Saturday, June 30, 2007

Here is the second instalment of the Aggie Roundtable that will includes fellow Ag bloggers (The 12th Manchild, Off Tackle, and Texas A&M & Baseball) answering a common set of questions.

I am a few days late, sorry.

1. New uniforms have been unveiled. What are your favorite & least favorite thing about them (and any other comments you might have)?

When I was five, Santa Claus brought me a Tony Dorsett Cowboys uniform. It had a helmet, shoulder pads, jersey, and pants. I was one bad bad man in that get up. The gift remains in my top 10 all-time best gifts (the cherry red Mongoose GT trick bike 9th birthday gift tops the list). Why do you care? Our new uniforms look EXACTLY like that uniform if you swapped the blue and silver for maroon and white. That is both my favorite and least favorite thing about the new uniforms.

2. Do you have plans to make any away games this season? If so, which one(s), why that game....and can I come too?

[Clarification: I live in Washington DC. For me, they are all away games]

YES! Two games. I am going to the Texas game (I have a lifetime plan of always making the Texas game when it is in College Station [I went to a game in Austin once, not that fun] and so far I am 2 for 2) and the Louisiana-Monroe (wtf?) game. The second one is pretty random, but my company is sending me to the TAMU career fair so I am getting there a week early and watching the game. That reminds me. I need to tell Josh I am crashing at his place that weekend. I wounder if Josh reads my blog.

3. Favorite Aggie players past & present -- name'em (and if you have a good story feel free to share it)

No contest, Jason Carter. He is my BOY. I also don't think Bucky Richardson is a valid answer. Bucky Richardson should be every Aggie's favorite player, but that is too easy. You should assume that when asked this question, the person asking you really means, "who is your favorite player after Bucky." I might change my answer to Ray Childress, but only because of the Clobber Line.

I do have a good Jason Carter story. I sat next to Jason Carter at a number of Melvin Watkins coached basketball games. Those were the days when only 50 students showed up to non-Bobby Knight/non-Texas games. As I understand it, Jason was a major baller in Caldwell. I believe it.

My favorite Jason Carter moment was went he, as the 3rd string QB, dove over the line in the Texas game to be the only TAMU player to get in the end zone. It was the fourth quarter, the game was over, dude didn't care. SOMEONE needed to get in that end zone. How can he not be your favorite player?

4. Pre-season magazines have recently hit the stands. Do you get into them? If so how many do you buy and which is your favorite.

Those are WAY too much reading. You would need some sort of intestinal parasite to actually get thorough one of those.

5. How closely do you follow recruiting? Are you:
a) Recruiting guru....."OMG! Have you seen the 2009 recruiting rankings yet?";

b) Casual follower....."Awesome! I just read that we inked a 5* tailback!;
c) Couldn't care less....just suit'em up and we'll see how we do in the fall.

It depends. If we are signing 5* tailbacks then I am a B. If we have a really bad recruiting class then I act like C.

6. What do you think are our most overrated & underrated strengths for this upcoming season?

Underrated QB. I don't do much deep reading, but I hear no love for Steven.
Overrated RB. Our running backs are pretty much all I hear about.

I must admit that I almost put RB as underrated because I think Goodson should be WAY more hyped, but I have to put someone as overrated.

Can I put our whole team as underrated?
Good-ish news for Antanas Kavaliauskas. The Rockets picked AK up for their summer league team.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Found it. Looks like the issue was not a coordinated campaign, it was the anomaly I threw out in my previous analysis. The claim is that "a thorough review of the tape" from the Texas games shows 11 assists, not 15.

Was this a known issue? Am I the only person following basketball that did not hear about this back in February?
I recently learned of a conspiracy that claims Acie Law's home court assist numbers are padded. According the theorist, he was given assists when he was "no where near the play." I had never heard this before, so I decide to do a bit of investigating.

Before getting into a more formal analysis, a brief glance at the raw stats make it obvious both total assists, and average assists per game would be skewed by two home games, vs Grambling and vs Texas. In those two games, Acie racked up 14 and 15 assists, respectively. Each of those games are 5 to 6 over his next best performance, and almost 5 times his season average. Both of these games were high-scoring blowouts (Grambling 101-27, Texas 100-82) where Acie played at least 30 min. There is no reason to believe that Acie could not have had this many assists. Total assists would also be skewed by the fact that we played 10 more home games.

