Willie Warren is going to be a huge boost to that team because of his ability to score in the backcourt and stabilize their ballhandling. I think the one big guy in the country that can challenge (North Carolina forward) Tyler Hansbrough for player of the year status would be Blake Griffin. I had a chance to work with him this summer at the Amare Stoudemire Academy and he is just a stud. He is just a strong athlete that no one guy in college basketball can stop. I think he’s going to have an ubelievably good year.
Are the Sooners good enough to reach the Final Four?
I wouldn’t put them among the Final Four favorites to start the season, but I think they are a top 15 team for sure.
Green Dan: In honor of NBC’s “Green Week,” Dan Patrick of “Football Night in America” says he has been helping the cause: “I’ve been recycling lines I used at ESPN.”
Barkley’s advice: TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley has some advice for Shaquille O’Neal regarding his ongoing feud with Kobe Bryant:
“I’m going to call out one of my favorite people, one of my five greatest players ever that I love watching, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaquille O’Neal, you know I love you. I know your mom and my mom are best friends and I know I’m going to get in trouble because you’re my favorite player.”
“You’ve got to let this thing go, man. You have been one of the greatest players in NBA history and (one of the) greatest players ever. You are one of the nicest (guys) people are ever going to meet and you are great for charity. Hey, man, finish your career as that guy. You don’t want to be a bitter, angry guy going out the game. You are too good of a person. Let this thing with Kobe go. The rap thing last summer, now you’re going back between fields. Hey man, you are too good of a person to finish your career like that. Just be one of greatest players ever, one of the nicest guys ever, let all that crap with the Lakers go and let it go.”
As an ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor, Kenny Mayne always was more of a comedian than a sports guy. His dry wit oozed from his delivery. So it was no surprise that the debut of his “Mayne Street” series on Tuesday on ESPN.com had its share of laughs.
In ESPN.com’s first original scripted series, Mayne plays himself in a fictionalized version of life at the center of sports television. In the 4-minute debut, he teams with Scott Van Pelt on the late show. The two are on the set for hours as Mayne repeatedly mispronounces Rafael Nadel’s first name in the closing. His producers want to take the corrected version and include it in the morning repeats. Eventually, Van Pelt takes over the duties but not after cursing Mayne for his repeated miscues and even blaming him for his marital problems.
The fictional production crew which includes Mayne’s producer, Sarah (Alison Becker); cameraman, Video Cowboy (Jon Glaser); production assistant, Jordan (Jordan Carlos); network executive, Mintz (Ben Schwartz); Mintz’s right hand, Robin (Aubrey Plaza); as well as other ESPN personalities including Van Pelt and Neil Everett.
ESPN.com plans to post new 3 to 5-minute episodes every Tuesday and Friday.
10. Chargers will win AFC West on the last day of the season.
9. Cardinals will end the regular season with 10 wins.
8. Falcons QB Matt Ryan wins NFL Rookie of the year.
7. Brett Favre announces his retirement before the final game.
6. Packers win NFC North.
5. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Georgia head coach Mark Richt & Florida head coach Urban Meyer are top candidates for NFL head coaching positions.
4. Saints QB Drew Brees wins NFL MVP, breaks Dan Marino’s passing record but Saints miss playoffs.
3. On Dec. 21, Steelers spoil Titans undefeated streak.
2. Cowboys miss playoffs, head coach Wade Phillips gets fired but offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is not promoted to head coach.
1. Giants and Steelers face each other in Super Bowl.
Analyst Jimmy Johnson on his top candidate for an NFL head coaching position: “I’d hire head coach Mike Leach of Texas Tech before I’d hire any of those guys.”
Wade featured on E:60 finale: The season finale of ESPN’s weekly primetime newsmagazine, E:60, 6 p.m. Tuesday, will include a profile of Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and his mother, Jolinda Wade, and how their relationship endured Jolinda’s former addiction to drugs and alcohol.
No surprise here: As expected, ABC will air the Texas Tech at OU game on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. ABC has been earning big ratings this year with several Big 12 matchups. Will “College GameDay” be there? Bet on it.
The struggling Dallas Cowboys, 5-4, took shots Sunday on several NFL studio shows over quarterback Brad Johnson’s dismal play as a replacement for injured starting quarterback Tony Romo:
On Fox NFL Sunday, co-host Terry Bradshaw on Jerry Jones’ decision not to secure a competent backup QB: “You have 13 Pro Bowl players and a potential Super Bowl team. All of us picked the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl. So why didn’t Jerry Jones go out and get a real back up quarterback? Even Daunte Culpepper can throw the football down the field. Instead you have somebody who’s 40 years old, has all the experience in the world and can stand on the sidelines. The difference is when you get on that field, you have to act, you have to be able to perform and Brad Johnson cannot perform.
On NBC’s “Football Night in America,” Cris Collinsworth: “For Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips and company, they knew what they had at backup quarterback and it’s costing them big time.”
ESPNU to reair Nebraska-OU with “TMI” ESPNU will integrate graphic messages called TMI, which will appear throughout replays of college football telecasts previously aired on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, including the Nebraska-OU game at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. TMI, a popular acronym for “Too Much Information,” will display unique factoids related to the two teams featured during the re-air of the 2:30 p.m. Wednesday game.
Remembering Fan Man: On the 15th anniversary of the WBA/IBF heavyweight title fight between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe, ESPN Classic will present the bout at 7 p.m. Thursday. The fight, which Holyfield won in a 12-round decision, was interrupted by the Fan Man, who paraglided into the ring at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Theismann to sub: Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Theismann fills in as studio analyst for Warren Sapp, as he continues his Dancing with the Stars run, on “Inside the NFL” at 8 p.m. Wednesday on SHOWTIME.