that is nice bonus change
panthera leo fututio
- Member for
- 5 years 49 weeks
- View recent blog entries
|3 weeks 1 day ago||MSU sign||
I've been on a bit of an Eastbound and Down kick lately, and the thing that strikes me about the MSU sign isn't the carelessness with spellcheck or the unfamiliarity with "whereas", it's the fact that the whole sign is written in straight-up Kenny Powers prose. Not in the sense of explicit references to genitalia or intoxicants, but in the sense of being a pompous impersonation of some made-up narration of a virtuous warrior on a solemn quest, or some bullshit.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Analysis and reflection vs. the reading of recruiting tea leaves||
I'll admit to not following Brandon's posts very closely, but I'd agree that both the content and style of his writing seemed quite a bit different than those of Brian/Ace/Seth. This is obviously very subjective, but I just don't care much at all about predictions about where a guy might end up committing in 6 months. Which is not to say that I don't care about recruiting -- I love reading scouting reports, seeing the strengths and weaknesses of the guys who are coming here or going elsewhere. But when it comes to psychoanalyzing tweets or terse phone interviews with16yo kids who would rather be doing something else, I'll pass.
Aside from my (again, very subjective) disinterest in the content of recruiting speculations, I don't think that they lend themselves to the sort of prose that makes this site really extraordinary. It's that prose that I think is really indispensible to this site, and I'm more than OK seeing the task of bugging teenagers take a back seat to it.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||Joakim Noah||
I wouldn't mind seeing another true center on the team, and I think he'd be the best candidate. I know we're building for the future and all, but I'd still rather see him then Cousins, given his passing ability and the team-centered nature of his emotional volatility.
|4 weeks 6 days ago||To my ear, Illmatic is||
To my ear, Illmatic is probably the best thing ever done, though I'm not prepared for a vigorous defense of my ear.
|5 weeks 23 hours ago||Fluctuations||
As you say, it takes a while to put on good weight without also adding a lot of bad weight. But it also takes time to lose a lot of bad weight without losing good weight.
In other words: a guy who slowly gets to a lean 250 lbs is probably going to be a lot stronger than the same guy who gets to a fluffier 275 and then drops down to 250 in a month.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||I make no arguments about||
I make no arguments about what effects the athletic department at Michigan has on the University as a whole, nor vice versa. These have nothing to do with the claim of ultimate importance -- you can argue that a healthy AD is good for the rest of the University, but this does not at all rebut the claim that the rest of the University is what really matters.
That last bit is all I'm claiming: that the University of Michigan is an educational institution. What matters in the end is its performance as such.
I.e. academics are more important than athletics.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||"athletics and academics are both equally important"||
Granted, we're on a Michigan sports blog. But these are shockingly misplaced priorities.
As an earlier poster noted, the University's mission statement doesn't preclude a strong role for athletics, but it certainly doesn't necessitate one, either. The reason universities exist is to train young people and to advance scholarship. End of story.
|5 weeks 6 days ago||Honest question||
Is it really the case that robust football and basketball programs increase non-athletic alumni donations? Looking at a list of universities with the largest alumni donation sums, it's clear that prominent athletic departments aren't a prerequisite. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-12/college-donations-rise-to-recor...) But is there some evidence to suggest that sports play a big role once you control for alumni wealth?
I'm genuinely agnostic on this and would welcome persuasive evidence either way.
|6 weeks 4 hours ago||Great essay||
I don't know if it has more to do with Michigan's prior NBA drought, the circumstances of his tourny run, or with the character of Trey himself, but I get the feeling that there were a lot of us who turned out to see the Trey Burke NBA Tour last year. I donned all the Michigan gear I own to watch him come to the Staples Center and play the Lakers.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||I'll go along with that||
My main point is just that I don't see Walton solidifying himself as a 1st round pick in the next two years (as Lawson was able to do, and as I doubt Ferrell will be able to do either). I'd be happy to be wrong about that, and I'll be happy to have him running point in either case.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Agree on Kaminsky||
As for Walton/Lawson: I like the size comparison, but Lawson has freakish end-to-end speed and can get up a lot higher than Walton. Lawson was also a lot more productive his freshman year.
Like I said above, I love Walton's game, but one of the reason's that I'm so stoked about his play last year is that I really don't see him leaving before his eligibility is up.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||All bigger than Walton||
Every guy you mentioned measured out at 6'1" or better (given the...idiosyncratic...standards of combine measurement) with wingspans of 6'3.5" or better -- this is significantly bigger than what I'd expect Walton to measure at.
