JRN 418: What I Learned (Week Two)

This week I spent a lot of my time getting familiar with my beat covering the Sexton boys basketball team. There is a bunch of stories that need to be told from the different individuals on the team. Carlo Marble, little brother of current NBA Orlando Magic guard, transferred to the team. Rayshawn Wilborn is a two-sport athlete committed to Central Michigan who just had their head coach leave. Malik Mack, another two sport athlete and captain, who is a senior leader for Sexton. These are just three individuals who really stood out to me while searching for feature ideas. Sexton ended up losing both games this week, Tuesday against Everett and Friday against Eastern. They still have a lot to improve upon. I also learned a lot more during my time at WKAR this week. Alex Scharg taught me how to record bytes for the show, and I look forward to finally doing the quick-hit headliners this week!

JRN 418: What I Learned (Week One)

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This week we spent time in class going over the course syllabus and learning the expectations of the instructor. I am really excited to learn from professor Gerstner with all the experience she has in this field. We also had the opportunity to tour the WKAR studio and learn about some of the opportunities we’ll have with Al Martin this semester. It excites me that this course will offer work that I can potentially put in my portfolio. This gives me the opportunity to impress future employers down the line. I’m pretty excited to learn about the production of Al Martin’s show. Alex Scharg is going to take me under his wing and show me the process he does in putting on the show every day. Wednesday, my first time behind the scenes at WKAR, we were able to help Al with his daily eight headlines and watch the show. I have spent time at radio shows in the past, doing a job shadow with David DeMarco. I thought it was pretty sweet seeing a former student and current student working these shows. I’m definitely going to take advantage of this semester and take full advantage of all the resources around me.

Three Facts About MSU Basketball in 2014-15

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By Ben Stram

JRN203, Michigan State University

 

MSU fans seem worried about next year, and that worry might be warranted. I’m here to show you three things that you need to know about the 2014-15 MSU basketball team. While Keith Appling and Adreian Payne are leaving, many consider Gary Harris to head to the next level as well. There also is an outside chance at Branden Dawson leaving as well, but for this blog, I will only presume that Gary Harris leaves, and not Dawson. Alas, here we go.

1.  MSU will be losing over half of its scoring from this year.

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MSU will have to find a way to replenish 1,486 points, or 52%, of it’s scoring next year. This might be difficult with all the talent that MSU is losing to the NBA, but Tom Izzo usually finds a way. The next thing we’ll look at is something slightly more optimistic, the three point shooters that MSU returns, which will definitely be a staple of next year’s team.

2. Next year’s team will be able to shoot the ball and space the floor.

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Despite losing most of its offensive talent in 2013-14, the Spartans return a lot of three-point shooters in 2014-15. This leads me to believe that MSU will rely on spacing the floor next year.  They need a step up in production from players like Alvin Ellis, Kenny Kaminski, and Travis Trice in order to provide solid secondary scoring options outside of Valentine next year.  It should be interesting to see how these players expand their roles next year.

3. Tom Izzo will figure it out.

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Over the 19 years as the coach at MSU, Tom Izzo has averaged 23.4 wins per year. His teams have lost a lot of talent before and he has rebounded the following year.  For the past 17 years, MSU has made the NCAA Tournament. Many have been doubting that would be possible next year, but there will be plenty of talent returning as well as three (possibly four) incoming recruits coming in for MSU to help. The big problem will be if MSU can figure out their depth down low. It will be difficult to replace such talents in Adreian Payne, Gary Harris and Keith Appling, but if anybody can do it, Tom Izzo can.

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#3 Ohio State @ #5 Michigan State: My Thoughts, Analysis, and Outlook

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This was a great game to be at and lived up to it’s expectation and then some. Two top five teams on a chilly January night, going into overtime and the home team coming out on top, doesn’t get much better than that! Check out the game wall on Movoli.

http://movoli.com/event/8106/5-michigan-state-72-3-ohio-state-68-ot/01-07-2014

Achilles Tar Heel? No. 1 Michigan State Falls at Home to Unranked North Carolina

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A balanced attack by the Tar Heels, led by Kennedy Meeks off the bench with 15 points and 7 rebounds, defeated the injury-plagued Spartans on a Wednesday night in East Lansing.

