Archive for: April 2013

Tucson Padres First Home Stand Begins Friday

T-PadsThe Tucson Padres are glad to be coming home—wherever that may be.

After only a year in Tucson, the Padres will be playing their final season at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium before shipping to for El Paso, Texas. The boys in blue opened up the 2013 season on the road and were hampered by heavy wind and snow in the Rocky Mountain cities of Salt Lake City, Utah and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Brad Boxberger took the season-opening loss as the Padres fell to the Salt Lake City Bees 9-5 despite three home runs from Gregorio Petit, Rene Rivera and Jaff Decker. Game two was a pitching battle that saw Fautino De Los Santos take the hard-luck 2-1 loss. The Padres unleashed a barrage of hits the following day but left eight on base and Nick Vincent took the 5-3 loss.

Left-Fielder Travis Buck

Left-Fielder Travis Buck

The Padres rebounded in a big way in the series finale in a 9-1 victory that saw former Arizona State standout Travis Buck go 3-of-5 with a home run and four RBI. Pitcher Thad Weber notched the first victory of the year for the Pads. The hot hitting continued on April 8, when the Padres belted 14 runs in five innings before the game was called due to high winds. Jaff Decker hit his second home run of the season and Travis Buck belted three doubles and three RBI, Jorge Reyes took the win to put the Padres at 2-3.

The following two games were called off due to nasty weather and the time off cooled off the Padres’ bats as well. In a seven-inning double-header played Thursday, the Padres lost both games by a single run. Nick Vincent dropped to 0-2 and Miles Mikolas lost his first appearance of the season.

The Padres couldn’t be happier to return to the warm climes of Kino Stadium on Friday night as they host the Fresno Grizzlies and Salt Lake Bees over the next eight days. The Grizzlies are the AAA-affiliate of the San Francisco Giants and the Bees are affiliated with the Los Angeles Angels.

murph

Head Coach Pat Murphy

The Grizzlies enter this weekend with a record of 4-4 after evenly splitting series with the Tacoma Rainiers and Las Vegas 51’s. The Bees are 6-4 after winning series against Tucson and the Reno Aces at home.

Probable pitchers for Friday’s 7:05 matchup are Michael Kickham (0-0) for Fresno and  Keyvius Sampson (0-0) for Tucson.

The Padres currently rank No. 9 with a batting average of .271 in the 16-team Pacific Coast League and register at No. 5 in slugging percentage with .421. Their corps of pitchers rank in the top four teams in hits allowed, runs allowed, earned runs and leads the league surrendering only two home runs.

Travis Buck leads the Padres in hits (10), doubles (5), RBI (7) and total bases (18) while Rene Rivera leads in batting average (.500), on-base percentage (.571) and slugging percentage (.833).

The schedule for the eight-game home stand (with game promotion) is as follows:

Fresno Grizzlies

  • Friday, April 12 7:05 pm (magnet giveaway)
  • Saturday, April 13 7:05 pm (post-game fireworks)
  • Sunday, April 14 1:05 pm (Military Appreciation-free for active duty and veterans, Bark in the Park)
  • Monday, April 15 7:05 pm

Salt Lake City Bees

  • Tuesday, April 16 7:05 pm (pick up free GA tickets at Eegee’s)
  • Wednesday, April 17 7:05 pm (Wiener Wednesday-$1 hot dogs)
  • Thursday, April 18 7:05 pm (Thirsty Thursday)
  • Friday, April 19 7:05 pm

If you haven’t been to a Tucson Padres or minor-league baseball game at Kino, it is a great, inexpensive way to enjoy America’s Pastime. With this being the final season of the Padres in town, Tucson needs to represent well to possibly attract other teams looking to relocate.

Or we can just be happy with the two spring training games we get each year.

New Depth Chart for ASU Football Spring Game and Beyond

sparky NSDArizona State football completed its 12th of 15 spring practices on Thursday and is looking forward to the annual Maroon and Gold Spring game on Saturday, April 12.

Head coach Todd Graham has had a good, long look at his squad and announced the depth chart for the offense, defense and special teams on Wednesday. The lineups will be used in the Spring Game on Saturday and will be a building block heading into the 2013 season.

The biggest battles will be at the wide receiver and linebacker positions, in which the Sun Devils signed the bulk of their players.

Here it is, the positional breakdown for the 2013 Arizona State Sun Devils football squad.

Quarterbacks

asu qbsTaylor Kelly

  • Redshirt Junior
  • 6’2″, 203 pounds
  • Eagle, Idaho

Mike Bercovici

  • Redshirt Sophomore
  • 6’1″, 202 pounds
  • Calabasas, Calif.

Michael Eubank

  • Redshirt Sophomore
  • 6’6″, 246 pounds
  • Corona, Calif.

