Sunday Notes: July 1, 2012

JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: July 7, 2013 (Image 1)

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Ted Skuchas…

  • Vanderbilt saw two players taken late in the first round of the NBA Draft last week, with a third taken with the first pick of the second round.

    John Jenkins was the first Commodore picked (No. 23) going to Atlanta. He was closely followed by center Festus Ezeli (No. 30) and swing Jeffery Taylor (No. 31) to Charlotte.

    It's almost impossible to predict how this trio will fare in the NBA, as Vanderbilt does not have a long list of players who became highly successful at the highest level.

    They all possess NBA abilities and they all have holes in their games. At 6-4, Jenkins will likely be guarding opponents in the 6-7, 6-8 range and most will be stronger, quicker and more athletic.

    He projects as a spot-up outside bomber for the Hawks and is considered by many the best shooter in the draft. But Jenkins must learn to create shots and defend better to earn significant playing time.

    Ezeli has upside, as he is still fairly new to the game and his size (shade under 7-foot) will make him valuable once he develops an offensive game.

    Vandy's all-time shot blocker (204) is still raw, a work in progress, but should be in a comfort zone with the Golden State Warriors as he lived in Yuba City near Sacramento after arriving in the States from his native Nigeria.

    Taylor is the mystery man of the group. He dropped out of the first round and a guaranteed contract, but has abundant athleticism. The 6-7, 225-pound leaper thought he would go somewhere in the 20s, and so apparently did Charlotte, who didn't even bring Taylor in for a personal workout.

    Taylor's liability is his perimeter shot, longer than the college 3-point line. He doesn't show confidence in it, and has been streaky. His strength is defending players at three positions and getting the ball to the rim. Through hard work and coaching, he can develop an outside shot. Other NBA stars who lacked one, learned to shoot it.

    Taylor grew up in Sweden where his father played professionally.

    “As a kid in Sweden playing in a tiny, tiny gym, I never thought I would be playing in the NBA,'' Taylor told reporters after he was drafted. “This is an opportunity to come in and prove myself.''

    Drafted by one of the worst teams in the NBA, Taylor will likely see playing time quicker than the other two Commodore teammates.

  • Sports Illustrated's Web site is reporting longtime ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews is cutting ties with the Mother Ship. has Andrews taking a job with Fox Sports.

  • Nashville's R.A. Dickey continues to live the dream of pitching in the Major Leagues after years of bouncing around the minor leagues.

    He took the advice of then-Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser and manager Buck Showalter and developed a knuckleball as his primary pitch. The former MBA and Tennessee star realized he could not stick in the big leagues with the pitches he threw and got busy learning the art of the butterfly pitch that drives catchers insane.

    Dickey rebounded from a no-decision nationally televised game against the Yankees last week to take out the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night and boost his record to 12-1 on the season.

    He threw eight shutout innings against the Dodgers, giving up only three hits and a walk in the 9-0 win. He leads the Mets in wins, ERA (2.15) and innings pitched (113) A rarity for a knuckleballer devotee, Dickey has 116 strikeouts and only 25 walks. Dickey has to be a leading choice to start the All-Star break. It will be National League manager Tony LaRussa's call, a decision that will not be announced until the day before the game.

  • Freelance writer Ray Glier was researching the SEC archives at its Birmingham office when he came across records that indicated the SEC offered the late Nashville Banner sports editor Fred Russell the job of SEC Commissioner.

    Glier notes that the SEC offered Russell “the princely sum of $15,000.''

    It happened in 1945.

  • Billy Hurley III is a PGA Tour rookie, the first one to ever graduate from the Naval Academy.

    The married father of two was in contention in this week's PGA Tour stop at Congressional.

    He won his PGA Tour card after finishing 25th on the Tour. It was the final spot to earn a card.

    Hurley was a 2004 Naval Academy graduate and pulled his five-year commitment driving destroyers and other Navy ships all over the world. He turned pro in 2009.

  • Timing is everything department. NBA teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will both likely miss the Summer Olympics basketball competition.

    Bosh claims he is still recovering from a serious abdominal pull that kept him out of much of the playoffs.

    Doctors recommended he get additional rest to allow complete healing, thus Bosh pulled his name out of consideration for Team USA.

    Wade dropped out due to impending knee surgery. He has played on one Olympics team, but felt he needed the surgery and rest to prepare for next season.

  • In a bizarre event, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker suffered a serious eye injury after being caught in a bottle-throwing crossfire in a New York City nightclub.

    Imagine if you will the snit started between a rapper, Drake, and R&B bad boy Chris Brown. Dig deeper and don't faint when you learn it was reportedly over a woman, singer Rihanna. If I'm not mistaken, that lady has caused a lot of mess in her young life.

    Witnesses said Parker and a date were innocent bystanders, sitting at the bar minding their own business. Parker nearly suffered permanent damage after a shard of broken glass penetrated his eye and injured his cornea. Instructed to not go anywhere and expose the eye to the public, Wade locked himself in a hotel room and didn't leave for a week.

  • Memphis golfer Casey Wittenberg had an opportunity to play in last week's PGA Tour stop Travelers.

    But Wittenberg chose to return to the Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour) where he won at Wichita and all but locked up a PGA Tour card for 2013.

    It was Wittenberg's second Tour victory this year and he stands No. 2 on the money list. “This is where my main focus is this year,'' Wittenberg said. “I need to get the job done out here.''

    Wittenberg was one of the country's top juniors and the 2003 U.S. Amateur runner-up. He tied for 13th at the next year's Masters and turned pro after one year at Oklahoma State. His career fell apart and he spent four years bouncing around the mini-tours before earning a Nationwide Tour card.

  • Georgia booted its prize running back, Isaiah Crowell, after he was arrested and charged with three weapon charges, two of them felonies.

    Crowell, considered the top running back in the country as a high school senior, was Georgia's leading rusher as a freshman last season with four 100-yard games. He was SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American.

    He was suspended twice for on and off field scrapes and attitude problems.

    Stopped by police at a checkpoint, Crowell was found with the weapons in a school zone and one of the weapons had its serial number filed off.

    According to Georgia's media guide, Crowell was majoring in recreation and leisure studies. Leisure studies? If they had offered that major when I was in college I would have been Phi Beta Kappa.

Got a sports tip? Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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