Category Archive: KTGR BLOGS

  1. Expectations for Chiefs rookie wide receiver Chris Conley

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    The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up their rookie mini camp this week, and one player seems to be standing out. That player, of course, is 3rd round draft pick and former Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley.

    That Tweet is from ESPN NFL Insider Louis Riddick. Praise is pouring in from media analysts nationally, and locally.

    Anytime you have a big-time rookie performer at a mini camp, the crazy predictions and outlandish expectations are not far behind. As the camp came to a close, Danny Parkins of 610 Sports afternoon radio program, The Drive, asked what I find to be an interesting question.

    It’s a fair question, and it’s one that a lot of Chiefs fans asked themselves after the Chiefs drafted Conley in the third round. “What should we expect from this Georgia guy?”

    Lets take a look back at what receivers for the Chiefs have done in the past, shall we? Here is the complete list of Chiefs wide receivers that have racked up 700 yards and 5 touchdowns in the past 15 years: Derrick Alexander (2000), Eddie Kennison (’03-’06), Dwayne Bowe (’07, ’08, ’10 & ’11).

    But that’s the Chiefs’ list, and Andy Reid didn’t show up until 2013.

    It’s true that Andy Reid runs a particularly receiver-friendly system. In fact, if you look at the Eagles under Andy Reid, they’ve enjoyed far more success from their receives than the Chiefs. Here are the Eagles receives that put up 700 yards and 5 TDs in a single season: James Thrash (’01), Todd Pinkston (’02), Terrell Owens (’04 & ’05), Donte’ Stallworth (’06), Reggie Brown (’06), Kevin Curtis (’07), DeSean Jackson (’09 & ’10), Jeremy Maclin (’10-’12).

    Needless to say, the Eagles list is quite a bit longer than Kansas City’s.

    But Conley is a rookie. And, although we’ve seen rookie receivers have some success in recent years, that’s not the norm. The Eagles drafted 13 wide wide receives in Andy Reid’s 13 years with the team. Of those wide receivers, only Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Reggie Brown finished the year with more than 300 receiving yards. No rookie wide receive caught more than 4 touchdowns under Andy Reid. In fact, DeSean Jackson only caught 2 touchdowns in his rookie season.

    What does it all mean? To answer Parkins’ question, yes, 700 yards and 5 touchdowns does seem that unrealistic.

    I like Conley as a prospect. I think he has the potential to be a really good wide receiver. But if Andy Reid’s history is any indication, realistic expectations for Conley in 2015 are somewhere around 20 receptions for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.

    That’s not what Chiefs fans are hoping for, but, hey, at least the Chiefs would end the season with a receiving touchdown.

  2. Mack Rhoades hires Wren Baker as deputy athletic director

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    New Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades has been searching for a deputy AD since Rhoades was hired on March 10. According to a report by Jason Smith and Phil Strukenborg of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Rhoades has found his guy: Wren Baker. The University of Missouri has since confirmed the report.

    The press release from Missouri states that Baker will begin in his new position of deputy athletic director on Monday, June 8th.

    “I am honored to be joining the Mizzou family and am grateful to Mack Rhoades for the opportunity,” Baker said in a press release. “The University of Missouri has a tremendous reputation and Mack is considered one of the best and brightest leaders in collegiate athletics. Our family is looking forward to returning to the ‘Show-Me State’ and joining Mack’s team as we build on a proud and prestigious athletic tradition.”

    Baker has served as the deputy athletic director at the University of Memphis since February of 2013. According to Smith and Strukenborg’s report, Baker has been credited with setting department records for fundraising. The release states that Baker was involved in launching a $40 million “Time to Shine” Capital Campaign. Memphis also set new records forsuite sales and multi-media rights revenues.

    “We are very excited Wren is becoming a member of our team,” Rhoades said in the release. “He is regarded as one of the up-and-coming administrators in the nation and has established an impressive track record of success at every stop of his career path. Throughout his career, Wren has demonstrated terrific work ethic, the ability to genuinely connect with people and uncompromising integrity. He is a high-energy person who will provide great passion and leadership for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We are thrilled Wren, his wife Heather and two daughters, Addisyn and Reagan are joining the Mizzou Athletics family.”

    According to Baker’s Memphis bio, he has led 13 head coaching searches. Those searches resulted in coaches who have combined to win over 70% of their games.

    Prior to his stint at Memphis, Baker spent time as the athletic director at Northwest Missouri State, Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma. Before getting into administration, Baker spent five years as a basketball operations assistant at Oklahoma State.

