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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here Comes Some Help for the Cavs - Ohio State drops review of players' car purchases - McIlroy says he doesn’t want to join PGA Tour

Here Comes Some Help for the Cavs
according to grantland.com
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
State of the Team: In a season filled with stunning lows, the willingness of owner Dan Gilbert to pay and rebuild already showed dividends in how Cleveland landed the top pick: The Cavs received the draft selection from the Los Angeles Clippers as compensation for assuming Baron Davis' contract. The rebuilding process in Cleveland will certainly take more than one year, but having two of the top four draft selections, even in a weak draft, should provide a measure of hope for a team whose best player is J.J. Hickson.

W-L RECORD: 19-63
eFG% RECORD: 19-63
TOV% RECORD: 35-47
REB% RECORD: 32-50
FTA% RECORD: 47-35


As judged by FG%, the Cavaliers were outshot in 53 of their first 65 games. In their last 10 games, they were outshot only three times. Part of the change can be attributed to the arrival of Baron Davis, whose eFG% (.522) was nearly 0.1 points better than that of the man he replaced, Mo Williams (.424). Beyond Davis, the Cavaliers had 12 other players use more than 15 percent of the team's possessions while they were on the floor. Not one was able to put up an eFG% greater than 50 percent. Davis can create shots for himself and others, which means the offense won't be totally hopeless again in 2011, but Baron is also a perpetual injury risk. The Cavaliers desperately need a wing-scorer. You know, like LeBron James. The defensive side wasn't much better, as they also allowed the league's second-highest eFG% (.524).

Front Office Profile: This will be the first draft spearheaded by Chris Grant, who replaced Danny Ferry last summer. Grant is Ferry's former assistant. Over the past five years, Cleveland selected late in the first round, which gave the front office the leeway of selecting picks that could be considered moldable projects like Hickson and Christian Eyenga. They no longer possess that leeway. The Cavaliers need both of their draft picks to produce immediately. Again, the best player on this team, and the only decent guy under the age of 30, is Hickson.

They Said It: "We want to get to know him and get our arms around who he is. At some point we'll develop a plan for the kid. I don't know how accelerated it would be." — Danny Ferry on Christian Eyenga (The News-Herald)
"We need to re-sign LeBron, and we'll speak to him [Saturday] and get into our plans for him. And we'll continue to sign other free agents or make trades going forward. So this is kind of what you do during this year. So it doesn't necessarily seem stressful or abnormal. It's just that there's a lot going on and a lot of attention, right here in Cleveland." — Chris Grant (NBA.com)

The NBA Executive Says: "They'll look to add a point guard and a big guy with the fourth pick."

