Women's basketball seniors conclude careers with back-to-back home wins

The Geneseo women’s basketball team has secured the second seed in the SUNYAC Tournament after defeating SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh in back-to-back wins.

The three seniors from Geneseo—forwards Allison McKenna and Vanessa Wyckoff and point guard Dana Cohan—were all honored before tipoff versus Plattsburgh. In addition to the senior day festivities, Kelsey Annese was also honored. Her family was in attendance, watching as Geneseo unveiled a banner above the scoreboard that had Annese’s number 32 proudly displayed. The number was retired in her memory.

Geneseo now sits 14-4 in conference play, a mark that is tied with SUNY New Paltz. New Paltz has claimed the first seed, however, and gets to host the conference tournament because they defeated the Knights both times this year.

Geneseo is coming off a great start to 2016, winning 15 of their last 19 games––which includes a current four game win streak—heading into the tournament. With the second seed, Geneseo will have a first round bye, automatically placing them in the final four. The Knights will match up against the winner of the SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Brockport game. The Knights hold a combined record of 3-1 against those teams.

Geneseo will need a large contribution from other players as McKenna and Cohan will undeniably be guarded more closely during the tournament. With the play of junior guards Katie Durand, Kayleigh Cavanaugh and Kara Houppert—as well as freshman forward McKenna Brooks—the Knights can put together an attack that can combat the fast style of play that the other teams in the conference will try to impose.

Cohan is averaging a conference best 5.2 assists per game, which will certainly help the Knights. Her ability to move the ball and find open teammates—as well as her ability to connect from three-point territory—makes Cohan one of the most dangerous threats for opponents.

Additionally, with McKenna averaging eight rebounds per game in conference games—and the team collectively averaging a conference-best 32.4 defensive rebounds per game—the Knights should look to crash the boards and hope that their rebounding can get the job done.

In contrast to schools like Fredonia, Brockport and New Paltz that pride themselves on their ability to get out and move the ball up the court as quickly as possible, Geneseo is not a fast breaking team. If the Knights can get into some rhythm in the half court, however, and run the plays that have gotten them to this point, then the outcome should be in Geneseo’s favor.

This season has been a rollercoaster ride for the women’s team, but they have persevered to get to the top of the league. In order to bring back their second consecutive SUNYAC title, the Knights will not only have to believe in themselves, but believe in the team—and the motto of #OneKnight—in order to cut down the nets once more.

Bryant's impact on game makes him player of generation

From diehards to the most casual fans of basketball, everyone has heard of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. Even those who have never even watched a full game of basketball in their lives have most likely heard of him. Since joining the league right out of high school in 1996, Bryant has surpassed countless milestones in his path and has carved out a legacy as one of the best guards to ever play the game of basketball.

Seventeen National Basketball Association All-Star selections, five NBA titles, an NBA Most Valuable Player and a two time scoring champion—Bryant’s list of accolades goes on and on. He is one of the best guards that’s ever stepped on the court. Despite this, however, his retirement has not been met with public outcry. This can be attributed, quite simply, to time.

Bryant’s play the last three seasons has not been on par with his normal standard. Even though he was injured in 2013-2014, it is still apparent that age has caught up with Bryant. In my opinion, his retirement is a few years late—not because I want to see him gone, but because very few can continue to play all-star caliber basketball once they pass the age of 35. I’m glad that he decided to hang it up because I don’t want to see him do further harm to his body.

Bryant’s retirement also allows the Lakers’ next star to step into the spotlight. Who this will be can only be told by time, but most would put money on forward Julius Randle or point guard D’Angelo Russell.

For a lot of people, however, they are happy to see Bryant go because of his egotistical personality and the criminal accusations he has faced. Not only is Bryant one of the most arrogant athletes to ever play the game, but he was accused of rape in 2003. Bryant claimed the sex was consensual and the charges were eventually dropped. The issue still remains controversial, however. Bryant was—and still is—married to Vanessa Bryant, who miscarried during the rape trial. Bryant took full responsibility for this.

