The Transfer Portal

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Many of us who pay close attention to high school sports have complained vociferously about students transferring to other schools just for the sake of athletics.  Community boundaries did not make much difference for those who wanted to play for a particular program or leave a program that was not successful.  Many believed a son or daughter would get more exposure to college scouts by being a member of a winning team and that exposure could increase one’s chances of landing a scholarship.

This movement has caused the PIAA to try to find a solution to an ongoing problem.  There has been plenty of discussion about boundary vs. non-boundary competition; residence requirements; mid-year movement, etc.  Stay tuned for more rules followed by more complaining.

The NCAA which regulates college athletics thinks they have a solution – it’s called the “Transfer Portal”.  It started in October, 2018.  Any player in any sport who has interest in transferring from a school can now place their name into the transfer portal.  All the student needs to do is go to the compliance department of their current college and say they want to be entered into the portal.  Common courtesy would suggest a student-athlete should talk to their coach first, but that is not a requirement.  Once the request is made, compliance has 48 hours to enter that student’s name onto the portal.  Once the name appears on the list, colleges can contact that student with permission from the student.  A player does have the option of removing their name, but, for the most part, a coach will drop that student from their roster, or at the very least, retract their scholarship at the end of a semester as soon as they hear that student is looking to go elsewhere.

The idea behind it was that the student should have more power in the decision-making process.  It gives the athlete more options than they had before.  Previously, the student had to be granted permission to contact another school.  The list is supposed to remain private, used only by schools and student-athletes, but there most certainly have been leaks.

The concept has become very popular for the athletes.  It is speculated that there are over 500 Division 1 names in the portal right now.  More than 15,000 have entered their names in the Transfer Portal since its inception.  Compliance people love it because it eliminates a lot of paperwork.  Most athletes love it because they now have freedom of movement, which they did not previously have.  Coaches both love and hate it depending on whether they lose or acquire a player.

The transfer drawback of being forced to sit out a year still exists in major sports like football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.  There are waivers available which are treated on a case by case basis.

This actually seems like a rational plan.  And anything deemed “rational” in sports these days is a positive step forward.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Andy Reid has been to only one Super Bowl as a head coach and we know what team that was. But with the Patriots losing and the Ravens losing before Sunday’s ChiefsTexans, it sure looked like he was guaranteed to head there for a second time.  And then all “heck” broke loose and the Texans went up 24-0 into the second period.  The Chiefs made mistake after mistake.  But have you seen a team this year able to score points faster than the Chiefs?  He told his players to “keep playing, keep battling”.  It worked; boy, did it ever.  They scored the next 41 and ended the game with 51 points.  Is this the year Coach Reid wins a Super Bowl?
  1. Jeopardy is trying to pick the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) by pitting their three most successful players in competition against one another. The winner will be decided this week.  The NFL is trying to do it by position and obviously without competition.  An impossible task.  Just look at the quarterback position – Unitas, Brady, Elway, P. Manning, Montana?  Now move on to every position and start the argument. Please – no physical confrontations!
  1. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers exchanged jerseys after Sunday night’s game. Both played for the University of California in 2004 and almost became Packer teammates in 2010 when Buffalo traded Lynch.
  1. Kansas City is favored by seven in their game with Tennessee despite the Titans winning 35-32 during the regular season. If you are looking for a team of destiny, choose the Titans.  San Francisco is favored by seven over the Packers.  That’s odd since the 49ers led 23-0 at the half and won 37-8.  They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and held him to 104 yards passing.  I cannot see any way the Packers win this one.
  1. RCN-TV will bring you Whitehall at Bethlehem Catholic basketball on Tuesday and Easton at Parkland followed by Central Catholic at Freedom on Friday night. Our Lafayette schedule includes the Lafayette men taking on Colgate on Wednesday morning at 11:00am and the Lafayette women playing Navy on Saturday at 2:00pm.  Northampton will wrestle Nazareth on Wednesday night at 7:00pm.  Plenty to choose from if you are so inclined.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 3-1)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 172-90-1  (66%)

SAN FRANCISCO

KANSAS CITY

Year-in-Review 2019

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

There are a number of things that still out in my mind as I reflect back on our 2019 at the RCN-TV studios and with the “RCN SportsTalk” show.

