News and Sports Links – June 2, 2011

Memorial Day has passed and it's time for some "Hot Fun in the Summertime." Ain't that right, Sly? Listen to one of his biggest hits by clicking on the album picture.

It’s a short work week, but the summer swings into full gear with vacations, dips in the pool, and finally getting around to those books you have put off reading.

I know you won’t put off reading some links that flew under the radar over the past few days.  Let’s get to the business at hand.

  • Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica critiques the HBO made-for-TV movie “Too Big to Fail”, chronicling the start of the current financial crisis.  Eisinger points out that the movie wasn’t about how Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, and Ben Bernanke was trying to save the nation, but it was how they didn’t see the crisis coming, despite the red flags flying.
  • Eisinger also penned a new article on how it doesn’t pay to be a whistle-blower, as they are ostracized, rather than lauded, by Wall Street for sniffing out corruption and sneaky tactics.  Looks like our quest to stay ethically above the fray means little in today’s society.  Jim Tressel, anyone?
Yale University
  • Brooklyn College journalism professor Ron Howell, a ’70 Yale graduate, pens an eye-opening article in the Yale Alumni Magazine.  He asks if there is added pressure on African-American males to graduate and succeed and if those factors are the cause of their premature and untimely deaths.
  • The great Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites noticed something during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  You may have seen it too.  The microphones that the ESPN crew were using last night looks different.  It’s because it has moving video where the logo would be at.  Ken has the video of what the mic looks like.
  • With the college baseball season winding down and the College World Series making their debut at Omaha’s new TD Ameritrade Park, Joe Favorito of Sports Marketing and PR Roundup asks if college baseball is missing a golden opportunity to gain more attention in the sports world.  Joe lists a few possible reasons.
Mason City's Ryan Voves rounds the bases during the home opener against Des Moines North on Tuesday. (Jeff Heinz/Globe Gazette)
  • Finally Kirk Hardcastle from the Mason City Globe-Gazette covered the prep baseball home opener for Mason City as they hosted Des Moines North on Tuesday night at Roosevelt Field.  Things went sour for the North Polar Bears, really sour, to the tune of a 40-0 polaxing at the hands of the Mohawks.  Fellow sports writer Jared Patterson asks the proverbial question:  “how would you handle a 31-run inning?” 

I did have a few thoughts about the ongoing saga and mess at Ohio State University and the resignation of football coach Jim Tressel, aka Sweater Vest.  If there were any room to add to the Ten Commandments, I would add these two edicts:

Thou shall not lie to the NCAA. 

Thou shall not lie to the federal government. 

Yes, there is a reason why the feds should be investigating issues pertaining to sports:  if MLB, NFL, and the NCAA can’t seem to clean house or get their acts in order, someone has to do it.  Or at least threaten them.

And, no for the one and only time, Kirk Ferentz is not a candidate to replace Tressel.


The Most Valuable Player

On Friday night, good friend and Wartburg alum, and the host of IPTV’s “The Iowa Journal”, Paul Yeager and I ventured to Ames High to watch the top ranked Little Cyclones host the Mason City Mohawks.  Paul was filming some shots of the game for a future piece he’s working on and I got to tag along.

It’s common knowledge by now that Ames is undefeated in Class 4-A boys hoops and one of the main reasons is a young man by the name of Harrison Barnes.  Barnes, who will attend North Carolina next season, was deemed the #1 high school recruit in the nation.  This team is more than Barnes.  Basketball has been and always will be a team sport.  A star player and his four other teammates on the floor have to work together if they want to be successful.

My hack observation of Ames:  with the exception of their point guard Michael Weber (6’1″), the rest of the starters are 6’4″ and taller (James Kohler and Barnes are 6’8″, Doug McDermott is 6’7″, Riley Struve and Kyle Rodgers are 6’4″).  What makes this team tick is that they can run the floor on offense and create shots.  Mason City tried to slow the ball down, Ames stepped into the Mohawks’ passing lanes and intercepted the pass.  Mason City tried to play up to the Little Cyclones’ speed, and that attempt was fruitless.

Early in the game, Paul asked me a question.

“Who do you think will be a starter in college next year?  Barnes or McDermott?”

Without batting an eye, I said “McDermott.” He agreed.

Doug McDermott, the "MVP" of the Ames Little Cyclones. Courtesy of Nirmalendu Majumdar of the Ames Tribune

Granted, all eyes are on Barnes, but think about this:  who is more ready to play college basketball?  Who has the skills that is made to play right away in college?  Which player has a dad who’s a coach?

Doug McDermott is the answer to each of those three questions.  McDermott is fluid and plays effortlessly on the floor.  He’s also not afraid to go down in the lane and rebound and make put-back baskets.  In the 4th quarter, as the game was already decided by halftime, McDermott put on a clinic on the glass and scoring down low.  He finished with 30 points, 3 more than Barnes, and coach Vance Downs took Barnes out of the game with about 5:30 left in the 4th quarter.

Doug McDermott, to me, is the MVP of this team.  He was that last season and he continues to be the MVP this year.  UNI is a perfect fit for him, as he will head up to Cedar Falls next year.

Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen.  Karl Malone had John Stockton.  Dan Fouts had Kellen Winslow.  The main idea is that any team can have a superstar player and they rely on them to help the team win.  But, what gets overlooked, is the second banana who doesn’t mind taking the lesser role and less attention.  It helps them focus on what they do best for their team.

In return, they end up being the most valuable player of the team.