The Battle for Sept. 14 for Timothy Bradley, Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez

After Floyd Mayweather’s clinical victory over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero on Saturday night, the focus now turns to when Mayweather’s next fight will be. Mayweather said he intends to fight on Sept. 14. With the close turn-around time, that’s a stretch for Mayweather, who fights infrequently. Also making it unlikely he’ll fight on Sept. 14 is a hand injury. Mayweather got X-rays, but there’s no word on the extent of the injury.

Already scheduled for Sept. 14 is Cathedral City’s Timothy Bradley defending his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez, who is trying to become the first boxer from Mexico to win world titles in five different weight classes. It will be a good pay-per-view fight. But promoter Bob Arum saidin online reports that  if Mayweather really does fight on Sept. 14, he would move Bradley-Marquez.

But after Saturday’s fight, should Bradley-Marquez move off that date? Mayweather earned a lopsided victory, and there’s not many boxers in the Golden Boy stables who figure to give Mayweather a challenge. There’s only one that people want to see and that’s Mayweather-Alvarez. Unlikely Mayweather would take on the big fighter. After that, there’s not many boxers who can make a Mayweather fight more intriguing than Bradley-Marquez. Amir Khan, who is fresh off his narrow victory over Coachella’s Julio Diaz, could a good fight to market, but it seems like a waste of the Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Things should shake out in the coming days to see where Floyd goes, and if Bradley-Marquez will stay on Sept. 14 or go.

What does Jason Collins coming out mean for sports?

The male sports landscape is full of players who have come out as gay, but only after their active playing days were over. The thinking has always been that the locker room is not a place to be an openly gay person, and there has always been question about how fans would react to a gay player in the macho world of professional sports.

Strange how many female athletes have been able to come out as gay while they were still playing, but not so much for male athletes.

But today, we have such a player. His name is Jason Collins, which is not a name most sports fans would know. A former basketball player at Stanford University, Collins has had a 12-year career in the NBA. And in a Sports Illustrated article, he says he never wanted to be the first openly gay and active player in the four major sports in this country, but since he is, he’s happy to talk.

As the story develops, it will be interesting to see how many of Collins’ former teammates will talk about how they knew or didn’t know he was gay, or how that knowledge has helped or hurt Collins in his career. And it will be interesting to see how this may help or hurt Collins’ career moving forward. As a free agent, Collins is free to sign with any team. Will teams take a chance on an openly gay athlete, or will they have those quiet conversations in locked boardrooms about team chemistry and not wanting to offend a segment of the fan base? And Collins will surely want to be seen as a basketball player at his next job, not as a public relations stunt.

It’s interesting that Collins’ announcement came in the same month at the movie “42″ documenting the struggles of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in major league baseball was released. It’s a huge stretch to say that Collins could be to gay athletes what Robinson was to African-Americans. African-Americans were not allowed to be in the major leagues in the 1940s. Gay players have been allowed to play sports — just not while being open about their sexuality.

But Collins might be a living symbol of the struggle of gays for acceptance throughout society, even as a non-marquee player in his sports. So chances are you had not heard of Jason Collins before today. Chances are you will hear a lot about him in the coming months and years.

 

MLB scouts expected at La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy

For those interested in local baseball, La Quinta High School is the place to be this evening. Close to 20 MLB scouts will be in attendance in tonight’s La Quinta-Desert Christian Academy baseball game, secondary principal Steve Blankenship has told The Desert Sun.

Most of them will be there to watch Desert Christian Academy’s senior pitcher Morgan Earman, a 6-foot-4 prospect that has allowed just a single multi-base hit and two earned runs in 40 innings this season.

Making the game even more intriguing is the fact that La Quinta (14-5) will be the Conquerors’ (18-2) toughest competition to date, and feature their own standout on the mound — 6-foot-4 junior Trevor Abshire, whom has has allowed just four earned runs in 52 and 1/3 innings.

Both teams appear destined to make deep runs in the CIF-SS next month, and this could prove to be the biggest game in the valley this year. With a multitude of sluggers that have torched opposing pitchers already this season, both aces will have their work cut out for them.