A few of my personal highlights…

DIVERSITY IN OUR COVERAGE THIS YEAR

While football, basketball and wrestling get the lion’s share of media attention in Eastern Pennsylvania, our coverage reached out to every sport in both the EPC and Colonial Leagues during each season and we were able to include every Lehigh Valley school and several schools in the Delaware Valley and DVM broadcast regions as well. We also covered more games for local leagues (Lehigh Valley Legion and Northampton County League) that we had ever covered before.

On a national scale, women’s sports of late have been disappearing from network programming, with more and more events pushed off to regional channels or internet-only broadcasts. High school sports have been receiving less and less press in print and very rarely around the country is a full-time writer assigned to dedicated to female sports.

On the contrary, we reached out and included more female-related sports on our show over the past 18 months, including doing a show on prompting female high school wrestling–something that has been around now for a few years, but most people don’t even know that several local schools have more than one female wrestling competing and that schools are trying to field an entire (albeit smaller) squad to complete on the same level.

The RCN staff works very hard covering ALL local sports (in addition to other duties and obligations they have in non-sports areas but enjoy the opportunity to feature different sports, schools and events.

The studio staff members are anxious to start on our 2020 coverage after the holidays to cover even more great stories and interesting people from different backgrounds.

I’m optimistic that seeking new ways to expand our reach into the community will expand even more in the new year!

DIVERSITY IN OUR STUDIO & SKYPE GUESTS

We featured guests from the top members of the PIAA administrative staff, District XI representatives, local leagues officers, coaches, administrators, athletic directors and student athletes from large schools, smaller schools, public schools, private schools, and charter schools in 2019.

Our guests included former and current professional athletes, sportscasters and writers from national and regional perspectives who touched on everything from their private lives and “life lessons learned” to controversial topics in sports. We featured former writers, athletic directors and administrators (who could speak freely without worrying about having to adhere to their supervisors) and could give honest views on issues that students, parents and coaches have to deal with. We’ve heard various opinions that are different from others and enjoyed having professional exchanges and conversations when discussing opposing viewpoints.

We expanded our partnership with our friends at DKN Sports in the Washington DC area to bring you even more features and guest interviews than ever before.

We featured a number of issues away from the fields and courts and brought you stories of sports personalities going through their own personal struggles.

We brought you inside looks on teams from state champions (Bethlehem Catholic girls basketball team) to national NCAA Champions (Fox Beat Reporter Jermain Ferrell, who covered the University of Virginia’s men’s basketball teams run all season long).

We interviewed former high school greats from our coverage area like Easton alum/current Towson University running back, Shane Simpson, who talked about his relationship with current NFL great Sa’quon Barkley (who was a guest on our show a couple years ago before the draft), along with his own personal steps he’s taking for rehabilitation to hopefully be drafted himself next spring.

Plus, many other great stories from friends in our coverage area in 2019.

THE EFFORTS OF “EVERYONE” BEHIND THE SCENES

I thought that we received tremendous support from many names and faces most customers don’t get to see or hear about.

There are many components to a television entity and frequently, when people approach me with suggestions and ideas, almost always is there at least one element of broadcasting that they said they had never known about before or I get a chance to share with them something they had never even considered that is involved in a production (and I’m probably one of the last people in our studio that one would approach to learn about all the intricacies of the technical side of a broadcast).

From marketing and promotion to scheduling and broadcasting, there are so much people involved in visual broadcasting, and even other media members that I encounter in other areas of communication often fail to grasp the many moving parts and necessity to put your trust in others while working in television (please note that I’m not saying one is “better” or “harder” than another field in broadcasting).

When I first moved from a career largely in print and radio areas into more television on a full-time basis, the thought of having so many people control what’s “happening” to you, with things in motion that are completely beyond your control, is an experience that is quite daunting. I’ve known quite a few individuals to really struggle with it and a few could not make that transition, because it is very difficult to allow so much that falls upon yourself, but put in so many other people’s hands.