Tyler Cohan

  • Sophomore
  • 6’3″, 195 pounds
  • Santa Cruz, Calif.

After a hard-fought battle with Eubank and Bercovici in training camp last season, Taylor Kelly has cemented himself as the starter for Todd Graham and the Sun Devils.

Michael Eubank was named the backup to Kelly and saw time in every game last year, scoring eight touchdowns.

Mike Bercovici utilized his redshirt season and has thoroughly impressed the coaches and received the backup nod—for now.

Running Backs

griceMarion Grice

  • Senior
  • 6’0″, 204 pounds
  • Houston, Texas

D.J. Foster

  • Sophomore
  • 5’11”, 225 pounds
  • Scottsdale, Ariz.

Deantre Lewis

  • Redshirt Junior
  • 5’11”, 188 pounds
  • Norco, Calif.

Terrell Davis

  • Redshirt Freshman
  • 6’0″, 232 pounds
  • Victoria, B.C., Canada

Marcus Washington

  • Redshirt Junior
  • 6’0″, 208 pounds
  • Phoenix, Ariz.

Look for Grice and Foster in the backfield for most snaps with Lewis coming in as the third back. Like the quarterback position, nobody new will be joining in the fall.

Wide Receivers

ozierX Receiver

  • Kevin Ozier (RS SR)
  • Alonzo Agwuenu (RS SR)

Y Receiver

  • Gary Chambers (RS SO)
  • Blake Covey (SO)

Z Receiver

  • Richard Smith (SO)
  • Frederick Gammage (RS FR)
  • Daniel Groebner (SO)

A good snapshot of the wide receivers in camp already, also on the list are Jordan Gatson at the X and Byron Thomas and the Z, however, it is doubtful that they will see the field in the fall. The new additions that will be joining in the fall are:

  • Jaelen Strong (RS SO)
  • Joseph Morris (JR)
  • Ellis Jefferson (FR)
  • Cameron Smith (FR)
  • Ronald Lewis (FR)

H-Back and Tight End

coyleH-Back

  • Chris Coyle (RS SR)
  • Billy Davis (RS SO)

Tight End

  • Darwin Rogers (SR)
  • Kody Kohl (RS FR)
  • Alex Bykovskiy (RS SO)

The Sun Devils offense usually runs a H-Back as well as a tight end and Coyle led the pack out of the H-Back position in 2012. Joining the fray in the fall are redshirt junior transfer De’Marieya Nelson and freshman Grant Martinez.

Offensive Line

olineLeft Tackle

  • Evan Finkenberg (RS SR)
  • Evan Goodman (SO)

Left Guard

  • Sil Ajawara (RS JR)
  • Devin Goodman (RS SO)

Center

  • Kody Koebensky (SR)
  • Nick Kelly (SO)
  • Stephon McCray (RS FR) injured

Right Guard

  • Vi Teofilo (RS SO)
  • Mo Latu (RS SO)
  • Christian Westerman (RS SO) transfer

Right Tackle

  • Jamil Douglas (RS JR)
  • Tyler Sulka (RS JR)
  • Chip Sarafin (RS JR)

A veteran offensive line with only one incoming freshman in Jack Powers. It has yet to be determined if Auburn transfer Westerman will be able to play this fall, but it looks promising after Gene Chizik’s alleged wrongdoings.

Defensive Line

Will SuttonDefensive Tackle

  • Jaxon Hood (SO)
  • Sean O’Grady (RS SO)

Nose

  • Will Sutton (RS SR)
  • Jake Sheffield (SR)

Defensive End

  • Gannon Conway (RS SR)
  • Davon Coleman (SR)
  • Junior Onyeali (SR) injured
  • Kisima Jagne (FR) injured

The defensive end position is the biggest battle coming into season with three seasoned veterans battling for the position. Joining the fray this fall will be junior transfer Marcus Hardison, junior transfer Demetrius Cherry and freshman Corey Smith.

Linebackers

SPUR

  • Chris Young (SR) or Anthony Jones (RS SR)
  • Dwain Bradshaw (SR)
  • Brandon Matthews (SR)
  • Andres Garcia (SR)

super carlDEVIL

  • Carl Bradford (RS JR)
  • Kipeli Koniseti (SR)
  • Jason Franklin (RS SO)
  • Chans Cox (FR) injured

SAM

  • Steffon Martin (SR)
  • Salamo Fiso (RS FR)

WILL

  • Grandville Taylor (RS SR) or Chris Young (SR)
  • Matthew Rowe (RS FR)
  • Carlos Mendoza (RS FR) injured

The most stacked position on the defense and the team. They are several linebackers that will not see playing time, not because of their abilities but because it is so deep. New arrivals this fall are:

