Issuu on Google+

Extra Point Extra Sports Point Magazine Sports Magazine

n d e a s s M E d h c i tion r a M


Hey EP Sports staff, what’s your favorite song to sing in the shower? Home by Diana Ross from The Wiz movie Charyse Watson Back of book editor We Don’t Have to Take our Clothes Off by Jermaine Stewart Alex Onushco Editor-in-chief

City of Dreams Biz Markie Bryan Rubin Social media director Just a Friend by Biz Markie Anna Klein Web editor Have You Ever by Brandy Melissa Bronson-Tramel Front of book editor Space Jam Sam Knehans Features editor

2

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM


The woes of being a soccer fan in the US may be over as the sport gains more of a following

12 Melo’s career since 2003

28

27

16

Steroid controversy strikes the Yankees

Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan: who’s the best?

Bracketology: The 32 most iconic places around Syracuse

10

6

How well do you know your March Madness history? WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

3


F

THE KICKOFF

MARCH MADNESS IS HERE.

ebruary was a wild month, from big upsets to a five-week stretch where each No. 1 team fell. March Madness is finally here and the upsets, big wins and blowouts won’t stop now. If February taught us anything, it’s that no is safe and who is going to walk away the 2013 NCAA basketball champions is a mystery to us all. The quest for a national title is anyone’s at this point, and for the basketball crazies out there it couldn’t be more reeling and nerve-racking. Who will be the last team standing in Georgia Dome this year? With the way this season has gone it can very well be a No. 15 seed. So everyone get your brackets ready, be prepared for them to be busted and - most importantly - enjoy this last month of college hoops.

4

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM


The -ZONE

K

KICKOFF

Our strike zone of the biggest hits and misses in the world of sports

Gonzaga is a Cinderella story no more. After securing the No. 1 seed in the West, they are now a contender for the national title. The most consistent team this season with a (29-2) record looks to achieve another feat, being ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history.

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Is it time for Syracuse fans to panic? All its eligible scholarship players are back but the team has hit a slump, dropping it’s last 3 games to Georgetown, Louisville and Marquette. With only two games left before its final appearance in the BIG EAST conference, the Orangemen have slipped to 4th place. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

What did Duke’s 27-pt loss to Miami teach us? One, they need Ryan Kelly, who drilled 36-points against the Hurricanes in his return and two, Duke isn’t as great as you’d like to believe. In the rematch it wasn’t so much a Duke win as it was a Miami loss. Duke won 79-76 on its home court off of a series of silly Hurricane 3-point attempts in the final seconds—nonetheless a win is a win, for now.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Georgetown is surging ahead. After not being ranked in the preseason, the Hoyas are now No. 7 in the country riding an 11 game winning streak. With wins over four top-25 teams, the Hoyas lead the BIG EAST conference.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Storming the court is a part of the college culture, after a big upset fans relish with players on the court. Many court storms later, Coach K and analyst think it’s becoming a safety concern for players and fans. Will more conferences move to SEC regulations where the school is fined if students storm the court? Many fans hope not, it’s one thing that makes college basketball special.

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

5


Carrier Dome Panasci Lounge

Carrier Dome

Carrier Dome

People’s Place Dinosaur BBQ

Orange M

Dinosaur BBQ

How do the m things at Syrac Carrier Dome against ea

Insomnia Crouse College

Insomnia

Funk ‘n’ Waffles Slocum Hall

Funk ‘n’ Waffles Funk ‘n’ Waffles

Chipotle

Bird Library

Carrier Dome Bird Library Bird Library

Pastabilities Varsity Pizza

Varsity Pizza Schine

Kimmel Food.com

Kimmel

Schine Starbucks

Schine Schine

Carrier


Madness

Destiny USA Destiny USA

Kissing Bench

Destiny USA

most iconic cuse stack up Destiny USA ach other? By: Alexandra Georgette

r Dome

Lincoln Statue Lincoln Statue

Freshens Newhouse bridge

Newhouse bridge

Lyman Syracuse Stage

Syracuse Stage Syracuse Stage

MOST Tennity Ice Pavillion

The Quad

Goldstein Goldstein Goldstein

Rosmond Gifford Zoo Watson Hall

The Quad

Watson Hall Archibold Gym

Archibold Gym

Carnegie The Quad

The Quad The Quad

LGBT Center


joseph elieve b o t rd ost ha now Kris m l a o e It’s ear ag s final gam y a t i tha Anna yed h s a ’ l P p E h . Josep rangeman th Kris Jo O p wi u s as an e h is now c t e a h c e n r bably Klei whe o t r u p o u d to fin e things yo ! om t know and s didn’

KRIS

EP: Since leaving ‘Cuse last year, what have you been up to? KJ: I got drafted by the Celtics in June. Then I played Summer League in Orlando and Vegas. I was with the C’s until I got released in January. Now I play for the Springfield Armor, which is the Brooklyn Nets D-League affiliate team.

“If not for him, I probably wouldn’t have been playing at this level.” 8

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

DAVID BUTLER II | US PRESSWIRE

EP: Do you find it hard when you move around and have to get adjusted to a new team, city, or coach: KJ: Ummmmm, not really. The basketball world is so small that wherever you end up, you will be on a team with a few guys you know or played against. Also, everyone has the same goal in mind, which is to win games. So it’s easy. As far as the cities go, all I need is a mall and a couple of good places to eat.


