Lakers’ Journal

Are you an avid Lakers fan? How about just a sincere hoops fan who wants the scoop on the defending champions? Then I suggest you head over to the Lakers’ Journal at MVN.com to find anything and everything about the Lakers. As of recent I have become a free-lance writer for MVN and have been putting in contributions over there. Of course more is coming soon here at Basketball with Dino Gomez but if you’re in need of some news regarding Phil Jackson and the crew then I suggest MVN is your spot.

Lakers With Artest Could be Great or Terrible

The Los Angeles Lakers are only a few months past this most recent NBA championship. Of Course they took the title for a fourth time in the last decade and did so by way of a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best 2-guard in the league.

However the Lakers had other key players that more than contributed to their 2008-2009 title. Pao Gasol did major work for them in the post while Lamar Odom provided the versatility that all teams desire from a power-forward. Lets not forget Trevor Ariza who was an amazing defensive stopper for L.A. and who came up with a few big time steals in the playoffs to seal victories for the team.ron-artest-lead

So the question begs if the Lakers had such a great chemistry on their team and perfect fit players at every position, why did they let Ariza go and bring in Ron Artest? Of course Artest may be an upgrade on the court but Ariza for this specific team is more valuable. You don’t have to worry about Trevor causing problems off the court, in the locker room, or with the media. With Artest you definitely do. Ariza also made all the plays you would have wanted him to make without taking away from Kobe’s brilliance.

Here is why Artest is probably the worst off-season acquisition the Lakers could have made. Bringing in a fellow all-star who desires and expects attention and setting him next to Kobe is simply a bad idea. It was different bringing in Gasol who is humble and isn’t a media whore. But Artest is going to want interviews and the spot light and photographs and I bet he will do what is necessary to make sure he gets all of that.

Championship caliber teams are always about chemistry and not simply about talent. Remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton all on the same starting roster. That did not work out for them. Surprising as it is you need a balance of players that compliment each other and that are not just individually talented.  The lakers had that last year and by getting rid of Ariza for Artest they may have lost it all. It will be exciting to see.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

St. John’s Grabs Peter Robert Casey as Twitter Blogger

You all know Peter Robert Casey, he was featured here in an exclusive interview a few months back for his impressive work with The Entertainers Basketball Classic a.k.a the EBC, but what you may not know quite yet is that he recently signed an agreement with St. John’s University to act as a micro-blogger covering men’s basketball games for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. Casey will be given a court side seat to each contest and will use his twitter account, @Peter_R-Casey, to broadcast in real time how the Red Storm are doing on the court. Casey has been given the green light to use his basketball I.Q. and personal brand to dissect the play of the St. John’s basketball team in order tolife_peterrobertcasey_200 reach basketball fans that are online via Twitter when the Red Storm are playing. He will be the first Twitter-blogger to earn a seat on press row.

To put in perspective how many followers and fans Casey has on Twitter, he is among the top ten most followed individuals in the basketball community which includes coaches and players of all calibers. In other words only 9 potential NBA players have a bigger following base than Casey. As a non-celebrity that is amazing. Be sure to check out more details of this story that even ESPN has covered.

Are we following each other on Twitter yet? @DinoGomez

3 Draft Picks to Watch

Summer league has passed and it is now that time for draft picks to get antsy if they haven’t signed a contract yet with their new teams. Of course there are many first round draft picks who have signed large contracts and will be players to watch shine the following years to come. However it is often exciting to keep tabs on those players who are unexpected to do well in the NBA.nbadraft2009

1) Chase Budinger- First mention goes to Chase Budinger. For those who know me well of course I’m going to talk about his recent multi-year agreement with the Houston Rockets. Here’s a player that came into Arizona recruited by Lute Olson himself who felt Budinger was the best high school recruit that Arizona had ever landed! That is a big deal coming from coach Olson who had recruited many current and past NBA players to Arizona. Budinger put up great overall numbers in his three years at U of A but never truly reached his potential. Perhaps it was due to having 3 different coaches in his 3 years with the program and off-the-court distractions. Either way he averaged 17 points a game with 5.8 rebounds in his 3 years in the desert. This resulted with him earning the 44th overall pick in the 2009 draft. He went from a McDonalds All-American to the 44th overall pick in the NBA draft? The Houston rockets were quick to catch on that Budinger must have had his problems in college but that he was still an amazing player. That is why this past week he was signed to a multi-year contract with the organization after leading the club in scoring through out summer league play. Having watched Budinger at Arizona for 3 years I think he will surprise many with his offensive talent in the league.

