My take: The NBA has to be absolutely LOVING this, especially coming off the strike. This reminds me of the MLB strike in 1994, when Cal Ripken Jr. brought many fans back to the game with his consecutive games streak. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s steroid-fueled home run derby helped MLB, too.
But this is a fascinating story in which you have to pull for this kid. I’m not exactly going to run out and buy his jersey (although A LOT of people are), but I’m looking forward to seeing him play this weekend on national TV.
FOUR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AMONG 17 TCU STUDENTS ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES
My take: Frankly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often on college campuses; drugs are plentiful and kids want ‘em, creating the supply and demand I learned in 10th grade at North Wilkes High School.
The players’ names haven’t been released yet, but more arrests are coming. Interested to see who they’ll be.
EP2A SEMIFINALS TONIGHT AT KHS
One side of the semifinals of the Eastern Plains 2A basketball tournament are tonight at Kinston High School; the top-seeded Vikings girls face Wilson Beddingfield while the top-seeded boys take on Farmville Central.
And I forgot to post a link to my appearance last week on the Reece Gardner Hour on TACC-9; you can watch it by clicking here. We talked about the HB, the Kinston Indians, Wes Goforth from WCTI ABC-12, Jon Dawson’s alleged heterosexuality, elections, the Freedom Classic and lots of other fun stuff. Check it out.
The Kinston girls remained at No. 8, while East Duplin’s girls moved up one to No. 9, both in the 2A poll. Jones Senior’s girls remained seventh in the 1A poll.
Many thanks to Don Hines for compiling this, the only statewide prep basketball poll in North Carolina. It’s a lot of work and he has dumb monkeys like myself sending him my votes two hours past his deadline … so, thanks, Don! And thanks to NCPreps guru/webmaster/all-around great person Deana King for tirelessly working on her site to make it the best statewide prep site in the state.
Here is how I voted in this week’s poll:
1. Charlotte Olympic
3. Hoke County
5. Wilmington New Hanover
6. Fayetteville Pine Forest
7. South Mecklenburg
8. West Charlotte
9. Raleigh Millbrook
10. Greensboro Page
1. Chapel Hill
3. Morganton Freedom
4. Rocky Mount
5. Erwin Triton
6. West Craven
7. Charlotte Harding
8. North Forsyth
1. Waxhaw Cuthbertson
5. Ashe County
9. East Rutherford
10. West Stokes
1. Winston-Salem Prep
4. Rocky Mount Prep
7. South Davidson
10. North Rowan
1. Charlotte Myers Park
2. Hope Mills South View
3. Winston-Salem Mount Tabor
4. Cary Green Hope
5. Raleigh Millbrook
7. Raleigh Broughton
8. Southeast Raleigh
9. Greensboro Page
10. Durham Hillside
1. West Craven
3. China Grove Carson
4. R-S Central
5. Rocky Mount
6. Gastonia Forestview
7. Northern Nash
8. Winterville South Central
9. Charlotte Berry Academy
10. Southern Lee
1. Wilkes Central
2. North Surry
6. North Stanly
7. Catawba Bandys
8. East Duplin
9. Jacksonville Northside
2. Jones Senior
3. Chocowinity Southside
5. Kernersville Bishop McGuinness
7. Salemburg Lakewood
8. Mount Airy
9. South Davidson
10. Warsaw James Kenan
The boys over at the Wilmington Star-News always post their votes in the poll, too, so when they do it today, I’ll post a link here. Speaking of Powell Latimer and his crew — they do a pretty damned good job in that neck of the woods; if you’re inclined to read Wilmington-area sports, check out Powell’s blog here (or click on the link to your right).
Six young men from our area — South Lenoir’s K’Hadree Hooker, Kinston’s C.J. Bradshaw, Angelo Keyes and Shaheed Swinson, and Ayden-Grifton’s Kariym Gent and Brandon Whitaker — signed their national letters of intent to play college football today.
