Monday, March 4, 2013

Where it all started (For twitter)

This is where it all started. Right here on this blog. It started as a twitter joke that Bo and I made. It was funny at the time. Bo said "Hey this would make a great blog name!" "Yeah it would, totally stealing that when I finally start blogging". Well 5 min later the site Clutch Jeans was born and the first place I ever wrote about basketball was born. This happened last summer and it's seriously one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. When I started blogging I set a goal for myself that I thought impossible. I decided that one day I would write for SB Nation and/or True Hoop network. These were the two most respected blogs as far as I could tell and I wanted to write for them. A lot has changed in that time in my life but there have been a few consistencies in it and that is the people who helped me achieve this goal. Without any of them none of this would have happened. I guess I should start where this all began.

Sociology class, 2012 trade deadline, spring semester at Brevard Community College. There I was sitting in class bored out of my mind with my professor talking about god knows what. This class was pathetically easy but I had to attend or my grade would suffer because there was an attendance grade for this class. I had my computer with me and I was checking ESPN very frequently just waiting for news on Dwight Howard. Every Magic fan knew this was the day where we would find out if he was going to stay with the Magic or be traded (oh god it got so much worse for Magic fans but that's another post, another day) and I was refreshing like mad. All of a sudden I see on the NBA section of the site "Chat Now!". Wondering what kind of chat ESPN was doing about the trade deadline I clicked on the link. It was there that my love for basketball and terrible jokes/photoshops was born. It was there I discovered what is still one of my favorite entertainments today, Daily Dime Live. Known as DDL for short I joined and posted a question about Dwight, I then realized my question didn't show up. Oh it's one of those modded things! My question is never gonna get answered like oh hey it actually got posted. It was then I came to know the moderator of this site Zach Harper. Harper was a funny guy who seemed to laugh at the jokes people made at his expense and had an obsession with bacon. This chat was hilarious, fast paced, and everybody on there seemed to love basketball just as much as I did. When class was over I went home and sure enough the chat was still going on, funny and fast paced as ever. Every hour or two I would check back on the site. These hours turned into minutes. Those minutes turned into logging onto the chat every time they had one. Every game was talked about, no team bias, no player bias, no narratives just pure and fun basketball.

The season is almost over and this means DDL will probably be over soon as well. However there's this guy Bo in the chat who always has these hilarious photoshops. He advertises his twitter page. Thinking "Eh, I don't use my twitter for anything else" I follow him. Fast forward a few weeks and the season is over. With nothing to do until summer classes approach I get on my twitter and find out about some sort of Maloof News conference. Turns out the dickwad owners of the Kings were trying to sell their team in the worst possible fashion. I clicked on the hashtag and who do I see? Why Zach Harper making his jokes. I of course follow him. I then follow some other people. And more people. And more...and more....and more...eventually I'm tweeting non stop and cracking jokes and howling with laughter at these people I've never met before except on the internet. Except they weren't scary guys in their basements. They aren't nerds with no lives. They're people like me and funny at that.

So back to Clutch Jeans. Bo and I start this blog and I get a lot of positive praise. Then this guy Colin Means offers me a position at his blog "Oncourt Onslaught" (I'm sorry I didn't write as much as I could have Colin) and it was a fun gig. Then this guy who used to mod DDL all the time Andrew Lynch followed me. Andrew was always a cool guy and it made me excited that he followed me. Next was this Sean Highkin dude. These guys were awesome. They taught me about stats and wanted nothing but to see me succeed. It was them who helped my writing improve to the point that I was offered an open spot at the SB Nation site Rufus on Fire. Ben gave me a chance to reach half of my goal. He gave me edits and feedback and continued to make my writing improve. Then, about 2 months later the big bomb dropped. My friend Bo had become the main editor at the TrueHoop network site HawksHoop. He had a spot open and he gave me the spot that I wanted. My dream had been realized. True Hoop network. ESPN. The Big one. It was finally there. When he sent me a DM saying I was one of the two he picked I actually got up and ran around my house. To think in just over a year I've gone from DDL commenter to True Hoop and SB Nation writer. I never thought I would reach this goal and I'm seriously so happy I just wrote a huge blog post about how happy I am just to thank people.

