2016 NBA Mock Draft

Everyone and their mother has compiled their 2016 Mock Draft.  With this year being particularly important for the Celtics, I figured I would join in the foray. In this space, you will find what I believe will go down Thursday night.  I will not include potential trades, because frankly, other than creating rumors, you can’t really predict a trade.  Without further adieu…

 

  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram
  3. Boston Celtics: Buddy Hield
  4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jamal Murray
  6. New Orleans Pelicans: Kris Dunn
  7. Denver Nuggets: Jaylen Brown
  8. Sacramento Kings: Marquesse Chriss
  9. Toronto Raptors: Jakob Poeltl
  10. Milwaukee Bucks: Malachi Richardson
  11. Orlando Magic: Skal Labissiere
  12. Utah Jazz: Wade Baldwin
  13. Phoenix Suns: Domantas Sabonis
  14. Chicago Bulls: Henry Ellenson
  15. Denver Nuggets:Timothe Luwawu
  16. Boston Celtics: Brice Johnson
  17. Memphis Grizzlies:  Deyonta Davis
  18. Detroit Pistons: Cheick Diallo
  19. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz
  20. Indiana Pacers: Dejounte Murray
  21. Atlanta Hawks: Taurean Prince
  22. New Orleans Hornets: Malik Beasley
  23. Boston Celtics: Thon Maker
  24. Philadelphia 76ers: Denzel Valentine
  25. Los Angeles Clippers: Diamond Stone
  26. Philadelphia 76ers: Demetrius Jackson
  27. Toronto Raptors: Ante Zizic
  28. Phoenix Suns: Zhou Qi
  29. San Antonio Spurs: Damian Jones
  30. Golden State Warriors: Juan Hernangomez

Patriots First Round NFL Draft Options

UPDATE

* After trading down to 52, six players from original first round predictions are still available: FS Jonathan Cyprien, WR Justin Hunter, DL, Jesse Williams, WR Robert Woods, WR Terrence Williams & CB Jamar Taylor. *

*Patriots have 19 selections before they are on the clock, but could use extra picks from Vikings to move up and take a player early in the second round *

In about three hours the New England Patriots will be on the clock. Even though head coach Bill Belichick and the war room actually traded up last year, drafting defensive impact players Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower, there is a sense of a return to normalcy this season as the Pats will likely be up to their old tricks, trading down to accrue more selections, especially this season as their normal glut of selections is quite bare by Patriots standards.

However, lets surmise that New England actually stays put at No. 29. They will have several players to choose as the board is currently laid out and a player or two that could slide to the Pats and force them to pull the trigger on a player as opposed to a deal that would get them a future first or second round pick or extra second or third (and don’t count out another late round sixth or seventh for good measure).

It’s obvious that the Patriots have a need at wide receiver but adding depth at the cornerback, defensive line, linebacker, safety and offensive live spots is also prevalent.

If New England stays put (which we all know is highly unlikely) here is a list of players that could be joining the Patriots in just over 200 minutes.

Image

WR – Cordarelle Patterson – Tennessee

  • The perfect match of need and talent late in the first round. If he’s there, Patriots will definitely have to look at it, but there have been questions about his ability to grasp a complex playbook after a low wonderlic score.

CB – Xavier Rhodes – Florida State

  • Rhodes would need a big slide to reach the Pats, but New England would definitely pull the trigger if he was still there.

DL – Datone Jones – UCLA

  • A big body that fills a need in depth on the line.

CB – Desmond Trufant – Washington

  • The likely pick at corner should the Patriots stand pat and choose to go with secondary selection.

FS – Jonathan Cyprien – FIU

  • Another player that is not expected to be available at 29, but an immediate impact player in the secondary.

WR – Justin Huner – Tennesse

  • The player opposite Cordarelle Patterson, but a good player in his own right and the possible pick if the Patriots decide they need a wide receiver.

FS – Matt Elam – Florida

  • There have been plenty of knocks on Elam through the draft process, which means he’ll be available, but likely still there in the early second round as well.

DT – Jesse Williams – Alabama

  • An imposing force on the front line that would be an intriguing combo with Vince Wilfork. Could be the pick for the Pats.

