Thursday, April 26, 2012

Post for McAlester News-Capital

New York Knicks @ Charlotte Bobcats

Bobcats Set NBA Record for Futility in 104-84 Loss

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – History was made Thursday night in Charlotte, but it was not the history anyone desires to make.

The Charlotte Bobcats fell to the New York Knicks 104-84 Thursday, stamping their place in history as the team with the worst winning percentage ever.

The Bobcats finished the season with a 7-59 record and a .106 winning percentage, sinking slightly lower than the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73 with a .110 winning percentage.

Knicks guard J.R. Smith scored a game high 22 points, and forward Amare Stoudemire added 21, including a vicious dunk over Charlotte forward Tyrus Thomas, as the Knicks dealt the Bobcats their 23rd consecutive loss.

The Knicks outscored the Bobcats 58-40 in the second half, despite holding starters Baron Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler out of action.

Stoudemire only played 24 minutes in the game.

The win, combined with Philadelphia’s loss at Detroit, gave the Knicks the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. The Knicks will face Miami in the first round, with game one on Saturday.

Forward Gerald Henderson scored 21 points for the Bobcats, who shot 43.2 percent for the game. New York shot 51.8 percent.

Despite the Bobcats’  abysmal season, there was a decent crowd on hand to witness the last game of the regular season for both teams, although many in the crowd sported Knicks gear.

The Bobcats have been in the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons, first for their terrible season, but more recently for comments made by former head coach, and current SMU head coach Larry Brown, criticizing majority owner Michael Jordan for his operation of the franchise.

Wednesday, Brown appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, and said Jordan was surrounded by people, “who don’t have a clue.”

Jordan responded in an interview with the Charlotte Observer that appeared on Thursday.

“My success will be judged differently,” Jordan said. “I’ve come to accept I’ll be scrutinized more than any other owner.

“I know now that I have to have a tough skin about these things.”

The first half was a back and forth affair, as neither team led by more than five points. The Knicks led 41-36 late in the second quarter, but the Bobcats quickly erased that deficit behind an Augustin three-pointer and a Henderson layup.

Smith was the star for the Knicks in the first half, scoring 15 points overall, and 13 in the second quarter alone.

Knicks rookie Jerome Jordan reached a career high in points in the first half alone, scoring eight points, and pulling down four rebounds. Jordan finished the game with 13 points.

Another rookie, former Kentucky Wildcat Josh Harrellson, racked up 18 points for the Knicks. 

The Bobcats were down just two at halftime, but New York slowly pulled away in the third quarter behind the inside play of Stoudemire and Harrellson, and the outside shooting of Smith, outscoring the Bobcats, 30-19.

Bobcats rookie Kemba Walker scored 13 points for Charlotte, while D. J. Augustin scored 12, and D.J. White, 11.

While the Knicks move on to the playoffs, the Bobcats will look ahead to the NBA Draft Lottery, where they hope to gain the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gerald McCoy: Faith and Football

OU vs. Texas 2008. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy rolls to his right trying to avoid the mountain of a man bearing down on him. He ducks, trying to get away, but is unable to escape the massive arms of #93 and is taken down for a loss.

Gerald McCoy hops up, walks around as he is mobbed by his teammates and then heads back to the line of scrimmage, ready for the next play. Typical of the big fella.

Gerald McCoy is a big man. No other way to say it. He is big in stature at 6’4” 295 pounds and his smile is a mile wide. But it’s the size of his faith that sets him apart from both a lot of athletes and just people in general.

Gerald said that he grew up in a Christian home and practically lived at church when he was young. In spite of that, he didn’t really start living for Christ until his junior year of high school.

“I was in the crowd that was known as the church guys but I wasn’t doing the things that a church guy would be known to do,” Gerald said. “I just decided that I needed to change what I was doing because I was supposed to be the church guy and I needed to be living a certain way and I just wasn’t doing that.”

Gerald says that this change in his life has really impacted the way that he lives now and the way that he goes about football. He isn’t big on individual achievement and knows that all of his talents and abilities are gifts from God.

“I just say that it’s not my skill, not my talent, and not my work ethic,” Gerald said. “Everything I do God has given me and I want to give it back to him, offer it back up to him. However he wants to use me, then I want him to use me. I don’t care how.”

This attitude carries over to the way that Gerald plays and goes about his football business. His teammates have taken notice of it too. Gerald was elected as a team captain by his teammates for the 2008 season as a sophomore, an almost unprecedented accomplishment on a veteran laden team.

