Monday, April 25, 2005

Should Jackson return, O'Neal got burned

According to, former Lakers coach Phil Jackson will meet with Kobe Bryant later in the week which could potentially lead to Jackson's return to the bench at the Staples Center. In his book "The Last Season" Jackson had refered to Kobe as difficult to coach.

If I remember correctly, only three days after losing game 5 to the Pistons in last summer's NBA finals Jackson and Lakers owner Jerry Buss "mutually agreed" that he would no longer be the coach. It's no secret though that Jackson had told Buss that he could no longer coach Kobe, so one of them would have to be gone by next season.

When Jackson left, the big Aristotle - perenial all-star center Shaquille O'Neal - demanded to be traded, questioning the decision of Buss to get rid of "the man." With O'Neal's Heat holding the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, Shaq - along with Dwayne Wade - is in position to win a fourth championship.

But simply being in position doesn't mean a thing.

While he was here, Shaq owned Los Angeles. And it's not like the fans dislike him now that he's gone.

If Phil Jackson were to return to the Lakers after a season off, there will be no one more frustrated than Shaq. What would have been the point of O'Neal's trade to Miami? There wouldn't have been a point. Shaq demanded a trade because of two key reasons: 1) he was upset with the Lakers' decision to get rid of Jackson, who O'Neal in an interview with ESPN refered to as "the man"; and 2) he couldn't get along with Kobe Bryant.

Something tells me that if Jackson would have stuck around and been able to work things out with Kobe, Shaq would have stuck around and not switched coasts and conferences.

"We could be in the fucking playoffs right now," said my Laker-fan roommate Brad. "Even a disfunctional Kobe and Shaq could make the playoffs."

With Phil and Kobe, yeah the Lakers are a playoff team, but with Phil, Kobe and Shaq they are an automatic championship contender. So what was the point of this season off? If Phil comes back, what the hell was the point of this past season?

Did he have something to prove? Did Phil just want to take a year off to show that Kobe was wrong in order to go back to a situation where he can now say "I told you so!"? That doesn't make any sense.

If Phil returns to the Lakers for the 2005-06 season, it will be the biggest waste of a season and biggest missed opportunity I have ever seen. This past season, the Lakers finished so far out of the playoffs that they were just happy to be the best team at the Staples Center - and for the Lakers, that's not acceptable. If Phil had decided to co-exist with Kobe (which from the looks of this meeting he is apparently now willing to do) after last season, Shaq most likely would have stayed. That's an automatic championship contender.

Instead, Phil would be returning to a team whose coach (Rudy-T) quit before the all-star break and whose superstar is just now figuring out how tough it is to be "the man" without "the big man." I don't know if that's an ideal fit for Jackson or not, but I do know that if he does decide to return, I'd have to plan my life around next season's Lakers-Heat match ups to see how Shaq handles it.


This past week, with the NFL draft occupying most of my attention, I was so focused on all the Trojans being drafted, or the picks of the Dallas Cowboys, that I didn't even notice one man who was left OUt of the whole thing: former Sooner QB Jason White. White, a two-time title game loser was one of 16 Sooners who entered the draft, but he was not one of the 11 actually drafted.

Okay, maybe teams just weren't willing to gamble a draft pick on a prove choke-artist (and Sooner fans, don't disagree with me because if you're still in denial about the past TWO seasons' title games, you clearly can't be helped). Look at White's college stats, they are fantastic. But the stats don't show the two biggest collapses a player could have. As if that wasn't bad enough, what about the K-State game. Also a big-time choke-show!

Even USC backup QB Matt Cassel - who never started a game in his collegiate career - was drafted by the NFL Champs, the Patriots in the seventh round. Clearly, Cassel was seen as a better choice than White. I don't remember seeing Cassel choking in the Orange Bowl. Are you listening Jason?

Granted, I was pretty surprised to see White go undrafted, but not as surprised as I was to see that NFL teams were more impressed with career backups like Cassel (which is what he'll be doing for Tom Brady, so it's a perfect fit).

And don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm trying to rip on Cassel. Hell, he made it to the big show without ever taking a starting snap while at USC.

Isn't it amazing what three lousy loses will do to a guy? Just three loses of Jason White's collegiate career may have cost him a shot at the NFL. I'm sure someone will pick him up as an undrafted rookie, and - who knows - he may even go on to have a decent NFL career. But for those three loses, White is left with a lifetime of wondering "what if...?"