WR – Robert Woods – USC

  • After the departures of Welker & Lloyd, the Patriots have been linked to just about every available wide receiver.

WR – Terrance Williams – Baylor

  • See! Williams took a back seat to Josh Gordon last year and lost Griffin this season but is still a solid player.

CB – Jamar Taylor – Boise State

  • Again, may be gone by 29 just like Rhodes & Cyprien, but would be a welcome addition to the secondary corps.

CB – DJ Hayden – Houston

  • I just said Taylor would be gone, and there is no chance Hayden is still there when the Pats pick… but hey, crazier things have happened.

WR – DeAndre Hopkins – Clemson

  • St. Louis was linked to Hopkins in the early going after losing Amendola, but buzz has cooled as of late. Could slip to Pats.

DE – Bjoern Werner – Patriots

  • The thought of this guy and Ninkovich on the ends with Chandler Jones running people down from all angles is scary. Might not be a bad idea for the Patriots to look at.

NFL Playoff Preview – Conference Finals

NFC Conference Final

Sunday, January 20th 3:00PM ET San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons

Everyone’s gripe and reasoning for the 49ers not getting deeper into the playoffs last year was because they didn’t have a quarterback. There was a lot of talk about how IF they had a quarterback, they would be really scary. Although mrKaepernick does not have the experience that the rest of the remaining playoff quarterbacks have, it seems pretty safe to say that the 49ers have their quarterback. Kaepernick really has a great chance to shine in this game. He has an elite defense on the other side of the ball and he is playing against a defense that should give him opportunities to make some statements.

Matt Ryan whose Achilles heel seemed to be the post-season spotlight, chalked up a 2 point playoff win against the Seahawks last week. As the #1 seed, the pressure is still on Ryan to deliver a win. He has the weapons to take care of business and a win in this game is gigantic for the Falcons as an organization and for Ryan as a quarterback.

I’m going with what I think is the safer pick on this game:

Winner: San Francisco 49ers

 

AFC Conference Final

Sunday, January 20th 6:30PM ET Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots

Last years same two AFC conference finalists are back. Baltimore’s perspective is that they want revenge after losing a game they probably should have won last year. New England’s perspective is that they’re playing the team that they hoped would come out of the Divisional round. No Peyton Manning in Foxboro has to make the Patriots defense a happy group. Both teams have what they want and will be more than prepared for each other. But the Pat’s still have their hands full with the big athletic wide receivers of the Ravens.

Torrey Smith was a monster in last weeks game in Denver and he beat up on one of the leagues best cornerback’s in Champ Bailey. If Talib is playing on Torrey Smith, I actually think this is a tougher matchup for Smith to exploit. Talib is a little bit taller, a little bit bigger and quite a bit younger than Bailey. Also, when I think back to the Patriots gtbfirstdownames prior to when Talib came to town, I remember a lot of deep balls being caught behind all of the defenders on the field, just like Torrey Smith and the other Raven’s WR’s did several times against Denver last week. I don’t think I’ve seen that nearly as much with Talib on the field and I think he will need to be a big presence against a team with Flacco who loves to launch the deep ball without hesitation, even if there is coverage.

I would love nothing more than for Tom Brady to have the ball with 1:27 seconds remaining in the game; Patriots are up 3 points, 3rd and 8 on the Pat’s own 26 yard line. Brady snaps the ball, looks down field to see everyone covered, pulls the ball down and runs straight up the middle with only Ray Lewis to beat, JUKES him out of his shoes and slides in for a 9 yard gain getting the first down, securing the win and launching Ray Lewis into a bitter retirement so that I can stop hearing his name and seeing his face until he is an analyst for ESPN. By then, I will have cancelled my cable and won’t have to see him there either.

Winner: New England Patriots

 

 

Playoff Preview – Divisional Round

My favorite week, with the exception of week 1, of the NFL season/playoffs is here. The #1 and #2 seeded big gun’s return from their week off and face the best of the remaining teams.