  • Nathaniel Brinker (FR)
  • Antonio Longino (RS SO)
  • Viliami Latu (FR)
  • Alani Latu (FR)
  • Eriquiel Florence (JR)

Secondary

adarbyBoundary Corner

  • Osahon Irabor (RS SR)
  • Rashad Wadood (RS SO)
  • Marlon Pollard (SR)

Field Corner

  • Robert Nelson (RS SR)
  • Rashad Wadood (RS SO)
  • Llyod Carrington (RS JR)

Boundary Safety

  • Alden Darby (SR)
  • Shane McCullen (SR)
  • Laiu Moeakiola (RS FR)
  • Jordan Simone (SR)

Field Safety

  • Laiu Moeakiola (RS FR)
  • Ezekiel Bishop (RS SO)
  • Luke Williams (RS SO)
  • Marcus Mehlhaf-Brown (JR)

Another area of good depth for the Sun Devils with more on the way, including:

  • William Early—Cornerback (FR)
  • James Johnson—Safety (FR)
  • Solomon Means—Cornerback (RS SO)
  • Damarious Randall—Cornerback (RS JR)

Special Teams

Punter

  • Dom Vizzare (RS SO)
  • Sean Conaway (SO)

garoutteKO/PAT

  • Alex Garoutte (RS JR)

Field Goals

  • Jon Mora (RS JR)
  • Parker Flynn (RS JR)

Kick Returner

  • DJ Foster (SO)
  • Marion Grice (SR)
  • Richard Smith (SO)

Kick Returner

  • Richard Smith (SO)
  • Robert Nelson (RS SR)
  • Alden Daeby (SR)

Long Snapper

  • Easton Wahlstrom (SO)
  • Donnie Shields (SO)

Holder

  • Alex Garoutte (RS JR)
  • Mike Bercovici (RS SO)

This is the one area that will change the most with incoming freshman Matt Haack to take on the punting duties and freshman Zane Gonzalez to battle for the full-time field goal kicker position.

Sun Devil Football Fan Fest

T-CupThis Saturday, April 12 will be the first time to see how these new lineups will mesh and play together.

The Maroon and Gold Spring Game starts at 11 a.m. PT and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. Prior to the game will be a Sun Devil Cook-Off where tailgate meals will be be judged by an esteemed Sun Devil panel of judges.

For the kids, there will also be a Kids Zone where kids can interact and connect with Sun Devil athletics. These events will take place on the southern end of Sun Devil Stadium and adjacent parking lots.

Once inside, fans will have ample opportunities to take pictures with the Rose Bowl trophy, Territorial Cup, Victory Bell and legendary Sun Devils.

This is going to be a spectacular way for fans to feel a part of the great tradition of Arizona State football and give the younger generation a taste of the storied past as well as the promising future.

Will Arizona State Basketball Get Better or Worse in 2013-14?

Gilling Bach

 

After getting off to one of the best starts in ASU basketball history and flirting with the possibility of playing in the NCAA Tournament, the Sun Devils are in no better shape than when the season started.

In fact, they are worse off.

Once again, the “X Factor” of the preseason is Jahii Carson. Last year, everybody was wondering if Carson was as good as the hype and if he could elevate the team to new heights. This offseason, nobody is questioning his ability, they are questioning his desire to stick with the program.

Carson was as good as advertised; he led the team in points (18.5), assists (5.1) and minutes per game (37.2). He also finished second in free throw percentage and third in steals and field goal percentage. His efforts were also tops in the league, leading the Pac-12 in minutes while finishing second in scoring and third in assists.

Jahii bazzHe was named All-Pac-12 first team and Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year finishing with three 30+ point games and 15 additional games of 20 or more points. Every one of his 30-point games were away from his home court of Wells Fargo Arena.

That was all in the past. The biggest question is his future.

Carson submitted paperwork early last week for draft protection from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, giving him an evaluation of his NBA potential without declaring for the draft.

The committee, made up of NBA executives, will provide feedback to Carson, allowing him to make a decision about his future before the NCAA’s April 16 deadline for withdrawing his draft application and keeping his eligibility.

Carson’s mother, Vanae, told Doug Haller of AZCentral.com that her son planned to explore his NBA options. But because of the NCAA’s rules regarding early draft entry, she also said there’s a good chance Carson returns for his sophomore season. Reason: There’s simply not enough time to assess Carson’s stock.

It seems unlikely that Carson will forego his college career and declare for the NBA draft, yet even if he does stay, can the Sun Devils improve over the 2012-13 season?

Carrick Felix

Carrick Felix will be sorely missed

The heart and soul of the team, Carrick Felix, played his final game as a Sun Devil and leaves a gaping hole in the front court. Two incoming sophomores who received little playing time last season have a long way to go to fill Felix’s shoes.

