Ya Boi Is Back Plus NBA Recap Going Into December

“Life sucks, and then you die.”

I was told that when I was in high school by one of the greatest teachers and men I have ever known. Boy was he right. Since me posting that Soft 7 was back, I was let go (company was bought out), hired somewhere else (making less money than anticipated), started a weekend job to make more money (love serving), started volunteering to give back, and still maintain a full class load. So yeah, have not had the freest schedule recently.

However, with me finally now getting a scheduled break a few days a week to get back into writing, i can now finally get back to what I really love: writing about the NBA.

We have had some huge headlines break in the NBA world. Adam Silver wants to completely change the league. Ratings took a nose dive. Giannis dropped 50, then James Harden dropped 60 (in 3 quarters). Luka looks like he is the MVP. Rookie of the Year talks mirror MVP talks in how wild they are. Zion is STILL gaining weight. The Kings shit the bed in a Western conference that lowkey sucks. Andrew Wiggins looks like he deserves the nickname “Maple Jordan”. Carmelo is back and somehow better. The Raptors look like a repeat worthy team.

Lemme take a breath cause these are just the major headlines, and this is without mentioning any of the major market teams (that exist in, say, Boston, New York, LA, etc.)

I’ll be picking up my writing starting next week. Thought I’d take a break during my studying for finals to let you all know. I shall see you all soon.

It’s time for Georgetown to move on from Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing is in his third year as a head coach for the Georgetown Hoyas, and has little to show for it. Georgetown’s recruiting has regressed since Ewing took over, and the Hoyas’ win percentage has only marginally increased when the Hoyas are playing the weakest strength of schedule in the past decade. To succeed as an coach in college basketball, the coach either has to recruit well or develop players well. Ewing does neither particularly well.

Starting with Ewing’s recruiting record, Georgetown’s recruiting has been the weakest it has been in the past decade. From 247 Sports, take a look at Hoya recruiting over the last ten years.

YearNational RankBig East RankingAvg. Rating
20195540.8887
20183130.9176
20174450.8953
2016113100.8953
20152830.9402
2014810.9425
20139480.9656
20121910.9698
20111420.9384
2010810.9506

Ewing was hired in 2017, and his three recruiting classes thus far have been three of the worst four recruiting classes in the past decade as measured by average rating. The fourth of that group was John Thompson III’s final season as head coach at Georgetown.

But it makes some sense Ewing would not be a recruiting. His experience was coaching in the NBA and developing players. However, player development usually results in winning, which Ewing also has not done at Georgetown. Observe Georgetown’s record coming into this season.

SeasonWLW-L%SOS
2018-1919140.5765.31
2017-1815150.5005.29
2016-1714180.4389.31
2015-1615180.4558.49
2014-1522110.6679.81
2013-1418150.5458.27
2012-132570.7817.59
2011-122490.7277.69
2010-1121110.65610.39
2009-1023110.6769.56

Georgetown’s strength of schedule has been soft every year Ewing has been at the helm, but Georgetown certainly does not seem to be capitalizing on a schedule made up of milkmen and janitors.

One of the main distinctions between the Ewing hire at Georgetown and Chris Mullin’s hire at St. John’s was Ewing’s experience coaching in the NBA.

Prior to coaching for Georgetown, Ewing served as an assistant coach for multiple teams, including the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and Charlotte Hornets. Prior to Ewing’s hire at Georgetown, he interviewed with multiple NBA teams and was never hired as an NBA head coach.

Ewing’s former coach, Jeff Van Gundy, who also hired Ewing as an assistant coach with the Rockets, said Ewing desrved an NBA head coaching job a long time ago. “I don’t think it’s unfair to say [racism played a part],” Van Gundy said in a phone interview shortly after Ewing’s hiring at Gerogetown. “Certainly, I think there’s some size bias involved. I think back when he played, some of the things that were allowed, the signs, what was said. Even when I coached in the NBA, there were some columns written that were racially tinged in all areas. I mean, I think it’s a combination of things.”

Based on Georgetown’s performance under Ewing, the NBA teams that did not hire Ewing potentially did not hire Ewing because he was not head coaching material, rather than because he is tall. When Ewing’s NBA coaching career receives closer observation, it is possible he was gifted every job he received.

