published Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

5 at 10: Kobe Bryant, NCAA seeding and the NFL combine approaches

From the "Talk too much studios," let's go.

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    New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) holds his helmet after failing to catch a pass late in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game as New York Giants strong safety Kenny Phillips walks by, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Giants defeated the Patriots 21-17. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A.F., Day 1

Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way...

5-at-10: "Hello, we're the 5-at-10 and we have a problem."

Group: "Hi, 5-at-10."

5-at-10: "We're addicted to football."

Group: "Welcome 5-at-10."

OK, we can do this. We can reconnect with friends and family that we have been less attentive to during the last four months. We can make it. We can find a hobby. We can do this. We can pretend to like some of the dreck that's on TV. We can make it the 207 days until college football's opening Saturday.

Who are we kidding? OK, it's less than three weeks until the NFL combine, and the 5-at-10 loves the draft. You know this.

Former Red Bank High star Tim Benford is working toward that combine with the knowledge that a big-time future awaits, as TFP ace John Frierson shares here (Tim Benford working toward NFL shot).

Benford told Frierson he's working on everything, but we all know that for perimeter guys that are not familiar names, the combine is as much about 40 times as anything. A good 40 time can get you drafted — ask former UTC defensive back Buster Skrine, who dropped a sub-4.4 40 at last year's combine. A mediocre 40 time puts untold emphasis on everything else. A bad 40 time will likely mean it's time to find a real job.

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    Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant celebrates after making a three-point basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, April 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Kobe moves up

Where does Kobe Bryant rank? It's a fair question, and if you want to use that as today's question, we understand.

We went another direction (see below) because we're going to offer our answer here.

Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal to become the NBA's No. 5 career scorer all time Monday. Here's a chart courtesy of ESPN to prove it:

Player (Games) — Points

1. K. Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) — 38,387

2. Karl Malone (1,476) — 36,928

3. Michael Jordan (1,072) — 32,292

4. Wilt Chamberlain (1,045) — 31,419

5. Kobe Bryant (1,128) — 28,601

6. Shaquille O'Neal (1,207) — 28,596

7. Moses Malone (1,329) — 27,409

8. Elvin Hayes (1,303) — 27,313

9. Hakeem Olajuwon (1,238) — 26,946

10. Oscar Robertson (1,040) — 26,710

Bryant also has five NBA titles. It's a nice resume to say the very least.

Where does it rank? We'll say he's the second-best shooting guard in NBA history, right behind MJ.

Some of our regulars around here get miffed when the 5-at-10 tries to compare generations, and they have a point. The rules are different. There are more games and the travel is much easier. But the competition is also better and the demands are overwhelmingly more difficult.

That said, we've been more reluctant to compare positions and declare anyone is the best player as much as the best center or the best shortstop. Even with the generational stuff, comparing positions is more oranges to tangerines than apples to oranges, if that makes sense.

So Kobe is the best 2 guard not named Jordan, and that's pretty rarified Air. (See what we did there? Thank you, thank you very much).

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    Kentucky's Anthony Davis (23) dunks against South Carolina during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 in Columbia, S.C. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 86-52. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

College hoops

There are a few folks over at ESPN that are flat-out experts. There are a lot of folks that aren't. So it goes, and that probably can be said about every professional organization everywhere (take the TFP for instance, the 5-at-10 is aces, the sports editor is a knucklehead). The main difference for ESPN, though, is that it's on 24 hours a day, everyday — on like five platforms, and that's not including the Ocho with Cotton and Pepper and the wall-to-wall ADAA action ("Cotton needs new shorts.")

Anyhoo, among the best and brightest at ESPN is one Joe Lunardi, who is an expert on RPI and college hoops seeding. In fact he and BCS guru Brad Edwards are the sports coverage aces of the college sabermetrics that matter.

Lunardi's latest seeding was Monday, and his four No. 1s (and the regional site they would play in) were Syracuse (East in Boston), Missouri (West in Phoenix), Ohio State (Midwest in St. Louis) and Kentucky (South in Atlanta).

OK, even we understand that getting a No. 1 seed is better than not getting a No. 1 seed (hold all jokes here FE to the C, we admitted it on the front end), but it just dawned on the 5-at-10 how important the regular season is for Chas9's UK Wildcats. If Kentucky closes out this awesome season with no more than one more loss and they lay claim to the top overall seed (or even the second overall seed behind Syracuse, which as ace TFP columnist Mark Wiedmer points out here (Syracuse cruising toward Fab year) is legit with Fab Melo on the floor), the Cats have a gold-paved road to the Final Four.

