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Sportsman of the Year!

By: Tom Verducci (Sports Illustrated; Dec. 7, 2009; pg. 60)

"He (Derek Jeter; Shortstop for the New York Yankees) was brought up to respect his environment and respect himself," Dorothy (Derek Jeter's Mother) says.

"When you like who you are, you're going to respect others. It's very simple."

"You've got to have strong values because there are people who don't want to see you attain or achieve," Charles (Derek Jeter's Father) says. "I don't think you magically get those values when you're successful. If you don't have it by then, you're going to be in a lot of trouble."

"I would be the same person regardless of what I was doing or where I was playing," says Jeter, who still talks to his parents each day. "It's not like I'm trying to act a certain way to make people happy. I'm just who I am. But again, it's something that I learned at a young age."

Coach Brown's Thoughts: Derek Jeter has always appeared to be a man of integrity and after reading this article, now I know where he got his wonderful values from. His Mother & Father made sure that their son & daughter received the love, knowledge & discipline to become strong, conscious & humble young people that would Prayerfully grow into successful adults. From what I have seen, it has worked. It is a beautiful thing!

Congratulations to Derek Jeter on being chosen as the 2009 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year!

Joe Peterno - Still has something to teach!

By: Joe Posnanski (Sports Illustrated; Oct. 26, 2009 pg. 61)

"I'm not going to embarrass this university," he says, not angrily but with an edge in his voice, as if he could not imagine how anyone could miss the point: He still has something left to teach these kids. Times have not changed that much. "I think kids today, they are confused," Joe says. "They long for some kind of discipline. They want something bigger than themselves, something bigger to be a part of. We can still offer that here [at Penn State University]."

Coach Brown's Thoughts: Joe Peterno is a coaching icon! At 82 years old and about to turn 83 around x-mas time, his coaching legacy has long been secured & established.

Young scholar-athletes today want to show-out as soon as possible. I went to two (2) recreation football Super Bowls last weekend and these young men were in the sixth (6th) to eighth (8th) grades. I actually saw them doing the same celebratory things that I see in college & in the pros. Now, I am the 1st person to celebrate and get pumped up, but I don't remember jumping around and showing out during my recreation, junior high & high school playing days; and trust me, I made a lot of plays during my career. I started show-boat celebrating when I got to college. Joe Peterno's teams are usually classy, respectful and play a hard-nosed brand of football. His teams usually exemplify a very disciplined group of young men that win in the classroom as well as on the field! That's why he is the winningest coach in the history of Division I-A College Football with 389 wins and counting.

Coaches, let's strive to be men of integrity & instill discipline in our players and let's continue to make a positive difference in the lives of young people that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives and start a positive cycle that will continue for a very long time!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Levi Michael - New UNC Baseball Star!!!

By Andy Gardiner, USA TODAY (Spring 2009)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Levi Michael dreamed of playing baseball for the University of North Carolina from the time he was a boy. When the opportunity arrived to turn that dream into a reality in unprecedented fashion, Michael grabbed it.
Michael has done something rare at college baseball's elite level. He graduated from high school in January, enrolled at UNC three days later and was the Tar Heels' starting second baseman by the time the season began the third week of February.
With a week left in the regular season Michael, 18, has become a mainstay on a North Carolina team that has made three consecutive trips to the College World Series and is No. 1 in the USA TODAY/ESPN coaches' poll. Without a transition period, the switch-hitting freshman flourished.

"I probably shouldn't be, but I'm shocked at how this has turned out," said UNC coach Mike Fox. "I'm amazed when I watch what this kid has done. "
Freshmen have become increasingly important to the nation's top programs. Because many premier players sign pro contracts after their junior seasons, there is a constant need for schools to restock quickly.

Second-ranked California-Irvine starts three freshmen. No. 4 Rice's top hitter is first-year player Anthony Rendon. Daniel Hultzen is 6-1 on the mound and batting .338 as a first baseman for 14th-ranked Virginia. But all had a semester to become acclimated to college life and become familiar with new teammates and coaches.

Michael went from taking five final exams in high school on a Friday to moving into his dorm on Saturday and sitting in freshman English on Monday. Formal practice began three weeks later. "I thought it was going to be very challenging, and it has turned out to be even more difficult than that," Michael said. "But Coach Fox offered me the opportunity of a lifetime."

