Category Archives: Sports

Lost in translation in a “united” nation

Randall Williams | Sports Editor

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ESPN

Colin Kaepernick’s name over the past year has remained a frequent subject of discussion when it comes to the NFL. His protest over the racial inequality and social injustice has heard plenty of praise but also a significant amount of disapproval as well.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback aimed to spread awareness of the topics by kneeling during the national anthem last season.

“Kaepernick [was] not trying to disrespect fallen soldiers that have fought to protect the country for what it is today,” Hampton University sophomore Preston Randolph said this week. “He only wants equality and fairness.”

A week after the media frenzy began, Kaepernick’s jersey sales skyrocketed to the top, making him at the time the No. 1-selling jersey in the NFL. Time passed, and talk of protesting the league until he stood began.

The ratings of NFL games dropped 8 percent in January, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Many owners across the league believed this was due to the protests started by the onetime Super Bowl quarterback.

Kaepernick was released in March, and he has yet to be signed. The word “blackball” was mentioned often. Celebrities such as rapper and producer J. Cole, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley are just a few notable names in a sea full of people who say NFL owners have ostracized Kaepernick. Others believe that since his former team has not been producing, there is no reason to sign him.

President Donald Trump in March gave his own explanation on why Kaepernick remained unsigned. Trump’s reasoning was that “NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet.”

Six months later, the president’s attack was more personal than ever. Trump attended an Alabama rally in support of Luther Strange on Sept. 23 and said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of [an expletive] off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The comment was extremely unexpected. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was one of the first to respond the following day, saying, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.” From there, an array of responses occurred from players and celebrities.

This was Saturday, though, and when Sunday came, the whole world waited to see how NFL teams would react as organizations. Division was the result. Teams kneeled together. Teams locked arms. Three teams stayed in the locker room. Some teams were split in between standing and taking a knee. Trump, however, did not back down, and instead sent another load of tweets reiterating his point that everyone should stand.

A day passed, and then the Dallas Cowboys were the center of attention. Jerry Jones, owner of “America’s Team,” was also a point of focus. This was due to his avid support of Trump over the past two years in his run as a politician, even donating $1 million. The team knelt and locked arms, all while being booed by the crowd.

People who did not agree with protests during the anthem began using the hashtag “I Stand” on social media and also discussed boycotting the NFL until the players stand. The NFL was already being boycotted by some American citizens for Kaepernick’s unemployment.

So two sides who oppose each other are now doing the same thing to try to cripple the nation’s most popular sport.

“I feel because of Trump’s comments towards the NFL [that] people are now missing the point of why the knee was taken in the first place,” Hampton student Kevin Monday said.

Has America become lost in Trump’s comments? Is the U.S. forgetting the purpose of the original protest? Although there are individual players such as Bennett, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and more who have remained kneeling for the original cause, there is a discrepancy.

Since teams in Week 3 took a knee following Trump’s comments, the impression was conveyed that they are kneeling out of humiliation by the president.

A humiliation that was met without a response would have been an embarrassment. To avoid this, the league responded accordingly.

 

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Thunder lands Anthony in the nick of time

Roderick McLean | Sports Writer

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ESPN

Carmelo Anthony officially became part of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sept. 23 after the Knicks traded him for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick, ESPN reported.

Anthony and the Knicks had been trying to part ways this off-season. The Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers were other teams recruiting the 10-time All-Star.

Anthony spent seven seasons with the Knicks, averaging 24.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Now the former NBA scoring leader is teaming with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook and All-Star Paul George. The Thunder has the latest big three in the NBA. One question still remains: What can Anthony, at age 33, do to help Oklahoma City win a championship?
Westbrook, George and Anthony all love having the ball in their hands, so the main issue will be sharing the ball. If they can do that, the Thunder will be a threat.

Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said Anthony will start at power forward this season after playing most of his career as a small forward. He does have experience playing power forward with the USA Olympic team.

The Thunder starting five will be Westbrook, Andre Roberson, George, Anthony and Steven Adams. This Thunder team has the roster and talent to make a deep run into the Western Conference playoffs this season. Westbrook, Anthony and George are different players with different skills.

One thing they all have in common: They are all looking for their first ring.

Anthony has the opportunity now to play on a playoff contender team without the pressure he had back in New York.

The Thunder opens the regular season Oct. 19 against Anthony’s former team.

