Marcus Paige Helps Rebound UNC’s ACC Play

Sophomore point guard Marcus Paige helps UNC avoid their first 0-4 ACC start by defeating the Boston College Eagles 82-71. The Tar Heels are now 11-6 and 1-3 in the ACC. Paige finished the game with 21 points, four assists, two rebounds, and two steals. The product of Marion, Iowa jumped onto the scene as an elite point guard after scoring 32 points against Louisville in the win back on November 24th. Paige is following in the footsteps of some other great point guards who wore number five at North Carolina (most recently Kendall Marshall and Ty Lawson, arguably the greatest point guard UNC has ever had). Paige knows that if he keeps up this level of play, he could be a late first-round draft pick in the upcoming draft, though as of right now he plans on staying for his junior year. He’s been putting up some great numbers for the year, leading the team with 17 points and 4.3 assists per game. He is also averaging 3.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. The Tar Heels have been disappointing this year, losing to teams like Belmont and UAB, but they have also been playing great, beating teams like Michigan State and Kentucky. The point guard runs the offense for the team and when he plays well, the whole team plays well. As of lately, Marcus Paige has not been playing well. He’s been only averaging 12.7 points in the last six games before the win against Boston College last Saturday and was also averaging 2.2 turnovers per game. Yet, he is the only consistent player on this Tar Heel team and when he gets going, UNC stands for Unstoppable North Carolina. Free throws have been a big problem for the Tar Heels this season. The team overall has a 61.7 shooting percentage from the free throw line. That’s pretty bad. However, Marcus Paige is leading the team with a 92 free throw percentage. No one else on the team has more than 80 percent! He is also the team’s leading three-point shooter, hitting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc. He’s going to turn into a talented player by the time he reaches the NBA, but for now, he’s got to worry about keeping UNC alive in the ACC.


Kevin Durant Scores Career-High 54 points

Kevin Durant is one of my favorite players in the NBA, so to see him go off against the Golden State Warriors last Friday night was a dream come true. The six-foot-nine small forward cashed in a career-high 54 points in a 127-121 win over the Warriors. It was a game that had shootout written all over it. The Splash Bros were knocking down threes all night and the Oklahoma City Thunder kept feeding the ball to their scoring machine, who ended up finishing with the most points he’s ever scored in a single game. The University of Texas product had more field goals made (19) than the rest of the Thunder team combined (18). Some may call it being a ball hawk, but I call it putting the team on your back and winning a tight Western Conference game.

“As the leader of this team, my main objective is to serve my teammates and some nights I have to put it up,” said Durant of his big-time performance. (Credit:

Durant was 7-8 in the first quarter and finished the first half 11-14 with 29 points. Some players in the NBA are lucky enough to get those kind of stats in a single game! Durant also finished the game with four rebounds and six assists and shot 68 percent from the field (19-28). The last player to put up numbers like that in a single game was when Michael Jordan did it back on April 3rd, 1988. On top of that, Kevin Durant is leading the NBA in scoring with 30.6 points per game (Carmelo Anthony is 2nd with 26.1). Durant won the NBA scoring title three times in a row from 2010-2012 and it would have been four times in a row if it wasn’t for Carmelo Anthony’s MVP-like performance last year. Durant could easily win it for the fourth time in his career and he’s only 25 years old. The Oklahoma City Thunder is also 3rd in the Western Conference Standings with a 30-10 record and they’re doing it without Russell Westbrook who’s still out with a right knee injury. Could this finally be  the year where Kevin Durant wins the MVP award? Think about it, if you take Kevin Durant away from that team, the Thunder would be an average squad that would be fighting for the playoffs every year. Oklahoma City is a championship contender because of this guy. The Washington D.C. native has always finished second and he’s sick and tired of it. He was the 2nd overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft (he would win Rookie-of-the-Year that season), he finished 2nd in the league for the scoring title last season (he was behind Anthony by .6 points per game and he had a better field goal percentage than him), and he lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals (that’s when James won his first championship). This year, the Thunder could make it all the way. They would have to go through teams like the Portland Trailblazers, the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers, or the San Antonio Spurs to do it, but they can pull it off. Scott Brooks is a fantastic coach and Russell Westbrook is expected to return before the playoffs start. There’s no doubt in my mind that LeBron James is the best player in the NBA right now, but if Durant could get that championship win under his belt, he’ll start making people think twice.

Is Jay Gruden the Answer in Washington?

