One down … June to go

Who needs the World Series with the Lakers season underway.

The Lakers made a statement with a 96-76 win over the young Portland Trail Blazers in the season opener Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 23 points and had 11 rebounds to go along with his five assists. Pau Gasol added 15 points while Trevor Ariza scored 11 off the bench.

Andrew Bynum had only eight points and three rebounds but give the kid a chance. He showed a good stretch last season that he is more than capable of providing 18-10 each night, this of course before his knee injury (I just saw it flashed here in the office on SportsCenter and it’s still hard to look at even though I saw it from my press row seat a few feet away).

Should Lamar Odom be coming off the bench? What Vladamir Radmanovic does in place of Odom is spread the defense with his outside shooting, giving Bynum and Gasol more looks inside, specifically Bynum.

It’s hard to judge whether Odom played well off the bench to prove he deserves to be in the starting five or if he’s more effective as the 6th man; less pressure to score.

Despite Bynum’s quiet night offensively his presence was felt on the defensive end, blocking three shots including one on the overly-hyped (no substance) Greg Oden.

Jordan Farmar should be starting at the point in place of Derek Fisher. Farmar has shown a strong grasp of the triangle offense, creates a distraction for the defense with his elusiveness, but this might be a situation where Phil Jackson prefers playing veterans (though Bynum is an obvious exception).

The Lakers played near flawless last night. But they play again tonight against the Clippers so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. The Lakers play 19 back-to-back games this season.

I didn’t realize how much I missed covering the Lakers until watching the game last night. I started to cover them mid-November last year all the way to the very end; the Lakers went from highly-questionable to NBA Finals-bound. It was fun covering those guys and interacting with them, too, during practice, before and after the games.

Still, it’ll be fun to watch them from a fan’s perspective as the Lakers get ready for Boston come June.

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Football: Star-News Bottom 10 Mess

I wanted to drop Alhambra out of the top 10. Actually, I want to drop them out of the top 10.

But when the polls come out in Wednesday’s paper, this is what you’ll see:

1. Muir (6-1) — Getting it done the last 2 weeks
2. St. Francis (5-2) — Schedule will get tougher
3. Rosemead (5-2) — Panthers are a lock for league
4. San Marino (7-0) — Patiently waiting for Monrovia
5. Monrovia (5-2) — Coach Ryan Maddox a savior?
6. Arcadia (4-3) — Injuries piled up way too fast
7. San Gabriel (4-3) — QB Isaac Valdez the real deal
8. Maranatha (7-0) — Needs to put teams away faster
9. Temple City (3-4) — Rams still alive in RHL
10. Alhambra (3-4) — Too much talent to fall apart

We’ll talk more tomorrow about Monrovia moving up a few spots and San Gabriel moving up one spot.

But with the Moors defense falling apart last week against Montebello, the loss assured their dropping out of the top 10 poll.

But after skimming through league standings there was not ONE team that belonged in the poll.

South Pasadena and La Canada were coming off losses. Rio Hondo Prep and Flintridge Prep have schedules that can’t compare to the Moors’.

There was not one single team that I could think of that would belong at the No. 10 spot. Duarte is coming off a loss. They are 2-1 in Montview League play but 2-5 overall.

Really, who else would belong in the top 10 that hasn’t already been considered. I couldn’t think of one.

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Blair building for the future

Above: Blair’s Trayvon Wysinger gains yards as they play Temple City.

For whatever reason, this story made the paper but not the website. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Anyway, just some notes on what direction Gary Parks wants to take Blair football.

By Miguel A. Melendez
Staff Writer

Gary Parks is a man on a mission.

The first-year Blair High School football coach, who has not been fazed by the Vikings’ dismal season, has made a strong effort to change the perception of the football program.

Blair (1-5, 0-2) took the Rio Hondo League by surprise last season, when it clinched a share of the league title, but with the Vikings struggling this year pundits are saying they’re seeing the same ol’ Blair of the past.
Not so fast.

“We’re building a foundation for next year,” Parks said. “We’ve had some bumps and bruises, but we’re changing our attitude and to me that’s important.”

Parks received a written letter from a La Caada parent addressed to Parks and the rest of his coaching staff after the Spartans (3-4, 1-1) beat the Vikings, 33-0, two weeks ago.

The author of the letter went on to write she’d never seen such discipline, sportsmanship and class in the demeanor of Blair players.