EDIT: I see that Silva and Napier actually only had 6'3" and 6'3.25" wingspans, respectively (which is still longer than I'd expect Walton to measure). Probably not coincidentally, these guys were both also 4-year players. The other guys are also either much more explosive than Walton (Flynn, Bledsoe, Walker) and/or have a much longer reach (Burke at 6'5.5", Bledsoe at 6'7.5").
|6 weeks 2 days ago||I love Walton's game, but I||
I love Walton's game, but I don't see him as having the size to be a first round pick. He's listed at 6'1", but I'd be very surprised if he measures out at that, even with shoes, and he seems to have really short arms for his height. The only player drafted at all in the last three years who's as small as Walton is Pierre Jackson, and he was taken in the 2nd round (and has significantly more vertical explosion).
|7 weeks 4 days ago||"Fighting for the right to be||
"Fighting for the right to be assaulted by much larger people" is not, I think, an accurate reading of any form of feminism.
|8 weeks 2 days ago||Effect of being taken in the 2nd round||
My initial inclination was to agree more with Mat, re: the costs/benefits of being taken in the 2nd round. However, it looks like there really is a fairly sharp downgrade in career prospects for players taken at the beginning of the 2nd compared to those taken at the end of the 1st: Harvard sports guy.
|11 weeks 1 day ago||Clay Travis||
Clay Travis is "not sufficiently sophisticated/wordly in the way I'd prefer" in the same sense that a man defecating on my front lawn is "not sufficiently mannered/hygienic in the way I'd prefer."
|11 weeks 1 day ago||NBA Jam skillz||
Lou Bullock and Brent Petway
I love Beilein so much.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||I don't disagree that serious malfeasance went on||
I don't disagree that serious malfeasance went on at UNC. But the point that I think Perrin makes is that UNC (to the extent it exists as a monolithic entity) doesn't actually disagree either, that Willingham and Smith are presenting a false narrative of obstruction and denial on the part of current University administration, and that meaningful steps have been taken to avoid future malfeasance.
Getting back to the OP, none of this is to necessarily let Williams off the hook. But I'd be hesitant to throw too much shade on the current UNC leadership, and I'd be especially wary to accept arguments from Willingham and Smith at face value.
|11 weeks 4 days ago||Thanks for the link||
I don't mean to come off as a reactionary defender of UNC (I really don't have much at stake personally), but I'm not overly persuaded by the arguments layed out here. They basically attack a press release for...being a press release. It's not clear to me that the absence of scathing, public self-critique in such a communication is any evidence at all that the university hasn't taken misconduct seriously. Further arguing from the presence of multiple committees to the necessary failure of each committee also strikes me as weak, as does their attack on the use of aggregate GPAs among student athletes.
There also seems to be a lack of attention to factual detail in the piece, referring to [James] Michael McAdoo a football player. While this might be a meaningless typo, it seems congruent with a general carelessness with facts that might be characteristic of the arguing parties. The people responsible for the article, Jay Smith and Mary Willingham, were called out specifically by the sociology professor Andrew Perrin in the 2nd link I provided above http://scatter.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/media-sociology-from-the-other-side/:
"Early on in the scandal, the paper — mostly through the work of Dan Kane, who is the main journalist working on this set of stories — has developed a viewpoint that believes the University is monolithic, defensive, and evasive. This viewpoint isn’t particularly amenable to evidence; rather, it seems to structure the way Kane approaches each element of the story, assuming and expecting malfeasance. This is facilitated by the active work of Jay Smith and Mary Willingham, who are fostering that narrative and viewpoint.
I don’t believe that viewpoint is accurate; in fact, I think that the university administration has been remarkably methodical and transparent in its approach to the situation, has provided lots of information, and has been unusually open to involving faculty in the processes of investigation and reform. Despite there being ample information available on these processes, the N&O has not reported on any of that, preferring instead to focus on sensationalism. Examples include the focus on Ms. Willingham instead of investigating the substance of her claims; the recent article essentially reprinting an evidence-free claim of “bullying” by the Government Accountability Project; and a news story in yesterday’s paper about the fact that a group of retired faculty wrote an op-ed in the same paper. In each of these cases, there is no serious attempt to assess the situation."
"CNN has gleefully reprinted, with no skepticism whatsoever, claims that have turned out to be either factually untrue or highly questionable, such as the content of Mary Willingham’s MA thesis, the number of very-underprepared student-athletes at UNC, and the actual character of a now-famous “paper” she insinuated was a final paper that received an A- grade (it wasn’t, and it didn’t)."