Saturday, January 12th 4:30pm ET Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos

The Ravens step into Mile High with a win over Andrew Luck’s Colt’s in the Wildcard round. I’ve watched the Ravens quite a bit throughout the season and maybe it’s just me, but the Ravens intensity on defense against the Colts looked like the scary Ravens of old. Well, at least in the first half. The Colts had a lot of trouble having success on offense pretty much the entire game. The results of their drives in the first half of the game, in order: punt, fumble, punt, punt, field goal, field goal. The Ravens got off to a slow start as hi-res-156666942_crop_exactwell. This gave the Colts life, considering the score at the half being 10-6 in favor of the Ravens, it was not close to out of reach with the chokehold on the Colt’s offense in mind. Baltimore seemingly easily pulled out the win and limited the Colts to 9 total points. Overall, the Colt’s had a hugely successful year considering many had them at 32 in power rankings at week 1.

I digress.

Purposely.

I had to put some filler in so that I don’t come off, completely, as a Bronco’s fan boy. The Bronco’s are not the Colt’s. Peyton Manning is not Andrew Luck. Peyton Manning is a Raven killer. A Raven killer when the Raven’s defense was the most feared defense in league, not a watered down version of it. Denver went into Baltimore and beat the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 and that means two things. The Bronco’s have extreme confidence that they can beat this team at home and the Raven’s want revenge. There were several injuries on offense and defense for the Raven’s that game but nothing game changing in my opinion.

The MVP candidate Manning throughout his playoff career has had seven ‘1 and dones’. Seven years where his team has made the playoffs and lost their first game in the playoffs. Even Manning himself has something to prove here, which I love.

Baltimore had success through the air towards the end of the week 15 matchup and Anquan Boldin is coming off of a fantastic week where he was very effective. Bailey and Harris will be tested for sure as Flacco loves to throw those deep balls pretty much at any time when there is single coverage. However, I only see Baltimore winning this game in one of two ways. 1: they force 4+ turnovers and even then they don’t have that great of a chance considering they struggled to execute at times against a poor defense last week. 2: if they knock Manning out of the game. Beyond that, it’s a landslide victory that won’t even feel like a playoff game.

Winner: THE Denver Broncos

 

Saturday, January 12th 8:00pm ET Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers

I don’t want to write about this game. I don’t want to think about match-ups or stats or anything that happened previously this season with these two teams. I want to sit down and watch a game that I have no idea what to expect out of it and love every minute. I have to pick a winner, though. How do I reach who my winner is? Whose team has Aaron Rodgers as their QB?

Winner: Green Bay Packers

 

Sunday, January 13th 1:00pm ET Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s strength is passing the football to their large and extremely athletic receivers. Oh, and Tony Gonzalez, too.

Seattle’s defensive strength is defending the pass.

Seattle’s offensive strength is running the ball a whole lot.

Atlanta doesn’t defend the run well. In fact, they don’t defend much of anything too well.

However, they somehow still manage to limit the scoring of their opponent. They actually have given up fewer points on the year than the entire AFC with the exception of the Bronco’s.

120910-wilson-480It’s widely known that Matt Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs and no one more than him would like to break that streak. But with a Seattle team who seems to be peaking at the right time and that underdog hunger and mentality, he has his hands full.

I want Atlanta to win because I think an ATL/GB NFC championship matchup would be great to watch, but I’m going with my gut.

Winner: Seattle Seahawks

 

Sunday, January 13th 4:30pm ET Houston Texans at New England Patriots

I don’t really care that the Patriots blew out the Texans earlier this year because stats and history show that that doesn’t predict how the rematch wil1355256148_tom-brady-articlel go.

One thing I will say about that game is how easily it seemed the Patriots moved the ball. We heard a lot of JJ Watt hype and, hey maybe I’m wrong but, I’m not sure he was even on the field.

Because the Patriots got out to a lead and the Texans were playing from behind, they put the game in Schaub’s hands. The Texan’s weren’t able to use Arian Foster as effectively or as often as they would have liked to. In my opinion, the Texan’s are a tough team to play against when they are in control of the clock and the scoreboard. They can run with Foster and Tate and use Owen Daniels over the middle and in the slot. This opens up a deep game to Andre Johnson and they’re firing on all cylinders. The Patriots need to come out quick and put the Texans on the ropes and they win. The Texans have the star and fire power to put up the points but I don’t think they have the poise to do it under pressure in a close game or from behind.

