• December 20, 2014

Allan Mandell On Sports Hubie Brown still dishing out hoops wisdom

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Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014 12:45 am

Here’s five comments and then one bold, but confident, prediction about a trophy.

1.) ESPN’s Hubie Brown is the best basketball commentator on the airwaves. He’s a basketball genius, yes. But he breaks down the game for the rest of us who aren’t basketball geniuses. At age 80, he’s as good as ever. He’s always prepared, always insightful. He’s never bashful about giving his opinions on how one team should defend and the other attack. Far too many NBA basketball commentators yelp — after a missed jumper — “I did NOT like that shot!”

Brown puts his butt on the line before the play, before that last-second shot is taken. His credentials are impeccable. After Brown finished playing college ball, he played in the pros. In 1955, he began his coaching career. He won NBA Coach of the Year honors twice. For his coaching achievements, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Nowadays, basketball junkies are well served when Brown calls a game.

2.) Bill Simmons is the absolute worst basketball commentator on the airwaves. Why is this guy even on the airwaves? He coached at ... nowhere. He played for ... nobody.

ESPN doesn’t make many mistakes but this Simmons guy is a blabbermouth talking about something of which he has zero expertise. He never played pro ball, never played in college. Maybe he played in elementary school but there’s no documentation of that either.

Last year, after the exhilarating NBA Finals series between Miami and San Antonio concluded there sat Magic Johnson and Simmons. Johnson mentioned that Miami team president Pat Riley deserved some credit for putting the Heat together — an on-the-money point. So what did Simmons do? First, he shook his head at Magic, perhaps the greatest point guard in NBA history. “No,” Simmons said to Magic. The credit for all the success of the Heat belonged “only to LeBron.”

Whatever any of us think about Riley and LeBron, why must we listen to Simmons challenge Magic Johnson on anything regarding basketball? ESPN could do itself and its viewers a huge favor and take Simmons off the air.

3.) Congratulations to the Harker Heights baseball team for a terrific season, which included a six-game winning streak to end district play. Heights ran into a powerhouse (Midlothian) in the postseason but the future is bright for the Knights.

4.) Special thanks to four outstanding area coaches — Billy White Jr., Latisha Williams, Eldridge McAdams and Celneque Bobbitt — for their eloquent comments to the Herald on Tuesday night regarding Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban of Donald Sterling from the NBA.

Each of the four condemned Sterling for his sickening, racist comments. And each of the four praised the commissioner for his swift, decisive action.

Will Silver’s decision hold up?

Peter McCabe, adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School, said, “When Sterling bought the team, he bought it subject to the rules of the NBA. If the commissioner applied the rules in a manner that was not arbitrary or capricious, then the decision is likely to stand.”

Here’s hoping Silver’s decision stands.

5.) Here’s a theory: No softball team can make it to the state tournament — the Final Four — without having an outstanding pitcher.

“I think so,” said Salado head coach Kory Craddick. “Yes, you must have a pretty good pitcher to get there.”

Craddick has one. Senior southpaw Morgan Hill struck out 14 batters, yielded just two hits and zero earned runs in the Lady Eagles area championship game victory against Teague on Friday.

While observing Hill on Friday night for two innings, former Baylor star and current China Spring head coach Kelly Levesque turned to her assistant coach and said, “This pitcher is very, very good. She’s the real deal.”

Another real deal is University of Minnesota senior running back David Cobb.

And so here’s the bold prediction: Cobb will win the 2014 Heisman trophy.

Cobb, an Ellison High School graduate (2011), carried 237 times last season and gained 1,202 yards. He averaged over 5 yards per carry.

Cobb was an unknown commodity until October. In five of his first six 2013 games, he had game-total carries of 6, 9, 13, 8 and 7.

In Minnesota’s last seven contests, once the Gopher brass knew what it had, Cobb averaged 24 carries per game.

This season, the Gophers will be riding Cobb from the start. Minnesota’s first 2014 contest is against Eastern Illinois. If Cobb gets 20 carries, you can put 220 yards on the stat sheet. Second game is Middle Tennessee State. A better foe. But let’s give Cobb 170 in this affair.

Cobb’s third game will be a sort-of homecoming for him: TCU in Fort Worth. Now if Cobb can get 160 yards in this one, we’re at 550 yards with three games down and nine to go.

In those nine contests, let’s say Cobb gets 28 carries per. Let’s say Cobb can push his 2014 per-carry average to 5.5. That’s 1,540 yards in those nine games. Add 550 to that and we’re at — well Cobb is at, we’re just watching — 2,090 yards.

And that’s a Heisman trophy number.

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