"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Novak to Houston in the 2nd Round


Todd Rosiak does a nice job or outlining Novak's wait until the second round. Per the article, Novak thought another Texas city might be his new home -- but Houston was smart enough to gobble up the sharpshooter. Novak is the third MU player drafted in the last four years.

In this AP article, Rockets GM Carroll Dawson was impressed with Novak's recent workout with the franchise where "he blew us away with how well he shot the ball."

At first glance, Houston seems like an ideal location for Novak. The Rockets' web site notes that "Novak should make defenders pay for doubling McGrady or Yao."

The Rockets were the poorest offensive team in the NBA last season despite having two of its most coveted talents, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. Novak's height and dead-eye shooting ability should help coach Jeff Van Gundy's bunch spread the floor, opening up easier scoring opportunities for these NBA stars.

How bad was the outside shooting in Houston last season? Luther Head, their 2005 first-rounder, was the Rockets' leading three-point shooter, making 113 treys at a less-than-impressive 36.1% clip. Amazingly, only one other Rocket, Rafter Alston, made more than 100 treys last season.

Steve Novak can help this team. Congratuations Steve!

Draft Day: Which team will select Steve Novak?

Tonight in the Greatest City in the World, Steve Novak hopes to become the third player in the Tom Crean era to be selected in the NBA draft. The optimists here at Cracked Sidewalks have spoken with our NBA insiders (ha!) and expect Novak to surprise many mock draft boards when he's selected late in the first round.

Why not? The NBA is more wide-open than it has been in two decades, making a dead-eye shooter a more integral part of any offense. And let's face it --- at 6'10" with a quick release and deadly accuracy, Novak offers intriguing possibilities.

Per the Associated Press, Novak worked out for 13 separate NBA franchises and turned in a respectable performance at the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando.

Drumroll, please.......The SportsNetwork has Novak going at #27 to Phoenix. We agree.....Steve will be a Sun, unless the horrible, horrible, horrible Knicks grab him at #29. Please, Phoenix, please.

Of course, one can always hope that the trifecta-challenged Miami Heat will trade up to grab Novak -- Pat Riley must be sick of seeing his team go 5-25 from deep night after night. Trade up and get Novak, Riles!

DraftExpress' final mock draft has Novak going to Golden State at #38.

NBADraft.net slots Novak at #36 to the Timberwolves.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Marquette Congratulates Dwyane Wade

In a classy move, Marquette University took out a near full-page ad in the front section of USAToday (6/22/06) to congratulate Dwyane Wade on his championship season. Here's the ad

TC discusses Wade and recruiting, MU earns pre-season rank from FoxSports

TC opines on DWade twice today. First, checkout John Dodds' interview with Crean here. Also, check it out from today's MJS with Bob Wolfley.

Finally, MU checks in at #13 in this pre-season ranking from FoxSports.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Marquette Recruiting Update

Per John Dodds and IWB over at MarquetteHoops.com, the every member of MU's incoming 2006 recruiting class will be eligible to enroll this fall.

David Cubillan, Trend Blackledge, Maurice Acker and Lazar Hayward -- Welcome to Marquette University.

Great work, Doddsy! Here is the link.

Dwyane Wade, NBA Champion

Incredible.......what an incredible playoff run for the sublime Dwyane Wade. A Jordanesque performance for the ages. After watching Wade dominate the NBA Finals as few have ever done, many rightly see the Marquette alum as the real Air apparent.

Even the major, general audience publications are coming on board the DWade bandwagon -- Check out what TIME magazine says about the best player in the NBA.

2006 NBA Finals MVP....2006 NBA Champion.....America's newest superstar, Dwyane Wade.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Katz: MU checks in at preseason #20; Novak Projection

Here's the link to numbers 11-25. Here's the link to his top 10.

MU is one of six Big East programs in Katz' rankings. (Pitt #4, Georgetown #6, UConn #15, Villanova #23, Ville #24).

Finally, DraftExpress has a new mock draft on their site -- this one has Novak slipping into the second round.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Schedule update, Novak projection

Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel devotes his most recent column to the MU/UWM agreement.

Politics aside, Marquette always had the right to schedule whom it wished, even if it did make the Golden Eagles look bad, like they were afraid of what might happen against the Panthers. But Marquette is a different position than a lot of larger Division I schools in that men's basketball pays virtually all the athletic department's freight. If it could get a 4-for-1 with UWM like the big boys in Madison, why not?

