2022 Heisman Candidate Breakdown

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

November 23, 2022

History and Statistical Overview of the Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Trophy is given to the best player in FBS College football and is currently determined by 928 votes from sports journalists across the country as well as former Heisman winners. University of Chicago running back Jay Berwanger received the first award that was presented in 1935 by New York’s Downtown Athletic Club; it was therefore originally called the D.A.C trophy. The following year, the award was renamed after the club’s director John Heisman, the former head football coach of Oberlin College, Washington and Jefferson, Akron, Rice, Penn, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Clemson. When he died in 1936, the award was named the Heisman Trophy .

In the history of the award, position wise, there have only been 1 defensive back (Charles Woodson), 2 defensive ends (Larry Kelley and Leon Hart), 3 fullbacks (Doc Blanchard, Alan Ameche, and Steve Owens), and 4 wide receivers (Johnny Rodgers, Desmond Howard, Tim Brown, and DeVonta Smith) to win the award. The positions that have the most Heisman award winners are quarterbacks (36 recipients), and running backs (40 winners). More recently, 16 of the last 20 Heisman candidates have been quarterbacks as the position continues to dominate the game from a statistical perspective. Out of the 86 Heisman winners, 23 have gone on to the NFL to become the 1st overall draft pick, 25 have gone between the 2nd and 10th picks, 17 have gone between the 11th and 32nd picks in the first round, and 21 have gone in the later rounds or have decided not to play in the NFL. The teams that have the most Heisman winners include Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma with 7 winners each, USC with 6 winners, Alabama with 4 winners, and Army, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and Nebraska with 3 winners each. Another interesting fact about the Heisman trophy is that running back Archie Griffin from Ohio State University is the only player to win the award twice and running back Reggie Bush is the only player to have his Heisman award vacated following his recruiting violations with USC.

Like the MVP trophies of professional sport leagues, the Heisman Trophy comes with controversy as the exact criteria needed to win the award is often unclear. Some journalists vote based on statistical categories alone, others pick the player who was the biggest reason his team succeeded and therefore wouldn’t have been successful without him. Because of this variation it is often difficult to predict the Heisman winner. With a week and a half before the award is announced, the current Heisman hopefuls and reasons why each could win the award are listed below.  

Blake Corum  (RB) (Michigan)

HT: 5’8   WT: 210  CLASS: Junior

Current 2022 Stats

Carries: 245 Rushing Yds: 1,457             Avg Rush/Car: 590              Total TD: 19

Receptions: 11          Receiving Yards: 80

Remaining Schedule (11-0)

@ (11-0) 2. Ohio State

Overall Candidacy

Although he is the only running back on this list, Corum is a strong candidate for the Heisman because he has the 3rd highest rushing yards in the FBS and is tied for 2nd in the FBS for rushing touchdowns. Corum also makes up the majority (52%) of Michigan’s 4th ranked rushing offense, which proves that he is one of the main reasons that they are undefeated. Corum is so important to Michigan’s offense that when he went down with an injury against Illinois their rushing offense stalled. Luckily, for Corum and Michigan, it appears that the injury is not too serious to keep him from playing against Ohio State. In this weekend’s rivalry game against 2nd ranked Ohio State, he will be playing rival Heisman candidate C.J Stroud, which could potentially boost Corum’s Heisman chances if he has a better individual performance than Stroud.  

Hendon Hooker  (QB) (Tennessee)

HT: 6’4   WT: 220  CLASS: Redshirt Senior

Current 2022 Stats

Carries: 104             Rushing Yds: 403             Avg Rush/Car: 4.1              Total TD: 32

Comp %: 69.6%       Passing Yds: 3,135           INT: 2

Remaining Schedule (9-2)

@ (5-6) Vanderbilt

Overall Candidacy

Hooker had been the leader for the Heisman race in Vegas for much of the season; however, he recently lost pretty badly to #1-ranked Georgia and unranked South Carolina which will effect his Heisman resume as 2 players on this list are undefeated. The biggest issue with Hooker is that the injury he suffered against South Carolina could put him out for the season which would have a massive impact on his chances of winning the award. Hooker is still an extremely strong candidate as he has the 5th highest completion percentage in FBS, ranks 11th in passing yards, and has the best TD/Int ratio in the FBS. His experience as a redshirt senior comes through in his low turnovers as Hooker sat out his first year when he was at Virginia Tech and also got an extra year of eligibility from the COVID year, making him older (24) than almost the entire previous NFL draft class.

Drake Maye  (QB) (North Carolina)

HT: 6’4   WT: 220  CLASS: Redshirt Freshman

Current 2022 Stats

Carries: 147             Rushing Yds: 597             Avg Rush/Car: 4.1             Total TD: 39

Comp %: 68.8%       Passing Yds: 3,614          INT: 4

Remaining Schedule (9-2)

VS. (7-4) 17. NC State

Overall Candidacy

Maye is the catalyst for a UNC offense that has scored more than 30 points in all but one of their first 11 games of the season. With 1 regular season game left and an ACC Championship game vs. Clemson, Maye’s candidacy is built on the fact that despite being a redshirt freshman he ranks 3rd in the FBS in passing yards, 3rd in passing TDs, and 10th in completion percentage, making him the only QB in the FBS to rank in the top 10 of all 3 categories.

Bo Nix (QB) (Oregon)

HT: 6’2   WT: 215  CLASS: Senior

Current 2022 Stats 

Carries: 80 Rushing Yds: 513          Avg Rush/Car: 6.4        Total TD: 40 (14 rushing)

Comp %: 72.4%      Passing Yds: 3,062        INT: 6

Remaining Schedule (9-2)

@ (8-3) Oregon State

Overall Candidacy

Despite getting brutally destroyed (49-3) against Georgia in the opening week, Nix, a transfer from Auburn, has led the Ducks to 8 straight wins before losing to Washington. This includes impressive wins over ranked conference opponents, UCLA and Utah. While Nix has a tough schedule ahead of him with rival Oregon State and a potential matchup against USC in the conference championship, he is more than capable of winning the Heisman. He currently ranks 1st in the FBS for completion percentage, 15th for passing touchdowns, 1st of all Quarterbacks for rushing touchdowns, 5th out of all positions for rushing touchdowns, and 16th in passing yards. He is also the only quarterback on this list to have a receiving touchdown this season.

C.J Stroud (QB) (Ohio State)

HT: 6’3   WT: 220  CLASS: Junior

Current 2022 Stats 

Carries: 33 Rushing Yds: 77             Avg Rush/Car: 2.3            Total TD: 35

Comp %: 66.4%       Passing Yds: 2,991      INT: 4

Remaining Schedule (11-0)

VS. (11-0) 3. Michigan

Overall Candidacy

Currently, C.J Stroud has the shortest odds to win according to Vegas. He plays in a huge market school at Ohio State and gets a plethora of media attention. While his statistics aren’t as good as other QB’s on this list, they are still impressive, as he ranks 24th in completion percentage, is tied for 1st in passing touchdowns, and 18th in passing yards. Stroud will have a tough test against Michigan but could improve his Heisman resume greatly with a good performance.

Caleb Williams (QB) (USC)

HT: 6’1   WT: 215  CLASS: Sophomore

Current 2022 Stats

Carries: 88             Rushing Yds: 316             Avg Rush/Car: 3.6            Total TD: 40

Comp %: 64.9%       Passing Yds: 3,480      INT: 3

Remaining Schedule (10-1)

VS (8-3) 20. Notre Dame

Overall Candidacy

Williams has one of the toughest remaining schedules as he plays rival Notre Dame in his final regular season game and then awaits either Bo Nix and Oregon, Washington, or Utah (who has already defeated USC). However, like other candidates on this list, if Williams takes care of business against those teams, his Heisman hopes could improve. An Oklahoma transfer who came with Lincoln Riley, Williams has the worst completion percentage of any quarterback on this list, ranking 39th in the FBS, but ranks 4th in the FBS for passing touchdowns and 6th in passing yards.

Overall Thoughts

While Stroud is the betting favorite, his statistical numbers are overall the worst of the 5 quarterbacks in terms of rushing and passing yards. However, his ability to lead his team to an undefeated record so far, and the fact that he is doing it on a big media stage will garner a lot of votes. Corum’s team is also undefeated, and he is by far the biggest reason for their perfect record. When he came out of the Illinois game due to injury, the Michigan offense fell apart in his absence. Corum’s injury is a slight concern, but he will almost certainly play against Ohio State as there is so much significance in that game for Michigan’s season. Corum will need to beat Stroud and Ohio State to get serious Heisman attention as a running back hasn’t won the award since Derrick Henry won in 2015. As for Williams, his completion percentage is the main concern, but he has great statistical numbers otherwise and will play massive opponents his next two weeks to prove himself.