However, I feel extremely blessed for my colleagues at RCN and was extremely happy with the work we were able to produce as a team in 2019 … the bar is already quite high as we embark on a brand new year!

Keep an eye out for more “year-in-review” thoughts on “SportsTalk” and videos as we turn the calendar to a brand new year!

Football 2019 Video Recaps-Part 2     

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

This week we our final look back at the video highlights from the final high school football games on RCN-TV (DVD copies of these games can be purchased by calling 610-443-2909)!

 

 


Keep checking back to “The SportsTalk Shop”  for more highlights from games broadcast on RCN-TV throughout from the winter season including our first high school basketball games and wrestling matches!

And, be sure to bookmark our winter sports schedule here on our website to catch all the hottest high school and college events over the next several months on RCN-TV.

 

From Bucknell to Kentucky

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

College basketball fans are well aware of the great tradition of Kentucky college basketball.  One rarely ever mentions the Patriot League in the same breath with teams like Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and others, including Kentucky.

On Sunday, I did the play-by-play of the LafayetteBucknell game and one of the players missing this year from the Bucknell roster was Nate Sestina.  He graduated last year, but due to an injury in his freshman season when he did not play, he still had one year of eligibility left. Most Patriot League schools do not offer many opportunities for post-graduate work so some players will find a program that allows them to continue their schooling and play one more year of college basketball.  This is not all that uncommon.  What is uncommon is to transfer from the Patriot League to a Top Ten basketball school.  What is even more unusual is that the player will actually play.

John Hale of the Louisville Courier Journal can tell the Nate Sestina story much better than I can:

The story behind Nate Sestina’s journey from Emporium to Kentucky 

LEXINGTON, Ky. – When Nate Sestina takes the Rupp Arena court for the first time at Big Blue Madness in October, the entire population of his hometown could fit in the stands.

More than 10 times.

That moment will mark the culmination of one of the more unusual journeys to the Kentucky basketball roster in recent memory. Sestina was not a high-profile recruit like Anthony Davis. He is not a Bluegrass State native like Dontaie Allen. He did not play at another high-profile university like Reid Travis.

Sestina’s alma mater, Cameron County High School in Emporium, Pennsylvania — student body less than 250 — had not produced a Division I player since the 1970s, but Sestina ended that drought with a scholarship from Bucknell. Three years later, without a single college start on his resume, few would have imagined Sestina attracting the interest of college basketball’s winningest program less than a year later.

“It’s crazy,” Sestina told the Courier Journal when reached by phone Sunday. “I’m waiting to kind of wake up from everything. It really is surreal, and it’s super humbling to have this opportunity. Coming from where I come from, this doesn’t ever really happen.”

Former Cameron County coach Jon Songer remembers Sestina as a talented high school freshman without a clear spot on a veteran squad. Sestina had yet to grow into the 6-foot-9, 245-pound frame that helped him rank second in the Patriot League in rebounds per game (8.5) last season, and the only open spot in the Cameron County starting lineup was at point guard.

So Sestina spent his freshman year as the team’s primary ball-handler, playing alongside older brother Andrew, then a senior who went on to play for Division III Allegheny College.

“He was just a baby-faced kid, about 6-2, 6-3,” Songer said. “… We wanted to get our five best guys on the floor, and even though maybe that wasn’t Nate’s true position at point guard, that was the void we needed to fill. He came in and played hard that summer going into his freshman year of high school, worked on his handle, worked on his ball skills and things like that. He did well for us. … He handled the pressure well.”

Having his brother to motivate him every day in practice made sure Sestina never lost sight of the ultimate goal. As Andrew was recruited by colleges, Nate became certain he wanted to play basketball at the next level too.

“He really helped me and every day in practice was competitive,” Sestina said. “He beat me up. I drove in for a layup, he’d borderline tackle me to the ground and be like, ‘Hey, finish through contact.’”

As Sestina grew, so did Cameron County’s success.

