The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
The San Diego Padres have a new team president and CEO this offseason, and he goes by the name Mike Dee. Dee has some ties to the group that helped the Padres get Petco Park built downtown, and his resume seems like a perfect fit for a team trying to get a new stadium built or a new TV contract. Unfortunately, the Padres are not that team.
In his first few months, Dee has been quietly replacing peoplethe Padres’ front office with people he’s known or worked with from his time as president of the Miami Dolphins. Once the team announced it was getting rid of fan-favorite radio broadcaster Andy Masur, and replacing him with Jess Agler from the Dolphins franchise, the march toward becoming “Dolphins West” could no longer be kept quiet.
The fans have noticed, and they are not pleased. More importantly, they’re not excited for what the future of the franchise holds with Dee at the helm. The hashtag #SanDiegoDolphins has even popped up on Twitter. Here are some of the best ones:
— Tony Losoya (@Tony_Losoya) January 30, 2014
— VM David (@VocalMinoritySD) January 30, 2014
Replace the military jerseys with hawaiian shirts. #sandiegodolphins
— Sac Bunt Melvin (@SacBuntMelvin) January 30, 2014
You’re reading the Sports Report, our weekly compilation of news and information for the San Diego sports fan.
Aztecs Cruise to No. 5 AP Ranking
There are no teams in college basketball this season, except for undefeated No. 1 Arizona and maybe No. 2 Syracuse, that have a more impressive resume than the San Diego State Aztecs. Steve Fisher’s team is currently 18-1, its only loss coming against Arizona in mid-November. They’ve gone 3-0 against ranked teams since that loss, catapulting them to a No. 5 ranking.
Somewhat surprisingly, the No. 5 AP Poll ranking is not the best in school history. That came just a few years ago, when the 2010-11 team made it to No. 4 before losing to BYU. Looking ahead on the schedule, SDSU faces Colorado State (who they beat on New Year’s Day), Boise State (who they beat on Jan. 8) and a few teams that are hovering around .500, before a rematch against a Utah State team that will seek revenge for last week’s dramatic overtime win by SDSU. This regular season could go down as the best in school history.
Senior point guard Xavier Thames has been the star this year, and his dramatic improvement on offense might be enough to get him selected in the next NBA Draft. To get an idea for just how absurd his “leap” has been, take a look at these stats:
• 26.6 player efficiency rating (previous best: 13.6)
• 58.3 percent true shooting (previous best: 51.8 percent)
• 2.5 steals per 40 minutes (previous best: 1.8)
• 23.6 points per 40 minutes (previous best: 13.3)
He’s shooting a lot better, scoring a lot more, playing better defense and playing more efficiently. He’s not the only one, though. As Mark Zeigler wrote in the U-T , sophomore forward Winston Shepard used the offseason to work on himself and his maturity and is now seeing results on the floor. Here’s a look at what he’s been doing this year:
• 22.1 player efficiency rating (last season: 11.3)
• 50.9 percent true shooting (last season: 46.3 percent)
• 1.9 steals per 40 minutes (last season: 0.8)
• 19.5 points per 40 minutes (last season: 19.5)
They’re a big part of the reason why last year’s 23-11 team has turned into an 18-1 team. Two talented SDSU starters have made huge strides in their game, offensively and defensively and Fisher’s coaching remains as sharp as ever.
All NFL Everything
• You’re probably not going to find a better, longer, more in-depth Super Bowl preview than the one Grantland put together this week. Clear out your weekend plans and grab some snacks before clicking this link.
• Remember all of my criticisms of Manti Te’o this season? Turns out his broken foot that kept him out of the preseason never fully healed.
• Are you a Chargers fan trying to decide which team to root for in the Super Bowl? Well, here are your options (with reasoning).
• Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman caught the attention of the media after his post-game interview went viral two weeks ago, and the media showed up in full-force to his podium on Media Day. I love perspective shots like that because the hair on the back of my neck stands up and it makes me realize just how much pressure this guys are under, even when they’re not playing football.
• Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy recreated the famous Sherman post-game interview, because of course they did. The internet is great.
• Seattle-based Boeing had the coolest expression of its Seahawks support this week, when they drew a No. 12 (for the Seahawks’ famous “12th man” at home games) in the sky over Seattle. Those pictures are stunning.
Stories You May Have Missed
• If you’re reading the tea leaves for a return to Los Angeles for the NFL, you’ll want to take note of the St. Louis Rams owner buying up a significant piece of land next to the L.A. Coliseum.
• Kevin Durant, who everyone was sure was the second best basketball player on the planet, is somehow having a “breakout season” this year. He has been playing at an insane level, his streak of 30-plus point games now at 12.
• The NHL played its first “warm weather” outdoor game, and the Anaheim Ducks netted a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium. I honestly can’t get enough of the NHL’s Stadium Series and wish there was some way for San Diego to play a part.
• GIF of the Week: LeBron James is definitely a space alien. Human beings are not supposed to be able to do things like this. As a matter of planetary pride and security, I say we revoke his MVP awards and send him back to whatever galaxy he came from.
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