Hooker’s candidacy has taken a turn for the worse as his high statistical numbers at the beginning of the season have come back to earth with two late season losses, and his injury vs South Carolina will likely end his season. Lastly, Nix and Maye are two names that aren’t getting as much attention but have put up some of the best numbers in the league statistically. Nix’s ability to rank in the top 15 in both passing and rushing touchdowns is truly unique but he does have 2 losses. Maye’s ability to score so many points almost singlehandedly is also impressive, but his loss to Georgia Tech is a concern. Maye’s ACC Championship against Clemson’s top-notch defense will be a huge factor in determining whether he wins the award; he is the only FBS player to rank in the top 10 in completion percentage, passing touchdowns, and passing yards this season.

After reviewing these 6 candidates, it is safe to say that with just over a week left in the regular season, it is still a close Heisman race that will largely depend on whether these candidates can keep performing at high levels, and if they can take their teams to conference championships and/or the college football playoff.

Qatar 2022: The Impending Triumph of the Ultimate G.O.A.T

By Sarafina Napoleon

Sarafina Napoleon is from Nigeria and is a first-year graduate student in Sport Administration at BGSU. As a journalist for 9 years, she brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Maxwell Media Watch.

November 4, 2022

The 2022 Winter World Cup will be Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s most significant World Cup competition, sixteen years after their 2006 debut in Germany. Both players are perhaps the greatest to have embellished the game of soccer, and it is challenging to comprehend this could be their final appearance at the World Cup.

They revolutionized the sport so drastically that calling them the greatest may not do them justice. There are some players you see on the field, and you know it was a pleasure to be alive during their era. Messi and Ronaldo were both born to play soccer; some consider Messi a product of talent, while others believe Ronaldo to be a product of hard work. Both players reshaped soccer, profoundly impacted a generation, broke records, and sparked the greatest soccer rivalry in history. There was an apparent rivalry at every level, from the club to the national team to individual awards.

For a decade, Messi and Ronaldo dominated all individual soccer awards, including the Ballon d’Or. At one point, it appeared that no one would ever challenge them. Every soccer fan sat back, witnessed, and relished every moment as they tested each other. At the same time, the rivalry transformed them into monsters of the sport, scoring a staggering number of goals. We witnessed discussions, comparisons, and statistical analysis week after week to prove one was superior to the other. Friends were pitted against friends, brothers against brothers, for one reason: Who is the better player?

The rivalry between these two grew beyond the pitch and manifested in corporate deals and endorsements. It amplified the rivalry between the two most prestigious sportswear brands in the world; Adidas and Nike. Since 2003, Nike has sponsored Ronaldo. In 2016, he became the third athlete in the brand’s history to receive a lifetime contract. On the other hand, Messi has been associated with Nike’s main rival, Adidas, since 2006 and signed a lifetime contract with the company in 2017, just like Ronaldo.

Except for one trophy considered the “holy grail” (world cup trophy) in elite soccer, they have nearly amassed everything there is to win in elite soccer. Every soccer player’s ultimate goal is to win the world cup, not just compete. The crescendo of competitive soccer is the World Cup. It is comparable to the European soccer club version of the Champions League. Despite their immense talent, Messi and Ronaldo have failed to help their nations win the trophy. The failure to win the world cup, according to some schools of thought, mars their illustrious careers. For others, winning the World Cup would solidify their place as the greatest of all time.

Diego Armando Maradona led the La Albiceleste to victory with the contentious “Hand of God” goal 36 years ago, which marked the last time Argentina won the World Cup. Under the leadership of Lionel Messi, there have been near misses. At the 2014 World Cup, the team’s talisman guided them to the Finals, where they fell to Germany on an extra-time goal from substitute Mario Gotze. The team also advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2006 and 2010 but was eliminated in the round of 16 in 2018.

Lionel Messi finally ended his international trophy drought at an elite level in 2021 when Argentina won the Copa America. The Argentine plays like a newborn and is in scintillating form as the World Cup approaches. In contrast to his struggles the previous year, Messi has been outstanding for his club, PSG, this season, scoring 11 goals in 16 appearances.

Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, is a serial winner. He played a crucial role in helping the Portuguese team win the 2016 Euros, the nation’s first victory in a major competition. However, Portugal has never won the World Cup; their best showing was third in 1966. They were eliminated in round 16 in 2018 and could not progress past the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. It is also interesting to note that Portugal qualified for the Winter World Cup via playoffs after being gobsmacked at home by Serbia, who topped the group. At the club level, Cristiano Ronaldo has struggled ever since his second return to Manchester United. Under the new management of Erik Ten Hag, the Portuguese have been forced to accept a minor role. He could leave the team in January when the transfer window opens.

Given their ages, both players enter the Winter World Cup, aware of the significance of winning a trophy for their nation in 2022. They might not have another chance to redeem themselves if they don’t win the trophy in Qatar because the next World Cup is taking place in 2026. By that time, Messi and Ronaldo will be 39 and 41, respectively.

We live in an uncertain world, and only a soothsayer can predict what will happen in four years. Still, one thing is sure: Messi and Ronaldo will be in Qatar in a couple of weeks. Will either player be inspired to greatness by the desire to win the World Cup, or will the World Cup heartbreak continue?

Who will rule supreme on December 18, 2022?

Qatar 2022: Where Money Prevailed Over Logic

By Sarafina Napoleon

Sarafina Napoleon is from Nigeria and is a first-year graduate student in Sport Administration at BGSU. As a journalist for 9 years, she brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Maxwell Media Watch.

October 25, 2022

As the 22nd FIFA World Cup tournament approaches, the error made by FIFA under Sepp Blatter in choosing Qatar as the host nation is becoming more apparent. It is a decision that reeks of financial gains without adequate consideration of other factors. So how did we arrive at this point? It is pertinent to note that Qatar won the bid competition over Australia, the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Before Qatar won the bid, the country had never hosted a World Cup, making them the first Middle Eastern state to be awarded World Cup hosting rights. This will be the tournament’s second appearance in an Asian confederation country after Japan, and South Korea co-hosted in 2002. So, if staging the tournament in a new location provided an opportunity to develop the world, why the outrage?

There are several compelling reasons why Qatar shouldn’t be hosting the World Cup. The decision was flawed from the beginning from all angles. One convincing reason is the climate condition in Qatar. The climate in Qatar during the summer is uncongenial due to the scorching desert heat, making it impossible to stage a one-month tournament under such conditions. What was the solution? Your hunch is as good as mine. The only viable option was to relocate the tournament to a less inimical period. The usual schedule of World Cup tournaments’ is during the summer when all European leagues and league play have concluded. It was an aberration of everything the competition stands for to shift the World Cup to a time frame outside the established format. Still, the world football governing body (FIFA) was unperturbed.   The tournament was eventually rescheduled without thoroughly examining how the timing would affect the soccer calendar, making it the first World Cup in the Winter. This is where things get interesting; the typical soccer league season runs from August to May, allowing players at least a three-week rest period before the World Cup. Staging the tournament during the Winter meant the tournament would take place during the regular league season. Because the competition will be in the Winter, it will take place during the regular league season. Many players competing at the World Cup play in Europe. They compete in their respective local leagues, UEFA competitions, and league cup competitions.

So, how about the players’ well-being?

What about LGBTQ peoples’ rights? The decision to award the hosting rights to Qatar, a nation where homosexuality is illegal, has further demonstrated that FIFA’s commitment to inclusivity is little more than a façade. Since Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010, FIFA has faced backlashed for its laws and views on LGBTQ rights and issues. After Russia hosted in 2018, this is the second World Cup in which LGBTQ soccer fans must decide whether or not to visit a country with a dismal record on gay rights. For instance, the official LGBTQ group of Wales will not attend the World Cup. Members of the group feel it is unsafe to visit the Middle East, given its track record on gay rights. In April, a senior Interior Ministry official in charge of security for the football tournament, Major General Abdulaziz Abdullah Al Ansari, told the Associated Press that rainbow flags might be confiscated from visiting fans to keep them safe from being attacked while advocating for gay rights.

According to a recent survey by a Scandinavian media organization, three of the 69 hotels on FIFA’s official list of recommended accommodations would refuse entry to same-sex couples. Only 33 of those surveyed said they had no objections to same-sex booking relationships. In contrast, 20 others stated they would accommodate same-sex couples as long as the couples hid their sexual orientation from the public. FIFA retaliated by announcing that it would cancel any agreements with lodging establishments that discriminated against same-sex couples.

