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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Packers going dolphin hunting

(This blog post was written by Roberto Ruiz-Maki,,

Aaron Rodgers has led the undefeated Green Bay Packers to a remarkable season thus far.

The Packers are looking to join the Miami Dolphins as the only teams to go undefeated in the regular season and win the super bowl, instead of joining the New England Patriots as the only teams to go 18-1 with 18 consecutive wins.

With the toughest part of the schedule behind them, it seems to be an appropriate time to start seriously discussing the possibility of the Packers going 19-0.

With the Oakland Raiders up next on the schedule there is no real cause for concern this Sunday. Oakland has been playing sloppy football since losing quarterback Jason Campbell and foolishly trading away a first and second round pick for Carson Palmer.

The only real cause for concern is their defense, but one doesn't have to look far to find the last Super Bowl winning team that had a turnover reliant defense: 2010.

Ryan Braun: No longer a hero

(This post was post was written by Roberto Ruiz-Maki,,

I would like to start off the blog post by saying that I am deeply saddened by the newest news that Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Braun, who was announced as the National League Most Valuable Player just the other day, is the biggest player to ever be caught using PED's.

While players such as Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro were caught using PED's, they were both at the end of their careers and on their way out of the league. Braun is in his late 20's, in the prime of his career, and is the face of the National League now that Alberto Pujols has moved to Los Angeles.

As a player, Braun was Milwaukee's guy. Braun was the guy who signed a long team friendly contract so that he could stay in Milwaukee until the end of his career. Braun was the guy who owns a restaurant in Milwaukee's third ward.

I would like to talk more about the implications of the positive test, but Braun is appealing the results (and this is definitely my biased opinion and me wanting to believe him, but I actually want to believe that the test was a false positive) and I want to wait until he has a chance to defend himself to the public.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Brewers Approach the Trade Deadline with Some Holes to Fill

(This blog post was written by Scott Maury; this is Scott's first post for Warrior Sports)

The Milwaukee Brewers are a week into the second half of the 2011 MLB season, and there are many questions still to be answered as to where they are headed as they approach the trade deadline. There are still many holes to fill if the Brewers plan on being a playoff caliber team.

The Brewers already filled a hole in their roster with the acquisition of closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod). Acquired from the New York Mets, K-Rod is one of the greatest closers in the game. It’s still unclear whether or not he will share closing duties with already established closer John Axford, but it’s safe to say the Brewers have two of the best National League closers on their roster right now, strengthening a crippled and injury bugged bullpen.

What’s still uncertain is what the Brewers plan on doing with the left side of their infield. The once dependable third basemen, Casey McGehee has fallen out of the spotlight and into one of the worst slumps of any player in the Majors. Casey is hitting a miserable .223 average with only 5 home runs and 38 RBI’s. His defense has also worsened, as he already has 13 errors entering the second half, which is high for Casey given he only had 17 total errors last season.

Joining the slumping McGehee is the Brewer’s shortstop in Yuniesky Betancourt. His defense is also crippling the Brewer’s defense, but what’s more pathetic is his offensive numbers. At first glance it doesn’t seem that alarming, with a .243 average, seven homeruns and 34 RBI’s. What’s alarming is his on base percentage and plate discipline. His on-base percentage is almost a National League worst at an atrocious .260 average. In 90 games, Betancourt has only walked nine times, three of those being intentional.

If the Brewers plan on making the playoffs, and being successful, they need to do something about the left side of their infield. The Brewers don’t exactly have depth within the organization, so they will need to make some trades to help their infield. There are some solid defenders out there such as the Houston Astros’ Clint Barmes and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Jamey Carroll. Both are primarily shortstops with little offensive production, with Jamey Carroll being the more consistent hitter out of the two with a good on-base percentage. It seems as if anything would be better than what the Brewers have right now. An upgrade at shortstop would make more sense than an upgrade at third base. If past seasons say anything, Casey would be more likely to break out of his slump and be more helpful in the long run.

It will definitely be interesting to see what moves – if any – the Brewers make as they approach the July 31st trade deadline.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Possible Packers Trades Post Lockout?

(This article was written by Roberto Ruiz, Sports Editor,, twitter@RobertoRuiz33.)

In no way are any of these trade rumors. Now that we have that out of the way, let's have some fun. Trades are in order of ones that Packer fans would love the most, to ones that they may not love so much.

1) Arizona Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald for Quarterback Matt Flynn, Wide Receiver James Jones, Linebacker Nick Barnett or AJ Hawk, and future 2nd and 4th round picks.
Come on now, how awesome would this trade be? The Cardinals are looking for a quarterback and Matt Flynn could be a much cheaper option than Kevin Kolb in the future. James Jones would step into a starting spot with Arizona, and every team can always use more Linebackers. In return, the Packers would get another star receiver to play alongside Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, and Donald Driver. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the window for winning will be a few years, and this trade would help keep it open if we were able to resign Fitzgerald. Now, Fitzgerald's contract does end in a year, so we would need some kind of promise to sign an extension from him. On a lesser note, Fitzgerald does have a no-trade clause, so he would need to approve the trade, but I have a feeling that he would love to come and play for Rodgers and the Super Bowl contending Green Bay Packers.

2) Cincinnati Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco for Flynn and Jones or future 3rd round pick.
This price may be a bit high for some Packer fans, who think that Green Bay should get more in return for Flynn, but the offers weren't exactly clogging Ted Thompson's voice mailbox before the lockout. Ochocinco is no longer a number one receiver, but he can be a great complement to Jennings. He can run routes over the middle of the field, and take attention away from the deep ball. While Ochocinco may be in the twilight of his career, he likely still has a few more productive years left, which is a lot more than we will get from Jones.

3) Chicago Quarterback Jay Cutler for Flynn.
I know, this is a small reach, but hear me out. Cutler has clearly worn out his welcome in Chicago, and Flynn would be a breath of fresh air, someone that can step in and tell them about the Green Bay offense. Flynn wouldn't be as erratic as Cutler either, so that would be a huge upgrade for Chicago. Packer fans could forever gloat about how we got their starting quarterback for our backup, which just shows how superior Green Bay is. (Obviously this trade was written in jest, there is no way Green Bay wants Cutler.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Milwaukee Bucks Draft Board

(This blog post was written by Mikhail Nenaydykh)

The Milwaukee Bucks are in dire straits.

After a promising playoff run, the Bucks took several leaps backward last year. They finally cleared up some cap space, only to tie it to Drew Gooden, Corey Maggette, and John Salmons. All three were utter failures in the first year of their new deal.

After the season, GM John Hammond was quoted as saying, "[A]nother factor in needing to improve our team, I'd also say we need to become a little more athletic.”

Using athleticism, in addition to the existing holes on the team, the Bucks will have an array of talent available to them when David Stern starts the clock.

It is necessary to eliminate the players that the Bucks would LOVE to have but will be long gone by the time they are up. This list would include Derrick Williams, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter, and Brandon Knight. Unfortunately, Jimmer Fredette should also be eliminated because he denied to workout for the team, and Bob McKinney, Assistant GM for the Bucks, said they would have a hard time picking someone who skipped a workout.

After eliminating these players, their draft board probably looks a lot like this:

#1 Bismack Biyombo
PF/C – Congo
6’9’’ Tall, 7’7’’ Wingspan(!!!)
Player Comparison:
Ben Wallace, Dikembe Mutombo
The athletic Biyombo would excite Skiles, and provide protection for Bogut, as well as solidify the frontcourt. He would be the only prospect ready to consistently contribute.

#2 Jan Vesely
SF/PF– Czech Rep.
6’11’’ Tall, 7’6’’ Wingspan(!)
Player Comparison:
This tough-minded Euro prospect has already produced on the pro-level. His main comparison is to Andrei “AK47” Kirilenko, which would be a great piece for the Bucks.

#3 Alec Burks
SG – Colorado
6’6’’ Tall, 6’10’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Eddie Jones, Demar Derozan
The athletic Burks is the best SG prospect in the draft. Questions linger about his mental toughness and shooting ability, but there is no question the guy can play. Burks would be a very solid pick.

#4 Tristan Thompson
PF – Texas
6’9’’ Tall, 7’2’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Kenyon Martin
Young, athletic big man. He plays with a tenacity that cannot be taught. His length and energy make up for his lack of height, but his offense is still pretty raw.

#5 Klay Thompson
SG – Washington
6’7’’ Tall, 6’9’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Francisco Garcia, Marco Belinelli
This SG prospect is the son of former NBA player Mycal Thompson. Klay is a great shooter and has great size for SG, but is lacking athletically. Good overall game, but is he lottery worthy?

