Monthly Archives: November 2016

The Curious Case of Josh Gordon

(The Comeback)

(The Comeback)

Camron Miller | Contributor

It is almost the end of November and, as we approach the end of the 2016 NFL season, it is worth noting two important things: the Cleveland Browns have yet to win a game (0-11) and that may be due in part to the fact that they are still without Josh Gordon.

The troubled 25-year-old Cleveland Browns receiver was released from a rehabilitation facility on October 30 a month after beginning treatment for his various substance issues. The question, immediately upon his release, became: “What are the Cleveland Browns executives going to do with him, since they missed the trade deadline on November 1?”

For those teams still interested in Gordon as a player, he has an upside because his performance on the field is outstanding. Gordon’s numbers in 2013 were amazing. He posted 1,646 yards with 87 receptions and 9 touchdowns in a career year any receiver would be proud of.

Gordon has a history of drug problems, he received a two-game suspension in 2013 for a failed drug test, and was let go from the Baylor football team in 2011 after he tested positive for marijuana while in school. He plead guilty to a DUI charge in September of 2014, failing an alcohol test last January, he violated his no-alcohol restriction triggering the indefinite suspension. These problems have caused him to lose $1.4 million in the year he was suspended.

Gordon was conditionally reinstated in July with a four-game suspension to start the season for previously being suspended from the entire 2015 season for multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policies. He would have been eligible to play against the Patriots Oct. 9 had he abided by his treatment program.

Instead, he checked himself into rehab on September 29 tweeting that he was: “Under some pressure & stress recently, had to take a time out for myself. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you. Thank u @nfl @Browns.” -Flash Gordon (@JOSH_GORDONXII).

Rumors have floated around that Head Coach Hue Jackson and Browns executives have “moved on from Gordon.” The Browns planned for the future with the uncertainty of his return drafting four receivers and giving ex-quarterback Terrelle Pryor a full look at the position. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted on September 29: “Hope is that Josh Gordon gets the help he needs. Hard to imagine him playing for the Browns again.” -@ Adam Schefter.

Gordon is not the only person at the center of the Browns’ woes, as the Johnny Manziel saga closed at the end of this past summer. Manziel was drafted in 2014 with the Browns first-round draft pick to be the quarterback the Browns needed to turn their franchise around.

Gordon and Manziel succumbed to the pressures of stardom and playing in a professional league, trying to live up to their college success. Hopefully, Gordon can turn things around before it’s too late, and he ends up like his friend “Johnny Football,” who is currently a free agent after being released by the Browns in March.

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OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook storming through NBA as a solo act

(USA Today)

(USA Today)

Justin Norris | Contributor

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has started the 2016-2017 season at a historically productive rate.

Westbrook has posted triple-doubles in five of his first fourteen games and is averaging 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game on the year. In addition to his impressive numbers, the Thunder have opened the season with a 8-6 record. Westbrook is the first player to post a triple-double in two of his first three games since Magic Johnson in the 1982-83 season. Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson both achieved this feat twice, and Jerry Lucas accomplished this once.

Westbrook is no stranger to triple-doubles. He led the NBA with 18 triple-doubles last season, which tied him with Magic Johnson for the most in the past 40 seasons. He is also the first player in league history to open a season with 100 points, 30 rebounds and 30 assists in the first three games of a season. When asked by Royce Young of ESPN.com about his playing style earlier this month, Westbrook said, “I play every game like it’s my last,” which explains his energetic play.  

With Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Thunder this past summer in free agency, numerous basketball analysts expected Westbrook to be in the middle of the MVP discussion due to his ability and tendency to stuff stat sheets. Oscar Robertson, the only player to average a triple double for an entire season when he was a member of the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62, said via Brett Dawson of the The Oklahoman in October that Westbrook “has all the tools” to average a triple-double.

Dawson also interviewed Westbrook’s new teammate, shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who the team traded veteran Serge Ibaka for in the offseason after he spent his first three years in Orlando, about Westbrook’s chances at accomplishing the feat and he spoke highly of his backcourt partner. “If anybody could, it’d be number 0,” said the former Indiana Hoosier. “People are just gifted, man. Some people just have God-given ability, and he’s one of them. It wouldn’t shock me if he did.”

Westbrook averaged 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game last season and, after losing Durant, the Thunder quickly realized that Westbrook was invaluable, rewarding him with a 3-year, $85 million extension. As a point guard, he is in the middle of everything the Thunder does offensively, and they have chosen to build around his unique talents. The team traded for Oladipo, who is the best shooting guard the Thunder have had since Rockets’ star guard James Harden and, together, the tandem of Westbrook and Oladipo forms one of the most athletic backcourt duos in the entire league.