Eric Jacobsen, the 6’10”, 245 pound forward from Chandler, Ariz. averaged 7.3 minutes per game and made little impact, scoring 1.7 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from the charity stripe. His large frame underneath enabled him to pull down as many offensive rebounds as defensive.

Another local product, Kenny Martin, a 6’8″, 220 pound forward from Glendale, Ariz. played sparingly and only produced 2-of-11 from the field including a paltry 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.

2013 freshman recruit, Egor Koulechov, from South Florida High School in Weston, Florida is ranked a 3-star prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports. The 6’5″, 190 pound small forward will most likely be a backup for Jonathan Gilling.

Jacobsen will also be needed to back up center Jordan Bachynski now that senior Ruslan Pateev has graduated. In short, the front court is very thin—scary thin.

The backcourt of Carson and Evan Gordon will be a great starting duo, but beyond them, the bench is relatively sparse. Carson and Gordon were first and third last season in minutes; look for them to be first and second in 2013-14.

The time has come for junior transfer student, Bo Barnes, to step up and play the sixth-man for coach Herb Sendek’s squad. Returning seniors Jarrett Upchurch and Dave Whitmore both averaged just over a minute in cleanup time last season and will be non-factors in the upcoming season.

Incoming freshman Chance Murray committed to Arizona State last September and is ranked a 3-star recruit by both Rivals and 247 Sports. The 6’3″, 180 pound guard from Price High School in Los Angeles will be a welcome addition to the Sun Devil backcourt as he is ranked No. 160 on the 247 Sports Top 247 and the No. 14 recruit from talent-rich California.

All things considered, Arizona State’s 2012-13 season was light years ahead of what people expected and that is due largely to the play of Jahii Carson and the renaissance of Carrick Felix. With Felix gone and Carson on the fence, the Sun Devils could quickly return to the bottom of the Pac-12 if the bench players don’t improve.

Coach Sendek’s seat is now officially on fire.

Pac-12’s Coordinator of Officials Ed Rush Resigns Amid Controversy

ed rush

 

The sordid history of former Pac-12 Coordinator of Officials is finally over.

Ed Rush resigned his position on Thursday after CBSSports.com first reported the accusation of a bounty on Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller earlier in the week.

Rush claimed that comments were made in jest, but others believed he created an environment of fear.

“Ed Rush doesn’t joke,” one official said. “To say it was a joke is absolutely not true. If he meant it in jest, then he had time to correct it the second day and he didn’t. And the only coach he mentioned was Sean Miller.”

The bounty in question occurred after Arizona’s Pac-12 quarterfinal victory over Colorado on March 14. Rush gave the following recap of the statement to the Associated Press in a phone interview:

“So in an effort just to lighten the mood, I said to them, ‘Hey, guys. What’s it going to take? Do you think we could give you a trip to Cancun or maybe $5,000? Or who wants what? And now they’re all laughing, which is basically what I wanted to do. So I said, ‘I know you guys, you probably want $5,000, you want the money, you won’t take the trip to Cancun.’ So I’m going around, ‘What would you take?’ At that point, I said, ‘By the way, you know my wife’s not going to go for this. I’m going to have to pull this off the table.’ They all laughed, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, bud.’ That was it, and I walked out.”

Once the news broke that Rush was encouraging “ringing up” or “running” a coach, many felt that the integrity of the game had been decidedly compromised, regardless if it was said in jest.

Several Pac-12 officials spoke up against Rush Thursday when interviewed by ESPN prior to the resignation and none had positive things to say.

“The integrity of the game was being messed with,” one official said. “There is stuff you don’t do. There was no joking about it. He was managing by intimidation.”

“To be labeled like this would be the most uncomfortable thing in the world,” another official said. “People were already saying the Pac-12 has the worst officials and then you think we’re cheating and being compromised? I’ve never seen anything like this. This has been personal, and for him to bring us into that with him was unfair. It was very difficult.”

Pac12HoopsFortunately, for the Pac-12 and college basketball in general, Rush is no longer employed and the integrity of the game has been restored. Had Rush not resigned, there would have been a coup among not only the Pac-12 officials but it also would have affected the non-conference schedules going forward as no team would want to play with Pac-12 officiating.

Now that Rush is gone, where does this put Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott after he cleared Rush of any wrongdoing stating his comments didn’t warrant termination as they were said in jest?

 “I want to express my appreciation for the great contribution Ed made to basketball officiating for the Conference during his tenure, particularly in the area of training and the cultivation of new officiating talent,” Scott said  “All of us at the Conference thank him for his years of hard work, and we wish him well.”

Scott concluded saying that the search for a new coordinator will take place after the college basketball season concludes in Atlanta—I know of two men in New Jersey with college basketball backgrounds that are looking for work.