So why is it that even after such controversy, people still respect and admire Bryant? It is because of what he brought to the game of basketball. He was such an explosive player and was a huge part of the legacy of the Lakers. The respect people had for him on the court seemed to compensate for the lack of respect that most had for him off the court. That being said, we will never forget what Bryant brought to the court each and every game.

Sobieraski receives Bounce Back award in Aspen

Geneseo women’s basketball senior forward Lea Sobieraski recently received the Bounce Back award from the Chris Klug Foundation for organ transplant recipients who have led inspiring post-transplant lives. On March 2, 2013, Sobieraski was rushed into surgery as her life was in the hands of the doctors and surgeons. She was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a rare inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs.

Prior to being diagnosed [with Wilson’s disease] I had never heard of it. Being a healthy collegiate athlete, I had never faced any injuries or serious illness, so this was definitely a shock,” she said. “I was very taken aback because I had realized my life was going to change—my life was on a hold. My life changed drastically, but I am a better person because of it. I now have a clear purpose in life and that is to use my story to spread awareness on the importance of organ donation.”

Forced to leave school as her condition deteriorated, all Sobieraski could do was play the unfortunate waiting game. Her condition became so debilitating that she was pushed to the top of the transplant waiting list. She was rushed into surgery and with a successful transplant, Sobieraski was ready to get back in the game.

“When I stood up after my transplant, the first thing I did was take a pretend jump shot,” she said.

From there, it was obvious there was no stopping her and what she would accomplish. Sobieraski is now an active advocate for organ transplants and has registered more than 50 students on campus to become donors. In addition, she was chosen as a commencement speaker for a local high school. Perhaps most importantly for Sobieraski, however, was that she was not only able to re-enroll at Geneseo, but she was also able to get back on the court for the women’s basketball team just months after her surgery.

“I knew it would be a lot of hard work and dedication, but I made a promise to myself I would do whatever it took to play the game I loved again,” Sobieraski said. “I never gave up on that goal. Playing basketball was my passion, it was what made me so happy.”

The Bounce Back award is presented to two transplant recipients. With over 80 nominations, the staff at CFK chose Sobieraski. As a result, she won a trip to Aspen, Colorado to attend the Aspen Summit for Life on Friday Dec. 4. More than deserving of the honor, Sobieraski was presented the award on Saturday Dec 5. 

By using her second chance in life to not only give back and restart where she left off before the surgery, but also to evolve as a person, Sobieraski has proven herself as a role model and success story that most certainly won’t be soon forgotten.

Men's basketball hot going into winter break

The Geneseo men's basketball team recently finished off their fall semester with a third place finish in the Wendy's College Classic Tournament from Dec. 2–Saturday Dec. 5 after defeating Nazareth College 83-81, losing to Roberts Wesleyan College 85-82 and prevailing over the Rochester Institute of Technology 91-80 in the third-place game.

Junior guard Justin Ringen was a first-team all-tournament selection after averaging 27 points and seven rebounds per game for the three matches. He also made the game-winning shot against Nazareth, hitting a three with 2.9 seconds left on the clock.

“He is an amazing shooter and a guy who can just get going," head coach Steve Minton said. “Against Nazareth, he was 7-of-8 from three, which is pretty unheard of. That's just crazy good. But he scores in so many different ways—we can post him up, he can drive to the basket or he can shoot threes.”

Heading into 2016, the Knights are 6-1 and have been dominant throughout the opening stretch of the season. Minton's team is operating at an above average pace, scoring 86.1 points per game on 47.6 percent shooting from the field and an impressive 44.9 percent shooting from three-point range. Ringen alone has shot 27-of-48 from behind the arc—56.3 percent.

The Knights' record so far doesn't mean much for the playoff picture since the only conference opponent they’ve faced—SUNY Morrisville—is just an affiliate member of the SUNYAC. The team's success has been dependent on the play of several key players. One such player is sophomore point guard Charlie Zaepfel, who is averaging a team-high 5.9 assists and only 2.1 turnovers per game.

