Friday, February 2, 2007

Red Sox Fan's Spring Training Guide

Spring Training ticketsSpring scheduleCity of Palms Park infoThe Red Sox return to their Spring Training haven of Fort Myers, Fla., for six weeks beginning on Feb. 16.
Every spring, the Red Sox Nation relocates to Southwest Florida, making it feel like Boston South. The Sox play their home games in City of Palms Park, one of the nicest of all the Spring Training facilities. The Red Sox began playing in Fort Myers in 1993.
As Red Sox fans prepare for their journey to Fort Myers, here are some questions and answers that should help:
When do the Red Sox arrive at camp?Pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 16; position players will arrive on Feb. 20. The first full-squad workout is on Feb. 22.
When do games start?The Red Sox open their Grapefruit League schedule at home on Feb. 28, when they host the American League Central champion Twins at 7:05 p.m. ET. Over the next two days they have have their annual split-squad meetings with a pair of local college entries, Northeastern (March 1) and Boston College (March 2).
How do I get tickets?Go online and order tickets at the Red Sox's Spring Training Tickets page. You can also purchase tickets in person at the City of Palms Park box office or by calling 617-482-4SOX.
City of Palms Park has a capacity of 7,290. The Red Sox sell out most home games, but standing-room tickets are always available at the box office on the morning of the game.
Where is Fort Myers, and how do I get there? Fort Myers is on the southwest coast of Florida, and there are several airlines that fly there from Boston. If you want more flight options, it would also be possible to fly to Miami, Tampa or Orlando and drive two to three hours to Fort Myers. City of Palms Park is located on 2201 Edison Avenue in Fort Myers. It is accessible from Cleveland Avenue. For the first two weeks of camp, before the games start, the Red Sox train at the Minor League complex, which is two miles east of City of Palms Park, also on Edison Avenue.
How can I watch the team work out? For the first two weeks of camp, you can watch workouts at the Minor League complex, and they are free of admission. Typically, the Red Sox begin working out around 9:30 a.m. and come off the field around noon. Once the games begin, the only workouts available for public viewing are the typical batting practices that you would see before regular-season games.
Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
Cactus League:
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Grapefruit League:
AstrosBlue JaysBravesCardinalsDevil RaysDodgers
IndiansMarlinsMets Nationals OriolesPhillies
PiratesRed SoxRedsTigersTwinsYankees
Where can I get some autographs? The best time to get autographs during the first two weeks of camp is after the workout. There is a roped-off area right outside the Red Sox's clubhouse where fans typically gather and several players sign autographs. Once the games begin, the best time to get autographs is during and shortly after batting practice. Players often venture to the first rows of stands just beyond the dugout.
What else is there to do in Fort Myers? There is plenty of tanning to be had at Fort Myers Beach as well as Sanibel Island. Gourmands will be happy in Fort Myers, as there are restaurants galore, from the chain variety to individually owned establishments. There are also a number of shopping plazas and a large movie multiplex.
When do the Red Sox open the regular season? After a pair of games against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to end the exhibition season on March 30 and 31, the Sox open their 2007 season in Kansas City on April 2. Following a six-game road trip, Boston plays its Fenway opener against the Mariners on April 10 at 2:05 p.m.
Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League

BOSTON -- Coming up through the Red Sox system, lefty Jon Lester was known for his great command and poise.
Those attributes have helped in recent months as he is in the midst of a remarkable comeback from lymphoma.
The 23-year-old southpaw showed up Wednesday at Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Fla., ready to begin the next stage of his comeback.
Lester, who was 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA in his rookie season of 2006, said he is aware that the club may choose to be cautious as he builds up his strength, not just in his left arm but the rest of his body after an offseason of chemotherapy treatments.
"The club always has the best interest of the player, so I'm going to do what they tell me to do," Lester told WBZ radio reporter Jonny Miller. "If they want me to take it slow, I'll take it slow. If they want me to be normal, I'll be normal."
Lester, who finished his chemotherapy treatment in mid-December, said he is up to 208 pounds, seven pounds shy of his goal heading into Spring Training. Also, according to Miller, Lester was joined by fellow southpaw Kason Gabbard, righty Chris Smith, first baseman Ian Bladergroen, second baseman Jeff Natalie and shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Elsewhere, Red Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer said the team isn't close to reaching an agreement with arbitration-eligible outfielder Wily Mo Pena, according to the Boston Herald. There has not been an arbitration case in the Theo Epstein era as general manager, which began in 2003.

Bengals Lose to Georgia at Buzzer

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- For the fourth time in the last five meetings between the schools, Thursday night's LSU-Georgia game was decided by no more than two points. The difference: For the first time in that stretch, Georgia won.
Georgia freshman Ashley Houts sank the winning baseline shot at the buzzer, lifting No. 14 Georgia to a come-from-behind 53-51 win over No. 7 LSU on Thursday night.
Georgia led by seven with less than 3 minutes left, but LSU charged back to tie the game on a basket by Sylvia Fowles with 7 seconds remaining.
Houts then drove the length of the floor to hit the winning shot.
Officials reviewed the play to verify Houts made the shot before time expired.
Georgia had no timeouts after Fowles tied the game. With so little time, Houts had one plan in mind.
"I was just trying to go to the hole and either get fouled or make a shot," Houts said.
The game-winner was only the second shot attempted by Houts, who was contained most of the game by LSU's Erica White.
Houts dribbled past the Georgia bench, where players and coaches were screaming for her to get off the shot, before hitting the short pull-up jumper. She had six points.
The shot capped another in a recent series of tight games between the teams: LSU's 62-60 win in the 2004 NCAA West Regional final, LSU's 65-64 win in Athens last season and the Lady Tigers' 57-55 home victory over the Lady Bulldogs on Jan. 7. LSU beat Georgia 68-61 in Baton Rouge last season.
"This was a typical Georgia-LSU game," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "It's kind of how our games have gone. They are always hard-fought."
Quianna Chaney scored 20 points while setting a career high with five 3-pointers to lead LSU (20-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference), which got 17 points and 18 rebounds from Fowles. The Lady Bulldogs moved into a tie with LSU for second place in the SEC.
"I thought it was a game of bookends for us," LSU coach Pokey Chatman said. "The first 8 minutes, we executed well. The last 6 1/2 were good, too. It's the middle part where we had the lull. We went away from what we needed to do."
LSU's RaShonta LeBlanc said the game shouldn't have come down to Houts' last shot.
"The last shot wasn't the difference, it was us not executing in the second half, missing layups and not making free throws."
Tasha Humphrey scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Georgia (19-4, 6-2) in the defensive struggle. Georgia shot 30.5 percent from the field and LSU hit 31.5 percent while making only 12 of 20 free throws.
Georgia trailed most of the game before Angel Robinson, playing with four fouls, scored six straight points to cap a 12-0 second-half run and give the Lady Bulldogs their first lead.
Georgia, which trailed by seven early in the second half, took its first lead at 41-40 with 8:27 left on Humphrey's

Football Recruiting News from Dandy Don

Tiger fans, we are heading into the last football recruiting weekend before National Letter Signing Day. LSU is in good shape to have a top-five recruiting class if Les Miles can land two or three of the top five recruits still on board. Should worse comes to worse and LSU does not sign any of the five remaining players, the class will still be a top 5-10 class and I have no reason to believe that LSU will not sign at least three of the five players. I have spoken to several people in the know in high school football recruiting and I am starting to feel some better about LSU's chances of signing Joe McKnight. I have listed McKnight as a 60-40 lean to LSU most of the recruiting process, but after McKnight's visit to LSU last weekend I dropped the chances to 50-50. In the last 24 hours I have received encouraging news and I'm calling it 55-45 today. It might be as late as next Monday or Tuesday before information leaks out on where McKnight, Terrance Tolliver, Steffon Francois and Christian Scott will be attending college. At this time, it appears that the SEC conference will have six schools listed in the top 10 in recruiting. Tennessee, Florida, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Auburn all have a chance to finish in the top 10. Coach Les Miles will be entertaining three recruits this weekend on official visit. They are Sidell Corey, (DE, 6'4", 260) from Mobile, Lionel Breaux (WR) from New Orleans, and Toddrick Bajoie (WR) from Catholic Point Coupee who is already committed to LSU. Thursday was a huge day for emails and the slide in the basketball program was the main topic. John Brady's popularity is fading fast with Tigers who had high expectations for this season. LSU is 13- 8, 2-5 in the SEC at this time with nine SEC games remaining to be played, and there is always hope for a turnaround, but with three of the next SEC games on the road it is going to be an uphill battle, in my opinion. LSU will be playing at Mississippi State Saturday and should leave with a win. The Bulldogs are 11-9, 2-5 on the season and the only team in the SEC West with a record worse than LSU's. If LSU loses at MSU, I think that LSU will be lucky to receive a bid to play in the NIT. There is still a lot of basketball to be played and I hope the Tigers can turn things around.

