College Basketball, Uncategorized

Pat Summit: The Pioneer of Women’s Basketball

Yesterday, the world lost a true pioneer as Pat Summit the legendary Tennessee Lady Vols lost her four-year battle with dementia a form of Alzheimer’s disease. She was the reason I ever watched women’s college basketball! Her basketball resume is unmatched you could put her up against any basketball coach in history men or women she would hold her own.

In her 38 seasons she shattered the record books while creating the “dynasty” and brand of Tennessee women’s basketball. She has the most career wins (1098) in NCAA history setting the standard for every college coach to chase after. The measuring stick for every coach is championships, she definitely accomplished that goal, cutting down the nets eight times in her record 31 NCAA tournament appearances.

Additionally, she was the National Coach of the year seven times and the SEC coach of the year eight times. She not only transformed the University of Tennessee she also transformed women’s basketball in the Olympics, she led team USA to five gold medals and four silver medals. She did it all, as a coach and the legacy will never be matched.

More importantly, she cared about every single player and person involved at the University of Tennessee.  She  expected  perfection on the court and in the classroom. She achieved something that is unthinkable in today’s age of winning is all that matters, she had a 100% graduation rate not only molding great basketball players, but well-rounded well spoken women.

Every college program should be modeled after what Summit created on and off the court in Knoxville. It was a sisterhood the lessons Summit taught her players will live on   forever.The world and the game of basketball will not be the same without coach Summits’ wisdom. Rest in peace you will be missed!

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Uncategorized

Muhammad Ali A True Hero

Last night the world lost a true icon and boxing legend Mohammed Ali. Although, I didn’t get to witness firsthand the impact he made worldwide; I do understand he was a great man, a great athlete and one-of-a-kind! When you think of boxing the first thing that comes to your mind is Mohammed Ali. He shaped the sport into what it is today with his domination and confidence.

His record was amazing he was a three-time heavyweight champion and of his 61 total fights he was victorious in 56 of them. Furthermore 37 of those wins came in knockout fashion I guess he liked putting his opponents out of their misery. Even more impressive he had just five career defeats. In addition, he won Olympic gold at the 1960 summer games. He no doubt was “The GREATEST.” I wish I could’ve seen him in action I’m sure it was a sight to behold.

Outside of the ring he was much of the same stubborn and confident, stood up for what he believed in. He was arrested for draft evasion because he refused to kill anyone. Pretty noble because he sacrificed his freedom and career for integrity something that was hard to come by during that time period as black and white equality was still settling in. He spent five years in prison and forfeited three years of his boxing career. This shows you what you believe in does matter, just put your foot down and someone will eventually listen.

Ali was unfortunately diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, but he didn’t let that stop him. He continued to be a great humanitarian in 2002 he went to Afghanistan and was the U.N messenger of peace. One of the many contributions he made to the world, despite his illness. For those selfless acts he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Presidential Citizens Medal.

As you can see, Mohammed Ali was much more than boxing; he enriched the world and made it a much better place. Also he was a miniature Yogi Berra with some of his poignant quotes that stop and make you think. Rest in Peace you will be missed!

 

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. 

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”.

“I am the greatest; I said that even before I knew I was”.

“Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer”.

 

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Uncategorized

Scott’s legacy lives on

One year ago today we said goodbye to a broadcast legend Stuart Scott after a seven-year battle with cancer. He had the best attitudes and perspectives on life while battling the disease, he delivered one of the most inspirational speeches ever exactly what Jim Valvano wanted when he gave the original Never Give Up speech 21 years ago. Scott famously said “you beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” A quote that will live on forever, no matter what struggles we go through in life that’s the best part about it.

Scott was a fixture on ESPN every time I saw him on TV it made me smile; I knew he would make me laugh with one of his famous catchphrases “As cool as the other side of the pillow” or “BOO-YAH” makes me smile just thinking about it. He genuinely cared about everyone he worked with and the audiences he touched. A true pioneer in the sports broadcasting world and as a person that is looking to crack into the sports industry he has greatly inspired me. He was so grateful with his words and how he carried himself in front of the camera!

Scott made the best out of an unfortunate situation living life to the fullest every minute he had! He may be gone, but his life and legacy will live on forever!! Thank you for everything!!

 

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Carolina Panthers, Uncategorized

Coach Rivera the Conductor

What a difference a year makes for the Carolina Panthers and coach Ron Rivera. Last season we were just starting our magical run just realizing our potential and proving to the NFL that we were a team that needed to be taken seriously. Fast forward a year we are chasing perfection and have a legitimate shot at the Lombardi trophy! The players are the ultimate deciders of what happened with game by game, but I feel when coach Ron Rivera adopted his alter ego riverboat Ron taking chances going for it on fourth downs, putting trust in his guys to make the plays and ready to take the criticism if they didn’t work out.

It showed the players that he trusted their abilities they are in the NFL for a reason and will do anything to win. I think the players were able to relax and began this magical run that’s seen a professional sports team have more fun than ever. The 2015 Panthers are a brotherhood, not just a football team and Rivera has instilled that into every player fan and coach as we continue to the ultimate goal.

