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Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 02/11/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, February 11, 2011.

Sloan’s long tenure comes to end - Coach resigns after 23 seasons at helm of Jazz.  Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan stepped down Thursday after 23 seasons and 1,127 wins at the helm of the Utah Jazz, saying he simply ran out of energy to coach anymore.  “I had a feeling this time was the time to move on,” an emotional Sloan said during a Thursday news conference. “(That’s) a long time to be in one organization. Again, I’ve been blessed. Today is a new day. When I get this over with, I’ll feel better. My time is up and it’s time to move on.”  Sloan ranks third all time in NBA wins (1,221) behind Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332). He is the only coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games with one team, a feat he accomplished Nov. 7, 2008, against Oklahoma City. Sloan’s other wins came with the Chicago Bulls from 1979 to 1982.  Longtime assistant Phil Johnson also resigned, surprising even Sloan during their postgame chat Wednesday night with general manager Kevin O’Connor.  “I came with him and I’ll leave with him,” the 69-year-old Johnson said Thursday.    READ MORE

Ray Allen eclipses Miller as NBA's 3-point king - Ray Allen broke the NBA record for 3-pointers on Thursday night, sinking two in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers as the man he passed, Reggie Miller, sat courtside working the TV broadcast.  Allen hit his second 3 of the game with 1:48 left in the first quarter to reach 2,561 in his career - a number that flashed on the scoreboard in green and white while the TD Garden erupted in applause.  The 38-year-old Celtic celebrated little as he got back on defense, but at the next whistle went over to Miller for a hug and a handshake, then bumped fists with Lakers star Kobe Bryant.   READ MORE

Rapid React: Nuggets 121, Mavs 120 - How it happened: Dirk Nowitzki didn’t deliver with the game on the line. Arron Afflalo did.  That's what a wild West shootout came down to. That's how the Mavs' 10-game winning streak died in Denver.  Afflalo had 19 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper off the dribble over Shawn Marion at the buzzer. That provided the game-winning points because Nowitzki split a pair of free throws on the previous possession.    READ MORE

Dallas 120, Nuggets 121 "4th Quarter Matters The Most" - With the Arron Afflalo dagger, the Mavs fell from their lead at the buzzer to lose the game. A significant factor to this loss can be contributed to Dirk's missed free throw with less than a minute to play. No defensive presence by Dallas, as well as Denver, albeit not as bad as Dallas, can also be cited as a loss. These are the losses that are biting the Mavericks in their behind, and the team needs to find a way to close games out so that they will be able to survive in the playoffs, if they make it there.   READ MORE

Mavs' Mark Cuban downplays XLV woes - Mark Cuban snickered about all the drama surrounding the Super Bowl XLV seating screwup and made a strong prediction that the NFL's championship game would return to Cowboys Stadium as soon as possible.  "I guarantee you without any doubt in my mind that they will come back the minute they are able to," said Cuban, the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a man known to speak his mind. "There is just too much upside. You have these little bumps and bruises. That ain't [expletive]."   READ MORE

What To Watch For As The Rockets Approach The NBA Trade Deadline: The Basics - Amidst all of the rumors that are bound to swirl around the Rockets in the next two weeks leading up to the February 24th trade deadline -- no doubt thanks to the media's rather unnecessary propensity to report any one of Daryl Morey's countless inquires into opposing rosters -- it's best if we keep a level head about all of this trade deadline talk and take note of the following pointers before doing anything else:  1. The Rockets will probably end up surprising us. Nobody saw Ron Artest coming. Everyone thought Kevin Martin was untouchable in Sacramento. Jordan Hill blindsided everyone and so did Courtney Lee. The only pattern in Morey's moves is that, for whatever reason, he continues to swing deals with either current or former Sacramento Kings. That's the only empirical data you'll find on the subject.   READ MORE

Aaron Brooks Pouts When Houston Rockets Need Him Most - Kyle Lowry parked himself between the mid-court logo and the arc and dribbled down the clock.  With eight seconds remaining, he decided more than one player should touch the ball on the Rockets' potential game-winning possession Saturday night against the pesky Memphis Grizzlies.  So he passed to Chuck Hayes, double-teamed at the right elbow.  Hayes, in a frantic, what-the-hell-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-this-thing moment, flung it to Luis Scola, who missed a contested buzzer-beater from 22 feet.   READ MORE

Adelman can sympathize with decision - Rockets coach Rick Adelman was stunned with the news that Jerry Sloan was stepping down. He did not see it coming, did not know why and had seen no changes in the Jazz coach when the Rockets were in Salt Lake City last week.  Yet after nearly as many years as a coach himself, he understood.  "It's a tough business; it's really tough," Adelman said of his friend and former teammate's decision. "When you've been doing it long enough, you're always thinking about what you should do in the future. Anybody that has been doing it for over 30 years and getting up there in age, you think about things.  "There must be something going on. He's a very strong-minded individual so something happened for him to decide to do this. He doesn't let a whole lot of people influence what he's going to do."   READ MORE