They Should Pick: Kyrie Irving

Ohio State drops review of players' car purchases

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio State University on Tuesday dropped its review of car purchases by football players and family members after two separate investigations found dealerships made money on almost all of the sales.
The university made its decision in light of a report by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and a separate review by the Ohio Independent Automobile Dealers Association.
"We have seen no evidence that would lead us to believe that Ohio State student athletes violated any policies when purchasing used cars," said university spokesman Jim Lynch.
The reviews were launched after questions about players' car purchases arose in the wake of a scandal in which some players received cash and tattoos for autographs, championship rings and equipment.
In a 65-page report issued Tuesday, the state BMV said two Columbus-area dealerships made money on 24 of 25 sales made to players and family members.
The BMV, however, did not interview Ohio State players or officials and did not examine records of financial transactions that players file with the university's athletic compliance office. The report also did not address whether players received discounts not available to the public. Such a discount could be an NCAA violation.
In its report, the BMV said the certificates of titles for 25 vehicle sales by Jack Maxton Chevrolet and Auto Direct to Ohio State players and their families accurately reflected the vehicles' sales prices.
According to the report, Auto Direct made money on the 10 vehicles it sold to players and their families and Jack Maxton made money on 14 of 15 sales; one vehicle was sold at a loss because it had been on the lot longer than 150 days.
A BMV investigator found vehicles bought at Auto Direct were sold for an average of $2,000 over their wholesale purchase prices, the report said.
Auto Direct owner Jason Goss told an investigator "he is not in the business to sell vehicles at a loss and has never discounted the price of vehicle in lieu of sports memorabilia or anything related to O.S.U. athletics."
The BMV investigation found no evidence that tickets and/or sports memorabilia were included in the sales.
"The deals that I did for Ohio State student-athletes were no different than any of the other 10,000-plus deals that I've done for all my other customers," said Aaron Kniffin, the salesman who sold most of the vehicles at both dealerships, in a May 10 affidavit.
Kniffin said any sales involving Ohio State players were forwarded to the general manager, who contacted Ohio State's compliance office.
The review by the independent auto dealers association of Auto Direct sales found no evidence of improper titling or sales tax calculations and said the paperwork on all sales complied with state and federal laws.
All vehicles were sold at fair market value and profit margins were consistent with the company's average profit per unit and the national average for used car dealers, James Mitchell, OIADA executive director, said in a May 18 letter to Goss released Tuesday by Ohio State.
There "was no preferential treatment," Mitchell wrote.
Ohio State President Gordon Gee said Tuesday the BMV's findings weren't surprising.
"The university has a very strong compliance system," he said. "We have always tried to make certain that we are on solid ground on these issues."
Gee added: "That doesn't mean to say we're not going to be surprised once in a while."
A lawyer for former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said the BMV report confirms Pryor never received special treatment in his dealings with Auto Direct, which included a repair on one of Pryor's cars and a $11,435 purchase of a 2007 Nissan by Pryor's mother.
"There has been no testimony from any credible source that any OSU Student Athlete received special benefits beyond those that any customer received in having their car repaired or in considering the purchase of a vehicle," attorney Larry James wrote in a memo Tuesday to Doug Archie, Ohio State's athletics compliance director.
Pryor was one of five players suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who signed an agreement in May to plead guilty to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges.
Pryor announced earlier this month he wouldn't return for his senior year. He is now aiming to be selected in the NFL's supplemental draft this summer.
The BMV report also addressed what it called "persistent allegations" that Ohio State athletes and coaches have been allowed to drive dealer-owned cars using dealer license plates.
That practice is not illegal and is allowed under BMV rules, the agency said.
"On the contrary, the statute that governs the use of dealer-plated vehicles by third parties expressly permits dealers to allow any member of the public to operate dealer-owned vehicles," the agency said in its report.
In a May 12 interview with the Ohio Inspector General, Kniffin said Jeff Mauk, owner of Jack Maxton Chevrolet, received tickets from Ohio State coaches for giving them cars to drive. Kniffin said that was a common practice, according to the interview included in the BMV report.
Messages were left for Mauk and Goss seeking comment.

McIlroy says he doesn’t want to join PGA Tour
Ryan Ballengee msnbc.com
This might come as a surprise to some, but 22-year-old U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy has no grand designs of an American invasion now that he is a major champion.

Appearing on the Dan Patrick radio show on Wednesday, McIlroy said his home for the next several seasons will be the European Tour.

“I’m never going to leave the European tour…..I don’t think I will join (the PGA) tour in the next few years anyway,” McIlroy said according to show producer Paul Pabst on Twitter.

McIlroy did not take up PGA Tour membership after winning last year’s Wells Fargo Championship with a closing 62 at Quail Hollow to notch his second professional win and first in the United States. He is limited to no more than 11 PGA Tour-sanctioned starts each year, including The Players Championship. McIlroy opted not to play in the PGA Tour’s crown jewel because the course did not suit his eye, he said.

Agent Andrew Chandler told Golf Channel’s Randall Mell that his man would only consider PGA Tour membership if the rules requiring 15 starts and participation in the FedExCup playoff series in the fall were loosened. With his Open win, though, McIlroy has a five-year window to take up PGA Tour membership at will.

Curiously, McIlroy now has two wins in the United States compared to one on the European Tour. That win came in Dubai, of all places.

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