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Day 3 - UCLA sucks

In the first round of the Division I gold bracket, the USC club volleyball team suffered a tough three-game loss at the hands of UCLA.


The third game was knotted at 8 each when a crucial, momentum-killing play took the wind out of our sails. On a freeball, our middle drew the UCLA blocker and left our outside hitter with a one-on-one situation. As he jumped up to hit, I noticed in my peripheral vision a ball rolling onto our side of the court - nowhere near any of our guys - as we all charged in to cover the hit.

Our outside hitter, ripped the ball down off the arms of a bruin passer, who shanked it off his arms, over the dividing netting and out of bounds. Meanwhile, the down-ref, just after the ball hit the passer's arms, blew his whistle to stop the play because the ball on the court. He was calling for a replay.

After two days of the tournament, and a few tough calls, it was told to us that a ball not affecting the play would not be ruled a replay, however, after a conference with the down-ref, the up-ref overturned his previous call (giving us the point) and called for a replay. We lost the next point along with most of our momentum.

We hung tough after the replay call but lost 15-12 to our crosstown rival. The loss was difficult to take, but we had made it to the gold bracket - which most of the team viewed as a great accomplishment after last years winless performance.

Who knows what next year will bring. Who knows if I'll even be on the team next year. Who knows what kind of team we'll have - we do lose both starting outsides, our defensive specialists, our coach, and potentially our setter. It should be interesting.

Who knows. Maybe I'll figure a way around my schedule and come back. Wouldn't that be somthing.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Day 2 results

Here are results from the challenge round we played this morning. We played Rutgers at 8:00 a.m. and defeated them in two games.

After the early match, we played a pool with San Diego State and Utah Valley. San Diego State confused our team with a mop, so they wiped the floor with us, including a 25-8 loss in the first game. Immediately after the loss, we played Utah Valley in a three-game thriller.

After splitting the first two games, it came down to the final points. With the score notted at 16, our setter Kyle roofed Utah's big outside hitter. We won the next point to take the match.

With Utah Valley's loss to San Diego State, we advanced to the gold bracket. Tomorrow morning we will be playing - go figure - UCLA in the first round of the gold bracket.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Day 1 results

After one day of the national volleyball tournament, the USC men's club volleyball team is 2-1. We dropped our first match to Marquette, the second seed in the tournament, losing 15-13 in the deciding third game.

We won our second match and third matches, both in two games, to take second place in our pool. We play tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. in a challenge pool to see if we can get into the gold bracket.

Click here for the results from today's pool

((Tournament Website))

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

End of the road

Tomorrow I leave for what may very well be my last volleyball tournament. After a dismal year with the club team, and with virtually no chance of being able to get back to the NCAA team, I'm probably through with volleyball.

Yeah, I enjoy the game, but it hasn't been the same since July 2003 - the last time I took the court for the Addison Volleyball Club.

Since then, something's been missing. Maybe it's been "ma setta" Brennan,

or a shaggy-haired libero in the back row.

Or a 6'5" Ukranian who's never hit the ball past the 10-foot line, or a Belgian with a 40-inch vert. There's no 15-year-old middle blocker lost among 18-year-olds. There's no sea-walking Ryne. And there's certainly no Craig.

Eh, it's probably none of those things. It's most likely the lack of Roby, Randy and Shanks, the coaching trio that helped me even get to this level.

The game just hasn't been the same since playing next to those guys.

Next year, I'm stuck taking journalism classes when the club team usually practices, so even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to play for them. Like I said: even if I wanted to. At this point, I'm not so sure that I want to.

Nothing personal against those guys on the club team, but I don't feel I was given a fair shot at the beginning of the season for playing time. I know I was one of the top two middles on that team when the year started. Now, who knows. I'm probably not seeing as how I haven't played in a match for more than four points since January.

Before this season, I was never one to complain about coaching or playing time or anything like that. I just practiced hard, worked at my game, and hoped I'd be put in when game-time rolled around. That just hasn't been happening this season (which is probably why I've ended up griping about this season more than playing in it: The Stranded, No Practice, Clubbed over the head, Mismanagement).

