Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Flagpole From Ebbets Rededicated At Barclays Center

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN  NETS: The Flagpole Of Flatbush

I had a chance to ask Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz what the chances were that a blue line could be painted downtown along Court Street to signify and pay tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 victory parade route.  He said, "No, no way."  He pondered the question for another second.  I understood then there were very real reasons why that would never happen.  But the Borough President finished his response by telling me, "...that is over.  The Dodgers are done here.  This (the Brooklyn Nets) ends that."  It was hard to argue with that reasoning.  Then I thought perhaps I didn't really want to know the real reason.  Responding in fan-speak was perhaps the best way he could have answered.

I met the Borough President today because the old Ebbets Field flagpole was rededicated and given new life at Barclay Center.  While the flagpole has been in place since the arena opened last month, this afternoon a plaque affixed to the base was unveiled.

(left to right) Nets CEO Brett Yormark; Jerry Stackhouse;
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Sharon Robinson; Bruce Ratner.

Here is the background.  This was the flagpole perched atop the scoreboard along Bedford Avenue.  I can speak for a VFW post once owning it.  The casket company is a little fuzzy to me.  When the Veterans vacated the property, the location on Utica Avenue became a church.  And so, the flagpole became the property of the pastor.  There it stayed for many many years on a side wall, not quite in front.  Most of the neighborhood residents were aware of it.  My baseball teams utilized indoor batting cages on the same block.  That's how I became aware of the flagpole.  After seeing it so often as a younger boy, I returned a few years ago to take a picture.  However, I arrived two weeks too late.  The businessman next door told me a flatbed truck came by and took it away.  The pastor sold it.  No one ever found out where it was taken.  I heard a rumor someone from Long Island purchased it.  On a side note, I've read some of the media's background stories, and I'm not sure who they're talking to.  Anyway.....

As part of this afternoon's presentation, Borough President Marty Markowitz clarified the matter.  Apparently, when he became aware of the flagpole's availability, in 2007 he suggested Bruce Ratner purchase it - which he did.  The Borough President also related to me later during our personal exchange, that it came at a rather high price.  Let's just say the pastor did very well in the transaction.  I do not mean to paint the wrong picture.  Truth be told, the church was struggling financially, and the flagpole was an asset.  Five years later, the flagpole thankfully has a new home in Brooklyn again.


The daughter of the late Jackie Robinson, Sharon Robinson, was also on hand for today's dedication.  And in meeting her, I freely admit I was a little overwhelmed.  I told her as much.  I told her I didn't even know where to start expressing how privileged I felt at that moment, much less making mention of her family's place in history.  So I just told her I was humbled and extremely honored to have met her.

Marty Markowitz, Bruce Ratner, and Sharon Robinson were also gracious enough to grant me a shameless photo request.  And so did Jerry Stackhouse..!  My man!  The small ceremony concluded by raising the American colors up the flagpole, followed by a Brooklyn Nets flag.



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New York Giants: Injuries Causing Problems At Right Tackle

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: Offensive Line Depth Is Suddenly A Big Problem.

Hello again folks.  My post-Hurricane Sandy schedule is finally starting to loosen up.  So allow me a post or two in order to re-establish a flow.  The last time I posted anything about the Giants was just prior to the Bengals game.  Obviously many things have transpired between now and then.  And aside from the Packers game, I'm kind of glad I was unable to watch the other contests, although the radio did a fine job of raising my blood pressure all the same.  I'm not going to waste time rehashing stuff.  Let's just move this along..., shall we?

*     *     *     *
The Giants now have a huge problem at Right Tackle.  Sean Locklear will be out for the rest of the season with an injured knee suffered Monday night against the Redskins.  He didn't exactly have his best game Monday.  In fact, it was probably his worst game.  But he was having a fine season substituting for David Diehl.  And therein lies the rub.  Most recently, Diehl has been sidelined by a stinger to his neck and shoulder.
Sean Locklear has done his part to improve the Giants running game somewhat over last season.   And his pass protection has been stellar.  The nine year pro definitely provided a noticeable difference on the right side this year.  David Diehl should be able to finish out the season.  But moving forward, the Giants' offensive line depth will be severely tested.  Second year Jim Cordle is more of an interior lineman.  That leaves second year Tackle James Brewer next on the pecking order.  Remember Mitch Petrus?  Well, Coach Coughlin would rather not.  He never found favor with Mitch.  But the Giants could use him right about now.
It is becoming more evident by the week, this may very well be David Diehl's last season.  His performance has not been up to normal David Diehl standards these last two seasons.  I have a strong sense Jerry Reese will make replacing Diehl an off season priority.  David Diehl will then join Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, and Kareem McKenzie as former Giants.  That would leave Chris Snee as the lone remaining member of the Giants former record setting offensive line.
Redskins 17
I'm not going to get bent all out of shape over Monday night's loss.  There is no doubt the offense has red-zone issues.  But you still have to like the way the Giants can move the ball.  Even though it has been a season long issue, going from three point to six point drives I feel is only an adjustment or two away.
The Giants only surrendered seventeen points, and six of those came on RGIII's freak TD fumble.  Big Blue also drew penalties at an uncharacteristically high rate, and at the worst possible times. Then quite obviously, if Lawrence Tynes nails that field goal, the Giants win.  So I take the loss in stride.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This Trolley Is Still In Station

