Friday Fodder: Burton is back, but he needs help
April 12, 2013
Sports fodder for a Friday morning ••• Deonte Burton coming back for his senior year is great news for the Nevada Wolf Pack. The Pack wouldn't have won a dozen games without Burton in 2013-14. Unfortunately, right now, even with him they are merely a 15-win team. The Wolf Pack and coach David Carter still have a lot of work to do. Burton was on last year's team that went 12-19 and finished last in the Mountain West. So Burton needs a lot of help. It's up to Carter to get him that help. The Pack has three scholarships to fill. All three need to go to enforcers who can rebound, play defense in the paint and bring a physical and mental toughness to the softest team in the Mountain West.
Carter is now coaching for his long-term future as a Division I head coach. He has had two losing seasons in the last three and, well, few coaches survive if they have three losing seasons out of four. Now heading into its fifth year under Carter, the Pack was supposed to be either back in the NCAA Tournament by now or at least knocking on the door. You can't even see the door from where the Pack is standing this morning. Carter was overwhelmed by the challenges of the Mountain West last year. He had guys playing out of position all year, and he seemed to switch the starting lineup every five games, never had the same rotation from game to game and it took him until the final two games of the year to realize that freshman Marqueze Coleman should have been playing big minutes all year long. He never could stop the bleeding. He has a lot to prove this season.
There are already a few glaring differences between current Wolf Pack head football coach Brian Polian and former coach Chris Ault. Polian, it seems, is going to live or die on the strength of his assistant coaches. Ault didn't trust his assistant to go get him lunch. Polian will trust them with his future. The second huge difference is that the next negative thing out of Polian's mouth will be the first. Everything is good, everything is on schedule, everything is positive and everything has a bright future in the world of Polian. Ault always seemed to be on crisis management. The water is always overflowing Polian's glass. Ault's glass always seemed to have a large crack in it.
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The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team needs at least one victory this week in Las Vegas. The Pack offense has dried up recently. They have scored six runs in their last four games combined and have lost all four games. Another three losses this week against UNLV just might crush the Pack's Mountain West regular season title hopes. They don't need to sweep UNLV or even win the series. But one win is mandatory.
The early leaders in the Race for the First Manager Fired in 2013 are, in order, Clint Hurdle, John Gibbons and Ron Roenicke. Hurdle's Pittsburgh Pirates have something new this year. Expectations. Hurdle won't survive a 75-win season. The same is true for Gibbons' Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto spent a lot of money this off-season. They have to win this year. And there's no reason why Roenicke's Milwaukee Brewers should ever fall out of the playoff race this year. Washington's Davey Johnson also needs to win this year or else he'll be playing golf full-time next spring.
Someone mailed a dead goat's head to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field this week. It was, obviously, in reference to the Billy Goat Curse the Cubs have been playing under since 1945. There's no truth to the rumor that Cub fans are urging manager Dale Sveum to declare the goat head the new Cubs closer.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently said that he would consider drafting Baylor's Brittney Griner this summer. Good luck with that, Mark. Then again, maybe Cuban is on to something. At least someone has actually heard of Griner and can even pronounce her name. The Mavericks in recent years have drafted the likes of Ahmad Nivins, Solomon Alabi, Tanguy Ngombo, Renaldas Seibutis and Milovan Rakovic. Last we heard nobody has purchased a Seibutis jersey. We're betting there would be more than a few Mavs jerseys with Griner on the back sold on draft night.
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