“Charlie [Zaepfel] has a knack for finding the right guys in transition. What he does better than anyone else we've got is get deep into the paint,” Minton said. “At that point, he's got a big to dump the ball off to or some three-point shooters with Ringen, [sophomore guard Kevin] Crockett and [junior guard John] Decker that he can find.”

A lot of the Knights' offensive success in recent games—particularly against RIT—has been through the use of quick sets. The team practices running quick sets in a half-court offense to get off a fast shot, usually with two options. One option is perimeter-oriented and is usually focused on a shooter such as Decker, Crockett or Ringen, while the other option can be a post-up involving either Ringen or senior forward Nick Fessenden.

“Nick [Fessenden] has shot the ball very well. I think he was 8-of-12 in our last game,” Minton said. “A lot of that came from penetration and dumping it off. He also got some rebounds and put-backs as well, but I think the guards have done a good job of finding him when they've penetrated.”

As the Knights move forward in preparation for the spring semester conference games, they will continue to practice those quick offensive sets while ramping up efforts on defense and the boards.

“I think the things we're going to try to fine tune are the quick sets that we run—which is mostly about timing and screening—and also defense and rebounding,” Minton said.

The team's first game of 2016 will be at home against SUNY Fredonia on Jan. 5.

Women's basketball defeated in Wendy's College Classic

The Geneseo women’s basketball team fell short in the Wendy’s College Classic on Saturday Dec. 5. Losing in the championship game to Division II Roberts Wesleyan College by a slim score of 54-51, the Knights were nearly able to come close to a Wendy’s tournament title that has eluded their grip for years now. To the Knights’ credit, they have only lost by three or fewer points in all three of those championship appearances.

Opening the tournament against the seventh-seed Rochester Institute of Technology, Geneseo faced an opening round scare and squeezed by with a 58-56 victory. A slow first quarter for the Knights left them with a deficit early and left them going into the half down by seven points and were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game. A strong second half in which the Knights outscored RIT by nine also had a 12-3 run for Geneseo late in the fourth quarter. That provided Geneseo with just enough to win.

As they have shown all season, the strong play in the post sparked the Geneseo victory, as the women more than doubled RIT’s points in the paint. Led inside by senior forward Allison McKenna’s 14 point and eight rebound performance and accompanied by junior guard Katie Durand’s play, the women were able to find just enough offense to get by.

Securing another close, yet more decisive victory in the semifinals against the University of Rochester, Geneseo came out on top 56-48. It was a career night for junior forward Katie Vienneau, who led the Knights with her terrific shooting and scored a game-high 21 points on eight of 12 shooting, while also falling a rebound short of a double-double.

Though eventually falling in the final to Roberts Wesleyan, the women perhaps had one of their grittier performances of the season—coming back from a 13 point deficit going into the fourth quarter and bringing the score within three points. In a game in which they shot a mere 32.8 percent, the Knights losing by only three points in the final seconds shows that even on nights when the shot is not falling, the women can hang in there and find ways to compete with anyone.

Our expectations are to really take the season one game at a time and have confidence to beat anyone we play,” freshman forward McKenna Brooks said.

Following a matchup against Misericordia University on Jan. 2, the women start off conference play with three straight home games. If they continue to follow the formula they have built so far of outrebounding and controlling the paint, these Knights can go as far as they want. They have shown everyone that they have just enough talent as anyone out there. What it really comes down to is whether or not they can keep the mistakes to a minimum.

NCAA season sees top ranked teams falls short in opening weeks

A lot of people who talk about men’s Division I college basketball usually say they don’t follow it until “the tournament.” While most people know about March Madness and the NCAA Tournament that crowns a champion, it’s really not a sufficient amount of time for people to really know how good teams are and how capable they are of making it to the Sweet 16, Elite Eight or Final Four. Sure, there are ranking systems, but as we often see—particularly early in this year’s season—a lot of upsets occur as the rankings shift around.

  In no big surprise to anyone, University of Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats are off to a blazing start again this season. They are 7-0 and, most notably, grabbed a win against last year’s champs: Duke University.

