Just a few potential random schools to list off to join the Summit League

 

After it was announced that New Mexico State football would be leaving the Sun Belt Conference, their administration has mentioned that they would form a committee to research a move looking into a new conference for their Olympic sports.  Their administration mentioned The Big Sky as a conference that they have been in contact with, and one other unnamed conference.  The move would more than likely break up the WAC, which is just the worst anyway, so how about we open up a topic of: Could the Summit League be growing anytime soon.

Here are some potential schools that could join the Summit League as a 10th member from the WAC or just something at random I felt like bringing up.


New Mexico State 

Geographically there are conferences that would work out better for New Mexico State for their non-football sports.  The SWAC, Southland, Big West, Big Sky, and the West Coast Conference all come to mind as suitors for New Mexico State to join.  The Mountain West would too if the conference wanted to take on a 13th football member.  Have you heard Wichita State has thought of adding football and joining the Mountain West?  Oh wait, anyway…

You might be thinking that New Mexico State could be a travel partner with Denver, but really New Mexico State is a 9 hour drive from Denver.  This is a school that is currently in a conference with programs in Kansas City, Chicago, and Seattle; so Denver may not be all that far away really in their minds.  And Denver dream every week of joining a new conference.  They’re probably somewhere right now discussing about how moving to the Big West would be better than the Summit League.

The school is open to the possibility of moving to FCS in football and maybe the Missouri Valley would be the most competitive conference for them to move into than the Big Sky.  I have a friend who was a quarterback at Montana, and he said he would be against New Mexico State joining the Big Sky because it would put them at 15 teams with Idaho also joining the conference in 2018…and that is just too many damn teams.  Though, the back up quarterback for Montana in the early 2000s does not decide who joins or leaves the conference.  Or could he?  It could be like that terrible Swing Vote movie with Kevin Costner that only Kevin Costner and whatever family member he forced to go with saw.

Again, the Aggies joining the Summit is a long shot, but the school could really help improve baseball for the Summit League.  It would put the league at 7 baseball programs, and it is never bad for your conference to get more South and more West for baseball and softball recruiting.  Aggies Baseball is coached by Brian (not Austin) Green, who is a former assistant of Kentucky and UCLA.  He helped take the Aggies from a 10 win team to a 34 win team in baseball.


Northern Colorado

So maybe New Mexico State does join the The Big Sky and the conference does annoyingly have too many teams.  If that happens, some school may want to get out of the conference.  Maybe that school is Northern Colorado.  It would make sense.  Their football team could move to the Missouri Valley for football, wrestling would still be in the Big 12 with North Dakota State, and Denver would have a travel partner.  Again, Denver is apparently a wild card in remaining in the Summit League.

The Bears may not be the most competitive athletic program, but it works out as far as what sports they have to offer.  It would be hard for me to turn down a weekend trip to Colorado for the Mavericks versus the Pioneers and Bears.  A weekend of college basketball, and possibly NBA basketball, hiking, Illegal Pete’s breakfast burritos, breweries, and maybe some hockey.


UMKC

Really, why did they leave the Summit League?  I was a little pumped to get to Kansas City to see the Kangaroos and Mavericks play year after year.  There was a decent number of Maverick fans that made the drive when I went in 2013.  I don’t think I can turn down a short drive to see the Mavericks and the prospect of eating at Oklahoma Joe’s.  Now, I’ve got a shorter drive to look forward to get to Vermillion and eat at…Chick Fil-A is probably pretty exciting I guess.  I just crave their cups of expired fruit.

If the WAC did end up breaking up, I really do not see where else the Kangaroos could go.  Hold on, I just tried to think of how to compare the ridiculousness of UMKC asking to get back into the Summit League to my Trump loving uncle asking me for portions of spaghetti noodles in the 2020 American Civil War.

UMKC has very fan support.  The Kangaroos have under performed in basketball the last few years under Kareem Richardson.  Men’s soccer has a losing record in WAC games.  They have no baseball and no football.  Their main bargaining chip is that Kansas City is a pretty fun place, and I think we’re actually all okay with that.