2) Terrance Williams With the 1tth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the New Jersey Nets grabbed Terrance Williams. Now williams did draft quickly and is expected to do well in the league but it seems his talent is still overlooked. Williams averaged 2.3 steals a game this past year at Louisville and is as quick as lighting for a 6’6″ wing. His average of 11 points per game in the 2008-2009 season was the result of playing amongst a team of all-stars in which he did not have to score excessively. With the exclusion of Blake Griffin in this discussion, Williams is my pick to win rookie of the year in the 2009-2010 NBA season. He will certainly have opportunities to shine on the court playing for New Jersey this year which is a huge part of winning the ROY award. Without the chance to play you can’t possibly win the award which is why I’m thinking he’s got the green light.

3) Eric MaynorSet all kinds of records for his college Virginia Commonwealth which might as well be a junior college? Maybe its just hard to keep track of all colleges these days because until the 2009 tourney I had not heard of it or of Maynor. Either way after some research and after watching his first round performance it’s easy to say that Maynor is an amazing point guard. I expect him to have a successful NBA career although I’m not sure if it will happen in Utah behind Deron Williams. Perhaps this first year he will grab some playing time when Williams needs a break and when he does, watch for him to put points on the board in a hurry. It will be fun to see how he does in his first year. Due to his circumstances in college (which was having to carry his team repeatedly against stronger and more talented teams), I  believe the adjustment to the NBA will be that much easier for him.

Who are your NBA rookies to watch for? Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

Arenas is Ready to Go

Gilbert Arenas is lethal on the basketball court. He has an amazing pull up jumper and a silky smooth drive to the hoop. Washington fans are thankful that his most recent surgery went well and that his recovery is almost complete. Flip Saunders commented this week that Arenas is almost at full strength in the weight room and is basically at full speed on the court. Saunders continued forward to say that his all star point guard/shooting guard will make them an elite playoff team this year. I’m not sure about that second remark but in regards to the first one, it will be great to see this all star back and contending with those other great stars in the league.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez

NBA Big-Timmers’ Schedule

As ESPN reports, the schedule for the 2009-2010 NBA season is out and there are a few surprises, but lots of good bait for betting online. There are a some changes from last year however. The Houston Rockets were broadcast plenty in the 2008-2009 season because they were stacked and a force to be reckon with. They pushed the Lakers to a seventh game in the playoffs and all. Amazing how quickly things can change. With Yao Ming and T-Mac injured and sulking on the bench and with Artest NBA-main_Fullhaving left to the defending champions lineup, the Rockets will not receive one nationally televised regular season game this year. Of course they aren’t the only team that is expected to produce boring and lackluster performances. New Jersey, Sacramento, Charlotte, and Milwaukee will also not have a game televised anywhere but on NBA television this year.

That leaves us with the teams that we want to watch and which will receive plenty of  camera time. On October 27th on TNT, the season opener will boast the new look Cavaliers against Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics. Later that evening the defending champs will play their ugly shadow, the Clippers. October 29th will be your best opportunity to see Richard Jefferson dressed in Oakland Raiders attire for his first game as a San Antonio Spur playing against a Chicago Bulls team.  And most importantly we all want to know what we will be unwrapping presents to on Christmas day. We will unwrap gifts to a second consecutive year in which the NBA broadcasts a quintupleheader. For those of you who like me had no idea what that word means; a 5 game match up. That’s right, this year on December 25th we will see the Heat vs. Knicks, Celtics vs. Magic, Cavs. vs. Lakers, Clippers vs. Suns, and the Nuggets vs. Trailblazers. It will surely be an amazing day.

Freelance Writers/Reporters Needed

Interested in a basketball related career? If so there is no better way to get a foot on-board than becoming a freelance reporter. Currently I’m heading the California segment of a high school basketball recruiting site called Illinoishsbasketball.com, soon to become national with the start of a new organization. What I’m looking for is young and ambitious individuals who have a sincere passion for basketball. You don’t have to know an extreme amount about the game although it helps if you do, all we ask is that you do your best reporting on the game here oVeniceBeach01n the West Coast. We don’t require any experience and will credit your work on our site by way of your name, your website, and a picture. So if you’re in California and have interest dropping by a few games to watch some of the best players in the country and potentially future NBA players then contact me right away. Remember no experience is necessary just passion for the sport.

