Ohio State Buckeyes Rally in the 3rd Quarter to Beat the TCU Horned Frogs 40- 28

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Arlington: The 4th Ranked Ohio State Buckeyes took a big-game reputation into Saturday's matchup against No. 15 TCU at AT&T Stadium. That reputation was put on the line, and it took a 20-point eruption in four minutes of game time in the third quarter for the Buckeyes to take control in a 40-28 victory on Saturday night. Ohio State used that to improve to 3-0 under acting coach Ryan Day, who passed every test during Urban Meyer's three-game suspension.

Meyer isn't the right answer. He returns next week against Tulane looking to repair his reputation after the suspension that followed the firing of former assistant coach Zach Smith on July 23. Meyer served his time and will need to be heard out at his next news conference, his first since the suspension.

 

Day isn't the right answer either. He didn't lose his cool when TCU took a 21-13 lead in the third quarter, coaching as the Buckeyes went on a 20-point run in the third quarter. Haskins tossed a bubble screen to Parris Campbell that morphed into a 61-yard touchdown reception. Dre'Mont Jones intercepted a shovel pass and returned it for another score. Haskins threw another touchdown to K.J. Hill. That gave Ohio State the necessary cushion to hold off TCU in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes aren't the right answer, either. Even without Meyer, this super-talented team did what it was supposed to do in the first three weeks of the season. The transition back to Meyer will revive questions about the play-calling protocol between the two coaches.

Meanwhile TCU coach Gary Patterson and his team wanted to beat Ohio State on Saturday night. They wanted to make a statement and put themselves squarely in the College Football Playoff conversation early on this season. But they didn’t and are moving on to another important game at Texas on Saturday. In fact, Patterson told his team that if he had to choose one game to win – Ohio State or Texas – he’d take Texas. “If you gave me a choice of who you need to beat, it’s conference play,” Patterson said on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday.

“You’d want to win the Texas game. Whether that permeated with them, we’ll find out. But that’s the thing you have to understand – to get to the playoffs you’ve got to win your conference, or get to be one of those final two teams [in the Big 12 title game]. It starts this week.” The good news for Patterson and the Frogs is that they have an impressive track record against Texas since joining the Big 12 in 2012. They’ve won five of the six contests, including the last four by a combined score of 153-33. The Frogs are looking to defeat the Longhorns five consecutive times for the first time in school history. They won four straight from 1935-38.

Patterson acknowledged the natural rivalry between the two schools because of recruiting battles and TCU’s players growing up watching University of Texas games “The biggest thing is just making sure I can control TCU.” Game time is this Saturday at 3:30pm on the Fox Network from Austin, Texas.

 

 

Cowboys Get 1st Win of the Season with a 20-13 victory over the Giants

 

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Tim Heitman – USA TODAY Sports

 

Arlington: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the third play of the game and the Dallas Cowboys sacked Eli Manning six times in a 20-13 victory over the Giants on Sunday night. The Dallas defense was strong again, just as in an opening loss at Carolina, as the Cowboys (1-1) avoided the first 0-2 start in seven seasons under Coach Jason Garrett.

Manning went 33 of 44 for 279 yards and a touchdown, an 18-yarder to Evan Engram with 1 minute 27 seconds left, but he could not keep the Giants from starting 0-2 for the fifth time in the past six seasons. Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott outgained Saquon Barkley in the first meeting in the pros between the former college rivals and high N.F.L. draft picks. Elliott, who starred at Ohio State, rushed for 78 yards with a touchdown. Barkley, from Penn State, had just 28.Even Prescott outrushed Barkley, finishing with a career-high 45 yards on the ground while throwing for 160.

After saying “challenge accepted” during the week to Giants safety Landon Collins’s suggestion that the Giants had a better chance by forcing Prescott to throw, Prescott hit Austin in stride behind cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Austin cut back to his right before trotting across the goal line at an angle. Brett Maher had the first two field goals of his N.F.L. career, including a 29-yarder after Damien Wilson forced a fumble on a sack of Manning and Taco Charlton recovered.

The Cowboys shared the wealth on the sacks, with six players recording a sack apiece: linebacker Wilson, safety Kavon Frazier and defensive linemen Charlton, DeMarcus Lawrence, Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford. The Giants had questions with the offensive front, and those concerns will grow after Manning finished two sacks shy of the most in his career. The Giants also lost center Jon Halapio, who was carted off with an air cast on his right leg in the third quarter.

Manning converted a pair of fourth downs on sneaks, but the sacks helped keep the Giants from converting those into points. He was even hammered when he was not behind the line of scrimmage — on a hit by linebacker Jaylon Smith on a 1-yard gain before the Giants’ first points on Aldrick Rosas’ field goal late in the third quarter. Prescott fooled the defense several times with fake handoffs to Elliott on keepers around end. The longest was a 15-yarder on Dallas’s second possession, leading to Maher’s first N.F.L. field goal, from 37 yards.

For the second straight week, the Giants did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. They made it interesting when Michael Thomas recovered an onside kick after Manning’s scoring pass to Engram.

The Giants settled for Rosas’ 38-yard field goal to make it a touchdown deficit with 11 seconds remaining, but the next onside kick went out of bounds. The Cowboys will now travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks. Gametime is at 3:25 on the Fox Network.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys “FALL” to Carolina Panthers

16 to 8 in opener

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores

 

Charlotte N.C. The 2018 NFL Season has begun and the Dallas Cowboys opened it’s season in the Queen city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The outcome wasn’t in favor for the Cowboys because of a troubling trend from last season. The Cowboys couldn’t crack double digits in points. It happened four times in the final eight games of 2017, including three straight weeks without running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott was on the field Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, but the Cowboys couldn’t get him involved nearly as much as they’d normally like. He had only 15 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown, the offense’s only points in a sloppy 16-8 loss. The revamped Dallas offense – featuring two new starters on the offensive line, four new receivers and a new tight end rotation – struggled to find any rhythm in the passing game until the second half. After the game, Prescott (19-of-29, 170 yards) didn’t use that as justification for the offense’s struggles.

The offense punted on all five possessions in the first half and went 0-of-5 on third down. Due to a combination of penalties, sacks and minus plays, Prescott faced third-and-26, third-and-12, third-and-10, third-and-11, third-and-7. Not exactly ideal down and distance. Carolina took a 10-0 halftime lead and never trailed in the game, even though Dallas made things interesting in the fourth quarter by making it a one-score game with an Elliott touchdown and a Prescott two-point conversion.

Prescott was sacked six times in the game. He also missed open throws at times, including a wide-open Blake Jarwin that would have put the offense deep in Carolina territory late in the second quarter.  The second half resembled the Prescott-Elliott Era offense at its best. Elliott ran for 51 yards and a score and Prescott subsequently found more balance in the passing game, throwing for six first downs. Cole Beasley, one of only two wideouts back from last year’s team, led all receivers with seven catches for 73 yards.

In closing Cowboys fans are thinking about the impact of the entire offseason overhauling the offense and the passing game. They got rid of receiver Dez Bryant and cut kicker Dan Bailey for the unknown Brett Maher. Quarterback Dak Prescott and the moribund offense will certainly be questioned. But, so should the front office after Maher missed his only kick of the game, a 47-yarder that would have made it one score game in the third quarter. What’s also true is that the Cowboys have scored just 26 points in three games since Ezekiel Elliott returned from a six-game suspension at the end of last season. This was the sixth time in the last nine games that the Cowboys scored 12 points or fewer.

Owner Jerry Jones was so frustrated and disappointed that he purposely avoided the media after the game, foregoing his customary press conference outside the locker room. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan out right refused requests to be interviewed. The team will now concentrate on it’s home opener from AT&T Stadium against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.

 

 

North Texas Mean Green opens the season 2-0, up next the Arkansas Razorbacks

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Jake King

 

Denton: Winning is a great thing when it comes to college football, however for the University of North Texas has been a long time.  Thanks to QB Mason Fine has been able to put up huge numbers and the Mean Green’s defense dominated for a second straight game. Last week win over SMU and this week’s performance on both sides of the ball added up to a 58-16 win over Incarnate Word at Apogee Stadium and a 2-0 start. UNT was last 2-0 back in 1994, its last season competing at the Football Championship Subdivision level. The mark is even more significant when one considers the last time UNT reached it while competing at the highest level of college football.

 

The Mean Green still have a long way to go to get to where they want to be in coach Seth Littrell’s third season at UNT. But the Mean Green are off to a heck of a start. UNT hammered rival SMU 46-23 in its season opener last week and didn’t show any signs of slowing down against Incarnate Word, an overmatched opponent from the FCS ranks. UNT has scored 104 points through two games of the season, breaking the previous record of 101 points set in its first two games in 1919 when it beat TCU and Dallas University.

Now let’s take a look at some the key players such the QB Fine threw for 418 yards and four touchdowns to lead UNT’s offensive onslaught against Incarnate Word (0-2) in front of a crowd of 18,538. The junior didn’t quite match the 444 yards he threw for in the Mean Green’s season-opening win over SMU but made history anyway. He became the first UNT quarterback to throw for 400 yards in back-to-back games in program history. Rico Bussey Jr. was Fine’s favorite target and finished with eight catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns. Running back DeAndre Torrey scored three TDs in the first half, all on 1-yard runs.

 

UNT’s performance sent the Mean Green into their game at Arkansas next week on a high note and raised hopes that another milestone might be on the horizon. UNT hasn’t beaten a team from a Power Five conference since knocking off Indiana in 2011 and struggled in its last game against an Southeastern Conference team. The Mean Green fell 32-0 to Florida in 2016.  UNT hasn’t beaten a Power Five conference team since knocking off Indiana in 2011 and is 3-36 all-time against teams from the SEC. The Mean Green have quickly emerged from a tough era in program history and need to consistently win. That’s the best way to build a program for schools like UNT. The Mean Green have reached that point quickly under Littrell and are 11-5 since the beginning of last season.

The Arkansas Razorbacks will be looking to bounce back after a frustrating first loss of the season, blowing a 27-9 lead and allowing 25 unanswered points down the stretch to lose to Colorado State by a final score of 34-27. Cole Kelley threw for 102 yards on 6 of 9 passing with 2 touchdowns while Ty Storey threw for 36 yards and a pair of picks on 5 of 13 passing. Devwah Whaley racked up 165 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries while T.J. Hammonds and La’Michael Pettway each logged a TD grab in the losing effort. Defensively, Ryan Pulley recorded an interception and McTelvin Agim recorded a fumble recovery while D’Vone McClure led the Hogs with 5 tackles in the losing effort.

 

Gametime is 4pm  is  this Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm (Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium)

 

 

Dallas Wings Fall to the Washington Mystics 90-83

Coach Fred Williams is fired after the game.

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Washington: The Wings fell to 14-17 on the season with a 93-80 loss in Washington against the Mystics, despite six Wings players scoring in double figures. The Mystics raced out to a quick 12-2 lead, but the Wings battled back to tie the score at 20 heading into the second quarter. Rookie Azurá Stevens led the Wings with 13 first-quarter points. Washington pulled away in the second quarter, outscoring the Wings 31-17 and taking a 51-37 lead into halftime. Stevens scored 13 points in the first half while Allisha Gray scored 10 points. The Mystics continued to dominate in the third quarter, taking a 75-63 advantage into the final quarter.

 

The Wings pulled to within six points, 77-71, in the fourth quarter but the Mystics held on to pick up a 93-80 victory. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Wings with 17 points and six assists. Stevens scored 15 points and added eight rebounds. Kayla Thornton recorded 14 points and five rebounds, while Gray tallied a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards. Theresa Plaisance scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Cayla George also tallied 11 points. The Mystics were led by Ariel Atkins with 26 points on 7-for-11 from the field, including a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. The Wings will wrap up their road trip in Connecticut on August 14 for the series finale against the Sun. Tip-off against the Sun is set for 6 p.m. CT.

The loss of Liz Cambage due to a concussion has really hurt Dallas at the wrong time and it has shown. On the way to having a eight-game losing streak, which still gives the Aces to sneak in and take the final playoff spot.

 

The Dallas Wings announced this evening that Fred Williams has been relieved of his duties effective immediately. Assistant Coach Taj McWilliams-Franklin has been named interim head coach for the remainder of the season, and the organization will conduct a full search for a permanent head coach immediately following the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. Taj McWilliams-Franklin was named assistant coach for the Dallas Wings in 2017 and has served in that role for the past two seasons. She previously served as assistant coach for the New York Liberty in 2013 and head coach at Post University in 2015. Erin Phillips and Travis Charles will serve as assistant coaches for the remainder of the year.

 

“Following today’s game, I made the decision to change direction in regards to our head coaching position,” stated President and CEO Greg Bibb. “I felt this move was necessary.  The season has not met our expectations.  I have asked Taj to serve as our interim head coach and I have the upmost confidence that she and our staff will do everything possible to put us in the best position to win. I wish Fred the best moving forward. Our focus remains on qualifying for the playoffs and ultimately competing for a WNBA championship.”

 

Rangers Sweep the Houston Astros

Story by Cedric Bailey, Photo by Karen Warren

 

Houston: Jurickson Profar drove in a run and scored a run Sunday, in the process absorbing an inadvertent spike wound to the face, to help pace the Rangers to a 4-3 win over the Astros before 40,560 at Minute Maid Park. The loss sent the Astros on the road for an eight-game trip to Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco with the core of their infield, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, on the disabled list and having absorbed their season-high fourth consecutive loss. They are 3-5 since the All-Star Game break and lead the Mariners by 4 ½ games and the A's by 5 ½, pending Sunday afternoon's results elsewhere, entering the road trip.

Lance McCullers Jr. (10-6) struck out seven through four innings and took a one-hitter into the fifth but took the loss after the Rangers put up three runs in the fifth. He had 11 strikeouts with no walks and allowed four runs, three earned. Mike Minor (7-6), pitching for the fifth time against the Astros this season, allowed two runs and four hits through six innings with eight strikeouts. Alex Claudio and Jose Leclerc each pitched scoreless innings for the Rangers, who prevailed despite striking out 19 times against four Astros pitchers.

