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NBA Playoffs Review

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The NBA season has been an up and down roller coaster this season. The Cavaliers got taken to seven games by the Pacers, yet bounced back in the second round to sweep the number one seed Toronto Raptors. Lebron James has been solidifying his case as the best player of all time averaging over his last 30 postseason games, 33.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.4 assists while shooting 55.7% from the floor. These are some of the best numbers we’ve ever seen and are witnessing one of the best players of all time. The Warriors are back to their dominant ways as they currently lead the Pelicans 3-1 in their series and will look to finish them in game 5. The Celtics currently lead their series 3-1 over the 76ers in a battle of inexperienced playoff teams as they both have multiple players getting their first real taste of the postseason. The Celtics have outcoached and executed the 76ers this entire series and will look to finish them in game 5 as well. The Rockets are currently up on the Jazz 3-1 but this series has been a lot closer than the series would indicate. These two teams have fought back and forth for every game but game 3, but the Rockets firepower has ultimately been too much for the Jazz to handle. These series haven’t been too close, but once the conference finals come around there will be some very competitive basketball.

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One Hand, No Problem

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One Hand, No Problem

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Around 24,000 men have played professional football in the NFL. All of these men have at least one thing in common. No player has ever played with a missing body part. However, the determined college football star Shaquem Griffin is soon to be 1 out of the 24,000 to change this.

  Griffin was born with a disorder called amniotic band syndrome. This syndrome is a rare condition in which part of the amniotic sac separates and entangles digits, limbs, or other parts of the fetus.

The amniotic sac was wrapped around Griffins left hand. When he was born the tissues in his hand were so soft ESPN described it as a glove filled with jelly.   At the age of 4, the pain became so excruciating for him Griffin’s parents found him with a kitchen knife planning to cut his hand off by himself. Griffin’s parents immediately scheduled an appointment to have his hand amputated the very next day. The complication of only having one hand certainly was a disadvantage. However, it wasn’t going to stop Griffin from starting something that is still so close to his heart today.

  “I started playing football because I loved it. And yeah, just like anybody else my view of the game has definitely changed as I have got older. But it hasn’t turned into a job or an obligation. It’s developed into a purpose,” said Griffin

     Griffin began playing football at a young age. In ‘The Players Tribune’ (a letter written by college athletes to the NFL GMs)  Griffin tells a story about a playoff game for his eight year old team. He had the game ending interception, and his first ever interception that day. This moment set his everyday mindset for the rest his life.

  “Nobody was ever going to tell me that I didn’t belong on the football field, and nobody was ever going to tell me that I couldn’t be great,” Said Griffin.

  The young football player proved that by later becoming the captain of his high school football team.

  His performances in highschool led to a scholarship to the University of Central Florida, a division I school from the American Athletic Conference (AAC).

  Griffin was set on playing as a freshman for the Central Florida Knights. However, this wasn’t the case. In fact, Griffin was redshirted (to keep a player out of competition for a year to further their development, and extend their period of playing eligibility) his first year at the collegiate level. The following year he worked his way up to the second string spot, but after just two weeks into the season he was put on the scout team. Griffin described watching his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, play on saturdays while he sat on the sidelines or in the dorm as one of the hardest parts of his first years in college.

“I didn’t travel with the team much those first few years. When it came time for the team to go on the road, my brother and our two roommates, who were also on the team, all went. So on Saturdays, it was just me, alone in our dorm room watching the game,” said Griffin.

  Griffin also stated that he remembers telling his mom that he thought that college was a negative place for him many times. The school was not the problem for him however. In fact, Griffin loved UCF the real problem was “that dorm room, man,” said Griffin

  However, his time to prove himself came. During the summer before his first year of playing, he  worked with his fathers towing business. After dropping off a car to one of their customers, the man pulled a 5 dollar bill out of his pocket to give to Griffin, but before handing him the tip, he ripped it in half and put one half in his pocket and gave Griffin the other half. The man looked at Griffin and said

  “Keep on working, son. Nothing comes easy,”

This reminded him of what his dad always used to say to him as a kid.

  “Nothing comes easy,” said Griffin’s father and mentor in life.

  His junior year of college, Griffin got his time to show his capabilities, and he did just that. He recorded  92 total tackles with 57 solo tackles, 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, 1 interception, and 7 pass breakups. The one handed football phenomenon was rewarded with the AAC Defensive Player Of The Year award. Following his outbreak junior season, Griffen recorded another remarkable addition of 74 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, team high 7 sacks, 1 interception, 3 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles for the 13-0 Knights. His senior season he was not only a first-team all-conference choice, but also received  the Peach Bowl defensive MVP award. Griffin’s outstanding performances turned heads everywhere.

  Meanwhile, Griffin knew he still had things to prove. He wasn’t content with his past performances. So he turned even more heads, and gained a great deal of respect during his NFL Combine. With a prosthetic hand, Griffin put up 20 reps on the bench press, and ran a remarkable 4.38 40-yard dash. As a matter of fact, this 4.38 40-yard dash time was the fastest time from a linebacker since 2003. The combine results had NFL GMs and coaches focused on him.

  “He doesn’t have a left hand. That’s going to limit him with some things and that’s going to hurt his draft value, but he’s fast and athletic and makes tons of plays,” said a NFC team scouting director

  Griffin became the talk around the sports world. Every sports news station, and even the regular news, were talking or writing about the inspiring Shaquem Griffin. He became famous gaining support from all around the world. Even the NFL itself is a big fan.

