HOOVER, Ala. — No significant changes are on the horizon for the College Football Playoff, the four-team tournament that determines college football’s national champion. “Our model works — 13 high-integrity people, football experts (who are) evaluating, studying, debating, frankly working their tails off during the season and producing a ranking that, while someone will always be…
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By Jay Rumph
The 2015-2016 NBA season has already begun, and it’s time to decide on the top 10 players in the league- who also happen to be millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000).
Here is our list of the top 10 millennials players in the NBA:
1) Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, PG
NBA champion and reigning MVP, Curry has played lights out thus far in the NBA season. The Warriors are on pace to win over 70 games this season, with Curry leading the way. Leading the Warriors to an undefeated record at 22-0, Curry is one of a kind. He’s the best shooter in the league, and will be the best shooter in NBA history when his career is over. Only 27 years old, he has not reached his prime yet. This year Curry is averaging 32.4 pts, 4.9 rebs, and 5.8 asts with intentions on taking the Warriors back to the NBA Finals.
2) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, SF
James has been the best player in the league for years now. He continues to be a dominant force, and does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. Returning to Cleveland last year, he lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals his first year back in Cleveland. Plagued by injuries, the Cavs were unable to defeat the Warriors in the Finals after six games. James put the team on his back during the finals averaging 35.8 pts, 13.3 rbs, and 8.8 asts against the Warriors. Without a fully healthy team, the Cavaliers were unable to reach their ultimate goal.
Today is a new day, and LeBron is ready for this season. He is still the game’s best all-around player, and the Cavs only go as far as James will take them. The ultimate goal for James is to bring a championship back to Cleveland. Will this be the year for the Cleveland Cavaliers?
3) Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder, SF
Kevin Durant is on pace to have his best scoring season yet. With a Returning from a foot injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2014-2015 NBA season, Durant looks to bounce back with full force. The former MVP is averaging just around 27.6 pts, 7.7 rebs, and 3.6 asts this year. In the last year of his contact with the Thunder, will we see Durant in a new uniform next year? His ultimate goal is to win a championship, and he finally has the supporting cast to help him achieve that goal.
4) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, PF
Davis is the youngest superstar in the NBA at age 22. Davis has tremendous upside and continues to improve every year. He led the Pelicans to an 8th seed in the Western Conference finals last year. A top candidate for the MVP award this season, Davis is averaging 23.8 pts, 10.9 rebs, and 2.8 blks. Last year he had the highest player efficiency rating in the NBA. The sky is the limit for Davis, but his main goal will be to win a championship.
5) James Harden, Houston Rockers, SG
The runner-up for the MVP award last year was James Harden. Arguably the best offensive player in the NBA currently, Harden scores the basketball with ease. James Harden is scoring points, assisting his teammates, and rebounding the ball for the Rockets. He’s averaging 29.5 pts, 6.7 rebs, and 6.6 asts this year, while trying to lead the Rockets back to the top of the Western Conference.
6) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, PG
The 6’3” point guard can do it all on the basketball court. The most aggressive and explosive point guard the NBA has ever seen. He’s a playmaker, scorer, defensive stopper, and superstar. Last year Westbrook earned his first scoring title, fourth All-Star Selection, and the All-Star MVP award. He led the league with 11 triple doubles, while leading the Thunder in Kevin Durant’s absence. There is nothing that Westbrook can’t do, and he has not reached his prime yet in the NBA.
7) Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, PF
Blake Griffin is more than just a high flier. Probably the most athletic forward in the NBA currently, Griffin has worked on many aspects of his game. He’s a much more complete player then before, and has developed his face-up game to go along with his ability to score at the rim. Last year, he averaged 21.9 pts, 7.6 rebs, and 5.3 asts. He also shot 50 percent from the field and 73 percent at the free throw line. At 26, Blake is in his prime and has gained much experience through the playoffs playing alongside Chris Paul.
8) Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, PG
At age 30, Chris Paul is a veteran in the NBA, but continues to be one of the best point guards in the league. The smartest point guard in the league, Paul can still score the ball, pass, and defend the best guards around the league. Paul has never won a NBA championship since entering the NBA. Last year he averaged 19 pts, 10.2 asts, 4.6 rbs, and 1.9 stls earning him second team All NBA honors.
9) Demarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings, C
The Kings did not make the playoffs last year, but Cousins showed a ton of upside for the franchise. A very talented center, Cousins has the skills on both sides of the ball to be a top player in the league. Last year he averaged 24.1 pts, 12.7 rbs, 3.6 asts, 1.7 blks, and 1.5 stls which earned him his first All-Star appearance. We can assume that Cousins continues to improve his all-around game playing with Rajon Rondo this year.
10) Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, C
Great defensive player with a talented offensive skill-set. Gasol has emerged as one of the best big man in the NBA over the last couple of years. Last year, Gasol made first team All-NBA honors after he averaged, 17.4 pts, 7.8 rebs, 3.8 asts, and 1.6 blks. He also shot 50 percent from the floor, and 80 percent from the charity line. Marc sets himself apart from other big men with his mid-range touch and savvy post moves.Post Views: 1,005
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By Sean Moran
The college football season is halfway over and already there are nine vacant head coaching positions in the FBS: Illinois, Maryland, Miami, Minnesota, North Texas, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, UCF, and USC.
We usually associate the dismissal of a head coach with performance on the field, but this year has been marked by several off the field incidents. Illinois fired Tim Beckman days before the season started over allegations that he mistreated players and forced them to play with severe injuries
.USC fired Coach Steve Sarkisian after he allegedly showed up to practice intoxicated; this came weeks after a video of an intoxicated Sarkisian at an alumni dinner popped up on the internet. Finally, Jerry Kill stepped down as coach of Minnesota this past week citing health concerns. Kill, diagnosed with epilepsy, has a history of seizures and even suffered one on the sidelines in 2013.
The Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, controversially resigned midseason from South Carolina after the Gamecocks got off to a 2-4 start. After an abysmal 0-8 start, George O’Leary finally stepped down as UCF’s head coach two weeks after previously stepping down as Athletic Director.
Due to leaks in the Athletic Department, rumors of Randy Edsall’s dismissal swirled around the Maryland program for a week before he was finally fired after a loss against Ohio State. Two blowouts led to the ousting of Al Golden from Miami (58-0 against Clemson) and Dan McCarney from North Texas (a 66-7 loss to FCS opponent Portland State).
On November 1, Frank Beamer announced that he will retire from Virginia Tech at the end of the season, ending one of the greatest runs in college football.
With this many openings at big time programs, the coaching carousel will already be in full swing by December. Many are already predicting that jobs at Kansas State, Rutgers, and Virginia will open up too. Until these positions actually open up, here’s how I’d rank the available head coaching jobs.
1) USC– I don’t see how anyone could not have USC number 1. This program brings in elite talent every year, regardless of the coach. California is one of, if not the best state for college prospects, and year after year USC sends guys to the NFL. USC has great tradition and prestige (the Coliseum, national championships, Heisman Trophy winners, etc.) and is definitely the football team in Los Angeles (sorry but not sorry UCLA). The negative here is the administration. Athletic Director Pat Haden has mismanaged the hiring and firing of two coaches in the past five years, has recently had some health scares that forced him to resign from the College Football Playoff Committee, and now faces backlash from a LA Times article about his numerous “side jobs” on numerous boards. If Haden, or better yet USC’s president C.L. Max Nikias, can hire the right guy, USC can be an immediate national championship contender with its loaded roster. Leading candidates- Clay Helton (current interim coach), Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles HC) Kyle Whittingham (Utah HC), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame HC), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis Rams HC)
2) Virginia Tech– What else can be said about Frank Beamer? Sure he might have stayed a little too long, but Virginia Tech has always been a dangerous team under his watch. Just ask Ohio State in 2014. This has been the dominant program in the mid-Atlantic for decades and there’s no reason that shouldn’t change with a new head coach. The fan base is very loyal, and the Hokies play in the Coastal division (insert joke here), so the path to an ACC championship is not terribly tough. Virginia Tech has always been able to bring in great players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so recruiting won’t be an issue either. The main thing here is continuity of philosophy: tough defense, excellent special teams play, and an offense that makes just enough plays. Leading Candidates– Bud Foster (longtime Virginia Tech DC), Justin Fuente (Memphis HC), Kirby Smart (Alabama DC)
3) South Carolina– This amazing fan base has grown accustomed to winning and they don’t expect anything less, especially in an SEC East that has been down since 2009. Regardless of what the next coach does, Steve Spurrier will go down as the greatest coach in South Carolina history. Spurrier was able to bring elite talent into Columbia (Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney, Alshon Jeffery) and he won eleven games for three years in a row! The problem with South Carolina though is that their bitter rival, Clemson, seems to have finally kicked the “Clemsoning” bug and looks like a legit juggernaut. But because this is the SEC, South Carolina will have almost no problem affording a new coach and staff. They just need to make sure they get someone who can competitively recruit in the talent rich southeast. Leading candidates Kirby Smart, Lane Kiffin (Alabama OC), Shawn Elliot (current interim HC), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State HC and South Carolina alum)
