Sunday, May 24, 2020

News elsewhere

There are two names in the news (as well as a lot of others).

Ryan Leaf and Madison Bell.  The latter is the better story.

First, former phenom Leaf.  Sometimes I enjoy reading comments on news stories like his but not this time.  Precious little is known about the domestic battery incident so there are no new facts to be gleaned.  Comments like "arrested again" or "he'll never learn" are pointless. 

What is known is that his fiancee of three years with whom he has a child is the victim (this has not been reported per se, but I am assuming it is fact).  There are civil and family problems and there are criminal ones; they don't arrest you in your home and put you in jail unless there is evidence.  Someone has to be in danger.  This is a breaking point and an indication that it has happened before and that it is not a blissful situation.

Two, you cannot have a network sports announcer with this kind of thing in the news.  When it happens again the past is fair game, and Leaf's is not a pleasant one to review.  It means an end to the resurgence of his career.  As for the unmarried wife and family (she is an independent producer whose career may be tied to his), that may take a hit too.

I don't know if Leaf is an entertaining or capable football analyst.  There are strong hints that his career was propped-up by "football legends," ex-football players, and a public university Leaf played for long ago.  The very public stories about his rebirth, rejuvenation, wisdom, honesty, rebirth, or whatever you want to call it are nauseating.  It is like a cult religious group.  It is more like proselytizing than anything worth paying attention to.

The only real reason to follow the Ryan Leaf story at the is point is epicaricacy, better known as the German schadenfreude.

Madison Bell is the eighteen year-old Highland County, OH woman who went missing for a week.  She left the keys in the ignition of her car in a church parking lot with her phone.  She had gone to a tanning salon and her high school graduation was in a few hours when she disappeared.

She did not tell anyone.  Her mother and boyfriend -- I swear I read her "live-in boyfriend of five years -- are pictured above.  

Now it is reported that she left to start a new life.  

No Students No Football

The simplest, smartest decision I have ever seen.

Friday, May 15, 2020

List of losers

I have written this a hundred times:  Ann Arbor is a difficult (and I think) unpleasant place.

This part I have never written.  Not so for high profile athletes, e.g., men's football and basketball.  Everyone wants to win and it is college athletics at the highest level.  Everyone on these teams is competitively recruited and knows exactly what they are in for.

Michigan usually plays Purdue a couple of times a year.  I am familiar, but I had never heard of Nojel Eastern.  He was a highly-ranked prospect with a Michigan offer, so...

I can shop myself around and get two years free at a good school for one year playing.  So far my basketball career has not been much but I am a star and I want people to give me the love I deserve.

For Michigan it means nothing for next year unless that entitlement thing pops up again.  One year!

The team consists of a few Beilein leftovers who can play.  The coaches son.  Someone who decommited from another school; bets on if he stays four years?  A rent-a-grad transfer.  A player (Livers) who cannot make up his mind if he is in or out.  And the two worst players from the bench (Davis and Nunez).

Unless they win a lot to start the season in the late Fall, I do not foresee watching a lot of games.  A mish-mosh of transfers doesn't speak to the future or getting better at all.  It is looking like Juwan Howard is in over his head.  The 5-star thing was never going to work. He is playing catch-up and it looks bad.

It was a short season and now it is a very long off season with not much to look forward to.  The news, that's all we have, is a downward spiral.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Books and movies

It is nice to have literate, like-minded friends (all but one who I always skip over), even if on the web.

I used to do that, specifically, read books for movies I really liked, and of course it is easier to watch a movie of a great book.

Two that come to mind are The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and An Unmarried Woman.  Then there is an obvious one, The Firm.  Heart of Darkness.  Of course To Kill a Mockingbird.  Others that come to mind are The Bonfire of the Vanities, Disclosure, Georgy Girl, and...  My favorite novel, The Associates by John Jay Osborne, Jr. was made into a TV series; he also wrote The Paper Chase.  I'll think of some more...

The Prince of Tides, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline.  The Diary of Bridget Jones.

I got some ideas. This is a high priority.  And I am going to watch the whole movies this time (Into the Wild) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, including the newer version with Gary Oldman.  A Confederacy of Dunces is fantastic advice; sounds a like The Moviegoer and Walker Percy is a favorite.

Wasn't Investment Biker made into a video?  Gosh, I can do better than that.  But I'm glad I cleaned out my bookshelves!