One of my favorite things about coach Rivera is he allows the players to keep their personality and the fact is, our roster has many with quarterback Cam Newton and Cornerback Josh Norman to name a few not only does he embrace it he defends it and reprimands it when needed. He understands doing your job you can have fun when doing your job, but he also is big on maintaining your focus and handling success! After Sunday’s near debacle against the New York Giants that saw us almost blow a 28 point lead and get into a few scuffles that were out of character for our entire team he laid into his team for not focusing and keeping their composure.

We may be 14-0, but he understands this is the National Football League and anyone can come back and he relayed that message very clear in the locker room after the game safety Roman Harper said  “it was the most disappointed 14-0 locker room he’s ever seen”. Coach Rivera has the pulse of this team and knows how to handle  every situation. I have the ultimate respect for him and the winning culture, he has built in the Queen City.

He is one of the classiest men in the NFL today after the scuffles the team was involved in Sunday against the Giants he apologized to coach Coughlin for his team’s behavior I don’t know many coaches that would do that right after a very competitive game. This team’s motto is Keep Pounding and our coach has embraced that on and off the field dealing with a house fire death in the family and despite all that; he has gotten this team prepared each and every day and put them in the best position to win every single game.

That is the leader I want for our football team not taking mediocre play and not afraid to call guys out for that. He’s an awesome coach and a great man I’m glad we gave him the opportunity to grow with this organization to see what it can become it’s been awesome to watch and I can’t wait for more!!

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Carolina Panthers, Uncategorized

The 5 Most Under-appreciated Panthers in 2015

The Carolina Panthers now stand alone atop the NFL ranks at 13-0! This has been a magical season that just keeps getting better and better; it’s been a total team effort from top to bottom of this organization. Here are five people that are very under-appreciated, but are key cogs in helping this team chase both perfection and more importantly the Lombardi trophy.

 

Kurt Coleman

 

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This first year Panther has been absolutely outstanding making big play after big play. He is one of the smartest football players we have in his ability to read the quarterback’s eyes pouncing on every opportunity he has been given the season. With shutdown corner Josh Norman on the other side opposing quarterbacks are wary of throwing his way and now they have to account for Coleman has been patrolling the middle of the field.

This season he has 57 combined tackles and five interceptions for the ball hawking secondary that we’ve become. He signed a two-year deal worth just 2.8 million an absolute steal with his production on the field in 2015! A guy didn’t know much about coming into the season is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the NFL! This guy has helped make our secondary stingier and allows other guys to take chances and force quarterbacks into bad decisions.

Dave Gettleman

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He is the mastermind behind the roster and how it is constructed he has brought consistency and a winning attitude since joining the Panthers in 2013. The team has won back-to-back division titles and collected their first playoff win since 2008 last season under Gettleman’s watch. In 2015 he has once again worked his magic adding veteran guys that were sort of cast-off with their former teams and now a thriving with the Panthers.

Those guys include Ted Ginn, Charles Tillman, Kurt Coleman, Jared Allen and another solid draft class that have all contributed to the team’s 11-0 start. He has done a masterful job of seeing the team’s weaknesses and addressing them with the best players possible for our system. He has also shown loyalty to his players and showing how important they are to this organization and its success signing them to long-term deals.

He is everything you want in a general manager putting the best 53 guys on the roster without mortgaging the future having the ability to compete for a Super Bowl year after year; he has done that and more since he has arrived in the Queen City there is just one thing missing and that is a ring. We are really lucky to have brought in such a  smart football man that understands what a winning team and organization looks like.

Ron Rivera

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Ron Rivera is one of the most underrated coaches in the league with his ability to get the most out of his players while still allowing their personalities to come out and be themselves. He has brought a winning culture and attitude willing to take chances and will stand up for every decision he and his players make from the football field. Honestly, when we brought him on in 2011 I knew little about him, but I have so much respect for a guy that had gone through so much in his personal life over the past year and a half with his house fire and the passing of his brother and still getting his team best prepared to win games.

He expects the best out of us every snap of every game, but he is, he also understands these are humans and it’s always good to have a little bit of fun while doing your job. Just a great coach person and leader keeping this team focused on the ultimate goal every week!

 

The Offensive Line

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A perceived weakness coming into this season has become a great strength a big reason why Cam Newton has had an MVP caliber season allowing many explosive plays to take shape. This unit ranks 10th in the league the most impressive stat for me is the fact that Cam Newton has only been sacked 24 times and hit just 67 times that number is probably a little low considering Newton is a dual threat, rushing as well, but it’s still impressive considering Newton has been sacked 500+ times since entering the league in 2011.

The line has also opened up huge holes for Jonathan Stewart and the rushing attack as we are second in the league in rushing, averaging 141.9 yards per game the cherry on top is we are first in the league averaging 31.9 points per game that’s what I call a complete team doing on both sides of the ball. These guys protecting Newton might not be well known and don’t get the recognition they should, but all they care about is winning games and protecting their field general!

