Photos via AJC.com
Photos via AJC.com
14 year old Taney Dragons pitcher Mo’Ne Davis, was only 13 when she became the first female to ever earn a pitching win at the Little League World Series. While making history of her own she met a baseball history maker Hank Aaron on Tuesday.
Legendary, “Hammerin’ Hank,” Hank Aaron is a retired MLB right fielder and Hall of Famer met with Davis and her little league teammates and gave them a tour of Turner Field. Aaron shared many stories with them including one conversation that he had with his father, in which he told his father he wanted to become a pilot and his father said, “Son there are no Negro pilots” He also added that, “You can play baseball.” From that day forward Hank began to pursue a career in baseball.
Baseball is not the only sport Davis plays. The mulit-talented athlete joined her 8th grade varsity basketball team and has been selected by, The legendary Harlem Globetrotters as part of their 9th annual player draft. Director of player personnel Sweet Lou Dunbar, says “When we conduct our draft, we look for outstanding athletes from different sports all over the world that exemplify the Globetrotters’ efforts to provide service, smiles and sportsmanship globally.”
Currently Mo’ne and her teammates are on a three week civil rights trip. Their next stops include the Martin Luther King Jr Center, and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
THE FINAL OUT! http://t.co/qUzc7wvsXC
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 25, 2015
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 25, 2015
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. The US defeated Colombia in Monday’s game by a score of 2-0, advancing them past the round of 16 and into the quarterfinals. Their next game will be against China on Friday, June 26. While China is no Germany or Japan, they obviously have some talent and could be a tough test against a struggling US offense that will be without two starters, Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holliday. Also, there’s some history here. This will be the first time the US faces China in the Women’s World Cup since beating China to win it all in 1999. Remember that one?
Maybe this will help…
Leading into their game against the US, Colombian players took some shots at the Americans. “They belittle us…We’re going to beat them since they like to talk so much,” said Colombian midfielder Lady Andrade. Yoreli Rincon added “they don’t have the heart we Colombians have.” SHOTS FIRED. The beef goes back to the 2012 Olympics when Lady Andrade hit Abby Wambach with a punch to the eye. The US went on to win that game 3-0. Two years later, the tension is still there. The US, on the other hand, stayed relatively quiet.
But for all the talking Colombia did, it looked as though The US would jump out to an early lead. In the third minute, Wambach scored…but was called offsides. Besides that, the US offense was lackluster, a problem that has not seemed to solve itself through the first four games of the tournament. And although Colombia never truly threatened the US defense in the first half, they did control the pace of the game.
While quality scoring chances were hard to come by in the first half, cards were not. Lauren Holiday got a yellow card in the 17th minute, her second of the tournament. She will miss the next game against China. In the 41st minute, Megan Rapinoe got her second yellow over the past four games. She will miss the China game, as well. At the end of the half it was still 0-0 and things didn’t look great for the US.
In the second half, the US women got some much needed help. Rapinoe played a ball into space for Alex Morgan and it looked like Morgan would have an open and uncontested shot at the goal. But Colombian keeper Catalina Perez came out and tried to make a play on the ball. Instead she got Morgan’s leg and a red card.
Colombia would have to play with a woman down for nearly the entire second half, while their starting keeper sat in the locker room. And with Wambach poised to take the penalty kick, it looked as though the USWNT would take their lead. But Wambach missed. She missed wide left.
The game was still 0-0.
Morgan would eventually find the back of the net in the 53rd minute to put the US up 1-0.
Thirteen minutes later, Megan Rapinoe got fouled making a run into the box, setting up the Americans’ second pk of the game. Carli Lloyd buried it and the US was up 2-0 with 24 minutes left. The US would go on to win, advancing to the round of 8 and knocking Colombia out of the tournament. It was a win, but it was far from impressive. The US has a number of issues to address before their game against China.
On one hand, the American women can feel somewhat confident going up against China. In their last 24 games playing China, spanning back to 2003, the US is 20-0-4. But the US will be without Rapinoe and Holiday. While Holiday has not been spectacular so far, she is still a solid starter and has played the majority of the minutes in the first four games. Replacing her won’t be simple. Rapinoe, on the other hand, has been one of the best offensive weapons for the US. She scored two of the three goals in their win against Australia. She delivered the corner that Wambach put past the keeper for their only goal in the win over Nigeria. And her pass to Morgan set up their first pk opportunity in the win against Colombia. She’s been instrumental in a struggling offense. It’s unsure whether coach Jill Ellis will stick with the 4-4-2 lineup she has been using, or mix things up to better suit the skills of those replacing Rapinoe and Holiday.