Lady Rebs Rebound on Road, Beat Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Four players scored in double figures led by senior guard Armintie Price with 17 as Ole Miss improved to 17-6 on the season and 6-2 in Southeastern Conference play with a 72-64 win over Florida on Thursday evening."Well it wasn't pretty," said Ole Miss head coach Carol Ross. "It was a hard fought win, but any road win in the SEC is nice to pick up. It's a great way to start the month of February."Florida jumped out to an early 5-0 lead off of a quick three by Kim Dye and a jumper from Sharielle Smith. Ole Miss freshman guard Alliesha Easley countered with a jumper and a three of her own to get the Rebels on the board. Florida scored four-straight points to open a 9-5 lead, but two baskets by senior forward Jada Mincy knotted the score at nine.The two teams traded baskets, before the Rebels went on a 15-6 run to open up the largest lead of the half at 32-24, but Florida scored the last six points of the first period to trail by just two at the break.Ole Miss opened the second period with two-straight baskets, before Florida trimmed thte lead back down to two at 36-34 with 17:54 remaining in the game. After trading baskets, the Rebels opened up a 14-point lead at the 10 minute mark on a free throw by Price.Florida turned on the press at that point and scored 10-straight points to slice the deficit back down to four points with 5:15 left in the game. Price and senior guard Ashley Awkward combined for four quick points to give the Rebels an eight-point cushion and Ole Miss knocked down free throws down the stretch to keep the Gators at bay and collect the win.Price recorded her 10th double-double of the season with 10 boards to go along with her 17 points. She also had five assists and three steals. Awkward tallied 16 points and four steals, while Easley finished with 12 and sophomore center Shawn Goff had 10 points. Mincy tied a career-high with 15 boards, including eight on the offensive glass.Florida was led by Depree Bowden with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Bowden also had 11 turnovers. Marshae Dotson had 14 points and 18 rebounds for the Gators.Ole Miss will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 4 when they travel to Arkansas. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Freshman likely to Start at First Base for 2007 Rebels

First base will see one of the most hotly contested position battles during the Ole Miss Rebels' opening weeks, with three candidates vying to be an everyday starter for the Ole Miss baseball team.Senior C.J. Ketchum, junior Peyton Farr and freshman Andrew Clark have been the main three at the position through the fall season and the early part of spring, with no one player really separating himself from the field. Ketchum is the incumbent at first, having started 65 games a season ago, but the 2006 SEC All-Tournament performer spent the majority of the fall season playing catcher. "C.J.'s move was really two-fold," coach Mike Bianco said. "One, we needed him to do it because we weren't really going to have a lot of depth and experience at catcher. "And two, I really think (catcher) is his natural position, but C.J. still does some work in practice at first."Ketchum's bat is the main reason the coaching staff wants to find a place in the lineup for him, whether it be at first, as catcher or as designated hitter. He hit .337 a season ago with 36 RBIs and proved to be a reliable force in the top half of the lineup.If any one player has a slight advantage in the position battle heading into opening weekend, it is most likely the freshman Clark. Clark, who hails from New Palestine, Ind., was one of the Rebels' most highly touted recruits last year and has done nothing to dispel that stature. He was a three-time All-State selection and was a Louisville Slugger All-American as a high school junior."Andrew had a very good fall offensively," Bianco said. "Defensively, he's also been outstanding; he moves around the bag well."Like most freshmen, Clark has gone through an adjustment period that has been rough at times, but he is ready to make his mark on Ole Miss baseball."The fall went well; it was just a matter of adjusting to the college level," Clark said. "I have been getting a lot of reps at first and coach has been talking to me about starting, so I just have to keep working hard."The third man in the race, Farr, has been around the program the longest as a fourth-year junior from Monroe, La. Farr played in 29 games last season, primarily as a defensive replacement late in games, and drew one start against Louisiana-Monroe. He hit .250 for the season with one home run and five RBIs."Peyton has been with us for several years now and has really improved over his time here in all areas, defensively, offensively and as a base runner," Bianco said. "It is good to have a veteran competing for the position."Both Farr and Clark have embraced the competition, and there are no hard feelings between the two when it comes to playing time."It's really been fun," Farr said. "Me and Clark are battling it out, and coming into the season we're going to be switching in and out, and whoever plays well the first couple of weeks is probably going to get the majority of the innings this year."

Matsuzaka preparing for camp

In any other year, Daisuke Matsuzaka would have been back in Japan, where spring training camps opened yesterday.
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Instead, he was here, in the ultramodern offices of his agent, Scott Boras, sitting in front of a wall of baseballs (47 across, 31 down, 1,457 in all) and describing the first phase of his preparation to play not for his former team, the Seibu Lions, but for the Red Sox.
Dressed casually in a red Nike T-shirt and Nike sneakers with red laces -- Boras just completed a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with the athletic shoe manufacturer -- Matsuzaka told the scrum gathered in the office lobby (18 television cameras, about 60 media types) about the three weeks he has spent here in southern California in advance of the opening of Sox camp.
Matsuzaka has been working out at the sports fitness facility Boras operates in a cooperative arrangement with Soka University, a six-year-old liberal arts school whose roots, coincidentally, are in Japan. Yesterday's photo opportunity showing him work out at another neighboring school, Saddleback College, was canceled because of wet grounds, but Matsuzaka said that on Tuesday, he'd thrown off the mound for the first time this winter, throwing 60 pitches.
Everything went well, he said, while hinting that he was working on a new pitch. That, of course, is inevitably going to prompt speculation that the pitch in question is the legendary gyroball, though Boras rolled his eyes at the suggestion.
"First it will be the gyroball," he said, "backed up by the Loch Ness Monster."
If anything, Boras said, Matsuzaka is refining his two-seam fastball, a sinker with excellent movement to both sides of the plate that he used only sparingly in Japan, the agent said, because Matsuzaka's four-seam fastball was so overpowering.
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has visited "to get the initial introduction out of the way," he said by phone from his home in Cleveland. "He's a very engaging person. He was outgoing, and he likes not only to get his work in but you can tell that he's a person who is fun to be around."
Farrell observed two of Matsuzaka's workouts, along with Sox assistant trainer Mike Reinold. He also watched him do long tossing. "He was throwing on flat ground from 200 to 220 feet," Farrell said. "You can tell from the trajectory of his throws, and the way he was able to maintain his mechanics, without overextending or opening up, that he has very good arm strength."
Farrell said he gave Matsuzaka a set of tapes of hitters in the American League East, not so much for Matsuzaka to begin formulating his plan of attack, but just to put some names and faces together.
Matsuzaka said he had taken a stab at doing some research on his own.
"I bought major league magazines when I was back in Japan and memorized a lot of the names and faces of players," he said.
Matsuzaka answered questions for the better part of 45 minutes. The biggest difference between this session and his introductory press conference in Boston last December? The translator. Handling the duties flawlessly yesterday was Masa Hoshino, a Harvard graduate in environmental sciences (Class of 2002) who will serve as Matsuzaka's personal interpreter (at the Sox' expense) this season.
With Hoshino translating Matsuzaka's responses into fully formed paragraphs, it was easier to discern the thoughtful nature of his responses -- and his propensity to laugh.
"One of the things I was most worried about in coming over here was obviously the food. But to my surprise, I found the vegetables are great, the fish tastes great," Matsuzaka said with a smile. "So far, so good. I've been able to lead a comfortable few weeks here."
Matsuzaka talked about how he enjoyed his free time in Boston.
"I had the chance to go by and look at the house where I'm going to be living, also had a chance to visit a museum, and as I walked around town, a lot of people said hello to me in a sort of very respectful and cheery manner," he said.
His plan, he said, was to show up in Fort Myers for spring training on Feb. 12, four days before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report. The biggest on-field adjustment, he acknowledged, will be to the five-man rotation, after having pitched in a six-day rotation.
Not that he seemed too worried. Meeting briefly afterward with three Boston reporters, Matsuzaka laughed when Hoshino translated the admonition from one "not to believe anything he'd heard about the Boston media."
And when Channel 4's Dan Roche wished him, "Good luck," Matsuzaka did not miss a beat -- or wait for the translation.
"Thank you," he said.

Recruiting News From Dandy Don

There is not a whole lot of news to report in recruiting. Joe McKnight is the main topic of discussion among the remaining players on the board, and he will receive home visits from Les Miles and Pete Carroll of USC tonight. I thought that Carroll's in-home visit was scheduled for Wednesday night, but it is tonight. I am sure that Pete Carroll will impress McKnight because he is a very polished, smooth talking coach with a lot of charm. Les Miles will be accompanied by offensive coordinator Gary Crowton and running back coach Larry Porter and will try to convince the nation's No. 1 prospect to sign with LSU. Joe McKnight was almost a lock to sign with USC one year ago, but Les Miles and Jimbo Fisher did a good job recruiting McKnight before Fisher took the FSU job. I have been told that Gary Crowton has impressed McKnight the few times the two have talked. In my opinion, McKnight's final decision will be made after Les Miles' visit tonight. The good thing that LSU has going is that his family, friends and coach J.T. Curtis would be able to drive 60 miles up the road seven times each season to see him play. I cannot see any reason for McKnight to want to attend USC unless he has a desire to leave the state of Louisna and all his friends. I have not heard anything new on Christian Scott, Terrance Tolliver, Chad Jones, Steffon Francois and Sidell Corley. I have been told that at least one national recruiting expert is predicting that McKnight and Tolliver will sign with USC and Florida respectively

