Tough Times Call For Tough People

Tough Times Call For Tough People

Uncertainty does not equal defeat
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"You're going to need surgery." Those five words are probably the most disheartening and frightening words that an athlete can hear. It means that your season is likely over and sometimes, your entire career too. This is the same scenario that I faced four weeks ago on August seventh when I underwent surgery to repair my labrum in my left shoulder. The tearing was extensive; nearly 360 degrees around and had been left untreated for well over a year. I had already needed to sit out of my freshman year of collegiate competition due to this injury, and now faced with a long eight month recovery time, I would be forced to sit out my sophomore season as well.

At first, this was an absolutely crushing and overwhelming perspective. Knowing that half of my collegiate had been taken away was infuriating. I felt like a disappointment to all my coaches, teammates, and myself for not being able to compete and deliver on the expectations we all had. After leaving a legacy in high school, I felt like I had turned into a pretty big bust. I've had a lot of down time to reflect on the potential outcome of these two years away from competing and I have made peace with those emotions during this time.

Sports transform our bodies into incredible precision machines capable of fantastic feats, but they also sharpen our minds to be tough and unafraid. Sometimes you are faced with a seemingly impassable wall and feel unsure whether or not you can break it down. This is the big life lesson of sports thought!

Ultimately, in life, you will be faced with forms of adversity; some more imposing than others. The outcome lies in the choice to either stand up and fight and break down each wall stone by stone, or to lay down and let it overcome and consume you. My wrestling career so far has taught me to never settle, never give up, and to always attack every challenge wholeheartedly.

This surgery is just one of many obstacles to overcome and even if I am unable to wrestle again, I can still say I faced it head-on, just like I was trained to. As Robert Schuller once said, "tough times don't last, tough people do."

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.com

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Playoff Rondo Is A Different Breed

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now, he's feeling it.
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Rajon Rondo lives for the postseason.

In the 2017 NBA Playoffs, he led the Chicago Bulls to two straight victories over the Celtics. In one of them, he was a rebound shy of a triple double and had 5 steals. Then he broke his thumb and was forced to miss the rest of the series. Chicago proceeded to lose four straight and were effectively eliminated from playoff contention.

Now, for the second straight year, Rondo is showing that he’s still got it in his early 30s. To be honest, I doubted Rondo would ever be an impact player again when he struggled in Dallas and Sacramento. It seemed his attitude was going to derail his career, and he would fail to live up to his potential.

However, he has been great for New Orleans this year, and he's playing even better this postseason. In Game 1 against Portland he had 17 assists and nearly had a triple-double in Game 2 (9 assists). He has led New Orleans in performances in which they have shown good ball movement, and on more than one occasion I’ve heard people watching say, “How did Rondo fit that ball in there?”. Playing with great scorers in Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis, he seems more than comfortable in his role as a facilitator.

In addition to passing the ball extremely well, Rondo has been hustling to collect rebounds and has scored when the Pelicans have needed him to, ie. at the end of Game 2 when he hit a 3-point dagger with 38 seconds left to seal it.

The last couple of years Rondo has been stellar in the postseason, and he hasn’t lost a playoff game since 2015. His improved performance on the big stage is nothing new for him, though.

Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 3.8 more points, 1.2 more rebounds, and 0.7 more assists per game. These may not seem like significant jumps, but when you consider how many playoff games he’s competed in dating back to his days with the Paul Pierce-Ray Allen-Kevin Garnett Celtics, it becomes a bit more impressive.

When he’s feeling it, Rajon Rondo is one of the most fun players to watch in the NBA. Right now he is feeling it. The boys down in NOLA are thriving because of it--also because of Jrue Holiday’s brilliant scoring performances and Anthony Davis’s perpetual brilliance in all areas of the game.

The series with Portland has been gritty, and the Pelicans have been forced to show that they have what it takes to close games. They’ve done that, and they did it in Portland. Now they head back to the Smoothie King Center with a chance to sweep at home. With as much confidence as they’re playing with right now, that very well might happen.












Cover Image Credit: New Orleans Pelicans YouTube

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Hurricanes Lose Walker, Brown Jr., And Huell To NBA Draft

Despite losing three of their highest scorers, the Hurricanes look to make the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year in 2019.
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With Lonnie Walker (Freshman Guard), Bruce Brown Jr. (Sophomore Guard), and Dewan Huell announcing that they are leaving for the NBA draft, Jim Larranaga looks to move forward. Huell is the only one of the three that chose not to sign an agent. The significance of this is that he still has the option to return to college. Walker and Brown Jr., however, do not have this option.

Lonnie Walker had a solid year for the Miami Hurricanes. The five star recruit averaged 11.5 points and helped lead the Hurricanes to a berth in the NCAA tournament. One of his best games came at home against Boston College when he hit the game winning three. His most high scoring games were versus Boston University (26 points), versus Louisville (25 points), and @ Florida State (23 points).

Bruce Brown Jr. had a year that was shortened by injury. However, he still had a solid year. The Sophomore Guard averaged 11.4 points. His best games came versus Middle Tennessee State (20 points) and versus Florida State (23 points). Hurricanes fans were sad to see the star guard’s season end prematurely, but wish him the best in the NBA.

Dewan Huell, the third Hurricane to declare for the draft, had a breakout Sophomore season. He averaged 11.4 points. His best games were @ Minnesota (23 points), versus Middle Tennessee (21 points), and versus Florida State (20 points).

While Lonnie Walker is projected to get drafted in the first round lottery, Bruce Brown and Dewan Huell are projected to go late first or early second round.

Hopefully, the Hurricanes can rally next year and reach the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year.

As for Lonnie Walker, Bruce Brown Jr., and Dewan Huell, best of luck in the NBA!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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