Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

By DWIGHT JAYNES (@dwightjaynes)

Former Trail Blazer all-star Brandon Roy has already announced that he's going to sign a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom he chose over at least four other teams negotiating for his services after the Trail Blazers used the amnesty clause on him last season.

Roy still hasn't signed and right now, there is a question about Minnesota's cap room to sign him.

But if it turns out that Roy plays again in the NBA -- for anybody -- it's going to be very costly for his former team, which still must pay Roy his full previous contract. Without benefit of even partial insurance.

When the Trail Blazers gave Roy his max deal, they were apparently able to insure only a fraction of it because of the condition of his knees. But, sources say, they were able to get a limited amount of permanent disability insurance on him that would cover 17 million of the amount owed the player.

As long as he was "permanently" disabled.

If and when Roy plays again, Portland apparently will not be able to collect that 17 million, none of which has been paid to date.

Yes, Paul Allen is a billionaire. But I would guess even Allen would not be happy about losing 17 million.

Portland closes out road trip with a tough test vs. Boston at 2:00pm on CSN

Portland closes out road trip with a tough test vs. Boston at 2:00pm on CSN

It was a heartbreaking loss on Friday night for the Portland Trail Blazers (18-27).  The Trail Blazers lost in the final seconds to the Philadelphia 76ers with a final score of 93-92 at the Wells Fargo Center.

And now, Portland will try to get its first win of this four-game road trip in a very tough test vs. the Boston Celtics (26-13) on Saturday with the Blazers playing in their second night of a back-to-back.

Coming into Saturday’s matchup the Celtics are sitting in the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just 1.5 games back of the Toronto Raptors.

Avery Bradley will not play on Saturday against the Blazers.  The 26 year-old guard has been dealing with an Achilles injury.  Bradley has missed six games in the last seven Celtics’ contests.  He is the second leading scorer on the team this season averaging 17.7 points per game.  Bradley also leads the team in rebounding at 6.9 per contest. 

It is point guard Isaiah Thomas who the Cs have been leaning on this season.  Thomas leads the way with 28.7 points per game, which up from last season’s 22.2 points.

The Celtics are coming off a 117-106 loss to the Knicks on Wednesday.   Thomas went 12-of-25 from the field to score 39 points, but it was not enough to get past New York on Wednesday.  Just two other Celtic players scored in double figures.  Jae Crowder added 21 and Amir Johnson scored 10 points.

Boston is now 13-7 at home this season.

We have you covered for all the action between the Trail Blazers and Celtics live on CSN and we have covered leading up to the game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 1:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone. 

Plus on CSN, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live tipping off at 1:00pm.




Quick Links:

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

 

Video:   Highlight: Poor third quarter does Blazers in vs. 76ers

Video:   Jason Quick: Blazers playing with pressure, not handling it well

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: What to make of Stotts’ lineup changes

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: Blazers started well, but fizzled out in the second half
 

 

Game Details:

Where:  TD Garden, Boston MA

Television: CSN, 2:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (1:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 1:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

Lillard scores 30, but Trail Blazers stunned at the buzzer in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- A snakebit season just became more venomous for the Trail Blazers after a heartbreaking 93-92 loss in the final seconds to the Philadelphia 76ers at The Center. 

Robert Covington hit a three-pointer with 4.5 seconds left to give Philadelphia the lead and Mason Plumlee missed a close-range shot in the final seconds to send the upstart 76ers to their third straight win and eighth in past 10 games. 

Portland (18-27) lost for the fourth straight time and fell a season-low nine games under .500 and 7-18 on the road, despite 30 points from Damian Lillard. 

It was Lillard's missed free throw with 14.7 seconds that kept the Blazers lead at 92-90, setting up Covington's big shot. After Plumlee's miss, the Philadelphia players stormed the court and celebrated as the Blazers stood stunned.

"This one is on me,'' Lillard said.

Before the game, Blazers coach Terry Stotts said he was considering making some adjustments, but he declined to say whether it would be to his starting lineup, the rotation or tactical. 

It turned out to be to his starting lineup.

Initially, the 76ers released the starting lineups revealing the Blazers usual five -- Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Mason Plumlee. But just before player introductions, Noah Vonleh and Evan Turner were announced as starters in place of Harkless and Aminu. 