Grading Arizona Recruit Aaron Gordon’s McDonald’s All-American Game

Gordon dunk

Arizona basketball recruit Aaron Gordon had his coming out party Wednesday night in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

In a game that featured the best and brightest high schools recruits, including a record-number six from the University of Kentucky, Gordon shined.

His high-flying dunks electrified the United Center crowd of 15, 818 as he finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and the John Wooden MVP for the game.

The nation’s top recruit, Andrew Wiggins, led the East squad with 19 points and four rebounds, but his play was overshadowed by Gordon who put on a personal dunkfest with nine slams. His lovely alley-oop dunk from Nigel Williams-Goss was breathtaking, but his double-clutch reverse jam and 360 dunk made my jaw drop.

The game started off as a tight battle, but Gordon’s dunk midway through the first half broke the 30-30 tie and sparked a 13-2 run for the West. Fellow Arizona recruit Rondae Hollis-Jefferson took a backseat to Gordon and finished with nine points, two rebounds and two assists.

Gordon knew that there would be a lot of pressure being with so many great players, but he didn’t let it rattle him. He was quoted by the Associated Press:

It was really great. I’ve been watching all the players come up through the McDonald’s All-American game and to finally get here and go through the process of it all. Each practice, each shootaround, just the scrimmaging, it means a lot. I can come out here and compete with all the best players.

Hometown hero Jabari Parker was outplayed by Andrew Wiggins and hit just 4-of-13 from the field but was a monster on defense with eight boards, two blocks and two steals.

Arizona Daily Star sports columnist Greg Hansen tweeted the following about Gordon:

The hype begins in earnest today now that Gordon has shown his amazing above-the-rim skills, but he has yet to play against seasoned NCAA veterans, and that is something that the college basketball world will have to wait eight long months to see.

Pac-12 Baseball Week 8 Power Rankings

oregon-state-baseball-1

The Oregon Ducks moved into first place in the Pac-12 Conference on Sunday but failed to overtake their cross-state rival Oregon State Beavers in all four major polls. They crept into the top five of the National College Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA) poll while being ranked as low as No. 11 by Baseball America.

Conference wins aside, I am still giving the top spot to the Beavers with a better overall record. The defending champion Arizona Wildcats also earned a much-needed sweep over the weekend and received a couple points in the NCBWA and USA Today polls.

 

Oregon State Beavers

It was a tough weekend for the Beavers, losing two of three to the San Diego Toreros over the weekend. The bright point of the weekend was pitcher Matt Boyd, who won Saturday’s matchup and improved to 6-0 on the season. They rebounded on Tuesday with a 7-5 victory over the University of Portland. Things don’t get any easier for the Beavers, as they travel to Westwood to take on the UCLA Bruins and then host the rival Ducks for a game the following Tuesday.

 

Oregon's Cole Irvin

Oregon’s Cole Irvin

Oregon Ducks

The Ducks took care of business over the weekend, sweeping the Washington Huskies and shutting them out in the final two games of the series. They have the week off to rest before traveling to Tempe and to take on the surging Arizona State Sun Devils. Freshman left-hander Cole Irvin was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after a complete-game shutout on Saturday.

 

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins are reeling right now after losing three of the past four games. They only scored five runs in the first two games at Arizona State and narrowly averted being swept after late-inning heroics in the series finale. They returned home and were blasted by the No. 4 Cal State Fullerton Titans 9-6. Pitcher David Berg has the third-lowest conference ERA (1.30) and ranks fifth in opposing batting average (.196) They host the Beavers for three straight this weekend and the University of Hawai’i the following Tuesday.

 

ASU Catcher Max Rossiter

ASU Catcher Max Rossiter

Arizona State Sun Devils

What a difference a week makes. After dropping consecutive series to Washington State and Oregon State, the Sun Devils reignited their offense and lit up one of the best starting pitching trios in the country. The Bruins had allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of their past 21 games, and the Devils averaged seven runs per game. They bested the Wichita State Shockers in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday, and host the Oregon Ducks this weekend.

 

Stanford Cardinal

Stanford took the series from Washington State in Pullman by outscoring the Cougars 12-3 in the first two games. The Cougars are the tops in nearly every offensive category in the Pac-12, and the staunch Cardinal pitching staff hurled a shutout in the first game and allowed only three runs in the second. Pitcher Mark Appel leads the league in strikeouts with 64, and his 0.96 ERA is the 12th lowest in the NCAA. The Cardinal topped Cal on Monday night and travel to Los Angeles to take on USC this weekend.

cats gilbert

UA 2B Trent Gilbert

Arizona Wildcats

  • Record: 18-11, 3-6 Pac-12

The Wildcats swept the Utah Utes at home last weekend and look to get back to their winning ways when they host the Cal Bears this weekend. Sophomore second baseman Trent Gilbert was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for his efforts over the weekend. Gilbert leads the league in RBI with 35 and his triples are the most in the Conference and NCAA.