One thing is for sure, though. The United States will need another great defensive performance if they expect to win and advance to the semi-finals. Their one goal allowed is tied for best in the tournament. Against Colombia, they only allowed two shots on goal. TWO. Hope Solo leads the World Cup in saves and has posted clean sheets in three out of four games. While the offense has struggled, the defense has shined.
On Monday, Combs allegedly assaulted strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi with a kettlebell after seeing Alosi ‘screaming intensely’ at Combs’ son Justin during a football drill. No one was seriously injured during the incident according to campus police.
Combs’ posted a $50,000 bail and was released.
While Combs may appear to have just been defending his son, both he and Alosi were at fault in this incident and here’s why:
Combs’ and Alosi’s Histories
This is not the first time Combs and Alosi have been involved in controversy, especially when it comes to assaulting someone.
Combs was previously arrested for his role in the beating of former Interscope Records executive Steve Stoute in 1999. His charges were later reduced and he was court-ordered to attend an anger management class.
On the other side of things, Alosi previously served in the same position (strength/conditioning coach) for the New York Jets under head coach Rex Ryan. In 2010, he was infamous for tripping Miami Dolphins DB Nolan Carroll during a game between the two teams. Alosi was fined $25000 and suspended without pay for the rest of the season.
The Nature of Football
Considering the nature of football (college/pro) where testosterone-filled men coach other testosterone-filled men to victory, yelling is almost as normal as breathing. It usually happens when someone does something very well or very poorly.
In this case, no one knows exactly what caused Alosi to yell at Justin Combs other than the people involved. My guess is that he did something very poorly.
Combs is a redshirt junior DB and has only played in seven total games since he joined the Bruins in 2012.
Since he isn’t exactly dominating the football field, I’m sure Alosi probably had a good reason to yell at him. Diddy just did what every other parent probably would have done in this situation but not to the same extent. Assaulting someone for yelling at his son isn’t going to get him Father of the Year awards. Even so, that doesn’t mean that Alosi should be allowed to do as he pleases.
Alosi should be thankful that someone was willing to give him a second chance. Also, he’s the strength coach not the head coach. Losing his mind during a drill isn’t going to get him a promotion anytime soon.
Hopefully, Diddy will lessen his involvement with his son while he attends UCLA and hopefully, Alosi will not trip someone else as punishment for this embarrassing incident.
1. Minnesota – Jahlil Okafor – Pekovic already under contract through 2017-18 for $12 million and he’s serviceable as a traditional center (big, rebounder) grabbing 8 rebounds and pitching in 12+ points per game. Okafor can move well and score as a power forward while not having to guard the opponents best big man. (Karl-Anthony Towns, )
2. L.A. Lakers – Karl-Anthony Towns – Jordan Hill has been great and he’s been not-so-great. Even at his best he’s not a true, back-to-the-basket center. Towns could provide the offense and strength to throw twin towers at Western opponents. (Justise Winslow, D’Angelo Russell)
3. Philadelphia – D’Angelo Russell – Sixers couldn’t score last year and were 24th in the league in assists. Noel, Aldemir and, hopefully, Embiid can hold down the lane or Philly can pick up a big in FA……they only have $30 million on the books for 15-16 right now. (Justise Winslow, Devin Booker)
4. New York – Willie Cauley-Stein – Carmelo is a basketball black hole so it’s best to surround him with defenders and passers who don’t need the ball to be productive. WCS is a proven defender and hustler with passing skills and the quickness to run the floor and move on offense. The Knicks could easily go point guard here as well. (Jerian Grant, Tyus Jones)
5. Orlando – Mario Hezonja – Slasher who can take it to the rack. New coach Scott Skiles needs more efficient and, well, just MORE scoring. Other scorers are available, but Hezonja might be better fit for a team that already has an international feel. (Trey Lyles, Devin Booker)
6. Sacramento – Bobby Portis – DeMarcus Cousins is the Dude in Sac-Town. Portis can be a face up 4 to compliment Boogie’s physical style. In a rotational role he could still post up and is an awesome passer for a big guy. He was a great team guy at Arkansas. (Guillermo Hernangomez, Cameron Payne)
7. Denver – R.J. Hunter – Yup….my sleeper pick. Denver isn’t a great shooting team but Ty Lawson gets the ball to guys in positions to score and Hunter is a scorer, just needs some carbs. This team rebounds well but isn’t exactly a grinding bunch. Other direction could be a mobile big. (Frank Kaminsky, Robert Upshaw)