I'm sorry folks, but duty calls.  I am presently engaged in long hours trying to help my fellow Brooklynites recover from Hurricane Sandy.  I'm just doing my job.  I'm just required to do it for much longer hours...that's all.  But I am very happy to do so.  For the next few weeks or so, my posting will be infrequent, or, maybe just a lot shorter.  In the mean time, drop me an email and tell me what I'm doing wrong, or right.


Monday, November 19, 2012

New York Mets at RisingApple.com

I'm happy to announce I have joined Fansided,
and the RisingApple.com team.


and Fansided

a place for
perspectives, news, opinions...and Fans.


APRIL 2012:
April 18, 2012 - Jose Reyes - What Will You Do Tuesday?
April 20, 2012 - "Wright" Player to Top Mets' All Time List
April 23, 2012 - Gee Responds to Dan Warthen's Tough Love With More Aggression
April 27, 2012 - Mets "Sweep" Troubles Away With Return of Strong Pitching
April 28, 2012 - David Wright's Numbers Still Do Not Sit Well With Accounting Dept.
April 30, 2012 - Ruben Tejada; How Do His Critics Like Him Now?

MAY 2012:
May 4, 2012 - Chris Schwinden is Not Who Met Fans Have a Problem With
May 8, 2012 - Omar Minaya and the Media; Where's the Revisionist History?
May 11, 2012 - Divesting From Reyes Fund Pays Dividends.  I'll Tell You How Much.
May 12, 2012 - Mets Put Their Whole Repertoire On Display in Miami
May 14, 2012 - Sandy Alderson Should Be Proactive With Bullpen To Save Good Start
May 18, 2012 - Moneyball Continues to Pay-Off For Mets
May 20, 2012 - MLB Suspends Mets' Prospect Daniel Muno 50 Games
May 21, 2012 - Does The Mets' Lack Of Power Concern You Yet?
May 25, 2012 - Sandy Alderson Makes Things Clear During Rain Delay
May 28, 2012 - Mets Arrive At First Check Point of Season

JUNE 2012:
June 1, 2012 - Carlos Beltran Returns to Flushing
June 4, 2012 - Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey Striving to Become Division's Top Starting Duo
June 8, 2012 - The Subway Series Only Adds To My 40 Years of Conflict
June 11, 2012 - The Mets Suffer a Humbling Weekend of Defeat
June 15, 2012 - Time Is Right For Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to Win a Series By Themselves
June 16, 2012 - The Big Red Machine Revisited, and the Trading of Tom Seaver
June 17, 2012 - Last Two Losses Equal One Big Lost Opportunity
June 17, 2012 - Mets Swept By Cincinnati.  But Don't Judge Till After Orioles Series
June 18, 2012 - Twelfth Season of Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball by the Seashore... Fuhgeddaboudit!
June 21, 2012 - PODCAST - Subway Series Podcast - Queens Edition, on YanksGoYard.com
June 22, 2012 - The Mets Next Mission is to Validate the Respect They Just Received
June 25, 2012 - Are The Black Clouds Over Citi Field Finally Dissipating?
June 26, 2012 - Bobby Parnell Getting Second Crack at Closer's Role
June 29, 2012 - The Night Dave Kingman and Tom Seaver Sent Tremors Through Los Angeles