#6 Chris Singleton
SF/PF Florida St.
6’9’’ Tall, 7’1’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Trevor Ariza, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Singleton is a defensive-minded player who would earn playing time with Skiles just for that. He is raw, but has size and length. Shows the athleticism that the Bucks desperately need.

#7 Marcus Morris
SF/PF – Kansas
6’8’’ Tall, 6’10’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Tim Thomas
Marcus Morris is the more talented, more athletic of the Morris twins. He is a tweener, meaning too small for PF, but too slow for SF. But he has nice shooting touch and decent athleticism.

#8 Marshon Brooks
SG - Providence
6’5’’ Tall, 7’1’’ Wingspan
Player Comparison:
Jamal Crawford, Ben Gordon, Eric Gordon
Marshon has really impressed the Bucks, as he has returned to workout with the team several times. He would be a reach at 10, but if the Bucks trade back in the draft, look for them to pick Brooks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Goodbye Bradley Center, Hello Mega-Plex

(This blog post was written by Mikhail Nenaydykh; this is Mikhail's first blog post and The Warrior is excited to welcome him aboard.)

The problem with the Milwaukee Bucks is that they are majorly mismanaged and in great disarray. According to Forbes, they have ranked dead last in the NBA in terms of value for two years running. Ironically, they saw annual growth during both years.
Without a major adjustment, the Bucks franchise could eventually either become bankrupt or have to change host-cities, costing Milwaukee and the fans. There have been several cases of teams moving of late; most recently, the Seattle SuperSonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder, and before that, the Charlotte Hornets changed to the New Orleans Hornets.
This is especially an issue because of the current labor dispute between the NBA and the Players Union. As with the NFL, and soon the MLB, the two sides are negotiating millions, and one possibility being discussed is teams being disbanded and their players auctioned off to the rest of the NBA. The entire league is suffering from the economy’s slide. This would make sense because under the current system, the NBA has to pay for the teams that don't make money, so cutting these teams would mean more money to invest in other opportunities, like moving teams abroad.
The thing that would keep the Bucks in Milwaukee would be to make the team more valuable. The way to do this is by making the team consistently better every year, and by gaining support from the county, like the Brewers did with Miller Park. The team needs a new venue, and so does the city.
The major problem with the Bucks’ situation is the Bradley Center. Under the terms of their lease, the Bucks are owed $8.5 million by the Bradley Center LLC, which is to be paid out over the next several years. Also, the venue is among the oldest in the NBA, and breaks down consistently. As recently as 2009, the Bradley Center asked for a bailout from then Governor Jim Doyle. He included a provision for five million dollars, but the pavilion’s group still needed $18 million in renovations.
In comparison, the Brewers pay $900,000 to the owners of Miller Park, but make money off of tickets and merchandise. This approach has worked very well recently for the Crew, as their attendance has followed their increasingly maturing performance. Also, what has helped the team add talent, fans, and exposure was the development of Miller Park. Although the stadium cost the county approximately $392 million, it was worth every penny.
In agreement with former Senator Herb Kohl, the city needs to pay for a new mega pavilion. But if they do it, they would have to go all out. Such an investment would help the city’s national exposure grow exponentially. Such a venue could be similar to the famous Calatrava Art Museum. In fact, why not hire Calatrava to design the pavilion? With an already established connection and familiarity with the city, the agreement would not be difficult to arrange.
Making another major landmark that also attracts major media stars would further put Milwaukee on the map, attracting the bright minds of America to our city. Instead of bubbling ourselves out from the rest of the nation, the state needs to branch out and invite people to come in. And from the Bucks’ perspective, the team would be able to attract more fans and better talent to the team, similar to how the Brewers did. With a great pavilion to play in, players are more comfortable and would be more open to coming and playing for our team (as attracting talent has been an issue in recent years).
Yes this would cost that state a lot of money, but the fastest way to remove debt is to find major money making opportunities. By creating such a mega-plex, the long term investment would have a high percentage revenue yield. And the fans would keep getting to watch the basketball franchise that they grew up on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Jerk Know-It-All

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

This article is a direct response to the recent annual ranking of the four major leagues in North America done by ESPN The Magazine.

(Give me the voice of your version of a stereotypical sports fan jerk who acts like he knows everything but really knows nothing.)

The Green Bay Packers are the best franchise in North America. Really? What is the rationale for this decision? Can your average American even name another thing associated with Green Bay other than the Packers? What about that Brett Favre guy? Oh wait. Well what about Vince Lombardi? Never mind. Green Bay is part of the cheese state right?

Who in their right mind would rank a team from little Green Bay over a team from New York City? I mean come on, New York city is THE place to be, right? The New York Yankees have to be the better franchise, especially if you take into account the championships won. Championships should be one of the top categories, right? Forget the fact that the Yankees have only won one World Series in the last ten years despite having the highest payroll every year. Teams shouldn't be respectful and fun loving like the Packers, the best franchises should be made up of the selfish money-grabbing jerks who expect you to give up your table for them, not the guys who will give their table up for you.

Fine, so a big team like the Yankees shouldn't be the best franchise. What about a team like the Miami Heat? They are supposed to win the next six NBA championships; that should put them in prime position for the best franchise. As good as the Packers were last season there is no way that they will win the next six championships. Besides, the fans of the team shouldn't hang outside of the stadium for hours in sub-zero temperatures just to see their team (all the while overjoyed that they are able to wait outside in sub-zero temperatures so that they can witness the most storied franchise in the NFL). Fans should instead show up sometime between the start of the game and halftime, because nothing good ever happens until the second half of games anyways.

Okay so maybe that wasn't the best example. Surely the Chicago Bears are the top franchise of all sports. They don't have a ludicrously high payroll, nor do their fans show up late to games. People are Bears fans their entire lives, and they haven't won as many championships as the Packers have, so that has to be good for something right? Sure, they haven't won a championship since 1985, but they were in the NFC championship game last year!

Let's be honest. This seems kind of like an obvious choice to me. The Packers have the best ownership, the best fans, the best stadium, and the best history. On top of all of that, they are winning, per the usual.

I guess my only real problem with this ranking was that the Tampa Bay Lightning was the second ranked franchise. I am shocked, truly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Can Anyone Else Smell the World Series?

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

I would guess not, given the circumstances.

The 2011 MLB season is not even halfway done yet and the Milwaukee Brewers do not hold a commanding grip on first place in the division; they don't even have a lead since they are tied for first with the St. Louis Cardinals (not counting tiebreakers). This team, though, is starting to show the right blend of youth and veteran leadership. Each of the key players are in their prime, so logically the time is now or never. Beyond that, the Brewers are playing at such a high level that it seems like they can beat anybody. Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson seem more comfortable than ever in their current spots in the rotation. Shaun Marcum is pitching like the staff ace, and Zach Greinke hasn't even shown all that he can do yet. This team is eight games above .500 and they have three key players not even playing close to their potential (Greinke, Casey Mcgehee, and John Axford), and a manager who is still learning (even though it doesn't seem like it).

After sweeping the Cardinals at home this last week, the Brewers were riding high on emotions. Ryan Braun, Nyjer Morgan, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder have been playing about as well as fans can expect them to play, and they have been carrying the offense thus far. Corey Hart and Johnathan Lucroy are playing up to snuff thus far, and fans expect them to continue being nice complements to this offense. Mcgehee has been hitting sub .230 thus far, far below his career average, and he should start heating up soon and providing a nice cover to Prince's bat like he has in years past. Greinke's ERA has remained far above what is expected, but that can be attributed to his lack of preparation before the season started; Greinke is just starting to find his groove so expect the ERA to drop below 4.00 within the next few weeks.

The main speed bump will be the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have the pitching to one-up the Brewers but their hitting has been lacking all season. The Phillies were the preseason pick to win the World Series before the season started, but anybody who just watched the NBA finals knows that a few stars can be outplayed by a team.

With Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell providing veteran leadership off of the bench, the Brewers expect to be running hard through mid-October for the first time since most of us can remember. This article may be a bit premature, but I have a feeling about this, kind of like when I had a feeling about the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl way back in November.

Postscript: Speaking of the Super Bowl: I watched the game again today, in entirety, and it still amazes me how the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to contain Greg Jennings for 75% of the field, but couldn't keep an eye on him when the Packers were within 25 yards of the end zone. It just seems to me like you should pay extra close attention to a star athlete when a touchdown is a distinct possibility. (Also, did anyone else find it incredibly refreshing when Jennings referred to Donald Driver as the number one receiver after the game ended? That showed the type of team attitude that the Packers possessed.)
Post-postscript: Troy Polamalu looked like a fool all game.

