roundup

May 18 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

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Take be out to the ball game!  The Ems and Voodoo Donuts new Bacon Maple Brat.
Take be out to the ball game! The Ems and Voodoo Donuts new Bacon Maple Brat.
  • Questions for Lane County jail levy backers
    The days in the campaign for the Lane County jail levy are nearing an end, but the questions keep coming for Sheriff Tom Turner. At various campaign stops heading into the last weekend before Tuesday’s election, Turner keeps taking queries from v
  • Oregon bill would legalize medical pot retailers
    Oregon legislators are considering a bill to legalize and license medical marijuana retailers, calling it a step toward reining in abuses of the state’s 15-year-old effort to allow people to use pot for therapy.
  • Woman OK after moving into big rig’s path on Beltline, police say
    A woman suffered only minor injuries this morning after jumping in front of a tractor-trailer rig on Randy Papé Beltline near Barger Drive in west Eugene, police said. It was not immediately clear whether or not the woman was actually hit by the

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Overlooking This Season, the Blazers Look to Move Forward

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Getty Images
Blazers head coach Terry Stotts (right) and rookie point guard Damian Lillard (left) discuss strategy (Getty Images)

After witnessing the Portland Trail Blazers (33-49) season unravel faster than the ribbon protecting the most gargantuan present under the tree from an impatient child, it’s time to look to the future.

No matter how utterly horrendous your favorite NBA team is, every fan has the luxury of looking forward to the NBA draft and free agency. While some are calling this year’s draft the worst since the year 2000 when Kenyon Martin broke his leg into being selected number one overall, there is always a diamond in the rough (former all star Michael Redd was taken 43rd in that same draft). In the Blazer’s case, free agency might be more beneficial considering their more pressing need for proven commodities than potential.

The Blazers’ starting guards and forward situations are almost certainly set, but the rest of the spots in next year’s rotation are seemingly up for grabs. The formula for the Blazers woes this season was: NO Bench + No Defense + No Rebounding = No Playoffs. The Blazers not only had the worst scoring bench in the NBA by an astounding eight points, but also averaged 15 fewer bench points than their opponents PER GAME!!

Not to mention, the Blazers were the fourth least efficient defensive team in the NBA last season thanks to no shot blocking presence (unless you count Batum on the fast break) or elite defender on the roster. Finally, they ranked 20th in the NBA in team rebounding rate.  Suffice it to say; although the blazers have a talented core, they lack the role players to establish a consistent winner. Thanks to the NBA draft and free agency, these holes can be filled before next season. But can anyone on the current roster quell Portland’s deficiencies?

Meyers Leonard showed a lot of improvement this season, showing not only dunking ability and rebounding potential, but a feathery jumper, which could develop into a serious weapon with a summer spent in the gym. Also, Eric Maynor proved to be a useful acquisition and would be an above average back up point guard if General Manager Neil Olshey opts to keep him. Although Will Barton, Victor Claver and Joel Freeland were largely ineffective cogs on the worst bench in the NBA this season, they will also have a chance to earn minutes next year. Still, the Blazers seriously need a deeper talent pool in order to establish some semblance of a respectable bench.

Considering the difficulty rookie’s typically face making a significant impact on the defensive end, the Blazers should sign defensive specialists in Free Agency. Lamarcus Aldridge cannot be the biggest player in the Blazers’ starting five for them to succeed defensively. Thus, it would be wise for Olshey to sign a true center. Although no center available is ideal in this free agent class, a few players could strengthen Portland’s frontline.

Samuel Dalmbert (Jeffrey Phelps/ Getty Images)
Samuel Dalmbert
(Jeffrey Phelps/ Getty Images)

Upcoming free agent Samuel Dalembert would compliment Aldridge’s scoring prowess with defense, shot blocking and rebounding. Dalembert didn’t receive as much playing time as he is used to due to the emergence of young bigs Larry Sanders and John Henson, but was able to average 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in under 17 minutes of action a night.

San Antonio Spur, Tiago Splitter could also be a serviceable big for the Blazers. He wouldn’t block a ton of shots, but his adept mobility, rebounding and touch around the basket would be useful. Atlanta Hawks big man Zaza Pachula could provide similar skills as Splitter, although he tore his ACL earlier this month.