JULY 2012:
July 2, 2012 - The Mets Continue to Warrant a Move at the Trade Deadline
July 4, 2012 - It's Only One Regular Season Game, But Mets Seize The Day
July 9, 2012 - Jon Niese and Dillon Gee; The Not So Dynamic Duo
July 12, 2012 - New York Mets Problems Are More Philosophical Than Tangible
July 13, 2012 - Mets Have Second Half Help On The Way
July 14, 2012 - Game Recap: Mets Power Down In Atlanta; Short Cicuit In First Game Of Second Half
July 15, 2012 - Game Recap:  Mets' Bullpen Implodes In Second Straight Loss To Braves
July 17, 2012 - The Mets Series Versus Washington Nationals May Decide Everything
July 17, 2012 - Sandy Alderson Reiterates Team's Intention to be Buyers at the Deadline
July 18, 2012 - Mets Bullpen: The Reoccurring Nature of These Blown Saves is Bordering Insanity
July 20, 2012 - Terry Collins Reminds Team And Media, He Decides What's Important
July 22, 2012 - Mets Starting Rotation: And Then There Were Two
July 23, 2012 - Sandy Alderson Calls Up Matt Harvey, But Catches Flack For General Inactivity
July 25, 2012 - Frank Francisco: Wins Keep Eluding Mets Without Their Closer
July 27, 2012 - Matt Harvey: Mets Rookie Rises Up In Phoenix; Brilliant In Big League Debut
July 30, 2012 - David Wright: Mr. Wilpon Should Already Know If He Is Committed Long Term

AUGUST 2012:
August 3, 2012 - N.Y. Mets- July Served To Remind Us Change Starts At The Top
August 5, 2012 - Mets Notes: The Records Keep Piling Up In 2012
August 6, 2012 - Matt Harvey Touched Up In Third Outing
August 6, 2012 - Johan Santana Helps Brooklyn Cyclones Shutout Jamestown Jammers
August 8, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones: Strong Pitching Spins a 1-0 Beauty In Lowell
August 9, 2012 - Jason Bay: Retaining Him Is Not In The Mets Best Interest
August 10, 2012 - Chipper Jones: Through The Eyes Of A Mets Fan
August 11, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones: A Near Perfect Night In Coney Island
August 12, 2012 - This Date In Mets History: 1977 - Felix Millan's MLB Career Slammed To Ground By Pittsburgh's Ed Ott
August 13, 2012 - Johan Santana and the Mets: Ailing In A Season Of Circumstance
August 15, 2012 - David Wright And The Mets: The Game Of Chicken Has Begun
August 17, 2012 - Matt Harvey: The Emerging Face Of The Franchise?
August 20, 2012 - Monday Is Decision Day On The Rest Of Johan Santana's Season
August 22, 2012 - Sandy Alderson And Johan Santana's MRI Suggest His Season Is Done
August 23, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones Down League's Top Team In Game Two Of Possible Playoff Preview
August 24, 2012 - Should The Mets Look Into A Multi Year Deal For Bobby Parnell Now?
August 27, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones Drop Rubber Game To Staten Island Yankees; Continue Losing Grip On Wild Card
August 28, 2012 - Can R.A. Dickey Win The Cy Young Award?
August 31, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones: Wild Card Lead Over Batavia Muckdogs Down To One Game

September 1, 2012 - R.A. Dickey Climbs Mets All Time List With Seventeenth Win Of Season
September 3, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones In A Three Way Tie for Wild Card
September 5, 2012 - Brooklyn Cyclones Clinch Wild Card; New York Penn League Playoffs Set
September 7, 2012 - Playoff Preview; Brooklyn Cyclones Versus Hudson Valley Renegades
September 8, 2012 - Brooklyn's Hansel Robles Pitches Masterpiece; Cyclones Take 1-0 Series Lead Over Hudson Valley
September 10, 2012 - NYPL Playoffs: Hudson Valley Pounds Brooklyn IN Game Two; Decisive Game Three Monday Night
September 11, 2012 - NYPL Playoffs: Renegades Combine On One Hit Shutout; Cyclones Eliminated
September 14, 2012 - Mets Outlook: Battling Defeatism In Flushing
September 17, 2012 - David Wright And The Mets Both Limping Into Off-Season Showdown
September 21, 2012 - For Love Of Blue And Orange
September 24, 2012 - Finishing The Season Below .500 Is One Matter. Ending In A Controversial Manner Is Another
September 28, 2012 - R.A. Dickey's Twentieth Win Validates His Cy Young Credentials