Monday, June 13, 2011

NBA Finals 2011. Mavericks vs. Heat

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

This NBA finals series really was an example of good triumphing over evil. Dirk Nowitzki, the star of the Dallas Mavericks, finally won the ring that he has been dreaming of since his 2006 defeat in the finals to the Miami Heat. At the end of the day, the Mavericks won the finals because of Nowitzki's ability to make shots down the stretch. Nowitzki drove the lane and made a game-clinching layup during the last five minutes of what seemed like every game. Meanwhile, Lebron James's star seemed to shrink under the bright lights.

Twice now, James has failed to get the job done in the finals. We are forced to ask whether or not he deserves to be considered among the all-time greats. While at one time this was all but certain, James's performance as of late has forced fans to rethink that status. Even to this day, many writers and fans believe that James is the best player since Jordan. Now we must lump James in with the likes of Elgin Baylor, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, etc. There is one big difference between James and those three though, and that is the fact that James has now turned opaque in two finals appearances. I am sure that James will win at least one NBA title during his career, but this is the one finals that he wasn't supposed to win. Winning this series would have cemented James's legacy, but instead his legacy is now tarnished.

On the flip side, Nowitzki's star has never shined brighter. Coming into the playoffs, many picked the Mavericks to be upset by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. NBA fans blinked and opened their eyes to a truly great player standing on a podium, hoisting the NBA finals MVP trophy above his head, tears in his eyes, and a look of satisfaction on his face. What more can we ask from a man than to lead a group of aging veterans to victory against a younger, fiercer, more talented Miami Heat squad? In the 2006 NBA finals, Nowitzki left much to be desired because he was often left watching Dwyane Wade take over games in the fourth quarter. This time around, it was Wade and James that did the watching.

Let's be honest, the Heat will be heavy favorites to win the championship entering next season, but tonight was Nowitzki's night. It was Mavs owner Mark Cuban's night, who finally shut his mouth long enough to be able to enjoy the moment. It was Jason Terry's night, who tattooed the NBA championship trophy on his bicep before the regular season even started. It was Jason Kidd's night, whose calming presence finally led his team to an NBA championship. Savor the night, NBA fans, because I know many of you are dreading the time when James gets to hoist the trophy over his head, instead of someone as universally loved as Dirk.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Recap of the 2011 NFL draft

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

The 2011 NFL draft did not produce the potential star that many Packers fans wanted. This draft did provide depth at several key positions, though. With Da’Quan Bowers still on the board when it was the Packers' turn to draft in the first round, Packers fans held their collective breath; seeing a player that at one time was considered the top prospect in the draft falling to the last pick of the first round excited fans to their core. The Packers, though, saw things a bit differently. Obviously the Green Bay staff had not rated Bowers high enough to warrant a first round contract (five years).
The issue with Bowers is his knee. Many teams expect Bowers to require micro-fracture knee surgery this off-season, and this brings his ability to fulfill a five-year contract into question. To make matters even worse, for those following the draft at on their Draftcast, it was announced that the Packers had picked Bowers with the 32nd pick. Since I was one of those fans, I was immediately excited, knowing that Cullen Jenkins will not be back next year and we are looking to unproven players to fill the holes on the defensive line. It was later changed to Derek Sherrod, an offensive tackle from Mississippi State who did not have a first round grade. Bowers has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowler, but at the same time his knee makes him a huge risk. Honestly though, what more can you hope for, from what is essentially a second round pick?
Sherrod is a solid player, and the heir apparent to Chad Clifton at left tackle. The pick was a boring one, and it seems to me as if it was driven by the need to fill holes instead of the need to draft the best player available. More often than not, reaching for players to fill holes ends with sadness and heartbreak. If Sherrod had been picked with the Packers’ second round pick, and he very well may have been available at that point, then the expectations would be considerably lower, and his contract would be extremely cheaper.
I guess it is time to move past the first round. Wide receiver/kick returner Randall Cobb was taken in the second round, and he fills several key needs for the Packers. Cobb was widely considered the best kick returner available in the draft, and on top of that he fills the hole that will likely be left by James Jones leaving for some clueless team giving him a big contract. Cobb is very raw, mainly because he has switched position several times in college and has been unable to focus on playing wide receiver until now.
With their third round pick the Packers selected Alex Green (I hope he wears number 30). Green averaged almost nine yards per carry for Hawaii last season, and ended the season with over 1000 yards rushing despite playing for a pass happy offense. Green has great hands, so he should be able to fill the void that the departure of Brandon Jackson will leave on third downs.
The Packers ended up with ten picks in this draft, so going through every pick would be tiresome. Honestly, I don’t think many people want to hear about players that will likely be fillers on the depth chart anyways. It became apparent that Thompson was looking to trade down and hoard draft picks in the last three rounds because he wanted to draft the players that he would have signed as un-drafted free agents, something he cannot do because of the lockout. All that the general fan base needs to know is that the Packers ended up picking (in no particular order) two linebackers, two tight ends, a cornerback, a defensive tackle, and an offensive guard after the first three players.
While this draft may have left Packers fans wanting more, I implore you to remember that the Packers won the Super Bowl last year, and they didn’t have very many holes to fill. In reality, the biggest hole was probably the return game, and Cobb satisfies that need. This was another good draft for Ted Thompson that may not leave a good taste in fans’ mouths for years to come, but the good taste will come, we just have to let it age.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It takes Juan, to know Juan

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

Juan Anderson insists that his jump-shot isn't bad. Anderson is a normal guy who was gifted with the ability to grow taller, jump higher, and shoot straighter than the average person. I must admit, I expected Anderson to be a full of himself jerk. Simply put, I was not looking forward to talking with a basketball player who has had his butt kissed by college recruiters, basketball analysts, and coaches everywhere. When I conducted the interview, though, he had just finished working out because he knows that he still has to get stronger to make it at the next level. In fact, when I asked him about whether he has added some arc to his jump shot, he showed that he has insecurities just like everybody else. He says his jump shot “isn’t that bad.”

The Anderson Household

Anderson grew up with a Latino mother and a Caucasian father. He serves as the father figure to his younger siblings and shares a strong bond with his mother, who taught him responsibility by making him clean up after himself and his family. When asked which major he wants to declare, Anderson showed this bond by deferring to answer until he talks with his mom about it.

Anderson says the hardest part about leaving Castro Valley, California for Milwaukee is that he will have to leave his family behind. His mother, though, will be in attendance for many of the games next season.

Coming to Marquette

The saying is that “west coast players don't go east.” But Anderson broke that mold by committing to Marquette, and he is proud of it. What exactly led him to our private college on the banks of Lake Michigan? The Big East. Anderson covets competition, something he rarely got playing in California, and he says that the Big East is the best conference in the nation.

Beyond the conference, Anderson fell in love with Marquette's team camaraderie and is eager to become a part of that family. While here, he bunked with Joe Fulce and attended several team practices. Just watching Marquette's fast style of play enamored Anderson, and within two weeks he committed to Marquette. Reinforcing his decision was Marquette's Sweet 16 run in the previous NCAA tournament, during which he was incredibly excited and proud to sport his Marquette apparel.

To top it all off, going to a good academic school was one of Anderson's top priorities, and he found that at Marquette. “I am thinking four years. I am not even thinking about the NBA right now.... I am thinking Business, Psychology, or Criminology [for my major], but I am not sure because me and my mom haven't talked about that yet.”

What Anderson Brings to MU

What exactly should we expect from Anderson during his time here at Marquette? At 6'8”, 210 lbs, Anderson has a long, lanky body. He has long arms, and uses his length as an advantage against stockier forwards. Anderson's real strength is his defense, but his offense is truly starting to take shape. “I was 5'7” my freshman year, and I was actually a really good shooter then. But as my arms started to grow, and as my legs started to grow, it kind of became weird.... I am just getting used to getting more consistent with my shot…. I am not used to my arm length yet [and how it affects the follow through].” This may be true, but he is getting more arc on his shots and sinking them with more consistency.

Of all the NBA players he can look to, Anderson tries to model his game after Carmelo Anthony's. If Anderson bulks up, his game very well could match Anthony's, but with better defense. When asked if he was more of a closer (like Dwyane Wade) or a complete package (like Lebron James), Anderson said he was the complete package. He loves the pretty passes, the tenacious defense, and the fast-break dunks. When presented with the idea of taking a cue from Tayshaun Prince, Anderson shunned the idea, claiming to be more built than Prince. While his offense may struggle at first as he tries to sink set up jumpers in set offenses, he will excel at fast-breaks, and will create many opportunities with his length and quickness.

My Final Thoughts

Anderson will bring his talents to Milwaukee this summer, and though he may not see much playing time his first year, he should be a catalyst to the Golden Eagles squad in the upcoming years. Anderson's unselfish, unrelenting play will surely win him a special spot in Coach Williams' heart. Over the course of his freshman season, Anderson's style will guarantee him court time in meaningful games at the end of the season. In fact, Anderson's play should mesh perfectly with Marquette's system.