I'll still probably play pick-up games back home with former AVC teammates, but it's just weird knowing I'll never be playing volleyball at a high level again.

Well, as my former tennis coach Pierre Craig once said, "When it's all said and done, it's over."

"Git down on it!"

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Just watch this

As painful as it is, make sure you see the Pacers highlight when he gets to it.

Piling it on

With the end of the semester looming, so are finals. At first, I was looking forward to this semester's finals because I have only one exam during finals week. The rest is all projects due in class. The only problem with that: they are all due the last week of class.

With three weeks to go in the semester, I have to turn in two broadcast journalism projects, one print reporting assignment, a computer-assisted reporting project, a marketing exam, a marketing final paper, a business communications case study on diversity, and a business communications exam. That doesn't include the political science final the week after classes end.

Yesterday I woke up and did 5 hours of solid work. I was so proud of myself ... until I realized I still had another 10 hours of crap to do (and none of it got done).

So today, it's back to work. I'll probably spend another good solid 5 hours working until I get distracted and don't finish. Great.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bad weekend for transportation

I moved my car to the main parking lot outside my apartment building in order to take chairs to Eddie's for the poker tournament. Between the time I moved my car (mid-day friday) and the time I left for the tournament (5:30 pm friday), some DPS officer was nice enough to leave a little present under my windshield.

Fuckin' ey.

How the crap do I get a ticket on a Friday afternoon just a few hours before it's legal for me to park in that lot. What the crap.

Well, yeah, that's bad, but it's only a $35 ticket. I can live with that. What I can't live with is the sight I saw this morning when I went outside to leave for my volleyball match. I walked down the stairs and realized something didn't seem right.

How depressing does that locked up tire look?

That's right. My bike frame got mad at me and left. Who steals a bike on daylight savings night when you have one less hour to get the job done? CRAP!

I think I'm gonna have to permenantly park the car and make a unicycle out of the tire for transportation, because clearly I am not ready for any other mode of transportation (plus if you steal a unicycle, you're a fuckin' loser).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The 2nd Poker Tournament

Once again, Eddie had organized a multi-table poker tournament at his apartment. Naturally, I went on over to play. I was hoping to have even half the success I had in the last poker tournament.

Once we got all the chips counted out for 24 people...

...we set up three tables.

I was hoping to repeat at champ.

The living room furniture was moved outside in order to accomodate all the tables. No one really seemed to care.

Let's get it started

Table 2 got set up and began to play.

Table 3 was stuck in Jeff and Eddie's bedroom. (L to R: Zach, Jordie, Brett, Daitch, someone I don't know)

Mike and Wang at Table 1

Dave (left) would be the first one out, while Mike and Karl would each make a run at the final table.

Over at table 1, I got dealt pocket 4s, which was great when a four came on the flop.

Mike decided he'd raise my bet.

Too bad I had no idea he was holding pocket kings. He also got three of a kind on the flop, putting me at a loss of chips early on.

He seemed to enjoy his success.

Also at table 1, "Pocket" (left) and Jim were battling it out over an early hand.

The river put a second seven on the table, but - more importantly - a fourth heart.

"Pocket" bet $4, a big bet for so early in the tournament. Jim decided to call...

No one was expecting Pocket to throw down four of a kind.

Table 3 - off in their own little corner of the world - was pretty equal across the board.

Pocket continued to rake in everyone else's chips, taking the early chip lead at table 1.

The First Elimination

Back on table 2, Dave thought he might be able to take a big lead with his A-3...

...but he ended up at the first one eliminated, losing to a pair of jacks with only a pair of threes.

But he didn't take it too bad.

With Dave gone, Mike was randomly selected to move to table 2 in order to balance out the number of people at each table.

The flop and turn combined for four clubs over on table 1, with the high card king on the table. Jim, Arjan and I played the hand.

I just happened to be holding the Ace of clubs.

Both Jim and Arjan bet big. Arjan held the 3 of clubs while Jim had the queen.

But I took the pot with the ace-high flush. Little did I know that wins like this would be rare for me on this night.

Back on table 2, Mike began stocking up on a few chips.

And on table 3, Daitch (center) was getting beat.

Back on table 1, I had won my second big hand of the night with another flush - again clubs.

But it was Mike on table 2 who was the first to cash in for a $5 blue chip. Eddie, on the other hand, was either (a) disappointed, or (b) blowing his nose into his hands.