Despite losing seven players to the National Basketball Association Draft, the Wildcats are definitely a team to watch out for. Whether or not they can be as good as last year’s squad remains to be seen, but with the reputation Kentucky has had surrounding their team, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest.

Duke is another obvious team to watch. As the 2014-2015 champion, Duke showed the world that they were the best team come March. Even with the loss to Kentucky, they are still ranked seventh. Their season has not involved many games that really showcase how good they are as a team, however, with the exception of the Kentucky loss and a close win over unranked Georgetown. With the loss of star center Jahlil Okafor to the NBA, the Blue Devils could have a tough time trying to rise to the same level of play they were at last year. Despite this, however, I think it’s clear to see that they will at least be close.

Syracuse University is the team that is surprisingly 6-0 and ranked 14th. Syracuse was not as good as they have been in recent years last season—they were unable to make it to the tournament last year due to disciplinary action by the NCAA. After losing big man Rakeem Christmas to the NBA, the team has looked to find scoring and defense in other players.

Despite still having seniors—guard Trevor Cooney and forward Michael Gbinije—SU was perceived by many as not being able to have the same level of play that head coach Jim Boeheim and the Orange are typically associated with. They have gotten off to a 6-0 start, however, with notable wins against Texas A&M University and the University of Connecticut. This is due to two freshmen stepping up to the plate: guard Malachi Richardson and forward Tyler Lydon have been huge for Syracuse.

If they can continue to play the way they have, Syracuse could be very successful this season. The only thing that is stopping me from endorsing them as a serious contender is the lack of a serious test for the Orange so far.

Overall, this season of NCAA basketball has been both as expected and a little strange. As one might expect, Duke and Kentucky are great. Syracuse, however, is also great—which most didn’t expect. These are only three teams, but this pattern continues through the nation. Only time will tell which team really is the best.

Knights rely on defense to spark win streak

The Geneseo women’s basketball team’s season is underway and the Knights are looking to improve on the success they had last season: a 25-5 record coupled with making it to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. This year’s team has already demonstrated what they are capable of by turning in some strong performances early on. Though the season has just gotten underway, the Knights have shown that they are yet again going to be a tough matchup for any team.

Starting off their season on Nov. 20 against Gettysburg College in the Jim Crawley Tournament, the 20th ranked—according to the USA Today Sports Preseason Division III Women’s Basketball Coaches PollKnights fell in a close game 50-47. Though the end score was not the one that the Knights had hoped for, the game exhibited strong individual performances by senior forward Allison McKenna, freshman forward McKenna Brooks and senior guard Dana Cohan. Not only did the three players’ points account for a combined 43 of the team’s 47 points, but their rebounds totaled to 21 of the teams 44 rebounds.

The strong performances of McKenna, Brooks and Cohan carried over to the rest of the team. The women would go on to blow out St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn in the Nov. 21 consolation game of the tournament. The final score was 78-37 with the Knights exhibiting a high level of consistent play and with Brooks tallying up a game high 18 points.

The Knights were able to take a 31-10 lead in the second quarter against St. Joseph’s-Brooklyn and never looked back. The real difference maker was on the boards for Geneseo. They they were able to absolutely dominate; out rebounding their opposition 61-27—which consequently led to 27 second chance points and a victory for the Knights. These strong performances are essential for a team that has lost intricate pieces of last year’s team.

After graduating three key players last year, we will need to find ways to replace both scoring and rebounding,” Cohan said. “Allison McKenna will be relied on heavily but contributions from our junior class will also be very important for us to be successful this season.”

Perhaps the strongest game by the Knights so far was the Nov. 24 win against Vassar College. In a tight 70-66 win, the Knights had their best all-around performance with five different players scoring in double digits. Senior forward Lea Sobieraski paced the Knights with her dominant performance off the bench, getting a double-double on 10 points with 12 rebounds.

