Sakash: College hoops POY status report

first_imgThere’s a pretty common debate about the definition of what Most Valuable Player means in sports. Is it the “best” or most talented player in the league or the player who adds the most value to his/her team?The writers and other members of the media who vote for such awards are notoriously split in their belief of what type of player deserves the award.So for arguments sake, in terms of the men’s college basketball player of the year, let’s assume it means an awkward combination of both.On the Hoops America Page there’s only space for five players under the “Player of the Year Watch” heading; however, there are far more candidates worthy of the discussion (perhaps that’s why they choose 10 finalists before the NCAA Tournament starts).But out of those candidates, who deserves the honor? It appears no clear-cut favorite has yet presented itself.BYU’s Jimmer Fredette might embody the college “MVP” on both fronts as he leads the country in scoring and also unqualifiedly adds value to his team. Would BYU sit third in the country without him? Of course not.The Jimmer, currently in his senior season as a Cougar, averages about a third of his team’s points and assists (27.3 ppg and 4.3 apg). He’s shooting over 41 percent from the three-point line and even manages to sneak in over three rebounds per game.Though, as impressive as his stats are, he has some stiff competition.Nolan Smith had to take over his team’s point guard responsibilities for Duke when freshman Kyrie Irving went down with an injury earlier in the season.Smith grabbed the adverse situation and ran with it, leading his team in scoring (21.3 ppg) and assists (5.2 apg) while pulling down almost five rebounds per game.Smith may have more talent around him than Fredette with proven scorer Kyle Singler on his side, but there isn’t anything Smith can’t and hasn’t done for the Blue Devils this year.Then there’s Kemba Walker. Take a look up and down Connecticut’s roster this season and, aside from Walker, you’ll find a whole lot of unremarkable “guys.”Early in the season it appeared Walker’s shoulders were beginning to tire as he was forced to take on the majority of the scoring load in addition to his duties as point guard.After a dismal eight-point performance against Syracuse, however, Walker rebounded with several impressive games while leading the Huskies to key Big East wins.Walker has averaged 22.8 points and 4.5 assists per game while leading his team to a 9-7 record in the conference and has promptly reentered his name into the player of the year conversation.Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger is a great player. With one or two more college seasons under his belt he could dominate the post in the NBA (think Carlos Boozer or Paul Millsap), but it’s possible that he’s just not there yet.In the early goings of the season Sullinger wowed the nation as he averaged a double-double, but the freshman phenom has since cooled down.The problem for Sullinger, at least in terms of player-of-the-year candidacy, is he has too much talent around him.There are two or three accomplished scorers on the Buckeyes who take the pressure off of the large freshman forward and thus, his stats have suffered.He may not win the award this season, but his arrow is pointed to the moon.The dark horse in this race is Kenneth Faried, the nation’s leading rebounder from Morehead State.On top of his huge rebounding numbers (14.3 rpg), he averages 17.6 points per game.Some have compared Faried to Dennis Rodman without the B.S. (in addition to some semblance of touch around the basket).Even though voters don’t like to award players from mid-major conferences (save Andrew Bogut from a few years ago), it’s hard to argue against Faried’s worth to his team and overall talent as a player.But wait, there’s more.The Big East is full of big time scorers, which is part of the reason why the conference has dominated all others so profoundly over the last few years.Marshon Brooks (from Providence of all schools) recently put up 52 points in a game and now sits second in the country in scoring behind Jimmer Fredette.St. John’s wildly talked-about success this season has drawn from senior guard Dwight Hardy’s contributions (averaging 26.4 ppg over the last seven games). The hometown kid’s (Hardy hails from the Bronx) numbers have catapulted his name into the Big East and national player of the year conversations.Arizona’s sophomore Derrick Williams, one of college’s unknown talents, and JaJuan Johnson of Purdue both deserve serious consideration as well.Williams, who almost averages a double-double, has willed his team to the best record in the Pac-10, while Johnson has put up similar numbers without the help of the perpetually injured Robbie Hummel.It’s a very crowded race with a lot of deserving players. The one who deserves it most?Well, that’s yet to be seen.last_img read more

