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November 20, 2009 in Odd tidbits

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Chuck is popping up all over… now he’s weighing in on playing in the NFL on nba.com.

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All I can say is I am glad he decided that the NFL was too rough!
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LeBron James isn’t the only former All-State wide receiver collecting NBA paychecks these days.

Rockets forward Chuck Hayes spent some time lighting up the gridiron in high school as well, as a jumbo receiver at Modesto Christian in California.

But while James has made headlines recently by suggesting that he could have starred as a wide receiver or tight end in the NFL

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, Hayes isn’t nearly as anxious to make those sorts of claims.

“If I’d have stuck with football through school and straight on to college I might have done well,” Hayes said Friday afternoon. “But the transformation from college football to the NFL, that has to be huge. I think if LeBron had stuck with it he would have done well. And we all like to toot our own horn.

“But the demands of the game, the Xs and Os, the blocking schemes and … there’s just so much to it, so much to it. Again, the physical demands of that game are so tough. I think you’d have to have a real passion for that to stick to it.”

Hayes said he simply did not have that passion. After earning All-State honors he gave up football after his junior year of his school.

“I played because all my homeboys played,” Hayes said. “But I hated going across the middle. I made my slant route look like a post route. And by the time my senior year rolled around I had more top notch colleges looking at me for basketball than I did for football. I made my decision right there.”

Interest from the likes of Notre Dame and UCLA couldn’t sway him to football. Not with Kansas and Kentucky, where he starred in college, calling.

These days Hayes is happy in his role starting for the Rockets, 7-5 heading into tonight’s game against the Hawks. He’ll leave all the football talk for James and other dual sport alums like Nate Robinson (who starred as a cornerback in college at Washington before deciding to stick with basketball) and Allen Iverson.

“You can’t imagine the physical pounding they must take,” Hayes said of NFL players. “I give those guys the utmost respect. In that game, every inch counts. They hit hard and they’re so strong. The speed of the game is probably faster than I think, and I don’t mind giving them credit on that.

“You have defensive lineman running around out there with 4.6 speed. That means he’s catching me. It’s such a pounding on your knees and your body. You always see those [NFL] guys at the end of a season having this surgery and that surgery. It’s just not for me. Again, I give those guys the utmost respect because they obviously do their jobs very well.”

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Posted, Nov. 20, 2009, 12:43 a.m. Question or comment? E-mail Sekou
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[Blog Update] Sleeping through the Superbowl
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February 10, 2008 in Blog Updates

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, NBA 07-08 Season
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Link

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Willing and Dealing in the West

Well, it looks like teams are getting ready to make that playoff push.

The teams in our conference have been busy making deals. The Lakers got a good trade by picking up Pau Gasol. They needed another big man to replace Andrew Bynum and I think it’s going to be good for them. The Lakers are going to have a good front line when Bynum returns from his injury.

The Suns, meanwhile, just shocked the world by getting Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a pretty big contrast to that team. But they feel he can help the team. The West is just so tough that teams are looking to do anything to get better.

How do these moves effect our team? Well, it makes my job tougher since all these contending teams have more big men. Gasol is going to be a difficult matchup in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense with Kobe Bryant. And then you throw in Shaq. That’s tough.

Teams are definitely trying to find a way to get this championship.

Wild West

The playoff race in the Western Conference is definitely tight. Right now, there are 10 potential teams that could be right there. We’re all pretty close to each other.

Knowing that, we’ve got to stay hungry. We control our own destiny. We just have to keep winning. Be consistent and win.

We can’t have any letdowns because you can slip out of this race with a bad streak. We have to take care of business and win a fairly good percentage of the games we have left.

That would put us in great position to get into these playoffs.

Super Bowl Party

We had a Super Bowl party on Sunday in Minneapolis, but I didn’t make it.

I had worked out with our strength and conditioning coach, David Macha, and he wore me out pretty good. I went back to the room with about an hour before the Super Bowl party, but I dosed off. I woke up midway through the second quarter.

I could have gone down at that point. But I was so comfortable in my bed that I didn’t go. I heard the guys had a lot of fun. But I was so tired from my workout, I didn’t find a way to make it outside of my bed.

I closed my eyes during the second half, but I saw who won. It was an unbelievable fourth quarter. I didn’t see much of the first. But that fourth quarter was great. No one expected what the Giants did. Everybody expected the Giants to make it competitive. But Eli Manning was great.

