By Tyler Curtiss & Matt Lipp
We completed this mock draft based off of expert analysis of the top tier prospects. Teams look to fill all of their needs in a very talented draft class this year. For example, Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett is a once in a decade player given his insane combine performance. John Ross cemented himself as a first round pick when he posted a record-breaking 4.22 40 yard dash time at the NFL Combine. This years draft is very deep at Wide Receiver, Defensive end, and Cornerback/Safety. Meaning that there is a lot of talent at those positions. The Cleveland Browns have been the laughing stock of the NFL for many years, but this year, they have the opportunity to add key pieces to advance their rebuilding process. Drafting Garrett should help their pass rush which ranked near the bottom of the league. The New Orleans Saints struggled heavily on defense in 2016 so adding a talent like Foster in the middle and a shutdown Corner like Conley out of Ohio State should improve every aspect of their weak defense. The Cincinnati Bengals are selecting wide receiver Mike Williams because they already have a proven top receiver in the league, so pairing a college stud with an NFL star will create massive matchup problems for opposing secondaries. The Dallas Cowboys are picking hybrid safety/ linebacker Jabrill Peppers because their biggest need is a standout defensive player. The Cowboys have lost three out of their four starting secondary players. Peppers will bring another dimension to their defense since he can play almost every position of that side of the ball at an above average level. Peppers will help turn a struggling defense into a powerhouse for years to come. Teams all around the NFL are excited to fill their needs with one of the most talent packed drafts in history.
So far, free agency has really shook up the draft, such as the New England Patriots trading their first round pick to the saints for the speedy Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks. The Philadelphia Eagles were originally the main suitor for the top Receivers in the Draft but key signings of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith take them out of consideration for taking one of the top guys at that position. Now the Eagles will look to add another weapon for Carson Wentz by drafting the versatile running back, Christian McCaffrey. The biggest shock of free agency may have been the Houston Texans trading away QB Brock Osweiler to the Browns. This trade will make the Texans look at drafting a QB like Patrick Mahomes in the first round to come in and immediately take control of the offense. Overall most teams are banking on securing young players to fill in the missing pieces needed to have a great team.
By Reagan Ahlquist & Garrett Athey
The 2017 MLB season begins on April second and will feature three games with six teams that hope to start the season off with a win. The Opening Day games include the New York Yankees at the Tampa Bay Rays, the San Francisco Giants at the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Chicago Cubs at the St. Louis Cardinals.
The season comes after a long offseason, including some major additions. Chris Sale, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, was traded to the Boston Red Sox for some younger talent. Power hitter, Mark Trumbo, resigned with the Orioles to keep Baltimore’s batting rotation one of the best in the majors. Last year’s American League RBI leader, Edwin Encarnacion, joined the reigning American League champs, the Cleveland Indians, adding another big bat to an already potent lineup.
Rewards this season will be interesting as experts expect new contenders. Boston Red Sox outfielder, Mookie Betts, is expected to put up better numbers this year and take home the American League MVP award, that he finished in second place for this past season. Los Angeles Angels centerfielder, Mike Trout, will still make a strong case, as he does every year as he won the award last year and has two totals. And for the National League, Kris Bryant, reigning MVP from the Chicago Cubs, should put together another MVP campaign. If Bryce Harper can come back and have another season, like his 2015 season, then he will possibly earn his second MVP award.
This coming season comes with some impressive looking teams. With new signing and prospects making it up to the big leagues, many teams rosters look different from last year, for the better or worst. The hometown favorites, the Baltimore Orioles, added Seth Smith and brought back Mark Trumbo to the roster to help get them to the World Series. Glenelg Junior, Seth Taylor, believes “The Orioles is who I’d take to win the World Series. I think they’ll show up and prove everyone wrong.” Baltimore had an impressive previous year and managed to make the Wildcard game, but failed to make any strength to their pitching rotation, which struggled last year. Others believe AL East rivals, the Boston Red Sox, have a better chance than the birds. With the addition of Chris Sale, Glenelg Junior Michael Forster believes, “He will definitely boost the Sox’s rotation and lead them to the World Series.” Boston managed to make the playoffs last year and the addition of Sale might be the factor to push them to the World Series. This season will be exciting to watch with all the new additions and breakout players.
By Ryan Hack and Reagan Ahlquist
Super Bowl LI was a historic Super Bowl, as it was the largest comeback and the first overtime game in Super Bowl history. The largest comeback in Super Bowl history was ten points, which was done three times: The Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, the Redskins in Super Bowl XXII, and the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.