Gorky Park is another favorite novel.  Catch-22.  You have not lived until you have read a William Styron novel and you will never forget Sophie's Choice, either way you will experience writing done as well as you can do it.  The Mosquito Coast; more Paul Thereoux, although I can't think of any movies.  Richard Russo, Nobody's Fool.  The Russia House.

I'll stop for now.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

During the virus

  Snyder Funeral Homes Denzler Chapel Facebook page
The whole link.

This was not meant to be snarky at all.  The point is, sometimes you have to beat Ohio.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Everybody loves me.

Mr. Jones wishes he was someone just a little more funky.

Coach Howard has egg on his face.  The whole basketball team, leaving, coming, or staying, is not looking good.  Neither are alumni or fans.  Some, like Sam Webb and 24/7, look worse than others.

I cannot help myself and I am going to post a pictue of Juwan Howard here.  There will always be news at Michigan and this cycle was unusually bad.  It is a 100% self-made flop perpetuated over the course of about six months (that is how long Isaiah Todd was committed).

Right now Howard's gaff is who he is and what he is known for.

To be played by a couple of 18-year olds and have it amplified by the minute over and over again for weeks is not something that will be forgotten because there is also his history.

You know what the sign of a real blogger is?  Never delete or go back and change.  Even after you die.  Blog posts live on.

Some of us, all we had to go on was the real news and the numbers.  Once the toothpaste is out of the tube...  Livers and Wagner looking at the NBA.  Davis and Nunez staying; DeJulius and Castelton leaving.  The one-year transfer from from the Ivy League.  The coach's son and not a lot more guaranteed in terms of new blood.  We were fooled to believe Howard had the answer.

I read the tea leaves wrong.  Davis and Nunez are the future.

There were clues, of course.  It is impossible to tell from tidbits on the web.  One has to form their own opinions.  As always, it helps to look at what is not there.  Quotes I say from his father did not say anything about wanting an education or going to college, but he did mention preparation for "the league."

The two five stars, Todd and Christopher, have not accomplished a thing yet.  To be honest, neither has coach Howard.  Zeb Jackson stuck with it.  Franz Wagner comes from an amazing family and he remained committed too.

This season past was around .500 in the Big Ten.  While not given a ton of roster from Beilein, the team had Teske and Simpson, neither of whom expanded or excelled under Howard, and a few others.  The team showed flashes but they seemed to be exploitable.  My personal guess is that a long run in the tournament was unlikely.  The season was played and don't blame it on the lack of two tournaments--which could have been two games--to change it.

This is what has happened afterward.  Egg.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Bball News

The next signing period is approaching.  Everyone is stuck in nowhere's ville.  You could do worse than at least a year at Michigan.

These decisions happened in reverse:  Josh Christopher is coming so DDJ is leaving.  It is a fine line for all to negotiate, but ultimately the leaver or leavee bears the burden.  They are out, need to find a new home, and WILL sit out for a year.  It is not about hardship in anyway; it is about being the last man out and doing it volutarily.

Same goes for Colin Castleton.  Hello Isaiah Todd.

What a juggling act. 


Update to the roster, apparently Jace will walk on.  Jaron Faulds is a walk on too.

This just in:  Colin Castleton too.  Don't know why, he would suffer long stretches on the bench.  He was simply not used.

More to the point, it appears Juwan has a plan.  Maybe inviting all the crummy guys back--in Nunez' case, with a 4-year scholarship, there isn't much you can do except intentionally injure him--is the smart thing given the room.

David DeJulius entering the damn spaceship (i.e., in the portal) and getting inquiries means it is happening.  He is a good player but he could very well not have been the guy to lead the team.  He is more like Davis and Nunez in that he is nice to have around too, but not quite where things could be.

I have written about this many times before, under Beilein the roster was almost always thin and in that respect the roster has to be upgraded.  A bunch of good players is a start.  Now let's see if it comes together as a team with championship potential.

In some ways MBB has to forget the old system.  Only Howard knows at this point.

I do not like the whole testing the waters and agent thing.  What is it, now you can hire an agent and still return to school?  It depends what you are in it for.  The rule still holds, if you are first round and a guaranteed professional, go.  But if you are on the fence, make up your mind.  Half-assed is no way to do anything, especially when, whether you realize it or not, others are involved.

What happens afterward is anyone's guess and ex-Michigan players are all over the map.  Tractor Traylor is dead.  Rumeal Robinson went to prison.  Derrick Walton hangs on professionally with 10-day contracts.

There are those with solid careers after bugging-out.  I wonder how it affects Franz, because brother Moe is one who has a healthy NBA career going on now.  We cannot count Duncan Robinson because he stayed more than four years in college.