Considering what the Middle East stands for, many LGBTQ soccer fans will be reluctant to attend this year’s showpiece. Looking at the highlighted reasons why Qatar was the wrong destination which FIFA should have chosen, the bigger question is, on what basis were they awarded the hosting rights?

NBA 2022-2023 Season Preview

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

October 18, 2022

2021-2022 Season

Last NBA season ended with Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title 4 games to 2 over the Boston Celtics for their 4th title in the last 8 years. It was also Curry’s first time in those 4 championships that he has won the NBA Finals MVP. The Celtics were denied their chance to break their championship tie with the Los Angeles Lakers as both teams have won 17 championships. There are many interesting storylines for this upcoming season including offseason trades, off-court drama, new head coaches, and potential future stars. The following article predicts power rankings from worst to best for each NBA team in the upcoming 2022-2023 season NBA that started on October 18th.

Ranking System

To make this power ranking as statistically accurate as possible, I have assigned a point value based on each team’s ranking. To get to this point value, the team’s 5 starters and 3 best reserves’ points per game (PPG), assists per game (APG), and rebounds per game (RPG) from the 2021-2022 season have been added up to get a total value for each player. These stats can be found on ESPN.com by clicking on each team and then going to their depth chart and selecting the individual player. For example, James Harden averaged 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 10.3 APG last season so his total value in this power ranking is 40.0. The top 8 players’ values from each team were then added to create the team’s total point value for the power ranking which is displayed in italics next to the team’s name. Additionally, if a player was injured the majority or entirety of last season, then his value reverts to his averages from his last played season. If a team uses a rookie in their top 8 rotation this season, the rookie’s value will be given through his projected averages for this season. Below, each team’s portion of the power ranking will be a playoff prediction, the biggest takeaways of the team’s offseason, the team’s 2021-2022 record, and how many players they have in the top 100 in the league which was also calculated using the same point value system above

30. Indiana Pacers (143.9)    2021-2022 Record: (25-57)

Top 100 Players: (57) PG Tyrese Haliburton (15.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 8.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Bennedict Mathurin 6th overall to help rebuild as they lack depth and defense after trading Sabonis to the Kings.

29. Utah Jazz (144.5)   2021-2022 Record: (49-33)

Top 100 Players: (99) SG Jordan Clarkson (16.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.5 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

-Offseason Takeaway: The Jazz offseason was pretty simple, they traded away Donavon Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Rudy Gobert to start a complete rebuild.

28. San Antonio Spurs (145.7)    2021-2022 Record: (34-48)

– Top 100 Players: (79) PF Keldon Johnson (17.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.1 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Jeremy Sochan 9th overall to help with shooting, will probably still be one of the worst Spurs’ teams Popovich has ever coached with very little firepower besides Johnson.

27. Houston Rockets (147.9)    2021-2022 Record: (20-62)

– Top 100 Players: (91) PG Kevin Porter Jr. (15.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.2 APG)

(71) PF Jabari Smith, Jr. (#3 Overall Pick – Auburn)

(66) SG Jalen Green (17.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Slipped to third in the draft after having the worst record, but still got their preferred prospect in Smith. Green and Smith should be a dynamic young duo on a team with little to no depth.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (159.3)    2021-2022 Record: (24-58)

– Top 100 Players: (62) SG Josh Giddey (12.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 6.4 APG)

(32) PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: #2 overall pick Chet Holmgren should make this team one of the more interesting and potentially dangerous young teams soon with Giddey and SGA in the backcourt; however, his injury will make this team even less of a contender than they already were in the loaded Western conference.

25. Charlotte Hornets (167.6)    2021-2022 Record: (43-39)

– Top 100 Players (56) SG Terry Rozier (19.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.5 APG)

(30) PG La Melo Ball (20.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Miles Bridges’ arrest has halted negotiations for a deal with the Hornets and will take a toll on this team that was trending in the right direction last season. Statistically, they still have one of the worst defenses in the league.

24. New York Knicks (172.8)    2021-2022 Record: (37-45)

– Top 100 Players: (77) PG Jalen Brunson (16.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(51) SF R.J Barrett (20.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 APG)

(50) PF Julius Randle (20.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 5.1 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Barrett is coming off the best season of his career, but Randle regressed from his 2020-2021 comeback season. The Knicks brought in Brunson and his dad as an assistant coach to help in the backcourt but the chemistry between these three players will need time to gel.

23. Washington Wizards (175.0)    2021-2022 Record: (35-47)

– Top 100 Players: (58) PF Kyle Kuzma (17.1 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(47) C Kristaps Porzingis (20.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.3 APG)

(23) SG Bradley Beal (23.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Beal resigned with the Wizards in the offseason which solidifies veteran leadership and skill for a young team otherwise. If Porzingis can stay healthy as their interior post player, the Wizards could make the play-in. However, that is a big-if as he has never played a full-season in his career.

22. Sacramento Kings (177.1)    2021-2022 Record: (30-52)

– Top 100 Players: (93) SF Harrison Barnes (16.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(42) PG De’Aaron Fox (23.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 5.6 APG)

(33) C Domantas Sabonis (18.9 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 5.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafting Keegan Murray 4th overall could be an X-factor for the Kings’ front court that already has a rising star in Sabonis. Also signed Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk to help with depth. The Kings will likely improve greatly from their previous record but will have a tough time making the play-in.

21. Detroit Pistons (177.9)    2021-2022 Record: (23-59)

– Top 100 Players: (96) PF Bojan Bogdanovic (18.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG)

(85) SF Saddiq Bey (16.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(73) SG Jaden Ivey (#5 Overall Pick – Purdue)

(49) PG Cade Cunningham (17.4 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Miss

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Jaden Ivey 5th overall to create an explosive young backcourt with their previous #1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. Also signed Bogdanovic from the Jazz to get veteran leadership since their starting 5 is the youngest in the league with an average age of 23.6. Will likely battle with the Magic for the last play-in spot in the East and should be a very interesting young core in the following year as they also drafted center Jalen Duren 13th overall from Memphis.

20. Denver Nuggets (178.8)    2021-2022 Record: (48-34)

– Top 100 Players: (54) PG Jamal Murray (21.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(1) C Nikola Jokic (27.1 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 7.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-In Tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Murray and the extremely inconsistent Michael Porter Jr. will both be back from injuries this season and will need to help the 2021-2022 MVP Nikola Jokic to bolster this offense if they want to make it out of the play-in tournament. Additionally, Jokic is rated 1st on this power ranking in total value as he nearly averaged a triple double last season. His value alone is a 48.8, which would be 33.9% of the Pacers 143.9 total value as an entire team

19. Orlando Magic (180.9)    2021-2022 Record: (22-60)

– Top 100 Players: (97) SF Franz Wagner (15.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.9 APG)

(67) PG Cole Anthony (16.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.7 APG)

(65) C Wendell Carter Jr. (15.0 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(53) PF Paolo Banchero (#1 Overall Pick – Duke)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Drafted Banchero #1 overall in the 2022 draft to go with their young core of Anthony, Wagner, and Suggs. They could make the play-in tournament this season and their talent is ahead of some of the lower-level teams in the Eastern conference. However, they are still a couple years away from being a contender if their young talent become stars.

18. Portland Trail Blazers (181.6)    2021-2022 Record: (27-55)

– Top 100 Players: (89) SG Anfernee Simons (17.3 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 3.9 APG)

(75) SF Josh Hart (14.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.1 APG)

(70) PF Jerami Grant (19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(68) C Jusuf Nurkic (15.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(21) PG Damian Lilliard (24.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway: Lilliard said he wants to be a Blazer for life this offseason. The Blazers also signed Jerami Grant and drafted Shaedon Sharpe 7th overall. They have a talented starting lineup but lack a true second star to pair with Lilliard, following CJ McCollum’s departure to New Orleans.

17. Dallas Mavericks (182.5)    2021-2022 Record: (52-30)

– Top 100 Players: (94) SG Spencer Dinwiddie (13.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.2 APG)

(39) C Christian Wood (17.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 5.3 APG)

(4) PG Luka Doncic (28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 8.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Mavs got smoked by the Warriors in the Western Finals last year. Despite adding Wood in the offseason as a dependable double-double threat, they have lost both Porzingis and Brunson to lower-level Eastern conference teams in search of bigger pay days. Like Jokic with the Nuggets, Doncic will have to carry the team on his back until the trade deadline where hopefully owner Mark Cuban can maneuver a trade to obtain a second star like so many other western conference teams have.