Jay Gruden became the Washington Redskins’ youngest head coach since Joe Gibbs was hired back in 1981 at the age of 40. The 46-year-old coach is the 28th head coach in Redskins’ history and also the fifth-straight offensive-minded head coach in Washington dating back to the hiring of Steve Spurrier in 2002. Ever since Daniel Snyder took over the team in 1999, he has hired seven coaches, six of them used to be offensive coordinators or were considered offensive-minded (Norv Turner was already coaching the Redskins when Snyder took over). So has history goes to show you, only Joe Gibbs had success as an offensive-minded Washington head coach, taking the Redskins to the playoffs in 2005 and 2007 in his second tenure. He’s also the only head coach under Snyder that didn’t get fired (Gibbs retired after the 2007 season). But like Gibbs, Gruden is also a coach that went straight from being an offensive coordinator to a head coach. But we all know Gruden is no Gibbs. So should this offensive-minded head coach finally be the answer Washington has been looking for since Gibbs? Well it’s too early to tell, but as a Washington Redskins fan (hard to admit) I would like to explore the subject. As an offensive coordinator at Cincinatti, Gruden’s offense statistically got better and better each time he was there. So there’s a good sign. Gruden also has experience dealing with young quarterbacks. He helped develop Andy Dalton ever since he was a rookie, which is the type of development Robert Griffin III needs. As for the coaching staff, Gruden has already gotten them in place. He reatined defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, offensive line coach Chris Foerster, and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris. It’s funny because all three of those areas of the football team need work. Washington’s secondary was one of the worst in the NFL because they had inconsistent play at the safety position. The Redskins’ offensive line was inconsistent as well; they would pick up their blocks in the running game, but wouldn’t be able to hold up their blocking in pass protection. As for the offense, Gruden promoted his tight ends coach Sean McVay to offensive coordinator. McVay is only 27 years old (turning 28 on the 24th), but he coached with Gruden back when they coached together at Tampa Bay. As a matter of fact, General Manager Bruce Allen knew both McVay and Gruden back in their days in Tampa Bay when they worked under Jay’s older brother Jon Gruden (Joe Gibbs was an offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before going to the San Diego Chargers and then eventually the Redskins). McVay was also his offensive assistant for both Gruden and Jim Haslett when they coached for the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League. Just like Gruden, McVay was also a quarterback in high school. It will be interesting to see how McVay does in his first NFL offensive coordinator gig along with a new head coach at the same time. This upcoming season for the Washington Redskins is going to be interesting because fans will get to see something no one has ever seen before. Only time will tell whether Gruden will succeed or not, but from the looks of his background and history, Redskins fans should have something to look forward to next year.

Should the Chicago Bulls keep Derrick Rose?

Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose won Rookie of the Year back in the 2008-2009 season. He went to three straight NBA All-Star games from 2010-2012 and he was named the NBA MVP in 2011. Since then, Rose has had two season-ending injuries. The former 1st overall pick out of Memphis hasn’t played a game since November 22nd of 2013. He had surgery on the meniscus in his right knee on November 25th, which should rule him out for the rest of the season. Then Rose made an interesting comment on Thursday about his status for this season:

“If I’m healthy and the situation is right, I’m going to be back playing,” he said at his first press conference since the injury. (Credit:

The Bulls ruled Rose out for the whole season, but the injured point guard said that he might return in time for the playoffs. If the NBA season ended today, the Bulls would be the six seed in the Eastern Conference. Should Rose risk another injury by returning for the playoffs, where it gets more physically demanding? I think the Bulls are in an interesting situation here. Rose has had a great young career. He’s only 25 and he has accomplised so much at such an early age. But should Rose keep playing for the Bulls? At this rate, Chicago is paying a man that hasn’t been playing that much in the last two years. Sure he’s a great talent, but how are you going to win an NBA championship without a top point guard? The NBA draft is going to produce some great point guards this year. There’s Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State (who can also play shooting guard) and there’s also Russ Smith from Louisville (who knows how to win big games). If I was Chicago Bulls’ General Manager Gar Forman, I would give Tom Thibodeau a brand new start. Forman already traded  their leading scorer Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers and picked up a bunch of draft picks for it. The Bulls did acquire Andrew Bynum in the trade (great, another injury prone player to add to the roster), but how long will that help the team? Bynum may be a young and talented player, but he is also on the downward spiral of his career. Forman doesn’t believe in rebuilding a team and hey, with a successful franchise like the Chicago Bulls, I don’t blame him. But he does have to think about the future here. Even if Rose does come back, how productive would he be after two knee injuries? I would trade Derrick Rose for a 1st round draft pick to a team like the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, or even the Los Angeles Lakers (who knows how many years Steve Nash has left in him). Those three teams could produce a good draft pick, so you may not land Marcus Smart or Russ Smith, but you can still get someone pretty good. If it were up to me, I would move on in Chicago. You already gave up your third-best player in Luol Deng and you can’t rely heavily on Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Build a younger team that Thibodeau can coach and the Bulls should be championship contenders about two years from now.

