Congratulations to Herbert Hill

Still on vacation, but wanted to send some props to former Kinston star Herbert Hill, who was selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round of the NBA draft. I really think this is a great place for Herbert to go and it’s a great place for him to begin his pro career. Congrats to Herbert and his family.

Other NBA Draft thoughts:

  • Do you think Josh McRoberts is regretting his decision to leave Duke? A second-round selection is not guaranteed a spot and McRoberts hired an agent, leaving him unable to go back to Durham.
  • I usually can’t stand Stephen A. Smith, but I have to agree with him on his analysis of Charlotte trading the rights to Brandan Wright to Golden State. It’s insane to think that the Bobcats are going to give an above-average player $48 million over the next four years.
  • When did Spike Lee become an NBA expert? The way ESPN was fawning over him tonight was disgusting. I am as much an NBA expert as freaking Spike Lee.

Vacation

Just a heads-up: As though the ol’ blog hadn’t already slowed down enough, I’ll be on vacation through July 6, so it’s going to slow down even more. I’ll probably periodically update it and I’ll keep you up-to-date as much as possible on other news.

For example, there is an area assistant coach who is being considered strongly (and I’ve been told by an inside source) that he’s been offered the head basketball position at New Bern High School. When it breaks, I’ll pop it to you here.

See you when I get back.

UPDATE (6:45 P.M.): While I’m out, please be sure to check out the links to your right. I am on those blogs/sites pretty much every day and some are just outstanding. If Randy Capps (who had a great visit to K-Town last week) would update his more often, it would be the absolute best. I’ve recently added Charlotte Observer NASCAR writer David Poole’s blog to my bloglist for good reason — the man’s writing is the BEST. There really is no NASCAR writer better than he, who has the sources he has. And you know my feelings about Steve Czaban’s site — there might not be a better overall sports writer/life observer than he.

Wachovia Cup champions: Greene Central!

Congratulations to Greene Central, which won the Wachovia Cup for the Eastern Plains 2A conference. Here are the final standings for the EP2A, along with the finishes for the other area conferences:

EASTERN PLAINS 2A

  1. Greene Central 60.5
  2. Farmville Central 53.5
  3. North Lenoir 52
  4. North Pitt 51.5
  5. Tarboro 43
  6. Goldsboro 10

EASTERN CAROLINA 3A

1. (TIE) Eastern Wayne and Wilson Hunt 183

3. C.B. Aycock 178.5

4. Wilson Beddingfield 147.5

5. Southern Wayne 138

6. Kinston 109

EAST CENTRAL 2A

  1. East Duplin 157.5
  2. Richlands 148.5
  3. Swansboro 147.5
  4. Croatan 147
  5. Jacksonville Northside 137.5
  6. South Lenoir 136
  7. Southwest Onslow 127
  8. Clinton 117

CAROLINA 1A

  1. Goldsboro Rosewood 59
  2. North Johnston 57.5
  3. Princeton 47
  4. Ayden-Grifton 46.5
  5. Spring Creek 32
  6. North Duplin 22

COASTAL PLAINS 1A

  1. Topsail 772.5
  2. Dixon 692.5
  3. East Carteret 687.5
  4. Lejeune 537.5
  5. Pamlico 435
  6. Jones Senior 350

Free Press player and coach of the year

Congratulations to North Lenoir’s Brandon Sutton and NL coach Jim Montague, who have been named the 2007 Free Press baseball player and baseball coach of the year, respectively. Articles honoring each of them will be in Sunday’s Free Press.

This was a tough choice between Sutton, South Lenoir’s Brad Jones and North Lenoir’s Sthil Sowers. But at the end, it was decided that Sutton’s body of work for the entire season stood out.

Likewise with the COTY honor. Coach Montague did a fantastic job getting NL to the 2A finals against a good-as-it-was-advertised East Rutherford squad that was built to down the Hawks. SL’s Troy Eason and Bethel Christian Academy’s Bert Potter were the finalists for the COTY honor.

