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Mailbag: Mile High Sports Radio’s Travis Heath

Travis, I heard through your show that you’re a practicing psychologist, and I have a question based off of that with recent events in mind. In short, what are some of the the biggest problems facing athletes’ personal lives that the general population don’t have to face? – Alma, Denver

The single biggest concern for me is young athletes getting too much too soon. Just because society says we are adults at age 18 doesn’t mean our brains feel the same way in terms of our ability to make sound decisions. In fact, we know the that the prefrontal cortex of the brain (in charge of things like planning ahead, impulse control and decision making) isn’t fully developed until on average age 23 in women and age 25 in men. As such, handing 19-24 year old young men millions of dollars along with the culture placing them on an obscenely high pedestal is a recipe for some fairly significant problems. Most of us get to make mistakes largely out of vision of the public eye. Professional athletes do not.

I know you’re a big hoops guy. So tell me, are the Nuggets the team that beat the Grizzlies a couple weeks ago or are they the team that got blown out by a bad-looking Lakers team on Friday? – Phil, Greenwood Village

My answer to this question is yes. The Nuggets are both of these teams. By that I mean I believe they will be largely inconsistent all season. That’s what happens to young, talented basketball teams. The Nuggets will get some big time wins and lose to some bottom feeders. As I have said for a long time, the Nuggets will not truly contend until they get an elite talent. They have a lot of very good supporting actors, but haven’t yet found their Robert De Niro.

It’s been 10 years, why don’t the Nuggets go get a DAMN SHOOTER!? – Ronald, Aurora

I understand your frustration, but don’t let hyperbole get in the way of the truth. J.R. Smith shot over 40% from three-point range in 2007-08 and was close to that mark a number of other times. While he had his flaws, he was a very good (albeit streaky) shooter.

That said, I agree with you that the current iteration of the Nuggets needs a knock down shooter. Jordan Hamilton has shown flashes of being that guy. Kyle Korver is the kind of guy I would chase in the trade market if I were running things.

Renaud’s a big CSU guy, so don’t let this question bias you, but really, who’s better this year, CU or CSU (hoops)? – Lionel, Denver

CU. And for the record, I would have said that prior to Wednesday night’s game. CU has done an outstanding job recruiting the Los Angeles area and has great young talent that will set the program up for a number of years to come.

Don’t get me wrong, CSU is very solid as well. This is a golden era of college hoops in Colorado. Instead of worrying about who the next football coach is going to be up in Boulder, fans should instead enjoy what’s happening before their eyes right now on the hardwood.

Wilton Lopez? Really? That’s the splash of the offseason? How about Zach Grienke, Rockies? – John, Denver

Last I checked, the offseason isn’t over yet. That said, I wouldn’t expect the Rockies to chase someone like Grienke. It has been obvious for years that the club will not pay top dollar for frontline starting pitching after the Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle disasters. If the Rockies make a move for a pitcher, it will likely be for one not yet arbitration-eligible and definitely a guy who is a ways away from free agency (or under team control for multiple years).

But hey, at least with Giambi not getting the managerial gig he can come back and hover below the Mendoza Line as a pinch hitter. That has to fire you up, right?

Check out Dr. Travis Heath on RenKnowItAll every weekday from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. on Mile High Sports Radio AM 1510 and FM 93.7.

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