Winner: New England Patriots

Bucks Destroy Celtics in Home Opener

Tonight, I learned the importance of chemistry in the NBA.  At the present time, the Celtics have zero chemistry to speak of.  NBA fans across America will read that the Bucks beat the Celtics 99-88 tonight.  Any one that actually watched the game would tell you it felt like the Bucks beat the Celtics by 25.  I have attributed the Celtics woes through two games to poor chemistry on both sides of the floor.  Chemistry can’t be understated.  The first year of the Heat “dynasty?” They started out 9-8.  This year’s Lakers are yet to win a game and yes I am counting the preseason.

I was stupidly hopeful the Celtics would protect their home parquet and have an outstanding record at home.  They are now 0-1 at home and 0-2 overall.  On offense, there is no flow and no organization whatsoever.  Their offense has no identity.  On defense, they have some great “on the ball” defenders, but are getting beat backdoor, and through picks repeatedly.  There is no “Ubuntu,” there is no trust right now.

I am becoming rather concerned about Jason Terry.  I was excited about the signing in the off-season because it was a “sexy” signing.  But does he fit in with this team?  He is being asked to be the back up point guard to Rondo.  I am not comfortable watching him bring the ball up the court.  He isn’t a ball handler.  Both the Heat and Bucks have pressed him and he hasn’t been able to handle it.  Ultimately, I don’t think JET’s skill set fits with this team.  I pray to every prominent religious figure I am wrong about him, but I am not comfortable when I see him on the floor.  He plays zero defense and he isn’t able to contribute offensively.

Tonight, I learned what my Hell is.  I will be in a dentist’s chair, surrounded by snakes, watching Darko Milicic play basketball.  Was that not the most atrocious 5 minutes of basketball anyone.. I mean anyone (CYO St.Pius players included) has ever played?  He air mailed a left-handed hook that took out Big Papi’s wife in the front row.  He tried to dribble …which is as inadvisable as driving after drinking a bottle of Jack.  He was also victimized at least 3 times on defense.  My God, go find Dino Radja and let him play over Darko.

The Celtics need to find their identity.  Paul Pierce can’t have 2 points going into the 4th quarter.  Jeff Green needs to assert himself.  Jason Terry needs to find his niche.  Their defense has been astoundingly awful.  Matty O and I could probably throw up 40 each against them right now.  This isn’t the Celtics.  If the Celtics continue to play swiss cheese defense, they will continue to lose.

I am so thankful the Celtics are able to travel down to DC, (home of the great Mike Gambarella) and take on John Wall and the Wizards tomorrow night.  I couldn’t handle a long lay off.  I don’t think the Celtics could handle that either.  As Celtics fans, we need to remember, they were a less than .500 team half way through the season a year ago.  They still took the Heat to a Game 7.

They will figure it out eventually.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

BIG EAST Basketball Dedication

BIG EAST Basketball Dedication: What Would You Do to Prove You’re the Biggest Fan?

Check out the Photo Gallery

Over four months ago I found out that I would be on an all-expenses paid trip to a St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden as part of Volvo’s “Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST” contest. As I am a two-time graduate of St. John’s(’07 undergrad and ’09 postgrad), both times in sports management, to say I am a Johnnies die-hard fan would

Started my journey in Providence, R.I., right near the state capital.

be an understatement. While in Queens, I worked as a student worker and then a graduate assistant as I completed my bachelors and masters degree, so even though I have probably seen close to 125 Red Storm games, I have probably only seen five as just another fan in attendance.

I had planned for a great weekend with my best friend in New York City, but as a Sports Information Director, many know that the best-laid plans do not always come to fruition. I currently work as an SID for Brown University and our women’s hockey just happened to do something they had not done since 2006. They made playoffs for the first time in six years under their first-year head coach. This threw a slight monkey wrench into my plan.

Instead of heading down to NYC on Friday afternoon and enjoying two leisurely nights in the “Greatest City in the World” while fitting in a St. John’s game at the “Mecca of College

The payoff of a 9-hour trek? The greatest city in the world!

