Sports

Different strokes for Mike Conley after trade deadline

By Andre Earls
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Finally past the other side of the trade deadline, Memphis Grizzlies star point-guard Mike Conley was happy to be assisting with the community service project in West Charlotte.

On the Friday of All-Star weekend, NBA legends past and present collaborated with dozens of NBA Cares volunteers to refurbish homes in the West Charlotte area. In addition to Conley, Klay Thompson, Miles Bridges, Buddy Hield, Reggie Bullock, Jason Collins, and others gathered at the Little Rock Apartments, partnering with United Way to help with restoration, as well as executing a food drive at the South View Recreation Center nearby.
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Blast from the pass

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No-looks, alley-oop, bounce, between the legs, over the head — there are so many ways to pass a basketball. While dunks and threes dominate the NBA highlights, most start the same way; with an assist.

Though times have changed and the younger generations may not remember how Jason Williams used his elbow to bounce the ball to his center while looking in another direction, the young NBA stars have not forgotten.

“Either Jason Williams or Steve Nash for sure,” Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young said about his favorite passer of all time.
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Ben Simmons at home among the stars

By Greg Melo
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Ben Simmons had no issues with fitting in when it came to the scrum of reporters around him on Friday morning.

The second-year Rising Star and first-time All-Star looked like he belonged, joking with some of the reporters who threw some off-the-wall questions at him, and thoughtfully responding to the questions about basketball, his brand, and his hopes to use the Rising Stars Challenge stage to influence the league.

“It’s just another platform and opportunity for us to come out here and show what we can do.” Simmons said. “I love being a part of the World team. I love coming to an event like this and playing with guys from all over.”
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Jarrett Allen rises to the occasion – on defense

By Max Goodman
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On a night full of high-flying slams, no-look passes and deep three-pointers, the two most memorable plays of Friday’s Rising Stars game came from someone who scored just two points.

Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets did what he does best — blocking two dunks less than one minute apart — proving that defense still lives on at All-Star Weekend. Even in a game that featured 305 total points.

“That’s just me playing my game,” Allen said. “I’m here for the defense. We had to make stops on the defensive end and that’s just me making a play for my team.”
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Reggie Bullock’s mission is equality for LGBTQ community

By Joshua Jonah Fischman
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Reggie Bullock did not make an All-Star team nor is he participating in any of Saturday night’s competitions. He’s here in his native North Carolina for a greater purpose. After Bullock’s transgender sister, Mia Henderson, was murdered in 2014, the Lakers wing has become a powerful ally for the LGBTQ community.

“Obviously it’s something close to home for me,” Bullock said. “The [LGBTQ] community was something that she believed in and was a strong part of. I feel like it’s a duty of mine to be able to stand up for my sister. I’m definitely an ambassador and advocate.”
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We are the world: International stars unite

By John Alfes
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Members of Team World in the 25th Rising Stars game are embracing the opportunity to team up and represent their native countries, an NBA experience that only comes once a year during the All-Star weekend festivities.

Coached by Wes Unseld Jr. and Dirk Nowitzki, Team World has 10 players representing 10 countries across four continents at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.

“It’s an honor,” said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is from Toronto. “Obviously, not a lot of guys from Canada make it, even though we are on the rise. But it’s an honor. It’s a goal that I set out for myself a long time ago, and I was able to achieve it.”
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Basketball Without Borders kicks off under scrutinizing eyes

By Louis Ricard
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– While the streets of Charlotte are slowly getting more crowded during All-Star weekend, the Levine Center at Queens University is the center of attention for NBA scouts.

The Basketball Without Border camp opened its door on Friday morning, gathering the most talented teenagers from all across the globe to compete and showcase their skills. This year, 63 kids stepped on the court for the first day of camp.
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Bucks-shots: Former Milwaukee greats get their Hall of Fame chance

By Casey Bannon
Medill Reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– The 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame finalists announcement felt like a 1980’s Milwaukee Bucks reunion. First-time finalists Jack Sikma and Marques Johnson joined Sidney Moncrief and coach Del Harris as part of the 13 finalists announced Friday at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

For added measure, Moncrief’s college coach at the University of Arkansas, Eddie Sutton, was also announced as a finalist.
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Night of the Ace: Who will step up as Northwestern’s Friday night starter?

By Andre Toran
Medill Reports

That pitcher who runs out onto the mound on Friday nights is the pacesetter for the rest of the weekend in college baseball.

The first game of a weekend set is crucial to how teams tends to perform, so programs put their best guy on the mound to give them the best shot at winning Game One.

The Friday night Ace – the No. 1 starter in the rotation — isn’t afraid of the lights, the big stage, or the moment. The starter refuses to be intimidated by opposing lineups and boasts a confidence and mental fortitude that will get him out of jams. He is the leader and anchor of the starting rotation Northwestern pitching coach Josh Reynolds said.

“Your team feels that when he touches the mound, we have a chance to win this game,” said Reynolds and Northwestern has to figure out who that guy is for them in 2019.

Expect Northwestern’s decision to come sooner rather than later.

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Ramblers look to block the outside noise as they finish off tough 5 game stretch

Greg Melo
Medill Reports

 In college sports, conference play is king. And for a young Loyola women’s basketball team,  Missouri Valley conference games have presented a mix of ups and downs.

After a weekend split against Illinois State and Bradley, Loyola finds itself tied for the fifth spot in the Valley. With the top 6 seeds getting a bye in the conference tournament in March, the Ramblers appear to be in prime position.

Yet the true test will come this weekend, when they face off against two of the top three teams in the Valley: the University of Northern Iowa and Drake University – a team that has only lost one conference game since 2016. Third-year coach Kate Achter faces the challenge of keeping a relatively inexperienced squad on the level. Continue reading