FedEx Founder’s Son Named Starting Memphis QB

Phil Stukenborg of the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL reports today that the son of Memphis-based FedEx founder and chairman Fred Smith, Cannon Smith, will start at quarterback for Memphis in its Saturday opener at Mississippi State.

Cannon Smith son of Fred Smith

(With Memphis O-Line, on-time delivery has never been more important)

Smith is an undersized 23-year-old redshirt sophomore who transferred from the Univ. of Miami after seeing little playing time with the Hurricanes. He beat out true freshman Ryan Williams despite the 6-5, 220-pound Williams going 15-of-17 for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers’ spring game.

So why did rookie Memphis head coach Larry Porter pick Smith over Williams? Read more…

Myth-Making 101: Pastner ‘Never Tried Caffeine’?

The ASSOCIATED PRESS has the latest piece celebrating the obscene devotion of Memphis hoops coach Josh Pastner to his job. Like you, I’ve heard too many stories about Pastner’s fastidious approach to coaching, but something new caught my eye in the AP profile.

(So no granola, cereal or fat-free frozen yogurt ever? Amazing!)

Pastner, the new Memphis coach, says he has never sipped alcohol, smoked a cigarette, tried caffeine or drunk a soda. He is no goody two-shoes; he is just the coaching equivalent of a gym rat.

“He’s always said he would want to tell his players if he wants to be a role model for his players, he would want to make sure what he told them, he lived so he decided never to drink alcohol, and we never gave him soda,” Hal Pastner said.

The last person touting something like that was Todd Marinovich, who most recently was busted for meth while skateboarding as a 40-something in Orange County.

Josh Pastner, thanks to his own relentless self-promotion to the media, might be the most written-about, first-year college hoops coach in history. Call me a cynic, but I’m very dubious of all that he has to claimed media lap dogs over the years.

Josh Castner has reportedly “never tried caffeine”. Buying it?

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A clue why I think Pastner is a serial exaggerator came from a single, seemingly innocuous claim thrown into the AP piece: Read more…

No Typo: Memphis Still Lands Top Hoops Recruits

On national college basketball signing day, congrats to Memphis, a program previously left for roadkill by John Calipari.

Hippolyte Tsafack

New head coach Josh Pastner proved today that the Tigers can still land top recruits, like Tiger signee Hippolyte Tsafack.

Not in the scouting report: Dude is a whiz helping friends and family sail through airport security.

Chris Douglas-Roberts Is Candid About His Stalker

We’ve mentioned it plenty of times already here, but one of the crucial aspects of life for a pro athlete these days is the fact that they’re young and have unholy amounts of money. There’s probably no primer a target than they.

Chris Douglas-Roberts on the mic
(This man had a stalker. Don’t laugh. Why you gotta be laughing?)

So it’s pretty understandable that someone like Nets guard Chris Douglas-Roberts - he of the bengal kitten fame - would have some, ahem, devoted female fans. Fortunately, he’s got a Twitter feed, and as CDR explained a few days ago, he’s “approachable” on there. He’s even got stories, including one opus of 20+ tweets about a stalker he had last year. Was she crazy? Holy smokes yes, and CDR’s got details. Lots of details.

Read more…

Nets Rookie Raising Bengal Tiger Kittens As Pets?

It’s hard to blame Chris Douglas-Roberts for being proud of his collegiate career. Even as the NCAA declared the Tigers’ 2007-08 season “vacated“, he was still part of a program that, over two seasons, went 71-6 and went to two Elite Eights. Hooray, Tigers, hooray.

Bengal Kitty Cat and CDR Mugshot
(Aw, he’s SOOO CUUUUTE! Who’s that cute kitty gonna rip my larynx out with one swipe? I said WHO’S that cute kitty??)

But while most athletes who want to honor their alma mater do something like buy memorabilia or get tattoos, CDR (as the kids call him) decided to take things one step further and raise bengal tigers in his house. This makes sense because WAIT WAIT WAIT… he’s raising bengal tigers in his own house?! Multiple? Plural? Tigers with an S? Oh yeah, that should work out beautifully.

