On Thursday, January 26, the Radford Highlanders Men’s Basketball team hosted the Campbell Fighting Camels. The game was broadcast on ESPNU, the first time a Highlander home game has been broadcast on the network since February 2014. Cheerleaders and coaches made sure that Radford’s return to the screen was made known to students and got their fellow Highlanders hyped with free pizza and giveaways in the Bonnie hours before the game.
Tip off was at 7 p.m, and the Dedmon Center was buzzing with fans, most decked out in red and waving red and white long balloons to show school spirit. Radford got the first possession, and Guard Caleb Tanner sunk a 3-pointer to score the first points of the game. After the first score, however, the Highlander’s offense struggled and by halftime, had managed only 25 points to the Camel’s 37. Turnovers also hurt the home team, and they wrestled with field goal accuracy which led to Campbell gaining a 21-point lead with less than 12 minutes in the second half. Radford Guard Justin Cousin then hit a 3-pointer which allowed his team to come back 8 points, cutting the Camel’s lead to 13. The Camels then responded, however, with 5 straight points. The final score of the night was Campbell 78, Radford 61.
Justin Cousin was the leading scorer for Radford with 18 points, including five 3-pointers.
Forward Ed Polite Jr. put up 12 points, while Caleb Tanner scored 8 points.
Throughout the game, dancers and cheerleaders worked to keep the crowd’s excitement high, launching t-shirts into the stands via t-shirt guns or throwing them themselves. The halftime show featured two acts, one by junior cheerleaders and another by a dance team, which performed their routine to a mashup of pop hits such as “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars and “Bad and Boujee” by Migos. Dance Cams and Smile Cams entertained the crowd during timeouts, spotlighting people in the audience, and fans of all ages participated in shooting contests, three legged races, and other competitions to win money and gift cards.
The 2015-16 NBA season tips off in less than a month, and this generation’s greatest player is entering his twentieth season in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant is unquestionably one of the greatest players of all-time, and is certainly the closest thing to Michael Jordan the game has ever seen. The 5-time NBA champion has done it all. He’s won MVPs (1 regular season; 2 finals), won Olympic gold, and currently ranks 3rd on the all-time scoring list, just to name a few. Bryant has nothing left to prove, but the self-titled “Black Mamba,” who has built a career fueled by his unmatchable, competitive nature, might have some new motivation.
ESPN just released Nos. 91-100 in their NBA Preseason Player-Ranking Countdown, and guess who came in at No. 93. Yep, Mr. Bryant. Now although Bryant is no longer the freakishly athletic, dominating force he once was, the criticism of Bryant has simply gone too far. Never mind the critics who claim he shoots too much, or the ones who say he needs to pass the torch and move on. This ranking is personal, and although Bryant will likely write this off completely, it’s downright disrespectful.
The most popular explanations for Bryant’s ranking are that “the rankings are based solely on the last two seasons,” and “Kobe’s player efficiency rating is around 100th in the league.” Some also attribute it to his low shooting percentage over the last two seasons. Although stats rarely lie, the latter explanations don’t hold up in Bryant’s case.
First and foremost, players are people, not robots. Ranking each player based on statistics and neglecting the mental aspect of the game contradicts the way the greatest players have been ranked throughout history. Jordan, Magic, Bird, and Kobe are all notorious for their gaudy stats, but are arguably more known for their intimidating mentality. If the “greatness” of a player was based solely on statistics, than Jordan himself would be considered the 4th best player of all-time. I think we all know how preposterous that sounds. Furthermore, the biggest criticism of Lebron throughout his career has been his mental toughness, yet I’m sure he’ll come in at number 1 based on statistics alone.
Secondly, by ranking Bryant No. 93, ESPN is saying that there are 92 players in the NBA who are better than Bryant right now. Not only is this far from true, but this is also where the argument falls apart. Here’s a list of some of the players ranked higher than Bryant: Brandon Knight, Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, Tobias Harris, Marcus Smart, and Jahlil Okafor. Arguments could be made against each of these players being ranked higher than Bryant, but the most obvious arguments can be made against Marcus Smart and Jahlil Okafor. Smart is entering just his second season and Okafor is entering his rookie season. In other words, neither player has played two full seasons (much less 1 game in Okafor’s case), yet are ranked higher than Bryant. Furthermore, Smart missed 15 games last season due to injury. So much for the rankings being based on the last two seasons.
This is not an argument to put Bryant in the top 10 based solely on his reputation. It’s a reality check on how ranking 92 players ahead of him is ridiculous. Bryant spent the majority of the last two seasons injured (only playing around 40 games), and although some use this fact against Bryant, it does not hold up when compared to the rest of these rankings.
Last, and now that we’re not restricting the rankings to the last two seasons, people do not realize that Bryant was averaging over 25 points per game, and shooting just under 50 percent while leading the Lakers to the playoffs in his last full season (2012-2013). These statistics would rank him easily into the top 10 today. Also, any other superstar would have shot just as much had they been in the same position as Bryant the last two seasons. Who was he going to pass to?
