RIP Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan had a long list of accomplishments both as a player, and as a coach. As we say goodbye to one of the legends of the game, let us take time to acknowledge what he brought to the game of basketball.

Since most of us remember him as a Hall of Fame coach, we should shed some light on an illustrious playing career. He entered the league in 1965 as the fourth overall pick to the Baltimore Bullets.

The Bullets traded Sloan after his rookie season to the Chicago Bulls. In his first season in Chicago, he became an NBA All-Star and led the Bulls to their first-ever playoff appearance. It was Chicago’s first year in the NBA.

As a Bull, he was known as the “Original Bull” due to his defense. The Steal and Block weren’t recorded on the stat sheet until 1973; where he averaged 2.4 steals a game and maintained that average until he retired in 1976 due to a series of knee injuries. Another known attribute was his rebounding and at 6’5 the man could flat out rebound averaging 7.4 boards a game. Sloan was the definition of a complete basketball player. To sum up his playing career, he was a 2x All-Star, 6x all defense, and is in the Hall of Fame.

His coaching career is something that should be looked at in-depth. Sloan has a 63% winning percentage over his 26 years as a head coach, but he never won a title. His coaching goes way beyond his winning record. When you faced a Jerry Sloan coached team, you knew right off the bat you would be tested defensively. His attention to detail and player analysis is one of the main reasons why he was so successful as a coach. The ability to understand a player on and off the court is a trait that many coaches lack. Sloan is third all-time in NBA wins (1223), with him being one of five coaches to receive that honor and one of two coaches doing so with one franchise.

When he took over as head coach for the Jazz in 1988 everything changed for the franchise. Under Sloan the Jazz missed the playoffs three times in Sloan’s 23 years as coach. How was he so successful? The offense he implemented was designed to keep up containing the fast break which was made popular heading into the ’80s. The basic flex involves constant movement from all five offensive players, with down screens and cuts utilized in multiple areas of the floor.  While the basic system itself is quite simple, the variations are nearly endless, part of what makes it such an effective system. (Salt City Hoops) The offense is designed to get looks at the rim off of a cut. This is why Stockton and Malone benefited from this system for years.

The teams he coached were disciplined and competitive and you made sure to pencil them in your schedule. Sloan is a kind of coach who produces high level basketball talent. Something you can’t say many coaches do in the league nowadays, except for Poppovich. 

Today we say goodbye to a legend in the NBA world and a man whose offense is being run around the world and his philosophy and career will forever live on. RIP Jerry Sloan you will never be forgotten



The Jimmy Butler Affect

We sit here in an NBA hiatus missing the game and wondering when it’s going to come back. What we don’t realize is that players are built differently. Think about this for a second … If everyone shared the same mind set and outlook on the game like Jimmy Butler, chills would run down my spine.

Butler is known for his “tell it like it is” attitude and many disagree. Why? Because he’s outspoken? Wants the best for himself and his team? Everyone views him as an “asshole“, but all I see is a player who wants to be the best he can be and be of value to his team and organization. After spending six years in Chicago made a lot of people think that Butler was the next franchise centerpiece when Rose left and ultimately thought the Bulls would prevail with offense centered around Butler, but they chose a different direction as the Bulls traded Butler and their 16th pick for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh pick. 

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Butler was comfortable in Chicago and loved the system under Tom Thibodeau who coached the Bulls from 2010-2015. Needless to say after he was dealt to Minnesota he experienced some growing pains. Butler’s been used to a “work hard” type of environment where there’s no excuses for a poor work ethic but he didn’t get that with Minnesota. A bunch of young arrogant talent in his eyes and when he spoke up people didn’t agree.

One thing many fail to understand is that Butler isn’t afraid to call out people. That’s what happened in Minnesota where he called out The majority of the team which led to total chaos.

I can understand where he’s coming from because of the way everything ended. It takes a lot of courage to stand alone on doing the right thing, but at the end of the day all he wanted to do is win and work hard. Something you would dream of in a player.


On the contrary, the same issues followed him to Philly. Via the JJ Redick Podcast, Butler explains how nothing was ever done behind the scenes in Philly. Where people were scared to step up and be that “bad guy” as Butler mentioned many times. This opens up a much bigger issue. Is Butler looked at as a radical these days because it isn’t the norm to speak your mind behind closed doors? I mean many people do in front of cameras, but how much of that is actually true?