EP: Where are your favorite places to shop and what are some of your favorite foods? KJ: I shop anywhere. I get things from all stores. Nieman Marcus, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Louis V, Saks. Shopping is a process ‘cause I’m not necessarily a little guy, so I have to explore to find the right fit. As far as food, I’ll eat anywhere that has food that tastes good. EP: Do you keep in touch with the people you played with at Syracuse? KJ: Of course! What kind of alumni would I be if I didn’t? We hold group messages often. I also text all of my young boys individually to make sure they’re all doing well and staying out of trouble. I love my guys! EP: Do you have a few players that you admire or see as a role model? KJ: My brother Maurice is my role model as far as players go. If not for him, I probably wouldn’t have been playing at this level. It’s good to have an older brother to show you the way, so I’m grateful for him. EP: Did you grow up playing competitively? When did you realize that this might be something you could do professionally? KJ: I grew up playing in a few club leagues. When I moved to DC, I figured that this could become a job for me. I just worked really hard and made it a reality. EP: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t playing basketball? KJ: If I wasn’t playing ball I would most definitely be an elementary or middle school teacher. I love kids. I became an uncle at an early age and I think that’s what made me want to learn more about children and their development. I interned on campus last year at Bernice M. Wright on south for the whole year. I loved it.

point. It’s hard for anyone to make it to the pros, but even harder coming from where I’m from, which is Montreal, Canada. I’m blessed and highly favored. EP: Do you have any pre-game rituals? KJ: After my pre-game warm-ups and stretches, I just say a quick prayer and get ready for the game. I’m not that much of a superstitious person. I just lock in and get ready to get a win. EP: How do you celebrate a big win? How do you pick yourself up after a big loss? KJ: I react the same for both actually. I hate losing more than I love winning, but in this business you have to have short memory because you may have a game the next day. You celebrate for five minutes after a win and you can be upset for five minutes after a loss. You don’t want that to mess up your next game. EP: When you’re on the road living in another city, what do you miss most about home? Are there any things that you abolustely can’t travel without? KJ: I have been away from home for a long time. The only thing I miss is my family, if anything. In terms of things I can’t travel without, it depends how long the road trip is. If it’s a long trip, then I have to bring my laptop to watch my shows online. EP: Is there any team that you’d eventually hope to play for? Do you have a dream team? KJ: At some point in my career I think it would be cool to play for the Raptors, but other than that there is no dream team, honestly. Just to be in the league is a dream in and of itself.

EP: What’s your biggest accomplishment in regards to basketball and why? KJ: My biggest basketball accomplishment would definitely have to be making it to this WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

9


So You Think You Kno Well, its that time of year again. March. Do you know what that means? Spring Break, St. Patrick’s Day and on occasion, Passover and Easter. And what do you do on this time off ? Well if you are like most folks, you watch college basketball.. The NCAA tournament is the greatest post-season in the sporting world and attracts millions of viewers every year. But how well do you really know March Madness? Take this quiz and see how well you know the NCAA tournament (one point per question).

1. What maneuver was deemed illegal in 1967, but was reinstated in 1977?

4. What is the lowest seed ever to win the National Championship?

A. Shot-blocking B. Dunking C. 3-point shot D. Alley-Oop

A. 10th seed B. 8th seed C. 11th seed D. 7th seed

2. What school has the most NCAA tournament appearances? A. Syracuse B. Kansas C. Kentucky D. Duke

3. Which coaches have the most NCAA tournament appearances? A. Mike Krzyzewski and John Wooden B. Greg McDermott and Jamie Dixon C. John Thompson III and Tom Izzo D. Jim Boeheim and Bob Knight

10

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

5. What current NBA AllStar led his to the 2003 National Championship title? A. Carmelo Anthony B. Dwyane Wade C. Chris Bosh D. Kirk Hinrich 6. What team busted most people’s brackets in the 2006 NCAA Tournament? A. UConn B. George Mason C. Gonzaga D. VCU

(AP Photo/Gerald


ow March Madness? By: Kyle Basedow

7. What other nickname, besides March Madness, does the NCAA Tournament go by?

10. What Big East Conference team has the most NCAA Tournament appearances?

A. The Last Ride B. The Final Showdown C. The Big Dance D. The Only Thing That Matters

A. Villanova B. Syracuse C. Louisville D. Georgetown

8. What current Miami Heat player sent the KansasMemphis 2008 championship title game into overtime?

Answer Key:

A. Norris Cole B. LeBron James C. Thomas Robinson D. Mario Chalmers

3-4: Hmmm. Nice try. Not bad for an amateur.

9. In the past ten years, how many No. 15 seeds have beaten No. 2 seeds?

7-8: Pretty good. You probably watch most of the games and clearly know your stuff.

A. Two B. Three C. Four D. Five

0-2: Do you even know what sport this is?

5-6: Ehh. You know about as much as the average viewer.