My take: First off — many kudos to Sports Editor Ryan Herman, who was seemingly EVERYWHERE this morning, reporting on these signings. I’m really looking forward to seeing his story/stories in Thursday’s Free Press.
I concur with what Herman said on his Twitter feed — this is an extremely special day for those young men, who have worked their tails to get to this day. I’m also happy for the parents who have helped their children get to this point in their lives!
My take: And another icon of my youth is gone. I’ll never forget Saturday afternoons of “American Bandstand” and “Soul Train” — as many of you in my age bracket also remember.
Until I discovered Sting in 1983, Prince in 1984 and Bono in 1988, Cornelius was the coolest music celebrity I followed.
A final note — there is hardly anything more sad to me than a teenager or older person committing suicide. I’m not saying it’s acceptable for a middle-aged person to do it, but for someone young (who hasn’t truly experienced life) or someone old (who has fought the battles but decided they can’t go another day) to kill themselves is quasi-tragic to me.
BEAUFORT TIES FOR FIRST IN NATIONAL CONTEST
In a contest that had virtually all of ENC voting for it, the coastal city of Beaufort ended up tied for first with a New York town for the title of “America’s Coolest Small Town.”
My take: And that’s a bit bogus — Beaufort actually won the contest by 0.2 percentage points but it was declared a tie? Good for Beaufort in c0-winning the contest, but the person/people making that decision for a tie are the same people who want to give everyone a trophy for winning.
If it finished as a tie, so be it … but Beaufort won the damned thing. Give ‘em their award.
The iPod shuffle
Spaceship — Kanye West feat. GLC & Consequence
99 — Toto
Hot Stuff — The Rolling Stones
Exit — U2
Mother — Tori Amos
P.S.: Check out my brother’s new blog by clicking here. Not only is my brother Darrell the better-looking of the two of us, he’s also more athletic (although he can’t beat me on the basketball court!) and now he’s a better writer, too. Sigh.
Seriously — please check out his blog. Darrell is very sharp and his observations are top-notch, especially when he FINALLY admits U2 hasn’t lost their “it” factor.
P.P.S.S.: While I’m busy pimping, please check out the outstanding coverage of two regional media companies who are really on top of National Signing Day.
Greetings from Raleigh, where we’re getting fired up for Day 2 of the 2011 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational. Yesterday was the first day of the newly-renamed tourney and it featured six games involving all 12 girls’ teams in the field.
Here’s who won yesterday:
Four-team girls’ tournament
Cary Academy 65, Cary 39 (CA led by 30 points and 15 rebounds from Mickayala Sanders and 21 from Brianna Powell; Cary led by 18 points from Whitney Coleman and 15 points and 11 rebounds by Azura Stevens)
Rocky Mount 61, Holly Springs 48 (RM led by 30 points by J’Kyra Brown and 12 points by Alexus Cooper; HS led by Kiara Leslie’s 22 points and 12 rebounds, along with 10 points by Hadiya Howard)
Mix 101.5 eight-team girls’ tournament
Raleigh Millbrook 44, Bunn 20 (RM led by double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds by 2010 Holiday Invitational MVP Briana Day; Bunn’s Chepirah Neal had 13 of team’s 20 points)
Durham Riverside 37, Cary Panther Creek 33 (DR led by Maddie McCallie’s 14 points; PC’s Allie Tuttle had a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds)
Charlotte Myers Park 66, Durham Hillside 50 (MP’s Roddreka Rogers and Saadia Timpton had 18 points each while Brittany Smith added 10; DH led by 13 points from Daesha Marshall and 12 by Jamisha Lee, both off the bench)
Cary Green Hope 54, Cary Christian 42 (GH led by Kristen Gaffney’s 21 points and 10 rebounds, along with 10 points from Ashley Williams; CC paced by 14 points from Dakota Dukes and 10 from Caitlyn Cannon)
Today’s girls’ action:
Four-team girls’ tournament (both games at Cary Academy)
Consolation game: Cary vs. Holly Springs, 11 a.m.
