Well, despite the free-fall of Chris Douglas-Roberts, the Mavericks sat at #51 and waited until the pick arrived. I wonder how that move will look in the future, as I generally give the Mavs the benefit of the doubt, but Kyle Hill and Mo Ager, not to mention 5 players from Europe in the last 5 drafts that have never appeared in a Mavericks jersey, but….
Shan Foster is a player that I will honestly confess I have never heard of. Perhaps I should be ashamed of myself, but I value honesty higher than Vanderbilt basketball, evidently.
Anyway, youtube seems to indicate that the Mavs got themselves a stud, so I guess we should assume that the other teams don’t get youtube on their computers, and forget that even I looked like I could play on youtube …
Shan Foster at #51 …
Keyboard players are hot commodities for the Mavericks these days.
With appealing chances to move up in the NBA draft lacking, the Mavericks spent Thursday night biding their time and finally took Vanderbilt sharpshooter Shan Foster with the 51st overall pick.
The 6-6 shooting guard spent four years in college and was the Southeastern Conference player of the year as a senior.
"We had a list of A candidates, B's, C's and Shan Foster was the last A on our list [who was still on the board]," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "He has an opportunity to make the team. He's got a skill that we need."
That skill is shooting. Foster hit 42 percent of his 3-point attempts during his college career. As a senior, he was 134-of-286 (.469) from 3-point land. He has a high release on his jump shot, something he said he learned out of necessity.
"I played center when I was younger, and I had to get used to shooting over bigger people, so that's where that came from," he said.
With only eight roster spots spoken for and shooters needed to help open up the floor for Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, Foster seems to be a wonderful fit.
And he's a gifted singer and keyboardist, which gives him something in common with Carlisle, who is an accomplished pianist. Maybe there's some beautiful music to be made here.
"I got a chance to talk to him about that, and he asked me why I wasn't playing when ESPN showed me," Foster said of a spot the network did with him singing in front of a keyboard.
"I told him it was a pretty tough piece to play. I'm looking forward to getting some pointers from him because I can't read music to save my life."
The Mavericks are more interested in Foster's ability to read defenses and get his shot. Foster spent most of his youth in New Orleans and knew Brandon Bass when he was growing up. They played together on an AAU team.
"This is a long-awaited opportunity that I've dreamed about since I was a little kid," Foster said. "They have a great superstar in Dirk Nowitzki and I'm looking forward to playing with them."
"You're always looking for shooting, and that's the one thing that usually carries over from college," said Donnie Nelson, president of basketball operations. "We were active toward the end of the first round and in the second round [in trying to move up]. But I've never seen the second-round [picks] go for that much cash."
Scouting Report on Foster …
NBA Comparison: Shandon Anderson
Strengths: 2-guard with excellent athleticism and shooting ability ... Catch and shoot specialist ... One of the premiere three point shooters in the country ... Has been completely on fire through the first half of his senior season (shooting 53% from 3) ... Has a good frame for the shooting guard position with both height and length ... Has excellent speed, excels in the open floor finishing well on the break with his explosive leaping ability ... While not pretty his shot is effective: The high release point on his shot allows him to get shots off without much daylight ... Has improved defensively and gathers a fair number of steals (1.5 as a senior) ... Really moves well without the ball, setting opponents up for screens and constantly moving to get open ... A quality free throw shooter ... Hard worker, has shown improvement in his all around game. Shows dedication to his conditioning and gets stronger as the game goes on ...
Weaknesses: Overall feel for the game is improved but not outstanding ... Ball skills, passing and ball handling have shown improvement but are not great ... Lacks a great mid-range game ... His ball handling and ability to create off the dribble is weak ... A little on the skinny side, could stand to add some body strength, which would enable him to finish better at the rim and after contact ... His shooting motion, while effective is unorthodox. He shoots the ball above his head ala World B. Free and sort of slings the ball instead of one steady motion. But you can't knock the results ... He appears to have good range, but the unorthodox form begs the question whether he will have trouble stepping back 4 feet to the NBA line with the same success ... Because he doesn't drive to the basket much, his trips to the line are limited ...
42 vs. Mississippi St in his final home game
Another Shan Highlight Film
I like the pick, and I realize the NBA undervalues a 4 year collegiate. We shall see…
Another chance to get 2 over .500, and Another chance failed …
Manager Ron Washington has maintained all season that the most important component needed to move significantly above .500 is strong starting pitching.