NBADraft.net's Aran Smith rates Steve Novak as the 8th-best SF in the upcoming NBA draft, making him a bubble first rounder. Read Smith's projections here. Novak most recently worked out for the Seattle Sonics.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

LeBron or DWade?

When sports columnists cover an athlete from outside the local area code, its fair to say that athlete has 'arrived' as a national figure. Today's column by Jemele Hill of the Orlando Sentinel is a case in point - - and here she does the unthinkable: she compares LeBron and DWade to Magic and Bird.

She's right on the mark when looking back to the great Magic/Bird rivalry:

Remember when how you answered the Bird-or-Magic question determined how people felt about you? If you loved Magic, you were new school. If you loved Bird, you were old school. Every kid who grew up in the '80s acted out the Bird v. Magic one-on-one fantasy on playgrounds across America.
I was always a Larry Bird guy, btw. As a jock-sniffing MU freshman I spent an entire day in the lobby of the Hyatt trying to get his autograph. My obsession paid off that afternoon (and I was able to get a picture with him as well).

But I digress....let's get back to the wisdom of Ms. Hill

You can bet that if Wade does get this ring, James will be that much more motivated to get one.

But since Wade already has the Heat two victories from a NBA championship and James only got the Cavaliers within a victory of playing for the Eastern Conference title, the early advantage belongs to Wade.

The best part for NBA fans will be seeing how long he keeps it.

Sorry, Carmelo....this era is not for you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Will Homer True be back next year? MU still on WISN?

The decision still hasn't been made yet, but a glimpse into the potential suitors and Steve "Homer" True's situation is outlined in today's Bob Wolfley article.

"We are interested in Marquette because Marquette sports is important to Milwaukee and we believe it is part of the fabric of the city's sports," said Alan Kirshbom, vice president and market manager of WSSP. "We'd love to be in the game with them."

Here is the complete article

Marquette and UWM closing in on basketball deal?

So says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today in a quick dayblog news bulletin.

Here is the article

The UWM board has some reaction to this as well. As expected, they aren't thrilled with a proposed 4 for 1 deal where MU would play the Panthers 4 times at the Bradley Center and one time at the US Cellular Arena.

From my point of view, UWM should be happy we are even considering this game. MU has a 35-0 record agaisnt UWM all-time. Currently UWM plays UW-Madison effectively 6 games in Madison and one in Milwaukee. The deal was not crafted as a 6 for 1 deal, but in effect because of back to back deals put together, that is what has happened.

To view the Panther rants, go here.

MU fans thoughts on Ahoya found here

MU fans thoughts on Dodds found here

Field set for Blue and Gold Classic

Yesterday MU announced the field for the 45th Pepsi Blue & Gold Classic. MU will host the event at the Bradley Center on December 1-2. Unlike past 'classics' this year's vintage will offer a strong mix of programs:

  • - Princeton (the long-time Ivy League power);
  • - NDSU (a program that delivered the most humiliating regular season defeat in the history of the University of Wisconsin-Madison basketball program last year);
  • - Northwestern State (Steve Alford still has nightmares about Iowa's loss to the athletic Demons in March).
The Big East has not been released the 2006-2007 matchups, but its widely expected that the league will move to an 18-game confernece schedule. MU will also host the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the Bradley Center this year.

Click here for the MU release on the Classic.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Alumni Update: Earl Tatum and Butch Lee

Ring Out Ahoya! and MarquetteHoops are churning out great content this off-season. This week they offer interviews with Earl Tatum and Butch Lee. Great work fellas!

Here's the Ahoya interview with Earl Tatum.

Here's the MarquetteHoops interview with Butch Lee.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rosiak Recaps Novak's Journey to the NBA Draft

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel took full advantage of his access to the MU program with his article this morning. Rosiak offers and in-depth assessment of Novak's performance at the NBA pre-draft camp last week, calling it a 'mixed show'. Tom Crean was more positive:

"He was the best screener, in my opinion and in the opinion of a few others I talked to, in the entire camp," Crean said. "He consistently got people open. That's kind of the epitome of what he needed to do in that camp. He needed to show that he could do a lot more things than just shoot and score the basketball, and I think he did.

"He played aggressive defense, he didn't get beat off the dribble, he ran in transition, he got people open, he played with a lot of energy, and he was effective in pick-and-roll offense and pick-and-roll defense."
The article is loaded with additional detail on Steve's week in Orlando.

