Friday, September 30, 2011
With the 2011 SEMA Show slowly creeping up, companies are fast preparing models for their Las Vegas display. Come November 1st, Hyundai will be ready to take center stage with their new Veloster, but ARK Performance may have a sleek and sporty rally car alternative that may steal the spotlight.
"The Hyundai Veloster is an ideal car for enthusiasts with its distinctive design and dynamic architecture," said Ted Lee, owner, ARK Performance Inc. "At SEMA, our ARK Performance Veloster will bridge the realm between an affordable sports car and an extreme motor sports vehicle. From the first Tiburon, to the Genesis Coupe, and now with the Veloster, ARK Performance continues to uphold the torch as the pioneer of aftermarket performance manufacturing for Hyundai."
ARK Performance is offering several modifications for the the exterior and interior of the Veloster, but have also added many engine upgrades that will surely boost performance.
Hit the jump to read more about the Hyundai Veloster by ARK Performance.
Of all the jet skis in Kawasaki’s fleet, the STX isn’t the most fully-equipped of the bunch, but it does offer a lot more than just your average PWC. 40 years of Kawasaki know-how was put into the STX to create a highly-advanced and ruggedly reliable jet-ski that offers one of the best value-for-your-money packages in the market.
Even if it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of some of Kawasaki’s more up-scale jet ski models, the STX still packs a lot of goodies, including the Smart Learning Operation (SLO) and the Kawasaki Smart Steering (KSS). The former is accessible on the jet ski’s instrument panel and can be selected to place a limit on maximum engine speed, allowing the newbie riders to learn the ropes of jet-ski riding in order to improve on their riding techniques. Meanwhile, the latter provides electronic turning assistance that’s linked to a steering sensor, raising engine rpm to provide the additional thrust that helps initiating turns on the water. There’s also a Kawasaki Splash Deflector that has been incorporated into the hull design to minimize spray on the rider.
Add all these features to an aggressive looking profile with a well endowed and spacious rear deck and a powerful 1.5-liter four-stroke four-cylinder engine, and you have a jet ski that fits the role of an advanced and highly-reliably watercraft that fully justifies its $8,499 price tag.
The U.S. House of Representatives is investigating the motives behind the recent decision by Ford to pull an ad from its YouTube account that's critical of the government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, only later to restore it. Representative Darrell Issa, R-California, has asked Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford, for a "full and complete explanation" of his company's reasoning for temporarily pulling the ad. Earlier this week, Ford reportedly said that the ad was removed from the company's YouTube page as part of a planned rotation, and that it would continue to run online (there's no word on whether Ford will resume airing the ad on television, however).
In addition, Ford says that it continues to support the automotive bailout on the grounds that the automotive industry is a tight-knit network of companies, unions and workers. According to The Detroit News, Issa is specifically concerned that Ford received undue pressure from the White House to pull the ad. That's an allegation that Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, staunchly denies. Nevertheless, Issa has asked Ford to turn over any documents that pertain to the discussion of the ad. If you still haven't seen the ad for yourself, we've embedded it after the jump.Permalink | Email this | Comments
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "Here's the true sign that at least part of the NBA season appears in jeopardy. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reportedly reached a verbal agreement to play with the Italian professional basketball team Virtus Bologna. Bryant will earn $3 million, reports the Associated Press, for the first 40 days of the Italian League season beginning Oct. 9. Meanwhile, the NBA has delayed the start of training camp and canceled 43 exhibition games through Oct. 15. 'Deal is done at 95%,' Virtus Bologna owner Claudio Sabatini told Sportando. Considering Bryant sparked unsuccessful courtships from teams in Turkey and China, skepticism remains understandable."
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "The official announcement from Florida International University regarding details and ticketing policies for the NBA lockout all-star event planned at the school by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 has been delayed until Friday. Tickets for the event are expected to be made available Monday, a source familiar with the game said. The formal announcement had been expected Thursday. Wade has already confirmed the event, as has a source close to James. It is expected that Isiah Thomas, the former NBA star, coach and executive who now is coaching at FIU, will have a role in the announcement of the game."
- Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "The two lockouts have differences -- the NHL had no cap system or revenue-sharing plan in place prior to 2005 -- but the rhetoric is eerily familiar. Before each, owners had said they lost about $300 million during the previous season, with some small-market operators claiming they would lose less by not playing. Union representatives disputed the severity of the financial woes and dug in against radical economic overhauls. Even some of the names are the same, as five NBA ownership groups -- New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Washington and Toronto -- include NHL franchises in their portfolios. 'Ours was a philosophical divide,' one NHL executive told The Plain Dealer. 'So it was difficult to handicap when the gap [between owners and players] was going to be bridged. Yes, we felt it might take a full season, although we obviously hoped it wouldn't.' Stern is intimating this weekend's proposal will be the league's best, and if regular-season games are canceled, the offers will decrease in value. The loss of the entire season could cost players $2 billion in salaries. The average NBA player salary last season was $4.79 million. Fewer than 60 NBA players have secured overseas deals. By contrast, nearly 400 NHL players went to Europe in 2004."
- Israel Gutierrez of The Miami Herald: "This weekend could very well decide if the Heat’s chance at redemption will be delayed heavily and doused thoroughly with apathy. This weekend could be a saving grace for South Floridians who’ve spent so much time calling for coaches to be fired and quarterbacks to be replaced that they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be satisfied with one of its teams. It already appears the NBA players are going to have to concede more than they ever expected heading into negotiations. But if they can manage to play the public-relations game, force a little bit of movement from the owners and come out of this weekend with a deal in place that at least allows them to save face, then there will be a full NBA season. And the biggest winners in that scenario will be right here. That’s something to root for. Who says no one cares about the NBA lockout?"
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: "Slippage is the scourge of basketball players at every level, and the consequences are greatest for the elite. Dwyane Wade, a seven-time All-Star for the Miami Heat, believes he has found the answer. This week, he helped promote Court Grip, an acetone-based solution that is designed to clean sneaker soles and restore their tackiness. The product was developed by Mission Athletecare, which brought in Wade as a partner. Wade tested Court Grip during practices and games last season and was so pleased that he agreed to join the enterprise. 'I first tried it in Milwaukee, and I felt the difference immediately,' said Wade, who called the product 'something that can change the game.' Wade helped design the applicator, which looks like a cross between roll-on deodorant and shoe polish. The effects are said to last up to 15 minutes (depending on individual activity and playing style), which means the average player will need to apply it three or four times a game. The Court Grip formula is based on the same technology used on racecar tires and sticky notes, said Mark French, the product’s inventor and the president of Mission Basketball. The quick-drying solution does not make the shoe sticky but merely increases adhesion with the floor, allowing for better traction."
- Tim Griffin of the San Antonio Express-News: "Baron Davis is owed $28.6 million on the two remaining years of his contract by Cleveland. He’s also reportedly excited about the opportunity to serve as a mentor to No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving. But Davis turned 32 in April and had trouble getting into shape heading into last season for the Los Angeles Clippers. And he’s never taken his team deeper in the playoffs than the second round in his 12-season NBA career. But he could be an intriguing transitional piece of the puzzle for the Spurs. It would give them a serviceable backup who could start if they decide to trade Tony Parker for other assets. If not, he would fill in some of the minutes where George Hill played last season and lessen some of the immediate pressure for rookie Cory Joseph to crack the starting rotation. What about it Spurs Nation? If you could get Davis for an affordable contract, is he worth the risk?"
- Luis Gomez of the Chicago Tribune: "How does a Bull beat a bullfighter? In the case of Derrick Rose's new adidas ad, with speed, a spin move or some dribbling straight out of the And1 Mixtape tour. The 60-second ad, 'The Bull,' is for Rose's new basketball shoe, adiZero Rose 2 (available October 6). Sadly, there's no freaky lady pyramid in this commercial, but it's still probably Rose's best ad yet. The bullfighters trying to take down the NBA MVP are authentic, as is the Madrid setting. Not as authentic? The height of the basketball hoop at the end."
- Zach McCann of the Orlando Sentinel: "There’s a silver lining of the lockout for Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: He can attend coaching events that the season would ordinarily keep him away from, like the FABC coaches clinic he headlined at Oviedo High School on Tuesday afternoon, and talk shop with high-school and college coaches who are devoted to basketball the same way Van Gundy is. Van Gundy, the son of a lifelong coach, loves exchanging strategies and philosophies with other coaches, even those from lower levels than the NBA. When he spoke at the Coaching U clinic at UCF back in July, he gave insight into the inner-workings of the Magic and shed some light on why the Magic play basketball the way they do. On Tuesday at Oviedo, he spoke about the eight most important aspects of successful basketball coaching — in his opinion, of course — and also added some commentary on the Magic’s strategy."