  “New Year’s resolution: Be more like UCF’s Shaquem Griffin,” tweet posted by the NFL from American Football.

  However, the football field isn’t the only place that has made people root for him. Griffin’s character off the field has increased the abundance of fans dramatically. Griffin has done a number of work in the community, such as; starting a track club in his hometown, motivational speaking events, work at the boys and girls club,  and all sorts of charities.

Griffin can be seen as a role model by anyone, but he is followed greatly by kids who also have birth defects or are handicapped in general.

  “I feel like all the boys and girls out there with birth defects… we have our own little nation, and we have got to support each other,” said Griffin

  He is living proof that obstacles in life are not the end, but just a bump in the road. He is a flawless example of how to react to people who doubt.

  “If you are one of those who doubted me… well I want to thank you, too. Because you are what keeps me motivated  everyday to work hard and play even harder,” said Griffin

  Griffin has had a significant amount of doubters in his life, as a result; he took that doubt and made it positive.

  Shaquem Griffin is soon to be the 1 out of the 24,000 men to make it to the NFL with a missing limb. Griffin will open a new door, and go down as one of the most inspiring players in football history.

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FBI Exposes NCAA

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The NCAA FBI probe is one of the biggest scandals in sports that will shake the college basketball world for years to come.
This multi-year investigation finally had some findings as in February the FBI released its report on it. Numerous big name schools such as Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina have been linked to the FBI investigation. Some allegations have had steeper accusations than others. There is also already been some fallout to these accusations. Some parents have been accused of receiving payments as well as players. Miles Bridges from Michigan State could not practice until the NCAA cleared him a couple of days later. Deandre Ayton and Sean Miller drew negative press when a audio recording was released of Sean Miller discussing a 100,000 dollar payment to Deandre Ayton to get him to go to Arizona. Sean Miller took a leave of absence for a week before returning to coaching after nothing official was confirmed.  Wendell Carter has also had to deal with opposing fans taunting him about being involved in the scandal.

This is only just the beginning as no harsh punishments have been handed down and they are not done investigating. NCAA president Mark Emmert was quoted as saying “Everybody from me on down is deeply committed to making big, significant changes,” Emmert said. This could come down hard on some programs resulting in sanctions such as loss of scholarships, vacating wins and titles, and a postseason ban. This will be something top college basketball programs will not take lightly and will be on the lookout for the foreseeable future. Multiple schools will be expected to receive some form of punishment Wins will be vacated, championships will be vacated, coaches will be fired, and recruits will be lost. Most of the student-athletes featured in this scandal will go play professionally soon and will never see any sort of punishment. Although if some athletes stay, they can be counted as ineligible until the NCAA does more investigating.

This scandal could affect more people than who are involved in this. There has been talk of the NCAA tournament being put on hold until everything is resolved. Future recruits could consider other options such as going to the NBA G League and Overseas to help further develop their basketball game and get paid. This could also affect the conferences as some

Miles Bridges shoots a contested jump shot over a Penn State defender. Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Legereald Vick and Bill Self are talking during a time out. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

of the best teams in the power five conferences will not be able to compete at that same high level.

The college game is losing their amateur calling and will look to crack down hard on those ruining the reputation they had built on the college game being an amateur game.

They have kept that reputation for over 70 years and will not go lightly on these coaches and schools.

This upcoming season will be filled with multiple allegations, recruits having to sit out due to being ineligible, and some coaches finding out they no longer have their job.

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Catchin Up With Kody

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The summer of sports will host the NBA finals, the MLB regular season and the World Cup.   These three events should carry sports fans into the fall while they wait for the return of College Football, College Basketball, and the NFL. The NBA finals viewership has increased over the past five years, The MLB is at its peak with pitchers more dominant than ever and hitters hitting more home runs than ever, and the world cup is always a big headliner when the time for it comes. The issue with the World Cup is that for the first time since 1986, the United States will not be participating due to not qualifying. This will hurt viewership across America, but for those who still watch will still see the best players in the world playing for their respective countries.

The NBA finals have been the Warriors vs the Cavs for the past three years. Those three years it has almost been guaranteed they would face off. This year they are once again the favorite to make it out of their conferences however, they have a lot more competition with the Rockets, Thunder, Raptors, and the 76ers. Nov every series has some meaning to it. This will make the playoffs more intriguing to watch and have people watching before the final series.

The MLB season will be one dominated by the games best players and have a new style of player brought to the game. Shohei Ohtani is the first player since 1920 to both start games pitching and hitting. He will pitch every fifth day and hit every other day. He will bring a lot of attention to the Angels and will redefine the term valuable. The Yankees own the most powerful offense in baseball and should provide entertainment across the entire. Look for stars such as Mike Trout,  Bryce Harper, and Shohei Ohtani to gain major sports media attention for how well they are playing.

The summer of sports will be an entertaining and exciting period. It doesn’t have everybody’s favorite sports, but there will still be something for somebody looking for a sport to watch. Some of sports biggest stars will be featured and will always put on a show for those watching.

Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony are talking during a free throw. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

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The Jacks’ NFL Offseason Review

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The Jacks’ NFL Offseason Review

Head Coach Mike Zimmer, (Far Left), General Manager Rick Spielman (Right) and co-owner Mark Wilf (Far Right) introduce Quarterback Kirk Cousins (Left) at a March 15 press conference.
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Head Coach Mike Zimmer, (Far Left), General Manager Rick Spielman (Right) and co-owner Mark Wilf (Far Right) introduce Quarterback Kirk Cousins (Left) at a March 15 press conference. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Head Coach Mike Zimmer, (Far Left), General Manager Rick Spielman (Right) and co-owner Mark Wilf (Far Right) introduce Quarterback Kirk Cousins (Left) at a March 15 press conference. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Head Coach Mike Zimmer, (Far Left), General Manager Rick Spielman (Right) and co-owner Mark Wilf (Far Right) introduce Quarterback Kirk Cousins (Left) at a March 15 press conference. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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The 2018 NFL offseason has been every bit as hectic and chaotic as the season itself, and it featured something we have never seen before: a healthy franchise Quarterback becoming a free agent.

Kirk Cousins was set free by the Washington Redskins because they didn’t want to pay him top dollar in terms of Quarterback salary, so the Minnesota Vikings swooped in and signed him to a three year, $84 million contract.

This deal makes Cousins the highest paid player in the league in terms of average annual salary, and marked the first time in NFL history in which a player received a fully guaranteed contract, which means the Vikings have to pay him all of that $84, even if he gets hurt or gets cut.

This deal was the biggest free agency deal of the year, and it makes the Vikings bona-fide Super Bowl contenders. Minnesota wasn’t the only team that improved their title odds in free agency, however.

The Los Angeles Rams may be the biggest winners of free agency, bringing in dominant Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh from the Miami Dolphins, two of the best Cornerbacks in the league in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and game-breaking Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks all in the same offseason. These moves show that the Rams are going for broke trying to bring a title to Los Angeles.

The Denver Broncos also got a new Quarterback in Case Keenum, and his presence should push Denver back into the playoffs with a defense that is postseason ready right now. And with the hiring of coach Matt Nagy, a whole new offensive staff to join him and a brand new cast of playmakers starring Allen Robinson, the Chicago Bears will finally have a functional offense that could bring them back into playoff contention.

However, for every team that signs a new player that helps them inch closer to glory, there is a team that loses a winning piece to their puzzle.

The mighty New England Patriots were gutted by free agency, losing Left Tackle Nate Solder, Running Back Dion Lewis, Cornerback Malcolm Butler and Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia. The Pittsburgh Steelers could also be in danger of losing star Running Back Le’Veon Bell, who is very unhappy with his current contract situation.

Seattle is also feeling the effects of free agency, as key members of their vaunted defense like Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Sheldon Richardson all walked out the door. Miami also made some curious moves, releasing one of the best players at his position in Suh, while also trading away Jarvis Landry for little in return and trying to replace him with inferior receivers like Danny Amendola.

The Jacks’ 2018 NFL Mock Draft

1.)   Cleveland Browns: Josh Allen – Quarterback – Wyoming

2.)   New York Giants: Saquon Barkley – Running Back – Penn State

3.)   New York Jets: Sam Darnold – Quarterback – USC

4.)   Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb – Defensive End – NC State

5.)   Denver Broncos: Quenton Nelson – Offensive Guard – Notre Dame

6.)   Indianapolis Colts: Denzel Ward – Cornerback – Ohio State

7.)   Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick – Safety – Alabama

8.)   Chicago Bears: Tremaine Edmunds – Linebacker – Virginia Tech

9.)   San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James – Safety – Florida State

10.)   Oakland Raiders: Roquan Smith – Linebacker – Georgia

11.)   Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen –  Quarterback – UCLA

12.)   Buffalo Bills: Baker Mayfield – Quarterback – Oklahoma

13.)   Washington Redskins: Vita Vea – Defensive Tackle – Washington

14.)   Green Bay Packers: Marcus Davenport – Defensive End – UTSA

15.)   Arizona Cardinals: Calvin Ridley – Wide Receiver – Alabama

16.)   Baltimore Ravens: Mike McGlinchey – Offensive Tackle – Notre Dame

17.)   Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne – Defensive Tackle – Alabama

18.)   Seattle Seahawks: Connor Williams- Offensive Tackle- Texas

19.)   Dallas Cowboys: Courtland Sutton – Wide Receiver – SMU

20.)   Detroit Lions: Jaire Alexander – Cornerback – Louisville

21.)   Cincinnati Bengals: Isaiah Wynn – Offensive Guard – Georgia

22.)   Buffalo Bills: Josh Jackson – Cornerback – Iowa

23.)   New England Patriots: Leighton Vander Esch – Linebacker – Boise State

24.)   Carolina Panthers: Christian Kirk – Wide Receiver – Texas A&M

25.)   Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans – Linebacker – Alabama

26.)   Atlanta Falcons: Maurice Hurst – Defensive Tackle – Michigan

27.)   New Orleans Saints: Mike Gesicki – Tight End – Penn State

28.)   Pittsburgh Steelers: Harold Landry – Defensive End – Boston College

29.)   Jacksonville Jaguars: Lamar Jackson – Quarterback – Louisville

30.)   Minnesota Vikings: Will Hernandez – Offensive Guard – UTEP

31.)   New England Patriots: Derrius Guice – Running Back – LSU

32.)   Philadelphia Eagles: Nick Chubb – Running Back – Georgia

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Should College Athletes Get Paid?

DeAndre+Ayton+cuts+down+the+net+after+Arizona+wins+the+PAC-12+Championship+Game.+Ayton+is+one+of+the+numerous+players+named+in+the+NCAA%E2%80%99s+pay-for-play+scandal.%0APhoto+courtesy+of+the+Tribune+News+Service+
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Should College Athletes Get Paid?