Basketball,” I found that I was heading to Ithaca, N.Y. for a three-game series of ECAC Women’s hockey.

Luckily, I wouldn’t let a little thing like 200 miles stop me from competing in this contest, especially when a chance to see the Red Storm and the “Fresh Five” live in action was involved. For those of you who don’t know, St. John’s is starting five freshmen for the first time in program history since the “Wonder Five” in 1927 and have a chance to make one of the biggest impact since C-Webb, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson formed the “Fab Five” at Michigan.

As fate would have it, another SID from my department would also be heading to Cornell that weekend. With the gears turning at full speed, I devised a plan for her to stay in Ithaca, as I would head down to the City after Friday’s game had commenced. This way, I could actually make St. John’s all-important showdown with No. 18/20 Notre Dame. But, this also meant more work for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012: Thanks to kind folks at Steingold Volvo in Pawtucket, R.I., they allowed me to pick up my Volvo S60 a day early as instead of driving straight down Route 95 from Providence to New York, I went up to I-90 through Massachusetts and into “the sticks.” Six hours later and I was in Ithaca, N.Y., home to Cornell University.

So let’s recap so far. No New York City. No St. John’s Basketball. No Co-Pilot/Wingman. Six-hour drive. And in the middle-of-no-where. On the plus-side, at this point I believe I had

Stream Spotify through your MacBook into your Volvo speakers? Yes, Please!

made a symbiotic connection with the S60 as it now responded to my every move, nearly driving itself, warning of traffic and cars near me, alerting of directions I needed to take, taking control of my iPod, syncing with my cell phone through blue tooth and riding like a dream (note; that whole last sentence was not actually due to a symbiotic relationship, but was what this Volvo does in real life. Amazing.).

Friday, February 24, 2012: Gameday. No not that gameday. The Brown women’s hockey team plays its first playoff game in nearly six years. Unfortunately, it came against nationally-ranked Cornell Big Red, which boasted six Olympians, I repeat, six Olympians, and was number one  overall seed in the ECAC Hockey playoffs on top of being the number three team in the country. Despite the odds, and facing a 3-0 deficit in the second period, Brown fought their way back into the game, scoring two goals in the second and nearly tying it up in the third, before Cornell was able to regroup and net the clinching goal mid-way through the third to seal a 4-2 victory. Despite the loss, the Bears proved they could stay with the nation’s best, just a year removed from winning just two games and totaling over 20 losses.

I was extremely happy for the team I had covered all season long, and even though I knew I would be heading down to Manhattan that evening, I was sad that I would not be able to see

I made it to the Garden!

them play the next day. Although I did cheer up a tad, snuggling into the two-toned leather seats of the S60 as I made the four hour trek from Ithaca to NYC.

Thanks to the Volvo’s built-in navigation system I made it down into the city and to my hotel (which right across the street from Madison Square Garden) in just about four hours, just as the car/computer/new best friend told me it would take.

One important tidbit I left out from today’s recap was that today was in fact my birthday. It definitely was not how I had anticipated spending it, but looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing (aside from possibly a Brown win).

Later that evening I was able to meet up with a bunch a friends from college including my little brother from my fraternity (who is actually two year older than me and married; don’t ask) and several others in a night that was true blast from the past as we went over to Stout NYC, one of the main hangouts for any St. John’s Basketball fan, as it is just down the street

Woooo! Happy BDay to me. Thanks MSG.

from the Garden. After a fantastic night of catching up and soaking in the auroa of the city, I headed back to the hotel with excitement building for a big game tomorrow afternoon between St. John’s and Notre Dame.

Saturday, February 25, 2012: Gameday. Yes, that gameday. I woke up and made the trek to Dunkin Donut’s (any self-respecting Rhode Islander needs their large iced coffee to start the day) before making the long trip over to the Garden. Ok, the Dunkin was more or less in the lobby of the hotel and MSG was across the street but after “catching up with my frat brothers” the night before, it felt like it took a lot longer.

It was fantastic to see all the improvements they made to the Garden since I had last been there, completely renovating the concourse and replacing all of the seating in the lower and mid-bowl sections of the arena. I actually entered MSG an half hour early, just walk around and soak it all in.

