Monday, December 31, 2012

ASPiRE TV Spotlight

Check out the spotlight ASPiRE TV did on me earlier this month! Thank you to all at ASPiRE for making this possible, More posts are on the way!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Latest On-Camera Footage

Hey everyone, I've been on a hiatus for the last few months but I'm back now with more great posts!! Check out my latest on-camera footage and don't forget to share and subscribe!!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Is Dwight Howard the Missing Key to the Lakers Puzzle?

courtesy of
The Miami Big 3 have been outnumbered...The San Antonio Spurs have been outsmarted.... The Oklahoma City Thunder's stronghold on the Western Conference has been loosened... but The Lakers are not a perfect team, nor are they foolproof picks to win the 2013 NBA title just because Dwight Howard now graces a roster that also includes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. But any bet on them to edge out top challengers involves smarter money than it did a few days ago, The Lakers are getting the most lockdown defense center in the league, someone who has lead the league in rebounding six of the last seven years, and is capable of averaging 20 points per game. Some say Dwight Howard can't solve the Lakers 3 point shooting and perimeter defense problems... I say otherwise. His muscular frame will draw such a crowd underneath the basket that his teammates will often find themselves open around the three-point arc, and though Howard can't rejuvenate the aging legs of Bryant and Nash he will provide an unrivaled second line of defense on the occasions when speedsters such as Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul blow past their Lakers counterparts.

Nash might just be the happiest new Laker. He gets to run the pick-and-roll with Howard and Gasol, quite the upgrade over former Phoenix Suns teammates Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye, and let's also not forget that Gasol is one of the best passing big men in the league and Bryant is still one of the game's most dynamic talents who remains hellbent on collecting a ring for his other hand. Even the Lakers' bench is better, sixth man Antawn Jamison is capable of scoring on any given night the 21 points the Lakers' reserves cumulatively averaged last season, and newly acquired shooting guard Jodie Meeks will allow Coach Mike Brown to give Bryant more extended breathers than he received in their first season together.

Now crowning the Lakers champions already is extremely foolish, especially since Howard won't be ready 1-2 months into the season due to his back injury. The Thunder are still every bit as potent, the Heat look better than ever, and the Spurs aren't going anywhere, but all should be looking over their shoulders because Mitch Kupchak has put together a Lakers team that hasn't been this good on paper since the early 2000's.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Penn State Football: 5 Things O'brien Must Do to Right the Ship

In the wake of the biggest scandal in NCAA history, unprecedented penalties, and players/recruits leaving almost daily it's safe to say Penn State is in a sink-or-swim scenario. As fall camp is underway these are 5 steps head coach Bill O'brien must take in order to ensure Penn State football doesn't fade away for the foreseeable future:  

courtesy of
1. Recruit, Recruit, Recruit!- This is a never-ending job for any head coach, but O'Brien has to take it more seriously than most. He doesn't have the capabilities of other programs in light of the NCAA's sanctions, and he's going to have to refine Penn State's sales pitches. The Nittany Lions can't promise the postseason, but they can offer other things. A quality education, NFL dreams and excellent college community are all things to like about Happy Valley. O'Brien must lean on what's left to draw recruits to campus.Penn State will struggle with this. The future success of its program relies on O'Brien's ability to lure blue-chip talent.

2. Balance the Offense- Matt McGloin can't carry an offense, and he doesn't have much help left. Silas Redd is gone, and he was easily Penn State's best offensive weapon. O'Brien has to make sure his offense remains balanced. The run game isn't strong enough to move the chains consistently, and McGloin can't do it all himself. They must keep defenses off balance and get creative.This may be the toughest part until we see what O'Brien is working with for the coming years.

3. Stay Positive-  This is simple. O'Brien, even if the Nittany Lions are losing games, must stay positive. We've already seen Penn State's players doing countless interviews speaking about their family-like atmosphere and dedication to the university. O'Brien must confirm those feelings and make sure they don't waver during hard times.The Nittany Lions are going to lose some games over the next four, or more years. O'Brien has to make sure his players keep their heads on straight and keep their mission in mind.

4. Focus on New Legacy-  No one is saying the words forgive or forget. That isn't necessary, and that would be a dangerous thing to do. But Penn State players must separate themselves from Joe Paterno's broken legacy and create their own.O'Brien and his players are in the same boat. Each side is working with a clean slate, and neither side is expected to succeed on the field. Penn State's program needs to find a new direction, and O'Brien has to make sure it has definite differences from Paterno's years in Happy Valley.
courtesy of 

5. Keep Saying the Right Things- This, in my opinion, is the No. 1 priority. O'Brien must establish himself as a rallying point for the "new" Penn State football program. As an outside product, he must be the shining light at the end of a very dark tunnel in Happy Valley. O'Brien has a way about him that's both "real" and positive. He has an unquestionable energy and a valiant, "glass half full" approach. There's nothing fake about him, and he truly believes what he says. O'Brien's attitude and energy is the best thing about him. Even if the talent on Penn State's sidelines doesn't produce wins right away, Penn State fans know O'Brien's head is in the right place. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Olympic basketball Power Rankings

courtesy of

With Olympic play starting tomorrow here's how the countries rank from 1-12. 