The formal analysis strategy I decided on was a comparison of assists credited against those opponents whom we played both as hosts and as visitors (other Big-12 south teams). Here is a graph of the results:

Again, the home Texas game is anomalous, so I will throw it out. In the remaining games, the gap between home assists and away assists is never more than 3, and is cumulatively 4 (+3 Baylor, 0 OU, -2 OSU, +3 TT). I find it hard to believe that 4 assists is the result of a coordinated effort to boost Acie's NBA-draft prospects.

I consider that myth busted.
There was a comment asking why I docked Acie 2 points on his duds. Well, it is hard to say. In the great tradition of NBA-draft wear Acie simply came up short. No bowler hat. No turquoise suits. No Dr. Evil suits.
If you want to know what it takes to get a 10 out of 10, then look no further than Steve Nash...
Found a picture of Acie at the draft. Got to love the Gig'em.

Also came across this video...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Acie went 11 to the Hawks. I give him 8 out of 10 on the suit.
Acie got a bit of ink in one of my favorite blogs, the DC Sports Bog. Apparently his NBA draft night outfit is "a 10 out of 10." No further explanation on how he managed to earn all available style points, we will "see it tomorrow."
Alabama announced a home-and-home series with our men's basketball team that will being this year. The first game will be in College Station. Last season Alabama finished 9th in the SEC and was bounced from the NIT in the first round by UMass. This would have been much more interesting if it was a football announcement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Spoiler Alert (maybe).

The athletic department's apparel sponsor has switched from Nike to Adidas, and with that come new uniforms. A few days ago an insider who has "seen the uniforms" used a Adidas's web uniform configuration tool to create uniforms that match the new ones.

Is anyone else disappointed? Our uniforms are the product of some crappy web tool.

I would also like to know how Adidas feels about claiming copyrights to that image.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Acie Law is doing his part on the recruiting trail.... FOR KENTUCKY. Dashan Harris is a point guard who is considering UK and has reportedly "talked to Acie Law who gave glowing reviews about coach Gillispie." It is hard to blame Acie here. Billy G made him into an NBA caliber player. But MAN that burns.
With Joe Jo coming back and DJ coming in, it is "hard to imagine a better frontline" than the one in College Station. Joe pulled out of the NBA draft when no team would commit to drafting him. One more year of college, one year of college with DJ in particular, should go a long way to getting that commitment in the next draft. With DJ commanding the low post, Joe will have the chance to step out. Tugeon is "not going to get away from his bread and butter" but he will "try and stretch him out to 15 and 17 feet.” As a former NBA assistant, Turgeon knows exactly what NBA teams are looking for. Giving Joe an outside game is key, along with proving "his knee is structurally sound", and improving his "explosiveness.”

In a year there will be at least four Aggies in the NBA. Will the number of Aggies in the NBA ever be larger than the number in the NFL? Well no. We have 32 players in the NFL right now. Maybe if you caveat it with the number of active players who were drafted in the first round. We have not had a guy go in the first round in a few years. I will look into this.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Doc Rivers (Celtics head coach) gave Acie a little bit of love. When asked about the potential of Mike Conley Jr. and Javaris Crittenton Doc said, "the point guards coming in are not proven, with the exception, I'd say, of Acie Law."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Where are they now? Tomas Ress.

I thought it would be appropriate to kick off the first "Where are they now?" installment with my favorite former player and every one's favorite Italian, TomasRess.

Tomas Ress was best known for getting sick. A few games into his sophomore season he went into the hospital. A removed appendix and a few blood cultures later the doctors found evidence of staph. He was given powerful antibiotics; training rooms, showers and dressing areas were scrubbed down to prevent an outbreak and Ress was back on the court within a month. Soon the stomach pains returned. An MRI revealed an infected pubic bone (gross) and his season was over.

Tomas came back the next season, but was not the same player. "My shot doesn't go in because I get so tired, my legs aren't into it. I try to work on it, but there's not enough time right now with school, practice, travel and everything." Amazingly enough, his
1.3 point/1.8 rebound season was good enough to catch the attention of an Italian team. Tomas skipped his final year of eligibility and went pro overseas.

