Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Since I will be heading out early this weekend for three days of sports, I will post my picks so I don't forget. I will also post my article about the Duke-Davidson game by next monday and will update my readers on the outcome of my high school's state championship game that I will be attending on Friday evening.

Last week: 9-5
Overall: 50-19 (.725)

RAMS over Cardinals
Panthers over BEARS
COWBOYS over Lions
Jaguars over TITANS
BROWNS over Dolphins
Saints over PATRIOTS
REDSKINS over Raiders
GIANTS over Eagles
Steelers over RAVENS
FALCONS over Buccaneers
Seahawks over 49ERS
CHARGERS over Bills
Colts over BENGALS
BRONCOS over Jets
TEXANS over Chiefs

Sunday, November 13, 2005

NFL Picks - Week 10

Here's some quick picks from what I expect to be a run-of-the-mill week in the NFL. Last week I was 12-2 to improve to 41-14 (.745) on the season. I'm catching up number 1.

Kansas City over BUFFALO
CHICAGO over San Francisco
Arizona over DETROIT
New England over MIAMI
NY GIANTS over Minnesota
JACKSONVILLE over Baltimore
Denver over OAKLAND
ATLANTA over Green Bay
SEATTLE over St. Louis
Washington over TAMPA BAY
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm not stressed

I was amazed to see a full three articles of the Davidsonian dedicated to my dream of indoctrination for Davidson students: perspective. It was all about how (yada yada) students should worry more about engaging with learning than just doing work and relating with people in a way that reinforces that learning. And at some level, it sounds very simplistic but you would be astounded by the number of students at this school who are truly ruined by B- papers and who can't ever seem to have a nice weekend b/c of their work. I am saddened that they don't understand the perpetuity of work that they won't treat it as such. Work. I feel that work is to be done always with a critical eye. There are classes at Davidson where if you do the reading and the papers you really will gain the tools to function at a higher level in this society and to engage in things with a greater sense of purpose and perspective. But there are classes that you just do the work. While I feel that my Bio class is one of those bad ones, I still must walk the thin line of not passing up the opportunity to become educated about the global bubble on grain production and the pro's and con's of a hydrogen-based economy like that of Iceland. But that doesn't mean I should stress about jumping through all of the hoops on the syllabus. Students here will continue to make their lives miserable all week (except when they're drunk), but I have decided that I can't associate with that all the time. It is suffocating in many ways.
So yesterday, in my rebellion, I went out and took pictures of a campus that was empty of pedestrians during the afternoon sun. Check out my webshots to see them.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

European Basketball

by Phillip Compeau

The 1992 Summer Olympic Games of Barcelona saw the proof of American domination in the world of basketball. The “Dream Team,” composed entirely of NBA stars, won rout after rout over international opponents in impressive fashion; the world watched American basketball stars demonstrate that they truly were quicker and stronger than their international counterparts. The memory of Olympic supremacy in 1992, and then in 1996 and 2000, is the image burned into the American thought pattern with regard to European professional basketball. We said that “European players are fundamentally sound, but they can’t compete with the more athletic Americans.” Right?
The fact of the matter is that Europe is leading a basketball revolution, and former Davidson players have found themselves in the middle. Of the college’s last twenty-three men’s basketball graduates, twenty-one have advanced to the European professional level, and Davidson claims sixteen alumni in European leagues now (including Class of 2005 standouts Conor Grace and Logan Kosmalski). Coach McKillop is no stranger to European basketball as well. For 25 years he has traveled throughout the European continent speaking at clinics, giving lectures, and running camps. He continues to expand his network of connections in Europe, and he has taken four of his teams on European trips, including a two-week tour of duty to Italy, Switzerland, and Slovenia this past summer.
It is a testament to the program at Davidson that so many graduates are able to mesh well in the European setting. Many might contribute this to the traditional style of play typical of the Davidson system, featuring tight-knit defense and a pass-oriented half-court offense. In the words of former Davidson player Frantisek Babka, who now lives in Prague, Czech Republic, European teams “are looking for more players that are coachable … and if you stay for four years alongside Coach McKillop, that’s exactly what you are.” But in a larger sense, Davidson’s style is not radically different from that of other programs; passing, screening and tough defense are simply fundamentals which the Wildcats emphasize ad infinitum, and which may have been somewhat lost in the modern American professional era of the point-scorer.
Perhaps more accurate factors in the rise of European basketball have been the increased depth, unity, and diversity of players of European leagues. With hundreds of teams across the European continent, there is much more opportunity for talented players than in the United States, where the NBA and its development league are the only real options for college players wishing to continue their basketball careers. In addition, many European countries offer multiple leagues on different levels of play, which permits more players the opportunity of developing their games and fosters a very healthy competition among players.
The Union of European Basketball Leagues (ULEB), a coalition of leagues from sixteen nations, has succeeded in uniting European basketball under the same rules, format of play, and even playoff system. In fact, Euroleague, which was founded in 1958 as a means for determining the best team in Europe, has steadily grown in size and popularity. Today, it offers annual berths to the sixteen best European teams, which go on to compete in a European league separate from the leagues of their respective countries; Euroleague’s most ardent advocates feel that it is evolving into the basketball equivalent of the UEFA European Cup of soccer.
As noted in the large number of Davidson alumni who choose to continue their play abroad, Europe is attracting greater and greater numbers of players from the four corners of the world, particularly America. What’s more, Euroleague has recently altered its rules concerning non-European players. Formerly, every member team could only sign two players who were not holders of a passport from a European country, but this restriction has been lifted for the 2005 season. This can only envision a greater influx of American players into the European system, which will no longer have to ride the coattails of the NBA but has developed into a powerful entity of its own. According to Babka, “The Americans playing [in Europe] are more trying to pick up the European basketball than the other way around.”
In addition to acclimating to the renewed traditional style of European basketball, Davidson graduates must learn to live in a completely new and sometimes alien environment. Although European leagues may not have the hype of the NBA, they are nevertheless a cutthroat world of agents and contract negotiations. Furthermore, the Davidson athlete must adapt himself to living in an unfamiliar culture and learn to speak a foreign language. The broadening of one’s horizons is a concept that Coach McKillop has always tried to foster as a central facet of Davidson Basketball, and Frantisek Babka believes that the lure of European basketball is just that: “It’s not the money. They can get a job here. It’s not the basketball either. It’s about finding a different way of life, and playing basketball in Europe certainly offers that.”

