published Thursday, July 5th, 2012

5-at-10: UT's Patterson, Nash and the SEC's richest school

Hope everyone had a great Fourth and you were more responsible around the hot dogs than Joey Chestnut. (Yes, Chestnut won the annual hot dog eating contest with almost 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He consumed almost 19,000 calories in 10 minutes, or roughly the amount you and Spy eat in 10 days.)

Having a Wednesday holiday is strange, no? No we head back to work and it's Thursday. Hey, don't forget about the mailbag.

From the "Talks too much studios" here we go...

Let the hype begin

Our UT ace downtown Patrick Brown reports that the final few members of the Vols' 2012 football signing class have reported for school this week.

The final wave included arguably the most-hyped UT recruit since Eric Berry. Junior College receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is enrolled in Knoxville, and the physically gifted receiver already has some folks talking of 180-degree UT revival with Patterson, Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter comprising potentially one of the nation's most dynamic receiving trios.

Ah, potential. It's a crazy word, that potential. Some have said it's French for "you're not worth crud yet." Others think it's either the kiss of death or the hope of spring.

Still, it can be the reason for believing or the reason for being irate. It's the most cruel of judgement bars, this potential. Did you reach your potential? Did you surpass it?

Or did you fail to realize your potential? It can be the most painful of questions for every athlete at any level to answer.

The word potential has many meanings and inferences as it does possibilities.

Take Patterson, the freakishly big and frighteningly fast receiver who posted video-game stats and eye-popping youtube clips during his time at Hutchinson Community College. Does that have the promise of SEC stardom? Yep, you guessed it — potentially.

He's 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds. He's tough enough to have 31 rushing attempts last year and fast enough to average 50 yards on 10 kickoff returns last fall. (Yes, 50, as in 5-0.)

But it could potentially be fool's gold. The last five-star junior college receiver the Vols welcomed was Kenny O'Neal, and despite a world of potential, O'Neal had about as much on-field impact with the Vols as you did.

O'Neal like Patterson was loaded with potential, and his failings were magnified by the hope that he brought.

And while potential can be a divisive coin during July debates about college football, the intensity of potential increases at each level of college football.

For whatever potential, Derek Dooley assembles — and he's already trying to calm some of the expectations of Patterson — the win-loss judgements could be multiplied by unreached potential. Whether those expectations are too high or not can be inconsequential, especially in the SEC where fan bases need to have something to hang their hats on. For the Vols Nation, a proud and passionate group that has withstood the worst four-year run in modern history, the promise of Patterson is something new, something hopeful and something explosive that could change 5-7 in a blink of an eye.

Coaches face the uneasy conundrum of potential in recruiting. At big-boy jobs like UT, you have to go and get five-star guys filled with potential. They could be Eric Berry or Chris Donald or Janzen Jackson or Bryce Brown. They could be stars or they could be busts, but they bring with them potential of being great.

For without potential, there is no hope — although, without potential, there would be a great deal less disappointment, too.

For Dooley, Patterson's individual potential is part of a promising passing game that swings the possibilities from the Vols being one of the nation's elite offenses to being one of the nation's biggest disappointments.

So it goes for a team that could win 10 games and talking about a possible BCS bowl or a team that could very well be looking for a coach come December.

That's a lot of potential — and potential disaster.

Another MVP on the move

  • photo
    In this April 25, 2012, file photo, Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash leaves the court after an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Phoenix. Nash's agent Bill Duffy said Wednesday, July 4, that the two-time MVP point guard is going to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Other than some tennis and a little baseball, there were few actual sports happenings on the Fourth. Granted we played some really bad golf, but that happens some times.

As for off-the-fields, sweet buckets there was news.

Most notably, Steve Nash agreed to a sign-and-trade deal to become part of the L.A. Lakers. Nash, a two-time league MVP with the Suns, apparently has put his rivalry with the Showtime bunch on hold in his pursuit of winning a title.