When I started this post I expected a majority of the content would address the Tomas's current activities. However, I do not speak (or more importantly read) Italian. He plays on an Italian team. Everything about his current activities is in Italian and Google's language translate feature leaves something to be desired. Here is the best I can do...

His first pro team was Scavolini Pesaro whre his productivity was about even with his finaly year in college: 10 games, averaged 1.4 points and 1.7. His second season with Scavolini Pesaro was an improvement. He played in 34 games, starting in 10 and averaged 3.1 points and 2.7 boards. He now plays from Bipop Carire R Emila, where he started every game after arriving via trade with Climamio Bologna early in the season. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.6 boards, which puts him eighth in team-scoring and second in team-rebounding.

Anyone who watched Ress play will not recognize him in this clip. No he is not the guy getting posterized, or the guy sealing off the lane. He is number 15...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Here is the first installment of the Aggie Roundtable that will includes fellow Ag bloggers (The 12th Manchild, Off Tackle, and Texas A&M & Baseball) answering a common set of questions.

1. What was your favorite single play from the 2006 Football season?

I am torn between every single play of the Texas game, and hit that put Colt out of the game. Picking the hit may be in bad taste, so my favorite play is every play of the Texas game.

2. What is the most underrated sports blog/site, besides yours, on the Internet today?

My vote is

He is producing the most interesting statistical analysis of NCAA basketball games on the Internet. Many of the measures he uses are not his own creation, but he has somehow collected data on every NCAA D1 game played for the past few years. This allows him to take the statistics and show how they are/are not good indicators of a team's success. He has also recently started to produce some very interesting analysis of his own. Great site.

3. Forget about the "who will win the Big XII" discussions, who do you think will finish last?


4. Pull out the Magic 8Balls, will Acie Law get drafted higher than #15, breaking the A&M record set by Antoine Wright in 2005?

Yes. I am going with the Sports Guy on this one. Acie Law IV at number 11 to the Atlanta Hawks. He is "ready to play" and they need a point guard.

5. Where's your favorite place to eat in B/CS?

Is Thai Taste still open and still good? If yes, then Thai Taste.

Turgeon has signed his contract, two months after being hired. What the hell took so long? $Bill seems to think that "seven weeks" (acutaly $Bill, it was more like eight) is "moving pretty fast." In a huge bueacracy like TAMU a contract has to make quite a journey: personnel office on campus -> central administration -> chancellor's office -> legal people -> athletic department financial people -> the regents. In the 57 days between hiring and signing, the contract moved between six different offices. So, on average, each office kept the contract 8.14 days. Over a week. It is summer time, what are these people doing?

The deal is worth $9,600,000 and includes a buyout clause of $1 mil for the first year, $1/2 mil for the the second year, and $1/4 mil for the remainder of his contract. Previously, Fran was the only coach on campus with a buyout clause. $Bill's philosophy is that "if someone doesn't want to be here then don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out we wish them well wherever they decide to go." But as we start to spread some serious cash around, we need some protections. We had to pay $200K for Turgeon.

The contract also includes the use of a vehicle, a country club membership, tickets to games, and a number of incentives. Big 12 Conference regular season, NCAA Tournament appearance, Sweet 16, Final Four, and the NCAA championship are each a +$41,667. That is a possible +$208,335.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The decommit-fever has spread from Fran to Turgeon. On Sunday Anthoney Jones (6-9 senior from Yates High, Houston) made an oral commitment to Texas A&M. Less than 24-hours later he decommitted. Now his mom is making some pretty serious accusations, saying that her son's commitment was "coerced" and that he "just said what he said to get them out of his face." His list is now TAMU, Texas, and Baylor. Considering how influential his mother is and the statements she made about our recruiting practices, I am not too hopeful this one will be a win for the good guys.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What about Acie? Most of the guys who get paid to do this will say "hard to say" or "it depends on the organization". Acie's talent is obvious, he can "see the floor as well as most NBA point guards" and shoots with both hands, but players with more talent get lost in the NBA every year (see Antoine Wright). We just have to hope he lands some where who knows how to use him.
The NBA pre-draft camp ended a few days (weeks?) ago. As you know Joe Jo is coming back for his senior year, but that pesky NCAA 4-year eligibility rule prevents AK's return (If there was a 5 year rule I think Acie would still be in the draft, you cannot expect a seller's market every year). So the question is, will AK get drafted?


