Tuesday, 08 March 2011 04:20

Louisiana Sports: Chris Paul, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson, Marcus Thornton

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Ed Staton-Louisiana SportsThe new Carolina coaching staff doesn't believe any defensive linemen this year are No. 1-pick worthy, so are going to select quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn with the top choice, according to Pro Football Talk's latest mock draft.

The website has the Saints picking defensive end Justin Houston of Georgia with their 24th selection. The Saints are pursuing a disruptive front seven after their big plays of defense evaporated last season.

Houston played outside linebacker at Georgia and led the Bulldogs in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (18.5) last season. He was an All-SEC first-teamer and a finalist for the Nagurski Award.

PFT has LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson going to the 40ers with the seventh pick. "Peterson deserves to go higher based on talent, but there hasn't been a corner drafted in the top five in eight years. He's college football's top defensive back and the addition of Peterson would allow the 49ers to comfortably part with overpriced veteran Nate Clements.

Chris Paul suffered a concussion in the Hornets' 96-82 victory over the Cavaliers at Cleveland on Sunday night.

Paul left the game on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital for tests. He was released from the hospital in time to join the rest of the team on its charter flight to Chicago for Monday’s game  against the Bulls.

Paul suffered the injury when he lost the ball while driving into the lane in the third quarter. As Paul tried to retrieve the ball, he hit his forehead on Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions' right shoulder and immediately fell to the court. He stayed on the court as trainers from both teams attended to him.

Paul, who was moving his legs and feet, then was placed on a flat board with a brace around his neck. As he was being wheeled off the court, he gave a thumbs up sign to the crowd.

Without their best player, the Hornets managed to play their toughest defense of the game. After he left the game, the Hornets went from trailing 61-60, to embarking on a 20-5 run that pushed the lead to out of reach.

Former Hornet Baron Davis led the Cavs with 17 points with six assists and five rebounds.

Hornets coach Monty Williams didn't speak directly to Paul during a phone call he made to the hospital following the game.

"I talked to people in the room with him on the phone, and he was in good spirits, talking and cracking jokes in the background," said Williams. "He was upset because that they had to wait for the CT results. He was ready to get out of the hospital, as most of us hate being in hospitals. We'll see what the doctors say."

Williams said Paul knew the Hornets had won the game.

"He was getting updates," said the coach. "The world is so small with these blackberries and iPhones, He probably knew the score before I did.

"To see him flat on the floor like that you forget about basketball for a minute and you start thinking about him as a person, his fiancee and his kid. It is amazing how thin that line can be at times. You just worry about your guys."

Cleveland coach Bryon Scott had some reassuring words for Paul as he was taken off the court. Scott was Paul's coach for four seasons with the Hornets.

"I just said, 'We're praying for you,' " said Scott.

SOME hither, others yon: Hornets coach Monty Williams said he saw fear in the eyes of his players after their loss to the Knicks last week. "I saw fear in some of the guys on our team" said Williams. "I'm not going to tolerate guys not playing with passion and guys playing afraid. With speculation building that the surgically repaired meniscus in Chris Paul's left knee might have stolen the electrifying burst that made him who he is -- or was. Paul came out of a slump on Friday night against the Grizzlies by scoring 23 points, 14 assists and 2 steals. He had gone three consecutive games without scoring in double figures for the first time since his rookie season. "I'm good ," said Paul. "My knee feels better than it has at any other point. That's the crazy  thing about it. My body's great. I feel like I can go by a guy more than ever before." Paul becomes a free agent after the 2012 season and how that works out for CP3 in a long way off, and the Hornets clearly have more pressing issues. On Jan, 29, the Hornets were 31-16, Since then they have been losers. They can't stop anybody and that little magician suspiciously cannot do what he does best. "Nobody fears us right now," said Paul...

Former Hornets scoring guard Marcus Thornton averaged 19.3 points in his first three games for the Kings. The second-year guard out of LSU quickly has made an impact with the Kings...Rioting. Looting. Angry mobs. Np, we're not talking about the street of Libya, we're talking about the the streets of Tuscaloosa after a loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl...Among David Letterman's Top Ten Things You Don’t Want to Hear  During Spring Training: "Instead of Tommy John surgery; I had Elton John surgery."..If I finish second in the nation at Notre Dame, they call me an idiot, but if you finish last in medical school, they call you a doctor." -- Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame coach, during a Sports Center interview in 1995...

THROUGH an open-records request, the Birmingham News has learned that Auburn spent $2,901,706 for its football trip to Glendale that ended with the War Eagles hoisting of the crystal. That  total was offset  by an expense allowance of $2,287,600 given to the school by the SEC, meaning that Auburn "lost" a little more than $614,000. For comparison's sake, Oregon reported having a final deficit of $285,437 from its Pac-10 allowance of $2,263,295. In other words, it cost Auburn in the neighborhood of $330,000 more  than it  did their title game  opponents. Unsold tickets were the primary culprits in both schools being technically in the red. The largest single expense item both teams was unsold game tickets that get used for complimentary purposes to administration, band members, cheerleaders and otters. Auburn absorbed a loss of $781,825 from 2,456 unsold tickets from its allotment of 17,400. Another factor in Auburn "losing" more money than Oregon was the size of the respective schools traveling parties. Oregon brought 494 persons to the event, while Auburn nearly doubled that number with 938. Of course, all of this talk of either  school losing money based on the bowl expense report is simply a matter of fiddling with an incomplete set of financial numbers. Additional bowl revenue the schools receive through their respective conferences is not included in the NCAA reports. Counting the BCS payout and other SEC money, Auburn will more than come out ahead....

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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