 

 

2K Ratings vs. Real Life

Justin Whitner | Sports Writer

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Chelsea Harrison

The game of basketball is a subject for debates. For many years, people have argued over topics such as who the best player in the world is, who has the greatest team and which athletes execute their position the finest.  Nowadays, the NBA is running thin of things to discuss. This is partially due to the move Kevin Durant made when he chose to join the already dominant Warriors; however, that is a conversation for another day. With the NBA season coming soon, so is the world’s favorite basketball game, NBA 2K. The release means that every player now has their ratings out and previewed for the 2017-2018 season. What surprised some fans is that James Harden is ranked fourth overall, which is above Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook.

The main question many 2k players have about Harden is his defensive liabilities and how they take away from the outlook of his game. The Rockets’ star player has had his struggles in the postseason including the elimination game vs. the Spurs. In probably the worst performance of his career so far, Harden had a 10-point, six-turnover game. The deal with Harden is that he can score at pretty much every angle on the court. His game has improved tremendously, and is now reaching league leading numbers. In order to maintain his rating as the highest rated guard on the game, Harden’s on-ball defense needs improving sooner rather than later. Not only will this allow 2K players to have more fun while playing with him, his team will benefit as well.

Critics of Curry often criticize the Warriors star for not covering the opposing point guard on the floor in most cases. The Baby-Faced Assassin did lead the league in steals, which helps his case as a better two-way player. Curry is already regarded as the best 3-point shooter in the world while being one of the NBA’s best finishers and ball handlers. The starting point guard for the Warriors is playing with one of the most prolific scorers the league has ever seen in Kevin Durant. This comes with a sacrifice of less shots, causing his numbers to be depleted. It’s safe to say at this point that Curry will continue to be a 94 overall. He’s still the same player he was in his back-to-back MVP seasons.

When it comes to Westbrook, viewers know the headlines. He averaged a triple double, carried his team to the sixth seed, and won MVP all in one year. With him being disputably the most elusive and athletic point guard of all time, many questions have been raised on how he is the sixth highest on the NBA 2K17. It’s a stretch to say that he is better than LeBron James, Durant and Kawhi Leonard, but it is surely known that he had the best regular season out of all guards. Westbrook’s playoff numbers were also exceptional but start to fall off at his field goal percentage. If he would like to improve upon his rating, the answer is simple: shoot with better efficiency.

So, what should the order be with Westbrook, Curry, and Harden? Well that’s up to the viewers and passionate watchers of the league. It’s hard to deny that with Curry’s playoff and finals performance that he should be the number one guard in the league. Looking at Westbrook’s historic year, his attributes should easily be the most maxed out of every guard. Harden – The Beard – will likely continue to produce at a high level as well. The season is almost a month away, but with NBA 2K17 releasing, the game will give a glimpse as to how much fun the basketball season truly is.

 

Can the Hampton Football Team Become Rulers of the MEAC?

Hampton - Livingstone Football Game

James Heath

William E. Ricks | Contributing Writer

The Hampton University football team will be preparing for their conference-scheduled games after playing the Monmouth University Hawks, on September 23. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is wide open this year, credit to the lack of a powerhouse team in the conference. The majority of the teams in the MEAC are either 1-1 or 0-2 after two weeks.
This means that, if Hampton can take advantage of this and start a win streak, the Pirates could be in contention for the conference championship when the season comes to an end. Winning the MEAC will clinch a spot to play in the Celebration Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. This would be the first time they’d be playing in the bowl game since it started in 2015.
The Hampton football team is already starting off well, as they defeated Delaware State, another MEAC team, 28-15. After this, they will not play another conference game until they travel to Savannah, Georgia to take on the Savannah State Tigers on October 7. In the following weeks the Pirates will continue to play other conference foes such as Norfolk State, Bethune-Cookman, and Howard University to name a few. Hampton had a record of 5-3 in the MEAC last year, with losses coming from North Carolina A&T, Florida A&M, and Norfolk State.
The Pirates averaged 21 points per game in their MEAC conference games last year. Their offense is looking much better this year with leaders Delmon Williams and Yahkee Johnson carrying the load for the team. Williams threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns vs. Delaware State and Johnson rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown. Both players are vital parts to the Pirates and are looking to build on their great performances.
Winning conference games are important, however, there are other worries as well. One of those could be their out-of-conference schedule. In 2016, the Pirates lost all three games last year. They only played one game thus far, and it resulted in a loss courtesy of Ohio University in week one. Hampton’s other two out-of-conference games like these are against Livingstone and Monmouth.
All of Hampton’s conference games seem winnable, but it will be on the shoulders of Delmon Williams and the offense. If they can put points on the board consistently, many of their MEAC opponents will be incapable of keeping up with the high scoring. Playing in the Celebration Bowl will be a huge milestone for the university, but the team must take it one game at a time and, most importantly, dominate their MEAC opponents.