Novak's auditions are not complete. He's expected to work out for Seattle, Portland, Cleveland, Dallas, and San Antonio before the draft.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Novak Pre-Draft Camp: Final Evaluation

Steve Novak's performance last week at the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando solidified his status as a solid second round pick according to NBAdraft.net. Per this evaluation, Novak is the 'best pure shooter in the draft' and was the sixth best player in the camp:

Steve Novak (Marquette) -- 9.33 ppg, 3 rpg, 45% fg%, -- With his college coach Tom Crean here each day rooting him on, Novak was solid although his greatest strength his 3 point shot wasn't hitting at his normal clip (2-8) 25%. Kyle Korver struggled in the predraft camp, but it didn't stop him from being an excellent second round pick. Novak is not able to create shots the way Redick can, but as a pure shooter is the best in the draft.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Warming Up for the NBA Finals: Dwyane Wade Video

YouTube just rocks....yesterday a new DWade video was posted - - - 6 minutes of extraordinary moves by the remarkable Wade, who graces the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

Here is the link to the video.

Novak Pre-Draft Camp: Day Two Assessments

DraftExpress.com and RealGM.com both reviewed day two of the pre-draft camp. Here's the overview:

Per the guys at DraftExpress.com . . . Novak is the best shooter at the camp this week but he's struggling on defense.

Methinks Novak will be adequate defensively in the NBAin part because of the newer zone-type defenses that the league now allows. It's unclear how teams are being defended at the Orlando camp -- but you'd suspect that teams are predominantly in man- to-man situations.

Anyway, here's the DraftExpress.com update and excerpts of their take on Steve's performance:

"....Novak still wasn't able to find many open looks this afternoon.......he generally struggled to get open......showed a remarkably quick release.....both Brandon Bowman and Denham Brown were able to score at will with Novak defending them."

RealGM.com offers a starker take on Novak's performance yesterday, calling him "a bit of a disappointment" and claiming he must "do more than shoot. He has to rebound the ball better than he has so far."

Here's the RealGM.com review of yesterday's action including their full assessment of Steve's work for the day.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wednesday morning Novak Update

Draftexpress continues its stellar coverage of the pre-draft season with an update on Novak's performance this morning

Here's what they had to say about the Wednesday morning sessions before removing the link to the story:

"after pulling the string a bit early on both yesterday and today and missing plenty of shots he'd usually knock down in his sleep, Novak calmed down a bit and started doing what he does best. He knocked down a few open NBA 3's and did a decent job rebounding and being active defensively."

NBA pre-draft camp: Novak update

At the NBA pre-draft camp Steve Novak will line up with Team #1. Per RealGM, Novak's teammates are Terrance Dials, Jordan Farmar, Daniel Horton, Solomon Jones, Chris McCray, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Paul Millsap, David Noel, and Allen Ray.

RealGM reviewed Novak's performance from last night:

Novak struggled when he was guarded by Bobby Jones. Jones would not give him an inch of breathing room and it really affected what Novak wanted to do: shoot. He didn’t make some of his open jumpers, but he has the form that will get him around six points in certain situations off the bench. If he wants to move into the high part of the second round, he must prove he can rebound inside, something he failed to do on Day 1.
Finally, NBA.com previewed the pre-draft camp. Novak is listed as one of the headliners for the event. Here's the preview.

Monday, June 05, 2006

NBA Pre-Draft Camp Begins

The NBA's pre-draft camp begins today in Orlando. Steve Novak will join dozens of other NBA hopefuls at the five-day session.

This year's pre-draft camp will be more accessible to fans than ever before. Beginning on Wednesday, "ESPNU, ESPN’s 24-hour college sports network, will provide the most live coverage ever of an NBA Pre-Draft Camp televising six hours over two days, June 7 and 8.....ESPNU’s coverage will include game action and interviews with players, scouts and NBA general managers. NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network, will also provide in-depth coverage of the pre-Draft camp."

Here is a link to the ESPNU television schedule for Wednesday, June 7. They are broadcasting three hours of coverage on Wednesday -- from 5-8pm EDT. Additional coverage is scheduled for June 8.

DraftExpress.com has Novak going to Phoenix with the 31st overall pick. NBAdraft.net has Novak going to the Trailblazers with the 31st overall pick as well.

Finally, Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel bookends his column today with Marqeutte alums. He opens Dwyane Wade and closes with Steve Novak. Read it here.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wade Leads Heat to NBA Finals

Congrats Dwyane, and good luck in the NBA Finals. Here's the Miami Herald's recap of Wade's effort to overcome illness in time for yesterday's game.