    Baker received his bachelor’s degree in education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2001 and his master’s degree in education leadership from Oklahoma State University in 2003. He and his wife Heather were married in 2005. They have two daughters, Addisyn (4 in July) and Reagan (7 months).

  3. Ehren Earleywine: “We need to be aggressive”

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    Mizzou softball coach Ehren Earleywine caught up with us on The Big Show as his team preps for another Super Regional, this one against UCLA. The Tigers take on UCLA in Los Angeles on Saturday. What does coach think about his team’s chances? Check out the podcast.


  4. Mizzou baseball advances in SEC Tournament

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    Missouri beat South Carolina 5-1 in the first round of the SEC Tournament to advance into the double-elimination portion of the bracket.

    The Tigers got a gem of a start out of pitcher Reggie McClain. McClain made it through 7 innings, gave up 1 earned run, 6 hits, 4 strikeouts and no walks.

    Trey Harris, Shane Benes and Jake Ivory each hit a double for Missouri. The RBI’s came from Harris, Benes, Ivory and Zach Lavy (2).

    Missouri will take on the top-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday at approximately 1:00 pm Central. Complete coverage can be heard on your home for the Tigers, ESPN 103.1 FM KTGR.

  5. Johnathan Williams III considering three schools, per report

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    Former Missouri basketball player Johnathan Williams III is down to three schools, according to a report from Sean Scherer of 247Sports.

    According to Scherer, Williams III is focused on Georgetown, Gonzaga and SMU.

    Williams III committed to Missouri out of high school. He spent two years in Columbia and led Missouri with 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season.

  6. Evan Boehm on Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List

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    Missouri center Evan Boehm has been named to the 2015 Rimington Trophy Spring Watch List by the Rimington Trophy Committee.

    The Rimington Trophy is an annual award given to the best center in Division I football. There are 52 centers on the 2015 Spring Watch List, including eight in the SEC.

    This is the third straight year Boehm has been listed on the Rimington Trophy watch list. Finalists for the Rimington Trophy are announced in early December.

  7. Gary Pinkel ranked fourth best football coach in SEC

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    Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was ranked the fourth best coach in the SEC by Matt Hayes of the Sporting News.

    Hayes released his annual SEC football coach rankings yesterday. The only coaches in the SEC ranked higher than Pinkel are Alabama’s Nick Saban, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema.

    Here’s what Hayes had to say of Pinkel:

    “So much for that fluke 2013 SEC East division title. Pinkle took a less talented team that lost its best player (Dorial Green-Beckham) before the season began, and won another division title with an offense whose best pass option was the jump ball. Remarkable. It’s time to embrace what Pinkel has accomplished in Columbia (112 wins in 14 seasons), especially considering the four coaches before him won a combined 107 games in 22 seasons.”

    Tough to argue with any of that. Pinkel was previously 8th (2014), 11th (2013) and 6th (2012) in Hayes’ SEC football coach rankings.

  8. Kim English to join Frank Haith’s staff at Tulsa

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    Former Missouri basketball star Kim English will be joining former Missouri coach Frank Haith on Haith’s staff at Tulsa University, according to Charlie Hannema of News on 6.

    English played the 2011-2012 season under Haith. It was English’s senior year, and Haith was hired to replace Mike Anderson, who accepted the head coaching position at Arkansas.

    English averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in his senior year, leading Missouri to the Big 12 Tournament Championship.

    English was selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 44th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He spent a brief period with the Pistons before playing internationally in Italy, France and Venezuela.

    Tulsa has not made an official announcement on English’s hiring, and the school is not expected to do so until Mid-June, according to Hannema.

  9. Four star guard signs with Missouri basketball

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    Missouri has announced the signing of four-star shooting guard K.J. Walton.

    Walton averaged 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game as a senior at Brownsburg High School outside of Indianapolis.

    “We are excited to add K.J. to our Mizzou Basketball family,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said in a release. “He is an outstanding athlete who has the ability to score from multiple guard positions. In addition, he has the potential to be an elite wing defender. Playing for Coach Steve Lynch at Brownsburg High School, he comes from a winning program. We look forward to having him in a Tiger uniform next season.”

    Jeff Borzello of joined Brandon Kiley on The Sports Wire a couple weeks ago after Walton initially committed. Below is the full podcast of that conversation.

    Walton’s signing means Missouri has filled its limit of 13 scholarship players for the 2015-2016 season. Walton joins Martavian Payne, Terrence Phillips, Kevin Puryear, Cullen VanLeer and Russell Woods in the 2015 class.