DeAndre Ayton cuts down the net after Arizona wins the PAC-12 Championship Game. Ayton is one of the numerous players named in the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal.
Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

DeAndre Ayton cuts down the net after Arizona wins the PAC-12 Championship Game. Ayton is one of the numerous players named in the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

DeAndre Ayton cuts down the net after Arizona wins the PAC-12 Championship Game. Ayton is one of the numerous players named in the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

DeAndre Ayton cuts down the net after Arizona wins the PAC-12 Championship Game. Ayton is one of the numerous players named in the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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A recent scandal has shaken college sports to its very core, and has brought one of the most hotly debated questions in sports back into national light: should college athletes be paid for what they do?

This scandal involves several big name basketball universities allegedly paying big-time recruits to ensure their commitment to their school or providing special financial benefits to the athletes, both of which are major violations of NCAA (National College Athletics Association) rules. The headliner in this investigation, which the FBI has become involved in, is the University of Arizona and head coach Sean Miller, who allegedly paid 5-star center and future NBA lottery pick Deandre Ayton $100,000 to guarantee his commitment to the university.

Several other name brand basketball schools have been named in the investigation, with Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky headlining a list of about 20 other universities. This pay-for-play scandal could result in major punishments for the schools, including loss of scholarships for the school or having to vacate wins from previous seasons.

After news of the investigation broke, every sports talk show, and news publication  gave their opinion on whether or not these athletes should be allowed to get paid.

PRO:

The NCAA made over $1 Billion in revenue on just March Madness alone last year, according to Investopedia. And that was with a National Championship game with the lowest television rating in 20 years.

Over the next 14 years, the NCAA will make $10.8 Billion on a television contract with CBS and TBS. And since they are considered a “not-for-profit” organization, the NCAA doesn’t even have to pay taxes on that money.

According to data collected by 24/7 Wall Street, the highest paid public employee in 39 of the 50 states is the head coach of a college sports team.

All of these numbers help prove the point supporters of a pay-for-play system are trying to make: the NCAA is a corrupt organization that make universities rich and its coaches richer, while the athletes that make the money don’t see a dime of it.

Stores are selling jerseys with players’ names on the back of it, fans are buying tickets just to see them play and television networks are paying billions just for the right to showcase the athletes’ talents. But, athletes like former Central Florida kicker Donald De La Haye lost his NCAA eligibility because he “used his image to make money” by making a YouTube channel and posting videos about football.

This side of the argument isn’t just about money, however. It is also impossible for some student athletes to take advantage of the education they are given due to the time and effort that is required to be put into a college sport.

According to The Nation, some athletes are devoting forty or sixty hours a week into their sport. How are they supposed to balance that and a full class schedule without letting one of the two slip?

Nobody is concerned with the top prospects getting paid in college: most of them will be millionaires before the age of 25. The main point of concern is for the rest of the players, the ones who have no professional career ahead of them, but are put behind in their majors because of the immense dedication it takes to play a college sport.

CON:

The most popular argument for those who oppose compensation for NCAA athletes is that these are college students, not professionals. Scholarship athletes are already getting a free college education, why do they deserve to get paid on top of that?

They get to leave their university with no debt, and they receive certain benefits that other students aren’t given. Free room and board, access to meals via the school’s cafeteria, treatment from some of the best medical staffs in the country and they get to gain exposure to scouts from professional teams.

Some of these kids are getting the opportunity to receive a higher education from some of the finest universities in the country, an opportunity the lower-income athletes couldn’t even dream of otherwise.

ESPN writer Pat Forde tells a story about high school basketball player Allan Guei, who gave away $40,000 of prize money he won in a free throw shooting contest. He gave it to the people he beat out because Guei received a full athletic scholarship to Cal State-Northridge.

“I feel like I was well taken care of to go to school and play the game I love for free,” Guei said. “The position I was in was different from a lot of good kids who needed it more than I did.”

An athlete should not be treated any differently than someone attending a university on an academic scholarship, or even a regular student paying their way onto campus.

There is also almost no way to fairly compensate every athlete on campus. Does the university pay the All-American football player the same as the third string quarterback?

Or what about the less popular sports, like golf for instance. Would a golfer attending Michigan State get paid the same amount as a basketball player, even though the basketball player brings in more money for the university?

Student athletes should be content with getting a free college education and to play the sport that they love.

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Are Chromebooks useful?

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SPS has introduced Chromebooks to their curriculum for all students to use this year. This gives every student the opportunity to have Internet access on a computer and can use Google Docs to store and save all their work. This has been a debate all school year, in which some people enjoy them while others don’t. I asked a few people what they thought about the Chromebooks. “They are useful resources, but they are not needed very often.” Senior Ian Martus said. They have their uses for the classroom but can take away from the learning experience by distracting students with the gaming capabilities and being able to browse the internet. The Chromebooks are not a favorite among people, but they get the job done. They will be in the school’s curriculum for the foreseeable future.

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NBA Playoffs Review

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NBA Playoffs Review

John Wall looks on as his teammate shoots free throws. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

John Wall looks on as his teammate shoots free throws. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

John Wall looks on as his teammate shoots free throws. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

John Wall looks on as his teammate shoots free throws. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

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The NBA season has been an up and down roller coaster this season. The Clippers decided to go into rebuild mode by deciding to trade their star Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. This is Detroit’s biggest acquisition in the past decade. This will help Detroit make the last minute playoff push they’ve been looking for this year. They have been on the outside looking in and will look to sneak into one of the last spots available.

