Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Sports Round Up: Anquan Boldin, Percy Harvin, and New Jersey High School Basketball

"Back to work Monday" and its time for me to talk about whats on my mind in the sports world:

Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin get traded to the NFC West

The Baltimore Ravens may have won the Super Bowl but the San Francisco 49ers just made sure they won’t repeat in one of the biggest steals in NFL history.  The Ravens traded Boldin to the reigning NFC Champions for a 6th round pick.  Yes, the Ravens trade a 3-time Pro Bowler who has seven receiving touchdowns in 11 playoff games and for his career has 772 receptions, 10, 165 receiving yards and 58 Touchdowns for a sixth round draft pick?!?  This is insane!  This comes on the same day that Ravens “franchise QB” Joe Flacco said “Without him, we don't win the Super Bowl. He's a huge part of this team and someone I want to see back” and his teammate Torrey Smith tweeted “This business is BS at times”.

Meanwhile, the 49ers rival in the NFC West the Seattle Seahawks traded a first round draft pick to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Percy Harvin.  The deal is contingent on Harvin signing a contract extension.  Viking MVP Running Back Adrian Peterson reacted to the trade by stating: “The best all around player I ever seen or you'll ever see! Goes to Seattle! I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!!,"  Harvin, a one-time Pro Bowler who has dealt with physical issues over the last few years is still in his mid-20’s and has still not reached his potential yet.

So the question is why would two franchises trade two Wide Receivers who were very popular with their teammates, both former Pro Bowlers, get such drastically different forms of compensation in return?  There’s an old saying “A product is worth what you are willing to pay for it”.  The reason the Vikings got a first round pick in return for Harvin is because the Seahawks were willing to “overpay” for him.  I know Harvin is a super talent but even the Buccaneers in 1987 only received a second and fourth round draft picks from the 49ers for future NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young. 

On the flip side, Boldin is only in his early 30’s and is one of the top wide receivers in football yet Baltimore only got a sixth round draft choice for him.  Yet the Ravens traded a third and fourth round draft picks to the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 for Boldin, who at the time was the second best receiver on the Cardinals roster.  So when did Boldin’s value depreciate so rapidly?  I doubt that the best the Ravens could get in return for Boldin was a sixth round pick. 

The reality is that Smith is right, football is a business.  But even “good” business people make bad decisions.  The Ravens gave up a top tier wide receiver that is getting paid below market value salary for mediocre compensation while the Vikings traded away a top tier talent to the highest bidder.  The real winner in all of this is the 49ers while the biggest loser is the Ravens.  Funny how fast fortunes can change.  The Ravens won Super Bowl 47 with Anquan Boldin but they also enabled the 49ers to potentially become a dynasty by giving him to them and this all happened with the last six weeks!


Atlantic City High School Boys and Ocean City High School Girls win state titles

Congratulations to Atlantic City Boys and Ocean City Girls for their state championship wins on Sunday.  As both teams head in the New Jersey Tournament of Champions, each team has unique challenges ahead them but seasons that should be celebrated.

Ocean City won big on Sunday over Jefferson Township 50-37, the first time they have won a state title in school history.  It was truly a team effort as their star player Julia Duggan sat out most of the first half due to foul trouble.  Seniors Mary Kate Mateer and Natalie Landi both stepped up big for the Lady Red Raiders.  Mateer scored 14 points in the first half while Natalie Landi finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.  Landi also hit a 30 foot 3 point at the buzzer as the 3rd Quarter ended that was like a dagger demoralizing Jefferson Township while energizing the Ocean City fans.

This is the ultimate team victory.  OCHS girls’ seniors step up this season after last years’ team failed to win the state title.  While last season’s team was more talented, this year’s Ocean City girls really came together as a unit and got stronger down the homestretch when they were forced to learn how to win without their star Julia Duggan.  Freshman Nicole Piergross and Olivia Briggs had big contributions throughout the season while senior Katie Johnson provided great leadership.

Atlantic City Boys’ road to winning a second consecutive state title was accomplished also when their guys came together as a team.  Head Coach Gene Allen got his team to buy into a system where he would play 10 players each game and would apply a full court press defense that I would refer to as “40 minutes of Hell-Light” (since the style reminded me of Nolan Richardson’s 1994 University of Arkansas team)  Many of the players for ACHS would have been star players if they were at other schools but Dayshawn Reynolds, Ga-Bril Chandler, Isiah Graves,  Dennis White, and Jahleem Montague all decided that winning a state title for the second straight season was more important than putting up big statistics from game to game.  Also, ACHS receive consistent contributions from players off the bench such as Tashard Reynolds, Dezja Chase, and Lamar Thomas all season long.  On Sunday Atlantic City came from behind and beat Linden High School 6-0-54, capping off a 29-1 season for the Vikings.

As both teams head into the New Jersey Tournament of Champions Ocean City Girls and Atlantic City Boys should take pride in their accomplishments this season.  For those unfamiliar with New Jersey’s setup, the easier comparison is the NJTOC is similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament Elite 8.  Whether they either school wins or not, getting into the NJTOC is a major accomplishment.

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