|Posted on June 22, 2017 at 3:05 PM||comments (0)|
By A.W. Wulah
No superstar is willfully going to take their talents to the Mile High. The only way such happens is through force via a three-team trade. This is the time of the year where most if not all small market fans get their hopes up of landing a superstar, only to be disappointed that the star rejected their city. The only way small market cities get superstars is if there is already a current star committed to that city. Lebron James is committed to Cleveland, Ohio; Russell Westbrook is committed to Oklahoma City, Okla.; James Harden is committed to Houston, Texas which means those cities have a favorable chance of landing additional superstars by already having one on their roster. Denver does not have a favorable chance of landing a superstar because 1) It is not a Top 5 market and 2) most small market cities have a poor history of winning championships. The Denver Nuggets need to build their team based on the resources that's available to them which are the NBA draft and D-League. The San Antonio Spurs for example, have built their team through the draft for years. David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobli, & Tony Parker were guys who the Spurs drafted and they were keys guys in the team's numerous championship titles in years past. However; In recent years, The Nuggets have done a good job in finding talent through the draft with picks such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The jury is still out for Emmanuel Mudiay. If he ever decides to pursue greatness and compete, his name can be added to the list of good Nuggets draftees in recent years. Besides drafting good players, the Nuggets need to have a good coaching staff & Front Office in place to be championship caliber. It cannot be a front office full of money grabbers and impatient coacheswho do not like to teach and develop players' growth. The jury is still out for Michael Malone, a coach who has only won 112 games in four seasons as a NBA Head Coach. He already proved that he doesn’t mesh well with Superstar players based on how he couldn't handle the extra
baggage that came with DeMarcus Cousins during his time in Sacramento. After showing the Mile High that they can compete in the NBA posting a 40-42 record nearly clinching the 8th seed for the Western Conference playoffs, the 2017 NBA draft is very important for the Nuggets. This year's draft is loaded with talent. Denver does not need to make a trade for a Star, for they already have a star in the making with Nikola Jokic & Jamal Murray. These two young men are are team oriented rather than former Nugget Star Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets need to find the right pieces to complement their jewels and help them blossom. Whoever the Nuggets draft Thursday night will be the determining factor of the team getting over the hump, or remaining anaverage team out west that teams and players continue to fly over.
|Posted on June 15, 2017 at 4:00 AM||comments (0)|
What's old is new again.
A program that once boasted a national championship, Heisman winners, countless All Americans and first round draft picks, Colorado football had, um, fallen on hard times. In other words they only won a total of 35 games over a 10 year span from 2006-2015. But in 2016, the University of Colorado Buffaloes were back near the top of the polls and in legitimate contention for a national title. Double digit wins, a national coach of the year award, a PAC 12 South championship, and a bevy of draft picks in April, but in the wake of the successes of 2016, the question remains. Is Colorado football back on the national scene, or are the buffs destined to regress back to mediocrity in 2017 and beyond? In this piece I will look at how the Buffs got to where they are, and how they'll get where they're going. Additionally, I spoke with former Buffalo tight end Justin Adams to get his perspective on the program.
To breakdown the prospects of the Buffs in 2017 we must first analyze the teams early struggles under MacIntyre, and what made them good in 2016. Prior to winning the AP national coach of the year award in 2016, Mike MacIntyre talleyed just 10 wins to 27 losses in 3 campaigns in Boulder, but the reasons for his struggles were evident. Not only had the previous regime left the program in ruins with a dirth of talent and on probation by the NCAA, but injuries staggered the growth of a promising 2015 team that finished just 4-9. According to KOA's Justin Adams, 2015 was a year of improvement, despite the record. "A lot of fans measure success only by wins and losses, but when you look at 2015, coach MacIntyre had so many underclassmen on the field getting the necessary seasoning that they needed and laying the groundwork for future success."
Colorado was rewarded with their patience in Mike MacIntyre with a 10-4 2016 and a top 20 finish in the polls. The struggles of the first 3 seasons bore fruit as the previously young Buffaloes fielded one of the most experienced two deeps in the country, featuring a 4 year starter at Quarterback, Sefo Liufau, Mike MacIntyre put his players in a position to succeed, but according to Justin Adams of KOA sports almost everything went right for his Buffs in 2016. " when you look back at the schedule from last year Colorado got to play a lot of the PAC 12 teams while they weren't their best. 2016 was also a season in which Colorado largely stayed healthy. It's a recipe that's hard to repeat year after year."
