Monday, January 25, 2010
This and that
By Dick Vitale
Each week I talk about the world of sports:
• Peyton Manning showed why he is MVP of the NFL! Manning did a brilliant job of finding Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie in an AFC Championship win over the Jets. How about a salute to Garcon, who has had to deal with the tragedy in Haiti? Playing with a heavy heart, he set an AFC Championship game record for reception yardage. Now the Colts face the Saints in the Super Bowl. Wow, think about the matchup of Manning against Drew Brees! The fans in Miami should see a good one, but I am not sure it can be as good as last year's Steelers-Cardinals showdown.
• It is sad to see a kid quit and abandon his coach and teammates. That was the case at Iowa State as Lucca Staiger just walked away from his club in the middle of the season to sign a deal to play in Germany. What happened to his commitment to the school which gave him an opportunity to play? He couldn't wait a short time and at least finish the season? He is flat-out selfish to do that to his fellow Cyclones. Iowa State spent the time and energy to cultivate his skills as a player, and he just gets up and quits. It is a terrible story.
• I really believe it is going to be exciting to watch the battle for playoff berths in the NBA's Western Conference. There are 11 teams vying for the eight postseason slots, and there are several teams on the rise. Look at Oklahoma City and Memphis for example. Scotty Brooks has done a terrific job as the Thunder have already exceeded last season's win total. Kevin Durant is one of the outstanding young players in the league and he is a scoring threat night in and night out. Then look at the Grizzlies; Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo and Zach Randolph have been super.
• How about a salute to the job being done by Larry Brown down in Charlotte? The Bobcats have never made the playoffs, but the team looks like it has a legit shot this season. Charlotte has been one of the hottest teams in the league lately and, over the past few weeks, Raymond Felton has lived up to his status as a top-five draft choice
• Maybe it is time for the NBA to reconsider the process for selecting All-Star starters. Perhaps Ray Allen is right when he says the fans should have a lesser role. Allen Iverson selected as a starter for the game in Dallas ... are you kidding me?! I understand fans want their favorites, but isn't it unfair to have a guy starting over someone truly deserving? There is something wrong with the idea of Iverson starting this year's game. It was bad enough that Tracy McGrady almost got voted into a starting slot too. Thankfully, Steve Nash edged him out in the final balloting.
• I was really impressed by the decision of Oakland Athletics outfielder Grant Desme, one of the team's top prospects. He decided to walk away from baseball and enter the priesthood. Desme was MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He gave up so much with his decision.
• One of the superb scoring shows of the college basketball season happened quietly on Saturday night. Dominique Jones of South Florida set a school record with 46 points in an overtime thriller, a 109-105 W at Providence! My friends, every point was crucial! That was a good win for Stan Heath's club.
• It was so special to see the telethon to raise money for Haiti relief. What a star-studded lineup in attendance! From Bruce Springsteen to Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington to Bono, Julia Roberts to George Clooney -- the list went on and on. If you can help the people in need in Haiti, you should do so. Seeing the pictures of the damage and destruction was so tragic.