First Ewing coached for the Washington Wizards in the 2002-2003 season. That was the Wizards team Michael Jordan played for in his final season. Ewing and Jordan’s friendship off the court is well documented, so it is possible Jordan wanted one of his guys working his side on the bench, not unlike LeBron getting Jason Kidd hired by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ewing’s next job was with the Houston Rockets, where he was hired by the aforementioned Jeff Van Gundy. Jeff Van Gundy was Ewing’s coach for several years with the New York Knicks, so like Jordan, Van Gundy may have just wanted a guy on his bench to echo his own voice and message.

After the Rockets, Patrick joined the Orlando Magic, coached by Jeff Van Gundy’s brother, Stan Van Gundy. Jeff was on his way out in Houston, Stan was just getting started in Orlando, so Van Gundy may have been doing his former player and loyal assistant a solid in getting his brother to hire Ewing to the Orlando staff.

Finally, after Orlando, Ewing joined the Charlotte staff. Michael Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets in 2010, so when Ewing became available, it is possible the fairly new owner wanted to make sure he could pack as many of his guys into as many jobs as he could.

Now how Ewing got all these jobs mentioned above is a matter of speculation. What are facts are Ewing had these jobs, interviewed for NBA head coaching jobs, did not get any NBA head coaching jobs, and accepted a position at Georgetown. Georgetown was Ewing’s alma mater. Ewing’s former coach, John Thompson II still maintains an office on the Georgetown campus.

So is there reason to believe that Ewing’s relationships got him every job after he retired from the NBA? Well yeah, if for no other reason than the old adage that it’s not what you know, it’s who you. It certainly has to be who Ewing knows as to why he is still coach at Georgetown, because as shown above, the Georgetown results are demonstrating what Ewing knows, and that’s not much.

The Juice is Loose, Should We Panic About Kentucky?

First off, I know what you’re thinking…where hell have you been, Juice? Well, I moved to Nashville and the real world got chaotic. But I’m back…kind of. Kentucky basketball coverage has been my dream and I’m happy to say I’ve secured an amazing job and recently started a side hustle which will be announced later but I wanted to come back to the roots, to the place that started it all. Now let’s get to my point.

As we all know now, Kentucky got flat out embarrassed by Evansville. You can blame who you want, but it’s simple to see how we lost: we were unprepared.

I love John Calipari, but we lost this game because of him. Now stay with me. Cal has shown since day one he doesn’t really care about Kentucky and I respect that. Okay, he cares but he wants more than just notoriety for the school. His type of coaching/recruiting is unprecedented and his goal isn’t a championship, a perfect season, or to even make the tournament, he coaches for the kids futures which is why this past weekend was weird, especially for Cal.

Early season with a young team can be stressful. We’ve seen Cal stress this and it’s been proven especially when we lost to Duke last season by 34 but we still should’ve made the Final Four. Early season is so important for Cal which just makes his visit to NC State this weekend even more weird. He knows how important prep is for games, especially the weaker opponents because it’s a chance to run their schemes and get prepared for April but Calipari spent 2 days away from the team to cheer on his son. I’m not saying that’s an issue, I support Brad and I’m sure every member of BBN does but this early in the season you can’t be lazy and unfortunately that’s what Cal was last weekend.

I’m not knocking Calipari for visiting his son, that’s awesome and I’d want to see my kid play his first game (outside of Kentucky). But we need his full attention and I believe this is what captures it.

Look a loss is a loss who cares. We’ll be fine. We’ll beat Ohio State, we’ll beat Utah and we know damn well those Dirty Birds aren’t beating us in Rupp. We’re banged up. Hagans needs to rest, EJ and Allen need to get healthy, and Maxey and company need to find their stride. This team reminds me a ton of 2011 with Knight. We struggled, especially on the road and lost to some inferior opponents. But they’ll turn it around, give it some time.

This team still can win it all. We got spoiled with a great performance against Michigan State but it’s early. We should expect some bumps along the road and I know Calipari is more focused than ever now. We’ll be where we need to be, when we need to be there.

As always, Go Cats.

