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June 4, 2012It wasn't the BCS Title Game with Colt McCoy healthy and behind center, but don't let that take away from what was an incredibly sweet moment for Orangebloods everywhere on Sunday.
The Texas golf program is proud of its history with names like Crenshaw, Kite and Leonard on the ex-player's list, but 40 years is 40 years and that's how long it had been since the program owned a national championship.
So, it was only appropriate that when the drought finally ended, it did so with a putt that would make Leonard's putt at the Rider Cup nod in approval and a singular talent that one day might very well join the ranks of UT's Golf Mount Rushmore.
Oh, and that it capped off what was an otherwise lackluster 2011-12 athletic year and came against an SEC school that robbed the Longhorns of football glory a few years ago only made it better.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 national champions in men's golf: The Texas Longhorns.
Take a bow, Toni Hakula. Take a bow, Julio Vegas. Take a bow, Cody Gribble. Take a bow, Jordan Spieth. Take a bow, Dylan Frittelli. And take two bows, John Fields.
In defeating the Crimson Tide, this group of men a lot of them very young men took out what had been the number one team in the field throughout the championship week, and it did so while dropping the first two matches to fall into a win-or-else situation with all three of the remaining matches.
Yet Gribble took care of business to give the Longhorns their first match win and then Spieth delivered the goods in a huge way by taking out Bama ace Justin Thomas to cement his all-time legacy as an athlete on the 40 Acres.
That left Frittelli in a position on the 18th hole of his match to either become the hero or the goat. With his opponent flinching in the moment, Frittelli knocked down a 30-foot birdie to clinch the title.
Boom. It's not football, but it's still a really big deal and Longhorn fans everywhere have to hope that this is the spark that lights the fuel for other programs to follow suit.
A few more thoughts
a. I fully expect Fritelli or Gribble to have a son on the 40 Acres in the next 25-30 years on the Longhorn basketball team. That would lead to the next generation of, "Did you know that his dad played with Jordan Spieth?" remarks.
b. Spieth arrived at Texas as the Kevin Durant of the UT golf program and he can leave the 40 Acres knowing that he delivered the goods in every way. Everyone will have a new favorite PGA golfer for the next quarter-century.
c. With the win, Fields joins the Championship club with Mack Brown, Augie Garrido and Eddie Reese all have won NCAA team championships. Only Rick Barnes, Bubba Thornton and Michael Center have failed to join the club.
No. 2 - Scattershooting on the world of Longhorn football
Wow, and then there were 15. With the addition of Cibolo Steele safety Eric Huhn on Sunday afternoon, the 2013 recruiting class suddenly has one less open seat on the bus. Before we get into the long-range impact of today's news, let's talk about the new commitment. At 6-2, 205 pounds, Huhn has the look of an old-school SEC safety. He's a pretty good centerfielder in coverage and he's a downhill beast against the run. People will mistakenly say that athleticism is a question mark, but that's not really the case at all because he has a good size/speed/suddenness combination, but the questions that people have about him are really related to the type of athlete he really is more so than whether he is one at all. While he does a good job in coverage, there are questions about his ability to excel in college-level coverage schemes. Obviously, a number of schools aren't nearly as focused on his perceived weaknesses as much as they appreciate his strengths because his offer list is full of impressive programs and after seeing him up-close on Sunday, Duane Akina and Mack Brown were willing to join the fray.
So, what does this mean on the defensive back front as a whole? It probably means that Maurice Smith, Cole Luke and Chevoski Collins aren't going to have room let in this class unless they hop on the train fast, and even fast might not be fast enough. It really just depends on what the coaches want to do and how much they value taking another defensive back in this class with so many talented players staring them in the fact for 2014. History suggests that they will eventually drift away from the others with offers. Everyone has had a chance to commit and understood the dynamics of the situation.
