Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Sport Spot's "Odds and Ends"...or...the Spot's Draft Big Board...

This week’s edition of “odds and ends” is dedicated to none other than Mel Kiper Jr.   Why might you ask…well, that’s easy, it’s the only weekend of the year we actually care who Mel Kiper Jr. is…that’s right, its time for the NFL Draft.  After all, the NFL Draft just wouldn’t be the same without Mel’s Big Board and who can’t forget Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay once asking on live national TV “Who the hell is Mel Kiper Jr.?”…so for your reading pleasure, it’s this week’s “odd’s and ends”…

There’s a Draft in the air…

Well, since this is the Mel Kiper Jr. edition, we might as well start off with the NFL Draft (Starting with the first round this Thursday 4pm Cali time….)

Fresno State fans, you’ll have something to cheer about in the first round, as Former Bulldog Running Back Ryan Matthews is widely anticipated to go in the first round.  Where to?  Well, we won’t know until sometime Thursday night, but most draft prognosticators have Matthews going to either the Houston Texans at #20 or the San Diego Chargers at #28.

Yes, the draft also means that eternal well spring of hope for those of us who are long suffering 49er or Raider fans…who will those two take in the first round this year…well, the Spot has his thoughts…

The San Francisco 49ers have picks #13 and #17 in this year’s first round.   While many may want the 49ers to pick a certain Quarterback from Notre Dame (paging Jimmy Claussen) in hopes he’ll be like another certain golden domer’ the 49ers once drafted…the Spot, like many 49er fans are sick and tired of two things, a) watching Alex Smith get sacked again…and again…and again and b) watching the 49er secondary get torched for those wonderful 60 yard bombs on a weekly basis…or c) all of the above.  So with that, look for the 49ers go to defensive with pick #13 and select Corner Back Joe Haden out of the University of Florida (no, he doesn’t get to bring Tim Tebow along) and at pick #17 Offensive Lineman Mike Iupati from the University of Idaho, who will bring some versatility, toughness…and maybe even a sack or two of Idaho russet potatoes, to the 49ers O-Line.

Now, with the 8th pick in the first round of this year’s NFL draft…the Oakland Raiders select…The Valley Sports Spot, 5 foot 11 inches tall linebacker from…ok, ok, ok I'm really not going to be the Raiders pick, but hey, could I really do as bad as last year’s pick?  Well Raider fans, with Al Davis still at the controls, and firmly stuck in 1976, look for the Raiders to select Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant.  Why?...because he’s fast and can stretch the field, and that, in Al Davis’ world, makes you the perfect raaaiiidah…oh yeah, and your current crop of Wide Recievers, to put it bluntly, suck.

Speaking of the 49ers and Raiders, Valley and Nor Cal football fans finally got to see what their seasons will look like as the NFL released its 2010 Schedule.  The 49ers get 4 prime time match ups including a game vs. the defending Super Bowl Champs the New Orleans Saints, and the NFL’s annual London football game vs. Manchester United…oh wait, WRONG football…that would be vs. the Denver Broncos….The Raiders…well, they get no prime time games but they do make a trip to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers.  Early word is that team wives and daughters are NOT allowed on that road trip….the Spot’s early predictions for both teams…look for the 49ers to go 11-5 and win the NFC West…look for the Raiders, to, well…hopefully get rid of Jamarcus Russell sometime before the Social Security trust fund runs out.

Congrats to Pacific Women’s Water Polo, which won the Big West regular season championship this past weekend with a sweep over both Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara.  With championship in tow, the first ever for Pacific Women’s Water Polo, the aqua-Tigers (not to be confused with aquaman, aqua force or even aqua velva) head into the Big West Tournament this weekend in the LBC, as the #1 seed and prohibitive favorite.

Throwing some love up to our neighbors in Davis, congrats are also in order for the UC Davis Women’s Golf Team as they too won their first ever Big West Conference Championship on Tuesday, earning them a berth in next month’s NCAA regionals.  The Spot’s favorite golf moment you ask?...finishing the 9th hole at Bartley Cavanaugh in Sacramento, ordering a Double Cheeseburger and fries, and having it delivered out to him by the time he hit the 12th green…

Speaking of UC Davis, as the Spot wrote earlier in the week, the ax recently fell on 4 sports that once called UC Davis home.  But as expected, it’s not all going away quietly.  Now Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee isn’t happy that Women’s Crew  was cut, and also offers up that a Title IX lawsuit may be in the works against a school that hasn’t had the best of history with issues related to Title IX.

We’re a week into the Spring Signing season, so it’s time to see what our Valley DI schools have been up to hoops wise on the recruiting circuit, here’s a quick round-up of who’s signed so far, and any other tid bits of importance the Spot’s found out…

Sac St. Hornets:
Coach Brian Katz has come up with a couple of recruits who have signed with the Hornets as he tries to improve what has always been a horribly bad talent base for Sac State Basketball…Kendall Groom, a 6-3 point guard from Hyde Leadership HS in Conneticut, and 6-3 guard Antoine Proctor from Sheridan College in Wyoming.  The Hornets have 4 scholarships remaining to give, with no word on who they might be targeting with those final four.

UC Davis Aggies:
The UC Davis men seem to have everything set recruiting wise…ESPN even ranked them with the 8th best class among mid-majors…Their recruiting class includes fall signees Mike Kurtz, a 7 footer from Roseville (Woodcreek HS), Josh Richart of Forest Lake Christian and Alex Tiffin, a 6-8 forward from Thousand Oaks. 