Marquette basketball fans should be excited for Anderson to be part of the team; his down to earth attitude and blue collar style should attract him to students and fans alike. Just don't be afraid to say hi to that tall, lanky Latino guy walking through Central Mall.

Interesting Tidbits

Much like Buzz Williams coaches, Anderson plays with a lot of emotion on the court. Anderson loved watching Williams blow up at the end of the Syracuse game, knowing that this coach would be the perfect one for him.

When asked how he will deal with Milwaukee's cold weather, Anderson admitted to being concerned about the transition. “I woke up this morning, and it was only like 23 degrees, but I told my mom I didn't know how I was going to deal with the cold,” well he will have to figure out quickly, because it gets far colder than 23 degrees here.

A self proclaimed quiet, shy, and humble young man, Anderson is not sure how he will handle the celebrity of being a top basketball player in Milwaukee. He does know, however, that it is a gift and he should cherish it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reaction to Braun's Extension

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

The Milwaukee Brewers and Ryan Braun have agreed to a five-year $105 million dollar contract extension on top of the current agreement; this was a deal that will ultimately lock up Braun until 2020.
This move is conjuring up criticism from across the nation, mainly because many believe that the Brewers could have waited a few years to make the deal, but now instead leave themselves open to Braun suffering a catastrophic injury.
The majority of the criticism is coming from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, all major cities. Fortunately for them, their hometown baseball teams have the luxury of waiting until players hit the open market to throw money at them. The Brewers, a small-market team, do not have this luxury. The Brewers can not rely on a player liking Milwaukee enough to stay here when millions more dollars are being shoved in his face by another city. C.C. Sabathia said that he really liked Milwaukee, until he saw how much New York was offering. Prince Fielder has confessed his love for Milwaukee, but is not willing to pass up the huge payday awaiting him in a bigger city if he leaves.
The contract will make Braun the second-highest paid outfielder in the history of the league, but that is not as extreme as it sounds. By the time that contract kicks in, there are almost certainly going to be bigger contracts handed to outfielders by other teams. The price for a starting outfielder goes up every year, and Braun's contract involves only a slightly higher guaranteed salary than the other big contracts handed out this past winter. As mentioned though, those contracts also started this year, while this contract will not start until after the 2014 season. To be fair, Braun's numbers and popularity do suggest that he should be one of the top paid outfielders in the league. He has been an all-star in every full season he has played, and he has won the Silver Slugger award as the best slugger at his position.
As a franchise, the Brewers are throwing themselves on Braun's shoulders. Braun has been an excellent producer on the offensive side of the ball, and fans flock to get a glimpse of him. With the core group of Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Braun locked up for years to come, the Brewers should be in good shape.
One potential downside to this contract is that it cripples the likelihood that Fielder will be staying around beyond this season. Though this seems like a big blow, the Brewers had already come to terms with the fact that Fielder was not going to stay around. The Brewers did not have enough money to throw at Fielder, so why keep it laying around in hopes that he changes his mind and wants to be a Brewer for life? This scenario was as likely to happen as me getting a job as Sports Editor for the Journal Sentinel tomorrow. Fielder is as good as gone, but Braun wanted to stay.
Fans have been showing up to Brewers games more than ever the past few years, and inking the fan favorite for nine total years isn't such a bad move. The Brewers did not drastically overpay Braun, if at all. Nor did they make the mistake of making the negotiations public (like so many teams have been doing recently).
At the end of the day, the main reason the Brewers and Braun agreed to this deal is because they both liked their future if the other was in the picture. This contract was a reward to Braun, and a showing of appreciation for his love of Milwaukee (and his agreeing to a very team friendly contract after his breakout rookie season).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Von Wafer's Missed Opportunity

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

On Monday night, Von Wafer made one of the most boneheaded moves ever seen in the NBA. In overtime, Wafer went up for a dunk against the Washington Wizards, but missed the dunk. Not realizing that he missed, he celebrated facing the crowd before turning and running up-court. Upon turning, Wafer ran into Jermaine O’Neal, who had rebounded Wafer’s miss and was attempting to go up for a shot, forcing O’Neal to double dribble and turn the ball over. Wafer is receiving criticism from every direction, but we should all take a step back and assess the situation.
Wafer is a seldom used bench player who was getting extended playing time and he was trying to make the most of it. As a fan of basketball, I see missed dunks several times every year, but this one was different. Missed dunks are excusable, causing turnovers are not. Wafer should not have been celebrating a dunk during such a crucial time because the points would have put Boston up by four with three minutes left to play.
Wafer is known as a hard worker, and has been a spark off the bench when called upon. Yes we can snicker at an NBA athlete missing a dunk, but it is not fair to ridicule him for celebrating what he thought was a crucial basket. If it had gone in, the dunk would have emotionally charged the Celtics and they surely would have gone on to close out the lowly Wizards. This ended up being a crucial play, because Boston ended up losing by one, and this in reality was a four-point swing.
After looking at the game, lets look at the bigger picture: Boston was not playing to win the game, they were not fighting for playoff positioning because they rested four of their starters for this game. They were already in the third seed for the playoffs, so in reality what Wafer did was nothing more than a meaningless mistake. It is not fair to criticize a third year player when he is just trying to make a name for himself. Besides, Wafer obviously felt bad (and perhaps a little dumb) for what transpired, just watch his reaction to the play. He has learned from his mistake, I am sure it won't happen again.
Mistakes happen, and this is what the public needs to understand. If you were given an opportunity to show your talents in your workplace, wouldn’t you attempt to make a name for yourself? You might fall on your face in the process, but at least you tried. There will always be more opportunities, and I promise you that Wafer is not sitting in his condo crying about what could have been. He knows that an NBA team won’t look at that play and decide not to give him a roster spot.

Year of the (Under)Dog

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

Nobody could have seen this NCAA men’s tournament unfolding the way it did. The University of Connecticut Huskies (UConn) won the national championship game, beating the Butler Bulldogs 53-41 in Houston, Texas. Though third seeded UConn winning was not an absolute surprise, the rest of the tournament was tossed in a blender from the very beginning. Eleventh seeded Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) made a run to the Final Four, and eighth seeded Butler made it to the championship game. Predicting an NCAA men’s tournament is nearly impossible most years, but this year it was even more difficult. Seeding did not seem to matter as no number one or two seeded team made it to the Final Four, and upset after upset busted brackets everywhere.

Championship Game

UConn won an ugly basketball game Monday night, holding Butler to 18.8% shooting for the game, the lowest shooting percentage in championship history. UConn’s defense was not that great, but instead the Bulldogs just missed open shot after open shot. Even layups were rolling out for the Bulldogs, who were obviously bothered by the length of Jim Calhoun’s squad. Coach Calhoun, now the oldest coach to win the national championship (68 years old), won his third championship and did so by feeding the ball to Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb.

Lamb took over the end of the game for the Huskies, beating Butler with his length and athleticism. While Walker scored more points and led the team with his attitude and fearlessness, Lamb was there when it mattered, soaring over the Bulldogs for layups and dunks.

Connecticut blocked ten shots, a championship game record, and even disrupted three point shots by putting their hands in the faces of the Butler shooters. The blocks led to UConn dominating the paint,

allowing Butler to make only one basket in the paint.

For the second consecutive year, coach Brad Stevens’ team will be heading home after the championship game as losers. This has been an incredible two years for Butler, a mid major school that had never made a sustained run in the NCAA tournament until Stevens showed up. At the tender age of 34, Stevens seemed to be caught in the headlights the game, and his team showed it. Playing zone for the first time in the tournament because nothing else was working, Butler seemed out of sorts for the entire second half. Though there was probably little that Stevens could do, it was an ugly performance nonetheless.

Marquette’s Surprising Run

Marquette was the last Big East team (Connecticut was the second-to-last) to be admitted into the tournament, and they made the second longest run out of the ten Big East teams out of the eleventh seed. While few picked Marquette to upset Xavier, even fewer picked them to get past third ranked Syracuse. Led by the gritty play of Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette made a run to the Sweet 16 for the first time since Dwyane Wade could be seen roaming the Marquette campus.

Coach Buzz Williams put himself in line for an extension with his excellent coaching during the tournament. Williams was thrust onto the national stage with his post-game antics after the Xavier and Syracuse games. Williams could be seen screaming into the stands, giving band members high fives, pounding on the scorers table, and stomping on the ground with full force. While his antics got him on the national stage, his savvy coaching got him the extension. Many Marquette fans questioned Williams’ coaching abilities over the last two years, but many of those questions have been answered after he obviously out-coached Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.