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Hayes enjoys reunion
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November 29, 2007 in Former Teams

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, Kentucky
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, NBA 07-08 Season
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From Kentucky to similar paths to NBA, Azubuike shares bond with Rockets forward

OAKLAND, CALIF. — Chuck Hayes and Kelenna Azubuike always knew what the NBA didn’t. They just had to convince each other.Both believe the other belonged in the NBA. But when the NBA was missing so badly, letting the Kentucky teammates go unselected through the 2005 draft, both also knew that the events of Thursday, when they finally played against one another in the NBA, would eventually come.

So Hayes and Azubuike did what they could to make it happen, encouraging one another through the doubts to become two of the most accomplished NBA Development League graduates ever and opponents Thursday night in Oracle Arena when the Rockets met the Warriors.

Both went from Kentucky to the D-League to Rockets training camp. Both were cut by the Rockets. But Hayes made it back three months later, became a starter and signed a four-year contract. He also became a role model for Azubuike, as he always had been.

“Me and Kelenna, we have a bond,” Hayes said. “I was his host when he came to Kentucky. I like to think I’m the one who got him there. When he got cut by the Rockets, he asked me, ‘Should I go overseas?’ I told him, ‘Man, you’re close. You’re right there. You’re knocking on the door. You just need the right system.’ He got called up. Next thing you know, he’s in the rotation and he’s here.

“Too bad I couldn’t get him to Houston, but he’s found a home here in the Bay Area, and I’m happy for him.”

Azubuike, who became the excess guard in the Rockets’ 2006 training camp after the late addition of Bonzi Wells, is flourishing in the Warriors’ high-speed style, averaging 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds. In the seven games when Stephen Jackson was suspended, he averaged 17.1 points on 47.7 percent shooting.

Just three seasons after no NBA team drafted him, he has the option to become a free agent next summer and could be a coveted acquisition once back on the market.

“No, he won’t get a cut,” Azubuike said of Hayes. “He’s not all the way responsible. But he helped me out.

“He was my host on the (recruiting) visit. He showed me a good time. He talked to me later about playing in the D-League. I guess it’s pretty accurate. He is responsible.”

It was not a surprise that Hayes, a 6-6 power forward who did not score, was not drafted. Azubuike was something of a surprise to be in the draft at all, leaving Kentucky early and then missing most of the draft workouts and camp with a groin injury.

“I was watching for him as well and I felt bad that he didn’t get drafted,” Hayes said. “I knew all he needed was an opportunity. He had to go through a couple teams, but he’s found stability here in Golden State.”

Said Azubuike: “They thought of him as undersized, but I knew he’d make it.”

It turned out both were right, at least about the other.

link

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Blog Update!
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October 19, 2007 in NBA 07-08 Season

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, News
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, Personal life
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Scrimmage Days

We went almost a week between preseason games, but we’ve been scrimmaging a ton over the past week.

I’ve been really happy about that. Scrimmages help so much because it’s just repetition. It gives us a chance to get used to Coach Adelman’s new system and get used to what our players can do in the system. We’re seeing what everyone can do best and how the personnel on this team fits into the system. Right now, we’re really creating a bond.

I probably haven’t scrimmaged this much since college. But that’s to be expected with a new system and a new coach. We’re all learning and we’re starting to pick it up.

More at Rockets.com

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Year of Chuck
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October 19, 2007 in Odd tidbits

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The name Chuck is enjoying a major comeback, in pop-culture circles at least. Movies and TV shows are teeming with characters named Chuck.

We looked back through the annals of history (so to speak) to bring you a list of some of the world’s famous Chucks.

Charles Schwab — launched the ad campaign “Talk to Chuck.”

  • Charlie Brown — cartoon character in the comic strip “Peanuts.” Peppermint Patty called him “Chuck”
  • Chuck E. Cheese — mascot of the Chuck E. Cheese pizza parlors.
  • Chuck Norris — karate master, action-movie star and former star of the TV show “Walker, Texas Ranger.”
  • Chuck Berry — rock-and-roll guitar legend.
  • Prince Charles — dubbed “Chuck” by the British press.
  • Chuck Hagel — Republican U.S. Senator from Nebraska who is running for president in 2008.
  • Chuck Woolery — TV game-show host.
  • Charlton Heston — star of “Planet of the Apes,” often called “Chuck.”
  • Chuck Taylors — the Converse sneakers.
  • Chuck Hayes — plays for the Houston Rockets.
  • Chuck Barris — host of “The Gong Show.”
  • Chuck D — rapper, member of Public Enemy.
  • Chucky — psycho killer doll in the “Child’s Play” horror-movie series.
  • Pastor Chuck — a main character in R. Kelly’s hip-hop opera “Trapped in the Closet.”
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Shift of power?
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August 2, 2007 in Odd tidbits