Have NFL celebrations gone stale?

Donald Huskey | Staff Writer

Over the 2000’s era of the NFL, we have seen some jaw-dropping celebrations. Whether it has been Randy Moss mooning the crowd with his uniform on in Green Bay or Terrell Owens degrading the Cowboys logo as a 49er, the celebrations have been entertaining for sure. But have they gone too far?

The players are still as adamant as ever to show their moves after a touchdown dance, no matter how large the fine is. The NFL has realized this and continue to enforce methods to tone down the wild touchdown celebrations. NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent made a statement on Twitter on March 21, confirming even more cautionary measures. “We’re developing an educational training video for players to show clear examples of appropriate and inappropriate celebrations,” Vincent stated.

During the 2016-2017 season, the NFL levied hefty fines to players in an effort to crackdown on inappropriate celebrations. According to Newsweek’s Ryan Bort, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was fined $9,115 for twerking and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett was fined the same amount for hip thrusting after a sack. The fines continued to pile up with the most expensive fine being handed to Brown. Brown was fined $24, 309 for more sexual gyrations after a touchdown.

With players not following the previous penalties for inappropriate celebrations, it seems this is the last warning before severe penalties will be enforced. Even with this being the case, players still seem rebellious to the NFL’s policies. Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett did not seem too fond of the idea and responded on March 22 to Vincent’s tweet asking, “Let the players express their individuality and creativity. Y’all gonna make an educational video on how we should talk next?”

Bennett is not the only player that has been open with their disapproval of the NFL’s policies. Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman joined ESPN First Take on March 24 to speak his opinion on the NFL’s extensive amount of rules. “We just need them to get out of the way. The game is already too difficult to officiate, the rulebook is thicker than a phonebook, you need them to get out of the way.”

Celebrations are apart of the players ways to interact and entertain the NFL fan base in a unique fashion. Eliminating celebrations altogether will do more harm than good and ultimately cause a rift between the players and the NFL. If the NFL doesn’t want their league dubbed the ‘No Fun League’, they must trust their players to some extent so that it is fun for every participating party, and not just the “higher-ups”.

“Ball Till They Fall”

Randall Williams | Staff Writer

Football. Basketball. Baseball. And even volleyball. A lot of America’s entertainment comes from sports that end with that word, ball. However, recently the talk has not been about a sport involving a ball, but a family with the word as their last name. The Ball family has been stirring up the basketball world for the last five or six months. They are comprised of father Lavar, mother Tina, and children Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo.

Lonzo, the oldest of the children, is UCLA’s star freshman point guard and one of college’s best players. He averages a balanced 14 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 7.6 assists a game. Following UCLA’s loss to Kentucky in the Elite Eight of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, Ball declared for the NBA Draft where he is projected to be a top-3 pick.

Then comes LiAngelo, who is a high school senior and is ranked the number 223 player in the nation by 247Sports. You may have heard of him dropping 72 points earlier in his last season. The third son of Lavar, LaMelo, is by far the most flamboyant of the three. He has the hair of Odell Beckham Jr. and a jump shot that reminds us of the Stephen Curry. How exactly did this Ball family member make the news? Well, you know, just casually pulling up from half court to begin a game and hitting nothing but net or, better yet, topping his brother by scoring 92 on February 7.

The three sons look to have an extremely bright future ahead of them, as they are all committed to play for UCLA but they aren’t the subject of discussion. Everyone is talking about someone else: their father. The co-head of Big Baller Brand has become infamous for his comments like “I’ve been coaching them all their lives. I’ve instilled something in them that you can’t take out. Like, ‘No shot is a bad shot.’” He’s also told the media multiple times that“He’s gonna be better than Steph Curry in the NBA.”

But, how could anyone possibly hate? Lamelo made a very good point tweeting on March 15,  “Some kids don’t even have fathers and y’all hating on my father because he believes his kids can do anything.” What’s crazy about this is, the 15 year old phenom is absolutely right.

According to “fathers.com,” a 2012 study shows that a staggering “57.6 percent of black children are living absent of their biological fathers.” Now I ask this question, would you rather have an outspoken father who has been by your side supporting you your entire life? Or no father present at all?

The obvious answer is having that unconditional love and care from your dad. Lavar has done an outstanding job as a parent. He’s been married to his wife for a number of years now and remained a consistent figure of admiration in the eyes of his heirs.