9-10: Wow. Just wow. Congratulations.

d Herbert)

ANSWER KEY: 1. Dunking 2. Kentucky (52) 3. Jim Boeheim and Bob Knight (28) 4. 8th seed Villanova (1985) 5. Carmelo Anthony 6. George Mason 7. The Big Dance 8. Mario Chalmers 9. Answer: Five (No. 15 Lehigh beat No. 2 Duke and No. 15 Norfolk State beat No. 2 Missouri in 2012 No. 15 Hampton No. 2 Iowa State in 2001 No. 15 Coppin State and No. 2 South Carolina in 1997 No. 15 Santa Clara and No. 2 Arizona in 1993 ) 10. Louisville (38)

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

11


Hall of Fame* As Cooperstown voters continue to deny steroid-linked players admission, can the Hall of Fame remain relevant without the best players of an era? By: Zack Potter


W

ith the implementation of newer and stricter performanceenhancing drug policies—random testing, harsher suspensions, in-season HGH testing—Major League Baseball’s “Steroid Era” is supposedly dead. However, while the MLB claims that the steroid problem has been erased from the field, the issue is just starting to create problems in the minds of Hall of Fame voters. Now that the game’s superstars from the 1990s and 2000s have begun to retire, members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) are tasked with deciding who is and who is not worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Voters are clearly becoming more selective with their votes as no candidates surpassed the 75 percent threshold required to be inducted this year. However, with all of the vast uncertainty surrounding the past 20 years in the MLB, BBWAA members need to be careful about basing their votes on unwarranted suspicion, dishonest hearsay, and widespread myths regarding performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and their effect on baseball. The fact is no one will ever know exactly how baseball was affected by PEDs. The public will never know exactly which athletes used what drugs or how long they used them for. Furthermore, no one will ever be able to know how steroids and other drugs distorted wins, losses and player statistics throughout the past 20 years. Some claim that players undoubtedly benefitted from taking PEDs while much of academic and scientific

14

evidence concludes that substances such as HGH do nothing to enhance athletic performance. We believe we have a pretty good idea about the doping habits of some players on the ballot (e.g. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens), but we have little to no indisputably factual information about many others (e.g. Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling). Unproven allegations and hearsay surround these players, making it impossible for anyone to know if—or how— the players’ games were altered by PEDs. Due to the enormous amount of unreliable information available regarding these players, any voter that dismisses a candidate based on suspected steroid use is simply making a guess. Since nobody has any idea who, what, when or how PEDs altered baseball throughout the “Steroid Era,” BBWAA writers are grossly abusing their power when they attempt to determine that all by themselves. The argument is often made that voters should work to keep the Hall of Fame as “clean” as possible, devoid of any and all cheaters or morally corrupt individuals. In theory, this is a reasonable goal. But in reality, the Hall of Fame has always been littered with cheaters, drug users, liars, racists, and overall scumbags. Pud Galvin was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1965 despite being a known PED user. Gaylord Perry was inducted in 1991 even though he had become notorious for throwing illegal spitballs. Ty Cobb was inducted in 1936 despite being a renowned racist and startlingly

violent individual. Whitey Ford was elected in 1974 even though he often used his wedding ring to doctor and alter baseballs on the pitching mound. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, amphetamines otherwise known as “greenies” were very common among MLB players since they reduced fatigue and increased reaction times. Hank Aaron, the shining beacon for “pure” baseball fans, admitted to using greenies during his playing career along with many other superstars from that era such as Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Willie Stargell. Today, any player caught using amphetamines can be suspended between 15 and 30 days for their first offense according to the MLB’s drug policy. Clearly, anyone who believes that baseball’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only the most righteous athletes is sadly mistaken. It is possible to make a case that PEDs are a more severe form of cheating than spitballs or greenies, but that is largely an argument based on personal opinion. It is difficult to justify that sort of rationale being the deciding factor among Hall of Fame voters when there has already been an obvious precedent set by previous inductee classes. One of the primary functions of the Hall of Fame is to act as a museum for the entire history of baseball. While it is certainly there to glorify the outstanding teams, managers, players, and stories that have contributed to baseball’s rich history, it would be wrong for the Hall of Fame to ignore an entire era of baseball and prevent future fans from learning about a significant


period of turbulence that the game has since overcome. By inducting suspected PED users into the Hall of Fame, the MLB can acknowledge the great players from this era while educating the public about the caveats that came with their performances. In the coming years, this dilemma will only be exacerbated as upcoming Hall of Fame classes appear to have numerous suspected, accused, or known PED users who would otherwise be easily inducted based on their career statistics. It is difficult to predict whether apparently “clean” players like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and Pedro Martinez will be affected by the presence of steroid users on the

ballot. The fact that BBWAA members are permitted to vote for a maximum of ten players only complicates the matter. ESPN baseball writer Jim Caple, who used all ten of his votes in this year’s election, has pointed out this predicament, as he fears having to exclude Hall of Fame-worthy players in order to make room for new candidates. According to Caple, “there is harm done when deserving candidates get dropped from the ballot simply because of an outdated, arbitrary rule that makes no sense. Even if you don’t want PED suspects in the Hall of Fame, bear in mind that the 10-man limit is going to hurt other players as well.”

While it is difficult to argue that BBWAA members should completely ignore the steroid narratives that dominate the careers of many current and future Hall of Fame candidates, it is important that the voters are mindful of how little we actually know about what occurred throughout the “Steroid Era.” If voters are making arbitrary decisions based solely on subjects that we have extremely little conclusive information about, it could result in a Hall of Fame that disregards an entire era of baseball, while perpetuating false myths about MLB PED use that many writers and fans have accepted as facts.