Early love for the Tar Heels --- Michael grew up in Welcome, N.C., a town of 3,500 just south of Winston-Salem and 90 minutes west of Chapel Hill. The youngest of Tony and Rhonda Michael's three children, he attended North Davidson High in nearby Lexington. His sister, Keeli, starts at second base on the Campbell University softball team. Rhonda, a technology specialist at North Davidson, said the family has always been UNC fans, and Levi was determined to become a Tar Heel from the time he began attending Fox's summer camps as an 8-year-old.
"When Levi sets his mind to something, that's it," she said.

Fox followed Michael's career closely. "We had seen Levi play more than any player we've recruited, and he accepted a scholarship on the first day possible," Fox said.
But that was based on a traditional timetable of Michael entering North Carolina in the fall of 2009 and beginning his baseball career in the spring of 2010. He still had his senior season at North Davidson. That schedule began to shift in late summer when six UNC recruits signed pro contracts.

"Going into the fall, we saw we only had one infielder at each position, Fox said."
A Tar Heels assistant coach wondered whether Michael was ready to play now. "It was said jokingly, but then we began to think about it seriously," Fox said.
Fox felt hypocritical for even broaching the idea.

"We talk a lot here about living in the moment and enjoying the journey," he said. "I had a ball my senior year and I don't think any kid should miss that.
"I visited Levi and his parents. I spent most of my time listing all the reasons why he shouldn't come early. Levi looked right at me and said, 'Tell me what I have to do to make this happen.' "Fox told Rhonda Michael he spent hours rehearsing his recruiting speech. It didn't take Levi 10 minutes to say yes," she said. "I was a little apprehensive, but Levi never was."

Move blessed by UNC players Fox polled his players on how they felt about a freshman joining the team at mid-year. "All we asked was whether he could help our team," said junior first baseman Dustin Ackley, a career .400 hitter expected to be among the first 10 players taken in the June draft. "Once practice started we saw right away that he could. But I can't imagine doing what he's done."
Michael struggled during the early weeks of practice, in part because he was shifted from shortstop to second base.

"I was so nervous I couldn't stand still. I was shaking the whole time out there," he said. That disappeared in the first intrasquad scrimmage. Michael homered, beat out an infield hit and played with poise. "It was clear to the coaching staff after a week of practice that Levi needed to be in the lineup somewhere right out of the gate," Fox said. "After that first scrimmage the rest of the team saw that he belonged."

Michael has started 51 of UNC's 52 games (he sat out against East Carolina after oversleeping and arriving late for the team bus) and is hitting .297 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and a .574 slugging percentage. "He's hit some clutch home runs from both sides of the plate and done everything we've asked at second base," Fox said.

Michael is still a little startled at the turn his life has taken. "Last year at this time I was just playing high school ball," he said. "I never imagined being in this spot." Michael missed his senior prom, missed formal graduation. He came to UNC behind the rest of the team with no guarantees. "I did think, what happens if I come in and don't perform and have to sit my freshman year?" he said. "That wasn't too big of a deal for me because I felt that whatever happened, I would be part of the team. "I would learn more about the game being here than playing my senior season. Ultimately I would develop and become a better baseball player. But I'm blessed and grateful for how things have gone."

Coaches say they don't expect a wave of Levi Michaels. "Typically the jump and transition for a freshman is not an easy one, and it would be more natural that they not be a big success their first year," said Cal-Irvine coach Mike Gillespie. "You magnify those hurdles if you're talking about a mid-year freshman.

"I think Levi Michael is a case of a good player playing well. There is no reason to say this can't happen more frequently, but I don't see it as a trend."
Even with how well things have gone, Fox is still conflicted. "It has to be a perfect storm of conditions for this to work," he said. "You have to have the blessing of the parents and the high school coach. You have to have the right mix of maturity and leadership on your team. The kid has to have the maturity to make the jump. "I don't expect to see this happen again in my coaching lifetime."
Michael avoids thinking about all this too much. "It is a unique situation, but now I think of myself as just another college baseball player, no different from anybody else," he said. "It's definitely a lot to undergo, but once you make the decision, you can't second-guess yourself. Deal with what you have and stick with the process."