PS…Morning Juice will be making a comeback early December. I’ll be writing more here until I can share the exciting news.

An Open Letter: The Content is Coming…

Dear Soft Sevens,

As is the case with most 20-somethings out of/in college, the whole Soft 7 staff was no different: we got busy as shit. A lot of us were extremely fortunate and got to go on summer vacations. Unfortunately, that is not the only issue. Some had summer classes drag their attention away, while others had 9-5 work weeks axing a lot of free time. Some were in rec leagues, some traveled for work. Some had family issues rise up, some had relationship issues rise up. It sucks that the content took a hit, since we all love writing. As I’m sure you saw from other sport’s content sites, the summer months are a tough time for content as it is anyway. Life getting busy didn’t help this, and it sucked for most of us having to take a step back and put our hobby to the side.

You didn’t come here to read excuses. You came here for the plan ahead.

We at the Soft 7 staff are extremely fortunate in announcing a new model and schedule going forward. We all feel like we have gotten a grip on our new schedules as they stand currently, and any issues in our personal lives have been resolved. I have a few articles I am working on. Wic is putting together some, and I believe Juice may have a few Morning Juice’s in the works for this upcoming college football season. Expect big things from the staff. We hope to break many of the milestones we set before us this year. Who knows, maybe a long-awaited addition to our website gets added around Christmas time.

On behalf of the entire staff, we are sorry for the lack of content. However, get ready for a wild season up ahead.

Stay Soft Sevens,

Buck

Calipari Watching Closely

As we are all aware at this point, Kentucky is looking to add another piece to their 2019-2020 team. With the AAU Peach Jam ongoing, the main point of attraction for Cats fan is N’Faly Dante as he told KSR he wanted to reclassify if everything works our academically. Well, his team is playing in the semi-final this evening and guess who is there…John Calipari (see below). Calipari was straddling two courts watching N’Faly on one and Jalen Green vs Cade Cunningham on the other (both in the 2020 class). (Picture via @JackPilgrimKSR on twitter)

If you follow us at Soft7, you know how much I want N’Faly Dante. N’Faly is such an athlete and would add so much talent to this current team. With an obvious “weak” spot at the center position, N’Faly would allow EJ and Nick more rest as well as a huge defensive asset. He is going to cause so many issues inside the paint and the one thing that has come out of the Peach Jam is the dude is “100% NBA ready.” N’Faly told KSR if everything works our academically, he’ll be reclassifying but he’s waiting on a few test as well as finishing classes. He is considering Oregon, LSU, and Kentucky but honestly if he reclassified, Kentucky is the leader. He also said Calipari told him they have a spot either this year or next, meaning they want him to be a Wildcat regardless.

As a refresher, Dante is 6’11” and he has a wingspan of 7’5” which just makes him a beast. Watching some of his highlights, I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

From an interview with the Athletic, Dante’s AAU director claims that they are doing everything possible to reclassify. The hardest thing to do is reclassify but it is even harder when English is not your primary language. His family wants him to reclassify and they love Kentucky, but again it will take time and it won’t likely happen until the end of the summer, if at all. They claim they are working “around the clock” to make it possible and by all accounts, he wants it to happen. Oregon and Kansas are possible contenders but I really think if he reclassifies, he is Kentucky’s to lose.

Here are my thoughts…if N’Faly reclassifies Kentucky is in the driver’s seat. He could potentially stay home at Kansas and even Oregon is atop of is list, but Kentucky is the school he has his eyes on and his host family feels the exact same way. If I had to take a guess, I think he will reclassify but it would happen after Peach Jam and those AAU events. This gives him more time to visit, work on school work, and show off his skills against the elite of the elite. It may be a waiting process, but I think the Cats wrap up their 2019 recruiting class with N’Faly.

For all BBN updates, opinions and much more, follow us on Twitter @soft7sports now!

Latest N’Faly Dante Update

At this point you know who N’Faly Dante is and what he brings to the table. In case you forgot, N’Faly Dante is the 2nd ranked center in the 2020 class but his family seems to be pushing for him to reclassify into 2019. While he is from Wichita, Kentucky is also pushing for a reclassification due to his ability to own the paint and it doesn’t hurt that he is long as hell. While he is technically 6 foot 11 inches, his wingspan stretches to 7 foot 5 and some measurements even think it is bigger. With Calipari still looking to add to his already stacked 2019 class, Dante could be the final piece of the championship puzzle.