Drake

Honestly, I just really think that the Summit League needs to go all in to get Drake to join the conference.  I have no idea what I mean “go all in” because I don’t know what the official conversations consist of when a conference invites a school to join.  Maybe we wave some fees?  Give them a post season tournament?  Buy them a steak?  Squeak a cute dog toy in their direction and say “cooooooommmmeeee onnnnn.”

I have never really heard of Drake being consistently competitive in anything in the Missouri Valley, and for some reason their football team plays in the Pioneer League?  Their women’s basketball, volleyball, and softball team have been okay the last few years, but nothing great.  Drake could consistently be in the top half of every sport in the Summit League.

The Bulldogs in the Summit could help recruit some more Iowa kids to the conference, and open up another place like Des Moines for Summit League championships.  I’m told that Des Moines is a great place by every boring person on the planet.


Central Arkansas

The Bears men’s basketball have not been eligible for post season play for the past two seasons due to APR penalties, so they may not be the most ideal program to add to the Summit League.  Russ Pennell actually seems like he could turn their basketball program around with a little time.  Other men’s teams are really not all that competitive, but their women’s teams are all pretty competitive in the Southland.  The women’s basketball team finished the season at 28-4 with a trip to the NCAA tournament; and tennis; softball; and volleyball all finished with winning records as well.

Central Arkansas may actually benefit from joining the Summit League than the Summit League would benefit from Central Arkansas joining the conference.  They could join the conference as a travel partner with Oral Roberts as they are only 3 hours away from Tulsa.  The closest Southland school to Conway, Arkansas is a 5 hour drive.  My initial feeling if Central Arkansas were to join the Summit League would be that the Denver fans would want out of the conference, but they find a new reason to get out of the Summit League every week.

By the way, they call their women’s teams the “Sugar Bears.”

 

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OT: My thoughts, hopes, and fears of the 2016 NBA Draft

Every year I tell myself that I am not going to watch the NBA Draft because it is so stupid, yet every year I find myself tuning in to see the first three picks and then I am just stuck on it for the entire evening.  I watched the 2000 NBA Draft while hanging out with a girl in my basement.  I have no idea what this girl’s intentions were with the 14 year old me, but I am absolutely positive she was disappointed to hang out in an air conditioned basement for several hours alone with me while I threw a fit for some time on how Marcus Fizer was going to have no business in the NBA, and I couldn’t truthfully make words come out of my mouth after the Celtics picked someone named Jerome Moiso at number 11.  That was one of the worst drafts, and that girl was just set up with disappointment from the beginning of inviting herself over to my house.

I do not get excited at all for the actual order of players picked.  Teams make terrible decisions based on fruitless data like: this guy is one inch too short.  I get more pumped up for the trades, and this 2016 NBA draft appears to be loaded with potential trades.  All top 5 teams have set out their intentions to make some deals on draft night.  I think the Sixers may be entertaining trades because they realize they want to take the high road and be thoughtful enough to not ruin just one more person’s life.

I’d love to be the guy that just yells into Mitch Kupchak’s ear that the Lakers should trade the number 2 pick for General Manager that knows what he is doing.  Most people day dream about living the lifestyle of a NBA player, but I fantasize about telling Steve Kerr that trading for Shaq was his worst decision as a General Manager; or telling David Kahn that he was the General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team and not the General Manager of the Target Center concession stands when he drafted Johnny Flynn.  Don’t forget, on top of drafting Flynn and Ricky Rubio over Steph Curry, the Timberwolves picked Ty Lawson at 18 but traded him for a future draft pick – which they ended up using to pick Luke Babbitt the following season.  They also took Wesley Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins in the 2010 draft.  Seriously, David Kahn…

Anyway, I am a lifelong Celtics fan, and the Celtics have a pretty bad history of drafting picks.  JEROME MOISO.  Sorry, I just randomly scream-type his names.  It’s a condition. Thanks a lot Rick Pitino, you’re a threat more serious than the Emperor to me. So, yeah, terrible draft history, but Danny Ainge has a done a solid job to make draft trades happen to get the best out of what he can.  This is probably a condition of his full intentions in the past of wanting the team to tank as much as possible, but Paul Pierce willing terrible rosters to be 7 or 8 seeds in the East.  As a Celtics fan, I clearly hate that the 76ers and the Lakers are picking in front of them…and I even have reasons for taking interest in what the Suns and Timberwolves will do at 4 and 5.  Here are some random fears, thoughts, and hopes for the NBA draft.