"You have to look at things different in hopes of stirring it up a bit,'' Stotts said before the game. 

It worked early as Lillard came out torching the nets by hitting seven of his first eight shots, and his 20 points in the first half helped the Blazer built a 13-point halftime lead. 

But behind rookie sensation Joel Embiid (18 points and 10 rebounds) and the sharp-shooting of Covington (22 points), the 76ers battled back, taking advantage of poor shooting from Portland (37 percent), which included 5-for-18 from McCollum and 2-for-10 from Turner.

Before the game, Stotts remarked that the Blazers have been "snakebit" this season by big shots or by players who normally don't shoot well hitting big shots. 

Little did he know, that storyline would repeat itself three hours later.

Next up: Blazers at Boston, 2 p.m. Saturday (CSN).

 

Stotts changes up starting lineup vs. 76ers, Blazers lead 56-43 at half

Stotts changes up starting lineup vs. 76ers, Blazers lead 56-43 at half

It was time for a change for the Portland Trail Blazers and that’s what Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts did before the Blazers tipped of against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Stotts decided to switch up his starting lineup.  Evan Turner and Noah Vonleh replaced Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless in the starting roles on Friday.

Damian Lillard and the Blazers jumped out to a 15-10 lead midway through the first quarter.  Lillard started the game red-hot after going 7-for-8 from the floor to score 16 points in the first quarter.

To end the first, the Blazers ended up shooting 52.2% from the field, while the 76ers shot 34.6% as a team.

Portland went on a 16-5 run to close out the quarter and take a 33-22 lead after one.

The Trail Blazers' offense continued to flow in the second quarter.  As a team Portland shot 45.8% for the half.  The Sixers ended the half shooting 35.7%.

At halftime, the Trail Blazers are up 56-43.

 


Top performers of the first half:

Trail Blazers

Points:
  Damian Lillard, 20

Rebounds:  Mason Plumlee, 5

Assist:   Evan Turner, 4

 


Sixers

Points:  Ersan Ilyasova, 13

Rebounds:   Joel Embiid, 6

Assist:  Joel Embiid, 4

 


Following tonight’s game, you can check out an all-new Talkin’ Ball live on CSN.  And if you can’t get to a TV, you can catch The Scoop Postgame show presented by Toyota of Portland on Broadway streaming live at Facebook.com/CSNNW on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Oregon coach Willie Taggart and staff 'storm' state on recruiting tour

Oregon coach Willie Taggart and staff 'storm' state on recruiting tour

New Oregon coach Willie Taggart and several assistant coaches are making the recruiting rounds throughout the Portland area today in what they are calling a 'storm tour' designed to meet with high school football coaches and any players the Ducks are in the process of recruiting. 

"We don't know any of the coaches in the state so this is a chance to get out and meet them," Taggart said. "One thing I hate to hear is that there's not a lot of prospects in the state of Oregon. For me, the best players that can come help us, we want to get out and see them."

Taggart became Oregon's head coach on Dec. 7, more than a week after the Ducks fired Mark Helfrich following a 4-8 season. Taggart has assembled a strong coaching staff full of top-notch recruiters. But the group is lacking in the way of area recruiting ties. Schools on the coaches' radar today include Lake Oswego, Jesuit, Madison, Westview, Central Catholic, Clackamas, Oregon City, Sherwood, Tigard and Lakeridge. Taggart and his staff went on a similar tour on Jan. 12 around the Eugene area and the southern part of the state, including Medford. 

The state of Oregon is not know for producing a strong group of major college recruits on an annual basis, although the 2018 class is projected to be one of the deepest to come out of the state in some time. 

The Ducks primarily recruited the West Coast under Helfrich, Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti. Under Bellotti, and later more so with Kelly, UO  began expanding east. Taggart said he will continue to heavily recruit the West Coast but the hope is that his staff can improve Oregon's success in the Southeast part of the country. Taggart came to Oregon from South Florida. New co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal came to Oregon from Alabama. Other assistants also have recruiting connections across the country. The Ducks have already secured commitments from three players out of Florida.

That all said, Taggart said he wants to make sure his staff owns the state of Oregon.  