The New Orleans Pelicans looked destined for the playoffs as they were the number four seed in the Western Conference. This was before the big injury to star center Demarcus Cousins. This will take the Pelicans out of the playoff picture in what was one of the most promising seasons in franchise history.

The most surprising story of the season has to be the struggle of the Cleveland Cavaliers during this season. They have not gotten off to the start they would have liked as new point guard Isiah Thomas started off the season injured with a hip injury. They have also not all gotten along as some teammates have accused Kevin Love as not being dedicated enough to the team. They will look to turn this around if they want to make it back to the finals.

The Warriors will look to repeat as the NBA champions with another strong start this season. The Houston Rockets are looking like the favorite to dethrone the Warriors this season. With adding Chris Paul the Rockets have become one of the best teams in the NBA. James Harden is having an MVP caliber season for them, including being the first player in NBA history to have a 60 point triple double. He is the frontrunner at the moment, but the NBA is one of the most unpredictable sports, which means anyone could take the lead by next month.

The NBA playoff picture will change so many times by the time the season ends. The first round always has some classic seven-game series that we all will remember forever.

These epic series will lead to one epic NBA final showdown. The NBA finals almost never disappoints and gives us the best basketball possible. The best players in the world will be giving us all we could ask for and deliver one great series.

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Winter Olympics Scoreboard

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Winter Olympics Scoreboard

Chloe Kim, of the USA, and teammate Arielle Gold, right, celebrate after placing first and third in the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018.
Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Chloe Kim, of the USA, and teammate Arielle Gold, right, celebrate after placing first and third in the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018. Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Chloe Kim, of the USA, and teammate Arielle Gold, right, celebrate after placing first and third in the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018. Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Chloe Kim, of the USA, and teammate Arielle Gold, right, celebrate after placing first and third in the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018. Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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With the Winter Olympics having come to an end, let’s take a look back at the ten countries that had the most success!

1.) Norway – 39 Total Medals (14 Gold, 14 Silver, 11 Bronze)

2.) Germany – 31 Total Medals (14 Gold, 10 Silver, 7 Bronze)

3.) Canada – 29 Total Medals (11 Gold, 8 Silver, 10 Bronze)

4.) United States – 23 Total Medals (9 Gold, 8 Silver, 6 Bronze)

5.) Netherlands – 20 Total Medals (8 Gold, 6 Silver, 6 Bronze)

6.) South Korea – 17 Total Medals (5 Gold, 8 Silver, 4 Bronze

7.) Olympic Athletes from Russia – 17 Total Medals (2 Gold, 6 Silver, 9 Bronze)

8.) Switzerland – 15 Total Medals (5 Gold, 6 Silver, 4 Bronze)

9.) France – 15 Total Medals (5 Gold, 4 Silver, 6 Bronze)

10.) Sweden – 14 Total Medals (7 Gold, 6 Silver, 1 Bronze)

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NBA All-Star Weekend Review

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NBA All-Star Weekend Review

LeBron James knocks Joel Embiid to the floor after losing control of the ball during the first half at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
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LeBron James knocks Joel Embiid to the floor after losing control of the ball during the first half at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

LeBron James knocks Joel Embiid to the floor after losing control of the ball during the first half at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

LeBron James knocks Joel Embiid to the floor after losing control of the ball during the first half at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California Photo Courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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  The NBA (National Basketball Association) All-Star Game is back in all its former glory. The buildup to the actual game didn’t go as well, but at least the game itself was competitive.

  The first event of  All-Star Weekend was the Skills Competition, where the competing players would go through an obstacle course of sorts, combining passing, shooting and dribbling skills to crown the most “skilled” player competing. The Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie beat out the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen in the finals of the competition to win the crown.

  While it was a relatively boring event, the Skills Competition at least gave the audience a chance to see the taller players compete against shorter guards in a competition based on skill. It also gave us a look at some of the younger, more exciting players who could morph into stars once they hit their prime.

  The 3-Point contest was much more exciting than the Skills Competition, but even then there were some performances that let the crown down (looking at you, Paul George). After it was all said and done, the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker ended up winning the long ball contest, and ended up breaking the contest record by scoring 28 points off of 20/25 shooting.

  Booker’s performance highlighted an exciting finals of the competition, with the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson coming in a close second with 25 points.

  The Dunk Contest was supposed to be the highlight of the night, a showcase of creativity and skill that has captivated audiences worldwide in recent years. From Blake Griffin jumping over a car to the duel Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine’s memorable duel, the competition has riveted us in past years.

  This year was different, however. Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz beat out the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Larry Nance Jr. in the finals of the competition to secure the title, but the contest lacked a lot of creativity and there was not a truly memorable dunk that people will remember. The main event of that night was shown up by Booker’s flamethrower performance in the 3-Point contest, and capped off what was a disappointing night for the All-Star Weekend.

  Luckily for the NBA and its fans, the actual game itself finally returned to legitimacy and made up for a somewhat boring Dunk Contest and Skills Challenge. After years of high-scoring affairs where little to no defense was played and too many three point shots and dunks plagued the game, the players actually took it seriously.

  The game was losing viewers because the games weren’t competitive, but everything changed this year. Team captain LeBron James had a steal in the first minute of the game, and that set the tone for the rest of the game. It let everyone know that this was a real basketball game, and effort had to be put forth.