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers have been one of my least favorite times for as long as I can remember.  I’m not an overly religious person, but I used to pray a lot over a four year period that Kyle Korver would get traded to anyone else (but mainly the Celtics).  This was after I spent some time thinking that Rodney Buford just belonged there.  I have no idea what that comment is supposed to mean, so I welcome your suggestions.  Either way, we need to update Buford’s wikipedia page to reflect his new coaching position with the Omaha Chargers.

Even though I hate the 76ers, I fully understand how pivotal this draft is for the franchise and how huge of an opportunity Bryan Colangelo has in front of himself to instantly turn this franchise around.

The Sixers are taking Ben Simmons with the number one pick, and will have nearly 60 million dollars of cap space to play with.  With a front court of Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid – who has still yet to play an NBA game, and now Ben Simmons, the Sixers should be looking into trading one of these post players for an actual adult.

The Hawks are consistently in the rumor mill to trade one of their point guards.  Could a Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel for Jeff Teague be likely?  Or even throw something similar, yet more far fetched, to the Chicago Bulls for Derrick Rose.  Either of these two alone, with the addition Simmons, could improve Philadelphia from 10 wins to at least 20 in one year.

It’s not like one of these trades are the only options for the Sixers to get a point guard and some experience on their roster.  They could throw some money at Rajon Rondo, who almost no one else wants; Lance Stephenson, who I doubt the Grizzlies want back; Dion Waiters, who the Thunder probably wont be able to match qualifying offers for; Eric Gordon, who could probably be pretty cheap to prove that he can be healthy enough to be a contributor; Mario Chalmers, who is somehow an upgrade at point guard for the Sixers; and really just some NBA veteran who might seem like a risk, but could benefit the Sixers in the short term of their rebuild.

I’m not very fearful of the Sixers for the 2016-2017 season at this point, but this draft could really be a turning point for the organization to be back in the playoffs and be a competitor in the East again in a few years.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have stated that they do not want to be on a long term rebuilding plan, but the Lakers say a lot of things so who the hell knows.  Still, the Lakers do not want to be what the Clippers used to be in Los Angeles.  Almost every mock draft has the Lakers selecting Brandon Ingram, but there still has been a high degree of uncertainty around this.  Not so much that they will not pick him, but more uncertainty that they will actually want to keep him on the roster, or that he will even turn out to be a decent enough NBA player.  He appears like he would have a similar career to Charlotte Hornets’ player Marvin Williams, who was also picked number at number 2.  The Lakers have been rumored so far to trade away the number 2 pick, or De’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, and Julius Randle.  Okay, so they’ve been rumored to trade their entire roster.  Man, that Kobe Bryant was all about the team and organization!

The Lakers want to be a part of the run for Kevin Durant, they want to have their name out there for DeMar DeRozan, and really just every big time free agent.  The fear for the Lakers may not be who they pick in the NBA draft, but if they can actually pull off a blockbuster trade, which they have a history of pulling off.  I completely feel like I will be watching what the Lakers do in the 2016 NBA draft with the same level of shock in the 2007 draft when the Celtics put together what were pieces for the eventual moves to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.  Those to moves eventually helped them quickly turn their team around with additionally signing veteran free agents James Posey, Eddie House, PJ Brown, and eventually Sam Cassell for one of the best put together rosters since 1990.

Boston Celtics

As much as I love the Celtics, I always have to turn away whenever they’re on the clock to make a pick.  I live in fear that I will damage my own property when I hear the stupid pick they have made.  What the hell am I supposed to do with my Joe Johnson Boston Celtics jersey?  I just made my dog wear my dog wear it for humorous photo opportunities.  Say the name Kedrick Brown to me in public, I dare you…I dare you… We’re not going to get in a fight or anything, you’re just going to be able to tell your children about the most ridiculous time you made a grown man cry in a public.  I still run into a panic attack when I hear Jerome Moiso’s name.

