USA TODAY Sports Images
Despite a lackluster Combine, Houston fans have every reason to believe that Jimmy Nealis will match up to his #1 LB prospect ranking.
Hoya Saxa, my orange brethren.
Translation: f*** yeah (not really).
Full disclosure - a lot of my excitement over Jimmy Nealis is because he is a Hoya. My brother started 3 years on the Georgetown men's soccer team, and since then I have been a huge fan of Georgetown athletics. Last year's team showed some of the flashes of success that the school grew used to during the 90's, and this year they reached their first NCAA final. Needless to say, I've been on a high ever since.
This excitement was doubled... no, tripled... when I saw Nealis slowly slip down the draft board. Then, serendipitously, he fell into the waiting arms of Coach Dom (feel free to imagine that literally).
Following the draft, I got these texts from my big bro:
"You're gonna love Jimmy Nealis"
Yes, yes we are.
"Get the jersey before they sell out"
Never thought of wearing #45 before, but okay, maybe.
"The next Leighton Baines"
Alright alright. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
School allegiances aside, can I realistically label Nealis one of the steals of the draft? Let's see:
Nealis fits one of the big holes we had entering into the draft: LB depth. He brings to the table the same athleticism, cunning, and willingness to take on defenders that we've seen from Ashe. With a cramped schedule this season, he will certainly have time to develop with real playing time. He will also be able to do so under a coach known for building up smart and successful players.
Jimmy also displayed 1st round talent throughout a difficult Big East schedule, followed by a deep postseason run. Let's not get it twisted - there are no easy games in the Big East. But if we're going to divide the Georgetown season into harder competition, he still had to play well against Notre Dame, UConn, and Marquette, followed by difficult games in the NCAA tournament. At the same time, he showed an ability to absolutely abuse defenders on the offensive side of the field, while putting in delicious crosses that his forwards had no option other than depositing safely in the back of the net.
But the big red "X" on his permanent record is a Combine that resulted in him dropping down the Draft board. Now, this isn't totally insignificant - it says a lot about a player who can come into a game, not knowing his teammates, and play well against the best competition in their age group. But not being able to do that? There are simply too many factors to consider: the break between season and the Combine, a lack of chemistry with teammates, and a small sample size. This Combine, aside from costing Nealis a few fingernails, only makes me worry about his preseason. If he had trouble impressing coaches, will he have trouble standing out against first team members in Dynamo preseason? I doubt it. Not because I expect him to unseat Ashe this week, but because he doesn't need to. He is depth, but more importantly, a project - he's a player for the future who was just too damn talented to pass up.
Finally, teams that saw a Combine as more important than a wildly successful year in the Big East are giving way, way, too much credit to the Combine system. I don't have any stats or figures to back that up, it just seems obvious.
So, quiz time. What should you, as a Dynamo fan, think about when you see #45 Jimmy Nealis?
a) preseason chopping block
b) Talisman for MLS Cup 2013 Glory
c) Steal of the Draft
d) the next Leighton Baines
Answer: c... and d, baby!
(I never said I was rationally excited)
Ruining the Grinch: Part 2
Okay. Last time I wrote that the scourge of Hoo-ville, The Grinch, is not at all to blame for his shortcomings. In reality, it was his parents' fault.
But there is another thing that bothered me after watching Jim Carrey's Grinch a couple weeks ago: Cindy Lou Who would be sharing garbage meals with The Grinch if she wasn't a cute, blonde girl.
Let's recap: The Grinch runs away after being mercilessly made fun of by his classmates. His dislike of Christmas (but more specifically, the consumer society he lives in) and ugly appearance targeted him as an outsider.
Similarly, Cindy Lou cannot figure out why Christmas is seen as a reason to buy a bunch of stuff. Her search for meaning amongst consumerism leads her to vocally question the holiday multiple times, not unlike the consternations held by the Guy in Green. But, instead of being made fun of and abandoned, she is coddled and protected by her father and the townspeople. This freedom, won by her prettiness, allows her the room to save the town and redeem The Grinch. If she wasn't good looking, she would have suffered the same fate.
Apropos Hip-Hop Music Video of the Week
Honestly, I have no idea why. It just felt right.