“Even in the seats, she saw an attitude that far outweighed wins and losses,” Parks added. “It lets us know that people are noticing what we’re building. That hasn’t transcended on the field yet, but we don’t have that ghetto attitude. We’re getting classy.”

Parks, who previously served as an assistant at Verbum Dei, made it clear from the beginning he wanted to make a change in attitude, and it needed to start with every player before addressing wins and losses.

Among the changes Parks has made is implementing an academic counselor for the program; a mandatory tutoring session that carries a no-playing time penalty for players who miss the tutelage; a pancake breakfast fundraiser; new uniforms and warm-up suits free of charge to players.

Parks has his friends, colleagues and alumni from Verbum Dei to thank. They helped in providing a one-year assistance as Parks transitions from assistant to head coach.

“After that I’m on my own,” Parks joked. “But now I have a full year to fundraise so we’re going to make some big things happen.”

That includes possibly hosting a banquet honoring the Pasadena Fire marshal and police; starting a freshmen team three years from now; new uniforms (like those worn by the University of Oregon) for the varsity team (this year’s new uniforms will be given to the junior varsity) and playing home games at Blair.
Parks said the school administration “has been 100 percent supportive” and is receptive to his ideas.

“If we come together as a unit, nobody can stop us,” Parks said.

Continue reading “Blair building for the future” »

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49ers coach Mike Singletary isn’t playing around

In case you live under a rock here’s what happened (from The Associated Press)

The 49ers (2-6) lost their fifth straight game in a chaotic debut for interim coach Mike Singletary, who took over after Mike Nolan was fired last Monday.

The Hall of Fame linebacker couldn’t fix a porous defense just yet, but he immediately put his stamp on the club by pulling QB J.T. O’Sullivan after three turnovers.

Singletary then made an even more dramatic statement when he ordered TE Vernon Davis off the field and into the locker room after the hotheaded tight end got a personal foul for slapping a Seattle player’s helmet late in the third quarter.

Singletary yelled at the former No. 6 overall pick in full view of his teammates, commanding Davis to sit on the bench and then ordering him to the locker room at the next timeout.

Davis waved his helmet at Candlestick Park’s thousands of empty seats as he left. He tried to speak with Singletary after the game, but the coach said he was still too hot to hold that conversation.

Here’s Singletary’s full press conference with reporters after the game:

My thoughts: I like this kind of coach. I would want to play with a no-nonsense coach. A coach who has one goal in mind and that is to win. For far too long some organizations are accustomed to winning. I won’t mention what teams but their initials start with R (aider) and end with S. In my opinion the coach did the right thing. When I listen and watch to Singletary’s press conference I’m immediately reminded of Ken Howard. Don’t ask me why. But suffice to say, Singletary was in his right. Let this be a lesson to you high school ballers. Even pro players can get humbled. If you can’t walk the walk then don’t talk the talk.

NOW THIS IS A BLOWUP. Damn those media folks:

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Please, pick a name and STICK TO IT!!!

Here is a list of bloggers who have guts and play by the rules:

The Stang Fan, Goldenarm, Dad of 3, Viking Supporter, Philly B., Hal Lamaster, burbanksports, the real hsfbfan, Joe Amat, Stang03, Huckster!!!!, Amat73, BigA, Observantcat, Reyes, MuddyWaters, !stang!, sfhs92, confused cat, Zeke Prado, Viking Fan, sstress AND last but not least, Angel Bec…

I apologize if I missed a regular.

But the point is that the bloggers above had the guts to pick a name and are sticking to it. We all know what school they associate with.

It’s fun when we can all make fun of Huckster.

It’s cool when we can address astute, respectful and informative comments from Goldenarm, Dad of 3 and The Stang Fan among others.

I’ve been seeing way too many anonymous names on the blog. Which is OK. Thanks for the hits and thanks for reading. But wouldn’t you all agree it’d be awesome if we could build our own cyber community?

I remember at The Register the posters had that, and they even met once a year at a local Dave and Busters. I thought that was pretty cool.

The reason why the Tribune blog gets so many hits, in part, is because the bloggers have made a name for themselves.

Since I’ve been here I’ve posted about 134 entries with 2,613 comments, and I know it hasn’t been ALL from the guys listed above.

Some bloggers have made a name for themselves and it can get better but it’s up to you guys to get it going.

And it starts with picking and sticking to a name.

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