CBSSports.com reported on November 21 that Westbrook has 42 career triple-doubles and needs two more to pass LeBron James, who is sixth, on the all-time list. If Westbrook is able to sustain his incredible production, he may not only pass Larry Bird (59) for fifth all-time but he may also join “The Big O” as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire NBA season.

Gwen Iffil’s legacy in media

(The Daily Beast)

(The Daily Beast)

Leonard Head | Local & World Editor

Pioneering news journalist, Gwen Ifill died Monday after a long-fought battle with uterine cancer at age 61. Ifill was the host of PBS’ Washington Week and co-host of PBS NewsHour. She covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008. Ifill covered national newspapers before transitioning to broadcast journalism.

She also wrote “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” a book published the day President Obama was inaugurated in 2009.

Her ill health led to recent absences from her jobs as co-anchor of “The PBS NewsHour” and as moderator of PBS’s “Washington Week” roundtable public affairs show. In February, she co-moderated a Democratic primary debate in Wisconsin between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“It is very sad to lose a Black journalist especially a woman who guided many discussions about race and relations,” said Tiara Sargeant, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists Hampton University chapter president. “She used her platform to bring hope and change to the Black community.”

“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” Sara Just, PBS News Hour’s executive producer, said in a press release statement. “She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her.”

After graduating from Simmons College in Boston with a journalism degree, Ifill began her career writing for the Boston Herald-American, jumped to the Baltimore Evening Sun and later the Washington Post. At the New York Times, she covered the White House.

President-elect Donald Trump, posted on his Facebook page: “We are saddened by the passing of Gwen Ifill and extend our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. Gwen was a broadcasting pioneer, shattering barriers throughout her career and blazing a path for future generations following in her considerable footsteps. Her presence and legacy will be felt forever.”

Hampton University journalism students will remember Ifil for her groundbreaking news coverage. Students from the journalism program see Iffil as a role model and a pioneer in the journalism business.

“When I heard the news about Gwen Iffil, all I could say was wow! Gwenn Iffil was an icon, a role model, an extraordinary journalist and someone whom I admire.”Lesli Delabour, a sophomore journalism major said. Delabour went on to say that Iffil’s death upsetting considering all that she has done for journalism. “Journalists are mourning her lost. May her sweet soul rest.”

Top places to flee to now that Trump is our new President elect

(The Nation)

(The Nation)

Jerica Deck | Campus Editor

It’s normal to be nervous after hearing the news that Donald Trump is now the presidential elect for the United States of America. He’s made many offensive comments against women, Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, and many other marginalized groups. If you fall into any of those categories, it’s understandable why America would no longer feel like home to you. Ready to flee the country? Here are five places perfect for you to run to after this year’s election results:

Canada

Canada is like a colder, better version of the United States. Canadians have longer life expectancies, free health care, and you won’t have to learn a new language. This is the country that gave the world both Niagara Falls and Drake. Unfortunately, in the wake of the election the Canadian Immigration crashed. This because too devoted voters caused the site to temporarily shut down. It may be hard to emigrate there, but if you do, it is definitely worth it.

Africa

Has anyone ever told you to go back to Africa? Well the joke is on them because Africa is starting to look way more comforting than over here. While Africa is a diverse continent, take a DNA test to find out what tribe of Africa you descend from. Then research your roots by taking a trip to that country. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and by the time your eat-pray-love vacation is over, hopefully Trump will be out of office.

The Netherlands

US News ranked the Netherlands one of the best places to live. This nation is known for its high income, beautiful scenery, and rich history. It has liberal freethinking policies. It was the first country to legalize same sex marriage and has a liberal stance on marijuana, abortion, and even prostitution. It also has one of the highest concentrations of museums in the world, a mild livable climate, and a renowned healthcare system.

Japan

Take these four to eight years to explore an entirely different culture. Japan has so much to explore including great food, anime, cherry blossom trees, and a whole new language to learn. The weather is also awesome. Unlike some parts in the United States, their winters are usually above 32 degrees, and their summers usually don’t surpass the 90 degrees.

The United States of America

Any coward can leave when times get rough. However the way to solve our problems is not to run from them, it’s to take action. It is irresponsible to simply flee from the injustices happen in your own community. All jokes aside, now is the time to stop complaining about our problems and start fixing them.

 

Creating a revolution isn’t something that can happen if you just run away. In order to change things, it has to start at home.

HU Pirates finish strong: MEAC Conference October recap

(Hampton University)

(Hampton University)

Kayla Key | Staff Writer

The mens and womens cross country teams had their share of gradual success throughout this season leading up to their ultimate challenge, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships in Dover, Delaware on October 29.

A week before the event, both teams honed in on key factors for continued success.