- Mike Martindale and Santiago Esparza of The Detroit News: "Detroit Piston Ben Wallace is facing drunken driving and weapons charges after being arrested over the weekend for erratic driving on Telegraph Road at Long Lake, according to township police. ... Wallace told police the handgun belonged to his wife, was registered only to her, and he had placed it in the backpack for protection before driving from Virginia back to Michigan the day before. He said he had 'completely forgot the gun was in his backpack and when he got back to Michigan went out with his buddy and had some drinks …,' according to a police report written by Lt. Mark Paquin, who said Wallace said 'if he had known tonight was going to end up this way, he would have done things differently. Mr. Wallace said he knew he was in the wrong, and he shouldn't have had the gun, he also told me that he was a criminal justice major in college,' Lt. Mark Paquin wrote in his report."
In 2001, Bentley returned to Le Mans after an absence of more than 70 years with a machine known as the Speed 8 (pictured above), eventually winning the 24-hour race in 2003. Bentley hasn't been involved in motorsports since, although a new report indicates that could change soon.
In a recent interview with Autocar, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer stated that a new LMP1 race car could be in the works to compete against Audi and the upcoming Porsche LMP1 racer. Interestingly, all three automakers are part of the VW Group. "There is nothing saying the same brands can't compete against each other - the only important thing is that the racing activity supports fully the brand identity," he said. "The three brands of Bentley, Porsche and Audi could race in different regions and come together five or six times a year for the world sportscar championship and then once per year in France. It's not decided, but it is possible."
In addition to the usual marketing benefits of a racing program, Durheimer indicated that the main motivation for getting Bentley back into motorsports would be to develop a connection with the race team and the company's production facility in Crewe. "I am also keen that people from the road car side sample the racing side - I saw at Porsche that one or two years with the race team can really change how people work."Permalink | Email this | Comments
Ram has announced a slew of additions to its line of pickup trucks, starting with the 1500 Tradesman Heavy Duty. The vehicle combines all of the excellent value of the standard Tradesman, but throws in the joy of three-quarter-ton towing and cargo capacity as well. Ram says that the vehicle now boasts the best-in-class title for both of those categories. With a maximum trailer weight of 11,500 pounds, the Tradesman HD tops the Ford F-150 by 200 pounds and the Chevrolet Silverado by 800 pounds. Meanwhile, Ram has also rolled in a 3,100-pound payload capacity, which exceeds the F-150 by 40 pounds and the Silverado by 1,235 pounds.
Things aren't all sunshine and rainbows, though. The Tradesman HD is only available as a two-wheel drive truck with a regular cab and an eight-foot bed.
In addition, Ram has broadened the model availability in the company's 1500 Express trim. Buyers can now opt for Crew Cab and Quad Cab configurations for the first time. The 1500 Express Crew Cab starts at $28,050 while the Quad Cab lands closer to $30,010, both without destination or handling charges. Both will still come with the company's 5.7-liter V8 as standard equipment.
Finally, Ram has grown the company's Rambox system to accommodate 6-foot, 4-inch bed lengths, which means that Quad Cab buyers can also enjoy the in-bed storage system. Check out our galleries then hit the jump to read up on Ram's press releases.Permalink | Email this | Comments
2011 Audi TT Roadster 2.0 L TFSI 4 Cylinder Engine 211 hp 245 km/h Top Speed 6 Speed S Tronic 17 Inch Aluminum Wheels
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Now according to Andy Katz, Dodson might get another chance to continue his career at Southern Miss.
In addition, a source said a decision was due soon on reinstating Kentucky transfer guard Darnell Dodson by mid-year. Dodson had been booted off the Wildcats team after the 2009-10 season by coach John Calipari, who did not give a reason.
Dodson transferred to Southern Miss and was enrolled this past January, but in late April, Eustachy announced Dodson had been dismissed from the Golden Eagles as well, and also did not give a reason.
According to the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American, Dodson was charged with felony burglary for allegedly stealing items from a fraternity house in April.
Eustachy, who Katz reported has agreed to a new three-year contract, hasn't been shy about offering second chances considering he needed one himself. After his problems with alcohol cost him his job at Iowa State, he came to Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles won 22 games last season.
