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Archive for April 2010

University of New Hampshire Scott Sicko

Meet Scott Sicko. The man who dissed the NFL and said “No” to numerous teams and millions of dollars. Now, you may be wondering, what is this guy thinking? Who says “no” to an NFL dream and millions of dollars? Well, here he is and he is not backing down on his decision.

Before the NFL draft was conducted last Thursday, Sicko told numerous sources that if he was not drafted, he would opt out of the NFL and go back to college and get a post-graduate degree in history. Now, I am not one to put down an athlete for choosing to finish his education in favor of millions of dollars, but I have to disagree with Sicko’s choice. He is done with college and has the degree that most professional athletes do not achieve, all he is looking to do is go onto a graduate program. There is no need to be offended by the NFL if you do not get drafted and just turn your back on them just to spite them.

Getting to play in the NFL does not get to happen to every college football player. Many are chosen to come participate but only a few are selected to stay around. Sicko has all of the right characteristics of a Hall of Fame NFL tide end and he still has time to get into the picture. The Dallas Cowboys basically offered Sicko a spot on their roster as a free agent, but he said no. He is holding tight to his pride and just basically throwing a fit because he will not be known as a player who was drafted.

If I was a boy and had a chance of living out my dream of playing in the NFL, I would jump on the chance until my body told me “no more football.” I guess it is just baffling to my mind that he is willing to throw away almost everything just to go to graduate school. As an athlete who is not going to go past playing in college, it is almost an insult to all of us out there who don’t get that chance to move on. My final words are this issue is what a waste of talent.

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LPGA golfer Lorena Ochoa

Now, I am the first to admit that I don’t watch golf that often. I maybe watch men’s golf because everyone likes to watch Tiger Woods compete and every once in awhile, maybe Phil Mickelson. So, when I heard that a womans golfer was retiring, I was utterly shocked. It made big news on ESPN and the strange thing was, I have never heard of her. Now, names like Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie are very common to anyone who knows sports, but this young lady, Lorena Ochoa is someone I have never even heard of. Well, me not ever hearing of her before is not the key point of this blog, its the reason for leaving.

In her tearful goodbye, Ochoa stated that she was leaving to start a family with her husband whom she recently married this past December. Being 28, Ochoa understands that her biological clock is ticking and she is not the first professional sports woman to recognize that. Another famous golfer, Sorenstam, left at the top of her career in 2008 to start a family with her recently adopted son, so it is not surprising to see it happen again. Ochoa has been number one for the past three years and has won 27 tournaments and close to $15 million in prize money. Instead of gaining on her successes, she is ready to be done. She has had enough and is ready to be done with golf, but did hint that she will compete in the Lorena Ochoa Classic every year and maybe a couple of other tournaments.

Another issue that comes up with Ochoa’s retirement is the effect it will have on the LPGA. Not only did the association lose their top golfer Sorenstam two years ago, but they are now losing another popular top golfer just two years later. They need to find another person within the LPGA to make their sweetheart and pimp out to the American public. I have confidence they will do it, but I also think they will secretly be praying that Ochoa decides to leave retirement in the next couple of years.

Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby hoists the 2009 Stanley Cup

If you would like to see the Pens hoist that Stanley Cup again this year, don’t hold your breath for very long. After stunning the Detroit Red Wings last year in the finals, it was thought that the Pens would ride again to the finals on the shoulders of their young captain and gain that elusive repeat. Well, fans will have to be wishing and hoping for that next year. After gaining the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pens had a horrible first playoff game showing against the Ottawa Senators. They not only lost, but many of the leaders of the team did not play to their potential and it looks like there might not be improvement anytime soon.

Evgeni Malkin

Reigning Stanley Cup MVP, Evgeni Malkin, was the only Pens player to play well on Wednesday night. Malkin led the team with 2 of the Pens 3 goals, but I wouldn’t expect this play to last. Ever since coming back from the Olympic break, the Pens have been in a slumping and Malkin’s uninspiring Team Russia performance in Vancouver is one of the reasons the team is still suffering.

Sidney Crosby

If “The Kid” wants a repeat, he is going to have to step it up. After sharing a piece of the scoring title this past season, Crosby was held without even a shot attempt against the Senators until the third period. In 17 games against the Senators this past season, Crosby has only scored two goals which is his lowest against any Eastern Conference team. If the Senators are going to put all their pressure and defense on the kid, then the Pens need to put more pressure on the rest of the team to be more offensive.