Even though he made a deeper run with Philly he still expressed the same conflicts, but in a different light. Minnesota was more of an arrogant, young core who never knew what the playoffs tasted like and Philly is more of a young, inexperienced, and immature group who can’t get over that hump. Essentially the 76ers are the modern day Clippers without the slogans.

AP Images

For me, Philly needed Butler. Especially in the locker room. His mindset, attention to detail, and the overall willingness to better himself on and off the court are qualities I think every player in the NBA should mirror. After the shot by Leonard (that eliminated the Sixers from the playoffs) the first question that popped in my mind was, “ will Butler return next season”? 

When Butler got to Miami it was the perfect fit. Miami has always been a beautifully run franchise and Pat Riley puts a lot of emphasis on winning now and ability to get out and work hard everyday. Butler fell right in line. The Heat have the fourth best record in the East (41-24) and Butler is averaging 20.2 ppg 6.6 rpg and 6.1 apg his best season he’s had in awhile and career highs in assists and rebounds. 

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Eight guys averaging double digits, a solid core of well-rounded players, and a seasoned vet in Andre Iguodala; their deep playoff run doesn’t seem like a reach. Before Butler got there the Heat finished with a 39-43 record, the ball wasn’t moving around, and the uncertainty of where Whiteside would go wasn’t helping. Since then the Heat have surpassed last year’s win total (41), gutted nearly their whole roster, brought in Butler, Herro, Iggy, Nunn, Crowder, and Meyers, and have been on a tear up until the hiatus. 

The Heat needed a leader and they found one in Butler 


Pushed To The Limit

I’ve been asked, “What’s the one thing that you miss the most?”, and to give y’all an honest answer, it’s basketball.

People don’t realize how much the game really does impact your life, if you choose to play the sport. It’s given me the strength, patience, and maturity that I needed growing up. With the relationships I’ve made over so many years it’s truly become more than just a sport.

Needless to say I’m having one of the worst years of my life … and not having basketball there is hard. Yes I know the NBA is on a hiatus and March Madness is canceled, but for the last two and half years I’ve been dealing with a knee problem that’s kept me sidelined. Injuries are real and will set you back much further than your recovery time. Remember that. An injury hurts you physically and mentally. I used to twitch every time I would be watching on the sidelines because I was so eager to get onto the court and to compete against everyone. I would play in the winter, stay up until 1 in the morning playing, and even skip class to go to the court (sorry mom).

Two years ago I lost all that. Started to put myself in my room and not want to do anything . Started watching less and less of basketball and most importantly was mentally exhausted. I was afraid to get hurt again and had people tell me, “it’s all in your head”, or, “it takes time you will be back in no time”. The truth is, I wasn’t all in my head and it’s been two years and I haven’t felt like myself at all.

I went down with the knee injury in July of 2018, the summer before my senior year of college. I took a jump stop and immediately felt my knee give out and hyper-extend. I fell to the ground and had that feeling when you just know something isn’t right. Normally I get right up and not want anyone to feel bad for me or clap because I got injured but I just couldn’t pull myself to do that this time. In that moment I broke. I had memories of Derrick Rose and Brandon Roy go through their injuries and remember how Rose felt that night. Or how Gordon Hayward’s facial expression was the minute he landed. In a blink of an eye my confidence was stripped from me like the Giants.

The thing was, I didn’t have the best health care and was scared to check myself into a hospital because I didn’t have the money to pay up front for a visit. It’s crazy that what we are going through now with the healthcare system is what I’ve always been dealing with. I didn’t have the luxury of having an on-call doctor or insurance that would cover any treatment I desired. So I took myself to a minute clinic where the doctor told me I had nothing to worry about, gave me crutches and a brace and said, “Ice it and you will be good to go by September”.

“Ice it … and you’ll be good to go by September.

Being the oblivious person I am, I was ecstatic to hear the news. I rushed home, rested for the remainder of the summer and had been pumped to start my senior year of rugby, the biggest year of my life. It was the year I’d talk to my teammates Nabil and Chad about for hours. I was coming off of one of my best seasons in my career that earned me a “C” on my chest that season. I was a leader on the field, and to some guys off of it as well. Even being a big part of my community at Lasell joining numerous clubs, organizations, and kept my nose in the books.I was eager to get things back to the way they were and to assure everyone that I’d be the same player/person I was before.