With Dodson, the team would get back a player who once led Kentucky in made 3-pointers and helped John Calipari's Wildcats reach the Elite Eight in 2010.
In April, Eustachy appeared to have ended Dodson's career at Southern Miss before it began. But after a change of heart, Dodson might very well get one more opportunity.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, today's pickup trucks and SUVs pose less of a threat to drivers in cars and minivans than they did in the past. For the first time in recent memory, trucks and SUVs aren't more likely to be involved in crashes that involve fatalities than cars and minivans of the same weight. Between 2000 and 2001, trucks and SUVs weighing between 3,000 and 3,499 pounds were involved in accidents with cars and minivans that resulted in a traffic fatality at a rate of 44 deaths per million registered vehicles.
IIHS says that number has fallen to 16 deaths per million registered vehicles between 2008 and 2009. The research institute says that the decline is largely attributable to better crash protection in cars and minivans thanks to the addition of side-curtain airbags and more advanced crash structure, but the fact that modern SUVs and trucks now use front ends designed to better align with those crash structures plays a large role as well. Hit the jump to view the full press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments
An award-winning bike that offers no compromises; that’s what the Yamaha YZ450F offers - and a whole lot more.
Fresh off of improvements across the board, the new YZ450F will come with a host of beefy upgrades, including new design elements, improved powertrain, and overall better handling.
These changes fit right in with the lofty standards set by the models predecessor, the 2010 YZ450F, which won a plethora of awards including Dirt Rider Magazine?s ?Bike of the Year?, Cycle World?s ?Best Motocrosser?, and Motorcycle Magazine?s ?Best Dirtbike of 2010.?
Yet despite all of its accolades, Yamaha still saw fit to give the YZ450F improvements, further proving that a great bike should not be satisfied with itself. Whenever there’s a time that awards come, they should not be looked as validation for greatness, but motivation to maintain their status as the best.
For their part, Yamaha has the right frame of mind with the YZ450F. It’s a good enough bike to merit some distinctions, but at the end of the day, ’good enough’ should never be associated with status quo.
Find out more about the Yamaha YZ450F after the jump.
Maserati has rolled out a new video to drum up anticipation for the company's new SUV concept, the Kubang. The flick begins with images of the Italian automaker's illustrious racing past, complete with open-wheel fire-breathers sliding across cobblestone courses and a fleet of MC-12 racers blowing past exuberant fans. That's all well before the portly, computer-generated Kubang saunters onto the screen. We'll be clear here; we understand that occasionally, automakers need to bow to the tides of popular demand so that they can keep cranking out the vehicles we love the most. It works for Porsche. We get it, but this seems to be a bridge too far.
Maybe it's the fact that the Kubang has a name that sounds like it was lifted from the classic El Kabong cartoon series. Maybe it's the sight of the reaching Maserati grille supersized and splayed over the front of an SUV. Whatever it is, we're having a hard time getting behind the machine, but we sincerely hope that a drive of it changes our mind - it did with Porsche's Cayenne. Hit the jump to see the video for yourself.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Mike Ryan is our kind of insane. Not only did the man fling his Freightliner race truck up the winding side of Mount Washington earlier this year, but the professional stunt and race driver has also joined forces with drifting legend Sam Hubinette for a little exhibition show during round six of the Formula Drift Championship.
In preparation of wowing the masses at the FD gathering, Ryan came out for a little shakedown session with the big Freightliner. Things didn't exactly go smoothly at first, with Ryan fighting the truck all over the impromptu course, but it didn't take long to get the kinks ironed out.
Within a matter of hours, Hubinette had Ryan pirouetting around the asphalt and oval track like an drift hero. Fortunately for all involved, the whole experience was recorded for posterity. Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.Permalink | Email this | Comments
There's no resolution yet. Far from it. Connecticut is still working every angle to get into the ACC; Missouri may still try to follow A&M to the SEC.
But the Pac-12's decision to pass on the Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State -- and Dan Beebe's ouster as conference commissioner, a move OU forced on its way back to the league -- means the Big 12 still exists. And, as of last night, it sounds like the conference is finally chilling out a little bit. From the Associated Press:
Big 12 athletic directors discussed ways during their meeting Tuesday to stabilize their league before they can determine if and how much they might expand.