Again, congratulations to Brandon and Coach Montague.

Congratulations to Sherrod “Country” Croom

Congratulations to Kinston’s Sherrod “Country” Croom, who signed a full-ride scholarship to play football at The Citadel on Wednesday. Country was supposed to be a preferred walk-on at Carolina, but the Heels backed out when Butch Davis came.

Again, congrats to a great kid who is heading to a really good school. He’ll join rising senior Montrell Lee, a former Greene Central star who is a running back for the Bulldogs.

Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports?

I know we don’t talk a lot about NASCAR — if you remember, I’m pissed off at the pseudo-sport — but this is a story that transcends that. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has set a press conference for Wednesday morning where he will reveal who he will race for next year. And all indications point to Hendrick Motorsports.

This is a total win-win for everyone involved. Hendrick adds the most valuable racer to his stable, while Junior gets the top equipment in the game.

He’ll have absolutely no excuse for not winning that title now, if he is headed there.

The disappointment that was “The Sopranos” finale

OK, if you didn’t watch the series finale of “The Sopranos,” stop reading NOW.

Now that we got rid of those people, let me say this:

IT SUCKED.

I simply cannot remember the last time I’ve ever watched anything that was as anticlimatic as the junk I just finished watching. OK, maybe the NBA Finals, but let’s not get into that.

HBO — and the history of the series — would’ve been better served to have let last week’s episode be the series finale. I’d rather Tony be sitting on his bed watching the door be the final image of the series than the way it actually did end.

David Chase took the wuss way out of ending the series. A freaking monkey could write that junk he showed tonight. Tony doesn’t die? I can accept that. Phil Leotardo does? I can take that too. But for the series to end with the family sitting in a dive getting ready to eat dinner? Jeesh.

Several things that also bothered me …

  • Uncle Junior goes out like a chump? Why did Tony even visit him? What was the point?
  • It seemed like Chase couldn’t decide what to do with A.J.; but having him ending the series as a movie executive was about as much a stretch as you could have. This is a kid who tried to drown himself two episodes ago; all of a sudden, he has his life together because he got a good job? Makes no sense
  • No appearance of Dr. Melfi in the finale was also a huge disappointment. I’d say she was as important a character in the series as any other character not named Tony Soprano and she doesn’t even get a cameo?

It’s obvious that Chase is chasing the movie dollars, regardless of everything he said about the finale being the TRUE finale of the series. Nothing was resolved, leaving three or four “Sopranos” movie options open.

And the sad thing is this: I’ll probably plunk down $8 to watch them.

Want to have lunch with a K-Tribe player?

Kinston Indians uber-usher Mark Moody has come up with a great way to raise money for a special cause — a lunch with John Drennen of the Kinston Indians. If you remember, Drennen received worldwide attention in 2006 when he hit a long home run off Roger Clemens when the Rocket was coming back to Houston through the minor leagues.

Well, here’s your chance to talk to Mr. Drennen about that game: our good pal Mark has arranged for you to be able to eat lunch with Drennen at the Broken Eagle if you win a special drawing that will take place on Thursday at Grainger Stadium. You can buy one chance for $5 or three for $10.

And here’s the best part of the whole thing: All money raised goes to the Jim Catfish Hunter Foundation to fight ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). If you can’t get out to the game but still want to buy your chance (or simply make a donation), call or text Mark at (252) 939-4752.

Good job, Mark — I hope you guys raise thousands of dollars.

Congratulations to Sthil Sowers

Sthil has been drafted in the 22nd round (677th overall) by the Cleveland Indians. Congratulations to Sthil and his family, who now have a tough decision in front of them.

Just got off the phone with Sthil, though, and he said he’s “99.9 percent” sure he’s going to play at ECU, though. He said it would take “crazy money” for him to sign with Cleveland, although he “is really honored” that they selected him.

Sthil is the first North Lenoir player to play for Jim Montague who has been drafted directly out of HS. Ricky Shefka and Jason Roach are the other NL players to be drafted, but both were drafted after playing in college.