Lions around the dorm

Around the Dorm (AtD) is a three-way sports showdown. In the first AtD of the semester, we debate the Celtics’ latest moves, the infamous Michael Vick and College alumnus Gerard Haran’s major league potential. AtD veterans Lauren Kohout, Brandon Lee and James Queally go head-to-head-to-head with correspondent Steven Cohen manning the referee position.

1. The Boston Celtics vastly improved its starting five by adding perennial all-stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but not without sacrificing several important contributors off the bench. Did the Celtics buy their way into the NBA Finals, or did they lose too much in securing these top two talents?

LK: History usually shows that when you put a bunch of all-stars together it doesn’t equal a championship. When it comes down to statistics, yes the Celtics just increased its chances of winning by a lot. It helps when you have options about who takes the shot at the buzzer. But will they mesh well enough to avoid the individualistic styles of all-star teams? It’s never about the best players, just the right ones. They have a 50 percent chance of winning the Eastern Conference, but the NBA championship? Their bench definitely isn’t as deep, which could mean trouble if either Allen, Paul Pierce or Garnett get hurt. But, if they stay healthy and keep the egos out of it, we might just see some rings heading toward Beantown.

BL: The Celtics bought their way into the finals. Yes, they lost young guys like Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes off the bench and a potential all-star in Al Jefferson, but if you put all their numbers together, you get Kevin Garnett. By adding Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics have proven talent rather than young guys who may or may not be talented in a few years. Garnett and Allen add superstar presence to this team. Allen can stretch the defense while Garnett can do a little bit of everything. All Rajon Rondo has to do is give them the ball.

JQ: With the additions of Garnett and Allen, the Celtics have made themselves an immediate threat in the consistently weakened Eastern Conference. Normally, I’ll take team chemistry and a solid defense over star power, but they have three very potent weapons in their offense now. Allen is still one of the best perimeter shooters in the game and when you combine that with Pierce’s driving ability and the attention he rates from opposing defenses, that’s going to leave the former Sonics’ guard with a ton of open looks. Also, with the East’s lack of depth at the frontcourt positions, Garnett will be mismatched almost every time he touches the ball. The only team that will challenge Boston is the Pistons, but on paper, it looks like Boston can overcome Detroit’s solid chemistry and defensive ability.

SC: I’m going to have to give Queally three on this one. He broke down the way their offense is going to work player by player and said the East is an extremely weak conference. Brandon gets two for the Rondo name drop because nine out of 10 people wouldn’t be able to tell you who the Celtics starting point guard is now. Kohout gets one for making an argument for each side, but in the end it’s the Eastern Conference and a long season: their three guys will bring it together come playoff time.

2. Michael Vick has pled guilty to criminal charges involving dog fighting. He will be sentenced by the court in December, but should he be punished by the NFL as well?

LK: I’m not sure if the NFL could come up with a punishment worse than jail, but he definitely should not be allowed to play this season. Fines won’t do any good since he has plenty of money. Besides not getting to play this season, he should have to work hundreds upon hundreds of community service hours, probably at an animal shelter under close supervision. Then and only then will he be allowed to re-enter the NFL where he will be booed worse than Roger Maris, Barry Bonds and Terrell Owens at Lincoln Financial Field combined.

BL: Michael Vick should only be fined by the NFL or be forced to give the Falcons money back for his time in jail. People in regular jobs sometimes are not paid for taking an extended leave of absence. In this case, Vick is getting paid millions upon millions of dollars and if the Falcons don’t waive him, they should get some of his money back since he can’t work for them for a period of time.

JQ: He absolutely should be punished by the NFL. Vick’s scandal has put another black eye on football, in addition to the damage done by Tank Johnson and virtually anyone who has played for the Baltimore Ravens. Vick’s actions were disgusting and I could give a damn if he repents it now and “finds religion.” People are only sorry in this world when they get caught doing something wrong. While Vick’s actions alone should be enough to warrant a lifetime, or at the very least a three-year ban from the NFL, the series of scandals that have plagued professional sports this summer leave Roger Goddell with almost no choice but to heavily punish Vick. Between the Donaghy scandal in the NBA and the persistent steroid charges in baseball that will permanently taint the home run record, Vick needs to be punished to show that even superstars are accountable for their actions.

SC: As one of the main faces of the NFL and a role model to many young children, the NFL needs to make an example out of him. That being said, Queally gets three for accepting the fact that Vick deserves to be suspended. Kohout gets two because taking away Vick’s ability to actually play football would affect him a lot more than putting him to work in a dog shelter. Brandon gets one because Vick isn’t on an extended leave of absence – he tortured dogs. It doesn’t matter what your profession is: if you are going to jail for torturing animals, you are probably going to lose your job as well.

3. The College’s alumnus All-American catcher Gerard Haran recently had his contract with the St. George Road Runners purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals. How far will Haran go and will he ever play in an MLB game?

LK: I think Haran will almost certainly make it out of the rookie leagues. If he continues at this pace, he’ll only get better. As for playing in the Big Show, I think Haran has a better chance than most. At this point, I think his body will take him as far as Double or maybe even Triple A. If he really works at it and fine-tunes everything he has to offer, I think he can make it to the Major Leagues within the next five-six years. Whether or not he makes it up there, he still got noticed and he is still playing professional ball. Until then, the Lions’ home run champion will just have to go to work everyday like the rest of us. Except he gets to do it at the ballpark.

BL: I spoke to Haran at the New Jersey Sports Writers Awards banquet and he said that he faced Division I competition during summer ball. He has received honors in those leagues as well. However, it takes a very long time for kids to move through the leagues, especially undrafted players. I can see Haran maybe getting a stint in Triple A if he’s lucky but no higher than that. For him, it may take three years just to get to Double A. Players drafted in the 20 or 30 rounds barely make it to the majors and take about three years to get to Double A. Based on the numbers and experience I’ve had with minor leaguers, Haran won’t make it to the majors. Unless you’re Joba Chamberlain and drafted in the first round, the minors will be a long journey.

JQ: Gerard Haran is easily one of the best baseball players to come through the College’s program. He’s a power hitter and he has a cannon from behind the plate. There’s no denying his talent, but the reality is, moving up from a rookie league team to the majors is a daunting task. The Staten Island Yankees once had a pitcher named Jason Arnold in their ranks. He threw a no-hitter there but has still moved no higher then Triple A. My point is, prospects at the rookie league and Single A level are normally used as trade bait and never find the time to get acclimated enough in a team’s program to actually fight their way up to the majors. It’s a sad situation, but I doubt Haran will ever reach the majors.

SC: Haran has shown that at each opportunity he has been able to play at a higher level. It is very difficult to make it out of the minors in baseball. However, until Haran gives me a reason to think he won’t continue to step up each chance that he has, I have to agree with Kohout. Plus he’s a Lions’ alum so lets give him some support! Kohout gets three, Brandon gets two and Queally gets one.