Rangers closer Keone Kela gave up two walks and an RBI single to Tony Kemp in the ninth but got George Springer to pop out to catcher Robinson Chirinos to end the game. A series of quirky plays went the Rangers' way in a three-run sixth inning that knocked McCullers out of the game. Rougned Odor led off with a double, and Profar's shot up the middle hit McCullers and bounced up the middle for a base hit to the left of shortstop Alex Bregman, scoring Odor.

Profar took second when the Astros left second base unoccupied but paid for it when Yuli Gurriel, in a rare appearance at second base, stumbled backward in an attempt to cover the bag and spiked Profar under the left eye. Profar left the field to receive medical treatment but returned with his face bandaged. Profar took third on a wild pitch, and the Rangers caught another break when Gurriel whiffed on a ground ball by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, with Profar scoring on the error. Ronald Guzman followed with a shot to the base of the centerfield wall, the Rangers' fourth double in seven batters, to score Kiner-Falefa and end McCullers' day.

The Astros got a run back in the sixth. Kemp singled up the middle past Minor, Springer doubled off the left-field scoreboard and Bregman lifted a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left. Gurriel popped out to first baseman Guzman, Evan Gattis was walked intentionally and Josh Reddick lined out to end the threat. Another opportunity went wanting in the seventh as Tyler White singled and J.D. Davis doubled to open the inning off Claudio. But catcher Martin Maldonado flied out to left, White came home on a Kemp grounder to second and was thrown out by Odor and Springer grounded out to end the inning.

 

McCullers and Minor dominated early, with each striking out seven through four innings with no walks. The Rangers' only hit was a two-out single by Profar in the fourth, and White's homer off the left-field foul pole was the Astros' only hit. The Rangers tied it in the fifth, and Minute Maid Park's quirky construction may have cost them a second run. With one out, Guzman struck out on a curveball that skipped past Maldonado for a wild pitch and went to third on a base hit by catcher Chirinos.

McCullers got Willie Calhoun for his ninth strikeout, but Delino DeShields got a sharp liner to left field that became lodged between the dirt and the padding at the bottom of the outfield wall in foul ground just to the left of the out-of-town scoreboard. Guzman scored, and Chirinos came around to score as well but was sent back to third when DeShields' hit was ruled as a ground-rule double. McCullers then struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the threat.

 

 

WNBA All-Star Weekend from Minnesota

By Cedric Bailey

 

Minneapolis— It was Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore that won her third straight All-Star MVP award to lead Team Parker past Team Delle Donne 119-112 in the WNBA All-Star Game. Moore scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out six assists to win the MVP award on her home court.

"It's crazy, it really is, to just be fortunate enough to continue to be in positions to win, to be playing well, to be healthy," said Moore, who joined Lisa Leslie as the only three-time MVP of the game and became the all-time scoring leader in All-Star history, passing Tamika Catchings' mark of 108 points. Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky also scored 18 points and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings added 17 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists for Team Parker.

Team Delle Donne's Kristi Toliver of the Washington Mystics led all scorers with 23 points, including 7-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers. Rookie A'ja Wilson of the Los Vegas Aces added 18 points. Toliver made five 3s in the final 5 minutes of the game as Team Delle Donne came back from a 14-point deficit. But Moore drilled a 3-pointer of her own with 1:26 to play, pushing Team Parker's lead to six and all but sewing up the MVP award.

Eschewing the traditional East-vs.-West format for the first time, the league let Captains Elena Delle Donne of the Mystics and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks chose up sides from a pool of the top players in All-Star voting. That allowed for the rosters to be heavily dominated (16 of the 22 players) by the Western Conference, home of six of the top seven teams in the league standings.

"How did we follow the 3-point contest?" asked Parker, who called it her personal highlight of the day. "We had some of the best shooters in the world competing. To have to make 21 to even get into the top two, to then have a shoot off, to then have Allie hit 29? ... That was awesome." Wings star Liz Cambage capped off the contest with a dunk, becoming the sixth different player to do it in the game. “I was going to pull up and take a 3, but Candace said I should dunk it so I did," said Cambage, a 6-foot-8 post who set a WNBA single-game scoring record earlier this year with 53 points. With talk of adding a skills contest to next year's festivities, Quigley playfully suggested Cambage push for a dunk contest, a suggestion that the gregarious Australian shut down instantly.

 

Big 12 Media Day 2018 with the TCU Horned Frogs

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Jordan Ray

 

Frisco: College Football Season will start on next month and the TCU Horned Frogs will open the season against the Southern University Jaguars at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth. On Monday we had the opportunity to sit down and talk about the upcoming season. Now if you’re still wondering who TCU’s starting quarterback will be in 2018, Then it will be Shawn Robinson, even if TCU coach Gary Patterson is hesitant to declare his starter on July 16.

They have Robinson, who played in six games as a true freshman in 2017, including a start against Texas Tech in Lubbock. Even Patterson pointed out that it “was a hard place to play.” Obviously, he’s the guy that played the most games,” Patterson said at the Big 12 media days at The Star in Frisco. “He was able to win this last year. So obviously he’s proven himself, he probably has the edge.”

Transfer Mike Collins has impressed and will get a chance to play behind Robinson, and if Robinson falters early, Collins or Grayson Muehlstein could find themselves with a bigger role. But neither have thrown a pass before for TCU. They are Plan B for the Frogs. Justin Rogers, who is still recovering from knee surgery that wiped out most of his high school senior season, won’t likely be 100 percent until the final third of the season. He’ll probably get a good look during some games late, especially with the expanded redshirt rules that allow players to play in four games without losing their redshirt eligibility.

“Probably top-to-bottom, depth chart-wise [quarterback is] the best we’ve seen,” Patterson said. “But you’ve listened to me before, I don’t judge quarterbacks in practice or stats, anything else. I judge ‘em on Saturdays. Robinson is one of five TCU players attending today’s Big 12 media event, another sign that Patterson isn’t really hiding his intentions.

“We’re going to have a good skilled group around them and how do they grow up and become leaders and I think one of the biggest ways to become a leader is to come to this event and get a chance to see all of you and see, really, what’s out there, what you represent and the people that are going to be talking about you and what you do. So I thought it was a good thing.”

Be sure to listen to our interview with Coach Patterson on the BGC Sports Network online at 8am and 2pm at www.bgcsports.net

 

 

LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers

By Cedric Bailey

 

Cleveland: This past Saturday night it was Magic Johnson showing up at the home LeBron James at 9pm by himself. Let’s just say that Magic knew that if he could look James in the eye and talk to him, they’d connect. They had too much in common for that not to happen.

They talked about basketball and what the Lakers’ future could be, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly. James was already interested in the Lakers. He didn’t mind that the Lakers weren’t a ready-made championship team; he could help build that. They bonded as men who’d grown up in the Midwest, men who saw basketball as a doorway to the business world and a way to effect social change.

For more than two hours they shared their experiences, members of one of the tiniest and most elite fraternities. And now the Lakers have a superstar again. James chose the Lakers on Sunday evening, within the first 24 hours of NBA free agency. Instantly, the shine returned to the league’s glamour franchise. After five years of missing the playoffs, infighting, turmoil, bad contracts and snubs in free agency, the Lakers got the player whose opinion matters more than anyone else’s every four summers.

James agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million, which he can sign as early as Friday; he can opt out after the third year, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly. His representatives let the Lakers know their decision minutes before releasing a one-sentence announcement on the Twitter account of Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James.

James’ decision changes the league’s balance of power and gives the Lakers front office led by Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka its long-anticipated offseason triumph. In James, they get a four-time NBA most valuable player who’s reached the NBA Finals for the past eight years, winning with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He was named MVP of all three championship series.

Now he’ll try to match Johnson and Kobe Bryant, both five-time NBA champions, as a member of the franchise they both elevated. Now, James comes to a Lakers team loaded with young players that won just 35 games last season, well below the organization’s level of historic excellence. Stay tuned for our next report on the latest moves from the NBA thru out the month of July.

 

 

The 2018 CIF Season of the Texas Revolution
Turn Out The Lights!

By Dave Michaels

 

This Party Is over! Yes, that is the song and that is the season of the 2017 Defending CIF Champions Texas Revolution! The 2018 year, might have had a target on their backs when they opened their season against the Dallas Marshals, but change and more change was about to happen for this team.

It started out with the head coach of the champions, Victor Mann, leaving to go and coach the team he beat in the championship game in 2017, The Omaha Beef. So that takes us back to last September, and the Revolution were looking for a new head coach, they tapped Carlos Cavanaugh, the former Offensive Coordinator, and so the process begins. Players change, no longer running the team from the Quarterback position would be the Hall of Famer, Chris Dixon, with the running back and Rookie of the Year, Michael Dyer, the former Auburn and Louisville standout. Changes, that was the theme for the 2018 Revolution, they were in for lots of changes for the season.

In August, before everything else was set in motion, the team moved from Allen, Texas, where they called the Allen Event Center home for five seasons, they moved to their new home base, of Frisco, Texas and the Dr Pepper Star Center. This arena holds hockey for the Texas Tornado, the basketball team of the NBA’s “G” League, Texas Legends, and the Dallas Stars Hockey practice facility, and is now the new home of the Revolution. With these changes, the team is in gear to create some excitement, and the exhibition game on the 24th of February, they opened up against the NTX Savages with a win 49-14. However, after that, it went downhill quickly—four in a row losses, including to the cross town rival Dallas Marshals. Coach Cavanaugh could not get this ship going in the right direction, three different quarterbacks, and a slew of different wide receivers, and going back to Darius Fudge at running back, but nothing seemed to work for this team.

IN the fifth game of the season, a change was made. After word came, that Coach Mann was released from the Omaha Beef, and had returned to N. Texas, the CEO of the Revolution, Tommy Benezio, was able to bring back the Champion Head Coach Victor Mann to the team, and with hopes of setting the course in the right direction. First game back, not so good, but then again, only a week back with the team, and other changes had to be made, including, finding a quarterback to steer the ship.

Finally they found the right guy in Andrew Jackson. Seemed that he was able to find a rhythm, with finding targets like Clint Solomon, and LaDon Hudson, bringing back last year’s spark plug, Joe Adams, and let’s not forget Brett Reece Jr.—and again the running back of Darius Fudge, and Jordan Brown, the offense was in good shape, the defense, led by Linebacker Frankie Solomon, and Tre Harlan, Meshak Williams, and a host of others.

Once again change was happening, when during the four game winning streak, one of the wins was a forfeit, with the Dallas Marshals ceasing operation, and not able to complete the season. One of the losses in the beginning of the season was to the Marshals, in fact, it was opening night, 38-37, after that it was one more game that they faced their cross town rival, and beat them soundly, almost getting a shutout, however the third game that was set to be played, by then the Marshals had folded up. That only allowed four teams in the South, and it was decided that no matter what the record was going to be, the Revolution was going to make it to the play offs.

On their way to that post season, they still were able to manhandle their conference foes, the Amarillo Venom beating them not only soundly at home, but also on the road  and again in the first round of the playoffs, then they were able to beat the division leading Duke City Gladiators, also at home, but it seemed that the Gladiators had the Revolution’s number, with a convincing shut out (the first for an arena team in recent memory) 37-0 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, setting the stage in the event that these two teams were to meet up in the playoffs, and for the right to go to the Champion Bowl IV, and it all comes down to a game that started out looking like a rout.

The Gladiators open up the scoring quickly 15-0 before the Revolution get on the board, and try to make a game out of it, before the half. The Second Half started and the Revolution got the ball to start it off, and were able to score and tie the game up, but that was about as close as they were going to get, because the Gladiators started to score and keep the Revolution at bay. When the smoke cleared, the reign of the Revolution came to an end, and the Gladiators are headed to the Champions Bowl IV presented by Baymont Inn & Suits.

Their opponent, the Sioux City Bandits who have 13 division titles and THREE Championships in their hip pocket, and looking for number four. The Game will be played on the weekend of the June 30th, and most likely will at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, NM. With the Gladiators going into the game with a 12-2 record against the Bandits 11-3. An exciting season for the Revolution, but now it’s time to regroup, and get set for the 2019 season of Champions Indoor Football- the off season will be full of changes once again!

Just a thought. 

Rangers Pitcher Bartolo Colon Make History with the

Texas Rangers

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by John Sleezer

 

Kansas City: There's a new all-time wins leader from the Dominican Republic: Bartolo Colon. Facing perhaps the AL's lightest-hitting team, Colon on Monday made his first quality start in June in the Rangers' 6-3 win over Kansas City and passed Juan Marichal for the all-time wins lead by Dominican natives. Colon now has 244. He trails Nicaragua's Dennis Martinez by one for the all-time lead in wins by a native of Latin America.

Colon, who has been homer prone lately, got the benefit of facing a Royals team with absolutely no power. Kansas City, which began the day tied for last in the AL with 60 homers, did not hit a home run against Colon. Since April 21, Colon has not allowed at least one home run in three starts; two of them are against the Royals.

Meanwhile the Rangers also got some additional good news as Elvis Andrus' return Monday to the Texas Rangers' lineup. And that's just fine with manager Jeff Banister, who has decided the best way forward is to keep getting his group of infielders as much playing time as possible. Andrus, who came off the disabled list and was in the starting lineup for Monday's victory over the Kansas City Royals, pushed Jurickson Profar into something of a no-man's land. On Monday, Profar started at second base, pushing Rougned Odor to the dugout.

But Odor is scheduled to be back in the lineup the next two days, and will see as much action as Profar, Banister said. Banister he met with his infielders before Monday's game and said the plan is to get all of the infielders, including Andrus and Adrian Beltre, at least five games a week. You can also add to the infielder mix rookie Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has been tabbed as Robinson Chirinos' backup catcher after Jose Trevino was optioned back to Double A Frisco. Kiner-Falefa is scheduled to make his first major league start behind the plate on Wednesday.