"I think what we're more focused on is doing what we all believe is right for the membership of the Big 12 and the most important piece right now is the solidarity among the nine and finding a way to make sure that we provide that solidarity so that we can be stabilized before we entertain whether that should be nine, 10, 12, 16."
Hey, good for you, Big 12! This is great news. But what does it actually mean?
Pollard, who spoke on behalf of the league, said there is a process for stabilization. He wouldn't go into specifics, but said there was a clear consensus among the nine schools on the items discussed.
"Ultimately we have to prove it because there will always be doubters," he said. "All I can say is the people we were locking arms with in that room feel pretty committed to me. I take people on their word. I'm not worried about it at all."
This is sure to be a tricky process. For one, it's especially important to keep Texas -- the big, hulking monolith with its own TV network and the annual revenue to make a small third-world country blush -- feeling satisfied. Without Texas, the Big 12 doesn't exist. But keeping Texas happy can also mean alienating, say, Missouri, a school with smaller revenues that likely sees the SEC (or even the Big Ten, not that the Big Ten is interested) as the route to a more "fair" TV revenue split. Last year, the league could afford to lose Nebraska and Colorado. (Leave then! We'll be just fine without you!) It could arguably even afford to lose Texas A&M. On sheer strength of numbers alone, it can't afford to lose another team, whether or not that team is Missouri. T. Boone Pickens agrees.
Still, it's good to see some form of solidarity emanating from the Big 12. It doesn't solve the realignment woes, but it could be the next step toward some measure of long-term national conference stability. It may not last long; after all, the Big 12 wants to go from picked-over to picker. But if the conference can stabilize somewhat, realignment could mercifully cool down once more. Let's hope so, anyway.
The headlines came in stark contrast to the negative ones last season after three of the team's top four scorers last season were cited for separate marijuana infractions, with Klay Thompson and Reggie Moore serving suspensions.
According to The Spokesman-Review, coach Ken Bone made it an offseason priority to change the culture by dedicating them to work in the community.
The Cougars who spent the summer in Pullman not only did basketball workouts and weightlifting, they also volunteered for multiple community projects.
Though the coaching staff initiated the process, Bone said, the players ran with it.
"In probably any business you need good character to persevere," Bone said. "We had some issues last year that we think we've done a great job of cleaning�up."
Issues needed to be addressed after athletic director Bill Moos in an interview with The Spokesman-Review was critical of the student-athlete culture on campus in wake of a third men's basketball marijuana incident involving DeAngelo Casto last March.
"I'm not sure we have a championship mentality here. We have to instill in our student-athletes a mentality that Saturday's game is more important than tonight's party. We're in a location that has a lot of positives, but Pullman is also extremely visible and our young people need to be aware of�that."
"But we still need to address the drug issue in this department," Moos said. "In a perfect world, if the Pullman police or campus police wanted to target our athletes, there would be nothing to�target."
Now that Pac-10 scoring champion Thompson and rugged big man Casto have turned pro following an unsatisfying 9-9 conference finish that resulted in a trip to the NIT, the rebuilding process begins.
At Washington State, the culture apparently needed to be rebuilt as well.
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: "The Golden State Warriors spent their summer conducting a national search for a new president and chief operating officer. Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver called this month to tell them who they should hire -- his outgoing president and CEO. Eleven days after his nine-year stint of running the Suns' business ended, Rick Welts accepted a job to run the Warriors' business operations. The hire came a week after his first conversation with new Golden State owner Joe Lacob. 'He (Sarver) really was the one who initiated the conversation on my behalf,' Welts said after the hiring was announced Monday night. 'I had been looking forward to doing different things but the opportunity with this team and this market worked so well for me geographically. I was not able to pass that up and I couldn't be more ecstatic.' Welts, 58, announced he was leaving the Suns on Sept. 9 to get his professional and personal lives aligned. He said he was asking out of his Suns contract 10 months early in order to be closer to his partner, who has joint custody of two children in Sacramento."
- Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "Zach Randolph insists that collecting on the first year of a deal that pays $66 million guaranteed with $5 million in incentives isn't his main concern regarding the league-imposed lockout. Randolph says he's willing to miss the 2011-12 NBA regular season and a big payday rather than accept a bad deal. ... 'If that's a sacrifice we have to make (in order) to make it better for the future then, yeah, I'm OK with it,' Randolph said in a telephone interview. 'I'm definitely prepared financially.' Randolph will not attend the union's regional meeting today in Miami. But he's sticking by players association executive director Billy Hunter. 'I sent a text to Billy Hunter two weeks ago and told him he has my full support,' Randolph said. ... Asked what he planned to do if the regular season doesn't start on time, Randolph said he'll attempt to join whatever team center Marc Gasol plays for."