Jimmy Butler was Marquette’s most valuable player of the tournament. Butler shot nearly 50% from the field, while playing stingy defense, getting six steals in the two games Marquette won. Playing in his final games for Marquette, Butler led his team and showed why he is considered the heart of this basketball team. Butler will most likely go undrafted in the upcoming NBA draft, but expect him to latch on with a contending team solely because of his work ethic and quick hands.

Marquette struggled during the regular season, but this season has to be considered an overall success. Marquette was one of the last sixteen teams standing, and this season will impact the future years of Marquette basketball. When Wade led Marquette to the Final Four, it put Marquette on the map for recruits such as Dominic James, Wesley Matthews, and Jerel McNeal. We will know the true impact of this run when recruits come to Marquette when they otherwise would not have considered it.

Upsets Galore

Richmond (12), VCU (11), Morehead State (13), Marquette (11), Florida State (10), Butler (8), and Arizona (5) all beat teams that were seeded considerably higher than they were, and five of the teams made it to the Sweet 16. VCU was the true cinderella of the tournament, beating Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and Kansas to reach the Final Four. Butler beat the number one, two, and four seeded teams in their bracket. Florida State made it to the Sweet 16 after beating Texas A&M and Notre Dame. Morehead State beat fourth seeded Louisville in the first round before succumbing to Richmond. Richmond beat fifth seeded Vanderbilt and Morehead State before falling to Kansas. Arizona beat number one overall seed Ohio State.

Looking back on the tournament, every game felt like a toss-up. There were no dominating teams in the tournament, and that led to one of the most exciting NCAA tournaments of all time. There is no fun in a favored team going in every night and dominating their opponent. The overall lack of talent in the college pool may be frightening to fans, but it does lead to a more exciting tournament. At least fans have that to be thankful for.

Player of the Tournament

Kemba Walker is the obvious choice. Walker was the prototypical leader of the Huskies in every way imaginable. Walker was the closer for the team, often playing his best during crunch time, he also led by example when it came to walking the line of showing emotion. He never let the moment get the best of him, and often got in teammates faces when he felt they needed to be woken up. Walker, a senior, played like there truly was no tomorrow for him, and he brought a championship to Connecticut in his final game as a Husky.

Coach of the Tournament

Brad Stevens has a bright future ahead of him, despite his poor coaching performance in the last game. Butler lost two starters from last years squad, and they did not enjoy the stellar regular season that they did last year, but Butler ended up in the same position that it did a year ago. Butler regressed from last season, but Stevens found a way to maximize the talent available to him and once again consistently beat the bigger, richer schools in the tournament. Stevens’ star will only continue to rise, but let’s hope that we will see him out-coaching higher paid coaches again next year.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marquette Fanatics/Student Section Season Recap

Article Written By: Ryan Ellerbusch (Twitter: @MUWarriorBBall and @RyanEllerbusch5)

Another season has come and gone for the Marquette men’s basketball team as the Golden Eagles’ Sweet 16 appearance and 22-15 overall record (9-9 in Big East) exceeded many preseason expectations.

Not only did Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler earn all-Big East honors along with a new contract for head coach Buzz Williams, but the Marquette student section comprised of nearly 8,000 Fanatics on any given gameday turned in an impressive season-long performance too.

The 2nd oldest active arena in the NBA, The Bradley Center, hosted 18 Marquette home games this past year that brought 280,545 total fans through the turnstiles or an average of 15,586 per contest. In the most hyped rivalry game of the season that saw Marquette fall to the Wisconsin Badgers 69-64 on Saturday December 11th, a sellout crowd of 19,074 fans were in attendance. Despite the early season setback, fans stayed committed through the ups and downs of a rugged Big East conference schedule and on Saturday January 29th, the Golden Eagles captured a quality win at home by a score of 76-70 against Syracuse in front of 19,032 blue and gold supporters on National Marquette Day, marking the second largest home crowd of the season.

Newcomer and former National JUCO Player of the Year Jae Crowder, who averaged 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game this season for Marquette, had only positive things to say regarding what he likes about playing in The Bradley Center.

“I like that it’s an NBA court,” said Crowder. “It gives you a different atmosphere from a college basketball standpoint. You get a different vibe and feeling as you walk into the Bradley Center.”

Freshman Fanatic Spencer Bonahoom, who on average waits three hours outside of The Bradley Center prior to a game, believes that the Marquette players do feed off the energy and atmosphere of the home crowd on gamedays.

“I think the home games definitely give them a lot more energy,” said Bonahoom. “There’s not a lot of teams that have this many seats for the crowd so playing in this NBA arena definitely helps the noise level go up when we have a sellout. You can tell that the intensity picks up when the stadium starts to get loud and that all starts with the student section.”

Crowder also added, “That is when everything is at your best. You play hard and you feed off the crowd when you’re tired. That’s real college basketball when the crowd gets involved.”

And that one player who Bonahoom believes is the heart and soul of the Marquette team, none other than junior forward Jae Crowder.

“Crowder has been a huge addition,” states Bonahoom. “He always brings the intensity, he seems to get the key rebounds when we really need them, and of course he has been quite the scorer for us.”

Bonahoom, who can often be seen in the front row of the Marquette student section leading the cheers and wearing a gold shirt, gold shorts, wristbands, long socks, and his infamous We Are Marquette bandana, has truly enjoyed his first full season as a Marquette Basketball Fanatic and the unique benefits and entertainment at the games.

“I like a lot of the pregame stuff” admits Bonahoom. “Turning around when they introduce the opposing team, clapping back and forth right before the tip-off, and just all the chants and the yelling. It definitely gives it the great atmosphere that you have here.”

An assortment of giveaways including each a yellow and baby blue Marquette basketball shirt as well as a special Father Wild shirt and bobblehead have surely kept students coming back to games too thanks to a fabulous effort by the Marquette promotions staff.

Buzz Williams, who will enter his fourth season as head coach with the Marquette Golden Eagles next year making in excess of $2 million annually, is also very thankful and appreciative of the encouragement that the student section and fans give to his program. Prior to home games at The Bradley Center this past season, Williams has made it a priority to enter the court through the tunnel near the Marquette student section and either clap or shake the hands of the front row of fans and waving to the remainder as he proceeds towards walking to his team’s bench. In addition, Buzz has periodically bought and hand-delivered donuts and pizza to the crowds of students waiting in line hours before the doors to the arena had even opened.

The dedication of the Marquette University freshman class in particular at the basketball games this winter has been nothing short of spectacular and the passionate Fanatics have even made the extra effort over Christmas break to show their support as they cheered on the Golden Eagles to a 73-65 victory over Rutgers at The RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey back on January 5th. Two Yonkers natives and Marquette freshmen, Joe Naber and Kevin Dolan, both saw the game in-person and had great experiences in doing so.

“Since I’m from New York, I know a lot of kids from the area and one friend was able to get me a ticket there,” said Dolan. “He brought a few of our friends from high school and he wore some of his Rutgers stuff, but I of course went with my trademarked Marquette t-shirt that the Fanatics get. I was actually sitting in their student section with a Marquette shirt on and it was kind of funny because Joe Naber, another fellow Fanatic who is from the same area, was also there and he got a picture of me on the other side and you can see this one little speck of gold sitting in the student section and it was me.

Although the game was not nationally televised, during halftime locally on Time Warner Cable Sports 32, the camera zoomed in on Naber and his autographed Marquette hard-helmet by the entire Golden Eagles’ basketball team that he wears to every game.

“I was sitting exactly across from the student section and their student section is behind the hoop as well,” said Naber. “Their student section was pretty packed. It was during break, but Rutgers is a state school so they had students who do live in the area. It was definitely a fun game to be at.”

When comparing Marquette’s student section to Rutgers, both Naber and Dolan were shocked at how different the gameday experience was.

“I was probably one of maybe 20 or 30 Marquette fans there so I was definitely the minority, but that athletic facility is very nice and it’s really small,” said Naber. “It definitely is a different experience from The Bradley Center and that place did get loud, but it’s still a lot louder here.” Simply put, “their student section is nothing like the Marquette student section,” stated Dolan.

The amount of support that the Marquette basketball players receive from the fans cheering on the team in the stands and off the court by sending encouraging messages via Facebook or Twitter is yet another benefit of being a student-athlete at a unique university in Marquette that is built around the tradition of basketball and the 1977 NCAA Championship won by legendary head coach Al McGuire.

“It’s big” said Crowder. “Marquette really evolves around basketball and you can tell from a player’s standpoint as you play here that everyone notices you, everyone knows you, everyone looks up to you, they speak to you, and they’re behind you, so just being here at Marquette I love it.”