On the other side of things, Lavar seems to have more of the family spotlight on himself rather than his children. He’s even gone so far to say on March 13 that “back in [his] heyday, [he] would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.” The claim has many people shocked and wondering what exactly does that have to do with his sons. Well, the answer is clear, nothing.

With the exception of his last comment, Lavar has directed all of the recent shine to his children, but this has the pressure for the Ball brothers to succeed rising exponentially. Especially with him saying “UCLA is going to win the national championship … guarantee it” like he did on Thanksgiving 2016. This gets a little awkward considering that the Bruins were eliminated by Kentucky on March 24. Not only did they lose, they were beat by a respectable margin of 11 and their freshman star was outplayed.

With Lavar promising a win, and the team doing the exact opposite, it seems as if he talked louder than Lonzo and his comrades walked. However, the loss is now in the past, and in the grand scheme of things it may not even matter. All of the Ball brothers will likely be “one and dones,” meaning they will play their freshman year and, once it concludes, immediately declare for the NBA draft. While the transition from college to NBA is challenging, we’ve seen young college players become superstars after one and dones such as John Wall, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. What these players didn’t have is a loud-mouthed dad who speaks so highly of his children.

Too many questions remain for the family of the future. Is Lavar Ball just a father supporting his children? A pressuring, providing parent? Or is he simply just a master marketer? Only time will tell. For now, we all await to see if Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo will ball or fall.

How the Lady Pirates prepared for the Duke Blue Devils

Duke’s Kendall Cooper (21), Erin Mathias (35) and Rebecca Greenwell (23) pressure Hampton’s Georgianna Gilbeaux (3) during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 18, 2017. Duke won 94-31. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Chanel Green | Contributing Writer

“No one cares if we have four starters out and we play Duke on Saturday. There are no excuses; we only have each other.”

These were the words of head coach David Six at practice leading up to the Lady Pirates third matchup in the NCAA Tournament against the Duke Blue Devils.

Tensions ran high while prepping for one of the biggest games that the Lady Pirates would play all season. Although the coaches were intense in practice, the overall atmosphere of the team was still uplifting and excited, coming off their MEAC Championship win against Bethune-Cookman on March 11.

“Whatever happens ladies, just remember that we are still champions,” said junior post player Mikayla Sayle. As the team loaded up the bus the Thursday before with a five-hour drive ahead of them, headphones and IPads went on immediately.

After a long day of traveling and practice, the team finally got a chance to settle in their hotel rooms, getting rest for another busy day.

“Be on the bus at 10 o’clock ready for practice,” announced assistant coach Janell Crayton that night. One more day before battling Duke.

The team’s focus was honed in during their two-hour practice on Friday. “One more day until we shock the world,” exclaimed senior guard Georgianna Gilbeaux.

Fast forward to Saturday and the moment has arrived. “Game Day” echoes the hallways as the ladies yell while walking to the bus, loading up for morning shoot around.

After grabbing a quick breakfast from the hotel’s lobby, the Lady Pirates are off to their last preparation before the big game.

After shootaround, Hampton headed back to the hotel where they shower, do study hall and rest before they load up for the game.

In the locker room at the historic Cameron Indoor Stadium on Duke’s campus, the atmosphere was hype and loud. Speakers are plugged up just like it was a home game as the ladies made themselves at home in the guest locker room.

“Now I Do What I Want” by Lil Uzi and a mix of other  top-charting artists helped the team get in their zone.

The Hampton University Band took a page out of the Blue Devils’ book that night wearing matching blue and white stripped long sleeve shirts. Yeah, it was safe to say Hampton University was in the house.

Ankles tapped, mouth pieces in, head bands on, and edges laid; it’s game time. Before every game, the coaches say their peace and pray. After a team prayer, the mantra is simple. “Let’s go ladies, let’s play together, play smart, play hard. Win on three, one, two, three, WIN.”

After a hard fought game, the Lady Pirates were, unfortunately, no match for the Blue Devils. Tears ran down some faces while the team sat in silence in the locker room. Suddenly, the booming voice of Coach Six filled the air.

“Hold your head up Jephany, hold your head up. There is no reason why you all should not hold your heads high. We went out there and fought all season, through every adverse situation and did not complain or made an excuse,” he urged.

“I am so proud of you young ladies and I am blessed to be your head coach,” he concluded.

As the Lady Pirates say goodbye to three key players and move on to the offseason, they have a bright future ahead as they look to build off yet another title-winning season.