Tack Minor Career at LSU is Over

Tack Minor’s basketball career at LSU officially ended Wednesday.
The university released a statement during the Tigers’ game against Alabama stating the 5-foot-11 junior “is no longer enrolled at LSU.”
The statement did not provide a reason for Minor’s departure, citing student privacy rights and said there would be no further comment.
Reached by cell phone Wednesday, Minor said “It’s over and done with and I’m moving on.”
Asked if he had been expelled, Minor said “I’ve just got some personal problems I need to take care of.”
The last 10 days provided several indicators that Minor’s future was in limbo. He missed a practice Jan. 22, did not play in LSU’s last home game against Vanderbilt and did not make the trip with the Tigers for a road game at Georgia on Sunday.
The final chapter of Minor’s career caps a once-promising and erratic four years in the LSU program for the Houston native.
He arrived in 2003 as a member of a recruiting class ranked as one of the best in the country.
At the end of his sophomore season in 2005, Minor was found guilty of violating the LSU Student Code of Conduct and suspended from the university for the fall 2005 semester.
After sitting out the first semester last season, Minor rejoined the Tigers in December and played in three games but tore the meniscus in his right knee in his third game back. The NCAA granted Minor a medical redshirt, giving him this season and next to complete his eligibility.
Instead, his LSU career came to an abrupt finish Wednesday.
Minor played sparingly this season, averaging 15 minutes per game with two starts. His playing time dwindled after his best game of the season — a seven-point, three-assist performance in the Tigers’ nationally televised 66-49 triumph over Connecticut on Jan. 6. He pumped in a 35-foot 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give LSU a lead it never relinquished.
Since the start of SEC play, Minor logged only 36 minutes.
As a freshman Minor played a key role as a backup point guard but became also known for his inconsistency.
In 2004-05, Minor started all 30 games, averaging 10.8 points per game and leading the Tigers with 137 assists.
Minor said he does not plan to enroll in another school. Instead, he will work out in Houston with the goal of attending NBA pre-draft camps this spring and summer.
Although it is unlikely he would be taken in the NBA draft, his strong relationship with former NBA player and coach John Lucas could lead to free-agent opportunities.
Maui tickets on sale
Tickets to the 2007 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational will be available starting today with the purchase of a travel package.
LSU is in the eight-team field along with Duke, Marquette, Illinois, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Princeton and host Chaminade.
Oahu Travel, the tournament’s official travel agency, will begin taking travel package reservations at 1 p.m. today. Travel packages include tickets, hotel accommodations, shuttle service and more.
For more information, contact Oahu Travel at (800) 826-3822.
Up next
The Tigers begin a stretch of three road games in their next four when they travel to Mississippi State for a 4 p.m. contest Saturday.
The Bulldogs dropped into last place in the SEC West with an 85-73 loss at Ole Miss on Tuesday night. State (11-9, 2-5) has lost three games in a row — the first two by three points each to Florida and South Carolina.
State has a four-point SEC loss at Kentucky.
LSU has reeled off four consecutive wins over State, including a pair of comfortable double-digit decisions last season.
Sophomore Jamont Gordon is State’s leader in scoring (15.5 points per game), rebounding (7.4) and assists (4.6) — making him the only SEC player to lead his team in those three categories.

Heartbreak for LSU

Heartbreak can come in many forms, and it seems the LSU basketball team is destined to find as many ways to lose basketball games as it can.
Wednesday presented a different method, but the same unsavory result for the Tigers.
LSU got the kind of breakthrough effort it needed for 35 1/2 minutes Wednesday when 19th-ranked Alabama visited the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
But the last 4 1/2 were rife with the same recent problems that have dogged the Tigers for three weeks, and the Crimson Tide seized the opportunity.
Alabama scored 10 of the final 12 points to rally for a 73-70 triumph and hand LSU its fourth loss in a row — the second straight decided in the closing minute.
This one may be the most damaging and difficult to swallow.
The Tigers (13-8, 2-5 SEC) led by eight points with 9:33 left in the game and by five with 4:34 on the clock and couldn’t hold on to either lead. Instead of doing the things good teams do to close out victories, LSU did what it’s done so often this season.
The Tigers unraveled, scoring only two points in the last 4:34 and that swung the door open for a struggling Alabama team.
“We have to play better in the last five minutes,” LSU coach John Brady said. “We didn’t play the last five minutes well against Georgia and we didn’t play well the last five minutes (Wednesday). We had some opportunities in the last five minutes, but we made some poor decisions.”
After Magnum Rolle’s 17-foot jump shot from the circle at the 4:34 mark, LSU missed five of its last six field goals.
That dry spell allowed the Tide (16-5, 3-4) to chip away, with Jermareo Davidson igniting the comeback when he buried a 15-foot jump shot as the shot clock was about to expire. That shot whittled LSU’s lead to 68-65, and Alabama knocked down six straight free throws down the stretch to surpass the Tigers.
With a 68-67 cushion, LSU got an extended possession when Glen Davis missed but the Tigers forced a jump ball on the rebound when Davidson grabbed the rebound but sprawled out in the lane to protect possession.
Johnson, who tallied 10 points in the second half and finished with a career-high 13, took an inbounds pass and immediately launched a 15-foot jumper from the left wing that hit nothing and the Tide got the ball when he it squirted out of bounds.
“That was what we wanted him to do, shoot that off our four-play,” Brady said. “They had Davidson guarding him and we set a stagger screen and he broke clean. Even though he’d been on the bench, that’s what we called and what we wanted. That one didn’t go down.”
On the ensuing possession, Alabama set up a clear-out on the opposite end for the red-hot Davidson. He caught the ball on the side of the lane and drove to the basket past Rolle, who fouled. Davidson calmly dropped in two free throws for a 69-68 Tide lead.
With LSU looking to regain the lead, Garrett Temple threw a bad pass toward the sideline and Alabama’s Alonzo Gee picked it off. Gee was fouled and swished two free throws to nudge the Tide lead to 71-68 with 23.1 seconds to go.
When LSU came down the floor, Johnson put up a 3-pointer from the right corner that spun in and out. Tasmin Mitchell snatched the offensive rebound and couldn’t convert from close in, but Johnson dunked the follow shot to pull the Tigers within 71-70.
Needing to foul, LSU couldn’t stop the clock until Johnson knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.9 seconds to go. Alabama got the ball in cleanly to Gee, who missed a layup, but Davidson fittingly ended the game by dunking a follow shot right before time expired to cap a career-best 31-point night.
“He stepped up,” Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said of Davidson, who was 12-of-20 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. “Jermareo, I thought, was phenomenal. He just stepped up with a lot of courage and we went to him when we needed to with a little isolation play. He took it strong to the basket. He just willed our team to a victory.”
The Tigers were in good shape to spoil Davidson’s monster night.
After the two teams went back and forth for the first 29 minutes, LSU carved out some breathing room with a six-point burst in 21 seconds when Rolle hit a pair of free throws, Darnell Lazare stuck a baseline jumper and Ben Voogd drove the lane for a tear-drop bank shot. The last two baskets came when LSU surprised the Tide with a full-court press.
Alabama crept back within 62-60 with eight unanswered points, but the Tigers seemed to regain their footing when Mitchell drove for a short jumper from the baseline and Glen Davis charged in for a reverse layup. Moments later Rolle popped a jumper from the circle to give LSU a 68-63 advantage.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Theo Epstein is a Married Man

Theo Epstein is a married man.
The Red Sox general manager threw a shutout at the paparazzi, gossip columnists, nosy sportswriters, celebrity bloggers, and any other potential wedding crashers by sneaking off earlier this month to marry Marie Whitney, and also managed to keep their honeymoon a secret.
Epstein's father, Leslie, who heads the creative writing department at Boston University, confirmed last night that his son and Whitney were married.
"We're very happy for them, of course, but we can't say much more ..."
"I hope there's much happiness for them and for all Sox fans . . . this season."

Current Ole Miss CommitmentList

Mark Jean-Lewis

Cerritos, CA
Ashlee Palmer

Compton, CA
Colby Arceneaux

River Ridge, LA
Jamariey Atterberry

Kosciusko, MS
Lionel Breaux

New Orleans, LA
Johnny Brown

Charleston, MS
Lamar Brumfield

Compton, CA
Robert Elliott

Okolona , MS
Paul Henry

Fort Smith, AR
Jamison Hughes

Oxford, MS
Fonterrian Ingram

Atlanta, GA
A.J. Jackson

Visalia, CA
Rishaw Johnson

Hammond, LA
Ted Laurent

Powder Springs, GA
Jerrell Powe

Chatham, VA
David Rue

Monroe, LA
Justin Sanders

New Market, AL
Lawon Scott

St. Petersburg, FL
Isaiah Smith

Columbia, TN
Bradley Sowell

Hernando, MS
Chris Strong

Batesville, MS
Alex Washington

Monroe, LA
LaMarcus Williams

Bastrop, LA
Marshall Williams

Decatur, GA

Recruiting News from Dandy Don

Recruiting is the red hot topic of discussion with all Tiger fans at this time. Coach Les Miles and his staff are shooting for the stars and if two or three of the stars fall LSU's way it will be a great recruiting class. Coach Miles could have wrapped up this year's class several weeks ago had he wanted to take the easy road out. In my opinion, the only way to continue the great success LSU has had in eight of the last 10 years is to recruit the very best players available, as Coach Miles is doing. In eight of the last 10 seasons, LSU has won 79 games and has lost 22. Only in 1998 and 1999 did LSU not have a winning season and play in a bowl game. In recruiting news, Joe McKnight decided late Tuesday night that he will not visit any school this weekend, according to Will Weather of the Advocate, and that is great news for LSU. In my opinion, McKnight's decision not to take an official visit to Alabama or FSU increases LSU chances at signing the Parade Magazine high school All-American. Jones, Francois and Tolliver are also finished with their visits. Corley will likely visit LSU this weekend, according to a couple of reports. At this time, LSU has 22 commitments and will likely take commitments from four to five more players. I spoke to Rayville high school coach Bo Barton Tuesday morning before conducting interviews with two of his players, and he told me that offensive lineman Dí Montell Wilson would not have the grades to enter LSU at this time and would be placed in a junior college for one or two years. I will be removing Wilson and Gabriel Bryant's names from my commitment list later today. One week from today is National Letter Signing Day and I will be very happy when the day comes and goes. By it's nature, recruiting is a very hard thing to report on accurately. I have made a few blunders in recruiting this year as have all the other web sites who cover recruiting and the LSU coaching staff. I would like for all of you who follow recruiting to understand that there will always be some thrills and heartbreaks in recruiting. LSU will have a great recruiting class this year, even if we lose two or three of the remaining players on the board. If I were a betting man, I would bet that LSU signs at least three of the remaining five players on the board.