16. Phoenix Suns (183.2)    2021-2022 Record: (64-18)

– Top 100 Players: (52) PG Chris Paul (14.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.8 APG)

(48) C DeAndre Ayton (17.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.4APG)

(16) SG Devin Booker (26.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Suns are coming off back-to-back seasons in which they have been the 1 seed in the Western Conference. They also were rumored to add Kevin Durant this offseason, but the deals fell through. Paul is going into his age 37 season and the depth around him and Booker has deteriorated with McGee, Kaminsky, and Aaron Holiday all on different rosters this season. They could make a run but need a consistent Paul to continue to play at an all-star level.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (184.6)    2021-2022 Record: (46-36)

– Top 100 Players: (63) PG D’Angelo Russell (18.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 7.1 APG)

(43) SG Anthony Edwards (21.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG)

(35) C Rudy Gobert (15.6 PPG, 14.7 RPG, 1.1 APG)

(14) PF Karl-Anthony Towns (24.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.6 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Timberwolves traded multiple role players and draft picks to get Gobert so they will have one of the best rebounding and defensive teams in the league when he is paired with Towns. However, their speed, depth, and agility will all take a hit this season because of the trade.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (186.8)    2021-2022 Record: (56-26)

– Top 100 Players: (83) SF Dillon Brooks (18.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(82) SG Desmond Bane (18.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.7 APG)

(9) PG Ja Morant (27.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter final exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Grizzlies lost De’Anthony Melton to the Sixers and as a result will be weaker defensively and in depth. The season’s success will depend on how much of a superstar Morant will become in his age 23 season and whether Bane and Brooks continue their upward trajectory. The Grizzlies are an unpredictable team as they could have a deep playoff run or get bounced in the quarters.

13. Los Angeles Lakers (186.9)    2021-2022 Record: (33-49)

– Top 100 Players: (45) PG Russell Westbrook (18.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 7.1 APG)

(19) C Anthony Davis (23.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 3.1 APG)

(5) PF LeBron James (30.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 6.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: Rated 0.1 point higher than the Grizzlies, the Lakers have the oldest starting lineup in the league with an average age of 31.2. LeBron said this offseason he wants to play wherever his sons play before he retires, so the Lakers may be on a short window to win another championship during LeBron’s tenure on the team. Westbrook will have to figure out how to blend his game with LeBron’s and Davis’ or he might be traded by the deadline.

12. Chicago Bulls (187.3)    2021-2022 Record: (46-36)

– Top 100 Players: (92) PG Lonzo Ball (13.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.1 APG)

(38) C Nikola Vucevic (17.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.2 APG)

(26) SG Zach LaVine (24.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.5 APG)

(12) SF DeMar DeRozan (27.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.9 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Loss in the Play-in tournament

– Offseason Takeaway:  Bulls signed Andre Drummond to help bolster their depth at the Center position. They have a lot of talent on the wings but will need their stars to stay healthy as Lonzo and LaVine are constantly getting injured.

11. Miami Heat (188.1)    2021-2022 Record: (53-29)

– Top 100 Players: (72) PG Kyle Lowry (13.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 7.5 APG)

(44) SG Tyler Herro (20.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG)

(31) C Bam Adebayo (19.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.4 APG)

(28) PF Jimmy Butler (21.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.5 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: After Kevin Durant said he wanted out of Brooklyn, the Heat were the other major market team besides the Suns having talks with Durant during the offseason. While the Durant deal didn’t work out, they are still one of the most formidable teams in the East that has a lot of talented teams at the top of this power ranking. They would be higher on this list, but Lowry and Butler’s production will likely go down as they age, and their bench is not as great defensively as similar teams like the Raptors and Bucks; the Heat bench consists primarily of wing shooters like Duncan Robinson and Victor Oladipo.

10. Milwaukee Bucks (188.8)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (46) PG Jrue Holiday (18.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 6.8 APG)

(37) SF Khris Middleton (20.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 5.4 APG)

(2) PF Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.8 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: The Bucks didn’t really make any offseason moves so they could get passed up by some teams that traded for stars, like the Hawks and Cavs . Antetokounmpo will likely continue to dominate and if Middleton and Holiday back him up like they did last season, they will be a top 10 team this year.  

9. Toronto Raptors (190.3)    2021-2022 Record: (48-34)

– Top 100 Players: (100) SG Gary Trent Jr. (18.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG)

(95) SF O.G Anunoby (17.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.6 APG)

(60) PF Scottie Barnes (15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(36) PG Fred VanVleet (20.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.7 APG)

(18) C Pascal Siakam (22.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 5.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: As mentioned in the Heat’s power ranking, the Raptors have an extremely deep bench that is good defensively with players like Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa. Adding Otto Porter Jr. from the Warriors only helps their depth even more. Their success this season will depend on whether last year’s rookie of the year Scottie Barnes can take his game a step up and if Siakam can continue his production.

8. New Orleans Pelicans (194.2)    2021-2022 Record: (36-46)

– Top 100 Players: (41) C Jonas Valanciunas (17.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.6 APG)

(34) PG C.J McCollum (22.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 5.1 APG)

(25) SF Brandon Ingram (22.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.6 APG)

(24) PF Zion Williamson (27.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Pelicans will likely be one of the most improved teams this season if they can stay healthy. Zion is finally back and pairing him for the first time with a dynamic guard like McCollum will be interesting. Ingram has become a superstar while Herb Jones and Valanciunas supply even more defense to go along with the rebounding ability of the 6’6 280-pound Williamson. They are not quite top 5 because their bench is not nearly as good as some of the top tier teams, and we have yet to see Zion play a full season.  

7. Brooklyn Nets (196.2)    2021-2022 Record: (44-38)

– Top 100 Players: (64) PF Ben Simmons (14.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 9.9 APG)

(17) PG Kyrie Irving (27.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.8 APG)

(6) SF Kevin Durant (29.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 6.4 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Quarter finals exit

– Offseason Takeaway: It feels like everything the Nets do is in the offseason and off the court. Arguably the biggest story of the entire off season was Durant asking to be moved from Brooklyn just weeks after he practically begged Sean Marks and the front office to let Kyrie stay on the team. Durant eventually re-signed with Brooklyn after no deals could get done with Phoenix or Miami. Kyrie will be able to play this season because of the retracted vaccine mandates, Joe Harris will be coming back off his season long injury last season, and Ben Simmons will also be able to play for the first time in over a year as he is coming off his mental health hiatus and back injury. The Nets also boosted their bench with Royce O’Neale and have kept Patty Mills and Seth Curry under contract. Like the previous years when James Harden was on the team, the Nets have a ton of talent, but also a ton of questions over team chemistry.  

6. Cleveland Cavaliers (196.4)    2021-2022 Record: (44-38)

– Top 100 Players: (98) SF Caris LeVert (17.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.3 APG)

(78) PF Evan Mobley (15.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.5 APG)

(61) C Jarrett Allen (16.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1.6 APG)

(27) PG Darius Garland (21.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 8.6 APG)

(20) SG Donovan Mitchell (25.9 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 5.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Cavaliers signed Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz in the off-season’s blockbuster trade. What they lost in Markkanen and Sexton were two starters that will easily be replaced by one of the leagues best shooting guards. Pairing Mitchell with one of the most improved players of last season in Darius Garland will make for one of the league’s most talented backcourts. The Cavs also have a great wing shooter in LeVert, while Mobley, Allen, and Love will make for a great rebounding and defensive frontcourt.   

5. Atlanta Hawks (196.6)    2021-2022 Record: (43-39)

– Top 100 Players: (90) C Clint Capela (11.1 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 1.2 APG)

(74) PF John Collins (16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.8 APG)

(22) SG DeJounte Murray (21.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 9.2 APG)

(7) PG Trae Young (28.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 9.7 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Conference Semifinals

– Offseason Takeaway: The Hawks traded away Kevin Huerter to Sacramento which will affect the depth of their shooting but when you have Trae Young and DeJounte Murray, the Hawks’ shooting is still pretty solid. With Murray as the SG, the Hawks finally have a solidified second star to pair with Young and they could make a deep run this season.

4. Boston Celtics (198.4)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (81) SG Malcolm Brogdon (19.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 5.9 APG)

(40) PG Marcus Smart (19.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 APG)

(29) SF Jaylen Brown (23.6 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(10) PF Jayson Tatum (26.9 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.4 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Eastern Conference Finals

– Offseason Takeaway: Coming off a season where the Celtics reached the NBA Finals but lost 4 games to 2 to the Warriors, the Celtics added Blake Griffin in the offseason. This addition isn’t what’s significant however, it is the fact that the Celtics have kept the exact same starting lineup and top 4 bench players as last season’s finals team. Brown and Tatum should continue to improve as one of the league’s most dynamic duos and statistically the Celtics should be able to make a deep run in the Eastern Conference again. The coaching situation in Boston is the biggest question mark. With Ime Udoka getting fired in the offseason for having a consensual sexual relationship with a staff member, the momentum from last season will shift into the hands of new interim head coach Joe Mazzula who has spent only 3 seasons in the NBA as an assistant for Boston.  

