Should fans complain about a two-point win, or should they just enjoy the wins?

         As a fan of a college basketball team that has not won much in the past, and who recently only seven years ago was the worst team in the SEC and one of the worst in the nation. The men’s basketball team for the University of South Carolina is not a powerhouse like Kentucky or Duke. The Gamecocks have not been successful as a program for the last few decades. Since the beginning of the century, the program thornwell,notice,dozierhas made it to the big dance twice, including last year when Coach Martin guided the program to its first-ever Final Four appearance. With the Final Four run, many fans have high expectations for a team that lost almost 75% of the scoring from a year ago, with PJ Dozier, Sindarius Thornwell, and Duane Notice all either graduating or going pro.

I frank martinwill admit that I did have super high expectations for this team going into the season, but then I remembered that Coach Martin is basically starting over with the team with 8 new players coming in. People honestly need to realize that this team will not be perfect, they may struggle at times like they did when they only beat Coastal Carolina by 2. Today, I read a tweet from a supposed Gamecock fan, who was complaining about why should she waste her money to go watch them barely beat a team like Coastal when she could watch it straight from home. Even though she does have a right to speak her mind, she doesn’t seem to understand that this team is not perfect, this team is not like Kentucky or Duke, who you can almost guarantee to go beat a lower D1 school by almost double digits.

         Everyone needs to be patient with the team. What’s impressive is that Coach Martin has led this team to an 8-2 record with 8 new players. Few coaches can succeed with that many new players outside of Coach Cal, Coach K, and some of the other big program leading coaches. The only person that can truly say anything is Coach Martin himself when he called out the fans for not packing Colonial Life.gamecocks Outside of Coach Martin and anyone who is in the program, no one can say anything about this team. As fans, we need to just support the team through the good and the bad, and just because they did get to the Final Four a year ago, it does not guarantee a return trip back, it doesn’t guarantee another trip back to the tournament in general.

         As fans, we need to enjoy the good times while they are here because we do not know if the team will fall back to its old self of being bad or mediocre at best. Look at how the football program went. They had three straight years of 11 wins and were one of the best teams in the nations and then the bottom fell out and they started to decline. Yes, the basketball is having the best run in the history of the program, but we must remember that nothing lasts forever and at some point, the team will decline.

         In my opinion, if you do not like how the team is performing, then change teams, be a bandwagon fan for a powerhouse team. No team needs a fan that would rather watch their team from afar than go support their team in person. As a fan, yes you go for the game and hope your team wins, but many fans also go for the experience of being at the game and enjoy being there with friends or family. whichever team wins, their fans shouldn’t leave the game mad that they won only by single digits to a lower tier school. You can’t beat every team by double digits. Fans need to be happy that their team won. A fan mad that their team won by a smaller amount than they expected is like being mad at a traffic jam outside of rush hour. It happens, but you can’t do anything about it.

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The winner so far is…..

             Back in June, the Boston Celtics sent the top overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for the 3rd overall pick. Those picks would turn into Markelle Fultz tatumdraftfor the 76ers and Jayson Tatum for the Celtics, forever linking the two young players. From now on, there will always be a debate, as there usually is when it comes to trading these high positioned draft picks, on who won the trade and who looks like the big fool. This would be the second time this decade that the Celtics are involved in a big trade, the other is the Nets trade. These kinds of trades usually cannot declare a winner until a few years down the road, but it looks like that now, Boston won the trade.

              Through the first three games of the season, Markelle Fultz has averaged 7.3 points per game on 34.8% shooting. He also has averaged 2.3 rebounds a game and 1.3 assists a game and his team has not yet won a game. For Tatum, he is averaging 12.3 points on 40.7% shooting and 9 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game. Yes, I know it isfultzdraft only 3 games into the season for those two, but the early numbers are pointing in favor of Jayson Tatum and the Celtics when it comes to who won the trade. A reason for the lower averages for Fultz compared to Tatum, could be that Tatum is starting for the Celtics and averaging more minutes, while Fultz has to come off the bench for the 76ers.