Banister said Profar and Kiner-Falefa have earned a chance to remain everyday players. And Odor, he said, is trending in the right direction both defensively and at the plate. Odor is hitting .263 with seven walks in his past 22 games. Profar will split time between third, shortstop and second base by giving Beltre and Andrus days off their feet each week. "It's going to be really hard," Banister said of the juggling act. "I equate it to a basketball team trying to find enough touches for everybody."

The Rangers will return back to Globe Life Park on this weekend with 3 games vs the Twins, 3 games vs the San Diego Padres and close out the 4th of July weekend against the White Sox and Houston Astros.

 

 

Warriors Win another NBA Championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Chuck Flores

 

Cleveland: The NBA Season is now in the books because Act IV of the Warriors and Cavaliers is over.  One could sense its inevitable conclusion after Game 3 when LeBron James spoke to the media in terms of resignation about his Cavaliers and their nemesis, the Warriors.  In that press conference he broke down—player by player—why the Warriors are a better team than the Cavaliers

James’ Game 3 concession speech marked the end of the series, and Game 4 was just a formality.  The Cavs gave it a sporting chance in the first half, though the Warriors were never threatened.  By the third quarter the Warriors pulled away, and a prolonged, anticlimactic garbage time ensued.  The Cavs threw in the towel very early, and while they sadly went through the motions on the court below, the public address system blared out a hollow “Let’s go Cavs!” track that morbidly cut through the stunned silence of the Q.  All that the Cleveland fans had left them in them were a few boos.  By the fourth quarter, there were cheers, but they were coming from the surprisingly sizable contingent of Warriors fans who made it to Cleveland.  The Cavs went out with a zero and four whimper, and the Warriors, once again, bathed the visitors’ locker room in champagne.

Congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, 2018 NBA Champions.  They have won more games (265) than any team in history over a four year period.  No team had even won 251 games in a four year period before that.  In that span, they were 63-20 (a historic winning percentage of 76%) with a bloated +709 differential.  The numbers confirm the dominance that we have witnessed since the 2015 season.  The Warriors have surpassed their wildest expectations, and they are a dynasty.  Only 5 other teams have won as many championships as the Warriors. 

For the Warriors organization there was certainly an ecstatic joy that came with claiming the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the third time in four years.  No longer will the number arrangement of 3 and 1 when referencing the Warriors and Cavs be anathema for the Warriors and their fans.  That curse has been reversed.  But with each additional crowning achievement comes a different response from the main actors of this drama, a fulfillment that is more layered and nuanced.  For young players like Nick Young, Quinn Cook, and Jordan Bell, who reached the mountain top for the first time, the moment was emotionally overwhelming and intoxicating.  But for the other players for whom this was their second or third Championship the response was a little more reserved and reflective.  The players made it through a long, grueling season where they had to press harder to find motivation and where injuries and internal conflict set them back.  Myers said to reporters that 2017 was the honeymoon, and the 2018 season was the marriage.   For the vets, especially, this championship was the most rewarding for the simple fact that they had to dig deeper for it.   Steve Kerr had to be the parent, so to speak, and the players, especially Shaun Livingston and Steph Curry, expressed a deep appreciation for how he handled the internal adversity.  There was a look of deep, wisdom-filled satisfaction on Kerr’s face throughout the celebration after the game. Relief, vindication and gratitude rolled into one.  One could see on his face that he had been through a grueling campaign, and the war was finally over.  In the end, the players celebrated the fact that they held strong and kept together, defeating the internal demons that stir trouble in men’s souls.  There was a deep appreciation for one another, for their coach, and for their on-floor leader, Steph Curry. Though Kevin Durant had an MVP level series, it felt as though it would be Curry’s turn.  But the voters had other ideas.  And if you look at the numbers, they were probably right: Kevin Durant’s Finals Averages:  28.8 points 10.8 rebounds 7.5 assists, Steph Curry’s Final Averages: 27.5 pts, 6.8 ast, 6.0 reb  enough said.

 

 

Dallas Wings End the Seattle Storms Winning Streak

Story by Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Arlington— Dallas Wings guard Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 27 points and Center Liz Cambage added 25 to help Dallas hold off Seattle 94-90 on Saturday night. The Wings rebounded from a tough loss to New York to end a three-game road trip by cooling off the Storm, which had won five straight. Cambage built on a 28-point, 16-board outing against the Liberty by grabbing seven boards and hitting 10 of 15 from the free-throw line.

The Wings (3-3) held the Storm’s Jewell Loyd to just 16 points, ending her string of scoring 20 or more points in five consecutive games. She was just 5 of 17 from the field, including 1 for 8 from behind the three-point line.The Storm set a WNBA record with 17 three-point field goals in its previous game. But against Dallas, Seattle shot just 6 for 23 from behind the arch.

Loyd’s two free throws with 3:22 left got Seattle within 81-80 after the Storm (5-2) trailed by 17 at the half. Cambage then scored the next seven points, including going 5 for 5 from the foul line to give the Wings a cushion. Seattle wouldn’t go away though, getting within 92-90 with 2.2 seconds left after Breanna Stewart banked in a runner. Diggins-Smith sealed the win with two free throws.

Stewart paced Seattle with 28 points on 10-for-15 shooting and collected seven rebounds. Natasha Howard had 19 points and nine rebounds. Sue Bird sat out the game to rest and rookie point guard Jordin Canada got her first start. She had nine points, nine assists and a career-high five steals. The Storm was outrebounded 36-26 and gave up 34 points in the first quarter, the most allowed in any quarter this season.

The Dallas Wings have signed Australian center Cayla George, the team announced in a statement Sunday. Dallas waived center Breanna Lewis to make room. George played with the Phoenix Mercury in 2015 and 2017, averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game across 66 games. She was in camp with the Connecticut Sun this preseason but did not make the roster.

"Cayla brings a versatile game to our roster, with the ability to play multiple positions on the floor," Wings president and general manager Greg Bibb said the statement. "She is an outstanding rebounder and a player who has the ability to extend her shooting range well outside the paint. We are excited to add her to our team."

The Wings will now travel to Indiana on this Friday to face the Fever and back to Arlington on June 12 to play the Phoenix Mercury.

 

 

Grambling State University Graduation 2018

By Cedric Bailey

 

Grambling Louisiana:  It was a beautiful Friday morning and it was Mother’s day weekend. The speaker of the commencement was Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks.  Marshall set the tone early by referring to her days as a cheerleader in California. She starting her speech with the GSU Cheer and sharing her college day’s as well. “‘Diversity’ is being invited to the party; ‘inclusion’ is being asked to dance.” Were the words that she wanted the students to remember as they walked across the stage.

 

Marshall, who The Network Journal recently named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business, has already had an impact on Grambling State students after recently hosting a student visit at the Mavericks headquarters in Dallas, TX. “Meeting Cynthia Marshall was definitely something I didn’t know I needed,” said Sara Renee Garner, sophomore in Grambling State’s Department of Mass Communication. “As a black woman in a male-dominated industry, she is like superwoman. Meeting her, I saw all of my dreams personified.”

 

There were several golden moments from the graduation such as the story of Mr. Robert Parham who deliver on a promise he made to himself and his mother more than 40 years ago. “I promised my mother years ago that I would finish my degree at GSU and it feels good that I was able to keep my promise,” Parham said. “I was inspired to push forward by my son who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mathematics and has been working for the last eight years.” A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Parham is best known to most for his three decades of football achievement. In 1981 he was selected and played for the San Diego Chargers of The National Football League for two years and was a free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 1983 -1984.

As Grambling State University’s leading rusher from 1978-80, he amassed 2,700 yards over that span as GSU won three consecutive SWAC titles.  He was three times named Black College All-American, three times named to the All-SWAC first team and in 1980; he was named Black College Player of the Year.  He was also awarded the Jake Gaither Award and broke the rushing record of Paul “Tank” Younger having gained 3,448 yards.

 

 “I am very excited to award Robert Parham his degree. As a young man growing up here in Grambling, I remember Mr. Parham being an outstanding football player for Coach Eddie Robinson,” explained Grambling State president Richard Gallot. “I truly admire his desire to complete his coursework and earn his degree. I hope his story of never giving up and finishing something he started, serves as motivation to others that it’s never too late to get your degree, “The currently retired and inductee from the 1976-1980 era said his advice to anyone returning to school would be, “to never, never, never, give up.”

In closing there was a total of 425 Candidates & 3 Doctorates Awarded, Jodeen Shillingford Scores Top Honor as GSU Valedictorian. Shillingford is originally from Wesley, Dominica, plus she is a Double-major student in Accounting and Computer Information Systems finishes with 3.92. During her time at Grambling State Shillingford volunteered with a number of organizations both on and off campus. Her volunteerism includes outreach through the National Association of Black Accountants; Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program; Louisiana CPA (LCPA) Student Chapter, Beta Gamma Sigma; Sigma Alpha Pi; and the International Students Organization.

 

The Class of 2018 Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame

Story by Dave Michaels, Photo courtesy of Cottonbowl.com

 

On Tuesday the 8th of May, 2018, the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association inducted 6 new members into the Hall of Fame, that was held at AT&T Stadium, which is the site for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, and those six members included two legendary coaches, and four players.

John Robinson former Head Coach of the University of Southern California, Houston Nutt, former Head Coach of both the University of Arkansas and Ole Miss, along with players such as Wallace Triplett from Penn State, the 1948 Classic against SMU, Quentin Coryatt from Texas A&M who was in the 1992 Classic against Florida State, The Oklahoma Sooner Roy Williams who was in the 2002 Classic against Arkansas, and the Heisman Trophy winner, Ricky Williams out of the University of Texas.

 

Each one of the inductees have a story, each one has a memory or two that they shared, but the common thread among all of them, was that, the Cotton Bowl Committee that welcomes the teams, treat them better than most other Bowls, that would include the Granddaddy of them all the Rose Bowl.

Speaking with the former USC Coach John Robins, he said that “they had the best week that I could have ever imagined. The Rose Bowl, (now don’t quote me on this) they don’t treat you that good. “ Robins went on to say that the friendships that were made then are still there today, and even though they have been friends for all these many years, Robins says, that no one has gotten older.

 

Houston Nutt, brought two teams to the Cotton Bowl, the Razorbacks of Arkansas when they took on the Oklahoma Sooners, only to lose 10-3, then brought his next team to the Classic, the Ole Miss Rebels who closed out the Ol Dame of the Cotton Bowl Stadium against Texas Tech, then opened up AT&T Stadium against Oklahoma State, we spoke to Coach Nutt, and asked him about the distinction of closing the old one and then opening the new stadium, he said that every time he thought about it he “got chills”.  It brought back memories about the old stadium where he played and coached in games there, then to come to the new AT&T Stadium to bring in the new era of the Cotton Bowl Classic. Nutt goes on to say that the most important thing that he remembered doing for his team is that, he wanted to bring them into the building and let them practice, and in doing so, be in awe of that 60 yard Video Screen that sits above the field. For his players to get it out of their system that they are on the big screen and can see every pore of their face, just to get all of that out of their system before they had to take the field against the OSU Cowboys.

 

Former Penn State running back Wallace Triplett, from the 1948 Classic, where the Nittany Lions took on the SMU Mustangs, only to lose to the Mustangs on that January day. The House that Doak Built belonged to the defense, as both teams scored only 13 points each to end that classic in a tie. Triplett didn’t make the trip to Arlington, Texas for the induction ceremony, but his daughter and grand daughter represented him, and represent they did well. Both women spoke of Triplett’s humbleness, and that even though he was the first African- Americans ball players to be drafted by the NFL, he was still struck, how the prejudice played around him outside of the world of sports. Triplett’s family said that he barely spoke of his time playing football, both for Penn State as well as for Detroit Lions, where he was picked in the 19th round of the 1949 Draft. Triplett has a room that is enshrined to him in a town just north of Detroit, that has his ol number 12, as well as his Army Uniform.  Artifacts of a man who loved the game of football, but also knew that after his playing days were over, he needed to be a father and a husband to a family.

 

The big Linebacker out of Texas A&M, Quentin Coryatt, a man, who after his playing days has a hard time with talking to large crowds of people. You notice this when he is standing in a room, and he starts to have anxiety, there is nothing wrong with this condition, another famous football player had the same symptoms, and he became a recluse to a point, and was able to overcome this, his name is Earl Campbell. Coryatt, made his way for the ceremony, but not during the little one on one sessions with the media. Seeing him though, reminds you of his days when he played for the Indianapolis Colts and the one year for the Dallas Cowboys, considering his accolades of being named All Southwest Conference in 1991 for the Aggies, and a College All American that same year, being named to the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame was just a natural for him.

 

The Oklahoma Sooner, former Dallas Cowboy, and Cincinnati Bengal, Roy Williams, as he was being asked questions, the one that came up was his fondness memory of his appearance in the Classic, when he went up against Arkansas in 2002. Williams’ response was a little surprising, but then again not really. He spoke of the visit to the Children’s Hospital, and to the Shriners Hospital, seeing the kids, and brightening up their days, but more so, how the kids encouraged him and the players from both sides of the ball. Williams went on to say that the hospitality of the Cotton Bowl staff was “over the top”. Williams remarked about the gifts that were given the players, and being that he was a poor kid growing up, here is all of these gifts, and for the most part, he says he still has them, and when he sees them, reminds him of his time in the New Years Day Classic.