Sestina won 12 games as a freshman, 18 as a sophomore, 20 as a junior and 24 as a senior. In his last season at Cameron County, Sestina averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds per game to lead his team to its first state tournament victory since 1972.

His college career could have been derailed just four games into his freshman year at Bucknell when a torn labrum ended his season, but Sestina took the opportunity to refine his shooting mechanics. He returned to the court as a sophomore to serve a key reserve role on NCAA Tournament teams in 2017 and 2018, then stepped into the starting lineup last fall following the departures of former Patriot League Players of the Year Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas from the Bucknell frontcourt.

Sestina went on to earn second-team All-Patriot League honors after averaging 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He shot 53.6 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range (41 for 108) and 80.8 percent from the free-throw line.

The Patriot League does not allow athletically motivated redshirt seasons, and while Sestina’s injury as a freshman likely would have qualified him for a waiver to that rule, there was no fit for him in the Bucknell graduate school, which admits only around 40 students per year. With the blessings of his Bucknell coaches, Sestina decided to pursue a graduate transfer.

“If I were to go pro, I would have some things I struggled with like moving my feet laterally, guarding people smaller than me,” Sestina said. “I just feel like there’s an overall confidence in my game I know I need going into a pro career. I talked with a couple of my coaches and my family, and I think taking an extra year and going after a graduate year and playing at a bigger school and having that opportunity to develop would really benefit me.”

The decision was perfect timing for Kentucky.

John Calipari had recently overcome his distaste for the graduate transfer rule after watching Travis and the Wildcats thrive together in one season. There was an obvious need for frontcourt options on the roster with Travis gone, PJ Washington all but certain to enter the NBA draft and no post players committed in the 2019 recruiting class.

Luckily for Sestina, he had no shortage of connections to the Kentucky coach.

After coaching a team of college players, including Brad Calipari, on an international trip last summer, Bucknell assistant Joe Meehan had developed a relationship with the Hall of Fame coach. Two of Sestina’s former AAU coaches (Daryn Freedman and Almamy Thiero) had played for Calipari at Massachusetts and Memphis, respectively.

All three coaches reached out to the Kentucky staff to clue them into Sestina’s availability.

“I’m super thankful for those guys for taking a leap of faith and reaching out,” Sestina said. “I’m pretty sure college coaches get it all the time — ‘We’ve got this guy, we’ve got this guy’ — but Coach Cal said when he saw Coach Meehan, Coach Al and Coach Freedman all reached out he was like, ‘I’m going to take a look at this kid.’ The next day he called me and said, ‘I heard from three different people and took a look for myself and I like the way you play; I like how hard you play; I like the veteran presence you have and the leadership you bring.’”

Freedman, president of the Basketball Stars of America AAU program, played for Calipari on the 1996 UMass Final Four team then worked on Calipari staffs with UMass, Memphis and the New Jersey Nets.

When Sestina’s father, Donald, told him Nate was about to enter the transfer portal, his first call was to Kentucky assistant Tony Barbee, his former colleague and fellow UMass alum.

“It’s basically like if you want to be a doctor and you go to Harvard Medical School,” Freedman said. “I consider my time under Coach Cal like that. … Coach Cal is the best at getting guys prepared for the next level. If he’s got the potential to do it, Coach will get that out of him.”

Despite receiving interest from close to 20 programs, Sestina held off seriously considering other options until he could complete a visit to Kentucky.

Both sides were impressed by the other, and on Thursday Sestina announced he would play his final season of college basketball in Lexington.

“Good things happen to good people, and you’re not going to find a better person than Nate,” Songer said. “I think he’s going to be tremendous not only to the Kentucky basketball but around the community. I think people are going to just love him. He’s got that personality that just attracts everybody.”

The message from Calipari was clear and one that will surprise few Kentucky fans: Nothing would be guaranteed to Sestina at UK, but Calipari was not interested in adding a graduate transfer just to sit on the bench and add depth in case one of his five-star recruits did not pan out. A conversation with Travis about his experience at Kentucky reinforced to Sestina that the challenge of helping lead young, talented squad was one he wanted to embrace.