September 5th, 2018 I remember like it was yesterday. NBA 2k19 had come out the day prior and I remember how exhausted I was when I woke up 15 minutes before practice (as most college athletes do). I took the headphones out of my ears, and the controller dropped from my lap as I got up to get changed. I was worry free on my walk across campus thinking about what the doctor had told me months prior, hearing my teammates hype me up for the season, and my parents being excited to come see me play.

Coach Ricky called for a cone drill. For those who don’t know, cones are set up on the field and you run up and shift to a stutter step followed by a shuffle and then back peddle. I ran up and the minute I changed direction at a high velocity my knee gave out and the same feeling I felt that day at the court was the same feeling I felt then. I hobbled off to the field, called my girl to come pick me up, and we went to the emergency room. The doctor wanted X-Rays done and the minute the results came back she said “no major injuries here, just some swelling that should go down with ice” I walked out of the hospital that day and felt a big sense of uncertainty fulfill my body.

September 16th, 2018 is a day that I couldn’t control my emotions for the first time in my life. My beautiful and amazing girlfriend who I am still with today hadn’t been feeling the best for the past week. She had told me the night before how she didn’t want to go to work because she didn’t feel well. She would drive an hour to see me while I was at college and would sleep over and would always have to leave at 3am to be at work for 4. When she left it was just like any other day, until about 7 am when she called me to say she threw up at work and was in the bathroom for a while. She drove all the way to my campus, picked me up, and I drove her to the hospital.

When we arrived we didn’t know what to say but we were positive it wasn’t something serious. The doctor told me to wait outside for a minute and those were the longest 5 minutes of my life. As the doctor told me to come in I got up from my seat and my whole mouth got numb. It was one of those feelings where your body is moving but you don’t realize how you are because you don’t feel anything. I peeled over the curtain to meet my girlfriend’s expressionless face.

When I heard the words, “I’m pregnant”, my first reaction was to cry but they were good tears. I looked at her and said “I’ll be there for you no matter what, nothing will change that”. From that point on, my life changed forever and the thought of getting back on a healthy schedule to recover from my injury went out the window.

I remember walking into the team meeting and asking to talk to my friend Nick Carlino in private. Carlino is a very built and stocky dude who has a heart of gold, but he intimidated me a little because he was a workhorse, and more importantly we were captains a season ago together , after which I had lost my “C” to someone else. I felt like telling him I couldn’t play rugby for the rest of the year wouldn’t make me look great. I didn’t want to let my team down even if I couldn’t play a single game that season. I ended up saying I had to handle some things for a little bit to make it seem like I was coming back soon, but I knew by the way he looked at me he knew that I was gone.

I had to leave my editor position with the college paper, drop out from my internship, and ultimately leave campus. 

The one thing I tried to hold onto the most was the Student Alumni Association. I joined back when I was a freshman when no one really knew what it was about. I saw about 6 people in a room with suits on, looked at my friend Evan and said, “Why not give this a shot?”. Looking back I miss Evan a lot, he never showed a lot of emotion but I always went to him for advice or to vent. It was almost a no brainer to join something so out of his interest range.

Through the SAA I saw myself grow and mature. It taught me to be professional and aware of the world around me. I managed to grow within the organization and was the Vice President of Communications for two years; one of them being my senior year.Already I left basketball, rugby, writing, and a campus I had fallen in love with. I tried so hard to hold onto the SAA but it became too much.

I walked into my advisors office that day and froze before I got to the stairs. Kelsey Brogna had been a mentor to me and was more than just an advisor. She knew my older sister so it instantly felt like a brother/sister type of relationship, but was professional and business-like at the same time. When I had no one to turn to I knew I could always talk to her. I knew she wouldn’t judge me. She’s not at Lasell anymore, but that’s one of the many reasons I chose the college over others. I actually felt like I mattered, felt like an individual rather than a number. I proceeded to walk through the door and just sat down and didn’t look at her for a minute. After o had told her everything that was going on she offered all the help in the world and during a time in my life where I felt alone I didn’t at that moment. She was there for me and I can’t thank her enough for that.

I still think about the “what if’s” I could’ve had during my senior year. I drove myself crazy every night because of it. I felt like I left without really saying anything to anyone but I didn’t want people to look at me differently. 

For those of you who have read this far are probably thinking my girlfriend forced me to make all these decisions but she was the one who told me to continue everything and wanted me to have a normal senior year, but for the first time in my life things were out of my control. To know that I have someone like my girlfriend by my side is something I wish everyone can experience; Love. 