Championship game: Cary Academy vs. Rocky Mount, 4 p.m.
Some quick observations from Monday’s opening action:
The 20 points scored by Bunn against Millbrook tied a record set by Raleigh Athens Drive in 1996 as the fewest in girls’ tournament history. Bunn’s six field goals set the record for fewest in a game, breaking Athens Drive’s record of seven
Myers Park’s Roddreka Rogers (18 points yesterday) and her teammate Rydeiah (7 yesterday) are the daughters of Wake Forest and Holiday Invitational legend Rodney Rogers, who will be honored tonight (more on that later)
I was most impressed by the crowds who attended yesterday’s action, all of which took place at Cary Academy. The place was practically packed from the opening tip of the first game to the final whistle of the last game. I’ll say this — they love their prep girls’ basketball in the Triangle!
To that end, I wish the Kinston girls were still in the field; I know they were in the original bracket, but I don’t know what happened. This tournament would’ve been a good test for a Vikings girls’ team I think is going to go deep in the 2A playoffs
Although she only finished with 10 points and three assists, Green Hope’s Ashley Williams, a junior guard, has been the most impressive player to me to this point. She’s smooth, uber-talented and is unselfish to a fault. She looks like a high Division I PG to me
Today’s boys’ schedule:
Shavlik Randolph Foundation four-team bracket
Chapel Hill vs. Clayton, 11 a.m.
Rocky Mount at Raleigh Broughton, 4 p.m.
Summit Hospitality bracket
Raleigh Ravenscroft vs. Wilson Greenfield, 5:40 p.m.
American Airlines bracket
Raleigh Word of God vs. Raleigh Millbrook, 7:20 p.m.
Bronx (N.Y.) St. Raymond vs. Apex Middle Creek, 9 p.m.
And yes, because I know you’re curious — Kinston’s boys don’t take the court until tomorrow at 12:40 p.m. when the Vikings face Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler.
For all the updates throughout the day, follow my Twitter at BCHanks and go to highschoolot.com, where Nick Stevens and Derek Medlin will be running a live blog all day. HSOT will also live-stream post-game press conferences all day.
And if you make it out to Broughton or Cary Academy, be sure to pick up a game program — which is, in my humble (and not at all biased) opinion, the best game program you’ve ever seen.
Not sure when we’re going over to the new blog. Haven’t heard anything from the tech folks, so … we’re going to keep humping on this blog until I’m told otherwise. I am insisting, however, the categories and blogroll feature are included on the new one — and at this moment, they’re not there.
Jon Dawson, Justin Hill and I taped the final Free Press Radio Program/Podcast of 2011 this morning. We talked about the top 10 most-viewed stories of the year on Kinston.com — and I think it’s a pretty good podcast, even though I sound like I’m half-asleep during most of it. Please give it a listen — I put a lot of my heart into it and, frankly, we’re not getting half the listens I figured we would. Do me a favor — give it a listen and let me know what you think. If it stinks, let me know. If it’s good, tell your boys.
We lost two of our four players in the Blog Survivor Pool last weekend as both women — SealGirl and Shanna Capps — went with Tennessee over Indianapolis. It’s down to 2010 champ Heelatious (New England last week) and ECPirates11 (New Orleans). If you haven’t paid your $5 yet — either for the first game or for part 2 — please do so. If you don’t, that means I have to pay the winner out of my own pocket … and you know that ain’t cool.
Usually, I’ll write a couple of posts about our HBFL playoffs, but, alas, I haven’t had time to barely breathe the past few weeks. However, we’re in the Super Bowl week of both leagues; in the HBFL Live, No. 8 seed Heelatious’ Heelsfan’s Show Me Your TDs, who were 6-7 in the regular season, are facing defending champion and third-seeded Wes Brown’s Crime Dawgs, who went 7-6. The winner of that game receives $200, while the loser gets $50. Lee Wetherington, whose Wreakn Havoc team finished with the most points in the league (1,314) and wins $50 for that. I’ll pay everyone when I get back to town the week of Jan. 1. In the meantime — if you haven’t paid yet (and there are still four who haven’t) — get your dues in. Again, I don’t want to have to pay winnings out of my own pocket, y’all.