And that support continued all throughout the NCAA Tournament as the team was welcomed back to campus by approximately 25 fans and members of the media at The Al McGuire Center at 2 a.m. following their 66-62 win over Syracuse to advance and clinch a Sweet 16 berth. Numerous team send-offs, viewing parties, and the upcoming postseason banquet on Wednesday, April 13th to honor the success of this past season and the graduating seniors are just a few instances to describe the loyal fan base that Marquette basketball is happy to be apart of.

“I love the team and I love when we win” said Bonahoom. So at the end of the game when you know that we got the game in hand and everyone starts chanting We Are Marquette, nothing beats that feeling. The place is rocking, the We Are Marquette chant is going, and that’s the best feeling there is.”

**Thank you everyone for reading. If you have any suggestions on future stories or players that I should writes articles on, please tweet at me. The Warrior Sports Staff is anxious to hear your feedback and interests.**

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marquette vs Xavier

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Xavier is a formidable foe; Marquette has been facing elite teams all year, and this game will be no different. Jimmy Butler and Darius Johnson-Odom have got to be on top of their games to beat Tu Holloway and the Musketeers. Holloway has been the driving force of Xavier, averaging over 20 points and 5 assists per game, while being the veteran influence on the court. The big difference between these two teams is that Marquette has beaten quality opponents on several occasions this year, while Xavier lacks a big time win.

Five Keys:

1. Jimmy Butler over 2.5 steals
This is my biggest key, although it seems kind of inconsequential. Butler has to create turnovers by utilizing his long arms and quickness. Marquette can not win this game by running around Xavier, they must instead outsmart them. Butler has to play well on the offensive side as well, but Marquette's defense will be key and Butler is the main thief on defense.

2. Quality Defense
This seems like a given, but this is twice as important against a team like Xavier. The Musketeers have shot 46.3% this season, and if they shoot anywhere near that then this game will be over quickly. Marquette has to overwhelm them with their quickness, and never allow an open shot. Having a hand in the shooters face will be key.

3. Offensive Rebounds
Kenny Frease, Xavier's center, is a 7-foot, 269 pound behemoth, and he will be crashing the boards all night. Team rebounding will be essential to combating with Frease's size, since Chris Otule only plays about 20 minutes a game and is not nearly as muscular. Keep in mind, though, that defensive positioning and boxing out will beat size and strength to every rebound, so if Marquette is playing disciplined basketball then they should be fine.

4. Buzz Williams' Coaching
I like Buzz as much as the next guy, but his coaching style has hardly worked in big games. It is easy to pick apart, especially by a veteran team. Marquette may be one of the best conditioned teams in the tournament, and this would be the perfect time to use that as an advantage. Go ten-deep in the rotation, and keep a full-court press going for most of the game. This will allow Marquette's point guards to flourish, and may even bring Marquette to infinity, and beyond.

5. Run, Run, Run
Anybody who watches Marquette knows that the half-court offense is not their specialty, so Marquette has to push the tempo as much as possible. Vander Blue and Junior Cadougan can run the Musketeers into the ground, so why not let them.

I am going to be honest here, Marquette doesn't stand much of a chance. Xavier has made it to the sweet sixteen each of the last three years, including one trip to the elite eight. Xavier has the been there done that swagger, and that is necessary for this tournament; the shell shocked teams never make it far. This could be Marquette's last stand, but I hope it's not. If it is though, I hope they go down swinging.

Predicted score: Xavier 75 Marquette 69.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Roberto Ruiz-Maki

I have had just about enough of this. The NFL and the NFLPA have been discussing a new collective bargaining agreement for a week now, and I am pissed. Football is the heart of America; it is our sport, and we show that by pouring billions of dollars into the industry every year. Billions. Now the players union and the team owners can't agree on a way to divide the money up? They had a CBA in place already, where the team owners got one billion off of the top of the total profits, and then the rest was split up 60-40 in favor of the players. The owners backed out of the agreement after the players started to make more money than the owners did every year.
This has the feel of two children squabbling over who gets to go first in the lunch line. Does it really matter who gets paid a little extra when it comes to billions of dollars? I am all for the players getting paid more than the owners anyway, since we watch football because of the players. I don't sit down every Sunday night to watch the NASDAQ stock rise and fall, nor do I enjoy watching a bunch of billionaires complain about who is getting paid more than them. I will, however, sit down and watch 106 highly trained athletes competing against one another.
The biggest argument I am hearing for the owners is that there is no other company where the workers get paid more than their bosses do. I agree, it would be ludicrous for a waiter to make more than the restaurant owner, just as it would be insane for a book editor to make more than the writer. This is not your run of the mill job, though, and we should not treat it like one. No other business is based on the popularity of the workers as much as the NFL is, and you can't just replace these guys with anybody. I would not watch football if the players were fatter, slower, and sloppier. The owners need to realize that they do not make a living off football, they are all owners of other companies that make them more money, but the majority of players make their money solely from football.
This is not a player strike, this is a lockout. If there is not football next year then billions of dollars will be thrown into the garbage by the owners. The players are not at fault here, and it is unfair to blame them for this. The agreement was drawn up several years ago, and the owners were the ones pushing for that specific format.
As kids, didn't we all hate that kid who complained when the class got cookies because his did not have as many chocolate chips as every other cookie? Shut up, kid, stop being a brat, go to the corner and think about what you are doing.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marquette Basketball Player Profile: Jamail Jones

Article Written By: Ryan Ellerbusch (Twitter: @MUWarriorBBall)

Perhaps overlooked in Marquette’s 2010 recruiting class, freshman Jamail Jones is confident that his time will eventually come to contribute to the Golden Eagles on a regular basis.

The 6’6” forward from Montverde Academy in Florida was ranked by ESPN as the 53rd top high school basketball prospect in the class of 2010. However, Jones hasn’t seen much meaningful playing time throughout the course of this season and has averaged just two minutes of action in five games during the Big East Conference portion of Marquette’s schedule.

“I always come into every game thinking I am going to play. Not playing is rough, but I just got to wait my turn. We’re in the best conference in America so you can never take a night off. You always have to bring your best game because you never know. Anyone can beat you on any given night.”

Despite averaging just 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds this season, Jones has remained “Mellow,” a nickname that his teammates call him by because he is very relaxed and likes to chill in his off time and sleep a lot. Rightfully so, the Marquette basketball program under third-year head coach Buzz Williams is one that is very intense and requires a hard-working, tough, and a never give up mentality, which Jones admires.

“(Buzz) is a good coach. Intense, very intense, and just hard-nosed. He doesn’t really take any crap so you always got to be at your best all the time.”

As just a freshman with high expectations and a lot of hype being a four-star recruit, thus far, Jones has been doing his best to stand out by showing coach Williams his talents and not getting caught up in the fact that critics may expect more out of him.

“I played against a lot of highly ranked people coming out of high school so they (the rankings) don’t really mean much. It’s just another game on a different day.”

Jones can often be seen on the court during pregame warm-ups dazzling fans with his slam-dunks that have even received national attention back in high school when Jones played in the ESPN 2010 Rise National Championship Invitational and had two dunks in back-to-back days that made SportsCenter’s countdown of the Top 10 plays.

Marquette fans first caught a glimpse of what Jones might be able to bring to the squad in future years on December 18th vs. Centenary when he recorded a career-high 11 points for the Golden Eagles on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in the victory.

“I felt good out there playing with my teammates just being able to do what I do best and not doing too much outside of my box.”

Jones, who dons the number 22 on his jersey in honor of his father who earned three letters playing college basketball (1984-86) at Alaska-Anchorage, has also been an energetic boost on the sidelines where he cheers on his teammates and hopes one day that he can bring energy, defense, scoring, and some wins to Marquette as the Golden Eagles hope to make a national championship run.

Jones strengths are shooting the basketball, particularly from his hotspots near the left and right wings where he can be deadly from 3-point range. In addition, Jones is also learning to put the ball on the floor more and is improving his defense, which will only get better as Jones gains more experience playing collegiate basketball.

Jones knows his role on the team as a young student-athlete and is aware that he must always be ready when given the opportunity to shine by coach Williams either in a game or in practice when Williams shuffles the lineups at a rapid pace as he been accustomed to doing recently.

“It’s kind of a mix because sometimes he (Buzz) splits the team up or he will go starters and then he will pick another five to go against the starters. Just depending on how he is feeling that day.”

In the upcoming years as Jones’ basketball career here at Marquette progresses, Golden Eagles basketball fans should have no problem recognizing and interacting with this “mellow” athlete because Jamail Jones wants Marquette Nation to know one thing about him.

“I am a real down to earth guy. I’m a people person so whenever you see me, you can talk to me. Don’t be afraid to talk to me. I will talk back. It’s that simple.”