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, Opinions
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NYSun -link

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This summer, four all-star players — guards Ray Allen and Jason Richardson, and forwards Zach Randolph and Rashard Lewis — as well as one future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett, have moved from the Western Conference to the East. The imbalance between the two conferences was so great that no one in their right mind thinks that this swings power back to the East, which hasn’t been a dominant conference since the ramp up for the Clinton impeachment vote. But clearly, this kind of talent shift affects the balance between the two conferences; the issue is by how much.

To answer that question, I figured it would be a good idea to get a clear handle on how much better the Western Conference has been. After all, any good contrarian can point out that the two conferences have split the last four NBA Finals and split the 22 games held in those four finals. However, when looked at over the course of the last nine NBA regular seasons, the picture isn’t so rosy. Here’s how much they won by:

1998-’99: West by one game (lockout shortened season)
1999-’00: West by 17 games
2000-’01: West by 49 games
2001-’02: West by 22 games
2002-’03: West by 35 games
2003-’04: West by 51 games
2004-’05: West by 27 games
2005-’06: West by 31 games
2006-’07: West by 31 games

Now, that’s dominance. There are several good reasons for this split, few of which actually have to do with Isiah Thomas. Western teams were more aggressive in scouting Europe. Western teams got lucky when it counted, like in the Yao Ming lottery. And Western teams have been much more stat savvy, which has enabled them to find productive role players like Chuck Hayes at bargain prices while Eastern teams dumped their entire midlevel exceptions on guys like Jerome James (there’s an Isiah foible).

The West also remained dominant because teams like the Lakers, Kings, Spurs, and Jazz never became consistently bad while Dallas and Phoenix joined the elite and Houston, Denver, and the L.A. Clippers became playoff caliber teams. By contrast in the East, every team except Detroit and Indiana has suffered through some doldrums during the West’s reign. Read the rest of this entry →

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Greatest UK Player Tournament… continued
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July 31, 2007 in Former Teams

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, Kentucky
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Well the Greatest UK Player Tournament Ever is back from its hiatus with results of its closest matchup yet to date. If you remember, the last matchup you were asked to vote on was in the now famous Antoine Walker vs Chuck Hayes event. And well, it was a close and controversial finish. In a result I found surprising, Antoine Walker took out Chuck Hayes 3-2 to advance to the next round. AS you can see, the fans ultimately put Antoine over the top, although he only won the fan vote by 8 votes.

Matt Jones: Antoine Walker
Rob Gidel: Chuck Hayes
Larry Vaught: Chuck Hayes
Gregg Doyel: Antoine Walker
Fan Vote: Antoine Walker

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The strange world of Chinese sneaker endorsements.
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July 25, 2007 in News

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, Odd tidbits
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Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty. Click image to expand.

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It’s been a tough year for the basketball-shoe business. Domestic television ratings for the NBA Finals have reached record lows
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. According to Business Week, sales of basketball sneakers fell 16 percent in 2006
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, and retail outlets like Foot Locker
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are seeing big declines in foot traffic. But all is not lost for the sneaker-industrial complex. Nike projects that China, a source of much of the company’s recent growth, will soon represent its second-largest market
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. Last year, Adidas announced plans to double its number of retail stores in China
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to 5,000 in the next four years.

With the world’s sneaker giants fixated on conquering East Asia, you’d think China’s domestic shoe producers might be feeling the pinch. But remarkably, local manufacturers have more than held their own. Even as Nike and Adidas have become the two largest sports brands in China, they still account for no more than a third of the sports-shoe market. Li Ning, which first found success in the 1990s through the popularity of its namesake founder

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, an Olympic champion gymnast, now earns $400 million a year in revenues. Anta, another leading local brand, saw its sales increase by 87 percent
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last year.

The success of local companies is due in part to the relative cheapness of their products. China may have far lower income levels than the United States, but Air Jordans

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cost just about the same in Beijing as they do in Brooklyn. Still, among China’s prime sneaker-buying population—young men in cities, many of them an only child with their parents’ money to burn—low prices aren’t necessarily a strong selling point. Li Ning, Anta, and other Chinese companies have come up with another way to level the playing field: endorsement deals—some quirky, some brilliant, and a few morally questionable.