Marc-Andre Fleury

Fleury Fleury Fleury. It has been a frustrating battle with Fleury this season and even though he came up big last year in the Stanley Cup run, he looked very unsettled in goal Wednesday night. The Pens are not as strong defensively this year, so that means Fleury needs to live up to more of his potential. If he can’t step up in this post season, there is no hope for the Pens to even make it out of the first round.

Devin Ebanks reacts to a play during a BIG EAST game versus Syracuse

Well it is official. The West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team is going to have a tougher time making it back to next year’s Final Four. With the graduation of Da’Sean Butler and Wellington Smith and the early exit by Devin Ebanks to the NBA draft, there are big shoes that the team has to replace. Huggins is only bringing in two recruits next year and neither of them are looking like they are ready to step up to the plate. It is all going to depend on the current players and what type of improvement they can produce in the offseason.

Incoming Mountaineer David Nyarsuk in the white played for Mountain State Academy

One thing that the new recruit David Nyarsuk will give WVU is much needed height. During the Final Four game versus Duke, the Mountaineers struggled with their usually consistent rebounding because of one person, Brian Zoubek. At 7’1, the Duke center was just a little too tall for the Mountaineers and created a main difference in the game. Although Nyarsuk is coming from Mountain State Academy where former Mountaineer Joe Alexander and current Mountaineer Deniz Kilicli attended, there seems to be alot of hype that this incoming freshman has to live up to. Wellington Smith was a very under rated player this year but he was crucial for rebounding and defense. Kilicli, Nyarsuk or Freshman Danny Jennings will have to step up in the off season and prove that they are willing to fill Smith’s spot.

Sophomore Kevin Jones

One thing that the Mountaineers will be lacking next season is offense. With the graduation of Butler and the early exit by Ebanks, that leaves the Mountaineers with only two returning starters. Sophomore Kevin Jones will have alot on his shoulders next year because he will be looked upon to lead the team offensively just like Butler and Ebanks did. Jones finished second on the team in scoring this year but he will have to improve greatly in the off season if he wants to make a stronger impact in the BIG EAST and to NBA scouts.

Redshit Junior Joe Mazzulla

One thing that the Mountaineers will not be lacking next year is leadership at the point guard position. Sophomore Truck Bryant will be recovered from foot surgery and Redshirt Junior Joe Mazzulla will be more recovered from his 2009 shoulder surgery. Their guidance in pushing the ball up the floor will be crucial for the Mountaineers. Bryant will have to help contribute more on the offensive end to take pressure off of Jones, but Mazzulla tough defense will be needed on the floor as well.

If the Mountaineers want to do the John Flowers next year all the way to a National Championship, they are going to have to do alot of rebuilding this off season.

Butler's Men's Basketball Team huddles before a game at Hinkle Fieldhouse

They are no Cinderella story. They are not going to disappear next year. They are here to stay and they will be taking down more big college programs along the way. That’s right. Butler has made a splash and they don’t plan on leaving the big boy pool anytime soon. Yes, they are a small school in a mid-major conference but they have been building a successful program for the past ten years and have produced coaches that can lead teams far. It first started with Thad Matta, who now leads The Ohio State Buckeyes and then Todd Lickliter led Butler to bigger heights by winning the pre-season NIT tournament in 2007 and now they have the baby faced Brad Stevens who was a bounce away from a National Championship. Here is what will keep the program in national prominence.

Brad Stevens analyzes one of Butler's games from the sidelines

Brad Stevens will be the key to the future success of Butler and athletic director Barry Collier made sure of that last Thursday when he signed Stevens to a 12 year extension of his contract. Even though Stevens looks as though he could be a member of his own team, he has implemented a combination of hard work and dedication that has been successful and taken the team to higher standards. His philosophy that if a player goes down, it is up to the next member of the team to step up inspired many during the tournament and will inspire many future recruits. Shortly after losing the championship game, Stevens was on the road recruiting. His next move is not going after the huge recruits, its going after the recruits who are right for Butler and the program they are trying to build. His philosophy and goals are making many recruits take a second, closer look at Butler which will benefit them greatly in the future.

Sophomore Gordon Hayward drives to the basket during a game this past season.

Gordon Hayward is the second baby-faced member of the team that is still needed to continue the success of Butler. The sophomore became the star of the team during this tournament and started making NBA teams look a little closer at the Indiana native. Although no word has been released from Hayward whether or not he will be leaving college early, it would be better for the team if he stuck around at least another year. The team is returning four of their five starters if Hayward decides to stay and could see another run at the National Title if their last shot hero decides to forgo those NBA millions. It is still up in the air and it will be interesting to see what the baby-faced her decides.



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