Friday, November 04, 2005

NFL picks

Here are my NFL picks for this week. Last week I pulled off a mediocre 10-4 to improve to 29-12 overall. Later this weekend I will post an article on the Night with the Cats and then European Basketball:

Titans over BROWNS
CHIEFS over Raiders
Falcons over DOLPHINS
Lions over VIKINGS
Chargers over JETS
Panthers over BUCS
JAGUARS over Texans
Bengals over RAVENS
Bears over SAINTS
Seahawks over CARDINALS
Giants over 49ERS
Steelers over PACKERS
REDSKINS over Eagles
Colts over PATRIOTS

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cross Country Champs

They knew it would be close. In fact, the Chattanooga women’s cross country team was favored going into the Conference meet this past weekend. In the end, it came down to one point that lifted the Davidson women to first place overall and the title of Conference champions. As they have been all season, the team was led by Brenna Burns ’08 who finished second overall with a time of 17:48.93, a time that set a Davidson school record. She was followed by senior Allie Martin ’06 and Megal Atias ’08 who all finished within the top five finishers at the meet. Freshmen Emily King ’09 and Caroline Sanker finished in 17th and 19th respectively, securing the winning points for the Wildcats. “We knew we all had to bring it together and formulate the perfect race to finish ahead of such an impressive team [in Chattanooga],” said Burns. “We had the goal in mind and everyone did what was necessary to get the job done.” More accolades were added to the Wildcat resume as head coach Jen Straub was tabbed as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in four years.
The Southern Conference championship does not mark the ultimate goal for the ’Cats as they now look to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships in Greenville on November 12. After the outstanding performances throughout this season, it stands to reason that Davidson will make a strong showing in those regionals as they will try to earn a spot in the National Championships. “The Conference race made our team so excited for Regionals,” Burns said. “We should expect to go out there and mix it up with nationally ranked teams and make our best Regional showing in Davidson history.”
On the men’s side, Davidson raced to a fourth place finish overall in the conference with their top runner being Lance Harden ’09 who turned in a time of 25:56.07, strong enough for 16th place overall. That time, combined with Harden’s stellar performances throughout the season, earned him the award of Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Jonathan Baker ’06 and Austin Mercadante ’06 rounded out the top three Wildcat runners. Harden remains a phenomenal story on a team with such strong leadership, as his goals for the season were merely to be eligible to go to the Conference meet in which he ended being the top Davidson runner. “In large part,” says Harden, “I think my individual success and the success of the team can be attributed to the leadership of our two seniors, Austin and Jonathan. They both set the bar high in terms of commitment, and the whole team has fed off of their pacesetting during workouts and races.” Like the women, the men will be able to compete one more time at the regional meet on November 12 where they will look to continue their success and have one more shot at eclipsing their personal bests and leading the Wildcats.