In 2017 Colorado will have plenty to replace from their 10 win group in 2016. With the major pieces in place at the skill positions, CUs offense is poised to be one of the better units in the PAC 12. Tailback Phillip Lindsay leads the CU backfield while big play wideout Shay Fields captains a solid receiving core. Justin Adams told me "The buffs wide receivers are about as good as you can be at that position". With Sefo Liufau gone to the NFL The Buffaloes should be in good hands at the quarterback position, as sophomore Stephen Montez impressed during his freshman campaign appearing in 10 games and starting 3. The freshman from El Paso even garnered PAC 12 offensive player of the week honors for his 468 total yard performance on the road at Oregon, the most ever by a Buff QB in his first start.
While the offense should be a strength, The questions about the 2017 buffaloes mostly revolve around the defense that lost a talented coordinator and 4 draft picks from last year's team. Jim Leavitt departs for Oregon after rejuvenating the Buffaloe's defense. According to Adams "Leavitt brought an energy and an enthusiasm to that defense that will be hard to replace". That will be the job of New defensive coordinator DJ Elliot, who spent the last four years at the same position at Kentucky. Expect a similar scheme as Elliot will continue the 3-4 installed by Leavitt.
It will be tough to match 2016's impressive national ranking of 19 in total defense. Colorado also posted a stiff 21.7 points per game, good for 3rd in the PAC 12. Junior linebacker Rick Gamboa put up back to back 75+ tackle seasons as a freshman and sophomore. Look for even more stops from Gamboa in 2017 with Addison Gilliam retiring. The second best pass defense in the PAC 12 should be good again bringing back three key contributors in 2 senior safeties Afolabi Laguda and Ryan Moeller as well as junior corner Isaiah Oliver.
2017 and beyond
It's likely that Colorado will regress from there 10 wins in 2016, but according to Adams 2017 is as important a campaign as the buffs have embarked on in years. "Last year was all about the rise, but can you build on what you did last year? Can you put enough butts in seats at foulsum and win enough games to sustain the momentum gained last year. Because that's the difference between good programs and average programs" 2017 could be a difference maker for Colorado, going a long way to decide the future of the Buffaloes program. Will they turn their "new money" into years of dividends, or will the successes of 2016 slip through their fingers & the program back to mediocrity.
We look forward to bringing you coverage of Colorado football all year. Only 85 days till Colorado State at Mile High!
|Posted on June 13, 2017 at 8:30 PM||comments (0)|
By A.W. Wulah
Race is a topic that brings chills up and down the spines of many people. If that person is you, the time might be now where you decide to pack your bags and move to another country. America is the mist of a Millennial Generation Era that has established itself in the Social Media Age. Such has brought the world together in a way that a woman living in Lakewood, Colorado can instantly communicate with a missionary in West Africa. Social Media has brought the world close to the point where people are not afraid to openly learn about a race that does not match the color of their individual skin. No matterhow hard you may want to ignore the race discussion amongst NFL Head Coach, you will always hear it until the day comes where a “Rooney Rule” is not needed for an African American man to be a head coach. Vance Joseph enters The Mile High as the first ever black coach of the Denver Broncos in a city whose Black population accounts for only 11%. Broncos Country, the spotlight now lies on you to show that you are not what many people want you to be which is racist.Joseph comes from the Miami Dolphins where he served as a Defensive Coordinator for one season (2016). In that one season, per nfl.com, the Dolphins defense ranked 29th in Total defense, 15th in Pass Yards Allowed, and 30th in Rush yards allowed. Joseph has some big shoes to fill as former Broncos Defensive Coordinator as the defense played lights out under former DC Wade Phillips. Many citizens of Broncos Country still ponderwhy John Elway didn’t retain Phillips and bring in an offensive minded head coach like aKyle Shanahan. However; due to the sensitivity of race relations throughout America, many people in Broncos Country are biting their lips to prevent being labeled as racist. If
Broncos Country judge Joseph based on how the team performs without getting personal with the coach, everything will be alright. Broncos Country must learn from the mistakes of the University of Texas football program. When Charlie Strong became the first Black Head football coach for the program in 2014, Longhorn Nation didn’t give him a chance to prove himself worthy of being a head coach from the start. After his very first season, many of the fans wanted him fired immediately. Strong never caught a break to develop the team to its full potential due to players being distracted from rumors that their coach will be fired. It affected the players badly causing them not to play well on the field. Broncos Country, do not follow the ways of The Texas Longhorn fan base. Give Vance Joseph the respect and opportunity to be an NFL Head Coach. If you judge Joseph based on the play of the team with legitimate concerns of how the franchise operates on the field, you will not be labeled racist. Joseph has big shoes to fill because the Broncos’ Defense was top 5 during Phillips’ two year tenure. The difference between Vance and any other coach is that Vance is a Black man and unfortunately being a Black Head Coach in the NFL comes with a lot of scrutiny. Broncos Country, you have the opportunity to change that narrative. A.W. Wulah is a graduate of The Colorado Media School class of Spring 2017. To give feedback, email [email protected]
|Posted on June 12, 2017 at 7:35 PM||comments (0)|
Since the 1998 season, no team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups. The Pittsburgh Penguins have now done just that. Hockey continues to prove how difficult it is as the eventual repeat champs had an interesting road to get to where they are now. As overtime was inching closer and the teams were trading chances, it was the former Nashville Predator Patric Hornqvist, who flipped the puck past Pekka Rinne with just 1:35 left in the third period. Carl Hagelin would add an empty net tally as well and that was all she wrote.
