Archives for December 2015

Just 2 Years Into Post-LeBron Era: Heat Back as Title Contenders?

Becker Alshowk

Sports Blogger, WGMU

December 7, 2015

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 1: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game against the Houston Rockets on March 1, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)

 

With Saturday Night’s win vs the LeBron-less Cavaliers, the Miami Heat took over sole possession of the Eastern Conference’s number one seed almost a quarter ways into the 15’/16’ season.  Now it’s early, but the Heat have shown signs that they have the capability of challenging the Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy.  How did the Heat manage to re-build their so quickly after losing arguably the ‘best player in the world’?

As we all know, LeBron James left the Miami Heat in the summer of 2014, after 4 years of dominance that led to 4 straight trips to the Finals and 2 titles. Although the Heat were able to retain 2 out of their then ‘Big 3’, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat failed to make the playoffs in the 1st season of the post-LeBron era. Last year was the first time the Heat failed to make the playoffs in 6 years (2008). Following that season, Mr. Heat him self and future hall of famer, Dwyane Wade, became a free agent in the summer of 2015.  For a stretch in that summer, all Heat fans were cringing because it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Wade was going to re-sign with the team that he’s spent his entire 12 year career with. But have no fear, Pat Riley is here.

The Heat missing the playoffs last year, may have been a blessing in disguise. It allowed the Heat’s President of Basketball Operations, Pat Riley and company to rebuild the team properly. The Heat ultimately re-signed Wade to a 1-year $20 million contract in the summer of 2015. Pat Riley’s ‘godfather’ like mystique and greatness, convinced  key 2014 mid-season trade acquisition, point guard Goran Dragic, to sign a 5-year $90 contract with the Heat that same summer. Veteran and former all-star winger, Luol Deng, opted into his Heat option contract. Mix in signed free agent, ultra-athletic scoring winger, Gerald Green, and the Heats 2015 1st round steal of the draft pick, Duke’s Justise Winslow, now you add the proper supporting cast for All-Star leaders Wade and Bosh.  Let’s not forget the surprise of the 14’/15’ season and emerging force, Center Hassan Whiteside, who may be the Heat’s most dominant big man since Shaq. So with an All-Star caliber starting 5 and a strong bench, it looked like the Heat were ready to finally move on from the LeBron James era coming into the 15’/16’ season.

Coming into the 15’/16’ NBA season, most experts were predicting the Heat to finish as top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and possibly make some noise in the postseason. But, people still had their doubts if they could legitimately challenge the Cavs. We all know that the Heat’s success mostly relies on Wade’s health, who’s had a history of injury problems his entire career. But, with Wade having a full summer to train, taking on that 30-day challenge workout program, he’s looked great and injury-free in the first 18 games of the season. If this continues and the Heat continue to build chemistry with their new squad, there should be no doubt that the Heat will creep into title contenders by postseason time. With experienced leaders in 3-time champion and former Finals MVP, Dwyane Wade, and 2-time champion Chris Bosh, the Heat have the leaders surrounding this team necessary to do just that.

 

 

 

Local Artist: The Milestones Interview Pt. 2

milestonesThe Milestones recently released their new EP – “Honey”, and members Chris and Alex talked to us about the songs, the EP, their start, and their band as a whole.

Check out the second part of their interview below –

 

 

 

Local Artist: The Milestones Interview pt. 1

milestonesThe Milestones recently released their new EP – “Honey”, and members Chris and Alex talked to us about the songs, the EP, their start, and their band as a whole.

Check out the interview below –

 

Farewell, Black Mamba!

Kaleel Weatherly

Sports Blogger, WGMU

December 4, 2015

(Photo designed by: Tyson Beck)

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As you all may know, Kobe Bryant is retiring after this season. He had a phenomenal career and will go down as one of the greatest players in NBA history. His will to score and win was apparent in each game he played in.

As a shooting guard, Bryant scored at will, and no one could do anything about it. He could shoot from anywhere on the floor, and his ability to get to the basket was out of this world. We as fans saw Bryant posterize defenders almost every time he drove to the hoop.

With all of that being said, let’s look at his career numbers. According to nba.com, Bryant averages 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists in his career. However, his point per game average would be higher if he avoided all of those injuries he suffered in the last three years. Bryant is a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 17-time NBA All-Star, and was voted into the All-NBA First Team 11 times. He was also the league’s MVP in 2008.

Bryant will go down as a top-five player of all time because of his scoring ability. Not too many players in NBA history could score like Bryant. There was nothing on the offensive side of the ball that he couldn’t do.

Sure, Bryant did not pass the ball often. Nevertheless, he was and still is the Lakers’ franchise player. When we think of players who we deem as “the franchise,” those are the best players on the team. In basketball, the team’s franchise player is usually the first scoring option. The top scorers rarely lead the team in the assists category.

After Shaquille O’Neal left the Lakers, Bryant had to take over as the primary scorer. He did a great of doing that as well. Even though he never passed the ball much, Bryant’s scoring led the Lakers to two NBA Finals victories.