“I lead more by example than voice,” Gerald said. “As far as leadership goes, I lead by how I play, how I am in the classroom, my work ethic, things like that. That’s where more of my leadership role as a captain comes in.”

Gerald’s teammates respect him, as evidenced by them electing him team captain. They admire his hard work and the enthusiasm with which he goes about playing the game.

“He is just an enthusiastic player,” said sophomore offensive lineman Cory Brandon. “He plays hard, he works hard and he is just a great guy.”

Junior tight end Jermaine Gresham and freshman defensive end Frank Alexander also said that Gerald was a hard worker and also said that he is crazy and a really funny guy to be around.

The football field is far and away the place where Gerald excels. As a freshman in 2007, he was named Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and was named to several freshman All-American teams. In 2008, he was named to the Sporting News All-American team and was named a first team Big 12 defensive player. Gerald isn’t all about his on the field activities and accolades though.

Gerald is the president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Chapter at OU. It’s something that he says that he has been involved with for many years.

“I’ve always been involved in FCA,” Gerald said. “That started in middle school, but I seriously got involved my senior year of high school.”

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at OU encompasses a wide range of students and not all of them are athletes. In fact, Gerald said that more than half are non-athletes.

“FCA stands for Fellowship of Christian Athletes,” said senior public relations major JT DeBerry. “FCA is a place for not just athletes, but non-athletes too, to just take a day off each week and just come fellowship, eat food, play games and just have a good time.”

Gerald simply takes a different attitude toward life than a lot of people. He truly epitomizes what it means to be a student athlete. He is a quality student as a communications major, but also supports the other sports at OU. And boy is he full of spirit.

“I love my school,” said Gerald. “Whatever school I attend, that’s the school I represent. Now I’m in college and it’s my state against your state.”

Gerald also said that he really appreciates the support the other athletes give the football team and that it’s only right that he support them as well.

“I know that a lot of those people in the stadium are student athletes and they need support in their sport too,” Gerald said. “I don’t mind doing that because they come support us every Saturday.”

The other athletes have taken note of Gerald’s support and know that it’s not something that he does because he has to, but rather out of a sheer love for competition, winning, and his school.

“I think Gerald is the ultimate man in every category,” said women’s basketball star Courtney Paris. “He supports everyone so he is just the ultimate Sooner and you always appreciate his support.”

For example, at the men’s basketball game against Texas Tech on Valentine’s Day, Gerald showed up with big angel wings, boxer shorts with hearts all over them, and a headband with pipe cleaners attached in the shape of hearts. The students loved it.

“It’s not everyday that you see a student athlete support his fellow athletes like Gerald does in such a passionate way,” said freshman meteorology major Kevin Burns. “Gerald is a great leader for both the team and also for the students.”

With spring practice in the books, hopes are high for the 2009 football season. Gerald said that he thinks it’s going to be a good one.

“It’s good to have Sam back and Jermaine,” Gerald said. “We have a lot of guys returning on defense. It’s going to be a good year.”

One thing is for sure. No matter how the season turns out for the Sooners, they will have #93 on the defensive line, giving his all on every play, serving as their very own minister of defense.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Midterm Project: Dave Edwards

Three years ago, Dave Edwards founded a new church in Norman, Oklahoma named River Church. The goal was to be not only a church that shows love within the congregation, but also shows love to the community around it. Edwards and River Church have been working toward this goal since the church's founding by adopting a local elementary school and doing other various service projects throughout the community of Norman. I am a member of River Church and I decided to feature him in this video because I have never been involved in a church that is so passionate about caring for its community. The zeal with which Dave goes about his mission is obvious as he walks the streets of Norman.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Community found in churches

River Church and Berry Road Baptist Church in Norman Oklahoma.  River Church uses Berry Road Baptist's facilities on Sunday evening.  Photo from Sept. 27, 2009.


Coming to college is one of the most drastic changes that a person goes through in their life. The goal of pretty much every student is to get into a routine that they consider to be normal and like the life that they used to live.  Something that some students look for is a church.        

For many students, church has been a very important part of their life from day one. They have always gone and been a part of a church family. It’s a comfort thing for a lot of people. 

“I was looking because God is central in my life and to grow in my relationship with Him I needed to be involved in a church and establish relationships with others in the church,” said Melissa Mock, sophomore international area studies and history major at the University of Oklahoma.

