4:53 PM AKST, February 8, 2013
Running off at the typewriter. …
Kobe Bryant says Dwight Howard needs to learn to play with pain and cares too much about what the fans and media say about him. Translation: Dwight is a soft, insecure baby who isn't willing to put it all on the line for the sake of the team. Wow, it didn't take long for Kobe to perfectly peg Dwight, did it?
And it's not just Kobe who is taking shots at the former Magic Dwightmare. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni is obviously frustrated with his big man's inability to suck it up and play with some pain in his shoulder. Before Dwight finally agreed to take the court during Thursday's 116-95 thrashing at the hands of the Celtics, D'Antoni said Dwight has been medically cleared to play "for awhile" but chose not to. Translation: Dwight Howard has turned into Dwight Coward.
The Lakers better be careful or they might end up like the Magic when former coach Stan Van Gundy pulled the curtain back last season and revealed to us the real Dwight Howard. A few days later, Dwight shut it down, bolted to L.A. to have back surgery and hasn't been seen in Orlando since.
My prediction: Dwight comes full circle, flies back to Orlando to have shoulder surgery and the Lakers never see him again.
Short stuff: Can you believe the mother of Fort Lauderdale running back recruit Alex Collins confiscated her son's letter-of-intent so he couldn't sign with Arkansas? I've always said there's no better way to show your kid that you love him than a maternal signing day decommitment. … Did you see where the makers of Monopoly are trying to modernize the popular board game so it relates more to today's current culture? For instance, in the Orlando version of the game, violators no longer go directly to jail; they go directly a Magic-Bobcats game. … Jay Leno: "People are still trying to figure out why the power went out Sunday at the Super Bowl. Today they found out the reason. Turns out China cut off the electricity for nonpayment of our bill." … David Letterman: "A power outage during Super Bowl Sunday in Louisiana — but don't worry. FEMA said they will be there no later than Thursday." … Conan O'Brien: "After the Super Bowl, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco announced his wife is pregnant. Apparently he went against NFL rules and impregnated the woman that he is married to." …
Speaking of marriage, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler reportedly proposed to his fiancée via text message and then mailed her the engagement ring. Geez, I'll bet she can hardly wait for the virtual honeymoon and then consummating the marriage via phone sex. … Lindsey Vonn wrecked her knee at the World Championships. Will President Obama now think long and hard about allowing his daughters to snow ski? … Love Beyonce. She's talented and beautiful, but her performance at the Super Bowl wasn't a halftime show; it was an aerobics class. … The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new logo to supposedly signify a new era. Quote from owner Shad Khan: "If the Jacksonville Jaguars are truly to experience a rebirth, it was time for a new logo. It's our new symbol for a new generation." Puh-leeze. You know what a new logo symbolizes? It's a symbol of a money grab so a 2-14 team can sell more merchandise and T-shirts emblazoned with the new logo. ... Now that Ray Lewis has retired, I hear he's looking forward to spending a lot more time with Urban Meyer's family. … And, by the way, did you see where the Ravens will be building a statue of Lewis in Baltimore? I'm just wondering if he'll be depicted obstructing a ballcarrier during the Super Bowl or obstructing justice during a murder investigation? ... Last word: I'm not saying Nick Saban is the best recruiting salesman in college football, but word is he once sold acupuncture to a porcupine and screen doors to a submarine captain. …
Don't forget, you can click on OrlandoSentinel.com and read the wildly popular Open Mike blog and interactive extravaganza to get my freshest takes on what's happening in the world of sports. Here's an updated blog item on how former University of Florida and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has taken his SEC recruiting philosophy to the Big Ten:
It shouldn't come as any surprise that Urban Meyer brought in one of the top recruiting classes in the country to Ohio State.
First of all, Ohio State is a storied, tradition-rich program that invests a lot of money and resources into recruiting. But secondly, as renowned national recruiting analyst, Tom Lemming points out, Urban Meyer has taken an ultra-serious SEC recruiting mentality to the Big Ten. This is why Meyer will dominate recruiting in that conference for years to come.
"A lot of coaches take golf and speaking engagements seriously. A lot of head coaches do not (take recruiting seriously)," Lemming said when I asked him about Meyer's recruiting acumen. "In the Southeastern Conference, they do (take it seriously) because if they don't, they're going to get buried quickly. Across the rest of the country, a lot of the other head coaches don't have the same philosophy as Urban Meyer, who, like most of the coaches in the SEC, recruits 365 days a year. I've said this somewhat as a joke but it's somewhat true, too: 'Show me a coach whose hobby is golf and is a prolific golfer and I'll show you a coach who is not a great recruiter.' Recruiting has to be your hobby if you want to win."
Meyer himself even ruffled some feathers when we went on a Columbus radio station and essentially told other Big Ten coaches that they need to step up their game.
"It's not only important, it's essential. It has to happen," Meyer said. "And I don't know enough about what goes on in the other (Big Ten) programs. I know I have a lot of respect for the tradition and the historical success they've had, but as a conference we need to keep pushing that envelope to be better. … When you see 11 of the SEC teams are in the Top 25 in recruiting, that's something we need to continue to work on and improve."
Meyer is right. It should tell you something when Vanderbilt and Ole Miss have more highly ranked recruiting classes than all but two schools in the Big Ten.
Need we say more?
(Most interesting reader retorts, radio rabble, tangy tweets and message-board mockery of the week):
On the Jaguars getting a new logo: "They forgot to change the Jacksonville to Los Angeles. Or is that next year's logo change?"
On my column about Orlando building the Disney Dome and hosting a Super Bowl: "Let's get this done. I'll coordinate the first bake sale!"
On my blog about how the Gators would have a 25 percent chance of beating the Magic in a one-and-done format: "Hey, Mike, Arkansas (crushed) the Gators. Does this mean the Razorbacks would have a 75 percent chance of beating the Magic?"
In honor of National Signing Day, three of my favorite quotes about college football recruiting:
Former Georgia Southern coach Erk Russell on paying recruits: "We don't cheat. That cost too much money."
Former Purdue coach Alex Agase on why he never recruited players from California: "Any kid who would leave that wonderful weather is too dumb to play for us."
Former Maryland Gov. Theodore McKeldin in response to Queen Elizabeth when she inquired prior to a North Carolina State-Maryland game, "Where do you get all those enormous players?": "Your Majesty, that's a very embarrassing question."
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