What do Romel Beck, Dave Joerger and Thom Brigl have in common?
Not much probably, except they are all in this column.
Beck heading south
The Dakota Wizards waived leading scorer Romel Beck on March 26 because of a hand injury. So Wizards coach Rory White was more than a little surprised to hear about a report from ESPN Deportes that said Beck would be joining a team in Venezuela next week.
White contacted Beck's agent, whom he said told him that Beck wouldn't resume playing until the end of the D-League season. But the Wizards coach said he was angry that Beck didn't stick it out with the Wizards.
"I don't even know what to think," White said. "It was only three more weeks. It's really disappointing. ... He's cheating his teammates."
Beck played parts of two seasons with the Wizards, averaging 17.9 points in 42 games this year.
"I know he gave up a lot of money to play in the D-League, and maybe that was in the back of his mind, and I'm sure he was disappointed not getting called up (to the NBA)," White said. "But look at how many callups there have been lately."
Joerger a hot prospect
Speaking of former Wizards and the worldwide leader, Dave Joerger's name has been popping up on ESPN's assorted Web sites as a potential candidate for NBA head coaching positions.
In late February ESPN Insider David Thorpe dropped Joerger's name as somebody the New Jersey Nets ought to consider hiring next season. Fans on various message boards picked up on that notion and repeated it.
Last week Kevin Arnovitz was speculating on potential candidates for the Clippers' job on ESPNLosAngeles.com. He tagged Joerger as the coach with the "biggest upside" and gave a rather extensive explanation.
Here's part of it:
"The Clippers could ask themselves, ‘Who is the brightest young coaching prospect in the NBA?' Put that question to enough NBA insiders, and you'll hear Joerger's name more than a few times.
"... Last July at NBA Summer League, Joerger coached the Grizzlies' squad. The team's perfect record was not just a product of its collective potential. The Grizz were simply better-prepared, more motivated and far more innovative than the competition. In person, Joerger comes across as a guy with a plan. He's fluent in X's and O's, but also aware that outworking your opponent is often the best recipe for success."
None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who watched Joerger build one championship team after another in Bismarck (and one in Sioux Falls).
But it's pretty amazing that it took less than three years as an assistant with the Grizzlies for someone with Joerger's background - small-college player, minor-league coach still in his mid-30s - to show up on the radar as a potential NBA head coach.
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Does everything have to be for sale?
It's kind of cheesy that the Bobcats sell advertising on the back of players' jerseys, but if that's what it takes to keep the team afloat, so be it. Good for those businesses for supporting local activities.
But recently the team has taken to announcing the sponsors' names every time a player does anything, as though they are wholly owned subsidiaries of that sponsor.
It's crass and not exactly fan-friendly.
I mean, "That goal came off the magic stick of (Fill-in-the-blank) Orthodontics' Jason Fabian," doesn't exactly come tripping off the tongue - especially not with that possessive at the end.
And unlike most hockey teams, the Bobcats don't repeat goal announcements, so it can be tough to decipher who the heck did what.
When I asked Bobcats' owner Thom Brigl about the decision, he said that some sponsors had asked the team for the announcements. His argument was that the customers are always right.
First, not necessarily. Second, aren't the fans customers, too? The overcommercialization of sports can be intrusive and downright annoying, and I've got to think at least some Bobcats' fans think this qualifies.
The Bobcats aren't getting any extra cash for doing this. They really ought to just stop.