"We want to let the coaches know that we're going to be around and we're going to recruit the state, first and foremost," Taggart said. 

The Eugene tour included a police escort of four motorcycle patrolmen. Taggart said he wanted to make a statement and some noise. 

"We wanted to be noticed," he said. 

The plan that day included also going to Portland but a snowstorm closed local schools. So the Portland-are tour was postponed until today.

Oregon has traditionally done well with in-state recruiting. However, so far just one out of the top 10 recruits in the 2017 class have committed to UO. The Ducks have extended offers to six. Two of the top four recruits, defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu (Independence) and defensive back Elijah Molden (West Linn) have committed to rival Washington. 

West Linn offensive tackle Alex Forsyth committed to Oregon under Helfrich on has stated that he still plans to attend Oregon under Taggart.

While at South Florida, Taggart said he could recruit within a 60-mile radius to build his roster. That area was considered his in-state recruiting. Outside of that area he considered out-of-state, even though the span remained within the state of Florida. 

Oregon is the exact opposite. Oregon could never contend for a Pac-12 championship while relying solely on players in the Northwest, let alone the state of Oregon. But he said he at least wants to make sure that the Ducks don't overlook anyone. 

"We're not going to leave any stones unturned," Taggart said. 

That starts with building relationships with coaches.

"Instead of asking them to come to us," Taggart said. "We're going to them to try to get to know them, and to let them know that they are always welcome to visit UO."

The staff will hit as many high schools today as possible before returning to Eugene for a recruiting weekend that involves visits from several recruits. Taggart said Oregon had 25 official visits remaining to be used when he arrived. Many will be used this weekend. Some were used last weekend. The final weekend before National Signing Day on Feb. 1 will also involve several key visits. 

Taggart said his staff will individually recruit certain areas, unlike the former staff which moved to recruiting by position several years ago. Taggart said that position coaches will get involved later in the process but that he wants his staff to develop a consistent presence in certain areas, including the state of Oregon.

"We want to make sure we don't overlook the best in-state players," Taggart said. "We want to keep them in the state as Ducks."

Preview: Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

oregonmensbasketball121716-111.jpg

Preview: Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

This game is more than just another win, although some Oregon players and coaches just see it that way. No. 11 Oregon is one step closer to history following its 86-63 win over California last Thursday night and welcome unranked Stanford (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12) tomorrow at 3 p.m.

With an Oregon win, first of all the Ducks will now be sitting on a 16-game win streak, the longest in program history and breaking the previous 15-game win streak over 100 years ago. Second, if the Ducks win, Oregon extends its home win streak to 38 games, second in the nation behind Kansas (49 games). A win last Thursday also secured Oregon coach Dana Altman's 20th straight winning season. What a week for Oregon basketball.  

A big question raised following Thursday's win against California is the status of junior forward Dillon Brooks, who walked off the court just before halftime with an apparent foot injury. Altman said the trainers are evaluating him and the team is waiting on the diagnosis.  

The 3-4 Stanford Cardinal started off the season 0-4 and has won the last three straight partly due to the activity of junior forward Reid Travis and a force under the hoop of junior forward Michael Humphrey. 

A quick look at the game:

Stanford at No. 11 Oregon

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore. 

When: 3:00 p.m., Saturday January 21, 2017.

TV: Pac-12 Networks. 

Records: Ducks (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12), Cardinal (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12).   

Last outings: Oregon extended its current win streak to 15 with a dominant 86-63 performance at home over California. Stanford cruised past Oregon State in Corvallis, OR, 62-46. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (171-66 at Oregon, 581-309 Division I). Stanford's Jerod Haase (11-8 at Stanford, 80-53 at Alabama-Birmingham).

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .385 3FG pct.), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.1 ppg, 3.9 apg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (11.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.2 bpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (13.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg).

Key Cardinal: F Michael Humphrey, 6-9, Jr. (9.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg), F Reid Travis, 6-8, Jr., (16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg), G Marcus Allen, 6-3, Sr., (5.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg). 

Notes: An Oregon victory will break the programs' all-time winning streak of 15 games...Stanford has won the last three Pac-12 games in a row....Oregon looks to extend home win streak to 38 games. 

