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A few weekends ago, the Syracuse  basketball team returned to the court, to start their 2012-2013 season against San Diego State in the 2nd ever Battle of the Midway. (Cue up the JAMS) Last year, as you may remember, Syracuse was one of the best teams in the country and received a number one seed in the NCAA tournament.  They posted an impressive 34-3 record, but failed to reach the Final Four.  Now, had Fab Melo been capable of reading above the level of an elementary level student, then maybe we’d be talking about a different postseason result for the Orange.  Syracuse has lost a lot this off-season; experienced seniors Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine, and super sophomore sensations Dion Waiters and Fab Melo to the NBA draft.  This may lead you to believe SU would look to rebuild this year. Wrong.  Syracuse still has Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, James Southerland, Baye Keita, Michael Carter-Williams, Rakeem Christmas, redshirt Trevor Cooney and freshmen DaJuan Coleman and Jerami Grant, who are expected to help form one of the most dangerous (and big) frontcourts in the country.  When it comes to size, teams will find it difficult to compete with the Orange.  So what’s stopping this team from getting to the Final Four this year?  Well, we’re about to give you three key factors that could either make or break their chances.

1.  Michael Carter-Williams

With the season ready to start, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about this guy.  Carter-Williams saw limited minutes last year behind Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine, and Dion Waiters, but how many other players would have seen extended minutes with that depth at the guard position?  If the scouts are right, then Michael Carter-Williams is about to be a stud this year.  He’s got incredible height for a point guard at 6’6” and his athleticism and skill give him unlimited potential.  There were only a few colleges Carter-Williams would not have started at last year and Syracuse was one of them.  Syracuse NEEDS Carter-Williams to meet and exceed these high expectations and be the anchor point guard in the backcourt that brings this team together.  The only thing in question for this guy is the immaturity of his game and the minimal amount of time he saw during Big East play last year.  His height and length make him a very dangerous threat in SU’s 2-3 zone, which will hopefully lead to many steals and easy baskets.

2.  The Big Men

After watching the exhibition games (yes we know who they played) we noticed that this team is HUGE.  The frontcourt is incredibly big with toughness, size, length, and the ability to finish, which is always good.  There can be nothing more frustrating than watching big men miss their layups, but this team has great potential in their big men and SU needs them in order to get to the Final Four.  Jerami Grant, C.J. Fair, Baye Keita, Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, and James Southerland are all listed 6’8”.  That’s scary big.  With the length on the defensive end, SU is bound to be among the best in the country in shot blocking along with forcing teams to stay on the perimeter.  Now, let’s talk offense.  DaJuan Coleman is a monster.  He’s the real deal.  He needs to have a huge offensive year and expect him to be their number two scoring option after Brandon Triche this year.  The various combinations of Coleman, Christmas, and Keita at center/power forward give this team the potential to be the strongest team in the frontcourt.  This length down low opens up the lanes for slashers, like Fair, shooters like Triche and Southerland, and most importantly allows the SU 2-3 zone to extend and be dominant.  This frontcourt has the potential to be the best in the country and help carry SU to the Final Four.

3.  Brandon Triche

Scoop is gone.  Joseph is gone.  And we’re left to wonder, who’s going to be the leader of this team?  Brandon Triche needs to be that guy.  If SU has any hopes of going to the Final Four with this youthful squad, they’re going to need their starting senior guard to show his experience and be the leader of this team.  Triche has started every game since his career for the Orange and has the ability to average 12-15 points per game this year.  Triche is a quiet player, a VERY strong athlete, and an above average shooter.  Triche needs to be the guy that brings the young players like Carter-Williams and Coleman together in order to make this team a powerhouse this year.  Triche does not need to be your typical vocal leader, but does need to lead by example.  Syracuse has typically benefited from strong, experienced leadership and that will need to come by way of Brandon Triche.  With inexperience in the backcourt, Triche will need to control the pace of games and keep the youth of the team in check, of course the Hall of famer Jim Boeheim will help too.  It is rare for a team to make a long run in the NCAA tournament without an experienced leader; Brandon Triche needs to be that leader for SU, statistically and as the floor general.