In the HBFL Online, the top two seeds — the No. 1 Drew Loftis-owned Hookers With Dysentery (10-3) are taking on the No. 2 Elizabeth Moon-owned Grifton Sea Lions (9-4). Drew’s Hookers also were the top scoring team in the league with 1,190 points. There’s no prize in this league, just pride.
Congrats to Kinston coach Wells Gulledge, who won the 300th game in his career in last night’s 74-53 victory against North Lenoir at Viking Gym. Here’s a quick look at his 14-year-plus career: 300-86 overall (.777 winning percentage), 254-53 at Kinston (.827), seven conference titles, three Eastern Regional titles and two state championships. Pretty impressive.
Some major thank-you’s to former Kinston stars Dory Hines (now at Mount Olive College) and Reggie Bullock (UNC) for coming out to KHS this morning to help Justin “The Kid” Hill and his Free Press 12-and-under basketball team. Dory, in particular, was there the entire the practice and ran drills with the team. Reggie took about 5 minutes and talked to the kids about the importance of staying in school and overcoming adversity. Additionally, Coach Gulledge and current Ole Miss assistant baseball coach Cliff Godwin helped out with drills and motivation. An extremely fun morning — and here’s a cool photo taken after the practice:
Click on it for a better view.
The 2011 HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational (formerly known as the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational) tips off next week in Raleigh and Cary. For the fifth straight year, I am the media coordinator of the event — and this year, I’m bringing some of my friends to help. For the previous three years, Jonathan Massey has been my right-hand man as the tournament’s assistant media coordinator and he continues in that role this year. However, Justin “The Kid” Hill is taking over the role of Holiday Invitational girls’ tournament media coordinator this year. Also, Freedom ENC Desk Chief Richard Clark did a FANTASTIC job designing the game program for the HSOT; if you make it to Raleigh or Cary, make sure you grab a copy. As for game-by-game updates from the tourney, there simply won’t be as many here on the ol’ blog since the good folks at WRAL/Capital Broadcasting Company — the owners of the HSOT brand — have exclusive rights to that info. However, I will be providing early updates with sort of an MNR-type feel each morning. I’ll give you a schedule of that day’s games along with my predictions and thoughts going into each day. As always, though, there’ll be a video wrap-up each day with Triangle heartthrob Nick Stevens and myself and HSOT will live-stream each post-game press conference.
A LOT of you have asked about the Hot Blonde and here’s an update: her final chemo was a few weeks ago and right now, she’s just trying to get her life back to normal, i.e., working the chemo out of her system and recovering from her other related surgeries. It’s been an incredibly tough ride for one of the toughest people I know. But I also know this: she has appreciated every one of you who has taken the time to lift her up in prayer — and again, I know there are a lot of you out there who have done just that. You have no idea what your prayers have done to help her and me through this incredibly difficult time in our lives. I’m not exaggerating when I say this: I love you guys. Thank you for being pretty freaking awesome.
Before we get started here on the ol’ blog, some good/bad news from the sports media front — our very good friend and freaking awesome TV sports monkey, WCTI ABC-12′s Derek Bayne, is leaving Eastern North Carolina for the greener pastures of Rockford, Ill., where he’ll be the sports director of a station up there. His final day at WCTI is next Thursday, Dec. 22.
As has been mentioned here a plethora of times, Derek is truly one of the good guys. Just like his mentor, Brian North, D-Bayne (as the kids call him) has gone well beyond the call in covering prep and LCC sports here in Lenoir, Greene and Jones counties through the years.