Pat was flirting with elimination on table 1, but managed to stick around for a little while.

On table 2, Karl didn't seem to be himself. He was winning! He would go on to make the final table.

His two pair gave him a big win.

Pat went all-in and won, doubling up from $4 to $8.

Karl got in on the blue-chip action, getting one of his own.

Late 1st Round

When more people were eliminated from table 2, I was the next random selection to switch tables. I left table 1, where I had a considerable amount of chips, to a table where I was playing with pennies. CRAP!

On table 1, Jim, Arjan, Wang, Pat, Vic and Pocket continued to fight for a spot in the next round of the tournament.

I faced off against Eddie when 3,3,4 came on the flop. I was holding 5,6 and needed just one more card for the straight.

I got the 7 I needed for the straight and took some of Eddie's money for my first win since switching tables. Eddie was less than thrilled.

Mike continued to keep his chip his chip count on the rise.

Karl won another hand and kept pace with the other big-money players at table 2.

Brandon emerged as the chip leader on table 3.

But Brett and Jordie weren't far behind.

On table 1, Jim's pocket aces helped him gain enough chips to secure his spot in the next round.

Meanwhile on table 2, I was struggling. I had plenty of red $0.25 chips, but in increasing blinds and the high-rollers at my table, I was hanging on by a thread.

Daitch and Arjan were both eventually eliminated, reducing the ROTC representation at the tournament to none.

Vic and Curtis were ousted as well.

Round 2

With only 16 people remaining, everyone was randomly assigned to a new table. With only two tables to go, and the top 9 making it to the final table, the poker tournament really began to take off.

I was put on table 1, along with Mike, Jim, Brandon, and a few other guys who had MANY more chips than me.

Mike put Jim all-in, and after taking some time to contemplate the decision to face elimintation, Jim decided to call.

Both Jim and Mike had King-6, so they split the pot.

Jeff returned home after a night out with the Accounting Society. You'd need a drink, too!

On table 1, Brandon was building a big stack of chips, but Mike wasn't far behind.

After getting bad hand after bad hand, I decided that Jack-9 suited would be a good enough hand to go all-in on.

I was wrong and was eliminated. I finished 10th, only one place away from the final table. After that, both tables merged and only nine players remained to compete for the money.

The Final Table

The final nine gathered around the table. Clockwise from left: Brett, Pocket, Jordie, Eddie, Mike1, Karl, Mike2, Brandon and Jim. Mike 1 (in the red) had only $2.50 in chips going to the final table. Had I held off a few more hands, he could have been eliminated at his table, putting me in the top nine. Instead, he was left to play with by far the least amount of chips of anyone at the table.

Mike eventually was the big blind and had to play his few chips. At one point he was down to 50-cents. He was basically done.

Mike ended up winning and staying in, but he still didn't have enough chips to truly compete with anyone else at the final table.

The Comeback Kid

Mike (pocket Kings) ended up facing off against Brandon (Ace-Queen). He won, and his once $0.50-chip stack grew some more.

Jim was able to win a big hand and keep his chances of finishing in the money alive.

Drinks anyone?

Bartender Jeff made a vodka and coke with lime for Brandon.

But when Brandon found out that Jeff didn't put that much alcohol in there, he asked more more.

Mike2 spilt his drink all over his pants.

Back to poker...

Brett and Pocket eventually lost, but Brett couldn't believe it when Mike1 was still at the table. How the hell did he manage to stay alive with so few chips?

The Comeback Kid Wins Again

But Mike was able to win again.

And again.

Brandon and Mike were the chip leaders at the final table.

At one point, the flop came A-A-A.

The turn gave Eddie a full house, Aces over 5s, so when Mike1 went all-in (again), Eddie called.

But Mike turned over pocket sevens, giving him a better full house.

Once again, Mike - a player who originally planned to watch Jim play but not play himself - had won another all-in hand. He was now legitimately in the game...and no one knows how it happened.

Eddie couldn't believe it!

So he did the only thing he knew that would help.

A Great Shirt

Kevin showed up wearing probably one of the funniest shirts I've seen in a long time.


With only seven left...

Karl, who had been up big, lost a crucial hand to Jim's pocket aces that all but eliminated him from the tournament.

