Pryor to Try WR?

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

Will Selva - Terrelle PryorTerrelle Pryor is making noise again, and not the kind of noise he made when he won the Rose Bowl and MVP in 2010 with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Terrelle Pryor, who was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals on May 10th posted videos of himself passing footballs during Bengals minicamp following his release from the team on June 18th. A very controversial move as no player ever posts video of an actual practice. Maybe perhaps he was trying to showcase what he can do as a quarterback, still a wrong move nonetheless. However, a caption to one of the video’s reads, “Going to miss QB but I will make a great WR! Already working !!”

Pryor was claimed on waivers by the Cleveland Browns and appears destined now to play wide receiver in the NFL. Pryor stands at 6’5 235 pounds. He may be a bit too heavy for the position but he has certainly displayed the speed for the position. He was clocked between 4.32 and 4.54 seconds when he ran his 40 yard dash during his Pro Day. He also holds the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in NFL history with a 93 yard run. The speed and size is certainly there, it’ll be interesting to see if he possesses the hands and route running that the position calls for. Cleveland is not necessarily deep at wide receiver with Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe slated to start this season. With Hartline 28 years old and Bowe 30, they’re certainly not long term solutions for the Browns. Maybe they keep Pryor as a project for a year and see if he can pick up all the necessary skills to play the position at a high level later in the season or even next.

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NBA Draft Stock Watch

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

With the NBA Draft order set, mock drafts are now falling into order a lot easier. However, with the order set, that won’t provide answers for some of the most questionable prospects in the draft. When it comes to making it in the NBA, you have to have the size, strenght, IQ, and specific skill set based on position in order to make it in the NBA. While some players come in with all of the above, many lack 1 or 2 and this puts them on the fringe of where in the draft they go or if they even go at all. Lets take a look at some of the more questionable prospects in the draft.

Georgia State Guard, RJ Hunter

RJ Hunter had a decorated career at Georgia State under his dad as head coach. At 6’6, 190 pounds, Hunter definitely has the size and strength to play shooting guard at the next level. After averaging 19.7 points per game, theres no question if RJ can score. What scouts are taking a closer look at is his efficiency. Hunter was underwhelming shooting 39% from the floor and 31% from 3 point range. However, scouts are looking through that noticing he was the face of a team that relied on him to shoot a lot, sometimes contested and off balance jumpers. In the right system and role in the NBA, scouts thing he can 44% field goal and 40% 3 point shooter he was during the 2013-2014 season at Georgia State. Look for Hunter to go late in the 1st round.

Kentucky Guards, Andrew and Aaron Harrison

Both Aaron and Andrew Harrison were big time prospects coming out of high school. After a freshmen year that saw them play well but not spectacular, they decided to stay another year at Kentucky. Still both did not do much to help there cases for the NBA Draft. However, they’re leaving Kentucky for the NBA. At 6’6 about 210 pounds each they make for interesting guards in the NBA. Both can play point but aren’t necessarily great facilitators. Could they have been hurt by playing with so many other great players at Kentucky that their minutes and overall numbers were diluted? Sure, and thats what any NBA team is hoping if they draft them. These guys will look to be picked in the 2nd round or catch on with someone via Summer League play.

Syracuse Power Forward/Center Rakeem Christmas

Rakeem Christmas burst onto the scene this season for the Orange averaging 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Problem is, this wasn’t your typical 25-7 Syracuse Orange squad. Christmas did if for an 18-13 team, 9-9 in ACC play and missed the Big Dance. Another red flag is senior season point total eclipsed his previous 3 years on campus point total together. Where was this Christmas the previous 3 years? Can he continue to play at this level for years to come? Can his 6’9 225 pound frame hang with the NBA big men? He’s a tough prospect to project but someone should take him in the 2nd round.

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Early Season Triple Crown Contenders

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

It’s not often someone wins the Triple Crown in Major League Baseball, although Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera won it 2012, no one had previously won it in 45 years at that time. Still with a hot start to a season, we always speculate that the next one could happen this season. Lets take a look at both the American and National League contenders so far to win the Triple Crown.

