Get the Flash Player to see this player.
13 year-old Evan Berry, brother of Tennessee safety Eric Berry, has not officially “committed” to the University of Tennessee. But that’s not what this debate is about.
The NCAA recruiting rules are as convoluted as any, but it is clear that a school cannot send out a letter of intent until September 1st of an athlete’s junior year in high school. Obviously, the 13 year-old Berry is not a junior in high school. That much is clear.
But this debate is about a larger issue. The issue is that Berry has frequently visited the Tennessee campus, and even said himself yesterday to Yahoo! Sports that he will likely play football for Tennessee beginning his freshman year in 2014.
“Yes, I committed to Tennessee,” Evan said. “It’s the only college I know right now, and it seems the best for me. My dad went there and my brother is there now. I know I can do the same things there. I have a real friendly relationship with the coaches there. I know I don’t know them too well, but I know I will have plenty of time to get to know them.”
The problem isn’t that this 13 year-old kid has ambitions. Every kid should have ambitions. But guarantees are different than ambitions, and it appears that Evan Berry, prior to even stepping forth into the 8th grade, has been guaranteed at least a proposal by the University of Tennessee.
I am not usually one who will argue for sake of morals, but there is something wrong when a division one football school, and not just your “run of the mill” football school, but an elite football program targets a 13 year-old boy.
Because that’s exactly what Berry is, a boy. He hasn’t even begun to grow, his voice hasn’t gotten deeper, and he’s barely old enough to play Babe Ruth baseball.
Collegiate recruiting continually gets sleazier, but at what point does it stop? At what point do colleges say, “This system is wrong, and I will not play along just to keep up with my competition.”
This is different than an inner-city basketball stand-out who cheats on his SAT’s to meet the guidelines in order to play college basketball. This is different than a coach leaving a school behind in order for a few more million dollars.
This is a big time university actively showing legitimate interest in a 13 year-old. If this doesn’t stop, by the time Berry’s freshman year rolls around (2014), we will be having this discussion again, except it may then be about a 7 year-old flag football stand-out.
You may laugh now, but wouldn’t have people even 5 years ago laughed at the notion of the University of Tennessee recruiting a 13 year-old boy? The answer is yes, and the reality is, that what previously appeared to be hyperbole is now reality.
Yes, this is going to be primarily focused on the NBA, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and of course, Michael Jackson, that all occurred this week.
There’s no question that as a person, Michael Jackson was mentally sick. However, as a performer, there was none better. One must separate the performer from the person.
Onto the NBA, and boy, what a dull draft it was last night. ESPN didn’t help matters, as they did a horrendous job covering the event. Why didn’t they mention any trade possibilities? The Timberwolves drafted two point-guards in the top ten. Why no trade speculation? Why no mention of the rumors involving Rajon Rondo, Amare Stoudemire, and other stars? ESPN failed to capture the mood on draft night, and thus, failed to cover it properly.
Also, would it kill David Stern to learn how to pronounce players’ names? These are top draft choices, players who are advertised as the future of your league, and you can’t even do them the justice of correctly pronouncing their names? That’s unprofessional.
Blake Griffin becomes the latest forward to be drafted by the Clippers, and expected to resurrect the franchise (Bill Simmons wrote an excellent column on the misfortunes of the Clippers yesterday). Though intrinsically Griffin will be “second fiddle,” by playing for the Clippers, but at least he won’t be in a “second city,” as he’ll still play in Los Angeles.
I did not like the Hasheem Thabeet pick by Memphis. Thabeet is a project, and doesn’t have much offensive upside.
It’s obvious that the Timberwolves are not planning to have both Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn on their roster to begin the season. Especially now that there are reports out of the Rubio camp that he may not sign with Minnesota. Until it’s clear as to what the T-Wolves hope to do with Rubio and Flynn, judgement on their draft should be withheld.
Stephen Curry will flourish in Don Nelson’s offensive system. I know he’s probably a little disappointed that he won’t play in New York, but he’ll put up much better numbers with the Warriors.
Speaking of the Knicks, though the jury is still out on Jordan Hill; he definitely has a lot of talent and is capable of scoring in the NBA. The fact is, this wasn’t a very deep draft and to walk away with anybody who features some sort of upside has to be considered a positive.
The Spurs continue to prove that they’re smarter than every other NBA franchise. Not only was the Richard Jefferson trade a stroke of brilliance, but taking DeJuan Blair in the 2nd round was a great move as well.
Does acquiring Jefferson make the Spurs favorites in the West? No, but it does give San Antonio another much needed scoring option, and one with an expiring contract to boot. So if Jefferson walks, then it’s a win, but if he plays well and resigns, then it’s a win as well.
The Celtics will probably not move Rajon Rondo. Rondo nearly averaged a triple-double in the postseason, and is well on his way to becoming an elite point guard. It’s obvious that the Celtics want him to get better and improve his shooting and maturity, however I’m not sure if having your GM (Danny Ainge) go on sports talk radio and criticize Rondo is the way to do that. This could pay huge dividends, or backfire incredibly, and cause Rondo to pout. Never mind that it may significantly decrease the likelihood of Rondo resigning with Boston.
The Vince Carter deal makes the Magic more “star-driven,” but may not make them better. I’m not sure if Carter is a better fit for the Magic than keeping Courtney Lee and resigning Hedo Turkoglu would have been.
But Shaquille O’Neal is a great fit for the Cavaliers. Firstly, the Cavs gave up Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for Shaq, so they gave up nothing of substance. Also, O’Neal has an expiring contract, so he won’t affect the Cavaliers’ chances at resigning LeBron James from an economic standpoint.
Lastly, James now has a legitimate Center to play with, and yes, Shaquille O’Neal coming off of an All Star season and entering a contract year is still a championship caliber Center. And even if the Cavs don’t win the championship next season, Cleveland will certainly rock next season.
If you can’t give a scouting report on Matthew Stafford without uttering the clichés, “athletic player,” “pocket presence,” “strong arm,” “tremendous pocket presence,” and of course, “winner,” then you should do something a tad more productive on your Saturday than watch the NFL Draft.
It is understood that the NFL is the most popular sport in the country. It is also understood that because of that, the NFL Draft has been an omnipresent presence on my television all week.
In some, if not most areas of the country, college football is king. 90,000 people regularly attend spring football games in Arkansas and Alabama.
It’s logical as to why the NFL Draft is hyped as largely as it is by sports media outlets. Combining the most popular sport in the country with sport that’s arguably the most popular in several regions of the country is a “can’t lose” kind of event.
But what isn’t logical is why you’re your friend “Larry” who’s only seen guys like Mark Sanchez play a handful of times, and hasn’t heard of 80-85% of the players on the draft board cares so deeply about this never-ending festival of names that you don’t recognize being announced into a microphone, and Mel Kiper debating with Todd McShay about whether that offensive lineman from TCU should warrant a late 2nd round or early 3rd round selection.
An AP write-up cannot tell the whole story of most sporting events. In many cases, there are nuances that you miss if you just read a box score, or watch the highlights. However, when it comes to the NFL Draft, unless you’re a college football fanatic and play some sort of drinking game based around how many times an analyst will say, “game changing player,” then reading the results does tell the whole story, and doesn’t take up hours of your life on a Saturday.
That is, unless you have sort of thing for hackneyed expressions, players who’ve never heard of, and Mel Kiper.
Alex recaps the Red Sox’s latest games, and sends out nothing but praise! The Red Sox are riding a 7 game win streak into a big series this weekend against the Yankees, and David Ortiz is beginning to hit.
Alex also goes “Around the League,” hands out the “post of the day,” and announces the new slogan for the Washington Nationals’ segment, “NatsTown.”
Listen to the “Alex Reimer Show” every Saturday from 4-5 PM EST on 1120 AM WBNW Boston. Live live online at www.wbnw1120.com.