The moral of this story?  Remember Lupi Valez, I mean, Adrien Nunez?

You cannot get sued and lose if you didn't do anything wrong.

Even if you are terrible, you cannot be kicked off the team if you haven't done anything wrong.  Nunez and Davis fit in.  If you survive, and that is not easy on and off the court, it is a four year scholarship.  A coach could make life so miserable for someone that they would want to leave, theoretically.  Howard has done the right thing.

The fifth year for Davis is an indication that the future status of Castleton was known.  Not so much that there would be room for him (Davis), but that no other experienced bigs were returning.

David DeJulius too could have stayed.  He can shoot and he can drive and there is no reason to think he is not a very good passer too.  That is a subtle comparison to Zavier Simpson.  You never know in these situations because everyone says the right things, but I have to think DDJ's leaving is because his growth--no pun--is stunted at Michigan.

It is tough to see them go, but expect when there are problems and there have been none on the basketball team since the days of Frieder and Fisher, it is the player-student's choice.

For the team it means a lot more Eli Brooks next year.  Right now there is no one else.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Michigan sports during the virus

This is blog.  You know, web log or "blog."  It is an historical, albeit opinionated, record.

The jury is still out on Juwan Howard and MBB.  One has to read between the lines because "putting your name in" or "mother says he wants to come back" are not done deals, but right now 2020-2021 does not look good.

Who will be back?  Adrien Nunez is arguably the worst player on the team.  He appears, actually he looks as though he may have physical capabilities, but mentally he is almost never in a play and he cannot make a shot.  Apparently he will be back.

To have some returning players is nice, but yet another year of Austin Davis does nothing for me as a potential viewer.  Who else will be on the team for sure next year (i.e., we have not heard anything about them leaving), is Eli Brooks, Brandon Johns, Colin Castleton, and Cole Bejema.  Zeb Jackson is signed.  That makes 7 out of 13.  (Based on playing time and "circumstances, I suspect Castleton will leave; again, no specific reason to assume that).

On the fence/halfway out.  Isaiah Livers has put his name in for the NBA and is likely gone.  I suspect that leaving is likely for Franz Wagner too; he is as good, with as much potential (compared to Livers) plus he has international basketball experience.  The team's best player at the end of the year, David DeJulius has expressed and interest to leave and that seldom is reversed.

I could still be 7/13, without anyone I would say I look forward to seeing them play.  Brooks and Johns are solid and Jackson has potential.

At this moment Isaiah Todd is looking even more iffy.  Apparently M has been removed from his Twitter page.  Five star recruits can be that way, in terms of commitment to the team and years on campus. Ann Arbor, Michigan is not a place I would want to live and Michigan is a tough school.  I absolutely do not see 5-star recruits from distances as long-term solutions.

Let me see, the 7-foot center (Dickinson), the smallish power forward (Williams), the coaches son (Jace).  Who am I missing?  No one.

Tomorrow:  the football team.

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Zavier Simpson and Jon Teske have the most wins.

Jordan Morgan is near the top of the list too.

Just when we need it most, when you don't want to read the news, sports are gone.

One soundbite that lingers is from the great LeBron:  "I aint playing in no empty auditorium."

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Michigan basketball is like Michigan football.

Michigan football is like Michigan basketball.

It is like high school.  It is a local 2- or 3-hour event and that is it.  Add in pregame and postgame and you can extend it.

I just saw a nice Austin Davis play.  He blocked-out no one and the shooter got the rebound and put it in.

I knew they were going to play but, well the second half was half over.  It is not surprising they are showing some spark at home against a second division team.

Just like Michigan football.  Harbaugh is there.  Beilein too.

I don't know what is going on with the roster.  Coach's son.  Nunez and Castleton likely candidates to leave.  Livers and Wagner too.

Big Country does not mean Austin Davis.  Him staying is not good news.

Zavier Simpson just took a wild jump shot.  Senior night and Jon Teske is smiling.  He is a good guy out of the John Beilein mold.  Now Z himself is coming out.  They both stuck around and they always played hard.

The news here is Franz may be one to leave also.  He could be a pro, if not in the NBA somewhere else in the world.

Who is that former Michigan player announcer?  The whole thing smacks of a local celebration--they are entitled--rather than a championship basketball game.

You cannot go back.  The losses against Wisconsin and Ohio State were real clunkers.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

How hard can it be to watch a little pirated TV?  Vipbox.bootleg is experiencing a bad patch so we had to 123 it, as in searching for any video or television station by googling it along with 123tv.