Later in his career, Bryant did start to pass the ball a little more. However, he is and will always be the aggressive, spectacular scorer whom Lakers’ fans love. He didn’t get the name “Black Mamba” for nothing.

With all of that being said, Bryant will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game. There will never be another Black Mamba!

 

Caps Weekly 11/27-12/3

Mitchell Westall

Sports Blogger, WGMU

December 3, 2015

(Photo Credit: Nick Wass/The Associated Press)

Jets_Capitals_Hockey-084d9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a time to be a Caps fan! The Capitals are in the midst of a five game winning streak as they travel to Canada this weekend for match-ups against the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets.

 

The Caps only played twice this past week after playing four times the previous week. They welcomed the Tampa Bay lightning on Friday and then traveled to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Both matches ended in 4-2 victories for the Caps.

 

A large portion of the Caps recent success can be attributed to the outstanding play of their elite net minder Braden Holtby.  For his play, Holtby was named the NHL’s second star of the week as well as second star of the month of November. In November, Holtby posted a 9-2-0 record, 1.99 GAA, a .927 SV% and recorded one shutout against the Edmonton Oilers. As of the morning of December third, Holtby leads the NHL in wins with 15 and is second to one-time Capital Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders in goals against average with 1.95. Halak has allowed an average 1.93 goals per game to pace the league. Holtby is also tenth in save percentage with a solid mark of .926.

 

Besides Holtby, the hottest member of the Capitals might just be the ageless wonder Jason Chimera. The thirty-six year old left wing scored four points (2G, 2A) in two games this past week. Three of those points came on the power play after being placed on to the second line to create traffic in front of the net. This move has paid dividends for the Caps as we have seen their power play return to its status as one of the NHL’s most lethal after a stretch of mediocracy.

 

Last week’s game against the Tampa Bay lightning may have been one of the Capitals most dominant performances of the season. Tampa Bay played sluggishly for the first fifty minutes of the game. The Lightning surged, after the Caps had already scored four goals, with two goals in two minutes to make the game somewhat interesting. It appeared as though Braden Holtby would record another shutout, but Brian Boyle foiled it and Victor Hedman followed it up. The Caps scored three of their four goals on the power play. One each from Alex Ovechkin, Chimera and TJ Oshie. Marcus Johansson scored at even strength for the Caps third goal of the game, and that proved to be the game winner at 19:18 of the second period. Chimera, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and John Carlson all tallied two points in the contest.

 

The very next night, the Caps decided to test Braden Holtby with his first back to back starts of the season. The Caps made this move knowing that there were four days off between this game and the Caps next game in Montreal. This turned out to be a good decision as Holtby played strong. The power play again proved lethal, scoring twice in the third period. Johansson and Justin Williams were the respective scorers of these goals. For the second consecutive night, Holtby only allowed two goals, Chimera scored two points and Marcus Johansson scored the game winning goal. It’s also worth noting that Tom Wilson finally scored his first goal of the year on some great fore-checking and a spin-o-rama on front of Toronto goal tender Johnathan Bernier.

 

 

Three Stars of the Week

3rd Star: Marcus Johansson (2 Game Winning Goals, +1)

2nd Star: Braden Holtby (2.00 GAA, 2-0-0, .941 SV%, 2nd Star of the week, 2nd Star of the month)

1st Star: Jason Chimera (2 Goals, 2 Assists, 3 power play points)

 

The Road Ahead

 Thurs. 12/3 @Montreal 7:30 pm CSN

Sat. 12/5 @Winnipeg 3:00 pm CSN

Tues. 12/8 vs Detroit 7:30 pm NBCSN

 

The Milestones EP: Honey

Local band The Milestones recently dropped their EP titled Honey, a collection of four songs titled “Edgar Allen Poe”, “UFO”, “Shadow Enemies”, and “True Love Never Waits”. All of the songs are guaranteed to remind you of someone, or something in your life, that made you feel something. Whether that be a good or bad memory, this EP will make you feel everything.

The first song is “Edgar Allen Poe”, their most rock-and-roll song on this EP, with intense guitar work and a more head-banging beat than the other songs. This song starts slower then erupts into heavy instrumentals. The band has a Kings of Leon sound as they sing about a girl who is not around anymore. “I fell for you I was so naive, now I am dead on the ground beneath that willow tree”, sings the band in this emotionally-charged song, that also provides a more empowering beat to an otherwise sad song.

“UFO” follows “Edgar Allan Poe”, a more alternative-indie sounding song than the previous harder rock tune. This song talks about a girl that every guy wants, and every girl would want to be. This girl takes no mess from anyone, and loves a good time. This song is a catchy, dance-inducing beat, singing about this girl saying “so she stands beside me, just wanted you to know”, as a way to let everyone know about this perfect girl. This song features a hardcore drum and guitar solo towards the end of the tune, a unique touch to an otherwise more mellow song.

The next, slightly more mellow (although not entirely) song on this EP is “Shadow Enemies”, another sadder tune, touching on the demise of a relationship. This girl is essentially leaving because of issues that the couple has had, saying that she can no longer put up with the mess that she’s been dealt from the guy. This song is relatable to many, and the chorus is, to me, the most powerful chorus on this album. This song has a way of striking an emotional chord (or maybe I’m just more emotional than most), and making the listener want to drop all the bad things in their life.

