Wilting Rose

News broke late Tuesday night that Derrick Rose’s season was in question. Sometime in the near future, Rose will require right knee meniscus surgery. With this surgery, Rose will be sidelined for the rest of the 2014-2015 season. This will be Rose’s third major injury since 2012 and it puts the final nail in the coffin of the belief that he can be a superstar still.

When Rose went down in the first game of the playoffs in 2012, he would not step on the court until the fall of 2013, playing in only ten games before tearing the meniscus in his left knee. This season, he has played in 46 games, his most since his MVP-winning 2010-2011 campaign, but injuries have come back again to end his season. If he isn’t on the court, that’s an easy way to rule out his best-in-the-league claim.

Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and now Derrick Rose. These are just a few players that have had their NBA careers heavily affected because of injuries. Rose has shown that he is a superstar in this league, but unfortunately that time is now gone. Perhaps the one that he relates to most is Hardaway. Like Rose, Hardaway was also a first round selection out of Memphis. Foot, ankle, and knee injuries shortened Hardaway’s career and he never reached his full potential. Hardaway played more than 70 games in a season only three times, his first three seasons in the NBA (although he did play in all 50 games of the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season. The four-time All Star suffered a left knee injury in 1997 that was the beginning of the end. He would make the All Star team that year despite his injuries, but it would be the final time. At his peak, 1995-1996, Hardaway averaged 21.7 PPG and 7.1 APG while starting in all 82 games. Ten years later, he would come off the bench four times and score a total of ten points that season.

Like Hardaway, Rose has proven himself in the league before injuries. When Rose was MVP of the NBA, he averaged 25 PPG and 7.7 APG. In 2011-2012, his numbers dipped slightly because he was slowed by injuries throughout the season, but none were as major as tearing his ACL in the playoffs. Since then, it’s clear that he isn’t who he used to be on the court. He is now a much more hesitant player. The days of his flashy dunks and non-stop aggressive drives into the lane are long gone and won’t return.

The problem is simple; if Rose can’t stay on the court, he won’t produce MVP numbers. It’s not easy to accept, but it’s reality. It’s as much of a physical struggle as it is a mental battle. Rose has to be questioning himself along the way and wondering if he should tone down his tenacious play in order to save himself. Until he is able to play a full season, Rose’s prime is finished. 

Fighting in Hockey: A Deadly Affair?

Previously, we have talked about the importance of fighting in the NHL, but we would be remiss to forget about the serious reasons for why fighting is dangerous. While the numbers are small for deaths of former NHL fighters, a loss of life cannot be revived. Tell us what you think, does fighting belong in the NHL?

By: Cullen Raidna

Every hockey fan has heard the age old adage “I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out.” I can remember going to games when I was young and it was almost a guarantee that I would get to see my favorite fighter (at the time Matt Barnaby) go toe to toe with someone on the opposing team. The game has changed since the days of my childhood, fights are becoming more and rarer, and known fighters, such as Paul Bissonette, are finding it harder to find a place in National Hockey League (NHL). Most of this is a result of the NHL being on the forefront of concussion research. Concussions do not only affect the player at the time, but can create a lifelong impact on a person’s life. This has been seen recently with the deaths of former NHL enforcers such as Derek Boogard, Rick Rypein, Wade Belak, and just last week, Steve Montador.


 Derek Boogaard was just 28, Belak and Montador 35, and Rypein just in his early 20s when they all passed away. Rypein, whose career was just starting committed suicide as a result of depression. That leaves us with Belak, Montador, and Boogaard, all of them with striking similarities related to their deaths. Belak and Boogaard both suffered from depression and substance abuse, Montador also suffered from depression. Now what would cause these 3 men, playing the game they had loved as children, towards a life of depression and substance abuse. The answer is simple and scary: Chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

CTE is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that affects the brain tissue as a result of repeated head trauma. Trauma in the form of repeated concussions is obviously a factor, but is sub-concussive hits, or hits not powerful enough to trigger concussions, you know like punches to the head during a fight. CTE can lead to problems such as early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s, and depression. The problem with CTE is that it can only be diagnosed after death. While players maybe show systems such as depression it is not concrete enough for an official diagnosis.