Nash's addition to the Lakers improved their chances at another title — friend of the show RJ Bell and his pregame.com site say the Lakers are an 8-to-1 pick to win it all with Nash. (They were 12-to-1 without him.) As for the Nash signing, we're a little underwhelmed to be truthful. Dude is undersized, which means he can't check OKC's Russell Westbrook. He's not quick enough to stop Tony Parker or Rajon Rondo. Nash is best offensively with the ball in his hands and running the pick-and-roll, which is great for Pau Gasol, but weren't the Lakers going to trade Gasol. Plus, the Lakers have this guy named Bryant — Jellybean's boy — who likes to have the ball in his hands every now and again, too. So it goes.

The basketball-side of the Nash deal, aside. There is trouble afoot in the NBA, no? The movement of stars to form mini-constellations at a select few NBA viewing sites makes the current NBA so top-heavy Dolly Parton is stunned.

Seriously, who beyond the super-talented Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Lakers and Spurs would you say has a realistic chance to win the whole thing?

Along those lines, the two teams with the most upward mobility from the ranks of the dregs are the New Orleans Sterns, who have assembled a baby-big-three in Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers, and the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, who have a superstar point guard in Deron Williams, an all-star shooting guard in Joe Johnson and are still trying to land Dwight Howard.

Still, if you're the GM of the Milwaukee Bucks, what's your marketing pitch? "Hey come see your Bucks play some really great teams." Or, "Hey, these Bucks have way nicer uniforms than Sikma and those guys." No thanks.

College endowments

The costs of college have sky-rocketed. This is not news. But answer us this, which SEC school is the richest?

No not the richest athletic program, although this is a family-oriented, Interweb-based, sports column, after all. Which SEC school has the biggest endowment?

It may surprise you.

According to the National Association of College and University Business Owners, 75 colleges have more than $1 billion — yes, billion with a 'B' — in the bank. This list is not new, it's just the first time we've seen it, so we thought we'd share. Here are the richest.

1) Harvard — $31.7 billion

2) Yale — $19.4 billion

3) Texas — $17.14 billion

4) Princeton — $17.11 billion

5) Stanford — $16.5 billion

No other school has an endowment of more than $10 billion. As for the wealthiest SEC school, well, if you had Texas A&M, give your self a high-five. The Aggies have about $500,000 shy of $7 billion, which ranks 10th nationally.

This and that

— The Preds lost Ryan Suter. Sad day, and right when we started to know some of their names, too.

— In doing our research this morning (shut it Spy) we saw that on the top-10 of trending topics at Yahoo.com was "Mermaids don't exist" at No. 8. Really, doctor? Somewhere, there should be some unicorns screaming at their PR people and saying, "How are mermaids getting all this buzz? Call someone NOW!"

— Crazy story that interim Arkansas coach John T. Smith is facing bankruptcy after some land deals that went bad. Wow, tough offseason for Johnny Razorbacks Fans everywhere. First you have to can a morally bankrupt coach only to land an actually bankrupt coach.

— Tiger sprints into the weekend riding a wave of positive momentum after winning at Congressional last week. Here's saying he plays well again this weekend. (He has the potential, you know?)

— We're planning on being on with Chris Goforth today around 2 p.m. on 1370 AM here in town. Swing by if you have the chance.

Today's question

Steve Nash was a two-time MVP and is a very good basketball player. But when all is said and done, is he a Hall of Famer? (Probably since he won the two MVPs and all.)

But if you had your picks of all the point guards in the last 25 years — from today to 1987, Nash barely cracks the top 10. Magic, Stockton, Kidd, Gary Payton are four quick picks. Then the wave of guys — Rondo, Parker, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook — from today with unworldy athletic skills.

Plus, Nash loses some points in our eyes for being a system quarterback. He was good — but worlds from being an MVP — in Dallas before catching lightning in a bottle for a four-to-five year run operating Mike D'Antoni's run-and-gun style.

In fact, what's your Rushmore of people who caught lightning in a bottle and were the absolute bee's knees for a three-year stretch in an otherwise good-to-OK-but-far-from-great career?

