Wishing, Wanting, and Hopefully Having

            With one of Indiana’s teams down 1-0 in a NBA playoff series, another team with its owner in rehab, and its own college failing to make any post-season run, there is a lot out there for sports fans to desire. Since this may be my last post in a while, I would like to share my thoughts on what would lead Indiana back to the top of sport prominence.

As many readers out there know, the Indiana Pacers, number one seed in the Eastern Conference, dropped their first playoff game to the eight seed Atlanta Hawks. Do not take this article as giving up on a team with talent from top to bottom, but there are problems that have to be addressed. Unless feelings between teammates are significantly changed, moves need to be made and new faces need to be brought in.

The move that needs to be made is allowing Evan Turner to make his way out and secure the future of Lance Stephenson. Despite the fact that Turner has had some worth playing big minutes in Indiana, the on-court chemistry between him and other bench-contributors has not been there; which I believe to be a large part of the team’s struggles. Lance-Stephenson-280x300

The same cannot be said for Stephenson who thrives with second-team players, and has his most value distributing and driving the ball against lesser opponents. However, due to his significant drop-off in production, I would like Lance to realize that Indiana is the place where he will win his championships and take less than a max contract (which will most likely be offered from another, worse franchise).

Since I have already voiced my thoughts about Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay in a previous article, I think it would be better to leave it brief and only discuss players that step foot on the gridiron. The section of the team that I would like to analyze is not always viewed as the most important, but everyone knows that it can change the momentum of the game: Special Teams.

Proven by numerous speedsters- like DeSean Jackson or Devin Hester- successful punt and kick returning gives something for a team to rally around and triumph, and the Colts have lacked this kind of playmaker for as long as this writer has been watching. With free agency in the rearview mirror and most worthwhile players gone, finding a PR/KR specialist could be a steal, and that is exactly what Joshua Cribbs is.

Joshua Cribbs, Bryant McFaddenDespite his lack of production on offense, Cribbs has proven his worth on special teams over and over again. Cribbs has the lateral quickness to make tacklers miss and the speed to distance himself from the rest of his pursuers. Bolstering double-digit touchdowns on special teams, if Joshua Cribbs still has anything left in the tank and the smarts to keep his head down, he could make big contributions to a team that usually plays in the post-season.

The last team I want to talk about is the Indiana University Men’s Basketball team, because I think that it is time for Tom Crean to make his exit from Bloomington. As a Hoosier fan, I respect Crean for bringing the team out of the depths that they found themselves in after the Kelvin Sampson scandal, but he has served his purpose to the university. With his best player, Noah Vonleh, entering the draft and a ton of others transferring to different universities, now is the time to open a new chapter at Indiana. This new chapter is named Mike Woodson.

Fresh from being a scapegoat with the New York Knicks, an Indiana alumnus is exactly what the team needs. Not only does Woodson have ties to IU and the know how to get his players to work hard- shown by the increased effectiveness of his former superstar Carmelo Anthony- but there is nothing more appealing to a high school recruit than NBA experience. Mike Woodson has shown that he can be successful on the professional level, so I am sure that he would thrive in Bloomington.

Matt Kuchar’s Near Perfect Month

 

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Matt Kuchar holes out from the green side bunker on his 72nd hole which led to a one shot victory of Luke Donald

Just over two weeks ago, he was defeated by Matt Jones in a sudden death playoff after Jones’ holed out from 42-yards, he finished T5 at this years Masters, but this week it was Matt Kuchar’s time. Matt Kuchar (-11) defeated Luke Donald by one stroke at the RBC Heritage to capture his seventh PGA tour win. After a spectacular hole out from the green side bunker on the 18th hole to shoot, a record tying final round, 64.

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This has been an almost near perfect month for Matt Kuchar, finishing in the top 5 at each event. Many people would assume that the golf courses Kuchar has played fit his playing style, but that isn’t the case at all. TPC San Antonio, the Golf Club of Houston, Augusta National, and Harbour Town Golf link have nothing in common. They all have different weather, different grasses, and all play to different strengths.

“It’s amazing to have four straight weeks of changes on four completely different golf courses,” said Kuchar, who now has eight top 10s in 11 starts this season. “I take a lot of pride in playing good week in and week out. This has been some excellent play.”