Big thank you's to Colin Means for giving me a shot. To Zach Harper for making DDL so damn hilarious I had to come back. To Blake Potash who is one of the first people I followed and still RT's my writing all the time. To Matt Moore who puts up with my horrible jokes. To all of basketball twitter for being basketball twitter. A thanks to Ben Swanson (@CardboardGerald)

Gigantic thank you's to Trevor Rumsey, Bo Churney, and Ian Dougherty you're the best twitter bro's a guy could ask for and your #FF campaigns got me started on twitter.
A huge thank you to Sean Highkin and Andrew Lynch. You guys were the first real bloggers to follow me and you've mentored me, guided me, and helped me with everything. I would not be the writer I am without your help.
Thanks twitter. Thanks DDL. Thanks everybody. You're all amazing and you've helped me achieve a dream I never expected to come true.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Coach...

One day in the land of twitter an account was made. Matt Turner was his name. While nobody knew it yet this account was one day going to be a great twitter account. It was going to be a twitter account that would protect the innocent from the evil trolls and fill the hate filled internet with kindness in his tweets of "Hi" and "Weeeeeeeeeeeeee". They say he slayed a dragon and killed 50 zombies with one tweet. They say he came from this strange land of "Tennessee". This land was filled with evil. He watched as friends and family were reduced to tears by endless trolling. He couldn't take anymore. One day he vanished and nobody knew where he had gone. Little did they know he ventured off into the lands of the smokey mountains. It was there he honed his skills. He took on the trolls there and bested them at their own games. He would trick them into believing they had won the battle but at one last last tweet they would be quickly vanquished by the mighty tweeter. Matt Turner returned to his home...but he was different...stronger. He came home as COACH MATT TURNER! Coach Matt Turner was feared among the land of Tennessee and quickly the trolls were driven out and peace had been brought to the land Coach Matt Turner moved on to a new land known as Basketball Twitter. It was hear he found new enemies to slay and new friends to protect. All was well in basketball and there was peace. Until one day a dark...evil twitter account was born...some fear to say his name. They fear saying it will utter his appearance in your mentions...Donuts was born. Quickly Donut spread fear through the land of basketball twitter. Nobody was safe from his trolling. All tweets that were once posted without a thought had 2nd guessing to them "Will this attract the beast?" they would say. "If it did I will surely parish"...but one twitter account stood alone. One twitter account was willing to take on the beast. It was Coach Matt Turner of course. The battle raged for months...some say years. Then one day in an effort to draw out the beast Coach Matt Turner informed twitter of a youtube video that he was in. Donut immediately sprung on the tweet saying he will find it. For what purpose? We don't know. Maybe he wanted to show the world as to embarrass the mighty warrior? Or maybe it was for his own sick reasons...whatever the reason he went out to find it. Never had Donut been so determined to find this video. But he couldn't...he posted a video about Teen Sex at Franklin High School (It was disturbing) and Coach Matt Turner just shook his head no. "I GIVE UP!" yelled Donut. Victory was Coach Matt Turners! Basketball Twitter was safe once more. If ever a twitter account calls out for help Coach Matt Turner will be there. If a troll thinks they can troll the innocent Coach Matt Turner will stop them. Coach Matt Turner. A hero.

If you want to follow either of the twitter accounts mentioned above they are @CoachMattTurner and @2Rollz

Friday, August 10, 2012

Goodbye Dwight

Goodbye Dwight Howard. The relationship is finally over. Superman is on his way to LA and out of Orlando. I want to say this is bitter sweet. I want to say that I'm gonna miss the good times with Dwight and that I wish we could rekindle the relationship. But I can't bring myself to it. Dwight getting out of town is a relief that I've been awaiting for what feels like years but in reality has only been months. We had good times with Dwight but all of that is meaningless now. I have never seen a player burn down an entire team on his way out but Dwight managed to do it.