We'll take Nash, Jim Carrey (who had a Babe Ruth in 1927 year in 1994 with "Ace Ventura," "Dumb and Dumber" and "The Mask"), Debra Winger (who had "Officer and a Gentleman," "Terms of Endearment" and "Urban Cowboy" before falling off the grid) and Will Clark.

Discuss.

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 ...

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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.
chas9 said...

Yesterday the fiver proclaimed Jones the best ever at 3rd. I love Larry and want him in the HOF. But Brooks Robinson won 13 gold gloves, Mike Schmidt won ten, and Larry's other brother Larry's still looking for Larry's glove. In 2009 Larry led all 3rd basemen in errors. Yes, Larry's offensive numbers are tops, but he hit in the most hitter friendly era MLB has ever known.

July 5, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Just wait until Sasquatch finds out about all the pub mermaids are getting. He'll make a big splash by marrying a Kardashian. Or did Lamar Odom already take care of that in reverse order? (Man ... that was mean, even for me.)

You want greatness for a short stretch, a greatness that offered promises of Hall of Fame greatness, I'll take Eric Davis. 28 homers, 80 steals in one season.

The only thing surprising about the endowment list (not going there, 5, not going there) is how far behind Stanford is from Harvard, and the huge gap Harvard has over second-place Yale. Yale's got to beat Michigan and Ohio State by convincing margins in order for the pollsters to move them up. I just think there's a lot of anti-Yale bias in the ECS (Endowment Championship Series).

July 5, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.
chas9 said...

Strong discourse on potential. Socrates would be proud. Or at least Mr. Rogers.

For those who missed the story, th e mermaids revelation comes from NOAA, so it's credible.

July 5, 2012 at 11:47 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Fair point that Chipper hit in the most hitter friendly era ever. But, the Gold Gloves award is like NFL linemen making the pro bowl. It's reputation begetting reputation (granted Brooks was the best, but Michael Jack Schmidt may be the most-overrated fielder this side of Derek Jeter).

And yes So-Crates (as Bill and Ted called him) would have a field day on our flip-flop potential about potential.

Spy —

Eric Davis is a great, Great, GREAT call. Who didn't think he was going to be Willie Mays?

Another Red on that list could be Mario Soto, or maybe he just threw a shutout every time he faced the Braves and stunk against the rest of the league.

There's always been an anti-Yale bias. Always. Those poor, underprivileged kids can't ever catch a break.

— 5-at-10

July 5, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
Stewwie said...

[As for the Nash signing, we're a little underwhelmed to be truthful.]

Right on. Not only is he 38 and the Lakers gave him a 3-year deal, but he hardly fits the Laker's offense--especially if they end up dumping Gasol. And you're right about him not being able to match up well defensively with most other PGs in the league. All that said, I think he improves the Lakers' title chances only marginally.

[Steve Nash was a two-time MVP and is a very good basketball player. But when all is said and done, is he a Hall of Famer? (Probably since he won the two MVPs and all.)]

I think he makes it to the HOF. And I also would put him on the list of top 10 PGs of the last 25 years somewhere. I would take Nash in his prime over Stockton, Kidd, Payton, and Rondo (all for slightly different reasons). Stockton is the presumed 2nd-best PG of all time because of his great career, but really, what could he do that Nash can't do?

[The movement of stars to form mini-constellations at a select few NBA viewing sites makes the current NBA so top-heavy Dolly Parton is stunned. Seriously, who beyond the super-talented Heat, Thunder, Bulls, Lakers and Spurs would you say has a realistic chance to win the whole thing?]

I don't think the star movement is really causing that much of a problem. Can you name any other year where during the preseason there are more than 5 or 6 legitimate contenders for the title? This year is no different than how it's always been. Besides, the star movement actually helps the league with better TV ratings.

July 5, 2012 at noon
deboman said...

That monologue has the potential to be a rather inspiring commencement speech. Right on target there, well done. Unfortunately, I think potential has claimed more victims over the years than it has rewarded.