But one scout did refer to him as "one of the nicer surprises of this camp" and expects him to get "a couple of six-figure offers from Europe". I love this guys game (In particular I like the way he never puts the ball of the floor, or even brings it down. If he gets a board or a high feed he is going straight up with it. Foul or a lay up follow. Acie also owes this guy a Rolex for all the time he sealed off the lane.) so I am glad he will be able to make a living off it. Who knows, maybe we will see him back stateside after a few years.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I am back. Very difficult to blog while traveling. Also very difficult to blog while NOTHING is going on. Okay not nothing. Three of our guys were named baseball All-Americans by various All-American awarding bodies. Blake Stouffer was named to the second-team as a designated hitter by Baseball America and to the third-team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as a third baseman. Kyle Nicholson was named third-team by NCBWA and Brandon Hicks was named third-team honors by Baseball America.

I am going to have to get creative to keep this blog alive this summer. I am thinking of a collection of "where are they now" posts. That should be entertaining.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Joe is back! Not that anyone was truly worried that he would give up his last year for an off chance at being called up late in the second round, but it is still nice to know. According to Joe , he feels he "was not getting the response from the NBA people in the spot [he] wanted to be in, which is the first round or something guaranteed." Welcome back Joe.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We dropped game two 5-2. I am having a hard time being upset about the L. We are one year removed from a loosing record and no post season. Yes we were swept, but just like the happiness I felt with an NIT bid in basketball three (3 right?) years ago, I am very pleased with Childress and the boys for a great showing in a tough super regional.

We did have one small victory. Recall the last out of game two, the first baseman caught a pop up and tossed the ball into the stands. He was not tossing the ball to a kid or his grandma, he we tossing it to a female heckler. Savery (the first baseman) said, "All I could think about was throwing it to that lady who would not leave me alone the last two day." That is awesome. Good job lady.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The four-letter network was kind enough to switch away from SC's melt down in time for me to catch Rice play like a 2 seed. Newmann and Nicholson pitched well, keeping Rice to one run through eight. In the ninth Rice was down a run and did what they needed to do: get a runner on base, advance him into scoring position, and drive him in. In the 10th with two outs Rice was able to drive another guy in and win it 3-2. I am a little afraid of the next game. Hopefully our batting coach straightens the guys out so I will not have to watch them continually chase pitches that are headed for the dirt.

Don't get too down on the loss. Remember the Big-12 tournament and the CS regional. We have been here before. Childress would "much rather be 1-0" but knows our guys can "draw from the last two weeks" and work their way out of this jam.

Friday, June 8, 2007

When Edgar Sosa closes his eyes this is what he sees:
Sosa is the Louisville point guard who almost beat/blew the second round game in last year's big dance. Sosa was 7-for-8 from the field and had hit 15 consecutive free throws in the first 39 1/2 minutes of the game. The new hotness was lost in the last 30 seconds when he missed two free throws and shanked a 3. According to Sosa he thinks about it "every day, all the time", when he works out he has "Acie Law and A&M on [his] mind." Wow, I REALLY hope we don't see this kid in the post season again.

TAMU baseball recruit Kevin Ahrens was drafted 16th over all by the Toronto Blue Jays. NCAA rules allow high school baseball players to enter the draft without loosing eligibility. Ahrens must now has to choose between big bucks/years of minor league ball and the Diamond Darlings college ball. We may have a shot. Scouts are telling Ahrens that he should move to third base, but he thinks he has the "ability to play shortstop instead of third base." Maybe he needs a few years of college to prove that. Right now Ahrens has "no clue" what he will do, but will "make a decision pretty soon."
Ahrens, one of the state's top hitters as a senior, batted .426 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs to lead Houston' Memorial to the Class 5A regional quarterfinals.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

In two short years Childress has helped put A&M back on the map.
Personally, I am not convinced we were down long enough to ever be off the map. Irregardless, one year removed from "one of the worst years our program ever had", Childress has our boys in a super regions and two wins from the college world series. Even while were were in the midst of "the lowest of the lows" $Bill remained "adamantly confident" because he "worked with [Childress] for about six years at Nebraska".