1. USA- Even without the injured  Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Blake Griffirn, Krzyzewski's roster is teeming with depth, length, strength and plain hard-to-guard talent. Tyson Chandler's penchant for foul trouble and the ever-present fear that one bad shooting night at the wrong time could doom the Americans, There isn't a coach in this field, having witnessed the withering defense Team USA can produce, who wouldn't trade for Coach K's problems.

2. Spain- No one question's Spain's credentials. It has the talent (seven players with NBA experience) and the expertise in FIBA conditions (reigning European champions and 2006 world champions) to upset the United States -- and it's certainly due after a few close calls against Coach K-led squads in 2008 and 2010. However, injuires to Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, and Juan Navarro could hamper their chances, Spain is a solid silver medal favorite.

3. Brazil- Outside of Spain, no team worries Team USA more than the Brazilians. They have their share of NBA talent with Tiago Splitter, Anderson Varejo, Nene, and Leandro Barbosa, their discipline and system gives teams problems, expect Brazil to compete for a medal.

4. Argentina- Eight years removed from the gold medal in Athens that shook USA Basketball to its core and prompted the Yanks to revamp their whole program, Argentina has been subjected to a lot of the dismissive "they're done" talk that greets Ginobili's Spurs most years. The truth is that Ginobili & Co. are indeed old by tournament standards, with an average age of 33 in the starting lineup, but don't forget that no team played the Americans closer in their five warm-up games. Although depth and size are issues, I'm not going to be the guy who writes off the group that has earned respect at this level.

5. Russia- The Russians finished third behind Spain and France at EuroBasket 2011, but they're a feared wild card in London, they are extremely physical and have size all over the floor. They are lead by the rejuvenated Andrei Kirilenko who won the Euroleague MVP season at CSKA Moscow.

6. France- They have some familiar names (Nicolas Batum, Ronnie Turiaf, Boris Diaw) and some young up and coming NBA talent but they are very Tony Parker dependent. As Parker goes so will France. 

courtesy of
7. Lithuania- Dangerous floater is probably the best way to describe Lithuania. This roster, thanks in part to the injury absence of seasoned big man Robertas Javtokas, lacks the depth and know-how of the Lithuanian squads that racked up three bronzes and two fourth-place finishes in their first five trips to the Olympics as an independent nation. But you can rest assured that no one looks forward to playing these guys, they are a dark-horse contender.

8. Australia- Australia has the best chance to emerge from the bottom five teams to claim the final spot in the single-elimination round that begins with the quarterfinals, thanks in part to a couple of strong exhibition showings against Spain, even without their best player Andrew Bogut.

9. Great Britain- It's difficult to see how Team GB is going to get that far in its current state, though, with two of its top six players -- point guard Mike Lenzly and combo forward Dan Clark -- carrying worrisome injuries. The hosts and their deep American coaching staff (Chris Finch, Nick Nurse and Paul Mokeski) need huge play from Loul Deng, it will be a struggle to get past Group B.

10. Nigeria- As well as Nigeria played in the last-chance qualifying tournament earlier this month in Venezuela just to get to London -- besting the John Calipari-coached Dominican Republic in the final to claim the final Olympic spot that had been widely forecasted to go to Greece -- this ranking might be a spot or two low.

courtesy of
11. China- Thanks to the huge production it receives on the international stage from Yi Jianlian and the influence of American coach Bob Donewald, China won the Asian title in 2011 to secure Olympic qualification. Just getting to London was China's Olympics, even though (A) Yi is unquestionably a different player with his national team's jersey on and (B) no one in China wants to hear or read that.

12. Tunisia- Its players are largely unknown even to folks who work in the sport, but it's a group that has been together for some time and, by all accounts, knows how to play together. The reality, though, is that this is Tunisia's maiden Olympics after winning the African title in 2011, and roughly no one sees them winning a game.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Fix a Big NBA Problem

Among consistency of officiating and the new "super team" era a big problem facing the NBA is the infamous "One and Done" rule. This rule states that a player must be 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school graduation, this has not always been the case however, before the rule change in 2006 we saw some of the game's great players come straight from prep, among them are Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard. However, if you look at a list of players who have been drafted out of high school there will be a lot of names you no longer recognize which strengthens the case for forcing players to go to college. Perhaps if players such as Kwame Brown or Sebastian Telfair would have gone to college their careers could have turned out differently, but only one year of college is not the option. The "one and done rule has made a joke out of the NCAA and the college experience, incoming players don't attend classes or attend them enough to maintain a minimum GPA then bolt to the NBA halfway through spring semester. In addition, the quality of the NBA game is diminishing as players who are not ready to play in the NBA leave early in pursuit of millions of dollars (ex. Marvin Williams, Hasheem Thabeet). In reality there are only two ways to fix this problem, either implement the baseball rule in the draft or players should play else where other than college for a year. 
courtesy of

