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Mike Gminski: Four-Year Duke Star 0

Posted on March 10, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Mike Gminski

Mike Gminski

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a star big man who achieved great success at Camden Indoor Stadium in the era before Coach K and the One-and-Done big men became the norm at Duke University.

Much like recent Duke big men Marvin Bagley III, Jayson Tatum and Jahlil Okafor, Mike Gminski made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils. However, because he played 40 years earlier at a time when few players left college early, Gminski spent four years racking up stats and success in Durham. Read the rest of this entry →

How Will Wrist Injuries Affect Your Quasi-Legal NCAA Bracket? 0

Posted on March 07, 2018 by Joe Fleming

Hunter-UVAFor the most part, college athletes bounce back from physical adversity very well. Muscle pulls and other injuries that might sideline professional players for two or three weeks might keep collegians off the court for a day or two. That’s especially true late in the year when so much is at stake.

But there’s only so much the body can take. Further complicating matters, some teams must fight hard through their entire conference tournament. Then, they have short turnarounds before their first NCAA tournament games.

Wrist Injuries and Basketball

These injuries are serious problems in competitive basketball. Even a lightweight brace often affects a shot. Furthermore, on their drives to the hoop, players want to think about their next move instead of their throbbing wrists.

These players must recover from these injuries just like the rest of us get better. But unlike athletes, office workers and stay-at-home moms alike can usually wear braces that give reliable support for injured wrists. Such support both eases discomfort and helps the injured muscles heal themselves faster.

Rest is often a very good treatment as well. However, for athletes, “rest” is usually a four-letter word. Athletes are notorious for wanting to get back in the game, and win-at-all-costs coaches and trainers sometimes enable that attitude. Read the rest of this entry →

College Basketball’s Championship Week has Competitive Intrigue Across the Nation 2

Posted on March 06, 2018 by Chris Kent

Championship week is here for college basketball and teams are bracing for a frenzy. This annual week of competition features teams battling against their conference foes to determine the champions of their respective conference tournaments. While some teams are already assured a spot in the NCAA Tournament when the bids come out on Sunday March 11, others are “on the bubble,” and fighting for their NCAA lives. Even teams on stable ground for an NCAA bid will be playing this week to enhance their seeding for next week’s big dance while chasing their conference tourney title.

Here is a look at the major conference tournaments coming up this week with a more extensive look at the Atlantic Coast Conference. From top to bottom there is quality competition across the board. This will make the coming six days must see TV for the college basketball junkie.

*Note: The Big 10 Conference already has held its’ postseason conference tournament. Michigan defeated Purdue on Sunday March 4, 75-66 in the title game. The Big 10 Tournament was held Feb. 28 to Mar. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

2018 ACC MBask Tourn Logo FPThe New York Life Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Tournament

March 6-10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY

Virginia was clearly the best team in the conference during the regular season and won the ACC regular season championship with a 17-1 conference mark, placing four wins ahead of No. 2 Duke (13-5). The No. 1 Cavaliers’ 17 conference wins and nine conference road wins this season were both ACC records. Virginia, 28-2 overall, became the fourth team in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll era (since 1990) to reach the No. 1 spot in the AP weekly poll after being unranked in the preseason. Head coach Tony Bennett has the Cavaliers poised to make a deep postseason run. For the third time in the last five years, Virginia enters this week’s New York Life ACC Tournament as the top seed.  They have a double bye and open play Thursday March 8 in the quarterfinals.

Bennett was named this year’s ACC Coach of The Year, his third such honor since becoming head coach of the Cavaliers prior to the 2009-10 season. Senior Isaiah Wilkins was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and freshman De’Andre Hunter was named the Sixth Man of the Year. Sophomore guard Kyle Guy was named to the All-ACC First Team while sophomore guard Ty Jerome garnered third-team honors. Read the rest of this entry →

Crucial Week Lies Ahead for Syracuse Orange as Huge Games Loom 0

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Chris Kent

An absolute crucial week is about to commence for the Syracuse men’s basketball team. Come late Saturday night, it could end up making or breaking the season for the Orange.