  It was a close game throughout, with Team LeBron beating Team Steph 148-145. Believe it or not, the game ended on a defensive play, with LeBron and Kevin Durant shutting down Steph Curry on the final possession.

  The effort and defense was a welcomed sight for the fans, and it saved the game’s ratings. Maybe the increased competitiveness was related to the new format of the game.

  The top vote getters in each conference (LeBron James in the East, Steph Curry in the West), and they picked their teams from the remaining pool of players, playground style. Whether or not that made the difference, all that matters is that the NBA All-Star Game was watchable for the first time in years.

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Olympic Skier Finds Loophole in System

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Olympic Skier Finds Loophole in System

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2018 Olympics logo.

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Elizabeth Swaney, a skier from the United States found a loophole in the system and somehow made the Hungarian Olympic Team.

 

Swaney started halfpipe skiing five years ago knowing there was one way for her to make the Olympics, a dream of hers.

 

She traveled around the world competing in World Cup Circuits. She found the smallest events possible because to be eligible for the Olympics, she needed to finish in the top 30 in ever event without falling.

 

With a few injuries and a little bit of luck Swaney found a spot on the Olympic Team. Throughout her runs in the games, she did no tricks and just went up and down the halfpipe. She did not qualify for the finals.

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Adam Rippon Denies Mike Pence

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Adam Rippon is an American figure skater who participated in the past Winter Olympics and also happens to be gay. He is in the headlines all across America, but not for what he has done on the ice. He was not pleased when he heard Vice President Mike Pence would lead the 2018 U.S. Olympic delegation to South Korea. Rippon was quoted as saying “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I’m not buying it.” This comes

Adam Rippon performs during the Winter Olympics. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service.

after controversial comments made by Mike Pence concerning conversion therapy for Homophobic people.

Rippon would not meet with Pence before his event due to these concerns. This has caused media outlets across America to discuss with Pence and Rippon on the situation. It appears that they have solved their problems, as Rippon said he would now accept a call from Mike Pence if he were to call him.

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Track and Field Preview

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Track and Field Preview

Senior Liam Lynch warms up for a track and field practice after school at Kickapoo High School

Senior Liam Lynch warms up for a track and field practice after school at Kickapoo High School

Senior Liam Lynch warms up for a track and field practice after school at Kickapoo High School

Senior Liam Lynch warms up for a track and field practice after school at Kickapoo High School

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The Kickapoo Track & Field team had a terrific run, with girls winning the conference title and the boys coming in second. All in all, nine runners went to the state meet, and senior runner Liam Lynch expects a similar season.

While the team has not had their first meet yet, Lynch says their training has already begun.

“Distance offseason has pretty much been working ever since the cross country season ended, and sprints work started mid-January,” Lynch said.

Lynch also believes that the team will at least match the success they had last year.

“We expect to send multiple people and relays back to state this year, in addition to those who barely missed out last year. A conference championship is likely this year,” Lynch said.

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March Madness Preview

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March Madness Preview

Duke forward Marvin Bagley III,  blocks a shot by Michigan State’s Nick Ward (44) in the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on November 14, 2017.
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Duke forward Marvin Bagley III, blocks a shot by Michigan State’s Nick Ward (44) in the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on November 14, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Duke forward Marvin Bagley III, blocks a shot by Michigan State’s Nick Ward (44) in the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on November 14, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Duke forward Marvin Bagley III, blocks a shot by Michigan State’s Nick Ward (44) in the State Farm Champions Classic at the United Center in Chicago on November 14, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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Every March, the 64 best men’s college basketball teams face off in a postseason tournament to decide the national champion.

In what is typically referred to as “March Madness”, this win-or-go-home tournament is one of the most exciting events in all of sports. From underdogs and cinderella stories to the blue-blood programs flexing their muscles, March Madness is a magical time of year.

This year, we get to see an awesome blend of the traditional powerhouse programs like Duke or Kansas showing that they are still on top of college basketball, but we also get to see programs like Purdue and Cincinnati who are maybe not as well known across the country, but still excelling on the national stage.

As we approach this year’s tournament, teams start to emerge as legitimate contenders to win it all.

Led by a senior-laden starting lineup filled with length and athleticism, the Purdue Boilermakers look primed to make a run at the title. Maybe the most well-rounded team in the country, Virginia, will give any team trouble as well.

If one player on a team gets hot, they have the ability to put a team on their back and carry a team through the tournament. Players like Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton have the ability to lift their teams to great heights despite being freshmen.

Maybe the nation’s best player, Oklahoma’s Trae Young has a chance to become the only player in Division I history to lead the country in points and assists per game. He could take over the tournament and guide Oklahoma to a title despite a lack of talent around him.

You can never count Kansas or North Carolina out of any tournament game, as they have two of the best coaches in college basketball in Bill Self and Roy Williams, respectively.

Another team to watch this year is Villanova. The Wildcats have the most efficient offense in the country. They are lights out from three point range shooting 40 percent on 30 three point shots a game. They have a deep team this year, and even with injuries they still managed to sustain their high level of play.

The next team with a chance to win it all is Michigan State. The Spartans are a team with NBA talent in Miles Bridges  and Jaren Jackson Jr., as well as excellent coaching with Tom Izzo. He has a history of success in the tournament with two national championships and a streak of 20 consecutive invitations to the tournament.

With a tournament pool bound to be filled with talented teams and players, March Madness is shaping up to be must-see TV.

“The fun starts with Selection Sunday on March 11. The tournament culminates with the Final Four in San Antonio, semifinals on March 31, title game April 2,” Jenny Green, The Indy Star.