Christian Athlete of the Week: Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson has a big game ahead of him on Sunday when his team takes on the division rival San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship game. If the Seahawks win, it will be their second NFC championship win ever. All of this pressure must be building up on Wilson, but he is a man of faith and knows that the God he serves is bigger than any game he will ever play. He found that God when he was 14 years old.

“I had a dream that my dad passed away and that Jesus came into the room and he was basically knocking on my door, saying, ‘Hey, you need to find out more about me,’” Wilson said. “So that Sunday morning I ended up going to church and that’s when I got saved.”

Unfortunately, his dad actually did pass away six years later. Still, throughout his life and throughout all of the adversity, Russell Wilson has stood strong in his faith.

“No one can stop what God has for you,” said Wilson.

Being a 5’11 quarterback in the NFL, that’s saying something! Check out this video where Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll interviews Wilson about his faith and trust in God.

Russell Wilson is a work in progress at quarterback; he still has things to work on until he becomes a great quarterback. However, he noted in the video that spiritually he is a work in progress like we all are. Wilson shows that even though you’re only 5’11, you were drafted in the third round, and you don’t have the big arm that every other quarterback has, God can still use you to impact a lot of lives. Both on the field and off the field, Wilson has impacted many lives in the city of Seattle. Due to a partnership with Russell Investments (a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual), every touchdown that Wilson scores, passing or rushing, $2,000 will be donated to his charity that deals with youth activities in poor communities. It’s great to see a man like this helping out in the community and showing love to everyone around him like Jesus commands us to. Just because of the kind of guy Wilson is, I will be routing for him to win the NFC Championship game this Sunday. That, and it would be nice to see the Seahawks finally win a Super Bowl! Good luck to you Russell Wilson and God bless you!


Arsenal Ahead of Rivals

If you’re an Arsenal fan, then you are enjoying their season so far. They have the best record in the Barcays Premier League with 48 points (15-3-3) and the best part is, they are far above Tottenham Hotspur (40 points) and Manchester United (37 points). The French-born manager Arsene Wenger has his Gunners poised for a Premier League championship run, something they haven’t won since the 2003-04 season when he took them all the way to beat other big-time rival Chelsea with the help of a young Thierry Henry. Arsenal made it back to the championship game the following season, only that time they lost to Chelsea. Arsenal is third all-time in championships won with 13 behind Liverpool (18) and Manchester United (20). Olivier Giroud is leading the team with 9 goals so far this season and is third on the team in assists with 5 (Mesut Ozil is second in the league in assists with 7). So all in all, Arsenal is having a great season thanks to Arsene Wenger’s coaching, while Manchester United is struggling during the last half of the season. Arsenal’s main concerns are Manchester City and Chelsea. Manchester City is leading the league in goal differential with 36 and Chelsea is at a solid third place right behind them with 46 points. These two teams could possibly catch up to Arsenal and knock them off from the top. Arsenal plays Fulham this Saturday, but they’re biggest game coming up isn’t until February 12th when they play Manchester United. The Gunners won’t play Chelsea until March 22nd and then right after that they play Manchester City on March 29th. Those are the three games to watch this year and they could determine who wins the Premier League title.

Arsene Wenger Credit:
Arsene Wenger

Old School Basketball

Every team in the NBA is trying to build their team through the draft and recruit young talent. Not the San Antonio Spurs! They are currently 31-8 and have won six games in a row. They have won 9 of their last 10 games. And their best five players are in their thirties. Not only that, but they have the oldest coach in the league in Gregg Popovich at 64 years old. He is showing the NBA that you don’t have to be young and energetic to win, you just have to be smart. Tony Parker runs the offense just how Popovich wants him to. They have the second-best field goal percentage in the league with 49.3 percent (right behind the Miami Heat’s 50.7 percent) and they are second in the league in assists per game with 25.3 (right behind the Atlanta Hawks’ 25.4). The most important stats however are their points per game and their point differential. The Spurs are fifth in the league with 104.7 points per game and second behind the Indiana Pacers with an 8.1 point differential. At this rate, the Spurs could be looking at another championship run and Tim Duncan could finally ride off in the sunset with another NBA Finals victory. My prediction is that they’re going to face either the Thunder or the Houston Rocket in the Western Conference Finals and then battle the Miami Heat or the Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals. I believe that this team can go a long way, even with one of the oldest rosters in the NBA. Some of the young guys like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard are going to have to step up if they want this championship run to happen, because the NBA season is a long one.