How will they perform under the pressure? Find out at 6:30 p.m. in La Quinta.

TDS 2013 NFL Mock Draft

Every year the number of NFL mock drafts on the Internet seems to grow. It’s an inexact science, with so much uncertainty and suspense attached that it almost seems silly attempting to accurately predict how it will all unfold.

But that hardly seems like a reason not to give it a try. TDS sports reporter Andrew John recently tried to make sense of it all, predicting how the first round will look prior to trades being announced. In addition, he’s offered other possible scenarios to reduce the chaos and sort out which players each team could and should be targeting.

Comments below are welcome, particularly if the early part of the first round turns out much different than predicted.

Enjoy the draft.

1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS — ERIC FISHER, OT, 6’7 306, CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Despite the lack of a consensus No. 1 player in this year’s draft, Fisher appears to be the favorite in the Kansas City war room. The Chiefs desperately need help shoring up the offensive line to keep newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith upright, and Fisher is the best pass-blocker in the class.

Other options: OT Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M is another option, though he doesn’t fit quite as well as Fisher.

2. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — LUKE JOECKEL, OT, 6’6 306, TEXAS A&M
Joeckel is good value here, where he’d strengthen an offensive line that has had difficulty staying healthy. If he doesn’t go No. 1, Joeckel won’t slide much.

Other options: The Jaguars really need a pass-rusher to help a unit that struggles to find opposing quarterbacks a year ago. Dion Jordan out of Oregon and Ezekiel Ansah from Brigham Young could be possibilities here.

3. OAKLAND RAIDERS — Sharrif Floyd, DT, 6’3 297, FLORIDA
There’s been much debate about where the unpredictable Raiders will go with this pick but they badly need a player who can disrupt plays in the backfield and stuff the run, and Floyd fits the bill. He conveniently fits in Oakland’s 3-technique system as well. A potential trade spot for a team looking to move up.

Other options: Dee Milner makes too much sense to actually be the pick here. His coverage skills would certainly help improve a weak secondary that struggled mightily against the pass a year ago.

4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES — LANE JOHNSON, OT, 6’6 303, OKLAHOMA
The last of the elite tackles available, Johnson would help fill major need in Philadelphia. With as much offensive firepower as the Eagles have, they can’t afford to have the line falter for a second consecutive year.

Other options: DT Star Lotulelei perfectly fits Philadelphia’s 3-4 hybrid scheme. But the Eagles took a defensive lineman (Fletcher Cox) in the first round last year, and doing so again seems a bit redundant.

5. DETROIT LIONS — DEE MILLNER, CB, 6’0 201, ALABAMA
Cornerback has been an obvious need in Detroit for some time and Millner is fortunately still available under this scenario. He has the speed and cover skills to complement this superb defensive front the Lions have assembled.

Other options: Offensive tackle is the greater need with the retirement of longtime starter Jeff Backus. A pass-rusher such as Ansah could help make Detroit’s D-line even more volatile.

6. CLEVELAND BROWNS — DION JORDAN, OLB, 6’6 248, OREGON
The Browns could go any number of directions with this pick, including trading out altogether. Getting to the quarterback was a problem that plagued Cleveland all last season, and Jordan immediately helps solve that problem. Would the front office really draft quarterback Geno Smith only a year after taking Brandon Weeden in the first round?

Other options: Ansah is another pass-rusher that should get serious consideration here. TE Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame is also rumored to be a serious candidate.

7. ARIZONA CARDINALS — JONATHAN COOPER, G, 6’2 311, NORTH CAROLINA
The Cardinals weren’t able to upgrade the O-line as much as they would have liked in free agency, and Cooper is talented enough to warrant serious consideration here. In need of a powerful run blocker, Cooper fills a need and has the talent to be a fixture on the line for years to come.

Other options: Lotulelei would be a great value here, though he doesn’t fill a need as much as, say, Cooper or Warmack.

8. BUFFALO BILLS — CHANCE WARMACK, G, 6’2 317, ALABAMA
The Bills need help rushing the passer and protecting their own, so it’s likely they go with a guy who can help on the line as opposed to quarterback Ryan Nassib who would be reunited with his college head coach (Doug Marrone) and offensive coordinator (Nathaniel Hackett).