American League

 

Nelson Cruz

It was not too long ago Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners served a suspension for performance enhancing drugs but that’s now behind him and he has been raking the ball in 2015. Cruz currently has 17 home runs (1st in the AL), 35 runs batted in (Tied for 2nd in the AL), and is batting .341 (3rd in the AL). Cruz is 1 of 2 players in the American League to hold a slugging percentage over .600 and his is actually approaching .700 (.688).

Prince Fielder

Cruz looks to be the only strong threat at this point but if Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers can get hot with the long ball he could be a real threat. Fielder is currently hitting .365 (1st in the AL), with 35 runs batted in (Tied for 2nd in the AL), and has 9 home runs (Tied for 11th in the AL). Fielder has hit over 35 home runs in a season 3 times in his career and is no stranger to the long ball, so it would not be a huge surprise if he closed the home run gap in the coming months.

National League

 

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals has absolutely been on a tear. For the month of May, Harper is hitting .384 with 11 home runs, and 26 runs batted in. On the season, he has 16 home runs (1st in the NL), 41 runs batted in (2nd in the NL), and is hitting .333 (Tied for 4th in the NL). Certainly if he continues to hit the way he has in May, he stands a great chance to win the Triple Crown.

Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks has always been viewed as a great balance hitter who can get on base, hit for power, and knock runners in. While he does all of these very well, he’s not dominant in enough categories. At this point he’s hitting .338 (3rd in the NL), with 12 home runs (Tied for 4th in the NL), and has 38 runs batted in (3rd in the NL). He’s in striking distance of each category here but it’ll be a challenge for him to make a push to lead the league in all three categories.

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Remembering Marbury

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

Stephon Marbury last played in the NBA during the 2008-2009 NBA season but has put together a nice career for himself in China. He recently won his 3rd Chinese Basketball Association title with the Beijing Ducks and was named finals MVP. There exist a statue of him outside the arena in which he plays his home games. His latest honor you ask? Marbury will be recognized on a stamp. Yes, that’s right, a stamp. Although he wasn’t a fan favorite in the NBA, he has made quite a name for himself in China. Let’s take a look at what was his NBA career.

A high school phenom from Brooklyn, New York, Marbury entered the 1996 NBA Draft following just 1 season at Georgia Tech. Marbury was selected 4th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks but shortly thereafter he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Marbury played well for Minnesota but wanted to be closer to home and forced a trade that sent him to the New Jersey Nets.

Will Selva - Stephon MarburyMarbury played like an All-Star in New Jersey but the team wasn’t winning and he was traded to Phoenix for Jason Kidd. The Nets headed to the NBA Finals and the Suns didn’t. After 3 years in Phoenix, Marbury was on the move again.

Marbury was traded to the New York Knicks during the 2003-2004 season. That summer, Marbury played for the United States in the Olympics and was part of a team that failed to get the gold. It seemed like everywhere he went, losing followed.

Marbury was a part of Knick teams that continually spent big on free agents but put no product on the court. Eventually, Mike D’Antoni became the Knicks coach. D’Antoni thought Chris Duhon was a better fit to run the point in NY and Marbury was inactive on a nightly basis. In a December game, D’Antoni told Marbury he was going to play but Marbury refused. Marbury was then banned from practice and games and was told to stay home. He was eventually waived in February of 2009 and signed with the Boston Celtics. Following that season, he took a year off and eventually signed in China. And the rest is history.

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NFL Free Agency: Best of the Rest

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

NFL free agency started with a splash in early March but the process has slowed down quite a bit. With many players already finding new homes, there are not all too many desirable players left to be had. Here is at some of the best talent still available.

CB Tarell Brown – Brown spent 2014 with the Oakland Raiders after spending the previous 7 with the San Francisco 49ers. With the Raiders, Brown had no interceptions and just 4 passes defensed in 14 games. He did manage to make 55 total tackles showing he can still take people down from the corner position. At age 30, he should catch on somewhere for a 1 year deal.

Will Selva - Stevie BrownS Stevie Brown – Brown spent last season with the New York Giants but it wasn’t his best year. He recorded 8 interceptions back in 2012 and Giant fans were excited for Brown’s follow up season but Brown tore his ACL during the preseason of 2013 and missed the whole season. Brown at times this year seemed rusty but teams are hoping he can return to 2012 form. The Giants are favored to bring him back.

