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Sports Blog, Weekly Sports Update 0

Weekly Sports Update (2-20-17)

Sam McSweeney (sMcSweeney@ksuradio.com)

Bret Baker (JBaker@ksuradio.com)

 

Kennesaw Baseball looks for HOT start to 2017

 

The Owls look to carry momentum into the new season after strong 2016 conference play.

On paper, the Owls record during their 2016 campaign looks lackluster only finishing the season two games over .500 at a bleak 29-27, but there is hope. Although the Owls record wasn’t stellar, their Atlantic Sun conference record was an astounding 17-4 and good enough to win them a regular season conference title. With the experience gained from last season, the Owls look to make some noise in their 2017 season.

There’s a lot of buzz about this KSU ball club and for good reason. A lot of factors can determine how well a team will do and one of the most important ones being continuity, and that’s exactly what the Owls have. While it’s hard for some other top programs to retain players from year to year, the Owls are managing to return a whopping 27 players.  Amongst those 27 players are three All- Atlantic Sun players in Gabe Friese, Corey Greeson and Austin Upshaw. Most of all, what might make these Owls most dangerous is their versatility, with most players being to play multiple positions.

Kennesaw’s baseball team has many strong areas on highlighted by their infield which is four of five starters and their pitching staff, which looks to be deepest in the conference. The Owls infield is anchored by the only senior of the bunch, Jeremy Howell and 2016 Atlantic Sun All-Freshman, David Chabut. Junior Grant Williams comes into the 2017 season on a 13-game hitting streak and ended the 2016 with 17 multi-hit games. The pitching staff returns three starting pitchers to the rotation in A.J. Moore, Tony Dibrell and Gabe Friese who had a combined 199 strikeouts.

The owls Saw one of their own getting drafted to the big league, as catcher Brennan Morgan was drafted by the Angels. For most college ball clubs this would pose as huge problem, but the owls have a dynamic duo sharing catching duties with Griffin “Gainz’ Helms and Forrest Bramlett. Helms batted .376 last year and Bramlett is a Transfer from Tennessee/GPC in who redshirted all of last season. Freshman Daniel Seres is also on this list, but don’t expect him to see much time this season.

Versatility is the word that best describes the Owls outfield with many players moving around and playing multiple positions. You can catch Corey Greeson playing in the outfield and field; also keep an eye for Chris Ewrin playing centerfield on the weekend and taking the mound during the week. With Justin and Motley and Alex Liquori graduating, there is ample opportunity for younger players like sophomore Taylor Allum, Terrence Norman, and Garret Hodges.

With few holes on the roster and a stable of returning talent, the owls look to dominate the Atlantic Sun 2017. The Owls first game is February 17th against Western Michigan University. The Owls will then host five straight home games through the 26th.

 

Men’s Basketball Team Coming Alive To End Season

 

With just one game remaining on the season, the Kennesaw State men’s basketball team looks towards finishing a positive regular season in strong fashion.

Ideally, a strong finish would allow the team to host their first Atlantic Sun Conference tournament game. The team’s overall record currently sits at 13-16. While they are under .500 on their overall season, their conference record of 7-6 put the Owls in a great position to earn a home game to tip-off the tournament.

Led by Senior Kendrick Ray and Junior Nick Masterson, the team has developed into an explosive offense throughout the season. Ray, in the last season of a remarkable career, has scored at an incredible clip – averaging 21.4 points per game (2nd in A-Sun Conference) and shooting 45.9% from the field. As for Masterson, he seems to be struggling to miss from the three-point line this season. Shooting a remarkable three-point shooting percentage of 53.0%, Masterson leads the entire NCAA in shooting percentage by a considerable margin. Since January 14, the Owls have put up 80 points on five different occasions during a solid 6-3 stretch. Throughout the offensive frenzy, the team seems to be coming alive late and winning games that they were failing to win earlier in the season. One aspect of this team that cannot be debated is their will to win, as four out of their last six wins have come with a margin of victory of four or fewer points.

Saturday, the Owls played the University of North Florida in a crucial game to their placement in the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament. North Florida came into the game with a one game lead over Kennesaw State in the conference standings, but the Owls came primed for action. After opening the game on a 23-2 run, the team did not look back. In the end, the Owls beat North Florida 85-68, and set a Kennesaw State University single-game record with 27 assists on 51% shooting (35 of 68).

