Reporting Tim Kephart
It’s a busy day in local sports as Wednesday is National Signing Day across the country. Plus, the Heat are back on the court tonight versus the Houston Rockets and the Panthers fell in overtime last night, but at least got a point.
Quote of the Day:
“Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.” – Socrates
Before I get rolling here, we had a very tough day at CBSMiami.com Tuesday.
Our boss, Dave Game, passed away yesterday at the age of 57.
Yknow, he took a chance on me 5 years ago and brought me to Miami to work here. I am forever grateful for that and all of the opportunities that have opened up for me because of that.
I’ll tell a quick story here that will probably make you laugh about Dave…
When I first got here, I was the subject of quite a lot of jokes about my inability to land a girlfriend.
About three years ago, I was not talking much about what was going on outside of work.
Then one day I sent him an email asking for a few days off.
It was coincidentally when LeBron James was about to make his decision, so losing the sports guy would be rough for the web.
He asked why I needed the time off in an email. I told him, it’s because I was getting married in a couple of days.
He drove in on his day off, pulled me into an office and after we both stopped laughing, he asked me if that was all and if I was okay. I said, no that’s not all, I’m also going to be a dad.
Yknow, it took a lot to leave him speechless….but that did.
National Signing Day:
Ah national signing day, the college football equivalent of the start of NFL free agency.
It’s the day when 17-18 year olds commit to a school to play football and legions of fans are convinced they have the best team in the country by the end of the day.
In all honesty, having the top class is nice, but being able to coach your players up is even better.
You could hand Nick Saban a class ranked 25th or below and I bet he could coach them up into a championship contender.
That said, Miami has been struggling a bit this year with some big recruiting misses, including a five-star running back on Monday.
Part of the problem is the lack of finality on the NCAA violations, which ironically should be ready any day now, considering it’s been about two weeks since the NCAA began investigating itself.
Here’s some key rankings in recruiting heading into Wednesday’s NSD.
3. Ohio State
4. Notre Dame
The top 5 aren’t exactly shocking, but UM’s ranking of 61 is kinda stunning, by the way the rankings are from Rivals.com.
I mean, UM is getting out recruited by teams like Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Houston, Washington State, and Indiana.
That’s not good for the next few years.
On the bright side, UM has a very young team and can withstand maybe one year of bad recruiting. Most teams can, but more than one year and things can go south in a hurry.
One other recruiting note, Oregon, who lost its coach Chip Kelly, went from recruiting powerhouse to ranked just 36th in the nation according to Rivals.
Should be an interesting day to watch this play out.
Most decisions should be completed by say 5 p.m. Eastern
Miami Heat: (vs. Houston Rockets, 7:30 p.m., Sun Sports)
The Heat hit the hardwood again tonight, this time against the Houston Rockets.
On paper, this should be another easy win for the Heat, but as we know, there’s no such thing as an easy win for the Heat while they coast through the regular season.
Houston has a 27-23 record out west and won their last two in a row.
On the road, Houston is just 10-15 and only 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Still, Houston is coming off an offensive explosion in their last game where they hit 23-40 from behind the 3-point line.
The Rockets scored 140 points against the Golden State Warriors, who aren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut, but still.
Plus, it’s not going to be every night when Jeremy Lin goes for a +/- ranking of +37 in the game.
Still, this will be a good test for the Heat to see how they limit James Harden, because we already have seen what the Heat can do to Lin if they want…ask the Knicks.
Florida Panthers: (off Wednesday, next game Thursday)
The Panthers went to Winnipeg last night and looked great in the first period, stunk up the joint by allowing two goals in the second period and then gave up the game winner in overtime.
I was looking at the goal numbers allowed from Scott Clemmensen over his last three starts and they’re not pretty.
He’s allowed 11 goals over his last three starts and that’s just not going to cut it for a veteran like him.
Is this the opening Jacob Markstrom needs to finally get up into the NHL full-time?
Don’t know, though he’s supposed to be the goalie of the future.
He went 17-12 last year in San Antonio of the AHL and stopped 93 percent of the shots he faced while allowing 2.32 goals.
All I know is despite the recent wins, the Panthers’ goalie situation ain’t good.
Is Markstrom the answer?
We’ll have to wait and find out, but Clemmensen is struggling and Theodore can’t play all the time at his age.
Miami Hurricanes Basketball: (Off Thursday)
One final thing today, how bout them Canes?
They mauled Boston College last night in a 72-50 blowout victory.
This team is really, really good people and still undefeated in the Atlantic Coast Conference with only one real obstacle left, a trip to Duke in early March.
I’m officially on their bandwagon and I think this team is primed to make a deep tournament run in March.
Unless they pull a Missouri and choke in the opening round as a two seed, yes I’m still bitter about that from last year!
Watch these guys and watch Kenny Kadji, he’d be a perfect replacement for Udonis Haslem starting next year.
That’s it for today, it’s going to be busy in sports, so keep your eyes open.