At 44-8, Spurs won’t settle for just winning - For Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, the first 52 games of the season have played like his own personal Groundhog Day.  Every night, he dispatches the same starting lineup, uses mostly the same rotation, calls mostly the same plays, usually watches another Spurs’ victory, then goes home and eats dinner. Ho hum.  “It’s like I don’t have a job anymore,” Popovich said.  Popovich, it seems, has discovered a downside to a 44-8 record.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs news and notes: 76ers respect the Spurs, Duncan sings Bob Marley, and more - The San Antonio Spurs will next face the Philadelphia 76ers on their Rodeo Road Trip and 76ers' coach Doug Collins has nothing but respect for the Spurs.   READ MORE


Macdonald is Back - According to Baseball America's latest transaction listing, James Macdonald is active again in the Astros organization.   READ MORE

Astros sign three to one-year deals - The Astros signed three players Thursday to one-year contracts, agreeing to terms with first baseman Brett Wallace ($418,000) and right-handers David Carpenter ($414,000) and Jeff Fulchino ($467,000).    READ MORE

New deal gives Hamilton hope for lengthy stay - After agreeing to a two-year, $24 million contract on Thursday, Josh Hamilton expressed hope that a much longer deal is in his future. "I want to be here for a long time," he said.    READ MORE

Trade prospects dwindling for Rangers, Young - Texas in 'same situation' since infielder requested deal.  The Rangers' chances of accommodating infielder Michael Young's request for a trade are not looking good and industry sources say there is a growing chance that he will still be with the team in Spring Training.  Young said Monday that he has asked the Rangers to trade him, but his partial no-trade clause stipulates there are only eight teams he will approve a trade to: Rockies, Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Twins, Cardinals and Astros.    READ MORE

Shaun Rogers Would Be A Great Fit In Dallas - The Cleveland Browns recently released veteran nose tackle Shaun Rogers. People instantly started mentioning the obvious connection between he and Cowboys new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who previously coached Rogers in Cleveland.   READ MORE

2011 Cowboys Gab NFL Draft Scouting Report – OLB Akeem Ayers - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6’4 255.  Position Ranking: #1.   Strengths: Played both defensive end and outside linebacker at UCLA; took an equal amount of snaps at both spots. Has good measurables and his overall skill set translates well to a 3-4 OLB, 4-3 OLB, and 4-3 end. His wide and solid frame allows for additional weight if necessary. Good initial quickness off the snap to win the corner in his pass rush from the end position; bends the edge and flattens down smoothly to close- a consistent threat to get to the quarterback. Shows the strength to jolt tight ends off the snap and contain the edge in run support.   READ MORE

The Collectivity of Cowboys Fans: Big D's Big Debacle - Hey there, clear-headed Dallas Cowboys compadres.  I would like to commiserate about the collective fanbase of the only team to sport the logo of a superhero (Captain America's star).  Okay, I know the star is not the same as Cap's, but are not the Dallas Cowboys America's Team, thereby revealing Jason Garrett as the true life Captain America?    READ MORE

Texans draft watch: OLB Justin Houston - Continuing our draft watch series, we move down the draft board slightly and take a look at Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston.  With their conversion to a 3-4 defense, linebacker will be (or at least should be) a priority for the Texans in the 2011 draft.  Connor Barwin has never played the position.  DeMeco Ryans is coming off major injury,  Kevin Bentley and Zac Diles have expiring contracts, and it's yet to be seen whether Brian Cushing will be a better fit inside next to DeMeco or outside strongside.   READ MORE

Taking Titans job tough call for Matthews - "Bruce Matthews said he struggled with his decision to leave the Texans for the Titans, but the opportunity to work with his best friend and coach his son was too good to pass up. Matthews signed a two-year contract Wednesday to coach Tennessee's offensive line under new coach Mike Munchak, who was promoted to replace Jeff Fisher this week. Matthews and Munchak are former Oilers teammates who became best friends. Matthews' second-oldest son, Kevin Matthews, is a center for the Titans. Kevin Matthews played at Texas A&M and was on Tennessee's practice squad most of his rookie year. "I was very happy with the Texans, and I know they're headed in the right direction.   READ MORE

Bellard remembered for vast footprints left on college football - Former A&M, Texas coach considered the 'father of the wishbone offense'.  Emory Bellard was a head football coach at Texas A&M and Mississippi State, but he's remembered most for the revolutionary offense he created while he was an assistant at the University of Texas. Bellard the father of the Wishbone died early Thursday in Georgetown.  Bellard, 83, had been battling Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS. Funeral services are pending. A celebration of Bellard's life will be held Feb. 19 in Georgetown at a time and place to be determined.    READ MORE