4. Outside Shooting

Last years biggest weakness is expected to have improved with the edition of redshirt freshmen Trevor Cooney, a young guard in the mold of great SU shooters of past. With Sutherland also capable of shooting the lights out on any given night, if one more player can step up every once in awhile this year should be at worst a team capable of hitting the occasional three pointer. With all the size down low, the guard’s ability to keep defenses honest will be key to the offense running smoothly.

The team faced a tough early season task against San Diego State (ranked 20th). It was up to the players to perform and Coach Boeheim to bring this team together and lead them to the Final Four, where they haven’t been since winning it all in 2003.  SU has the potential to be one of the best teams in the country if MCW and Coleman reach their potential, if the frontcourt is dominant, and if Brandon Triche delivers the necessary leadership. With the Big East having a “down” year Syracuse has no excuse to not be at the top of the conference during the final season in the Big East Conference.

– Ian and John

Posted: November 6, 2012 by jerkmag in PLAY -- sports
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We’ve reached the halfway point of another week and first off we would like to take a moment to recount how blessed we really are to have been kept safe during the last couple of days. Enough emotion, back to sports. This week marks the beginning of the NBA regular season, a time marking homework’s return to the proverbial bench that is our lives. With the NFL and NCAA football at the midway point and the NBA and college basketball seasons starting, this is the premier time for sports fans. This week we take a stab at the NBA, praying our predictions hold up better than Dwight Howard does at the free throw line.

This year features two powerhouses (Heat & The Beardless Thunder) but overall both conferences are incredibly strong from top to bottom. When looking at our playoff picture, we both had a different team from BOTH conferences making the playoffs. After arguing for hours we have come to a tentative agreement. Yes we’re already talking PLAYOFFS!

 

 

1). Miami Heat

With the additions of Ray Allen and the once capable Rashard Lewis, and LeBron getting ridiculed just a little less this year, there is no reason for the Heat to not repeat.

2). Indiana Pacers

A year after taking the Heat 6 games, Indiana returns with the same roster minus a switch at point with Augustine taking over for Collison. With another year under their wings, look for the Pacers to improve again.

3.)Philadelphia 76ers

With the addition of Andrew Bynum giving them the best center in the East, the 76ers now have a balanced roster if the big man can prove he’s capable of leading the team/stay healthy.

4). Boston Celtics

It’ll take sometime to get used to not seeing Allen and his beautiful jumper, but Boston looks to reload a deeper team featuring Jason “Jet” Terry, Courtney Lee, and our very own Kris Joseph and Fab Melo cheering them on from the bench.

5). NY Knicks

This is with the hope that Amare has something left in his knees and stays away from nearby fire extinguishers. Carmelo Anthony is in the best shape of his career, looking to keep up with draft classmates Wade/Bron/Bosh and have an MVP caliber year. The additions of veterans Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and maybe even Rasheed Wallace give NYK some depth for once.

6). Brooklyn Nets

Hello Brooklyn, How You Doing? Deron Williams finally gets some help in Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, plus big men Brook Lopez and former Mr. Kardashian, Kris Humphries, give Brooklyn a solid core group. If they get some help from an unproven bench this team could make a run come playoff time.

7). Atlanta Hawks

Gone are the big contracts of Johnson and Williams, in come sparkplug 6th man Louie Williams and top 3 point shooters Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow. Look out for the return of Al Horford and a big contract year from Josh Smith.

8). Chicago Bulls

Derrick Rose may miss part of the year recovering from his torn ACL, but the veteran core plus newcomers Nate Robinson/Kirk Hinrich playing fill in until he returns, this group could keep up with a stingy D until Rose returns.

 

1). OKC Thunder

Yes, we know James Harden is gone. But with Westbrook and MVP contender Kevin Durant still around don’t expect much to change. Kevin Martin plays less D then a 5 year old, but he can flat out SCORE. Expect much of the same from the Thunder in our humble opinion.

2). LA Lakers

Kobe may only play two more years (reportedly) but with the additions of all-stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to an already solid lineup, Kobe and Pau have some serious help this year. It may take some time for them to figure it out, but we expect LA to figure it out in due time.