Dwight was drafted in 2004 as the number one overall pick. The team had just come off one of the worst seasons in team history. Us Magic fans had just gotten over a nasty break up with Tracy McGrady who was fed up with management and wanted out. The pick of Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor was largely criticized. How could the Magic take a high schooler over a college player? Well that's what Orlando did and it was a great decision. Nothing against Okafor who is a fine player but Dwight is lightyears better than him. With T-Mac out and Dwight in the future had begun. After some rough years with different coaches Dwight steadily rose as one of the best centers in the league. His dunks dazzled us and his defense impressed us. After 2007 in which the Magic were quickly ousted by Detroit in their first playoff appearance since 2003 Brian Hill was fired and Stan Van Gundy was brought in to which Dwight claimed "Basketball will be fun again" and fun it was. 2008 saw the Magic and Dwight explode. Dwight even competed in the dunk contest that year. This happened.

SUPERMAN WAS BORN! Magic fans went crazy and we reached the 2nd round of the playoffs for the first time since the 90's on the back of our young superstar rising center. Some were saying he might be the best center in the league. He certainly had a nickname now.

2009. My favorite year as a Magic fan. Nobody had the Magic in the Finals that year. But they reached the Finals. Largely behind the great play of Hedo and Rashard but also largely because of the defense and dunks of Dwight Howard and had the ball rolled the other way a few times this post might have looked a little different. The year after the finals Dwight was on a mission. His offense had improved a little but he was still the dominating defensive player he was. The Magic rode him and dominated all the way to the ECF where they were soundly defeated by the Celtics. While many of us didn't know it then. This was the end of the good times for the Magic and Dwight Howard.

2011 Dwight came out with an offensive flurry proving that he had the offensive game many wondered about him. He carried this team. It wasn't enough. An awful mid season trade lead to a team that was a shell of it's former self and lead to a first round exit. The Magic managed to go backwards every year since 2009 and that was it. The fun was over.

Coming out of the lockout Dwight demanded a trade. "Dwight why do you want to leave?" we asked! We never really got an answer. A season of strangeness and rumors emerged as Dwight played. Where will he go? The Lakers? The Mavericks? THE NETS!? YOU WANT TO GO TO THE NETS!? WHY THE NETS!? We all screamed confused as to of all teams why Dwight wanted to go to the Nets. Then it hit me. This wasn't about winning. This was about his brand and his market. It was about him wanting to go to a large market. In a way I understood it. I didn't like it but I understood it. But then you signed a clause that would keep you in Orlando for another year? "Maybe he will stay" we said. "There's hope" If only we knew what you would do I would have been screaming my head off that they trade you right then and there.

In one famous moment Stan Van Gundy, diet pepsi in hand, ousted Dwight for the team killer he was. Dwight demanded Stan be fired. It was out. Stan knew it. Dwight knew it. We knew it. Things were going to change. After another first round exit where Dwight was injured it was time for changes. Alex Martins gave Dwight his wish and fired Stan Van Gundy. "Well maybe now that they did that he'll want to stay?" No he demanded another trade the minute the Finals ended. We were done with it. At that moment any liking for Dwight left in the Magic fan base was gone. He was nothing to us. Dwight had singlehandedly destroyed an entire team in one season. He asked for people to be fired and yet he still wanted a trade. There was obviously no "loyalty" here. It was an overgrown baby destroying his old toy so he could go to his shiny new one.

We all know the story by now. An offseason of "where will Dwight go next" took place and Dwight was finally traded. Dwight, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark, and Jason Richardson are all being traded to the Lakers/Sixers (J-Rich). The Magic will be recieving Aaron Aflallo, Al Harrington, draft picks and some other players in the trade. I'm okay with the trade. A lot of people have problems with it but I'm just relieved to be done with this. No longer will we have to listen to the latest Dwight rumor. The team can finally start to rebuild. We can finally look towards the future.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

30 for 30

Last night on Twitter I asked if you could make a 30 for 30 what you would do it on. The response was overwhelming. I'm gonna put down all the topics I was given and I'll be sure to mention which one are my favorites.

So much history here. This would be a great 30 for 30.

2010 Saints
I think instead of just the 2010 Saints they should do one on Katrina and how the team's return was embraced and the path that lead to the Super Bowl.

Barry Sanders story
This could be good

Curtis Martin
Interesting guy with an interesting story. Could be done well.