Karl, whose three 9s were no match for Jim's three aces, was down to no more than three dollars in chips.

With seven people left at the table, and the top six getting paid, Karl went all-in on the next hand.

Karl threw down Queen-9...

But when Eddie caught a 2 on the river to go along with his pocket deuces, Karl's run at the money was over.

You are the weakest link. Goodbye.


With Karl eliminated, Mike - who at one point was down to 50 cents - was now guarranteed to win at least $30.

The rest of the guarranteed money winners included: Mike and Brandon...

...Jordie and Eddie...

...and Jim.

Mike shows everyone just how much he had at one point: two red chips.

Mike Ruvolo had earned himself plenty of chips at the final table.

Final Table Action...

Mike Ruvolo picked up pocket queen.

But Jim could have cared less about Mike's pocket queens.

The next hand put four clubs on the table.

Jordie didn't have a club.

But neither did Mike.

The legacy will live on

With the blinds increasing, Mike eventually got the cards he needed to make a stand and go all in.

Mike paired his queen on the flop, and everyone was ready for another amazing hand by the comeback kid.

Brandon and Jim had a side pot going.

Jim's two pair (Queens and eights) beat Mike's Queens and sixes and ended his miracle run.

Mike was done, but his legacy will live on.

He received a round of applause for his efforts from everyone still at the table.

And then there were five

Soon after Mike's elimination, Eddie found himself going all-in with King-Queen suited. While he paired his king on the flop, Brandon had pocket aces, and Eddie's chance to win his own tournament were once again cut short by his own brother.


Eddie accepted his money, but it was bittersweet. (For Jeff, it was just plain gay).

Final Four

Mike was sitting pretty with his Ace-Queen suited.

Mike and Brandon were betting big with only four players left in the tournament.

Mike got his straight A-to-10 and beat Brandon.

Jordie's all-in #1

Brandon, the chip leader, made a big bet and put Jordie all-in.

Jordie called with King-7.

Jordie paired both her king and her seven, beating Brandon's pair of sevens to stay in the game.

The blinds were increased to $5/$10 with only Jim, Jordie, Mike and Brandon remaining.

Jordie's all-in #2

Once again, with a short chip stack, Jordie went all-in.

Brandon called with King-Jack offsuit.

Jordie paired her ace on the flop and went on the win the hand to stay in the game.

Jordie's all-in #3

Brandon tried to force Jordie out of the game by putting her all-in again.

So Brandon bet big. Jim was like "DAMN!"

Brandon had pocket 9s but Jordie had an ace.

Jordie paired her ace and avoided elimination yet again.

This was in interesting flop. Too bad no one had an 8.

From four to three...

Jim, Brandon and Mik continued to bet big at the night went on.

Brandon put Jim all-in, and he called.

Jim knew he was beat, but he finished fourth in the tournament.

Jordie's all-in #4

After taking out Jim, Brandon felt like once again going after Jordie, so he put her all-in again.

And once again Jordie called.

JORDIE'S CARDS: Pocket 7's


Jordie was once again able to beat Brandon.

Hey Mikey

Mike, who had sat patiently while Brandon tried to eliminate Jordie numerous times, was ready to make his move. He got pocket jacks and went all-in.

Bradon called with King-Queen offsuit.

After the flop (9-2-8), Mike caught a third jack on the turn. The only out Brandon had was a 10 on the river for the straight.

Yet somehow Brandon managed to get that 10, eliminating Mike and leaving only himself and Jordie remaining from an original field of 24.

And then there were two

With only two players left, Brandon had around $400 in chips, at least four times what Jordie had in her stack.

First place would get $140 while second would receive $100.

Jordie managed to win several hands playing heads up against Brandon.

What's Eddie's deal?

At one point, Eddie (who took over dealing responsibilities when only four players remained) dealt a flop with the 10, King and 8 of diamonds.

The very next hand, Eddie dealt the EXACT same flop in the EXACT same order. Shuffle much?

Game Over

Eventually, Brandon's advantage as chip leader gave him the tournament championship as Jordie knew it was only a matter of time before the blinds and the cards would catch up with her.


By the time the tournament had ended, the sun was definitely making its way into the sky. It was 5:10 am.

Hit Counter

Everyone's visiting the NO JOSHIN' blog. Tell your friends to take a look!
Hit Counter