He was ready to embark on the most unlikely chapter of his journey from Emporium to basketball stardom yet.

“I’m a big believer in God, I’m a big believer in things happen for a reason,” Sestina said. “I got hurt my freshman year, and if I hadn’t gotten hurt, none of this stuff would have happened. … If you go to a school like this you’re able to go for a national championship. … The guys they’re bringing in are super confident and super driven. I think by coming in and clicking right away we can make a run at it.”

To bring you up to date – Sestina has played in 10 of the 13 Kentucky games (he was injured for three of them).  He has started six and is currently a starter.  He is Kentucky’s leading rebounder and sixth on the team in scoring.  He led the team in scoring against Ohio State with 17 points making five 3’s.

What is typical for a Patriot League basketball player is that they are great scholar-athletes.  Perhaps, the best part of the story is that Nate Sestina is majoring in Kinesiology and Health Promotion.  I looked it up – it’s “the study of the mechanics of body movements”.  That, also, seems to summarize Sestina’s life.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Despite what everyone seemed to be saying after the VikingsSaints game ended with a Vikings touchdown in overtime, did you not think there was offensive pass interference? Tight end Kyle Rudolph created space by pushing off of the defender.  That space allowed the catch.  The Saints were bitten again by a “no pass interference” call, this time an offensive one.  Last year a “no-call” on the defensive side may have cost them a trip to the Super Bowl.  Replay on pass interference has not helped very much.
  1. Dallas fired Jason Garrett on Sunday. His contract would have expired anyway on the 14th.  It will be interesting to see where Garrett ends up.  He has always been a favorite of the Giants and they need a head coach.  So does Dallas.  There are plenty of good candidates – Mike McCarthy and Jeff Fisher to name a couple.  Fisher’s personality might be a welcome change to the stoic Garrett.
  1. Why do so many fans hate Tom Brady? I was in a gym full of people on Sunday and everyone seemed so elated that Brady finally lost a playoff game and they were ecstatic he threw an interception for his last pass, perhaps as a Patriot.  He is a free-agent now.  Would the haters want him on THEIR team?
  1. If anyone ever doubted that great dual meets in high school wrestling generate the biggest crowds and the greatest interest, then you did not see the Notre DameBethlehem Catholic match this past week? The crowd was immense and the atmosphere was the best.  I cannot imagine squeezing a crowd like that into the Notre Dame gym next year.  It was like the old days.
  1. RCN-TV will bring you Parkland at Freedom basketball on Tuesday and Northampton at Easton on Friday night. Both are LIVE at 7:00pm.  Our Lafayette schedule includes the Lafayette men taking on Holy Cross on Wednesday at 7:00pm and the Lafayette women playing Loyola on Saturday at 2:00pm.  Easton will wrestle Northampton on Saturday.  Plenty to choose from if you are so inclined.

 

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 2-2)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 169-89-1  (66%)

SAN FRANCISCO

GREEN BAY

BALTIMORE

KANSAS CITY

 

 

Football 2019 Video Recaps

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

As we reflect on some of the big sports moments from 2019, here are video highlights of our District XI and Pennsylvania state playoff games we broadcasted this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep watching for more video recaps broadcast on RCN-TV as well as our top moments coming in the new year.  We are making the transition into “winter basketball and wrestling” mode in the RCN-TV studios so be on the lookout for highlights of those games and matches as well.

And … be sure to watch the “Best of RCN“” events, sports productions and shows on TV–RCN customers can check your on-screen schedule guide for details.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

GARY’S GUESSES

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 11-5) (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 167-87-1 (66%)

BUFFALO
TENNESSEE
NEW ORLEANS
SEATTLE

Gary’s Guesses

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 13-3)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 156-82-1  (66%)

BUFFALO

CLEVELAND

GREEN BAY

KANSAS CITY

MINNESOTA

NEW ENGLAND

ATLANTA

NEW ORLEANS

DALLAS

DENVER

RAMS

PHILADELPHIA

KANSAS CITY

BALTIMORE

TENNESSEE

SAN FRANCISCO

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Bill White’s Christmas Lights on RCN TV

Retired Morning Call columnist Bill White here, blogging about our 20th annual Christmas Lights show, which we taped last Wednesday night, Dec. 11.