3. Philadelphia 76ers (199.4)    2021-2022 Record: (51-31)

– Top 100 Players: (88) PG Tyrese Maxey (17.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.3 APG)

(69) SF Tobias Harris (17.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG)

(8) SG James Harden (22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG)

(3) C Joel Embiid (30.6 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 4.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Eastern Conference Champions, NBA Finals runner-up

– Offseason Takeaway: James Harden took a pay reduction in the offseason to stay with the Sixers and to keep their team strong as it allowed the front office to keep P.J Tucker and Tobias Harris. Harden’s narrative over the past few seasons was that he was a particularly selfish player with the Nets and Rockets and this move has changed a lot of critics’ minds about him. If Harden really commits to staying in shape, his production will likely go up from last season where he posted his lowest PPG since his 2011-2012 season when he was still a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder. This year is perhaps the most important year for the Sixers to reach the NBA Finals in the Embiid era as contracts will began to expire and Harden will continue to age. Embiid is at his prime right now and led the league in PPG last season, something that Harden did 3 years consecutively from 2018-2020. The Sixers also have one of the better defensive teams with Matisse Thybulle and P.J Tucker along with Embiid’s ability to block shots.

2. Golden State Warriors (202.8)    2021-2022 Record: (53-29)

– Top 100 Players: (86) SF Andrew Wiggins (17.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG)

(76) SG Jordan Poole (18.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.0 APG)

(59) SG Klay Thompson (20.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.8 APG)

(13) PG Stephen Curry (25.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.3 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Western Conference Finals

– Offseason Takeaway: Well, it’s been an interesting offseason for Golden State to say the least. The Warriors were last year’s NBA Champions, winning the title for the 4th time in the last 8 years with the big three of Curry, Thompson, and Green. Curry also broke Ray Allen’s 3-point record last season and comes into the season with the same starting lineup as last year. What’s scary about the Warriors is that they have 4 young bench players all between the ages of 20-23 who are all capable of starter-level production on most teams. This includes the former Michigan SG Jordan Poole who averaged 18.5 PPG off the bench last season. Poole saw a significant increase in playing time with Thompson’s injury in the first half of the season and took advantage of that opportunity and has solidified his role as a dominant shooter and wing in this explosive offense. However, in an offseason practice, Poole and Green got into an argument when Poole was bragging over his new 4-year 140-million-dollar extension. Green punched Poole and was suspended for the team’s preseason. Despite Poole stating that they have resolved the conflict and will move forward, the team’s chemistry will be a question going forward.

1. Los Angeles Clippers (204.2)    2021-2022 Record: (42-40)

– Top 100 Players: (87) SF Norman Powell (19.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG)

(84) PG Reggie Jackson (16.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.8 APG)

(55) PG John Wall (20.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.9 APG)

(15) SG Paul George (24.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 5.7 APG)

(11) SF Kawhi Leonard (24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 7.2 APG)

– Playoff Prediction: Western Conference Champion, NBA Finals Champion – Offseason Takeaway: The top team in the preseason power rankings is the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers made the play-in tournament last season before getting bounced by the Timberwolves. However, that was without a healthy Paul George and without Kawhi Leonard. Now both superstars will be back on the court with a team that has added John Wall and resigned Norman Powell. The Clippers’ depth is impressive with 8 players over 10 PPG last season on their roster. Their depth is so good that Powell and Wall will likely be backups and are both top 100 players in the league in this power ranking. Jackson, George, and Leonard all provide quality playoff experience and high-level talent, where Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac provide size and veteran leadership in the front court. The Clippers’ bench goes even deeper with Robert Covington being an elite defender and Luke Kennard and Terance Mann being elite level wing shooters. Overall, the Clippers have the right combination of star power, leadership, and depth to win this year’s NBA Championship in a year where the top half of teams on this list seem like viable contenders.


Way Too Early Playoff Seeding Predictions for the 2022-2023 NBA Season

By Kalen Lumpkins

Kalen is a fourth year BGSU student from Toledo, Ohio. He is a sports management major with a minor in journalism. His primary sport interests include football and tennis, but he also has an interest in a wide variety in other sports, from baseball to hockey. His dream job outside of college is to be a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

October 18, 2022

Maxwell Media Watch

It is finally that time of the year for basketball fans. After an insane off-season, it is understandable that fans are eager to see how this year will play out. There are plenty of lingering questions that are set to be answered this season as well. Can the Warriors dynasty continue their dominance? How will the Celtics do without Ime Udoka on the sidelines? Can the Lakers bounce back? Who will be MVP? It is a long season, so we are not going to have these answers immediately. However, if you want something to base your season predictions on, I am here to help. Without further ado, here is how I see the NBA regular season playing out.

Eastern Conference Standings

  1. Boston Celtics (58-24)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (56-26)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (55-27)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)
  5. Brooklyn Nets (49-33)
  6. Miami Heat (47-35)
  7. Atlanta Hawks (44-38)
  8. New York Knicks (42-40)

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  1. Boston has had a roller coaster offseason after their Finals loss to the Warriors. They signed a much-needed playmaking guard in Malcom Brogdon and filled what seems to be the only hole in the Celtics roster. They also signed a quality shooter in Danilo Gallinari, but then the forward tore his ACL a few weeks later. Jaylen Brown was almost traded in a package deal offer for Kevin Durant that fell through, so there could be tension between him and the front office. Add-on the widely known suspension of Ime Udoka, and you have a team that is riddled with questions going into the season. Despite all the drama, I expect Brogdon’s presence to greatly improve the Celtics’ gameplan, including getting better looks for Jayson Tatum. The Celtics leader was shut down by Golden State in the finals, and that is surely still on his mind. Expect an MVP caliber season from #0 (Tatum) and expect interim coach Joe Mazzulla to continue to emphasize their defensive approach. 

2. Speaking of MVPs, the two-time award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything he could to bring the Bucks to another Finals, but the absence of Khris Middleton proved too much as they fell to Boston in game 7 of the second round. Despite the loss, Milwaukee decided to run it back by bringing 16 of the 20 players that were on their roster last season. The Bucks have proven that they can win when they are healthy. It’s getting healthy that seems to be the problem. Middleton is recovering from wrist surgery, Joe Ingles is still battling his ACL tear, Brook Lopez missed some preseason games because of an ankle injury among other injuries. When this team is not 100%, it shows, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucks dropped from 1st to 13th in points allowed at the rim after injuries to Lopez and George Hill. Despite the struggles, having Giannis on the team hides the defensive struggles. We will see how he elevates his game this season, and the continuation of Mike Budenholzer’s defensive schemes should keep Milwaukee in the championship picture.

3. The East was the most competitive it has been in years last season, with the second, third and fourth seed all posting 51-31 records. One game made the difference for these teams last year, and it begs the question of what last year could have been for the Sixers. After a (somewhat) dominant series against the Raptors, Philly would lose steam and fall to Miami in the second round. Joel Embiid missing time of course did not help, but the biggest flaw for the Sixers was the presence of James Harden. Or lack thereof. In the series, he averaged just 18 PPG on 40% shooting. We did see a flash of ‘prime’ Harden in Game 4, where he scored 31 points and carried Philly to even the series in Embiid’s absence. The key to this year for the Sixers will be James Harden performing on a consistent basis, and I think he will surprise everyone and show that he still has it. Embiid will be, well Embiid, and these two factors will make the Sixers a legitimate threat to the Celtics and Bucks.

4. Last season was a success for the Cavaliers, despite losing two games in the play-in tourney and ultimately missing the playoffs. The big three of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley made Cleveland a force on defense while also controlling the paint. The Cavs can find success in the East with these three, but a missing piece needed to be filled for them to be championship contenders. Flash forward to today, and they may have filled that void with the signing of Donovan Mitchell. The addition of the former Jazz star means that Cleveland now has a presence in the paint, outside the key and beyond the perimeter, and I think opposing defenses will have a hard time covering all three parts of the court per game. Depth will be an issue, especially come playoff time, but the ceiling of the Cavs with those four on the floor is highest among teams that missed the post season last year.