The win puts the Owls in fourth place in the A-Sun Conference. A fourth place finish would give the Owls their very first home game in the A-Sun tournament. This Thursday, the Owls play second-place Lipscomb in a detrimental game. With a win, the Owls would secure a huge home game in the conference tournament. With that being said, support from the student body could be a make or break for your very own Kennesaw State Owls basketball team! So do yourself, as well as your team, a favor and come out to the Kennesaw State University Convocation Center on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:00pm.

Opinion, Sports Blog 0

Kennesaw State vs USC Upstate Preview: Stopping Buchanan

By Phil Oscarson, for Owl Radio Sports

Two great programs of the ASUN take the court in a game that promises to have its fair share of fireworks coming from both squads. You have USC Upstate who is coming off a hard-fought win against Florida Gulf Coast, and you have Kennesaw State who is starting to really bring their A game.

While these teams may not be going stride for stride in the rankings, there’s more than enough reason for fans of both teams to expect this to be rather contentious. Both squads have talent, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t give Mike Buchanan the attention he deserves. If KSU hopes to walk off the court with a W, they’ll have to center their game plan around stopping the Spartans’ leader.

Rundown of Buchanan

First and foremost, the first thing you realize about Buchanan is his size. He will be the largest player on the court at all times, as he is a legitimate seven feet while the tallest person that KSU will trot out will be at least two inches shorter. What’s more is that he will have the most experience against the big men of Kennesaw State. More often than not, his opposite position will be freshmen.

This will allow him to deploy a fair amount of his arsenal against less experienced underclassmen. What Kennesaw State needs to realize is that he will be fed early and often throughout the game. He’s the driving force behind this team, averaging just over 18 points per game, 10 rebounds, as well as shooting at a 62 percent clip.

In short, they’ll have their hands full.

From the Post

When handling someone as talented and as important as Mike Buchanan is for USC, there are two things that you can do to minimize his impact on the game. The first is double teaming from the post. In using this method, the Owls would want to bring a big man over across the key and set a trap while not giving up the baseline. From there, they’ll want to make sure that their trappers clog up the passing lanes with their hands. If successful, the Spartans won’t be able to deliver the cross-court pass.

Lastly, the guy covering the opposite wing should drop down into the key to cover the opposite position of Buchanan. This lessens the chance for another easy bucket, especially for the less dangerous Ramel Thompkins.

Doubling the Passer

The other school of thought requires doubling the passer, though this is sometimes considered to be a more reactionary strategy. As such, this can be considered a bit more dangerous, but an effective strategy worth employing for the Owls. In any event, what they’ll want to do is to wait for the entry pass to be made and quickly have the man covering the passer to double down. The point for Kennesaw State would then have to cover this man, leaving the next available defender to take over the point guard’s assignment.

Obviously, this will leave a wing player open. However, it would be tough for the post player to make a pass here. If the Owls are on their spots and have the awareness to anticipate the pass, there is a great option for a steal and for Kennesaw to take the ball back down the court for an easy two.

All in all, this is a tough task that’s a lot easier said than done. There’s a reason why Mike Buchanan is considered to be one of the best players in college basketball despite not being in a Power Five conference. However, there is a blueprint to keep the ball out of his hands. If KSU can do that, they will pull off the upset and make a lot of people on betting sites extremely happy.

–  Phil Oscarson, for Owl Radio Sports

Sports Blog 0

Looking At Liberty

By: Tyler Hall | October 27, 2015

The scene was set, 7 P.M. in Lynchburg, VA. Under the lights in front of 25,000 screaming fans, where the Kennesaw State Owls took on the Liberty Flames for the first time in school history. Kennesaw came in after clinching their first Big South win with confidence and inspiration to take on the favored Liberty Flames who have won the Big South three times in four years. While the Liberty Flames came in struggling, after losing two tough games to Gardner Webb and Monmouth, which has left people wondering if Liberty will even compete for a Big South birth this year.