Other options: Marrone, a former offensive linemen himself, understands the value of a solid line of protection, though it’s hard to not buy into him potentially taking Nassib and trying to rekindle the success his offense had at Syracuse.

9. NEW YORK JETS — EZEKIEL ANSAH, DE, 6’5 271, BRIGHAM YOUNG
After trading Darrelle Revis to Tampa earlier this week, the Jets are likely hoping Millner falls in their lap here. With him off the board, Ansah makes a lot of sense here. He has the raw skills and high energy to create pressure coming off the edge and he’s just too good to be passed over at this point.

Other options: Several way the Jets could go here. Floyd makes sense if he slides, as does pass-rusher Barkevious Mingo out of LSU. If they decide to trade Mark Sanchez, as rumored, a quarterback could be in play as well.

10. TENNESSEE TITANS — BARKEVIOUS MINGO, OLB, 6’4 241, LSU
Mingo has been called a perfect fit in Tennessee, where his versatility and explosiveness would dramatically upgrade a unit that struggled to make plays in the backfield a year ago.

Other options: Cooper and Warmack are options for a team that is trying to find consistency out of its offensive line. The Jets could also go with the best player available, should someone slide.

11. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS — STAR LOTULELEI, DT, 6’3 311, UTAH
It would be a major coupe is he does, though it’s fairly unlikely. Instead, this could provide an opportunity to trade this pick to someone desperate to move up and take Lotulelei.

Other options: Sheldon Richardson out of Missouri is the type of 3-technique DT that could be an option if Lotulelei is off the board.

12. MIAMI DOLPHINS — D.J. FLUKER, OT, 6’4, 339, ALABAMA
With the loss of OT Jake Long in free agency, a powerful run-blocker such as Fluker would be a nice replacement at this point in the draft. He’s a major reason Eddy Lacy ran all over Notre Dame in the BCS title game.

Other options: Trading up to get one of the elite OTs appears to make the most sense, as does CB Xavier Rhodes out of Florida State, who fills a need in the defensive secondary and is a match in Miami’s press-man cover scheme.

13. NEW YORK JETS — GENO SMITH, QB, 6’3 218, WEST VIRGINIA
Acquired via the Darrelle Revis trade, the Jets have an opportunity to acquire fill a need and grab a value player in Smith, who could be the heir apparent to Mark Sanchez.

Other options: Smith’s former teammate Tavon Austin would give the Jets another playmaker to team with whomever ends up under center in Week 1. They could also grab the best available player, should someone fall.

14. CAROLINA PANTHERS, SHELDON RICHARDSON, DT, 6’3 294, MISSOURI
This pick appears to be the consensus among most draft experts. The Panthers need a 3-technique tackle, and Richardson is talented enough to warrant consideration. He has the explosiveness and quickness to make plays in the backfield.

Other options: Austin would be a nice long-term replacement for aging receiver Steve Smith, should he be available here. Condarrelle Patterson, an athletic receiver out of Tennessee, could also garner consideration.

15. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS — JARVIS JONES, OLB, 6’3 245, GEORGIA
Jones may not be the best fit in New Orleans, but he’s a big-time talent and is simply the best player available. The Saints have drafted well in early rounds recently, and prefer value over fit in most cases.

Other options: S Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas fills a need more than Jones does, but he’s not quite as talented or proven. Fluker also fills a need, if he happens to slide.

16. ST. LOUIS RAMS — TAVON AUSTIN, WR, 5’9 174, WEST VIRGNIA
With WR Danny Amendola gone, there isn’t much debate about the Rams taking Austin if he’s available. In this case he is, and his playmaking ability in the return and passing games make him a threat the Rams desperately need.

Other options: Patterson is likely the choice is Austin is already gone, as is Vaccaro and maybe even former Alabama RB Eddy Lacy now that longtime leading rusher Stephen Jackson is gone.

17. PITTSBURGH STEELERS — TYLER EIFERT, TE, 6’6 250, NOTRE DAME
With Heath Miller coming off a knee injury, Eifert provides instant value in an offense that utilizes its tight end as much as anyone. Eifert isn’t just a potential long-term replacement but also an immediate red zone target.