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Kawann Short

Another key cog to this defense is the breakout season that third-year pro Kawann Short is having in 2015. He has nine sacks 44 tackles and three forced fumbles just another headache for opposing offenses to deal with. Many people questioned this draft pick because we had already selected Star Lotulelei in the draft, but Short has proved he was the right choice at that moment and continues to develop into one of the most feared pass rushers this game has seen. He just adds an extra person for teams to plan for creating more opportunities for all of our other defensive stars. It’s great to see that our core team is so young and still developing and short is one of many guys that make our defense as well as it is!

All of this team is under underappreciated, but these are the guys that I believe people need to realize we would not be chasing perfection or more importantly the Lombardi trophy! I hope these guys agree Go Panthers!

 

 

 

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NBA, Uncategorized

Charlotte Hornets Newcomers paying big dividends early in 2015

The Charlotte Hornets are over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season when they were 43-39. With the 25- point victory over the hopeless 76ers the Hornets are 8-6 to begin the 2015 season. It’s been the most entertaining basketball as seen in the Queen city since the buzz returned.

The Newcomers

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The front office and GM Rich Cho were busy this off-season trying to improve their bench and three point shooting. They were able to pull off some savvy trades to do just what they set out to. We were able to acquire Nicolas Batum, who sort of became a cast-off in Portland with their stars.

Batum has taken to his expanded role with the Hornets averaging 17.1 points per game, 3.8 assists and six rebounds a stat sheet stuffer thus far in 2015. I know it’s only 15 games into the season, but I think Portland regrets letting him go; the Hornets are benefiting greatly from this move. The Frenchman has been a great addition to this team providing great leadership as well he has been everything and more the Hornets wanted when they made this move.

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Another guy the team was able to acquire was Jeremy Lamb who had been determined the odd man out in Oklahoma City and boy I’m glad he was. Since becoming a hornet, he has given us a jolt of energy with his silky jumper and his ability to create at the offensive end of the floor.

He is averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds coming off the bench; proving the Hornets were right again in making this move. Lamb’s good play was rewarded with a three-year $21 million contract extension that it this point looks like a steal. The Hornets have done an amazing job finding great NBA talent that other teams have forgotten about.

 

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The team has also added Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes two guys that have also given us a shot in the arm coming off the bench with their ability to shoot threes and rebound. Jeremy Lin a great ability to create offense and allow Kemba Walker to play off the ball creating more offensive weapons on the floor much more than previous years. He is also putting up solid numbers averaging 11.8 points per game 3 assists and 2.8 rebounds helping the Hornets to one of the best benches in the league.

The newcomers have created a myriad of options for coach Steve Clifford to choose from if one lineup or another isn’t working. With Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson having a great cast around  taking the pressure off of  those guys  games to shine through it’s been fun to see.

The best part about this team is it’s a team effort every night and there’s always someone new making an impact on the game. The front office went into this off-season with a plan and it’s paying off big time. This season has a chance to be very special in the Queen City just like another team in the Carolinas this season!

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Carolina Panthers, Uncategorized

Cam Newton is the NFL MVP

As we head into week 10 of the NFL season there are two undefeated teams remaining the New England Patriots and my Carolina Panthers! Many people may think I am biased when I say Cam Newton is the NFL’s MVP this season easy!  Why? He has proved it and the MVP is the most valuable player and this year Newton is that guy. He has led this team to the game winning drives, controlling this offense putting the team in the best plays possible keep in mind this is without the number one wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. 

He has accounted for 21 total touchdowns 15 passing and six rushing a dual threat quarterback that will do anything necessary to win a game. He has his fingerprints all over the game; a stat that I found mind-boggling is 46% of the time that he runs the ball it either result in a first down or a touchdown doing it multiple ways creating massive headaches for opponents so much fun to watch.

The reality is his stats are never going to match Tom Brady’s but there is no comparison to the personnel around Tom Brady and Cam Newton he has been able to take unheralded wide receivers and help them develop into solid wide receivers that you can trust. I understand Julian Edelman just one out with a broken foot and they lost Dion Lewis to an ACL injury now they have just Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, those guys are still major names that have had great success at the NFL level. The Panthers do have one of the best tight ends and Greg Olsen, but after that there’s Ted Ginn JR, Philly Brown, and Devin Funchess nowhere near what Brady has had the opportunity to work with. Cam Newton has brought out the best in these young guys that keep developing and getting better every week. Newton’s stats to be as flashy as Brady’s, but if you take Cam off the Panthers we wouldn’t be where we are right now chasing that Lombardi trophy.

Also Newton game has matured greatly this year not sulking and pouting when games weren’t going our way, just shaking it off and cheering on the rest of his teammates. His accuracy is improving as well Sunday against the Titans completed a career-best 11 straight passes showing he can do it all to help this team win! Oh, I almost forgot he has 29 games with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown just two from Hall of Famer Steve Young’s record of 31 if that alone doesn’t put you in the MVP conversation I don’t know what will. People may not like the Cam Newton swagger well get over it because unless you stop him you’re going to get it every time! His game isn’t modeled by stats it’s modeled by W’s and that’s all he cares about what he’s done with this depleted roster is absolutely amazing! A lot of the time the MVP is determined by stats, but this year looking at the entire package Cam Newton is clearly the MVP of the league.

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