3). San Antonio Spurs

Not much has changed from a year ago, as the threesome of Duncan, Parker, and Ginoboli will give it one more run. Kawhi Leonard is a stud and with a solid core around them it’s hard not to picture them in the picture down the line.

4). Denver Nuggets

The young core of Lawson, Galinari, Faried and McGee add one of the best wing defenders (and an Olympian) in Andre Iguodala. This may be the deepest team in the NBA and will use that to their advantage. Look for them to run and then run some more out in Colorado this year.

5). LA Clippers

Lob City returns with the addition of 6th man Jamal Crawford plus Grant Hill and Lamar Odom-Kardashian making his LA return. As long as Chris Paul is running the point this team will be sitting pretty come playoffs.

6). Memphis Grizzlies

Memphis is a very sneaky, solid team who will hover around the playoffs and we expect them to win a round, maybe two. Proven scoring stud Big Daddy Zach Randolph leads this team with the help of Marc Gasol at center and Rudy Gay at Small Forward; the Grizzlies have one of the best frontcourts in the league.

7). Utah Jazz

One of the more unknown teams, the Utah Jazz feature constantly underrated Paul Millsap and big scoring center Al Jefferson both in contract years. With the additions of Williams; Moe and Marvin, and young players Burks, Favors, Hayward and Enes Kanter hopefully improving, this team could be trouble.

8). Minnesota Timberwolves

Recent allegations of being “too white”(no really) shouldn’t stop a healthy Rubio and MVP level Kevin Love from finally getting to the playoffs. The additions of NBA returnees- a rejuvenated Brandon Roy, and the Russian Andrei Kirilenko, and last years #2 pick Derrick Williams getting minutes, this team could be for real. But who knows in Minnesota.

 

3 Predictions Sure to Be Wrong

  1. Both of us had a team we liked to surprise some people (Ian=Wizards, John=Cavs) but neither of us could muster up the manhood to give them a playoff spot. Therefore, look for one of them to surprise everyone down the road and for us to take full credit for it.
  2. Expect James Harden to put up the numbers for the Rockets. The beard is no laughing matter and neither is his game. With that being said, they have a young team and we don’t believe in the Linsanity. Jeremy Lin will NOT put up superstar numbers. Harden will have to carry the load.
  3. The only affect the new flopping rules will have is going to be Jeff Van Gundy yelling every two seconds, “See, that should be a fine.” The NBA will be unable to police this flopping phenomenon. And say they do. Well then we’ll see how good these guys would be at soccer because we’ll have to wait around for the magic spray guy to fix the “injuries” in order to avoid a fine.

What we can say for sure is that this year has the capability of being one the best in recent years, and no matter how wrong we turn out to be, this will be an entertaining year.

Like it or Hate it, we still want to know. Comment or tweet us your thoughts- @icflick @johnMMatthews

-Ian Flickinger & John Matthews

 

In honor of the return of arguably the best/most famous Syracuse basketball alumni, Carmelo Anthony, to the Carrier Dome this week, we took a trip down memory lane and thought about the top SU players of the past decade. We picked out the ten best Orange basketball players starting from the 2002-2003 season (the NCAA Championship Season) up until this past season.  We focused on STATISTICS, CAREER LENGTH (very few one year wonders made the countdown; sorry Donte Green) and FAN LEGACY. Keep in mind we did not focus on overall talent. This list had very little to do with the overall success the players went on to have professionally (or lack thereof). This is a SYRACUSE COUNTDOWN. Bust out the ‘One Shining Moment’ Montage and let’s begin.

10. Scoop Jardine (2007-2012)
Scoooooooop!!! Do we need to say more? The 5-year fan favorite had solid averages of 9ppg/4.5ast over his tenure, and was NCAA 6th man of the year his redshirt sophomore season. Jardine had numerous big shots for Syracuse his last 2 years on campus that helped land him on list. Not to mention he is 6th on the all-time assists list at Syracuse.