 

The other Williams that was inducted into the Hall of Fame was the Heisman Trophy Winner for 1998, the running back that broke Tony Dorsett’s College Career Rushing Record, and also finding a way during the season to pay homage to the man that claimed to have built the mystique of the Cotton Bowl, Doak Walker the Heisman Trophy Winner from SMU. Ricky Williams was a one of a kind football player. Recruited out of San Diego by head coach Mac Brown, the running back was a showcase player for the University of Texas during his playing days. Coach Brown talked Ricky into returning to the 40 Acres in Austin for his Senior year, and in doing so, solidified his foundation in the hearts of Longhorn Fans, and in the writers who voted for him to win not just the Heisman, but also the Walter Camp Award, the Maxwell Award, the Doak Walker Award, just to throw out some hardware for his efforts. Williams says that his Cotton Bowl experience was capped off, when he ran for a touchdown against Southern Mississippi on that January 1st 1999, cloudy, misty, cold day in Dallas. The touchdown, Ricky says, had to be something special, because he had planned to strike the “Heisman Pose” after he scored. It just so happened, that the run for that TD was a 37 yard scamper and as soon as he hit pay dirt, the pose was struck, the cameras all were there to catch it and make it a scene to remember. What made that run even more special, was the fact that it was 37 yards, and if you think about it, Thirty Seven yards. 37 is the number that Doak Walker wore in his football career at the Hill Top known as SMU. Williams’ jersey number 34 was retired by the University along with Earl Campbell’s number 20, the only two Heisman Trophy winners to represent the University of Texas.

 

The ceremony was hosted by the voice of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic and the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Brad Sham, His remarks about the class that was being inducted, of how remarkable each player and coach was to the Classic, and how each one of the inductees could have been a showcase all on their own, but in this particular class the six that went in, were a Class all of their Own.   

“Cleveland Cavs Survive Round One”  

By Cedric Bailey

 

Cleveland: LeBron James made history in more ways than one this weekend by eliminating the Indiana Pacers from the NBA playoffs. "King James" scored a game-high 45 points and had eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 105-101 victory Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

He won a playoff series for the first time in his career without having a teammate score at least 20 points in a single game. He also moved past Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen to become the NBA's career leader in playoff steals.

James has 399 robberies in the postseason, while Pippen had 395 and Michael Jordan had 376. The four-time NBA MVP had career-highs in postseason steals in 2012, 2013 and 2016, with his team winning the NBA Finals in each of those years. If he stays on pace by playing in seven games in every series and manages 10 steals in each matchup, he would total 40 steals, the fourth-best total in his career.

"King James" began Sunday's series finale by shooting 7-for-7 from the field. James' 45 points were the second-most points ever scored in a Game 7 victory. He is also the first player ever to record at least 20 points in 200 playoff games. James' 6,404 points in the playoffs are the most in NBA history.

The series victory means the Cavaliers will face off against the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of a second-round Eastern Conference playoff series at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. James averaged 34.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists, while shooting 55 percent from the floor in the series against the Pacers.

"I just to try to do whatever it takes to help us win," James said. "I felt like I wanted to do that again in this series. Just trying to make plays offensively and defensively. Continue to trust my guys and trust myself and trust how much work I put into my game. Definitely, it's good to be able to make plays and help yourself advance."

"Kudos and a big shout out to the Indiana Pacers, first of all. They were a tough team."

Rangers Win their 1st Series of the Season against the Houston Astros

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Michelle Phillips

 

Houston: A game dedicated to the memory of Jackie Robinson, No. 42, came close to entering the record books through the improbable efforts of Bartolo Colon, age 44. Instead, it ended up as a second consecutive Rangers extra-inning win over the Astros, 3-1, Houston's fourth loss in five games as players boarded a late-night flight for a road trip against the Mariners and Chicago White Sox.

 

Colon, age 44 years and 324 days as he took the mound at Minute Maid Park for Jackie Robinson Day, took a perfect game into the eighth inning but gave up the tying run before exiting with one out and the score tied 1-1. The Houston Astros receive their 2017 World Series rings at a pregame ceremony Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at Minute Maid Park.

He was matched nearly pitch for pitch by Astros ace Justin Verlander, who struck out 11 and allowed only a Robinson Chirinos home run in the third inning. The game, though, was decided by the bullpens. Alex Claudio, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman kept the Astros off the board for 2 1/3 innings, and after Chris Devenski pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Houston, the Rangers got to Hector Rondon in the ninth. Rondon allowed a base hit by Joey Gallo, a ground-rule double to Ronald Guzman in the 10th and a double to center by Chirinos to get the win for the Rangers, who entered Saturday with a five-game losing streak but went on to take the last two games of the series.

Josh Reddick reached on an infield hit in the 10th before Diekman struck out Yuli Gurriel and retired Marwin Gonzalez on a fly to left. Reddick took second with no throw and was safe at third when Adrian Beltre booted pinch hitter Evan Gattis' grounder, but Jake Marisnick struck out swinging to end the game.

For most of the game, though, Colon was at center stage. The veteran right-hander, signed in February by the Rangers to a minor league contract and added to the Rangers' roster on April 2, was perfect through 21 batters until he walked Carlos Correa with his 88th pitch to open the eighth and gave up a double down the right-field line by Reddick. Yuli Gurriel got the tying run home on a sacrifice fly to center, and Colon retired Marwin Gonzalez for the second out before giving way to Claudio, who got catcher Brian McCann on a fly out to center to end the inning.

Verlander was hardly a slouch, allowing only Chirinos' 352-foot solo shot into the Crawford Boxes in the third inning and striking out 11 through eight innings. He walked Beltre in the fourth and hit Chirinos with a pitch in the eighth. It was the second time in recent years that a Rangers pitcher had a noteworthy brush with perfection at Minute Maid Park. Yu Darvish retired all 26 batters he faced before giving up a two-out hit to Marwin Gonzalez on April 2, 2013. The Rangers will continue their road trip in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Their next home stand will be on this weekend against the Seattle Mariners.

Villanova Wildcats knocks off Michigan for the NCAA Men's Basketball

Championship in San Antonio

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Charles Fox

 

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Donte DiVincenzo had come to the rescue before for Villanova in the NCAA tournament, putting up 18 first-half points to get the Wildcats out of the doldrums in a second-round win over Alabama. DiVincenzo did it again on Monday night, and in doing so, carried the Cats to their second national championship in the last three years.

DiVincenzo scored 31 points, a career high and a record for most points by a non-starter in an NCAA tournament game, to propel Villanova to a 79-62 victory over Michigan at the Alamodome. The Wildcats, the No. 1 seed and East Region champs, finished the season with a team-record 36 victories against only four losses, winning their third national championship overall. They won all six NCAA games by double digits, by an average margin of more than 17 points. DiVincenzo shot 10 of 15 from the floor and 5 of 7 from three-point range in establishing a career high. He also was the last guy to dribble the ball for Villanova, heaving the basketball skyward at the buzzer.

 

Mikal Bridges added 19 points for the Wildcats. Jalen Brunson, who sat out 7 ½ minutes of the second half in foul trouble, managed just nine, but it didn’t matter. The Cats shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 47.4 percent for the game, while limiting the Wolverines (33-8) to 43.6 percent. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led Michigan with 23 points and Moe Wagner added 16.

 

DiVincenzo’s big first half carried Villanova out of a seven-point hole midway through the first half. He went 7 of 10 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, including 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range, sparking Villanova to a 37-28 lead. The rest of the team went 7 of 21 from the field and 1 of 9 from three in the opening half while accounting for 19 points. The Wildcats extended their lead to as many as 18 early in the second half, with a three-pointer by Mikal Bridges giving them a 51-33 lead with 14:37 left to play. But Brunson went to the bench with 10:51 to play after picking up his fourth personal foul and Michigan showed some life, cutting the deficit to 56-44 on Charles Matthews’ layup with 9:08 remaining.

 

DiVincenzo, however, then stepped up and drilled back-to-back three-pointers 52 seconds apart to increase the margin back to 18, and later he hit both ends of a one-and-one. Bridges then took over with a pair of threes and two free throws to get the lead up to 22, 74-52, with 3:50 remaining. Brunson wound up sitting out for 7:30 and the Wildcats’ advantage went from 13 points to 20. The defense also kicked in after Michigan’s 8-of-12 start. The Wolverines connected on just three of their final 16 attempts in the half and experienced droughts of 5:12 and 3:33. Wagner scored 11 points in the first nine minutes, but he did not have a single point the rest of the period.

Dallas Wings Add Liz Cambage to Their 2018 Roster

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Arlington: The Dallas Wings are preparing for its season in the metroplex. According to the team President Mr. Greg Bibb they have been talking with Liz Cambage about returning to the WNBA. Meanwhile Cambage said yes and accepted the teams offer. It has been four seasons since Cambage last played in the WNBA. The Australian center played in her home country and in China in that time.

Wings Coach Fred Williams kept in regular contact after he became the franchise's head coach, asking how she was doing and when she was coming back. Former teammate Skylar Diggins-Smith stayed in touch via social media. Team president Greg Bibb pitched her on the team, the city, the opportunity.

On Monday, it all came to the team's vision came to fruition. Cambage was introduced as the newest member of the Wings during a press conference at the College Park Center, Bibb and Williams on either side or Diggins-Smith in the front row. For Cambage, physically and mentally she is finally ready to return to the WNBA. Cambage had been playing professional basketball since she was 18. In 2014, she tore her Achilles and faced a grueling recovery.

After winning bronze in Rio, she took a year-long hiatus. The only basketball game she watched in that time was when she visited Arlington last May as the Wings sold her on a return to the WNBA. So when she returned to Australia's WNBL for the 2017-18 season, she was refreshed. She led the league in points per game and was second in MVP voting.

"I found my love of basketball again," Cambage declared. "I can't wait to be back in the WNBA and with an amazing group of girls." It's a group that was severely lacking in size. When a reporter asked Williams if Cambage's height at 6-foot-8 would help the team, Diggins-Smith burst into knowing laughter.

Cambage will provide an anchor for the Wings defensively. Then on offense, she returns to the league with a refined offensive game that she did not possess even as she averaged 16.3 points per game in her final WNBA season in 2013

Dallas Mavericks Name Cynthia Marshall as its Interim CEO

By Cedric Bailey, Photo Courtesy of Dallas Mavericks

 

Dallas: The Dallas Mavericks have been the talk of the NBA sports world since the all-star break. There was a Sports Illustrated that about the organization in a negative way. The Mavericks hired Evan Krutoy and Anne Milgram to lead an independent investigation. Krutoy served as a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney's office for over 20 years and served as Acting Deputy Bureau Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. Milgram is a professor at New York University School of Law, and a former New Jersey attorney general. The NBA has said it will closely monitor the investigation.

Meanwhile on this past Monday team owner Mark Cuban introduced Cynthia Marshall, as the  interim CEO of the Dallas Mavericks in the wake of a scathing article exposing the basketball organization’s culture of sexual harassment against women, is about to give a whole new meaning to the idea of March Madness.

Meeting with the Mavericks for the first time this morning, she laid out a plan for the next month. It includes completing the internal investigation already launched by Cuban; personally meeting with each of the organization’s 141 employees; and formalizing a detailed process for transforming the organization’s dysfunctional culture and refining its operational effectiveness, with an emphasis on all systems and policies related to reporting and addressing employee complaints.

All eyes will now be on Marshall, as she attempts to manage both the fallout and rebuilding of this beleaguered NBA franchise. Once the first African American cheerleader at UC Berkeley, the telecommunications veteran is now the NBA’s first woman CEO.

“Changing industries can be difficult under normal circumstances, but there will be a lot of people rooting for her and available to assist with the transition,” says Kathleen Frances, chair and president of Women in Sports and Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports. “It is a positive step to bring in someone with her experience and credentials. Adding women to the executive suite is always a good investment. That, coupled with the full support of ownership, will be critical to her success.”

Now let talk about Ms. Marshall who was named as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America by BE in 2015, Marshall is a quick thinker, straight talker, and highly respected leader who was senior vice president, Human Resources and chief diversity officer at AT&T before she retired in 2017 to launch her own consulting firm.

With more than 30 years of telecommunications experience, in addition to HR, she has held positions in operations, network engineering and planning, and regulatory/external affairs. Admittedly, however, Marshall says she has never experienced sexual harassment herself. “From the minute I walked into AT&T in 1981, when it was just ‘the phone company,’ safety was critical to the culture,” Marshall recalls. “It took precedence over all else. We need that same kind of mindset everywhere in corporate America. Some think it’s just the nature of work, the nature of companies, for members of certain groups to be harassed and made to feel uncomfortable or compromised in some way. No! It is not. In almost 36 years of work, I never felt I was being sexually harassed. That is how I know it is possible.”

Many people have responded with various comments such as Cynthia will be a fabulous interim CEO. We loved her at AT&T and I'm sure you will love her at the Mavs!

Former Dallas Mavs Derek Harper “Finally” Honored on Sunday Evening

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David Pearson

 

Dallas: Derek Harper was the 11th overall pick of the 1983 NBA draft and spent 16 seasons as a point guard in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.

After graduating from Roosevelt Junior High School and then North Shore High School in West Palm Beach, Harper played three seasons for the Fighting Illini and coach Lou Henson having his best season in 1982–1983, when he led the Fighting Illini in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Harper was named First-Team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-American in 1983, and was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both 1981 and 1982. Harper averaged 4.7 assists per game for his collegiate career, and led the Big Ten in assists in the 1981–1982 seasons. Harper was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.

Harper was the perfect fit for the Mavericks. From 1986-93 he averaged nearly 18 points, seven assists, and two steals per game, earning a reputation as one of the best two-way players in the game and setting several Mavericks records along the way, some of which still stand today. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in assists and steals, and ranks top-five in points, games played, and games started. His No. 12 jersey will forever hang in the rafters alongside Brad Davis’ No. 15 and Rolando Blackman’s No. 22.

On a night when the Mavericks looked back to honor one of the best point guards the franchise and this league has seen, celebrating his competitive spirit and the fact that he “left it all out on the floor,” as Harper said himself, there was a sense that Harper can give one more gift to this organization. He might not spend hours talking with Smith every day, but it’s clear the legend is there for the rookie.

You won’t see many players as universally respected as Harper is within this organization. J.J. Barea even took his son, Sebastian, to the floor during halftime to watch the former Mav’s speech. (Barea is Harper’s favorite player.) Shawn Marion and a host of other former Mavericks were at the game, too. It was a special night. There was an outpouring of love from guys who are 20 years old to guys who have been out of the league for more than 20 years, all of it deserved. And their admiration and respect appeared to mean more to Harper than we will ever know. “It’s great, well-deserved, and long overdue,” Dirk Nowitzki said.

 

Cowboys Win over the Oakland Raiders 20 – 17

“Thanks to an Index Card”!

By Cedric Bailey

 

Oakland: Despite the Raiders and the Cowboys being two of the most storied franchises in sports, Sunday’s game between the two teams at the Oakland Coliseum was unlikely to be memorable. While both teams are still in the playoff hunt, their chances of making the postseason are slim, and both teams were doing their best to hand their opponent what would probably be an inconsequential victory.

Then something downright bizarre happened, turning a forgettable affair into a contest that will be remembered for decades, and hopefully a game that will prove to be the impetus for major changes in the NFL:

Tied at 17-17 with 5:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys came up one yard short of a first down on their own 39-yard line. After the referees incorrectly spotted a 9-yard pass as a 10-yard completion, giving the Cowboys an undeserved third-down conversion, the Raiders successfully challenged the ruling on the field and the original call was overturned.

Instead of punting the ball, the Cowboys — who entered Sunday’s game with a better chance of making the playoffs than the Raiders — went for it on fourth down, running a quarterback sneak up the middle with Dak Prescott. Amid a pile of humanity, and needing to get the ball to the 40-yard line to gain the first down, Prescott dove forward, and the referees determined that the ball advanced to the inside of the 40-yard line and called out the chains for a measurement.

The distance between the edge of the yard-marker pole and the tip of the ball was indiscernible for anyone watching on television or in the stadium. It was close to indiscernible for lead official Gene Steratore, who pulled out a piece of folded paper — some watching on television thought it was an index card, giving the game it’s soon-to-be-infamous name — and slid it between the tip of the ball and the post. After sliding the piece of paper — again, folded — Steratore determined that the ball was across the first-down plane and declared that the Cowboys had gained the first down.

The Raiders, to no one’s surprise, were livid. The Cowboys, of course, were thrilled with the call. Dallas finished the drive with a chip-shot field goal that proved to be the difference in the game after Derek Carr fumbled out of the end zone with less than a minute to play.

In closing Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is back with the team. It’s been six long weeks since Elliott lost his lengthy court battle against the NFL, forcing him to serve the six-game suspension the league gave him over allegations of domestic violence. The Cowboys struggled through three lopsided losses without him, before recovering to finish 3-3 during the time he was out of the lineup.

 

Fresh off a third-straight win that saw his offense claw for every yard, Dak Prescott confirmed the obvious fact that he’ll be excited to have Elliott back alongside him in the backfield.

 

“We’re going to believe in him when he comes back giving him the ball and him making people miss and getting those dirty 8-yard runs and eventually it turns into 15 yard, and you know the rest of it,” Prescott said.  Will face the Seattle Seahawks in Arlington at AT&T Stadium.

Southeast Missouri Signs Crowley’s Taelour Pruitt

By Cedric Bailey

 

Crowley: Taelour Pruitt has leaded the Crowley Eagles basketball team to the playoff for the past three years. Last year’s team lost in the Area round to the state runner-up Mansfield Timberview. On last Wednesday Pruitt accept a scholarship to play her college basketball career for Southeast Missouri.

 

Last week Coach Rekha Patterson announced the signing of Crowley Eagles basketball player Taelour Pruitt for the Redhawks 2018-19 roster. Guard Taelour Pruitt joins the Redhawks from the lone star state of Texas where she has been a three-year letter winner and three-year starter for Crowley High School. In three years, she has posted averages of 17.0 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals. Pruitt was named District MVP, First Team All-District, All-Region, All-State and Second Team All-Area. She played summer ball with the Lady Jets. At Southeast, she intends to study Nursing.

 

Patterson on Pruitt: "Taelour is a point guard that understands the game and is able to play and make decisions at a high level." Taelour’s family was in attendance at the school gym along with her teammates and Coach Amy Gillum on last Wednesday.  The later open the 2017-2018 season on the road. The outcome was second place in the Lady Panther Tip Off Classic (Colleyville Heritage). The defeated Bishop Lynch, Colleyville Heritage and South Grand Prairie to get the championship game.  The outcome was a 5point loss against Plano West.

 

In closing we had the opportunity to speak with the Pruitt family about the accomplishments of Taelour basketball career at Crowley. "We are so very proud of Taelour, most don't know that she puts a great deal of work into her craft. We are so excited that she has reached another goal she had for herself. Congratulations Little TP, on with the next four years." The Pruitt Family.

 

Houston Astros Celebrates its 1st Baseball World Series Championship over the Dodgers

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Gina Ferrazzi

 

The 2017 baseball season final over and this season’s matchup went the distance between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros. It all came down to game 7 where former Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish gave up a leadoff double to George Springer. The next batter, Alex Bregman, hit a grounder to first baseman Cody Bellinger. Darvish ran to cover first base, but Bellinger’s throw sailed behind him, allowing Springer to score and Bregman to reach second. Bregman stole third and doubled the Astros’ lead to 2-0 on a groundout by Jose Altuve.

 

The two-run deficit silenced a Dodger Stadium crowd that was rocking the previous night. The Dodgers never recovered. The fans didn’t either. With two outs in the second inning, Darvish served up a two-run home run to Springer, which increased the Astros lead to 5-0. “My slider wasn’t sharp,” Darvish said. “Against a batter like Springer, it was difficult. In the end, with the count 3-2, [catcher Austin] Barnes called for a slider, but with the quality of my slider today, I figured the same thing would happen [as it did in the first inning], so I went with a fastball instead.” Darvish was removed from the game, this game matching his last as the shortest start of his career.

 

Darvish said that he never previously thought about wanting to pitch in a World Series because it was never a dream of his when he grew up in Japan. He does now. He will be a free agent this winter. Asked of what he would look for in his next team, he replied, “I want to pitch again in the World Series. An organization that has a chance to make that happen would be best.” Darvish paused. “I would like to return here with the Dodgers,” he said. The ending was nowhere near as heartwarming. Yu Darvish failed the Dodgers on the sport’s greatest stage. Darvish did the unimaginable and inexcusable, following one historically atrocious start with another, the second coming Wednesday night in a 5-1 defeat to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series. He never gave the Dodgers a chance to win the championship they waited 29 years to reclaim, giving up five runs while registering only five outs at Dodger Stadium. The right-hander looked devastated when he entered a postgame news conference. His eyes were watery. His face was red.

 

Darvish gathered himself and spoke of how he wanted to repay the Dodgers for an enormous debt he felt he owed them. “They gave me a lot,” he said in Japanese. “I’ve had some painful ones in the past. To be honest, since coming to the major leagues, my passion toward baseball had started to decrease. I was really concerned about that, especially in the last three years.” Darvish gulped.

 

History will record his July 31 trade to the Dodgers in absolute terms. Darvish helped the Dodgers reach the World Series, winning a game in a National League division series and another in the NL Championship Series. That’s not what will be remembered. The organization’s goal wasn’t to reach the World Series. It was to win it. You get what you pay for, right? Darvish spent the previous 51/2 seasons with the Texas Rangers, who parted with him for what felt like a minimal cost. The most prized prospect the Dodgers traded for him was Willie Calhoun, a defensive liability who didn’t figure into their long-term plans.

 

In closing we salute the Houston Astros for lifting the spirits of baseball fans in the State of Texas as the 2017 MLB World Series Champions.

Willie Criss to be Honored at the Harambee Festival

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth: In the Lone Star state of Texas football is at the top of the list for the family of Coach Willie Criss. Each week in the fall Coach Criss is at the Press box scouting football for the O.D. Wyatt Chaparrals. Many people refer to coach as “Daddy Criss”. He is the father of Anthony Criss at Arlington Sam Houston and Zachary Criss at O.D. Wyatt High School.

It all started back in the day when Coach Criss started coaching in 1961 for $280 a month and finished in 2007 with more than 100 wins and his name on the field house at Fort Worth Wyatt High School. But the 81-year-old never saw these two sons and four of his grandsons would follow his footsteps in the coaching arena.

 

“Every last one of them — when they went off to school, it was the furthest thing from their mind,” the elder Criss said. “They said, ‘I’m not going to coach.’ I said, ‘OK. I don’t mind that. Whatever you do, that’s you.’  From Texas Southern, Texas A&M, Midwestern State or Baylor the family returned home to start their coaching career just like their grandfather and parents did. Dominique Criss, 29, Quinnin Criss, 26, Antwaun Criss, 34 and Meyer Criss, 25, coach under Zachary at Wyatt. Antwaun and Meyer are Zachary’s sons. Dominique and Quinnin are Anthony’s.

But 55 years ago, Willie was skeptical when he heard about a job opening in tiny Diboll, south of Lufkin. He was a graduate assistant at Texas Southern, where he graduated from in 1958. After two years at Diboll, Willie got a job as an assistant at Como High in Fort Worth. When Como closed, he moved to Dunbar, where he coached Anthony and Zachary as a defensive coordinator. Willie got the head job at Wyatt in 1984 and retired the first time in 1997, as Anthony took over.

 

After three seasons, Anthony moved to Arlington Bowie. Willie retook the Wyatt job in 2004 and won his 100th game, before retiring again in 2007 when Zachary replaced him. By then, Antwaun was on staff at Wyatt, and Meyer was a rising defensive star for the Chaparrals. Dominique, who played at Baylor and graduated with a degree in business, was also contemplating a career in coaching.

In closing it would take us several weeks to call out the names for the former players that have played college football or in the NFL under the leadership of Daddy Criss. However on this weekend many will get the opportunity to show their love for a man show love and spoke words of encouragement during their life as a student athlete. Be sure to stop by the Harambee festival this weekend for the recognition to a great role model for the Fort Worth Community. For more information please contact Debra Lewis at (817) 229-7778.

Morning Star Prayer Center Provides Relief Assistance for Houston Community

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Houston: Last weekend America had the opportunity to witness the impact of Southeast Texas from Hurricane Harvey. This storm caused major flooding thru out cites such as Houston, Beaumont, Port Arthur and surrounding communities. Americans responded such as various organizations provided services such as shelter, food and counseling to help the evacuees rebuild their families and start over.

The Morning Star Prayer Center under the leadership of Elder Helen Collins-Epps received a call for “Help” on Wednesday of last week.  Partners on the ground in Houston wanted to know could the Prayer Center help some families who had lost everything.  She and her team immediately responded and stepped out by faith.  The first objective was to secure a place for prayer.  After making a few calls Pastor Ross and Lady Dandy Cullins opened their doors without hesitation, knowing that all the items being delivered were going to another church.  They welcomed us with open arms and overwhelming kindness. 

The Prayer Center purchased as much as they could and then called for help from other partners.  World Vision, Bishop Kevin and Pastor Sonja Dickerson and the Day Springs church were the first respondents.  She called me and asked could I go as well as help her to get the message out that there was a need for help in Houston.  It was amazing to see what can happen in a few days when people join together in prayer and walk by faith. 

People begin to call and respond to the needs of the people.  A group of young people stepped in and volunteered their time all day Saturday, as well as others from different dominations.  Four vans were secured and filled to overflow capacity. She was asked to pray over drivers and volunteers that were also loading trucks to send to other areas.  So amazing to see how just a few days ago the country was in an uproar fighting over flags and statues, and now standing together and saying “how can we help”.  Tim and Christi Hutto (New York Life Ins. Co. Downtown Fort Worth) went shopping and filled the request Elder Epps had sent.  While Elder Epps and Leah was shopping there were Hispanic ladies in the dollar store who asked who are you buying for, and after hearing the story said we want to help.  We don’t have much but what we have we want to share with those in need. They brought a SUV full of all kinds of new items. 

The intercessors prepared to travel to Houston walking by faith.  At 5am Sunday morning the trip begin.  As we reached Fairfield, Texas we meet a group of Hispanic families who were from Wichita Falls.  Their trucks were loaded with water, food and etc. to bless the people.  It was interesting neither of us knew exactly what to expect we just each knew we were walking by faith to help those who needed our help.  As we stood together on the parking lot of the gas station we joined hands and prayed together.  We did not know each others names and or addresses we just knew we were on a MISSION.  As we were praying a white lady walked up and said here please let me help in this small way.  Maybe this can buy you gas on the trip.  On the other side trucks with furniture were also loaded heading to Houston as well.  Three white men were driving those trucks.  Here each of us were from different backgrounds not concerned about who was black, white or Hispanic we just knew there was a need and we wanted to help.

 This is what our country is about, people helping people.  The women of God said “We can create a storm in the midst of the storm”.  A prayer storm was created in Houston on Sunday night.  People were blessed by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Thank you Elder Epps for allowing me to go.  Praying for hours at the Solid Rock Baptist Church on last night I believe pulled down strongholds and blessed so many.  The Morning Star Prayer Center does not just pray but they are a force in action making a difference in the lives of people here and anywhere they can.  The Intercessors are an amazing group of people.  

Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Dedication

Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys

 

Frisco: The Dallas Cowboys honored its former players on this past Monday with “The Ring of Honor Walk” at The Star in Frisco. It was a historic celebration that welcomed nearly all living members of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor to the home of the Cowboys team and organization. There were a total of 21 former Dallas Cowboys in attendance.

 

Here are the names that were recognized Bob Lilly, Don Meredith**, Don Perkins, Chuck Howley , Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan,  Tom Landry**, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Bob Hayes**,Tex Schramm**, Cliff Harris, Rayfield Wright, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Drew Pearson, Charles Haley, Larry Allen & Darren Woodson. **Member’s family unveiled monument in their honor. 

