Talking Points: Matt Calkins garners APSE honors

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The Blazers might be mediocre this season, but The Columbian’s coverage of them is among the best. Matt Calkins has been honored this week with three top-10 finishes in the Associated Press Sports Editors contest.

Matt is our Blazer beat writer, but he does so much more for our readers. He was recognized in the categories of beat reporting, for a variety of news and feature stories about the Blazers; column writing, for a selection of work on various topics; and feature story, for an article about champion wheelchair racer Craig Blanchette.

The APSE competition is a national contest, with The Columbian participating in the 30,000-to-75,000 circulation category. It is considered the most prestigious contest for newspaper sportswriters.

Yet, while awards are nice, we didn’t really need confirmation that Matt is an outstanding writer.

We already knew that.

— Greg Jayne, Sports editor

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Three heavies of the sports blogosphere ESPN, aolsportingnews and sbnation all place the Trail Blazers at No. 15 in their National Basketball Association power rankings. That feels about right for a team with an 18-16 record.

Among the comments were statements that Portland played over its head in the early part of the season and that the team has some psychological issues about looming injuries.

Then there is Steve von Horn of www.brewhoop.com, who used a plethora of statistical measures to slot Portland at No. 5 (actually down one place this week) in the power rankings.

The top five in the “legitimate’’ rankings are Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers.