Today's Beers with Bloggers feature is with Jon from Complete Sports....Jon is quietly one of the upper echelon of sports bloggers...I encourage everyone to bookmark his site...before we begin, I want to thank him for taking the time to respond...
Q1. Here is the basic blog question - but why do you blog? How long have you been doing Complete Sports?
I blog mostly because I love sports. I love watching sports, I love reading about sports, I love talking about sports, and as I have discovered, I love writing. What I like about doing a general sports blog like I do is that there is never a shortage of information... once baseball is over there is football. Once football is over there is basketball. Once basketball is over there is baseball. Wash, rinse, repeat. There is never a time where there is nothing in the sports world to discuss or write about... any time I'm not writing it's more so because I just don't have the time, not because there's nothing to talk about.
Also, on a personal level, I suppose it's a little bit about the small bit of recognition. I mean, obviously it's not like my blog is being read by thousands of people per day, but it might be read by hundreds of people on a given day... and it gives me satisfaction when someone has found my writing interesting enough to comment on it and want to discuss it. Because to be honest, as much as I love writing and I love sports, I probably wouldn't blog if nobody ever read it.
As for length, I've been doing Complete Sports for a little over 2 years now. I have slowed down a little bit lately as real life (read: lots and lots and lots of homework) has interfered, but I still post as much as I can and I love doing it.
Q2. What makes a good blog?
This is maybe a little cliche, but having your own voice and style. I don't like blogs that just report the news... I'm not going to read a blog to get my news, because it's simply not feasible. But having opinions on what happens or what will happen, that makes for a good blog. Don't tell me who got traded where, because I'll already know that information - tell me what you think about the deal. I love reading people's opinions, because it gives me different perspectives to consider when forming my own opinions.
Also, and I suppose this is a bit hypocritical of me to say when looking at my blog lately, but posting on a very regular basis is a must. Especially if you're just starting out, you should be posting basically everyday. You can't expect people to come back if they know it probably won't be updated. This can be a really hard thing to do (again, as I'm finding out!), but posting everyday is pretty key.
Also, humor can be good - a la Zach at The Big Picture as well as a plethora of other sites. Lastly, you should probably be able to write if you want to have a good blog. I mean, I'm an accounting student, not an English teacher, but if I see obvious errors with grammar, I'm not going to read it. Take a couple extra minutes to proofread your post, make sure you're capitalization and punctuation is OK, and then hit post. I'm kind of an elitist snob like that.
Q3. What are your strengths at blogging? Why is Complete Sports a good blog?
My strength, I think, is that I know sports pretty well, especially basketball and baseball. I've been playing these sports for most of my life, and watching them for even longer. I've played and coached basketball for a long time, and I think I know a lot of the intricacies of the game pretty well. Same for baseball. Also, in my mind(!), I can look at things in a fairly reasonable manner and base my opinion on that (well, unless it comes to the Vikings or Twins, in which case I cannot even feign objectivity). Also, and the readers can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I think my writing is at least OK.
Q4. Enough about blogging. The NCAA Tournament is fast approaching. Who are your picks to make the Final Four and why?
The greatest sporting event on Earth! Going into the season, I had UCLA, Memphis, Kansas, and Tennessee, with UCLA beating Kansas for the title. I feel pretty good about these choices right now.
I think, when they're healthy and playing at their best, UCLA is the best team in the country. Defensively, we all know about Ben Howland. But they're efficient offensively, and for a couple of reasons are even better on this side of the ball than they have been over the past 2 seasons. One, they have Kevin Love, a model of efficiency. Two, the emergence of Russell Westbrook as a legit threat. He's a solid shooter, but he's also very quick off the dribble, gets to the rim, and can find the open man. His emergence as a really good player adds a little more athleticism that they were missing last year.