9. Demetris Nichols (2003-2007)
Scoring just under 19 ppg on his way to 1st team All Big East and Honorable Mention All American his senior year, Nichols was a deadly outside shooter who had a stellar senior year and a solid four-year career. He was also 5th all-time in SU history in three pointers made.

8.Keith Duany (1999-2003)
The lone senior on the Championship team during the 2002-2003 season, Duany was the anchor and leader of the perimeter defense in the 2-3 zone.  One of the most likable Orange players of all-time, Duany played the game unselfishly and still averaged over 11 ppg in his junior and senior seasons.

7.Eric Devendorf (2005-2009)
Either you love him or hate him (even we are split); Devendorf’s impact was undeniable. Devo was a key player all 3 years he played and left Syracuse with a 14.5 ppg average for his career. Devendorf will be remembered for a variety things (good and bad), one being the big moments like the UConn 6OT Big East Tourney game his junior year.

6. Kris Joseph (2008-2012)
Last year’s leading scorer comes in at number 6 on our list. A 4-year contributor who showed continual growth over his 4 years on campus, Kris was Big East 6th man of the Year his sophomore year, and finished his career as an Honorable Mention All American and All Big East 1st team player. A quiet leader, Joseph can only be described as consistent.

5. Andy Rautins (2005-2010)
Son of former SU player, Leo Rautins, Andy was a clutch three point shooter for five years at SU (redshirted due to an injury). Rautins was an AP All American Honorable Mention while averaging 12.1ppg/4.9ast his senior year. Rautins always put in the extra effort and was a scrappy player. His three point shooting ranks amongst the greats in SU history, as he is 2nd all time.

4. Jonny Flynn (2007-2009)
One game could put Jonny Flynn on this list: SU vs. UConn March 12, 2009 Big East Tournament Semi-Finals. 6 overtimes. 34 points, 11 assists, 6 steals, 67 minutes. On top of that, Flynn led SU to a Sweet Sixteen appearance and averaged 16.6ppg/6ast in his two years.  Flynn entered the draft early and is still an SU legend. He had success in his first year in the NBA, making the all-rookie 2nd team, but has battled injuries since then.

3. Hakim Warrick (2001-2005)
Hakim is remembered for the game saving blocked shot to seal the championship game win against Kansas, but Warrick did much more during his 4 years. A 3 time All Big East Team (2 first teams, one third) and a senior year 1st team All American, Hakim finished his senior year with 22ppg and was known for some of the best dunks. Hakim has had a solid NBA career as a role player averaging 9.5ppg in his career.

2. Carmelo Anthony (2002-2003)
This is not a typo. Carmelo Anthony is number 2. It hurts me as much as it hurts you, I swear. Carmelo averaged 22ppg and 10reb on his way to being named Second Team All American and the NCAA Most Outstanding Player on the championship team of 2002-2003 before leaving to be the 3rd pick in the NBA draft. He was simply unstoppable his one year at Syracuse. He’s also by far having the best NBA career of any Orange. While being our only “one year wonder” exception on the list, Carmelo did bring home a National Championship. But, he also had the help of another player who was the heart and soul of Syracuse basketball for four years instead of one…

1.GERRY MCNAMARA (2002-2006)
GERRY! GERRY! GERRY! The epitome of the ideal college basketball player… and we all know “we wouldn’t have won ten #$%*ing games without Gerry McNamara,” as quoted by Jim Boeheim, not us… Gerry’s career and impact shouldn’t be measured just on his stats, which can make a case for themselves. Did we mention Gerry is 4th all-time at SU in scoring, 3rd in assists, and 1st in three pointers with 400 three pointers made? In Gerry’s senior year he single handedly carried the Orange to their second straight Big East Tournament Championship Title while winning four games in four days and becoming the lowest seeded team to EVER win the tournament. Gerry had more big moments than anyone else; some of our personal favorites include the Vermont Double Clutch and the Cincinnati Floater.