A top-two-seed UK team would play its first two games in Louisville before an overflow throng of Big Blue zanies. A regional date in the ATL would be almost as attractive for Kentucky, which has owned a Gen. Billy T. Sherman-esque record in Atlanta — torching all comers. (Too much? Yeah, we thought so too. So be it.)

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    This handout from Sports Illustrated shows the cover of the Dec. 12, 2005 issue, featuring Tom Brady, the 2005 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. The issue will hit newsstands on Dec. 7. (AP Photo/HO, Sports Illustrated)

This and that

— One of the more interesting things discussed in the 12 billion hours of Super Bowl build-up was that Tom Brady was a high school baseball star. He was drafted as a left-handed hitting catcher in the 18th round despite all of the scouts knowing he was headed to Michigan. His high school coach says he was more of a can't-miss prospect than Barry Bonds and Gregg Jefferies, two former MLB first-rounders with whom the coach had worked. Wow, imagine Brady as the starting catcher for the Red Sox. Now imagine Gisele complaining about how the pitchers can't throw strikes. Don't hold the ball so hard, OK? It's an egg. Hold it like an egg.

— This is not sports but it's worth discussion. Did you see the story on the guy who assumed ownership of a $350,000 house in a Dallas suburb for $16 and some paper work? Here's the AP story ($16 house? Dallas area man evicted after squatting). Well, Kenneth Robinson has been evicted, but not before starting a website, writing a book and offering counsel to would-be squatters. Robinson has inspired several folks to imitate his actions, and some even tried to take ownership of occupied homes. What's next, Robinson starting a Squatters Union? Robinson describes himself as "poised, measured, insightful and wise" and says he's part of the "paradigm shift." OK, if Robinson and any other freeloading, fine-print-bending nutbar is part of any type of real "paradigm shift" then the terrorists have won. Sweet buckets of migraines, pass the Goodie's headache powders.

— OK, the 5-at-10 has been riding the UK hoops bus from the start. Hey, A-Davis is fun to watch. But apparently, John Calipari is riding a fan bus of his own (John Calipari's new obsession: Nick Saban and Alabama football). Wow, Coach Cal, we all know Nick Saban has had some success, but if that went much further, those two were going to need a room.

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    Henry Aaron of the Atlanta Braves is seen, date and location unknown. (AP Photo)

Today's question(s)

The Atlanta Braves unveiled a new alternative home uniform Monday. It's pretty sweet, and in truth, anything this side of the 1980s Astros' duds would be better than those red jerseys the Braves wore on Sundays at home the last few years.

Plus, the throwback look paid homage to 1966, and any chance the Braves get to honor Hank Aaron should be taken and enjoyed.

Anyhoo, here are two questions tied into the new Braves' unis:

a) Do you think the Braves will have a jersey in Dan Uggla's size this year or will they continue to make him wear the child's XL? Hey, the 5-at-10 was a large tot and in our youth sports days we were known to wear the higher numbers because the higher numbers were the bigger sizes. So it goes. But c'mon, let's get Uggla a No. 11 that fits. For the love of blow flow, there were stretches last year that Uggla may have lost circulation to his hands and fingers because his jersey was too tight.

b) Best uniform in sports is....?


about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring,

Kobe makes my All Laker Team of all time only as 6th man.

G-Magic Johnson, G-Jerry West, F-Elgin Baylor, F-James Worthy, C-Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

Best uniforms you ask? Silver and Black!

February 7, 2012 at 12:09 p.m.
chas9 said...

Yes, if the Big Dance goes according to form, all sports pages will have to refer to the ATL as "Catlanta." Your mention of a KY coach admiring a Bama football coach prompts this query: Which SEC team holds an undefeated SEC record against Bear Bryant?

February 7, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
jgreeson said...

FE to the C —

Kobe finds his way onto the floor. Sit Elgin or the begoggled Worthy and let Kobe go.

Raiders' unis are a sure-fire top 10 pick and may be in the top 5 — and they get huge bonus points for sticking to what they have. The Raiders unis do what they do. Shout out to Al. (Tear)

9er —

It will be Catlanta, and that regional ticket may be the hottest basketball ducket in A-T-L history.

Hhmmmm, if you're asking the question.... then it has to be.... Auburn?

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2012 at 12:20 p.m.
chas9 said...

Nope. Not The Plainsmen. But you're close. Even in the right state.

February 7, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.
Stewwie said...

[We'll say (Kobe)'s the second-best shooting guard in NBA history, right behind MJ.]