October 1, 2012 - Ike Davis Is Sixteenth Mets Player To Surpass Thirty Home Runs In A Season
October 5, 2012 - Where Does R.A. Dickey's Season Rank In Mets History?
October 8, 2012 - Should The New York Mets Pursue A.J. Pierzynski?
October 12, 2012 - Season In Review: Chris Young
October 13, 2012 - New York Mets Season In Review Supplemental: The Owner
October 14, 2012 - Season in Review: Jeurys Familia
October 16, 2012 - When Citi Field Turned Into The Roosevelt Avenue Retirement Home
October 19, 2012 - Season In Review: Ramon Ramirez
October 19, 2012 - Playoffs: The Year The Mets Dismantled The Big Red Machine
October 21, 2012 - Season In Review: Bobby Parnell
October 22, 2012 - Mets Playoffs History: The 1884 New York Metropolitans?
October 26, 2012 - A Review of The General Manager: Sandy Alderson
October 31, 2012 - Sandy Alderson's Review Part II

November 7, 2012 - Sandy Alderson Part III: The Front Office
November 19, 2012 - Of Mets And Marlins; Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

December 4, 2012 - David Wright: Net Gain Zero
December 11, 2012 - Jeff Wilpon Needs A New Role
December 15, 2012 - R.A. Dickey To Toronto Closer To Being A Done Deal
December 17, 2012 - R.A. Dickey And Blue Jays To Talk Canadian Dollars Before Mets Land Travis d'Arnaud

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

PIGSKIN 2012; Football Sunday - Week Eleven

Football Sunday
Week Eleven:
Week Nine Record:   3-9
Overall Record:   62-67-2
Schmear of the Week:   5-5
Bagels in the Basket:   -6
* After the Sunday I had last week, I should probably take a pass here, and just punt quietly.
I ain't got no posts either.  Too busy at work with post-Sandy recovery.  I'm barely awake right now just getting these picks in.  That said, let's roll some bagels before I fall asleep.

Pigskin ~ Week Eleven:
Friday Line - NYDN
Jets +3 (RAMS)
This is purely giving the Jets the benefit of the doubt.  But it's getting late awfully early for them.  There are many teams on par or doing substantially worse on defense that St. Louis.  That's bad news for the Jets because everything effectively boils down to one person Sunday; Marc Sanchez.  Whether he starts, or Tim Tebow is given his first start is irrelevant.  The game is still about Marc Sanchez.  His contract for next season is guaranteed, so he's not going anywhere.  Things will either start to get better or worse starting Sunday afternoon.  The post-game will be when the real fun starts.
REDSKINS -3 1/2 (Eagles)
The Eagles season is falling like a piano out of the sky.
Packers -3 1/2 (LIONS)
I thought the Lions could be a good team.  All is not lost yet.  But they clearly shot themselves in the paws this season.  I think this spread is right on.  It won't be a blowout.
FALCONS -10 (Cardinals)
I'm not comfortable laying this kind of wood especially in a bird on bird confrontation.  But I'm giving the Falcons the benefit of the doubt at home.  I smell a push.
Bucs -1 (PANTHERS)
What gives?  This is a sucker's bet.  Right?
COWBOYS -8 (Browns)
The 'Boys will look marvelous against the Brownies.  Dallas' ultimate failure comes later in the season.
PATRIOTS -9 1/2 (Colts)
The air is starting to get a little crispy in New England.  That means Tom Brady and the offense are just heating up.
TEXANS -15 (Jaguars)
The Texans must be flying high after beating the Bears last week.  That makes this the perfect trap game.  But the Jags are just so damn bad.
Bengals -3 1/2 (CHIEFS)
See Jaguars.  The Chiefs are giving Jacksonville a run for their money as they both vie for worst team in the league.
Saints -4 1/2 (RAIDERS)
My heart is saying take the Raiders in the Black Hole.  But one thing Oakland does extremely well is get in their own way.  Take the improving effort of the Saints.
BRONCOS -7 1/2 (Chargers)
I tried.  But I'm through this season with waiving pom-poms for Phillip Rivers.  The half point concerns me though.
Ravens -3 (STEELERS)
I'm grazing with the sheep on this one.  Without Big Ben, Joe Flacco should get the Ravens a win.
Happy Football Sunday everyone.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

New York Giants: Rushing To Conclusions?

From the desk of: Do It For The Duke - My Phone Version

NEW YORK GIANTS: I Ask Again, Is The Offensive Line Better Without David Diehl?

I touched upon this earlier in the season, and now I feel compelled to revisit the issue. There is a building case that perhaps suggests the Offensive Line is better without David Diehl.