    The full breakdown of 2015 scholarship players:

    Seniors (1): Ryan Rosburg

    Juniors (3): Wes Clark, Martavian Payne, Russell Woods

    Sophomores (5): Jakeenan Gant, Montaque Gill-Caesar, Tramaine Isabell, Namon Wright, D’Angelo Allen

    Freshmen (4): Terrence Phillips, Kevin Puryear, Cullen VanLeer, K.J. Walton

  10. Kansas City Royals and Johnny Cueto a perfect match

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    The Kansas City Royals take on the Cincinnati Reds tonight in a relatively mundane inter-league game. Mundane until you look at the pitching matchups, that is.

    Johnny Cueto will face off against Royals ace Yordano Ventura. On paper, it should be a good matchup. In reality, it’s a matchup that could make Royals fans painfully aware of the one hole on the roster.

    The Royals are 24-14. They’re a game and a half in front of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central. Kansas City is second in the AL in runs scored. They lead in the majors in bullpen ERA by a wide margin. They have more than twice as many defensive runs saved than the second place team.

    But the starting rotation is treading water.

    The Royals’ starting rotation is 23rd in the MLB in ERA. Maybe more importantly, they’re 24th in the MLB in total innings pitched.

    Yordano Ventura, whose 3.2 ERA in 2014 convinced the Royals to sign him to a five-year $20 million deal in the offseason, has given Kansas City a “quality start” in just two of his seven outings in 2015. Danny Duffy, who was pegged as the Royals’ number two starter in the spring, might be out of the rotation with another bad outing against the Cardinals this weekend. Jason Vargas, a solid if unspectacular veteran, is about to come back from the 15-day disabled list. Add in Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Young and Edinson Volquez and you have the makings of a deep, but rather mediocre and at times, bad, starting rotation.

    Insert Johnny Cueto.


    Cueto is a 29 years old. He is coming off of a season in which he pitched a National League-leading 248 innings. He’s backing it up in 2015 with another great statline: eight starts, 58.1 innings pitched (more than seven innings per outing), a five-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio and an ERA of 2.93. In short, Cueto is exactly the type of player the Royals need.

    And the trade talks are heating up.

    See, here’s the thing about Cueto – he’s on the final year of a four-year, $27 million contract. He’s in a situation much like Jon Lester was last year when the Boston Red Sox traded Lester to the Oakland Athletics. That deal, of course, brings up the argument against trading for Cueto.

    Two teams commanded the headlines at the 2014 trade deadline: The A’s and the Tigers.

    The A’s traded slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox for the aforementioned Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes. They also traded high-level prospects for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The Tigers traded pitcher Drew Smyly, outfielder Austin Jackson and a minor leaguer for pitcher David Price.

    They made the deals, but neither the A’s nor the Tigers made it out of the first round of the 2014 playoffs.

    That’s the type analysis you’ll hear a lot over the next few weeks. “Don’t make a big deal, or you’ll end up like the Tigers and A’s in 2014. They went all-in, and they got nothing out of it.” It’s an understandable argument, but it completely ignores the construction of the teams that made the big deals.

    The A’s re-shuffled half of their roster. They had three new starting pitchers, a new outfielder and a lack of pop in the lineup after the exit of Cespedes. All of the wheeling-and-dealing came back to bite them down the stretch, and the trades ultimately failed.

    The Tigers are a different case in a lot of ways. Detroit needed a front-line starter. They got one in David Price. But they also neglected the fact that their bullpen was among the worst in the majors, as has been the case for years. Not surprisingly, the Tigers’ bullpen imploded down the stretch and led to the team’s early exit in the playoffs.

    The Royals don’t have those issues. They wouldn’t be depleting the current major league roster in order to make a trade. Instead, they would dangle their minor league talent such as Raul Mondesi Jr., Sean Manaea and/or Miguel Almonte in order to make a deal.

    The other significant difference is that the Royals don’t have a major flaw like the Tigers did in 2014. The bullpen and defense are both considered to be the best in baseball. The offense, albeit in a small sample size, has been among the best in the AL. The starting rotation – namely, a number one starter – is really the only thing holding the Royals back.

    Cueto is a player that can fill that void. His talents will be on full display tonight at Kauffman Stadium, and Royals fans would be wise to pay close attention. 2015 may be the Royals’ best opportunity at winning a World Series.

    The best way to make it happen? By trading for Johnny Cueto.