As a basketball guy, I read that and think of Turgeon. $Bill and Turgeon worked at Oregon together. Quotes/results like this give me confidence that our basketball team is still moving the the right direction. Lets hope we don't have the same growing pains on the hardwood.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

According to Ricky Barnes "If people question [Kevin Durant's] strength, they're stupid." I agree. Just check out his guns. Hey Kevin which way is the beach?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

You are stronger than Kevin Durant.

In the NBA predraft camp players are tested to see how many times they can bench press 185 lbs. Durant was the only player unable to complete at least one rep. He is also worst than Oden at just about every other measure.
Here are some more NBA predraft camp player evaluations, both Joe and AK were listed in the 20-40 range of players working out at the camp.

Joseph Jones 6-9 250 PF Texas A&M Jr. -- 10.0 ppg, 11-16 fg (68.8%), 8-14 ft% (57.1 %), 3.7 rpg. Jones had an excellent showing hitting close to 70% from the field and scoring 10 ppg, about all you can ask from a bigman with limited touches in 20 minute showings. On the negative Jones legs appear like that of a 12 year NBA veteran, which could be due to poor diet or just poor athleticism.

Antanas Kavaliauskas 6-9 240 PF Texas A&M Sr. -- 11.3 ppg, 13-24 fg (54.2%), 8-9 ft (88.9%), 6 rpg. Kavaliauskas has solid toughness but ran up against some more physical players and it seemed to have an effect on him. He competes hard and converts on a lot of garbage baskets due to persistence.
AllDayAP recorded on film what every guy in the dog pile fears... the fat man. He is slow, so when he finally reaches the pile it is already 3-4 deep. What is true in porno and cheerleading is true in dog pile celebrations, the plus-sizes do not belong on top. Thankfully there were no Tedd Ginn Jr. repeats.

Kyle Thebeau owned this game. In nine innings he gave up no earned runs, no walks, and struck out 13. Read that again: 9 innings, 13 Ks, 0 walks, 0 earned runs. In comparison, three ooo la la pitchers combine for only five Ks. Stinson jump started the offense by going yard in the second, a few hits and a few errors later we were up 4-0. The 5-2 win sends us to Houston to face the number two seeded Rice Owls. We are 2-0 against Rice this year. One of those games lasted 4 1/2 hours and chewed threw six of our pitchers. By pitching a complete game, Kyle has allowed us to face Rice with a well rested bullpen. I am still in shock here. I will say nothing more in fear of a jinx.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Longhorns have been bounced from the post season by a UC Irvine 9-6. They were down 6-5 when the game was postponed last night due to weather.

Rice won their regional. The winner of our game tonight will face Rice in Houston.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The girls went 0-2 BBQ. I watched the game on ESPN, which my roommates were really excited about. It looked like Amanda Scarborough just could not her hit her spots. Jo gave all the credit to the Baylor batters, who "did really well early on was staying off Amanda’s drop ball" and forced her to "come up in the strike zone to them." Gibson came in relief, but we couldn't make up the early 5 run deficit.

The guys got off to a good start beating Le Moyne 7-2. We went on to loose the next game to every one's favorite school acronym ULALA (pronounced ooo la la). What seemed like a little bit of Oslen magic turned into frustration when Stinson's woulda-been 3 run shot was robbed (the fielder confirmed his "forearm was definitely over the wall") and Carter's grounder to short left men stranded at 1st and 3rd and us down a run. After the loss we came back to win two and force a third game against ULALA today.

Friday, June 1, 2007

You know what is hard to do in softball, beat a team whose pitcher throws a no hitter. Things looked good in the first inning. UT pitcher, Monica Abbott, walked three out of the first four batters. We would go on to strand all three and only get one other batter on base. The lack of production was not due to any lack of confidence in our coaching staff, Jo "never thought for a second we wouldn't win the game, that we wouldn't get more chances, that we wouldn't get a timely hit, that we wouldn't be celebrating after the game. I thought all of those things were going to happen for us." Amanda Scarborough did her best to keep us in the game. Scarborough had a shutout going into the final inning when the Vols were able to score two and get the W.

Thankfully the WS is not single elimination. We will face Baylor on Saturday.