With David Diehl out and Sean Locklear in, the Giants were rushing for 100 yards per game. Prior to Diehl getting hurt after week two, the G-Men failed to gain 100 yards against the Cowboys and Tampa Bay. When Diehl went down and Sean Locklear stepped in, the Giants rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games, highlighted by Ahmad Bradshaw's 200 yard game against Cleveland. With Diehl back in the line-up the running game has regressed again with three consecutive poor efforts against the Skins, Cowboys II, and last week against the Steelers.

I do not question the results based on this season alone. Last year with David Diehl playing Left Tackle, over the course of the season the Giants did their best running to the right side behind Kareem McKenzie and Chris Snee. When they ran left behind Diehl and Kevin Boothe, the effort lacked even similar results.

Up the middle, Chris Snee is still playing like Chris Snee. David Baas and Kevin Boothe have become a nice combo. There are no real issues with Will Beatty to speak of. So that leaves Right Tackle. With Sean Locklear in, the Giants have run to one result. With Diehl in, the Giants have rushed for another.

This week, my issue is somewhat moot if Chris Snee does not play. In that case, Diehl will shift to Guard, and Locklear will play Tackle. I will however be paying close attention to how the Giants manage running outside Right Tackle, and how they fare between Tackle and Guard.

P.S. This, like many posts in my immediate future are being written on the fly. So please be patient during the next few weeks. Work, and the continuing efforts to recover from Sandy currently dominate my time. And that means no spell check either. So deal with it.


Friday, November 09, 2012

PIGSKIN 2012: Football Sunday - Week Ten

Football Sunday
Week Ten:
Week Nine Record:   8-5
Overall Record:   59-58-2
Schmear of the Week:   4-5
Bagels in the Basket:   -3
* Last week I finally recovered from a horrific start of the season and punched through the .500 mark.  Now I just need to get my Bagel count back in black.
* The Falcons remain undefeated and now sport an 8-0 record.
* Who anticipated the NFC East collapsing around the Giants again?
* Biggest NFC disappointment so far - Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Cam Newton.
* Biggest NFC surprise - The Giants lead conference in points scored.
* Biggest AFC disappointment so far - San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Marc Sanchez.
* Biggest AFC surprise - Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins are better without Tony Sparano than the Jets are with him.
...let's roll some bagels!
(Friday Line - NYDN)
Giants 4 1/2 (BENGALS)
The Giants should win this game easily for so many reasons.  That's what scares me.  For whatever reason, the Giants play so much better on the road.  The Bengals will disappoint their home fans again.
LOSS; 31-13 Bengals
SEAHAWKS -6 (Jets)
Coach Rex and the Jets had two weeks to prepare for this game.  Unless they unleash Tim Tebow, what's really going to change?  It is going to be a long (and very noisy) day in Seattle.
WIN; 28-7 Seahawks
PATRIOTS -11 (Bills)
I don't think this pick needs any explanation.
LOSS; 37-31 Patriots
Chargers +3 (BUCS)
I rank this the Number Three game of the week.  What an interesting match-up.  Phillip Rivers will be the first to tell you he has sucked this season.  With time, he can still slice up Tampa's secondary late if necessary.  And the Chargers still play a tight defense.  They'll need to do just that against a slightly better Bucs offense.  I smell a push...  but ultimately I like the points.  I can see the Bucs winning by one, or the Bolts winning outright.
LOSS; 34-24 Bucs
Broncos -4 (PANTHERS)
If I were Cam Newton, I'd be studying how Peyton Manning operates.
WIN; 36-14 Broncos
DOLPHINS -6 (Titans)
I do not like trying to cover six with Miami, but the Titans just give up an obscene amount of points.  The Dolphins have played competitive football all season.
LOSS; 37-3 Titans
Raiders +7 1/2 (RAVENS)
I rank this the Number Four game of the week.  How much longer will the Ravens defense hold on without Ray Lewis?  If Carson Palmer is ever going to win a big game with Oakland, he might consider this one.  Truth is, I love the halfie.
LOSS; 55-20 Ravens
Falcons -2 (SAINTS)
Dome team versus dome team = wash.  Whether in N'orleans or on the road, the Saints defense just ain't no good.  The Falcons will march on through.  And until they lose a game, they have earned the benefit of the doubt.
LOSS; 31-27 Saints
Lions -2 (VIKINGS)
The battle of pretenders is on!
LOSS; 34-24 Vikings
Cowboys -1 (EAGLES)
The Number Two game of the week.  Both owners have had it with their team's futility.  Only problem is, Jerry Jones won't fire himself as GM.  Meanwhile, heads are about to roll in Philly if Coach Reid and Michael Vick don't come up with something quick to change their fortunes.  On a competitive note, it will be fun to watch two very desperate teams collide.
WIN; 38-23 Cowboys
49ERS -11 (Rams)
The Rams have to play outside in San Francisco.  That will slow any team down.  Rams can't score as it is.
LOSS; 24-24 overtime/tie
BEARS -1 1/2 (Texans)
Here is the Number One game of the week.  Which team will kick the game winning field goal?
Schmear of the Week:
Broncos -4


