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Premiere of Blazers' Rookie Ignored By ESPN

by Robbie Gillies

Last night, the Blazers were impressive in their first preseason game against the Kings. After trailing by 10 points through the first quarter, Portland outscored Sacramento by 40 points through the final three quarter to win 110-81. All eyes were on Blazers' second-year rookie Greg Oden, and he didn't disappoint. Oden went 5-for-8 including, four dunks. He physically dominated Kings' center Spencer Hawes.

Oden was definitely the story, and he had some incredible highlights, but fellow rookie Rudy Fernandez put on a show of his own. From Jason Quick of The Oregonian:

In a simply electric performance, Fernandez had the crowd chanting his first name after a series of flashy plays. He dunked off a lob pass from Rodriguez, a longtime friend and countryman, and then later caught another lob from Rodriguez and in a dipsy-do move, drifted under the basket and blindly banked it high off the backboard.

And there was more. Fernandez threaded a pass through the legs of Jason Thompson that Aldridge converted, and later made a sharp bounce pass in traffic that Aldridge dunked. He also lobbed a pass that Martell Webster dunked, putting the finishing touches on a six-point, five-assist night.

After reading this last night, I was looking forward to watch the highlights on SportsCenter, but Fernandez was conspicuously absent. They of course had all four of Oden’s dunks and one of his blocks, but nothing from Rudy Fernandez. I thought maybe Jason Quick had embellished Rudy's highlights a bit, or else why would SportsCenter not show such entertaining plays? Even ESPN's own J.A. Adande was emphatic with his praise for Fernandez:
What a dazzling debut for the Trail Blazers rookie. Rudy Fernandez, that is...He stole the show and had the crowd chanting, "Ru-dy, Ru-dy." He picked up right where he left off in the Olympic gold-medal game. All of the pregame attention was on Oden. The postgame buzz was about Fernandez.

Fortunately, ESPN did accompany the Adande article with an extensive highlight-package that included Fernandez.




As you can see, Rudy's highlights were more impressive than Oden's, but ESPN stuck with the obvious and simply gave us Oden. What was even more curious is that after the highlights, they spoke with Quick, who even mentioned how Fernandez was even more impressive than Oden, and yet they still didn't show his highlights.

The WWL deserves credit for at least having something on their website, but for many people who just watch SportsCenter and don't spend all day searching for this stuff online, they were not only denied some great highlights, but also were not given a real representation of the game.