 

Gerald Henderson remembers 'hungry' group of Blazers from last season

Gerald Henderson remembers 'hungry' group of Blazers from last season

PHILADELPHIA – Former Trail Blazers wing Gerald Henderson said he hasn’t watched Portland play much this season, but from what little he has seen, he can’t put his finger on why the Blazers are struggling so much.

“Just watching them, they run the same plays,’’ said Henderson, who is averaging 24.6 minutes a game in Philadelphia. “They have some different faces there, and they have some talented guys … it just hasn’t clicked for them yet chemistry wise, or whatever it might be, on either end.’’

Henderson last season was a key cog in what made the Blazers click, as his mid-season resurgence coincided with Portland’s January surge that eventually resulted in 44 wins and a playoff berth.

What made the Blazers work last season?

“We had a hungry group, a hungry group,’’ Henderson said. “A lot of guys up for contracts, a lot of guys trying to prove themselves in the league. At a certain point, that all came together for us and it ended up being a good year.’’

Henderson was one of those players up for a contract and he parlayed his 8.7 points and 2.9 rebounds into a two-year, $18 million deal with Philadelphia. With the Sixers, he is averaging 9.5 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three-point range.

Knowing much of the Blazers’ personnel and coaching staff, Henderson said he doesn’t expect Portland to continue its struggles.

“They have a good staff over there, they do things the right way,’’ Henderson said. “And they have some really good players, so I would bet they would start doing better at some point.’’

Next up: Blazers at Philadelphia, 4 p.m. Friday (CSN).

Oregon coach Willie Taggart addresses workouts, strength coach following controversy

Oregon coach Willie Taggart addresses workouts, strength coach following controversy

Oregon coach Willie Taggart characterized the workouts his team conducted last Friday that led to three players being hospitalized as "warm-ups" designed to get the team ready for the more difficult tasks ahead during winter conditioning.

They were not, Taggart said, "military-style," treacherous and dangerous workouts that many painted them out to be after the story, first reported on Monday by The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, became a national topic of conversation and sparked discussion and conversation over player safety in college football.   

Redshirt freshman tight end Cam McCormick, redshirt senior offensive lineman Doug Brenner and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were sent to Springfield PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend last Friday evening after experiencing symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis hours after completing a 6 a.m. workout during winter conditioning. 

The narrative left Taggart exasperated. The last thing, he said, that he and his staff would ever do is endanger players. What occurred, according to Taggart, was an unfortunate incident that has been blown out of proportion.  

“People are convinced that we’re (dumb) and don’t care about our players,” Taggart said. “We want our fan base to know that we do.”

The controversy that found its way into newspapers and onto websites and television networks across the nation abruptly ended what for Taggart had been about as good of a first month on a job as anyone could ever hope for. 

Taggart, hired on Dec. 7 to replace Mark Helfrich, hit the recruiting trail running by landing commitments within weeks, he assembled what appears to be a dynamic coaching staff, and he successfully rebranded the program, replacing "Win the Day" with "Do Something."

Then, in as much time as it takes to do a push up, Taggart found himself being forced to defend the workout regimen in question put forth by his strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderinde.

Oregon on Tuesday suspended Oderinde for a month, and Taggart and UO athletic director Rob Mullens released statements in which Taggart took responsibility for the situation while Mullens emphasized that the University holds the well-being of its students in high regard.

All three players are expected to recover. Brenner has already been released. What happened was certainly unfortunate. The question is, was anyone at fault?

--- Introductory workouts

Oregon began winter conditioning last week. Workouts conducted by Oderinde were held last Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. 

The idea, Taggart said, was to ease the players out of winter break with workouts that didn't consist of running or weight lifting. Oregon missed a bowl game last season for the first time since 2004. That meant that returning players had an extra full month off from structured football activities that they weren't used to having. Their season ended with a loss at Oregon State on Nov. 26.

Typically Oregon's seasons end around the first of the year with a bowl game appearance. 

“We knew our guys weren’t in shape so we didn’t put them in the weight room or run them, or anything” Taggart said. “We’re going to build up to that. It all started with pushups and sit-ups.”