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: "Should Kevin Durant be able to diss OU? Tony Jefferson is right. This state supports Durant. And not all, but a good majority of sports fans around here cheer for the crimson and cream. But is that enough to prohibit Durant from being able to rag on OU? Absolutely not. Durant has the freedom, like all of us, to say what he wants. There are always consequences, of course. And if he ever gets cornered by the wrong cut of crimson and cream crazies, pray for him. But we’ll just have to hope it never gets to that. Even if Durant didn’t go to UT, he should be able to voice his opinions, even if they’re negative, about OU. It’s sports. That’s how it works. ... My advice is to let Durant do what he does. He plays his heart out for the Thunder and that should be all that matters. As for the rivalry, and Durant’s needling, just wait for that special weekend in October. Wait until the Sooners smack the Longhorns so good Durant doesn’t want to leave the house. Then let him hear about it. That’s how you handle it. Should Kevin Durant be able to diss OU? You bet."
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: "There were plenty of famous Bucks at the Ozaukee Country Club on Monday for the franchise's annual golf outing. ... Members of the current Bucks coaching staff also were in attendance, including head coach Scott Skiles and assistants Jim Boylan, Joe Wolf, Anthony Goldwire and Bill Peterson. And Sidney Moncrief doubled up as an alum and the newest member of the coaching staff. Don Nelson hired Moncrief for coaching jobs in Dallas and Golden State and said he was delighted the former Bucks star was back with the franchise. 'It was a great hire by the Bucks,' Nelson said. 'He's worked for me two different times. I cried when he left me, but he had to go to another job because they paid more. But I really enjoyed working with Sid and he's an outstanding coach. He demands respect because of what he's done, and he's a great leader.' "
- Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "Pistons forward Austin Daye made news last week for signing a two-month contract with Russian basketball team BC Khimki. Before that, he was in the headlines for a scoring binge at the Impact Sports competitive training series, where players gathered for games while waiting for the NBA labor impasse to end. So how does all of this help the Pistons? Whenever the season resumes, it will be time for the 6-foot-11 scorer to start living up to his promise in his third season. Daye told Slam Online at the competitive series in Las Vegas he will be trying to improve in one specific area. 'My rookie year I shot a better percentage from (two-point range) than I did my sophomore year, so I didn't like that at all,' Daye said. 'I've been focused in on that this summer.' "
- Erin Durkin of the New York Daily News: "Jay-Z took a tongue-in-cheek shot at NBA superstar LeBron James on Monday as he christened the NBA team that will soon call his home borough home - the Brooklyn Nets. The New Jersey Nets will take on their new name when the team moves next fall from Newark to the still-being-built Barclays Center on Atlantic Ave. in Prospect Heights. Brooklyn-born Jay-Z, a part owner of the club, will rock the mike to open the new digs, but the rapper wouldn't say how many concerts he will be giving. 'Maybe one. Maybe two. Maybe three,' he said, adding a little joke, 'I sound like LeBron.' The rap mogul was making light of James' declaration of how many NBA titles he would win when he joined the Miami Heat. Sources told the Daily News that Jay-Z will give eight shows during a blowout opening of the new arena."
- Janis Carr of The Orange County Register: "Christmas is around the corner give or take three months and here’s a suggestion for those hard-to-buy for people on your list: a Kobe Bryant signature car. Bryant’s signature Smart car, the limited-edition 'Black Mamba' Fortwo (only 500 were manufactured) recently was released in China. The car features a fully blacked out exterior and interior Brabus wheels. Topping it off is Bryant’s signature 'Kobe Edition' written on the hood. The cost? A mere $19,412. Make that special someone happy and get one before they are gone."
Longwood University in Farmville, Va., finished with a 12-19 record last season, which is great considering that when the Lancers first played a Division I schedule six years earlier, they had a 1-30 record.
Now, long after that one-win 2004-05 season, Longwood has gotten to the point where it will make a push for conference affiliation, according to The Rotunda.
Longwood University's Director of Athletics Troy Austin stated, "I would say about 85 to 90 percent of our effort is devoted to the Big South, but there are still other conferences of our size that may not be as great a fit, but do present an opportunity, that I continue to reach out to their commissioners.
