JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: Feb. 16, 2014

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Suzy Chapstick…

  • Houston Chronicle columnist John McClain is a big fan of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
  • When a Baylor graduate has that much respect for an Aggie, you know McClain just isn't blowing hot air up Manziel's game jersey.

    As Houston has the first draft choice in the upcoming NFL Draft, Manziel is going to have to leapfrog the likes of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Central Florida QB Blake Bortles and Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater.

    McClain was part of a Chronicle team that got one-on-one interviews with Manziel when they visited him in San Diego recently to watch his five-days a week, nine hours a day workouts under the stern eye of QB guru George Whitfield.

    Manziel wanted them to know he is parting ways with Johnny Football and what he calls Johnny Football's “goofball decisions.''

    “I'm trying to show people I've grown up. I feel like you're a stupid person if you continue to make the same wrong decisions,'' Manziel said.

    Manziel made no bones about wanting to be the top pick in the May draft. The Texans have that pick and Manziel challenges them to skip him and allow Jacksonville to take him.

    “I'd be in the same division playing against them twice a year,'' he said. “Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito to a Dorito.''

    His words remind me of another Texas high school and college star. That would be Vince Young, who the Titans took with their first round pick at the demand of the late owner, Bud Adams.

    Young is currently out of football, never making it big with a string of teams.

    Manziel is 6-feet even, 210 pounds. Young had the measurables all over Manziel. Something tells me Manziel will make it if he keeps his nose clean. The Texans are on the clock.

  • There are nearly 300 mock drafts flooding the Internet these days. There are also some composite mock drafts that show numerical data on the top choices.
  • Granted, it's impossible to be accurate, but it's fun to track.

    I took 15 of the composite drafts to see which players will be picked No. 1.

    Manziel and UCF quarterback Blake Bortels tied with four teams taking them with the first pick. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater with three each. Quarterback Fresno State Derek Carr led one mock draft.

    The Texans will likely pick between Manziel, Clowney or Bortles.

    All three have question marks. Bortles is NFL size, but raw at quarterback and his arm strength doesn't match up with his size. Some want to see Clowney's motor run more consistently and Manziel has to prove he has matured enough to lead a NFL team.

    We'll know soon enough.

  • As for the Titans, the wheels are turning at Saint Thomas Sports Park. They have the 11th pick in the draft, unless they move up or down in the pecking order.
  • It's highly unlikely they will move up enough to land Clowney, but he would be the ultimate pass rusher they desperately need to shadow Indy's Andrew Luck twice a season.

    ESPN draft guesspert Mel Kiper Jr., predicts we will see Clowney in the AFC South. If Houston picks a quarterback, Clowney could drop to No. 3, where Jacksonville will likely jump on him.

    If Houston takes Clowney and pairs him opposite J.J. Watt, opposing quarterbacks better upgrade their insurance policies.

  • Franklin's Darrell Waltrip is scheduled to work the Daytona 500 telecast for Fox, despite having gall bladder surgery last Thursday.
  • He missed the Saturday night race, but was replaced in the booth by brother Michael Waltrip. All signs point to him being there for the Daytona 500 call.

  • Tennessee Coach Cuonzo Martin didn't impress AD Dave Hart, as the Vols looked unorganized, poorly coached and lacking in basketball IQ as they found a way to lose an important game down the stretch to Missouri on the road.
  • The Vols trailed 71-70 after Josh Richardson hit two free throws with 18 seconds left. They fouled Jabari Brown, who made it 73-70. With nine seconds left, Jordan McRae's 3-point attempt went off the front of the rim, but the Vols got the ball back. During this time, play was stopped twice because the game clock didn't start. The Vols almost got a 5-second call trying to in-bound the ball. Only the bench saved them with a time out. Jerrone Maymon had a turnover and that ended the Vols hopes. It was a comedy of errors from a disjointed team whose NCAA Tournament chances took a severe blow.

    They shot 40 percent from the floor on 22 of 55. They hit only 4 of 21 from behind the arc. They had 11 turnovers. Missouri ruled the paint, 40-26.

  • Two weeks after the Sochi Winter Olympics, a special group of athletes will participate in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
  • Clarksville's Heath Calhoun will be part of Team USA's 77 athletes competing March 7-16.

    You may have seen him as a skier in a Citi commercial running during Olympics coverage.

    Calhoun is competing in Alpine skiing. He is one of 17 U.S. Military Veteran Athletes. Calhoun was injured while with the 101st Airborne in Mosul, Iraq. The bilateral above the knee amputee is now retired. A competitor in the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Games, the father of three was the U.S. flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony.

  • No home court advantage here: A week ago last Saturday the Memphis Grizzlies took a little road trip to Atlanta.
  • You would think the Grizzlies would be at a disadvantage playing in Atlanta. After all, they went to the free throw line only one time. One. It was a record NBA low number of free throws attempted by a team.

    Former Western Kentucky star Courtney Lee made it count when Atlanta was called for a defensive three-second violation.

    Despite the odds, Memphis won the game.

  • And if you are one of the lucky first 5,000 fans at the Feb. 21 game at the Memphis FedEx Forum where the Grizzlies take on the Clippers, you will be so excited.
  • You will receive a free neck tattoo sticker, in honor of Griz forward James Johnson, whose neck has more ink than an office supply company.

  • My man LeBron James may be the greatest NBA player in history before he retires.
  • But Bron-Bron has some seriously messed up foot problems on his left foot. You have to see it to believe it. Google LeBron James toes and see for yourself.

    The little toe on his left foot looks like it is standing up for the National Anthem. And furthermore it's misplaced, not in line with the other little piggies.

    A podiatrist worth his arch supports would run the other way if James showed up at his office. How could anyone give him a pedicure and keep a straight face?

  • How about 18-year-old Kevin Grow, who doesn't let Down syndrome hold him back? Grow is the manager for the Bensalem, (Pa) High School basketball team.
  • Their coach put Grow in a game recently and he made a layup and a free throw. The next night he became a starter. According to Sports Illustrated, he made a layup off the opening tip and later made four of five 3-point shots to lead his team in scoring with 14 points.

    For the past four years, Grow has practiced 3-point shots during practices and practice ended only after Grow would sink a free throw.

    “It felt like a movie,'' Bensalem Coach John Mullin told “It's one of those things that doesn't happen often. He's a gift from God.''

  • I hate to see M.L. King boys coach James “Doc'' Shelton hang up his whistle.
  • Doc would always put on a show from the sidelines. It wasn't long after the opening tip that his sports coat was discarded. Next the tie was loosened until it dropped below his waist. Then it came off. Fortunately the game was over before Doc shed any more clothes. You talk about passion for the game and kids, Doc had it.

    His teams won two state titles in the 1990s – one in Class A, the other in Double-A. In one of them he lost his two best players, brothers who could not play in the championship game on Saturday due to religious beliefs. The team rallied to win anyway.

    Shelton won more than 400 games, went to seven state tournaments. The boys who played for him learned a lot more than basketball. They learned how to become men.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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