15


American Futbol American Futbol

Our nation’s journey to becoming futbol fanatics By: Erica Murphy


W

aves of fans surround you. Some sport multicolored scarves, while others flaunt form-fitting jerseys. You flock toward the stadium with the rest of the spectators, vuvuzela in hand. Flags rise; chants commence as you stand to welcome your team to the field. In two straight lines, players enter the pitch, hand-inhand with young wannabes. You wonder how these kids got that opportunity. Even though you’re twice their age, you make a plan to Google how-to-enter-a-game-witha-famous-soccer-player when you get home. The clock counts down from 10, and goosebumps begin to cover your body as the 22 players take their positions. After a few handshakes and high-knees, the first whistle blows. It’s game time. Since the US Men’s National Team qualified for the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup, America’s interest in soccer has grown. Spectators are watching more games on TV, following more European teams and attending more MLS matches. In 2011, the MLS averaged nearly 18,000 fans per game, the most since the league’s inaugural season. America’s new attraction to soccer stems from fans like John Ray, who became an avid soccer fan at 15-years-old. It was a Saturday morning and Ray, now 21, had just turned on the TV. He casually flipped to ESPN and settled on waking up to the English Premier League. West Ham was facing Aston Villa. The maroon and sky blue jerseys of Aston Villa lured him in as he watched the full

90-minute match. Ray’s adoration for Villa hasn’t faltered since. “I liked a team that wasn’t very good,” Ray, a senior at Pitzer College, says. “I delved into my own world and lived vicariously through this team. I experienced soccer in a semi-holistic way and it was the closest thing I had to church.” In six years of following the sport, Ray became an expert. He started his own blog, contributed to national soccer websites, and chose to write his college thesis on the development of soccer. Ray isn’t the only new soccer fan among his age group. A poll from ESPN shows that soccer is the second-favorite sport for Americans aged 12 to 24. It now follows only the NFL. Many attribute this fact to the popularity of EA Sports FIFA, a soccer-specific video game that launched its 20th edition in September. An average of 5 million games are played online every day, helping Americans develop an emotional connection with real teams. Now that networks are broadcasting more soccer games, both national and international, fans can watch their favorite FIFA teams live. TV stations like Fox and ESPN have produced soccer specific channels and hired experienced English commentators to help discuss soccer in an intelligent manner. Before these additions, commercials interrupted games and American commentators digressed to talking about other sports. As ESPN continues to increase its soccer coverage, the network is also making an effort to please

the young “football fan.” ESPN now covers the drawing for the NCAA soccer tournament like it does for Basketball’s March Madness. College soccer teams across the country can live stream the event, and that’s exactly what Mo Agbossoumonde did with his Syracuse University teammates. It was in the middle of November and his team’s regular season just ended. After competing in the Big East Tournament, SU finished 14-6-1. “We knew we were good,” Mo, a senior on the SU men’s soccer team, says. “We just weren’t sure how good.” So Mo sat around a computer screen in the Carmelo Anthony Center with the rest of his team, yearning to receive a bid into the NCAA tournament. SU made it only once before, so the players had a chance to make history. “When we heard our name called, it was just a crazy scene,” Mo says. “Everyone was shouting and cheering and spraying water in the air. The Melo Center was really rocking.” College soccer teams represent the generation that now follows soccer. To get a chance to play in their version of the big leagues puts them one step closer to the athletes they admire. It’s halftime. You finally get a moment to breathe, and blink. It takes a couple seconds for you to lower your shoulders from your ears, but eventually your body relaxes. You have 15 minutes to refuel and rehydrate. After all, it’s imperative that you remain energetic; your team needs you. The players reenter the field, relaxed and ready to dominate. Your boys are down 1-0,

17


AP Photo: Jae C. Hong but you exude optimism. Another half of soccer waits and that tingling sensation creeps back up. You put up no fight, give into the emotion, and let go. Since David Beckham joined the LA Galaxy in 2007, many other international superstars have followed. Thierry Henry from France, Robbie Keane from Ireland, Juan Pablo Angel from Columbia, Rafael Márquez from Mexico and Freddy Ljungberg from Sweden all currently play for MLS teams. Even Christiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba expressed joining the league one day. The increase of international players in the MLS has helped excite the fan experience both on and off the field and has helped draw international teams to the US as well.

18

As the talent in the MLS increases, the league has a better chance at competing with top international clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United. This summer, the MLS All-Star team played and beat Chelsea 3-2—without Landon Donovan. Instead of adopting the underdog status, MLS teams and players have forced an even match with their worldwide competitors. The MLS hopes to become a top10 league in the world by 2012. Jeremiah Oshan, a beat writer for mlssoccer.com and MLS blog manager for sbnation.com, thinks the MLS should be part of that “world-power” conversation. Once Toronto joined the league in 2007, America became exposed to a European-esque soccer culture for the first time.

“We didn’t have a mainstream soccer watching experience, “ Oshan says. “That all changed when the Canadian teams came in.” While Oshan doesn’t think a direct correlation exists between the success of the MLS and the success of the US Men’s National team, he understands that the US needs to be relevant in World Cups to continue attracting American interest. In the 2010 World Cup, the US reached the round-of-16. Although they lost to Ghana in overtime, the team still brought pride to the US. Once reaching quarterfinals develops into a trend, the sport will to draw new fans. The change in demographic in the US has helped soccer’s popularity