Pacific Tigers:
Ahh, the fun that is Pacific Tiger basketball recruiting these days….who’s this guy, who’s that guy…who’s leaving….well, lets take a deep breath and start from the beginning…seems as if Everson Lacerda and Sporty Carter (via his twitter account) are on the way out opening up scholarship spots for commit 6-3 two guard Jose Rivera of Citrus Community College and 6-2 18 year old Aussie Spencer Llewellyn (hey, if his facebook page says it….)  Who are the other targets?  Rumor has it the Tigers are in play for big men Ajak Magot from Arizona (has also received interest from BYU and Oregon State) and Rundell Mauge of North Platte CC who had received interest from TCU, Texas and Baylor coming out of high school.

Ok ok…so the Spot kinda’ took the Pacific Women’s Basketball program behind the woodshed in last week’s “odds and ends”, but he’ll give Coach Robert’s the proper respect this week with the Lady Tigers signing of Ashley Wakefield, from the College of the Canyons, who also just happens to be the Ca Community College Player of the Year.  Anytime you can add a player of that caliber to your program, it’s a major coup, especially for a team coming off a 6-22 season.

Fresno State Bulldogs:
The Bulldogs seem to be stocking up for possible WAC dominance for the next few years with their recruiting haul this spring.  Yes, the Spot has recently said the Bulldog hoopsters might be in for a long season with  losing a majority of their scoring to graduation (Sylvester Seay) and going pro (Ryan George) and their best defender decided to transfer (Brandon Sperling).  But with the mass exodous of talent from the WAC in the last week (Luke Babbit, Nevada- gone, Armon Johnson, Nevada- gone, Jahmar Young, New Mexico St.- gone) the WAC will be losing 13 of its top 15 scorers from last year.  As for the Bulldog’s spring haul, they’ve pulled in combo guard Tyler Johnson of St. Francis-Mountain View, Las Vegas Point Guard Kevin Olekaibe (led the State of Nevada in scoring) and Forward Bracken Funk out of Utah, who joins the Bulldogs after a two year Mormon mission.  All of the sudden, things seem to be looking up for Bulldog Basketball.

Speaking of recruits, for San Jose State, their biggest men’s basketball recruit this spring is already on the team.  Former Modesto Christian (there’s your valley connection folks!) star Adrian Oliver, who was 4th in the nation in scoring this past year, recently announced his intention to stay in Spartanland for another year to finish his degree and get another year under his belt to better prep for the NBA.

Do you have a baseball loving youngster in the Modesto area?  If so, then you’re in luck as the City of Modesto is partnering with the San Francisco Giants for their 6-week “Junior Giants Program”, which is free to all participants.  There is however, absolutely no truth to the rumor that the Giants will also be scouting for a power hitting right fielder after their just completed display of offensive anemia in their sweep at the hands of the San Diego Padres. (1-hit a team and STILL lose? Really?)

Staying on the baseball beat, it’s time to throw some love towards the Pacific Tigers Baseball team.  The Tigers currently stand at 22-13, including taking 2 out of 3 from no. 25 UC Irvine this past weekend.  Enjoying their best season since…since….well since the Spot can ever remember.  Could a trip to the NCAA regionals be in store?  We have another month or so to find out!

Last but defnitley not least for all you hockey fans out there, The Stockton-Bakersfield Kelly Cup Playoff series moves up to Stockton with the Thunder up 2 games to 1 on the Bakersfield Condors (Bakersfield just won game 3, 3-0).  Games 4 and 5 are at the Stockton Arena this Friday and Saturday…go figure, our very own version of the Stanley Cup here in the Valley…somewhere Maurice "The Rocket" Richard is spinning in his grave.

Looking for some weekend fun? are the Spot’s picks for the weekend…

Playoff Hockey!!! Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th the Stockton Thunder take on the Bakersfield Condors at the Stockton Arena in games 4 and 5 of their Kelly Cup semi-final series.  First thousand fans to Friday’s game get the Thunder’s version of the “terrible towel”!

Stockton Asparagus Festival- Saturday the 24th-  It’s gonna be a busy weekend in Stockton.  Saturday’s events at the Asparagus Festival include the annual Spear-It 5k run at 8am, starting at the Weber Point Events Center, and followed up by…yes, you’ve been waiting for it…the high noon showdown called the “World Deep Fried Asparagus Eating Championship", where none other than Kobayashi-slayer Joey Chestnut seeks to regain his title.  Word on the street is that the Spot may rush the stage post contest and challenge Chestnut to a steel-cage linguica eating match.

FC Gold Pride vs. Atlanta Beat-Women’s Professional Soccer- Saturday 24th, 7pm- Castro Valley HS Stadium- What’s this you say, a 2nd week of having an FC Gold Pride game on the Spot’s weekend picks?  Does he own stock in the team?  Is he dating one of the players?  No no no…but since I wasn’t able to attend last weekend’s home opener as planned (thank god for mom’s chicken noodle soup, cause the Spot was deathly ill!) so he’ll be making it out for this week’s match up vs. the Expansion Atlanta Beat.  Plus hey, its Teddy Bear Toss Night, and who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned teddy bear toss!!!

‘Tiill next week Spot fans…Odds and Ends is over and out! 

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