The Spartans (7-1, 6-1 at home) could not get anything rolling on offense the whole game.  This team goes as

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Branden Dawson goes, and he wasn’t going tonight.  Dawson finished with his worst game of the season–a season low 2 points and 3 rebounds.  The Spartans were led by Gary Harris, who continues his cold shooting with 17 points on 5-15 shooting.  He was also bothered by an ankle injury throughout the game which he tweaked on a drive in the second half.  Adreian Payne was affected by cramps throughout this one, and seemed to be about 80% of his usual self at times.  He finished with 16 points and 8 rebounds.  The only other player in double figures was Keith Appling, who ended up with 13 points on 5-15 shooting, also.  He, too, was injured on a hard fall in the first half with a hip pointer.  Luckily, he returned a couple minutes later, but the Tar Heels were too much in the second half for the Spartans.

The Tar Heels had 5 players in double figures in this one.  Marcus Paige struggled from the field (4-14, 2-9 3 pt.) but finished with 13 points and 5 assists.  JP Tokoto was his usual energetic and athletic self on way to a double-double from the wing with 12 points and 10 rebounds.  And Brice Johnson has continued his stellar play off the bench for North Carolina, chipping in with 14 points and 6 boards.  North Carolina simply wanted it more than Michigan State.  Roy Williams had no answers of his teams performance after the game.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.”  Well, neither do I.

It seems like this team is the definition of inconsistent.  Falling on the road to UAB after dismantling Louisville, and now a similar dismantling of the number one team on their home court? How could anybody have seen this coming?

The Spartans will regroup. Izzo will have this team ready for March.  It’s a learning process for each team Izzo feeds throughout the season.  Feeding his knowledge and having the players buy-in.  It’s a process that Izzo has almost perfected that takes five months of grinding to go where Izzo wants them to.

If there’s one thing Michigan State fans shouldn’t do right now, it’s panic.

NBA Prospect of the Week: Week 1 | Caris Levert

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Who is the best player on this years University of Michigan team?  The lethal Nick Stauskas? The banger-in-the-post Mitch McGary? A high flyer with even higher potential in Glenn Robinson III?

None of these.

I believe Caris Levert is the best player on this Wolverine squad. Yes, the same lowly 2-star recruit out of Pickerington, Ohio who was rated as the 69th best shooting guard in high class, for all you recruiting hoopsters out there.

I’ve watched five of his games this year and I have continued to fall in love with his game and his NBA prospects.  This has led to me starting a weekly series that will have me writing my favorite under-the-radar NBA prospect out there and share it with you all.

Regarding Levert, though, he has the kind of frame that has a lot of room for added strength.  He has added 25 pounds since being on campus, and the more the merrier with the game that he has.  The ability to get to the rim is his strength.  He owns a crafty dribble, deceptive first step, and is long-strided while running the floor.  This is what makes him a threat from all angles on the court.  It helps when you’re 6″6′ and pushing 6″7′ with a near 7 foot wingspan.  I see the type of prospect that NBA scouts drool for.

He needs to add strength for his game to be effective, and that’s priority number one. This will help him take contact when ferociously attacking the rim.  Next, he needs to improve his outside jumper to be as potent as possible so the defense respects his range.

Right now I see him has a potential lottery pick for next years draft.  Another summer of added strength and work on his jumper and you’re looking at a great college player and potential starter in the NBA.

Doomsday In Chicago

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The one scenario that the Bulls were fearing has indeed become inevitable.

Derrick Rose will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 after successful surgery on his torn medial meniscus in his right knee.

So where do the Bulls go from here?  With an aging core and a superstar out for his second season in as many years, you have to think that it’s finally time to blow the team up and start from scratch.  But where do they start?

You can start by trading Luol Deng to a team that is one small forward away from contention.  I’m looking at either Cleveland or New Orleans as possible landing spots.  They are in both need of a defensive minded wing who can spot up, all while providing veteran leadership and toughness. 

Then you look to amnesty the much maligned Carlos Boozer. He has been solid for the Bulls over the last couple year–much more so than Chicago fans give him credit for.  He provided the Bulls with a steady flow of offense in the low post and also spotting up on the pick and role.  But his contract is just too much for this team who should start looking to the future.

They have to start clearing cap space.  Keep Jimmy Butler, who his on his rookie contract, and Joakim Noah, an All Star Center who gives it his all every single night, and hope that Rose can make a full recovery for next year. He has four years remaining on his contract, so there is hope that he can make that recovery again.  They need to tank for the future.  Charlotte’s pick should help in that regard along with a team that should start playing their younger pieces.

They need to see if Marquis Teague is indeed an NBA player.  He looked good in preseason in spurts, but has struggled thus far this year.  They also should try and get a good look at the other rookie, Tony Snell, who seems to have a good bit of talent that needs developing for the future.

