It’s official – Oden and Conley select Ohio State
Wow. This is amazing. Greg Oden and Mike Conley announced today that they have selected Ohio State over Indiana, Michigan State and Wake Forest. They both cited Thad Matta as a big reason why they decided to become Buckeyes.
On paper, this gives Ohio State one of the best recruiting classes of all time, and many are starting to call this class the “Fantastic Four,” with standouts Daequan Cook of Dayton Dunbar and David Lighty of Cleveland Villa-Angela St. Joseph already committed. Oden is the biggest prize of the group. The 7-footer was expected to be the top pick out of high school in next year’s NBA draft, but he always maintained he wanted to attend college and the NBA also just instituted an age minimum.
It’s amazing that Matta was able to land these recruits in light of all the negative publicity surrounding the basketball program. This might be the beginning of an awesome hoops program in Columbus.
Cavs land Lithuanian center
Danny Ferry is off to a fast start. He was able to swing two trades to pick up a yound center with huge upside. Before the draft, Ferry traded Jiri Welsch and cash to the Milwaukee Bucks for a second-round pick in 2006. After the draft he traded the newly acquired pick to the Orlando Magic for 7-foot-2 center Martynas Andriuskevicius, who was drafted with the 44th pick overall in the second round of last night’s draft.
Martynas Andriuskevicius has huge upside according to ESPN. He’s 19 years old and last year he withdrew from the draft when he couldn’t get a top-5 guarantee. Phoenix was poised to take him with the 7th pick. The fact that he dropped all the way to #44 this year was a big surprise since they projected him to go between 12 and 22. ESPN projects him to be more of a power forward. He’s definitely a project, but this could be a real steal at this spot. The scouting report says he has great hands and great passing skills. He can play inside and outside and has great basketball instincts. He runs the floor well and showed impressive athleticism. It sounds like he would fit in great with LeBron. The downside is that he doesn’t have the bulk or strength to battle in the paint. Hopefully that will improve with time as he matures. Bottom line – getting him for Welsch seems like a great start for Ferry.
Tribe scores five in ninth to beat Sox
The Indians won a 12-8 slugfest over the Red Sox by scoring five runs in the ninth inning. Travis Hafner blasted a grand slam home run with the score tied at eight, capping a comeback that erased an 8-5 deficit. Hafner has now homered in two straight games. Two down, one to go. The Tribe goes for the sweep on Wednesday as they try to make up for the three losses to the Red Sox last week in Cleveland.
Revenge is sweet
After getting swept at home by the Red Sox last week, the Indians started getting their revenge in Boston with a 7-0 shutout of the Red Sox. Kevin Millwood and the bullpen combined on the shutout and Hafner and Sizemore contributed home runs. It was a nice win, and hopefully they can keep this up tomorrow.
Danny Ferry will run Cavs
Reports are that Danny Ferry has agreed to a contract to be the next Cavs GM. Hal Lebowitz reported yesterday that Ferry was holding out to make sure he had final say on all personel matters for the Cavs. These details were ironed out and the announcement will be made shortly.
Where does this leave Larry Brown? According to Lebowitz, the Cavs will still pursue Brown to be team president, but Brown is OK with Ferry having final say on personel decisions. Brown would be more of a consultant and he would not be living in Cleveland. He would fly in for games and would give most of his input by telephone.
Under this scenario it would make a ton of sense to bring Brown into the mix. He would be an excellent resource for Danny Ferry and new coach Mike Brown. Things are finally falling into place. I expect Ferry to hit the ground running to rebuild this team around LeBron. It should be an interesting summer.
UPDATE – FERRY IN, BROWN OUT
At today’s news conference announcing the hiring of Danny Ferry as GM, owner Dan Gilbert stated that Larry Brown is no longer a candidate for team president, citing health concerns.
Indians take Battle of Ohio
After blowing Friday night’s game and losing four straight, the Indians bounced back to take the final two games over the Reds and win the series 2-1. Sunday they managed a 4-3 victory with a clutch pinch-hit single from Victor Martinez to drive in the winning run. Martinez is back to his old self and he’s raised his batting average to .239. More importantly, he’s driving in runs again and delivering clutch hits. Another great sign was a beautiful bunt single from Coco Crisp. It was intended to be a sacrifice bunt but Coco was able to leg it out for a hit. You can see Coco trying to emulate some of the tools employed by Ichiro at the plate, making him even more dangerous to opposing pitchers.
Greg Oden selects Ohio State?
Can we actually believe these reports that Greg Oden has decided to play for the Buckeyes? With the recent NCAA problems and the lame recruiting history over the past ten years, this is almost too good to be true. I won’t celebrate until this is set in stone, but this would be awesome. He has not confirmed the reports that OSU is his choice, so we’ll have to wait until Wednesday’s news conference for this to be made official.
Greg Oden is a seven-footer who most believed would be the top selection of the 2006 draft as a high school player. Yes, he’s supposed to be that good. Nevertheless, Oden has been telling anyone who would listen that he wanted to play in college first and that he was looking at Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wake Forest. Now, with the new age limit established by the NBA collective bargaining agreement, he doesn’t have a choice. If he comes here, he will be joined by teammate Mike Conley, an excellent point guard. This would be an amazing coup for Thad Matta and Ohio State. Let’s hope all is confirmed this week.
Let the bidding begin
LeBron James said last week that he’d like to have some input on how the Cavs spend their free agent money. That makes sense to me. Frankly, anything Lebron wants makes sense to me. First, the Cavs have to make him happy, but more importantly, he is a student of the game and would be a very valuable resource.
That said, Brian Windhorst makes a great point when he explains that LeBron will also need to be a big part of the recruiting process. He has to help the team convince free agents to come to Cleveland, and he’s much more apt to do this if he buys into the decision making process. Let’s hope that Dan Gilbert doesn’t waste too much time getting a GM in place. Reports have Danny Ferry poised to become GM, but they were unable to finalize Ferry’s contract. I’m not sure what to make of this. Hopefully it’s just a matter of ironing out details with Ferry’s agent. If Gilbert loses Ferry, things will certainly appear to be out of control, and that will be a real problem now that the free agency is about to get started.
Tribe ends skid, pounds Reds
The Tribe finally got back to its winning ways by handing the Reds a 12-7 beating. Tribe hitters belted five home runs to give Jake Westbrook his fifth victory. Westbrook is finally starting to get some much-deserved run support. Also, believe it or not, the White Sox actually lost a game. I know that the wild card is a much more pratical goal at the moment, but it would be nice to tighten the gap with the Sox.
Tribe thumped again by Boston
After feasting on National League teams during their nine-game winning streak, the Tribe is coming back down to earth after suffering a 9-2 beating by the Red Sox. Kevin Millwood was the victim tonight and the Tribe’s offense couldn’t make it interesting like they did the night before.