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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Sunday, July 1, 2012

NBA should have learned from the Lin-sanity


There was a distinct sense of disappointment by Yale men’s basketball coach James Jones as the NBA draft progressed on Thursday night.

Although Bulldogs star center Greg Mangano was a bit of a long shot to get drafted, when Jones saw the end of the second round progress — loaded with post players, most of whom were foreigners or deemed projects — Jones wondered why his guy wasn’t selected.




“I really felt that Greg was just as good if not better than a lot of the players picked (at the end of the second round),” Jones said.

Of the final 13 picks in the draft, NBA teams opted for seven foreign players, using their method called “draft and stash” where they select a player and then let him play overseas for a couple of years and hope they mature into the next Dirk Nowitzki. Most of them are very raw skill-wise.

Mangano worked out for several teams and Jones said the 6-foot-10 shot-blocker from Orange will most likely hook up with a team in the NBA Summer League. Then it will be up to Mangano to see if he gets a good deal overseas or plays in the NBA Developmental League.

Yale’s Reggie Willhite may also go that route. Jones said Willhite is cut from the same cloth as Oklahoma City’s Thabo Sefolosha. “He’s working to show teams that his jump shot is there and he’s already a great defender,” Jones said.


Penn's Zach Rosen
Another Ivy Leaguer who did not get selected in the draft was Penn’s Zach Rosen.

“He was the best point guard we’ve played against in several years,” Jones said. “I’m sure he has pro aspirations, but I don’t know what his plans are.”

It looks like Jeremy Lin’s success did little to quell any Ivy League stigmas that may exist. But after watching that trio play for four years, I believe Mangano would have been the starting center at UConn (and Andre Drummond was drafted ninth), Reggie Willhite is one of the best ball defenders I’ve ever seen and Rosen will not only play in the NBA one day, but he will make an impact.

‰Congratulations to former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham, who will be on the Great Britain women’s basketball Olympic team.

In a story I wrote about Leedham and her sister while the two were playing together in high school, I quoted their former coach as saying Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti watched them play on one occasion with great interest.

Rizzotti refuted that fact, saying she had never seen them. I then emailed Rizzotti to tell her that if she in fact hadn’t seen Johannah Leedham play, then she should hurry down and check her out. I don’t know if she ever did, but somehow both of the Leedhams ended up at Franklin Pierce where Johannah became the best Division II player in the country.

Now she’s an Olympian. Someone missed the boat.

As for Cheshire Academy, I sent my son there last year and it was an awesome experience.

‰After a thrilling Stanley Cup finals, it is disheartening to hear the NHL is once again facing labor issues. Then I learned that Donald Fehr is the new chief of the players’ association.

All I can say is, “Uh, oh.”

‰Earlier in the week the college football hierarchy announced that in 2014 there will be a four-team playoff system to determine the national champion.

A day later they announced Alabama and USC were already two of the finalists.

‰The very first inning the day after Kevin Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the White Sox, Will Middlebrooks booted a ball and the fans greeted him with jeers of: “Youuukk.”

Of course Boston had to find a way to get Middlebrooks into its lineup daily, but bringing back a utility player with less ability than Nick Punto and a 25-year-old pitcher who had already been traded four times was not the way to go about it.

Boston should have held onto Youkilis until close to the trade deadline and then unloaded him. The White Sox were already desperate and the way players have been dropping lately, you could have guaranteed the Red Sox would have gotten a better deal. And if they hadn’t, it wouldn’t have cost them anything extra as they’re already paying most of Youkilis’ remaining contract.

It just exemplifies what a dismal start Ben Cherington is off to since taking over for Theo Epstein. First he botched the Epstein compensation pact and then he picked up Marlon Byrd, who has since been released and found to have been using performance-enhancing drugs.

In baseball terms, Youkilis is already his third strike.

‰One of the most popular reality shows on cable TV is “Storage Wars,” where a group of businessmen and collectors buy abandoned storage units from facilities on the West Coast.

Whether those TV auctions are staged or not is anyone’s guess, but such auctions are fairly common. You can go online to get a schedule of auctions in every state in New England. There were over 30 auctions in Connecticut in June alone.

Get ready. Yuuup.

‰The phantom catch by the Yankees’ Dewayne Wise on Tuesday night just reemphasized the need for instant replay in baseball. Wise made a gallant effort leaping into the stands in foul territory trying to snare a pop-up hit by Cleveland’s Jack Hannahan.

Replays showed the ball clearly bounced out of his glove, but umpire Mike DiMuro ruled that Wise caught it without ever asking the outfielder to show him the baseball. DiMuro later admitted he made a mistake, although Yankee radio announcers John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman still contend it was one of the greatest catches they ever saw. (What game does Sterling watch?)

The most absurd view of the play, however, had to come from former Cincinnati Reds general manager Jim Bowden. He said Wise should have fessed up to dropping the ball in the name of sportsmanship and told the umpire to rule it a foul ball.

No wonder the Reds haven’t been any good in decades.

‰I find it hard to believe the PGA is considering banning long putters on the tour. Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open using a long putter. Keegan Bradley used it to win the PGA Championship.

When I took up the game of golf I found that the hardest thing to do was to snap a 3-iron out of the rough and try to get it to the green 180 yards away. Now, all you have to do is drop a hybrid on the ball and you’re there.

The premise of the complaint against the long putters is that when the putter is anchored against the belly, it is a third contact point with the body, thus giving it more control.

I don’t buy it. First ban titanium and oversized drivers and then we’ll worry about putters.

Bill Cloutier can be reached at bcloutier@nhregister.com. Follow Bill on Twitter @BillCloutier. To receive breaking news first, simply text the word nhsports to 22700. *Msg & Data Rates May Apply.

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