Friday, December 31, 2004

The Ohio All-Stars

The Ohio All-Star team, if you will, is stacked at the guard and small forward positions. The big spots are a different matter. If this team is going to win, it's going to have to mostly outscore the opposition and penetrate from the perimeter, because rebounding and interior defense aren't going to be its strong suits. At the guard, my starters are Eric Snow (Canton) and Michael Redd (Columbus). Starting at small forward is LeBron James (Akron). My power forward is aging Brian Grant (Cincinnati), and my center is Jason Collier (Springfield), averaging 6 points and 3 rebounds a game for the Hawks (I told you the bigs were a problem on this team). Off the bench, Antonio Daniels (Columbus), James Posey (Twinsburg), and Eric Piatkowski (Steubenville) will battle for minutes behind Redd and Snow. James will be spelled by Jim Jackson (Toledo) and Ruben Patterson (Cleveland) at the small forward. Backing up Grant and Collier are big men Brandon Hunter (Cincinnati) and Samaki Walker (Columbus). But there's still a few more players I want. Lucky for me there's the faux-injured list in the NBA where players go to nurse imaginary back spasms and strained quads so other players can sit at the end of the bench. Here is where backup center John Edwards (Warren), ancient Charles Oakley (Cleveland, on the roster for "veteran leadership) and mighty mite Earl Boykins (Cleveland) start the season. Missing the cut in training camp are guard Keith McLeod (Columbus), forward Erik Daniels (Cincinnati), Neil Yanke (Cincinnati), and Calvin Booth (Reynoldsburg). Now, this might not be the single best team ever assembled from one state, but I'd take them to the arena most any day and expect to have a chance to win.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Of Buckeyes and basketballs

Word on the street here in Cleveland is that the Cavaliers are going to be eyeing former Ohio State star Michael Redd in free agency this summer, if he doesn't re-up with the Bucks beforehand.
Now, there's a lot to that. First, the Cavs have to sign free-agent-to-be Zydrunas Ilgauskas to a contract extension, or decide not to, or lose him to another team and move on. Second, they have to look at point guard Jeff McInnis, also a free-agent-to-be. McInnis is having a career year and ready for a big payday. How much are they willing to offer him, if anything at all?
Third, there's the impending ownership change. Sometime after the first of the new year, Michigan online mortgage tycoon Dan Gilbert is probably going to close a deal to buy the Cavaliers from Gordon Gund. Then we find out how much Gilbert is willing to spend, where he's willing to spend it, what his ownership philosophies are, and who he wants running the team.
All those factors will affect whether Ilgauskas or McInnis are suiting up for Cleveland next year, let alone Redd.
But putting Redd, an Ohio native, alongside LeBron James in the Cavaliers' lineup would almost certainly vault the Cavs to title contender status. That would put the current fifth- and 11th-leading scorers in the NBA on the same floor every night.
The arrival of Redd (and subsequent departure of McInnis, since the Cavs probably wouldn't ante up for both)
could also give Ohio's lone NBA franchise a considerable Buckeye State flavor. Losing McInnis could open a spot in the starting lineup for Canton native Eric Snow at point guard. With Redd, a Columbus native, at shooting guard, and James, an Akron native, at small forward, three-fifths of the Cavaliers' starting lineup next year could be comprised of Ohioans.
And they're all good, or in Redd and James' case, great. Which got me to thinking, if I had to piece an NBA team together out of only Ohio natives, what type of team would I come up with? Could it win?
Scanning NBA rosters, I found out that we don't usually grow them big in Ohio, but we grow them talented.
In pieceing together this roster, I wanted to be realistic. Players had to have played in the NBA, but they don't necessarily have to be on an active roster right now. However, they had to be young enough that, if they were called up and asked to play, they could still answer the bell. In other words, no John Havliceks or Jerry Lucases on this team. This isn't an "all-time" roster. My team follows in the next post.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Welcome to the Website for Erik Cassano, and my (hopefully) frequent Papa Cass columns, which can be accessed by clicking on the archives on the right. This site is going to center around mostly sports commentary, but I may throw in a few other things depending on what crosses my mind.
I am an award-winning writer from Cleveland and a graduate of Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where I covered a gambit of sports in three years on the staff of The BG News, the daily student publication of the university. Since graduating in 2003, I have covered the city of Medina for the Medina County Gazette.
At some point, I hope this site will contain, in addition to insightful commentary, links to other sites where my work is published, and other things that reflect my interests.
In addition, I invite any readers to give me feedback. I hope in the future there will be a lot of you.
Thanks, in advance, for reading.