Honorable Mentions:
Dion Waiters, Arinze Onuaku, Brandon Triche, Wesley Johnson, Darryl Watkins, Josh Pace

Like it or Hate it, we still want to know. Comment or tweet us your thoughts- @icflick @johnMMatthews

-Ian Flickinger & John Matthews

Best Jobs in the NFL

Posted: October 19, 2012 by jerkmagblog in PLAY -- sports
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While being any kind of professional athlete is a blessing most of the human race would give their first-born son in exchange for, there are some who have it better than others. Ninety million dollar starting quarterbacks, you say? No, thank you. We understand every NFL player puts in a considerable level of dedication to perfect their craft (those not named: Jamarcus Russell) but some just have it easier.

How would you like to make $66,000 to throw ONE pass? After extensive hours of debate, we have found out who exactly has it better than the rest: The veteran back-up quarterback. We know, they worked hard to get here and all that good stuff, but without getting too political here, do they deserve this much cash when they don’t play a full game?

Here are the requirements to be a part of this very selective group: five year NFL pro; this eliminates young developing guys who may actually turn out to be respectable players down the line, and one solid year; each guy on the list performed respectably in at least one year of starting/extensive field time. What we’re getting at here is they all did something to seemingly earn their spot on the list. The final requirement is fan approval rating; they can’t be on the list if the media and fans are constantly bashing them. We don’t want to be adding fuel to the metaphorical fire here (David Carr and/or the legendary Rex Grossman for instance). With that being said here are the 3 best jobs in the NFL.

1. Charlie Batch
15-Year NFL Pro.
Best Year 2000: 15 GP 2,489 yards 13 Touchdowns 15 Interceptions (Detroit)
Has been with Pittsburgh since 2003
Telling STAT: in 2011 made $66,000 per completion. Per Game played he made $247,500

2. Derek Anderson
8- Year NFL Pro
Best Year-2007: 16 GP 3787 yards 29 Touchdowns 17 Interceptions (Cleveland)
Telling STAT: in 2011 signed a 2 -year /7.25 year with ARZ. Over 2 years he played in 3 games and had completed 3 passes, making roughly $1 million per pass

3. Chris Redman
10-Year NFL Pro
Best Year 2007- 7 GP 1,079 yards 10 touchdowns 5 interceptions (Atlanta)
Telling STAT: in 2010 received a 2-yr./5.6 mil dollar deal with ATL. Over those 2 years he was paid $254,500 per completion. PER COMPLETION.

Were not hating on these players, in fact we envy these players’ ability to make it to the NFL, just not have the misfortune of being a regular starter. Why would you want to face the scrutiny a starting quarterback faces when you can get paid this much to play a few quarters per season?! That’s why the 3rd string veteran quarterback has the cushiest, most enticing position in the NFL.

– Ian Flickinger & John Matthews

San Fran’s Madden-like Dream Squad

Posted: March 15, 2012 by jerkmag in PLAY -- sports

Remember your Madden 04 dream squad? The Dolphins team with Peyton Manning faking a hand off to Warrick Dunn, then launching a touchdown pass to Randy Moss? San Francisco can make this dream a reality.

The 49ers already have a ridiculous defense. There’s no need to address anything on that side of the ball. On special teams, David Akers was record-settingly good last year. Offensively, they already have a great o-line to block for Frank Gore. San Fran has Vernon Davis — one of the best tight ends in football. Now, they’ve got one of the best deep threats in NFL history — Randy Moss.

Imagine Peyton Manning in that offense. Even if he’s lost some accuracy or power, Randy Moss is the perfect complementary receiver. He’s tall, quick, and has great hands. Moss will reel in anything Manning throws deep. The only real concern is if Peyton’s head will fall off.

We’ve seen Manning set records with Marvin Harrison as his deep threat. He could easily reach 35 touchdown passes throwing to Davis — who showed off his arsenal with his touchdown in the playoffs against the Giants — and Moss — who holds the single season record for TD catches. Not to mention he’d be such an improvement from Alex Smith.

The 49ers can’t be happy with Smith as their quarterback. That’s like being satisfied with Danica Patrick when you could date Gisele Bündchen. Smith finally had a decent season and got to the NFC Championship Game. But he lost.

