BY Todd Dybas 07:00AM 06/01/2011

Off the cuff: Wedge sees no need to protect catchers

Manager fine with home-plate crashes; the danger of stereotypes; Justin Holiday’s draft prep; what Lorenzo Romar thinks of Terrence Jones hoopin’ in his gym.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge took his lumps at home plate during his catching days. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Mariners manager Eric Wedge didn’t see the home plate collision between Giants catcher Buster Posey and Marlins runner Scott Cousins last week that left Posey with three torn ankle ligaments and led to season-ending surgery.

Though Wedge, a former catcher, has thoughts on crashes served at the dish.

“I got my ass drove into the ground more than once, I can tell you that much,” Wedge said. “Did a few myself, too.”

Wedge said wreckage at home plate is not as prevalent in MLB now because of restrictions put in at the high school level and below. Though he was dubious about restrictions.

“Little League, I get that,” Wedge said. “High school on up, as long as it’s a fair shot, it’s just kind of part of the game.”

Wedge was asked if there are specific drillers he recalled when he was the drillee.

“Yeah, that I recall,” Wedge said with a smirk. “Not that I’m going to say. I’m not going to give them that ego boost. But, yeah, I recall.”

In general, sweeping statements are stupid
Storm third-round pick Krystal Thomas played for Duke. For most, including former NBA player and oft-ignoramus Jalen Rose, that sentence makes them think they know Thomas.

Obviously, Duke athletes are privileged, elite, arrogant and had it easy. Rose took that further, stating in the documentary “The Fab Five” that he felt in his younger days that Duke athletes were “Uncle Toms.”

Hearing any generalization is always cringe-worthy. Hearing it from a minority is reflective of shallow thinking at best, flat ignorance at worst.

For the 6-foot-5 Thomas — a self-described athletic defensive player and rebounder who is very loud — the label that comes with being a Duke athlete is not news.

“It’s no secret,” Thomas said. “I mean, he got a lot of flak for what he said because he said it so publicly. But that’s something that people say all over the place. Whether you’re sitting at a dinner conversation with friends or talking with people who have higher authority.

“That’s what people say about Duke and about people who go there. He just happened to be the one that voiced it publicly.”

Rose’s lumping of a group sounds even more asinine when Thomas’ background surfaces. Her father, a captain in the Orange County (Fla.) sheriff’s department, was arrested and sentenced to jail when Krystal was 11. Victor Thomas was caught trafficking stolen goods and sentenced to seven years in the pokey after 18 years on the force.

Her mother, Natalie Thomas, was diagnosed with cancer just prior to Victor’s sentencing. That left 11-year-old Krystal to help raise four younger siblings. Natalie Thomas died from cancer in 2006.

“It was not easy, but it was something I had to do,” Krystal said. “It wasn’t something that I looked at that was a burden for me. I just had to grow up faster than most kids would, but it’s what I had to do for my family. It’s what I had to do to make it day to day.

“But I would not change anything in my past. Of course, I wish my mom would still be here and my father wasn’t away for a while, but it’s what I had to do. I’m standing right here in the WNBA and have a chance to make a professional team. And at 11 years old, with all that happened, you wouldn’t think that.”

Rose wouldn’t, but he doesn’t seem prone to thought in general.

Working Holiday
Former Washington small forward Justin Holiday is in California working out with former UCLA wing Tyler Honeycutt and the Morris twins, Markieff and Marcus, in preparation for the June 23 NBA draft.

Holiday went to the Portsmouth Invitational, the draft-candidate workout in New Jersey, and had an individual workout with Detroit last week. He has three workouts coming up: The Lakers Monday, the Nuggets Thursday and likely the Blazers June 6.

Holiday started the year knocking down three-pointers, a welcome and surprising element added to his defense and rebounding. His shot went away at the end of the year.

That, plus intangibles game-tape can’t prove, are what he’s trying to show scouts and general managers.

“They have seen you play, but they don’t know exactly how you are with your teammates, leadership-wise, or how well you compete,” Holiday said. “It’s a chance to show some other parts of your game that they might not be able to see while you were in college.”

