By Charles Hallman
Penn State will be the top overall seed in this week’s Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. The four-day conference tournament starts Thursday. It is the school’s sixth Big Ten regular season title and its first since 2003-04. It also is the first under Coquese Washington. “Last year we surprised people,” the fifth-year head coach said of the Lady Lions’ runners-up finish in the 2011 tourney. Continue Reading →
Search process makes this possibility not likely
Will Blacks be included in the “thorough and inclusive process” University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced last week on his search for the school’s next athletic director. Let me count the reasons they probably won’t be. One, the school is paying an Atlanta search firm $100,000. According to the Sports Business Journal, Division I schools annually conduct up to 45 searches for an AD, football or basketball coach — spending anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 using outside agencies. (A University spokesman told me last week that the money will be coming from two sources: the athletic department and Kaler’s presidential account.)
The business magazine also says these search executives are “in an extraordinarily powerful position,” which lends to reason number two — Minnesota hired Parker Executive Search, whose senior leadership is all White, and all but one of its seven “principals/associates” also are White. Continue Reading →
MLB is trying hard to make it happen
An annual round-robin collegiate baseball tournament featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will take place this weekend in Houston, Texas. Alabama State, Grambling State, Southern University, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern all will participate February 17-19 in the 2012 Urban Invitational, sponsored by Major League Baseball. University of California, Irvine, an NCAA Division I school, is the sixth tournament team. “We are fortunate to…have the opportunity to play against opponents we rarely see,” admits Cal Irvine Baseball Coach Mike Gillespie. Texas Southern Coach Michael Robertson predicts “a highly competitive weekend.”
Black colleges and universities have produced many top baseball players, including Hall of Famers Lou Brock and Andre Dawson, and current Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
If Bobbie Kelsey has her way, her Final Four consecutive appearance streak will stay intact. Her last four seasons she has sat on the Stanford bench as an assistant coach as the Cardinal women’s team twice played for a national title (2009 and 2010) and twice reached the semifinals (2008 and 2011). However, it’s a long shot that her new team will make it five in a row for Kelsey, who’s in her first season as Wisconsin head women’s basketball coach. She was named the school’s sixth-ever head coach last April, as well as U-W’s first Black female in this position. “Minnesota has a very talented group,” Kelsey told the MSR after her Badgers defeated the host Gophers on January 26. Continue Reading →
I took it easy this past week and watched five former metro-area prep basketball players help their college teams to key victories. Check this out! Sophomore center ROYCE WHITE (Hopkins), Mr. Basketball in 2009, had 18 points and nine rebounds in leading Iowa State to a 73-64 upset of fifth-ranked Kansas. Freshmen sensation RACHEL BANHAM (Lakeville North), named Miss Basketball in 2011, led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team with 20 points in a 76-65 win over number-nine Ohio State. Senior guard KIARA BUFORD (St. Continue Reading →
It is known as a sophomore slump when a second-year player struggles, but thus far there is no known term when this occurs during a player’s third season. Call it what you want, but this is what U-M junior guard Leah Cotton currently is experiencing.
Cotton averaged nine points in five non-league games, but since she was inserted in the Minnesota starting lineup by Minnesota Coach Pam Borton, the 5-8 guard’s scoring average is only 6.7 points in conference match-ups. Only three games has she shot 50 percent or better as a starter as well. Her seven-point average overall is three points less than the 10.7 points per game Cotton had in her sophomore year last season. Earlier this season, the young lady brimmed with confidence. Continue Reading →
Rather than being featured on morning drive or some other desirable and prominent time slot at his station, Henry Lake is heard during America’s most segregated hour — 11 am Sunday mornings. Since he joined the station in 1998, Lake is KFAN-FM’s most underused personality while other less-talented folk get prime air time. Lake recently responded to our rapid-fire questions on several hot topics of the day. Sometimes we agreed; other times we didn’t. Topic: All college student-athletes should get paid. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The Big Ten for several seasons has assembled 16-game regular-season schedules in which each team has six single-game opponents each year. Minnesota, for example, only plays Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern once each this season. Now that the conference has 12 teams, one would think a return to a round-robin league schedule — each Big Ten squad plays its opponent twice (once home and once away) — is in the near future. The MSR last week asked Indiana Coach Felisha Legette-Jack if it’s time to do away with the league’s “One Plays” format.
“I’m totally optimistic that they [conference schedulers] are going to get it right this time,” she opined after her Hoosiers completed their one-game slate with the Gophers, losing 84-43 to the hosts.
Colorful present and past
Overall there have been 23 Black head basketball coaches in the Big Ten, 13 males and 10 females. Continue Reading →
The Associated Press (AP) last week released its list of 2011’s top 10 sports stories. “Another View” has our own top 10, or what should have been the top local sports stories of this year:
The Minnesota Lynx: The only local major league team to participate in their respective league post-season. However, the Lynx went one step further — they won the WNBA championship in October, and the MSR proudly provided more coverage from preseason to All-Star Game, where a record four Lynx players were selected to finals, than any local publication. Faith Johnson: The longtime successful head coach this past spring became the first Black female high school basketball coach to win state girls’ titles at two different Minneapolis schools (North and DeLaSalle). Sandy Stephens: The first Black quarterback to lead a Division I school to a national championship as well as the last quarterback to lead Minnesota to a Rose Bowl victory finally got recognized in November by being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
Among the items to be discussed at the NCAA Convention in January is a proposal to help grow women’s college basketball. The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has been gathering information from conferences and others as to whether to move the Women’s Final Four a week after the men’s. The women once played on Fridays and Sundays in virtually obscurity, as the men’s championship semifinals and finals that are played on Saturday and Monday routinely overshadow their female counterparts. And although the Women’s Final Four has been played on a Sunday-Tuesday format since 2003, it still doesn’t get maximum nonstop coverage as the men’s does. Not only is moving the semis and finals being examined, but also how it would impact dates and locations of future conference tournaments and regular season games, as well as practice dates and recruiting, wrote Greg Johnson in an NCAA.org story. Continue Reading →