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Speed Read: McNulty Makes “Offer” To Big Ben

Andrea McNulty, the woman who has sued Ben Roethlisberger for allegedly raping her last year, has had her credibility and motivations called into question many times since her lawsuit was filed in July. But now, in an attempt to make her seem both less crazy and less of a gold digger, she has offered to withdraw the lawsuit.

Ben Roethlisberger Andrea McNulty

Oh, if it were only that simple. As you’ll see, McNulty’s “offer” may seem like a noble pursuit, but it stipulates that Big Ben do the one thing he’ll never, ever do. So, without further ado, here are the three conditions for having the lawsuit dropped:

Read more…

Official Memphis Shirt: ‘Bust A Nutt” On Ole Miss?

Not much to say on this one, from our friends at the Univ. of Memphis marketing department and FOTP:

(Why do I think this just gave UK hoops fans an idea for U of L game?)

Except that it gives whole new meaning to Frosted Flakes.

Reggie & Kimmy K. Getting Back Together Again?

Reggie Bush & Kim Kardashian are gonna give love another chance.

Reggie Bush Kim Kardashian

It’s gotta be the new hair!

• Those 38 wins by the Memphis Tigers two years ago? The NCAA declares that it never happened.

• That seems a bit harsh. Next thing you’ll tell me, giving cream cheese to athletes would be considered an NCAA violation.

Plaxico Burress pleads guilty to gun possession charge, will spend the next two seasons playing for the penal pigskin league.

• First Patrick Kane, and now Aqib Talib. Why do pro athletes hate cabbies so much?

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Speed Read: NCAA Tries To Erase History Again

I have always thought it’s weird when people bring up the idea of removing steroid-era numbers from baseball’s official record book, as if history can be fixed simply by ignoring it. Say what you want about Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but every single home run they hit counted in a real-life Major League Baseball game.

Derrick Rose John Calipari

(This never happened.)

Of course, the NCAA has been pulling these sort of shenanigans for years, “vacating” wins for schools that violate the rules. The latest to apparently earn this wrath is the University of Memphis basketball program, whose run to the 2008 title game is reportedly going to be vanishing from the NCAA’s memory today. As far as they’re concerned, the 38 wins accumulated that year never happened because Derrick Rose had someone else take the SAT for him in order to get into the school.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s twice now that John Calipari-helmed teams have seen Final Four runs erased from the books, although in 1996 UMass was only forced to give up its 4-1 NCAA tournament record, and not its entire season, due to Marcus Camby’s indiscretions with an agent. In this case, Memphis’ whole season is being invalidated and Calipari is about to find his coaching resume to be 38 wins lighter.

John Calipari UMass

(This didn’t happen either.)

I suppose it makes sense on some level. If Rose shouldn’t have been eligible to play, then how could any of the team’s wins be valid? But ultimately, this is just a big fat case of “who cares?” Michigan vacated its two runs to the title game with the Fab Five, but what did that accomplish (other than banning the team from the postseason in 2003 for things that happened a decade earlier)? It’s not like they’re giving up anything tangible. The memory of what happened will always be there. Chris Webber isn’t suddenly off the hook for that timeout thing.

In a FOX SPORTS article, Antonio Anderson says it simply doesn’t matter:

“Honestly, I don’t care,” former Memphis guard Antonio Anderson said. “We know what we did. We didn’t do anything wrong, but it is what it is.”

And he’s got a point. The rest of the team didn’t do anything wrong. Even Calipari, it seems, didn’t do anything wrong here. Derrick Rose did allegedly do something wrong, but it’s unlikely that anything is going to happen to him. He, like Camby and Webber, will go on to make tons of money in the NBA while their former teammates are told that their dream college seasons didn’t even happen.

Of course, thus far, only teams that didn’t win the title have had such sanctions levied against them. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA is willing to strip a team of a title and hand it to the runner-up if something like this happens in the future.

Chris Webber timeout

(This…yeah, this happened.)

Should Memphis be forced to give up its 38 victories in 2007-08 if Derrick Rose cheated on his SAT?

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So, remember how (insert contending team here) was crazy not to give up half their team to get Roy Halladay a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are at least two teams that are feeling pretty good about their decision not to mortgage the farm for a short-sighted chance at success.