This is a very easy call, Jay. A tougher decision is determining his ranking among the greatest Lakers players ever. I agree that he's top 5 for sure, but Magic and Jabbar have strong cases for #1. As a side note, it seems that Shaq has come full circle in his opinion of Kobe, recently calling him the "best Laker ever." However, this is also the same Shaq that once said Allen Iverson was one of the top 5 players EVER. Go figure.

The projected #1 seeds make sense. Assuming Murray State finishes the season undefeated, what seed do you think they should get?

I can't believe you called the Super Bowl commercials "lackluster" in your article in the paper this morning. I thought they were pretty good overall this year after a disappointing past couple of years or so. My favorite this year was the one with Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno.

February 7, 2012 at 1:10 p.m.
chas9 said...

Stew--Shaq hasn't said as much crazy stuff as that other big guy, The Round Mound of Rebound, wannabe governor of Alabama.

February 7, 2012 at 1:29 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Things the Spy doesn't care about ...

The Kardashians.

Anything Gisele says about Tom's wide receivers. (Seriously? People are wasting time on this?)

Best uni in sports ... good one. Still love the Montreal Canadiens white jerseys. Love when the Patriots go all throwback and of course the Red Sox home unis. And I hate them but the Lakers all gold is ... well ... golden.

And Kobe's not bad. Who in today's active NBA do you want to have the ball in the final 8 seconds of the game, either down 1 or 2 or tied? I think that list begins and ends with young Mr. Bryant. Maybe Derrick Rose or Dirk. Maybe. LeBron? He'd drop it like it was hot.

February 7, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —


And as Chuck Barkley would say, "That's turrrible."

2-live-Stew —

We'd put Kobe No. 2, behind Magic, ahead of Kareem and Jerry West.

An unbeaten Murray State likely would get the last No. 2 seed. One loss, however, puts them no better than a No. 4, and more than likely a 5.

The commercials in particular and the Super Bowl as a whole almost always feel like lackluster because the expectations are so high (not unlike New Year's Eve).

And the Senfeld-Leno commercial was solid, even if Jerry looked a little rough. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
Livn4life said...

For all the "notsomanypeoplecare" stuff we keep hearing from Tom Brady(Cowboy Joe, he's not a real Cowboy is he?), for all the accolades he has won and is deserving of being considered an elite qb of all time, just remember HE DIDN'T WIN Super Bowl 46 and his not playing so well at times partly contributed to the loss. All the Brady apologists are causing me a GIANT headache. But everyone has to love Gisele's expert analysis of the game.

February 7, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
jharvey1984 said...
February 7, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.
chas9 said...

Bama was 2-0 against the Bryant-coached UK, but Bear's Bluegrass teams dominated most everybody else.

February 7, 2012 at 2:10 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

OK, but do you care what Gisele has to say about the Kardashians' tight ends? Wait, strike that.

Hockey sweaters are cool if for no other reason than they are called sweaters. And the Lakers' Golden unis are golden. "Stay gold Pony Boy."

And great point about clutch — Kobe has been a money scorer down the stretch.


We see what you did there, and we LIKE it. Giant headache — we bet Gisele had one of those too.

Does Brady's legacy suffer by this loss? It's a fair question. He's now 3-2 in Super Bowls. Elway was 2-3. Peyton's 1-1. Does that mean Aikman at 3-0 is better than all three?

Jharvey —

Winner. Wow, that's a nice color scheme. And the lettering on "Brazil" is perfect. Moving on.

9er —

That was before Mama called him home of course. But do you think Adolph Rupp would have gone on and on with a similar lovefest to Coach Cal's?

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.
Blueoval said...

I realize this is quoted from a TN site but speaking of Bryant:

By Gabe Correa - Smokey's Trail April 30, 2009

"People think I'm the greatest damn coach in the world," said the great Bear Bryant, "but Neyland taught me everything I know."

The Bear coached against Bob Neyland's Tennessee teams seven times and never beat him. "I never beat him," he said, "but I learned a lot from playing him."

Look it up

February 7, 2012 at 2:40 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Oval —

The General may be the most underrated great coach in college sports history.

And wow, as a Johnny Vols Fan, did writing that make you tear up a little bit?

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2012 at 2:45 p.m.
chas9 said...

Neyland done good. Including a 1948 barnburner against Bear's Kentucky. Ended up 0-0.

And apparently The Baron didn't say much good about The Bear. Reckon the rumors about Bear and Happy Chandler's daughter were true?

February 7, 2012 at 3:20 p.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Dang, guy, you do have some old-school UK tidbits, don't you?

Think Adolph, Bear, Gen. Neyland, et al., would have been able to handle the spotlight of today's major college athletics, nevermind the always turning twitter-verse?

— 5-at-10

February 7, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
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