                                                    

 The Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor is dedicated to former players and coaches who have made outstanding contributions throughout the team’s history. The Ring of Honor Walk presented by Dr Pepper is located along The Star Boulevard and Cowboys Way, leading up to Tostitos Championship Plaza and Ford Center. Along the Walk, each Cowboys legend is individually recognized with a list of their accomplishments and a monument established in their honor.

 

 “The Ring of Honor Walk is the ideal way to recognize both the Cowboys organization and its history,” said Jerry Jones Sr., Owner, President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys. “We hope that the Walk will help keep the relentless dedication, commitment and heart of our Ring of Honor member’s top of mind as the team heads into the new season.”

 

 “Our nearly 30-year partnership with the Dallas Cowboys has enabled us to excite and engage legions of fans who have overlapping passions for both America’s Team and Dr Pepper – two iconic Texas brands. The Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Walk adds a wonderful new dimension to our longstanding sponsorship,” said Jim Trebilcock, Chief Commercial Officer for Dr Pepper. “We are thrilled that Dr Pepper will be a part of this experience, joining fans visiting The Star in celebration of the legends who shine the brightest in the history of this storied club.”  The Star in Frisco is now welcoming the public for viewing of the Ring of Honor Walk as well as the restaurant and retail spaces located within the grounds of The Star.

 

Meanwhile the Dallas Cowboys will play its next home Preseason match up against the Oakland Raiders from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. 

Jones and Tomlinson Leading the Way for North Texas at the NFL Hall Fame Weekend

By Cedric Bailey, Photo courtesy of Star Telegram

 

Canton: The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 — Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner — all had stories to share with a full house at Memorial Civic Center for Sunday’s Enshrinees’ Roundtable event. Guided and prodded by NFL Network emcee Steve Wyche, the disparate group of personalities dispensed 45 minutes of powerful and hilarious entertainment.

Danish kicker Morten Andersen was just a funny guy. Andersen gets up on stage and explains his nickname was ‘The Matador’ and, with a wave of his arm as an imaginary opposing player on a kickoff came at him, he sidestepped ‘him’ and said “Ole.” When asked about his toughest opponent, Andersen mentioned Gerald Riggs. Riggs missed that memo on kickoff return. “He was the scariest guy I encountered, I was a speed bump,” Andersen said of the former Atlanta and Washington running back.

“By the time Gerald caught it, I was down around the 20-yard line,” Andersen said. “He ran right up the middle and it was like the Red Sea parted. The sidelines were my friend; I could get them out of bounds. But he ran up the middle. I thought he was going to juke me; he ran over me.” Kickers want to be tough guys on the field too but know, “my situation was different,” Andersen said, “my uniform was very clean. In pregame I cut myself shaving one time and thought ‘I’ve got an opportunity here.’ “I started putting blood all over my pants. At the end of the game I put water on my head, like I was sweating. One of my teammates came over and said ’What happened to you?” Warner was both thoughtful and insightful in assessing the Class’s two running backs, Tomlinson and Davis.

“When you think of the Hall of Fame, there are so many ways to get here,” he said. “LT, drafted high, greatness from the time he stepped on the field. Then you have TD. I can associate with TD because a lot of people (didn’t think) he played long enough. Meanwhile it was Kurt Warner was both thoughtful and insightful in assessing the Class’s two running backs, Tomlinson and Davis.

“When you think of the Hall of Fame, there are so many ways to get here,” he said. “LT, drafted high, greatness from the time he stepped on the field. Then you have TD. I can associate with TD because a lot of people (didn’t think) he played long enough. “But what I appreciate was when he played, he was the best. Those two guys were the best of

their eras, and they did it in completely different ways. (The Hall of Fame) isn’t always about 14, 15-year careers ... it’s what you do in those moments that matter.”

Finally let talk about the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who squeezed in about as many names humanly possible in a shade less than 37 minutes, mentioning from Jimmy Johnson all the way to his faithful, longtime administrative assistant Marylyn Love. Once again showed no hard feelings exist between himself and Jimmy, his two-time Super Bowl-winning coach who was instrumental in putting the Cowboys back on the map, an accomplishment warranting Hall induction next year.

Here is a list of the former Cowboys coaches actually saw either at Jerry’s induction or Friday night party: Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Dave Wannstedt, Norv Turner, Hudson Houck, Tony Wise, Les Miles, Jim Bates and Mike Pope. As for the former players, other than Cowboys Hall of Famers Roger Staubach, Mel Renfro, Bob Lilly, Rayfield Wright, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Charles Haley, there were Tony Romo, Nate Newton, Daryl Johnson, Bill Bates, Darren Woodson, Greg Ellis, Flozell Adams, Babe Laufenberg and Billy Davis.

Ivan Rodriquez Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017

By Cedric Bailey

 

Cooperstown- The Texas Rangers had moment to remember during the final weekend in July. On Sunday afternoon it was their former catcher known by many as “Pudge” Let’s just say that his speech mirrored his career: spectacular, emotional and passionate, bringing out his intense love for teammates, fans, family and the game of baseball. There were times when Ivan Rodriguez had to stop and gather his emotions, especially when talking about his parents, Jose and Eva, his children and his Puerto Rican heritage. But Rodriguez knocked it out of the park and touched all the bases in his speech as he was officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon.

Rodriguez said after it was over. "I am an emotional person. At the beginning, I was nervous, but after that everything came out OK. It was great, it was emotional, but it was a dream to be a part of this select group."

It was also a big day for the island of Puerto Rico. The field behind the Clark Sports Center was filled with hundreds of fans waving the Puerto Rico flag and cheering Rodriguez, the fourth player from the island to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Fellow  Puerto Rican inductees Roberto Alomar and Orlando Cepeda were present on Sunday, with the fourth being the late Roberto Clemente.

Rodriguez's speech ended just eight minutes before Adrian Beltre hit a double in Arlington for the 3,000th hit of his career. It was an extraordinary day in the history of the Rangers. He is the sixth former Rangers player to be elected to the Hall of Fame and the first position player. The others are Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Rich Gossage, Gaylord Perry and Bert Blyleven. Rodriguez, who spent the first 13 of his 21 seasons in Texas, and Ryan are the only ones wearing Rangers caps on their plaques. He paid tribute to boyhood hero Johnny Bench, told stories about Nolan Ryan and Ken Griffey Jr. and saluted other catchers from Puerto Rico: the Molina brothers, Benito Santiago, Javier Lopez, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Jorge Posada. He talked about his childhood dreams.

He saved the last for the Rangers, mentioning former teammates, including Juan Gonzalez, former managers Bobby Valentine and Johnny Oates, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, executives Tom Grieve, Tom Schieffer, John Blake and Taunee Taylor, former owners George W. Bush, Rusty Rose and Tom Hicks, and current owners Bob Simpson, Ray Davis and Neil Leibman. “Their wonderful scouts, Sandy Johnson, Manny Batista, Luis Rosa and Omar Minaya, discovered me at the age of 16, and I spent 15 years of my professional life with them," Rodriguez said. "I grew up there and am proud to wear their cap forever in the Baseball Hall of Fame."

Adrian Beltre’s Historic Run for 3000 Hits

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington: Texas Rangers fans had the opportunity to watch Adrian Beltre make history at Globe Life Park. However it was his fourth try, that Beltre connected. After striking out in his first at-bat against Baltimore starter Wade Miley, Beltre ripped a double down the third-base line on a 3-0 count in the fourth inning to ensure his place in baseball lore. He became the 31st player in Major League history to reach the milestone and the first Dominican-born player to do so.

"Today, when I got my second at-bat, I thought, 'This has to be it. I don't want to have the fans waiting, my family is waiting for it. I don't want to drag it one more day,'" Beltre said. "When I got the 3-0, I was doubting myself. 'Should I swing, or should I just take?' The way Miley was pitching, I thought, 'This is going to be the best pitch he will throw me.' And I decided, if it's going to be on the plate, I'm going to swing. And I did."

He strode into second, paused, collected himself, and then the celebration began. The Orioles near him offered their congratulations, and a steady stream of Beltre's teammates emerged from the dugout as fireworks boomed over the Arlington sky. Beltre turned, saw his children running toward him and prepared for a hug, except they sprinted right by him and into the outfield.

They reached a covered portion of the right-center-field wall and unveiled a facade dedicated to Beltre's achievement. Only then did they sprint back to the infield dirt and into their father's arms.

"What happened today after the hit has been the best moment in my life. I didn't know how to feel, because I had no idea what was going on," Beltre said. "I feel proud of them. I saw the joy in their faces, and a lot of things you do in your career you do for your kids and your family. My kids and my wife have been so supportive over the years, that this moment was for them. When I saw that, I felt like I was on a cloud, because I really saw the joy in their faces. It was a nice moment to enjoy with them -- my family, my wife." He tipped his cap, turned and faced the delirious Rangers faithful at Globe Life Park, and accepted his place in history.

Meanwhile on Monday MLB announced Adrian Beltre and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton have been named the American League Co-Players of the Week for the period ending July 30th Beltre is the second Ranger to win A.L. Player of the Week honors in 2017 with Nomar Mazara being selected for the week of April 2-9.

The 38-year-old slugger joined Hall of Famers George Brett and Wade Boggs as the only 3,000-hit club members to accomplish the feat while playing a majority of their games at the third base position.

Homes for Hope Mission Trip to Mexico

By Cedric Bailey

 

San Diego CA:  YWAM/SDB (Youth with a Mission) is located in San Diego, California and was started in October 1991 by Sean and Janet Lambert. Their vision in the beginning was to mobilize groups that wanted to come to Mexico and beyond to serve the needs of the poor, both practically and spiritually. This past Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to attend a mission trip at the San Antonio Del Mar campus is our flagship property. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Baja California, Mexico. This campus is located 20 minutes south of the U.S. border, and is in between Tijuana and Rosario.

 

Turner 12, under the leadership of Founder and Executive Director Coach John Carter, and Arlington’s First Rate Investment, under the leadership of founder and CEO David Stone, answered the call of the Lopez family. Here is the letter that was submitted to Homes of Hope on last year. The father Carlos shares the following story, “it’s been a struggle paying rent with the income I have, and we've had to move several times. My pay is only $80 per week and things have been very tough for our family. Our church helped us when we were finally able to buy a piece of land and now we look forward to having a house that doesn't leak; where we have a bit more space. Thank you from Carlos, Ana along with our 3 children Hirving Hazael, Yulliona Sarai, Jenifer Estela.

 

Well on last Friday, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Jud I. Stone and the members of First Rate to build a three room house for this family. There were at least 10 other homes that were built in Mexico for several other families. The Lopez’s   worked with students from Turner 12 and another group from Phoenix Arizona. We later traveled to Wal-Mart and purchased food and clothing for the family. Gifts were presented and a plaque to celebrate the dedication of the new home. Everyone had the opportunity to give thanks to God for answering those prayers! Today the Rosario’s have a new place to lay there head thanks to efforts of Turner 12, First Rate and the Stone family.

 

You can learn more about The Turner 12 by visiting their website at www.turner12.org. For those interested becoming a mentor, donor or volunteer, you can contact Coach Carter at (214)384-7912 or you may email him at turnertwelve@aol.com.

 

And the Beat Goes ON! Or is that… and the BEAT DOWN Goes On?

By Dave Michaels

 

Here we are once again, the American League Division Series. The Texas Rangers vs the Toronto Blue Jays! Weren’t we just here a year ago? Why YES we WERE! Let’s recap quickly!

 

The Texas Rangers go up two games to none in the best of five series last year, winning two in Toronto, then they come back to Arlington, Texas, needing ONE win to advance to the American League Championship Series! ONE WIN! That’s all! JUST ONE! What happens next, the Blue Jays go on and win THREE in a row, but the dramatic fifth and deciding game! Well let’s see!

 

The Rangers actually have a lead going into the 7th inning of that game, and not one, not two, but THREE ERRORS in four at bats, and the Rangers have given the Blue Jays LIFE! Then its Jose Bautista at the plate, and with two on, hits a mammoth, majestic, rainbow of a home run to left field to give the Jays the lead going into the final two innings of the game. Oh and if that’s not enough, insult to injury, when Jose “BATS” hits that colossal  shot to the cheap seats, he takes his bat and flips it and stands at home plate!

Basically showing up the Rangers, and letting the HOME TOWN fans revel in its splendor! The rest they say is history! NOT SO FAST my young friends!

 

Come to the regular season, 8 months later, the Blue Jays and the Rangers are playing a regular season game, and Jose Bautista is at the plate in Arlington, Texas, and he gets plunked by a pitch, no big deal, he stares down the pitcher, and maybe an exchange of pleasantries go back and forth, but then all of a sudden and hit up the middle, and a double play ball.. tailored made, in the hands of Rougned Odor, however, Bautista take a hard slide into second base and gets a bit of Odor for good measure. Once again, words are exchanged and a push comes out of it, and the next thing you see is Bautista doubling up his fist, but before he gets a swing in, Odor just knocks the taste out of Bautista’s mouth, with helmet going one direction and sun glasses going in another, and then both benches clear, and coaches are involved and fingers are pointed, and names are being called—and it looks like something out an after school free for all!

 

Well these two teams will once again meet up in a Division Series best of five starting this week in Arlington, and if anything, we should all be aware that THIS is bigger than the game- “THIS” being the back ground story between Odor and Bautista!

Something we are certain that Major League Baseball would much rather have down played, and not being shown on every sports broadcast on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, CNN Sports, and every local TV station in both DFW and Toronto!

 

The Game is supposed to be bigger than the story, the GAME is what people come to watch and be a part of, and cheer for their teams to advance to the next series! In Toronto, the fans there are a bit, hmmm how shall we say…. Brutal! They throw bottles of beer and little children as they did last year during the Division Series and again this year during the ONE GAME PLAYOFF with the Orioles, a fan in left field threw a full bottle of beer in the path of the Orioles left fielder Kim, and not that it distracted him from the catch, but just plain stupidity!

