Some random thoughts while wondering what it takes to get John Russell excited:
n Everyone in the Penn State basketball camp is fully expecting Talor Battle to return for his senior season. The Nittany Lions' standout junior guard entered the NBA Draft but has until May 7 to change his mind since he did not hire an agent. Battle has not been worked out by NBA teams, which typically invite only the top juniors who may be first-rounders.
n All of this must be good news - finally - for the beleaguered Ed DeChellis, who seemingly needs to make the 2011 NCAA Tournament to keep his job. With Battle, he has a chance. Without Battle, he has no chance.
n I don't think Battle is an NBA player, but then you look at what Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings is doing.
n Not that he made the decision to extend DeChellis' contract after the NIT championship, but consider Joe Paterno's comment last April. When asked for his reaction to the hiring of wrestling coach Cael Sanderson, JoePa said: "I hope they do as well for Eddie DeChellis as they do for him [Sanderson] because I think Eddie did a great job."
n Hollidaysburg's Jeff Bower was relieved of his duties as coach of the New Orleans Hornets, but he will stay on as general manager. Bower's first experience as a head coach resulted in a 34-39 record - not bad given he played 37 games without star guard Chris Paul. Here's hoping Bower will continue smoothly in the great run he's had an NBA general manager.
n I was hoping for a Penguins vs. Caps/Ovechkin series.
n The NFL, as usual, made a great move by shifting its annual draft to prime time. Just seeing the sheer joy of the players and their families - some of which could not afford to attend road games - is compelling TV.
n A case can be made that just as many free agents make NFL rosters as those who are drafted in the last round, but the reality is this: The odds are stacked against everybody picked after the first four-five rounds. Years from now, when Mr. Irrevelants are in the working world, their sports achievements will be separated in two ways: 1) Did they make it (NFL, NBA, MLB)? 2) Were they drafted or not?
n It's almost Kentucky Derby post time so we'll continue our annual tradition of passing along my dad's pick. Diehard Derby followers eager for this insight (that includes more than just Larry McAleer) remember Dave Rudel nailing Funny Cide, a 15-1 shot in 2003. But what has he done for us lately? That's another story. Saturday's pick is the old man's namesake - Line of David, a 30-1 shot, and fresh from winning the Arkansas Derby. One caution: Don't bet it all.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.