SU LogoWhile Syracuse’s regular season finale on March 3 with nationally ranked Clemson (20-6, 9-5) will carry weight for its’ NCAA Tournament hopes as well, this week’s back-to-back games against ACC bluebloods North Carolina and Duke will be enormous for the Orange as they seek to secure an NCAA bid. Although Syracuse will also compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament March 6-10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY where its’ play could also factor into their chances for an NCAA bid, leaving most or all of their NCAA fortunes to that event would be risky when it is not yet even known what the seedings or matchups are going to be.

The Orange (18-9, 7-7) will play three of their final four regular season games against teams currently ranked in the top 15 and who also have a top 10 RPI. A win or two against those teams would place Syracuse on solid instead of shaky ground by the end of the regular season. This would be to their advantage and seem to make their NCAA path easier. Although it is possible for a team “on the bubble” to play its’ way to an NCAA bid based on what they do during championship week, it is a tougher road.

The competition level ramps up for the Orange on Wednesday Feb. 21 when defending national champion North Carolina (21-7,

Roy Williams coaches with fierce intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

Roy Williams coaches with intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

10-5) visits the Carrier Dome for a nationally televised prime time game at 7 pm EST on ESPN. Ranked 10th in this week’s AP Poll and possessing an RPI of five, the Tar Heels are riding a five-game winning streak that has featured wins over Duke, North Carolina State, and Louisville. Meanwhile, Syracuse has won three of its’ last four games and comes off a 62-55 win at Miami on Feb. 17.

North Carolina has another strong team this year and is lead by the trio of senior guards Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson along with 6-8 junior forward Luke Maye who leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 18.4 and 10.5 averages respectively. Berry II and Pinson not only give the Tar Heels production but a pair of senior leaders in the backcourt who have played in the last two national championship games. Berry averages 17.7 points per-game and dishes out 3.1 assists per-game while Pinson adds 9.3 ppg along with a team-best 4.5 apg. Junior guard Kenny Williams also scores 11.5 ppg.

Berry II is one of the better point guards in North Carolina history. Named to the All-Final Four Teams each of the last two seasons, Berry II is one of just two players in ACC history to be named the ACC Tournament MVP in one season (2016) and garner Final Four Most Outstanding Player in another (2017), joining Duke legend Christian Laettner, arguably the top NCAA Tournament performer of all-time. Read the rest of this entry →

Bob Cousy: Houdini of the Hardwood 0

Posted on February 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy

The Boston Celtics traded prior to the 2017-2018 season for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, but the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball juggernaut. Read the rest of this entry →

Some Key NBA Foot Injuries Now And Then 1

Posted on December 07, 2017 by Joe Fleming
Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Sprinting and jumping, two of the most frequent activities in professional basketball, are very hard on the feet. And it’s not just the activities on NBA game days. By the time athletes reach that level, their feet have already undergone years of pounding in practices and games since they were teenagers.

Although foot injuries are much more serious when you sprint and jump for a living, these wounds are not limited to top professional athletes. In fact, they are quite common, especially among active people. While your options are usually limited in terms of correcting the injury, it’s always a good idea to follow a doctor’s orders. There are some choices available in terms of recovery including physical therapy, surgery, and bracing. Instead of just any device, use one of these top shoes for foot injuries. They not only hasten your recovery but also add comfortable and maneuverability while you are laid up.

Bill Walton

A foot injury transformed one of the most dominating forces on the hardwood into one of its most prolific towel-waving cheerleaders. Then again, Mr. Walton was always quite a contrast. In college, he was the best player on those unbeatable John Wooden-led UCLA teams. In the 1973 title game, Mr. Walton almost literally beat Memphis State all by himself, scoring 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting in an 87-66 win.

But the foot injuries soon took their toll. After several campaigns on the Portland Trail Blazers team that included two deep playoff runs, an MVP trophy, and a championship title, Mr. Walton missed the entire 1978-79 season in an injury-related holdout. He played on and off for the next decade, even winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award with the Boston Celtics in 1985. However, Mr. Walton and his foot issues will probably be remembered as the man who still holds the record for the number of career games missed due to injury. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback
      September 2, 2018 | 7:32 pm
      Kilmer

      Billy Kilmer

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

      Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

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