For those of you who are ahead of me you are probably correct, Boogaard, Belak, and Montador, all suffered from CTE. These men, had they continued on in their lives, would have most likely passed on in their mid-40s as a result of early onset dementia. This was the case in former enforcer Rob Flemming, who also suffered from CTE, and passed away from early onset dementia. This being said here comes the debate, should there be fighting in hockey? My answer for the longest time has been yes, fighting is a part of the game, plain and simple. That being said I think that staged fighting (fighting for no reason just two guys deciding to drop the gloves at go at it) is wrong and has no place in the game, however I did believe that fighting to defend a teammate is fine and should be done. Now that I know more my opinion has changed drastically. What happened to these guys is no joke. Montador and Belak retired as a result of lingering concussion issues, and Boogaard died while nursing his third concussion of his young career. Concussions have been at the forefront of medical research as of late but in the end it was not what did these guys in. While it did contribute, there are apparent links to fighting, which the punches they took, where the sub-concussive hits that lead to the formation of the CTE. I now believe that fighting needs to go. The five minute penalty they serve is nothing compared to the ultimate price these fine young men paid. While fighting is a spectacle to see at any game it is not worth the potential damage it may cause.

In memory of Derek Boogaard, Steve Montador, Wade Belak, and Rick Rypein, may you all rest in peace. 



Winners/Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline

By: Sam Kluender

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and brought with it many surprises. Going into this week, the thought around the NBA would be that the deadline would be pretty dead compared to recent years. Instead, we saw a flurry of multi-team trades occurring within the last 30 minutes of the deadline resulting in the most active trade deadline in NBA history. Twelve trades were completed with 37 players switching teams along with various future draft picks. So who were the winners and losers of this NBA trading season?

Winners

Miami Heat:

The Heat, who are currently 22-30 in the East, are on the cusp of making the playoffs being currently seeded eighth. They probably made the best win now and build for the future move of the draft by trading for Goran Dragic of the Suns. Dragic, who is arguably the best player moved in the deadline, will shore up their point guard situation. The Heat hoped that Shabazz Napier would develop into an NBA quality PG, but that hasn’t happened. The situation has put the Heat in having one of the worst PG positions in the NBA. Now the Heat will have a competent PG who will be able to help Bosh and Wade. The thought around the league right now is that Dragic will sign a long term deal with the Heat after the season making him the PG of the future.

Milwaukee Bucks:

It was interesting to see how the new Bucks owners and Jason Kidd would enter this year’s trade deadline. The motto all year for the Bucks has been “Own the Future”. The Bucks have found themselves in a playoff situation they didn’t think they’d be in. With a playoff berth almost guaranteed at this point the question was whether the Bucks would make a move to win now like most years or continue your philosophy. It’s clear then went with the latter. The Bucks traded away Brandon Knight to the Suns and received Michael Carter-Williams from the Sixers and Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee from the Suns. Brandon Knight who is playing at an all-star level is a free agent after this year and the thought around Milwaukee was they weren’t going to pay him what he wanted. Instead they flipped him for Carter-Williams who has a lot of development to do, especially on the offensive end. Jason Kidd reportedly has been trying to get him for a long time. The hope is Kidd will develop him into a future star. Plumlee takes over in the spot that was occupied by Larry Sanders, who was bought out this week, down low.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

The Thunder were finally able to get rid of Reggie Jackson who has long been thought to be a cancer to the team. Kevin Durant publicly dissed Jackson without stating his name in saying “We felt like everybody wanted to be here except for one guy”. Jackson, unhappy playing more of a secondary role with the team, has wanted to be traded for a while to be a top option of a team. In addition to getting rid of Jackson, the Thunder received Enes Kanter, D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler, and Steve Novak. Kanter was the best big man on the block and Novak and Singler are going to help the outside shooting quite a bit. With only giving up Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, and a future first round pick, the Thunder really gave their team a push towards a winning postseason.

