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.

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!

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.

Per Sources…

Per Chad Ford’s latest blog entry, Anthony Davis, Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones will all declare for the NBA draft “soon“. Link (insider account required).

Anthony Davis, to me and the rest of civilization, is an absolute lock for the overall #1 pick. Regardless of who is the actual winner of the lottery. Coming back to school for AD, while we’d all love it, would be nothing more than a risk of an injury. His one year of college basketball is something you or I will never forget. Retire his jersey now!

MKG — What can I say? It makes perfect sense for him to leave also. The kid has an unbelievable motor and projected as a top 5 pick (most places have him suited as #2). He too, would be “rolling the dice” with a return to College basketball. Go pursue your dream MKG and trust me, all of BBN will be follow you like a stalker for the rest of your career. I do believe, however, he’d have a 70% chance for a return if #8 never happened.

Terrence Jones, like Mark stated earlier, has played himself into the end of the Lottery selection (13-16). I can’t see him improving his draft stock much more by sticking around for another year at Kentucky. If he continues to play with that fire he developed towards the end of the year, the sky is the limit for Mr. Jones. I’m not 100% sure what position he’ll play at the next level though. I would assume PF, but he has the ability to knock down the three, albeit, an extremely slow release. He still showed he can consistently knock it down. I wish him nothing but the best and I believe I speak for the rest of BBN, he’s making the correct decision also.

Good luck gentlemen and thank you for everything you’ve done for the University of Kentucky.

Now we wait to hear from Teague and Lamb……

My gut says, Teague stays and Lamb leaves (widely reported of his desire to play in the NBA). I’m not sold on Lamb at the next level though (yet), mainly because a shooter is a dime a dozen, he’s slightly undersized for a 2 guard and needs to work on being a floor general (best chance to succeed). Personally, I think both kids should stay because another year would do wonders for their maturity and draft status (weak PG/SG class). The moment we hear something, we’ll report it though. The Teague family, is expected to meet next week and decide together. Remember Jeff (Marquis’ older brother), stayed two years at Wake Forest before declaring. So a return is highly likely.

Basketball is Over. What Now?

In the Bluegrass State, sports season is seven months long. Spanning from the beginning of September to the end of March (the early part of April if you’re lucky), college sports fans in the Commonwealth enjoy non-stop action. When basketball season ends however, there is the great five month lull until football season. Spring football can only tickle our soft spot for a day, followed by a very minor ripple effect of news tidbits coming out the few days following the Spring Game.  Sure, the NBA is just heating up, but that only lasts until June. The Derby is right around the corner, baseball fans have their thing, golf is nice to watch when you’re taking your Sunday afternoon nap, and I guess NASCAR is fun for Cats fans.

But let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s U of L. It’s UK. And we organize our lives around the Cards or the Cats. During this five month sports drought, we have to cherish the little things as they come around. For now we are wanderers looking for the oasis on our long journey back to the land of milk and honey. These oases come in the form of new recruit signings, speeches from coaches, and highlight compilations from the previous year. It’s all we have at this point, and we gobble them up like savages when they release.

Cards fans, start your Friday right with a pair of oases. Here’s an AWESOME highlight video from last year’s football Cards. If this doesn’t get you pumped, you hate Charlie Strong. Follow this up with a T-Will highlight reel. TTTT Willy is looking to revitalize his career with the Kings, and the man is ballin. He’s been averaging 10 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists in his last five games with the Kings. He had 11 pts, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals in 24 minutes last night.