Friday Fodder: Armon Johnson could be 2nd point guard taken
For the Nevada Appeal
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Are you still questioning the sanity of Armon Johnson for giving up his senior year with the Nevada Wolf Pack to jump into the NBA draft? Well, don’t. Johnson left the Wolf Pack this spring after his junior year because he could very well be the second point guard taken in the entire draft after Kentucky’s John Wall. Of course, Wall (the likely top pick in the draft) might be the only point guard taken in the two-round draft. It is that weak of a point guard crop. But if another point guard is taken next month it could very well be the Hug High graduate. Johnson worked out for NBA teams this past Monday in Minnesota on the first day of a four-day NBA tryout camp and apparently, according to USA Today, has caught the eye of the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat.
Tim Lincecum is in his worst slump in three years. The San Francisco Giants’ savior has allowed 11 runs, 10 walks and 11 hits over his last two starts. He has won just one of his last six starts. It is his worst two-game stretch since he allowed 13 runs combined on June 13 and 19, 2007. He’s gone from Cy Young to just plain sigh. Relax, Giants fans. It’s just two games. Lincecum will be fine. The Giants will be fine. If you own Lincecum in your fantasy league, don’t trade him for Russ Ortiz.
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You have to love hockey players. Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks took a puck right in the mouth on Sunday and deposited seven of his teeth on the ice in Chicago. The defenseman missed a grand total of seven minutes of game time. Not seven days, seven weeks or seven months. Seven minutes. That’s one minute for every tooth he lost. If a baseball player lost seven teeth you wouldn’t see him for seven weeks. If a golfer lost seven teeth he’d have to spend seven months in a rehab clinic. Keith (two of the teeth he lost were already fake, by the way) returned to the ice, led the Blackhawks to the conference finals sweep over San Jose and even did postgame interviews with his face and lips stitched up and talking through a gaping hole in the front of his grill. Afterward the game he said the most painful thing was “getting needles stuck in my gums and roots.” The Stanley Cup playoffs are the best postseason in sports.
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Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade told the Chicago Tribune this week that the top NBA free agents (LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Wade) will all meet this summer and plan their free agent strategy. Players in all sports are always complaining about owners’ collusion. Isn’t this supposed meeting between James, Wade, Johnson and Bosh a form of player collusion? The free agent party this summer has dominated the NBA this season. The talk around the league lately hasn’t been the playoffs and a chance to see another epic Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics Finals. It’s about where LeBron will end up. That would never happen in hockey.
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Stephen Strasburg will likely make his Washington Nationals debut in early June. His debut is the most anticipated beginning of a major league baseball career since David Clyde pitched for the Texas Rangers right out of high school in 1973. The hype around Strasburg, who was pitching in the Mountain West Conference a year ago for San Diego State, has been ridiculous. He’s already being called the best Washington pitcher since Walter “Big Train” Johnson. This is the same Strasburg, by the way, that was knocked out of the seventh inning 15 months ago by the Nevada Wolf Pack. Something tells me the Big Train’s status as the best pitcher in Washington’s big league history will remain secure.
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Love Ozzie Guillen or hate him. Respect him or think he is a joke. But he is definitely a guy you’d like to spend a couple hours with in a sports bar. He recently wrote on a baseball of a Cleveland autograph seeker, “Bye-bye LeBron” and “When are you going to win anything in sports?” What other coach or manager would do that? The amazing thing, though, is not that Guillen wrote such trash-talk on the baseball. It’s that all of the words were spelled correctly and there wasn’t one single expletive. Guillen, who hit .347 in a full season for the Reno Padres in 1982, is the most interesting man in sports.
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The first place teams in major league baseball as of Thursday morning were San Diego, Texas, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Tampa and Philadelphia. So, please, stop complaining that only big-market franchises can win in major league baseball. Major league baseball isn’t Division I college football, where the big-money schools and conferences rule the BCS and always win the national championship.
Joe Santoro is a freelance writer for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.