Right now were working on pack-running,said Junior Biology major Pollyanna Velasco on October 24. We need the girls to stay strong and push each other throughout the workouts.

As MEACs snuck up on the lone senior, Amanda Delacruz, Senior Liberal Art major, she expressed her thought process going into her last cross country championship. Its really a one and done effort at this point, and I dont want to regret anything that happens. My advice for the freshmen would be to really embrace this experience,” she shared.

Going into their last meet, the men felt like they were the underdogs, but their goal was to run a personal best.

I feel shocked about the unexpected pressure going into the race, but I will try to meet mine and the coaches expectations, said sophomore Sports Management major Tayvon Burris the day prior to the event.  

When all was said and done at the Delaware State Outreach and Research Center on Saturday morning, both teams walked away knowing they gave it their all. The Lady Pirates scored 93 points and finished in third place overall, behind four-time champions from Florida A&M with 53 points and Maryland Eastern Shore with 60 points.

Velsasco received All-MEAC honors with her seventh place finish, running the 5K race (3.1 miles) in 18:44.96.

The following are the times for the other runners on the team:

  • 17th: Amanda Delacruz-19:23.20
  • 18th: Kayla Key-19:32.41
  • 23rd: Alycia Higgins-19:49.81
  • 28th: Asia Johnson-20:16.78
  • 46th: Ashley Modeste-21:05.23
  • 53rd: Crystal Eley-22:07.00

The Pirates scored 115 points in the meet and came in fourth. Maryland Eastern Shore placed first with 38 points, Norfolk State came in a close second with 39 points and followed by North Carolina A&T with 84 points.

Sophomore Emmanuel Too finished in 10th place running an 8K race (5 miles) in 26:09.72, and freshman Geoffrey McCullough finished in 13th place running 26:23.10 to join Too in All-MEAC honors.

The following are the times for the other runners on the team:

  • 21st: Stanley Davis-27:23.10
  • 28th: Tayvon Burris-27:55.79
  • 46th: Eric Ellis-29:37.03
  • 58th: Khalil Gary-31:56.17

“I’m not mad about the performances, I am disappointed. We put in more miles than any other team, but you guys ran for yourselves. You fell apart. I said, ‘You guys needed to run together and push each other in order to win’ and you didn’t do that. Take what happened today, and let it motivate you to do better during indoor season,” said coach Krystle Hemby to her squad following the event.

The Pirates started their road to success in September at the Delaware State Farm Run Invitational in Dover, DE on September 24, where both teams finished in 2nd place overall.

The following week, the Pirates took on the Robert Shumake HBCU Challenge in Cary, NC on October 1. The Lady Pirates won the meet, which is a tradition for the women with them winning four of the last five championships. The men finished in 2nd place.

The men and women will complete the season at the NCAA Southeast Regional on November 11  in Charlottesville, Virginia. Following this meet, both teams will wind down and relax before they have to prepare for the indoor track season.

The arrival of Prescott and Elliot

(Star-Telegram)

(Star-Telegram)

Roderick McLean and Jelani Scott | Hampton Script

Being a professional athlete could be overwhelming and time consuming. It’s never easy going from playing a college sport to playing professional.  So far, Dallas Cowboys’ rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have had no problems making that transition.

Who would have ever thought that the Cowboys would be 5-1 and in first place in the NFC East division looking like a Super Bowl team without some key stars producing like they should? Quarterback Tony Romo, who has yet to take a snap this season, continues to recover from yet another significant injury and wide receiver Dez Bryant has played in only three games and has not been playing up to his potential due to his own injuries. “America’s Team” has needed players to step up in a big way on the offensive end and that’s where these two young incredible athletes came into the picture.

Prior to the start of the season, The Associated Press reported (via the Columbia Daily Tribune) that the decision to start Prescott and Elliott was the first of its kind since 1969 for the storied franchise. During that season, running back Calvin Hill (father of former NBA great Grant Hill) and future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach led the Cowboys to a 11-2 record and a conference championship berth, where they lost to the Cleveland Browns.

The team was second in the NFL in scoring (369 points), and led the league in rushing yards (2,276) and total yards (5,122). Hill won the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and was named All-Pro, as well as earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. The duo won Super Bowl VI together in 1972.

Similar to the 6’3’’, 197 lb. Staubach, Prescott is a 6’2”, 226 lb. quarterback and was drafted 135th overall in the fourth round from Mississippi State. At the halfway point of the season, Prescott has a passer rating of 82.9, which is the top in the NFL. He has completed 68.7 percent of his passes and has thrown for 1,486 passing yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.

