Friday, June 22, 2018

Sports this 'n' that

Shenendehowa graduate Kevin Huerter knew he was taking a risk by declaring for the NBA draft after his sophomore season at Maryland. Thursday night, Huerter became the first Section 2 graduate since Jimmer Fredette to be drafted, as he went to Atlanta in the first round. Given that so few players from this region have made it into the NBA, period, one wonders if the Hawks will actually give Huerter a chance to start, something his father, Tom, Sr., never had coming out of Siena years ago. As Rodger Wyland wrote in today's Albany Times-Union, the Hawks are not expected to be a contender next season, but ya just never know........
Speaking of the Times-Union, their coverage of the Tri-City Valleycats consists of a mix of game coverage and puff pieces about selected players on a day-to-day basis. I am guessing that this practice, which has been in place for a few years now, is to save space for national items in the sports section, but that's just me. The 'Cats are 4-3 after a week's play, and will continue their series with Lowell tonight. Tomorrow? With rain in the forecast, I wouldn't count on it.......
Troy High's 2-time state football champions have been recognized by the city in a few different ways. The latest of which was to have signs posted in downtown on Thursday, in much the same way other teams from other schools have gotten similar recognition in recent years. With the seniors from the 2017 team graduating on Sunday, El Cheapo Media finally got to talk to outgoing senior Matt Ashley, who will stay in the hometown, playing his college ball at RPI.

Mayor Patrick Madden gave the school some lip service, perhaps unaware of the ongoing press embargo between the school and El Cheapo Media. If Madden doesn't run again, he could take on a second job as a celebrity lookalike. Like, he could take some heat off Dr. Phil, don't you think?
WWE Chairman/CEO Vince McMahon has gotten raked over the coals by critics over the years, including ye scribe, for a number of things, including his fetish for big men. Now, it seems he also has more of an interest in making sure his women's champions are blondes. It's an image thing, you see, with the belief that these young, attractive women are more marketable to Madison Avenue than someone on the order of, say for example, Japan's Asuka, who was made to look like a fool twice in three nights earlier this week.

Most of us expected Asuka to defeat Carmella (real name: Leah VanDale) for the Smackdown women's title. However, indie star James Ellsworth was recalled, and got involved in the match, helping his on-again, off-again storyline lover retain the title.

The fact that Carmella resorted to cheating shouldn't really be a surprise, considering that VanDale was a New England Patriots cheerleader about a decade ago before swapping her pom poms for leotards & tights. It's the culture that comes with the "Patriot Way", or so it'd seem.

Meanwhile, the experiment with Nia Jax, a cousin to current star Roman Reigns (Joe Anoia) and former champion turned movie star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, as Raw women's champ, ended with Alexa Bliss (Lexi Kaufman) regaining the title after winning the women's Money in The Bank briefcase on Sunday. Bliss is another one who's been overprotected by WWE Uncreative, as during her last title run, she didn't defend the title on free TV. Commentators on a couple of message boards I frequent weren't digging, believing that Bliss has gone stale.

The truth is, WWE blew a golden opportunity with Jax & Reigns back at Wrestlemania in April. Were it not for another obsession of McMahon's, Reigns could've beaten Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. However, with McMahon bent on removing CM Punk (Philip Brooks) from the WWE record books, Lesnar was allowed to keep the title. That should change, as rumors persist that Lesnar could leave following Summerslam. Were it not for McMahon, Jax & Reigns could've had the stage to themselves, much in the same way the late Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero did in 2004, and current movie stars John Cena & Dave Bautista did the following year.
We close on a sad note. As reported over at Saturday Morning Archives earlier this week, former WCW & IWGP champion Big Van Vader (Leon White) passed away on Monday at 63. While he wasn't treated with any semblance of respect in WWE during his brief time there (1996-8), it's a shock that White isn't already in the Hall of Fame. That should change, perhaps as early as next year. We'll leave you with one of Big Van Vader's early appearances in WCW, from December 1990.

While with WWE, Vader became a supporting character on ABC's Boy Meets World. White portrayed Francis Albert Leslie Stecchino, Sr., father of Frankie, one of the school bullies (Ethan Suplee), and appeared in at least 3 episodes.  Rest in peace, Leon.

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