Fast forward to now, where I’m not in a career involving Journalism, raising a beautiful daughter, but more importantly hurt my knee…..again. This time I missed a step on an 8-foot ladder, felt my knee wobble, and heard a crack. The feeling I’ve seemed to be getting a lot lately came back again. 

7 Months prior I went into Physical Therapy. Went for 6 weeks and even completed the sessions with ease. My therapist said you should start to see improvement and that I could get back to playing basketball. When I told him that my knee didn’t feel stable he brushed over the subject. I had two more appointments and never showed up to them. 

As an athlete, or a person you are the only one who knows your body. When something is up trust your gut. I wish I did. Now I’m sitting here in quarantine with my Meniscus hanging on by a thread and no ACL, while waiting for surgery, out of work, and a recovery time that is going to set me back more than I would like it to. Whenever I do end up getting surgery I will have to wear a long brace for six weeks following the surgery, with an added nine to twelve month recovery period keeping me sidelined for well over a year. Writing this now it seems like you could make a movie and just now I realize how hard this was to even put into words.

My point is never take things for granted, listen to your body, and always be aware of what’s around you. As for me I’ll get back to where I want to be one day, but like Joel Embiid says “Trust the Process”


NBA Recommends That Players Disengage with Fans due to CoronaVirus

The CoronaVirus has spread across the entire globe and is causing all sorts of panic. To anyone who doesn’t know what the virus is they are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that are typically mild, such as the common cold, though rarer forms such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 can be lethal. (World Health Organization) On  Sunday, an announcement was released by the NBA regarding players to stay away from any hand to hand contact or engagement with fans. This includes high fives, autographs, etc. causing an uproar from the NBA’s fan base.

Ultimately, people need to look at this at a deeper level and respect the fact that Adam Silver and NBA executives are concerned for the safety of its players. Among many things, Silver has made great strides to make the NBA a better and more efficient league. According to CBS Sports, cases of the virus in North America have been minimal. The bigger issue at hand is the impact of the disease on foreign countries that the NBA scouts players year round. I can understand this because prospects overseas usually visit and work out with teams before the draft and it starts around this time of year. 

I would suppose once the issue resolved itself that this recommendation will be lifted and things will go back to normal. From a fan standpoint it is disappointing when we work those extra hours and drive that extra distance to see the LeBron’s and Giannis of the league and to be limited to not even getting a high five or an autograph, but from face value I think any NBA fanatic would understand the bigger picture.


The Biggest All Star Snubs in the NBA

Without a doubt these all star bids have got me feeling some type of way. The first problem was letting Sabonis skate by and maintain a roster spot on the East. You even have some guys posting their frustration on social media (Sorry Jaxson Hayes). So having said that, here are my all star snubs:

Bradley Beal


Being a Wizard for his whole career Beal has become a superstar. Being the number one option offensively, Beal is putting up a career high in points, assists, and in free throw percentage at 84% respectively. You can’t make the argument that he’s on a bad team anymore because Trae Young is an all star starter. If it’s about putting the best players in the game, then clearly the coaches, and personnel have no knowledge of the game around them. Beal is seeing improvements in his passing and rebounding abilities this season as he’s progressing into much more than just a pure scorer. Can’t believe his name wasn’t on the roster 

Who should he replace? Kyle Lowry (Raptors)

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls


One of the best two way players in the league, LaVine is just starting to make that stride to become an all star. Needless to say they should’ve put him on the roster. The kid can flat out put the ball in the basket and is building a resume of being clutch when it matters. Shooting 44% on 19.5 shot attempts a game is something that can be improved upon, but he single handed lay makes the Bulls better just by being on the court as his plus minus is at +19.

Who should he replace? Khris Middleton (Bucks)

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns


Booker has averaged above 22 points out of his five seasons. When a player is that impactful for 80% of his career that has to count for something. According to an SB Nation article he’s considered a “textbook” all star snub as almost every critic had him penciled in for a roster spot. Booker went into detail on his thoughts on not being picked for the all star game in an NBC Sports interview. “It was always a goal of mine,” Booker said of the mid-season competition. “It just re-proves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning – of all the best players in the All-Star Game – growing up, watching it. Now, it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.“We’re a part of it now. It pays well, so I guess we should be quiet about it.”

Booker isn’t wrong as he went on to mention how the NBA is different than the game he fell in love with. Yes, the western conference is a tough conference but real has to recognize real at some point and time. Devin Booker might just be the biggest all star snub in league history.

Who should he replace? Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)

Who is your biggest all star snub?

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