Castor Semenya - Gender Testing

Embattled track star Caster Semenya gets new coach, new look.
By Chris Chase (Yahoo Sports!)

It's been a week of change for Caster Semenya, the South African runner at the center of a gender controversy at last month's world track championships.
First, one of her South African coaches quit the team in shame for not telling Semenya that she was being subjected to gender tests. (Semenya had thought she was taking a doping test.) Then, Semenya appeared on the cover of South Africa's You magazine with a complete makeover designed to silence critics who insist she is a man.

For the shoot Semenya sported a less ambiguous hair style, a designer black dress, jewelry, makeup and nail polish. Despite what you think about the whole situation, it's safe to say that this is the first time that Semenya has truly looked like an 18-year old woman.

She says she likes the look too. Semenya told the BBC:
"I'd like to dress up more often and wear dresses but I never get the chance.
I am who I am and I'm proud of myself."

Let's hope this is what she wants though.

Nothing Semenya has done in the past month has suggested that she likes to wear dresses, get manicures and let down her hair. After the controversy broke, she kept her cornrows, wore baggy clothes and pounded her chest in victory like a college football cornerback. When she returned to her hometown, she was dressed the same way. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. That seemed to be Semenya's natural inclination. This feels forced.

Hopefully I'm wrong. But if Semenya was pressured to do this to silence her critics, then this is a sad story rather than one of retribution. The opinions of a few jealous coaches shouldn't have an effect on how an 18-year old carries herself. If Semenya wants to wear dresses then she should. But if she wants to run around in track suits, what's the problem with that?

The coach who resigned wasn't Semenya's personal coach, but a middle distance supervisor on the South African team who was ashamed that Semenya was kept in the dark about the growing controversy. Wilfred Daniels said he was told the issue was supposed to stay private.

B. Brown's Thoughts: I wish Caster Semenya all the best as she awaits the results and decision from the World of Track & Field. I do believe that she is a female and I hope this type of testing doesn't start a witch hunt. When we as a people start testing for different chromosome combinations to determine gender for sports, bathroom usage, etc.; then we are headed into dangerous territory! Good luck Caster, and I hope to see you back on the track soon winning women's track events!

#1 Player in the Country!!!

Written by: Jerry Meyer

The recruiting process has been excruciating for John Wall, but late Monday night the 6-foot-4, 184-pound point guard from Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Christian Academy decided he will play college basketball at Kentucky.

Wall headlines Kentucky's mega-recruiting class.

Wall is's No. 1 prospect in the nation, and he has been for more than a year.

"In the end, I just felt I wanted to play for Coach Cal," Wall said. "Coaches give different visions of what they can do for you when they talk to you. And all of those are impressive, but my long relationship with Coach Cal and what he can do for me in his program was the main thing."

There was concern in Wall's camp, primarily from advisor Brian Clifton, because Kentucky had already signed a quality point guard in five-star prospect Eric Bledsoe. Regardless of that fact, the Dribble Drive offense Calipari employs can accommodate two primary ballhandlers.

Wall actually relishes the opportunity to compete for his position.

"Being able to play against Eric (Bledsoe) is a big plus," he said. "I told Brian and my mom that I've always had to fight for my position. That's what I had to do when I first played for Brian. I'm used to fighting. It's another challenge for me to come to Kentucky and fight for my position."

Clifton felt the positives of the Kentucky situation outweighed the negatives.

"We had an at-length conversation last night," Clifton said. "[Wall] felt that the risks that were at Kentucky were acceptable risks for him."

Admitting that he took about as long as he could to make a decision, Wall acknowledged that his personal confusion and his desire to have everyone around him on the same page contributed to the lengthy decision-making process.

"I liked Memphis when Coach Cal was there, but the situation really opened up when he went to Kentucky," Wall said. "I had to look at the situation there and the people there. Plus I loved the other coaches and what they had to say to me.

"It came down to where my heart was, though. Every time I talked about schools, Coach Cal was the first thing that I always talked about."

Wall was also seriously considering Duke, Miami and Florida.

"Coach [Frank] Haith (of Miami) has been great. He did a great job recruiting me," Wall said. "And then the two coaches at Duke and Florida came in late, but made up a lot of ground in recruiting me. But mainly, it was Kentucky and Miami."

