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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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Lynx draft four ‘solid players’

Unlike last year’s top-heavy, star-studded draft, the 2014 WNBA Draft was instead more workwoman-like. Filling specific team needs took precedence over obtaining star players. The MSR, during the April 10 pre-draft media conference call, asked ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson if they foresee “a publicity let-down” from last year’s “3 to See” draft that featured Britney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Della Donne. “I don’t think necessarily we have an Elena Della Donne or Britney Griner in this class,” explained Robinson. “We do have a lot of impact players: Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland). Continue Reading →

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Tutor exposes fake classes at major university

 

 

 

Mary Willingham has received death threats from social media users. She’s looked at by some with disdain. All because she decided to step forward and help bring to light what was going on at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Willingham, then a school’s academic tutor for UNC players, finally let it be known that she was the “unnamed source” for a local reporter’s investigative reporting on the school having set up fake classes, changed grades and awarded worthless degrees for football and basketball players — too many of them were Black — for at least a couple of decades. “I want to do right by them because I was part of the problem,” says Willingham during an MSR phone interview on the “hundreds” of UNC players she worked with during her seven years as a tutor. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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March graduation rate madness

 

 

A quick prediction for this year’s NCAAs — Black male basketball players’ graduation rates will remain virtually unchanged. While nearly everyone is filling out their brackets, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) released on Monday its annual study on the academic performance of the players in the NCAA Division I tournament teams. The study’s primary author, TIDES Director Dr. Richard Lapchick, compares the graduation rate data of Black and White male basketball student-athletes.  

“There is not much good news to report as almost every category examined remained the same or got worse,” wrote Lapchick. The women teams’ report was released Tuesday. A more detailed analysis will be in next week’s “Another View” in the MSR print edition. Continue Reading →

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March Madness begins

 

 

Let’s be perfectly clear from the start — this and all subsequent columns are March Madness cliché-free. We won’t be talking about dancing or getting tickets punched here. The Gophers women basketball team plays Thursday in the 2014 Big Ten women’s tournament in Indianapolis — they face 11th-seeded Wisconsin at approximately 8 pm local time. Minnesota (19-11, 8-8 Big Ten) as the sixth seed goes into Indy on a modest two-game winning streak, but more importantly, especially for further post-season considerations, the Gophers have won seven of their last 11 contests. Although the team finished with a positive conference record for the first time since 2009, from now on U of M’s “second season” record must stay above .500. Continue Reading →

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Jones’ shot at the buzzer lifts Washburn over North

With four seconds remaining, Minneapolis Washburn guard JEFF JONES, the state’s Mr. Football, received the inbounds pass, dribbled quickly across half court, and launched a one-handed, running three-point shot that careened successfully off the backboard as the buzzer sounded, giving the Millers a thrilling 73-71 City Conference boys’ basketball victory over first-place North.  

 

 

 

 

Mpls Washburn vs. Mpls North

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

The victory, witnessed by a capacity crowd at North, opened up the race for the conference title and confirmed that basketball in Minneapolis is back on the rise. Washburn appeared to be in control, taking a 44-33 lead behind the sharpshooting of EVAN SHEPHERD, who finished with a game-high 24 points and Jones, who added 22. Continue Reading →

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Coaches, teammates help Texas native adjust to North Country

 

 

 

 

 

 
Spotlight on the Gophers 100

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman Gopher basketball guard Stabresa McDaniel

 

Stabresa McDaniel is used to getting “the most attention” as one of six siblings in her family. “I actually like being the youngest,” she admits. “My older siblings say I’m spoiled — I get away with a lot of things.”

Leaving both the Lone Star State and her family hasn’t been as hard as one might expect for the youngest McDaniel. Continue Reading →

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Johnson coming on strong — again

As usual, the favorites to contend for the St. Paul City boys’ basketball title are defending champion Johnson and rival St. Paul Central. (By press time, the teams had already met in the first of two contests.) Challenging them are Como Park and Highland Park; also competing are Harding, Humboldt and Washington with some outstanding players in their own right. Since 2004, Johnson, who prior to that had won their only City crown in 1983 (behind the outstanding play of WAYNE ELLIS, MONTE DEBERRY, SCOTT ACKERSON, CHRIS GARRETT, DARRIN CHAPMON, TONY ADKINS and COY NELSON), has owned the conference. Continue Reading →

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Concussion issue raises safety concerns among many contact sports

Is there a connection between playing such sports as football and brain diseases that down the road can produce fatal effects? Medical research indicates that such a connection exists, and athletes and coaches are doing their best to come to terms with the implications. Earlier this fall, Frontline’s League of Denial documentary on PBS in October showed a prominent Black doctor being “blackballed” after he performed an autopsy on a deceased former NFL player’s brain and blamed football for the player’s untimely death at age 50. The two-hour documentary also suggested that the league may have known that playing football could cause permanent brain damage but kept quiet about it. “The brain is the last frontier in medicine,” says Jack Brewer, whose Brewer Sports International group last June held a brain injuries seminar in the Twin Cities. Continue Reading →

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