8. Detroit – Justise Winslow – This is the kinda guy to pull defenses away from Greg Monroe and take some of the scoring load as well. If they don’t re-sign Monroe then all bets are off and they’re looking for a cornerstone. (Myles Turner, Frank Kaminsky)
9. Charlotte – Trey Lyles – The Hornets get little-to-no contribution from their power forwards and Lyles can contribute facing the basket as a one-two punch with Al Jefferson. He should be back since I don’t see him getting a better payday in free agency. Charlotte needs an efficient shooter, like yesterday! (Stanley Johnson, Kevon Looney)
10. Miami – Emmanuel Mudiay – I’m not as high on this guy as most, but he could really grow on this team. They need a playmaker to allow Dragic to slide into the 2 spot for Wade to get his breath. Mudiay wouldn’t need to lead right away. (Jerian Grant, Kevon Looney)
11. Indiana – Frank Kaminsky – Pacers need a scoring big man. They would prefer a back to the basket guy, but The Tank can open up the middle with his perimeter shooting. Allows Hill, Stuckey and George to attack the basket. (Devin Booker, Delon Wright)
12. Utah – Kristaps Porzingis – He’s a project and this team is young enough to hide a project until he’s ready. Dude is a bean-pole but he can get bigger over a year or two while the rest of the team continues to gel. Other options are PG and SG help. (Devin Booker, Tyus Jones)
13. Phoenix – Myles Turner – The Suns can score but don’t play defense and the Morris twins don’t make good decisions on or off the court. Turner is a shot blocker, rebounder (another Phoenix weakness) and he makes good shot decisions. (Christian Wood, Robert Upshaw)
14. Oklahoma City – Jerian Grant –The Thunder need a defending PG who can shoot if necessary, but mainly there to help Russ get the ball up the court and pass it back to him when he loses his dribble. OKC has solid rebounding and interior D so no need for a big. (Tyus Jones, Terry Rozier)
15. Atlanta (From Brooklyn) – Robert Upshaw – The Hawks need a true center yesterday. They were outrebounded all season and the Cavs looked like big brothers holding the ball above their heads in the playoffs. Upshaw can score, but his physical presence will do more in the paint on defense than anything else. (Christian Wood, Dakari Johnson)
16. Boston – Devon Booker – I think Booker is ready to score more than any other wing player in the draft and the Celtics could use his range. They didn’t fare well from behind the arc last year and with aggressive guards they need someone to kick it to outside. (Kelly Oubre Jr, Trey Lyles)
17. Milwaukee – Cameron Payne – The Bucks need to solve their PG puzzle. MCW and Knight tried, but both turn the ball over too much yet still lead the team in scoring. Payne could add an outside threat while still distributing and keeping the offense moving. (Tyus Jones, Terry Rozier)
18. Houston (From New Orleans) – Kevon Looney – The Rockets got out-hustled and out-nastied against Golden State. Looney will grind inside and get his hands dirtier than Dwight Howard or Josh Smith ever would. Perfect emotional fit with this mercurial squad. (Montrezl Harrell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson)
19. Washington – Justin Anderson – John Wall and Bradley Beal carry this team with driving and streaky shooting. Anderson is efficient from the arc and a strong rebounder and defender for his 6-6/228 frame. Understands how to contribute without the ball, important on a Wall/Beal team. (Sam Dekker, Kelly Oubre Jr)
20. Toronto – Kelly Oubre, Jr – Toronto also needs some interior defense, but Oubre is a slasher in the making and his athleticism is all upside. The Raptors collection of power forwards could be bundled to trade for taller defense. (Jordan Mickey, Dakari Johnson)
21. Dallas – Tyus Jones – Monta Ellis, Dirk and Chandler Parsons can put the ball in the basket. The Mavs need to groom a point guard to get those guys the ball…..and it won’t be Rajon Rondo. Barrea and Harris are getting long in the tooth and Raymond Felton hasn’t been the guy anywhere he’s played. (Oliver Hanlan, Terry Rozier)
22. Chicago – Stanley Johnson – He’s a strong 3 who can grab a rebound or pop a three. He’ll need some ball-handling work, but he could allow Butler to play less of a role on D to let him focus on scoring. If Kaminsky is still on the board they might snatch him up to understudy Gasol. (Frank Kaminsky, Pat Connaughton)
23. Portland – Christian Wood – He’s big, can block shots and rebound and will round into the interior scoring threat to balance Portland’s offense. If LaMarcus Aldridge re-signs they could look for PG help for Lillard. (Chris McCullough, Jarell Martin)
24. Cleveland – TJ McConnell – A point guard to back up LeBron and Kyrie could keep them off the IR and allow JR Smith to play off-ball more and spot up. McConnell is also a great FT shooter, the Cavs biggest weakness. (Oliver Hanlan, Quinn Cook)
25. Memphis – Andrew Harrison – Better shooter and good at getting to FT line and his size will be a nice change of pace for the Grizzlies. He’s also used to feeding dominant big men and moving without the ball to force defensive shifts. Must improve ball-handling. (Delon Wright, Quinn Cook)