Michigan never gives up and they will prove it again in 7 minutes.

I wonder where Georgetown calls home these days, because they sure don't have an arena like that on campus.

It is now under 5 minutes so we do not have much time before tip-off.

It hurts to lose to Big Ten rivals and to Wisconsin also.  They are not as sure-fire a grudge match as Michigan State or Ohio State, but they are always there at or near the top.  They don't seem to ever win anything, but Wisconsin is always good.

I didn't instigate it, but there was talk about the coaching, specifically, the lineup.  This is Juwan Howard, the man who immediately removed autobenching based on fouls.  Now he decides to do it before the game even starts in failing to put Simpson and DeJulius out there to start the game.

That is a contradiction.

More rational criticism revolves around the game itself.  It has also been said or written that the reason Michigan lost the game is their failure to both shoot and defend the 3-point shot.  Wisconsin was chanting "Tough 2's" so it was hardly a secret.  Michigan could not react because Howard did not react.

The players are not allowed to, and do not, give up.  Coaching has to put them in the best position.  'My bad,' as Juwan was heard to say, does not cut it.

This is one thing Howard is a ideologue about:  Michigan always starts the game by going to Jon Teske and it fails.

Eli Brooks is still a good looking guy.

I am not ready to make Austin Davis a star.  If Juwan Howard is so great with bigs, what is the problem with Jon Teske?  Michigan is usually better when he is on the bench.

Google "Jon Teske missed shot."

Here comes Colin Castlton.  It is starting to get bizarre, the substitution patterns.  A theory has been put forward--I am the one who started it--that maybe Juwan is not such a great coach after all.  Suppose Michigan continues to lay an egg as the tournaments start, could the recruiting class fall apart?  Much of it is still speculation at this point.

Ohio State is killing Michigan from 3-pt range.  Again.  A la Wisconsin.

Sometimes I am really struck by the resilience of the Michigan players...

John Beilein is going to get another job.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A win over Michigan would give us another quad 1 win. We already have a bunch of impressive wins, but there’s no such thing as too many of them heading into March.

The Badgers are as hot as any team in the country at the moment. We’ve rattled off four straight wins, Nate Reuvers is balling, Aleem Ford has stepped up big time, Brad Davison lit up Nebraska, Michah Potter has proven to be a force and D’Mitrik Trice is commanding the offense.

From the Dailycaller, which I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy without a potent adblocker.  I have heard of Reuvers and Davison, but Aleem Ford doesn't even have his own link.  They have won several in a row, but the "article" does not really provide a preview of the game.

To the Badgers credit they have pulled it together since Kobe King left team because someone said a no no.

King will now be appearing for Nebraska.  For now you can find him via "kobe king conditioning coach fired."  The exact wording is "strength coach resigns."

Michigan is rather upbeat in terms of basketball these days too, and the team and Crisler Center make for a tough opponent.  The ESPN predictor has Michigan as a 71% favorite (up from Purdue's 61% figure) in the last game, FWIW.

For Michigan, this game is winnable ahead of bigger games on the schedule.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

GARTHAG?  This sure is an interesting link.  I know that Kansas and Baylor look awfully good, but Minnesota and Penn State?

Minnesota probably is better than their record and I don't know why people are calling for Pitino's job.  They do survive on a lot of transfers.

Penn State beat Michigan too.  Michigan may see one or both in the B1G tournament.  Until then, Wisconsin appears beatable at home and Ohio State and Maryland away will both be difficult.

What Michigan will do with the scholarship situation is a mystery.  They are one over and still recruiting; Isaiah Todd may or may not arrive and everyone is saying Joshua Christopher may replace him if it comes to that.  I'm not a huge fan of coach's sons, but it happens and all indications are Josh is an energetic player and good teammate.  If, and only if, it would be a bold and generous move to pay the tuition and walk on.

It makes good sense to push the numbers, which is something John Beilein would not do.  The team was usually under the scholarship limit under Belein.

On top of that there are rumors Austin Davis could come back.  Who'da thunk it.  Castleton has potential; Nunez and Jaron Faulds (I guess he isn't on scholarship), do not.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Indiana (Purdue)

Beilien will not be going to Kansas or Baylor.  They are too corrupt.

Just a reminder that he did it clean.

Davis is in early because that has proven to be a strength.  Prior to that, Michigan missed shots because they do that.

Livers had a dumb over the back foul.  With him in there Michigan should win because they are the better team.  Purdue is .500.  Still, you have to bring it every game.