Other options: Jones makes sense in the Steelers’ scheme, should he fall. Patterson is also an option, and don’t be shocked if Lacy lands here, either. Pittsburgh could use help in the running game.

18. DALLAS COWBOYS — KENNY VACCARO, S, 6’0 214, TEXAS
Needing help in the defensive backfield, specifically at safety, the Cowboys would be ecstatic if they could land a local product as talented as Vaccaro. He’s the most polished player at his position and would be a perfect fit in Dallas.

Other options: DT Sylvester Williams out of North Carolina would be a nice fit for a team looking for pass-rushers, as would Richardson, should he fall.

19. NEW YORK GIANTS— JUSTIN PUGH, G, 6’5 307, SYRACUSE
There may be a better value pick available at this point, but upgrading the right side of the offensive line is paramount and Pugh is an underrated talent who can play multiple positions along the line. His versatility and tutelage under Doug Marrone in college could make him a long-term starter.

Other options: CB Desmond Trufant’s 4.38-second 40-yard dash would help upgrade the defensive secondary that allowed a flurry of big plays in the passing game a year ago. Fluker also makes sense is he’s available.

20. CHICAGO BEARS — MANTI TE’O, ILB, 6’1 241, NOTRE DAME
Te’o looked like a miracle worker prior to the BCS title game, and would quickly become a fan favorite in neighboring Chicago. He fills a need, too, replacing the departed Brian Urlacher. No pressure, though.

Other options: Eifert is likely the pick if he’s available. ILB Alec Ogletree makes sense, too, and Trufant would be a fantastic pick for a secondary that faces a trio of talented quarterbacks in the NFC North.

21. CINCINNATI BEGALS — EDDY LACY, RB, 5’11 231, ALABAMA
Lacy provides an upgrade to the run game and would allow the Bengals to move a step closer to being a playoff contender. Not many other players on the board immediately make such a difference.

Other options: Trufant has been rumored here, but he doesn’t fill a major need. Same with Xavier Rhodes. But both are god value picks.

22. ST. LOUIS RAMS — MATT ELAM, S, 5’10 206, FLORIDA
If the Rams don’t go after a safety with their first pick, they likely will here. Elam can step in and become and immediate starter at a position of need for a team that struggles against the pass.

Other options: Patterson would make sense if they addressed the need at safety with the earlier selection. He’s the type of dangerous playmaker they need.

23. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES — CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, WR, 6’2 216, TENNESSEE
With the departure of Percy Harvin, they need a playmaker that can take the pressure off quarterback Christian Ponder. Enter Patterson.

Other options: Te’o fills a need at middle linebacker. WR Robert Woods out of USC could also garner consideration.

24. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS — DESMOND TRUFANT, CB, 6’0 190, WASHINGTON
A number of solid cornerback prospects will be in the mix here, but Trufant may have the edge. He has the ball skills and speed to be an immediate starter.

Other options: CB Xavier Rhodes out of Florida State and D.J. Hayden out of Houston should also get consideration here.

25. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES — ALEC OGLETREE, ILB, 6’2 242, GEORGIA
Ogletree has more of the raw skills and talent to step right in and start, as opposed to Te’o whom Minnesota has targeted. He doesn’t have the leadership or instincts of Te’o but could perhaps end up the better player down the road.

Other options: Woods makes a lot of sense here if the Vikings go with a linebacker with their first selection.

26. GREE BAY PACKERS — MENELIK WATSON, OT, 6’5 310, FLORIDA STATE
The Packers could use an upgrade on the offensive line, and Watson fits their zone-blocking scheme. The could also use an edge rusher.

Other options: Pugh would be a great value pick if still around. Lacy would provide instant support to the run game. I don’t think either will be available.

27. HOUSTON TEXANS — ROBERT WOODS, WR, 6’1 200, USC
Star receiver Andre Johnson is going to slow down eventually and getting a player such as Woods at this point is good value.

Other options: There are other receivers in play here and offensive linemen that would help shore up a weakness that needs to be addressed.