Oderinde used the same workouts under Taggart at South Florida and Western Kentucky. Oderinde played at WKU when Taggart was an assistant there from 1999 through 2006. Oderinde later worked as a strength coach at WKU during Taggart's tenure as the Hilltoppers head coach. By the time Oderinde made it to USF under Taggart in 2014, the strength coach had nearly 10 years of experience, according to the Bulls' website, with previous stops at West Virginia, South Carolina and Notre Dame

The workout sessions, which included planks, were designed to last 45 minutes with the team broken up into three groups with start times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.  Workouts were extended if players didn't use proper technique and/or didn't follow directions, according to Taggart. Punishment involved up downs as a group even if one player botched the workout.

“The whole team is held accountable,” Taggart said. “Then they go back to pushups and sit-ups and do it right. It’s more about just teaching guys the details and how we’re going to do things the right way.”

During last year’s 4-8 season, which led to the firing of Helfrich, players slacked in some areas, namely preparation and attention to detail. Taggart has told the team that those days are over.

Reestablishing accountability, however, does not involve cruelty, according to Taggart. 

Players, Taggart said, were given breaks and allowed to get water whenever needed. Then they could resume the workouts when they were ready to do so.

“No one expected everyone to make it and do them all,” Taggart said.

For that reason, according to Taggart, coaches did not order players to continue working past their limitations. Only vocal encouragement was involved. 

“Coach O doesn’t even work that way,” Taggart said. “He’s not even that kind of guy. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t do any of that stuff.”

Many players, Taggart said, took advantage of the ability to take breaks when they reached their max. In fact, Taggart said, coaches knew that many players wouldn’t finish the workouts. Some assistant coaches and trainers were present for the workouts. 

“We had some guys struggling,” Taggart said. “We had some guys sit out and not finish.”

--- Overdoing it

The scene involving Brenner, Poutasi and McCormick, Taggart said, did not involve the players passing out on the field and having to be rushed to the hospital. 

According to Taggart, the hospitalized players participated in a 6 a.m. session on Friday (the fourth day of the workouts) then went to classes, and carried out the rest of their day before returning to the football complex for dinner.

It was then that Taggart said the three players complained about not feeling right and that their urine was dark, a symptom of Rhabdomyolysis. The condition, described on Webmd.com, is a rare and serious side effect caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue to the point where it could lead to permanent paralysis, and can cause serious kidney damage. Symptoms include muscle aches and dark-colored urine.

Extreme muscle strain can be a cause and it can become more dangerous if there is more muscle mass to breakdown. Brenner is listed at 320 pounds. Poutasi is 315. McCormick is 240.

Those suffering Rhabdomyolysis can experience muscle pain and have trouble moving their limbs. A product of muscle breakdown is creatine kinase, an enzyme found in the muscles. which can increase in the blood stream. Normal CK levels for a male over 18 is between 52 to 336 units per liter of blood. A marathon runner can reach into the low thousands. According to sources, the players hospitalized had CK levels well over 60,000.

Taggart praised head trainer Kevin Steil for recognizing the problem and responding the way that he did by examining the players and then having them taken to the hospital where they could receive intravenous fluids. Taggart visited them at the hospital.  

One potential cause of what happened is that the players were not properly hydrated before the workouts. Also, the players, pushed themselves too hard.

“A lot of that comes with wanting to impress the new coaches,” Taggart said. “But all of the trainers were out there. It wasn’t like coach ‘O’ was out there just beating them down. You’ve got certified trainers out there with them.”

Trainers are required by the NCAA to be beholden to the department and not a specific team. This prevents coaches from hiring their own trainers and then influencing them to overlook workouts or injuries that might put an athlete’s health at risk.

One veteran player, speaking anonymously, said he enjoyed and completed the workouts. He added that they were clearly designed to test the will of the players but stated that there was no pressure to complete the tasks beyond one’s limits. If a player reached their max, they could stop. 

Taggart said it was made clear to the team that players were not going to win starting jobs in January and to take care of themselves as they push through a new regimen of workouts they were not used to.

“We want you to go hard but not to a limit that you’re going to kill yourself,” Taggart said.

While some players backed off, Brenner, Poutasi and McCormick did not.

