The Top 11: Seattle sports villains, #6-2

The recap of villains #11-7, which can be found here: 11, Jim McIlvaine; 10, Shaun Alexander; 9, David Stern; 8, Erik Bedard; 7, Jeff Smulyan.

6. Tyrone Willingham. There’s a theory in dating that says if you aren’t very good looking, then you better have a great personality to make up for it. Apparently Paint-Dry Ty felt he was either the exception to this rule growing up, or was one hell of a sexy guy. Either way, the soon-to-be former head coach of the Washington Huskies football team has had without a doubt one of the most scrutinized tenures of any coach or manager in Seattle sports history, thanks in large part to two factors: his complete lack of personality and his inability to win ballgames.

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In your face, Seattle: Two Husky losses on same day

Yep, by now I’m sure most of you are aware. The Husky football continued their dismal season by falling 27-7 to Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA Bruins, while the men’s basketball team kicked off their season with a 80-74 defeat at the hands of the Portland Pilots.

The Husky athletic program is setting new standards for loseability. The football team I can understand, because they’ve had nearly three months to flaunt their awfulness. But I figured the basketball team would give us something to root for, and last night that wasn’t the case. We expected an athletic team capable of running all over opponents and playing better defense than a year ago. What we got was a team making the same mistakes, playing similar D, and missing the same shots on the offensive end.

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Tomorrow’s posts and letter to our readers

Just to let you all know, tomorrow afternoon we’ll be posting villains 6-2 in our Top 11 countdown, along with a poll shortly thereafter on your choice for “most villainized” amongst the group. Our #1 villain will appear on Monday in a special feature. We’re going to play out that sequence for the Top 11 for the foreseeable future, with the initial 11-7 grouping on Thursday each week (even though the first edition came out last Wednesday), the 6-2 group appearing on Sunday, and the #1 on our list being specially featured on Monday.

Also tomorrow, we’ll have an article up on the Mariners and what they should with Ichiro Suzuki, in case any of you are interested in that.

Finally, our site is currently unsearchable through standard search engines (such as Google and Yahoo) but that should be changing in the next couple days. Of course, by typing in the full URL ( you can reach our page whenever you like, but it’s still difficult for outsiders to find us. So make sure you keep telling your friends to check us out and be sure to check back each day yourself. We really appreciate the response we’ve received so far from all the loyal followers and, as we’ve said before, we want this site to be a reflection of you, the fans. So if there’s anything you want to see or see more of, changes you want made, or topics you want addressed, don’t hesitate to email us with your questions or concerns and we’ll do our best to take care of it. Thanks again for sticking with us for the first few days, and look forward to more good times ahead.

Beyond Seattle: OSU Basketball, No We Can’t!

The Oregon State Men’s Basketball team went on the road to Howard last night and dropped a close one, 47-45, to the Bison. After the game, Beaver Head Coach Craig Robinson issued this quote about the state of his program:

“It won’t take me 20 months to turn this program around” Robinson said. “It’s going to take longer than that. This is different. We have to recruit some better players, we have to get better at what we’re doing, and we have to change the culture from losing to winning.” (The full context of this quote can be read here:

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Could we see Mike Vick in a Hawks uniform?

With Michael Vick announcing today that he fully expects to play football next season after his release from prison, NFL fans everywhere have to be wondering whether their team will be the one to give the former Falcon a shot. So that got me thinking about the possibility of Vick becoming a Seahawk. Before you shoot this theory down “because the Hawks don’t sign players with character issues,” allow me to present two reasons why this possibility could turn into reality.

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Beyond Seattle: Individual Power Rankings

As part of our “Beyond Seattle” section, we will be featuring weekly Individual Power Rankings that take the five most powerful people in sports over the past week and rank them accordingly (in descending order, starting with #5). Unlike team power rankings, the IPR’s will feature only individuals. Enjoy.

5. Antonio McDyess. Continuing a trend becoming more and more popular amongst old guys in the NBA, McDyess told the Denver Nuggets he didn’t want to play for them despite being traded to the team along with Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb in exchange for Allen Iverson. Rather than force McDyess, a one-time Nugget, to join the team, Denver instead released him, thus allowing him to sign with whomever he wants. Should NBA teams really be encouraging players to act as insubordinate employees? I mean, in what other profession do we see such disobedience rewarded? It’s an unfortunate circumstance that won’t stop until NBA front offices just say no.

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Pac-10 Men’s Basketball: Players to watch

A list of ten guys to keep an eye on around the Pac-10, in no particular order (not including Huskies). The season officially got underway on Wednesday as UCLA crushed Prairie View A&M 82-58. The Dawgs kick off their season tomorrow with a matchup against the University of Portland.

1. James Harden, G, Arizona State. The 6’4″ sophomore turned down the chance to be a first-round pick in the ’08 NBA Draft and instead opted to return to Tempe for a second season. A left-hander with solid range on his jumper, Harden (pictured left) truly excels when attacking the rim and creating off the dribble. At 218 pounds, his plus size combined with above-average quickness makes Harden, an All-Pac 10 First Team selection a year ago, easily one of the frontrunners for Pac-10 Player of the Year. 2007-2008 stats: 17.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.1 SPG.