26. San Antonio – Cedi Osman – Just because he’s the prototypical Spur. If they believe they have a shot with the Senior Squad the Spurs will look for immediate help. Probably a post scorer to take some heat off Leonard. (Rakeem Christmas, Robert Upshaw)
27. L.A. Lakers (From Houston) – Quinn Cook – They don’t want to pay Jeremy Lin $14 million dollars but they need a skipper to get the ball inside to Towns. With Kobe leaving this is the Floor General pick they need to handle the big personalities on this team. If they take Justise Winslow with their earlier pick this will be a PF/C pick. (Mouhammadou Jaiteh, Guillermo Hernangomez)
28. Boston (From L.A. Clippers) – Larry Nance, Jr – He’s the kind of tweener Brad Stevens can use in multiple roles to create mismatches. He scores efficiently and from inside and out. His shooting and rebounding will make Boston harder to defend. (Sam Dekker, Jonathan Holmes)
29. Brooklyn (From Atlanta) – Aaron Harrison – They will need a big guard moving forward without Deron Williams. Jarrett Jack doesn’t have the size to go against the taller guards in the league. He’ll need to improve ball handling and shooting. (Delon Wright, Georges Lucas Alves de Paula)
30. Golden State – Pat Connaughton – He fits what they’re doing and will learn a lot under Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. He can fill multiple roles and that’s what the Dubs are all about. He can stretch to guard multiple positions. (Dakari Johnson, Mouhammadou Jaiteh)
Mother of former NBA Player Charles Barkley, Charcey Glenn passes away Friday of Kidney Failure in her Alabama home. She was 73.
Your guide to this year’s international prospects in the NBA draft.
With the Warriors celebrating and the LeBron-haters hatin’, it’s time for the 2015 Draft. As usual, there’s tons of talk about the top domestic prospects we all saw in the NCAA Tournament and college basketball season. And as usual there are prospects from Europe and beyond who sound mysterious and are completely off the usual fan’s radar. There are really only five players of note and I’ve given you a brief breakdown so you can be the smartest person in the room on Thursday. (My first round suggestions will be out soon.)
Emmanuel Mudiay (China) – This kid is ranked as high as third in some mock drafts, but I’m not seeing it. He’s got good size (6-5, 200), speed and strength which allows him to finish at the rim and post up smaller defenders. He’s also an above average passer who will outgrow his tendency to force passes……all point guards do. But, he’s a 58% free throw shooter and has very little long range game. He’s serviceable from 15 feet but often passes up that shot to drive to the basket. He also loses interest in defense if his offense is lagging or the opponent slows the tempo. He would do well to land on a team with a veteran point guard (Brooklyn, San Antonio) but someone will jump on him based on potential.
Kristaps Porzingis (Spain) – Here’s another talk Euro who can shoot from three and dribble a little. Problem is he’s 7-0, 220 and needs ankle weights to keep from blowing away. He can flat-out shoot and is a terror for other bigs to defend. He moves well without the ball which sets him up for open looks on the perimeter. Unfortunately, a traditional center would eat him alive at the other end of the floor. Some teams are looking at him as a power forward (emphasis on “forward”, not “power”) to work alongside a true post player. That works until, oh yeah, he has to play defense. He’s also not a very cerebral player. He doesn’t really understand the flow of the game and can often lose his man or fail to help out against penetration. This guy needs carbs and a strength coach.
Mario Hezonja (Spain) – This dude is killing it at team workouts. He’s got the quickness and slashing ability to score against 2’s and 3’s with a developing outside game that will make him tough for GM’s to pass up. His teammates in Spain like him because he’s a solid passer and is a fiery competitor. Just like many of these imports, he’s gotta put on some muscle and improve his defensive consistency. It will also be interesting to see if he is as successful getting his own shot at the NBA level. Still, he’s the best of the international prospects.
Guillermo Hernangomez (Spain) – Talk about a beast…..this cat is 6-11, 255 and strong as hell! He has no problem moving defenders where he wants them and establishing position deep in the post. Once he’s there, he catches any pass that’s thrown near him. It sometimes takes a couple of tries for him to put it in the basket, but offensive rebounding is a strength. His game doesn’t really move out of the 10 foot range, but he can hit a corner jumper. He’ll need to improve his passing to avoid double team troubles and his lack of explosiveness means he’s not a rim protector, but his strength and tenacity make him a contributor right away. This kid has Western Conference bully written all over him.