The game began with a scoreless first quarter, but barely into the second quarter, Patriots’ running back, LeGarrette Blount, fumbled the ball. It was recovered by Atlanta cornerback, Robert Alford, setting up Atlanta at their own 29 yard line. Five plays later, Devonta Freeman ran the ball in from five yards out, giving Atlanta a 7-0 lead. After a New England three-and-out, Atlanta once again drove down the field. After entering the red zone, quarterback Matt Ryan found rookie tight end, Austin Hooper, for a nineteen yard touchdown. This extended Atlanta’s lead to 14-0. On New England’s next drive, Tom Brady ran the offense well to what looked like a promising drive. But, on the eleventh play of the series, his pass was intercepted by Robert Alford, which was returned 82 yards for an Atlanta touchdown. Once New England got the ball back, Brady led an eleven play drive in two minutes that ended with a 41-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski to bring the game to halftime. Atlanta led 21-3.
After Lady Gaga’s exciting halftime performance, the Falcons started off with the ball, but ended up going three-and-out for the first time in the game. The Patriots also followed with a three-and-out as the game started to seem even more out of reach for them. Then, once the Falcons regained possession, wide receiver, Taylor Gabriel, contributed greatly with a total of 52 yard on the drive. The series resulted in a Tevin Coleman six yard receiving touchdown, adding to the Falcons’ lead to make it 28-3. The Patriots realized they needed to make some changes, and came out with a touchdown drive of their own. Running back, James White, caught a five yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady, but after a missed extra point, it was 28-9 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Patriots. After stopping the Falcons to a nine yard drive, the Patriots drove down the field and hit a 33 yard field goal to cut the lead to two scores, 28-12. New England stopped the Falcons to another nine yard three-and-out, so after the punt, the Patriots, led by Tom Brady, drove down the field and found wide receiver, Danny Amendola, for a six yard touchdown pass. They went for a two-point conversion, and running back, James White, cut the game to one score, 28-20. The Falcons started to drive down the field, but a holding penalty by Jake Matthews pushed them out of field goal range, resulting in a Matt Bosher punt. The Patriots started at their own nine yard line. With two and a half minutes left in the game, Tom Brady threw into three on one coverage and wide receiver, Julian Edelman, came down with an amazing 23 yard reception. Junior, Beau Parker, said “Edelman’s catch was the best catch I’ve ever seen, and it was the real turning point of the game.” With momentum, the Patriots continued their drive, and James White ended up running the ball into the end zone with one minute left to cut the lead to two. A two-point conversion would tie the game and most likely send the game into overtime, and Tom Brady found Danny Amendola on a screen pass for the conversion. The game was tied at 28 and it was the first Super Bowl to ever be brought into overtime.
In overtime, New England won the toss and received. Quarterback, Tom Brady, once again led the Patriots down the field in just under four minutes, in an eight play, 75 yard drive. On second and goal, running back, James White, ran to the right side and dove for the goalline. The referee put up the signal for touchdown and the New England Patriots completed the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
Following the 34-28 win, during the postgame show, Tom Brady was pronounced Super Bowl LI MVP. Brady threw for 466 yards and two touchdowns in his fifth Super Bowl MVP title, the most in NFL history. Junior, Nick Croston, said that “Brady deserved the MVP because he’s the greatest of all time. He led a comeback after being down by 25 points by throwing for the most yards ever in Super Bowl history.” Congratulations to the New England Patriots with their fifth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
By Mason Steinberg
March Madness is the most exciting time of the year for basketball fans. The 68 team tournament also draws interest from people who would not usually follow college basketball. Filling out a bracket in early March has become as much a Springtime tradition as going on Easter egg hunts. The tournament field is revealed on Selection Sunday which is televised on ESPN.
