JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: May 4, 2014

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Dollar Bill Cartwright…

  • The Oklahoma City NBA team got the inspiration it needed when the Oklahoman newspaper splattered a headline across the front of a special section Thursday, pointed at their star player, Kevin Durant, who had struggled during the first five games.

    It read: “MR. UNRELAIBLE.’’ A large picture of Durant was below, along with a column by Berry Tremel. Tremel’s column told it like it was without any vitriol.

    Matter of fact, if it had been the New York Post that had written the same headline about an under-performing star, no one would have blinked.

    Oklahoman Sports Editor Mike Sherman, who is a former Tennessean editor, offered an apology.

    He admitted the headline “missed the mark,’’ and the words were “overstated and unduly harsh.’’

    Headline writers never use a by-line. They remain anonymous and therefore take chances at times.

    Mr. or Ms. Headline Writer became the story.

    Durant broke out of his slump with a game-high 36 points despite missing all six 3-point attempts. He had 10 rebounds and missed only one free throw in 15 shots in the 104-84 romp Thursday.

    Memphis has its back to the wall Saturday night with the series tied 3-3 and playing on the road without Zach Randolph, who was suspended for the game after punching Thunder center Steven Adams.

  • Spotted on Facebook: Dallas Cowboys players kneeling in prayer on the field.

    Dear God, please let Jerry Jones say something racist.

  • According to former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor, owner Donald Sterling repeatedly told Baylor that Sterling “wanted the Clippers team to be composed of ‘poor black boys from the South,’ and a white coach.’’

    Sterling got what he deserved. It should serve warning to other pro franchise owners.

  • In its NFL Draft Preview, Sports Illustrated made Johnny Manziel the draft’s cover boy.

    Manziel moves the needle. I think he will either be a bust or a modern version of Roger Staubach or Fran Tarkenton. Former NFL QB Rich Gannon says Manziel reminds him of Jeff Garcia.

    The former Texas A&M quarterback may be undersized for a prototypical NFL quarterback, but there is no doubting his moxie and self-confidence. Like many quarterbacks, Manziel will be as good as the people his team surrounds him with.

    I hope he excels, because he will be good copy for the NFL and whichever team rolls the dice to get him.

  • I usually don’t waste my time watching the first rounds of the NBA playoffs. This season is different. Way different.

    The Memphis Grizzlies could have made their series one of the best ever. Four of their games against favored Oklahoma City have gone to overtime.

    You have to credit the Daily Oklahoman newspaper with getting its hometown hero, Kevin Durant, juiced up with a monster headline across the top of the page, referring to Durant as “Mr. Unreliable.’’

    Durant said he never saw it, doesn’t read the papers, listen to radio shows or watch television. But be assured he was very aware of what the local paper said about him.

    Too bad headline writers don’t put their by-lines on their headlines. Instead, writers take the heat from readers. Mr. Unreliable took it out on the Griz, scoring 36 points in the widest margin of victory in the best-of-seven series.

  • I went to Publix this weekend and walked around the store for a half-hour or so. I grabbed five of the store’s prime cut steaks,

    some pork chops, three dozen shrimp and walked out of the store.

    When I got home, it occurred to me that I had failed to pay for them. It just slipped my mind.

    Who would be dumb enough to believe me? Oh, I know. Florida State two-sport star Jameis Winston would vouch for me. It worked for him.

    C’mon, man. You’re a Heisman Trophy winner. You’re denigrating the highest honor in college football. I’m starting to believe you have a million dollar arm and a 10-cent brain.

    How does it feel to be the laughingstock of college football? Enjoy your crab legs. Hope they were worth it.

  • The NBA is generating a plethora of headlines recently.

    Mike D’Antoni resigned as Lakers coach, and former Lakers star Magic Johnson “couldn’t be happier.’’

    Then Charles Barkley chastised Magic for celebrating D’Antoni’s resignation.

    Remember when the Lakers used to be relevant?

  • Chris Burke did a mock draft for Sports Illustrated in the current issue.

    Burke has Houston taking Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick. They need a quarterback, but Clowney is a once in 15-20 years impact player.

    Burke sees Jeff Fisher’s Rams taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews at No. 2.

    Jags then go with outside linebacker Khalil Mack from Buffalo. Another impact player.

    Burke has Browns taking QB Johnny Manziel at No. 4. I’m not sold on him, but would not bet against him.

    Rounding out Burke’s top 5 is Raiders going with Clemson WR Sammie Watkins.

    Burke sees the Titans taking the best player on their board at No. 11. That would be cornerback Justin Gilbert from Arizona State.

    Some Burke second round picks include running back Carlos Hyde, from Ohio State, and Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews taken at No. 56 by the 49ers.

  • Tennessee football coach Butch Jones is chasing a number of recruits for 2015 class. Many of them are in Texas, always a haven for top echelon college football recruits.

    Recruiting nationally is something the Vols have always had to do to compete with SEC schools that have a larger number of homegrown recruits, such as Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

    Jones will also try to lock down in-state recruits who he believes can play in the SEC. That’s his first priority. That’s the way Phillip Fulmer did it.  When he was at his best, Fulmer was one of the very top recruiting head coaches.

    Look for Jones to follow that formula.

  • On the basketball front, one or two Southern Miss commitments may follow Donnie Tyndall to Tennessee.

    Looking at their credentials, one of the two guards is ranked a 3-star while the other one is a junior college player. Tyndall can’t win at Tennessee with Southern Miss level recruits.

    He is known as a top recruiter but will have to earn his spurs in Knoxville. Tennessee is not a destination school for basketball. We’ll see if Tyndall can make it one.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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