grow as well. As the percentage of Hispanic Americans increases, soccer’s fan base increases too. People in this ethnic group don’t need to be converted from other sports. The population grew up with soccer, and brings that passion with them to the US. The make-up of the MLS reflects this demographic shift. Many top executives speak fluent Spanish, and knowledge of the language is required for all communications interns. Scott Klebanow, a graduate student in The Martin J. Whitman School of Management at SU, interned for the MLS this past summer. Even though he worked in the business department, he still noticed the emphasis on diversity. “There was definitely a shift in the marketing campaign,” Klebanow says. “They started targeting Hispanics to get not just fans, but talent too.” To Klebanow and the MLS, finding talent and developing young athletes must be a priority for the league. Analysts criticize the league for a lack of infrastructure, which is something the executives want to change. With help from Adidas, every MLS team now operates a homegrown academy. Teams in Europe exercise similar training programs, which produce toptiered players. Using Europe’s system as a model, the US academies encourage development and welcome athletes of all skill-levels. Nearly every child plays soccer at one point during his or her youth, and hopefully these academies will encourage kids to continue playing at the high school or collegiate level. But many understand that soccer has a ways

to go to become the top sport in America. The MLS must figure out how to pay its players higher salaries to compete. It won’t attract the best talent to America until that happens. The league also needs to get people to watch games on TV. Currently, Americans will turn on a soccer game if they have something invested in the teams playing. But few watch soccer with a neutral outlook.

The cozy stadiums reverberate sound, helping spectators unfamiliar with the chants to sing along. Everyone that attends a soccer match has something invested in the outcome. And the most they can do to influence that outcome is to shout louder than the person sitting next to them. It’s like sitting in the student section at a high school basketball game. Immature exchanges flow backand-forth until one of the teams,

Attending a soccer game involves action. Spectators stand, chant, sing, and rarely leave to beat traffic. Will Geoghegan, self-proclaimed soccer expert, isn’t sure the sport will ever become a top sport in America. “You still look at who watches soccer and it’s predominantly the ethnic populations,” Geoghegan says. “Just click on ESPN; you never see soccer as a top play of the day.” Even though soccer analysts disagree on the future of soccer in America, they all relish in its fan experience. Attending a soccer game involves action. Spectators stand, chant, sing, and rarely leave to beat traffic. Oshan says that witnessing a soccer game in person is completely different than watching any other popular American sport. “Being at a soccer event is a participatory experience,” Oshan says. “You get more excited and more involved. It’s like going to a concert.” Now that the majority of teams are building soccer-specific stadiums, fans get even closer to the action.

and one of the cheering sections, wins. It’s again supporting the young soccer fan. There are two minutes left and the game is tied. You feel the pressure and the suspense radiating from the crowd. A player gets slide tackled inside the 18-yard box meaning only one thing: a penalty kick. You close your eyes, then open them, then close them again. You peek at the field as the player lines up for his shot. Left or right, it’s as simple as that. He starts his short run, places his foot parallel to the ball, and powers through with his knee high and ankle locked. Boom. Luckily you flung your eyes open at the last minute and witnessed a perfect, upper-90 shot. A breath escapes as you realize you were holding it. Strangers high-five you and gape in every direction. The final whistle blows, your team won, and it felt glorious. Game over.

19


March Madness: A Cinderella Story By: Sam Knehans


T

It seems like nearly every year a team in a puffy blue dress and glass slippers surprises everyone. In 2006, George Mason, who had lost in the finals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, received the No. 11 seed in the East. The Patriots would go on to defeat four higher rated teams: Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State, and the Connecticut Huskies, who were ranked No. 2 Each year 68 Division I NCAA in the country at the time. Mason basketball teams compete in a single elimination tournament that lost to eventual champion Florida determines the National Champion. in the Final Four, but their legacy Six victories—or seven victories for as a Cinderella had already been cemented. They had become the those teams selected to play in the First Four—separate each and every lowest seed to ever make the Final NCAA Tournament team from a Four. National Championship. There’s a In 2008, Davidson entered the reason it’s called March Madness, NCAA Tournament as the regular anything can happen. he story goes something like this: girl lives with evil stepfamily, girl finds fairy godmother, girl loses shoe, girl wins handsome prince. Most sports fans couldn’t care less about the girl and her misplaced glass slipper, but come mid-March, Cinderella’s are at the forefront of each of their minds.

22

season and tournament champions of the Southern Conference. Led by Stephen Curry, the No. 10 seeded Wildcats stormed the Midwest bracket. They defeated higher rated Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin before losing to eventual champion Kansas in the Elite Eight, 59-57. In 2010 and 2011, little known Butler made it all the way to the tournament championship game after winning the Horizon League. In 2010, Butler defeated UTEP, Murray State, Syracuse, Kansas State and Michigan State before losing to Duke in the National Championship Game, 61-59. In 2011, Butler defeated Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia


Commonwealth University (VCU) in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament run before losing to Connecticut in the finals. In 2011, VCU joined George Mason as the lowest seed to ever make the Final Four at No. 11. In doing so, the Rams defeated Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State and Kansas before falling to fellow Cinderella Butler in the Final Four. As you can see, Cinderella teams have a history of making deep runs in the NCAA Tournament. They also tend to succumb only to the best talent, often losing to the eventual National Champion. This season of college basketball has been marked by parody. The NCAA Tournament field seems

wide open, with the potential for a mid-major or Cinderella team to emerge. The pressure is on for several mid-major programs who have lost their Cinderella luster because they are simply too good. This group includes Gonzaga, who is now ranked No. 1 in the country, as well as New Mexico, the runaway winner of the Mountain West Conference. The trio of Atlantic 10 teams: St. Louis, VCU and Butler also seem to fall into this category due to each program’s history and signature victories. Some lesser-known programs are also making cases for inclusion in the NCAA field regardless of their conference tournament results.