The games started with an unexpected twist, Kennesaw State sliced through Liberty’s defense and scored on the opening drive with no trouble at all. The stadium looked on edge as the fans looked on with a face of fear. Would this be another Big South loss where the Flames would fail to take the first punch and get back up? Liberty answered that question on the next drive by airing the ball out and putting seven points on the board. Liberty would end up dropping 24 points on the board at halftime, a season high for the team. The Liberty Flames had come to play and ready to defend Williams Stadium.

An interesting story that continued to develop was the incredible facilities that Liberty had for all their sports programs and how well maintained they were. Kennesaw State should strive to have facilities like these and build after Liberty. The whole atmosphere surrounding the program is incredible, and Kennesaw is hoping to have similar success. For Kennesaw, the success of the program will most likely encourage new facilities, more fan support and more national exposure. Kennesaw needs the fans, and they need them there loud, early and them there the entire game. This is instrumental in developing a program that will grow into something that is like Liberty’s program. The fans are key, and my final message is that they are the make or break for any program.

Sports Blog 0

The Young Who Look to Be On The Rise In The NBA

By Matthew Laczko | October 21, 2015

It’s officially almost the start of the NBA season as we approach the first game of the regular season with the tip off being a clash of teams with young talent with the Atlanta Hawks against the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers against the Chicago Bulls, and the New Orleans Pelicans against the World Champion Golden State Warriors. In 2015, I predict that we will see the biggest rise of young players turned All-Stars since the late 1990’s and early 2000’s with Iverson, Kobe, Shaq, and LeBron all coming in to the league around that time. For the start of the regular season here are the young stars to look out for in each game:

In the Detroit Pistons at the Atlanta Hawks watch out for two players on the Hawks who look to be big contributors as veterans of a deep playoff team and one who looks to break out his mold as a bench player. Dennis Schroeder was drafted as the future of the point guard position for the Atlanta Hawks as Jeff Teague played mediocre until his first All-Star performance last year. Schroeder has been coming off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks since his rookie season but as a third year player he looks to try and overtake Teague as the starting point guard as the season progresses even if it is as a splitting time role for the Hawks. Schroeder improved his playing this offseason as the star for his home country Germany in EuroBasket Tournament as he lead the older German team as the starting point guard against the best players in Europe.

The other player to come off the bench to produce as a starter this year will be Kent Bazemore, the SG/SF out of Old Dominium, who has been a threat off the bench backing up DeMarre Carrol. With Carrol in Toronto, Bazemore looks to have a breakout year being a premier wing defender with explosive rim rocking power and will be guarding a barrage of players like Luol Deng, Justise Winslow, Tobias Harris, and Otto Porter Jr. in the Southeast Division of the NBA. In his first year with the Hawks, Bazemore averaged 5.2 PPG, 3 RPG, and all while doing this with an average of 17 minutes a game off the bench.

For Detroit look out for one of the biggest and toughest big men in the league as Andre Drummond looks to assert himself as one the league’s best centers in the Motor City. Drummond averaged a double-double in his 3rd season in the NBA and thrived in Stan Van Gundy’s offense as well as blocking almost 2 shots a game as the big man in the middle for the Pistons. Also for the Pistons comes a young man with as much talent as the starting SF but will be limited due to lack of experience in the NBA as Stanley Johnson was drafted by the Pistons out of Arizona this past summer and will look to contribute off the bench as a rookie in the NBA.

For the Cavaliers and Chicago game be on the lookout for three young players who will take the court in this season opener for both teams. On the Chicago Bulls, Jimmy Butler is coming off another All-Star performance, Most Improved Player of the Year Award winner, NBA All-Defensive Second Team, and of course a major contract from the Chicago Bulls. At 26 years old, Butler is far from being done and with Derrick Rose’s injury history Jimmy might be the only Bull to lead his team to the playoffs besides another All-Star performance from a declining Pau Gasol. For the Cavaliers there is one name who has always been a key component for the Cavaliers and if he is healthy, could lead the team to an NBA Championship alongside LeBron. Kyrie Irving is only 23 years old (!!) and has had a great career with a scoring line of 21 PPG, 5 APG, and 3 RPG at the point guard position for the Cavaliers. As he paired with LeBron James he averaged pretty much the same stat line last year and hopes to improve on his season without as many turnovers he’s had his entire career with his career low stat line being 2.5 per game in 2014-2015. The final player to watch in this game will be coming off the bench and is a second year pro out of Creighton named Doug “McBuckets” McDermott. McDermott averaged a mere 3 PPG last year while battling injuries and riding the pine as Tony Snell and Mike Dunleavy platooned the small forward position. McDermott will thrive this year as the 6th or 7th man off the bench as Fred Hoiberg loves big men who can shoot threes (enter McBuckets) and the fact that Hoiberg brings a fast-paced oriented offense that emphasizing moving the ball in space which McDermott thrived in during his college days under his father at Creighton.