I have stated numerous times that I feel the Penguins have the best roster on the planet and this time they once again lived up to expectations. Sidney Crosby won his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoff MVP and Matt Murray shutout the Predators in consecutive games to seal the deal. Murray, who is still technically a rookie, came in flawlessly for Mark Andre-Fleury in the conference finals.
This team was able to survive the loss of Kris Letang and initially Murray at the start of the opening series with division rival Columbus. The Bluejackets had a resurgent season and put up 108 points but Pittsburgh starched them in five games. Then once again they met the Presidents Trophy winning Washington Capitals. It took an extra game to get it done this time around but still felt convincing with a shutout victory on the Caps home ice in Game 7. It wasn't expected to meet the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final but the battle went the distance as well. They lost Hornqvist, Rust and Maata for moments and Hagelin battled through difficulty from the start. They needed now four-time Stanley Cup Champion Chris Kunitz, to rip a shot over the shoulder of Craig Anderson in double overtime of yet another Game 7 to get them through.
It what was a bizarre, primarily home ice dominated series, the Penguins overall knew they were the better team than the Preds. They did not quite flex their dominance over any other team after round one like I thought they would. I am fully aware of just how difficult winning in these playoffs are and am in no way diminishing that. They just never really overwhelmed a team like I personally feel they were capable of doing but injuries certainly were a factor. They overcame a certain number of odds and having the ability to switch a 22 year-old "rookie" goalie inside the conference final is no normal decision. For this team, going to Murray was not a difficult as it sounds. While still being labeled a rookie based on number of games played from last season, Murray now has his second Stanley Cup and deserves a great deal of credit.
All in all this season and result has me thinking numerous things about this team and major legacies being made. Is it possible that this duo has equaled that of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr? They too brought Pittsburgh back-to-back championships in 91' and 92'. That is a debate for another day but is still a legitimate proposal. In fact, this could be one of the greatest duo's in the leagues 125-year history. They can also celebrate knowing the future remains bright as well. Both Crosby and Malkin are no older than 30 year's old, players like Connor Sheary and Bryan Rust only know winning so far in the pros and Jake Guentzel was setting a rookie record in the playoffs. With Murray in, Tristan Jarry in the pipeline and the impending expansion draft the only downside for Penguins fans is that Fleury will have to be bought out or traded.
Fleury won nine of the necessary sixteen needed to take home the Stanley Cup this season and has been a valuable teammate for many reasons. They do not want to let him go nor does he want to leave but they do not have a choice in this matter. He has earned his reverence with the Pittsburgh faithful and can try and see what he has left to help another franchise.
The hardware has continued to pile up in Pittsburgh and we will have to wait and see how the other teams adjust to knock the now two-time defending champs off their perch.
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|Posted on June 10, 2017 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Samuel Law Brownback
With the C.S.U Football season right around the corner the Rams will look to improve upon there 8-3 record in which they received last season. A huge factor that i'm considering in the Rams success will be Olabisi Johnson can build upon his 265 receiving yards which he received last year When the Rams lost 61-50 to idaho state in idaho potato bowl. I feel if he can ride the wave of the success of that game he can use it as a confidence booster which will translate into good results for the upcoming season. I also think Nick Stevens needs to take on more of a leadership role in the locker room to feed the fire younger teammates building doors and friendships along the way. To me a good locker room is essential to to team's success. I honestly think if the offense and defense can stay on the same page the team is headed towards a great season.
|Posted on June 6, 2017 at 8:55 PM||comments (0)|
By Akeem Wulah
In the midst of still finding a sense of offensive identity since the retirement of Peyton
Manning and Gary Kubiak, The Denver Broncos enters 2017 with much uncertainty and
speculations which includes:
New Offensive Coordinator,
Reliable Wide Receivers who won't drop the ball in key moments of games,
Finding the main go-to guy in a crowded group of Running Backs,
Developing an offensive line that could give the QB time to throw the football.