              In the first matchup between the two on October 20th, the Celtics would go on to win the game and Tatum would have 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Fultz had 6 points 3 assists and one rebound. So round one of many more rounds goes to Tatum and the Celtics.

              Unless something happens to Tatum, I believe that the Celtics have gotten the better end of this trade. The production for him is there and it is very evident that his hard work is paying off with the coaches since he is averaging 35.3 minutes a game. Which makes him one of the few rookies right now to average over 35 minutes. The next closest rookie in minutes to him would be Fultz’s teammate Ben Simmons at exactly 35 minutes per game. As for Fultz, he is only averaging 19.7 minutes a game, which is not bad for a rookie, but you would think that the top overall pick would be getting a little more playing time and possibly averaging better stats.

              Like I said earlier, it is only three games into the season and it is a long season, so who knows what could happen down the road for either team, but as of right now Boston is winning the debate on who won the trade and it’s a big margin in my mind.

The DC postseason sports curse. Is it real or do we need something to blame the lack of success on?

           As many sports fans inside the DMV and around the country have seen, the big 4 sports teams in DC, the Nationals, the Redskins, the Caps, and the Wizards, have had a rough time advancing in the playoffs since the beginning of the century. Since 2000, any of those four teams have only made it past the first round of their respected playoffs only 6 times, with the Wizards and Capitals having the most recent trips. The Redskins have not been past the first round in over ten years. They have lost three straight first-round games. The Nationals, even though they are technically a young franchise, haven’t been able to get past the NLDS in the three trips that they took.

           The Redskins haven’t been deep into the playoffs, getting to the conference championship or Super Bowl, since the first go around of the Joe Gibbs era when sad redskinsthey won Super Bowl 26 back in 1992. Since they won that Super Bowl, their playoff record is 3-6 with more losing seasons (13) than playoff trips (6). The Redskins are just cursed in general since Dan Snyder bought the team in the offseason before 1999. The team has gone through 8 head coaches, with the longest tenure for a head coach being four years.

           Before 2005, baseball had not been in the District since 1971 when the then Washington Senators left to become the Texas Rangers. In 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to DC and became the Nationals, but for the next seven years they rarely saw sad nationalssuccess, claimed the top pick in the draft twice and never saw the postseason. In 2012, the young franchise won the NL East for the first time since 1981, when they were the Expos, and finally reached the postseason and were the top team in all of Major League Baseball with a record of 98-64, and would face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, but would fall 2 games to 3. It would not get any better as the team would make the playoffs in 2014,16, and 17. All were NLDS exits. This franchise has been picked to at least get to the World Series the last 4 years, but have disappointed.

               The Capitals have had the most success out of all D.C. sports teams with getting to the playoffs and getting to at least the second round. The Capitals also have the last league championship appearance of the four teams when they reached the Stanley Cup championship against the Red Wings in the 1997-98 season, but since then, they have sad capitalsonly gotten to the second round. In every second round appearance, the team managed to get into a winner take all game 7, and have lost every game 7.

               The Wizards have only 7 postseason appearances since 2000, with 3 of them coming in the last four years. The Wizards have not been passed the second round of the playoffs since the ’78-’79 season when they were the Washington Bullets when they got to the NBA Finals against the Seattle Supersonics, which was a rematch of the sad wizardsprevious, which the Bullets won and would be the only title that the franchise has to this day. Lately, the team looks like they are getting better and could potentially break the curse of not just getting past the second round for any DC team, but could potentially end the Districts championship drought.

          Whoever cursed the teams in the DC area, probably got the idea to curse the town from the Chicago Goat curse, which many believed that it was the reason for the 108 year drought for the Chicago Cubs or from when Bobby Layne, a QB for the Detroit Lions in the late 50’s, cursed the team when they traded him to the Steelers.

It’s time to end the burning of the jerseys!!