Last year’s tournament ended with Villanova hitting a last second shot to defeat North Carolina in the national championship. However, there were many exciting games that led up to this moment. University of Northern Iowa may not be a big name school, but they were involved in the two best games of the tournament as the eleven seed. In the first round Paul Jeperson hit a half- court buzzer-beater to upset sixth seeded Texas. What makes this upset even crazier is Northern Iowa would not have even made the tournament had it not been for their buzzer-beater in the Missouri Valley Championship game. Three days later facing third seeded Texas A&M, Northern Iowa held a 12 point lead with 30 seconds left. Then, the unthinkable occurred, Northern Iowa fell apart and A&M tied to game. After one overtime the two teams were still tied, but after the second Northern Iowa lost a heart-breaker 92-88. Other notable thrillers were: (6) Notre Dame 76, (14) Stephen F. Austin 75 (second round), (12) Arkansas-Little Rock 85, (5) Purdue 83 (2 OT) (first round) ,(7) Wisconsin 66, (2) Xavier 63 (second round) (9) Providence 70, (8) USC 69 (first round) (8) Saint Joseph's 78, (9) Cincinnati 76 (first round).
This years tournament will be hard pressed to compare to last years excitement, but with March Madness you can never rule anything out Sophomore Wande Owens and Junior Ryan Davis were in agreement about their pick to win the championship, “Kansas is by far the best team in the country” exclaimed Owens. Davis agreed, “They definitely know how to win big games and even if they are down they know how to comeback and win”. Last week Kansas overcame a 14 point deficit with three minutes left to defeat ninth ranked West Virginia. There are plenty of games left in the regular season but as of now here is the bracket as projected by USA Today. The paper projects Villanova, Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas as the favorites. A popular dark horse pick is West Virginia. While it is unknown what the actual seeds will be, these are the best projections for what the tournament field will look like.
By Tyler Curtiss & Matt Lipp
The 2016 season concluded in a special way last November when the Chicago Cubs broke their World Series drought of over 100 years. Teams then looked forward to building their team into a contender for next season. Yoenis Cespedes kicked off the signings by agreeing to a four year 110 million dollar extension with the New York Mets. This re-signing puts the Mets in position to fight for a postseason berth. Another big splash in the market this year was the signing of Dexter Fowler by the St Louis Cardinals on a five year, 82 million dollar contract. This was huge for the Cardinals since they not only improved their own lineup but they hurt their rivals too, the Cubs. The loser of the 2016 World Series, the Cleveland Indians, also made a big offseason acquisition. They signed Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion to a three year, 60 million dollar deal. He will add some much needed pop to the Indians lineup. Junior Vincent Gurfolino said, “The Indians came so close last year to winning it all, signing a power bat like Encarnacion will help put them over the hump.” Encarnacion is the missing piece to the Indians puzzle.
Many people believe the biggest move of the offseason is the Chris Sale trade that sent him to the Boston Red Sox in return for top prospect Yoan Moncada along with Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, and Victor Diaz. This blockbuster deal pairs Sale, a former Cy Young award winner, with two other Cy Young winners in the Boston rotation, David Price and Rick Porcello. “I think the biggest move made by a team this year was Boston trading for Chris Sale. That trade should definitely benefit both teams in a big way,” said Senior baseball star John McAuliffe. During the 2016 season Boston had the most potent offense in the league, and now they are combining that offense with the best pitching rotation. The Red Sox are going to be unstoppable.
Sayo Jolayemi & Jacob Kersh
It’s that time of the year again. The halfway point of the NBA regular season is approaching, bringing the 66th Annual All-Star weekend with it. This event is slated for February 17th through the 19th. The festivities will be headlined by the All-Star game occurring on Sunday, February 19th, starring some of the league's top talent. The Eastern Conference includes starters and defending world champs Lebron James and Kyrie Irving, along with Jimmy Butler, DeMar Derozan, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Western Conference boasts defending MVP Stephen Curry, his teammate Kevin Durant, in tandem with James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis. Reserve players (those individuals who will come off the bench) include Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, DeAndre Jordan, Gordon Hayward, Draymond Green, Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins. The Eastern Conference has John Wall, Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas, Paul Millsap, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love, and 2K17 Cover Athlete: Paul George as backups.
The event kicks off on Friday with the All-Star Celebrity Game at 7PM, followed by the Rising Stars Challenge at 9PM. Sophomore Devin Henley told us that he thinks “Joel Embiid will definitely steal the show and also win MVP of the game.” However with progressive athletes in Kristaps Porzingis on Team World, Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, and reigning ROTY (Rookie of The Year) Karl-Anthony Towns on Team USA, nothing is certain.
The following day, Saturday, the announcement for 2017’s inductees for the Basketball Hall of Fame will be revealed; new candidates are comprised of players who have not been active for at least four years (2012 retirees) such as Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace, Mike Bibby and Wizards alumni Gilbert Arenas.