5. The Brooklyn Nets beat the Cavaliers in the first play-in tourney game last season to become the 7-seed to set up what could have been one of the best playoff series of all time against Boston. Long story short, it was not, as they would get swept by the Celtics instead. And that is when turmoil almost happened in Brooklyn. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stated their displeasure with the organization and almost went to different teams. While both players ended up staying, it remains to be seen how they will perform on a team they may or may not want to be a part of the following season. Best case scenario is that the team strives, and the additions of Ben Simmons and Seth Curry pay dividends. Worst case scenario is that the Nets do not improve, and Brooklyn loses two of the best players in NBA history for nothing in return. I expect something in the middle with the Nets as the 5-seed going against the Cavs.

6. The Heat finished last season one game from the NBA Finals but fell to the Celtics in game 7. In that series, it was clear that there was not a consistent threat in Miami offensively besides Jimmy Butler. I expected the Heat to go to work to find that piece, like a Donovan Mitchell or even Jalen Brunson, but ended up with an uneventful offseason. Due to this, I expect a drop of quality for the team. They will still make the playoffs as a 6-seed, but until there’s a true number two in Miami, they will not get over the hump.

7. Atlanta is coming off an underwhelming year of their own after making the Eastern Conference Finals the season before. John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic are becoming quality pieces for the Hawks, but I think Trae Young has yet to take that next step in his game. He is an unstoppable force when his shots go in but his decision making still needs to improve. For example, when they were down against Miami in their playoff series, Young would try shots from the logo to spark something for the offense. In general, he has had far too many ugly games in important situations, and I think that trend will continue this year. The Hawks could have a title contending team, but that will be determined by Trae Young’s play.

8. For the Knicks, where Trae Young is still public enemy #1, they will look to improve on last year’s letdown after making the playoffs the prior season. New York was able to pick up help for Julius Randle with the acquisition of Jalen Brunson. I still think Brunson needs to prove himself, but players like R.J Barrett and Obi Toppin will take some pressure off the former Dallas star. Expect the Knicks to improve this year and become possibly one of the top 5 seeds in the 2023-24 campaign.

Western Conference Standings  

  1. Golden State Warriors (65-17)
  2. Denver Nuggets (59-23)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
  4. Memphis Grizzlies (52-30)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (50-32)
  6. Phoenix Suns (47-35)
  7. New Orleans Pelicans (46-36)
  8. Dallas Mavericks (43-39)

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  1. After putting together one of the best offensive clinics in NBA history, the Warriors are prepared to run it back as the defending champs for the fourth time in eight seasons. All seemed to be well in San Francisco, until Draymond Green decided to punch Jordan Poole during a practice. Green said after the incident that both will take a professional approach and continue to focus on the team. The impact of the punch to the team remains to be seen, but this group, especially the big three (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green) have been through enough to overcome this situation. With that being said, I expect the Warriors to continue to be an offensive juggernaut, and I cannot see any team in the West being able to win four games against this team.  

2. It has been an unfortunate couple of postseasons for the Nuggets. With injuries to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray lingering in the past two seasons, Denver would be eliminated twice in the first round, winning just one game across both series. This season, however, they come at (mostly) full strength. We all saw what Jamal Murray can do after watching his play in the bubble, while Porter Jr. brings back his defensive prowess. Staying healthy will remain the focal point for the Nuggets, but at full strength they can be a large challenge on both sides of the ball. Oh, and Nikola Jokic will be going for his third straight MVP trophy. Expect Denver to have a breakout season.

3. Even though the Clippers missed the postseason, last year was still a success for LA in my eyes. Being able to win 42 games without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard shows how good this team can really be with the big 2 on the floor. This team also has depth behind Kawhi and PG as well, with players like Reggie Jackson, Terrance Mann, and new signee John Wall. Being a balanced team on both sides of the ball, the Clippers are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I think people are overlooking this squad, and I truly believe that they are the biggest threat to Golden State in the west when healthy.

4. The Grizzlies had one of their best seasons in franchise history last year, and Ja Morant’s huge elevation in his game is a part of the reason for that. What would have happened in their series with the Warriors had Morant not missed time will be the biggest ‘what if’ for Memphis fans, but I expect them to be able to rebound and keep the same defensive identity they did last year. The absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. to start the season will be noticed, but when he returns, this team will have a chip on their shoulder. I also do expect Ja Morant to be an MVP finalist.

5. The Grizzlies’ first round opponent last season was the Minnesota Timberwolves and they put on a phenomenal series. The Timberwolves would fall short, and it was mostly because of poor decision making. Players like Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony Towns tried to play too much ‘hero ball,’ attempting to carry the team instead of creating quality shots. In other words, the maturity levels between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves were as bright as day. This year, however, I expect the players to take a step forward mentally and become a top five offense on the league. I still think that defense is a concern, despite Minnesota’s bust in free agency, but the players performing more as a team will make up for the flaws on the other side of the ball.

6. I do not think anyone expected game 7 in the Western Conference second round to turn out the way it did. Especially no one in Phoenix. After being on the wrong side of one of the biggest blowouts in NBA postseason history, the Suns are looking to get back to the NBA Finals like they did two seasons ago. The Suns are bringing pretty much everyone back from last season, including a huge signing with Deandre Ayton. However, it seems that opposing teams have been able to figure out Monty Williams’ gameplan quicker than a couple seasons ago. Devin Booker will make sure to keep the Suns in contention, but I predict a decrease in quality for the Suns this season.

7. On paper, the Pelicans can become one of the most improved teams in the league and a legitimate championship contender. In reality, the floor and ceiling for this team solely depends on the health of Zion Williamson. That has not proven to be a good thing to bank on given that he has only played 85 games in three seasons, including missing the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign. Without Zion, the Pelicans held their own by making the playoffs and taking the Suns to six games. The additions of CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have proven to be gold, but there still seems to be a missing piece and intensity that only Zion can fill. I have New Orleans as the 7-seed because even if Zion misses significant time again, I expect the players to know what to do and still be a quality team. If Zion plays for a majority of the season, however, the Pelicans can surprise many.

8. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, I expect them to have the biggest drop off from last year. Luka Doncic will be, well, Luka Doncic again, but my major concern with Dallas is the lack of a second option. Jalen Brunson used to be the backup for Luka, but he is now in a Knicks jersey. The return of Tim Hardaway Jr. will provide some shooting help, but other players will have to step up if the Mavericks want to return to glory. Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood will have to produce on a nightly basis to help Luka out, but I just do not see that happening. The Mavs will have to be busier come next free agency.

The NBA season is set to kick off on October 18 when the Philadelphia Sixers face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 PM.

A Well-Oiled Machine

By Ryan Harless

Ryan Harless is a third-year undergraduate at BGSU from Hillsboro, Ohio. He is majoring in Sport Management with a Journalism Minor. Baseball and golf at all levels are his primary interests but he is also interested in combat sports, hockey, basketball, and football.

October 13, 2022

Since the late 1980s, baseball has evolved from the steroid era to the sabermetric era. During that time, there has been one true star whose career began in 2001; yet he remains relevant today – Albert Pujols. Since batting .204 prior to the All-Star break, he reached a seemingly impossible mark by hitting his 700th career home run. In doing so, he joined Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds as the only members of the 700-home run club.  

Entering the 2022 season, it looked like this was going to be the classic farewell tour for Pujols. He was finally back with his long-time teammates Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, for the first time in over a decade. After the 2011 season, Pujols was signed by the Los Angeles Angels for 10 years and $240 million. He never truly lived up to his potential in Los Angeles, only being an All-Star once, hitting around .256, and striking out almost twice as much as he walked. It seemed like his return to St. Louis was going to be a merciful end to Pujols’ playing career. But that’s where baseball fans were wrong.

Through the first three months of the season, Pujols batted a measly .181 with 4 homers, leaving him 17 shy of the 700 mark at the All-Star break. With Pujols being the only current player with a reasonable chance of hitting 700 homeruns, fans became hopeful. But after the first half of the season, most wrote him off. Alicia de Artola of Fansided doubted that he would be able to reach 700, questioning just how much he had left in the tank given his age. But “The Machine” was going to go out on his terms, slashing .318/.377/.671 since July 4th. Not only was this enough to make us reminisce about Pujols’ first stint with the Cardinals when he was consistently one of the best hitters in all of baseball. It also made him the BEST hitter in baseball (outside of Aaron Judge who was on another planet) per plate appearance.