Experience vs. Athleticism

No matter who wins the conference championship games on Sunday, the Super Bowl will feature an experienced quarterback vs. a young and athletic quarterback. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face each other in the AFC Conference Championship game and Russell Wilson will battle Colin Kaepernick in the NFC Championship game. Now as history as showed us, the last Super Bowl champions have all been led by young, talented quarterbacks such as Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and so on. However we all know that football is a team sport, but the quarterback is the main part of the team. So which matters most? What part of a quarterback would you rather have on a team? Well, whether you have an old quarterback or a young quarterback, it all comes down to one thing: skill. If you don’t have the ability to drive down the field and win, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re going to lose. What I like from Kaepernick and Wilson is that they both have great arms and they have the legs to get them out of sticky situations. Manning and Brady have quick reactions and can get the ball of their hand fast enough to make a play. Experience will help you to read defenses, which is what Manning and Brady are better at doing. Wilson and Kaepernick are too young to know how to properly read a blitz, a man, or a zone coverage. However, Kaepernick and Wilson are both unique items in this conversation. Wilson has won two playoff games already (one on the road at Washington in his rookie season last year). Kaepernick took over midseason for the 49ers and led them all the way to the Super Bowl. So if you ask me, I personally think that a young, athletic quarterback is something I rather have. Nowadays, if you’re not an athletic quarterback, you’re not going to win football games. That’s why the top three quarterbacks in the draft this year are Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, and Teddy Bridgewater. What do all three have in common? Athleticism. They can make plays with both their legs and their feet. You’re seeing more and more quarterbacks that are dual threats. The classic pocket passer is a dying breed. So if I were to build my Super Bowl-winning franchise around a QB, it better be one that can run.



New Innovations for New NFL Head Coaches

The latest NFL Head Coaching Job news is that former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will be the Minnesota Vikings’ new head coach. It’s another move to help the Vikings’ defense after Leslie Frazier was let go (he was a defensive-minded coach as well). Zimmer is also the second Bengals’ coach to leave after former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden left to become the Washington Redskins’ head coach. Here is the list of the coaching jobs filled in order of date:

Lovie Smith: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bill O’Brien: Houston Texans

Jay Gruden: Washington Redskins

Ken Whisenhunt: Tennessee Titans

Jim Caldwell: Detroit Lions

Mike Zimmer: Minnesota Vikings

Now there is only one team without a head coach: the Cleveland Browns. Coaching the Browns isn’t exacty the most attractive job out there, but someone has to do it. Some possible candidates are Seattle Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, San Francisco’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Oklahoma college football head coach Bob Stoops, and Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase. All of these guys are great candidates, but Stoops is the only one with head coaching experience. It might be after the Super Bowl is over that Cleveland fills its vacancy, but good things come to those who wait. Right?

Top College Football Recruits to Watch Out For in 2014

Now that the college football season is over, it’s time to focus on next year! New coaches have now been in place (James Franklin left Vanderbilt to go to Penn State) and old players are leaving (Johnny Manziel, Tre Mason, and Jadeveon Clowney are going up for the NFL Draft this year). So who should we pay attention to in August of 2014? Well let’s take a look shall we?

1. Leonard Fournette- This powerful running back is the number one overall recruit this year and LSU is happy to have him. With junior running back Jeremy Hill leaving for the NFL draft, Fournette will get plenty of carries down in Louisiana. He’s a hometown recruit too, coming straight from New Orleans. At 6’1 and 226 pounds, he’s going to fit right in to the SEC.

2. Jabrill Peppers- He’s a talented cornerback that’s going to Michigan this year. He got offers from almost every big name school in the country. At 6’1 and 205 pounds, he’s a pretty decent sized secondary player as well. He played mostly safety in high school and also took snaps at running back, just to show off his athleticism. He’s not the fastest corner in the 2014 class, but he’s got the hands and the big hits to make up for it.

3. Cameron Robinson- Well, add another big offensive lineman to Alabama’s roster. This offensive tackle hails from West Monroe, Louisiana, better known as Duck Dynasty land. He’s by far the biggest recruit in 2014, standing at a whopping 6’5 and 330 pounds. Nick Saban is going to have a lot of fun coaching this big guy.

4. Myles Garrett- The defensive end from Arlington, Texas is joining Texas A&M next year. Some say that he is the number one overall recruit and for good reason. He’s an athletic pass rusher that can also stop the run and  drop back into coverage. Garrett will have to impress his coaches in practice if he wants to play however. The Aggies have a lot of young defensive ends on their roster already. Hopefully wherever they put Garrett, he can help fix that horrible defense.

5. Deshaun Watson- No Tahj Boyd? No problem! Clemson quickly found a replacement in the number one overall quarterback in Deshaun Watson. Just like Boyd, he is a dual threat quarterback. He led his Gainesvile, Georgia high school team to their first state championship game victory and did it through the air and the run. He holds the Georgia state records with 13,077 passing yards and 155 passing touchdowns. He also finished his high school career with 4,057 rushing yards and 59 rushing touchdowns. He’s expected to redshirt his freshman year, but in 2015 he will definitely be the next great college quarterback.