“These guys were tough guys and wanted to show the coaches,” Taggart said. “That’s probably what was part of the problem. They didn’t want to be the guy that quit. There were other guys that quit and they didn’t want to so they probably pushed themselves to a limit that they shouldn’t have.”

Moving forward, Taggart said his staff must do a better job of making sure players are properly hydrated, something he said was routinely emphasized, and explaining to players that they shouldn’t feel pressured to push themselves too far beyond their physical limits. 

A narrative floating around that the hospitalized players were too “soft” or "out of shape" bothers Taggart. 

“Those guys finished the workout,” Taggart said. "Others did not. The fact that those guys finished like that, it says lot about them. I hate that they had to go to the hospital, but it says a lot about them.”

Some fans on social media have stated that the hospitalization of players following the first week of winter workouts further proves that Ducks were slacking under Helfrich. Taggart doesn’t agree.

“That’s a bunch of baloney,” Taggart said. “People are going to have their opinions. It’s just different philosophies on workouts. I hate it because when they call our guys ‘soft,’ they are calling me soft too.”

Nobody, Taggart said, is being labeled as anything other than trying to get in shape for a long season ahead.

--- #FREECOACHO

Taggart said players seemed to enjoy the workouts and were excited to get back out there for more. That statement is supported by their reaction to the controversy through social media.

“They are ticked off because they were enjoying the workouts,” Taggart said. “Even the guys that were in the hospital.”

Several players took to Twitter to support Oderinde, whom some refer to as “Coach O," and started a #FreeCoachO hashtag. 

Junior cornerback Ugo Amadi Tweeted that the workouts weren't nearly as difficult as the media made them out to be. 

Redshirt junior safety Mattrell McGraw also defended Oderinde.

“The response that they have given, to me, says a lot,” Taggart said. “They wouldn’t say that if it were someone that didn’t have their best interest at heart and was trying to kill them. He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever meet. He’s not military. He’s just a good dude.”

Taggart has gotten good results from Oderinde in the past.

“I trust him,” said Taggart. “I love what he did with our football team at South Florida and I know what he could do with our guys here. But now a good guy, a good strength coach is being portrayed as somebody just whipping our kids’ butts and that’s wrong.”

Former USF players certainly appear to support Oderinde, according to a recent report in the Tampa Bay Times.

Players said that nobody they ever played with under Taggart and Oderinde ever ended up in the hospital after a workout.

Former Bulls offensive lineman Mak Djulbegovic said to the Tampa Bay Times that Oderinde isn't “gonna make you do something that's not reasonable."

"Sure, it'll be very difficult," Djulbegovic continued, "but if you don't take the right steps to be ready for these things, you might wind up in the hospital as these kids found out. Hopefully they learned their lesson."

The goal is to make the team bigger and stronger beyond what they have been used to at Oregon. It’s not that the Ducks didn’t seek size under former football strength coach Jimmy Radcliffe, but the emphasis at many positions had been more about speed and stamina given the pace of the offense under former coaches Chip Kelly and Helfrich. 

Many UO players, sources say, are excited about the prospects of getting bigger, which could help increase their NFL potential. 

“Guys are saying they want to get bigger, they want to get stronger,” Taggart said.

Taggart, who declined to discuss the details surrounding Oderinde's suspension, said his workout philosophy is no better or worse than what was being done under Radcliffe, it’s just different. Clearly Oregon experienced great success in the recent past.

While a couple of player parents wondered if the workouts might have been over the top since three players went to the hospital, some told CSN, anonymously, that they and their sons didn’t have a problem with them and were excited to continue working with Oderinde.

A department source said there is no doubt in his mind that the coaching staff cares about the players and their well-being. He said that they talk about it as a group.

The ridicule, Taggart said, has come up on the recruiting trail.  Taggart said parents of recruits have asked assistants about what happened and he believes opponents have used the hospitalizations as fodder for negative recruiting.

“All they hear is a ‘military-style workout,’" Taggart said, "and so now everybody is saying ‘they don’t know what they’re doing, they are hurting the kids, they don’t care about the kids’ welfare,’ and it’s not like that. And again, that’s why our players were so upset because they are putting a negative spin on it.”

In the end, Taggart believes that the players will perform better after going through his staff’s plan, just as players did at Western Kentucky and South Florida.