Thursday, November 08, 2012

New York Giants: Big Blue Begging For Trouble

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Poor Play Catches Up To G-Men

I didn't get to watch last week's game against the Steelers.  I had to settle for listening on the radio instead.  Never the less, I didn't like what I heard.  As it relates to the Giants, the sack attack and turnovers can only get you so far.  When you can't stop the run, and your team itself can not run the ball, you're begging for trouble.

Take away Michael Boley's fumble recovery touchdown, and the Giants offense only scored thirteen points.  Eli had one of his worst days of the season.  All he could muster was 125 yards in the air.  Beyond last Sunday, yes, Eli is in the middle of a bad stretch.  But what are we going to do, lobby for Eli to be benched?  Right, so why bother dwelling on the quarterback.

Ahmad Bradshaw and the running game got stopped cold.  The Giants were limited to sixty eight yards on the ground.  Last week's game against the Cowboys went similarly.  In fact, the last three weeks, statistically speaking, have a lot in common.  The Giants are getting outplayed.  Last Sunday it finally caught up to them.

And just for kicks....The Giants did not have a single punt return all game.  What does that say about the defensive effort?

I'm going to stick to the bright side.  What was most important was that the Giants took care of the Skins and the Cowboys previous to playing Pittsburgh to resettle their division record.  The fact the Steelers are out of conference and the other NFC East teams lost Sunday works out just fine.

* With time, hopefully I can follow up on this, and start talking about the Bengals.


LIU Blackbirds: Defense Of NEC Title Starts Friday

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Under New Coach Jack Perri,
Returning NEC Champions Are Ready To Do It Again.
The collegiate members of the Hoops of Flatbush tip-off their 2012-2013 regular season in a non conference match-up versus the Morehead State Eagles, which additionally kicks off the first ever Barclays Center Classic beginning late Friday afternoon.

The back-to-back Northeast Conference champions begin their first season under coach Jack Perri.  Returning from last year's squad are NEC Player of the year, and returning senior, forward Julian Boyd; senior forward Jamal Olasewere; senior forward Kenny Onyechi; senior guard Brandon Thompson; retuning senior guard C.J. Garner; and junior guard Jason Brickman.  Gone from last year's popular team are senior guard Michael Culpo and senior forward Arnold Mayorga.

Newcomers to the team include junior G/F Gilbert Parga and soph forward Khalil Murphy.  Among the freshman class are guard Kedar Edwards, guard D.J. Griggs, and forward E.J. Reed.

Once again, Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere, and Jason Brickman will serve as the team's core.  Julian Boyd averaged 17.4 points last season.  Olasewere averaged 16.9 points per game.  Jason Brickman finished fifth in the nation with 7.3 assists per game.

The Blackbirds finished 25-9 last season.  In their second straight NCAA tournament appearance they fell in the first round to Michigan State.  The loss did not detract however from their fine regular season, and NEC championship effort.  To include last season's championship game against Robert Morris, the Blackbirds have won twenty seven consecutive games inside the Wellness Center.  It is the second longest streak in the country behind Kentucky's mark.

Back in September, returning forward Troy Joseph, Boyd, Olasewere, and C.J. Garner were involved in an on-campus incident which resulted in their arrest.  They were then suspended indefinitely by Long Island University.  They have since been reinstated but will be docked the first two in-conference games of the season.  Otherwise, they will be required to perform community service and attend counseling.

In ten seasons at the helm, former Head Coach Jim Ferry took a moribund program and built it into a Northeastern Conference power.  He inherited a program that went 5-22 in the season prior to his arrival.  By his sixth season as coach, the 2007-2008 Blackbirds played to a 15-15 record.  Then after having successfully built a solid foundation, Coach Ferry constructed a team that won 52 games over the last two seasons, and earned back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.  In this most recent 2011-2012 campaign, his Blackbirds were the second highest scoring team in the Nation.