The lone pick came in the team’s 30-16 win over the Green Bay Packers but prior to that game, Prescott broke the record for most passes to start a career with no interception. The previous record holder? Tom Brady. Needless to say, Prescott is off to one of the best quarterback starts in NFL history.

Ezekiel Elliott is a 6’0”, 2251b. running back and was Dallas’ 1st round, fourth overall pick of this past draft. The former Ohio State Buckeye already has 703 rushing yards off 137 carries and five touchdowns. He is also averaging 5.1 yards per carry. With only six games of his rookie season, people are talking about him beating Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards in 1983 with the Los Angeles Rams. But Elliott is not worried about the record.

“So you guys made that story, but it’s honestly not something I’m very focused on. I’m focused on going out and winning ballgames. Focused on getting better with the team every week,” said Elliott to Fort Worth Star-Telgram reporter Drew Davison on October 12. Clearly, he has one thing on his mind, and that’s winning.

These two have great chemistry on and off the field. Their roommates when the team stays at hotels before games. “They do everything together. They’re always together,” running back Alfred Morris said, via the Dallas Morning News on October 16.  Prescott and Elliott have been close ever since they got drafted and showed up to rookie minicamp. Prescott recently told the media that Elliott is “like a brother. We hang out often off the field and a lot in the locker room.” It’s rare for a quarterback to have great connection with their starting running back right away.  This connection is showing on the gridiron every week.

Last week the two rookies faced off against an Eagles team who has gotten off to a strong start, but lost their last game. Dalls beat the Eagles Sunday night 29-23 in Overtime from a game winning touchdown pass from Prescott.  Every division game is important; and this one was no different. The question for the Cowboys coming off of their bye week will undoubtedly be: What will the Cowboys do when/if Romo is cleared? Based on the numbers the rookie duo is putting up, though, the answer should be pretty obvious.

HU’s men’s basketball looks to three peat for MEAC title

(Richmond Free Press)

(Richmond Free Press)

Nazim Trammell-Wells | Contributing Writer

This upcoming season for Hampton University will be a interesting one.

Last season, the Pirates finished with the top record in the MEAC at 21-11 (13-3 in conference), won the MEAC Tournament with a 81-69 victory over South Carolina State and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament against the University of Virginia. Hampton topped the MEAC in several categories including scoring offense (73.8 ppg) and offensive and defensive rebounds (14.0 and 27.3, respectively, per game), as well ranked in the top-5 in blocked shots, assists, and three pointers made per game.

After back to back MEAC titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, there is one word that head coach Edward “Buck” Joyner says is the big difference between this year and last year’s teams: experience. “The lack of game experience in some situations and understanding of games that every player has to go through will be biggest difference between this year and last year.”

Coach Joyner understands that this team’s chemistry will take time to build after coaching players who played multiple seasons together the last few seasons but he is up for the task. “We’re young so I have to take some of the things that we did well last year and see if it fits this year’s team and try to progress,” coach Joyner expressed. “I might have to teach a bit different or spend more time on X’s and O’s and help them [understand[ other things, to help myself grow and to help this team grow.”

This year’s team contains three upperclassmen and an abundance of sophomores and freshmen and the task to help them grow won’t be left just for the coaching staff. Key returning player graduate student Lawrence Cooks will also have to help out in that department. Cooks, a 6’1’’ guard who averaged around 8 ppg last season, is the only returning starter and will have to take on the job of leading this team on the floor and he has coach Joyner’s vote of confidence.  

“He has to lead us physically and emotionally. We’re going to lean on him for a lot but I believe he is up for the task. He is a very self confident guy and I think it will show this year; his true talent will show outside of the role he had for us last year that really made us successful,” said coach Joyner.

Cooks may be in the role of leader but, as far production goes, he will not be alone. Coach Joyner is excited for the newcomers who are set to make a big impact right away on the court. Freshman Jermaine Marrow, a 6’ guard out of Newport News, VA, averaged 31 points for Heritage High School and coach Joyner says they will lean on him a lot.

Coach Joyner also expects big things to come from freshmen players point guard Jaekwon Carlyle from Imhotep Charter in Philadelphia and small forward Trey Carver from North Eastern High School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Unfortunately, both Carlyle and Carver are currently inactive due to injuries and there is no slated timetable for their return.

Despite the changes, coach Joyner believes that this year’s squad will be a fun one that will resonate particularly with Hampton’s large underclassmen body but with Hampton basketball fans at-large. These young Pirates have big shoes to fill and Hampton Nation only has to wait until November 3rd to be introduced to them at “Hype Night” in Holland Hall at 7 p.m. and, on November 11th, they will finally have a chance to see them in action against Rider University.

Fans throughout Hampton Roads and the country will be watching this team to see if they have what it takes to make this season a three-peat.