 

So what can the Rangers expect when they go up to Toronto on Sunday to take on the blue birds of happiness? Security will be tighter and the fans will be kept a close eye on that is for sure. As for the fans in Texas, well that’s another story! The stadium, Globe Life Park, holds 49,000 plus for full seated capacity, a bit more if you wish to stand or get obstructed views, but none the less, since both games on Thursday and Friday will be played at 3:08 and 12:08, respectively, one can only imagine that there will be less than full for both days!

 

Thank you Major League Baseball for giving the Team that is the number one seed, with the best record in the American League, the worse possible start times in their region, and day games in Texas, lets face it, yes its October, but that just means we are in the upper 80’s instead of 105. Oh and with that last statement, let’s not EVEN get into the fact that the Rangers and the City of Arlington wish to build a new DOMED stadium for this baseball club. That’s another story for another time!

 

For now, it’s the Blue Jays and the Rangers part II! My money is on Jeff Banister and the Texas Rangers, they have a bit of a bad taste in their mouths from last season, and even though their battle cry is NEVER EVER QUIT, I think for now its UNFINISHED BUSINESS! Just a thought.

 

 

McKinney, TX - (August 1, 2016) –  Morgan Melloh went the distance tossing a complete game shutout.  She scattered seven hits.  The defense came up big, specifically Kylee Lahners at second base, to do their part to secure the win.  The Charge won 1-0, taking two of three from the Racers.  It was Dallas’ fifth series win and first over the Racers in 2016.

The Charge managed just four hits, two from Lauren Haeger.  Her first inning single scored rookie Taylor Gadbois.  Melloh and the Charge defense would make that run enough to get the win.

Melloh struck out seven and walked five.  She worked out of a jams in the fourth, sixth and seventh inning stranding 11 Racers in all.  The veteran left hander left the bases load in each of the last two frames.

In support of Melloh, the Dallas defense made some excellent plays to help keep Akron off the board.  In the top of the third Kylee Lahners grab a one out ground ball bound for centerfield with a dive.  From her belly she made a back-handed flip to Renada Davis to get the force a second.

In the final inning Lahners turned a no-out double play that certainly saved the game for the Charge.  After the play the Racers loaded the bases with two hits and a walk.  Melloh coaxed a week ground ball to first from McKinney native Ashley Thomas to end the game.

The Charge improved to 15-26 on the season.  The Racers fell just under .500 to 21-22.  The Charge go on their final road trip of the season to face the PA Rebellion for three games.

Odyssey Sims of the Dallas Wings makes the USA Olympic Team

By Cedric Bailey

 

Odyssey Sims is a native of Irving, Texas that graduated from MacArthur High School. On this past Monday evening she and Aerial Powers of the WNBA Dallas Wings were selected to the 11-member USA Basketball women’s select team. The team will play against the U.S. Olympic women’s team on July 25 in Los Angeles before the Olympic team begins a three-city tournament against France, Canada and Australia.

 

Sims played on the team representing the USA at the 2011 Summer Universiade held in Shenzhen, China. The team, coached by Bill Fennelly, won all six games to earn the gold medal. Sims averaged 6.2 points per game. This is not her first time wearing the red, white and blue Sims was selected to be a member of the team representing the USA at the 2013 Summer Universiade held in Kazan, Russia. The team, coached by Sherri Coale, won the opening four games easily, scoring in triple digits in each game, and winning by 30 or more points in each case. After winning the quarterfinal game against Sweden, they faced Australia in the semifinal. The USA team opened up as much as a 17 point in the fourth quarter of the game but the Australian team fought back and took a one-point lead in the final minute. Crystal Bradford scored a basket with 134 seconds left ant he game to secure a 79–78 victory. The gold medal opponent was Russia, but the USA team never trailed, and won 90–71 to win the gold medal and the World University games Championship. Sims was the third leading scorer for the team, averaging 12.7 points per game. She led the team in assists with 32, and steals with 12. She was named co-MVP of the tournament, along with Russia's Tatiana Grigoryeva

 

Also on the select team are Kelsey Bone (Phoenix Mercury), Kahleah Copper (Washington Mystics), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Natasha Howard (Minnesota Lynx), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm), Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana Fever), Sugar Rodgers (New York Liberty), Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty) and Elizabeth Williams (Atlanta Dream).

The team will train alongside the U.S. women’s national team as it prepares for the Olympics in Rio. Meanwhile the Wings will return back to action on this Sunday July 17 at 3:30pm vs. the Minnesota Lynx at College Park in Arlington.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers Win the 2016 NBA Finals with a 93-89 Victory over the Golden State Warriors

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- There were plenty of moments that helped define the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 7 win against the Golden State Warriors -- the Cavs' first NBA title. One came late in the fourth quarter from LeBron James. His offensive effort got plenty of attention during this series, but his block might've saved the Cavs from a tough loss.

 

The Warriors had a rare fast break opportunity where Stephen Curry dished it off late to Andre Iguodala. His layup would have given Golden State a two-point cushion with under two minutes remaining. But James came soaring from behind and swatted Iguodala's attempt. It was only fitting that such a crushing experience end with an unprecedented comeback in the Finals after trailing, 3-1. The Cavs also won two of the last three games on the court of a Golden State team that won a record 73 of 82 games in the regular season, was 39-2 at home, and had not lost three games in a row since Nov. 20-23, 2013.

 

This one was for the Cavs of this year most of all, for Kyrie Irving, who almost matched James' lead, for all the others who were similarly driven but less extravagantly gifted. But it was for far more, given how long it had been, this one was for Craig Ehlo, who has crumpled in disbelief on film too many times. This time, greatness was airborne in the person of James and wearing Cavs colors.

 

And it was for Gerald Wilkins -- different spelling, different Wilkins from Lenny, little brother of the high-flying Dominique Wilkins -- but also beaten by a Michael Jordan shot. This one was for Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Hot Rod Williams. They played beautiful basketball. They never could get past the Bulls. This one was for all the fallen Cavs teams. It was for Lenny. Nobody had to call him by his last name. Lenny Wilkens risked it all by double-teaming Jordan for the first time on the last play of the ferocious first-round series in 1989. Jordan would have beaten five men if that's what it took. It was the most painful chapter in an old story of greatness beating the Cavs.

 

Finally, it was for the fans that came out to the old Arena, because somebody had to. It was for the ones who went to the Coliseum in the cornfields in Richfield and made the backboards shake during the Miracle Year while Fitch was trying to diagram locker room plays on them and who sat in the ear-ringing silence after Jordan hit the Shot and who fell in love all over again last year with James and his scrub sidekicks in the 2015 Finals.

Muhammad Ali, “the Greatest” Boxer in Human History is Called Home to Glory

 

By Cedric Bailey

 

Muhammad Ali will truly be missed from the sports world. Ali was widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sporting figures of the 20th century. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the ring. He was born as Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky, and began training when he was 12 years old. At 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his "slave" name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

 

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested, found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles. He successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1971. By that time, he had not fought for nearly four years—losing a period of peak performance as an athlete. Ali's actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation. Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed "The Greatest", he was involved in several historic boxing matches.[16] Notable among these were the "Fight of the Century", "Super Fight II" and the "Thrilla in Manila" versus his rival Joe Frazier, the first Liston fight, and "The Rumble in the Jungle" versus George Foreman. Ali retired from boxing in 1981.

As of Monday we learned that services will be held on this friday. Ali’s home going celebration is expected to be watched globally, family officials announced that a total of 33,500 tickets would be available for a Friday memorial at the KFC Yum! Center and an Islamic prayer service Thursday at Freedom Hall.

 

In addition, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will join the speakers at the 2 p.m. memorial Friday, already set to include former President Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel, wife Lonnie Ali and several others. Bob Gunnell, a spokesman for the Ali family, said the 30-minute Islamic funeral prayer will be held Thursday at Freedom Hall starting at noon (with doors opening at 9 a.m.) and should accommodate about 18,000 people.  The said the decision to have the Jenazah prayer service at Freedom Hall commemorates Ali's last fight in Louisville, in which he defeated Willi Besmanoff in 1961.

 

The Yum Center interfaith service Friday at 2 p.m. will include clerics from several religions, including The Rev. Kevin Cosby of Louisville, Rabbis Michael Lerner and Joe Rapport of Louisville, a representative of the Buddhist religion and U.S.Senator Orrin Hatch representing Mormons. There will be a poetry reading by Ambassador Attalah Shabazz, the eldest daughter of Malcolm X. For those unable to attend, it will be streamed live from www.alicenter.org. The event will be open to the public with limited seating. Information and details on tickets will be released as they become available. Afterward, a private reception will be held at the Ali Center for friends and guests. The family has asked that, instead of cards or flowers, donations be made to the Ali Center.

 

Dallas Cowboy 2016 NFL Draft Report

By Cedric Bailey

 

Arlington- The 2016 NFL Draft is now in the books and the Dallas Cowboys made some key picks for the upcoming season. Let’s just say that this season will go down as one of the more unique three-day events the Cowboys have had since Jerry Jones bought this franchise in 1989. Jones and his staff just completed their 28th NFL Draft, and while the jury will be out for a while on just how good this new crop of players will be. The Cowboys didn’t make any trades in these seven rounds, something that has occurred just one other time (2011) since the 1989 draft.

 

But to enter the draft with nine picks and take them all at the original spots is not common for this team, who likes to deal. By taking Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick in the draft, he becomes the second running back taken in the first round since Emmitt Smith and just the second in franchise history in the Top 5 along with Tony Dorsett, who went second overall in 1977.

 

Not far behind Elliott was Jaylon Smith, the Notre Dame linebacker who suffered a devastating knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State – ironically enough the injury occurred on a play he was trying to tackle Elliott. But Smith, who won the 2015 Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker, underwent knee surgery on Jan. 7 to repair a torn ACL and LCL. One thing that raised the Cowboys’ comfort level in making the pick was their knowledge of the injury. The surgery was performed by Dr. Dan Cooper, who has been one of the Cowboys’ medical doctors on the sidelines for years. Smith is not expected to play this year, but the Cowboys felt like his upside was too good to pass, even with a high-second round pick.

 

Another highlight in the draft was the selection of Dak Prescott, who becomes the first quarterback taken by the Cowboys since 2009. The former Mississippi State standout scored 111 touchdowns in his four years for the Bulldogs, including 41 on the ground.

One of the bigger surprises of the draft was the Cowboys’ final pick. Baylor’s Rico Gathers is big, he’s strong, and plays with an attitude and mean streak. The problem is, he’s shown of that on the basketball court. The Baylor power forward hasn’t played football since he was 13 but he’s trying to make the transition to tight end, just like Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas have successfully done.

“Villanova Does It Again” with a Buzzer Beater over the North Carolina Tar Heels

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by David J

 

HOUSTON - Villanova won the national championship with a miracle finish in 1985, and pulled off another miracle Monday night to win it all once again - 31 years later. In the final 4.7 seconds, Ryan Arcidiacono dribbled up the court and found Kris Jenkins with a perfect pass, enabling Jenkins to knock down the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer and giving the Wildcats their second national championship in school history with an incredible 77-74 victory over North Carolina at NRG Stadium.

 

The second-seeded Wildcats (35-5) finished a magical run through the NCAA tournament with another explosive offensive performance and good defense, but they needed every ounce of fortitude after the Tar Heels (33-7), a No. 1 seed, came all the way back from a 10-point deficit to tie the game, 74-74, on Marcus Paige's three-point basket with 4.7 seconds left. Villanova coach Jay Wright called timeout to draw up a play that he described as "an end-of-the-game situation where we put the ball in Arch's hands and let him make the decision." Arcidiacono went around a screen from Daniel Ochefu and then made the decision to pass to Jenkins. Jenkins released the ball with 0.5 seconds remaining and it swished through, touching off a wild celebration with players pouring off the bench and streamers and confetti being released from above in the cavernous football stadium. Shortly after the players' celebration began, Jenkins broke off and found his mother, Felicia. He stepped over a press table and got her in a long hug, tears flowing from both faces.

 

Arcidiacono was named most outstanding player of the Final Four, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Josh Hart and Phil Booth. Many of the Wildcats' players from the 1985 title team, plus head coach Rollie Massimino, were in the crowd of 74,340. That team shot 78.6 percent for the game and 90 percent in the second half in 'Nova's 66-64 upset of Georgetown for the 1985 national championship. Playing his 144th career game, a program record, Arcidiacono scored 16 points, hitting 6 of 9 shots from the field and 2 of 3 from three-point range. Jenkins added 14 despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble.

 

But before Jenkins' shot, the offensive hero of the night for Villanova was sophomore guard Phil Booth, who had scored only 27 points in 'Nova's five previous tournament games but scored a career-high 20 on Monday night. Booth hit both of his three-point shots and sank 6 of 7 shots overall, mostly on drives to the hoop. Paige led the Tar Heels with 21 points and Joel Berry II added 20, but the Wildcats did a decent job holding Carolina's big men, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks, in check. Johnson scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds but had just one offensive board. Meeks shot just 1 of 8 and scored four points with seven rebounds. The Tar Heels outrebounded Villanova, 36-23, but the Wildcats outscored the Tar Heels, 32-26, in the paint. This game will go down setting up one of the most memorable finishes in NCAA history.
 

Broncos Shutdown Cam and the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 24 to 10

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Patrick Smith

 

Santa Clara CA: Super Bowl 50 is over and Former DeSoto Eagles and Texas A&M Aggie Von Miller and the Orange Rush attacked the Carolina Panthers with breathtaking ferocity, tired of hearing about their quarterback, Cam Newton, tired of seeing their dancing moves, exhausted by a perceived lack of respect. Let’s just say when Miller reached the corner, a call came out, "Von, turn the music on. It's time to celebrate!" That’s when thing really got going, as the Broncos crept closer and closer to an improbable 24-10 championship victory, the Denver defense ran everywhere. The Broncos defense led by MVP Miller, but with a cast from line to backfield filled with play-stoppers staked a claim as one of the best in NFL history. They grounded all-pro Carolina quarterback Cam Newton for a record-tying seven sacks.