By the 21st game of the season of the umpteenth year of a college basketball player's years playing the sport, making any midstream mechanical adjustments can be dicey.
So, no, despite LSU’s shooting problems reaching emergency status, there won’t be any major noticeable alterations.
And from the neck up, the Tigers won’t get too panicky, either.
LSU (13-7, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) returns home to battle 19th-ranked Alabama (15-5, 2-4) at 8 tonight at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in a meeting of two struggling teams looking to recapture the form that caused both to be ranked in the top-five nationally before the season began.
The Tigers are on a three-game losing streak for the first time since the end of the end of the 2003-04 season. The Crimson Tide is listing just as badly with three losses in four games and three SEC road defeats by a total of 72 points.
As bad as things seem for both teams, they are still clinging to the same glimmer of hope. Following Ole Miss’ 85-78 victory Tuesday against Mississippi State, every West Division team has at least four losses and all six also have at least two victories.
A hot streak now by anyone could completely change the complexion of the division race, meaning maintaining confidence could be a big key.
“I know my confidence is still there and I think all our other shooters still feel good about what they’re doing, too,” said LSU point guard Garrett Temple, who is shooting only 17.9 percent (5-of-28) from 3-point range in SEC games and 31.8 percent (14-of-44) overall in conference play.
“I know I need to pick my shots better and start making some — instead of shooting the 3, maybe drive the ball a little more. But your confidence can never waver if you want to be a good shooter. If you’re in a slump, you have to keep working hard to get out of it.”
Temple isn’t alone in his shooting malaise. Tasmin Mitchell’s percentage from outside the arc has also tumbled as he has missed 18 of 23 3-point tries in SEC play. Neither sophomore has connected on more than two 3-pointers in the last 13 games.
That’s left Terry Martin as the only reliable long-range shooter and as good as he’s been at times, he has also battled consistency.
The 6-foot-6 swingman has dropped in three or more 3-pointers in four SEC games and is hitting 44.4 percent from outside the arc. But he also has two games — including the earlier meeting with Alabama, a 71-61 LSU loss — when he couldn’t find the mark at all.
As a team, the Tigers’ 3-point numbers have faded from 37.7 percent (89-of-236) in non-conference games to an SEC-worst 29.4 percent (32-of-109) in six league contests.
While the shooters’ confidence might be intact, LSU has made fewer and attempted fewer 3-point shots than any team in the SEC.
Despite those negative trends, LSU coach John Brady isn’t ready to throw up a stop sign for any of his perimeter players.
“If we’re taking good shots within the offense, I’m not going to complain,” Brady said. “We’re trying to stay positive and encourage those guys as much as we can. I try to compliment every shot that goes in the basket right now. That’s important from a mental standpoint right now.”
Equally as important might be the fact LSU’s struggling offense collides with an Alabama club that has had major problems stopping opponents.
The Tide has surrendered 76 points or more in four SEC games after giving up more than that just once before the league season opened.
In the last five games, Alabama foes are shooting a robust 48.2 percent from the floor (144-of-299) and 43.2 percent (38-of-88) from 3-point range.
If LSU can parlay whatever confidence remains into a better performance tonight, the Tigers are aware they could direct their season back in the right direction.
“We know everybody has four losses in the West and that stays in the back of our minds,” Temple said. “But we also know we have to start winning games to still have a chance.”

Final Stats From Ole Miss State Game

These Stats are detailed and can be obtained only thru my blog:

Official Basketball Box Score
Official Basketball Box Score
Mississippi State vs Ole Miss
01/30/07 6:00 pm at Oxford, Miss. (Tad Smith Coliseum)
VISITORS: Mississippi State 11-9, 2-5
01 Delk, Richard....... f 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 1 1 0 1 12
23 Rhodes, Charles..... f 10-16 0-1 4-7 0 7 7 2 24 0 3 0 0 34
40 Goodridge, Vernon... c 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 7
24 Delk, Reginald...... g 2-7 1-4 0-0 0 2 2 3 5 3 2 0 3 23
44 Gordon, Jamont...... g 6-15 2-6 6-7 0 6 6 2 20 2 3 2 2 38
04 Stewart, Barry...... 0-3 0-2 2-3 2 1 3 0 2 3 0 0 0 24
11 Hansbrough, Ben..... 1-4 0-2 3-3 0 2 2 1 5 1 2 0 1 28
22 Slater, Dietric..... 4-6 2-3 1-2 1 1 2 5 11 1 3 0 2 24
32 Varnado, Jarvis..... 1-2 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 3 4 1 0 2 0 10
TEAM................ 3 1 4
Totals.............. 25-55 5-18 18-24 6 22 28 18 73 12 14 4 10 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-26 42.3% 2nd Half: 14-29 48.3% Game: 45.5% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 20.0% 2nd Half: 4-13 30.8% Game: 27.8% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 11-14 78.6% 2nd Half: 7-10 70.0% Game: 75.0% 4
HOME TEAM: Ole Miss 14-8, 3-5
44 Curtis, Dwayne...... f 6-11 0-0 2-3 4 4 8 3 14 0 2 1 1 28
50 Williams, Kenny..... f 0-3 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 4 0 2 0 2 2 26
10 Abernethy, Todd..... g 5-9 2-5 7-7 1 3 4 1 19 10 4 0 0 39
14 Polynice, Eniel..... g 0-2 0-1 1-2 0 1 1 3 1 1 2 1 1 21
20 Doyne, Bam.......... g 7-13 3-7 6-7 0 5 5 4 23 3 3 2 0 35
03 Smith, Brian........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1
12 Sanders, Clarence... 9-16 4-6 0-0 0 5 5 2 22 1 1 0 0 34
32 Parnell, Jermey..... 2-3 0-0 2-2 1 1 2 1 6 0 1 0 0 16
TEAM................ 2 3 5
Totals.............. 29-57 9-19 18-21 10 24 34 19 85 18 14 6 4 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-28 53.6% 2nd Half: 14-29 48.3% Game: 50.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-12 41.7% 2nd Half: 4-7 57.1% Game: 47.4% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-5 100 % 2nd Half: 13-16 81.3% Game: 85.7% 1
Officials: Ted Valentine, Bert Smith, Gary Maxwell
Technical fouls: Mississippi State-None. Ole Miss-None.
Attendance: 8415
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Mississippi State............. 34 39 - 73
Ole Miss...................... 40 45 - 85
Points in the paint-MS 30,UM 24. Points off turnovers-MS 20,UM 17.
2nd chance points-MS 3,UM 12. Fast break points-MS 4,UM 0.
Bench points-MS 22,UM 28. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-1 time.
Last FG-MS 2nd-00:48, UM 2nd-04:34.
Largest lead-MS by 4 1st-18:04, UM by 17 2nd-02:23.