Losers

Phoenix Suns

The Suns made by far the most moves this deadline, totally transforming their team. The most significant of which is trading for Brandon Knight of the Bucks and trading away Goran Dragic. Dragic put the Suns in a bind when he demanded a trade. With needing to trade him away it lost them some leverage in trade talks. The Suns are similar to the Heat in that they are right on the cusp of the playoffs being 29-25 and the ninth team in the West. The issue with the Suns is they very well may have gotten worse for the rest of the season and depending on Knights’ production, didn’t do anything for the future either. Tyler Ennis was tearing it up in the D-League and played pretty well when they brought him up. They now trade him away for Knight who is obviously better now but may not even be on the team next year. With the Suns contract situation the way it is, it’s no sure thing that they could afford Knight who is the only potential franchise changer they received in the trade. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that Isiah Thomas is now gone too, which only doubles the concerns in Phoenix.

Minnesota Timberwolves/Brooklyn Nets???

The whole trade between the Nets and the Timberwolves was surprising and very interesting. There are both sides where you could argue either team made the right or wrong move. The trade sends Kevin Garnett back home to Minnesota and Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn. Nets GM Billy King made it abundantly clear that players such as Brooks Lopez and Deron Williams would be available in the deadline yet never made a move, instead the only move being Garnett. If you are a Timberwolves fan you probably love this. The T-Wolves aren’t going to compete within the next two years and are unlikely to sign Young to an extension. Now they receive their former star and future Hall-of-Famer to help develop and be a veteran presence on the young team. It will also give T-Wolves fans more incentive to watch despite poor performance. 

Upset


Tonight, I achieved a lifelong dream. After years of watching thousands of others do it, I ran onto a basketball court after an exciting victory.

#23 West Virginia University defeated #8 University of Kansas 62-61 on Tuesday, February 16, 2015.

I have been to upsets before. In 2013 I saw the University of Pittsburgh defeat the University of Notre Dame and this past fall I saw WVU defeat the University of Baylor. Both of those games were college football matchups. Each were very exciting victories, but fan involvement was limited at the end. In college basketball, it's nearly impossible to stop fans from storming the court so therefore security allows it to happen so long as things don't get out of hand.

This game was different from the start. I've gone to eight WVU basketball games this year and the previous seven were quite like this one. My friends and I left our dorm at 7:30 and got inside the WVU Coliseum a little before eight o'clock. ESPN was in the house and Brent Musburger was calling the game. We were handed yellow foam fingers, t-shirts were tossed to us, and "BEAT KANSAS" signs covered the student section. No other game had quite been like this.

WVU's student section at basketball games is courtside and as the players went under the tunnel for the last time before the game started, my friends and I were able to high-five all of the players and coaches. Head Coach Bob Huggins and I had an awkward exchange in which he anticipated a handshake, but I went for the high-five. Not one of the proudest moments of my life.

Soon the game was udnerway and the Mountaineers jumped out to an 8-0 lead. The Coliseum was rocking in a way I'd never seen before. Snow showers and frigid weather had kept the Morgantown faithful from packing the arena, but the students were out in full force and the electricity in the building was astounding.

The game was very back and forth, neither team held a double digit lead and it was clear it would come down to the wire after WVU guard Jevon Carter drilled back-to-back three pointers to give the Mountaineers a 60-59 lead with 2:27 remiaing in regulation. As WVU took the lead, my friends and I began to grab out jackets because win or lose, we would have to be on the move quickly. Kansas reclaimed the lead with 8.3 seconds remaining and time was running out on a comeback possibility.

Senior guard Juwan Staten had a chance on December 4th to sink a game winner against Lousiana State University, but his jumper clanged off the rim as time expired and WVU lost their first game of the season. Tonight, he refused to repeat history. State received the inbound pass just before half court and dashed into the paint to deliver the go-ahead bucket. I leaped into the air in pure joy, but right in front of me I saw a football pass to the other end of the court. Jayhawks center Perry Ellis caught the pass and put up a shot.