Mouhammadou Jaiteh (France) – This young man is a real development project. Some scouting services have him listed at 6-11, but he’s definitely no taller than 6-9 but he has the makings of a solid frame and comes in at 250 lbs. He’s aggressive with the ball, moving forward and keeping it high and in front of him,….similar to James Harden’s foul-drawing technique. His one-on-one offensive skills are extremely underdeveloped, giving him not real post moves and no abilities off the dribble. He has lapses, especially on defense, where he doesn’t seem to understand how he fits into what’s going on. The real story is how he understands his deficiencies and works hard on the floor. He will put the time in to improve, he’ll just need the right organization with patience and a good coaching staff.
There are other players on the radar, such as Nikola Milutinov or Cedi Osman, but Mudiay, Porzingis, Hezonja, Hernandgomez and Jaiteh are the prospects being floated for early consideration. With the exception of Hernandgomez, all of these players need to add strength and weight to handle the physicality of the NBA. Also, the rigors of guarding NBA talent may separate the real from the fake in years to come.
But don’t worry about the “invasion” from foreign lands this year. There’s homegrown talent at every position that SHOULD be taken ahead of these young men. Whether GM’s and coaches see that is a different question for a different post.
Enjoy the hype and stay tuned for my “This Is What They Should Do” list.
It is official: Alex Rodriguez is the newest member of the 3000 hit club with a solo homerun off of one pitch from former Cy Young Award winner and Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. He is the 29th player ever to have accomplished the feat. Rodriguez follows his former teammate Derek Jeter, who also hit a homerun for his 3000th hit back in 2011. While this accomplishment is a major milestone for any baseball player in the MLB, the million-dollar question still remains for a number of parties including the MLB, the New York Yankees, and Yankees fans: Should the accomplishment actually be celebrated?
Why the Accomplishment Should be Celebrated
Performance-enhancing drugs or not, obtaining 3000 hits over the course of a career is really difficult to accomplish. Only 29 players have ever done it. Many more players were caught taking PEDs and never came close to reaching the 3000 mark including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and the ‘Godfather of Steroids’ Jose Canseco.
However you look at it, great hitters are the only ones that can hit a baseball 3000 times. Remember, a drug isn’t hitting the ball for Rodriguez. He still had to work extremely hard to get to where he is now. Besides, no one other than Rodriguez himself knows how long he has cheated. It isn’t like there is a blimp in the sky going past MLB officials stating the exact years in which Rodriguez has cheated. Even if they knew those exact years, they have never erased a player’s statistics so why start now?
Why the Accomplishment Should Not be Celebrated
The short answer to all parties involved: hypocrisy. It is hypocritical for anyone including Rodriguez to celebrate this achievement. Back in 2009, A-Rod admitted in an interview that he took PEDs during a three-year period when he played for the Texas Rangers back in 2001. Just about everyone believed he was telling the truth when he said he only took PEDs during those years until his name became associated with a little-known organization by the name of Biogenesis four years later.
The MLB, which has stated many times that it wants to clean up the game, basically painted Rodriguez as the face of steroids during that time. For the MLB to celebrate him when they have vilified him for his actions is hypocritical.
If the Yankees organization celebrates A-Rod, they will show that they do not care about their own players being caught using PEDs. Then again, he did help them capture a World Series so maybe they shouldn’t complain at all. In a previous article, I mentioned how fans contribute to cheating in sports. Whelp, so do sports teams as well.
Think about it, when a player is suspended from his/her team, the team usually just accepts that player’s punishment. When the player has finished his/her suspension, he/she is free to join the team as if he/she just took a really long vacation. Behind closed doors, maybe the coach or owner has a talk with that player, but he/she isn’t publicly shamed for the suspension. The team usually forgives the player and moves on. Until that all-is-forgiven mentality is replaced with a harsher attitude, sports teams will always contribute to cheating.
Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget about Yankees fans. Yankees fans generally acted as if they were against A-Rod when the Biogenesis scandal made headlines and he was once again involved with cheating. Now that he’s served his punishment, Rodriguez is back within the good graces of the fans and life goes on. I wonder if that championship that he helped the Yankees win had anything to do with that? ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, a self-proclaimed “diehard Yankees fan” has joked many times about how he was only upset with A-Rod because he didn’t continue to cheat after being caught with Biogenesis. Who’s to say that many other Yankees fan don’t feel that way too?
At the end of the day, the choice to celebrate Rodriguez’s accomplishment isn’t the end of the world. I just hope that those of you who choose to celebrate have all of the cards on the table before making that decision.