"In the past, we've talked to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, we've talked to the North East Conference, we've talked to the Atlantic Sun Conference," said Austin. "They are good fits for us because they have automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, but some may stretch us a bit in terms of distance of travel."
With the recent shuffle of large teams such as Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Texas A&M into new conferences, Longwood hopes to slip into the Big South when the effects of the conference shake-up trickles down. "We have long ago deserved to be in there [the Big South], have done everything on our part," [coach Mike] Gillian said. "Now it becomes up to us to continue to show all of those other institutions in the league and the other presidents of those institutions that we don't only deserve it, but we belong."
For Cal State Bakersfield, it's an interesting time to try landing that coveted conference invitation. The Roadrunners didn't receive one during the WAC's latest round of expansion this summer, but they are at least making some noise.
Cal State Bakersfield installed the nation's only blue basketball court this offseason, and the publicity from that along with the arrival of veteran coach Rod Barnes doesn't hurt.
Also, the baseball program was able to join the WAC last week as an affiliate member while the school's track and tennis programs are headed to the Great West.
Athletic director Jeff Konya indicated to the Bakersfield Californian that he couldn't envision the basketball program being able to become an affiliate member for a conference, but that's the latest strategy for the school's individual sports while it waits for a better situation for basketball.
"If there's a conference that comes on line that wants us as a full-fledged member, the contracts as an affiliate are not as substantial as if we were in a conference and were going to another conference," he said.
So if you have the realignment blues, consider there are schools just trying to find their way. And as those programs are finding out, it can be a long climb to relevance.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Jimmer Fredette show returned to the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, for an exhibition on Thursday night. Even though Fredette was the main attraction, the crowd was clearly excited to see what the rest of the players could do. Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas quickly became crowd favorites while putting on an impressive performance for more than 11,000 noisy fans.
BYU’s Dave Rose and San Diego State’s Steve Fisher coached the teams. First-round picks on display included San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard, Charlotte's Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, Portland's Nolan Smith, Faried, Milwaukee's Tobias Harris and Washington's Chris Singleton.
The five second-round selections included Sacramento's Tyler Honeycutt, Golden State's Charles Jenkins, Minnesota's Malcolm Lee, Detroit's Vernon Macklin and Thomas, along with undrafted free agent Chris Wright from Dayton. Fredette’s BYU teammate Jackson Emery, who recently retired from basketball, also participated.
The final score is fairly irrelevant on a night like this, but Team Jimmer lost to Team Kawhi 140-126. Fredette finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists, but never got unleashed in classic Jimmer fashion.
Even with Jimmer struggling, the crowd was loud and enjoyed strong performances from Smith (30 points, 7 rebounds, 13 assists), Leonard, Harris, Walker and especially Faried and Thomas. Faried continued where he left off in the NCAA tournament, playing with reckless abandon and showing his signature tenacity as he repeatedly bulled his way to the rim and wreaked havoc on the defensive end.
The energy of the crowd seemed to surprise a few of the players who weren’t expecting fan-favorite status. Thomas smiled after the game when asked about the star treatment from the fans. “I’ve never been out here before, but I’m going to have to make more trips.” Later he tweeted:
“The BYU fans are GREAT!!!!! They showed me sooooooo much LOVE it was unbelievable, I felt like Jimmer out there today LOL!! Thank you PROVO!”
I want to give a special thanks 2 @jimmerfredette 4 inviting me 2 participate in this event here at BYU it was Fun and I had a GREAT time.
After the game, Walker talked about the crowd: “I always knew Jimmer’s fans were crazy,” he said, “but this was special.”
Added Fisher: “A crowd like that, on a Thursday night, doesn't happen. And it doesn't happen without Jimmer and Dave Rose."
Both teams seemed to strike a perfect balance between playing hard and having a good time. There were enough dunks and smiles to keep the fans excited, but the game never devolved into the kind of sloppy play that usually defines an all-star exhibition. It was a bittersweet reminder of what fans will be missing if the NBA season is further interrupted by labor negotiations.
Despite the success of the event, there are no plans to schedule more games due to the uncertainty of the lockout.
After the game, Rose mentioned that Smith, who played at Duke, looked at the crowd during a timeout and said, “Man, I’d love to have one last game in Cameron.”