The show features five great displays, ranging east to west from Bath to Upper Macungie and conversations with their creators. It will premiere on RCN-TV at 11 a.m. Christmas Eve, with additional showings at 6 p.m. and midnight, plus 6:30 and 11 p.m. Christmas Day and 8:30 a.m. December 26.

As I said during the program, my favorite part is the opportunity to talk to these holiday decorators. The breakneck pace of judging for my Christmas Light Tours for The Morning Call rarely gave me any time to stop and talk to the homeowners, and they all have great stories to tell.

This year, among other things, we heard about a bear dragging Santa around, a woman who was brought to tears by the beauty, a family legacy of decorating excellence, a teenage Santa and a decorator who ended up in an ambulance.

I recounted some of my tour’s history in a recent conversation with Dan Mowdy on RCN-TV’s “Community Spotlight” program.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing these shows for 20 years. Sorely missed, as always, was the late RCN-TV producer Wally Ely, who conceived the idea and was my on-air partner for many years until he retired. Wally passed away last year, and we dedicated the 2018 program to his memory by visiting some of his favorite displays.

If you like looking at holiday lights and listening to holiday music, I encourage you to tune in on Christmas Eve. Our trip certainly put me in the Christmas spirit. I hope it has the same effect on you.

Looking Ahead

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I know this is the time of the year when most writers look back on the past year and reminisce on the highlights of the 2019.  You will be able to find plenty of those articles and opinions in the next week or so.  I am not much for looking back.  I tend to think except for the nostalgia value, not much is gained by it.  Instead, I like to look ahead – you know, have a reason to look forward to the next day and the one after that.

So, with that in mind, and since this will be my last blog for the year (“Gary’s Guesses” will continue, however), I thought I would offer up some of the questions I look forward to answering in the near future in 2019.  They are in no particular order:

  1. Can the Eagles actually get into the NFL playoffs and win a playoff game? (I think a Super Bowl win is out of the question).
  2. If the Eagles beat the Cowboys this week, will John Garrett get the ax; or if the Cowboys win, will his job be safe?
  3. Is it me or are NFL games becoming much like all NBA games in that the outcome comes down often to the last two minutes?
  4. Did the Patriots really cheat again by filming the Bengals sideline?
  5. Do you have a favorite yet to win the Super Bowl? I like the Ravens right now.
  6. Is there a more enjoyable college football game to watch than ArmyNavy? It just gives you a different feeling when you see the members of the academies both playing and cheering on their respective teams.  I hope there is a reasonable explanation for the hand gestures picked up by the TV cameras.
  7. With all Philadelphia sports teams seemingly on the rise (except maybe the Eagles), will the Phils and the Flyers and 76’ers all create year-round excitement in the City of Brotherly Love?
  8. Will the winter high school wrestling and basketball seasons be just as competitive as the past football season? I am guessing we are in for a great winter of high school sports?
  9. Do you agree with me that Match Play golf is the most entertaining golf to watch? The President’s Cup was great television (except for the fact it was played in Australia and the outcome was known before the TV broadcast)?  Even with that said, it was still exciting to see how it all ended.
  10. Can Lafayette maintain the excitement of their recent successes in all sports particularly football and men’s and women’s basketball?

Well, that’s enough to chew on for a while, with new questions cropping up every week.  Before I call it a year, I do want to thank all the people who made this past year so gratifying – the RCN-TV crew and management (they are an amazing group); athletic directors and coaches (their cooperation is essential); statisticians (they are SO important to me); the players (your dedication and effort inspires me every game); the Lafayette Sports Information Department (you make me feel like part of the team); and, especially, you, the fans.  Nothing makes our day than when so many of you take the time to tell us how much you enjoy our product.

