How Colin Sexton Will Change The Cavaliers

How Colin Sexton Will Change The Cavaliers

What will Sexton add to Cleveland?

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Last Thursday the Cleveland Cavaliers made a choice. One that will define them for the foreseeable future. A choice that could change the layout of their franchise, or add to it's existing success. Their choice was betting on a 19-year-old kid from the University of Alabama to lead them out of their black hole of mediocrity. (Of course I can call the defending eastern conference champions mediocre. They had one of the worst defenses in the league, along with the fact that their best player seemingly wants out.)

But that same 19-year-old kid can be the ultimate key in keeping LeBron James in Cleveland, or he can be the fresh start the Cavs so desperately need.

Whether he wants to admit it or not, LeBron James wants to leave Cleveland because other than maybe Kevin Love the roster stinks. It's riddled with un-tradable contracts and players with their best years behind them. So the only possible option to improve the roster was through the draft and other than Michael Porter Jr., Sexton was a no-brainer. If general manager Kobi Altman, went with Porter, it probably would have sent the message to James that they were ready to move on from him. The two play the same position, and Porter is heralded as an offensive juggernaut closer to Kevin Durant but that isn't too shabby either. It's also not like James hasn't dished out his fair share of passive aggressive signals, such as the infamous Arthur fist.

Regardless, it would be an idiotic move by Altman. Porter has a history of injury and not only does he have to prove that he is healthy, but he will have to face the pressure of being the heir apparent to the king himself. To me and thankfully the Cavaliers organization as well, that was too big a risk.

The Cavaliers really need Sexton. At the end of the finals last season everyone was dead tired and ready to join the AARP. It was like watching an episode of "The Walking Dead." You remember how great it was five years ago but now its just sad to see what it's become. What both of these things need is a shot of adrenaline and only one of them is actually getting it.

Alabama head basketball coach Avery Johnson once said that Sexton was "the fastest player I've ever seen with the basketball." He's also been heralded by the likes of Jay Bilas as the most competitive player in the draft. If your Cleveland that is exactly what your team was missing last year. Speed and competitive spirit. There were multiple games in the playoffs where the Cavs didn't start games off shooting well and fell behind early. Instead of fighting to put together runs and get stops they'd hoist up a couple of threes and just go through the motions to look forward to the next game. In a league that is widely criticized for having a noncompetitive regular season, it's not a great idea to sleepwalk through playoff games.

But this is where Sexton will have his greatest impact. Like Johnson said, he is extremely fast with the basketball. No more so demonstrated with his buzzer beater against Texas A&M; where he went coast to coast in just 4.4 seconds. Not to mention that game winner came in a do-or-die game in the SEC tournament. It also takes a lot of intelligence to know not to pull up for a three and trust that you have enough time to get to the rim.

But Sexton isn't just all about buzzer beaters and flashy finishes. He's also a willing defender despite his lack of elite size and is a great communicator. LeBron thrives when he has a teammate like this. Just look at his past championship teams, he has always had an elite guard alongside him. Whether it's Dwyane Wade or Kyrie Irving, both were huge pieces that propelled their respective teams to championships.

If I'm going to think realistically though, I think Sexton will be LeBronless at the start of the season. But that isn't a bad thing at all. James is great, there's no question about that. But it can't be denied that he has stalled or hurt the development of young players on his teams. Hell, the reason Kyrie left was so he didn't fall into Mario Chalmers territory. That's an overreaction but nonetheless, Sexton will have to lead his own team in the league. This is another area where he has experience in.

All throughout Alabama's postseason play, Sexton was the Rick to the rest of the teams Morty. In other words, he basically carried them. Now he has that responsibility indirectly put on him because he's their first-round pick. But instead of being surrounded by other 19- 22-year-olds, he's playing with some grown men, even if they are old. And if you've paid any attention to Sexton's basketball career, you'll know that he will relish the opportunity to lead an NBA team.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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I'm Grateful My Dad Was My Coach, But I Wouldn't Want To Do It Again

It's not as great as it may sound.

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Soccer was always a huge part of my life. I started playing when I was 8-years old and I played on both the recreational and travel levels. Unfortunately, my sophomore year presented a scheduling conflict between soccer and theatre. So, at the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to hang up my cleats and continue on with theatre.

In the almost 10 years on the field, however, I had quite the assortment of coaches. A coach who seemed like he couldn't be less thrilled to be in charge of a hoard of eight-year-olds, one who made us practice outside in the dead of winter and one who's pockets seemed to always be full of keys that would jingle all practice long.

But I've never had a coach quite as memorable as my dad.

Now, my dad has always been a big sports guy. He loves basketball, baseball, football and even golf, but he never really showed an interest in soccer, outside of watching me play. So when one of my old coaches was ejected from a game and it was either find a new coach in five minutes or forfeit, I was shocked to see Gary Hess volunteer. But he did, and from that moment on, my dad was my new coach. I had always wondered what it was like to have a parent as a coach. I had always imagined that it was a dream, you always had someone to practice with, you could help strategize for big games and you'd always be kind of a right-hand man on the field.

Boy was I wrong.

my dad was nothing if not a good coach. He had a good understanding of the game and he let us all try our hand at positions we were curious about but being his daughter presented some tricky situations. On more than one occasion, the short 15-minute ride from the soccer field back to our house after practice became a time for harsh critique and arguments that we often brought home to my mom... sorry mom.

That wasn't all though, I knew as an athlete that you were supposed to leave it all on the field. If your team won, soak it in and move on. If your team had a tough loss, be upset about it for a second and move on, but when your dad is your coach, it's a little harder to do.

After games I would get to hear all of his feedback, some good and some bad and even when his critiques weren't directed at me, they were directed at my teammates and friends and sometimes his harsh words and even his praise of other people was hard to hear. Of course, it didn't help that he stepped into the coaching job for a group of 14-year-olds who weren't always the easiest to deal with, me being probably the most difficult of all just because it's hard to separate your coach from your dad and your player from your daughter.

Despite our issues, we had a good time and as I got older and my dad got more comfortable with coaching and found his style, we were a much better team. We argued less, though every now and again we'd still but heads. I started to take direction more seriously and he started to understand how to communicate effectively with a group of young kids. We didn't ever have a superstar season but at the end of the day, we had a good time.

Good and bad, I wouldn't trade the years I spent playing soccer with my dad as the coach for anything. But if it came down to it again now I think I'd have to say thanks but no thanks. With that said though, he made me a better player and a better person so, thanks, dad.

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