Born were great Mocs indeed, but you said 4...

Billy-In-Brainerd

June 25, 2013 at 2:58 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Great Stanley Cup Final, even if they end was disappointing beyond belief. It was like watching Bucky (capital initial between E and G) Dent in the top of the 8th inning all over again. Wish they could keep playing because those games were infinitely more competitive and compelling than the vast majority of the now-concluded NBA Finals (Game 1 good, Game 6 over the top and the rest ... eh.)

JMC, if your local sports guy spends more than 30 seconds talking about the NBA Finals or even the Stanley Cup (or the World Series for that matter) and it's more than a five-hour drive from where you are, he's just wasted 30 seconds.

Um, 5, when I pulled up the 5 at 10 I got this block over the page asking me to pony up dough. What is going behind the paywall and what isn't? FWIW, I didn't cough up cash to the TFP. I found a way around it. And I ain't tellin em what it is.

June 25, 2013 at 3:10 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

How about the number 12? Staubach, Brady, Bradshaw, Clemente, & John Stockton? Not a bad bunch, especially if you add Namath, Stabler, & Roberto Alomar. Nice analysis on the tigers. Missed the hockey match, is it finally over?

June 25, 2013 at 4:09 p.m.
jgreeson said...

B-i-B —

Thanks, and we did ask for 4.

Spy —

The Stanley Cup was great theater. And be careful skirting the web schemes — don't want you going on double-secret probation.

McPell —

12 is a great call because we think Alomar is supremely underrated (yes, we think he is the best second baseman ever, a distinction that gets ignored because he's a world-class jerk).

That said Clemente wore 21, which deserves a nod for a quad of Hall of Famers with Clemente, Deion, Dominique and David Pearson.

We also missed the boat on No. 9 — Teddy Williams, Mia Hamm, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Reggie Jackson (A's), Bill Elliott and Steve McNair). That's great balance and variety.

June 25, 2013 at 5:01 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Number 9 ... number 9 ... number 9 ...

Sorry. Had a Beatles riff going.

June 25, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.
mcpell3 said...

Oops on Clemente, and nice calls on 9 & 21

June 25, 2013 at 8:48 p.m.
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