Carolina lined up the NFL's highest-scoring offense. The Broncos countered with the No. 1 defense. The Broncos know defense wins — because they lost so badly. They were blown out of the Super Bowl two years ago, a 43-8 loss, despite a high-powered offense behind Manning. In playoff games against Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, New England's Tom Brady and Newton, the Denver defense hit the quarterback 36 times with 14 sacks. They knocked down 25 passes. They allowed just one touchdown pass.

Newton's Panthers averaged 31.2 points this season. They scored as many as 44 in one game. They scored 80 points in two playoff games before the Super Bowl. The Denver defense wrecked their run. The Broncos allowed just a 1-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Stewart in the second quarter and a Graham Gano field goal in the fourth. That's it. This became the Broncos' script in their Orange Crush-ing season. Denver scored just 22.2 points per game. But they allowed just 18.5. The Broncos played in 14 games this season decided by a touchdown or less.

In the first quarter, after Miller sprinted around the right side of Carolina's line and punched the ball away from Newton, Malik Jackson recovered the ball for a touchdown. That was Denver's only touchdown for 57 minutes. No team has ever won the Super Bowl without an offensive touchdown. The Broncos nearly did. But Miller's sack of Newton late in the fourth quarter — after he muscled around the left side of Carolina's line — forced a fumble that T.J. Ward recovered. That led to a C.J. Anderson 2-yard TD run.

For all the importance of Peyton Manning's likely final game — he will take time to make up his mind Miller and the Orange Rush broke the Panthers' will and their hearts. "This is magical," Miller said. "It's something you dream about." Denver owns its third championship, and it's most unlikely since John Elway guided the Broncos to a 31-24 upset of Green Bay. That snapshot exists forever as owner Pat Bowlen stood on the podium and gave credit to Elway. Eighteen years later, Elway returned the favor.

 

TCU Rallies to WIN the Alamo Bowl over the Oregon Ducks

By Cedric Bailey, Photo by Billy Calzada

 

San Antonio: This matchup started when starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, was suspended and sent back home to Fort Worth. This was the perfect time for the coaches to start thinking about the golf course and spring practice.

But that’s when TCU coach Gary Patterson turned inspirational after the worst first-half performance in his 15-season head coaching career. This game has been labeled as one of the greatest bowl game comebacks in the history of college football started with a wardrobe change. Patterson laughs at how stupid that sounds, but it felt necessary. His TCU team was down 31-0 to Oregon when he sneaked into his Alamo Dome office at halftime and quickly changed clothes. The black, long-sleeved mock turtleneck wasn't working, so he turned to his purple, short-sleeved Nike mock turtleneck, a lightweight shirt that absorbs sweat and evidently, “absolves fear”. Patterson had to change visors, too, to make the new look match.

And then his Horned Frogs scored 47 points, 38 of them in a row, and miraculously stunned Oregon 47-41 in triple overtime to steal a Valero Alamo Bowl victory Saturday night. The 31-point deficit had been understandable, almost justified. The Frogs had no business winning this one. Yet there they were, standing under a shower of confetti and balloons after pulling off the most insane rally imaginable. When the festivities were over, players snapped photos with fans and family.

Now let’s look at how TCU scored in the second half started with a 10-play drive for a TCU field goal. Oregon goes three-and-out. An 11 play drive for a touchdown. Oregon fumbles the kickoff. Another easy TCU touchdown. Now it's 31-17 and the Ducks are panicking. That’s when TCU QB Bram Kohlhausen really got the team started. Something finally clicked for Kohlhausen, the senior transfer who'd never started a game in his career, and there was no stopping him. He hit on 19 of 26 throws for 255 yards after halftime and scored four touchdowns, including the game winner on an option keeper that was as unexpected as his breakthrough.

We also have to talk about the shutout from the TCU's defense. Oregon backup Jeff Lockie was struggling to even catch snaps against the Frogs' swarming D. The Ducks could run only 18 plays in the second half still, this game had to go to overtime. And double overtime. And then triple overtime. For a team that won on a miracle tip at Texas Tech, needed a bomb to beat Kansas State and somehow stuffed Baylor in a monsoon in overtime, this was the masterpiece.

By the time he was done celebrating, Patterson was simply too exhausted to contemplate it all on Saturday. Like everyone else who'd just witnessed one of the game's most unbelievable comebacks -- tying the bowl record set by Texas Tech in the 2006 Insight Bowl -- he walked off asking the night's impossible question. "How do you explain any of it?" Patterson questioned. "I mean, seriously, how do you explain any of it?"

Former Dunbar Wildcats Coach Robert Hughes Honored by the City of Fort Worth

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth City Council Woman Gyna Bivens attended an event honoring Robert Hughes in 2014. A resident in the community asked the question about honoring former I.M.Terrell/ Dunbar Wildcat Coach Robert Hughes with a street in his honor. Bivens remembered that another former Fort Worth had a street named in her honor and that she was retired and still living. So she went to work and was able to get the votes to get Cass Street changed to Robert Hughes Drive.
 

Many of Coach Hughes family members such as his children, brothers and sister witnessed this historic day on the past Saturday morning. On Saturday, October 17, the City of Fort Worth will recognize former Fort Worth ISD Coach Robert Hughes, Sr., with the naming of a street in his honor.

By city ordinance that portion of Cass Street, between Ramey and Fitzhugh, will now be known as Robert Hughes Street. This street is immediately adjacent to the eastern side of the Dunbar High School Campus. The Board of Education First Vice President Christene C. Moss, Councilwoman Bivens, along with Mr. Walter Dansby, Judge Lisa Woodard, Constable Michael Campbell, State Representive Nicole Collier and other dignitaries and guests, were on hand to personally congratulate Coach Hughes.

 From 1973 to 2005 Coach Hughes coached at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and prior to that he coached at I.M. Terrell High School. When Coach Hughes eventually retired he did so as the all-time winningest high school basketball coach with 1,333 wins. His son, Robert Hughes, Jr. is the current coach at Dunbar High School.

Samorah Whitten’s Dream Comes True

By Cedric Bailey

 

Fort Worth Texas, can you imagine at the age of 5 and getting ready to celebrate your 6th birthday, and your parents ask you the question, “What do you want for your birthday”? And instead of a birthday party at Chucky Cheese you inform your parents that you want to help start a shoe drive for elementary students, who couldn’t afford new shoes. So, Samorah’s parents, Ashley and Courtney Whitten, planned a birthday party and asked everyone to bring a pair of shoes as a gift. The response was so wonderful, that at least 50 kids were blessed with a new pair of shoes. That was in 2014. Meanwhile in 2015, Samorah had another birthday celebration that included her family and church.  Once again she had another birthday party and the church participated and once again 50 more kids were blessed with a brand new pair of shoes.

This past weekend Ashley and Samorah took the shoe drive to the community by spending sometime at her grandparents family business, “Off the Bone BBQ” at 5144 Mansfield Hwy, in Forest Hill, TX. The store invited the Big Game Christian Sports Network, a.k.a. BGCsports to host a live radio broadcast & tailgate party for the college football fans and Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt and Fort Worth Dunbar Wildcats fans. Dunbar Coach Todd Lawson, joined BGCsports show host & sports analyst, Charles Boyd to talk sports and asked the customers for their support. This event was held from 11am to 1pm on the “Off The Bone” parking lot, and helped to raise $500 for Samorah’s 2016 shoe drive.

 On January 28, this year she will celebrate her 8th birthday with the funds to assist another 50 kids in receiving new shoes. If you would like to support the next shoe drive, then contact the Whitten’s at (682) 559-5644 or stop by “Off the Bone BBQ” in Fort Worth.

TEXAS RANGERS BASEBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE JUAN IGOR GONZALEZ

The Journey Back Home©

By

Rosanna Briscoe

 

On July 11, 2015 The Texas Rangers Baseball organization will induct two new members, Juan Igor Gonzalez and Jeff Russell into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame.   Let’s take a moment and focus on Juan and his return to the ballpark in Arlington now known as Globe Life Park.

 

Juan joined the Texas Rangers baseball club as a minor league player in 1986.  He made his major league debut in 1989 with the Rangers as a right fielder and continued through the 1999 season with the Rangers.  Juan briefly returned to the Rangers in 2002 through the 2003 season.  He also played with the Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, and the Kansas City Royals.  Juan’s last MLB appearance was in May of 2005 with the Cleveland Indians. The bulk of Juan’s career was experienced as a Texas Ranger and so it is fitting that he receive this honor.

 

 

This induction is long overdue, Juan was a major contributor to the Rangers, and his numbers speak for themselves. Something else that is very evident, Juan has the numbers to win his way to Cooperstown.  Allegations of steroid use should not put a stain on his reputation. Whatever happened to “innocent till proven guilty”?  I think there may be some question as to whether a man can be “blacklisted” because he lacks a smooth tongue or media savvy. 

 

Juan received an invitation to enter into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame alongside his friend and former teammate Ivan Pudge Rodriguez in June 2013.  Juan respectfully declined his induction at that time.  

 

 

I recently spoke with sports analyst, Mark McLemore who played with Juan 5 years.  Mark said “People make the assumption that Juan is this big mean guy.  He said “Juan is just the opposite. He was a super funny guy that kept us laughing in the clubhouse.”  Mark added, “he was great at driving in runs.”  Juan would tell me “just get on base and I’ll bring you in.  Juan drove in guys that were not even in the game.”

Mark said “I am super happy for Juan, he deserves this.”

 

Juan wanted to finish his career with the Rangers.  He wanted to play in Texas to be near some of his family and friends.  Juan still cherishes his days of sitting and talking with former President George W. Bush and had the greatest respect for Johnny Oates as well as Tom Scheiffer.  

 

I went to Puerto Rico to interview Juan about his upcoming induction. The journey took me to Vega Baja where I quickly learned that Juan is known by all as “Igor”.  The people’s faces light up when they speak of him.  It’s almost as if he is a mayor, congressman or maybe even a Vega Baja President.  They all had wonderful things to say about Juan and this gave me a real insight into “Igor”.

I continued to the Rodrigo Guigo Otero Center where I met a gentleman named Jose “Willie” Quinones and I eventually found out that my search was over.  Juan was in Texas visiting his seriously ill mother at an Arlington medical facility.  Upon my return to Texas I learned the sad news that Juan’s mother passed away on June 15th.    

 

 

My visit to Vega Baja was the best.  Whether I spoke to family, friends or a handsome man trimming his hedges; I heard of Juan’s participation in the community, and his passion for helping young ball players who hope to enter the big leagues one day.  His passion for the game continues through his work in the community.

 

 

Congratulations to Juan!

 

Rosanna Briscoe©

Globetrotters Legend Marques Haynes Gone at 89

By Cedric Bailey

 

Plano- Many of us grew up watching the Harlem Globetrotters on TV and in person. Marques Haynes was often called the greatest dribbler in basketball history, passed away on this past Friday in Plano, Texas, of natural causes. In two stints with the touring team — from 1947-53 and 1972-79 — Haynes played in more than 1,200 games for a team that combined dazzling skills, theatrical flair and circus antics.

 

While playing at Langston (Oklahoma) University, the acrobatic Haynes caught the attention of Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein in 1946 after leading Langston to a win over Globies. Haynes remained at the school, but after graduation joined the Globetrotters. He led them to victories against the George Mikan-led Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA in 1948 and 1949. Haynes was more than mere showman on the court, although his dribbling skills were eye-popping displays that often had opponents standing and watching in awe. He led Booker T. Washington High School in his hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to the unofficial national championship in 1941 and was a scholastic All-American that season. He then starred at Langston, an NAIA school where he was a four-time all-conference selection and team MVP. Haynes led Langston in scoring all four years and the team had a 112-3 record, including a 59-game winning streak. The Globetrotters retired Haynes' No. 20 jersey in 2001, one of only five players to be so honored.

 

The Globetrotters will dedicate their 90th anniversary tour in 2016 to Haynes and will wear a uniform patch in tribute. "Marques was a pioneer, helping pave the way for people of all races to have opportunities to play basketball and for the sport to explode on a global scale," Schneider said. "His unique and groundbreaking style of play set the tone for modern basketball as we know it. Anyone involved with basketball worldwide is indebted to Marques. He was the consummate Globetrotter.

Haynes was also a great businessman, This past Monday I had the opportunity to speak with Art “Bones” Smith who started The Harlem Thrillers. Smith said that Haynes would stop in Ardmore to play some games in the city. During that season it Haynes that asked Smith to join his team and they traveled the country for a couple years. There other team such as The Harlem Magicians  that were founded in 1953 by Lon Varnell with other former Harlem Globetrotters. Frank Luster, also played with the Harlem Globetrotters and the late great Marques Haynes during his day’s with the Harlem Globetrotters. This team would play games against the Boston Celtics and other NBA teams as well.

Hall of Famers and Harlem Globetrotters Meadowlark Lemon said that Marques Haynes was the leader and I don’t think he’s gotten the credit that he deserves,” Lemon said. “If you’re looking at it in positions he was probably the greatest point guard of all time and without a doubt he was the greatest dribbler.” “There’s nobody that can even compare, past or future or present with what Marques did,” Lemon added.

 

Haynes is survived by his loving wife, Joan Taylor Haynes &two daughters, Marsha Pearson Loggins and Marquetta Gregory. A celebration of his life will be held Friday, May 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at New Life Community Church, 25631 Smotherman Rd., Frisco, Texas 75033. Interment will follow at Ridgeview Cemetery in Allen, Texas. The family will receive friends Thursday, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen, Texas.

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