Monday, March 28, 2005

Stephen A. Who? Bullard Robbed in 'Dream Job' Attempt

Borrowing from the “I’m-the-smartest-person-in-the-world-and-everyone-else-is-dumb” writing style of Stephen A. Smith, I’m going to say right now that Matt Bullard was robbed.

Bullard was so much smoother and so much better generally than Dee Brown in the ESPN “Dream Job” competition, that he should sue somebody for finishing second.

Bullard, a former basketball player at Valley High School, Colorado, Iowa, the Houston Rockets, a team in Greece and probably in a few YMCA noon leagues, was voted off the “Dream Job” show last night—meaning Brown will become ESPN’s newest NBA analyst.

Yes, that’s the Dee Brown who used bad grammar on the final show of the series.

Yes, that’s the Dee Brown who didn’t have nearly the polish of Bullard.

If Dee Brown is what Stephen A. Smith and other folks want on their NBA telecasts, that’s what they’ll get.

I don’t watch them [the NBA telecasts, I mean], so don’t bother telling me how bad Brown is when he’s screwing up the English language on the telecasts.

He’s Brent Musburger’s problem now.

Stephen A. Smith was one of the judges on the ESPN panel. Stephen A. Smith likes to throw his opinions around as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and now he’s throwing his opinions around as the man who thinks he’s already an ESPN legend.

I turn TV on, and there’s Stephen A. Smith criticizing someone. I turn sports-talk radio on, and there’s Stephen A. Smith criticizing someone.

I hear that Stephen A. Smith is going to have his own show on ESPN.

No problem. Now Stephen A. Smith will be able to watch Dee Brown to his heart’s content on NBA telecasts, and he’ll be able to interview him, too.

Back to Bullard for a minute.

Matt and my youngest son played together on a Little League Senior League All-Star team a number of years ago.

I used to work with his dad, Chuck, at the local paper.

So I have a conflict of interest in this matter.

Chuck had some athletic skills himself. He and I played a tennis match many years ago on the courts at Valley, and he beat me. Not that he pummeled me. He just beat me.

I’m just glad I didn’t have to play basketball against his kid.


I’ve been watching NCAA tournament games for a while, and I can’t recall a weekend that could compare with this season’s Elite Eight competition.

Saturday’s games – Illinois over Arizona and Louisville over West Virginia, both in overtime – outdid Sunday’s North Carolina and Michigan State victories over Wisconsin and Kentucky, but the weekend was full of unbelievable drama.

As for the Final Four, I’m picking Illinois to sneak past Louisville, 89-85, and Michigan State to escape North Carolina, 96-95, in overtime on Saturday, then Illinois to stop the Spartans, 75-72, for the title.

On the other hand……I’ve already written that North Carolina is the best thing since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, or words to that effect.

Oh, well, I’ll stick with Illinois winning the championship.


I know this is a free country and every person is supposed to be able to earn a buck whenever he or she gets the chance, but this Mike Krzyzewski thing on TV is getting ridiculous.

The Duke basketball coach is in so many commercials and acting gigs that I fully expect him to be sitting in the crowd, as a possible winner, at the next Academy Awards show.

If Coach K isn’t starting a commercial while driving a new car [probably his “loaner” car], he’s got a starring role in an American Express TV ad.

During part of the American Express commercial, a glittering shot of Cameron Indoor Stadium [Duke’s basketball arena] is shown.

It’s an obvious promotional piece and recruiting tool for Duke University. Any prospect – basketball prospect or chemistry prospect – who is wavering between Duke and some other school certainly gets help on making his or her decision from the commercial.

Part of what Coach K says during the piece is this:

“I want you armed for life. I want you to develop as a player I want you to develop as a student. I want you to develop as a human being. My life isn’t about playing games”……and then he talks about his American Express card.

I always did like Cameron Indoor Stadium. I wonder if I can still get a student loan.


Lisa Bluder, Iowa’s women’s basketball coach, didn’t particularly like it that her team was assigned to play at Southwest Missouri State in tonight’s WNIT game.

Bluder obviously wanted a home game, but didn’t deserve one.

The reason she didn’t get one is because Iowa’s women don’t draw flies at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The lousy attendance is something that needs to be addressed before next season.

Iowa’s average home crowd in the 15,500-seat arena was 3,970—pretty bad for a team that has a 23-9 record.

Only 2,456 fans showed up for the Hawkeyes’ opening WNIT game against Creighton, and Iowa hasn’t played at home since The turnout at Cedar Rapids for a victory over Arkansas State was 4,797.

Maybe some thought should be given to playing all of Iowa’s games at Cedar Rapids.


Bruce Pearl may have the last laugh after all.

Pearl, who was the centerpiece in an Iowa-Illinois basketball recruiting controversy 16 years ago, was hired today as the new coach at Tennessee.

Pearl was on Tom Davis’ staff at Iowa when he secretly tape-recorded a conversation with prize high school prospect Deon Thomas.

Thomas last week used such words as “snake” and “evil” in describing Pearl to the Chicago Tribune.

But evidently Tennessee didn’t care what happened in 1989.

School officials agreed to pay Pearl $800,000 a year, plus incentives, to rebuild the program. Pearl is the sixth head coach the school has had in 16 years.

For Pearl’s sake, this will be a fresh start. It’s good that he’s away from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he would be continually reminded of the mess in the midwest that he was in 16 years ago.

By the way, before Pearl was hired at Tennessee, Creighton coach Dana Altman took his name out of consideration for the job.

That means Altman will continue to be a strong factor in the Missouri Valley Conference, where he has been a big winner with the help of some outstanding high school recruiting in Iowa.

Vol. 4, No. 327
March 28, 2005