The final game of the evening is between the up and coming New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors who face each other with a bit of youth in several positions. For the Pelicans, MVP candidate and 22 year old power forward Anthony Davis is the talk of the town and will be looking to log in more minutes and play a faster tempo offense under new Head Coach Alvin Gentry who was the Assistant Coach for Steve Kerr and the Golden State Warriors last year. Davis might be leaned on heavily in this game as Tyreke Evans is recovering from a knee injury and Jrue Holiday is the only real offense weapon that might be open in this game due to Klay Thompson locking down Eric Gordon. Another young name in this game is James Michael McAdoo out of the University of North Carolina and was a contributor in some situations off the bench for the defending champs. McAdoo doesn’t scream out breakout player on the stat sheet as he barely averaged anything behind a veteran front line of Draymond Green, David Lee, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, and Andrew Bogut, but as a starter in the D-League for the Santa Cruz Warriors, McAdoo was a beast. McAdoo nearly average 20 points per game alongside a beefy 2 BPG and 9 RPG so he has shown his ability to be a featured SF/PF in the Warriors system that Kerr has asked his staff in Santa Cruz to develop players with.

As a final note I will say that this season as you watch these games and see names unfamiliar just remember these are the up and coming, the nameless, the restless, the non-complacent players who work hard each and every day and now have a chance to prove themselves. This is the year of the new generation of players and the year we see a guy under 25 try and earn himself the honors of being the Most Valuable Player in the greatest league for Basketball on this planet.

Sports Blog 0

NBA Season

By: Dumaka Moultrie |10-27-15
The NBA season is today. Oh what a time to be alive. As the season approaches I want to give a breakdown of the storylines and whats new to the NBA this season. From the new crop of ballers being developed. To season veterans trying to reach the ultimate goal of a nba championship. The NBA season is going to be full of excitement.
One of the first storylines to think of for the NBA season is the development and the passing of the torch of the older generation to the new one. From Kevin Garnett passing it to Karl Anthony-Towns, from Kobe Bryant passing it to D’angelo Russell, to Dwayne Wade passing it to Justise Winslow. The early 2000 basketball we grew up watching is now slowly transitioning to a new wave of basketball. Seeing all this young talent having the opportunity to be groomed by an older group of champions is going to be interesting to see.
Another storyline to watch are the younger group of veterans coming back this year hungry  for another crack at a championship ring. Steph Curry coming back to defend his championship ring with his team mostly in tact from last year. Anthony Davis coming off a MVP candidate season is looking to win the trophy this year along with attempting to bring a championship to New Orleans. Kevin Durant coming off of his foot injury is finally healthy and ready to team up with Russell Westbrook to get another shot at Winning a championship ring.  Damian Lillard losing his long time teammate Lamarcus Aldridge is going to lead Portland to hopefully another playoff run.
Another storyline to follow is the New Faces in New places. The Lakers in Free-Agency were very busy acquiring several new players such as Roy Hibbert, Lou williams, and the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. The San Antonio Spurs who many say were the winners in free agency landing Lamarcus Aldridge and David West automatically making them the best front court in the NBA. The clippers made strides as well gaining Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Paul Pierce. Teams have been gearing up to Win an NBA championship so we’ll see how this plays out.
To tie a bow on this NBA season its going to be like the last few years very interesting to say the least. The usual power houses have been slown down some and I think the same will continue. The Spurs are going to be a force in the NBA this year but of course there are 82 games to play. The Hawks have made moves that should keep them in the top 3 seed. Tune in tonight for the season opener of the NBA