2. Darren Collison, G, UCLA. Another in a line of players who turned down the lure of the NBA to return to campus, Collison is now a senior and the unquestioned leader of the Bruins as they look to return yet again to the Final Four. At 6’0″, 160 pounds, the lithe point guard boasts exceptional quickness and complements his offensive abilities with a pesky presence on the defensive end. He kicked off the year with 19 points in the Bruins’ victorious opener over Prairie View on Wednesday, then followed that up with 16 points against Miami of Ohio last night. 2007-2008 stats: 14.5 PPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG.

3. Chase Budinger, F, Arizona. The Wildcats explosive swingman may end up regretting his decision to stay in Tucson with the departure of Head Coach Lute Olson. A 6’7″ junior, Budinger possesses extreme athletic ability and, at one time, was considered an Olympic-caliber volleyball player. Along with F Jordan Hill and G Nic Wise, Budinger comprises the core of the ‘Cats offense and will be relied upon to play almost every game start to finish. 2007-2008 stats: 17.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG.

4. Theo Robertson, G, California. An athletic 6’6″ swingman, Robertson (pictured right) missed all of the 2007-2008 season following hip surgery. The redshirt junior logged extensive playing time during his sophomore campaign in the ’06-’07 season, and opened up this season with 29 points in the Golden Bears’ exhibition victory over Seattle Pacific University. With All-Pac-10 First-Teamer Ryan Anderson now in the NBA, Robertson, along with fellow guard Patrick Christopher, should become the focal point of an offense that will struggle to put up points. 2006-2007 stats: 8.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG.

5. Michael Dunigan, C, Oregon. Dunigan is one of a host of players who has a legitimate shot at taking home Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors this season. A 6’10”, 250 pound freshman who possesses size and skill around the basket, Dunigan is a four-star recruit who played at the same high school (Farragut Academy in Chicago, IL) as Kevin Garnett. With only one legitimate offensive threat returning for the Ducks (G Tajuan Porter), look for the offense to flow through Dunigan as the season gets underway.

6. DeMar Derozan, F, USC. Were it not for the NBA’s age-limit rule, Derozan wouldn’t even be on the USC campus right now. Considered the #1 small forward of the 2008 class, Derozan possesses remarkable explosive athleticism and should be a more-than-adequate replacement for the departed OJ Mayo. Already being compared to the likes of Kobe Bryant, Derozan will team up with junior Taj Gibson to lead the Trojan offense. On an interesting side note, he committed to USC as part of a package deal that also brought in friend and high school teammate Percy Miller, better known as the son of rapper Master P. and a rapper himself, Lil’ Romeo.

7. DeAngelo Casto, F, Washington State. Many locals may remember Casto (pictured left) from his days at Spokane’s Ferris High School. The 6’8″, 230 pound freshman should have an immediate impact on the Cougar offense with the departure of team’s big three: Kyle Weaver, Robbie Cowgill, and Derrick Low. With deferent senior Taylor Rochestie running the offense, look for Casto to patrol the interior in coach Tony Bennett’s offense and provide a complement to center Aron Baynes.

8. Jrue Holiday, G, UCLA. The consensus #1 point guard in the 2008 class, Holiday is the younger brother of UW sophomore guard Justin Holiday. With a quick first-step and superior ball-handling skills, the younger Holiday should fill the void left by guard Russell Westbrook’s departure to the NBA. In teaming up with fellow point guard Darren Collison, the 6’3″ 180-pounder combines to form arguably the most athletic backcourt in the Pac-10. Look for Holiday to spell Collison at the point and provide another scoring threat to go along with the likes of Josh Shipp.

9. Jordan Hill, F/C, Arizona. The 6’10” junior picked up his game remarkably a year ago, nearly tripling his scoring output from year 1 to year 2. Hill also became a staple on highlight reels nationwide with his emphatic shot-blocking abilities as Arizona stampeded to the NCAA tournament for a 17th consecutive time. Hill will be counted on to up that production yet again this season, as the Wildcats look to fill the scoring void left by Jerryd Bayless’ departure to the NBA and cope in the aftermath of coach Lute Olson’s abrupt retirement. 2007-2008 stats: 13.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.6 BPG.

10. Jeff Pendergraph, F, Arizona State. A 6’9″ senior, Pendergraph (pictured right) has made slight improvements to his game in each of the past three seasons. An All-Pac-10 Third Team selection a year ago, Pendergraph will need to break out in his final collegiate season if he wants to make it to the next level. With substantial athleticism and an affinity to dunk every ball he can get his hands on, Pendergraph will need to take some of the pressure off James Harden, whose production slowed as the year wore on, in order for the Sun Devils to live up to their early hype. 2007-2008 stats: 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG.

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