 

For Brown, Durham was about growth

Jelani Scott | Sports Editor

DURHAM, N.C.—For the Hampton Lady Pirates’ basketball team, who had their rotation ravaged by major injuries throughout the season, winning the MEAC, let alone making it to the NCAA Tournament, seemed like a long shot.

In their NCAA Tournament matchup against No. 2 seed Duke on March 18, the No. 15 seed Lady Pirates knew what they were up against and, much like they had all season, did not shy away from the competition.

While the stats may not have suggested as much, the Lady Pirates got after Duke. Using their signature hard-nose defense, they forced them to commit 19 turnovers, their highest since March 3 against Syracuse.

Leading the way for Hampton into Durham was the versatile Jephany Brown, a junior transfer from Walters State Community College in Tennessee. Nine days after posting a career-high 18 points against Maryland Eastern Shore in the MEAC Tournament, the Washington, D.C. native attacked Duke’s formidable frontline, scoring 18 points, grabbing three rebounds and adding two steals.

Now, a couple short days removed from the big game, Brown has had more time to reflect and she sounds even more ready for next season.

“I wanted to help my team try and beat Duke and send the seniors out by shocking the world but we fell a little short,” the poised Brown said as she expressed the passion she has for her team.

“I just wanted to compete and show that I could play on the next level,” she continued.

Brown made her presence known immediately after tipoff when she made the game’s first basket, a 3-pointer from the right corner.When she converted on a layup with 4:39 remaining in the first quarter, the Lady Pirates were only down 9-6.

Her effort managed to keep the Lady Pirates’ ship afloat early but, at halftime, Hampton trailed 48-10 and  Duke went on a devastating run that essentially lasted until the end of the game.

Following the contest, Brown sat alongside her head coach David Six to discuss what the outcome meant to her at the press conference.

“It just motivates me to work harder. I played a good game, but I didn’t play my best. I haven’t played my best all year,” Brown shared.

“It motivates me to work on my game and get my teammates involved so we can repeat this same process with a different outcome,” she said.

After dealing with nagging injuries of her own all season, Brown proved to be a big part of the Lady Pirates’ incredible title-winning run.

Of the 28 games she played, Brown started in 23, accumulating 590 minutes and averaging 21.1 MPG, the sixth-most on the team.

She shot the second-best free throw percentage on the team at 73.1 percent, behind fellow hybrid Monnazjea Finney-Smith, who shot 80 percent.

Brown also averaged seven points and four rebounds; was fifth on the team in steals (35); and was second on the team in blocks (24).

After the game in Durham, Coach Six emphasized the pride he had in his team,saying “I feel I’ve witnessed a remarkable, remarkable group of young ladies. I’ve asked them three or four times to reinvent themselves during the year, and they’ve done it.”

Brown figures to be a primary player in Coach Six’s schemes next season as they prepare to lose seniors Chanel Green and two-time MEAC Player of the Year Malia Tate-Defreitas, who both could not play against Duke; as well as the reliable Georgianna Gilbeaux.

But Brown feels the program will bounce back to turn this minor setback into another monumental year.

“I feel great being with a great group of girls and great coaching staff. It will motivate me to work harder for my sisters so that we can chase another ring together and have a better season even though this year was a great year, “ she noted.

Hampton Nation better keep close watch on Brown and the Lady Pirates’ journey as they attempt to win Coach Six his seventh title in nine years.

April Sports Conference is great for all majors

New Hampton University athletic director Eugene Marshall speaks at his introductory press conference at Armstrong Stadium.

Harrison Gardiner | Staff Writer

This year’s Sports Management conference will cover major topics in the interest of sports management majors and others who are interested in the business side of collegiate and professional sports.

This is the second year the conference will be held and it will take place in the football conference room at Armstrong Stadium on April 4 and 5, 2017.

The event is organized by HU’s own Dr. Aaron Livingston, senior  sports management major Ashly White from Chicago and other student leaders in the sports management department.

There will be a number of officials in the Hampton Roads area who will provide valuable information. Hampton Roads representative Jeff Bowers; President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner; Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Minor League Baseball Vincent Pierson; Hampton University Athletic Director Eugene Marshall and other Hampton University athletic officials will all present at the conference.

These officials, as well as the organizers for the event, will cover topics on things such as internships, graduate school, resumes, different positions in the sports industry and a closer look at how people got to the position they are in now.

Now, you may be wondering, why you should come to the conference and what you will look to get out of it?