Mississippi State vs Ole Miss
01/30/07 6:00 pm at Oxford, Miss. (Tad Smith Coliseum)
1st PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1)
BLOCK by Williams, Kenny 19:40 MISSED LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont
19:40 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)
REBOUND (DEF) by Polynice, Eniel 19:34 MISSED JUMPER by Gordon, Jamont
TURNOVR by Polynice, Eniel 19:26 STEAL by Delk, Reginald
19:17 TURNOVR by Delk, Reginald
TURNOVR by Doyne, Bam 18:49
18:47 STEAL by Delk, Reginald
18:44 0-2 V 2 GOOD! LAYUP by Delk, Reginald [FB/PNT]
TURNOVR by Abernethy, Todd 18:30
18:29 STEAL by Delk, Richard
FOUL by Polynice, Eniel 18:20
18:04 0-4 V 4 GOOD! LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles [PNT]
18:04 ASSIST by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 17:45 3-4 V 1
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 17:45
REBOUND (DEF) by Doyne, Bam 17:25 MISSED JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
MISSED LAYUP by Williams, Kenny 17:10 REBOUND (DEF) by Goodridge, Vernon
17:01 3-6 V 3 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
17:01 ASSIST by Delk, Reginald
TURNOVR by Curtis, Dwayne 16:51
16:50 STEAL by Goodridge, Vernon
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 16:19 MISSED JUMPER by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 15:48 6-6 T 1
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 15:48
15:27 6-9 V 3 GOOD! 3 PTR by Slater, Dietric
15:27 ASSIST by Varnado, Jarvis
MISSED 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 15:17 REBOUND (DEF) by Slater, Dietric
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 15:06 MISSED 3 PTR by Hansbrough, Ben
GOOD! LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne [PNT] 14:49 8-9 V 1
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 14:49
REBOUND (DEF) by Curtis, Dwayne 14:24 MISSED 3 PTR by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! 3 PTR by Abernethy, Todd 14:17 11-9 H 2
13:55 TURNOVR by Slater, Dietric
13:31 FOUL by Varnado, Jarvis
MISSED 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 13:24 REBOUND (DEF) by Rhodes, Charles
FOUL by Doyne, Bam 13:21
FOUL by Williams, Kenny 13:07 MISSED FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
13:07 11-10 H 1 GOOD! FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
MISSED 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 12:56 BLOCK by Gordon, Jamont
12:55 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
12:47 TURNOVR by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 12:37 14-10 H 4
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 12:37
12:15 14-12 H 2 GOOD! DUNK by Varnado, Jarvis [PNT]
12:15 ASSIST by Stewart, Barry
GOOD! 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 11:48 17-12 H 5
ASSIST by Doyne, Bam 11:48
FOUL by Parnell, Jermey 11:27
11:27 TIMEOUT media
11:27 17-13 H 4 GOOD! FT SHOT by Varnado, Jarvis
11:27 17-14 H 3 GOOD! FT SHOT by Varnado, Jarvis
MISSED LAYUP by Doyne, Bam 11:12 BLOCK by Varnado, Jarvis
11:10 REBOUND (DEF) by Delk, Reginald
REBOUND (DEF) by Doyne, Bam 11:01 MISSED JUMPER by Varnado, Jarvis
GOOD! FT SHOT by Parnell, Jermey 10:45 18-14 H 4 FOUL by Varnado, Jarvis
GOOD! FT SHOT by Parnell, Jermey 10:45 19-14 H 5
FOUL by Sanders, Clarence 10:40
BLOCK by Curtis, Dwayne 10:25 MISSED LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles
10:24 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)
10:23 FOUL by Rhodes, Charles
10:23 TURNOVR by Rhodes, Charles
GOOD! JUMPER by Curtis, Dwayne 10:03 21-14 H 7
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 10:03
09:26 21-16 H 5 GOOD! LAYUP by Slater, Dietric [PNT]
TURNOVR by Abernethy, Todd 09:03
09:02 STEAL by Slater, Dietric
08:56 MISSED LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles
08:56 REBOUND (OFF) by Stewart, Barry
FOUL by Curtis, Dwayne 08:46
08:42 21-18 H 3 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles [PNT]
08:42 FOUL by Slater, Dietric
08:36 FOUL by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 08:24 23-18 H 5
08:00 TURNOVR by Delk, Reginald
STEAL by Curtis, Dwayne 07:59
07:54 FOUL by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 07:54 24-18 H 6
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 07:54 25-18 H 7
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 07:54 26-18 H 8
REBOUND (DEF) by Curtis, Dwayne 07:42 MISSED LAYUP by Delk, Richard
GOOD! LAYUP by Doyne, Bam [PNT] 07:21 28-18 H 10
ASSIST by Polynice, Eniel 07:21
FOUL by Curtis, Dwayne 07:02 28-19 H 9 GOOD! FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
REBOUND (DEF) by Sanders, Clarence 07:02 MISSED FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
GOOD! JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 06:49 30-19 H 11
06:41 TURNOVR by Delk, Richard
STEAL by Polynice, Eniel 06:40
MISSED 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 06:25 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
06:22 TURNOVR by Gordon, Jamont
MISSED JUMPER by Doyne, Bam 06:03 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
05:49 TURNOVR by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 05:33 32-19 H 13
ASSIST by Williams, Kenny 05:33
05:31 TIMEOUT 30sec
BLOCK by Polynice, Eniel 05:11 MISSED LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont
05:11 REBOUND (OFF) by Slater, Dietric
FOUL by Williams, Kenny 05:11 32-20 H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Slater, Dietric
REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM) 05:11 MISSED FT SHOT by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 04:53 34-20 H 14
ASSIST by Smith, Brian 04:53
FOUL by Smith, Brian 04:36 34-21 H 13 GOOD! FT SHOT by Hansbrough, Ben
04:36 34-22 H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Hansbrough, Ben
TURNOVR by Smith, Brian 04:28
04:14 TURNOVR by Slater, Dietric
MISSED JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 03:56
REBOUND (OFF) by Parnell, Jermey 03:56
GOOD! LAYUP by Parnell, Jermey [PNT] 03:53 36-22 H 14
FOUL by Polynice, Eniel 03:38
03:38 36-23 H 13 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
03:38 36-24 H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
03:38 36-25 H 11 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
TURNOVR by Doyne, Bam 03:23
03:22 STEAL by Hansbrough, Ben
03:18 36-27 H 9 GOOD! LAYUP by Hansbrough, Ben [PNT]
FOUL by Doyne, Bam 03:18 36-28 H 8 GOOD! FT SHOT by Hansbrough, Ben
MISSED LAYUP by Parnell, Jermey 03:04 REBOUND (DEF) by Stewart, Barry
02:43 36-30 H 6 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
02:43 ASSIST by Stewart, Barry
MISSED JUMPER by Abernethy, Todd 02:26 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
02:12 MISSED 3 PTR by Stewart, Barry
02:12 REBOUND (OFF) by Stewart, Barry
REBOUND (DEF) by Doyne, Bam 02:08 MISSED 3 PTR by Stewart, Barry
MISSED 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 01:54
REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 01:54
GOOD! JUMPER by Abernethy, Todd 01:41 38-30 H 8
BLOCK by Doyne, Bam 01:20 MISSED LAYUP by Stewart, Barry
01:20 REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM)
BLOCK by Williams, Kenny 01:02 MISSED LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont
REBOUND (DEF) by Sanders, Clarence 01:00
MISSED 3 PTR by Doyne, Bam 00:48 REBOUND (DEF) by Delk, Richard
00:42 38-32 H 6 GOOD! LAYUP by Delk, Richard [FB/PNT]
TIMEOUT 30sec 00:40
GOOD! LAYUP by Doyne, Bam [PNT] 00:24 40-32 H 8
00:15 40-34 H 6 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
00:15 ASSIST by Delk, Richard
MISSED 3 PTR by Abernethy, Todd 00:02 REBOUND (DEF) by Rhodes, Charles
Ole Miss 40, Mississippi State 34
1st period-only InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties Leads
Mississippi State 14 9 3 4 15 0 0
Ole Miss 8 12 4 0 15 1 1
2nd PERIOD Play-by-Play (Page 1)
GOOD! LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne [PNT] 19:52 42-34 H 8
ASSIST by Doyne, Bam 19:52
BLOCK by Doyne, Bam 19:18 MISSED JUMPER by Delk, Reginald
19:15 TURNOVR by Rhodes, Charles
STEAL by Williams, Kenny 19:12
TURNOVR by Polynice, Eniel 19:08
19:06 STEAL by Gordon, Jamont
REBOUND (DEF) by Abernethy, Todd 19:01 MISSED 3 PTR by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! FT SHOT by Polynice, Eniel 18:56 43-34 H 9 FOUL by Delk, Richard
MISSED FT SHOT by Polynice, Eniel 18:56 REBOUND (DEF) by Rhodes, Charles
REBOUND (DEF) by Curtis, Dwayne 18:46 MISSED LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles
18:45 FOUL by Goodridge, Vernon
MISSED JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 18:32
REBOUND (OFF) by Curtis, Dwayne 18:32
GOOD! LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne [PNT] 18:27 45-34 H 11
REBOUND (DEF) by Sanders, Clarence 18:10 MISSED 3 PTR by Rhodes, Charles
GOOD! 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 18:02 48-34 H 14
ASSIST by Williams, Kenny 18:02
17:56 TIMEOUT 30sec
17:48 48-36 H 12 GOOD! LAYUP by Slater, Dietric [PNT]
17:48 ASSIST by Gordon, Jamont
MISSED JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 17:33 REBOUND (DEF) by Rhodes, Charles
REBOUND (DEF) by Abernethy, Todd 17:25 MISSED 3 PTR by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! LAYUP by Doyne, Bam [PNT] 17:01 50-36 H 14
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 17:01 51-36 H 15 FOUL by Slater, Dietric
REBOUND (DEF) by Doyne, Bam 16:54 MISSED DUNK by Rhodes, Charles
MISSED JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 16:49
REBOUND (OFF) by Williams, Kenny 16:49
MISSED LAYUP by Williams, Kenny 16:42 REBOUND (DEF) by Delk, Reginald
FOUL by Doyne, Bam 16:42
16:20 51-38 H 13 GOOD! LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont [PNT]
16:08 FOUL by Hansbrough, Ben
MISSED LAYUP by Polynice, Eniel 16:03 REBOUND (DEF) by Hansbrough, Ben
FOUL by Curtis, Dwayne 15:55
15:55 MISSED FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
15:55 51-39 H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
TURNOVR by Abernethy, Todd 15:49
FOUL by Abernethy, Todd 15:49
15:38 51-41 H 10 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
TURNOVR by Parnell, Jermey 15:25 STEAL by Slater, Dietric
15:13 51-43 H 8 GOOD! JUMPER by Rhodes, Charles
15:13 ASSIST by Stewart, Barry
MISSED JUMPER by Williams, Kenny 14:53
REBOUND (OFF) by Abernethy, Todd 14:53
MISSED 3 PTR by Abernethy, Todd 14:33 REBOUND (DEF) by (TEAM)
REBOUND (DEF) by Parnell, Jermey 14:14 MISSED LAYUP by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 14:04 53-43 H 10
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 14:04
13:42 MISSEDD3(PTR)byyGordon,,Jamontes
13:37 53-45 H 8 GOOD! LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles [PNT]
FOUL by Williams, Kenny 13:37 53-46 H 7 GOOD! FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
13:20 FOUL by Rhodes, Charles
TURNOVR by Curtis, Dwayne 13:17
12:59 53-48 H 5 GOOD! LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont [PNT]
MISSED 3 PTR by Abernethy, Todd 12:32 BLOCK by Gordon, Jamont
REBOUND (OFF) by (TEAM) 12:32
GOOD! 3 PTR by Abernethy, Todd 12:26 56-48 H 8
ASSIST by Sanders, Clarence 12:26
STEAL by Williams, Kenny 12:05 TURNOVR by Hansbrough, Ben
TURNOVR by Sanders, Clarence 11:40
11:39 STEAL by Gordon, Jamont
FOUL by Williams, Kenny 11:31 MISSED FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
11:31 56-49 H 7 GOOD! FT SHOT by Rhodes, Charles
MISSED LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne 11:20 BLOCK by Varnado, Jarvis
11:18 REBOUND (DEF) by Hansbrough, Ben
11:08 MISSEDD3(PTR)byyHansbrough,aBens
11:02 56-51 H 5 GOOD! LAYUP by Rhodes, Charles [PNT]
GOOD! LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne [PNT] 10:51 58-51 H 7
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 10:51
GOOD! FT SHOT by Curtis, Dwayne 10:51 59-51 H 8 FOUL by Varnado, Jarvis
REBOUND (DEF) by Curtis, Dwayne 10:23 MISSED LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! LAYUP by Parnell, Jermey [PNT] 10:10 61-51 H 10
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 10:10
09:58 TIMEOUT 30sec
09:39 61-53 H 8 GOOD! LAYUP by Gordon, Jamont [PNT]
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 09:23 62-53 H 9 FOUL by Slater, Dietric
MISSED FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 09:23 REBOUND (DEF) by Rhodes, Charles
09:08 62-56 H 6 GOOD! 3 PTR by Gordon, Jamont
09:08 ASSIST by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! LAYUP by Abernethy, Todd [PNT] 08:51 64-56 H 8
08:39 64-59 H 5 GOOD! 3 PTR by Slater, Dietric
08:39 ASSIST by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 08:04 67-59 H 8
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 08:04
07:53 TURNOVR by Hansbrough, Ben
MISSED LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne 07:36
REBOUND (OFF) by Curtis, Dwayne 07:36
MISSED LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne 07:34 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
07:16 67-62 H 5 GOOD! 3 PTR by Delk, Reginald
07:16 ASSIST by Hansbrough, Ben
MISSED 3 PTR by Polynice, Eniel 07:01
REBOUND (OFF) by Curtis, Dwayne 07:01
MISSED FT SHOT by Curtis, Dwayne 06:56 FOUL by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! FT SHOT by Curtis, Dwayne 06:56 68-62 H 6
FOUL by Polynice, Eniel 06:47
06:40 68-64 H 4 GOOD! DUNK by Gordon, Jamont [PNT]
GOOD! LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne [PNT] 06:29 70-64 H 6
ASSIST by Doyne, Bam 06:29
REBOUND (DEF) by Abernethy, Todd 06:20 MISSED 3 PTR by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! JUMPER by Abernethy, Todd 06:13 72-64 H 8
TIMEOUT 30sec 06:13
05:55 TURNOVR by Slater, Dietric
MISSED JUMPER by Sanders, Clarence 05:25
REBOUND (OFF) by Williams, Kenny 05:25
MISSED LAYUP by Curtis, Dwayne 05:06
REBOUND (OFF) by Curtis, Dwayne 05:06
GOOD! LAYUP by Doyne, Bam [PNT] 05:03 74-64 H 10
04:45 TURNOVR by Rhodes, Charles
GOOD! 3 PTR by Sanders, Clarence 04:34 77-64 H 13
ASSIST by Abernethy, Todd 04:34
REBOUND (DEF) by Sanders, Clarence 04:10 MISSED LAYUP by Hansbrough, Ben
MISSED JUMPER by Curtis, Dwayne 03:36 REBOUND (DEF) by Gordon, Jamont
REBOUND (DEF) by Doyne, Bam 03:17 MISSED 3 PTR by Gordon, Jamont
03:12 FOUL by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 03:12 78-64 H 14
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 03:12 79-64 H 15
REBOUND (DEF) by Williams, Kenny 02:53 MISSED 3 PTR by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 02:23 80-64 H 16 FOUL by Delk, Reginald
GOOD! FT SHOT by Doyne, Bam 02:23 81-64 H 17
02:09 81-66 H 15 GOOD! DUNK by Rhodes, Charles [PNT]
02:09 ASSIST by Delk, Reginald
TURNOVR by Abernethy, Todd 01:42
FOUL by Doyne, Bam 01:30 81-67 H 14 GOOD! FT SHOT by Stewart, Barry
01:30 81-68 H 13 GOOD! FT SHOT by Stewart, Barry
REBOUND (DEF) by Williams, Kenny 01:30 MISSED FT SHOT by Stewart, Barry
TURNOVR by Doyne, Bam 01:07 STEAL by Delk, Reginald
FOUL by Sanders, Clarence 01:07 81-69 H 12 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
01:07 81-70 H 11 GOOD! FT SHOT by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 00:58 82-70 H 12 FOUL by Gordon, Jamont
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 00:58 83-70 H 13
00:48 83-73 H 10 GOOD! 3 PTR by Gordon, Jamont
00:48 TIMEOUT 30sec
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 00:45 84-73 H 11 FOUL by Slater, Dietric
GOOD! FT SHOT by Abernethy, Todd 00:45 85-73 H 12
REBOUND (DEF) by Sanders, Clarence 00:32 MISSED 3 PTR by Gordon, Jamont
Ole Miss 85, Mississippi State 73
2nd period-only InPaint Pts-T/O 2nd-Chc FastBrk BnchPts Ties Leads
Mississippi State 16 11 0 0 7 0 0
Ole Miss 16 5 8 0 13 0 0