Coach Ferry left Long Island University-Brooklyn after accepting the head coaching position at Duquesne.  The departing coach didn't just save an athletic program here, he put Downtown Brooklyn on the national map.  For that, we Brooklynites are thankful, and wish Jim Ferry all the best in his new endeavour to rebuild his next program.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Drop First Road Game To Heat

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

NETS   73
Heat   103

Kings County Cagers Wilt In Miami Heat.

Okay Brooklyn, you have now lost your first two games, and first road game in NBA basketball history.  Congratulations.  However, good luck dealing with Coach Avery after this last one.

In their first loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Nets let a twenty two point lead wither away.  They played suspect 4th quarter defense for the second consecutive game.  Wednesday night against the Heat, Brooklyn's offense can be summed up in one word - Futile.

Deron Williams led Nets scoring with fourteen points.  But he also led his team with seven turnovers. Deron had three assists all game and never made it to the line.  The greater problem however was in team scoring.  The Nets shot 37.5% from the field, and were an amateurish 3/21 from three point range.

Very early on, we are starting to find out just how important Gerald Wallace is to the Nets.  Of course that's purely based on game one of the season, because that's all we have.  Then again, missing Gerald Wallace doesn't nearly explain a mere seventy three points and nineteen turnovers Wednesday night in South Beach.  The Nets failed to score over twenty points in three of the four quarters against Miami.

After what I believe will be an extra-rigorous day of practice, the Nets will continue their Florida swing in Orlando Friday night, in the first game of a home and home series against the Magic.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

New York Giants: Bending Steel

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: The Giants Can Do What The League Hasn't Been Able To; Drop Big Ben.

Pittsburgh and the busted play - they thrive on it.  Big Ben is never more lethal than when he is scrambling about.  He is additionally highly accurate on the run.  And what his receivers do better than most is come back for the ball when Ben breaks the pocket.

Here's the thing.  The Giants can do what few teams have been able to do.  Justin Tuck, Osi, JPP, Chris Canty, and Kiwanuka are all big enough to drop him.  If the Giants keep containment, like JPP did last week, and manage to get their hands on him, Big Ben will come down.  Without containment, I feel the Giants Secondary won't be able to contend with the relationship Ben has with his receivers lest we forget Dallas had three receivers total over three hundred yards each.  But if the Ends can prevent Ben from getting outside, I think Chris Canty and Linval Joseph can limit his movement inside.

The Steelers defense will be without Safety Troy Polamalu.  But Pittsburgh is still very well stocked.  So what does that mean for the Giants?  I don't know.  But look what they did to the 49ers.  Here is something I do know.  The Giants have scored the second most points in the league behind only behind New England.

So I guess that means you know which way I'm leaning?  That was my pressed for time, post-Hurricane Sandy abbreviated pre-game posting.

Let's Go Giants.


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Team Wins Historic Kings County Opener

