Tag Archives: Sports

Hampton volleyball looking to dig deep for playoff push

William Ricks | Contributing Writer

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Nelson Cheeseman

The Hampton University volleyball team is looking to return to familiar territory at the end of the regular season.
The Lady Pirates are sitting at the No. 3 seed in the MEAC Northern Division and are looking to make a run in the MEAC Volleyball Tournament. The team has had a recent string of success, but can they keep it going and possibly move up to the one seed in the division?
Hampton has managed to turn its season around after stumbling out of the gates. The Lady Pirates started 2-11 but have turned their season around, winning six of their past eight matches. The team is hitting their stride at the right time, as the season is entering the home stretch.
The Lady Pirates have dominated their conference schedule, beating Coppin State, Delaware State, Morgan State, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State and Savannah State. Conference wins are very important, simply because these are the teams who you are competing with for a tournament spot the entire season.
Rival Howard is the biggest threat to the team’s chances at moving up in the standings, as they have the same overall record as Hampton (8-13). However, Howard’s conference record is better than Hampton’s at 5-1, which puts them ahead of Hampton in the standings. The teams play again November 5 which gives the Lady Pirates a chance to leapfrog their rival.
The Lady Pirates have been solid on the offensive end with multiple players tallying over 100 kills during the season. Reeana Richardson is the team leader in kills with 199, as she has been able to put points on the board for Hampton. Lena Reed-Petracek has dished out 370 assists all season, ultimately leading the team. Mallory Beard is another player with a ton of assists–220 in total. With the offense coming from more than one player, Hampton has the ability to beat teams in many different ways.
The defense has been strong as well. Maja Petronijevic has been the defensive anchor for the team with 225 digs on the season. Petronijevic’s ability to keep the ball from hitting the floor allows her teammates to get the ball back to the other side quickly. Lena Washington has also played a critical part on defense, sitting in the top five in digs (151) and blocks (38) for the team.
Making a move to the No. 1 seed is a tall task for the Lady Pirates as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is 18-6 with a conference record of 5-0. Earlier in the season, the Lady Pirates lost to the Hawks. The two teams played again Thursday, but the match took place after this issue’s deadline.
Making the MEAC Tournament would be a huge accomplishment for the Lady Pirates, who have not been in the tourney since winning it in 2014.

 

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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.

 

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.