MBB Puts Series Win Streak On Line at No. 3 Texas - Saturday's 235th series meeting will tip at 3:05 p.m. CST on ESPN.  QUICK HITS  • Baylor (16-7, 6-4) will put its four-game series win streak on the line against one of the nation’s best defenses Saturday against 3/3 Texas (21-3, 9-0) in Austin.  • Saturday marks the 235th series meeting — the most-played rivalry for both schools.  • After enduring a 24-game losing streak to the Longhorns, Baylor has won four straight over Texas, including an 80-77 OT win in Austin last season.    READ MORE

Jerry Gray: Is he or isn’t he? - Longhorns’ new defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, the top target of new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak to become his defensive coordinator for the NFL team, addressed the subject — sort of — in an appearance Thursday at the Austin Longhorns Club.  A substitute speaker for UT basketball coach Rick Barnes, who was delayed in returning from Texas’ victory at Oklahoma Wednesday night, Gray was asked at the luncheon if he is moving.   READ MORE

SMU announces 2011 football schedule; opens season against Texas A&M - SMU, coming off consecutive bowl appearances, announced its 2011 football schedule Thursday, highlighted by the opener at Texas A&M, the Mustangs’ first trip to Kyle Field since a 66-8 loss in 2005.  The nonconference schedule also includes Rose Bowl champion TCU and Northwestern State, an FCS team coached by SMU alumnus Bradley Dale Peveto. The Demons replaced Baylor, which had to adjust to the Big 12’s new nine-game conference schedule.    READ MORE

TCU turns down shot at Rose Bowl rematch with Wisconsin - It appears Wisconsin was itching for a football rematch with TCU.  Badgers coach Bret Bielema said on a Wisconsin radio show last week that TCU turned down a chance to play the Badgers in Madison, Wis., in the 2011 season opener.  "I was contacted a week and half after the bowl game about the opportunity to play TCU in our opener," Bielema told The Mike Heller Show. "It was something that was going to be broadcast and made a big deal. It took me all of about .5 seconds to say yes."  A third party, likely a TV network, contacted both schools, including TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte about the Rose Bowl rematch.  TCU declined the offer for several reasons, Del Conte said.   READ MORE

A&M will join SEC within 5 years ... or whenever UT decides to go independent - Columnist Kevin Sherrington answered your questions in a chat Wednesday. Here are some highlights.  Collin asks ... Do you think Texas can be a Final Four team or is it just a weak year in the not so Big 12?  Kevin Sherrington: If it's anything like football, it must be contagious. Texas has really surprised me with its defense and toughness. We'll see how it holds up long-term.   READ MORE

An early look at the issues Sun Belt teams face heading into spring - We have a while to go before spring practice opens, but I came across a rundown of all the teams in the Sun Belt and the issues they need to address in spring practice.  In an interesting side note, UNT starts practice March 23, later than every team in the Sun Belt other than Florida Atlantic.  I thought Mike Huguenin over at Rivals.com hit most of the high (or low) points with UNT. He said UNT has to rebuild its linebacker corps, find at least a couple of defensive linemen who can make some plays. Find a quarterback, revamp its offensive line and instill some toughness on defense.   READ MORE

Rice football: Coaching staff complete - Here is a look at the changes to the Rice football coaching staff.  READ MORE

Landry, Dyson Spark Second-Half Surge in Rout of Rice, 71-51 - Cougars claim 10th-straight victory to remain perfect in C-USA play. Porsche Landry scored 20 of her game-high 22 points in the second half to help the University of Houston women's basketball team pull away for a 71-51 victory over Rice Thursday evening at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars claimed their 10th-consecutive win to improve to 19-4 overall and 10-0 in Conference USA action.   READ MORE

Defenses are setting the tone for Big 12 basketball this season - Midway through Big 12 Conference play, Jordan Hamilton’s 20 points against Texas A&M last week arguably stands as the best overall performance thus far.  Huh?  Fans who enjoy 1-0 pitching duels would understand.  The buzz last Monday night in College Station was more about Hamilton’s defense than his 7-of-14 shooting. Matched against Khris Middleton most of the game, Hamilton dominated the Aggies forward on one end of Reed Arena while leading Texas to a 69-49 blowout on the other end.   READ MORE

Stars-Blackhawks Preview - Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars.  Friday, February 11 - 7:30 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Southwest.  Radio: KTCK.  About the Stars:  The Stars’ winless streak out of the All-Star break hit four games (0-3-1) with a 3-2 overtime loss to Phoenix Wednesday at American Airlines Center.   READ MORE

Stargazing: Marty Turco To Start Friday in Dallas - Marty Turco will finally make his first start against the Dallas Stars when the Chicago Blackhawks make their first visit to the American Airlines Center this season on Friday. Turco did not start in either game the Stars played in Chicago this year (one win, one loss).  ESPN Chicago says Turco is to be honored before the game but I think we can all agree that Dallas fans should be honoring him themselves either way. A Dallas draft pick and a product of their system, he played over 500 games in a Stars uniform and provided fans with countless fond memories both on and off the ice.   READ MORE


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