The recruiting at defensive back this season has been one interesting tale to watch and I'm not sure I mean that as a compliment. My guess is that this is the last year Mack Brown lets Duane Akina take an extra two months to make decisions on offers because the whole plan might have been a bit of a disaster had Antwuan Davis not been a local kid. Unless they decide to take a third player and they land a commitment from one of those with open offers, they'll have missed on their second, third and fourth offer at the position before taking Huhn on Sunday.
Lesson to be learned again today? Mack still places an incredible amount of value on attending his summer camps with the rest of that year's commitments. No matter the reasons, those other guys weren't there and weren't willing to say yes, which adds up to two turnoffs for Mack. Meanwhile, Huhn was there and was ready to say yes, two turn-ons for ultimate decision-maker in the program.
There's not a lot of meat left on that 2013 recruiting bone. We're talking about possibly another skill guy on offense possibly a tight end possibly another athlete on defense definitely need a defensive end or two. There should be no reason why the throttle isn't pressed all the way down on the 2014 class after this weekend.
It sure sounds like Antwuan Davis and Ricky Seals-Jones really impressed today in every area. Those are two players that I can't wait to see in person in Atlanta for the Rivals Five-Star event later this month. I think both have a chance to take the next step in the rankings.
No. 3 - Thoughts on The Association (Western Conference Variety)
This is fun, isn't it?
When the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder both advanced to the Western Conference Finals just a shade over two weeks ago, we all felt like the NBA had been given a gift of sorts with these two teams meeting up for a spot in the Finals, despite the fact that whatever pre-existing rivalry between the two teams was very limited.
After looking like a Spurs run away early in the week, we're suddenly back to square one with the series tied at 2-2 following a weekend that became a witness to Kevin Durant's rising maturity as a player. Suddenly, nothing that happened in the first four games of the series matters. Not Parker's explosion in game one. Not that stretch of basketball in game two that had us thinking the Spurs were ready to take on the Jordan Bulls. Not Thursday's beat-down. Not even Serge Ibaka's perfect night matters.
Nope, we're back to 0-0 in what is now a best-of-three series with the Spurs holding the ultimate ace up their sleeves home-court advantage. Through four games, nothing seems as important as that.
Some randomness on Spurs/Thunder from the weekend
Kevin Durant is just a special talent and Saturday night was the type of virtuoso performance that we've come to expect from him when games are alive. Everyone will remember the 36 points and 16 straight for the Thunder that he scored in the fourth quarter, but the thing that stands out to me are the eight assists and the all-around game he's displaying on both sides of the floor each night. The Spurs have to hope that with a best-of-three series remaining that the biggest supernova in this series hasn't heated up to an uncontrollable level.
We had an odd two games leading up to game five on Monday night. Of the six stars playing in this series, only Durant is playing at a special level. Tony Parker hasn't been Tony Parker since game one. Manu Ginobili was far from special in Oklahoma City with a combined 21 points in the two losses. Russell Westbrook was even worse with 17 combined points in the last two games and is averaging fewer than 16 points per game on 34-percent shooting in the series. James Harden has been ok, but not a difference-maker. Heck, even though Tim Duncan had a more than respectable 21 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, he was still outplayed by pretty much the entire Thunder front-court. Durant is going to be Durant, but the team that can get the most from its other stars is going to be the eventual victor in this series. It feels like a combination of slumping players is about to meet head-on Monday night.
The point guard battle in this series just hasn't materialized and maybe, just maybe, we need to give each team's defense a lot of credit for representing kryptonite to each player. Take away the game-two performance by both players and you'll find Parker averaging 15.3 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 turnovers on 40.1% shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Westbrook is in a definite offensive funk, averaging only 11.3 points, 6.3 assists and 3.0 turnovers on 30.4% shooting from the floor.
The thought going into this series was that San Antonio's front-court would dominate the Thunder in the paint, but the combination of Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison was sensational when it returned home. That trio's combined 22-of-25 effort from the floor in game four was the difference in the game. The Spurs' bigs better wake up or else.
The refs have mostly let these teams claw and scratch at each other for three quarters before calling tight games in the fourth quarter. The exception was game four. My guess is that they heavily impact the final games of this series.