We are still waiting to see what Bryant has left in the tank, but make no mistake, he’s not the 93rd best player in the NBA. I think the other 499 other players would even agree with that.
With all the blood, sweat and tears in practice and games, athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional levels continually take mental and physical abuse from staff and coaches.
Most of the abuse is mental; coaches appear to control every aspect of athlete’s lives from how much they eat to who they see. A majority of the time players are rejected by their coaches if they don’t follow their rules and are punished, which can include sprinting for long periods of time, pushups, sit-ups and sometimes physical and emotional abuse.
When someone first starts looking at a university, they look to see if they have their desired major. However, the second thing they look at is athletics and how big that program is. Why? School spirit consumes the student body. As we all know, Radford University doesn’t have the most impressive athletic program. Yes, people do come out to the events, but it’s not the high numbers the school would hope for. The only reason people go to athletic events is free admission, the occasional free t-shirt, or the infamous Harlem Shake. If being in a YouTube video for half a second gets a turn out then what else would? It’s obviously not the hard work and dedication the athletes put in. Continue reading Minimum support of RU athletics→
As spring slowly arrives at Radford University, many students will be taking part in athletic activities, but sometimes the cost is much greater than a new pair of running shoes.
Young baseball or softball pitchers often strain their arms and shoulders when pitching. According to Science Daily, “In most children up to age 16, bones, muscles and connective tissues are not fully developed, so it should come as no surprise that the pitching motion can lead to injury if it is performed too frequently.” Parents should encourage their kids not to overdo it, even if they’re good at the sport. Continue reading Overdoing athletics may cause lifelong injuries→
Throughout the semester, we are being mentally tested so often we sometimes forget about our physical health. It’s important to remember that exercise is critical to our overall well-being and health. Exercise has been shown to improve stamina, prevent disease, enhance flexibility, control body weight, develop muscles, and improve the quality of your life.
Internet fads hit every month or two, but rarely are they as popular in the real world as in the meme-o-sphere. The “Harlem Shake” has divided the Internet into two parts: those who made a video and those who hate the whole thing with a passion. Continue reading RU does the “Harlem Shake”→
For Radford University alumnus Eric Hall, basketball is more than just a game; it’s his career and passion. It’s also his future, as he begins his second season as a Harlem Globetrotter. Continue reading From RU to Globetrotter→
Radford is a small town that doesn’t have much to offer other than quadfest. Last year, however, was a pretty big year for the Highlanders, when Radford’s men’s basketball team defeated Virginia Military Institution 108-94 in the Big South championship, landing them in the NCAA tournament where they fell to North Carolina. The loss to the Tar Heels didn’t change how much of a turnaround it was for the basketball program that year. It was a whole new team from the one that Radford put on the court two years ago.
Two years ago, Radford basketball finished 7th place in the Big South Conference, and got knocked out of the tournament on round one with a 76-45 blowout loss to Winthrop. Not much was expected from the Highlanders when last year’s season began. They began their season 4-9, with losses to tougher opponents like UVA and Wake Forest. It was a rough start, but when Radford began conference play, they started turning things around, winning five games in a row to break even at 9-9. That was when they fell to VMI in their first game at the Dedmon Center last year. The team fell 87-72 due to VMI’s accurate outside shooting. From there, however, the Highlanders won every game for the remainder of the season, until their final game when they fell to Liberty. It didn’t matter at that point, however, because they’d already won the conference.
This year Radford has most of their starting lineup returning. Amir Johnson, Artsiom Parakhouski, Phillip Martin and Joey Lynch-Flohr are all returning. Radford is also picked this year to win the Big South again. Some of the tough opponents you can expect to see this year include Duke and Kansas. The Season begins next Friday, November 13 against Navy at 7pm (and hopefully the fact that the game is on Friday the 13th will mean bad luck for Navy, not Radford).
When Radford’s starting lineup graduates, next year may very well be rebuilding year for the Highlanders. Another concern is that Coach Brad Greenburg was named coach of the year last year after winning the Big South. This year, if he wins the Big South again, he may very well be offered a coaching job at a larger university that spends more money on their athletic program. This may be Radford’s last year to shine, so with that being kept in mind the year should go pretty well.
One of the tough oppenents that Radford will probably have to watch out for this year will definitly be VMI. VMI last year beat the Highlanders only once in the season, before Radford came back to defeat them 97-90 to with the Big South in the regular season. Then Radford took down VMI again in the Big South championship to go on the NCAA tournament. The Keydets will undoubtedly be looking for revenge this year, and it’ll be something Radford will have to watch out for. Liberty was pretty good last year too, and they will probably be the other team that Radford needs to keep an eye on, but this year they’ve lost one of their best players, so it is kind of a rebuilding year for them, and they shouldn’t be too hard for Radford to handle. With basketball season only one week away, Radford has some pretty high expectations this year.