Tag: nathan cavitt

NCAA, ESPN show bias in favor of men’s basketball over women’s

The NCAA women’s basketball hasn’t been shown as much respect as its counterpart in the men’s division.

That statement was made even truer when the NCAA released information showing that men’s college basketball teams are paid for each tournament game they participate in.

According to an article published by the New York Times, each game a team plays (not including the championship) earns the team’s conference roughly $260,000 this year, plus $260,000 each of the five following years.

So the total value of a victory in the men’s tournament is approximately $1.56 million.

Which brings the question: How much do the women make? The answer is none.

The NCAA doesn’t reward colleges for women’s basketball tournament games, nor do they really seem to care that they are happening.

Turn on ESPN and watch for an hour. Odds are you won’t hear a peep about women’s basketball, but when it comes to the men’s tournament, that’s a whole different story.

Or go to ESPN.com. Men’s college basketball is on the front page, and in order to find the Women’s division, you have to dig a little deeper.

It’s poor representation of women’s basketball, and the quality they put forth each game.

Whether that’s a fault of ESPN or the NCAA, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that women do not get the same respect as men when it comes to athletics.

I’ve watched every game of the tournament so far, both men’s and women’s. Both are about the same quality, and boy can some of those girls play.

Syracuse’s Brianna Butler can hit a three-pointer that’s like a work of art, and she’s not even the best player on the team.

Chantel Osahor of the Washington Huskies is one of the most dominant centers I’ve seen in basketball. She can take it up near the basket, or drop back for a quick shot.

Not to mention the University of Connecticut who has yet to lose a game. Do you know how hard it is to not lose a game? It’s near impossible, and those girls almost make it look easy.

Yes, the men’s basketball tournament is important—it is one of the most thrilling events of the year, but in my opinion we should give the women some love to.

The Final Four play April 3 when No. 2 Oregon State plays No. 1 UConn at 5 p.m. on ESPN. The day ends with No. 7 Washington taking on No. 4 Syracuse in a quality matchup at 7:30 on ESPN2.

Can Washington continue its unlikely journey to the championship as a No. 7 seed? Will UConn remain undefeated? Those are but two stories heading into the Final Four.

If you are a fan of good sports, then Sunday is the day for you. Take a little time and give the women the respect they deserve—you can watch the men play the day before.

Nathan Cavitt
Sports Columnist

Critics debate NBA hacking strategy

Sports commentators have recently revived the debate on whether to change the NBA rule for repeatedly fouling a player and sending him to the free throw line.

This is mostly due to Detroit Piston’s star center Andre Drummond. Drummond broke the record for missed free throws on January 20 when he missed 23 of 36 attempts at the line. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain held the previous record since 1967 with 22 misses.

Trailing by 9 points, the Houston Rockets resorted to intentionally fouling Drummond, who currently ranks as the worst free throw shooter in the NBA. “Hack-a-Drummond” it was called.

This was not the first time such a strategy had been used. The same tactic was used on Shaquille O’Neil—hence the term “Hack-a-Shaq” was devised due to the rhyme scheme.

“Hack-a-Shaq,” or “Hack-a-whoever,” was a way in which opposing teams could take advantage of a player’s poor shooting in order to gain an advantage.

So whenever the other team was on offence, the strategy was simply to foul the poor shooter.

Many have called for a rule change. I disagree. In my opinion, the rule is fine as is, though I have never been a fan of intentionally fouling for whatever reason.

The NBA shouldn’t change its rule because a player can’t make free throws. It’s a part of the game—an important part at that.

The four players with the lowest free throw percentages are: Andre Drummond with an astounding 35 percent, Deandre Jordan with 41 percent, Hassan Whiteside with 54 percent and Dwight Howard with 55 percent, according to NBA.com

Their free throws shots are often ugly, foul things—a shot with little form or arc; a brick would be the more appropriate term.

Perhaps instead of a rule change, the poor free throw shooters should work on their shot.