These teams include Akron out of the MAC, Middle Tennessee State out of the Sun Belt and Louisiana Tech out of the WAC. These teams, along with the likes of Belmont, St. Mary’s, La Salle, UNLV, Bucknell, Davidson, Wichita State, Valparaiso and Creighton could make some noise in March, assuming they make the tournament field. From there, it all depends on their seed and their opponent. While it’s difficult to speculate just who this year’s Cinderella might be before the tournament field has been selected, one thing’s for certain. Someone will be wearing that puffy blue dress and those glass slippers in March—the only question is who?

23


Punt

&

NBA Carmelo Anthony: All Star, New York Knick, and Forever an Orangeman Battle of Greatness: Jordan vs James

Grunt

MLB Take It Off Mo Why Mariano Rivera should take off his jersey

NHL Hoisting the Cup If the playoffs started today...

Syracuse

Update

Introducing the newest page of !


MLB

Take It Off Mo By Jesse Dougherty An African American player hadn’t played in the MLB since the 1880’s, and players like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, among hundreds of others were pushed into the underfunded, and under publicized Negro Leagues for decades. But on April 15th, 1947 Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey decided this needed to change. The Dodgers started Jackie Robinson, who they had called up from the minor leagues just six days prior to the 1947 season, at first base. In front of 26,623 fans at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, Robinson stepped over the chalk line that had segregated the professional game since its humble beginnings.

ap photo

The Dodgers won the game 5-3 and Robinson’s contributions were minimal, yet he had done something that was not just historic, but heroic. He defied societal odds at a time where African Americans were suppressed in education, in the workplace, and in this case, across all professional sports. A diverse fan base started flocking to MLB stadiums and soon, the color barrier was broken in the league. Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers for 10 years

In 1972, at age 53, Robinson passed away. Twenty-five years later the MLB ensured that his legacy would live on forever. The league universally retired his number 42, meaning that no player would ever wear it again. But there is still one player who taints the respect that the league pays to Robinson. Mariano Rivera, entering his 19th season in the league, still wears 42 despite the MLB-wide retirement of the number 16 years ago. Rivera’s refusal to change his number is not only disrespectful to the legacy of Robinson, but to the game that has given him a job, and an otherwise meaningless name.

ap photo

The bottom line is that Rivera shouldn’t be wearing Robinson’s number. The MLB should not have allowed it in the first place and shouldn’t let it happen any longer. After tearing his ACL and missing all of last season, it was thought that Rivera may retire. But after a successful recovery he is coming back for another season, and the number 42 lives on. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t wishing that Rivera’s ACL injury had ended his career because it is a privilege for all baseball fans to watch him pitch. In 18 seasons, all with the New York Yankees, Rivera has established himself as, arguably, the best closer in the history of the game. His 608 career saves ranks him first all-time, and his 2.21 career ERA ranks him 13th, and the best of any active pitcher. Robinson was given a special award at the World Series pregame ceremonies in 1972 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers

Even more impressive are his post season numbers. Rivera has pitched in 7 World Series, 9 ALCS’s, and 16 ALDS’s, and accumulated 96 total appearances. In them he has a record of 8-1, with 42 saves and a 0.70. In those 96 appearances, he has only yielded an astounding 13 earned runs. Yet there is a blemish on his legacy because he refuses to recognize one that is far greater. Rivera’s argument is that he, starting his career in 1995, was wearing the number 42 before the MLB decided to retire it. Great argument. Now change your number. Thanks. Any personal connection that Rivera has to the number 42 holds no merit against its place in the history of the game. We can take two things from Rivera wearing the number, and the MLB allowing him to do so.

ap photo

First, even an athlete that like Rivera, who seems humble on the outside, possesses an incredibly large ego. In some ways I can’t blame him, or any professional athlete for that matter, as being told you are the best from a young age and to be paid millions of dollars to play a game would make one rather confident. But when you start holding yourself in a higher regard than a league wide inscription of respect for one of that game’s most courageous historic figures, a line has to be drawn. Robinso’s wife, Rachel was presented with her husband’s retired jersey in 2003

26

Second, the MLB as an organization caters to its stars too much. If this weren’t Rivera, or another player of his pristine caliber, there would be no one wearing 42. When the number was retired in 1997 12 players were given the opportunity to continue to wear it. Those players denied the offer and succumbed to the new rule, while Rivera remains unscathed by league regulation. On April 15th, in the league known as “Jackie Robinson Day”, MLB players are given number 42 jerseys for the day, and for some it is the greatest honor of the season. Rivera takes that honor and makes it a 162-game event. He’s not only denying the admiration that the late Jackie Robinson deserves, but making his eventual retirement something to rejoice about.