I hope we all can spend 2020 together once again!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Aaron Clark of Easton knows how to return to a lineup. After getting a high ankle sprain during the second practice of the season, the sophomore missed the Red Rovers’ first two games.  He returned this past Thursday and, despite barely playing in the first quarter, he scored 26 points, was 8 for 8 from 3-point range, and blocked the final potential game-tying shot.  By the way he scored another 25 against Liberty on Saturday night.  He is certainly back.
  1. Imagine the poor bettors who had the Redskins and 6.5 points or those who had the Falcons49’ers in the “over/under” bet. The Eagles had a four-point lead when the Redskins fumbled.  The Eagles returned the fumble for a touchdown with no time left.  The Eagles won by 10 and those who bet on the Redskins lost.  The over/under for the Falcons game was 49.5 points.  The Falcons scored two touchdowns in the final 8 seconds to put the score “over” with a 29-22 win (51 points).  I’m sure there was plenty of wailing in the various betting parlors around the country.
  1. With all the analytics in all sports these days, you would think the easiest thing to get right would be the decision after you win the opening NFL coin toss. Not so.  The Cowboys really messed it up this past Sunday.  Dallas quarterback, Zak Prescott, actually gave three different answers to the referee and confusion reigned.  And the Rams actually thought they would receive the second half kickoff when they came out of the locker room.  They had already received the first half kickoff.  It turns out that the Cowboys eventually deferred, but caused plenty of confusion.  It is hard to imagine this is a hard decision.
  1. Nine weeks into the NBA season, and the 76’ers look like they could be in the title hunt this year. They just won 13 of their last 16 games and Joel Embiid seems to have taken the Charles Barkley criticism to heart. He is playing excellent basketball of late (38 points and 13 rebounds against the Celtics this past week).
  1. Plenty of high school action takes place this week on RCN-TV. In basketball, Allen takes on Bethlehem Catholic LIVE and Freedom plays Easton (9:30) on Tuesday with Liberty at Freedom (LIVE) and Nazareth at Northampton (9:30) on Friday night.  Our wrestling season begins with Emmaus at Parkland on Wednesday night.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 11-5)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 143-79-1  (64%) 

HOUSTON

NEW ENGLAND

SAN FRANCISCO

ATLANTA

NEW ORLEANS

GIANTS

PITTSBURGH

MIAMI

INDIANAPOLIS

BALTIMORE

DENVER

CHARGERS

PHILADELPHIA

SEATTLE

KANSAS CITY

CLEVELAND

MINNESOTA

Basketball & Year-Review Previews   

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Because of the way our calendar “fell” this year, we decided to combine two of our regular “SportsTalk” programs into one big show–the high school basketball “primer” for one segment and our “year in review” program for the rest of the show.

So to get you set for both programs, here’s a few of the topics we will be addressing for both of those areas.  As always, you are invited to share your opinions on these issues so that we may read and respond to them on the next show.

Also, if you have a suggestion for a topic for us to comment on, please feel free to send them to chris.michael@rcn.net

Now, here are our topics of discussion for this year’s Lehigh Valley high school basketball season and a look back on some of the sports topics of note from 2019 that we’ll be answering.

BASKETBALL PREVIEW TOPICS:

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial League

2) “Surprise” Team to Watch this Winter

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch this Winter

4) Pre-Season MVP

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter

6) Underclassmen to Watch This Winter

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Regular Season Matchup

8) Most Anticipated EPC Regular Season Matchup

9)  New Head Coach That Will Have the Best Rookie Campaign

2019 YEAR IN REVIEW TOPICS:

  • Favorite Team You Saw in 2019
  • Most Outstanding Accomplishment
  • Best Executive Decision of 2019
  • Most Exciting Game
  • Biggest Surprise of 2019
  • Best Turnarounds for 2019
  • Most Underrated Story of 2019
  • Most Exciting Single Play of 2019
  • Underrated Star of 2019
  • Stone-Cold Lock for 2020
  • Piece of Advice for 2020

Keep an eye out over the holiday season for when this show will be airing on RCN-TV.