The entertainment picks up later in the night with State Farm’s All-Star Saturday Night, which incorporates the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest and Verizon Slam Dunk Contest, in that order. The Skills Challenge features four ‘smalls’ (guards) John Wall, Devin Booker, and Gordon Hayward. There are also four ‘bigs’ (centers and forwards), those being DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis. (All members are participants of either the All-Star game or Rising Stars challenge). Next will come the Three-Point contest featuring eight of the NBA’s most elite shooters (except for Stephen Curry who elected to sit out). This roster of players includes Klay Thompson, Kyle Lowry, Eric Gordon, Kyrie Irving, C.J. McCollum, Kemba Walker, Wesley Matthews, and Nick Young. Last and arguably the most spectacular, the Dunk Contest. Reigning two-time champion Zach Lavine is missing this event but do not fear; his rival last year Aaron Gordon will return along with DeAndre Jordan, Glenn Robinson III and for the first time an entree from the D-League; dark horse candidate Derrick Jones Jr.
The weekend will culminate on Sunday at 8PM with the All Star game. MVP frontrunners Harden and Westbrook will without a doubt look to earn the nod off All-Star MVP, whilst pass flashy guards like Wall, Curry, Thomas, and Irving will surely make highlight plays, whether they be passes or deep shots. Sophomore Jack McSally says that he expects “groundbreaking and earth shattering dunks from players such as Lebron, Durant and Davis”, which we definitely agree which. In summation, the NBA All-Star weekend promises to be a ‘slam dunk’.
By Torin Alexander
The NBA gods have finally shown compassion for the woeful 76ers. For the past three seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have played way below average, having a combination of a 47 wins and 199 losses over three years. Last year, the 76ers were unable to get their 10th win until April 5th, 2016. Many people have said that the 76ers hit rock bottom with their 18-64 record two years ago, but the following year they surprised fans with an abysmal 10 wins and 72 losses, which is, surprisingly, not even their worst season. Overall, the years have not been great for the Philadelphia 76ers. With that being said, the fans were shellshocked to have a new era: Joel Embiid.
Joel Embiid was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as the first pick of the 2014-2015 season. Unfortunately, Embiid was unable to play his rookie season due to a broken navicular bone in his foot. He then re-injured his foot the following year, sitting out for another whole season. During this time, Embiid was able to study the NBA game and the star players who are taking the NBA by storm.
As the 2016-2017 year was starting, the 76ers fans and staff were hit with startling news when their first round pick, Ben Simmons, had fractured his foot in a team practice. Hearing this, the fans and staff began to believe that it was going to be another rough season. That is until Joel Embiid was able to score 20 points and 7 rebounds. Though the team lost, the fans were able to see a streak of hope for the future.
As the NBA season continued, the Philadelphia 76ers began to show what people are calling “The Process”. The name started as a nickname for Joel Embiid, but it's now a nickname for the whole team. Joel Embiid’s performance has impacted the team’s performance in unbelievable ways. As said before, the Philadelphia 76ers didn't win their 10th game until April 5th of last year, but this season they were able to get their 10th win on January 8th. This is still below par, but the fact that the 76ers were able to get the win four months earlier than their previous year is an obvious example of development. Junior, Brenden Rose, states “The fact that they were able to have a winning record in the month of January is a huge upgrade from last year”. The young team was able to achieve an outstanding 10-5 record in the month of January, which caught the eyes of many fans and analysts.
Though the 76ers raising expectations, many ask how will Ben Simmons impact the team? Ben Simmons, the 76ers first round pick of the 2016-2017 season, is unable to play due to his injury that happened at the beginning of the season. Reports and the team doctor have stated that Ben Simmons is now able to play and is returning after the All-star weekend, but for safety, he will not play the rest of the season. Simmons showed glimpses of talent during the Summer League, but people have no idea how he'll play against stars and with Joel Embiid by his side. Junior, Glenn Brown, explains that “Joel Embiid is being recognized as one of the best rookies in the league and with Ben Simmons, they're about to tear it up”.
With Joel Embiid leading the way, NBA fans are starting to see a new era of the 76ers. And the addition of Ben Simmons, who will be coming back from injury next season, the 76ers team is looking to turn some heads and receive some of the respect they had years ago. The 76ers have become one of the biggest future talents in the NBA, due to Joel Embiid’s contributions. Though it could be slow process, fans are now able to see some growth from the young Philadelphia team. Do you trust in the process?