As a fitting goodbye, the final song is titled “True Love Never Waits”, a song that is about exactly what it sounds like. This is a slower love ballad (although not quiet), with more uplifting guitar solos. This song does not necessarily inflict a negative or positive vibe on the listener, but is essentially up to how the listener interprets the situation. This song is a solid ending to the EP, and leaves the listener wanting more.

To listen to Honey on the Milestones SoundCloud – click here.
To figure out more about the band on their website – click here.

American Holly EP: Four Ways to Say Goodbye Forever

Released September 5, DC-based folk-rock band American Holly dropped four emotionally-charged, but soothing songs. With the sound of a modern-day Beatles, American Holly creates an EP of four songs that also doubles as a guide for getting away from whatever relationship you need to get away from.

The first song, “Sensitive Skin” advises the listener to escape via an honest confession. The second song, “Singapore Song” creates a sadder, more lullaby-esque vibe, instilling a little more emotion and providing a little more insight into the sadness of the situation. After that, “Sound Sleepers” highlights the difficulty of the situation, and the final song “Speaking Spanish” emphasizes the fact that there isn’t anything else to say.

These songs provide a relatable situation, in both an upbeat and more mellow way. Two of these songs are more charismatic and supportive, while the other two are slower and  highlight the struggle and negative emotions. This EP is a must-listen for anyone needing inspiration, or quite frankly anyone looking for a new folk-rock band.

Check out Four Ways to Say Goodbye Forever here.

Four Reasons the Washington Redskins Will Win the NFC East

Nicholas Ortiz

Director of Sports Media, WGMU

December 1, 2015

(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

 

deshean jackson

 

Is it just me or is the NFC East always delivers on being the most consistently inconsistent division in the National Football League? One week, the New York Giants were in first place. Then all of a sudden, the team predicted to finish last in the division in the Redskins, are now on top? It is hard to believe that a team with immense off season drama could have this type of reaction. Regardless of the quarterback drama and the injuries, the Redskins are in first place, and they are only team who looks like they want it. Here are the four reasons the Redskins win the NFC East.

 

1. The Dallas Cowboys

Romo Injury(Photo Credit: Michael Ainsworth/ AP)

 

Tony Romo was diagnosed with a hairline fracture to his left clavicle and is out for the season. Time to draft a new quarterback, Jerry. Had the four-time pro-bowler remained healthy, Dallas may have had a chance in making the greatest comeback to win the NFC East. The offensive line is stout, but Darren Mcfadden is no Demarco Murray.

That being said, no Romo, no playoffs for the Cowboys. This bodes well for the Redskins as they will play Dallas without Romo twice to end the season. So for back-up quarterback Matt Cassel, now is his time to shine.

 

2. The Philadelphia Eagles

mark sanchez(Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski/ AP)

 

Terrible drafting the last two years under Chip Kelly. With Kelly in the hot seat and Mark Sanchez leading the team, this Eagles team is not one any team should fear. The unsteady running game in addition to having no wide-outs to throw to, the author of the “Butt Fumble,” is bound to turn the ball over.

There is no offense, keeping the defense on the field for far too long. Chip Kelly may want his offense to run a certain way, but he does not have the weapons needed to execute his game plan. Along with Dallas, it may be time to start scouting quarterbacks in the upcoming draft. If Eagles fans have their way, a new head coach in addition to a new quarterback may well be on the horizon.

 

3. The New York Giants oh eli

(Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

If there is a team that fully embodies the NfC East, it’s the New York Giants. The consistent inconsistency just cost them the division. In a must win game, the only team with a Super Bowl winning quarterback, were sloppy. Dropping passes and giving up on routes leading to interceptions were the killers.

The Giants looked as if they just didn’t want to win the NFC East after a lackluster performance. New York will play against New England and almost knock them off, only to fall to division rivals the following week. Eli Manning has had an impressive statistical year, but the conviction to win the games he should win, just is not consistent enough to win this division this season.

 

4. The Washington Redskins

deshean jackson(Photo Credit: Associated Press)

 

Three months ago everyone had already given up on this team. Then, Kirk Cousins was finally given the chance to lead this team. It’s December now and Cousins has the Redskins in first place.

Having DeShean Jackson back has given his quarterback a deep threat, which seems to pay off against the Giants. The running game stepped up when called upon. Cousins looks comfortable. As I keep telling Redskins fans, Captain Kirk is the right man for the job, even next season. This young team is only a few draft picks away from becoming an elite team in the NFL.

The defense played well against a good offense. A couple lucky deflected throws allowed the Redskins to keep the Giants from scoring early on. This defense has seemed to found its form once again since the start if the season.

Bottom line, the team is playing as a unit. And with an easy schedule remaining, the only team to take the division from Washington, is the Redskins themselves. When they win the division, we will finally see what Captain Kirk has to offer for the future of the Washington Redskins.

 

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