While the Kerry Blackshear saga continued for weeks, the N’Faly Dante sweepstakes could take even longer but at no fault of his own. Being a junior in high school, N’Faly has perhaps his most important AAU summer and he’d be a fool to skip out on it. With the Peach Jam about to begin, we could see him make a decision anytime after July 14th but hold on and keep your hopes to a minimum.

N’Faly is an amazing player, there’s no arguing that and he is one of those players that could leap into the 2019 class because his skill set is so special. There is a holdup though and for him, it’s harder than most situations. With him being originally from Mali, english is his second language. Reclassifying is hard enough but he’ll have it harder. A ton of media reports came out saying he was staying in the 2020 class…they’re wrong. N’Faly wants to reclassify and he is awaiting a few test results as well as the Peach Jam. But as the Peach Jam begins soon, he’ll face media and we’ll be able to get more answers.

Again, N’Faly would be a stud. His length, his shot blocking ability, and his speed are a few things to look out for. I feel like Dante is the closest to Bam. Bam was an absolute tank but he wasn’t the best shooter. His defense will set him apart from the others as he is a complete package with shot-blocking and rebounding and the ability to switch off the pick. The issue Dante may have is his outside shot. While he drains threes in his videos, his shot is just so inconsistent. With his height, he has the ability to again rebound and dunk but he’ll need to develop an outside shot and it will take patience from everyone. He has the peak of a Karl Anthony Towns with his athleticism and he can grow into a shot and with Kenny Payne, this is possible.

Here are my thoughts…if and it’s about 70/30 right now, IF N’Faly reclassifies Kentucky is in the driver’s seat. He could potentially stay home at Kansas and even Oregon is atop of his list, but Kentucky is the school he has his eyes on and his host family feels the exact same way. If I had to take a guess, I think he will reclassify but it would happen after Peach Jam and those AAU events. This gives him more time to visit, work on school work, and show off his skills against the elite of the elite. It may be a waiting process, but I think the Cats wrap up their 2019 recruiting class with N’Faly.

So as we wait, make sure you follow us on Twitter @soft7sports and on Facebook for the latest updates. Come on down, N’Faly.

Division Title Within Reach

I said earlier this week that this could be the most important week of the season because they had series against the division leading Cubs and Brewers. Well, here we are on July 5th and the Reds won both of the series with a combined 5-2 record and they ended it with perhaps the most dominating pitching performances of the year from Sonny Gray and our ace, Luis Castillo.

As Wic wrote the other day, the Reds have allowed the fewest runs in Major League Baseball. A huge part of that comes from their outstanding shift in their pitching with a league ranking of third. They are second in the league in shutouts with nine, but they currently are dead last in the NL Central. But things are changing. With the momentum building week they have had, the Reds currently sit only 3.5 games out of first in the Central and currently 3.5 games out in the Wild Card as well. They have the ability to gain some more ground with the Indians coming in town but their schedule does not get any easier after All-Star break. In fact, they will play a ton of games against the NL Central which gives them so much ground to gain. So what needs to happen?

Image result for sonny gray luis castillo

It’s easy to say that hitting is the issue, and it is, but consistency is the real problem. The Reds have been producing in the first inning which has led them to tons of wins recently, including last night against the Brewers. They are lucky to have a top bullpen (4th overall, 2nd in NL) that has let them kind of breeze by without scoring runs but that needs to change. Votto, Senzel, and Puig have been producing like no other recently so let’s hope the rest of the team catches on.

But let’s get real. My expectations for this team remain the same, a NL Wild Card spot and a visit to either Milwaukee or Los Angeles for the NLDS. This team has the ability to reach the NLCS but it will start with their hitting. Their pitching has proved it can remain a force and once the offense wakes up, this team could be atop of the NL. Realistically, they are a Wild Card team but as MJ once said, “the ceiling is the roof.” So I ask you, what are your expectations?

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