D-Bayne will be seriously missed — not just by North but by viewers of WCTI. Good luck, my friend. Now … on to the MNR:
REALIGNMENT STILL LOOKS GOOD … FOR NOW
With the NCHSAA releasing its second look at realignment, it looks like five of our area teams — Kinston, North Lenoir, South Lenoir, Greene Central and Ayden-Grifton — might still be headed to the same conference, with Jones Senior as our only area school outside that potential league.
My take: This would be such a dream conference for many reasons for all of our schools … and for TFP. I’m begging the NCHSAA and our schools — let this bad boy go through and you will be extremely happy with what we’ll be able to do with this.
My take: Seems like a cop-out to me, but I have to agree that protests throughout the world — Egypt, Africa, Europe and the Occupy movement here in America — have dominated news cycles all over the globe.
Some of my nominees for Time’s POTY would’ve been Herman Cain, Bono or even Derek Jeter. Yours?
My take: Good for Withers, who seems like a pretty decent fellow from all accounts. And it was pretty much a guarantee that UNC was going to completely clean house following the Butch Davis fiasco in Chapel Hill.
The iPod shuffle
Emotional Rescue — The Rolling Stones
Air Force Ones — Nelly
Come Together — The Beatles
Wrapped Around Your Finger — The Police
Talking To The Moon (Acoustic Piano Version) — Bruno Mars
P.S.: The Hermanator will be releasing the All-Free Press football teams, along with the coach, offensive players and defensive players of the year in Sunday’s edition. Not going to reveal any of the winners, but I think it’s a very judicious list in which Herman, me, Keith Spence and Justin “The Kid” voted on.
Of course … it’s hard to select just ONE coach of the year when four of your seven area coaches led their teams to state championship games! I was a little surprised at the defensive POTY, but the offensive POTY was a pretty easy choice. Discuss!
On this week’s very special episode of The Free Press High School Football Podcast – Championship Edition, Ryan Herman, Jon Dawson and Bryan Hanks are joined by Kinston football coach Nick Anderson, WRAL/HighSchoolOT.com’s Nick Stevens, Ayden-Grifton football coach Paul Cornwell, CarolinaPrep.com’s Chris Hughes and Jones Senior football coach John Davis. The guys preview the three state championship games — Kinston/West Stokes (2AA), Ayden-Grifton/Swain County (1AA) and Jones Senior/Murphy (1A) and offer their own predictions.
My take: Want to know who’s winning but can’t make the game? I’ll be at Kinston but will be updating my Twitter feed at BCHanks throughout the game(s).
KHS quarterback C.J. Bradshaw has organized a “Black Friday” event of his own — he and the Vikings are encouraging everyone to wear black to tonight’s game.
Also, our good friend Michael Moon — an FOB, Free Press free-lancer, KHS softball coach and all-around good fella — let us know the Vikings softball team will be selling raffle tickets at tonight’s game for a new PlayStation3 that will be given away at the end of the third quarter. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5. You know, a PS3 would be an EXCELLENT gift for someone … and you wouldn’t even have to stand in line for 10 hours to get it.
LATEST ‘TWILIGHT’ MOVIE CAUSING MALE VIEWERS TO HAVE SEIZURES
My take: As if you — my predominantly male reading audience — needed another reason NOT to see this junk, at least now you have a reason; just tell your significant other, “Hey, if I go, it could give me a seizure! Don’t believe me, check Hanks’ blog!”
The iPod shuffle
You Made Your Bed — Robin Rogers
Beautiful Day — U2
Come As You Are — Nirvana
Dumb — Nirvana
Shake Ya Tailfeather — Nelly featuring P. Diddy & Murphy Lee
P.S.: I had the honor of seeing FOB — and defending Blog Pick ‘em champ — Eastern two weeks ago at the NCISAA 8-man championship game in Raleigh. Eastern — aka Mike Williams — is an official with the NCISAA who has attended EVERY 8-man championship game. And, as evidenced by his great play in our pick ‘em game, he knows his football! Here’s a photo I took at the game two weeks ago: