2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • AFA basketball: Jeff Reynolds picks his second-best player of all time

    Sun, February 28, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    We recently had an interesting discussion about who ranks as the second-best basketball player of all time.

    My selection – which is the correct one, of course – is Magic Johnson, but I heard from a few dozen friends and readers who had other choices. Mainly, I heard from friends and readers who wonder why I don’t put LeBron James on my all-time Top 20.

    Answer: He’ll get there, but he’s not there yet.

    Talked with AFA coach Jeff Reynolds over lunch last week about  the second-best discussion. (Jeff and I agreed Michael Jordan is first. That’s something everyone should agree about.)

    On Friday he sent his thoughts on the question:

    Here’s what he said:

    “Having little time  here goes:

    1st choice no doubt Big O  (Oscar Robertson)  ….think about it…. his first 5 years in the league he averaged a TRIPLE DOUBLE..NO ONE has better stats….30pts. 10asts and 10 rebs and he was a POINT  GUARD.

    2nd choice….Jerry West….maybe the best shooter ever and one great defender that gets to this day overlooked much like Jordan in that regard….

    3rd choice ….Magic Johnson…he simply changed the game as it is played today!

    4th choice Kareem Abdul Jabbar…..MOST SKILLED BIG GUY EVER

    5th choice….Larry Bird…..total package great skills great Rebounder for his athletic ability……probably best TEAMMATE EVER! And Self Confidence BEYOND!!

    6th choice…Bill Russell…Greatest Shot Blocker of All Time!

    There you go…. wish I had more time to put thought to this..love these types of discussions.

    Take care

    JEFF”

    Thanks, coach.

    Just one thing:

    Larry Bird is placed too high on your list.

    Jake Schaller also places Bird too high on his list, but that’s all right.

    Check out Jake’s AFA blog:

    http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/

  • AFA basketball: Rebels stomp Falcons and could stomp in NCAA Tourney

    Sat, February 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    When UNLV’s Rebels are playing at their best, they are the best team in the MWC. I’ve watched New Mexico and BYU throttle Air Force this season, but UNLV has the best balance and the most hunger.

    New Mexico defeated BYU in a thriller at Provo on Saturday. The Lobos lead the MWC.

    But I predict Vegas will win the MWC Tournament. This is a dangerous collection of Rebels.

    And, remember, the MWC Tourney is in Vegas.

    Check out Jake Schaller’s look at the UNLV-AFA game, which was, according to his research, one of the Falcons worst home performances in recent history.

    http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/

  • Will be blogging later today

    Sat, February 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Will be blogging later today after AFA-UNLV basketball game.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • CC hockey: The Tigers find a way to lose

    Sat, February 27, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss serves as a good summary of the Tigers season.

    The Tigers led, 2-1, heading into the final minutes.

    And found a way to lose, 3-2.

    The only thing certain about this version of the Tigers is uncertainty.

  • CC hockey: The Tigers badly need a win, and it doesn’t look promising

    Fri, February 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Colorado College badly needs a win if it wants to earn home ice in the upcoming WCHA playoffs.

    So far, the Tigers are bringing momentum from last weekend’s series against Minnesota.

    And that’s bad news.

    The Gophers outscored the Tigers, 10-4, last weekend.

    North Dakota leads CC, 1-0, after one period in a surprisingly quiet World Arena.

  • Nuggets: Watch out, a new power is rising in the NBA West

    Fri, February 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    On Feb. 9, the Denver Nuggets trashed the Dallas Mavericks, 127-91, in a triumph that was every bit as dominating as the score.

    Then the Mavs did what any sensible team would do. They traded for better players.

    The Mavs traded Josh Howard and Drew Gooden to the Washington Wizards for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. (There was other loose change exchanged by both teams in the trade.)

    In an instant, the Mavs became wiser, tougher.

    And much more dangerous.

    The Nuggets badly need to keep their No. 2 seed in the NBA West.

    The Nuggets will have an extremely difficult time holding off the Mavs, who defeated the Lakers in Dallas on Wednesday night.

    The Mavs made a steal of a trade following such recent steals as the Lakers trade for Pau Gasol and, yes, the Nuggets larceny of a deal in the Allen Iverson/Chauncey Billups trade.