 

Washington State Cougars

  • Record: 16-11, 3-3 Pac-12

The Cougars’ prolific offense was stymied by Stanford last weekend but were able to escape the sweep with a victory in the series finale. They lost at home to Gonzaga on Tuesday and travel to Utah this weekend.

California Golden Bears

  • Record: 16-13, 5-4 Pac-12

The Bears lost the first two games to visiting USC last weekend but rebounded with a 15-run effort in the finale. They lost to Stanford 4-3 on Monday night and travel to Tucson to take on Arizona this weekend.

 

University of Southern California Trojans

  • Record: 11-17, 4-5 Pac-12

The Trojans won the first two in Berkeley but lost on Saturday and followed it up with a loss to UC Irvine on Tuesday at home.  They host the Cardinal this weekend and travel to Cal State Fullerton on Friday.

Utah Utes

  • Record: 12-13, 2-7 Pac-12

The Utes were swept by Arizona in Tucson last weekend being outscored 21-8. It was a lot closer than it sounds as they lost the bookends by only a run apiece. They host Washington State this weekend.

Washington Huskies

  • Record: 7-19, 2-7 Pac-12

The Huskies can’t seem to catch a break. They were swept at Oregon last weekend after losing in extra innings in the series opener and were then shut out the next two games. They rebounded nicely with a 14-1 win over Seattle University on Tuesday. The Huskies take a break from Pac-12 action this weekend to travel to Malibu and take on the Pepperdine Waves.

Northwest Firefighters Top Hops Brew Challenge

nwff

Talk about sparking interest in the burgeoning Arizona Craft Brew scene.

In what started as a friendly competition between the firehouses in the Northwest portion of Tucson has blossomed into a full-on beer and music festival that will host hundreds of suds-seeking hop-heads. Every department in Tucson will be represented along with a couple from Phoenix coming down to tackle the challenge.

The Northwest Firefighters Charities through the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3572 will be setting up  shop in the parking lot of Foothills Mall just outside of Tucson’s very own Thunder Canyon Brewery.  There will be over twenty different beer booths displaying their home-brewed beers for the public. The winning beer will go on to be produced and sold at Thunder Canyon Brewery.

thunderEVENT DETAILS

  • Date: Saturday, April 6
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Location: Foothills Mall Parking Lot Outside of Thunder Canyon Brewery
  • Address: 7401 N. Cholla Blvd.
  • Cost: $20-$30

THE BEER

In addition to the Brew Challenge itself, several local, state and national breweries will be on hand with samples of their phenomenal beers. Along with sponsor Thunder Canyon Brewery, other local entrants that will be offered are from Tucson favorites Dragoon Brewing Company, Barrio Brewing Co. and Borderlands Brewing. Newcomers to the Tucson craft beer scene, Ten Fifty-Five Brewing and Sentinel Peak Brewing will also be present and accounted for offering samples of their glorious goodness.

Valley favorites Four Peaks Brewing and SanTan Brewing will also be in attendance as will Grand Canyon Brewery. Other regional breweries that will be on hand are Santa Fe Brewing from New Mexico, Big Sky Brewing from Montana, New Belgium from Colorado, Coronado Brewery from California and  Maui Brewing from Hawaii. Bucking the regional trend is Dogfish Head Brewery coming all the way from Milton, Delaware. Their beers transcend their humble roots and are welcomed by craft beer aficionados worldwide.

3572THE CAUSE

There has never been a better reason to drink great beer than helping out local children. Last year alone, the Northwest Charities Holiday Assistance Program assisted nearly 800 children with toys, food  and clothing.  IAFF Local 3572’s Northwest Charities also supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Fallen Fire Fighters Association, the Flowing Wells Resource Center and the Marana Food Bank.

THE REST

If the beer alone was not enough to get you to attend this great event, there will also be several food trucks offering up their culinary concoctions and a stage with live music presented by the Northwest Firefighters Pipes and Drums, The Sound Bytes, Cooper Meza, Whiskey Knuckles and other local pipe and drum corps.

Discounted tickets are on sale for $20 at Thunder Canyon Brewery on Friday, April 5th from 6-10 pm. If you are unable to make it there on Friday night, they will have tickets for sale for $25, discounted tickets are also available through Friday at:

  • Borderlands Brewery – 119 E. Toole Ave. (downtown)
  • 1702 Brewery and Pizza – 1702 E. Speedway Blvd. (at Campbell)
  • Noble Hops – 1335 W. Lambert Lane (Oro Valley)

Tickets are also available online via PayPal for $25 or at the gate for $30.

