Memphis Tigers Interested in Marcus Jordan

OK for those of you who’ve been living under a rock, the G.O.A.T has two sons that hoop. Jeff Jordan just completed his freshman year at the University of Illinois as a walk on seeing limited minutes and his younger brother Marcus is currently a senior at Whitney Young HS here in Chicago, the same school that also produced the New York Knicks’ Quentin Richardson. Both brothers played together at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL but when Jeff graduated Marcus decided to transfer to Whitney Young to play in the public league against better competition. Obviously being the son of the greatest ever has its perks — he lives downtown and his Air Jordan shoe game is the sickest — but you’re also put under the most ridiculous spotlight and scrutiny that one could ever imagine. People never see you as an individual, and they will always compare you and say “he’s good, but not better than his dad.” That’s not only ridiculous but it’s also unfair!

The recruitment of the younger Jordan started out very slowly and the only programs interested in him were mid-majors. But after a summer where he put in major work, the big boys have now come calling. He was heavily recruited by Miami and was leaning toward signing with them. The Hurricanes ultimately passed and signed another guard and now it’s back to square one. Memphis has reportedly shown a lot of interest and at some point will make a trip to Chicago to check him out. Having seen both of them with my own eyes, I can honestly say that they’re decent ball players and also very, very athletic. Obviously nowhere near as good as their dad, but then again who is? It’s silly to even expect that of them. I still think Jeff is better, but Marcus is a lot bigger. I’m definitely going to make a point to catch a few of his HS games this year as Whitney Young is always a favorite to win the city title, which here in Chicago is a bigger deal than winning the state championship.

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With The First Pick In The 2008 NBA Draft…

What are the odds? Try 1.7%, that’s it. That’s the only chance that my beloved Chicago Bulls had of winning the 2008 NBA Lottery. The whole city of Chicago was resigned to our fates of picking no better than 9th this year. But guess what? We did it!! We won the right to select either Derrick Rose or Michael Beasley on June 26th. Screw the Powerball…this is way bigger! 10 years after the “Death of a Dynasty”, 10 years of rebuilding, and rebuilding, and rebuilding, we finally have a chance to push ourselves back into the conversation of perennial Eastern Conference elite teams. Dear Mr. Reisndorf and Mr. Paxson…please don’t screw this up! This is a once in a lifetime shot, this is a position that we’ve never been in before and you guys can’t afford to blow it. Please bring Derrick Rose home!!

Now, I know that you can’t go wrong with Beasley or Rose but let’s look at the state of the NBA today. A league once run by the big man has given way to the little man. In fact, if you take a look at all 16 teams in this year’s playoffs, each team has one thing in common…they all have very good point guards. Check it out:

LA – Derek Fisher, Denver – Allen Iverson, New Orleans – Chris Paul, Dallas – Jason Kidd, San Antonio – Tony Parker, Phoenix – Steve Nash, Utah – Deron Williams, Houston – Rafer Alston, Boston – Rajon Rondo, Atlanta – Mike Bibby, Detroit – Chauncey Billups, Philly – Andre Miller, Orlando – Jameer Nelson, Toronto – T.J. Ford, Cleveland – Delonte West, Washington – Gilbert Arenas

Of these players, 7 are All-Stars, 5 have played for NBA championships, 3 have rings, 2 have MVP’s and 1 has a scoring title. The league is changing and I hope the Bulls are smart enough to recognize the direction that it’s going in. The PG rules…period. Guys like Michael Beasley can be built. You can teach someone to do the exact same things that he does but guys like Rose, you can’t teach that. True point guards are born, you either have it or you don’t and it’s really that simple. You can find scorers, you can find defensive specialists anywhere, but like a “true” center, a “true” point guard is a rarity and when you come across one, you have to take him. Chris Paul is the single reason for the Hornet’s success, Utah can thank Deron Williams for theirs, and Detroit has been to the Eastern Conference Finals every year since Chauncey Billups signed on. I could keep going, but I’m sure you get it. Teams are being built around point guards. Yeah, Kirk Hinrich is good…but he’s no Derrick Rose. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Rose is better than Hinrich RIGHT NOW!! He may not be as a good a shooter as Kirk is, but that’s about the only advantage that Hinrich has over Rose right now. You watch, guys like Beasley will start to come every few years…guys like Rose? Well, let’s just say that Tuesday night the moon over Chicago looked a little blue.