Join us on Facebook at: California Prep Basketball Network

Contact Dino if interested at: dino.gomez22@yahoo.com

On Twitter? Follow @DinoGomez

Steve Nash Creates A Global Sports Social Network

Back to Back MVP winner and regretfully not Back to Back to Back MVP winner, Steve Nash, has gone nash_0506mvp_indexahead and created a global sports social network called MakeItPro. I regretfully say not 3 years in a row MVP winner because Nash’s numbers were all better the year following his 2 MVP seasons but the fans were ready for a new MVP and instead voted away from him… anyways Nash has gone ahead and invested money, time, and thought into creating this network that brings together coaches, players, kids, parents, and basically an entire sports community to interact with one another. It is free to join and is a “one stop destination for anyone passionate about sports.” So far I count only 3 professional NBA players that have joined but there are many other pro athletes that have jumped on board from other sports.

A few things lead me to believe this will network will become huge among pros and joes. One, Steve Nash has a personality that people like. Players and fans respect him and appreciate what he represents. Nash is the kind of guy who makes ammends with another player who months before whacked him into the scores table intentionally during a Spurs and Suns Playoff game. Yes I’m talking about Robert Horry. Nash doesn’t make enemies. Se1216horry-autosized258cond, Nash has the power to build this network up very quickly. He has the money and the media to get sponsors and programs involved. Finally everyone is social networking these days as the best means to marketing themselves and potentially their company. Add in an abundance of social media “experts” roaming around and you get a bunch of Internet users who understand that the more networks they take part in, the better they stand to connect with others and market themselves. In other words, people are going to join MakeItPro as soon as they learn it exists.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

Tribute to Lute Olson

It was amazing to speak with Randy Brown about his days coaching alongside Lute Olson.  The way Randy spoke about Lute told you just how much he learned from him and how much he admired the person he is. Randy didn’t simply say Lute was an amazing coach, he said Lute is an amazing person.OlsonGraphic

I met Lute once when I was 13.  I attended his basketball camp in Tucson, Arizona about 9 years back. It was a week long camp which included a personal photo opp with the coach. I’ll never forget that camp simply because the demonstrations from current and past Arizona players were spectacular. It was every kids dream to attend Lute’s camp and you know the man himself wasn’t just trying to make an extra buck by hosting a summer camp. Lute was there to help kids learn basketball correctly and build an audience for the university in which he represented. That is why Lute is awesome and why he is loved by everyone in the basketball community.

On August 8th, 2009 coach Lute Olson is to be recognized for his amazing Hall of Fame Career at the University of Arizona at which he coached. In his tenure with the University he contributed to 11 Pac-10 titles, 23 consecutive NCAA appearances, 4 final fours, and a national championship in 1997. The ceremony will last from 11Am until 12:30 Pm at the McKale Memorial Center in Tucson. The event will include presentations from NBA players that Lute coached as well as a highlight reel of bits and pieces of those 23 seasons in which he led the Wildcats to the Big dance and beyond. The ceremony is free to the public and is sure to be amazing so be sure to stop by with a friend. Thanks again for everything Lute! Arizona fans will never forget you.

Tony Vallario: Founder of SportCue

Tony Vallario is the founder and creator of the newest social networking platform, SportCue. I found SportCue via a recommendation I received over on LinkedIn for a new type of “Facebook” that is directed at those individuals within the sporting industry. What a brilliant idea! A social networking platform that is solely for those within the niche of sports.logo

SportCue is still just breaking into the market having launched only two weeks ago. Upon visiting the platform and signing up I immediately found myself pondering the potential it has for growth and success. I reached out to Tony and contacted him right away. I wanted to be the first to interview him about SportCue as well as ask him what his plans are for the company’s future.

Q.1. Tony, you created a new sports social networking platform that seems to be a mesh between LinkedIn and Facebook but that is for those individuals involved with a sports-related career. Can you tell us about SportCue in general? What made you decide to pursue such a project and what is your goal for SportsCue?

1) “Sportcue.copicm is an on-line social medium designed specifically for those either within, or looking to get involved in, the sport industry. Whether it be through rec, collegiate, semi-pro, pro, entrepreneurial business ventures, etc. revolving around sport, Sportcue.com is a platform with which individuals could connect with one another and share views, information, opinions, stories, pictures, etc. As you mentioned, similar to that of LinkedIn and Facebook, it truly is just a “concentrated and niche” social network.

