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Posts Tagged ‘Isiah Thomas’

The Madness Begins Anew

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Tar Heels

Lost amidst the fallout of NFL Monday is the fact college basketball officially begins tonight. The 09/10 season begins much where it left off: with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Roy Williams and the gang play the first official game of the new season when they face up against Isiah Thomas and his Florida International Golden Panthers. More than likely, this game is going to get so out of hand in Carolina’s favor, Thomas will be dreaming of life on the New York Knicks sidelines.

The Carolina/FIU game is part of the 2K Sports Classic, featuring other big names like Syracuse, Ohio State and the University of California. The big four of this opening season basketball festival will play two games, none of which will be against each other. Over at, they have a list of announcers for the slate of first week basketball games. Unfortunately, when you take a quick glance at the schedule, you’ll notice there aren’t any marquee games that catch your interest.

In fact, the “biggest” game might just be Valparaiso at North Carolina — if the Valparaiso team from 2004 was playing.

Nevertheless, it’s a time of joy and celebration. It’s not everyday you get to say “Hey, the college basketball season officially starts tonight!” now is it? With that in mind, here are some minor predictions:

Final Four — Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State

National Champion — Michigan State

Player of the Year — Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

Freshman of the Year — John Wall, Kentucky

ACC Champion (regular season) — North Carolina

Big East Champion — UConn

Big 10 Champion — Michigan State

Big 12 Champion — Texas

Pac-10 Champion — Washington

SEC Champion — Kentucky

Yes, that was the quick-and-dirty approach for my season preview, but I think I got the major topics. Sorry to any mid-major/non-big money conference teams and/or fans that might be reading.

Isiah Thomas Gets First Big Catch

Dominique Ferguson

Isiah Thomas snared Florida International’s first big-time recruit in sometime when swing man Dominique Ferguson gave his commitment to the Golden Panthers. While it’s pretty obvious Ferguson, who committed to Kentucky during Billy Gillispie’s fantastic tenure, is going to Florida International more for the coach than the school’s extensive basketball history, the commitment goes a long way towards legitimizing the FIU basketball program, not to mention, Thompson’s Thomas’ employment.

To celebrate Isiah’s nice pull, we have a nifty little animated gif: After the jump >>

Isiah to Coach FIU for Free

Isiah Thomas

For the first season, anyway. During his initial press conference for Florida International, Thomas reveiled his first campaign with his Panther would be done pro-bono. Actually, Zeke is donating his first-year salary back to his new employers. Whatever it takes to wash away any bad tastes or bad blood the hire generates, I guess.

Fire Isiah Starts Early

Isiah Thomas

The ink hasn’t even dried on the Florida International/Isiah Thomas partnership and some Internet entrepreneur is getting the fun started early with “Fire Isiah” t-shirts. It helps (or doesn’t, depending on your point of view about the hiring) that Florida International’s abbreviation plays into the whole Fire Isiah “movement” that will undoubtedly hover over Thomas as long as he remains employed.

Fire Isiah

Although, if he makes get the Panthers into some postseason activity, his employers won’t care what the outside thinks of their coach — even with damning documentation like this. A couple of highlights from Thomas’ post-playing career, save his semi-successful stint with the Indiana Pacers (131-115, three playoff appearances):

- Bankrupt the CBA
- That Knicks lawsuit/harassment excitement
- Endless love between Thomas and Stephon Marbury
- Whatever the hell happened with the overdose incident

This is the man Florida International wants to supervise and lead their student-athletes.

Who knows? Maybe Zeke will channel his National Championship acumen from his days playing for Bobby Knight. Better yet, maybe Knight will take a position on Thomas’ coaching staff. Now wouldn’t that just be the keenest thing ever?

Thanks to the observant eye of Darren Rovell for the t-shirt find.

Teammates Loving Teammates

Ah, the New York Knickerbockers. What can you say that hasn’t already been said? There’s so much wrong with the franchise, it’s hard to pick a starting point… but if you are late to the party, here’s a good spot:

What we have above are Nate Robinson and Zach Randolph expressing their love for one another via thrown water (Randolph) and and a retaliatory strike with a Gatorade towel (Robinson). I’ll say this for Nate, he doesn’t back down from anybody, regardless of size (Robinson is only 5-9, Randolph is 6-9).

Good times.

I imagine this is EXACTLY what Isiah Thomas envisioned when he “rescued” Randolph from the Pacific Northwest… Hat-tip to You Been Blinded.

Intentional Highlights: A Look Back At The Week That Was

Barry Bonds
It was a busy week for the sporting world, culminating in an adventurous night last night (Thursday, 11/15). Of course, the leading story was the federal indictment of Barry Bonds. Some people are claiming this was a witch-hunt on the part of the Feds and maybe it was. But if they do have a positive test for Bonds, then perhaps their hunting party was on target the whole time… I just wonder why it took so damn long to do something about it. Were they just sitting on the results, waiting until he completely asterisk-ized MLB’s record books?

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle has a great write-up looking at some of the possible occurrences that lead to Bonds being indicted.

Dennis Dixon, Oregon’s BCS Championship Hopes Injured
Apparently, Thursday nights are a bad time for West Coast athletes. In their prime time match-up with the University of Arizona, a game that looked to solidify Oregon’s chances in the BCS race, Oregon QB Dennis Dixon reinjured his left knee in the 1st quarter, seemingly taking his team’s hopes for a BCS Championship and his shot at the Heisman trophy down with him.

Dixon was replaced by Ryan Leaf’s (yes, THAT Ryan Leaf) younger brother Brady, who was a paltry 22 of 46 for an underwhelming 146 yards and 2 interceptions and looked even worse than those stats suggest. A number of his 24 incomplete passes weren’t even in the same zip code as the “intended” receiver. At least we don’t have to worry about another Leaf melting down in the NFL.

Addicted to Quack has much more about last night’s disappointing Oregon loss.

Starbury, Isiah at Odds
New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury and coach Isiah Thomas apparently don’t like each… a lot. During a team flight to Phoenix, Thomas informed Marbury about his decision to keep the mercurial guard out of the starting line-up that evening. After that, all hell in the New York Knicks franchise broke loose.

Not to be outdone, King Lebron was kind enough to share his thoughts about Starbury’s actions. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see much sharing of the rock between these two. Ever.

A-rod Goes Crawling Back to the Yankees
After trying to steal the thunder from the Boston Red Sox World Series clinching victory and wasting the entire free world’s time, Alex Rodriguez wound up right back where he started (no, not Seattle): the New York Yankees for a cool $275 million over 10 years. I’m not sure how he’ll be able to live on that, but it’s worth a try. Personally, I would’ve held out for the $300 mil payday…

Talk about much ado about absolutely nothing. Next time you decide to waste everyone’s time, Alex, keep a muzzle on Boras.

This was just a cross-section of the stories that grabbed the attention of the sports world this week.  Enjoy your weekend and we’ll see you later.