The National Championship – Memphis vs Kansas

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I have to say that I was quite surprised at the Final Four this weekend. Yes I picked UCLA to go all the way; I guess that’s what I get for being a Chicagoan and picking against a hometown guy right? Truthfully speaking though, that game could’ve gone either way. But the way Kansas manhandled North Carolina…absolute shocker! So here we are, a few hours away from crowning a new champion and there is only one absolute certainty in this game. A Chicago guy (Derrick Rose – Simeon or Sherron Collins – Crane) is going to bring home an NCAA ‘ship!

Overview: Memphis showed why they are pretty much the best team in the country at 38-1. Not only do they continue to win games, but they do it convincingly (except against Mississippi State). The overall height, speed and quickness of their team has presented matchup problems for every team that they’ve faced this year. Their rebounding has also posed problems, especially off of missed shots because that’s pretty much an instant fast break once Memphis secures the rebound; they also finish at the basket better than anyone in the country. Kansas has showed a lot of spirit defensively…especially in their trap, and the three headed post monster of Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun have posed matchup problems of their own. All in all this should be a great National Championship game…especially for Adidas!

The X-Factor: Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson have all provided matchup problems for opposing teams smaller guards because they are so long and athletic. Will Sherron Collins, Mario Chalmers and Russell Robinson be able to handle the pressure that will definitely be coming their way both offensively and defensively. Will Kansas’ bigs be able to keep Memphis off the boards and slow down their fast break as well as put points on the board should their guard offense be neutralized?

Prediction: Memphis

Ok, So I was wrong in my previous 2 predictions but I think this one may be right on. Memphis has been consistently dominating the competition and they’ve been doing it with great guard play and solid defense. Kansas pulled off a major “upset” by beating UNC but I think their run ends tonight.

UCLA vs Memphis

ucla-logo.jpg VS memphis-logo.jpg

This is one of the more interesting matchups in the Final Four. I’m also very conflicted about it too. One the one hand, I have UCLA winning the National Championship in my office pool. On the other hand, being from Chicago I’m rooting for Derrick Rose. But as usual, I’m going to try and be objective and focus “only” on the basketball part.

Overview: Guard play will be the key to victory because when it’s all said and done, this game is going to be won on or lost on which team is able to control the tempo. UCLA’s Darren Collison, Josh Shipp and Russell Westbrook should be a good head to head matchup with Memphis’ Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts (Naismith Award finalist) and Antonio Anderson. Both teams guards are long and athletic (with the exception of Collison who at 6′ is just athletic) and they both love to get out and run. But UCLA is also very effective in the half court game and they don’t want to get into a track meet with Memphis. The key matchup is going to be the one between Kevin Love and Joey Dorsey. Dorsey is an excellent post defender and shot blocker while Love is very smart offensively and can stretch the defensive with his shooting range. Overall this should be a very fun game to watch.

The X-Factor: For Memphis, it’s definitely going to be keeping Dorsey and Robert Dozier out of foul trouble. It’s also going to come down to the effectiveness of their dribble penetration with Love and Mbah a Moute roaming the paint and how well they shoot free throws. They shot them pretty well against Texas and they are going to need to continue that trend in order to pull out a victory. For UCLA it’s going to boil down to how well Shipp and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute play. Mbah a Moute has been slowed by an ankle injury recently and it remains to be seen if he’s bounced back enough to help lead his team to victory. For Shipp, he’s been in a serious slump. It’s going to be hard for him to get going with CDR guarding him but if he does, watch out.

Prediction: UCLA

It pains me to go against another Chi-Town guy and I’m not picking the Bruins to win because I put $5 in an office pool either. I just think that UCLA going to be able to slow the pace down which is going to neutralize the Memphis guards and make them play a half court game. If they can do it, they have a chance to win. If they can’t this game is going to get out of hand…real quick. It’s now 3 straight Final Fours for the Bruins; this time should be the charm.