As for lightning in a bottle, it first glance, I thought you were referring to a former Capitals goalie named Jim Carey, nicknamed the Mask, from the mid 90s. He was brought up mid season, won 7 straight games and was named to the all rookie squad. The following season, 95-96, he won 35 games, posted 9 shutouts and won the Vezina Trophy (NHL Top Goalie award). The next year his game faded, he was traded, and he was out of hockey by 1999. Talk about a flash in the pan.

July 5, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Well, I know my own anti-Yale bias. That's why I didn't apply there, or to Harvard. But I did look at Dartmouth and Princeton, and Princeton really wanted to talk to me. But it's cold up there and the people talk funny and people in New Jersey really are downright rude.

Mario Soto had two pitches - fastball and changeup - and was dynamite with both of them. Also Juan Marichal's son-in-law. So at least he has that going for him.

July 5, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.
Livn4life said...

Of course the Volunteers are hoping to hear the Pitter Patter(son)of big feet tromping into the end zone after a long throw. They should be very good at WR. HOWEVVVUH, as Stephen A Smith states so emphatically, they will still need to run the ball effectively and the jury is still out on that. We who are JVFans can hope for the best with experienced O linemen and what should shape up to be a hungry group in the backfield. Potential wins are out there(did I really use that word?)but the guys in Orange and White will have to go and go hard to get them. Looks like Tiger's growl was more than his bite at Greengbrier but it was just the first round of a tourney he'd give up to get that cup over in England. Nash, Nash, wasn't that a car driven several decades ago? Alright, he is a tremendous point guard and that's from one who'd prefer the L.A. NBA team to be the Puddlers or Ponders than the Lakers. He is a good get. I will hold my piece/peace on his being or not being a Hall of Famer.

July 5, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Ten Ring, words such as "hype" and "potential" showered on position players who have never stepped on the field as a D-1 (Patterson) or seen limited action (Hunter) doesn't portend much for Dooley's win or leave situation.

Want to talk about Da'Rick Rogers, Coach? Da'Rick's got the stats and an AP All-SEC trophy to back it up.

As for Juco's at UT, no issue there at all. The measuring stick for those incoming is Charlie Garner.

Sorry I missed out on the comedy countdown yesterday. Some very good ones bandied about. In my sports book, "Easy Money" is the greatest.

July 5, 2012 at 3:39 p.m.
dizbuster319 said...

Speaking of Eric the Red, Pete Rose described managing him at the outset of his career as "Like Having an Atomic Bomb Sitting Next to You in the Dugout." During a glorious stretch from the beginning of June 1986 through the end of May 1987, E batted .314 in 141 games and 564 PA (484 AB) with 42 HR, 111 RBI, 123 Runs Scored and an OPS of 1.045. While stealing 86 bases . . . and winning a Gold Glove . . . Then he started crashing into outfield walls, lacerating kidneys, developing stomach cancers, and all that stuff . . .

July 5, 2012 at 3:52 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Mario Soto, 1982: 2.79 ERA, 274K, 71BB 13 CG 1983: 17-13, 18 CG, 2.70 ERA, 273 IP, 242K 1984: 18-7, 13 CG, 185K. Not a bad short burst there, either.

July 5, 2012 at 4:17 p.m.
fechancellor said...

Spy, Steve Avery's numbers match Soto's in 1991, 1992 and 1993, although, Avery was also a playoff warrior at the time.

July 5, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Moving quickly _

Loved Easy Money.

Welcome to the show dizbuster. And wow, way to bring the knowledge from the get-go. You're going to fit right in. (Side note: As a life-long Dodgers fan, the 5-at-10 was stoked -- STOKED -- about signging Eric Davis.) That said, all that other stuff can slow you down a touch.

FE to the C --

Great call on Avery, who was world-class for a short stint.

And wow, a Charlie Garner shoutout.

Debo --

That's the ultimate Rushmore double play.

5-at-10

July 5, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.
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