4) Maryland– the talk is always about how Maryland should be a better job than it actually is. This program is backed by Under Armor (similar to how Nike backs Oregon), is in the middle of a great recruiting zone (the Washington D.C. area), and has now joined a conference that with a storied football tradition and suits its academic requirements (the Big Ten). Randy Edsall wasn’t a terrible coach; he probably overachieved at UConn, and then parlayed that into a better job at Maryland. This is a good job, someone just needs to make it prove it. Leading candidates– Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles HC), Jeremy Pruitt (Georgia DC), Tom Herman (Houston HC), Greg Schiano (former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Bucs HC)
5) UCF– this team is a disaster only two years removed from a shocking Fiesta Bowl victory against Baylor. But that team had future first round draft picks Blake Bortles and Breshad Perriman. Now UCF is 0-8 and is fighting with Kansas to go down as one of the worst teams in college football. But as George O’Leary proved, this program can win if it gets the right players and coached by competent people. UCF has the largest student body in the nation, is located in Orlando (hello Disney and Universal), and should always be able to pick up players passed over by FSU and Florida. Leading candidates– Jeremy Pruitt (Georgia DC), Mario Cristobal (Alabama OL coach)
6) Miami– I’m sorry Miami fans, this is no longer The U. Miami has not won a conference title since 2003, and since moving to the ACC Coastal division (possibly the worst Power Five division in college football) has a 48-44 conference record (including this season’s shellacking at the hands of Clemson and a controversial win against Duke). Miami cannot spend a whole lot of money on a coach, and whoever takes this job will have to coach in an empty stadium a half hour away from campus (not that fans would show up to games if there was an on campus stadium) and have a multitude of former players breathing down his neck and criticizing his every move. The only positives to this job are the abundant amount of elite players in the Miami area and the overall weakness of the ACC. Leading Candidates- Lane Kiffin, Butch Davis (former Miami HC), Greg Schiano, Mario Cristobal
7) Minnesota– Jerry Kill did a marvelous job making this program competitive, but I’m not sure the next guy will be able to continue it. The Golden Gophers haven’t had that much national or conference success since the early 1960s. They play in the weaker West division of the Big Ten, but this team still has to compete with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Whoever gets this job should focus on developing his players rather than trying to recruit elite talent to St. Paul and Minneapolis. As long as the team remains competitive in the Big Ten West, the fan base and administration can’t complain. But before a coach can be hired, Minnesota has to also find a new AD. Leading candidates- Tracy Claeys (interim HC), Justin Fuente (Memphis HC)
8) Illinois– the Fighting Illini had a great run to the Rose Bowl in 2008 under Ron Zook, but since then has only been to three bowl games. The only team in the Big Ten that Illinois has a winning record against is Northwestern (FYI, Northwestern is not historically good at football). When Illinois has a good team, they compete for the Big Ten and go to a major bowl game, but these teams come around once every decade. The football team will never be as competitive as the basketball program and overall this is an average to below average program every year that cannot compete with the powers in the Big Ten. Leading Candidates- PJ Fleck (Western Michigan HC)
9) North Texas– North Texas lost at home 66-7 to Portland State. That tells your everything you need to know about the Mean Green. Leading Candidates– anyone who can go 1-11 every year and not feel too bad about it.
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By Rey Valdes
With the NBA season drawing to a close, there are bound to be some big roster changes over the offseason.
And while most of the talk will center around free agency, there could also be some blockbuster trades. But forget about Kevin Durant!
Here are five trades that totally make sense and should happen:
Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia receives: Dennis Schroeder, Mike Muscala
Atlanta receives: Nerlens Noel
It’s been reported that the Hawks and Sixers have had conversations about a multi-player swap. With the Hawks set to lose Al Horford in free agency and the 76ers set to draft Ben Simmons, we really have a perfect marriage here. Philly needs to trade away a Center to acquire a PG, and ATL needs to trade away a PG to acquire a Center.
However, it has also been pretty universally reported that the PG going to Philly is actually Jeff Teague. I don’t buy it; and if I’m wrong, then Philly is making a mistake. Jeff Teague is a good PG in this league, but he’s already reached his ceiling. Is Schroeder better right now? Probably not, but for stretches of the season and playoffs, he was playing over Teague. More importantly, Schroeder has the potential to improve and grow with this Sixers team. Here, Philly get the young PG they coveted at the deadline and Atlanta gets the Center they need to replace Horford. Muscala helps the contracts fit and can actually provide floor spacing depth at the 5.
Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics
Philadelphia receives: Jonas Jerebko, Terry Rozier, James Young, and 2016 #3 overall pick
Boston receives: Jahlil Okafor and Kendall Marshall
Philadelphia is trying to trade one of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor to make room for the arrivals of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Although they may hold on to Okafor as insurance for Embiid’s surgically repaired foot, in this scenario they trade him for another top 3 pick. Jamal Murray, who they like a lot, would be a great fit at SG for their new look roster. Boston gets the Center they covet without affecting their free agency plans. Okafor gives them an offensive centerpiece down low, and their team defense (thanks to the genius of Brad Stevens) is strong enough to hide Okafor’s deficiencies in that area.