It has to be concerning to the Spurs that they shot 50% from the floor, hit 11 threes and had six guys in double-figures, but still lost. The offense is not the problem for the Spurs, even if the big three haven't been hitting on all cylinders together very much.
Kawhi Leonard is a star in the making. How in the world did that dude fall to the 16th pick in the draft? The Rockets selected Marcus Morris one slot ahead of Leonard and he averaged 2.4 points in 17 games he actually played this season.
The Stephen Jackson-for-Richard Jefferson swap before the deadline was one of the biggest swindles in NBA history when it comes to the kind of heart and swag you need in a player if a team is going to make a championship run. Pop needs to make sure this guy is always on this team.
Speaking of Pop, I dare say he was outcoached the last two games. His hesitance to insert DeJuan Blair into the game until late in the third quarter in game four just didn't make any sense. It was his version of what Scott Brooks did with Ibaka in game one. I'd bet my house he gets his coaching revenge before this series is over. Hey, it's Pop (said like Han Solo in Star Wars).
Brooks' decision to play the entire fourth quarter in game one without Ibaka on the floor for a single second really stands out as the worst coaching decision of this series thus far, despite the adjustments he made in the last two games for which he deserves a lot of credit. That decision might have cost them a game in this series and a 3-1 lead. How silly does his sitting on the bench seem in retrospect following his perfect night on Saturday?
The three-ball kept the Spurs in the game on Saturday. They were a robust 11 of 23 from downtown. Overall, the Spurs have hit 41.4% (41 of 99) from downtown in this series. It seems like the Thunder are willing to live with the Spurs getting those shots because the looks continue to be really, really good. As well as they've been stroking it, I'm not sure they can stay within 10 of the Thunder in any of the remaining games if they go cold and have a substandard night. They are averaging 10 per game and they need those 10 every night out. The only chance to survive a poor shooting night from the three is to get to the free throw line a ton.
Kendrick Perkins might have the cutest kid in the NBA . Hey, little man, I like pie as well.
I'm still sticking with the Spurs in 7, but if it's a tie game with two minutes to go on Friday night, I'm changing my pick to the Thunder.
No. 4 - Thoughts on The Association (Eastern Conference Variety)
It's not a thing of beauty, but my goodness somehow some way we have an actual series following Sunday night's 93-91 win by the Celtics in overtime.
I don't know that I can completely explain what's happening in this series other than to say home teams rule the NBA. The Celtics are literally playing with the worst bench in the history of the NBA Conference Finals, unless you want to debate that Keyon Dooling being the only good player off the bench makes them better than someone.
Yet here we are. The series is tied at 2-2 and every game that is played in this series makes me think that the Heat are playing with fire. The Heat should have won this series in five games and it's going to go at least six if they are lucky.
A few other thoughts
I have a real man-crush on Rajon Rondo. I love watching that guy play basketball. He's averaging 24.0/7.5/10.5 in this series.
Say what you want about Kevin Garnett, but there was a time this year when he looked like glue factory material. Seriously, I couldn't tell you he had a higher vertical than Kendrick Perkins. So, to see him playing the way he's been playing in these playoffs is pretty stunning. That guy is a warrior and I wish we could have seen him take on LeBron in the playoffs in his prime.
LeBron will live under the microscope for the next 48 hours for his failing to take/make the final shot in regulation, but he was pretty clutch when he knocked down a three to tie the game at 89-89 with 37 seconds left in the game. He just didn't have the magic on the last possession. He also committed seven turnovers and missed four of eight free throws.
Dwyane Wade bothers me so much that I was bothered that he smiled after missing the shot, while LeBron looked like he was in agony.
The officials had their dirty little hands all over this outcome. I hated some of the calls in game four, especially the ones that sent Paul Pierce and LeBron to the benches for good. There was a time when I thought Bill Kennedy might be on the take via Dan Gilbert. Run for cover the next time he's calling a big game.
