Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pitt Pro Day-As the NFL Draft nears, this was a very important day for the University of Pittsburgh NFL Draft prospects (especially those who weren’t invited to the NFL Combine) 14 of those prospects had a chance to market themselves in front of scouts from the Pittsburgh Steelers and several other NFL Teams by performing various drills at the Steelers and Panthers UPMC South Side Facility Wednesday afternoon.
  2. Who made the most impressions?-Well, to no surprise it was RB James Conner, QB Nate Peterman, OL Doran Johnson, Adam Bisnowaty and TE Scott Orndoff who caught the attention of most of the scouts, but WR Dontez Ford, linebacker Matt Galambos, defensive tackle Tyrique Jarrett and cornerback Ryan Lewis and K Chris Blewett also got looks, and Lewis really turned heads when he ran a 4.3 40.
  3. Who gets drafted? Just like I said at the NFL Combine when 6 Panthers were invited, I feel that they are the ones who will get welcomed into the NFL on Draft Day. Conner, Peterman, Johnson, Bisnowaty, Price and Orndoff will hear their names called. But Lewis, Ford and possibly Blewitt could get signed as undrafted free agents, and then it’ll be up to them to show those NFL teams their worth.
  4. Pitt Basketball-It’s a shame that more bad news continues to come from a team that suffered their worst lost since 2000 as G Damon Jones became the 4th player to leave the school. He follows G Justice Kithart (dismissed), Corey Manigault and Crisshawn Clark out the door from a Pitt team that has basically lost the majority of their 2016 recruiting class. And it gets better:(Not really) my Dude, the Big Man Rozelle Nix and fellow redshirt junior forward Jonathan Milligan could depart too as graduate transfers as they work to finish their degrees. Wow.
  5. Why is this happening? It’s simple: Most of these kids were recruited by former HC Jaime Dixon and they do not want to play for Kevin Stallings. He obviously knew that so he basically left that door open for them to depart with the goal of bringing in more of his own recruits in addition to the seven 2017 commits that he already has. Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Paul Ziese wrote a Wednesday column that this isn’t a good look for the team, and I agree with him.
  6. NCAA Tournament The Sweet 16 is here, and I have a new favorite team (since defending national champ Villanova failed me) and it’s North Carolina. I think they have what it takes to win it all, especially after losing the title game to Villanova last season. The Tar Heels face a very good Butler team Friday night and I expect them to prevail.
  7. Kentucky Wildcats To be honest, I think a lot of folks are underestimating this team and I’m one of them. I didn’t even realize that the Wildcats were in the Big Dance, much less a #2 seed, but here they are in the Sweet 16 and will play UCLA Friday as well. Both teams are hungry, that might be the game of the night.
  8. Georgetown fires HC John Thompson III I was sorry to hear this news as Thompson had coached this team for 13 seasons. Unfortunately, he was unable to duplicate the success that his father, John Thompson Sr. had done during his 27 seasons as the Hoyas Coach, which included the 1984 National Championship. After getting the Hoyas to the Final Four in 2007, Thompson III hadn’t gotten them back to the Big Dance in the last 4 seasons. I wish him the best.
  9. Steelers Free Agency After the Steelers signed 3 outside Free Agents (CB Coty Sensabaugh, RB Knile Davis, and DL Tyson Alualu) all is quiet at their headquarters. They may be done as the NFL Draft nears, but as I’ve said before, NFL Free Agency lasts well into the Summer.
  10. Davis and Alualu I like these signings because they address immediate needs for the Steelers. The kicking game has been horrible, which is where Davis comes in and he was pretty successful in that spot with the KC Chiefs. Plus, he backed up RB Jamal Charles and did pretty good. Alualu could prove to be a solid backup behind DE starters Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt who spent most of 2016 injured (Heyward missed the majority of the season) he had 17.5 sacks in his years with Jacksonville, but I hope he can stop the run.
  11. What about DeAngelo Williams? Well, he will be 34 this year, which is old for an RB, but he basically hasn’t made up his mind about playing in 2016. I can’t see him returning to the Steelers as Davis is a physical clone of him, but you never know.
  12. What about RB Adrian Peterson? I’m a bit surprised that he’s still on the market, the Minnesota Vikings were glad to rid themselves of his injuries and $14 million salary, but you know the dude can still play, so why are teams (outside the Seattle Seahawks) biting? Well, because of money. I think Peterson needs to lower his asking price, for at least 2017. I think a team like the (groan)New England Patriots could get him, or maybe the Green Bay Packers. We shall see.
  13. Colin Kaepernick He’s still available too, and despite what our President says, I think Kaepernick will sign on with a team who needs a reliable backup. What he did on the sidelines doesn’t mask his abilities and the man made a statement which an American is free to do.
  14. NFL Free Agent signings definitely not as many as the first few weeks, as Philadelphia signed former 49ers WR Quinton Patton, the Packers signed DT Jean Francois, and the New Orleans Saints re-signed DE Daryl Tapp.
  15. Russell Westbrook As I stated before, this man is the NBA MVP, hands down. He has his OKC Thunder in contention and he’s today’s Oscar Robinson: The human Triple-Double. In addition to his 35th triple-double of the season, Westbrook is the first in NBA history to post a perfect triple-double by going 6-6 from the floor and 6-6 from the foul line. Impressive.
  16. Cleveland Cavs struggles Yep, they don’t look like they want to repeat as this team 6 out of their last 10 games and are now one game ahead of the surging Boston Celtics for the best in the Eastern Conference. Star F LeBron James states that the team lacks individual toughness. He may be right, but I think they’re totally distracted and still dealing with injuries.
  17. NBA Standings in addition to the Cavs (46-24) and Celtics (46-26) as the best in the East, the Golden State Warriors (57-14) still rule the Western Conference and has the NBA’s best record, with the San Antonio Spurs (54-16) right behind them. MVP Candidate James Harden and his Houston Rockets (49-22) are 3rd in the West.
  18. Derrick Rose wants to win Well if he really does, then he needs to get out of New York this summer as he was a one-year disappointment and distraction on a dysfunctional team. I think he should accept the deal as a role player on a contending team. He would make a difference and the team would benefit from him.
  19. USA Wins World Baseball Classic It’s always classic when our country wins these tournaments as they beat Puerto Rico 6-0 Wednesday night. Congrats to the Pirates Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison and former Pirates manager Jim Leyland for getting it done.
  20. Pirates Well, Spring training is wrapping up and the Pirates have a positive vibe about them. I honestly hope it will carry over into the regular season because this team needs it, man. I hope the do well in spite of their frugal front office.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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