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Let’s talk about the supposed throw-ins of this trade for a second. First of all, I don’t think Jerebko and #3 are enough for Okafor, a franchise Center. While I really like Jerebko’s fit as a backup big that can defend and shoot next to Simmons and Embiid, adding Rozier is key as it gives Philly a nice developmental PG. Moreover, Young gets to go to a perfect spot to play and improve as a scorer, an opportunity he won’t get in Boston. Finally, though an add-in money-wise, Marshall intrigues me in a Celtics uniform. If anyone can utilize Marshall’s passing ability to the fullest, it’s Stevens. His contract is unguaranteed and he’d be the 3rd or 4th PG on the team, so he’ll likely be waived, but I keep having visions of him being the Eric Snow to Isaiah Thomas’s Allen Iverson in some rotations off the bench.
Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns
Milwaukee receives: Tyson Chandler
Phoenix receives: Greg Monroe
Whereas the Bucks are just as likely to give Monroe another year and eat his contract if it continues to not work out, they could look to move him. In this scenario, Jason Kidd gets the rim protector he wants, and he just so happens to be a former teammate. Chandler will assume the role of veteran leader that this young team needs and his abilities as a defensive anchor could have them back in the top of the defensive rankings after falling way down last year.
Phoenix is not as close to competing as they thought, and Alex Len showed impressive potential after the All Star Break. So why trade a Center to acquire another one if they already have Len at the position? Well, Len also played really well at the four, in a sort of anti-small ball lineup. Furthermore, Len’s a free agent after next year, and if he continues to improve, he will be due a big pay raise. Monroe’s contract is a year shorter than Chandler’s, and because the third year is a player option, he could conceivably come off the books two years earlier, at the same time as Len. If the twin-towers lineup works this year, they could resign both big men. And if it doesn’t, they could resign whichever of the young talented Centers they like best, without worrying about having too much money tied up in one position.
Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee receives: Boban Bogdanovic
Brooklyn receives: Michael Carter-Williams
Giving up a 2017 first rounder for Greivis Vasquez, signing Greg Monroe, and especially trading Brandon Knight to acquire MCW; Milwaukee has made a few costly mistakes recently that will soon be erased because of the greatness of Point God, The Greek Freak, The Alphabet, and my favorite player Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s basically the Daenarys Targaryen of the NBA, with the tough spelling, numerous nicknames, and how they’re both slowly getting more and more dangerous in some far off land. But before he becomes King of the NBA and unites the two conferences, we need to continue purging the players that are poor fits next to him in Mereen, err I mean Milwaukee.
MCW is a non-shooter, and now that Giannis has taken over the offense, his role and opportunity are greatly diminished. Although MCW is a young, cheap player with upside, he’s probably not worth much to other teams as the PG position is flooded with talent and he’s seemingly regressed. Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless are both free agents this year, so they could wait on MCW and pray he develops a jump shot in the off-season. However, they’ll likely resign one of the two and potentially draft a PG (Wade Baldwin IV would be an awesome fit), so priority number one for the Bucks is to surround Giannis with better shooting threats. Luckily they find a Brooklyn team desperate for… well, just desperate. With Jack, their only PG on the roster, still recovering from an ACL injury, they can afford to take a chance on MCW and hope for the best. Milwaukee gets a shooter they need, and one that really blossomed toward the end of last season.
Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers
Denver receives: Monta Ellis
Indiana receives: Kenneth Faried
Denver has two exciting bigs in Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic that they want to develop, and still have Joffrey Lauvergne. Mike Malone struggled to find minutes for both Faried and the youngsters last year, and they’ll welcome back talented forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari this year from injuries. With all these players in the frontcourt, Faried may have to accept an even smaller role if he wants to stay in Denver. If he doesn’t and Denver wants to facilitate a trade, there may not be a better match than Indiana. The Manimal would fit perfectly next to Myles Turner because Myles can stretch the floor offensively and protect the rim defensively, two areas where Faried struggles.
Using Paul George as a full-time PF failed, and with the Pacers likely to let one of Ian Mahinmi or Jordan Hill walk in free agency, they could use a talented frontcourt player to keep George at SF. Furthermore, Larry Bird wants more pace this year with Nate McMillan (despite that being the opposite of Nate’s style), and Kenneth Faried thrives in an up-tempo offense where he’s able to use his athleticism. Some combination of Rodney Stuckey, CJ Miles, and the enticing Joe Young can pickup most of Monta Ellis’s minutes at the 2. Meanwhile, in Denver, Monta would provide a needed 3-point threat and ball-handler that can help take some pressure off of Emmanuel Mudiay.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
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