Well, students who attend this event can expect to gain an understanding of the business of sport, whether they are sports management majors or not. It will be a great place to network, explore internships options and job opportunities in the sports industry, both corporate and media-related.

In terms of understanding the business side of the sport, it is certainly an event that should be intriguing to those who are interested.

The sports management department has made headlines in recent months by representing the university well off-campus.

In December, Hampton Univeristy was among three schools in the country to participate in the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings that took place in National Harbor, Maryland, Dec. 4-8, at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

In an excerpt from Hampton University’s story on the event, HU assistant sports management professor Dr. Aaron Livingston spoke highly of the proceedings.

“It is a very rare occasion to have 10 students from one university to intern at a professional sporting event. I am proud to state that professional baseball officials have praised the preparation of the Sport Management students at Hampton University,” said Dr. Livingston.

He went onto add that, “The sports industry is very competitive and I am proud of how our students are able to achieve in any environment.”

The winter meetings are an annual event, held each December, in which representatives of all 30 Major League Baseball teams (MLB) and their 160 Minor League Baseball affiliates interact for four days to discuss league business and conduct off-season trades and transactions.

HU great McCorory leads 2017 MEAC HOF

(HBCU Buzz)

(HBCU Buzz)

Kayla Key | Staff Writer

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced its five members of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class and will take place on Thursday, March 9 at the Norfolk Scope Arena. The inductees will then be recognized that evening during the 2017 MEAC Basketball Tournament at the Norfolk Scope Arena.

Among the five inductees is Hampton’s own, Francena McCorory. The Hampton, VA native is a three-time NCAA champion in the 400-meter dash and still holds two indoor and two outdoor school records.

McCorory’s accomplishments elevated the status of the program and inspired it to reach new heights as evidenced by several current members of both Hampton’s men’s and women’s track teams.

“I’m really happy for her. She is an amazing runner and a role model,” said sprinter Meshala Morton, a junior kinesiology major from Stafford, Virginia.

During the 2015 season, Morton was named to the third Team All-MEAC in the 4×100-meter relay. Mid-distance runner Stanley Davis, a junior electrical engineering major from Glen Allen,Virginia, felt the wait was too long but well-deserved.

“It’s been a long time coming. I’m glad she will finally be recognized in MEAC history,” the 2015 All-MEAC selection said. McCorory won her first MEAC title at the 2008 Outdoor Track and Field Championship, where she obtained the 400m title and women’s 4×400 relay.

She then went on to win three-consecutive (2008, 2009, 2010) MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 400m. McCorory holds the MEAC record in the 400m indoor (53.22) and outdoor (51.54), she won the 400m at the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and the 2010 Outdoor Championships.

After competing at the 2010 NCAA Championships, she returned to her “Home By the Sea” an American record-holder, with a time of 50.54.

After McCorory graduated from Hampton University with a degree in Psychology, she received international recognition proceeding her gold medal performances at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics as a member of the US 4×400 relay team.

McCorory also won a gold medal in the 400m at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships. McCorory currently trains in Florida and, upon her retirement, she has high hopes of going after her dream of becoming a mortician.

The list of 2017 inductees will also include Amber Jackson and Rashean Mathis of Bethune Cookman, Robert Porcher of South Carolina State and Tracy White of Howard. Jackson led the Lady Wildcats to three consecutive MEAC Softball Championships in the early 2000’s and holds numerous school records.

She was selected in the second round by the Washington Glory in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Draft, named Player of the Year in her rookie year and led her team to a victory at the Cowles Cup Championship.

Jackson has been a head coach for the last three seasons at Delaware State University, where she won Coach of the Year in 2016. Mathis was a three-time All-MEAC First-Team honoree and the 2002 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year. Mathis holds a number of records for the Wildcats, including most interceptions in a career (31) and season (14).

In 2003, he was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft by his hometown team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. After having a successful 10 seasons with the Jaguars, he signed to the Detroit Lions. In 2016, Mathis was inducted into the Bethune-Cookman Hall of Fame.

Porcher was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year in 1991, selected to the All-MEAC First Team and earned NCAA Division I-AA Defensive Player of the Year honors by the NFL Draft Report. He made history when he became the first Bulldogs’ player to be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft.

He had a 13-year career with the Detroit Lions. After his NFL career, Porcher was active in the Detroit community, as he formed his foundation for cancer research and relief. White was a two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Year (2000 and 2001) during his career with the Bisons.

He led the team in tackles each season, becoming Howard’s all-time leader with 500 tackles. White played in the NFL for 10 seasons (2003-2012).