NBA Finals not set yet

Over the past several years I’ve gained a new appreciation for NBA basketball. May love to complain that the game is worse than in years past, but I actually think it’s gotten better now that teams are allowed to play real defense and we don’t have to watch silly isolation basketball. And while it’s still somewhat galling that Lebron was able to construct an All-Star team to get him a title, the games and series in recent years have been very entertaining. Several days ago it was looking like a clear Miami Heat – Oklahoma City matchup in the Finals and fans could start checking out USA gambling site reviews to make their picks, but suddenly things have changed a bit ans that matchup isn’t set in stone.

Now, don’t get me wrong. One monster game from Paul George on his home court doesn’t mean that Indiana suddenly has a good chance to get past the Heat. This team is in desperate need of an army of sports psychologists to help them through their many issues. I won’t go into all the soap opera intrigue surrounding this team as it has been talked to death. Let’s just say that the Pacers are mentally weak, and Paul George needs to step up again and again for things to change.

That said, the roller coaster of NBA series is interesting to watch. The fact is things change from game to game. That’s the nature of this sport as teams adjust to each other. Last year, Miami made better adjustments and got a lucky shot from Ray Allen and thus were able to defeat the Spurs. We’ll see if Indiana can mentally adjust and find the courage to challenge the Heat in Miami. Nobody expects them to do it, but if Paul George can continue to take control they have a chance.

In the other series, everyone had left Oklahoma City for dead with Serge Ibaka on the bench, but he “miraculously” returned and the Thunder promptly spanked the Spurs two games in a row at home. Suddenly, this is a real series and the Spurs look vulnerable again. As usual, Game 5 will be key and the Spurs have the advantage of being at home, but the Thunder clearly have the momentum. This one will be worth watching.


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Andrew Wiggins is Gatorade’s High School Player of the Year

Andrew Wiggins Gatorade POY 2

Andrew Wiggins is on his way to becoming a household name, and winning the Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award is another big milestone in that journey. I was on hand in Los Angeles last night for the awards ceremony at the W Hotel in Hollywood as Wiggins picked up his trophy and Morgan Andrews picked up the award for best female athlete.

Gatorade has been handing out these awards since 1985, and past winners sound like a who’s who of sports superstars with names like Emmitt Smith and Peyton Manning. Last year we were on hand when Breanna Stewart picked up the award for female athlete, and she promptly went on to win a National Championship with UConn in woman’s basketball. This years winner for girls basketball, Morgan Andrews, is going to Tennessee and it will be fun to watch her potentially challenge Stewart and the Huskies for basketball supremacy. Here are all of the impressive winners:

Lauren Carlini Volleyball
Sarah Baxter Cross Country
Mercedes Russell Basketball
Morgan Andrews Soccer
Carley Hoover Softball
Kendell Williams Track & Field

Max Browne Football
Edward Cheserek Cross Country
Andrew Wiggins Basketball
Cristian Roldan Soccer
Clint Frazier Baseball
Trayvon Bromell Track & Field

We spoke with many of the athletes and came away impressed with all of them. As a Cleveland Indians fan I had already heard about Clint Frazier, this year’s #1 draft pick for the Indians. Frazier has tremendous power and is considered by many scouts to be a 5-tool player. He’s already started his pro career and he’s loving it. Max Browne is heading to USC to play quarterback, and with Matt Barkley heading to the NFL we may just see Browne starting this season as a freshman. Trayvon Bromwell is the first American high school athlete to run a sub 10.0 in the 100-meter dash with a 9.99 second effort this past season. We’ll probably be seeing him in the Olympics soon.

Andrew Wiggins Gatorade POY

Gatorade surprises all of the winners at their high school with their award, so we heard plenty of stories about that in our interviews. Max Browne explained how they showed up on his last day of school and how his friend had played along while the coach made it sound like they had gotten in some sort of trouble. Mercedes Russell said her coach only told her they would be taking some pictures that day so at elast she was prepared for that part of it.

A number of pro athletes were on hand to give out the awards and honor these young kids, including Phillip Rivers, Paul George, Abby Wambach and Misty May-Treanor. We were able to speak with each of them and we’ll be posting videos soon.

When we spoke with Andrew Wiggins, he explained how he’s already training with the Kansas Jayhawks and looking forward to the upcoming season. He seems to be handling all of the hype well, saying that he’s just concerned with the upcoming season now and he’s not getting distracted by the potential of being the #1 pick in the NBA draft next year. I asked him about a budding rivalry between him and Jabari Parker, last year’s winner in the basketball category who decided to attend Duke, Wiggins pointed out that Kansas and Duke will face off this season in Chicago, so he’s definitely paying attention to the matchup. It will be fun to watch these two incredible talents play against each other, possibly sparking a new Bird-Magic type of rivalry for years to come.