Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Athletics: Editorial Piece (Athletics trump academics in the Black community)

I sit in my modest room of my campus apartment. I relax and take in a basketball game on ESPN featuring two nationally ranked boys’ high school teams. The arena is packed to capacity as the game is hotly contested between the two squads.  I think to myself, “Why is it that at sporting events the community is in full support but when it’s something academic, people are missing in action?”
This growing trend of ESPN Rise 150 high school ballplayers and one and done college “student-athletes” is rather prevalent in the black community. In the past five years, we have seen many so-called basketball and football players who have gone on to play professionally but once those days are over are unable to live like the common man. I feel as though the black community has failed as a whole as to why graduation rates are low, test scores are low and why dropout rates are rising every day.
The perfect example was the 2005 film, Coach Carter. Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the film was vilified by the community for cancelling basketball practices and games because his students failed to excel in the classroom. The message was quite clear: African-American athletes not only need to excel in their sport of choice but also from and academic standpoint.  He wanted to show them that it was more to life than just basketball. It’s also not surprising why many athletes claim fame and riches but end up broke because of not having a plan B.
According to a February 2010 report by the Austin American-Statesman, Texas ranked 43rd in graduation rates. The rate has been sliding since 2001 which was at 65 percent. Vermont was the highest at over 90 percent. The graduation rate will only become worse if the community doesn’t do its part and make education #1 in households because it is irreplaceable. In addition, it will cost the state of Texas $9.6 billion dollars over their lifetimes for high school dropouts.
Division I colleges are no better. They recruit black athletes solely on athletic ability. If he can run a 4.2 in the 40 yard dash or has a 45 inch vertical, he gets a “free” education in which the “student-athlete” doesn’t take full advantage of because he assumes he will be a first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Oh yeah, and he’ll major in something easy like general studies or sociology. The parents of these up-and-coming athletes should be cautious and more involved in their child’s education because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Athletics: Tigers eliminated in SWAC semifinals

GARLAND, TX- Texas Southern’s magical season to be a part of March Madness came to an unexpected end in the 2011 Farmers Insurance SWAC Tournament.

The top-seeded Tigers lost to fourth seed Alabama State 73-66 in the semifinal round of the tournament.
The Tigers fell behind 19-7 midway through the first half. ASU’s led as much as 19 points. TSU trailed 30-17 at halftime.

The Tigers shot 21.1% from the field including 58% in free throws.

Texas Southern quickly worked to erase the halftime deficit. A brief scoring run cut the deficit to 42-34 at the 12:28 mark. The Tigers came within four points (67-63) with 51 seconds remaining. However, Alabama State won the free throw battle and came away with the seven point victory
“We just didn’t have our best game,” said head coach Tony Harvey. “We’ll be back.”

Harrison Smith had 24 points from the bench. Lawrence Johnson-Danner had 13 points and Travele Jones had 10 points. Kevin Galloway had eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.

“Our season is not over. We would have liked to be a part of March Madness, but we will play in the NIT and we will go there and compete,” Harvey said. “We have been in some tough situations all season, but no matter how down we got, we never quit and that makes us winners to me.”

The Tigers will head to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) as part of being the 2010-2011 SWAC regular season champions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Upcoming story ideas

TSU's performance in the 2011 SWAC Basketball Tournament
SWAC hands down Player of the Year honors in Basketball, First, Second Team All-SWAC
TSU Relays (March 18-19, 2011, Durley Field)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Athletics: TSU rallies to defeat Southern 71-63

Texas Southern defeated Southern 71-63 to improve the home win streak to eight. The Tigers’ victory was a mentality changer following the loss at Alabama State on last Monday.

The Tigers fell behind 13-8 seven minutes in the first half. They rallied to tie the score at 11 a few minutes later. Southern’s 3-point shooting gave them a 12-point lead (32-21) with 1:12 remaining.TSU trailed at halftime, 33-24.

The second half was the Kevin Galloway show. Southern’s 50-38 lead midway in the second half dwindled to a TSU 57-56 lead at the 3:53 mark. The game went back and forth for the next minute before TSU began to pull away with momentum-changing shots from Galloway.

TSU iced the game with a 3-point basket from guard Lawrence Johnson-Danner and clutch free-throws en route to the eight point victory.

Kevin Galloway nearly outscored Southern in the second half with 28 points (Jaguars had 30 team points). He also had eight rebounds and four assists. Lawrence Johnson-Danner contributed with 11 points. Harrison Smith had 10 points and four rebounds.

Texas Southern (17-11, 15-2) play their final game of the season against Alcorn State on March 5. Tip-off is at 4:30 PM.

Athletics: Story ideas

Feature on SWAC Bowler of the Year Chantal Jefferson
Off-season report on the TSU football team
Report on the track and field teams as they prepare for the TSU Relays
Story on why the women's basketball team has regressed from last season