                   In the NBA mostly, there is a “tradition” going around that needs to stop. That tradition is when a player changes team, then the fans who have that players jersey, set it on fire!! The latest occurrence of this was this past month when Isaiah thomas jersey burningThomas was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers. What made it awkward for those fans who burned the jerseys, is that the trade almost did not happen due to a concern on the Cavaliers side regarding Isaiah’s hip that he injured in the playoffs. I strongly believe that this should stop happening due to it being immature on the fans part and just idiotic since the fans pay so much for those jerseys in the first place.

irving jersey burning

                  Most of the times, when a fan burns a jersey, they do it because the player whose jersey they have has left that team. What makes the situation with Isaiah’s jersey burning worse, is that he did not choose to leave the organization. Other examples of this happening would be, earlier this summer when Hayward would leave the Jazz to join his former college coach, Brad Stevens, in Boston in hopes of hayward jerseywinning a title, and one of the most infamous examples of this would be when Lebron left Cleveland the first time to join Wade and the Miami Heat back in 2010. This “tradition” needs to stop. It makes fans come off as disrespectful. We as fans of any team and the NBA, need to show more class when it comes to the players changing teams when they feel like it is best for their careers or their families. I bet the Cavs fans who burnt Lebron’s jersey wish they could go back to stop themselves from burning it like the Celtics fan did when the trade was almost vetoed.
james jersey burning

 

Redskins training camp interviews part 4: DJ Swearinger

         In the final installment of the Redskins training camp interview series, my sight is set on the tenacious hard hitting 5th year safety out of South Carolina in DJ Swearinger. Swearinger comes to the Redskins after spending a little over a year in Arizona with the Cardinals. He was drafted out of South Carolina in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft when the Houston Texans picked him. After two okay seasons with the Texans, Swearinger would go on to sign with the Buccaneers, but would only last 7 games with them and then moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, where he began to show promise of a good player.

How does it feel to be playing alongside your former high school teammate in josh Norman?

“It means a lot, man, it means a lot. We hold Greenwood high. You know, small normanswearingercountry town. We’ve got a lot of talent in Greenwood and to have two guys on the same team from Greenwood is amazing, man. I can’t wait to get back out there with Josh and do what we used to do.”

On if he could have imagined playing with Norman in the NFL:

“It’s kind of crazy because I got drafted with a high school teammate in Houston, Sam Montgomery. So, I don’t know how that can happen – I got drafted with a high school teammate and end up coming to play with another high school teammate, which is very rare. But, it happened and it’s a blessing that it happened this way.”

What motivates you to play as hard as you do dating back to your Gamecock days?

“I have to bring that because I’m a natural born leader. My mom always told me to lead, not to follow. That’s what I’m doing here. We’ve got an excellent opportunity swearingercollegeevery day, man, when we go out there on that field. It’s a blessing to be out there, so why not give your all, give it high energy and give the energy that feeds off others? That’s what I try to do, and I’ll keep continuing to do that.”

 

I want to thank Adam Winkler, of WTKR in Norfolk, for passing along my questions for Redskins Training camp. @Adamwinksports

 

Redskins training camp interviews part 3: Jay Gruden

                In part 3 of the training camp interview series, I passed a long a question to Adam to ask the Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. Gruden begins his fourth season as the head man of this franchise.  In his first three seasons, Coach Gruden has lead the team to a record of 21-26-1 with one division title, a playoff loss to the Packers and two straight winning seasons. Over his tenure, Gruden has gotten this team to play at a higher level than they have played in recent years. Cough*Shanahan & Zorn Era*cough cough. In this season, Gruden has a new Defensive Coordinator for the second time in the last three years, and third coordinator over his tenure. Greg manuskyManusky has been promoted to Defensive Coordinator after being LB coach for the last few years. For the first time since he got here, Gruden will have a new Offensive Coordinator, in Matt Cavanaugh, after Sean McVay left to take over the HC position out in LA for the Rams. This team has changed so much under Gruden’s leadership, since Mike Shanahan lead this team.