"No, no... Please no," I screamed.

A finger roll, the ball danced on the rim. Time stood still... The ball rolled out and into the hands of Carter. Game over.

The moment I saw the ball roll off of the rim, I was already pushing past the people in front of me to get onto the court. I just wanted to see the players up close and thank them for the joy they brought us all on this night. I got to mid-court and before I knew it, the basketball court has practically become a mosh-pit. Students coming from every direction and crowding around players. "Country Roads" blared on the speakers and together as a school, we raised our voices in celebration.

Power forward Devin Williams pushed through the crowd right in front of me. Graduate and current Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin raised his phone in the air and took pictures and videos of the scene just like the rest of us were doing.

I looked up hoping to catch a glimpse at the final score, but I could only see a large, yellow flying WV. I laughed because at this moment I realized I'd done something I'd always dreamed of.

Is this real life?

As I began to leave the arena, I thought of how odd the whole thing really was. I thought of how I had made a bee-line for the court as soon as I realized that the game was over without even thinking of how dangerous the situation could be. My lanky 150 pound frame does not strike the most imposing figure after all.

After a trip to Taco Bell and a long walk back to my dorm, I realized what made storming the court so special. The student-athletes performing and their classmates watching are all in the same situation; planning what they want to do for the rest of their lives. We all understand each other because we all live a fairly similar life here. Students take pride in what their fellow classmates can do athletically because it brings awareness to the great things about a university. I've never been more proud to be a Mountaineer than I am right now.

Being able to spend time with complete strangers at center court of the WVU Coliseum was probably the best way that I will ever spend a Monday night. It was a surreal experience and something I'll never forget, but now it's three in the morning. It's time to pick up my laundry. Things will go back to normal when I wake up in a few hours. After all, I do have an 8:30 class. 

Bucking the Trend

Andy Pettitte’s son broke the news via Twitter on February 15 that the New York Yankees would retire his father's #46 and dedicate a monument to him in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in 2015. While Pettitte’s numbers are impressive, his 19 postseason wins are the most all time and his 183 strikeouts in October are second, he did something that no other Yankee in Monument Park ever did.

In 2007, the infamous Mitchell Report came out and accused countless baseball players of using performance enhancing drugs. Some of the players named were Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, and Andy Pettitte. The Yankees left hander was accused of using HGH to recover from elbow pains in 2002. Interestingly enough, HGH was not banned until 2005, so technically what Pettitte did at the time was not illegal. Shortly after, Pettitte delivered a tearful apology to the press. The public has largely forgiven him since Pettitte’s performance had not drastically changed from before he used HGH.

Other steroid users have not been so lucky, but most have not taken the same approach as Pettitte. Bonds and Clemens constantly denied usage despite evidence suggesting otherwise. Players like Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire have tried denying the facts, but the truth comes out and when they apologize it is often too late. Pettitte did the right thing, contrary to a former teammate's opinion, when he admitted his usage and stated that he did it when it was not illegal and was sorrowful if he had done any wrong.

Pettitte is not likely to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. His 3.85 career ERA is respectable, but considering that he only had three seasons with an ERA under three, it should not be enough to get him into the Hall. Despite no wrong-doing at the time of Pettitte’s HGH usage, it will still convince most writers that he doesn’t belong among the elite However, his contributions to the Yankees organization are worthy enough of Monument Park. He is their all-time strikeouts leader with 2,020 and helped lead the Yankees to five championships during his tenure. To the Bronx Bombers, nothing is more important than postseason success and that is where Pettitte excelled best.

With Pettitte entering Monument Park, it is showing that the times are changing. Since the 2007 Mitchell Report nearly ten years ago, fans and members of the baseball world have denied honoring those who have used PED's. Without realizing it, the Yankees organization is bucking the trend. They are showing that it is okay to forgive PED users of their past. Eventually, MLB and its fans will forgive troubled stars like Bonds and Clemens as well. 26 years since Pete Rose was banned for gambling, the public largely supports removing the ban. Time heals everything. Andy Pettitte is an innovator without even intending to be one.