Gates open at 6 p.m. so make plans for a fun evening under the stars with plenty of great beer, good food and an all-around spectacular time while supporting an even better cause.

Who said that no good would ever come from beer?

What Aaron Gordon Brings to Arizona Basketball

McDonalds All American Game- Powerade Jamfest

 

Just when things looked their worst for the Arizona Wildcats basketball team, the tide turned for Sean Miller and the ‘Cats.

After losing 73-70 last Thursday night to Ohio State, and amidst reports that thePac-12’s head of officials had put a “bounty” to ring up or run head coach Sean Miller, Tuesday morning’s announcement from the nation’s No. 4 player was just what the doctor ordered.

The 5-star power forward from Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, CA was heavily recruited and was weighing offers from Oregon, Kentucky and Washington before donning a Wildcat hat at a McDonald’s All-American Game press conference.

The 6’8″, 215-pound Gordon said:

“I hope Tucson is celebrating because I’m about to be an Arizona Wildcat. It was an extremely hard process. I went to Arizona twice and I’m glad I did that. I felt at the end of the day it would fit best.”

Pairing Gordon with No. 5 small forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will make the Arizona 2013 recruiting class one of the best in the nation.

Gordon has flown relatively under the radar, with most of the publicity going to Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and the Harrison twins, but he has the biggest upside of any player in the 2013 class not named Andrew Wiggins.

gordon azIn Gordon, the Wildcats are getting a savvy player that can handle the ball, run the break and nail shots from the perimeter. He is a tough player on the glass and will be a rebounding and blocking machine that just won’t quit. His energy can easily convert loose balls into points at the other end of the court.

Look for him at the three spot with returning front-court mates Brandon Ashley, KalebTarczewski and Grant Jerrett. With the departure of Kevin Parrom, Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill, the Wildcats are losing 80 percent of their scoring and Gordon will his part to make up the deficit.

With a backcourt of Nick Johnson and T.J. McConnell from Duquesne, the 2013-14 Arizona Wildcats should dominate the Pac-12 as well as the country.

CBS Sports writer Jeff Borzello tweeted about Arizona’s lineup:

 

 

Regardless of what Ed Rush has to say about Coach Miller, he has once again proven that he is one of the best recruiters in the country.

Final Report Card for ASU Basketball’s 2012-13 Season

herb final

 

The Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team started the 2012-13 season 8-1 for just the fourth time in 38 seasons and only lost two games in the first two months.Freshman sensation Jahii Carson was electrifying crowds and Jordan Bachynski was blocking everything that came his way.

Carson scored his first 30-point game against No. 14 Creighton, senior Carrick Felix was named to his second Pac-12 Player of the Week and Bachynski notched the triple-double in ASU men’s basketball history against Cal State Northridge during the opening stretch.

Things were going extremely well for coach Herb Sendek and the pundits were finally putting the hot seat rumors to rest.

Here is what went wrong and what went right for Arizona State in the 2012-13 season.

 

The Season

asu hoops teamThe Devils experienced some speed bumps in conference play including a blowout loss to in-state rival Arizona at home 71-54. They lost a couple more heartbreakers along the way but also bested the UCLA Bruins by 18, swept the Colorado Buffaloes and handed the Cal Bears their only loss in 10 games.

The talk about the Sun Devils was now about Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament chances.

At 20-8, many had the Devils squeezing into the tournament, all they had to do was finish their final four games with two to three victories—they lost all four. Their final home game against Washington was a harbinger of things to come for the Devils, scoring only 59 points. They lost at UCLA and at USC in two very winnable games and then traveled to Tucson to lose, yet again.

The Pac-12 Tournament was their only remaining hope to punch their ticket to the big dance and the Sun Devils narrowly escaped the Stanford Cardinal in the first round after blowing an eight-point lead with a minute remaining in regulation.

They weren’t so lucky in the second round.

After a slow start by both teams, ASU took the lead at the 13:45 point in the first half and led by as many as 15 before going ice cold. The Bruins regained the lead with five minutes remaining in the game and outscored the Devils 13-9 down the stretch.

The promise of a good season went down the drain. The Devils not only missed the NCAA Tournament but didn’t even garner enough respect to earn a good seed in the NIT and lost on the road in the second round.

Grade: C

 

Carrick Felix

felix dunkFor all intents and purposes, this was Carrick Felix’s team. He had already graduated with degree in Communications prior to the season and was accepted into the Liberal Studies Master’s program. The one thing that was on his mind was having a stellar senior season on the court as well as off.

He started all 35 games and led the team in rebounds per game and three-point percentage. He lit up Wells Fargo Arena several times this past season with his circus-style dunks. Prior to this season, he had a total of zero double-doubles, this season he had a league-leading 13 with nine in conference.