Louis Warner, a sophomore physics major at the University of Oklahoma says that church has been a major part of his life and it has help him grow in his faith.

        “Without a church family, my individual ministry is greatly diminished,” Warner said. “I knew that if I did not find a good church family, I would fall away from my daily walk with Christ.”

         Many students take several weeks, if not months to find a church home. There may be many options to choose from or very few. It all depends on the area of the country in which you decide to attend school. 

River Church pastor Dave Edwards talks about his church and their vision.  


            “It took me two weeks to find a church,” Mock said. “River was the second church I visited and I immediately had the feeling that this was the type of church I had been looking for, for a long time.”

            Every student gets something different out of church.  For the most part, people find community in a church.

            “Church has given me a place in the midst of my busy week to go and worship God, learn more about him, and reconnect with others,” Mock said. “Without it I think I would be discouraged and get tired of a lot of things in life, but when I go I am refreshed by God's word and encouraged by my church family.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Junior College = Solid Alternative

The front entrance of Oklahoma Community College in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Photo provided by Spencer Smith.

College is expensive. No ifs, ands or buts about it. College is also rigorous academically. No way to disprove that fact either. There are people out there that simply cannot keep up with either of those characteristics that come with a four-year university. For those who cannot afford it or cannot deal with the academic rigors, there is an alternative option: junior college.

OCCC sophomore Spencer Smith talks about the misconceptions about junior colleges.

Junior colleges are schools that offer primarily two-year associates degrees at a lower cost than that of a four-year university. The education however, remains close to the same due to smaller classes and more intentional time with professors. 

Spencer Smith, a sophomore at OCCC, said that finances were the primary reason for him attending a junior college. 

“Due to extenuating circumstances I don’t have any scholarships so that was a very big motivating factor,” Smith said.

Chris Beaudoin, a sophomore at OCCC, said that many people attend community or junior colleges to take care of classes that they would have problems with at a four-year university. Another reason is just to get classes out of the way so that students can move on to more difficult classes within their major. 

OCCC sophomore Chris Beaudoin talks about how attending a junior college benefits him.  

The smaller student to teacher ratio is another big factor that draws students to a junior college. 

“Going to a university, the classes are 10 times bigger so I get more one on one time with my teachers at OCCC if I do not understand something,” Beaudoin said.

“At OCCC they have much smaller class sizes than at OU,” Smith said. “Also, their calculus program is said to be exceptional. That program in and of itself, that’s why I’m going there. If I have questions, I’ll have more opportunities to get one-on-one time with my teachers.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How Athletes Search

University of Oklahoma sophomore volleyball player Suzy Boulavsky, #2 in white, and Texas Tech sophomore volleyball player Karlyn Meyers, #3 in black, ready themselves for the next point in their match October 3, 2009.

The worlds of students and student-athletes sometimes seem to be on opposite sides of the galaxy from each other. However, both have the title of student and it is this term that brings these worlds a little closer together. 

A big way in which college athletes and regular students can relate is their search for a college that they want to be at. No matter what the sport, athletes still want to be at a school that they enjoy going to. 

“Whenever I decided to come to OU, it was more of a decision based on the school,” said Suzy Boulavsky, sophomore volleyball player at the University of Oklahoma. “I committed when I was a sophomore so I didn't really have an idea of what necessarily to look for but it was just whenever I came to the campus, I felt like it was where I needed to be.”

The traditional way of looking for schools involves applications, campus visits and information on scholarships. The search for a college athlete includes all this, but with many more visits and lots of regulations on the contact between coaches and recruits.

“The first step was to send in videos and a resume to each school, and then I talked to the coaches and went on visits,” said Karlyn Meyers, sophomore volleyball player at Texas Tech University. “Then I talked with my parents and looked at the pros and cons for each school.”

“There are all these stipulations like they can only call you once and then once you sign you can call them whenever,” Boulavsky said. “A lot of times they send out questionnaires about you to find out more about you.”

The biggest part of the search for an athlete is the visit to the school, just like it normally is for the average student. Athletes have to travel all over to visit the schools that they are being recruited by. Meyers and Boulavsky were recruited by schools across the country including Baylor, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Tennessee (Meyers), Northwestern, Miami, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma (Boulavsky).

