Tiger Jones Gets His Shot in the League

Tiger Jones is headed to Philadelphia to participate in the Eagles’ training camp. Jones’ career as a Card was overshadowed by wideouts the likes of JR Russell, Joshua Tinch, and Montrell Jones. He only logged 26 catches in his three year career, but made legend of himself against Miami in the Orange Bowl, catching two touchdowns in the epic loss. Since, he’s been rockin it in the Arena Football League. This year, he’s led the Philadelphia Soul with 2,010 receiving yards and is somehow only third in the AFL in receiving touchdowns with forty – seven on the year.

Tiger is 30 years old, and last tried to make the league in 2004. With moves like this, we can only hope he can do it.

nba
Cards in the Pros: How’d they do?

Louisville went for years without a solid presence in the NBA, but things appear to be on the up-tick for the Cards. There are currently four former Cardinals in the league. None will make a particularly big impact, but will for the most part have lengthy careers playing for David Stern. Here’s how they did:

Terrence Williams – G/F #55 – Sacramento Kings

If you look in the dictionary next to the word “Enigma,” you’ll find a picture of Terrence Williams showing off a goofy smile. T-Will has shown sporadic flashes of greatness throughout his NBA career, but the more common trend has been his inability to mesh with his coaching staff. He closed out his rookie season with a bang.  He averaged 14 points, 7 rebouds, and 5 assists over the final six weeks of his inaugural year, which included a triple-double against Derrick Rose and the Bulls and earned him Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors. He was a popular pick to have a breakout sophomore season on a team that needed him to become an impact player.

Instead, he simply couldn’t see eye to eye with new head coach Avery Johnson, who replaced Kiki Vandegwhe. He grabbed decent minutes in the first several games of the season, but quickly became a fixture on the bench before being relegated to the D-League (where he averaged a triple-double) and traded to Houston. Things didn’t get much better in Clutch City. He played in only 23 of his 103 games as a Rocket. He posted 15+ minutes in 6 of those games before being cut in mid-March. He was definitely getting picked up by someone. But who was going to take a chance on a guy that completely blew it in his first two NBA cities?

Enter the Sacramento Kings, who signed him to a 10-day contract. The Kings’ season was long over, so they had plenty of minutes to let him showcase his abilities. He took advantage right away, and was quickly signed for the rest of the year. He has played the 1, 2, and 3 for the Kings since he’s been there, and has actually spent most of his time bringing the ball up the court. He is beginning to look like the T-Will of his rookie season, which is great to see. He has averaged 9 points, 4 boards, and 3 assists in 22 minutes of primarily reserve play. He is still as flashy as ever, and he will make a highlight out of the simplest pass. He seems to be pulling it together, and things are looking up for T-Will to become a factor in the NBA. When given the minutes, he is one of the most fun players to watch in the league. Hopefully for T-Willy, he can get those minutes.

Slam Jam Bam

Beast Mode on Phoenix

Francisco Garcia – SF #32 – Sacramento Kings

Cisco Da Kid finished up his sixth season in the league, and the wily vet is entering the twilight of his career. Garcia was set up for a career year in 2009-10, but broke his arm during a freak weight lifting accident. Since that time, he has been unable to provide a huge impact on the Kings, where he’s been his entire career. This year, he provided spot bench minutes, getting 16 minutes a game. Unfortunately, the Kings are terrible, and he just isn’t the player he was a few years ago. He averaged his lowest total of his career, notching only 4.8 points per game. Garcia should have a place in the league for a few more years, but his time is definitely winding down.

Here’s Da Kid puttin a sky whoopin on Kobe

Earl Clark – PF #3 – Orlando Magic

Earl has struggled to find an identity as he closes out his third year as a pro. He played in 45 games for the Magic this year, but was able to grab some valuable minutes toward the season’s end due mainly to Dwight Howard’s injury. This gave him 20 minutes a game in April, where he was only able to manage 5 points and 4 rebounds a game during that time. He did record his first career double-double, scoring 14 points and 11 rebounds against Philadelphia on April 16th. Still, Clark’s days might be numbered in the NBA. He hasn’t been able to prove that he can give much value to a team. He has only scored in double figures 10 times in three years, and the only time he has notched double digit rebounds was in the aforementioned game against Philadelphia two weeks ago. At this point, I’d give Earl a 50-50 chance of getting another contract in the NBA. He might be better suited to head to Europe where he can get more playing time and likely make more money.

