When it rains... The Buckeyes' most high profile 2010 opponent's off-season is hardly off to a spectacular start (though considerably better than the Bucks' last night one). Junior-to-be Jacory Harris is expected to miss all of Spring Ball following surgery on his throwing thumb. This comes just two months after the Canes lost high profile tailback Graig Cooper, who remains a long shot at best to see the field in 2010. The mash unit shapes up as follows:
Kicker/punter Matt Bosher, seen recently wearing a sling; linebacker Ramon Buchanan (shoulder); running back Cooper (knee); guard Joel Figueroa (upper extremity); linebacker Jordan Futch (knee); defensive lineman Levi Paalua (upper extremity), running back Lee Chambers (lower extremity).
UM listed defensive tackle Marcus Forston (upper extremity), defensive back Ryan Hill (upper extremity) and safety JoJo Nicolas (upper extremity) as limited.
Amongst the names listed, Bosher, Buchanan, Figueroa, Futch, and Fortson were all probable to start. While it's unlikely any absence but Coopers' extended one will have any real bearings of consequence on the September 11th contest, the lack of these added repetitions, particularly for the still developing QB, won't exactly put UM on the fast track come the start of summer practice.
Internet trade scuttlebutt = gospel. Switching gears, ESPN's Chad Ford reports there exists a pretty sizable chance former Buckeye Mike Conley will be moved before the 3 pm culmination of the NBA trade deadline. Conley was the #4 overall pick in the draft 2 years ago, but has gone through a sort of on-again off-again relationship in the Grizzlies' rotation. While hardly facing the lack of meaningful playing time former teammate Daequan Cook is presently experiencing, those most familiar with watching Conley take the court game in-game out don't exactly speak his praises at this point in his young career:
Mike Conley isn’t a starting point guard. And I loathe using this little device, but I can’t help myself here: Period. That’s just it. He’s not. Everyone looks at the blown layups and poor passing, but those aren’t even what bothers me. He can’t dribble!
My favorite (read: most loathesome) Conley-ism is how he “probes” the defense. Usually a point probes by driving straight forward, then backing out. If the defender reaches, he turns his back to him and backs out of it, keeping his vision high for a cutter. If a secondary defender doubles, he immediately splits to where the defender is giving up position. Any guard does this. Not just Chris Paul or Deron Williams. We’re talking Chris Duhon or Lou Williams.
But Conley? He dribbles a foot in, then immediately panics, dribbles low, increasing the likelihood of it getting stolen, and then just sits there. No movement. Doesn’t back it out. He can’t maintain his dribble against any pressure on something simple.
While a perpetual observer of the NBA, I can't claim to have logged the same sorts of game in-game out perspective necessary to endorse giving the still just 22 years old a vote of confidence, or endorse the team to consider collateral interests and attempt to salvage what they can from their investment. In the half dozen or so games I've seen Conley play in extended stents this season, he did often look somewhat out of control. The same kinds of patience and vision some of the other just ordinary game manager type point guards around the league exhibit were noticeably absent (or at the least, very under developed) in Conley's skill set. The splits on the left represent Conley's play before and after mid-January of last season. The increase in efficiency across the board would seem to suggest the Grizzlies may be better off waiting until this Summer before coming to some sort of finality with where they stand on the rook (though to be fair, the early results on January/February of 2010 are nowhere near as promising). Either in Memphis or elsewhere, here's hoping the most dynamic passer not named Turner to wear scarlet & gray in the last decade finds himself sooner rather than later.
Speak of The Villain: Evan Turner's surpassed John Wall in annarbor.com's third poll for national player of the year. The only really surprise in this story is it took the 49 participants this long to realize it. Wall is unquestionably the most promising talent in the country, but it's not seeing things through scarlet & gray glasses to recognize that at the present point in their respective careers, Turner is just better. Pending a shocking absolute tailspin from the Bucks in their final 4+ weeks of regular season and conference tournament play, if anyone other than Evan Turner ends up receiving most of the national player of the year trophies at season's end, I'll eat my laptop (or at least do the John Wall dance or something amply humiliating).