Kansas’ Marcus Garrett drives past Texas A&M’s D.J. Hogg (1) for a layup during a game on January 27, 2018, at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas
Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Villanova’s Mikal Bridges is defended by three DePaul players in a game between the two schools on Dec. 27, 2017, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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Garrett Peck, Opinion Editor


Movies have gotten to grow stale. I’m tired of seeing sequels, series, and spinoffs. I want more original ideas, I want movies like Zootopia and Get...

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NFL Season Recap

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NFL Season Recap

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones (white jersey) fails to secure the game-winning touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field.
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Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones (white jersey) fails to secure the game-winning touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones (white jersey) fails to secure the game-winning touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones (white jersey) fails to secure the game-winning touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in a 2018 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo courtesy of the Tribune News Service

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The 2017-18 National Football League (NFL) season featured one of the most topsy-turvy, upside down seasons in recent memory.

Let’s start off with the biggest storyline from early this year: the protests. Many players took it upon themselves to kneel during the National Anthem to protest inequality across the country.

Many fans were angered by the way the players chose to voice their opinions, and that may have contributed to the 9.7% decrease in ratings the NFL experienced this season.

Injuries to some of the league’s biggest stars could have affected ratings as well, as we saw All-Pro players like Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, New York Giants Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Houston Defensive End J.J. Watt miss significant amounts of time.

While these superstars were sorely missed by fans, the young talent in the league showed us that the NFL is in good hands moving forward. The most explosive rookie season in recent memory authored by Houston Quarterback Deshaun Watson and an MVP-caliber season by second year Philadelphia Quarterback Carson Wentz (who both had their seasons tragically ended early by torn ACLs) were evidence that the league has superstars ready to take over as faces of the league once legends like Tom Brady or Larry Fitzgerald retire.

These injuries led to some of the expected playoff contenders to miss out on the postseason, as only four of the twelve teams that made the playoffs this year were in it last year. Teams like the Los Angeles Rams and  Jacksonville Jaguars ended lengthy playoff droughts and showed promising signs for future success.

Tom Brady, Case Keenum, Nick Foles and Blake Bortles were the last four quarterbacks left. Obviously, the 5-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady was the outlier of these four.

The fact that these were the four quarterbacks left standing at the end of the season shows that teams do not need a superstar quarterback to succeed in this league.  If a team has a great defense, all they need to find is a quarterback that can manage the game and not turn the ball over. A great defense can carry a mediocre offense. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings are perfect examples of this.

Carson Wentz’ backup, Nick Foles, took over in Week 15 of the regular season and guided the top-seeded Eagles to the big game to face off against Brady,’s Patriots with the storyline of a former backup looking for revenge trying to take down the NFL’s reigning dynasty and the most accomplished coach and quarterback of all time.

Speaking of Tom Brady, the New England Quarterback added another brilliant season to his Hall of Fame resume, and has his team on the cusp of a sixth Super Bowl victory in one of the weirdest matchups in the league’s history.

Against all odds, Nick Foles led his group of underdogs to an upset of the favorited Patriots 41-33 to win the Eagles franchises’ first Super Bowl, with Foles being named MVP.

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JBANDZ Spotlight

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JBANDZ Spotlight

Javon playing some basketball before practice starts

Javon playing some basketball before practice starts

Javon playing some basketball before practice starts

Javon playing some basketball before practice starts

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Behind a good team is a great manager. Without a manager teams wouldn’t have the epic handshakes during pregame warm ups or have high quality water ready for the players during practice. “If I had to be honest being apart of this team is a great experience, from having a different handshake with all the players, to always playing pranks on them, I don’t know about you but that’s sounds like an awesome time for me,” said senior Javon Sims. Sims has been a manager for the basketball team for four years, at first he tried out for the basketball but didn’t make the cut so he decided to contribute to the team in a different way by becoming their manager. “Javon is not just a cool guy but a really good friend, the teams spirit is always up because of him, he can always find something positive in negative things,” senior Samuel Wallin said. So Javon is very important to the team not just in a basketball aspect, but also personally. “I appreciate all the guys on the team for not just what they do but for always being there for me no matter what,” said Javon He’s just a unique guy, he has this presence that when he enters the room people look at him and think wow that dudes the manager. “Yeah I can see why people would think that I mean when do you ever see a star football player be a manager in basketball,” said junior Raveion Harrell. So Javon is a very popular guy around Kickapoo and not just the basketball team loves Javon, but also the people do too. “If I could describe Javon in one word I would say he’s definitely hilarious, every time he’s in my class he always has something to make me laugh and brighten up my day,” said Ms.Postgate.

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Boys Baseball Strives for District Title

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Boys Baseball Strives for District Title

The boy's baseball team looks to make a run for state this upcoming season.

The boy's baseball team looks to make a run for state this upcoming season.

The boy's baseball team looks to make a run for state this upcoming season.

The boy's baseball team looks to make a run for state this upcoming season.

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The boy’s baseball team will look to repeat a successful season last year as they won two playoff games last year before losing to eventual state champion Jefferson City. They return six of the nine position players, including all-conference first-teamer Zac Salyers and second-teamer Kolton Giefer. These two look to lead a stacked line up featuring returning starters Quin Reasoner, Cole McCarville and Trey Kelly.  The team looks to seniors such as Garrett Reid, Thomas Stone, Will Burdick and Ivan Quackenbush to fill the missing holes in the lineup. Senior leadership will be key to the success of this year’s team.