Double-Double Night

Samardo Samuels – PF #24 – Cleveland Cavaliers

Samardo puzzled everyone when he left after his sophomore season to go pro. His family certainly needed financial assistance, but he clearly was not ready to go against NBA competition. Draft scouts agreed, and the Jamaican big man was picked up as a free agent by Cleveland after going undrafted. He surprised people last year when he had 8 straight games in double figure scoring and was playing inspired basketball.

Going into the offseason, Cavs fans had right to be somewhat optimistic about his play, but he fell of a bit to start the season. After being unable to locate his passport, he was not allowed to travel with the team to Toronto for an early January matchup. This came on top of him being a bit out of shape, which put him in coach Byron Scott’s doghouse. He played 36 minutes in the 9 games that followed. He did come around at the end of the season, averaging 7 points and 4 boards in 18 MPG in April. I’m a bit more optimistic about Samardo’s future in the league than Earl’s, but he needs to put in some work this offseason. He will hang around a few more years, but unfortunately I don’t think he has the athleticism to defend or rebound over the 4 in the NBA.

He looks awesome in this mix from last year though!

Richie-Farmer-KY
Richie Farmer Has Had Better Days

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, UK fan favorite and basketball great Richie Farmer had a rough Monday. The results from a state audit conducted by the Department of Agriculture were released and it cast Richie in a not so flattering light. The report revealed what it called “a toxic culture of entitlement and self dealing at Kentucky taxpayers expense.” Some of the things the report allege:

  • A culture within the agency that provided a hostile work environment that punished employees for trying to do the right thing.
  • State employees on State time took Richie hunting, shopping, built a basketball court in his backyard, mowed his lawn, and chauffeured the family dog from Louisville to a family home.
  • A state employee drove Richie hunting where he illegally shot a deer from a state vehicle. He then directed the employee to field dress the deer for him.
  • Hosted “an extravagant conference” for less than 200 people that cost Kentucky  taxpayers $96,000.  Farmer ordered 13 rifles, rifle cases, knives, cigar boxes, shopping mall gift cards and watches for the conference.  He took most of the items home after the conference.
  • Using a Department of Agriculture worker to reserve hotel rooms near the state fair in the names of two employees that did not use the rooms.  The rooms were used by Farmer’s family members and cost taxpayers $4,257.
  • Misappropriation of $43,000 of state funds away from a ginseng program to purchase animal enforcement vehicles.
  • The Department of Agriculture purchased two 60 inch tv’s and wall mounts.  One was installed in a conference room and the other in Farmer’s office.
  • Farmer paid a former employee and friend more than $70,000 for work that was not performed.
  • Farmer paid his ex-wife’s cousin state money and provided use of a state vehicle. This person did not work for the state.
  • Spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on travel, dinners, drinks and cigars.

This is just a few of the findings of the 187 page report. The audit has been sent to the Kentucky Attorney General, Executive Branch Ethics Commission, IRS, Kentucky Department of Revenue, Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Personnel Board. Criminal prosecution has not been ruled out.
Link to the full report

Jones Brings UofL Cheerleader Flowers

(Photo By Maggie Ruper of WHAS-11)

Staying true to his word, Terrence Jones, delivered on his promise. If you all remember March 31st, Jones stated…

Louisville cheerleading coach Todd Sharp said Logue needed stitches before she could return to the court because the wound on the top of her head bled so much.

 

Jones had no idea he’d injured Logue in the first-half collision, but he was very apologetic after the game.

“Tell her I’m sorry,” Jones said. “I’ll drive down there and tell her myself with some flowers or something.”