28. DENVER BRONCOS — DATONE JONES, DE, 6’4 284, UCLA
With the loss of Elvis Dumervil, Denver could really use help on the edge. Jones has a unique combination of speed and power and would be a great fit in Broncos’ system.

Other options: S Eric Reid out of LSU would be a great fit, though this may be a bit of a reach.

29. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS — XAVIER RHODES, CB, 6’1 210, FLORIDA STATE
Rhodes could be a great value pick here and provide depth at a position of need for a team that needs to improve its pass protection.

Other options: The defensive secondary is in need of upgrades, so really anyone with first-round talent could be in play here.

30. ATLANTA FALCONS — ROBERT ALFORD, CB, 6’0 185, S.E. LOUISIANA
Another team in need of an upgrade at the cornerback position should have not problem finding decent value this late in the round.

Other options: I really like DE Tank Carradine out of Florida State here, simply because he’s a talented, high-energy edge rusher that would be a great addition to a team already a fixture in the playoffs.

31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS — TANK CARRADINE, DE, 6’4 276, FLORIDA STATE
To get Carradine to play opposite of DE Aldon Smith would be a major coupe. With Jason Smith aging and the rest of the line fairly unproven, this is a great time to start upgrading.

Other options: TE Zach Ertz out of Stanford could help his former college coach, Jim Harbaugh, form a really dynamic two-TE set. I also like DT John Jenkins from Georgia, filling perhaps the 49ers’ biggest need.

32. BALTIMORE RAVENS — JUSTIN HUNTER, WR, 6’4 196, TENNESSEE
It doesn’t do much good to give quarterback Joe Flacco that big contract without surrounding him with weapons. Hunter is a major talent and could provide the offense with another big-play threat.

Other options: The defense needs help with the departure of future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Linebacker and safety should be high on the priority list.

andrew.john@thedesertsun.com
Twitter — @ALJnotes

Timothy Bradley picked well in facing Juan Manuel Marquez

Timothy Bradley found himself in an ideal spot, getting to choose multi-million dollar fights against two superstars — Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.

The best choice was Marquez on several levels. First, the fight was going to be in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day weekend against the country’s biggest star. Now that can change if Floyd Mayweather says he’s going to fight on that day. But Mayweather has a fight on May 4 and it’s rare he would fight on a short turnaround. While Mayweather might say he’ll fight on Sept. 14, So Bradley could have a huge audience to himself.

As for Bradley’s legacy, it would mean much more to him to fight Marquez and beat him. Marquez arguably beat Pacquiao all four times. And the most convincing victory of their four fights was the knockout victory in December that had Pacquiao on the canvas out cold for over two minutes.

Plus, Pacquiao was asking for too much for not enough compensation. In the original contract Bradley was to get close to $10 million for a rematch according to several reports. So for the Pacquiao camp to offer $6 million could actually be seen as a markdown. And then they wanted Bradley to fight in China, which is a huge ask. For that, they should have paid a premium. Or they should have made arrangements to compensate Bradley with a marketing plan in Asia that could open up millions of dollars.

And really, Bradley is doing Pacquiao a favor. Pacquiao is coming off two straight losses. Why shoule he get a title shot against Bradley?

Bradley-Marquez promises to be a fantastic, intriguing fight. And for Bradley, it can lift him up into another level.

Time Warner Cable SportsNet plans extensive Lakers coverage

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will have extensive coverage of the Los Angeles Lakers in the postseason, starting Sunday with pre and post-game coverage of Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs.

In addition, Time Warner Cable SportsNet will televise Games 2 through 7 of the playoff series against the Spurs. Sunday’s Game 1 can be seen on ABC at 12:30 p.m.

Here’s the live Game schedule on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, followed by the official release with all of the Lakers’ programming details:

Game                    Date                                      Time                     Pre-game  at

Game 2                Wed., April 24                   6:30 p.m.             5:00 p.m.

Game 3                Fri., April 26                      7:30 p.m.             6:00 p.m.

Game 4                Sun. April 28                      4:00 p.m.             3:00 p.m.