    The chiefs also boast one of the best rotations in the conference with returning starters Mason Auer, David Senn, and Kolton Giefer. They all had started at some point in the varsity season last year.  Auer has already committed to play baseball at the next level at the Missouri State. He looks to compete for the team’s ace spot in the rotation one year removed from getting his first varsity action as a sophomore last season.

“I think that experience I had last year will benefit me because it will not be as nerve-wracking as last year.” Mason Auer said.  They have a tough schedule ahead going as far as Oklahoma to play this in a Nike showcase.

They will also have a rematch with Jeff City to avenge last years playoff loss. This tough schedule will prepare the team come playoffs as they will be battle tested come postseason. They have won the Ozark Conference more than any other school and look to add another one to the total this year.

The team will be younger than they have been in previous years and will look for juniors and sophomores to step up in different roles. They look to compete for another district title and a chance

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Catchin’ up with Kody

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Catchin’ up with Kody

Nick Foles Leads the Eagles to their first super bowl win. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Nick Foles Leads the Eagles to their first super bowl win. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Nick Foles Leads the Eagles to their first super bowl win. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Nick Foles Leads the Eagles to their first super bowl win. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

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The Football season has come to a close as we have seen champions crowned for both college football and the NFL. The national championship in college football was one of the best we have seen in the past decade. Alabama freshman quarterback  Tua Tagovailoa came into the game at halftime after Alabama was down 13- 0. Alabama came back from down 20-7 to tie the game in regulation and send it to overtime. They would go to win the game in the first overtime on a touchdown throw by Tua Tagovailoa.

The super bowl between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles was one to remember. The Eagles upset the Patriots in a offensive battle. This Super Bowl had the most yards in its history. Back up Nick Foles scored four touchdowns for the Eagles and won Super Bowl MVP. He has had an up and down path up to this point but has shown that he would not let his past play define him this postseason. Tom Brady is now 5-3 in the Super Bowl, only losing to teams from the NFC East.

Football season might be over but there is still the NBA playoffs, March Madness, and the start of the MLB season.

March Madness is one of the craziest events in sports. You have teams who nobody has ever heard of who beat teams that are expected to win the national title.

The NBA playoffs look to be a wide-open race. The Houston Rockets are showing that the Warriors are not the only threat in the western conference. The Boston Celtics are looking to dethrone the Cavaliers from the top spot in the eastern conference. The standings have been changing daily so the unpredictability will continue throughout the season.

The MLB season kicks back off soon as Spring training has already begun and teams are getting in gear to begin the 2018 baseball season. The Astros are looking to repeat this upcoming season and only made their team better by adding Garrett Cole to an already stacked rotation. They also have the reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve, so they look like the favorites to win it again.  The runner-up Los Angeles Dodgers look to bounce back after a tough game seven loss in the World Series. They return their entire roster including reigning rookie of the year Cody Bellinger and look to redeem themselves this upcoming season.

This upcoming year in sports will give us a lot to be excited about. College basketball looks as unpredictable as ever, the NBA playoffs are a wide-open race, and the MLB is as fun to watch as it has ever been. The anticipation and excitement are at an all-time high.

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Esports: The New Generation of Sports

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  Esports has become the younger generations’ baseball, football, soccer, etc.

  Games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are part of the multi-million dollar industry that is esports.

  The draw for many players of making the transition from casual to professional play is the money. According to Business Insider, the minimum salary for League of Legends Championship Series is 12500 for the 28 match season plus the top 6 prize pool ranging from $12000-$95000 for a five player team.

  The $12,500 may not seem like a lot, but there are four League of Legends Championship series. So, if your team makes all four Championship series’ and doesn’t place top 6 in any of them a player would still make $50,000.

  Many professional eSports players also stream their game play on streaming platforms such as Twitch.tv or Youtube. People enjoy watching professional players, so they also make additional income from streaming their game-play.

 

Additionally there are sponsored tournament with huge prize pools such as Dota 2’s international championship with a prize pool of 20 million $ and leagues world championship with a prize pool of 5.07 million

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Catchin’ up with Kody

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UNC guard Joel Berry talks with Roy Williams during a media timeout. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

UNC guard Joel Berry talks with Roy Williams during a media timeout. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

UNC guard Joel Berry talks with Roy Williams during a media timeout. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

UNC guard Joel Berry talks with Roy Williams during a media timeout. Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

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The college basketball season is upcoming and there has been much anticipation of the season. From five star recruits who look NBA bound, to players who decided to return for one final season.

Some of the biggest names in the sport are joining college basketball this year. Players like Michael Porter Jr from Mizzou, Marvin Bagley from Duke and Collin Sexton from Alabama are some of the most anticipated debuts for the upcoming season.

There are also teams that are coming into the season with very high expectations. Duke, Michigan State, and Arizona are bringing multiple five star recruits to replace the talented rosters they had the year before. They are the top three teams in the country followed by Kansas and Kentucky.

Some of the most anticipated games will begin in the first week of the season. Missouri and Iowa State kick off the season on November 10th.  Kansas vs Kentucky and Michigan State vs Duke on November 14th and Kentucky vs UCLA on December 23rd.. These are just a few of many good games that will be on in the first month of the season and on all season.

This season will be entertaining from start to finish and we’ll get to see some of the best athletes on display. Everybody who loves college basketball should come into the season with high expectations and should be satisfied with how the season will unfold.

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