Which is exactly why the Rangers return home to Arlington for the season's true midpoint dead even.
On a night when the Rangers needed a strong start, the man most entrusted to do that job, Kevin Millwood, was an unmitigated flop in a 7-2 loss to Houston. Millwood allowed seven runs in the first two innings and, though he fought on for another three innings without letting the margin get worse, what was done was more than enough.
The Rangers do retain the Silver Boot Trophy despite splitting the six-game series with the Astros. The Rangers won the run differential tiebreaker, 34-28. That was their consolation for losing Josh Hamilton for the night to a bruised left hand he suffered after getting hit by a first-inning pitch. Hamilton may play as early as today.
The loss dropped the Rangers back to 40-40. They have now spent 34 of the last 35 days at .500 or within one game either way of the mark.
"It would be huge to take the next step," Millwood said. "We've battled our butts off to get here."
They have had five chances this season to move two games above .500, four of them coming since June 1, and they've lost all five. This, however, was the first time the Rangers went into a game with a winning record and their "ace" on the mound.
Grieve is back tonight! …
Analyst Tom Grieve is scheduled to be back in the Rangers television booth tonight after missing 15 games due to prostate cancer surgery. Grieve's last game was June 8.
"The surgery went well, the rehab has gone well, and I feel great," Grieve said. "I appreciate everyone's support, and I'm glad to be back with the ballclub."
Grieve rejoins play-by-play voice Josh Lewin when the Rangers host the Philadelphia Phillies at 7 p.m. on KDFI (Channel 27).
To Hockey, How the heck is the cap going up again? …
The NHL’s salary cap is on the rise again. The league and the NHL Players’ Association announced Thursday that each team will have a maximum of $56.7 million to spend for the 2008-09 season — up $6.4 million from last season.
The minimum salary was set at $40.7 million for each of the 30 teams. The most a player will be able to earn in a new contract next season is $11.34 million a year.
The Dallas Stars extended qualifying offers to forwards Loui Eriksson, B.J. Crombeen, Vojtech Polak, Francis Wathier and Konstantin Pushkarev, as well as defenseman Vadim Khomitski.
Teams had to extend a one-year qualifying offer to restricted free agents by Wednesday to receive the right of first refusal or draft choice compensation, if that player signs an offer sheet with another team. The offers expire July 15.
Stars co-general manager Les Jackson said he and Stu Barnes could be talking about the center’s future with the team in the next few days. Barnes, 37, had 12 goals and 11 assists last season; he missed the final nine postseason games with a concussion.
Stars situation broken down by Heika …
It's fairly clear that the Stars have budget room for one key free agent signing and that they would like a goal-scoring winger. But should all of their eggs be in the Michael Ryder basket?
Ryder appears to be a great fit for the Stars, and he could come at just the right price (under $3 million). He's a right-handed right wing, and the Stars are thin on those. Currently, only Jere Lehtinen and B.J. Crombeen fit that description. He has a great history of scoring with 25 goals in 2003-04, 30 in 2005-06 and 30 in 2006-07. He's coming off a bad year (14 goals, 17 assists in 70 games) and that could bring his price down. He played with Mike Ribeiro in Montreal, and would seem to be a player that would fit well with the chemistry of the Stars room.
He is minus-34 over the past three seasons and was a part-time healthy scratch in the playoffs for the Canadiens, so those are the concerns. But that's another reason why the Stars might be able to get him for under $3 million. Ryder made $2.95 million last season, and probably is not looking to take a big pay cut, but he also might be interested in signing a one-year deal in hopes of boosting his bargaining power for next season.
He's 6-1, 205 and 28 years old, so those are positives.
But what if the Stars lose out on a bidding war? What if they decide they need two players instead of one?
There are other options out there. Toby Petersen will help fill in as a ``veteran'' checking line player, but should the Stars be interested in someone like Stephane Yelle or Craig Conroy? Both are center icemen, but they would give the Stars the option of moving Mike Modano up to the top six. Yelle, 34, is left-handed (like all of the Stars' centers) and is a little injury prone, but he made $1.25 million last season and would probably come cheaply. Conroy, 36, is the better option as he's right-handed and has some offernsive talent, but he made $2.85 million last season.