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rickie Weeks

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

An injury prone Rickie Weeks was just signed to a four year, 38.5 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Yippee. I understand the want to keep the core group of players together, but what happened to a hometown discount? Would any other major league team pay roughly ten million a year for an injury and error prone second baseman who hits less than .270 as a lead-off hitter? While Weeks had a fine season last year, this contract seems to come with a lot of risk.
The Brewers have a competent prospect behind Weeks in Eric Ferris; Ferris has been lighting up the minor leagues and Arizona Fall League. Though Ferris has little pop in his bat, he is a doubles machine (a really, really poor man's Ichiro Suzuki). Ferris is projected to be major league ready as early as this season, and by signing Weeks for so long, the Brewers are handcuffing the ability of Ferris.
There is one sneaky positive in this signing: Weeks has suddenly become a nice trade asset. For any team that needs a second baseman after this year, Weeks will probably be the first place that they look. The entire world and their sister knows that the Brewers' farm system is lacking, so trading Weeks for some quality minor league players would be a huge positive.
After Fielder leaves, there will be a major hole in the middle of the order, a hole that many fans expect Weeks to fill. If this move does occur, Weeks's value will diminish even further because a lead-off hitter is far more valuable than a mediocre third hitter. Weeks has shown a good amount of pop in his bat, but he strikes out far too often to be a above average middle of the order guy.
This deal shows what kind of money the Brewers have to give up to keep a decent talent in the organization. Too many good hitters and pitchers have left Milwaukee for similar money from bigger cities, and the Brewers are forced to overpay for any talent that is even willing to listen.
Celebrate for now, Cerveceros fans, but this deal will not look so sweet in two years.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Marquette Golden Eagles Men's & Women's Basketball News Briefs

Ryan Ellerbusch


NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch: Marquette (15-10, 6-6 BIG EAST) just wrapped up their longest road-trip of the season going 1-2 with their sole win coming over unranked USF in a 59-58 nail-biter. The Golden Eagles losses were to 12th ranked Villanova and 11th ranked Georgetown. Marquette is currently set to play only one more ranked team in Big East play this season against Connecticut on February 24th, but will have key games this week against St. Johns and Seton Hall and will need to grind out victories if the Golden Eagles expect to prove to the NCAA tournament selection committee that they are worthy of a seed. Looking around the nation, the majority of bracketologists are predicting Marquette as a 9 or 10-seed.

Marquette in the NBA: Wesley Matthews (2005-2009) has been selected to play in the NBA Rookie-Sophomore game on NBA All-Star Weekend. Matthews is one of nine players to be chosen and is averaging 16.1 points per game as a second year player on the Portland Trail Blazers. Steve Novak (2002-2006) who started the year on the Dallas Mavericks prior to being released, was picked up by the San Antonio Spurs on a 10-day contract this week and hopes to make in impact with the Spurs coming off a short stint in the NBA’s Developmental League. Rookie Lazar Hayward (2007-2010) of the Minnesota Timberwolves scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 116-105 loss to the Indiana Pacers this past weekend.

Golden Eagles Media Spotlight: The Marquette Basketball Hour with Buzz Williams and members of the team take place every Monday night from 6-7 p.m. at Centercourt (1118 North 4th Street) right across from The Bradley Center. The 60-minute program that can also be heard on 540 ESPN Radio is hosted by Steve “The Homer” True and features comments from Marquette's head coach and gives students and fans the opportunity to win prizes, while partaking in the fun and food/drink specials too. Inside Marquette Basketball is a 30-minute television program on TWC Sports 32 with Buzz Williams and 2010 Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year, Dennis Krause. The all-access program debuts every Tuesday during the season at 5 p.m. and replays at 10:30 p.m. as well as at various days and times throughout the week. Lastly, you can follow The Warrior’s basketball Twitter account (@MUWarriorBBall) for courtside tweets live from The Bradley Center on gamedays and throughout the season.


Marquette Impressing Big East: Marquette (19-5, 7-4 BIG EAST) is currently the 21st ranked team in the nation and have been an exciting group of ladies to watch this season. Recently on February 5th, senior guard Tatiyiana McMorris drained a game winning 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left on the clock to lead her team to a 55-52 win over St. John’s. McMorris’ clutch basket also helped her earn the recognition by being named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second consecutive week. Marquette’s success and team chemistry has been credited to head coach Terri Mitchell who has used the same starting line-up (Angel Robinson, Tatiyiana McMorris, Saraina Simmons, Paige Fiedorowicz, and Katherine Plouffe) for all 24 games. Senior guard Angel Robinson also was one of seven student-athletes added to the 2010-11 State Farm Wade Watch list by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, which honors one NCAA Division I women’s basketball player who not only excels athletically, but also serves as a positive role model both on and off the court.

Upcoming PINK OUT game: The Marquette women's basketball team will host its sixth annual PINK OUT game in support of breast cancer awareness with a 2 p.m. start time on Saturday, February 19, as the Golden Eagles will take on Rutgers at the Al McGuire Center. The Golden Eagles will be sporting pink uniforms and many more promotion highlights have been announced for this game in order to help raise breast cancer awareness. Over 1,000 schools nationwide will host a similar game with a pink breast cancer theme throughout the week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Marquette Golden Eagles Mid-Season Report Card : PART 4

Ryan Ellerbusch

CENTERS : Grade C+
(Chris Otule and Davante Gardner)

Playing in the Big East, Marquette has struggled at times to matchup with the size of their opponents down in the post. Chris Otule (6’11” 260 lbs) and Davante Gardner (6’8” 290 lbs) are two very young and different centers that have a unique repertoire of skills. Otule has started every game but two at center and leads the Golden Eagles in blocks with 29 and a shooting percentage of 70%, making 42 of 70 shots from the field. Gardner on the other hand, hasn’t seen as many minutes as Otule lately, but had shown potential earlier in the season that he is just as an offensive threat as Otule is, scoring in double-digits in each of his first three collegiate games. Defense is a key aspect of Gardner’s game that needs improvement before he will overtake Otule. Nevertheless, each player will be crucial and will see extended playing time against the taller Big East opponents as the season progresses. Otule and Gardner are average post players for Marquette, but they earn the plus because they are still young, can develop/enhance their game, and are currently doing a serviceable job complementing Jae Crowder and Jimmy Butler in the post too.

Thanks for reading and be sure to pick up The Warrior newspaper on campus. Follow to find out when issues will be released and for in-game courtside tweets from Marquette Basketball home games at The Bradley Center.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Looking ahead to the 2011 Packers season

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Next season, the Green Bay Packers will be looking to continue the tradition of repeating as NFC champions the year after they win the Super Bowl. With perhaps the best tight end in football in Jermichael Finley, underrated running back Ryan Grant, sparkplug safety Morgan Burnett, and a slew of players on both sides of the ball returning next season, the Packers will look to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Fans who watched the Super Bowl know that everybody knew what the Packers were going to do. The Steelers, commentators, and fans all knew that the game plan was to pass first, second, and third. The game was placed squarely on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, and he delivered. With no running game and only three healthy receivers (not counting Brett Swain), Rodgers picked apart the number one defense in the NFL. What will this offense be able to accomplish with Finley (an athletic specimen with no equal in the NFL) and Grant returning from injury? The sky is the limit for this Packers team and Packers fans fully expect another productive season.
Rodgers is now firmly cemented as one of the NFL’s elite, doing everything that was expected of him and even more. He joins Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees as the quarterbacks that can win you a game on any given Sunday.
While Brady was voted the MVP (unanimously), Rodgers will be looking to win next year. The team will be in prime position, with (what is expected to be) several primetime games with an explosive offense. Perfect regular seasons have only been accomplished twice in the history of the NFL; but looking ahead at the firepower that this team possesses on both sides of the ball, next season’s Packers team could very well give it a run for its money. It is unrealistic to expect a team to be perfect, but it is not crazy to say that a team has the necessary components to make a run. With four games against the AFC west (Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Oakland Raiders) division next year, they will be facing a team that did not have a winning record the season before six times (at minimum).
Enjoy the offseason Packers fans, just know that next season looks even brighter.