However, the fouling strategy is nearly as ugly as the shots which ensue. No one likes seeing constant free throws, especially when many cascade off the edge off the rim or backboard, or even miss the basket entirely.

It’s not something that is easy to understand. All four of the lower ranking players are good players, maybe even great players.

There is no reason these shots should be missed, and yet they miss them.

Perhaps it is the pressure of having all those people watching; maybe it is a bad breakfast or the need for a nap. Regardless, it is something which hurts the NBA image.

Yet the rule should not change. Mostly because there is not a lot that can be changed to make the game better.

Neither should NBA commissioner Adam Silver speak on the debate, unless it is a quiet word to the owners of the teams with the struggling free throw shooters.

Basketball courts are there for more than just games. We’re talking about practice. Practice those shots and no more ugly games. No more hacking strategies.

Nathan Cavitt
Staff Reporter

JSU student reflects on his road to Frisco

The weekend began when my dad picked me up Thursday night. We drove halfway to Jackson, Mississippi and stayed the night. That following morning around 7 a.m., we left Jackson and made our way to Plano, Texas, where we would be staying with family.

One of the best parts about the trip was getting to see my cousins and my uncle, who I had not seen in several months. After we got there, we spent most of Friday hanging out with them.

Later Friday night after dinner, we went with other Gamecock fans to Jake’s Uptown Burgers to have a good time.

Jake’s was the only restaurant in the entire city of Frisco that displayed anything promoting JSU. It was disappointing to see every other restaurant, bar, and establishment in the area, only displaying North Dakota State Bison team flags.

The morning of the game, the feeling of excitement was absolutely unreal as I woke up early, made the 15-minute drive to the stadium, and came to the realization that my team was in the Football Championship Subdivision national championship game.

Watching the team walk into the stadium was incredible, and participating in the pre-game tailgate was a blast, along with walking into the stadium to see the end zone read Jacksonville State in bold red letters. Our seats were in section 115, row 14, seats five and 12 and 13; they were also dead center in the middle of bison territory.

As we looked around the stadium, the vast majority of the people were wearing a variety of different types of green and yellow.

It felt like being at an Atlanta Falcons home game against the Green Bay Packers. The major section of red was near the Jacksonville State end zone.

Everything leading up to kickoff was great, but then the game started. The in stadium announcer for the game also happened to be the bison’s in stadium announcer, as we later found out from several North Dakota State fans.

Before we knew it, we were facing a 24-0 deficit at halftime. All the faces of Gamecock fans everywhere throughout the stadium were speechless. As the second half got underway, we felt we had a chance after we scored and got the interception. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of those drives. Despite the odds at hand, we never stopped rooting.

Although almost everything about the game was disappointing, I will purchase my ticket for next year’s championship game very soon. Frisco, make sure to prepare yourself. The Gamecocks will be back next year. And we will win. Stay cocky.

Nathan Cavitt
Staff Reporter

Opinion: Bryant’s retirement is shocking

It was a strange scene Sunday night. One wouldn’t have expected to see Kobe Bryant smiling after the Los Angeles Lakers lost 107-103 against the Indiana Pacers while shooting only 4-for-20 from the field, but he did so hours after officially announcing his retirement.

“I’ve known for a while,” Bryant said, “A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances. It has to be an internal decision, and finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that.”

The five-time NBA Champion’s words rang home to me. A historic basketball player, a record-breaking player, was announcing his retirement. The NBA would never be the same.

However, I thought back to all the times Bryant had been talked about in the media. Everything from the sexual assault allegations back in 2003 to the more recent talks of Bryant refusing to take a pay cut, despite lack of production and little to no support cast behind.

All around the world analysts are talking about his Hall of Fame career, and what a great career Kobe had, but little are talking about the smudges, the black-caked grime of his career. Marks that were caused by Kobe himself.

Bryant is a great player, maybe one of the best, but a severely flawed player who could have been the best player of all time.