That should benefit him. Holiday’s ability as a wing defender is a crucial element in the NBA now. Rebounding always helps. As does a well-functioning brain. But he may not have the strength and jumper to make it in a prove-it league.

Coach speak
I caught up with Washington coach Lorenzo Romar and Washington State coach Ken Bone late last week. Both are rambling down the recruiting trail. Quick thoughts from each:

Romar on Kentucky’s Terrence Jones playing pickup in Hec Ed: “I have no problem with it. I think any time you have good players coming to your gym, it’s a plus. A lot of people will want to say, well, he turned his back on you. No, he didn’t. He went where he thought was best, and I understand he made a decision publicly and all but, man, if I live my life based on people who did things differently than I thought, I’d be a pretty miserable guy. So, I kind of tend to move on.”

Romar on Abdul Gaddy’s progression from his knee injury: “Abdul is shooting, shooting on the move, jogging, making good progress.”

Romar on the infection in Aziz N’Diaye’s big toe that put N’Diaye in a walking boot this spring: “That’s not anything long-term. He’s been working out. Sometime this summer, get that infection removed.”

Romar on the progression of Terrence Ross: “He’ll be in better condition from  day one. His understanding on the defensive end and what we’re doing is going to help him play more and not have to think. That thing about freshmen becoming sophomores, is a big deal. I think we’ll really see it with him.”

Romar on the addition of an arc three feet from the basket to help officials make block/charge calls: “I think it’s overdue. When you teach how to take a charge, you always talk about taking a charge outside the lane if you can and never take a charge under the basket. I don’t think it’s as much on us, as it gives more credibility to the call and helps the official make more of a rational decision.”

Bone on the affect of the fractured wrist on Reggie Moore last season: “He was tentative to attack the rim and that’s a huge part of his game. When he quit attacking, he was limited offensively. But when you have a fractured wrist and you’re trying to play through it, you’ve got to be smart about it and I think he was.”

Bone on Faisal Aden’s sore knee: “His knee is doing pretty good right now. He’s in therapy. (It was) very sore and he decided to go with a certain type of therapy and so far so good. I don’t (think it will be an issue in the fall), as long as he manages it well.”

Follow Todd Dybas on Twitter at @Todd_Dybas


YourThoughts

  • El Tigre

    Wow…Romar is a real class act. Knows TJones is just a young man and he is setting a fine example for him in this situation. 

  • El Tigre

    Wow…Romar is a real class act. Knows TJones is just a young man and he is setting a fine example for him in this situation. 

  • Guest98101

    Coach Ro is the man..we are so blessed to have a coach…

     

  • Guest98101

    Coach Ro is the man..we are so blessed to have a coach…

     

  • Clevescc

    LoRo never ceases to amaze man. Who wouldn’t want to play for someone like that?

  • Clevescc

    LoRo never ceases to amaze man. Who wouldn’t want to play for someone like that?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TRWJ4JMDTVOES65YY6VA6AACLI Jonathan Hiatt

    It seems utterly ridiculous that The author of this piece would seem to authenticate the perception expressed publicly by Jalen Rose in the transcript with Storm guard Krystal Thomas, while also attacking him as a “shallow thinking” ignoramous. Stereotypes and negative perceptions exist, despite the media’s incessant need to attack those who have the “audacity” to point them out.

    • Blkxdragon

      Jalen Rose is correct. Duke recruits a “certain type” of player. Its been well known in basketball circles for decades. I can’t find another major team that recruits that way…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TRWJ4JMDTVOES65YY6VA6AACLI Jonathan Hiatt

    It seems utterly ridiculous that The author of this piece would seem to authenticate the perception expressed publicly by Jalen Rose in the transcript with Storm guard Krystal Thomas, while also attacking him as a “shallow thinking” ignoramous. Stereotypes and negative perceptions exist, despite the media’s incessant need to attack those who have the “audacity” to point them out.

    • Blkxdragon

      Jalen Rose is correct. Duke recruits a “certain type” of player. Its been well known in basketball circles for decades. I can’t find another major team that recruits that way…