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

"The Hoops of Flatbush"
Toronto Raptors
Flatbush Avenue, Kings County
Raptors  100
NETS     107
They're here!  They saw!  They conquered!  Fuhgeddaboudit!
The Brooklyn Nets have arrived.  Commissioner David Stern made the initial introduction to fans attending Barcalys Center for the first ever Brooklyn Nets basketball game and welcomed the Borough to the National Basketball Association.  Members of the team were welcomed to town by former Bedford Avenue Bums players, Joe Pignatano, Ralph Branca, and a special appearance by Gil Hodges Jr.  Brooklyn Dodgers jerseys and Brooklyn Nets jerseys were exchanged between old heroes and new.  Deron Williams then addressed the home crowd.  Both the Commissioner and Deron Williams made sure to make particular mention of all the area citizens who have undergone great hardships brought on by Hurricane Sandy.
The home crowd was also introduced to their new mascot, the Brooklyn Knight, defender of the court and all things Nets.  Then after player intro's, it was game time.  As expected, the Nets starting five consisted of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in the back court.  Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace, and Kris Humphries were the starting forwards.  The Nets, sporting their home whites for the first time, took to their new hearing-bone patterned court.  And once Brook Lopez won the opening tip, the Hoops of Flatbush had begun.
Appropriately, Deron Williams scored the first two points of the night.  When Brook Lopez grabbed an early offensive rebound, drew a foul, and scored the bucket, the crowd erupted.  However, the Nets got off to a somewhat slow start in the first quarter.  Toronto jumped out to an early eight point lead.  After a quarter, the Nets were behind by a 35-27 score.
The Nets evened things up 38-38 on a pair of MarShon Brooks free-throws midway through the second quarter, then pulled away.  C.J. Watson closed out the half by nailing a three-pointer at the buzzer to put Brooklyn ahead by eight points.  Brooklyn led 60-52 at halftime.
Coach Avery might have been peeved over the initial defensive effort in which they allowed thirty five points.  But the Nets tightened up in the second quarter and limited the Raptors to seventeen points.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with fourteen first half points.  C.J. Watson scored thirteen off the bench.  Deron Williams led the team with six assists, and scored six points.  Reggie Evans came off the bench and led all players with five rebounds.  Kris Humphries, Lopez, and Joe Johnson pulled down three apiece.  Brooklyn's bench had a strong half with twenty three points.
*   *   *   *
The Nets opened the third quarter by extending their lead to ten points on a sweet layup by Brook Lopez off a Gerald Wallace feed.  Midway through the quarter, the Nets were still cruising with a 75-66 lead.
Toronto made a run towards the end of the third quarter and at 79-74, closed within five points of Brooklyn.  Getting quality minutes in the third quarter, Andray Blatche had eight points in ten minutes played.  However, he missed one of two free throws, and turned over the ball within a minute of each other.  After three complete sessions, Brooklyn's lead was down to four as the Raptors closed with 82-78 of the Nets.  Then at eighty-four points, the Nets went cold.  When Toronto scored at 8:46 to make it a 84-83 game, Coach Avery called time out.
MarShon Brooks brought the Nets to ninety points.  Halfway through the quarter, Toronto was still close as they trailed by a mere three points.  Kris Humphries started exerting himself under the boards, and on the other end, MarShon scored again.
Brook Lopez was the only Nets player to get to the line with any kind of consistency.  And he visited the stripe for the twelfth time with less than five minutes left.  He nailed both shots to make it a 94-89 game with 4:45 to go.  The Nets went cold again, failing to score for over two minutes allowing Toronto to pull within two.  At 94-92, and with possession at 2:14, Coach Avery called another timeout.
C.J. Watson hit a big shot out of the break.  That was his fourteenth and fifteenth points of the night.  Gerald Wallace then took his turn playing strong on the boards.  He gave the Nets a five point lead hitting one of two free throws.  But Toronto came back with a three-pointer.  With a minute left, Wallace fed Brook Lopez, who hit for two and buried another shot from the line to give the Nets a 100-95 lead with fifty nine seconds left.
Gerald Wallace then went down hard after blocking a shot with 27.7 left.  He rolled his ankle and temporarily stayed in the game.  Coach Avery called a full time out after Toronto converted at the line, to make it a 101-97 game.  Gerald Wallace's strong night was over however, as he left the floor after the timeout.
Joe Johnson made the score 103-97 with 26.1 left.  But Toronto responded with another three-pointer.  With twenty seconds left and Humphries and Brook Lopez on the bench, Deron Williams sank two shots from the line to make it a 105-100 game.  Toronto launched a three point attempt that careened out of bounds.  The Nets then drew a foul on the possession with ten seconds left.   Deron Williams buried another two shots.
A change of possession, and then..., Game!  The Brooklyn Nets win their first ever professional basketball game as a member club of the National Basketball Association.  As Ralph Cramden would say - How Sweet It Is!
*    *    *    *
Brook Lopez led Nets scorers with twenty seven points.  He pulled down five rebounds.  Reggie Evans was key off the bench pulling down a game high thirteen rebounds.  The Nets out-rebounded Toronto 41-37 with five players contributing at least five apiece.
Five Nets players also scored in double digits.  After Brook Lopez, Deron Williams dropped nineteen points, and led the team with nine assists.  C.J. Watson was tremendous off the bench.  He scored fifteen points.  Joe Johnson scored fourteen points and Gerald Wallace added ten before leaving.
Brook Lopez ended the night 11/15 from the line.  Deron Williams buried late free throws to put the Raptors to bed.  He finished 6/8 from the stripe.
Rookies Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor, and Tornike Shengelia did not play.
It took a few days.  But the crowd was electric all the same.  Let's Go Nets was the chant, but Broook - Lynnn! was the anthem of the night.  This what home sounds like fellas.  It's been a long wait.  But you're finally here.
The Borough of Kings has a team.