Angels’ bullpen endures rough night in loss to Rays

first_imgPreviousST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell delivers to the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, reacts after drawing a bases-loaded walk from Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)Los Angeles Angels’ Andrew Heaney pitches to a Tampa Bay Rays batter during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani lines a single off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout scores on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels reacts after a bases loaded walk in the second inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels steals second in the first inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on in the first inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, of Japan, reacts as he scores on an RBI single by Cesar Puello off Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels is congratulated after scoring a run in the first inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Wilfredo Tovar hits a double off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Oliver Drake during the fifth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)Tampa Bay Rays’ Joey Wendle watches his single off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Wendle is back playing after missing more than 40 games with a fractured wrist. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Luis Garcia #40 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches in the sixth inning during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Ty Buttrey during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Avisail Garcia #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a two run single in the sixth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Kevin Kiermaier #39 of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated after scoring a run in the sixth inning during a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Tampa Bay Rays’ Ji-Man Choi, of South Korea, celebrates in the dugout after his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Cody Allen during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, June 14, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)NextShow Caption1 of 20ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – JUNE 14: Andrew Heaney #28 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2019 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)ExpandST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Angels handed their bullpen a four-run lead, and they ended up with a five-run loss.Relievers were charged with eight runs in the Angels’ 9-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, ending a three-game winning streak that had been keyed by solid work from the bullpen.“The way it ended is tough, but that’s a rarity for our bullpen,” said Andrew Heaney, who left with a 4-0 lead in the sixth. “When they’ve been handed a lead they’ve been awesome. I think you chalk that up to a tough outing against a good team.”The Angels scored four early runs against reigning American League Cy Young winner Blake Snell, knocking him out in the fourth, and Heaney had not allowed a run through five innings. Related Articles Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter “Obviously, this year is not turning out the way I was hoping,” said Allen, who signed an $8.5 million deal with the Angels in January. “It was not the bounce-back season I was hoping for. But there’s a lot of baseball left. The only thing I can do is just focus on the next one. Just try and get better. Either I’m going to get better, or they’re going to find someone else who does. That’s the reality of the game.”Although the bullpen took the loss, some of the blame also goes to the hitters for failing to put away the Rays when they had the chance. While they scored four runs in the first five innings, they also left eight runners on base.Fletcher’s error also caused Heaney to throw extra pitches, preventing him from getting deeper into the game.All of it cost the Angels (34-36) their chance to get back to .500 for the first time since they were 8-8. They have failed five times in a row, although this one looked promising at 4-0.“When you have a four-run lead at that point in the middle of the game, you feel pretty good about your chances assuming you can tack on a run and hold down the Rays,” Ausmus said. “But baseball games aren’t scripted and sometimes a team comes back and that’s what they did.” Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield center_img Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Heaney, however, had needed 94 pitches to get that far, including an additional 14 in the fourth after third baseman David Fletcher misplayed a potential inning-ending double play grounder.“Not the best stuff I’ve had, but it was one of those you are trying to grind through and do what you can to keep ’em in the game,” Heaney said. “It’s nice when you score runs early like we did. It’s easier to pitch to contact, especially when you don’t have good stuff. I fell behind a lot of guys, 2-0, 3-1, 3-2 and I had to make a lot of ‘Here, hit it’ type pitches.”Heaney took the mound in the sixth to face lefty Austin Meadows, and he gave up a double, ending his night with 99 pitches.“Heaney was good,” Manager Brad Ausmus said. “He got into a few deep counts and the pitch count got up early, but he certainly held up his end of the bargain.”The bullpen did not. In came Luís García, who gave up hard-hit ground ball singles to Yandy Diaz and pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi, cutting the lead to 4-1. Two outs later, García gave up a Kevin Kiermaier hit that cut the lead to 4-2.Ausmus then summoned Ty Buttrey, who has been the Angels’ best reliever. Ausmus had used Buttrey to face the toughest hitters, with the game on the line, throughout the season, and he’d mostly performed well.This time, he immediately hit Guillermo Heredia with a pitch, loading the bases. Buttrey then gave up back-to-back singles to Avisail García and Tommy Pham, allowing the Rays to take a 5-4 lead.Cody Allen then let the game get out of hand in the seventh. Allen gave up a two-run homer to Choi and four total runs. After an encouraging stretch in which Allen had allowed two runs in 12 innings, he has allowed six in his last two outings while getting only three outs.Related Articles Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter last_img read more

Favorites no more: Sportsbook has LeBron James, Lakers a toss-up to make NBA playoffs

first_img“Although 59 percent of bettors thought James’ Lakers would miss the playoffs, over 83 percent of the money was on the yes. This was heavily influenced by one bettor who wagered $50,000 on yes at -500 odds, for a potential profit of $10,000. The Lakers closed as overwhelming -600 favorites at Westgate to make the postseason.”Action on the latest prop bet ends when the NBA season resumes Thursday, according to ESPN.The Lakers resume their season Thursday night at home against the Rockets. LeBron James not worried about playoffs after Lakers loss Lakers’ Magic Johnson on Anthony Davis trade talks: Pelicans didn’t have good faith negotiations James’ teams have made the NBA playoffs the past 13 seasons. The only times James missed the playoffs were his first two seasons in the league. On top of that, the last time a James-led team did not make the NBA Finals was the 2009-10 season. Eight straight seasons — the first four with the Heat, the past four with the Cavaliers — James has played for a championship, winning it all three times.But now he plays for a weaker team that will emerge from the All-Star break 10th in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. The Lakers (28-29) are three games behind the Clippers (32-27), who are sitting eighth and in the final playoff spot. Related Newscenter_img In the wake of the Lakers not landing Anthony Davis at the NBA trade deadline, Westgate Las Vegas reopened a proposition bet during the All-Star break on whether the Lakers will make the playoffs, ESPN reports.The odds are equal (-110), which is quite a change from the odds and enthusiasm before LeBron played his first regular-season game as a Laker in mid-October. Preseason, the odds were -450 the Lakers would make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season (a $450 bet would pay $550) and +350 they wouldn’t.With the current prop bet, the payoff would be $10 on $100 bet regardless of whether or not the Lakers make the playoffs.”With the trade deadline having passed and the length of the break over the next week due to the All-Star Game, this prop is polarizing,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk at The SuperBook told ESPN. “It’s at the forefront of interest considering the Lakers’ record at this point of the season.”ESPN’s Ben Fawkes broke down the preseason action on the Lakers like this: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. According to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, it’s now a 50-50 proposition that the Lakers and LeBron James will (or won’t) make the NBA playoffs.The “mighty,” by the way, referred to LeBron, not the Lakers.last_img read more