For the kids that don't even care about getting an education and just want to play basketball, why make them stay longer? If a player is deemed worthy of the NBA, he shouldn't be held back to do something that has no significance in his career path. Although less glorious and visible than college basketball, there is another option. The NBA's D-League allows anyone 18 years of age or older to tryout—graduated or not. The only stipulation is that the player's graduating class must have graduated already.The D-League could easily become a minor league system that uses the draft much like the current system of the MLB. From there, the player can decide if he wants to take on college or the NBA D-League. Yes, an increased popularity in the D-league would ultimately put a dent in college basketball revenue, but I don't think anyone will be going broke over it. Also, players could go overseas and play for a year, this way they can get paid for their services as well as gain professional experience before going into the NBA. Brandon Jennings was the first to do this in 2008 after graduating high school, he later admitted the Euro league prepared him for the NBA and he is now and all-star point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Another alternative is to adopt the draft rule of Major League Baseball, in their system a player can go pro after graduating high school, but if they choose to go to college they must stay 3 years. If a high school player is selected in the draft, they then have thirty days to decide if they will go the NBA or play in college. If they elect to play in college, an athlete must go to college for three years before they can become draft eligible again. Once those three years are up, the team that originally drafted the player has the ability to retain his rights or relinquish his rights. If his rights are relinquished, he then is open to be picked by any team. 

The NBA would be wise to adopt this rule, it allows the best players to go to the draft early and also allows the more developmental players to improve their game for 3 more years, in addition, a more developed minor league system would also help the league improve their future players who are not ready for the league. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The New Era of the NBA

courtesy of
In this year's NBA Finals when the Miami Heat faced the Oklahoma City Thunder fans across the world were hammered to death with comparisons of the team's core trios. Miami's Big 3, Dwayne Wade, Lebron  James, and Chris Bosh, were formed when James and Bosh chose to join Wade in South Beach to form a tandem similar to what they saw bring success in Boston a few years earlier. Oklahoma City's Big 3 is every bit as potent, but was formed under different circumstances, the Thunder built their team from the ground up, picking the top talent from the NBA draft lottery. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden have grown tremendously in a very short amount of time, add that with the fact they're all under the age of 24  the Thunder have positioned themselves to be favorites in the Western Conference for many years to come. With the Heat and Thunder poised to contend for the NBA crown for the next few years it's no surprise teams are now starting to form Big 3's of their own. 

Have we truly entered the "superteam" era of the NBA? For those who dread the thought the Heat and Thunder have made the idea tangible. Dwight Howard has shown serious interest in joining the Brooklyn Nets to form a Big 3 with Derron Williams and Joe Johnson, Steve Nash recently signed with the LA Lakers  joining Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, and there are rumors that Kevin Love is unhappy in Minnesota. Could he make another team a Big 3? At this rate it won't be long until too much of the league's elite talent will be mustered into only a few teams. It's easy to assume that will be the case, that teams will have to take on an "adapt or die" attitude in order to stay alive in the race for a championship, and that could be a problem. 
courtesy of

Big 3's/Superteams are no new trend in the NBA, teams have had stacked talent for decades. The Celtics in the 60's/80's, to the "Showtime" Lakers of the 80's, the Bulls in the 90's, and the Lakers of the early 2000's were all teams that featured multiple all stars and therefore dominated the NBA in their respective time periods. Though teams have stacked talent for years, it is only recently players are planning their formations and taking less money to make these collaborations possible. In the new age of AAU and camps elite players are becoming friends early and staying close throughout their high school and college careers, this is a major factor because many free agents now base their decisions off of relationships with other players. In addition, many of these elite talents become free agents at the same time making it easier to join forces with one another. Because of Big 3 formations NBA free agents are now adjusting their mindset when they hit the open market. Many veterans are now willing to take less money in order to join these teams in hopes of winning a championship toward the end of their careers (ex. Shane Battier, Derek Fisher, and now Ray Allen).

Small markets teams are in an uproar because of the changing tide of the league. They fear that this new era in the league will eliminate their competitiveness, something the new CBA was supposed to protect. Their voices are starting to be heard too, in 2011 Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, was able to persuade NBA commissioner David Stern to veto a trade that would have sent all-star guard Chris Paul to the LA Lakers (Paul was later traded to the Clippers). Though that was a small victory for small market owners across the league there seems to be no stop or end in sight to this new trend of professional basketball, and trend they may have always been inevitable.