He knows Brett Hull well, so that could be a negotiating point.
That could leave the budget door open for a player like Cory Stillman. He's 34 and is a solid 20-goal scorer. He also has been a member of recent Stanley Cup champions in Tampa Bay and Carolina. He made $1.75 million last season, while tallying 24 goals and 41 assists in 79 games. He's a left-handed left wing, but nobody's perfect.
I have been digging around, and it appears the Stars are gong to do very little in free agency.
Les Jackson has confirmed the Stars will have an internal budget next season and will not spend to the cap. My guess is that number is close to $52-$53 million, so it's not like they are that far off from the cap ($55-56 million). He said Tobias Stephan will be the team's backup goalie, and that the team expects to allow its unrestricted free agents (including Niklas Hagman) to test the market.
My guess is Hagman, Antti Miettinen, Johan Holmqvist and Brad Winchester are gone.
The Stars then would have two goalies (Turco, Stephan), seven defensemen (Zubov, Boucher, Robidas, Daley, Grossman, Fistric, Niskanen) and 10 forwards (Morrow, Ribeiro, Richards, Modano, Lehtinen, Ott, Eriksson, Lundqvist, Petersen, Barch) pretty much written in pen. In addition, there are several prospects (Fabian Brunnstrom, James Neal and B.J. Crombeen to name a few) who are fighting for a forward spot.
They would have openings for three forwards, and if we're assuming two of those players would be rookies, they have room for one free agent.
That means they have a need for a right-handed right wing who will take somewhere between $2-3 million a season. That limits the field, for sure.
Cowboys Camp is coming! …
The Cowboys released their training camp schedule on Thursday.
The Cowboys will hold their first practice on July 25 and will break camp on Aug. 12. Dallas will have 15 straight days of practices with five two-a-days during their time in Oxnard, Calif.
Dallas returns to Oxnard after having training camp practices in San Antonio last year. The team signed a five-year deal with the city of San Antonio to hold training camp in there, but when a church convention created a conflict with the Almodome, the Cowboys decided to go back to California. This is the fourth time in the last five years the Cowboys have held training camp in Oxnard.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
Fri., July 25 4:15-6:30 p.m.
Sat., July 26 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sun., July 27 4:15-6:30 p.m.
Mon., July 28 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.; 5:15-7 p.m.
Special teams practice
Tue., July 29 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wed., July 30 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.; 5:15-7 p.m.
Thu., July 31 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 1 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.; 5:15-7 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 2 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 3 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 4 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.; 5:15-7 p.m.
Tue., Aug. 5 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 6 10:50 a.m.-1 p.m.; 5:15-7 p.m.
Thu., Aug. 7 4:15 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 8 12:45 p.m.
Walkthrough practice; team departs for San Diego
Sat., Aug. 9 Preseason game at S.D. 9 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 10 Day off
Mon., Aug. 11 4:15-6:30 p.m.
Special teams practice
Tue., Aug. 12 12:45 p.m.
Team breaks camp; leaves for Denver
Spain! Spain! …
This is something that has not happened in 24 years, most of them frustrating. Spain’s national team — La Selección — has disappointed so often, so graphically, so diversely. But on Thursday came the biggest win in a generation.
All the homegrown talent that is the backbone of La Liga, one of the toughest national leagues in the world, came through in the rain in Vienna. The Spaniards wore down Russia, 3-0, in the semifinals of Euro 2008, with their skill and experience topping the Russians’ earlier exuberance.
This is no small victory for Spain to qualify for Sunday’s championship match against Germany in Vienna. It will be the first final for a Spanish team in a world-level tournament since Spain lost to France in Euro 1984.
In between there have been so many losses way too early in tournaments, often under bizarre circumstances, that made Spanish fans ask exactly why their teams cannot live up to expectations, why their fancy players fold under pressure, why terrible things happen to them.
World soccer fans often get a little crazy when an American like me compares an international situation to our own little local sports. But the best way to describe Spain in American terms is to say that sometimes a hand comes out of nowhere to deflect a ball, the way it happened to the Chicago Cubs in the postseason in 2003. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, and Spain has not won a major tournament since Euro 1964, when it beat the Soviet Union, the spiritual ancestors of Thursday’s losing side.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is a great athlete
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