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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Combine times. MLive article on the Michigan players at the combine. Leon Hall and David Harris did very well and Burgess very poorly. Opinions on Branch are thoroughly mixed -- there are some silly quotes being thrown about -- and Woodley didn't test.

Don't believe the 4.3. The US Army Combine results have been posted in PDF format. Other than an impressive performance from MI RB Jonas Gray I couldn't pick out much of interest -- Boubacar Cissoko didn't run -- other than the universally crappy 40 times. A lot of potential high-major recruits ran poorly. Of particular interest to Michigan are Detroit Southeastern's Charles Burrell, a WR/S, who ran a 4.93, and hyped-up CA CB Robert Golden, a guy with a Michigan offer, who ran a 4.9. The upshot is to take the grain of salt you should take NFL combine times with and up it by a couple orders of magnitude when considering 40s for high school kids who aren't done developing, haven't had the same sort of specialty training NFL prospects now get, and don't run on the same track under the same conditions.

Ouch. USC basketball recruit Brandon Jennings is a teammate of Michigan recruit Alex Legion at Oak Hill Academy. Recent quote in an interview at

Armstrong: Do you ever joke around with Duke-bound Nolan Smith or Michigan-bound Alex Legion about their school choices?

Jennings: Oh, all the time. You can't really mess with Duke, but Alex, we're like, do you know how many NITs they have gone to? Are you sure you want to play your college ball there, Alex? They come after me, too, but USC is up and coming.

Safe to say that Michigan's Fab Five honeymoon has expired with high school recruits, who were in diapers when that whole scene went down.

Scoop vs. Whitlock/Simmons/Everyone. Simmons writes about crazy stuff going down at All Star Weekend in Vegas. Whitlock does the same but gets all up in the black community's face in a fashion that's either irritatingly preachy or refreshingly honest depending on your preconceived notions and so forth and suchlike. Everyone generally agrees that what went down on the Strip a couple weeks ago was scary as hell and probably not a good thing. Scoop Jackson calls out the aforementioned with the exact phrases they dropped ("Hip Hop Woodstock" for Simmons, "Black KKK" for Whitlock) and declares everything racist -- a safe assumption is when you tease dropping "the R word" multiple times but coyly avoid it you have for all intents and purposes dropped it -- because he's Scoop Jackson.

Cleveland journalist Brian Windhorst responds. This concludes your Scoop-Whitlock beef update.

Speaking of Simmons, he's got an interesting column on his recent two-game fling as an ESPNU color commentator. Since no one gets ESPNU I wasn't able to see the grand experiment, but Simmons reports it went well and hits on an interesting point:
Every No. 1 announcing "team" is more like a corporate merger: Al Michaels is a big name, John Madden is a big name, so of course they're combined into MaddenMichaels. Meanwhile, the best 2006 NFL broadcast was the one ESPN threw together for a Raiders-Chargers game with a one-time crew that included Ron Jaworski and Dick Vermeil, two old friends. We felt like we were sitting on the sofa with them for three hours. I loved it. Why not hire more friends to announce together?
(Simmons did his games with MLS announcerguy Rob Stone, evidently an old college buddy.) Did anyone happen to hear either of these obscure college basketball games?

Etc.: Apparently I'm the 18th most influential person in the universe. So that's nice.