 Do you feel confident with this year’s team on both sides of the ball with both coordinators being replaced and having to replace huge playmakers on the offensive side?

cavanaugh2

        “I think that’s what the offseason was for the new coaches to get acclimated to how we do things, how we practice, how we prepare, acclimated to the system and meetings with the coordinators and all that good stuff. I feel good that all the coaches are up to speed and confident in what they can do. We have a great staff, great new additions I feel good about, now it’s just a matter of getting the most out of the players, and that’s our job as coaches.”

 

     In the final installment of this series, the focus will be on one of the new members of the secondary in DJ Swearinger the tenacious, hard hitting 5th year full safety out of South Carolina who was with the Cardinals last year.dj

Redskins training camp interviews part 2: Terrelle Pryor Sr.

                In part 2 of my interview series, my spotlight is on the new Wide Receiver for the Redskins, Terrelle Pryor Sr. Pryor came into the league, as a QB out of Ohio State, in the third round of the supplemental draft when the Oakland Raiders picked him. He would spend three years in Oakland, where he would pass for only 9 TD’s and 12 INT’s. After his time with the Raiders, he would go on to be on the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Bengals, before converting to wide receiver for the Browns. In his first full season as a WR, Pryor would catch 77 passes for 1,007 yards and 4 TD’s. If he could put up a 1000-yard season with as many QB’s as the Browns went through, imagine what he could do with a Pro Bowl QB who is secured in the starting position.

             pryor

   What went into deciding to leave Cleveland and come to Washington?

           “Jay, funny, funny as hell. And that’s from being around his brother Jon, but I just knew, I was with Andrew Hawkins in Cleveland and all he did was rave about Coach Jay Gruden. And then you meet some [people], I had a couple Redskins buddies that I had on the team – not here now – that I talked to about him and they [were] like, ‘Man, Jay, he’s one of the best coaches I’ve played for.’ And now that I’m here, he’s up there in terms of mine. You know, I love talking to the guy. We talk a lot. I love… I just enjoy him. I enjoy being around him. I can’t wait to get to meetings to kirkterrellehear him talk because he’s just so funny. And, you know, you’re tired, your legs are tired, but it’s good to have a coach that’s amused and he’s a team’s and a player’s coach. You know, it’s a blessing to have a coach like that. In terms of Kirk, I just think he’s just an exceptional quarterback. I mean, there’s nothing much more to say. I mean, the guy, he’s been through some tough times as well. He sat a long time, really got to be able to view the game from a different perspective. To see him come out and the way he played, I was always a fan of him. I loved watching him play, even when he was playing for the Redskins. I just enjoyed watching him. So, I was like, ‘That’s the type of guy I want to be around, you know?’ And he does that crazy thing ‘You like that,’ but that’s that fire he has. And I want to be around a guy that has fire, a guy that’s a leader, a guy that wants guys to be accountable and wants to trust you, but you’ve got to earn his trust. I like guys like that. That’s why I like… I saw Kirk and from that standpoint, I wanted to join him and play with him.”

 

On playing for Cleveland and now playing for a team that is “set at quarterback”:

           “A lot of people ask me, ‘How was Cleveland?’ and ‘Did you enjoy Cleveland?’ I enjoyed Cleveland. I loved Cleveland, just from the standpoint of I loved playing football. It doesn’t matter where it’s at. It’s still a little kid’s dream. There’s no exception, just because you get to the NFL that you should down a team just because the team’s not very good or whatever or they don’t have many quarterbacks. But I enjoyed that. I tried to make the best out of the situation. I think they are going to be cousins2a good team over there. I don’t want to down them. They have a great organization, but at the same time, it’s good to play with a guy like Kirk, like I was just talking about. A guy that loves the game, a guy that has got fire, a guy that guys trust, a guy that guys look up to and want them to lead. It’s just different and when you have a guy set in place like that, there’s structure here. I can’t wait. It’s getting better and we’re getting timing down. We’re having a great time, a blast, having fun and talking a lot. I’m bothering him in meetings, sitting right beside me. So, it’s going to be a fun time.”

    In part 3 of the training camp series is the head man himself, Jay Gruden, and how he feels about this team going into the season with new coordinators.