“Basically if you have an interest or they have an interest in you, you call them and they will come and watch you more and then you'll set up a visit,” Boulavsky said. “Sometimes they will point blank offer, sometimes they won't.  I got lucky because I was offered on the spot.”

OU sophomore volleyball player Suzy Boulavsky talks about what was important for her in her college search and how the recruiting process works.

Some college athletes, like Meyers, have grown up with the dream of playing their sport at the collegiate level and beyond. 

“I don’t think it was ever a decision I made; I just knew that was always what I was going to do,” Meyers said. “Since my mom played in college and I always excelled it was an easy decision. I couldn’t imagine NOT playing at this point.”

Others like Boulavsky discovered they had the ability to play at a higher level the more they played competitively. 

I probably decided at the end of my freshman year,” Boulavsky said. “I never really was the type of person that looked far into the future growing up. I guess hearing, ‘Wow Suzy you're pretty good, you have this type of swing, the things a lot of coaches are looking for and you should look into it,’ made me want to pursue it. When people started telling me, ‘Suzy you can really do this,’ I was just like, ‘I'm going to.’"   

In spite of the general similarities between students and student-athletes, Meyers and Boulavsky agree that the majority of people have the misconception that athletes have it easy in college.

“I just wish that people would understand that it's a job,” Boulavsky said. “It's not fun.  What we do isn't fun anymore.  It's what is paying us through college.”

“It is hard being a student-athlete because we have to juggle school, volleyball, and then if you find time, a social life,” Meyers said.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Isn't Recruiting Only For Athletes?

Photo by: Luke McConnell
Jacobson Hall on the campus at the University of Oklahoma houses the university's recruitment services

You may think that only the athletes are the ones that get recruited for school.  However, when you look at the process and the attention that you get as a prospective student, it is basically a recruiting process and it starts with your first impressions on campus.

Every single university has some sort of a prospective students’ center.  These centers house many different resources that students can use on their college searches.  These resources include information about the school, scholarship information, admissions information and campus tours. 

“Members of the Recruitment Services team at OU assist students with their college search by providing information about admission, scholarship, housing and financial aid,” said Andy Roop, director of Prospective Student Services at the University of Oklahoma.  “We also assist by providing information about the university as a whole, individual colleges and departments as well as student life.”

Campus tours are one of the more important things that a prospective student can do to get a good feel for a school.  On a campus tour, you don’t only get to see the campus, but also get to hear about different amenities that the campus offers.

Photo by: Luke McConnell

Prospective students tour the campus at the University of Oklahoma 

Rachel Tyrell is a tour guide at the University of Oklahoma.

I feel like I play a major role in the recruitment process because most students do not know a lot about a campus until they actually come to do a tour, even if they have been here for football games,” Tyrell, a sophomore, said.  “On the tour we not only show the campus but highlight resources and different aspects of the learning experience that is appealing to prospective students.”

Tyrell said that she feels a bit of pressure as a tour guide but tries to just let the character of the campus shine through on its own.

“I feel a little bit of pressure to impress the students because it is their first impression; but, at the same time, the University of Oklahoma's campus speaks for itself,” Tyrell said.  “Our campus is gorgeous, and when going on a campus tour, OU has a sense of feeling at home.”

Tyrell said that it was important to go to a school that you enjoyed, but it is more important to go somewhere that will be of a benefit to you as a person, no matter what the campus looks like. 

“I would tell a prospective student to go where they feel comfortable, where they will be challenged academically, and where they will have phenomenal opportunities to grow their leadership skills, community service opportunities, and grow as a person,” Tyrell said.

Some students choose to take the risk of going to a school without ever seeing the campus and going based solely on academics and reputation.

“I didn’t have the time to get away and take a college visit,” said University of Oklahoma freshman Tryston Walsh.  “My family is a very busy family.”

Walsh said that although he didn’t visit OU before going there, things worked out well in a big way. 

“I was in awe,” Walsh said of the first time he stepped on campus.  “I was amazed by the architecture and how nice everything was.  I think it is a beautiful campus.”

Walsh said that even though things worked out for him, he would not advise not visiting a school before deciding to attend it.

“It’s not a smart decision because you need to see what you’ve applied to,” Walsh said.  “You need to know general information about your school before getting there.” 

Roop says that he always pushes students to take campus tours.

“My advice is always - visit campus,” Roop said.  “It is the best way for a prospective student to truly get a feel for the university they are thinking of attending.  We will do our very best to provide a great campus visit for prospective students.”