    Check out the Mavericks upcoming schedule. In the next two weeks, the Mavs play lightweights Minnesota, Sacramento, New Jersey and New York at home.

    Here’s a look from the Los Angeles Times at the trade:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/college/usc/la-spw-lakers-mavericks25-2010feb25,0,4688862.story

    Upcoming: Will be blogging tonight from the Colorado College-North Dakota hockey game. Plan to blog after the first period and then after the game.

  • AFA basketball: A really bad call and a really unlikely looking star

    Thu, February 25, 2010 by David Ramsey with 4 comments

    Evan Washington glided down the baseline and dunked to cut Utah’s lead to two points. The small crowd was roaring and AFA was given a brief – extremely brief – boost with 10:55 left.

    Then there was a whistle.

    AFA center Mike McLain had been called for an offensive foul.

    His crime?

    Boxing out.

    I’m usually not one to call out basketball refs, who have one of the most demanding tasks in sports.

    But the refs blew this one.

    And Air Force never recovered. Utah went on a 12-3 run to seal the victory.

    “They missed one,” McLain said after the game before complimenting the refs overall.

    “That was a momentum starter when Evan gets that dunk.”

    It was.

    And then it wasn’t.

    The offensive foul ended a horrendous 30-second sequence for McLain. With 11:25 left, his face got in the way of Jay Watkins elbow while Watkins was shooting.

    McLain was called for a foul.

    An unlikely looking star:

    Utah freshman Marshall Henderson looks 12 years old. He has a tremendously bad haircut.

    But he’s destined to become the Mountain West’s best player.

    Henderson, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, dropped 16 points on the Falcons despite a slow start. He missed five of his first seven shots, but then dropped three of his last four.

    He jabbered with defenders. He acted as if he was placing a six-shooter in his holster after dropping 3s. He had a lot of fun.

    Part of the fun is he looks like your next-door neighbor.

    But that doesn’t matter.

    He shoots like an NBA star.

    And his confidence level is soaring somewhere up there in the stratosphere.

    He laughs and says he realizes he’s not, using his words, “eye candy.”

    “I don’t care,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it. This is how God made me.”

    His less than dazzling appearance often has worked in his favor this season. Coaches see him and place a weak defensive player on him.

    “And I tear him up,” Henderson said. “They aren’t expecting a lot when people don’t know about my game.”

    Henderson scored a mind-boggling 2,829 points in high school at LD Bell in suburban Dallas. (That’s the same high school AFA star Nick Welch attended.)

    He chose Utah over Gonzaga and – sorry, Jake Schaller – Notre Dame.

    Henderson averages 12.5 points overall and 15 points in conference play.

    He’s going to score a staggering number of points for Utah while delivering the MWC’s best show.

    Check out Jake’s blog, where he talks about AFA’s free-throw troubles and inability to take advantage of momentum from Saturday’s dazzling loss at New Mexico:

    http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/

  • Tony Kornheiser gets suspended for being, well, Tony Kornheiser

    Wed, February 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser makes his living with an over-the-top brand of biting sarcasm that inspires many, including me, to laugh out loud.

    He criticizes anyone and everyone and has earned a big pile of money with his style.

    Now, out of nowhere, ESPN has suspended Kornheiser for two weeks for being, well, Tony Kornheiser. This is silly. This is hypocritical. And, most of all, this is much worse for Hannah Storm than it is for Kornheiser.

    Storm, an anchor on the ESPN’s morning SportsCenter now faces a national debate about her choice in clothes.

    On his radio show Feb. 16, Kornheiser expressed  alarm about  Storm’s fashion choices. He said the outfit she had worn on SportsCenter that morning was “horrifying.” The skirt was “way too short for somebody her age.” (Storm is 47.) He wondered why she chooses to wear such tight tops.

    You can argue about Storm’s sense of fashion. That’s exactly what I was doing Sunday afternoon at my brother’s house in Denver.

    That’s the fun of participating in the media process. Kornheiser begins these kind of conversations. So do hundreds of other commentators. I’m not the biggest fan of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann, but I do see the importance of their roles. They provoke us to talk about subjects we might otherwise never talk about.

