Saturday, August 23, 2014

DG154

Concluding our look at action from College Basketball '14, dread gallery #154 focuses mostly on the teams with more than one player with dreads - specifically, Nebraska, Lamar, VCU, and Louisiana Tech - and on a player who had no choice but to excel in basketball from the day his parents named him ...... Jordair.

1. Jordair Jett, 6-1, 215-pound senior G for Saint Louis U, has his eyes on the rim while driving between F Ryan Rhoomes (#30) and G Mandell Thomas of Fordham during 1st half on Jan. 18. Jett had a better game than his season averages, finishing with 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists as Saint Louis improved to 17-2 with a 70-48 home victory.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DG153

Dreads on teams in the Pac-12, SEC, and MAC, as well as four of the starters on my dread all-America team are the feature attractions in dread gallery #153, the second of three DGs covering the 2013-14 season in college basketball.
We'll begin with the MAC. There were 4 players with dreads on teams in the MAC this season, and two of them earned all-conference honors .....

1. One of the two, 6-9 Ohio junior F Maurice N'dour puts up a shot against G Jaryd Eustace of Miami (Ohio) during a game on Feb. 8. N'dour, a native of Senegal, had 14 points and 8 rebounds as Ohio picked up an 82-75 home victory.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DG152

Football season is knocking at the door; but in the house of dread it's still basketball season - and it will continue to be for as long as it takes me to finish these next three dread galleries. That won't be long, though, because in an attempt to save time I'm trying something different: I'm only going to post the photos; it'll be up to you to figure out who everybody is!

Seriously though, as we take a look at the recently (?) concluded 2013-14 College Basketball season in DG152, DG153, and DG154, for most of the photos I just didn't take the time to research the exact points of the game when the photos were taken; so I guess you'll have to use your imagination. Although I'm doing only half as many dread galleries as last season, I will have at least one photo of every player with dreads in Division 1 that I know of; and I'll be including this season's stats for most of them. (If I don't list a player's stats, it means they were already listed in the dread news report I did three weeks ago.)

Let's begin dread gallery #152 in the Big 12.

1. D.J. Johnson, a 6-9, 250-pound sophomore F for Kansas State, grabs a rebound against G Jeff Mullahey of Troy during 2nd half on Dec. 15. Johnson had 7 rebounds and 3 points in 18 minutes as the Wildcats rolled to a 72-43 home win over Troy, part of their 7-0 December.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DG151 - Part 1

From the moment he first put on a South Carolina uniform in September 2011 and started living up to the huge amount of hype he received in high school, it quickly became obvious that Jadeveon Clowney was going to be the 1st pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. And so it indeed came to pass, finally becoming official on the evening of May 8, 2014. Even after his overanalyzed, overcriticized, disappointing, injury-plagued junior season with the Gamecocks, the Houston Texans decided he was worth taking with their 1st overall selection in the draft. And with good reason. In today's pass-happy NFL, having a good defense begins with having a great pass rusher. And that's Clowney's specialty. He has the potential to be one of the best pass rushers the league has ever seen. The Texans are counting on it, while all the rest of the teams in the AFC are hoping he never reaches that potential.

Clowney's selection at #1 marks the first time a player with dreads has been the first player selected in the NFL Draft (it was bound to happen sooner or later). Previously the highest anybody with dreads had been selected was 3rd overall, which happened three times - Larry Fitzgerald in 2004, Tyson Jackson in 2009, and Trent Richardson in 2012. In addition to Clowney there were 27 other players with dreads drafted, including six selected in the 1st round (photo below) - five of whom were on hand in person to take that walk across the stage and be greeted by Commissioner Goodell. In dread gallery #151 we'll look at all the rookies with dreads currently in training camp hoping to be on their teams' rosters on opening day.

DG151 - Part 2

And now, the second half of dread gallery #151, featuring rookies on teams in the two South divisions as well as the AFC West.

We finished part 1 with a look at Brandon Dixon, so we'll begin part 2 with his twin brother, Brian Dixon.

1. He was not drafted, as was his brother, but CB Brian Dixon faces the same difficult task of trying to win a roster spot - although not with the same team as his brother - after signing with the New Orleans Saints, here participating in his first practice on May 16.

Monday, July 21, 2014

College BB '14 Dread News

Well, they weren't exactly the kind of dreads I had in mind; but technically, yes, they were dreads. And so, the drought is finally over. It seems like every year when I do this report I end up lamenting that there has never been a player with dreads in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament; but there has been one now. Of course, if you were one of the thousands of fans at AT&T Stadium with seats so far away from the court that all the players looked like ants, or even if you were watching at home and don't have a HD television, then it was very difficult to notice the beginner dreads on the head of Kentucky freshman F James Young. In case you never did notice, you are looking at the proof - one of the dozens of photos taken of Young during the championship game on Apr. 7.

With teams like Colorado, Saint Louis, VCU, Memphis, and Nebraska - teams with players whose dreads are much easier to notice - all not making it past the first weekend of the tournament, I figured the drought would continue for yet another year. But then I saw Young during Kentucky's 3rd round game against Wichita State.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

College FB '13 House Calls

There were 9 teams in Division 1 that had 20 or more of their touchdowns scored by players with dreads during the 2013 season; but only two of them had 30 or more. And those two just happened to be on opposing sidelines in the final game of the season. Florida State was victorious over Auburn 34-31 in the BCS title game back in January; but it was the Tigers edging the Seminoles in the competition for the most TD by players with dreads - and almost by the exact same score as the game, with Auburn's 33 TD finishing two better than FSU's final total.