Among the other teams, I like their chances. We saw what Tennessee can do when they beat Memphis on the road. I think adding Tyler Smith will be enough to put them over the top and into the Final Four. Kansas is extremely deep and talented. Memphis is really good defensively, and they're fine as long as they're knocking shots down. All of these teams are deep, can wreak havoc defensively, and have enough offensive firepower to reach the Final Four.
Q5. What are your thoughts about the NBA not allowing high school graduates to go straight to the NBA? Do you think the league should have went a step further and made it mandatory that a player has to play at least two years of college ball?
I admittedly have some qualms about not allowing a high school kid to decide whether he wants to enter the NBA Draft, but I'm not going to complain about it because I think the rule helps both the NBA and NCAA. For the NCAA, the benefits are obvious... guys like Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Greg Oden, Derrick Rose, etc. make the college game so much more exciting. There is so much more star talent in the NCAA because of this rule (and because of some of the stars that have entered the college game in the past 2 seasons), and it's a really fun thing to see. For the NBA, it benefits them because for every LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire that has immediate success in the NBA, there are guys like Leon Smith and Ndudi Ebi, talented guys who might have had a better chance of being successful if they had played college ball rather than riding the pine in the Association.
By the same token, I would love to see the NBA make it mandatory for players to have to stay 2 years in college for selfish reasons, but I'm not really sure that it should. That seems like it might be overstepping its boundaries a little more.
Q6. Real quick - your thoughts about the opinionated Charles Barkley?
I LOVE Charles Barkley. Absolutely, unequivocally hilarious. This is basically already an accepted fact, but the trio of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley is almost too awesome for words.
Q7. With all the moves that took place before the NBA trading deadline, which team improved the most?
Obviously we have to look at the Lakers, who appear to be the best team in the NBA at the moment. Beyond the fact that they didn't give up anything of real consequence (with all apologies to Javaris Crittenton), Gasol was a perfect addition as an unselfish, skilled big man. As their record since the trade attests to, he's a perfect fit for the triangle and makes the Lakers so very dangerous.
Beyond that, I love what the Cavaliers did. LeBron is now surrounded by shooters, which is the perfect situation. They saw Ben Wallace as the key cog in the deal, but I thought the addition of Joe Smith flew under the radar a little as a great addition. With range out to 17-18 feet, that's a great fit playing next to LeBron. He should be able to make a living off of those midrange jumpers. I actually like the Cavs to win the East after that deal.
Looking a little deeper (and perhaps going beyond the scope of the question, which asked for the most improved team), I loved the Spurs addition of Kurt Thomas. Just a solid role player that fits in well. The Spurs are still awesome.
Q8. I have to ask a non-sports question - Obama, Clinton, or McCain? Why?
Right now I'm an Obama guy. To be honest, I don't follow politics all that much, but I like Obama's ideas, and I think he's got a fresh face and a fresher perspective which would be good for the country. Plus, I'm in college, and the cool thing to do in college is to be Pro-Obama!
Q9. Who are the five hottest women in sports and/or broadcasting?
Hmmm... hopefully it doesn't take away from my manliness to say that I hardly pay attention to sideline reporters (which seems to be the primary function that women in broadcasting serve at this point)... I'm not even sure I could name 5 total. So I'll just take the one obvious choice of Erin Andrews, and then take Stacey Dales, who is pretty cute and a solid broadcaster to boot. It's a little lame of me to only take 2 rather than 5, but that's really all I can think of at the moment.
Q10. Last question, this segment is called "Beers with Bloggers." So what are some of your favorite brews? What are some beers that you like that may not be well known nationally?
Again, hopefully this doesn't take down my manliness as a blogger :), but I barely ever drink. Like, I'm probably one of the least qualified people to answer this question, being that I can about count on one hand the number of times in my life I have drank. Hmmm... maybe it's a good thing that this wasn't well known before this interview, or I might not have qualified to be interviewed!! So I'll do the lame thing and abstain from answering, since I really have no answer.
For the record, my favorite beverage is Dr. Pepper! What else do you need??
Once again, I want to thank Jon for taking the time to respond...it is much appreciated...
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