No. 5 - MLB randomness
Highlight of the weekend: Hey, look ma! Another no-hitter! In what is sure to be a re-occurring headline this season, we had another no-hitter this weekend. Yet, this was no ordinary no-hitter. This was a Mets no-hitter, an event that had never previously transpired. The fact that it was Johan Santana made the event even more notable. At the end of the day, I've been raised to hate the Mets, but right on, even if baseball was progressive enough to have full replay, the no-hitter never happens. Whatever.
CATCH OF THE WEEKEND: Thank You very much
WORTH WATCHING: The Nationals look like the class of a division that can't get healthy, but I cannot fathom how they are going to handle Steven Strasburg in August and September. The team says they will limit his innings and shut him down at a certain threshold, but how can you take your foot off the gas in the team's first ever playoff run? When as the last time a legit Cy Young candidate was shut down for innings in a season?
SIGN OF THE APOCOLYPSE: Justin Verlander has lost three straight.
SHOCKING: I cannot believe I live in a world where R.A. Dickey is going to be an all-star and Cliff Lee has one fewer win than Chris Davis.
DID YOU KNOW: Omar Quintanilla is making plays with the Mets
ALBERT WATCH: (STILL UP) .235/.292/.394 (7 HR) (last week: .227/.271/.387)
JONATHAN SINGLETON WATCH: .311/.417/.574 (last 10: .333/.422/.821)
No.6 - Make your plans to be in front of a TV for Father's Day
Golf is so much fun when Tiger Woods is good and he was really, really good on Sunday.
Much to my delight, I tuned in to CBS just in time to see Tiger hit an improbable chip shot from the rough on 16 to begin his surge for career win No. 73. This one, his second of the year, was extra special because it tied him with Jack Nicklaus for second-place on the all-time wins list, just behind Sam Snead (82).
Oh, and he did it while the Golden Bear was standing by as the official host of the tournament. You combine that history with one of the best shots in the PGA this year and you had some serious made-for-TV drama for your mama.
Two weeks before the US Open, he turned in a special performance to come-from-behind for the win. If he hadn't been a roller coaster all season (In his 10 tournaments this year, he's placed 3rd, 15th, 17th, 2nd, WD, 1st, 40th, missed cut, 40th and 1st) I'd assume that he's primed for a win for another major, but I can't quite say that.
But, he sure looks close. The US Open suddenly looks like must-see stuff.
No. 7 - They said what
A look at the 10 most memorable Tweets/sequence of Tweets from the last week on my timeline.
1. "The first billion is a helluva lot harder RT @Drake: The first million is the hardest."
@boonepickens (Boone Pickens throwing some randomly awesome and indefensible Twitter smack to the R&B crooner)
2. "DeLoss Dodds, master troll of the world, is at it again I see."
@DanWolken (national columnist from The Daily after Dodds remarked that A&M's presence the SEC gave the league a "sliver" of the state)
3. "Blame this on Romo.. #wealwaysdo"
@Matt_Barrie (Dallas NBC anchor after the Rangers fell behind 17-0 to Seattle on a night when Romo threw out the first pitch)
4. "I think it's adorable white kids still enter spelling bees."
5. The Chris Tucker, "Dayyyyyyyuuummmm" Division
Earlier this week, actor Dominic Monaghan was doing a Twitter chat when a fan asked him if he could help get fellow Lost star Matthew Fox on Twitter. That's when Monaghan decided to drop a few Twitter bombs that would likely inspire Brian McNight later in the week. Here's a look at him flat out putting Fox and anyone that wants some on blast.:
@omggbeccaa he beats women. No thanks
@omggbeccaa how do you know we ever did?you don't know either of us.he beats women.not isolated incidents.often.not interested.
@Fate815 @omggbeccaa an accusation is when you"claim" someone did something wrong.i know.but hey little fan girl maybe want to get slapped
@Fate815 @omggbeccaa around by him? Daddy issues? Blinded by the nice haircut? It's never okay. Maybe you have lower standards.