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM


Hoisting the Cup

NHL

By Andrew Miller With every team over a third of the way through the shortened, 48 game regular season and several teams having reached 20 games played, it is time to look into the crystal ball and answer the question of who would win the NHL playoffs if they started today. Western Conference- First Round 1. Chicago vs 8. MinnesotaThe only person picking against the Blackhawks right now is somewhere ice fishing outside of St Paul. There is no question Chicago wins and anything over four games would be a moral victory for the Wild. 2. Anaheim vs 7. Nashville- Although Pekka Rinne can always factor in as a game-changer in net, the Ducks are the only team with a double-digit positive goal differential in the West besides the ‘Hawks and the California kids move on. 3. Vancouver vs 6. San Jose- And the first upset is…not the Canucks. All Vancouver fans can get a quick breather before the next round, but it is easy to see this one going seven. 4. St Louis vs 5. Los Angeles- Not necessarily an upset, but the Stanley Cup Champs win this one in five after coming into the playoffs winning seven of the last ten. Second Round1. Chicago vs 5. Los Angeles- Full of talent, star power, and huge media markets, the NHL wishes this was the Conference Final. Still being too gutless to let Joe Quenville’s team lose, the Blackhawks advance on Corey Crawford out dueling Jonathan Quick in seven games. 2. Anaheim vs 3 Vancouver- California is represented in the Conference Finals for the fourth year in a row and the Canucks’ search for the elusive Stanley Cup continues as Anahiem takes it over Vancouver off the outstanding offensive performance of Ryan Getzlaf. Conference Finals1. Chicago vs 2. Anaheim- The previous seven game series takes a toll on the Blackhawks and the balanced attack from the six forwards on Anahiem carries them all the way to the Cup. Ducks in 6. Eastern Conference- First Round 1. Boston vs 8. Tampa Bay- The first true upset of the playoffs, Steven Stampkos is going to put on a clinic as the Lightning wipe away the home ice advantage early and close in six. 2. Montreal vs 7. Toronto- It’s a miracle the Leafs even made the playoffs as they have not been there since the 2003-2004 season and they will not hang around. Habs in 5. 3. Carolina vs 6. New Jersey- This Canes team has proven winners in Cam Ward and both Staal brothers, and Marty Brodeur running into injury trouble recently sinks the Devils, although this one will go the distance. 4. Pittsburgh vs 5. Ottawa- The Penguins losing in the first round? Ridiculous. Break out the broom sticks, Pittsburgh will take it in four. Second Round 2. Montreal vs 8. Tampa Bay- Will the NHL have another southern eight seed take raise Lord Stanley’s Cup again? Maybe, but give the Lightning the nod against the Canadians, despite playing on the road in the electric Bell Centre. 3. Carolina vs 4. Pittsburgh- Enough with the upsets, Pittsburgh has the second best goal differential in the league and the third best road record. Crosby and Malkin over power Jordan and Eric Staal and the Pens win in five. Conference Finals4. Pittsburgh vs 8. Tampa Bay- The first time an eight seed won the Stanley Cup was last year, and it is not going to happen again; at least for the 2013 season. This is another match up with plenty of stars for the league to salivate over to go along with their poster child in Sidney Crosby. He makes it to the finals again, chasing after his second ring. Stanley Cup Finals2. Anaheim vs 4. Pittsburgh- The West coast advantage is huge for the Ducks and the big three of Ryan, Getzlaf, and Perry out play the super star duo of Crosby and Malkin. The Anaheim Ducks keep the trophy in Southern California and proceed to disband the team for cap reasons, similar to the Blackhawks of 2010. The Finnish veterans Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are the unsung heroes and Ryan Getzlaf captures the MVP along with his first Stanley Cup since his rookie year. STANLEY CUP CHAMPS- ANAHEIM DUCKS

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

27


NBA

ALL STAR new york knick orangeman

Just six days after scoring 26 points at the NBA All-Star game, Anthony had returned to SU to see his jersey retired during the SU vs. Georgetown men’s basketball game. Twelve years earlier when Anthony was a junior in high school, he came home to find Jim Boeheim on his doorstep. Assistant coach for Syracuse at the time, Troy Weaver, discovered Anthony and insisted that Boeheim come and see Anthony play. Within five minutes of watching him play, Boeheim knew that Anthony was special. Anthony thanked Weaver during retiring of his jersey, saying that Weaver was the one “who got it done” and told him “you need to be wearing orange.” “I thought he was crazy at first,” said Anthony. “I said, there’s no way I’m going to Syracuse, it’s too cold, I’m not gonna do it.” However, when he saw Boeheim on his doorstep, he remembered thinking, “real men wear orange.” Two years later, Anthony led SU to the 2003 NCAA national championship. “That’s where it all started for me,” Anthony said on Jimmy Fallon. That year, he averaged 22.2 points and 10 rebounds a game, received the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, and was named MVP of the NCAA East Regional.

J.R. Smith, for example, displayed his fire recently in a game against the Warriors, scoring 26 points and pulling down four rebounds off the bench; he needs to continue to play with this intensity and execution, as do Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton, the way they did earlier in the year. Despite the Knicks bit of a rut, the team is still in strong position and Anthony is showing a stellar performance almost every night. This season, he is averaging 28.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Anthony also recently broke a franchise record in games in a row with 20+ points per game: he went 31 games scoring 20+ points. His NBA career averages are: 24.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. And after ten years in the NBA, it all comes back to Syracuse University, where current SU basketball players practice in the Carmelo K. Anthony Practice Facility—the donation of which is the largest made by a current professional athlete to his college. This is where fans that grew up watching Anthony play for the Orange got to witness the star getting his college jersey retired and where Anthony is always welcome. Anthony is sure to continue to do great things in the NBA and also off the court, but one thing is sure: Syracuse will always be there for him with open arms, and will always hold a little spot in Anthony’s heart. “I know everybody in college says they have the best fans,” Anthony said, “but there’s no fans like Syracuse fans.”

Anthony only played for the Orange for one year.

ap photo

ap photo

ap photo

Anthony continued on to the NBA the following year, signing to Denver. He led the Nuggets to two division titles and to the playoffs every year from 2004-2010. He was named to the 2003-2004 AllRookie team and has appeared in the All-Star game six times.