 

Here’s the video of the actual play.

Jones has been amazing in his brief stint following his UK career. He’s stayed after hours to make sure everyone gets an autograph (sometimes 2 hours over the allotted time frame), excellent in the community and as stated above; he’s even backed up every promise. Continue to do BBN proud Terrence. I can’t wait to watch you in the league.

Anthony Conner- A Story of Recovery

October 21, 2011. The first quarter has left the University of Louisville in the lead 7-0 against Rutgers University. The second quarter begins with the familiar sounds of the roaring crowd and jingling cow bells. The referee blows his whistle and the clock begins to tick down as UofL punts the ball toward the Rutgers University receiving team.

The first two plays of the second quarter happen without flaw. Rutgers only gained two yards on their first play. Now it is second and eight and the cardinals are determined to keep the offense at bay. The quarterback yells the play, “set, set, hike!” He drops back and passes down the field to number 6, Mohamed Sanu. Sanu catches the ball and is flipped over by UofL’s number 35, Anthony Conner.

The lights in the stadium were bright but when Conner hit Sanu, everything went black. Immediately the bellows of the fans and the clamoring of the bells fell to a deafening silence. Conner was not moving. Coaches and trainers rushed to his side as both teams took to their knees.

“You better be hurt, Conner!” one coach jokes with Anthony. Everyone is trying to stay calm as they try to figure out how hurt their player is. Conner moves his fingers and toes- a miracle sign that he is not paralyzed. He is taken off the field in a stretcher to a round of applause from both UofL and Rutgers fans.

Conner did not believe his injury was as serious as it was when he woke up on the field. The first thought that went through his head was, “Whoa, this play is taking forever!” Because Conner could move his hands and feet, he came to the conclusion that he just had a cramp in his neck. UofL Athletics took the proper precautions, however, and took him to the hospital anyway. This proved to be a good move, because it turned out that Conner had broken his neck.

Five months and one broken neck later, Anthony Conner realizes that he is truly blessed to be alive and walking around. Coach Strong had always preached to his team that they must live for “today not tomorrow” and Conner understands the full meaning behind that now.

“Of course I was thinking ‘why me?‘“ Conner remembers. It did not take him long, however, to realize that he had to leave his situation in God’s hands and realize that he is luckier than most.

A year earlier than his own injury, Rutgers player Eric LeGrand suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed. When Conner got a phone call from him, he knew he couldn’t feel sorry for himself anymore.

“He was so positive and I could just hear the joy he still had, and this is a man who is paralyzed,” Conner said shaking his head. Conner decided then to look at his situation in a positive light and share his story with others.

Conner was planning on going to the next level after his experience at UofL, but he always kept it in the back of his mind that he needed an education in case something like this ever happened. With coaching offers from former UofL coach Steve Kragthorpe and Butte Community College and experience with motivational speaking, Conner’s “plan B” is turning out to be a good one.

“I’m a soft-spoken guy. [I]ts not how I am to speak loud but I want to tell my story and to help other people out,” Conner says about talking to high school football players around the country about his injury. He now preaches the importance of an education because he knows first hand what it is like to have everything ripped away from you in a single play. “I’m open to any opportunity that I can use my talents.”

It hasn’t been easy for Conner to watch his former teammates play in games and practice and know that he will never be able to get out there again, but he is proud of how far they came this past season. “It was bitter-sweet because I didn’t get to play in the Beef-O-Brady Bowl or the Belk Bowl, but I was happy to see my guys fighting and coming together like that,” Conner says with a smile.

This fall, the Cardinals will play seven games in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and five games away. Conner believes this team will be able to go all the way and be single Big East Champions (last season they were co-champs) and even have a chance to win the Orange Bowl. “We aren’t regressing. . . We have a lot of talent that has grown up,” Conner says.

October 11, 2011. A day that will be both devastating and motivating for Anthony Conner and the UofL cardinals. Although he won’t be on the field with the Cardinals physically, Conner will always be a motivating factor that will be with the UofL football team forever.