With the NBA and NHL seasons passing their midway point and the MLB season on the brink, there are plenty of stories to sift through for fans of all interests. The Pitt News sports staff is here to round up the best ones of the week.
Put Me in Coach
Tim Tebow is a former professional quarterback with the Denver Broncos and a Heisman and National Championship winner at Florida. But more recently, he’s been trying to hack it as a baseball player.
Tebow signed with the New York Mets organization on a minor league contract in September 2016 and played in the Arizona Fall League. He played 126 games and only accumulated 97 hits with a .226 average and 126 strikeouts at the single-A level last season.
Sandy Alderson, general manager for the Mets, said recently that Tebow will play in the majors at some point, in what seems like nothing more than a way to use Tebow as a pawn to make money. Tebow hasn’t shown anything that would translate into major league success and, at 30 years old, there isn’t much time left for him to improve to be a decent MLB player.
This isn’t Tebow bashing, but a criticism of the Mets organization for being more focused on a celebrity player than it is at actually trying to put together a winning team. Maybe Tebow does become a great baseball player, but as of right now, no one should consider him major league talent whatsoever.
— Dom Campbell, Staff Writer
Missed the Mark
Sports Illustrated released an article Tuesday highlighting allegations of sexual misconduct in the Dallas Mavericks organization. The article detailed obscene behaviors from employees at all levels of the organization, with the accusations against former CEO Terdema Ussery being among the worst.
Ussery engaged in behaviors that made other coworkers feel unsafe, SI reported. Employees — both male and female — cited the culture of the office as their reason for departure. Complaints were filed to head of human resources Buddy Pittman, who was also accused of engaging in behaviors of a similar nature.
The misbehavior SI reported was clearly shocking, lewd and appalling. But the part of it that is really eye-opening was Mark Cuban’s response. Cuban is one of the most involved owners in the NBA, yet he claims to be oblivious to the misbehavior that took place. How could he have known so little about what was going on in his franchise? — Stephen Cuddy, Staff Writer
Brown and Out
With the NFL combine taking place next week, new mock drafts and scouting reports are coming out daily. Recently, ESPN’s Mel Kiper came out with his official Mock Draft 2.0. His mock draft had the Browns taking Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen No. 1 overall and then Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick with the No. 4 pick.
Let’s hope the Browns don’t believe in all the hype around Josh Allen like Kiper does. Allen is a tall quarterback from a small school that didn’t have much competition — and when he played against good teams, he did not play well. But, he can throw a ball very far and accurately from his knees!
The Browns and the other 31 teams will look to see how prospective players will do in the 40-yard dash, bench press and other drills. The combine can boost or hurt a player’s stock greatly. If Allen performs well, the Browns may be enticed to take him, which may not be in their best interest.
— Colin Martin, Staff Writer
Sooners or Later
If you spend any amount of time watching college basketball on ESPN, you wouldn’t know it, but the Oklahoma Sooners are struggling. Losers of six straight and eight of their last ten, Oklahoma is a team in a spiral. But first-year guard Trae Young and his game-breaking shooting — vaguely reminiscent of Steph Curry — is the key to ESPN’s cold, ratings-hungry heart.
The network’s insistence on highlighting a team that’s barely tournament-worthy serves Young no favors and makes him the villain in many eyes. It’s manipulative — and ESPN does receive a fair share of blame for it.
Yet, it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to college basketball this year. In a season bereft of stars and the traditional blue-blood dominance, the watchful eyes — spiteful or not — are eyes nonetheless.
— Brandon Glass, Staff Writer
The NBA held its annual All-Star game in Los Angeles Sunday. For the first time in the league’s history, the game was not between the eastern and western conference All-Stars, but instead between two teams drafted by the leading All-Star vote-getters — Cleveland’s Lebron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.
The new format proved successful as Sunday’s contest was one of the most competitive All-Star games in recent memory.
The only way the game would’ve been better is if fans could have actually seen the two teams get drafted. The actual player selections weren’t televised, robbing fans of the opportunity to see a pickup game in its truest sense among the world’s best players. A televised draft also gives fans the opportunity to see who would be picked last and undoubtedly feel the need to prove themself in the following game.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said after the game that next year’s All-Star draft is likely to be televised. That’s great, because if there is one thing NBA fans love more than competitive basketball, it’s petty drama between the world’s best players.
— Grant Burgman, Sports Editor