Rebounding has always been my strength; I understand how important it is for me to crash the boards whenever I am in the game,” Sobieraski said. “One thing our coach has always told us is that you should control what you can control: attitude and effort. I am going to have days where I miss layups and my shot isn't falling, but I can control my defense and rebounding.”

Sobieraski—who is also the team captain—added that the team has a high standard of performance that they expect from themselves personally and collectively.

“We expect to win the SUNYAC and make the NCAA Tournament; this is our expectation of one another,” she said. “Every day, we work to get better, both individually and, more importantly, as one unit. We have the talent to go far; it is the hard work and paying attention to detail that will get us there.”

Men's basketball undefeated through five games

The men's basketball team remains undefeated at 5-0 after the season's opening weeks, coming off a 81-78 win against Alfred University, an 88-63 win against Misericordia University and an 89-65 victory over SUNY Morrisville. After the wins against Alfred and Misericordia, the Knights were crowned champions of the McCarthy Tire Laurel Line Tournament on Nov. 21, with junior guard Justin Ringen taking Most Valuable Player honors. The victory over conference affiliate opponent Morrisville was the team's first home game of the season.

What is most impressive about the team's torrid start is that the two most recent wins—both blowouts—were accomplished largely without junior guard and leading scorer John Decker. Playing just 18 minutes against Misericordia and sitting out against Morrisville due to the flu, Decker scored a combined 68 points in the Knights' first two games.

Head coach Steve Minton noted that while not having Ringen on the court could have been problematic, the rest of the players stepped up to the challenge. “That was a little nerve-wracking. But Justin [Ringen] has played well all year and he's a tough match up for people because he can score inside or outside,” he said. “[Sophomore guard] Kevin Crockett stepped up also. We've got several different guys that are capable of stepping up.”

Ringen is now averaging 22 points and six rebounds per game with 49.2 percent shooting from the field and 48.1 percent shooting from three-point range. He has carved out a role as one of the team's top performers, as his size allows him to battle inside the paint while his shooting stroke makes him a threat from beyond the perimeter.

Meanwhile, Crockett is averaging 12.5 points per game with 45.5 percent shooting from three-point range. Already, 22 of Crockett's 35 total field-goal attempts through four games have been threes.

Last season, the Knights were able to base their success on size. But with the graduation of 2014-15 All-American forward Gordon Lyons ‘15, Minton's team has adapted by embracing a faster pace as well as more constant three-point shooting. The Knights are currently taking 24 threes per game and are connecting on those at an astounding 41.7 percent rate. Additionally, crisp passing has led to offensive success for the past few outings.

“Before, we were trying to fit the square peg into the round hole,” Minton said. “Now, we've completed passes a lot better and tried not to always make the perfect pass."

Despite the team's collective penchant for perimeter shooting, the size has not disappeared. So far, the Knights are outrebounding opponents by an average of over 11 boards per game—a striking disparity. Senior forward Nick Fessenden and freshman forward Jack Manke are to credit for that, but so are guards such as Decker and sophomore Charlie Zaepfel.

“What I feel the best about is not just what Nick [Fessenden] and Jack [Manke] have done, but also that Charlie [Zaepfel] and John [Decker] are both averaging five rebounds per game,” Minton said. "There's a couple long rebounds here and there, but there's been a lot of times in these four games where I've seen John [Decker] and Charlie [Zaepfel] both go up and grab it.”

On the road again, the Knights play their next game against Nazareth College on Wednesday Dec. 2. With everything working out well so far, the coaches feel confident sticking with the game plan.

"The only changes we will make will be subtle and scouting-dependent," Minton said.

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Decker's 34 points leads Knights

The Geneseo men's basketball team opened its regular season with an 89-85 victory at Medaille College on Saturday Nov. 14. Junior guard John Decker led the way with 34 points and 10 rebounds while junior guard Justin Ringen contributed 22 points. Of the team's 89 points, 85 came from the starting rotation.

"It's obviously a good start to get off to, especially on the road," head coach Steve Minton said. "We weren't without our transgressions defensively and we obviously turned the ball over way too much, and you're not going to beat too many teams doing that. That—along with some defensive transition—will continue to be major points of emphasis moving forward this week."