I look goooooood.

Volvo set me up with near $100 tickets for the Red Storm game, but me being me, decided I could get a little closer when the usher wasn’t looking and ended up sitting six rows back from the bench.

St. John’s came out to take an early lead and held the advantage into half time. I’m not about to say that I was the extra push that they needed, or perhaps it was the bow ties (In honor of “On the Line” for prostate cancer awareness week) in addition to the usual air force ones, but the Red Storm looked great against the 18th-ranked team in the country. Their defense clamped down on the usually hot-shooting, deep-range Irish and STJ matched them step-for-step.

Well if you haven’t heard or seen yet, my halftime was much different than the usual fan’s or even what I used to do as a student worker or graduate assistant. The video below will do a much better job of explaining.

The Red Storm actually spent most of the 2011-12 season in 16th and last place in the BIG EAST in 3-point shooting but on Saturday at Madison Square Garden they held Notre Dame to its worst game of the season from beyond the arc and it equaled a 61-58 upset over the No. 18-team in the country, the Johnnies first win of the season in 11 games against a ranked team.

As if just being their for a game like that was not enough, I got to spend the rest of the afternoon with friends and coworkers from St. John’s… at least until 5 p.m.

At that time I was forced to leave the restaurant that me and 15 of my friends had gathered at to head back to the hotel to change into my work clothes as with part of deal with my Brown

UPSET CITY!

counterpart, I had to cover a Columbia women’s basketball game that night. I went from the hotel to the train to Columbia’s campus to sit courtside as the Brown Bears took on the 3-21 Columbia Lions on senior day. I guarantee you that no other contestant worked on the same day as their alma mater trip, but I did the day before, day of and day after. #SIDProblems.

Finally, once I had finished my write-up of Brown’s win and posted it to BrownBears.com (shameless plug), I was able to head back to the hotel, change again and finally head cross-town to meet up with my friends who had been patiently waiting since 5 p.m. for me.

Soon after we got a call to meet up with some people in Tribeca, as often happens when you are in the City. Not soon after we are in a club, listening to an 80’s cover band (which was

Hope there wasn't a mileage limit.

wearing far too much spandex) and before we knew it the Giants’ Selvish Capers and the Jets Ropati Pitoitua were up on stage, with Selvish displaying his World Championship ring to everyone (slight barf as a Patriots fan). This is just about what I expected when we did our “predict your Volvo Alma Mater trip,” minus the whole Giants champion thing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012: So after a day that includes a Top-20 upset by your alma-mater, dressing up as you team’s mascot in front of over 11,000 people, catching up with some of your oldest friends, working as a media relations director for a women’s collegiate basketball game, seeing one of the greatest 80’s cover bands ever (shoutout to Rubix Cube) and then having drinks with a (ugh) Super Bowl Champion, what is the best way to spend the next day? The only answer is a three-hour drive in a brand new Volvo S60.

Sorry Providence College and Alumni Hall, when I'm in town, it's all about STJ!

So in the end, thanks to a day full of meetings on Monday, I had a total of SIX days with the Volvo S60 and traveled over 830 miles. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what it is. So in total, it was six states (RI, MA, NY, NJ, PA, CT) in just two 24 hours and one trip I will not soon forget.

As always, please continue to vote for me and St. John’s in the MyBigEastVolvo.com poll and be sure to follow me on Twitter @BIG3Sports. Also, check out my fan page on Facebook.

For more info on all things St. John’s, visit RedStormSports.com.

What A Wild Four Months: Volvo’s “Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST”

It’s hard to believe that its been over four months since Volvo’s Biggest Fan of the BIG EAST Conteststarted at BIG EAST Basketball Media Day back on October 17th, but it is even more inconceivable that the competition is actually almost over (Yes, the end of the regular season is this coming weekend and the conference championship starts on Tuesday, March 6th).

So as tough as it may be, this is the final blog post of the competition, and challenges the 16 contestants to recap our entire Volvo Biggest Fan of the Big East Journey.