"We believe in what we're doing," Taggart said. "It’s one of those unfortunate situations that we all can learn from."

 

Steroid guys gaining ground on baseball's Hall of Fame

Steroid guys gaining ground on baseball's Hall of Fame

Yes, Tim Raines, "Pudge" Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell were voted into baseball's Hall of Fame Thursday. But did you notice that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- implicated steroid users -- are picking up steam among Hall of Fame voters?

In most cases, their rise in the voting is due to new people becoming eligible to vote and those new voters seem more forgiving of steroid use than many of their predecessors. That's obviously true. But if I had voted this year, I'd certainly give a thought to another factor.

The veterans committee is inducting former commissioner Bud Selig this year and that matters to me. Selig oversaw a big increase in baseball revenue and overall prosperity -- but he did it on the back of all those PED users. It was Selig turning his back on obvious steroid use while Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa brought baseball back to prominence with all those tape-measure home runs.

Selig was the gatekeeper. He was the one giving his tacit approval to PED abuse by acting as if it didn't exist. If he can get into the Hall, why can't the players who took advantage of the situation?

I will also add, as I've mentioned before, that my time as a clubhouse attendant for the Triple-A Portland Beavers and as a beat reporter covering that team many years later, there was rampant abuse of amphetamines throughout recent baseball history and that was cheating, too. Cheating that helped a lot of the sanctimonious old-timers now complaining about the steroid abuse.

Will Clemens or Bonds ever gather enough votes in their remaining five years of eligibility to get into the Hall of Fame? I doubt it. But they're going to continue to gain more support.

Trail Blazers face an emerging 76ers team in Philly at 4:00pm on CSN

Trail Blazers face an emerging 76ers team in Philly at 4:00pm on CSN

Trail Blazers vs. 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers (14-26) are 6-2 in the month of January and this red-hot and rolling 76ers team is the next opponent for the Portland Trial Blazers (18-26).

Philadelphia and Portland will tip-off at 4:00pm on Friday from the Wells Fargo Center.

The Blazers dropped to 7-17 on the road after Wednesday’s, 107-85, blowout loss to the Charlotte Hornets.  It is Portland’s third straight loss as the Blazers fell to 0-2 on their current four-game East Coast trip.  In the loss on Wednesday, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were the only Trail Blazers to score in double digits.  Lillard scored 21 points on 7-of-18 shooting. McCollum added 18 points after going 7-fo-18 from the floor as well.    

It was a different result on Wednesday night for Philadelphia.  The 76ers pulled a big upset over the Toronto Raptors, with a 94-89 win.   As a team, Philadelphia shot 44.3% for the game.

Sixers center Joel Embiid has missed 11 games this season to rest, but at least he is playing.  Embiid missed the first two seasons of his career with foot trouble.  The 22 year-old is averaging 19.9 points and 7.8 rebounds on the season.

Philadelphia has won seven of its last eight games in which Embiid has seen the court.  In that span he is averaging 23 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 27.3 minutes of action.

Philadelphia is 9-14 at home this season.

We have you covered for the Trail Blazers and 76ers contest and we have covered leading up to the game with The Scoop Pregame Show streaming live at 3:00pm on Facebook.com/CSNNW on your computer, tablet, or phone. 

Plus, you can check out an all-new Rip City Live on CSN starting at 3:00pm.




Quick Links:

Trail Blazers’ spiral continues as Charlotte breezes to easy win

Inside the Trail Blazers: A look at what is ailing the team

 

Video:   Does Coach Stotts still have the locker room’s ear?

Video:   Plumlee: Uncomfortable being on losing team, have to want it

Video:   Jason Quick: Blazers at a critical part of their season

Video:   Talkin’ Ball: Road trip may now serve as a crossroads
 

 

Game Details:

Where:  Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA

Television: CSN, 4:00pm

CSN Programming:  Rip City Live (3:00pm), Talkin' Ball  (Immediately after the Blazers postgame show)

Live streaming: The Scoop Pregame Show streams at 3:00pm at Facebook.com/CSNNW. The Scoop Postgame Show will stream immediately after the game at Facebook.com/CSNNW

Radio: Rip City Radio 620