Based on recent events, these quick thoughts will start out on a somber note. My prayers are with the Majerus and Belcher families.
- I woke up yesterday morning to the news of a Chiefs player having committed suicide at Arrowhead Stadium. Later that morning, as details were released, it was learned that Jovan Belcher was the player who committed suicide and that he did so in front of his coach and general manager. In fact, it is said that Belcher thanked Romeo Crennell and Scott Pioli before he took his own life. This is another story of a football player committing suicide. The player people remember committing suicide is Junior Seau, though he and Belcher are two of many more current and former players who have chosen to take their own lives. Yet Roger Goodell has remained surprisingly silent on the issue, especially when you remember that there is a pending lawsuit against the NFL on the issue. ESPN reports that Belcher and his girlfriend had been arguing recently, but one has to wonder if football and the damage it does to the brain had an effect on the way he reacted. If it doesn’t make you concerned for every football player’s safety and mental health, you should be. Belcher was a hard worker who worked his way from undrafted free agent to starting linebacker and has been called a “family man” by friends and teammates. My prayers are with his family, especially his infant daughter. I wish them all the best.
- I woke up this morning to the news of the passing of Rick Majerus. One of the greatest college coaches of all-time, Majerus had only one below-.500 season in 25 seasons as a head coach. Most college coaches go through years of turnover and they have down seasons at times. Teams coached by Rick Majerus didn’t really have that issue. Majerus had 6 straight Utah teams ranked in the pre-season AP top 15. A .773 record at Utah and .704 record overall, Majerus was a tough, but fair coach who demanded 110% from his players while giving 110% himself. Majerus will be missed.
- While writing this article, news came out about a Browns employee committing suicide at the team’s practice facility in Berea. My prayers are also with his family. Everyone either deals with or knows someone who has dealt with suicide. It is so tough and so tragic.
- The Indians decided to non-tender Jack Hannahan, Chris Seddon, and Rafael Perez. This means that the longest hair on the team now goes back to Chris Perez and the funniest walk-up music contest is wide open. It also means that Rafael Perez was not progressing as hoped in returning from his injuries. Seddon is a minor league journeyman who will sign a minor league deal somewhere. He looked decent in his few appearances for the 2012 Indians, but he is too old to be considered a real part of the future. Hannahan could be back here next season as a backup, though the chances of that are slim. Hannahan is a good glove, but a twig bat, and the Indians needs big bats, not big gloves.
- Cleveland State beat Ball State 69-63 on Wednesday night. I’ll be blunt, the Vikings looked like crap. Anton Grady was injured and Junior Lomomba re-injured himself after only 2 minutes of action. But there were the shooters and the brick layers that night. Devon Long and Sebastian Douglas each made more than half of their shots, while it was a tale of two halves for Charlie Lee and Bryn Forbes. Lee had a big 0-fer in the second half after having making most of his shots in the first half. This was a sign of a selfish player who lost his shot during the game but then decided to keep shooting. A true point guard would have tried for more assists (though he did have 6 in that game) rather than force up bricks. I will have more on Bryn Forbes later.
- Though they were without Grady, the Vikings outrebounded Ball State 35-30, and though they shot below 38% from the floor, that rebounding edge led to a 6-point victory. Forcing 18 turnovers also helps. The defense, overall, looked slow and a step late, especially when guarding Jesse Berry, who had 28 to lead the Cardinals. Letting a team shoot 27 free throws is unacceptable, but at least the officiating was fair as both teams were at the stripe often.
- Again without their two best players, Grady and Lomomba, CSU won a close game over Toledo. Led by another great 16-point performance off the bench from Bryn Forbes, the Vikings got a lead in the final few minutes and were able to pull away for another win over a MAC team. Charlie Lee is a stat stuffer, but it goes both ways with him. Yes, Lee had 22 points and 7 assists, but he also had 5 turnovers. The Vikes made 52.9% of their shots, including 12-24 from deep, but their defense was even worse than against Ball State. Toledo shot the ball just about as well as the Vikings did, but the Rockets got seven more free throw attempts than the Vikings based on a large foul difference. The Vikings were forced to play smaller most of the night because Grady wasn’t healthy and Coach Waters didn’t like Devon Long against a quicker Toledo team. However, rebounding was pretty even as this was a mid-major Toledo squad rather than a major conference team. The Vikings need to pray that Grady and Lomomba are healthy so they can be at full strength to face an amazing NC State team.
- I know I should stop at 7, but I needed to have an 8th one in honor of a certain CSU freshman. Bryn Forbes has come alive off the bench over the last two games for CSU. The Freshman raised his scoring average from 6 points per game to almost 9 a game while becoming the sixth man for the Vikings. If Forbes comes off the bench and scores 15 against NC State, the Vikings just may be able to pull off that upset.