Official Basketball Box Score -- 1st Half
Official Basketball Box Score -- 1st Half
Mississippi State vs Ole Miss
01/30/07 6:00 pm at Oxford, Miss. (Tad Smith Coliseum)
VISITORS: Mississippi State 11-9, 2-5
01 Delk, Richard....... f 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 2 1 1 0 1 10
23 Rhodes, Charles..... f 5-8 0-0 2-4 0 2 2 1 12 0 1 0 0 16
40 Goodridge, Vernon... c 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5
24 Delk, Reginald...... g 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 0 2 9
44 Gordon, Jamont...... g 0-4 0-0 3-3 0 4 4 0 3 0 3 1 0 18
04 Stewart, Barry...... 0-3 0-2 0-0 2 1 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 15
11 Hansbrough, Ben..... 1-2 0-1 3-3 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 13
22 Slater, Dietric..... 2-3 1-2 1-2 1 1 2 2 6 0 2 0 1 8
32 Varnado, Jarvis..... 1-2 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 2 4 1 0 1 0 7
TEAM................ 3 3
Totals.............. 11-26 1-5 11-14 6 11 17 6 34 6 9 2 6 101
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-26 42.3%
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 20.0%
F Throw % 1st Half: 11-14 78.6%
HOME TEAM: Ole Miss 14-8, 3-5
44 Curtis, Dwayne...... f 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 2 4 0 1 1 1 10
50 Williams, Kenny..... f 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 13
10 Abernethy, Todd..... g 2-4 1-2 3-3 0 0 0 0 8 5 2 0 0 19
14 Polynice, Eniel..... g 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 1 1 1 14
20 Doyne, Bam.......... g 5-11 3-7 0-0 0 3 3 2 13 1 2 1 0 18
03 Smith, Brian........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1
12 Sanders, Clarence... 5-8 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 1 11 0 0 0 0 15
32 Parnell, Jermey..... 1-2 0-0 2-2 1 0 1 1 4 0 0 0 0 9
TEAM................ 1 3 4
Totals.............. 15-28 5-12 5-5 2 11 13 11 40 9 7 5 2 99
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-28 53.6%
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-12 41.7%
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-5 100 %
Officials: Ted Valentine, Bert Smith, Gary Maxwell
Technical fouls: Mississippi State-None. Ole Miss-None.
Attendance: 8415
Score by Periods 1st
Mississippi State............. 34
Ole Miss...................... 40
Points in the paint-MS 14,UM 8. Points off turnovers-MS 9,UM 12.
2nd chance points-MS 3,UM 4. Fast break points-MS 4,UM 0.
Bench points-MS 15,UM 15. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-1 time.
Last FG-MS 2nd-00:48, UM 2nd-04:34.
Largest lead-MS by 4 1st-18:04, UM by 17 2nd-02:23.