Given their history of sensationalism and carelessness with factual argument, I'd at the very least treat arguments orginating with Smith and Willingham with a healthy dose of care.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Insider UNC perspective||
Andrew Perrin, a sociologist at UNC and a contributor at a fairly prominent academic social science blog, wrote a few weeks ago on his experience as a member of the UNC faculty group that sought to investigate and reform academic misconduct. http://scatter.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/the-unc-athletics-scandal-in-context/
Give the post as much credence as you'd like, but it certainly appears as though the university as a whole took the scandal seriously; there have been concrete actions to improve institutional oversight, and the people in charge of the most grievous failings have been fired and in one case prosecuted. (Perrin provides a bit more detail here, focusing more on the nature of the media coverage of the scandal. As Michigan fans, we might not be surprised to see the local paper erring on the side of sensationalism in the scandal's aftermath.)
[Full disclosure: my girlfriend is a UNC grad]
|11 weeks 5 days ago||Other beneficiaries||
People who can't afford to own cars themselves, and people who like to not get killed by cars.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||The ax in question||
Whatever the cause, it seems like McCants and his family have had a strong dislike for Williams for some time. Most notably, his dad made this oft-quoted statement a few years ago:
"THE CURRENT COACH IS A PIECE OF (EXPLETIVE) (EXPLETIVE) AND i DON'T RECOMMEND ANYONE GET RECRUITED BY HIM HE WILL WRECK YOUR CAREER IF YOU ARE NOT AWARE OF HIS UNDERHANDED TACTIC AND INSINCERITY. BEWARE!!!!!!!" [all-caps in original]
I don't make any claim to knowing the backstory here. But the fact that just about everyone who has ever come in contact with McCants has a pretty low opinion of him is enough to provide me with some priors...
|11 weeks 5 days ago||True but not new||
I don't doubt that McCants (and players like him, at UNC and just about every other big-sports university) received academic treatment well outside of the standards professed by the NCAA. I would tend to doubt, however, the veracity [voraciously] of any of his specific claims; he clearly has an ax to grind, and he's regarded as hyper-untrustworthy, even by people who have no interest in seeing UNC dodge scandal. In other words, I don't think his claims give us any new information RE unethical behavior at UNC.
|11 weeks 5 days ago||McCants||
McCants isn't exactly a reliable witness here. Quite a few people have come out saying what a head case he is since he came forward the other day, including people like Julius Hodge who have no UNC affiliation. He also apparently has a long-standing antipathy for Williams, one that doesn't appear to be shared by many other players. Beyond this, McCants had a media quote from his playing days in which he compared his experience at UNC to being in prison, on account of how he was always expected to show up to things like class.
|11 weeks 6 days ago||Not just the corporate world||
James C Scott wrote a really interesting book, Seeing Like a State, on the consequences of state programs to make complex entities more measurable from a centralized perspective. Bending over backwards to make outcomes more legible does bad things.
|12 weeks 3 days ago||I really like the Jamal Crawford comparison||
Crawford's quicker and Stauskas is stronger, but in terms of their length, fluidity, ability to score off the dribble, take a few minutes at point, weaknesses on defense, I think they have a lot of similarities.
|13 weeks 1 day ago||I'm not sure if "Xs and Os"||
I'm not sure if "Xs and Os" is the right term, but I think that understanding a team's defensive philosophy -- being able to mike the right rotations in a reflexive sort of way, knowing which way you're forcing the dribbler in different situations, etc. -- is a pretty big deal. It's not the same as memorizing a 100-page play book, but it can still definitely take some time. If you look at players' defensive win shares, for example, they tend to rise for their first few years in the league, even when those players are physically well-developed (see Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, etc.).
Also, with respect to physical maturity, I think McGary definitely has room for improvement. He's old for his class, but I'm assuming that his "weightroom age" is still pretty young. I think he can definitely still benefit from dropping body fat, adding lean mass, and gaining more explosiveness.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Sorry for crazy-man||
Sorry for crazy-man self-reply; was responding to someone via the app whose comments have been caved.
|13 weeks 5 days ago||Let me assure you||
If traveling were called differently 20 years ago, you'd still be on this message board griping about the decline of the NBA, with reference to your past non-career. Also, did you ever watch Patrick Ewing play?
|13 weeks 5 days ago||There have definitely been some rough spots --||
There have definitely been some rough spots -- I've been disappointed with the Thunder all postseason, most of the East is still a relative tire fire, etc. But we're still likely to see two legitimately great teams in the finals in the Heat and Spurs. And what's the comparison group? Whatever you feel about the excitement and loyalties at play in college, the level of play in (even a relatively down) NBA playoffs is massively higher. And I'd also argue that overall quality of play in today's game is at the very least comparable to the Golden Era of the mid-/late-80s.