Roy Halladay

Last night in Toronto, Clay Buchholz — one of the players rumored to be headed to the Jays in a proposed Halladay deal — outpitched the man himself in a 6-1 beatdown at Skydome Rogers Centre. The win, coupled with a Texas loss, put the Sox back into the Wild Card lead by a full game.

Meanwhile, the Phillies’ “Plan B” when attempts to get Halladay failed, Cliff Lee, ran his record to 4-0 with a two-hit, 11 strikeout, complete game win over the Diamondbacks. Lee has pitched 33 of a possible 36 innings in his four starts with Philly and has a 0.82 ERA. Looks like he might be the 2009 version of CC Sabathia in Milwaukee, only for a much, much better team.

Cliff Lee

• Hey, everything I’m reading says that there’s still a lot of competition for the Vikings’ starting quarterback job. I am, of course, talking about D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, North Carolina. What, is there another team called the Vikings with some quarterback issues?

• Warner Robins, Georgia, won the Little League Softball World Series last night, crushing W’s favorite team from Crawford, Texas. Warner Robins is the first Little League to produce both a softball and baseball world champion (the boys won in 2007).

• English soccer team Burnley, playing its first Premier League home game ever (and first in the top division in 33 years), did the unthinkable last night, shocking Manchester United 1-0 on an awesome volley by veteran Robbie Blake:

• CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that ESPN THE MAGAZINE is allowing its subscribers to renew for a year AND get an ESPN.COM “Insider” subscription for a grand total of $1. The Mag’s GM claims that it’s a ploy to get more people to read Insider content, and not an admission that the mag is in trouble.

• ELEVEN WARRIORS says at least one witness says that Ohio State linebacker Tyler Moeller threatened a Florida man named Gray Decker, and that is why Decker flattened Moeller with a right hook at a bar and ended his season.

Here’s more details on the odd case of Caster Semenya, who won the women’s 800 meter run by a ridiculous 2 1/2 seconds at the World Championships. She is undergoing what is reportedly an “extremely complex, difficult” set of tests to determine whether or not she is actually a she. A gynecologist is involved, so I imagine that “extremely complex” is an understatement.

Caster Semenaya

• ONLINE SPORTS GUYS says an Albuquerque high school baseball coach has been fired for hiring strippers to “entertain” his team while they were on a road trip in Denver last year. Says one parent:

“We thank all our friends in the Albuquerque baseball community for their support and well wishes during this unfortunate circumstance where no one comes out a winner.”

Whoa, hold on there. I can think of at least nine people who probably think they came out a winner.

• How’s this for ridiculous? The entire Angels starting lineup on Tuesday night in Cleveland has a .300 batting average or better, and all have at least 225 plate appearances. An all-.300 lineup hasn’t been on a Major League field since 1930.

Angels all .300 lineup

 • After missing more than a year, Billy Wagner is set to come back from injury … and the Mets are trying desperately to trade him. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

• Before the Mets’ game with the Phillies on Saturday, members of the ‘69 World Series champion Mets will help build the framework of a home for Habitat for Humanity. An hour later, the current Mets will help build the framework of another NL East title for the Phillies. Ladies and gentlemen, the inaugural season at Citi Field!

John Smoltz has sucked this year. So the Cardinals are going to see if he can magically turn into a good pitcher again.

• Now, it’s time for fun with Twitter. First, the BOSTON GLOBE’s Amalie Benjamin is a little, uh, overpowered by David Ortiz:

Amalie Benjamin David Ortiz Twitter

And, Nick Collison comes dangerously close to calling his wife an unfortunate name. Good thing you got that period there, Nick!

Nick Collison Twitter


Total Shocker: Memphis’ Compliance Page Is Down

To gawkers and passers-by of a total NCAA compliance train wreck, embarrassing details are the icing, sprinkles, syrup, and cherry on top of the sanction sundae. Kind of like the reports that Tim Floyd personally delivered at least $1,000 to a recruit at USC; there’s a schaudenfreudic glee to throwing up your hands and just asking how a coach is going to do that.

Memphis Down

And then, oh, Memphis. Currently embroiled in their own NCAA mess, the Tigers should probably be actively endorsing the strength of their compliance department. We’re not sure what the first step of that process is, but it can’t possibly be taking the page down.

Read more…