For the last 5 years Matt Kuchar has been the most consistent player on TOUR, having just two missed cuts in 63 starts.

What has guided him to his recent success? When it comes to his bag, Matt Kuchar isn’t loyal to just one brand. He carries clubs from five different equipment manufactures.

Lets take a look inside his bag:

Driver: Bridgestone J40 430, 9.5 degree

3-wood: PING G25, 15 degrees

Hybrids: PING Anser, 20 degrees, PING Anser, 23 degrees

Irons (5-PW): Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back

Wedges: Bridgestone J40 Black Oxide, 52 degree. Cleveland 588 RTX Satin, 58-12 degrees. Titleist Vokey SM4 Spin Milled, 62-07 degrees.

Putter: Bettinardi Matt Kuchar Signature Model 1

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330-S

Hopefully he will continue to swing great and putt well so we can hear more “Kuuuuuchh” roars from the crowds.

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Boston Stays Strong

Last week was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and today marked one of the greatest comebacks in America. At the marathon’s memorial, a man was arrested for leaving suspicious bags near the finish line, and many questioned whether the race would occur the following week. After a moment of silence was given and the American Flag was raised, Vice President Joe Biden, spoke out “We are America, we own the finish line.”

It’s hard to believe that a year ago, at one of the biggest marathons in the country, such devastation occurred that killed three and injured more than 260 people. This morning, 36,000 runners took their positions to start the race. For many of the runners, it was more than the competition, but a chance to run for those who couldn’t.

For the first time since 1983, an American crossed the finished line first. A 38-year-old Californian man, Meb Keflezighi, crossed the line with an official time of 2:08:37, to win the men’s division. For the women’s division, Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo gained her second straight victory.

Thousands of cops and security lined the marathon and welcomed runners and spectators all morning. Without them, the marathon wouldn’t have happened. Especially after the scare last week at the memorial, many were worried of the outcome of this years marathon and could only think that a repeat would happen. Security was much tighter and did not allow any backpacks on or near the course. Any costumes that covered the face and clothes that were bulky and contained pockets were also banned. Security and Gov. Deval Patrick took extreme measurements to ensure everyone’s safety. Patrick even quoted, “Somebody said it may be the safest place in America.”

With 9,000 more runners than last year, and an overwhelming crowd, it’s safe to say that America owned back the finish line. Boston remained strong, even one year later, and Americans came together to prove that nothing will stop them.

Silver to Raise NBA Draft Age to 20

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Newly announced commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, says that he wants to make some new rules for the NBA Draft in the near future. He plans on making college players be at least 20 years old and/or play in college for at least two years.

In my opinion, I think that this is a great idea, mainly because it will make the players realize what college is all about. Then if they start enjoying their classes, then they might stay all four year for a backup plan in case of injury.

This has always been one of the biggest controversial topics of college players declaring for the NBA Draft. Silver says this is at the top of his priority list.

There are some college players that aren’t even 19 yet and have already declared for the NBA Draft. For example, Noah Vonleh, who just turned 18 in August has already declared for the draft and won’t even be 19 when he gets drafted. Well luckily for him, he doesn’t have to worry about that rule because it isn’t even intact yet.

Any changes wouldn’t be in place by next season because the league is waiting for the players’ association to name an executive director before officially starting discussions. But it’s clear there’s a growing force to think about this issue through soon, possibly in time for the 2016 NBA Draft.

I guarantee that freshman coming to college in the 2015-2016 season won’t be skipping class, so that they can get the grades to play for at least two years.

These players need to realize how talented they are to be able to skip their next two or three years of college and go straight to the NBA. They don’t realize how good they have it.

After David Stern has stepped down, I can already tell that Mr. Silver is ready to make some changes and improve the NBA.

Is Johnny Manziel a Smart Quarterback?

NCAA Football: Chick-fil-A Bowl-Duke vs Texas A&M

This past week all of the players heading to the NFL Draft were given the Wonderlic Test. For those of you out there that do not know what the Wonderic Test is, it is a popular group of intelligence test used to evaluate skill of potential personnel and even athletes for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations.

The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions and has to be completed in 12 minutes. The average score is 20 and that indicates that you have average intelligence.

The one and only Johnny Manziel scored a 32 on his Wonderlic Test. This was very surprising for everyone, due to the fact that everyone thinks that he is a party animal and doesn’t go to class. Well Johnny fooled everyone by taking this test and scoring a 32.