However; despite the many issues new Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy has to
address, finding the starting Quarterback in time for the Monday Night showdown
against the LA Chargers is at the top of his list. The three contenders for the job are
Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, and Chad Kelly. Siemian is the most experienced out of
the three, but he has not proven to be the best in spite of backing up future Hall of Famer
Peyton Manning and former Bronco Brock Osweiler for years. Based on his time spent
learning from Manning, one would think that Siemian would have a huge edge in the
race. Siemian had his shot in 2016 to prove that he was the successor to Manning, but he
failed to do so ending the season with a 2-5 record after starting 6-1. He ended the season
passing for 3,401 yards and 18 Touchdowns with a 54.4 QBR. Paxton Lynch enters the
competition after an average rookie season barely getting playing time.
In three games he only passed for 497 yards and 2 Touchdowns with a whomping 27.9
QBR. Neither Quarterback showed a sign that they could be a potential Franchise QB for
John Elway. The mediocre performance of the QBs led him to draft Chad Kelly with the
final pick in 2017 NFL Draft. Kelly enters the competition as a rookie from Ole Miss
where he passed for 6,800 yards & 50 Touchdowns in two seasons for the Rebels.
However, Kelly has maturity issues as he constantly got in trouble during his days at Ole
Miss and Clemson. Kelly is also injury prone which may put his status as a Franchise QB
in jeopardy.In a division that is loaded with offensive power, John Elway will have to be
patient to find his franchise Quarterback. Since being hired by Pat Bowlen in 2011,
Elway has always had a win now mentality. He's never been the type of GM to allow a
young QB to groom and grow into a franchise player. After failing to land Tony Romo,
Elway faces a situation that's against his will, which is having the team groom a
quarterback into a potential Franchise player. With Paxton Lynch still going through
growing pains and Chad Kelly struggling to stay healthy, the job remains Trevor
Siemian's to lose, but the question remains, will he cease the moment? Elway may have
to lay his win now mentality to rest until he finds a QB that is worth raising the bar for
|Posted on June 6, 2017 at 8:00 PM||comments (1)|
By Josh Tolle
The Rockies continue to surprise people, but it’s not from big names like Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, or prized ace Jon Gray. It has been from their pitching staff. Not the veterans, but the rookies continue to have the impact on the ball club.
The newest rookie making waves is Jeff Hoffman who was the main piece in the trade of All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays nearly two years ago. It has taken some time for Hoffman to find his stride with the Rockies, but he is very much looking like the 9th overall pick taken out of East Carolina in the 2014 draft
It has been in up and down season for Hoffman. Up and down by means of starting off the season in Triple-A Albuquerque then being called up for a brief stint, then sent back down and is now back up for Tyler Anderson who was just placed on the DL.
In Hoffman’s first three starts for the Rockies he has been nothing but spectacular. The 24-year-old rookie right hander has all the intangibles. His fastball reaches the mid-90s and his curve ball looks like it dropped off the party deck in right field at Coors Field. Add in a slider and change up and Hoffman has four pitches that can confuse hitters at the plate.
At Triple-A Albuquerque, Hoffman was 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA and had struck out 38. In three games with the Rockies he is 3-0, with a 2.61 ERA and has 20 strikeouts. Hoffman has pitched only 20 innings with the Rockies compared to 44 with Albuquerque.
Hoffman’s last outing in San Diego saw the rookie pitched a solid seven innings, striking out nine. If it was not for a pinch hitter used, Hoffman could have gone out and pitched the eighth inning.
The 24-year-old in his last two games has logged 14 innings, striking out 16 and did not walk a batter in either start. This is key for a Rockies team who in years past have overused their bullpen.
The only issue for Hoffman is that he is a fly ball pitcher. Hitters have hit 35 fly-balls against the big righty, three of them for home runs. This could be a problem for the young arm out of Latham, New York, as Coors Field has never been generous to fly ball pitchers. Hoffman has done a good job so far in not allowing batters to get the best of him. He must find a way to keep the ball on the ground or at least in the park at Coors Field.
Hoffman not only is showing that he is a good pitcher, but his demeanor shows he belongs in the majors. He exudes confidence on the hill and does not let big name batters rattle him. He has maturity and it shows. Feeling he should have been on the big league roster to start the season, Hoffman did not complain he went to Albuquerque and got better.
Hoffman looks more comfortable at the major league level and now the Rockies are in another dilemma, but a good one none the less. Rookies Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, and Hoffman are making it difficult for manager Bud Black to keep in the starting rotation. This is a good thing, the more arms the better. The surprising thing is no one thought it would be four rookies leading the way for Colorado.