If perimeter defense were the sole determinant of skill in the NBA, Memphis wing Tony Allen would be Lebron James. Allen has been the best perimeter defender in the NBA for a few years now. Not only does he shut down opponents individually, but he is also excellent at rotating defensively and causing havoc off the ball. One Grizzlies lineup with Allen at shooting guard ranked the number one defensive lineup in terms of points allowed per possession in the Association. It will be interesting to see how much money it will take to sign him considering perimeter defensive specialists rarely attract big contracts.  If the Blazers can’t get Allen, Denver forward Corey Brewer would also certainly bolster the Blazers’ defense.

In the draft however, they should look for bench scoring.

Although nothing is certain until the Ping Pong balls unscrupulously make their decision in the draft lottery on May 21, the Blazers will most likely pick somewhere between ninth and 12th. I will go into more detail about whom the Blazers should select after the draft lottery, but for now, I will provide some calculated but vague generalities based on pure speculation.

Peter Yang/ESPN The Magazine
Peter Yang/ESPN The Magazine

Big men will likely dominate this section of the draft and the Blazers could use another big considering JJ Hickson’s possible departure. Two of the best scorers in college basketball, Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk could both be available at the time the Blazers are on the clock.  Both would provide scoring off the bench, although both would almost certainly be a liability defensive liability.

Another guard with upside who can score off the bench could be useful as well. If UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad slips to the latter portion of the lottery, he would be a good value pick for the Blazers. Muhammed is a versatile scorer who plays with a lot of tenacity and toughness.   Lehigh guard CJ McCollum missed most of his senior season after injuring his foot in January, but their is a lot to like about the guard.  Look no further than the tape of Lehigh’s upset victory over 2 seed Duke in 2012 to find the evidence.  The guy can shoot the lights out of the gym, not only in spot up opportunities, but he made an impressive 49% of his shots off the dribble.  Still, he is a bit of a tweener who plays like a shooting guard but has the size of a point guard at only 6-3.  He may have trouble stopping NBA shooting guards but he could potentially be a quality scorer at the NBA level.

If somehow the unthinkable happens and the Blazers land a top three selection, they would go for the two most likely players in the draft to reach an All Star game, shooting guard Ben Mclemore and center Nerlens Noel. Luckily, both players play the top two weakest positions in the Blazers’ starting lineup.  Mclemore was not only a human highlight reel, but also a three-point marksman for the Kansas Jayhawks. Noel may not have lived up to his predecessor Anthony Davis offensively, but before he tore his ACL, he averaged more than four blocks per game. Once he is healthy, he will immediately make penetrators think twice before going at the rim.  Still, he will miss part of his rookie season rehabbing his torn ACL.

The Blazers also possess two second round picks. It is almost impossible to predict which second rounders will make an impact in the NBA, but I have a few I like. I think former UNC wing Reggie Bullock could be a solid knockdown shooter and tough perimeter defender in the NBA.  UCLA forward Kyle Anderson could be a rich mans Luke Walton who does a little bit of everything relatively well and North Texas forward Tony Mitchell could be a good defender and rebounder at the NBA level.

So many variables are in play that consequently, I have no idea what is going to happen this summer.  Let’s hope this off-season turns out to be more like the years we drafted Clyde Drexler or Terry Porter and completely opposite to the years we traded Moses Malone, drafted Martell Webster instead of Chris Paul or drafted the two centers who must not be named ahead of Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant.  But first, the draft lottery awaits.

Raymond Felton Has Choice Words for Blazers Return

Raymond Felton eating a cupcake... go figure.
Raymond Felton eating a cupcake… go figure.

Former Portland Trail Blazers point guard Raymond Felton will make his first visit back to the Rose Garden on Thursday when the New York Knicks (38-23) head to the Rose Garden.

Felton had an abysmal one season with the Blazers after being traded from the Nuggets. He arrived out of shape and struggled all season long to sync with the team and never got a groove going.

Felton struggled to lead the team, and as a result Portland had one of the worst seasons in the past decade. Many chose to place most, if not all, of the blame on Felton.

[gn_quote style=”1″]“You can’t blame anything on just one person,” Felton said. “It’s all about a team, and it’s all about everybody coming together trying to win games. Like I said from Day 1, I said I wasn’t in shape, I came in out of shape. But I busted my behind every day, got myself into shape for the latter of the season. That’s pretty much it. Anything else negative is just them trying to find a story to write about, that’s all.”[/gn_quote]

There were rumors that Felton and former head coach Nate McMillan did not get along with the guard. Both ultimately ended up parting ways from the team. It will not be surprising if Felton receives some boos when his name is announced. But Felton doesn’t believe that he is deserving of a poor reception.