    Same with Kornheiser. He’s a great conversation starter.

    He belongs in the company of such substantional conversation starters as Russ Douthat a conservative (really) columnist for the New York Times and Lisa Miller, who writes about religion for Newsweek. Thanks to my friend Tim Bunn for pointing out Kornheiser doesn’t belong among the Limbaughs and Olbermanns of our world.

    One of Kornheiser’s big crusades is for middle-age female TV personalities to tone down their fashion statements. He’s questioned the flashy styles of NBC’s Hoda Kolb and Kathie Lee Gifford, who often make Storm look conservative. He wants Hoda and Hannah and Kathie to pursue a more traditional, elderly style. This isn’t, by the way, one of Kornheiser’s more substantional conversation starters, and I don’t join him in this crusade.

    But it’s a brave crusade, mainly beacuse it leaves  Tony in danger of getting smacked upside the head by a purse even as we speak.

    Remember, Kornheiser has used his verbal blade on Bob Costas’ wardrobe. He’s equal-opportunity in his insults.

    ESPN is foolish to apply a double standard on Kornheiser.

    The standard basically goes like this:

    Fire away at everybody,. Tony.

    But don’t dare fire away at a high-profile ESPN employee.

    That’s a joke.

    A joke that is backfiring on ESPN and Storm.

    Here’s another look at the suspension from Deadspin, which sees a deeper conspiracy that includes Chris Berman:

    (If you read this blog much at all, you already know about my tremendous admiration for Chris Berman. Boomer Berman is to broadcasting what William Shatner is to singing.)

    http://deadspin.com/5478645/kornheiser-gets-two+week-suspension-for-on+air-comments-and-other-things-of-note?skyline=true&s=i

    Here’s William Shatner’s immortal version of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” (Really, I’m not kidding.):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-yy2URAYqU&feature=PlayList&p=9AEF9270F018A24C&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3

    And here’s Ross Douthat’s columist page from The Times. He’s a wise, entertaining writer. Check him out:

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/rossdouthat/index.html?scp=5&sq=russ%20douthat%20&st=cse

  • AFA basketball: Reynolds talks about friends, critics and moms and dad

    Tue, February 23, 2010 by David Ramsey with 8 comments

    After Saturday’s three-point loss to No. 12 New Mexico, AFA coach Jeff Reynolds said his team’s solid performance had been inspired, in part, by critical voices.

    Players, he said in a radio interview, had heard from observers who said they had, using Reynolds word, “quit” and that the team was “an embarrassment to the academy.”

    On Monday at his weekly press conference, Reynolds talked about those outside voices.

    Gazette: You talked earlier about outside voices. After the game Saturday you talked about highly critical outside voices. Had you talked earlier to your players about the criticism?

    Reynolds:  “Well I don’t remember stating ‘highly critical voices.’ What I remember saying after the game was that I felt our kids had heard comments from various people where they had said we were embarrassed and our team had quit. And I’m not saying that that’s critical or not critical. But I had heard that from our players in sitting down with them. I also made that comment because, I think (The Gazette’s) Jake (Schaller) asked me why our kids played well. And I think one of the reasons why was I think they finally owned up and manned up and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to try to put our best foot forward. We’re going to try to put what people are saying about Air Force basketball players quitting to rest.’

    “Now, who made those comments to the kids, I think various people. For example, I know one particular parent made a comment to one of our players that it looked like we quit at BYU. And as a fan, if you get beat 43 points, you probably would think that. But I wasn’t making that comment to be critical of parents.

    “My wife even makes comments to me at times. ‘Why did you let Zach Bohannon hit those two free throws?’ I’m smart enough to know, Dave, I’m not going to say anything bad to my wife. I don’t want to be over at your house sleeping, pal.”

     Gazette: (I was a little surprised at this point. Didn’t expect the conversatio to turn to the complexities of marriage.

    But let me make this perfectly clear:

    I strongly agree with Jeff; it’s a really solid idea to keep peace with your wife.)

    Now, back to the interview.

    Thank you, Jeff, that’s a great answer. The various people you’re talking about, who are they? You said a parent, who are some of the others?