Here is a newsflash about Michigan basketball:

When they make shots they are very good.

Right now in the game DeJulius is spelling Simpson and Michigan has its largest lead.  He is a great change of pace from anyone because his is fast.  Now that he is channeling that speed he is dangerous.  He is an upgrade over Simpson as an outside shooter.

We've seen indications of it before -- Michigan is playing a a pro-style isolation offense.

It is a close game.  They are at home and it is an important (i.e., must win) game for Purdue.  Michigan looks like the better team.  If they do not win it will be a shame.  I am going to shut up and listen watch.

Michigan cruised.  It is hard to tell the difference, but it was Franz, not Teske, hitting the 3's. Then it was Livers; I had no idea he is automatic from the free throw line.

Eli Brooks appears to be OK.

In the game, Michigan is starting to look like the Fab 5.  They do not have Chris Webber anymore, but the thing about them was they would get rebounds; they would fight inside and come away with the ball.  Austin Davis, he is aggressive at going after the ball and he is not afraid to bang.  Teske works hard and the ball is there for others.  Even Simpson and DeJulius get rebounds.

Next up is Wisconsin at home and that is an interesting story.  Their second-leading scorer has split.  Brad Davison is still around, but they have cracked down on flopping.  Ethan Happ is on loan from the Greek-owned Olympiacos of the EuroLeague.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

At Rutgers

This was a great game for Michigan.  Earlier DeJulius was seen pounding the floor and trying to high-five Rutgers players after a free throw.  The team was not left barren as they have three good ballhandlers and, perfect for Juwan Howard, bigs who need a little help.

With public servants like Chris Christie in attendance, Michigan played in the Garden State.  Imagine the scene if the Rutgers football team were good and Michigan was in town.  Even in basketball it is still Michigan.

Without Livers it is doable but harder.  Michigan has to scrap and claw for every basket.  They are stagnant and Simpson has the ball a lot.  Often he scores and sometimes he is snuffed.

You try to remain positive and not make it personal.  From a team standpoint, they are not in a good position if Nunez is playing.

Rutgers is attacking Simpson and they are not allowing passes; everyone is standing there and covered.

The first half was dead even with a big 3 for Rutgers at the finish.

Second half just starting and Johns is out with fouls.  Michigan is falling behind.

Everyone in the arena is standing.  It is close to getting out of hand.  This is when you find out.

Michigan will not give up.  That was pretty cool, Castleton and Teske are blocking shots and playing tough down low.  They did it again!  DeJulius got abused (Beilein would be pleased; someone was studying film).  Teske and Castleton are playing big 'n tough in terms of defense and rebounding and it is providing a spark.

That was a beautiful block from the weak side by Castleton.

The reason Livers is so valuable to the Wolverines is they need a slasher.  The standing around is great if some can split it and drive or shoot.  Wagner is doing his best and the right thing to keep shooting.  His shooting form seems to have improved.

In keeping with my POSITIVE attitude --Castleton>Nunez, oops -- it is a close and great game.  Michigan was never going to give up, but right now they are showing more toughness than Rutgers.

THE university of New Jersey.

I think that Moe was always content, but it is nice to see Franz smile like his brother eventually became known for.  He has a smooth free throw stroke.

Michigan is playing strong and smart, but Rutgers is not that good.  They have no one to go to at the end of the game:  no ball handler and no scorer.  If Michigan can pull this one out it will be a VERY big win.

52-46 with FOUR minutes to go.  It is on Rutgers.  Do they have the leadership to pull it out at home?

Eli Brooks has a sweet jump shot.  Up by 9, now 7.

74 seconds.  35.4.  60-52.

Juwan has provided strong leadership.  Tough game.  Michigan played strong and poised.

The box score speaks volumes.  Probably Phil Martelli and Saddi Washington are responsible too.  Look at the minutes.  Juwan Howard has been a master at using the roster.  Franz Wagner plays all the time and as a result he has grown.  Eli Brooks too, and everyone has stuck with him.  Despite the pros and cons, in a game like this the ball needs to be in Simpson's hands.  While solid, Johns did not have it and DeJulius played a big role against Rutgers.  Austin Davis has found a place too, and there is hope for Colin Castleton as well. 

Juwan Howard has been really good with the roster.  There is a sense of positive reinforcement rather than benchings and punishments.  They are a better team than they were under John Beilein.

Purdue is always good.  They will be at home after losing their last three games.  Like every Big Ten team this year they are beatable.