Felix finished with 14 games of 20 or more points and had 16 straight games scoring in double figures. His 50 total steals and 1.4 per game were tops on the team and No. 7 in conference. He finished eighth in conference in rebounds and ninth in field goal percentage.

He was named the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year and Pac-12 first-team Academic All-American to go with his second-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors.

Grade: A

 

Jahii Carson

jahii blackJahii Carson started all 35 games and averaged a team-high 37.2 minutes per game. He led the Sun Devils with 18.5 points and 5.1 assists per game. He also had an alarmingly high turnover rate of 3.5 per game.

He was named Pac-12 Co-Freshman of the Year with Shabazz Muhammad and was also selected to the All-Pac-12 First Team. He ranks sixth all-time for Pac-12 freshmen in total assists and seventh all-time in points.

He finished the year with three games of 30 or more points and 15 additional games of 20+ points. Carson broke 10 Sun Devil freshman records including total points, total assists and field goals attempted. He is also the first freshman in Sun Devil history to start every game and shattered James Harden’s total minutes and minutes per game as a freshman.

The biggest question now is will the 5’10”, 175-pound point guard return to the Sun Devils or look for the early payday? With his smaller size and affinity for turnovers, it would be a bad decision if he were to leave.

Grade: A-

 

Jordan Bachynski

jordanJordan Bachynski was all over the place this season. He led the team and the league with 3.4 blocked shots per game and set the Pac-12 single-season record for blocks with 120. Arizona State as a team also broke the record for most blocks in a season with 211.

He led the team in field goal percentage and was No. 2 in the league at 58.3 percent. He finished the season second on the team in offensive rebounds and third in total rebounds. His 12 blocks along with 12 rebounds and 13 points against Cal State Northridge registered as the school’s first triple-double, albeit not of the traditional points/rebounds/assists variety.

Bachynski finished the season with four double-doubles and had 14 games scoring in double figures and notched double-digit rebounds in six games. He was also named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team for his efforts.

His intensity underneath needs to improve as he is too nice of a player in the trenches. He trails all starters from the charity stripe with a paltry 59 percent.

Grade: B

 

Jonathan Gilling

gilling 3Jonathan Gilling loves shooting from behind the arc. His blonde hair and smooth stroke reminds many of Rihards Kuksiks who played for the Devils from 2009-2011.

He started all 35 games and averaged just under 10 points and over six rebounds per game. He attempted 60 more three-point attempts than the No. 2 guy in the Pac-12 and led the league in threes made with 84, averaging 2.4 per game. Unfortunately, he was’t always dialed in and his 36 percent accuracy was sometimes detrimental to the Sun Devils’ game.

Gilling’s defense is what sets him apart from Kuksiks. He finished second on the team in rebounds and assists, third in field goal percentage and fourth in steals.

Gilling is exciting to watch when he is hitting his threes, but he had only one game this season where he scored 20 or more points and scoring in double figures is the exception, not the rule. His three double-doubles were great, but he is so streaky that he can be almost painful to watch when his shot is not there.

Grade: C+

 

Evan Gordon

evan cuEvan Gordon was another anomaly for the Sun Devils. When he was on, he was a great player. He averaged 10.1 points per game, third best on the team, but his 39.1 percent field goal percentage made many cringe when he had the ball on offense.

He loves the outside perimeter shots and took the second-most three-point attempts in the league. His total of 61 made ranks No. 11 in the Pac-12, but his percentage of 34.7 didn’t crack the top 20.

Gordon started the first 25 games and the Sun Devils were 18-7. The next 10 games where Gordon came in off the bench, they were 4-6.

Say what you will about Gordon’s inconsistent play, but it was better than that of senior Chris Colvin who was consistently bad.

 

Grade: C 

 

Bench

colvin cardThe Sun Devils’ bench and lack of depth was ultimately their undoing.

Senior guard Chris Colvin started nine games averaging 21.6 minutes per game. He averaged a mere 5.1 points and 2.0 assists per game. He was atrocious from the free throw line hitting only 42 percent and his field goal percentage of 39 percent was laughable.

Senior backup center Ruslan Pateev and freshman Eric Jacobsen both started a game apiece but did little to help the team. Pateev averaged just under 10 minutes per game and was a decent shooter under the basket. He had the grit that Bachynski lacked in the trenches but was a poor shooter outside of the paint. Jacobsen averaged only 7.3 minutes per game but still found a way to foul out—unbelievable.

Sophomore transfer student Bo Barnes was expected to make a decent contribution this year but in 28 games, his 17.4 field goal and 23.5 three-point percentages kept him on the bench. Freshman Kenny Martin played sparingly over 11 games and with good reason making only 2-of-11 field goal attempts.

 

Grade: Pateev earns a C- but the rest all earn F’s