    Reynolds:  “I don’t know. I mean, in having conversations with players, it might be former high school buddies. It could be high school coaches. I don’t ask them, well, ‘Who said this or this said that.’ Because we’ll talk about, ‘Hey, did you guys feel like you put your best effort?’ ‘Well, no, coach, such and such even said,’ Well, I don’t even know who such and such is. All I know is kids they’re trying their best. And sometimes it doesn’t look like they’re trying their best.”

    Later, Reynolds talked more about outside voices.

    “I think Zach (Bohannon) has gotten better each week as the season goes on. He feels much more comfortable within the system. He’s getting better defensively and Zach is just like anyone, he’s got a lot of pressure on him because of the success of his brother, and I think sometimes he puts that self-imposed pressure on himself a little bit more than others. (Jason Bohannon is a senior forward at the University of Wisconsin.)

    “For example, you know, Dave asked that question. Well I can assure you his dad was the quarterback of the Iowa Rose Bowl team in 19-whatever, and he’s constantly in Zach’s ear about, ‘well why didn’t you do this or why didn’t do that?’ And it’s hard to tell a player, ‘Hey, don’t listen to your dad.’ Because his dad was a very good athlete himself.

    “But yet, as I told Zach, ‘Hey, look, your dad, he’s not going through what you’re going through right now. So try to get the most out of it and then listen to the people that you think have the most, best interest of you in heart. And we’re pleased with his progress, very pleased.”

    Thanks to The Gazette’s Jake Schaller for the transcript of this interview. My tape recorder was in the repair shop.

    Check out Jake’s AFA blog:

    http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/

    And read Jake’s AFA basketball notes, which appeared online only. In the notes, Jeff Reynolds talks about Sammy Shafer’s medical status, Tom Fow’s defense and the no-call near the end of the New Mexico loss:

    http://www.gazette.com/sports/reynolds-94603-afa-close.html

  • AFA basketball: What happens after extremely encouraging loss?

    Mon, February 22, 2010 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    AFA’s defeat at The Pit in New Mexico Saturday offered a sports rarity. It was a great loss.

    A loss that could transform a season.

    An extremely encouraging defeat.

    “It shows we can compete with anybody,” senior forward Grant Parker told The Gazette’s Jake Schaller.

    Let me offer some perspective. Air Force motored into the game with 26 defeats in its previous 27 regular-season Mountain West games. New Mexico was ranked No. 12, and The Pit is, well, a pit for visiting teams.

    Air Force almost won anyway. Air Force probably would have danced off the court as victors if the team could have placed the ball in Parker’s hands in the final seconds. Parker – despite an excruciating groin injury, despite the team falling apart all around him - has delivered an honorable senior season.

    And he would have sank the game winner, if given the chance.

    Now, the Falcons face the challenge of showing there is weight behind Parker’s words.

    AFA plays host to Utah on Wednesday at Clune. Utah stumbles into the contest with five losses in its last seven MWC games. Utah is vulnerable.

    But, then, so was TCU. Last time Air Force seemed to have earned momentum, the Falcons kicked it all away against TCU at Clune. The Falcons had played a solid, if not spectacular, game in a win over depleted Wyoming and the gloom appeared to have lifted from the program.

    The Horned Frogs made it awful gloomy. In a Feb. 6 loss to TCU, the Falcons played one of their worst games in recent program history, which considering recent program history is saying something.

    The Falcons can bring a badly needed – make that desperately needed – boost to the program with two wins in their final four MWC games. Utah can be conquered at Clune, and a win over Wyoming in that great metropolis of Laramie is definitely in the realm of possibility. (Beating UNLV and SDSU is unlikely.)

    Play with anybody?

    We’ll see.

    Check out Jake Schaller’s AFA blog. (And scroll down to read Jake’s thoughts about one of the troubling questions of our time: Why do airlines announce it’s the “last and final” call for a flight?)

    http://gazetteafasports.freedomblogging.com/

    Upcoming: In a postgame interview with announcer Jim Arthur, AFA coach Jeff Reynolds said Saturday’s performance was his team’s  response to critics who claimed the team had, using Reynolds word, “quit.” Reynolds also said critics had called  the   team  “an embarrassment to the academy.” I’ll ask Reynolds to identify those critics.