My only friends who actively engage in shit talking about the NBA with me are Suns fans, and we’ve had our fair share of THE RAJON RONDO TRADE WORKED OUT BETTER FOR US THAN YOU arguments, so the Celtics and Suns picking 3rd and 4th will most likely begin many years of frustrations.  The Celtics have discussed either trading the 3rd pick, or drafting Dragan Bender, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray, Jaylen Brown, Marquese Criss, or Kris Dunn.  My fear of Bender is that this is one of those Well it Worked Out for the Knicks type of draft picks because of Kristaps Porzingis.  It reminds me of the late 90s to mid 2000s when NBA teams were rashly picking high school kids because they might be the next Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant.  The NBA was so fun back then just watching a bunch of 18 year old uncoordinated kids flush out like a group of terrible child actors from the movie industry.

It seems to be concluded already that either the Celtics or the Suns are taking Bender, and I am pretty excited to make fun of my friends for it either really working out for the Celtics or it not working out for the Suns.  This is a completely illogical statement, but it also, like, completely makes sense.  Am I right?

The Celtics still have a lot to figure out as far as who they are actually going to keep on their roster with Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner, and Tyler Zeller all as free agents; and several young assets on the roster that are tradeable.  This is why a draft day trade makes an incredible amount of sense for the Celtics.  Someone just take Marcus Smart, please!

I can’t imagine who the Celtics will actually take.  I cannot even put anything in the suggestion box.  The roster is weird at the moment, and it does not really seem like anyone available at number 3 would be an immediate impact to the team so my hope is just that they trade the pick with Marcus Smart for a veteran and 2017 2nd round draft pick that will eventually land a lesser known Tra-Deon Hollins…

Phoenix Suns

I am fully confident to say that I think the Suns are the worst ran team in the NBA (after the Sixers), and still have a Suns fan not argue it too heavily.  It’s not so much that the Suns are historically bad at picking players, but they do have a steady and miserable history of trading away guys right before they become stars; or signing average free agents to huge bloated long term contracts.  Just try and play the NBA Trade Machine with their roster, it’s almost impossible to make anything work out.

I thought of a hypothetical trade to get some blood flowing for my Suns fan friends.  Brandon Knight, some throw in to make the contacts work out, and the number 4 pick to Toronto in a sign and trade deal for DeMar DeRozan – which I think they would have to wait for free agents to officially be able sign to make the deal legitimate.  A back court of Derozan and Eric Bledsoe with Devin Booker off the bench to create a little new aged Durant, Westbrook, and Harden type of roster.  I doubt Robert Sarver even entertains this as an idea for his organization.  I mean, Joakim Noah is out there for them to throw everything they’ve got for 48 minutes a night of Noah and Tyson Chandler at center.  That’s pretty hard to pass up for a guy who apparently hates the citizens of Phoenix.

I know NBA teams are recommended to go after the best overall player and not most needed position, but should they take a guard to lump together with Bledsoe, Booker, and Knight if the top guy is a guard at number 4?  Would Hield or Dunn even be playable on the Suns roster?  Am I psychotic for thinking it would be in the Suns best interest to take Henry Ellenson or Marquese Criss at the 4th pick?  Though, I really don’t think Suns management can pass up on a guy named Dragan Bender.  It’s just too fun of a name to not have on your roster.

Minnesota Timberwolves

I have never hated or loved the Timberwolves.  They are the closest NBA team to where I live, so I have always felt a little desire for them to be decent enough to make for a reason to drive to Minneapolis for a game.  With that in mind, it seems to be getting closer and closer to the day that the Timberwolves are in the post season again, right?

The organization seems serious about getting to the playoffs with exceptionally good young basketball players, mixed with a few veterans, and now Tom Thibodeau as their head coach.  Think about that: The Minnesota Timberwolves got the head coach that was at the top of the list of every team with a vacancy this off season.  This could be huge, or it could all come crumbling apart dramatically…we’ll see.

