UConn rules all; Raiders should take QB Manziel 

click to enlarge Geno Auriemma
  • John Bazemore/ap
  • UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma’s no-nonsense style can make you either love him or hate him.
Plenty of hot topics swirling around the sports world these days, so let’s hit as many as we can ...

Reminder to all baseball fans flummoxed by, and fretting over, the slow start to the season of their favorites and/or old reliables: Roughly five percent of the season has been played. Chill pills available at the counter.

UConn’s Shabazz Napier drew some Steph Curry comparisons with his performance in the men’s national championship game Monday. No disrespect to either, but it’s worth noting: Napier is a true point guard. Curry is a true scorer, no matter what position he’s listed at. Big-time difference there. Napier will serve an NBA team well in some capacity, but never in the capacity that Curry serves the Warriors so well.

UConn’s women, also national champs this year to cap a truly astounding double, has a polarizing coach in Geno Auriemma. No in-between with this guy: You either think he’s an ass or a stud. In the wake of his classic rant against those suggesting he should be more chummy with his coaching counterparts, I’m going stud here. Said Geno: “We’re supposed to play each other, try to beat each other’s brains in, try to win a national championship and compete like hell. ... And then we’re supposed to get together afterwards and go have a bottle of wine? That [stuff] is just not going to happen.” Big points for honesty and logic. His job is to kick ass. Hard to kick and kiss at the same time.

Whether or not college athletes in the monster revenue-generating sports should be paid is a hot debate topic these days, and it’ll always be worthy and confounding. There will never be the perfect solution. Those against the pay-for-play proposal say the cost of tuition at these places is not cheap, so a scholarship is payment enough. The counter says it’s not, largely because that savings to the athlete is not commensurate with the overall benefit to the respective institutions. One thing for sure: unionization of college athletes is a bad idea. Another: a couple hundred bucks a month as a stipend for these kids at the Alabamas, Kentuckys and USCs of the world likely would reduce the rampant violations we all know are happening, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt the institutions.

Team Turmoil, aka your Warriors, sure look united from this angle. Since when do we give a crap about assistant coaches? Granted, Mike Malone was a keeper. It sucked to lose him. Lamenting that loss? Fine, even though you know in your heart of hearts that he was destined and deserved to be a head coach elsewhere. But to make a big deal over what’s gone down with Mark Jackson’s staff of late reeks of a widespread case of inneedofalifeitis. Isn’t playing good ball enough, not to mention the whole point?

The Raiders could do so much worse than taking Johnny Manziel at No. 5 in the NFL Draft. Matt Schaub doesn’t come for a sixth-rounder if he’s any sort of long-term solution, and nobody in the college game was as consistently productive and fiercely competitive as Johnny Football over the past couple of years. The obvious argument to that point is Tim Tebow, but that’s an another apples-to-dump-trucks comparison. Manziel has everything a successful quarterback needs. Tebow just had “it,” and that’s about it. Pull the trigger, Reggie Mac. At least you’ll get people outside the East Bay thinking about the Silver and Black for a good long time. The reward far outweighs the risk.

Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM).

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for MLB.com, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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