Play Analysis
Mississippi State vs Ole Miss (01/30/07 - Period 2 00:00)
Mississippi State....... 9 11 - 20
Ole Miss................ 12 5 - 17
Mississippi State....... 14 16 - 30
Ole Miss................ 8 16 - 24
Mississippi State....... 3 0 - 3
Ole Miss................ 4 8 - 12
Mississippi State....... 4 0 - 4
Ole Miss................ 0 0 - 0
Mississippi State....... 15 7 - 22
Ole Miss................ 15 13 - 28
Mississippi State....... 0 0 - 0
Ole Miss................ 1 0 - 1
Mississippi State....... 0 0 - 0
Ole Miss................ 1 0 - 1

Seniors Lead Ole Miss Over Miss State

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy admitted his team’s 85-73 win Tuesday over Mississippi State was satisfying, but had to be taken with a proper perspective.
“It’s a win over an in-state rival and our fans will be happy, but one game can’t be the measuring stick,” Kennedy said. “This league is so good, you don’t have the luxury of being up for one game. You’ve got to grind every game and we did that.”
Bam Doyne and Clarence Sanders scored 23 and 22 points, respectively while Todd Abernethy had 19 points and 10 assists. The backcourt trio was decisive, while Dwayne Curtis added 14 points and eight rebounds inside.
“When they shoot like that, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that will beat them in here,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “They hit shots. That was difference in beating them at our place. In here, they hit shots.”
Ole Miss (14-8, 3-5), 11-1 in home games, had lost 10 of the last 11 games with the Bulldogs. The win moved the Rebels out of the SEC Western Division basement and went a long way in enhancing postseason hopes.
“We needed this game to get off the bottom of the West,” Doyne said. “We’d like to play in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, but do that we had to get out of last place in the West. That why this game was important.”
Mississippi State (11-9, 2-5), mired in an 11-game losing streak in SEC road games, has dropped six of the last eight contests and fell to the bottom of the Western Division standings.
Charles Rhodes led the Bulldogs with 24 points and seven rebounds. Jamont Gordon had 20 points while Deitric Slater had 11, as the Bulldogs rallied from a 51-36 deficit to pull within 68-64 with 6:36 left.
“We battled to get it back to four points,” Stansbury said. “Then Abernethy and Curtis came up with three or four plays apiece that ended it.”
Curtis opened a game-clinching 13-0 run with a layup off an Abernethy assist. When Doyne closed it with four consecutive free throws, Ole Miss held a comfortable 81-64 cushion with 2:24 left.
“We hit some big shots and made big plays,” Doyne said. “We haven’t had an SEC game where we had an early lead and finished. It was something new, but it was great. Maybe we can do it more often.”
The Rebels were 29-of-57 from the field, 51 percent, including 9-of-19 from three-point range. Sanders was a team-high 4-of-6 from three-point range, with three of the shots coming off Abernethy assists.
Ole Miss outrebounded Mississippi State 34-28, a statistic that Kennedy called, “the decisive statisitic. We were down by four rebounds in the first half and ended up turning that around by 10 rebounds.”
Mississippi State was 25-of-55 from the field, 46 percent, but strugged from three-point range at 5-of-18. Both teams turned the ball over 14 times.
“It’s important and we’re happy about it, but it still counts as one win,” Kennedy said. “There’s still a lot of basketball to be played and we can’t be satisfied.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rebels Bulldogs Renew Rivalry Tonight on ESPN

A victory tonight would mean a ticket out of the musty cellar of the Southeastern Conference West Division, and what better way to compete for that prize than to play before a national television audience?
Ole Miss (13-8, 2-5 SEC) and Mississippi State (11-8, 2-4) will renew their rivalry for the second time in three weeks tonight at Tad Smith Coliseum, where ESPN will train its cameras on two programs trying to emerge from the conference's lower tier. Which would mean something if the rest of the SEC West weren't mired in mediocrity. One game separates last-place Ole Miss from first-place Arkansas and Auburn, both 3-4 in conference play.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both coming off losses over the weekend, but there were differences in the quality of those games. The Rebels nearly upset Vanderbilt before falling, 85-80, while Mississippi State lost at home -- a rarity in the SEC -- to South Carolina, 63-57.
"You can't feel sorry for yourself," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "You've got to get up off the mat."
Ole Miss attempts more than 19 3-pointers per game, and never was the Rebels' tendency to drift to the perimeter more apparent than during their 77-67 loss at Mississippi State on Jan. 10. The Rebels seemed to realize almost immediately that they would have trouble against the Bulldogs' larger frontcourt, so they "chose the path of least resistance," coach Andy Kennedy said, and hoisted 32 3-point shots.
"That's something we'll make sure to correct," Kennedy added.
Stansbury said the Rebels have improved over the past three weeks, and he doubts they will be as one-dimensional tonight.
"It's shown on the road," he said. "They've been down and been able to get back into games."
Against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss trailed by as many as 16 points late in the first half but tied the score midway through the second half. Senior guard Todd Abernethy, usually the team's most reliable player, missed a pair of free throws with less than three minutes remaining, and the Commodores escaped.
The Rebels will seek to rebound tonight, and they are appealing for fan support. The Ole Miss Student Spirit Committee will hold a pep rally outside the Coliseum at 4 p.m., and the committee is offering financial incentive: The student who exhibits the most school spirit will win $100.

Weekend Rotation Set for Opening Series

The makeup of the Ole Miss pitching staff from the start of last season to the final game against Miami in the Super Regional was a work in progress to say the least. At this time one year ago, the Ole Miss coaches were faced with the difficult task of replacing what was probably the most talented group of pitchers in program history.The top eight pitchers from the 2005 squad - names like Stephon Head, Anthony Cupps, Mark Holiman and Matt Maloney - had moved on to careers in the major leagues, and head coach Mike Bianco, along with pitching coach Kyle Bunn, were dealing with the realization of possibly starting two true freshmen in the weekend rotation. Seven different pitchers drew a weekend start at one time or another in 2006 while the coaching staff struggled to piece together a constant rotation.The emergence of Will Kline as the go-to guy after the Mayor's Trophy game, and the play of freshmen Brett Bukvich and Lance Lynn, eventually solidified the pitching staff as a strength of the team, but it was not until late in the season that the rotation took shape.Fast forward to 2007 and the pitching staff is now being touted as the backbone of the team heading into opening weekend."Last year there was a bunch of uncertainty on the staff," Kline said. "There were question marks everywhere as far as who was going to throw and this year it's more laid out and written on paper. Coming back with all these guys gives us confidence."The weekend rotation appears to be set prior to the season's first game with Kline (5-2, 3.71 ERA) as the team's ace and Friday-night pitcher, Bukvich (6-6, 4.50) as the Saturday starter and Lynn (7-3, 4.96) as the man to close things out on Sundays. Sophomore Jesse Simpson (1-0, 2.48) returns as the leading candidate to again be a mid-week starter but could also challenge for a spot in the weekend rotation. Several other names could also challenge the incumbents if any of the four struggles early in the season. Craig Rodriguez (5-3, 5.53) spent a large portion of 2006 as the Rebels' Friday-night starter and could be used in either a long-term relief role, or possibly as a midweek starter.

Red Sox Talks With Rockies regarding Todd Helton Break Off

Denver, CO (Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies released a statement on Monday night stating that the trade talks with Boston involving first baseman Todd Helton have come to an end.
The Rockies said in the release that there will not be any further discussions.
"This is not a trade that we were anxious to complete, but we are always exploring ways to improve our team," said Rockies Chairman and CEO Charlie Monfort. "Discussions like these regarding a player of Todd's talent and character are never easy, and it's not surprising we were not able to reach an agreement. Todd has been and will continue to be an important part of our franchise, and we can't wait to see him with the rest of the Rockies in Tucson."
Several reports indicated that Colorado wanted a top-tier prospect in a package for Helton, but were unable to land the players they wanted. Boston players mentioned as potential trade pieces included third baseman Mike Lowell and pitchers Julian Tavarez and Manny Delcarmen.
Helton is a career .333 hitter with 286 home runs and 996 runs batted in. His power numbers have been on the decline over the past two seasons, and he hit just 15 homers and finished with 81 RBI last season.

Recruiting News From Dandy Don 1/30/07

In other recruiting news, there is nothing to report on Joe McKnight, Terrance Tolliver, Chad Jones and Steffon Francois. I received several reports on McKnight Monday, but nothing that I can post. I have been told that McKnight will make a decision later today about whether he will take anymore visits. If McKnight does visit one more school, it will be Alabama or FSU. My guess is that McKnight will not take anymore visits. The general feeling that I get from talking to LSU is that Tolliver and Jones are most likely to sign with LSU and that it is anybody's guess on McKnight, Christian Scott and Francois. Coach Miles and his coaching staff will be making in-home visits this week with all the remaining prospects that the Tigers are still recruiting. Miles will be making his home visit with Joe McKnight Thursday night. University of Texas head coach Mack Brown will be visiting Christian Scott tonight and the common feeling is that if Scott does not commit to Mack Brown tonight on his official visit he will probably sign with LSU. Time is winding down on coaches making in-home visits as the dead period starts Saturday night at midnight and lasts until Thursday after Signing Day. Below are my odds on the final players LSU is still recruiting. Joe McKnight, 50-50, USC-LSUChad Jones, 70-30, LSU-FSUSteffon Francois, 60-40, LSU-FSUTerrance Tolliver, 65-35, LSU-FloridaSidell Corey, 60-40, LSU-TN Christian Scott, 60-40, LSU...