Chinese companies can’t compete with the world powers when it comes to locking up megastars. Olympic gold-medalist hurdler Liu Xiang, who will likely emerge as the biggest Chinese star of the Beijing games

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, has a deal with Nike
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. One of China’s leading sports-marketing consultants told me that every starter on the national basketball team has a deal with a foreign brand. Yi Jianlian, whom the Milwaukee Bucks selected with the sixth pick of the NBA draft, had a Nike contract by the time he was 16
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.

Since the superstars have already been spoken for, Chinese companies have to get creative. When Li Ning was outbid by Adidas for the right to sponsor the Chinese team for next year’s Beijing Olympics, it arranged to outfit every presenter on CCTV5

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—the TV network that will broadcast the Summer Games to hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers. Can’t compete with Reebok’s $100 million contract with Yao Ming? Li Ning signed his little-known Houston Rockets teammate Chuck Hayes
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. Erke’s deal with the women’s 48-kilogram weightlifting team might not seem very glamorous—until you realize that the squad is the odds-on favorite to produce China’s first gold medalist in Beijing
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. Read the rest of this entry →
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What to do? What to do?
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July 21, 2007 in Fan Forums

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With the addition of Steve Francis to the Rockets roster, there are now a possible 21 players to choose from. (that is if Deke and Chuck are signed). Only Morey knows what options are available for trades so the Rockets fans are all asking, “Who will be on the team come October?” Mogrod at Clutchfans.net

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made this photo that absolutely represents today (given that the last Harry Potter book was released at midnight).

I give you the PotterRockets!

PotterRockets

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Chuck vs Antoine Walker
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July 18, 2007 in Former Teams

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, Kentucky
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The Sports Talk guys are doing a competition on the best UK players ever… there are two brackets of 16… today’s bracket includes Chuck. You can post your vote over on their site in the comments section of their blog.

antoine2.jpeg

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http://blog.kentuckysportsradio.com/?p=2975

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Antoine Walker:

Arguably the best player on arguably the best team of all time. That is a pretty good introduction for a player wouldnt you say? Antoine Walker is one of the most talented players to ever put on a UK uniform and his short career at Kentucky found him part of two great teams. He came to Kentucky from Chi-town and was all attitude and basketball talent. Walker was one of the best at taking the ball to the basket and finding a way to score. On a team full of stars, Walker usually drew the other team’s best player and found a way to put up big points. Walker’s career started strong as he was the SEC Tournament MVP his Freshman season and he found himself playing crucial minutes down the stretch of the 95 Cats tournament runs. But he really found his groove on the special team in 96, scoring over 20 against rivals Indiana and Louisville and a career high 32 against LSU in the beating in Baton Rouge. He was First Team All SEC that season and made the All Regional Team as the Cats stormed through the NCAA Tournament. Walker was known for his aggression, confidence and moxy. When asked why he took so many threes in the NBA, he once said, “cause there arent any fours.” (at UK he did only shoot 25 percent on the long ball). The college Antoine loved being on the court and while he and Coach Pitino butted heads, he genuinely loved the UK uniform. Championship ring and key member of the best team ever…..pretty good I would say.

hayes2.jpeg

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Chuck Hayes

Maybe the most beloved player of the last ten years, Chuck Hayes is to many the epitome of a hardnosed Kentucky player. Undersized (he is 6′5….maybe) and at times seemingly underskilled, Chuck Hayes worked himself into the position of being the player that every coach from another team wished he had on his team. Hayes was a workhorse underneath, getting every big rebound, making the smart pass and being in the odd position of being a team leader at the power forward position. Many thought he wasnt a great shooter, but he finished his career with a FG% over 50 percent. He was a starter on two straight #1 overall NCAA Tournament seeded teams and the heart and soul of another that lost one of the great Elite 8 games ever against Michigan State. Even at his height he finished his career 7th all time in rebounds, 35th all time in scoring and 16th all time in assists, the highest finish for any big man not named Larry Conley. Hayes also had the knack for playing big in big games, scoring in double digits in every NCAA Tournament game in his career but one. On and off the court, Chuck represented UK well and took his work ethic to the NBA where he is (unbelievably) a starting power forward. Below is one of Chuck’s classic moments…..a willed victory over LSU in the SEC Tournament his senior season.

So there you go…..Chuck and Toine. That is a good one. Who ya got? Give your picks and your thoughts on the two guys. This one should be close…..

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