G Dan Connolly – Connolly has been a staple in the New England Patriots offensive line since 2010. Now at age 32, he’s looking for work elsewhere. Connolly can play both center and guard and is a Super Bowl Champion. Connolly should find work elsewhere but he may not be looking at multi-year options.

TE Jermaine Gresham – Gresham was a 1st round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, where he has played all 5 of his seasons in the NFL. The Bengals recently spent a 1st round pick on TE Tyler Eifert making Gresham expendable. While he is not a great blocking TE, Gresham figures to be a good receiving option. He’s still just 26 years old and should catch on with another team.

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Injury Bug Hits the Hot Mets

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

The best team in New York is currently the New York Mets. The Mets have started the season hot with a 10-3 record through their first 13 games. They’re currently 1st in the NL East, a game and a half up on the 2nd place Atlanta Braves. The Mets have had great contributions from the pitching staff. Opening day starter Bartolo Colon is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, Jacob deGrom is 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA, Matt Harvey is 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA and Jonathon Niese is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. The Mets have swung the bats well too. Lucas Duda, David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Cuddyer are all hitting over .300.

Will Selva - Jacob deGromWith this hot start have come bumps in the road. Jenrry Mejia was injured warming up before coming in for the save on Opening Day. He was put on the 15 day disabled list and then suspended 80 games for testing positive for stanozolol. David Wright is out 3 weeks with a hamstring injury and was placed on the 15 day disabled list. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud fractured his hand when hit by a pitch by AJ Ramos of the Miami Marlins, he’s heading to the DL as is left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins who fractured his forearm. If you compile these injuries with the losses before the season of starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, and relievers Josh Edgin, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell, it’s pretty remarkable what Terry Collins and the Mets have done to date.

Interestingly enough, we have yet to see the power displayed from Curtis Granderson. Granderson currently has 0 home runs and 0 runs batted in. That should change in time. If Granderson can find his swing, he’ll add another dimension to the Mets lineup that should pair perfectly with their starting rotation.

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Who is the NBA’s MVP?

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love was recently criticized for calling Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook the NBA’s MVP over current teammate LeBron James. Westbrook is currently on a stretch where it seems like every night he takes the floor he’s getting a triple double. Early in the season, the Thunder had both Kevin Durant and Westbrook out and since have been trying to make up ground in the Western Conference to make the playoffs. However, after returning from injury, Kevin Durant is now sidelined again indefinitely and possibly for the season. Russell Westbrook has taken it upon himself to have the Thunder make the playoffs.

Russell Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 assists, and 7.2 rebounds a night. Phenomenal numbers from anyone today and the best of his career. All numbers are well above his career average and at age 26, the best may be yet to come. He currently has the Thunder sitting in the last playoff spot at 41-30, 3 games ahead of the 9th place Phoenix Suns.

Another candidate is Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Curry currently has the Warriors with the best record in the NBA at 58-13 and the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. On the year Curry is averaging 23.4 points, 7.9 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game. While Westbrook’s numbers exceed all of Curry’s, its the way Curry goes about reaching those numbers that separates him from Westbrook. Curry shoots 48%, 42%, and 91% (field, 3pt, free throw) while Westbrook shoots 43%, 31%, and 84%. Curry also averages 1 less turnover a night. Curry is more efficient in the way he goes about hitting his numbers, and he also has his team in first place.

Will Selva - James Harden

James Harden has been phenomenal for the Houston Rockets. Even when star center Dwight Howard has been sidelined, Harden has made sure the Rockets don’t skip a beat. At 47-23, the Rockets trail only the Warriors and Grizzlies in the Western Conference playoff picture. Harden has been incredible, especially of late with a 44 point performance against Indiana and a career high 50 vs Denver. He’s currently averaging 27.2 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.8 rebounds a night.

It’s not an MVP conversation if we don’t mention LeBron James. James again is having a tremendous season averaging 25.9 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game. However, his points and rebounds are down in comparison to his career numbers. In fact, this seasons points per game output is the 2nd lowest of his career with only his rookie season lower. James has the Cavaliers sitting at 46-26, good for second in the Eastern Conference. However, they are unlikely to catch the first place Atlanta Hawks. Still although this isn’t his best season he does need to be in the discussion for MVP.

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