Decker was the Knights' undisputed leader against Medaille, scoring 34 points in 38 minutes on 9-of-20 shooting from the field. Decker is a transfer student from Dominican College where he played Division II basketball. He appeared in 27 games for Dominican during the 2014-15 season and averaged 7.9 points per game. Decker's performance against Medaille does not come as a surprise—he was dominant in the team's two preseason scrimmages as well.

"It was hard for me to—at any point—justify taking him off the court," Minton said.

The Knights scraped by with a victory despite committing 23 turnovers compared to Medaille's 10. Leading scorers Decker and Ringen combined for 14 of those turnovers.

"They're both great players, but they tried to force the issue a bit too much," Minton said. "With Justin [Ringen], we'll talk about his ball handling and trying to take on too much responsibility there. With John [Decker], he played a lot of minutes and got pretty tired. I'm not too concerned."

Although the Knights are a relatively small, perimeter-oriented team, they won their first game largely through rebounding and getting to the free-throw line. Geneseo outrebounded Medaille 51-33 and shot 22 more free throws than its opponent.

"We really did a good job—[sophomore guard] Charlie [Zaepfel] and John [Decker] in particular—of attacking the basket," Minton said. "We had some transition opportunities that led to fouls. We want to attack the basket and see what's there and, if there's nothing, hopefully find someone on the perimeter to kick it out to."

The rebounding came largely from the bench, as 6-foot-7 senior forward Nick Fessenden and 6-foot-6 freshman forward Jack Manke combined for 14 rebounds in just 26 minutes of playing time.

"It was very encouraging," Minton said. "I watched the film and I think a lot of those rebounding opportunities for us came from our perimeter guys doing an outstanding job of blocking out. They weren't necessarily the ones to secure those rebounds, but keeping their man from getting in there allowed Nick [Fessenden] and Jack [Manke] and Justin [Ringen] and John [Decker] to grab rebounds."

One potential point of concern is that the bench only contributed four points in the victory. Minton noted that he remains positive, however, that members of the second unit will have the opportunity to step up in the future as the team searches for a consistent scoring punch off the bench.

"Some guys who would normally get some minutes there lost out," he said. "I think there will be more bench minutes moving forward and there are a couple of guys that could step up."

The Knights' next game will be on Friday Nov. 20 against Alfred State College in the first round of the Laurel Line Tournament in Pennsylvania.

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Men's basketball shows offensive prowess against Ithaca

The Geneseo men's basketball team prepared for the start of the regular season by playing a scrimmage against Ithaca College on Sunday Nov. 1, losing 111-96.

Junior guards John Decker and Justin Ringen led the way for the Knights with 26 and 24 points respectively in what was a fast-paced, perimeter-oriented game. The team's offense in the upcoming season may come to be defined by the quick pace and three-point shooting that was on display at this scrimmage, but the defense is another story.

"We've obviously got to work on some things defensively,” head coach Steve Minton said. "I thought there were some situations where when we were good defensively and created some turnovers, we didn't capitalize. We have to work on decision-making. We talk about two 'E’s: effort and execution. I thought our effort was pretty good and our effort has been good since we began practice, but some of the execution isn't quite what we want."

The Knights allowed 111 points to Ithaca mainly because of the opposition's stellar spacing and three-point shooting.

"They like to drive and kick," Minton said. "When you play against teams like that, you've got to help and you really have to close out. Both of those things were a little shaky—the closeouts particularly. Ithaca shot a very high percentage from three."

The Knights also focused their offense on three-point shooting and did so efficiently, but the team's spacing and ball movement remain points of emphasis going forward.

"We had some difficulties with our spacing,” Minton said. "It got crowded and it was almost like watching little kids playing soccer when they're 10 or 11 years old with everyone running to the ball. We spent some time working on that in the past couple of days and I think we've seen a lot of improvement."