Of course, the slow start after the All-Star break (2-2) looks especially bad in comparison to the way the Knicks started the season: going 21-9. The fantastic run was sure to calm down, though, and New York just needs to work on being consistent and get positive contributions from all players—not just Anthony.

Anthony was the 3rd pick in the 1st round of the 2003 draft. He was signed to the Denver Nuggets.

ap photo

S

Anthony was traded in 2011 to the New York Knicks— possibly one of the best opportunities for the young veteran, as his team leads the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with a 34-20 record. Although in first place in the Atlantic division, New York has dropped to third in the Eastern Conference and is 6.5 games behind the Heat, who lead the Conference. The Knicks had lost four in a row (separated by the All-Star break) when they finally won against the 76ers on February 24th.

By Alexandra Georgette

yracuse University’s Carrier Dome rumbled with cheers and anticipation as Carmelo Anthony took the microphone. “This is one of the most memorable days of my life, of my career,” he said before the stadium exploded with screeches from 35,012 appreciating fans.

The 28-year-old star has earned a bronze medal (2004: Athens) and two gold medals (2008 and 2012) playing for the USA basketball team at the Olympics.

The Denver Nuggets traded Anthony to the New York Knicks in 2011

Anthony’s SU jersey was retired February 23, 2013


NBA

Who Reigns Supreme? King James By Melissa Bronson-Tramel Lebron James is not on par with Michael Jordan right now, he is surpassing him every season, and doing so with astounding finesse. At 27, and in his ninth season in the NBA the only argument that is stopping James from winning this debate is the ring situation. Your ring count does not always dictate the kind of player you are especially when you’re still developing, like Lebron James. The stats James has put up this season alone indicates James is not ready to plateau or slow down. After a disappointing loss in the 2011 NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks, one weakness James noticed about himself was his three-point shooting. Over the next year James’ 3-point field goal percentage steadily increased. Now, James is shooting 33.1 percent per game from behind the arc, not a spectacular percentage but it is 4 percent higher than Jordan’s was when he was 27. He has also increased his mid range shots and became more dominant, which allowed him to be the first player in NBA history to mark seven consecutive games with 30 or more points. When he isn’t being a freak of nature in a typical game he averages 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists, whole numbers ahead of Jordan’s. Expect that average to go up during the finals. Though James PPG (27.6) is significantly less than Jordan’s (32.6), every year he is improving, his shooting percentage in the last year alone increased from 47.6 % to 56.7%. He is listed as a forward but can keep pace with any guard, he is more dominant than most centers, and he’s a shooter. Lebron’s stats speak for themselves but if he wants to win the Jordan vs. Lebron debate, he has one more thing to conquer, his free throw percentage. The only significant numbers a 27-year old Jordan holds on Lebron is his 10% higher FT percentage. Though many argue an accurate depiction of the two should be comparing them when they were both in their ninth season that too is not an accurate comparison. Jordan went to UNC where he had time to develop as a player for the NBA; whereas Lebron went straight to the league from high school but still managed morphed into a NBA player. At that time they just played on different platforms but they each were maturing as players with age and development in a different league. Then you have to realize the game in Jordan’s day was played much differently than the game played now. Today it’s much faster and harder. So if I had to say who is better at this point in their career, it would be Lebron. Yes, there are marginal differences but the scariest thing of all is James is not done developing. Not even close.

VS

His Airness By Alex Onushco When talking about comparisons between the greatest athletes of any sport, the first thing most people on either side gravitate towards is stats. Maybe it has to do with the rise in fantasy sports popularity. Or maybe it is just easier to argue a case when you can simply point to a set of numbers to back you up. Whatever the reason, it seems this sports-crazed nation of ours will spin the stats any which way to make their guy look like the best. LeBron James enthusiasts will point towards the current basketball stud's greater overall balance in all aspects of his game, from rebounds to assists and even three-point percentage. Jordan supporters will lean on the all-time great's points per game and championships (for the record he has not one, not two, not three...you get the idea). Looking at the numbers alone, a strong case could be made for either side, really. So let’s move past the numbers and look at the bigger picture. His Airness is the unquestioned top dog in professional basketball not because of his (impressive) statistics, but because of the impact he left on our society. In his prime throughout much of the 90s, Jordan was perhaps THE most iconic figure in American culture. If you want to go back in time and get a feel for the influence he had across the country, just take a look at this Nike commercial. Anytime he took the court, it was almost impossible for you not to stop what you were doing to see what spectacular play he was going to make next. It literally felt like time came to a stand-still. He was universally loved by all, and I can't remember ever talking to someone who had a single bad thing to say about him. The same could be said about few athletes, and James is certainly not one of them. Sure, James attracts plenty of fans, but not to the extent that Jordan did. Without Jordan, the NBA would have never reached the level of popularity it enjoyed throughout the 90s. He became a mainstay in households across the nation and was held in the highest regard. No one is taking away James' accomplishments. What he has done on the court - especially this year - has been nothing short of amazing. More championships are sure to follow last year's, and every season he plays will bring him one step closer towards overtaking Jordan in many record books. But as far as impact on the game and our culture goes, no one holds a candle to the legend that is Michael Jordan, especially not LeBron James.

WWW.EPSPORTSMAG.COM

29


1.9


Extra Point Sports Magazine Issue 9