@Fate815 @omggbeccaa and it's very difficult to sue someone for speaking the truth. Have you received an education dear?
6. Abe Lincoln: True Blood Division
"I wish Abraham Lincoln had spent less time hunting vampires and more time training NBA refs."
"SPOILER ALERT: Lincoln gets nowhere with hunting these vampires for a couple years before he calls Grant and I to come in and DOMINATE "
7. The @ItsBMcKnight Flamethrower Division
Dominic Monaghan wasn't the only celeb that let loose on a fellow celeb this weekend, but I'm not sure Monaghan is quite the fire-starter that McKnight has proven to be. Just a few weeks ago, McKnight made news when he recorded "iFUrReadyToLearn" and this week we learned that he had written another song specifically for a porn site. When people took exception to such a respected singer selling his musical soul for the chance to make a song for well a porn site he sent out a few Twitter grenades.
"as a business man I can't ignore the opportunities that r out there especially when it's all in fun."
"they asked me they appreciate creativity and are willing to patronize it."
"guess u thought I made music for fun and not for a living"
"integrity won't pay the mortgages I will ask all of u how many of u would do your job for no pay?"
If you thought that was enough, just wait because he was just warming up. Outraged at the outrage, McKnight dusted off his flamethrower for the rest of the entertainment world.
"Since everyone's so opinionated I'm taking suggestions on what I should do next I'm thinking rent a lambo and beat the shit outta my girl..."
"That's acceptable these days"
"Or maybe have sex with a 14 year old girl an film it that's acceptable these days"
"Or let the court system let me make 35 million before I do my 87 days in a private cell for domestic abuse that's acceptable these days."
If you're counting at home, I'm pretty sure that was Chris Brown, R. Kelly and Floyd Mayweather Jr. that he put on blast.
The woman-beater Chris Brown responded with some pretty weak drivel about his career being hot and McKnight's career needing some help, but all things considered he lost this exchange pretty badly. Meanwhile, Kelly hasn't responded and Mayweather can't because he's in jail.
8. "if ever i get married, you try to dwayne wayne my sh t, someone will mash you out. weddings cost bread, jack."
@bomani_jones (SB national columnist on the subject of weddings)
9. "You know how many times tonight this game has made me yell: 'It's the Western Conference Finals!' - like it was The Catalina Wine Mixer?"
@SoonerScoop (OU Rivals site on Saturday night's Spurs/Thunder game)
10. "My son just walked the stage....Graduation...Class of 2012"
@orangebl00d (my best friend from high school. Damn, that just happened.)
No. 8 - Pop goes the culture because the culture goes pop.
Movie Trailer of the week: Jason Bourne was the tip of the iceberg
WTF Headline of the weekend: Kool-Aid Gun Fight Leads To Two Injuries In Detroit
DECLARATION: Jennifer Nicole-Lee makes me want to work out..
Twitpics are awesome I: On the set with Vanessa Hudgens.
Twitpics are awesome II : Debbie Gibson in the house
Twitpics are awesome III : Mrs. Swanepoel
RUN DUDE, RUN: What is Tito Ortiz getting himself in to?.
R.I.P Richard Dawson.
No. 9 -The List: Prince
If a man's music is a window into his soul, then all you need to know about me is that in 1984 a landmark moment occurred for me.
Purple Rain hit the theater and as an eight-year old youngster straight out of Waco, I went to see it by myself. From The Kid to Apollonia to Morris and Jerome, I was all-in. I remember walking into this little four-plex theater in Waco, I remember walking out and I remember being picked up by my mom. Everything just kind of changed for me that day for a lot of levels. Hell, if there was ever any doubt that I would be into women later in life, my reaction to seeing Apollonia skinny dipping in Lake Minnetonka ended any remaining debate.
Together with Thriller, there wasn't a more important album in my entire album collection as a kid that grew up collecting and listening to music from the womb. So, I've been looking forward to my Prince review for a while, but a few things happened that really helped amp this week up a notch or three for me.
First, Grantland dropped this article reviewing the 1985 American Music Awards .