Jim Harbaugh needs to reach out to Manning and get him on the team. Manning’s proven he can win. He’s been to two Super Bowls and won one of them. Harbaugh already has a great defense and running game. Now, all he needs is a great quarterback to get the ball to Davis and Moss.

If he does, Harbaugh’s team will be — dramatic pause — straight champs, homie.

-Robert Bacaj

Big East: The Catfish of College Sports © Kevin Coles

At Virginia Tech, there’s something called ‘Catfish Wednesday.’ People go out to party with “Catfish: the bottom feeders of the females.” These girls will take whatever they can get with no preference to looks or personality.

With the addition of Memphis, the Big East has confirmed its role as the ‘Catfish’ of the college sports ranks. The conference will take anything it can get – regardless of geography, talent, or history. Just imagine turning on your TV to hear this: “We now send you out to sunny southern California for some Big East football. San Diego State – Houston starts RIGHT NOW!”

If I wrote those same words in August, people would have smacked me for making a dumb joke. It’s called the Big EAST, for crying out loud! Now, that moronic joke could be a reality thanks to the Catfish that is the Big East conference.

It’s almost impossible to look smart when expanding a conference. The Atlantic Coast Conference added a school that’s roughly 350 miles from the Atlantic coast. West Virginia joined the Big 12 – a conference that’s centered in the mid-west. The Mountaineers will have to travel almost 1,500 miles to play some games. Yet, these conferences actually seem like their actions were smart compared to the expansion of the Big East.

Maybe I wouldn’t be so critical of the Big East if it were taking schools that would help boost its reputation back to what it was in the early 2000s. Back then, the conference had the 2002-03 basketball champion – Syracuse – and the 2001-02 football champion – Miami.

But adding a bunch of mid-majors (Memphis, Houston, SMU, Navy, San Diego St., Central Florida) and a solid football school (Boise St.) just doesn’t cut it. The conference basically added any school willing to join. There is no central pattern to these schools. None are in a certain geographical area. None are exceptionally or historically good at a sport (Exceptions: Boise State football and Memphis basketball. SMU doesn’t count)

So, back to the party reference. The SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, and Pac 12 all get to laugh at the joke that is the desperate Big East. It takes anything it can get. That attitude has transformed the conference into a laughingstock, for me at least, and given it a new nickname.

Big East conference: the Catfish of College Sports.

-Robert Bacaj

BU Resilience

Posted: February 6, 2012 by jerkmag in PLAY -- sports

Every few years there’s a team that overcomes a freakish circumstance to succeed. The 2004 Red Sox ended the Curse of the Bambino and 86 years of failure with a World Series title. The 2007 Redskins won four straight games to make the playoffs after safety Sean Taylor was murdered. You probably haven’t heard of the team doing it this year – Boston University ice hockey.

The third-ranked Terriers had all the makings of a successful season back in December. They were climbing the rankings. More importantly, they’d beaten archrival and second-ranked Boston College twice. Senior forward Corey Trivino was leading the team and the Hockey East Conference with 13 goals on the season.

The 2008 Islanders draft pick looked ready to lead Boston to its second national championship in the last four years. That all seemed to change in mid-December as Trivino was dismissed from the Terriers squad.

The Daily Free Press, a Boston University newspaper, claims the police report says Trivino groped and tried to rape a school resident advisor. It says he was arraigned on seven different criminal charges.

The Terriers were, at the time, the ninth-ranked team in the country. Losing a four year player who led the conference in goals had the potential to be a critical loss.

Instead, Boston went on a tear. It only lost one of its next seven games. BU trashed Providence, 8-0, and beat number six Merrimack 4-2. The Terriers crept up to the number two spot in the national rankings.

BU has another matchup with Merrimack for its biggest stage of the regular season. The Terriers have the Beanpot tournament next weekend. It consists of four Boston schools (BU, BC, Harvard, and Northeastern) playing for the hallowed beanpot trophy.

That trophy’s been in BC’s hands for the past two years. But the number three Terriers are 4-1 against Beanpot schools this season. With all they’ve overcome already this season, there’s no doubt a Beanpot championship and a national title are within their grasp.

-Robert Bacaj