Jason Peters Commits to Ga Tech

In recruiting news, Catholic High defensive end Jason Peters got tired of waiting on LSU's decision to offer him a regular scholarship or a grey shirt and committed to GA Tech Monday afternoon. Peters visited LSU last weekend and I was told he committed to LSU while on his visit, but after meeting with LSU coaches Monday morning Peters decided to accept a scholarship offer from GA Tech. I am very disappointed that Jason Peters is not going to be an LSU Tiger. I am also disappointed that I posted a short Sunday afternoon update saying that Peters had committed to LSU. It is my guess that Les Miles feels very good about his chances of signing defensive end Slidell Corey (6'4", 260) from Mobile McGill high school and that is why a full scholarship was not offered to Peters.

Coach O Given 2 Year Extension

In a sign of its commitment to Ed Orgeron, Mississippi will announce a two-year contract extension later today that takes the coach through 2010, a source close to the situation said early Tuesday.
Orgeron has been the coach at Ole Miss for two seasons after seven years as an assistant at USC, where he gained attention as one of the nation's top recruiters.
Mississippi was 3-8 in Orgeron's first season and 4-8 last year, ending the season with a 20-17 defeat of rival Mississippi State. After landing a strong recruiting class in his first season, Oregon currently has the 32nd ranked recruiting class of 2007, according to ESPN's Scouts, Inc.
Ole Miss currently has several key commitments, including from in-state linebacker Chris Strong and safety Johnny Brown. Orgeron also recently added veteran defensive coordinator John Thompson to his staff.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Shilling to Pitch in 2008

Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said this morning on Boston sports radio station WEEI that he will not retire from baseball at the end of this season, as he previously had planned, and that he is in discussions with the Red Sox on a contract extension for 2008.
"I will play in 2008," were the words 40-year-old Curt Schilling told Red Sox Nation this morning.His contract with the Red Sox ends after this season.
"Where I'm going to play beyond 2007, I hope it's Boston, but I will go out and find a home to pitch,” he said. “I hope it's here but there's also that possibility [of pitching for another team]."
Would he consider pitching for the Yankees in 2008?
"It wouldn't be in New York,” Schilling told host Gerry Callahan. “No. I could not make that move."
Schilling said that he is talking about an extension with the Red Sox.
“I'm in discussions with the Red Sox, we had talked last week and there's a lot going on obviously right now, but where I'm going to play beyond 2007 ... I hope it's Boston,” he said . “This is where I want to play and in the days leading up to spring training we'll figure it out one way or the other. If I go into this season without a contract from the Red Sox then I will go out and find a home for 2008."
When asked if the negotiations with the Red Sox will go only through the end of spring training, Schilling said, "Well, probably not even then. We're set to talk here again this week and we'll talk probably in the days leading up to spring training, but there's so much going on this year here from the team standpoint that I've never been comfortable dragging stuff like this into the season ... and I wouldn't do that this year either."
Red Sox owner John Henry said Schilling's announcement was great news for the team.
"It was something that has been in the back of my mind for the last year," Henry told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "He's such a competitor you had to figure that if he is healthy, pitching well and still has that fire, it would make sense for him to continue. He's still one of the elite pitchers in all of baseball."
The talk radio circuit had been humming recently in support of a possible Schilling run for John Kerry's seat in the U.S. Senate in 2008, but that appears to be out of the realm of possibility with today’s news.
Schilling said his family played a big part in his decision not to hang ‘em up after this season.
"Over the last probably five to six months my wife and kids and I have been talking, and we came to conclusion about a week or 10 days ago that I was not going to retire in 2007," said Schilling. "I always believed physically I was going to be more than OK; I feel like last year, while I certainly didn't have a year like I know I could have, towards the end I became a lot healthier ...
“My wife and kids want me to continue to play, which was the only reason I was really retiring in the first place, and they talked me into it ... I was convinced [about retiring] and my family was abiding by that decision [to retire], and they talked me out of it, so I will be playing in 2008."
"The thing that scared me most about this was the fact that maybe I'm just not as fun to be around at home as I thought I was,” Schilling joked. “But it was all on them. If they had even hinted at being uncomfortable with me playing beyond 2007, I wouldn't. I would have walked away thankful to the Lord and everything for the opportunities I had been given and the experiences I've had, but they want to stay in the life and they want to continue to have this as part of our life so we're going to play through this season and we're going to play again in 2008 and beyond.”
Schilling was 15-7 with a 3.97 ERA last season, his third in a Red Sox uniform.
More thoughts from Schilling during this morning’s interview on WEEI:
* Would he ever consider a deal for less than a full season, a la Roger Clemens?:"At some point, sure. Maybe down the road, yeah, but knock on wood, I think I'm a long way from that. ... I want to pitch Opening Day because I deserve to be the Opening Day starter, not because it's what they think is right. I want to be the No. 1 guy on this staff, and that's going to take some effort given the staff we've put together this year."
* What about pitching beyond 2008?:"We'll see what happens. Again, this is not going to be a topic that I want to go back and forth and discuss and have it be a distraction either for myself or for my teammates and my family or the organization. So, I don't have any plans to retire anytime soon."
* Why isn’t it just a simple matter of the Sox re-upping his contract for one more season?: "I had hoped it was that simple, it's just not. As much as we like to think things can be taken care of easily and quickly, this is a business and I understand that. I think I've earned the right to get a contract for the 2008 season from this team before we go to the season and if that's not in the cards I totally understand that. I certainly would be disappointed if that were the case, but I think I'll be good enough to get a job at some point with someone elsewhere."
* Does Schilling think the Red Sox want to see how he looks this season before committing to a contract for 2008?: "Yeah, but, you know, I guess that would be the case for every player in the game, as far as contracts are concerned. Who wouldn't want to wait to see how somebody looks and does before they signed him to a contract for a following year but again, I think I've earned the right to at least, if it's going to be here, to get that situation settled before the season starts."
* On Boston’s potential acquisition of Todd Helton: "I will tell you honestly. In the 17-18 years I've been in the big leagues, including Barry Bonds, there is no hitter in the game I've disliked facing more than Todd Helton. Not even a close second. He was the hardest at-bat I've ever had every time I faced him. No holes and can do some things at the plate that will just blow you away. … Coors Field didn't make him who he was. He was an incredible grind for an at-bat. Every at-bat. And I got to know him a little bit, we did a thing at the White House together and I got to meet him and talk to him and he's that quintessential … I know it's an old cliché, but he's that gamer. It's an old cliché, but it's so apropos for him. He is a phenomenal competitor and offensively, I look at this lineup, and you plug Todd Helton in there and my God, it gets absolutely scary to think about having to face this lineup."
* A little political talk from Schilling:"Given the Q&A last week from the media on me about the Senator thing, and all the other stuff that was going on, some questions were being asked about potentially running in 2008, although I will say I do have a lot more respect for Joe Lieberman today, but you know the ironic thing about that whole situation is, when you read through that, isn't it amazing how hard it is for someone just to say they're gonna vote for the right guy instead of the party? And as far as Hillary Clinton goes, I just want her to keep talking. Amazing. I just cringe every time I hear someone with a voice in the political scene talking out against the war. I'm not for it. No one's for it, but I just feel like, especially someone like Hillary, who has to know that those comments have serious implications overseas for the men and women of the United States armed forces, and it scares the hell out of me."
Schilling also told the station he would throw his support behind Arizona Sen. John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, rather than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Recruiting news from Dandy Don

I hope this week is a great one for all Tiger fans, especially Coach Les Miles as he tries to wrap up this year's recruiting class. Miles and his staff entertained nine propsects over the weekend including five uncommitted players. It is my understanding that Joe McKnight, Chad Jones and Jason Peters had great visits and that Jason Peters did commit but it might be a few days before details of his commitment are announced. I think it will probably be a day or two before signing day, which is a week from Wednesday, before McKnight and Jones make their intentions known. I am hoping that Jones and McKnight will not take anymore recruiting trips. I have also been told that Sam Proctor, (QB/DB) from Pearland, Texas, was not offered a scholarship and I think that is a good sign that Les Miles feels very good about signing Christian Scott. I have not been able to get any information on offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson who was also on his official visit to LSU this past weekend. The word out of FSU is that Steffon Francois had a great visit and will not make his decision known until signing day. Fracois will chose between LSU, FSU, Tennessee and Arkansas. If Francois wants to play for the best defensive coordinator in the nation (Bo Pelini), he will sign with LSU. A new name on LSU's recruiting list is Sidell Corey, a 6'4", 260, DE who is the teammate of LSU commitment Phelon Jones from Mobile McGill high school. Corey was committed to Florida for a couple months but decommitted last Thursday. Corley is also good friends with JaMarcus Russell and Chevis Jackson. The highly touted defensive end will visit LSU this coming weekend, February 03-04. In other recruiting news of interest, Luther Davis visited LA Tech this past weekend. Word out of West Monroe is that Davis does not have the GPA or the ACT score to enroll at a division 1-A school. Davis might be considering signing with a school closer to home and sitting out a year. Who knows?