I am still in shock that this whole experience is coming to end, especially after being the last competitor to take my Alma Mater weekend visit. For those of you who don’t know, each member of this contest was brought back to their respective universities for a game and were given a Volvo S60 to test drive for the weekend.

The car was amazing. Period. A friend of mine recently asked me, “well is there anything that you wish that it had in it, or didn’t do, or was missing?” I sat there for about a minute and then responded, “No.”

I actually went on to tell him there was one thing that I thought it was missing. You know that switch on your rear-view mirror you can flip when a car is getting to close to you at night and it takes down on the glare? The S60 does not have one. It took me a second to figure out, but the Volvo actually automatically does it for you when a car behind you gets too close. Yes, this car has everything. From voice-activated commands, to little lights on the inside of your car near your side-view mirrors that go off when other cars are in your blind spot.

So after a phenomenal weekend with the S60 that allowed me to see St. John’s and the “Fresh 5” (yes, the Johnnies start five rookies) knock off the nationally-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Madison Square Garden this past Saturday, it actually hit me that I have a chance to win this car. I repeat. I am one of just 16 people in the running to win a car.

I honestly let myself think of how winning would change things for the first time this past weekend, and looking forward to June, when my job at Brown University concludes and I must start the process of searching for my next employment opportunity, how much having something like a Volvo S60 would mean to me is nearly immeasurable. Especially being without a vehicle right now (I am just lucky enough to be close enough to work that I can walk everyday).

First off, I want to thank EVERYONE that has voted and continue to vote for me in the poll on MyBIGEASTVolvo.com. To know that not only am I in the lead, but have nearly half the vote let’s me know how much my friends and family support me and how dedicated the St. John’s Red Storm and BIG EAST Basketball fan bases are (as you will see below, I have my own level of dedication).

Next, I want to thank my Dad. I know he is responsible for getting a ton of votes for me. And I know that if I do win he will be a large part of that (Even though he has stated several times that if I were lucky enough to win, he would rather see me sell the car and pay off a large chunk of my student loans. A smart and rational idea, but one I know I would have trouble doing after going through so much over the past four months of this incredible experience).

This whole thing all started after Volvo found me through Twitter (shameless plug to follow @BIG3Sports). I quickly jumped at the chance to be part of the competition and I was soon flown out to New York City to attend BIG EAST Basketball Media Day, where I met the other competitors and got to spend the day with all of the conference coaches, selected players, numerous media members and league employees. I even got to have lunch with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim.

That alone was worth being a part of this contest (Although it would have been better if it were Steve Lavin. Thoughts and prayers with him as he continues to recover from prostate cancer surgery).

After media day we began in on our blog posts. Seven in total up to this point, and it has been fun and exciting to wait and find out how each one was received and graded. Unfortunatley I have not won one yet, but I was lucky enough to receive four stars (only the winner gets the fifth star) on every post.

Be sure to check out all of my pervious posts if you haven’t yet:

1. BIG EAST Ultimate Dream Team

2. New York, New York. Preview of a Whirlwind Trip Back to STJ

3. Top BIG EAST Matchups of 2012

4. Ultimate Volvo S60: BIG EAST Edition

5. We Are… St. John’s! Red Storm at it’s Finest

6. A Johnnies Guide to the Galaxy

7. Best of the BIG EAST at Madison Square Garden

One of the other fun parts of this experience has been the relationships built with the contestants. And when I say relationships, I mean smack talk. Game days were always a  good time as we all truly believed it was our team that would be victorious. Some days were good (like when St. John’s downed Cincinnati at the buzzer on Moe Harkless’ tip-in) and some less so (cough, Georgetown, cough).

In the end (and yes I realize that everyone is still battling for a Volvo S60) the reason we are all involved in this whole ordeal is all about basketball. The 16 of us are BIG EAST Basketball die-hards and that will never change. We each had a chance to get closer than ever before to the teams that we love and for that I say thank you to Volvo and The BIG EAST Conference.

As always, please continue to vote for me and St. John’s in the MyBigEastVolvo.com poll and be sure to follow me on Twitter @BIG3Sports. Also, check out my fan page on Facebook.

For more info on all things St. John’s, visit RedStormSports.com.