All while doing this, the Bulls should be losing games.  Do this in hopes that they can grab a top pick in next years draft.  It is a loaded draft after all, with franchise changing talents in the top 6 picks.  It’s a sad, sad day in Chicago.  One eerily reminiscent of the one in May of 2012 when he first went down.  It’s apparent that the Bulls front office has many decisions looming regarding the future of the franchise, but I think it’s safe to say that the core that we have grown to cheer for over the last 4 years has indeed run their course.

I guess we’ll never know what could have been.

2013-14 NBA Season Predictions

The NBA season begins tonight, along with a rigorous journey through an 82 game schedule that should be one of the best journeys in recent memory. There are potentially eight teams that could win it all if the right cards are played for them. I’m here to give you some of my predictions for the upcoming season with the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, NBA Champion and Comeback Player of the Year.

MVP: Lebron James

As much as I don’t want him to win it, he’s just far too talented to pick anyone else right now. There are scenarios where somebody else might win it though. If Kevin Durant has a monster year for the Thunder, he might steal it from Lebron. But at the moment, Lebron has to be everybodys pick for MVP.

Other Candidates: Derrick Rose, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Finally healthy, he will do what he always does. Look for him to have a very solid year as a great number two option on offense and an elite rim protect and rebounder on both ends of the court.

Other Candidates: Lebron James, Marc Gasol, Tim Duncan

Rookie of the Year: Victor Oladipo

The MJ comparison seem to be way off base with this kid, but don’t be mistaken, he is quite the talent. Look for him to be used in a Russell Westbrook-like way for the Magic–starting at point guard even though he is a natural 2-guard. I look for him to average around 13.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.2 apg and 1.4 spg during his rookie season.

Other Candidates: Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore, Michael Carter-Williams

NBA Finals: LA Clippers defeat Chicago Bulls in 7

In the East, I feel the Heat won’t be able to pull off the 3-peat with the East being such a tough road for them. Say they do end up getting the second seed in the East with Chicago getting the one seed like they have each of the previous years Derrick Rose was healthy, they could end up playing Cleveland, Indiana, and Chicago on their way to the Finals. I don’t see this happening. Last year they barely made it even though the Bulls were depleted by injuries. The 3-peat attempt stops here with the Bulls pulling off the upset in a 7 game series. Also expect Indiana to be a factor in the East as well. Even New Jersey should be a small factor as well, but I don’t expect them to be able to beat out the top three.

In the West, you have plenty of question marks regarding unproven teams that are being picked at the top of the West. San Antonio is getting older (havent they been “old” for the last 10 years?) but Pop is Pop and theyre always a team to consider come playoff time. Golden State made a big splash in the off-season adding elite defensive wing and uber-athletic Andre Iguodala, but are inexperienced without a coach or players that haven’t made it far in the playoffs before. Oklahoma City has questions all over the place. From Russell Westbrook, to bench scoring, to Reggie Jackson–the questions linger and need to be answered before they can be considered a threat. Lastly you have the most intriguing team in the offseason and on paper, the Houston Rockets. They have depth, shooting, size, and elite level players in James Harden and Dwight Howard. But I’m taking the LA Clippers to win the West and that includes beating the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals in 6. They’re too deep, talented, and going-to-be well coached unlike previous years. The most important thing for them in the offseason was getting Doc Rivers as their head coach. The potential of the team is scary.

Yes, I’m taking that talent and depth over the Bulls in the finals. I feel as though the depth upfront for the Clippers is too much for the Bulls. Upfront depth for the Bulls is a problem which wont be a problem against Miami and they should avoid the Pacers in the East Conference playoffs.

Comeback Player of the Year: Derrick Rose

He has looked spectacular in his return to the NBA thus far. Expect that to continue on his way to another spectacular season. I see him averaging 23 ppg, 7.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game shooting more efficient from the floor and displaying his high-flying acrobatics on a daily basis.

Other Candidates: Kobe Bryant, Danny Granger

Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn Commits to MSU

Well it’s about time. Michigan State has finally landed its first recruit of a crucial 2014 class for Tom Izzo. The 5-11, 180 pound point guard out of Kansas is an important “get” for Izzo who has had multiple losses on the recruiting front in this class prior to today.

Hopefully this recruiting success helps lead to a snowball effect of other recruits leaning towards Michigan State who might lose its top 4 players to the NBA following this season. Seniors Adreian Payne and Keith Appling will definitely be gone as well as Gary Harris with utmost certainty and Branden Dawson as an outside shot of leaving as well.

Other recruit Michigan State is looking at are power forwards Reid Travis, Kevon Looney, and Cliff Alexander. Shooting guard Devin Booker is a target as well. Thankfully Izzo won’t need another Tum Tum after a relieving success on the recruiting front.