What ultimately got me started on Sportcue.com is that I came up with an idea when I was in grad school about a business revolving around the recruitment of high school athletes because I personally loved to follow the recruitment of high school football (I used to intern the recruiting dept at Indiana University for the football team throughout the years as a student). I wanted to create a social network that would allow high school athletes to put themselves on the internet and connect with other high school athletes. Then maybe further down the road as this social network grows, collegiate athletic departments would use this platform as a tool to recruit student athletes to their university via searching through the athletes profile, stats, video, etc. Well, as I began creating the business plan for that venture I began to find that there was a tremendous amount of competition that I was unaware of at the time that already had a huge leg up on me (i.e takkle.com, Fox Sports was planning a site, as well as ESPN). So I knew all along that I wanted to do something in relation to sport because that’s my passion, but since that particular field was beginning to crowd pretty quickly, I started to think of other things. That’s when I came up with the idea for Sportcue.com. I knew that the business of sport was growing and was only going to increase its growth in tphotoshop-lighting-bulb-logo-icon33he near future.  That’s how I came up with the idea. I thought, “you know, there are truly a lot of people who are looking to break into the industry, or who are already in the industry and would love to communicate and talk with others in the business”. If I learned one thing from my time at Indiana, it was to always network, and what better way than to do that than through an on-line social network.

Honestly, Sportcue.com is truly still in its beta phase. Yes the site has been around for a few months, but I have big plans for this business. I want to add so many features to the site (i.e. articles, listings of jobs, links to collegiate educational programs that offer sport marketing, management, communication, etc. I want to add forums). There are really so many things that I want to implement into the site, but it will just take time.”

Q.2. SportCue is a very clean platform that is easy to navigate and includes a spot for a personal blog. Did you create this by yourself? In other words, do you have those computer and web design skills yourself or where did you turn to put together such a website?

2) “Yes, the sipicte looks “clean” so to speak, and I hate to say it, but I was certainly not the one who had the skill to create such a design. I laid out what i wanted in terms of features for the site and the platform was created from my ideas not from me (I only wish I could do something like that). The way the site was created was that my cousin, who is a wiz when it comes to computers and such, introduced me to one of his friends who said he could create the site for me for a small fee. I agreed and a few months later, Sportcue.com was up and running. Now I have to say, that I am currently working on trying to get someone new to come in and help take the site to the “level” with which I described above, and hopefully that won’t take me more than just a couple months to iron out.”

Q.3. I see your only 24 years of age, so you’re extremely young. Did you just finish college and get into this project of starting SportCue right away or what was your path to starting SportCue over the last few years? For those entrepreneurs that are just graduating college and whom wish to start their own sports related business, what’s their best first move?

3)” This may spicound funny, and I’m sure some people are going to hate me after they hear or read this, but I feel as if I’m almost old… Yes I’m 24, but I have big plans for this site and I don’t want to waste any time trying to get it to where I think it could and should be. So I’m constantly trying to think of things and implement things to Sportcue.com because I don’t want to have any regrets and I certainly don’t want time to pass me by so to speak. I wish I could have started this venture sooner and maybe it would have been a little further along right now, who knows? Anyway, I graduated undergrad from Indiana University with a BA in Sports Marketing and Management in 2007 and I stayed on to get my masters there in Sport Management (I graduated grad school in the summer of 2008). For any “young people” out there who wish to start there own sport related business, all I have to say is go for it; you honestly have nothing to lose (you will always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take). I’m sure there are countless great ideas floating around out there that revolve around sport, you just have to go after it. Design a business plan, do research, and just go for it… that’s truly the best advice I could give.”

Tony makes starting a social networking platform sound relatively easy with his casual descriptions of the process but I’m guessing he is just quite modest about his own work ethic… either way what a brilliant idea he had during this social networking era that we have just entered. With that said, lets recap Tony’s entreprenueral process to starting SportCue.

  1. Brainstorm Business ideas/Company
  2. Do research on that business idea/the company you want to create.
  3. Network. You have to in order to find business partners/help starting a company.
  4. Create a business plan (needs to be very detailed and is more difficult than suggested)
  5. Double check who your potential competitors are. Tony found he was up against ESPN if he stood with his first company idea.
  6. Try again. As the famous quote goes that Tony reminded us of: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Allen Iverson certainly understands that.

Thanks again to Tony Vallario for his time and for checking in. Make sure you’re networking at the right place and visit SportCue. Want more Basketball, social media, and the business? Follow @DinoGomez on Twitter.