Marquette Golden Eagles Mid-Season Report Card : PART 3

Ryan Ellerbusch

(Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Joe Fulce, Erik Williams, and Jamail Jones)

What more can be said about the senior leader on this year’s team, Jimmy Butler. Butler has been Mr. Consistent for the Golden Eagles this year and is averaging 15.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Butler is a prime example of head coach Buzz Williams’ motto “Character Revealed” and has put the team on his back, performing well for the most part in pressure situations. Butler leads the team with his 80% free-throw shooting and it will be only a matter of time before he hits a clutch game-winning shot like he did twice last season. Jimmy Butler is a prime example of what every Marquette men’s basketball player should look up to and is one of the main reasons why the Golden Eagles are an NCAA tournament bound team. Alongside Butler, last year’s junior college player of the year Jae Crowder, in my opinion, has been the biggest surprise and versatile player on the current roster. Crowder is 6’6” and leads Marquette in rebounds with 6.9 per game and has tallied a team-high 31 steals. Possessing a deadly three-point shot from the top of the key and a great inside game, the sky is the limit for Crowder who played the game of his life on New Year’s Day against West Virginia totaling 39 minutes with a career-high 29 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in the victory. Butler and Crowder together are two of the three most vital players alongside Johnson-Odom that Marquette needs playing well if they expect to win games on a nightly basis. Senior Joe Fulce, battled by a knee injury that forced him to miss three games during the season, has recovered nicely and continues to provide stability at the forward position contributing anyway he can when given the opportunity to play. Sophomore Erik Williams hasn’t seen much action in Big East play, but his baseline jumper and rebounding will be crucial to the Golden Eagles success in the near future in addition to freshman Jamail Jones, a three-point specialist anxiously awaiting the chance to show Buzz Williams what he’s capable of.

Part 4 of 4 COMING SOON: Mid-Season Report Card - Marquette Centers

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl recap

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

So this is what it feels like.
The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in an injury filled, scintillating football game. The Packers outplayed the Steelers for three of the four quarters, and that turned out to be just enough. Making star defensive players Troy Polamulu and James Harrison nearly invisible for the entire game, Green Bay sliced through the Steelers' vaunted defense for three offensive touchdowns; all three touchdowns were thrown by Aaron Rodgers.
The game started out well for the Packers, with Rodgers throwing a beautiful touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson, and Nick Collins returning an interception for a touchdown and a quick 14-0 lead. As they have so often this season, though, the Steelers roared back to within four points in the third, even getting as close as three in the fourth. In a game that the more experienced Steelers never led, they did show resolve by keeping it close even while committing three turnovers that resulted in 21 points for the Packers.
There are so many options for the play of the game: you have Jordy Nelson's touchdown, either of Greg Jennings' touchdowns, Collins' pick-six, and Clay Matthews' forced fumble at a key point in the game. The reason I am choosing Matthews' forced fumble is not only because it came at a time when Pittsburgh was driving to take the lead late in the game, but because of what transpired before that. Kevin Greene, linebackers coach for the Packers, was seen talking to Matthews before that Pittsburgh drive. Greene was telling him that now was the time to make a play, and Matthews nodded with approval and agreed. After that little pep talk from Greene, Matthews went out and swung the momentum back into Green Bay's favor after Packers fans' stomachs were beginning to turn.
The player of the game was Rodgers, mostly because he threw for over 300 yards and had three touchdowns. He is also the MVP of the game, in my opinion, because he could be seen changing plays and adjusting at the line of scrimmage; often calling plays that resulted in big gains (such as Jennings' key third down catch on their final drive). Though Rodgers did not have a perfect game like many (foolishly) expected, he did show that Packers fans should hold out hope for the seasons to come; we have an elite quarterback who can win the big games.
One tidbit that I found interesting was that the Packers had to overcome so many key injuries during the season, and this game was a mirror of that. Charles Woodson, Donald Driver, and Sam Shields all left the game in second quarter, with only Shields returning to the field in the second half. Funny how things tend to repeat themselves.
I must say, watching your favorite team win a Super Bowl is quite an experience. Though Packers fans should not get used to this experience, it is not unfair to dream.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl - Go Pack Go!

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

On February 6th the Green Bay Packers will be facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. Green Bay is favored to win, but a lot of fans are swayed by the number of rings the Steelers have won in the last five years. Past occurrences have no effect on the events of the future. Green Bay has the better offense, the better defense, and the better special teams; don't be swayed by rings.
Pittsburgh's offense is led by one big (in every sense of the word) name, Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger (Big Ben) has had a good season, after his tumultuous offseason when a college student accused him of rape. Big Ben's nickname fits perfectly, since he is a quarterback in a linebacker's body. Too often, blitzers will bounce off of him and watch him throw to a wide open receiver instead of bringing him down. Rashard Mendenhall is a running back with the ability to bust the game open with long runs. Mendenhall has never had the breakout season that many analysts have predicted over the past few seasons, but he still has the skills to take over any game, as he showed in the championship round against the New York Jets. Mike Wallace is one of the better receivers in the league, mostly because he has a knack for making the big play. Wallace averages 21 yards per catch, second in the league behind Desean Jackson. The big weakness of the Steelers offense is the offensive line. The line has been decimated by injuries, leaving only six healthy linemen for the playoff games. With star center Maurkice Pouncey unlikely to play (broken ankle), they may go in with only five healthy offensive linemen.
The “Steel Curtain”, the nickname given to the Steelers' defense in the 1970's, is looking a bit rusty these days. While Pittsburgh still boasts star power with safety Troy Polamalu (the guy with the hair), and linebacker James Harrison, their secondary has several holes that Aaron Rodgers can exploit. Though Pittsburgh has not given up many points lately, Packers fans should rest well knowing that their offense will not be held to 21 or less again this season.
I am relieved that I can finally discuss the Packers, since I was getting tired of writing about a team as boring as the Steelers. The Packers are the best team in the league. Many analysts picked them to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year, but after the team suffered several season ending injuries to key players, their stock plummeted. Thanks to a great coaching staff, though, the backup players have stepped up and played incredibly in place of the stars. Players like Howard Green, Jarius Wynn, C.J. Wilson, Erik Walden, Charlie Peprah, and James Starks have stepped up in ways that nobody could have foreseen. This cast of no-names has been getting it done all season, and facing the beat up Pittsburgh offensive line should be a walk in the park for B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Tramon Williams, and company.
Aaron Rodgers leads a high-powered offense that has the ability to go on 12+ play drives, as well as score in an instant. The offensive line has been a surprise this year, protecting Rodgers better then ever. Since the loss of Ryan Grant in the first week of the season, Green Bay has been searching for a running game. Well, they were searching, until James Starks burst onto the scene in the playoffs with a 23 carry, 123 yard performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. James Starks provides stability for the offense now that teams are no longer able to drop everyone into coverage against Rodgers. Greg Jennings highlights the group of receivers that are superb at getting yards after the catch. James Jones is the other deep threat, often playing on the outside. Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson play in the slot, and are possession receivers who are capable of making your average five yard gain into a fifteen yard gain.
The Packers defense, ranked second in the league behind Pittsburgh's in points allowed, has been stingy all year. The Packers were first in the league with 24 interceptions, first in sacks with 47, second in passes defensed with 110, and eighth with 15 forced fumbles. Coaches Dom Capers (defensive coordinator), Kevin Greene (outside linebackers coach), and Joe Whitt Jr. (cornerbacks coach), have all been instrumental in the development of the younger players. Along with the big names of Charles Woodson, Raji, and Matthews, rookie Sam Shields, Desmond Bishop, and Peprah have also made big plays all season.
Green Bay's special teams has been more reliable of late than the Steelers' special teams. Tim Masthay has been crucial to the playoff success for the Packers thus far; punting it not only for distance, but to keep the ball away from returners Jackson and Devin Hester was instrumental in both games. Jeremy Kapinos is Masthay's counterpart, and some fans may remember Kapinos as the Packers punter from the end of 2008 through 2009. Kapinos has been decent as an emergency replacement for Dan Sepulveda. Crosby has been suspect all season, but he has been better than Shaun Suisham, especially if you take kickoffs into consideration.
To be completely honest, this game could go either way. Green Bay has the better team, but Pittsburgh has better coaching. The one major factor that not many people are talking about is that though Pittsburgh has experienced less major injuries, the majority of their injuries have occurred recently. That makes a big difference because the players who had to fill in for Green Bay have already had close to a full season of experience under their belt, while Pittsburgh's players have had a short amount of time to learn the style of the NFL.
The previous time these two teams met was last season, and Pittsburgh won in a shootout after a last second long touchdown pass. Though Green Bay outplayed Pittsburgh that day, the Steelers still won thanks to their superior coaching. That game will look nothing like this upcoming one, though, since both teams have changed dramatically since that meeting. Green Bay's defense got carved up at the end of that season because while they were good statistically, they had many holes since the team was still learning Dom Capers' defensive scheme.
Green Bay has the better team at this time. If Pittsburgh's team was fully healthy then perhaps things would be different, but they aren't. Dom Capers' scheme will take advantage of the inexperienced linemen, and green and gold confetti will be streaming onto the field in celebration of the most decorated franchise in the NFL hanging another championship banner. Green Bay is going to win the Super Bowl, with Pittsburgh a mere bump at the end of a long, arduous road. It excites me to think that a whole new generation of Packer fans will be watching their team vie for the title of “best in the NFL.” Either way, this season was a huge success for the Packers, and we should all be grateful that such an exciting, loveable team was in our state, and we could call them our own.