The team does not necessarily have a lot of room to attract some top free agents this summer, and they have made it clear that they are incredibly open to the thought of trading the 5th pick.  That’s when you know it’s going to be a terrible draft, when 4 of the top 5 teams are trying pretty hard to get rid of their picks.  The team’s highest paid player, Ricky Rubio has even stated that he would be cool if they traded him.  Someone will take Rubio, like the Sacramento Kings who seem desperate at the moment and have a voice mail greeting of “This is the Sacramento Kings General Management office.  Press 1 for us to accept your trade.  Press 2 for Lost and Found.”

If they cannot work out a trade on draft day, it almost makes sense for the Timberwolves to take Buddy Hield as they are in desperate need for a shooter after finishing 25th on the season in three point field goal percentage.  But, cheap shooters are out there in free agency, and having Hield and Andrew Wiggins on the court at the same time seems like a defensive risk.


Other random stuff –

It doesn’t appear that Nebraska’s Shavon Shields will get selected in the 2nd round.  He is a likely candidate to get onto a Summer League team and work his way into the league.  A frequent knock at him is that he’s not quick enough to play the 3 in the NBA.  There is a spot somewhere with the right team for Shields in the NBA, maybe not big minutes, but Hornets, Nuggets, and Rockets come to mind as places for him to at least just make the roster…or at least on their NBDL teams.

As much as this may shock you, there will be no one picked from the Summit League.  Max Landis and Obi Emegano could be guys that make Summer League rosters and try and work their way into the NBA or NBDL

 

I have no business listing off potential softball coaching candidates

I think the retirement of Jeanne Scarpello shocked a lot of Maverick faithful last week.  It was pretty unexpected considering the Mavericks just got through transition and have a bright future in softball, but per the release is stepping away to spend more time with family and you have to respect that.  Coaching softball takes up an incredible amount of my wife’s time and she is only coaching a few months of the year and not having to do all of the recruiting, off season work outs, and fall ball.  Well high school softball in Nebraska is played in the fall, but you get the idea.

I am not sure if Cory Petermann (I just realized that I want to scream “HEY PETER-MAN (Office Space),” will be able to be promoted to head coach or not.  I really hope that if a new coach is hired that they keep Petermann on the staff.  He’s been with the Mavericks for so long and has done so much to make the softball program one of the most successful athletic programs (that is still competing).

I’m not sure about other Mav fans feel, but I am fully confident in the hiring abilities of Trev Alberts and staff.  Dean Blais has taken Hockey to the Frozen Four.  Jason Mims built a program from scratch, his team was ranked in the top 25 for a short while in just the program’s 5th year of existing, and his recruits seem to get better and better each and every single season…which is actually to be expected, but still, it could have ended up much worse.  Chance Lindley was doing a stellar job with the women’s basketball team before unexpectedly in something that was just odd.  Alberts dropped the interim tag off of Brittany Lange, who is really kind of quietly building that basketball program into a competitor and gets better and better every year.  They’re going to be competing in the preseason WNIT in 2016 and they’re starting out at Colorado State, and that team could beat really Colorado State, who made the 2016 NCAA tournament, and possibly face off against Washington in the second round.  Excuse me, I have to go make make sure all of my bills get paid by my SouthWest Airlines Chase card so I can secure enough points for a free flight to Seattle in November…

Anyway, the Mavericks are looking for a softball coach.  I am sure that the process has already started, and we should hear who the newest head coach to Maverick athletics is in the coming weeks, but here are a list of random names that could be out there as potential candidates.  Do I have any business throwing out any names or have any insider info for this?  Certainly, no.  But when a football program like USC (which sucks) is looking for a new coach, some idiot online lists off a bunch of names that where only half of the list is actually being considered by USC and another portion of the list may just want to hear what USC has to say.  It’s just something kind of fun to talk about and contemplate as fans.

I’m content with being the idiot here.  Whatever coach does take over softball at UNO is getting a program that will be returning four All Conference players, and a part of an improving athletic department that is in the middle of upgrading their facilities and has mentioned the potential of a new softball (and baseball) stadium.