It all started in 2003 when Bryant was accused of sexual assault, darkening his squeaky clean reputation. He pleaded not guilty, and the charges were eventually dropped after the accuser refused to testify in court.

Furthermore, Bryant has often been described as a difficult and demanding teammate. Former Laker’s center Dwight Howard, when asked about playing with Bryant, described it as being “very tough.”

Most notably, Bryant and former Laker Shaquille O’Neal seemed in constant frustration with one another on the court, despite winning three of Bryant’s five NBA Championships together.

A most notable mark on Bryant’s career is his declining production, leaving many to believe that Bryant should have retired years ago.

It was thought that over the last couple of years Bryant would admit his falling production, his age, and accept a lower paid contract, allowing the Lakers to acquire a big name in free agency to supplement the aging shooting guard. However, according to ESPN, Bryant has been the top-paid player in NBA over the past six years.

The lack of production this year had been a hard pill to swallow for the future Hall of Famer. Bryant had been shooting around 31%, a career-low and the lowest in the league among players who had taken at least 150 attempts. His three-point percentage of 19 was also a career-low and a league-low among players who had taken a least 60 attempts before his announcement.

However, this isn’t exactly a sudden change. Bryant has been steadily declining since 2011. Some would say that the contract situation is not on Kobe, it’s on the Lakers.

While maybe true, there have been several aging players in NBA who have taken pay cuts in order to build a better team. Bryant wasn’t going to be one of them.

In the end, Bryant was a great player—anyone who can score 81 points in a single game is great. However, whenever I think about Bryant I think about the man who forced Dwight Howard out of Los Angeles, or the man who failed to live up to his own expectations toward the end of his career.

Nathan Cavitt
Staff Reporter

City of Jacksonville, JSU hold first Veterans Day ceremony

On Wednesday the city of Jacksonville and JSU held their first Veterans Day ceremony in the Pete Mathews Coliseum. It was organized by the JSU Research Center for Veteran Support Services.

Lt. Col. David Wood was the Master of Ceremonies, and introduced Mayor Johnny Smith, who welcomed the crowd of students, teachers, community members and local veterans.

“So many have sacrificed so much so that you and I can enjoy the liberties we have in this country. The United States of America is the land of the free, because it is the home of so many brave Americans,” Smith said.

The JSU ROTC Color Guard presented and posted the colors. It was followed by the “Star-Spangled Banner,” performed by the JSU Band Ensemble and directed by Dr. Ken Bodiford.

Retired U.S. Army Chaplain and JSU alumni Dr. Tom Smith gave the invocation, and then the JSU Band Ensemble performed the Armed Forces Salute.

Congressman Mike Rogers, a former student of JSU, presented an American flag to President John Beehler. According to Rodgers, the flag was flown at the capitol in Washington D.C.

President Beehler welcomed the veterans, and invited them to participate in a special Military Appreciation Day Saturday on campus. The special guest speaker of the event was Col. Martine Kidd, commander of the Anniston Army Depot. Kidd spoke about veterans and what it means to be a U.S. soldier.

“Our veterans are really a special group,” said Kidd as she stood behind the podium looking out at the crowd. “They have fought and sacrificed, struggled and endured, and in some cases given their own lives so that people like you and I can enjoy the blessings of freedom.”

“Looking around there is absolutely no doubt that the university is dedicated to securing a place for veterans and their family members to find both educational and other support services that they need,” Kidd said as she spoke about a federal grant that JSU had received for establishing a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success.

Beneath her bifocals, which Kidd said remind her that she is a veteran each day, she spoke about military service and America.

After Kidd spoke, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Rebecca O. Turner, encouraged veterans and veteran students to take advantage of the federal grant by participating in veteran’s programs across campus.

The ceremony ended with “God Bless America” and the retiring of the National Colors, followed by Lt. Col. Wood thanking the attendees.

Nathan Cavitt
Staff Reporter