[gn_quote style=”1″]”If they boo me because of those negative articles, they would just be reacting off of the lies,” Felton said. “Everything written about me and coach [McMillan] was wrong. You can talk to any other teams I’ve been on and ask if I’ve ever been a problem in the locker room. I never have. I heard they booed Jamal [Crawford], so I know what to expect. But really, we just had a tough season last year.”[/gn_quote]

[gn_quote style=”1”]“I don’t understand why they’re going to try to do that,” he continued. “They didn’t make the playoffs last year when I was there, and when I looked last I don’t think they’re in the playoffs now.”[/gn_quote]

Comment below on the reception you expect Felton to receive on Thursday. Follow the conversation on our Facebook page and Twitter @EugeneDailyNews

Sunday Morning Wrap

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The Sheldon Irish: 6A State Champions. image Michelle Phillipo

December 2 – 9

First off, congratulations to the Sheldon Irish Football team on their state championship win yesterday.  In a back and forth defensive battle, the Irish capitalized on five Lake Oswego turnovers for the win: 13 – 6.  This is the 4th state championship for Sheldon.  Well done.

This week on EDN: Julia Crowley, Chris Anderson, Ryan BeltramMatt Heuett, Cyd Salpino, Kathy HatchSusan Latiolait and Christopher Lucia.

NEWS

In local news, the week began with an attempted abduction at a local grade school.  Police say an adult man tried to grab a nine year old girl while she was at a water fountain at Yujin Gakuen a Japanese Immersion Elementary School. A sketch of the suspect was released by police. The person is described as a white male, age 17 or 18 and 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall. There have been no arrests in the case.

Two children in Cottage Grove were the apparent target of what appeared to be another abduction attempt Monday afternoon. The two young children were in their yard when the parents say a man approached the children with an unfurled blanket in his outstretched arms. The father shouted at the man who then ran. Cottage Grove Police arrested Christopher Shawn Williams, 40 on criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.

A caregiver in a Eugene case was sentenced to 56 months in prison when she was found guilty of stealing more than $400,000 from an 84-year-old veteran. In court, Bimla Boyd signed back over to him the deed to his Eugene home and title to his 2011 Hyundai Elantra.  Boyd then pleaded guilty to eight felony counts for stealing the 85-year-old man’s assets and financial identity. She also pleaded guilty to two felony counts for fraudulently concealing assets in order to obtain state food stamp and welfare benefits. Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley sentenced Boyd to 56 months in prison.  To quote Elmer Fudd: Good riddance to bad rubbish.

A jury convicted Francisco “Frank” Ochoa of attempted murder, first-degree assault and unlawfully using his pickup truck as a deadly weapon when he struck and seriously injured his wife’s fitness trainer as the man walked his dog on March 14. Ochoa was also convicted of animal abuse for striking and killing the pit bull, Razer, and of hit-and-run for fleeing the scene of the incident. Both attempted murder and first-degree assault carry mandatory minimum sentences of 7½ years under Oregon law, but Vogt could chose to impose the sentences simultaneously.

image – KVAL

Arson investigators are probing a fire that destroyed a home under construction in southwest Eugene early Wednesday morning. The Eugene Police Department said the cause of the fire appears to be suspicious and police are treating it as possible arson.

Convicted embezzler Sammantha Perryman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for stealing $1,000 or more 10 different times from George Sutton RV between September 2010 and May 2011. Judge Ilisa Rooke-Ley also ordered Perryman to pay the company $82,212 in restitution — an amount negotiated as part of the 38-year-old woman’s plea deal. The deal also called for the state to dismiss an additional seven counts of alleged thefts from the business.

A man involved in Eugene’s first known gang murder and regarded by police as a prison gang leader, faces a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Beau Heleman Flynn, 34 was arrested in the Eugene Costco parking lot. He is considered the leader of the Eugene-rooted Westside gang in the Oregon state prison system. If convicted on the new charge, Flynn could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in a federal prison because of his criminal history. Here’s hoping.

Traffic accidents caused some tragedy this week: 26-year-old Morgan Tara Marie Smither died Thursday night in a one-vehicle rollover crash that left a stretch of River Road strewn with debris. 53-year-old Lisa Marie Leiblen was struck by a pickup truck Friday morning. Lieblen was taken to RiverBend Medical Center with serious injuries where she remains in the intensive care unit in critical condition. The driver of the pickup, Jeffrey John Firth, 39 of Walterville, was cited for the crash.