Thanks mostly to Tre Mason (scoring the last of the 33 TD on a 37-yard run with 1:19 remaining in the title game in photo above), the crown for the team with the most TD scored by players with dreads remains in the state of Alabama for the 3rd consecutive season, with Auburn following 1st place finishes by Alabama State (34 TD) in 2012 and Alabama (35 TD) in 2011.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 1)

The season began with the matchup of the teams I thought might finish first and second in the total number of touchdowns scored by players with dreads (Georgia-Clemson) and it ended with a game between the two teams that actually were first and second. I haven't added up the exact team totals yet; but when I do, it likely will confirm that Florida State and Auburn were the only teams with more than 30 TD by players with dreads this season. Both the Seminoles and Tigers added two more TD to their totals in a barn burner of a BCS title game won by FSU 34-31 on Jan. 6 at Pasadena, CA.
An SEC team had won the BCS title game 7 straight years, and for a long time it looked like Auburn was going to make it 8. But after being held to one touchdown on their first 10 possessions of the game, the Seminoles found the end zone on their last two and added a special teams TD as they scored 21 points in the 4th quarter to pull out the victory that capped an undedeated, 14-0 season. Auburn, which had won 9 games in a row, finished at 12-2.

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 2)

With 5 of the 9 wide receivers who made this season's all-America with dreads team either being seniors or underclassmen who entered the NFL draft, it figured to be a wide open race for spots on the 2014 team. And now that race will be even more up for grabs after the disheartening discovery that two players who very likely would have filled a couple of those spots are no longer eligible to be considered for the team. Much to my disappointment, shortly after playing in their teams' bowl games, seniors-to-be Jameon Lewis of Mississippi State and Rannell Hall of UCF cut off their long dreads that we've enjoyed seeing so much during the last three seasons. So instead of writing about both of their fantastic bowl performances with a lot of excitement, it'll feel more like a eulogy.
Lewis put in a serious bid for head dread honors, setting both new Mississippi State and Liberty Bowl records for most yards receiving in a game.

College FB '13 Dread News - Bowl Review (Part 3)


Continuing now with the rest of the dread gallery section of the final dread news report for 2013 .....

46. Sophomore RB Todd Gurley of Georgia throws out a stiff-arm while trying to shake senior DE Jason Ankrah of Nebraska on 3rd and 6 on the 2nd play of 2nd quarter in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 at Jacksonville. Ankrah stopped Gurley 1 yard short of the first down at the NU 31-yard line, but the Bulldogs converted on 4th and 1 and went on to kick a FG 6 plays later to take a 3-0 lead. Ankrah finished with 5 tackles (3-2), including 2 sacks, and had a FF in his final game before hopefully moving on to the NFL.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Know Your Muck

They didn't teach it at any of the schools I went to, so the first I ever heard of the muck - the rich, dark soil abundant in the area around Lake Okeechobee in Florida - was in a Sports Illustrated article many years ago.Years later (but still several years ago) there was an article in USA Today mentioning how unusual it was that so many NFL players would come from the same high school in such a small town - that town being Belle Glade - located at the southeast end of the lake - and the school being Glades Central HS. Although those articles certainly caught my eye, neither prompted me to do any further research. But when I started this blog back in August 2008 and discovered that at least half of all football players with dreads come from Florida, that's when I began to take notice.

According to Wikipedia, Muck City is the nickname for both Belle Glade and the surrounding area; and as you may already know, it's an area known for being equally rich in football as it is in soil. The high schools in Belle Glade (population 17,467) and Pahokee (13 miles to the north, population 5,649) have sent close to two dozen players to the NFL and dozens of others to college football teams across the country - an extraordinary feat for an area with so few people. Indeed, the annual football game between Glades Central and Pahokee HS has become such a big event that it is dubbed "The Muck Bowl" and was featured in a series the NFL Network did a couple of years ago on great HS rivalries.

You may recall I very briefly referred to Muck City in my preview of the 2013 NFL draft. Well, before we get started with this year's preview, you are hereby challenged to take the following quiz to find out just how well you ..... know your muck.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DG150 - Part 1

I hope you weren't too disappointed, but last summer was the first summer since I began this blog that I did not do a dread news report on baseball. I spent too much time on basketball and by the time I was finished, it was already time to start getting ready for football. Honestly though, you didn't miss anything. If I had done a report, it would have been a lot of moaning and groaning about what a lousy season it was. With one exception - the brilliantly bright exception by the name of Andrew McCutchen - there was a lot of darkness in the house of dread when it came to MLB's players with dreads in 2013.

After both performed poorly in 2012, I thought things couldn't get any worse for the Weeks brothers. They did. Johnny Cueto spent most of the season on the disabled list before finishing it with a humiliating defeat. Eric Young and Carlos Santana had dreads when the season began but not when it was over. Ervin Santana actually pitched well but still somehow managed to end up with a losing record. Prince Fielder did well too, but he certainly has done better. And the woe didn't end when the season did, as three more players joined Young and Carlos Santana on the ex-dread list during the offseason.