Game 5*              Tues., April 30                  TBD                       TBD

Game 6*              Thurs., May 2                    TBD                       TBD

Game 7*              Sat., May 4                          TBD                       TBD

 

 

TIME WARNER CABLE SPORTSNET TO PROVIDE EXTENSIVE LAKERS PLAYOFF COVERAGE led by the on-air talent lakers fans have watched all season long, INCLUDING LIVE GAMES, pre- and post-game analysis and new original shows

Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald will call all Lakers playoff games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet

 

“#LakeShow” and “Access SportsNet: Lakers” pre- and post-game shows will air for all Lakers playoff games; a new episode of “Connected With…Mike D’Antoni” premieres tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. PT

 

EL SEGUNDO, CA (April 18, 2013) – Time Warner Cable SportsNet will provide extensive Lakers playoff coverage throughout the team’s playoff run, led by the familiar on-air talent that Lakers fans have watched all season long. The broadcast team of color commentator Stu Lantz and play-by-play announcer Bill Macdonald will call all Lakers playoff games airing on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and sideline reporter Mike Trudell, reporter John Ireland and analysts James Worthy, Robert Horry, Kurt Rambis, Chris McGee, Dave Miller and Andy Adler will continue to provide expert analysis on the network.

 

Live studio shows “#LakeShow” and “Access SportsNet: Lakers” will air for every Lakers playoff game, with expanded coverage, commentary and analysis surrounding each contest. On non-game nights, “Access SportsNet” will provide insights and updates about the Lakers and the rest of the NBA. Live pre-game coverage of Game 1 on Sunday, April 21 will begin at 11:30 a.m. with Worthy, McGee, Miller and Adler in studio.

 

A new episode of “Connected With…Mike D’Antoni” will premiere tomorrow, Friday, April 19 at 9:00 p.m. PT. Chris McGee sat down with the Lakers Head Coach in the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studio to discuss joining the Lakers, making the playoffs, working with players like Kobe Bryant and more.

 

The popular behind-the-scenes series “Backstage: Lakers” will continue throughout the Lakers’ playoff run, with episode 30 premiering on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:00 p.m. PT following Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s coverage of Game 2. The new episode will go inside last night’s Lakers win over the Rockets, giving fans an exclusive look into the locker room before and after the game, and will follow the team as it prepares for Game 1 on Sunday.

 

Time Warner Cable SportsNet will also debut the new series “Through the Lens” on Wednesday, April 24 at 10:30 p.m. The new half-hour show will give Lakers fans a look at the team’s storied history through the eyes and camera lens of long-time Lakers team photographer Andy Bernstein, who has been with the team since 1982 and is responsible for photographing some of the Lakers’ and NBA’s most iconic moments.  Additional episodes of “Through the Lens” will premiere this summer. In the first episode, Bernstein tells the stories behind his 10 favorite Lakers still photos.

 

Korean Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) will continue for all Lakers playoff games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, with commentary by Paul Lee, Young-don Lee, Seung Chan Lim, Sang Yeol Moon and Ji-Seoung You.

 

A full schedule of Lakers First Round Playoff games airing on Time Warner Cable SportsNet:

 

Game                    Date                                      Time                     Live pre-game coverage starting at

Game 2                Wed., April 24                   6:30 p.m.             5:00 p.m.

Game 3                Fri., April 26                      7:30 p.m.             6:00 p.m.

Game 4                Sun. April 28                      4:00 p.m.             3:00 p.m.

Game 5*              Tues., April 30                  TBD                       TBD

Game 6*              Thurs., May 2                    TBD                       TBD

Game 7*              Sat., May 4                          TBD                       TBD

 

All times listed are PT.

* – If necessary

All dates and times subject to change.

Desert natives wrap up spring football

With spring football winding down on college campuses around the country, we checked in with several college football writers with knowledge of FBS players from the desert to bring you an update on them heading into the summer. Preseason camps will open in August, with roughly three weeks for teams to sort out their starting lineups heading into the season. We’ll do another update then.