Doing this, Pujols also helped the Cardinals clinch the National League Central Championship. Unfortunately, the Cardinals fell in two games to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, cutting Pujols’ chances short of further padding his stats. However, it is just difficult to fathom how the 42-year-old Pujols could play his best baseball of the past decade, as he neared the end of his career. It’s just one of the things that you look at as a baseball fan and think, “how can you not be romantic about baseball?.” A fun stat to put into perspective is how many home runs 700 is, Pujols’ average homerun trot over his career is around 26 seconds per. This means that over the 22 seasons Albert has played in, he has spent a little over 5 hours rounding the bases for his home runs.

Albert Pujols was by far the longest-tenured player in the MLB today debuting one year before pitcher Oliver Perez. He truly was the last of a dying breed and I don’t know that we will ever get to see someone dominate the majors for the first decade of their career. The only star in today’s game with similar dominance is Mike Trout. Who knows, maybe in another decade someone will be writing a similar story about Trout. But right to the very end of his illustrious career, ‘The Machine’ was the story.

Miami Dolphins Mismanagement of Tua Tagovailoa Injuries

By Sam Morris

Sam Morris is from Madison Heights, Michigan, and is an undergraduate student at BGSU majoring in Sports Management. He has a passion for sports writing and journalism. In his free time, he also performs, writes, and produces his own raps for the music industry club at BGSU.

October 11, 2022

NFL and SAFETY

With the NFL being a high-contact sport, there is obviously the potential to incur multiple serious injuries. The league has increased safety measures in many ways over the last few decades, especially when it comes to protecting quarterbacks. These changes include not being able to hit the quarterback in the shoulder-neck-head area once he is sliding, making him defenseless, as well as increasing emphasis on roughing the passer penalties. Despite these improvements, it is impossible to eliminate NFL concussions which are one of the most common injuries in the sport, especially for quarterbacks. It is important that all NFL teams follow the concussion protocol to keep players safe and to maintain the integrity of the league’s rules.

TUA TAGOVAILOA

The Miami Dolphins have been accused of not following the concussion protocol regarding their starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa was a star recruit out of the same Honolulu, Hawaii high school as Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota back in 2016. He committed to play college football at Alabama because Nick Saban would be his coach. Tua started off his freshman season as the backup to current Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts. He gained prominence relieving an injured Jalen Hurts in the 2018 CFP title game, leading the Crimson Tide to a victory over the rival Georgia Bulldogs. Tua played two more seasons riddled by injuries before being drafted by Miami with the 5th overall pick in the 2020 draft. Throughout his first 3 seasons with Miami, Tua has been inconsistent and frequently injured. Despite being plagued by injuries and receiving doubt from the media because of his inability to stay on the field, Tua began the 2022-23 season with 2 victories before controversy ensued.

GREGORY ROUSSEAU HIT

During week 2, Miami had already begun to be the talk of the NFL landscape with Tua completing a 28-point comeback against Baltimore and throwing for a franchise record 6 touchdowns in one game. In week 3, however, Tua would be tested against Josh Allen and the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills. With 2 minutes left in the second quarter, and with the scored tied 14-14, on a 2nd and 3, Tua dropped back in a shotgun formation and rolled out of the pocket to throw to former Alabama teammate wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Tua was tackled by the Bills 2nd year 6 foot 6, 270-pound Defensive End Gregory Rousseau after he got the pass off. Tua ‘s head immediately hit the ground before the rest of his body, and he got up extremely shaky. Tua originally tried to walk back to the huddle for the next play but wobbled in a zig-zag line and was taken out of the game. Tua was said to have gone through concussion protocol by Miami’s medical staff, but he was ruled to have a back problem and was cleared to come back into the game just a few minutes later at the start of the second half. The Dolphins upset the Bills by beating them 21-19 and backup Teddy Bridgewater only played for 2 minutes since Tua was quickly cleared.

MEDIA AFTERMATH

Immediately after the Dolphins-Bills game, the reporters at the Dolphins post-game press conference questioned Miami’s process of the concussion protocol. One of the major symptoms of a concussion is balance issues, but this usually only occurs when severe force puts a blow to the head to cause the concussion. This severe force could have come from a man 70 pounds and 6 inches taller than Tua, running full speed, and completely unblocked by the Miami offensive line. First-year head coach Mike McDaniel said in the week 3 post-game press conference when asked why Tua was able to play, “his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose.” Although the back is connected to your balance and equilibrium, it was highly suspicious since Tua hit his head first, but McDaniel and the medical staff described it as a back injury instead.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL CONCUSSION


The following week, 4 days later, on Thursday Night Football, against the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, the Dolphins were down 6-7 in the 2nd quarter with 6 minutes left and had a 2nd and 7 situation. Tua faked a hand-off to running back Raheem Moshert when the pocket collapsed, and he was sacked and thrown hard to the ground by the 6 foot 3, 340-pound Nose Tackle Josh Tupou. Tupou grabbed Tua by the waist so that his head jerked backward hard and hit the turf immediately with force much greater than in the previous week. Tua eventually had to be carted off the field as his hands and fingers were visibly shaking on camera.

MEDIA AFTERMATH

The questions started pouring in from around the sport as two situations that were so similar yielded extremely different results. While both opponents the Dolphins were playing when Tua got injured are playoff caliber teams, the Bills have arguably a more talented roster this year. Although Tua was obviously in more pain with the second injury, critics have begun to accuse the Dolphins of bringing Tua back in the Bills game prematurely to have a better chance of beating their division rivals.

RESULTS AND STANCES

After the Thursday Night game, the neurotrauma consultant in charge of clearing Tua to play was removed by the NFL. While the consultant was hired by the NFL, she is not specifically affiliated with the Dolphins and instead worked with many teams simultaneously around the league. The aftermath of this situation has led to multiple players union and NFL meetings to discuss evaluating the concussion protocol and its steps to clear players to play. It also stands to speculate that the reason the second concussion was so much worse was a direct result of the mistreatment of the previous week’s situation as Tua possibly never got the correct help he needed to heal. After a 10-day rest, Miami was still reporting that Tua would be out for week 5 against the Jets.  As for Mike McDaniel, he stood by his previous statement that the Dolphins handled Tua’s medical process correctly.

Wake Up the Echoes

By Ryan Harless

Ryan Harless is a third-year undergraduate at BGSU from Hillsboro, Ohio. He is majoring in Sport Management with a Journalism Minor. Baseball and golf at all levels are his primary interest but is also interested in combat sports, hockey, basketball, and football.

October 4, 2022

The Marcus Freeman era is well underway at the University of Notre Dame and thus far has been all but ideal. The Fighting Irish are off to a 2-2 start this season; with last season’s loss in the Rose Bowl plus the first 4 games of this season, they are 2-3 in Freeman’s first five contests.

This was supposed to be the breakthrough season for the Irish, but the South Bend faithful have had the wind sucked from their sails. The starting quarterback at the start of the season Tyler Buchner was put out for the season with a shoulder injury in the second game, a 26-21 loss to Marshall, leaving Drew Pyne to step up.

The first game with Pyne under center was another roller-coaster where nothing seemed to fully click for the Irish. During the broadcast you could see Pyne on the phone, purportedly having a very one sided, heated discussion with offensive coordinator and former Notre Dame starting quarterback Tommy Rees. But through all the turmoil of the first two weeks, Notre Dame was able to come through and hold onto their first win of the 2022-23 football season against California.

As mentioned before, expectations were high among fans going into this season. Coming on the heels of Brian Kelly leaving the team before last year’s bowl game, the Irish were ranked as the fifth best team in the country leading up to their season opener at Ohio State. Despite being 17.5-point underdogs, Freeman and his team held a 10-7 lead going into halftime. Notre Dame’s offense would go silent in the second half as has been a theme thus far this season, and they would fall 21-10.

As disappointing as the week one loss was, it in no way compared to the at-home loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd in week two. Marshall took a 9-7 lead into the half and never looked back. At this point things were starting to look really bad for the Irish and the Thundering Herd kept their foot on the gas to take the victory.

Notre Dame would make their way to .500 on the season with their week four win over the North Carolina Tar Heels in a much closer game than most Irish fans would have liked to see. But after a week off and looking forward to their game against BYU, a big win at home could be just what the Irish need to get back on their feet and make a run.

Media coverage of the Notre Dame football team and Freeman was less than ideal but understandable given the circumstances of the situation. Prior to Notre Dame’s week three win against California, reporters were questioning the leadership abilities of Freeman and the coaching staff surrounding him. As Michelle Martinelli of Fighting Irish Wire said, “the honeymoon period has ended after one of the most embarrassing at-home losses in Notre Dame history.” I don’t feel that Freeman is getting an unfair shake by any stretch either. I like to think that even with the loss to Ohio State, if Notre Dame had rebounded with wins against both Marshall and California, this would still be considered a successful start to the Freeman era. It is unfortunate that the defeat against Marshall will likely be a major slight to any small-scale success he might have with the team.