The Heart and Hustle Magic. Shaq and Penny. The departure of Shaq and the fall of the Magic.
This team fascinates me. I would love a 30 for 30 on them. Shaq leaving Orlando and how it destroyed the team for a decade. Penny's injuries. If any of these could have a 30 for 30 or just one big 30 for 30 on the team from the 90's up to the early-mid 2000's I would love it.

The 2004 Olympic Basketball Team
This could be a really good one. There's a lot of interest that comes with this team.

The 90's cowboys
Very popular for a reason.

Mawse and Jason Williams as HS teammates
Don't know much about these guys but a lot of people mentioned them.

John Thompson and Georgetown
College sports have a place in all our hearts.

Griffey Jr
Ken Griffey Jr was supposed to be an all time great. Injuries plagued him. I'd like to see one about him.

Lakers/Kings, Game 6 WCF 2002
A lot of people got excited when this one got mentioned. If done right could be great. I would love to see them buildup the greatness of the two teams at the beginning of it.

Tecmo Super Bowl
Maybe elaborate it to Sports and Video Games? Could be fun.

Malice at the palace
I think many of us have been asking for this one already. I still remember watching it happen live on TV.

The 99 Bulls
How does a team go from championship to nothing in one offseason? When MJ retires and other circumstances happen not even this sounds so crazy.

The ABA/NBA merger
I want this one. The ABA was so important to the NBA we have today.

The battle of lebron and carmelo back in their rookie years
If done right this could be fun.

Jordan's Flu Game
We all know about the famous flu game.

Summer of 98: Sosa & McGwire HR Race
This one you would have to get into Balco and Steroids. Could good if done well.

Kenny Anderson
Another one that could be really good.

I think what this makes obvious is that sports has tons of stories that we want to be told. There's a reason we love sports and the 30 for 30's show why we love sports. If you have any more suggestions leave them in the comments. I'd love to know what stories you want to have told.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I know this isn't basketball related...

This has nothing to do with basketball. If you don't want to read it that's fine I don't expect you to. But it's the offseason and I felt like this would be cool to write about. I really wanted to get my thoughts on this somewhere out there.

 I've always lived 20 minutes away from NASA my entire life. So I'm used to space and it's many mysteries. Of course that doesn't make it any less cool. I'm used to watching shuttles exit the atmosphere. These shuttles performed amazing feats that had me in awe. My entire house would shake. I would walk out my front door and the shuttle is already gone. Amazingly fast. A fireball going through the sky. This is during the day of course. A night launch can only be described as the sun rising early. A shuttle launched at night lights up the whole sky. It's an experience that at one point I used to tell everyone they had to see once in their life. This unfortunately can not be anymore as former President Bush started during his term and President Obama finished during his the shutting down of the Shuttle Program. This made me angry. People in the area were laid off. I was wondering if I would ever get to watch something enter space ever again. I know we've landed a rover on mars before but I feel this is the first step to something more. Something big. I know I'm going to watch something light up the night sky as it enters space but this time it will be heading to Mars.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Small Market. New coach. New GM.

The Orlando Magic, after what has felt half a year for Magic fans, have finally hired a new coach in Jacque Vaughn. I'm going to have to learn how to spell that correctly very soon. Quick question, who is Jacque Vaughn? Well....he used to be an NBA player. He even played for the Magic at one point during the Heart and Hustle days of the early 2000's when contracts were coming in and out and it always felt like a new face was on the roster. But the reason I think he was hired and the reason I like this hire is because he was an assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs.

The Magic are a small market. Orlando is not Miami, it's not New York, and it's not L.A. Despite that the Magic have had a history of being able to lure free agents to Orlando. Horace Grant, Tracy McGrady, Grant Hill, almost Tim Duncan, and Rashard Lewis. All guys who had offers from multiple teams (Horace Grant from a team that had just won a championship in the Bulls) and they chose Orlando. The Magic however are currently losing Dwight Howard because they are a small market. So when you're a small market who has a history of signing free agents but can't hold onto your superstars because you're a small market what do you do? You copy the other small markets in the Association.

I love the hires of Rob Hennigan, from Oklahoma City, as GM and Jacque Vaughn, as head coach, from San Antonio. Alex Martins, who I strongly criticized for firing Stan Van Gundy, wisely hired a GM from the current best team in the Western Conference in OKC, and then that GM turned right around and hired a guy from the 2nd most successful team that same conference who is the model of consistency in the NBA. Both teams happen to be small markets. If there are two small markets in the NBA you want to be like it's OKC and SA.

With these hires it looks like Orlando wants to copy OKC and SA but I don't think that's what they're going to do. FA's don't usually go to SA and are unlikely to want to go to OKC. This separates Orlando from these two franchises because of it's history of being able to nab FA's. With Orlando following the OKC/SA formula and having the ability to sign FA's I'm very interested to see if they create their own style that other small markets are going to want to copy in the future. Time will tell and I can easily say I'm excited to see what that future beholds.

Stats on Stats on Stats

(David Becker/Getty Images)
By Demarcus 'Doc' Robinson

Everyone is excited about Anthony Davis for reason or another. Long arms, a trademark unibrow, blocked shots, mysterious offensive potential, etc. But I'm interested in something different, but familiar since it will involve all of his skill sets.

5x5 stat lines y'all!

For the more casual readers a 5x5 is when a player racks up five in five categories - points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks. Technically turnovers would count, but that's the bad kind. This is the funnest of all the stat occurrences. It's not only the one that puts the biggest smile on my face, it's also amongst the rarest. Many casual fans are familiar with double-doubles and triple-doubles, and are awed by the display of either. Triple-doubles, in particular, hold a sort of lore with more seasoned fans at times even. Oscar Robertson, Jason Kidd, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo have all progressed the fondness of the episode through repeated displays. Conversely, the 5x5 has lived mostly in the shadow while only displaying its greatness ever so often.

There are only 14 5x5 games to date in NBA history, and of those one man is responsible for nearly half of them. Hakeem 'The Dream' Olajuwon. Dream is responsible for six of the mystifying anomalies. His 5x5s weren't just that, they were other worldly. This is saying something when the accomplishment itself is very rare. One of Olajuwon's 5x5s looked like this: 38 points, 17 rebounds, 12 blocks, seven steals and six assists. Another registered as such: 29 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, five steals and nine assists. Take a second and let that marinate.

The other eight entries belong to the following players: Andrei Kirilenko (3x), David Robinson, Derrick Coleman, Vlade Divac, Jamal Tinsley and Marcus Camby. Look at that list, there's no Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, LeBron James or etc on that list. Tons of great players who, at first thought, you would assume had at least one such game. You would especially assume a guy like KG would have racked up one during his long and amazing career. Nope. There have been a number of close calls with players falling one short in one or two categories, but close doesn't cut it with the 5x5.

There are currently veteran players who could add the accomplishment to their long list of accolades, but we're not here for them. I just want 5x5s from Davis, he of the unibrow. He stands 6'10.5" (in shoes), has a 7'5.5" wingspan, and a 9' reach. Combine those physical measurements with his obvious athletic skill. He's not running around tripping over his own two feet, but instead he's very coordinated and knows what to do with his abilities. He's a great shot blocker because of his body, but more so because he knows how to anticipate. He just has a feel for that and defense. He grabs rebounds as well. With those long limbs he should be able to pester passing lanes as well to snatch away lazy passes. He'll also anticipate good passes and take those away as well.

On the flip side there's offense, and he's not really hurting in that department. Davis can score, and doesn't feel uncomfortable with the ball like some big men. This can be attributed to him being a guard before his defining growth spurt. I'm not sure how adept he is at passing, but a player of his level can certainly stumble into five assists. It's not like he's Nick Young or anything.

I won't say Davis gets a 5x5 his rookie season, but I'll go ahead and say there's a good chance he notches one this upcoming season. Going forward as he hones his skills and picks up on little nuances within the game he may be able to challenge the six put up by Dream. Ambitious on my part? Absolutely, but it's a fun stat and I want to see it. There's the saddening possibility that Davis comes up short in his my quest for the near mythical stat. Look at the elephant graveyard littered with failed attempts by those who were fully capable of the deed.

I just hope Davis doesn't donate his humiliated bones to the graveyard as well. If he did it would be a true Sadderday.