Tony Baldwin – Georgia Assistant

I’ve listed Baldwin here for no real reason for other than that I may have been Georgia’s Good Luck Guy.   It’s not a responsibility that I wanted, but it just happened.  Whenever I caught a Georgia softball game on ESPN3, or actual television, they completely dominated their opponent.  The Bulldogs were up 3-1 on Auburn when I was watching in the Women’s College World Series, and then I went for a walk and they ended up losing 3-4.

Baldwin is originally from the state of Indiana and played college baseball at Butler.  He has spent 2 season as an assistant at Georgia, he was an assistant baseball coach at Michigan State before taking on the job at Georgia.  He was mostly responsible for hitting and infielding for the Bulldogs, and in his first season at Georgia the team was 13th in the nation in batting average at .343, and they scored over 7 runs a game.

Jimmy Kolaitis – Oregon Assistant

Seriously, I have no business compiling this list.

Omaha is probably a far stretch for a guy that is an an assistant softball coach in the PAC 12, but going from a big name program to head coaching at a smaller program all to get a job as a head coach at a big name program again seems to be a likely road for many coaches.

Kolaitis was an assistant coach at South Alabama before taking the job at Oregon.  While at Oregon he has been in charge of coaching hitting, and the Ducks have one of the better offenses in college softball.  My wife is a huge Oregon Duck fan (seriously, this list is so biased) so I had to watch a number of Oregon softball games over the last 2 years, and their hitting is…dare I say it…”sick.”  Last season they had 8 of the 9 players in their lineup hitting above .300, which is “sick.”

Diane Miller – Nebraska Assistant

Miller has been an assistant for the Huskers since 2008, after coaching at Colorado State and has been primarily in charge of coaching hitting and the catchers.  With slight uncertainty where the Mavericks are going at the Catcher position after 4 years of Campbell Ditto behind the plate, it would be beneficial having Miller coach up catchers, especially in the beginning.

Miller has coached the Huskers to break more than 30 offensive records since becoming an assistant at Nebraska.  In her time in Lincoln, the Huskers have hit at an average of .295, which is right around where the Mavericks were this last season.  The chance to become a head coach, coach up a team that already has strong hitting, and develop a young team at an already successful program could be a huge attraction to Miller.

Ranae Sinkler – Creighton Assistant

Maybe this would help the relations between the Creighton and UNO program, who have still yet to face off since the Mavericks made the transition.  Sinkler is a Lincoln-native and currently works with hitters and infielders at Creighton, and while she was a player for the Bluejays she won the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year award in two separate seasons.

She graduated from Creighton in 2011 and has only been coaching for a few years, so she does not have a ton of experience.  She could continue to help the Mavericks recruit some of the better players out of the state of Nebraska.  This year Creighton had a fielding percentage of .961 and the Mavericks were at .956.

Still, UNO might be a difficult sell to anyone who has been involved with the one program, let alone Creighton, since their freshman year in college.

Jamie Trachsel – North Dakota State Co-Head Coach (Already took job at Iowa State)

So I was going to list Trachsel as a far fetch, but seriously why does North Dakota State need two coaches?  Trachsel took the job at Iowa State last week, and she was in charge of defense, recruiting, and scouting while with the Bison.  The Bison were first in the Summit in fielding percentage this season, and North Dakota’s roster is filled with players from the hot recruiting bed of softball we know as the state of California.  Maybe the Bison’s defense and recruiting will take a slight drop and open up the gates for Omaha and the rest of the Summit League to compete for conference championships again.

If you’re wondering about Iowa State softball: they finished the season at 20-35 and lost to UNO, Creighton, Northern Iowa, and Drake to name a few.

Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler – former Iowa State head coach

Iowa State didn’t renew her contract after going 20-35 in 2016 and had an overall losing record with the Cyclones in her 11 seasons in Ames.  She really helped the team improve their hitting in the beginning, and I really cannot imagine how hard it is to recruit softball players to play in Ames against the Big 12 competition.  Her players did well in the classroom with over 70 players make All Big 12 Academic teams in 11 seasons, and I know that is something that UNO Athletics would love.  Gemeinhardt-Cesler, which looks difficult to pronounce, was 153-76 in four seasons at the Division 2 level as a head coach, so maybe The Summit League is a more appropriate level for her than the Big 12.