I am still hopeful for the rest of Freemans’ tenure at Notre Dame, but something obviously needs to change if he wants to leave behind a successful legacy.

Ime Udoka: The Franchise and the Media

By Sarafina Napoleon

Sarafina Napoleon is from Nigeria and is a first-year graduate student in Sport Administration at BGSU. As a journalist for 9 years, she brings a wealth of experience and insight to the Maxwell Media Watch.

September 24, 2022

After a terrific first season as head coach of the Boston Celtics, Ime Udoka finds himself in unfamiliar territory. A territory that might be a tipping point in his career, and he is on the verge of losing everything, and the big question is: Is there a way back for him?

September 21, 2022, will be a day to forget for the ex-international as the news of his consensual sexual relationship with an unnamed staff member of the organization made it to the media. As reported by ESPN, his relationship with the staff member was “considered a violation of the organization’s guidelines;” hence he will have to face the music.

Udoka is out of the entire 2022-2023 NBA season due to suspension, with the franchise releasing an official communication late Thursday. According to unconfirmed reports, his assistant Joe Mazzulla will likely serve as interim coach for the 2022-23 NBA season.

It is imperative to state that before this saga, Udoka had been a huge part of the success story of the Boston Celtics since he joined the team after stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets. His Celtics’ team recorded wins last season over the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference title. He guided them to the NBA Finals but lost in Game 6 to the Golden State Warriors, becoming the fifth coach in the last 25 years to make the Finals in his first year. He also secured a fourth-place finish in Coach of the Year voting. After a stellar outing last season, the fans had high hopes. They looked forward to a new season expecting the team to continue from where they left off last season, but this time it will be without head coach Ime Udoka.

It is important to note that we do not regularly see a coach’s lengthy suspension in the NBA. Last season, Mike Batiste of the Washington Wizards was handed a two-game suspension for entering the stands. In 2013, Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd faced a two game suspension. Still, an entire season suspension of an active coach has never happened recently and possibly in the history of the NBA.

There are also reservations about the media’s role in bringing to light the coach’s relationship with the unnamed staff member and how he has been portrayed.

Furthermore, are the Boston Celtics innocent of how they handled the issue?

One pertinent question to ask is how the information got to the media. Who leaked the information? Couldn’t such seismic news be dealt with internally?

Another angle to consider is the need to conceal the identity of the “unnamed staff member” while revealing coach Udoka’s, more without hesitation. Why is the coach alone facing the repercussions of an action that two adults carried out?

The club released an official statement that only captured Udoka’s punishment. Why? Is cheating not wrong on all levels and unfair to the partners of those involved? Still, a season suspension and the possibility of getting fired for breaking a code of conduct termed “Consensual” is absolute madness and arguable.

The role the media played in the reportage of the incident cannot be overlooked. It was at no point stated or reported that Udoka coerced the staff member into the relationship, so why did the media report it as a criminal incident? The coach committed an offense against the franchise owners and his fiancé Nia Long, not a crime against the government. The problem with the media reportage of the incident is that it has largely swayed how the franchise chose to deal with it. One could also argue that the media coverage of the incident could be about the color of his skin, which is my perspective as a Nigerian. Would the media come for his head if it were a white coach? Your guess is as good as mine.

Carlos Alcaraz: The Future of Men’s Tennis

By Kalen Lumpkins

Maxwell Media Watch

09/13/22

At this year’s French Open, third-seeded Alexander Zverev won a four-set thriller against sixth-seeded Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7) to advance to the semi-final for the second year in a row. In the post-match interview, Zverev was asked what he said to Alcaraz when they greeted each other at the net after the match concluded.

“I told him at the net, ‘You’re going to win this tournament a lot of times, not just once,’” said Zverev. “I hope I can win it before he starts beating us all.”

Fast-forward to this year’s U.S Open, and Carlos Alcaraz is beginning to do just that.

At the start of the U.S Open, tennis fans from around the world would gather into their designated courts to watch their favorite players do what they do best. On the women’s side, most were there to see Serena Williams’ last rodeo play out. On the men’s side, there was no Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer for the fans to marvel at, but there was one legend that always is the fan favorite every time he steps on the court.

Rafael Nadal.

The King of Clay opened as the overwhelming favorite to win his third Grand Slam of the year and 23rd Grand Slam overall. Nadal had not lost a Grand Slam match all year coming into the U.S Open (Nadal withdrew from the Wimbledon semifinals due to injury), and he was on a mission to make 2022 his year.

As the 2nd seed Nadal cruised to the quarterfinals, the 3rd seeded Carlos Alcaraz followed.

Alcaraz beat the people that he should have in the first three rounds (Sebastien Baez, Federico Coria, Jenson Brooksby) decisively in straight sets. The combination of his killer forehands and spacing were too much for his opponents to handle and were stunning to watch. Still, all eyes were on Rafael Nadal’s journey through the tournament. 

Then came the Round of 16, where Alcaraz faced 16th seeded Marin Cilic. And to put it lightly, Carlos Alcaraz put on a show for Arthur Ashe Stadium. Cilic and Alcaraz went back and forth hitting each other with long rallies and killer serves. Alcaraz’s game is comparable to the likes of Roger Federer: his serves, backhands, forehands, positioning among other techniques. There’s one aspect of Alcaraz’s game, however, that makes him in a league of his own and such a joy to watch. 

His effort.

During their match, Marin Cilic learned how hard it is to not only get the ball away from Alcaraz, but also how to keep it away from him. Multiple times during the match, Cilic would make an amazing forehand winner only for it to not be a winner at all, as Alcaraz would sprint to the back of the court and hit a forehand winner of his own. Cilic would find out that Alcaraz was simply too much to handle, as Carlos Alcaraz would beat Marin Cilic in a five-set thriller to advance to the quarterfinals. The breakthrough that Alcaraz needed, however, happened before he would even step on the court that day.

Earlier at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the tennis world was shaken up as Rafael Nadal was defeated by the 22nd seeded American Frances Tiafoe, which is seen as the upset of the year. The day before, the top seed Daniil Medvedev was handled by the controversial Nick Kyrgios.

With the top two seeds out of the way, all eyes were now on the highest seed remaining: Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard would decisively prove, however, that he could handle the bright lights.

With the plays and overwhelming efforts that were present in his Round of 16 match (like this sensational behind the back shot), he would come back from a 2-1 set hole to defeat John Sinner 6-3, 6-7 (9), 6-7 (7), 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the U.S Open Semifinals. His opponent in the semifinals would end up being one of the most anticipated matches on the tournament.

Alcaraz’s opponent: Frances Tiafoe, the man who ended Rafael Nadal’s U.S Open run.

Tiafoe was making history himself, becoming the first African American since Arthur Ashe to make the U.S Open semifinals, and he had no plans to make his match with Alcaraz his last of the tournament. Alcaraz, however, had other ideas.

Frances Tiafoe experienced what Alcaraz’s prior opponents did: his relentless drive and effort. Alcaraz pulled rabbits out of his hat all match, scoring points that seemed impossible, bringing the Arthur Ashe crowd to its feet to the point where they could barely sit down. Alcaraz would beat Tiafoe 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3 to make the U.S Open final.

Before the tournament, people already had their favorites coming into the tournament. Going into the final, everyone had become a Carlos Alcaraz fan.

Alcaraz would defeat 5th seeded Casper Ruud in the U.S Open final 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 to win his first Grand Slam title. The ovation Alcaraz received after the match point was astounding. The crowd there were amazed by his near perfect U.S Open Tournament, the plays he made and most importantly: the effort he put in.

The victory makes Alcaraz the youngest No.1 in ATP history. At 19, he is like Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer, who won their first major at 19, 20, and 21, respectively. Alcaraz is nowhere close to finished, based on his interview after his U.S Open win.

“Right now, I’m enjoying the moment. I’m enjoying having the trophy in my hands,” said Alcaraz. “Of course, I’m hungry for more. I want to be at the top for many, many weeks. I hope many years.”

There have been comparisons with Alcaraz to the big three (Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic) with how his career has started, but there is one thing that stands out compared to everyone else.

The effort.

Carlos Alcaraz has the potential to be the greatest tennis player to ever hold a racquet. It is too early to tell, admittedly, because he is only 19. However, if there is one thing that should be taken from this article, its that Carlos Alcaraz will be a name that will be known for years to come.

Believe the hype.