Issue 267
October 24 - October 30, 2005
Volume 5
page 3

Blue Ribbon Hoops Book; Killer Sports NBA Annual Hot Arrivals
By Howard Schwartz

Two of the most sought-after important references for those who bet college and pro basketball annually have arrived at Gambler's Book Shop. They are the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook (383 pages, paperbound, $21.95), edited by Chris Dortch and Killer Sports' NBA Annual (153 pages, spiralbound, $34.95).

The Blue Ribbon compilation, now in its 25th year, was originally produced by the legendary Chris Wallace. Wallace was so knowledgeable about basketball that he was hired to be general manager of the Boston Celtics, where he still presides. The work, used by bettors, coaches, players, scouts, sports talk show hosts, sports services, sports book directors and recruiters, as well as just plain fans of the game, offers in-depth analysis, including strengths and weaknesses of virtually every major college team.

Don't expect spreads or betting analysis. It's not that kind of publication. This is purely a book for getting ready for the season ahead, telling you where teams improved; how well they recruited; the impact of an injury; how good the backup man might be; where the "sparkplugs" or defensive aces might be located; coaching approaches. In fact, it doesn't appear there's an aspect of the game that's been overlooked.

With more than two dozen individuals responsible for the gathering of the material, this book is fresher than most basketball magazines, and in more depth. Schedules (of course subject to change due to the whims of schools and their TV guarantees) are included.

Part of the book's strength is in the answers to questions about offensive and defensive improvements. If a team has a weakness, has it been plugged by a recruit, the maturing of a player or a JC transfer? The book has great value for the most part in the first part of the season before teams get into conference play, while they are "gelling" and super players begin to emerge.

The colleges begin play in November, a week or two after the pros get into action. Blue Ribbon should alert you to sleepers teams which have quietly shored up their bench and to those who may be over-ranked.

This is a book to be read before the season begins to give the reader at least a week for the required highlighting or underlining.

The NBA Annual by Ed Meyer, is a combination of betting angles; three years of regular season spreads and totals history; and perhaps the most important section, room to keep records, plus a schedule with a "twist."

Meyer and crew brilliantly alert you to situations where a team has had rest or no rest between games, factors that are vital where travel and fatigue play a role in scheduling, and sometimes when teams go to a high altitude arena, those legs get a bit weary in the final quarter.

One of the most dedicated and astute compilers in the game, Meyer includes "player-based trends" which often impact the outcome of a game. If a particular player is injured or if he has more turnovers than assists or if a shooter scored so many points--how has his team performed in the past? Simply, what is the impact of the loss or return of a specific individual on team performance?

RME Sports Investments has produced an NBA Workbook (95 pages, spiralbound, $14) for the first time, which allows a bettor to record the results of every pro game this regular season, and includes about two dozen betting trends. There are no pointspread records or totals from past years, but for those who just want to track streaks and keep scores, it's an excellent time-saver.

Finally, the Sporting News Official NBA Guide (765 pages, paperbound, $18.95) allows you to see the score of every pro team last year; rosters; team records from every past season; individual and team records; past playoff histories; schedules; where to write or call for ticket information; broadcast and cable TV information, it's here. This is an excellent work for settling arguments; trivia contests; for the young or casual fan.

The companion volume, also by the Sporting News, is the 2005-06 Official NBA Register (488 pages, paperbound $18.95). From Abdul-Wahad of Dallas to Yao of the Rockets, you can find players easily in alphabetical order -- including real name; date and place of birth; where they attended school; correction pronunciation of names; collegiate; regular season; playoff records; injury records; who was traded or waived from where to where. Plus, for the nostalgia or trivia buffs; great retired all stars; present and past coaches and section on promising newcomers. Both books are a good source if you're in a fantasy league; want to know how to spell a player's name correctly or want to win a bar bet. Also, they make an excellent gift for a bartender who must settle arguments.

About the Author

Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.


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