Anthony Neyer, QB, Idaho, Jr. (Xavier Prep)
With Idaho starting quarterback Dominique Blackman being dismissed mid-season last year, new head coach Paul Petrino targeted Neyer as a possible replacement. Neyer, a 6-foot-2 215 pound pocket passer, played two seasons at Pierce College in Los Angeles and redshirted a year after walking on at USC before becoming the first quarterback to sign with Petrino during the winter. He’s expected to competed for the starting job this fall.

D.J. Alexander, LB, Oregon State, Jr. (Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-2 228-pounder, who finished last season fifth on the team in tackles, and is again penciled in as a starter this season and is perhaps a preseason All-Pac-12 candidate. The Beavers will wrap up their spring schedule on April 26.

Nu’uvali Fa’apito, LB, Colorado State, So. (La Quinta)
The 6-foot-1 225 pound linebacker, who played in a reserve role as a redshirt freshman a year ago, played with the second team defense behind an experienced group of linebackers throughout the spring. With three of them returning starters from last season, it’s likely Fa’apito will again be on the second unit despite recording five tackles and recovering a pair of fumbles in the second of two spring scrimmages on April 14.

Jordan White, WR, Colorado State, So. (Palm Springs)
After redshirting as a freshman last season, the 6-foot-4 205 pound receiver didn’t play much this spring. He ran with the third and fourth team offenses and didn’t catch a pass in either of the two scrimmages. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up in preseason camp, depending on his summer workouts.

Dontrell Onuoha, DE, San Diego State, Jr. (La Quinta)
Primarily a backup last season, the 6-foot-2 265 pound pass rusher appears to be in a similar role again this year. The entire starting defensive line returns, and Onuoha played with the second team defense throughout the spring.

Greg Latta, DE, Purdue, Sr. (College of the Desert via Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-6 265 pound defensive end got reps with the first team before a foot injury sidelined him for the remainder of the spring. He’s in a soft walking boot with crutches, but he’s expected to be back to full strength in 4-6 weeks and should be in the mix for a starting position this fall.

Trevor Bateman, DB, Brigham Young, So. (Palm Desert)
The 5-foot-9 180 pound speedster played on the BYU scout team in 2012 after returning from an LDS Church mission to Texas. He had an interception in the spring game and is listed as a third-string cornerback on the post-spring depth chart and is a special teams hopeful.

Erick Jepsen, OG, Southern California, So. (La Quinta)
Jepsen, a 6-foot-2 285 pound center, was not on the two-deep spring depth chart but could play a key role with his versatility with potential injuries along the offensive line this season. He’s likely penciled in as the third-string center heading into the summer.

Tryn Mesarch, DE, Utah State, RFr. (Palm Desert)
The 6-foot-5 256 pound defensive end redshirted as a freshman last season, and is expected to compete for playing time with three key returnees at the end position. Mesarch wasn’t listed on the Aggies’ two-deep spring depth chart and is expected to run primarily with the second and third team when preseason camp begins.

Taylor Pope, WR, Boise State, So. (La Quinta)
Pope didn’t play as a freshman and wasn’t listed on the post-spring depth chart Boise State released leading into the summer. He’s unfortunately fighting for playing time with a number of experienced receivers.

Brandon Vandenburg, TE, Vanderbilt, Jr. (College of the Desert via Xavier Prep)
The 6-foot-6 260 pound tight end leaves for Vanderbilt toward the end May, where he will enroll in two summer semesters and workout in preparation for the upcoming season. He is expected to be penciled in as the starter once preseason camp begins in early August.

Palm Springs linebackers Michael Greer and Rodney Butler will both be entering their freshman seasons this fall and therefore were not officially a part of spring ball where they will play in college. Greer will play at Oregon State and Butler at New Mexico State.