But does this score prove that he can be a good NFL superstar? Probably not.

When these quarterbacks take this test, some of their score are looked at by the 26-27-60 rule to see how successful these quarterbacks will be in the NFL. This is for quarterbacks who score at least a 26 on the Wonderlic Test, start at least 27 games in college, and have at least a pass completion of at least 60 percent.

Scores from the past include: Eli Manning (39), Peyton Manning (28), Russell Wilson (24), Robert Griffin III (24), Aaron Rogers (35), Tom Brady (33), Tony Romo (37), and Ryan Fitzpatrick (48).

The average football player will usually score somewhere around a 20. The highest score has been a perfect score (50), which was done by Pat McInally, who was a punter and wide receiver who came from Harvard. The lowest score was by Morris Claiborne who received a 4 on the test and still became a first-round draft pick in 2012.

Today marks the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament

It is officially Masters week. Today marked the start of the best week of the year for many avid golf fans. This is a busy week for Augusta National, with tournament play beginning on Thursday for the 91 professionals and 6 amateurs.

Lets take a look at the top 5 stories of the 2014 Masters.

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Craig Stadler (left) and son Kevin Stadler (right) talk to media

#5. 2014 is the first Masters that both a father and son have been in the field. Over the 77 years of Masters play, there have been many father and son duos to compete in the tournaments but never in the same year. This year the 1982 Champion, Craig Stadler, will return to the field, thanks to a life time exemption, and will be joined by his 34 year old son Kevin, whose win at the Phoenix Open in February secured his spot for this years Masters.

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The famous Eisenhower Tree

#4. The 17th hole at Augusta has a new look; the 65 foot high loblolly tree, a little over 200 years from the tee, is no longer there. The “Eisenhower Tree” was damaged in a February ice storm causing it to be removed from the fairway; the absence of the tree remarkably changes the look of the par four.

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Adam Scott, 2013 Masters Champion

#3. Can Adam Scott win the green jacket for consecutive years? Only 3 players, Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90), and Tiger Woods (2001-02) have been able to maintain the green jacket for two years in a row. After making history last year, becoming the first Australian to win the Masters, could he become the fourth player to win back-to-back green jackets?

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Adam Scott (left) shakes hands with Henrik Stenson (right)

#2. The race to emerge from the weekend with the title “The World’s Best Golfer” is on. Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson could become the No. 1 in the world based on their finishes at Augusta. Scott needs to finish at a two-way tie for third or better, while Stenson needs at least a two-way tie for second, to have any shot at becoming No. 1.

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Tiger Woods

#1. No Tiger Woods, but the show must go on. Tiger set the stage for excellence at Augusta National winning the 1997 Masters by a huge margin for his first of 4 green jackets. It won’t be the same this year, thanks to recent surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back, Tiger has to miss his first Masters since he started back in 1994.

Who did you pick to win this years Masters tournament?

NBA Player Supports Marijuana Use

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This past Friday, Milwaukee Buck’s Center, Larry Sanders, was suspended five games because advocating the use of marijuana. Sanders has been studying the drug and its benefits. With that being said, he believes it’s not as bad as everyone builds it up to be. He wishes to use it as a pain reliever/relaxer.

Sanders is not the only person in professional sports who supports marijuana use. The cornerback from the New York Jets, Antonio Cromartie suggested a few weeks before the Super Bowl in February that the NFL has been wasting its time on banning marijuana, even though that Cromartie doesn’t use it. Also, head coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll, believes that the NFL should do an investigation in medical marijuana and see if it can help players progress though injuries.

For those of you who don’t know much about marijuana, here are some facts. It is legal for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington and the medicinal use is also legal in 20 more states.

Early on Friday, Sander was told to make a statement to be soon to be released by the team. This statement said: “Larry Sander has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fan. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension.”

After that, Sanders apologized for everything that he did.

Sanders is already out for the whole season due to being injured to Houston Rockets’ James Harden while being elbowed in the eye while both of them were going for a rebound. After that he was ordered to have surgery for a fractured right orbital bone.

Larry Sanders also has been out for about two months earlier this season due to tearing a ligament in his right thumb during a fight at a Milwaukee night club.

So once he is active to play, Sander will then have to serve his five game suspension.