Springfield National Guard veteran Gregory Gordon Carr Gibb has filed a lawsuit against a subsidiary of Halliburton Energy Services, saying KBR Inc. knowingly exposed him to a toxic and cancer-causing chemical while he guarded employees of the military contractor as they restored an Iraqi water plant in 2003. One in Five persons exposed to the chemical are expected to develop cancer.

And finally Lane County Sheriff’s deputy Drew Wattier and his wife, who were seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident in Los Cabos, Mexico last week, were air lifted to a trauma center in San Diego on Wednesday. 

SPORTS

We’ve already mentioned State 6A Football champions the Sheldon Irish, but the Sheldon men weren’t the only champions this week, the girls basketball team showed up as well. Tiwanna Hamilton scored 16 points and six rebounds helping sixth-ranked Sheldon defeat West Salem 45-41 in the championship game of the Luke Roth Tip-Off girls basketball tournament on Saturday night at Sheldon High. Willamette, Springfield, Monroe and Junction City also came away with wins this week.

Moving up a level to College sports, the rumor mill is in high gear about Chip Kelly and the NFL after Casey Matthews, the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and former UO star, said Thursday he thought Chip Kelly could succeed in the NFL. Kelly didn’t help things when he declined to comment on reports suggesting he’ll be a hot NFL candidate this winter during a presser on Thursday.

Lane Community College reached the championship game of its own Dale Bates Tournament with an 84-68 men’s basketball victory over Portland on Saturday at the LCC gym.

The Ducks men’s basketball team dominated Idaho State in a  87-35 rout. And the Duck women’s volleyball team made it to their first ever Elite 8 tournament. Kenyon Barner missed out on the Doak Walker Award but joins the all-American elite.

OTHER NEWS and WEATHER

This week saw snow in the mountains, heavy rains in the valley, and more than a little wind.

The Forecast: Cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain today (under 0.10 in. of rain possible), mostly cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain tonight (under 0.10 in. of rain possible), mostly cloudy with patchy AM fog Monday, a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon, mostly cloudy with patchy fog late Monday night, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of rain in the AM, becoming mostly cloudy with a good (50%) chance of rain Tuesday afternoon, then rain Tuesday night highs near 50 lows near 40. Cloudy with a good (50%) chance of showers Wednesday, partly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers Wednesday night, a mix of clouds and sun Thursday, mostly cloudy with rain becoming likely (60%) at night and Friday, a good (50%) chance of rain Friday night, then mostly cloudy with rain likely (60%) Saturday highs near 45 lows 39-34. (seasonal averages high 46 low 34).  Sounds like WillValley weather.

The homeless camping program is going rural in Lane County for the first time in two decades. Saint Vincent de Paul’s Lane County director, Terry McDonald, said that the city wants to see more homeless car camping in parks, which relieves some of the pressures for the program in town.

 

Amid other things, haircuts and trims are a service provided by Occupy Medical. Photo courtesy of Occupy Medical.

Occupy Eugene’s Medical efforts are bearing fruit, with service numbers doubling they are looking to open a Friday clinic as well. Occupy Medical is also seeing an upsurge in volunteers and community support.

Springfield School District Superintendent Nancy Golden is retiring. “This is the hardest decision I have made in my career,” she said. “I love this school district and have tremendous respect for the staff, students and community. Together we have done noble work.”

Eugene police want to reunite a personal diary from the 1960s with its rightful owner, who may have inherited the book after its writer died in an automobile crash in 1972.

The U of O sign on Franklin Blvd was defaced by someone unhappy with a school fraternity.

Farmhand Feed and Home Company of Cottage Grove is calling it quits, another victim of the economy and competitive pressure from larger companies.

In the face of falling gasoline tax revenues and a (marginally) growing electric/hybrid car market, ODOT has begun testing “per-mile” road use fee for new high MPG & electric cars.

Finally, EWEB has gone ahead and done what they planned to do regardless of community outcry or discussion: they have determined that they will raise water rates by 20% and electric rates by 4%.  Rates will likely be raised again in the spring and the fall following the pattern of rate hikes by EWEB over the last number of years. Water rates have increased more than 37% over the last 3 years.