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Grizz 2014 – from here to … ?

by Kelley D. Evans

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Fresh from training camp in San Diego at the University of California, the 2014 edition of the Memphis Grizzlies is a work in progress toward the ultimate goal – NBA champions.

With an open practice at the FedExForum the order of the day on Monday (Oct. 6th), fans got a peak at the evolving team in motion. A few days earlier, head coach Dave Joerger fielded a question about high expectations during Grizzlies Media Day.

“I don’t think there are high expectations for this team,” Joerger said.  “We’re the team that nobody’s talking about nationally.  There are really good teams in the west…”

By most accounts, Memphis, which fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the NBA playoffs last season, is projected to be one of those really good Western Conference teams.

As the players were shuffled in for Media Day interviews, much of the chatter surrounded the desire to win a championship. Players, front office management and coaching staff were on hand to answer questions.  To the core of Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Tony Allen the Grizzlies have added some more veteran pieces to the roster, including the most talked-about person of the day, Vince Carter, and the most intriguing person, Michael Beasley.

Carter’s presence is expected to offset the departure of fan-favorite and sharpshooter Mike Miller to Cleveland. And Beasley, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, is riding the lifeline of a non-guaranteed contract.

“We have good depth, we have good experience. Guys keep getting older but are not old yet, with good experience (and) good chemistry.” Joerger said.  “With Courtney Lee having a training camp under his belt, with Quincy (Pondexter) coming back and with Vince Carter built in to make shots, that should help us from the wing so that teams don’t cheat as much in the paint on Marc (Gasol) and Zach (Randolph).”

Joerger began his first season as Grizz head coach with a more offensive-based model, but went back to the team’s bread and butter – feeding through the big men in the paint.

“I liked a lot of the stuff we were able to do offensively in the last 25 or 30 games,” Joerger said.  “I liked what we did with (point guard) Mike Conley in really encouraging him to be a scorer first. That will help him be more of a playmaker if he is more of a threat offensively.”

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Category: Original

Memphis at Ole Miss: The Four P.A.W.S.


Possibilities: With the Rebels having a matchup against No. 3 Alabama the week after hosting Memphis, it’s quite possible that Ole Miss could overlook the Tigers –a nearly three-touchdown underdog. Much of Tiger Nation is hoping to catch the Rebels sleeping and get out of Oxford with a victory on the road.

Assumption: Although Rebels coach Huge Freeze has backpedaled on his comments about the Ole Miss game being the “Super Bowl” to the U of M football team, it’s safe to assume the Tigers will use those comments to fuel their fire. If the Tigers can come in with a chip on their shoulders, it may be the necessary ingredient to cook up an upset.


‘A Little R&R on Sports’: Ghetto bravado


Signifying, joning, jiving, talking smack, playing the dozens and trash talking are all types of verbal war games in which a majority of us African-American males growing up in urban environs were engaged…regularly.

Strategically, the key is to point out and exploit any real or perceived weakness, deficiency or shortcoming of the other person. Tactically, the key is to make it as sharp, cutting and as funny as possible. This verbal jousting used to be limited to community venues like: street corners, playgrounds, barbershops, gyms, etc. But now, broadcast, social and print media have given this ghetto bravado digital platforms for instant distribution to huge global audiences.

Cowboys spoil home opener for Titans and new coach Whisenhunt


After an impressive season-opening win on the road in Kansas City last week, the Tennessee Titans (1-1) came out flat against the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) on Sunday and the result was a spoiled home debut – the first for head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

In the first half, the Titans rush defense was very ineffective, allowing Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to look unstoppable. Murray racked up 115 yards in the first half to help power the Cowboys to a 16-0 halftime lead. By game’s end he had amassed 167 total yards on 29 carries with one touchdown.

"He ran hard and he ran downhill,” Dallas head coach Jason Garret said of Murray.

  • Written by Christopher Hope
  • Category: Original

‘Classic’ matchup golden, even when its silver


As rivalries go, the annual clash between Jackson State University (JSU) and Tennessee State University (TSU) is, well, a “Classic” – literally.

The two teams of Tigers have battled 48 times, including 24 times in the Southern Heritage Classic. They will face off for their 25th “Classic” matchup on Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

When the game kicks off at 6 p.m., JSU will be in full pursuit of ending a two-game losing streak in the yearly encounter. Each team comes into the game with multiple strong points.

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Category: Original

Memphis 63 Austin Peay 0: When It Rains, It Pours

The 2014 Memphis Tigers football team refused to let rain ruin their opening-game matchup against the Austin Peay Governors on Saturday (Aug. 30) as they poured it on early and often rallying a 63-0 win.  
The Tigers scored on their opening possession on a two-yard Sam Craft run that capped off a nine-play 60-yard drive.  They continued to put on a show for the faithful fans of Tiger Nation as they pounced on Austin Peay primarily through their run game.  Memphis scored five rushing touchdowns in the first half including two by sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch, who tied his season total from last season making two in the first half.   Lynch was able to get his receivers involved early connecting with seven different targets and totaling 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  

Memphis vs UCLA – the four ‘PAWS’

tigers paw
After the Memphis Tigers football team’s lopsided 63-0 victory over the lowly Austin Peay Governors (APSU) who went 0-12 last season, the hopeful squad will take on the No. 11 UCLA Bruins this Saturday at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Los Angeles.  
Tigers head coach Justin Fuente, who addressed the media in his weekly press conference on Monday, said he was proud of the way Memphis played last week and took care of business.

Tiger Basketball wraps up Canadian exhibition tour

Tiger Basketball

The University of Memphis men’s basketball team wrapped up its Canadian exhibition tour on Tuesday (Aug. 19th) after a second loss to the Carleton University Ravens 92-60. The Tigers finished four games in four days splitting the tour 2-2.

After a rigorous 10-round team practice schedule as permitted by NCAA rules, Memphis departed for Canada on Aug. 15 and returned to the bluff city on Wednesday (Aug. 20).

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Category: Original