Second, one of OB's all-time subscriber-turned-important person Bomani Jones wrote a fascinating article on the Price/MJ debate that has forever loomed since the early 1980s.
Bottom line this has been a fun week of music. Just keep in mind that I'm a huge mark for the Purple Rain soundtrack. It's probably a top-fiver for me all-time.
Top 10 Prince Songs
10. I Wanna Be Your Lover
9. Purple Rain
8. I could never take the place of your man
7. Little Red Corvette
6. The Beautiful Ones
3. Darling Nikki
2. Let's Go Crazy
1. When Doves Cry
Bonus Prince: After-Hours
9. Lady Cab Driver
8. Let's Pretend We're Married
7. Sexy MF
5. Erotic City
3. Get Off
2. Do Me, Baby
1. Darling Nikki
Coming up this week: Undetermined
Previous Lists: 2-Pac, Beastie Boys, Biggie Smalls, Boyz II Men, Chuck BrownJeff Buckley, Cartoon themes, Eva Cassidy,Phil Collins, Sam Cooke, Joe Ely, Al Green, Guns N' Roses, Hall and Oats, HBO Shows, Whitney Houston, Kool and the Gang, Metallica, George Michael, Mo-Town, Bill Murray, Willie Nelson, Queen, Scarface, Sexiest Women of All-Time, Gary Stewart , George Strait, TV Themes, Stevie Ray Vaughan
No. 10 - And finally
You never know how one moment in life might change your life, but when they occur it becomes nearly impossible to forget them.
One such moment occurred in the summer of 1989 when I visited my aunt and uncle in Philadelphia for a few weeks. For whatever reason, I was really into playing Trivial Pursuit that year and on one of those nights on the trip I found myself in a one-on-one game against my Aunt Helen.
For those that don't know, Aunt Helen is the wife of Uncle Ronny, who happens to be my mother's brother. Got it? She also just happens to be the East Coast connection that eventually led me to my Phillies and 76ers fandom. If my uncle had met and married anyone else after only a week when he was stationed in South Carolina during his Air Force years, everything about my sports fan DNA would have certainly changed.
Yet, our most important moment together occurred during this simple game of Trivial Pursuit and I can't even tell you who won the game. At some point in the middle of the game, I was asked the following history question you know the yellow slice of the pie:
"Who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton?"
Sheepishly, I failed to answer the question correctly and the response from my Aunt on this late night after a few beverages might have been consumed is one that has remained crystal clear for nearly 23 years.
"What in the hell are they teaching you down there in those Texas public schools?," she exclaimed. "This is why you can't send your kids to a public school anywhere. How do you not know the answer to that question?"
We both laughed and continued playing the game, but I have to admit that I was ashamed for not knowing that Aaron Burr was the answer to the question. Up until that moment, I had been a solid A/B student, but the next school year I challenged myself to get into AP courses because the regular classes I had been forever taking were too distracting with too many of my friends.
Once I was in AP courses, everything about my academic performance improved and eventually my academic profile was strong enough that I got into UT, which opened up every door I've entered professionally.
Along the way, Aaron Burr became a small obsession of mine, as I've read a half-dozen or so books about his life and rivalry with Hamilton. He's my favorite character in American history.
I bring all of this up because my Aunt Helen is likely going to pass away today at some point because of pancreatic cancer. A few months ago, she was seemingly fine, but the last few months have been painful to watch as the aggressiveness of the cancer left her immobilized and eventually just a shell of the person we all loved. It's an ugly, brutal experience.
My heart has ached for my Uncle Ronny and his entire side of the family. Watching him take care of his soul mate has created a lot of unspeakable situations. I mean what can you say? It just breaks your heart.
But, I'm comforted by the fact that she lived her 69 years with us, there just isn't any question about that. And you can't underestimate the impact she's had on so many. Therefore, while the words haven't always come from my mouth, perhaps these from my fingertips will perform what I've wanted to pass along.
I love you, Aunt Helen. You will most certainly be missed.