Minton also added that extra pump fakes and passes to find the open man are critical—and not only so that the offense can spot up for more threes. He expects to see the players routinely penetrate the defense and to focus on getting to the foul line. Against Ithaca, the Knights had more free-throw attempts than the Bombers.

"If you're going to shoot 70 percent from the foul line and get two shots each time, that's 1.4 points per possession, which is pretty high," Minton said.

On a team that is more focused on outside shooting, senior forward Nick Fessenden brought a strong inside presence to the game on both ends of the court. Fessenden finished with 16 points and a couple of blocked shots.

"Nick [Fessenden] played very well," Minton said. "I was really pleased with how well he ran the floor and I thought he defended the inside well. He just got a couple of tough fouls called against him."

The Knights proved that they can score—typically 96 points in a 40-minute game is enough to come away with a win. But in order to remain in contention for a top spot in the conference, the Knights will have to improve on the defensive end. According to Minton, the team's lack of transition defense was perhaps the biggest takeaway from the scrimmage.

"If you're letting a team get ahead of you and they're getting 4-on-3s and 3-on-2s, that's a problem," he said.

Geneseo opens its season on the road against Medaille College on Nov. 14.

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Faceoff: NBA Most Valuable Player race

Taylor Frank Houston Rockets guard James Harden is an animal. The man sports one of the greatest beards in humanity. His favorite food is chicken pasta. And—most importantly—he is scoring 27.7 points per game to lead the Rockets into their fourth straight postseason.

Since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden has become a prolific scorer—averaging over 25 points per game in every season with Houston. This season, Harden is shooting the lights out of every building he enters. He has two 50-point games this season—his most recent coming on April 1 against the Sacramento Kings.

What makes Harden even more special is his innate desire to win. The Rockets are battling to get home court advantage in the playoffs; there are currently five teams within two and a half games of each other occupying the second through sixth seeds in the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference.

When a reporter asked him about possibly winning the MVP award and the scoring title, Harden responded, “I don’t want to hear it, don’t want to hear it.” He continued, “The most important thing right now is winning. I’ve said it plenty of times; it’s winning and getting a rhythm going into the postseason.” With just four games left in the regular season, every game is crucial for Houston and Harden is well aware of that fact.

Besides scoring a ridiculous amount of points, Harden also leads the Rockets in assists per game and steals per game. He is among the top nine players in the league in each of those categories. Although he may not have the ball handling abilities of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, his ability to create points is undeniable.

The MVP award should go to the player who is most valuable to his team’s success. This year, it’s not Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James or Curry; it’s James Harden.

 

 

Billy Burns

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has always been a special player. Bob McKillop—the head coach of Davidson College while Curry was in school—certainly knew that. “Wait ‘til you see Steph Curry. He is something special,” he said at an alumni event.

Curry stepped onto the scene as the breakout star of the 2008 NCAA Tournament when he led 10th seeded Davidson to the Elite Eight. On the way, he knocked off seventh seeded Gonzaga University, second seeded Georgetown University and third seeded University of Wisconsin. But Curry did not stop there.

Curry has worked his way into being the best player on the best team in the National Basketball Association this season. He is leading the league in three-pointers made this season with 268 while teammate guard Klay Thompson is in second with 220. Curry has led the Warriors to an NBA best 63-15 record with an astounding 35-2 record at home. He is also averaging 23.6 points per game to go along with four rebounds and eight assists in only 33 minutes of play per game.

Curry should be the MVP because of his will to win and his ability to create points. He has been a human highlight reel, making impossible shots look easy and putting on a dribbling clinic every time he touches the ball. He was an All-Star and he won the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. The only thing left would be to add an MVP trophy.

Curry has the makings of a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and shows no signs of slowing down. Come playoff time, I believe the Golden State Warriors can hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 1975 all thanks to their MVP, Stephen Curry.

Women’s basketball season ends in Sweet 16

The Geneseo women’s basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after winning both games of the tournament’s opening weekend. The first round was an 84-40 domination on March 6 against Castleton State College from Vermont. The second win came on March 7 when Geneseo defeated Muhlenberg College 69-54.

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