Clippers open playoffs Saturday; Lakers play Sunday

Here are the NBA playoff schedules for the first-round matchups (all times Pacific):

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Oklahoma City vs. (8) Houston

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Houston at Oklahoma City, 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Game 2 – Wed April 24, Houston at Oklahoma City, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Sat April 27, Oklahoma City at Houston, 6:30 p.m., ESPN/R

Game 4 – Mon April 29, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, Oklahoma City at Houston, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Houston at Oklahoma City, TBD, TBD

(2) SAN ANTONIO vs. (7) L.A. LAKERS

Game 1 – Sun April 21, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 12:30 p.m., ABC/R

Game 2 – Wed April 24, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 – Sun April 28, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, San Antonio at L.A. Lakers, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, L.A. Lakers at San Antonio, TBD, TNT

(3) DENVER VS. (6) GOLDEN STATE 

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Golden State at Denver, 2:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Golden State at Denver, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, Denver at Golden State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2

Game 4 – Sun April 28, Denver at Golden State, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Denver at Golden State, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Golden State at Denver, TBD, TNT

(4) L.A. CLIPPERS VS. (5) MEMPHIS

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Mon April 22, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Thu April 25, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 6:30 p.m., TNT

Game 4 – Sat April 27, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 1:30 p.m., TNT

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, L.A. Clippers at Memphis, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Memphis at L.A. Clippers, TBD, TBD

___________________________________________________

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) MIAMI vs. (8) MILWAUKEE 

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Milwaukee at Miami, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Milwaukee at Miami, 4:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 3 – Thu April 25, Miami at Milwaukee, 4 p.m., TNT

Game 4 – Sun April 28, Miami at Milwaukee, 12:30 p.m., ABC

Game 5 * Tue April 30, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Miami at Milwaukee, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Milwaukee at Miami, TBD, TNT

(2) NEW YORK vs. (7) BOSTON

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Boston at New York, 12 p.m., ABC/R

Game 2 – Tue April 23, Boston at New York, 5 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Fri April 26, New York at Boston, 5 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 - Sun April 28, New York at Boston, 10 a.m., ABC/R

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Boston at New York, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, New York at Boston, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Boston at New York, TBD, TBD

(3) INDIANA vs. (6) ATLANTA

Game 1 – Sun April 21, Atlanta at Indiana, 10 a.m., TNT

Game 2 – Wed April 24, Atlanta at Indiana, 4:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 3 – Sat April 27, Indiana at Atlanta, 4 p.m., ESPN

Game 4 – Mon April 29, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD

Game 5 * Wed May 1, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Fri May 3, Indiana at Atlanta, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sun May 5, Atlanta at Indiana, TBD, TBD

(4) BROOKLYN vs. (5) CHICAGO

Game 1 – Sat April 20, Chicago at Brooklyn, 5 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Mon April 22, Chicago at Brooklyn, 5 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Thu April 25, Brooklyn at Chicago, 5:30 p.m., NBA TV

Game 4 - Sat April 27, Brooklyn at Chicago, 11 a.m., TNT

Game 5 * Mon April 29, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD, TBD

Game 6 * Thu May 2, Brooklyn at Chicago, TBD, TBD

Game 7 * Sat May 4, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD, TNT

* if necessary

 

Pettersen vs. de la Hoya

No. 8 Suzann Pettersen, who has been a three-time runnerup here at the Kraft Nabisco Championship got to play with a guy who’s tasted victory and the agony of defeat a few times in his career — not on the course but in the ring.

Pettersen played her pro-am round with boxing great Oscar de la Hoya before the start of today’s first round here at Mission Hills Country Club.

She started the tournament at 4-under and is one of the early leaders with some players still waiting to tee off.

She said the two compared the preparation for each sport, the similarities and she was surprised by his demeanor.

“If you don’t know who he is, I don’t think you would ever guess that he was a boxer,” she said. “He’s just too nice of a guy and quite tiny to be a boxer. But I know he was very quick, and super nice guy.

“It’s always nice to kind of talk back and forth, comparisons to each sport and similarities of how you prepare to go in. Obviously for him, he needed to be in the ring. He was petrified to step in, but once he stepped in, he was on.”

We’ll see if Pettersen can provide the knockout punch this weekend.

 

 

My brush with Alice Cooper today

I was at valet of the Kraft Nabisco Championship and I saw Alice Cooper standing next to a Ferrari. I yelled out, ‘Is that your ride.’ Alice looks at me and says ‘no.’ Then the valet pulls up in his Avanti.  Alice says, ‘My car is much better.’ He gets in the car and drives off.