It's been a while since the last GT Pros post, but now that we're back to a regular fall schedule, I'll be updating everyone weekly. If I get a positive reaction towards the posts, I'll make it two posts a week with one being solely an NFL post. I've also decided to change things up a little bit with the format. Ideally, I'd love to make the posts more exciting and informative with less volume. I think the best way to do that is to give out some weekly awards for "best play" or "best performance of the week" along with some negative plays to make it more interesting. After the "awards" section, I'll have a notes section of the article where I have a quick rundown of everything else that happened during the week (probably in a bullets format). I'm looking to start this new format at the beginning of next week and if you guys have any awards ideas you'd like to see then comment about it and I'll do my best to incorporate it. Now onto this week's post and hopefully the last one of the current format.
Heading into last week's PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC, all the talk was about Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. While neither played particularly well, there were a few players who started hot on Thursday and Friday. Adam Scott and Jason Dufner each had strong starts to the tournament, but the biggest surprise was Matt Kuchar. After his second round, he was tied for 2nd at -7 and had only recorded one bogey (on #18 on Friday). His resurgence to the top of the leaderboard was surprising for some, since he's been relatively quiet on the Tour since his quick start to the season. He followed up his first two rounds with a 76 on Saturday, however, and ruined any chance he had of taking the major.
Most fans had their eyes on Kuchar, but another Tech grad actually posted a better 72 hole score to par. Roberto Castro, who's been quiet in the media since his incredible round at the TPC, actually sat at -3 heading into the weekend. He wasn't able to gain any ground on moving day, but he played the course to +1 on the weekend and ended two strokes better than Kuchar. Castro finished in a tie for 12th and had his best finish ever in a major. Stewart Cink also competed in the PGA, but was unable to make the cut.
This MLB season has been a rather unusual one for Georgia Tech, since there's no feel good story or All Star season from one of our alums. Matt Wieters has continued to unimpress and shows no signs of fighting out of his slump. Mark Teixeira has missed almost the entire season due to injury and sits on the 60 Day DL. And Derek Dietrich, who started the season off hot for the Marlins, has since been demoted to the minors. This has been a rough year to say the least, and part of me is happy to see the playoffs getting closer.
There are two stories worth nothing in the MLB right now though. Charlie Blackmon, the man who never seems to receive the playing time he deserves, has finally started getting consistent at bats in the month of August. So far this month, he's hitting .296 with an .803 OPS while starting 6 games and pinch hitting in the rest. The injury to Carlos Gonzalez has helped him receive more playing time, which is great news for him since he's still fighting for a spot on next years team (the Rockies are out of contention for the playoffs).
The second notable story is the play of Brandon Cumpton for the Pirates. I mentioned his name in the last post, but he has since had another spot start and recorded his first major league win. On July 30th, Cumpton threw seven scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals (arguably the best offense in the majors at the time) and only allowed three hits. He hasn't received the chance to start again for the Pirates, but he's continued to excel when given the chance and he will get called back up when the rosters expand to 40 players in September.
In NBA news (although not really new), Glen Rice Jr. had a successful introduction into the NBA by playing well in the Summer League games. He still showed issues with his inefficiency as a scorer, but he was able to make plays when they mattered and showed promise for the Wizards. Iman Shumpert chose to forego Summer League games this year, which apparently angered Knick's management.
Now that NBA Free Agency is essentially over, it's time to look at who wanted a change of scenery and how other moves impacted some GT pros. Jarrett Jack was the biggest GT free agent this summer, and many thought he might resign with the Warriors. He surprised a lot of people, however, when he chose to play for the Cavaliers. On the surface it might seem puzzling to leave a loaded playoff team, but this move actually makes a lot of sense. He is going to yet again be the sixth man for the Cavs, playing behind Kyrie Irving and with a young group of promising players. The Cavaliers may be the most improved team in the NBA next season and a large part of that will be due to Jack. Anthony Morrow also signed a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans (it's still hard to type that name) and should get some playing time as a 3 point specialist off the bench.
Derrick Favors may be one of the biggest beneficiaries of this year's free agency now that Paul Millsap is playing for our hometown Hawks. He has shown a ton of upside and potential over the last two years, but has been blocked by Millsap's stellar play. Now that he'll be starting for the Jazz, look for him to explode onto the scene and to become a borderline All Star player. Chris Bosh has also benefitted from NBA Free Agency, but he won't see it's effects until later in the NBA season. The Miami Heat added Greg Oden on a cap friendly deal, but plan to slowly incorporate him into the rotation. He will never be the dominant force he was expected to be, but they hope he can provide 15-20 minutes a game later in the season and into the playoffs. If he can allow Bosh to slide to the PF position in the postseason, Bosh will have a much bigger impact on the game. We won't be seeing anymore goose eggs from Bosh in the Finals if Oden can stay healthy. I would also mention the dramatic change to the 76ers this offseason, but I believe Thaddeus Young is a free agent next offseason and will look to go to a playoff contender.
I'm sure everyone was hoping to get their first bit of NFL news now that the preseason has started, but I plan on making an NFL themed post after each team has played their second preseason game. Fans put too much into each game and practice and it's better to just analyze the players' performances as a whole for the preseason. I expect that post to be in the new format and it should be up next Monday or Tuesday.
Do you have any "awards" or general ideas for a new post format? Would you rather have an NFL themed post separate from the usual weekly post?