Kentucky adds its fourth five-star prospect to its 2009 recruiting class. Wall joins No. 2 ranked prospect DeMarcus Cousins, No. 22 ranked prospect Daniel Orton, Bledsoe (No. 23 overall) and four-star prospects John Hood and Darnell Dodson.

Wall is expected to receive his standardized test results next week, and he is hopeful that he scored a qualifying mark. At this point, he and Bledsoe are not qualified. It is also unclear at this point if Cousins has met the necessary requirements to play next season.

If all three players qualify, it could make the group one of the best - if not the best - recruiting classes off all time.

John Wall scouting report:

Blazingly fast with the basketball, Wall is an impeccable ballhandler with court savvy. The right-hander has a penchant for beating defenders with his left hand and can then counter with a terrific left-to-right, behind-the-back dribble. Finding teammates on the move is his forte, but he is also an excellent finisher at the rim. His jumper is still a work in progress, but it is good enough to keep the defense honest.

LeBron James!!!

Thoughts By: Coach Brown

First, let me congratulate LeBron James on his NBA MVP Award for this season! He is truly the premier player in the NBA, and he is in position to be the face of the league for many years to come.

Now, I do have something to say about LeBron not immediately congratulating the Orlando Magic after the Magic defeated them in the Eastern Conference Finals last week. As a Little League Baseball Coach and a former Collegiate Athlete, I am very big on Sportsmanship and LeBron definitely displayed poor sportsmanship following the game in which the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from this years NBA Playoffs.

I believe LeBron was very distraught after being hyped up so much & himself anticipating playing against Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. But that is no excuse for not shaking hands with the other team after the game and the series is over. Win or Lose, SPORTSMANSHIP is the one thing that can be consistent. We must all strive to conduct ourselves in the proper manner win or lose and that is exactly what we expect from arguably the NBA's best player.

Not only did LeBron not congratulate the Magic right after the game, but his comments stating that he does not believe in congratulating "someone" that just beat you up. Well, NBA Basketball is not a fight, it's a sport and LeBron should know better than to make that statement. That was his opportunity to admit that he was emotional about the loss and that he wished Orlando and Los Angeles the best in the NBA Finals and that would have been acceptable to almost everyone.

My challenge to all young players in any sports and the coaches and parents is this: "We all make mistakes and we all will lose at some point and time, but it is what we do in defeat and how we conduct ourselves after defeat that will define our character and integrity!"

Florida State --- There is Good News too!!!

Thoughts by: B. Brown (BREG)

I've wanted to write about this young man for a minute now, and today I said that I am definitely going to get it done, so here I am.

If you have been paying attention to the college sports world lately, you have probably heard about the academic scandal at Florida State University. Several Teams including the Football Team were involved, and heavy penalties may be forthcoming. One of those penalties may be Bobby Bowden having to forfeit several victories that will drop him even further behind Joe Peterno as Division I-A's Winningest Coach.

Ironically enough,there is a tremendously shining star that has emerged out of Tallahassee, FL this past football season. As Mothers & Fathers, we should send our children to college to achieve at a very high level & Florida State's Myron Rolle is that exemplerary example!

Written By: Andy Staples (Sports Illustrated; Dec. 1, 2008 Issue)

"After a grueling interview and a two-hour wait last Saturday, the real torture began for Myron Rolle. The Florida State Safety was sitting in an office in Mountain Brook, AL, waiting to hear if he had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. Drayton Nabers Jr., chairman of the District 7 selection committee, was announcing two winners chosen from the 13 finalists interviewed that day. Nabers paused after fthe first name, Havard's Parker Goyer. The three-second wait, says Rolle, 'felt like an eternity.'

For Rolle, a junior from Galloway, N.J., who finished his pre-med degree in 2 1/2 years and received a grant for cancer research last summer, the wait was worth it. When Nabers announced him as one of the 32 U.S. Scholars who can study at Oxford, Rolle bowed his head and thanked God-briefly: He had a plane to catch. In 2 1/2 hours his team would face Maryland in College Park, and Rolle wanted to help keep the FSU's ACC Atlantic Division title hopes alive.

A Ford Excursion carried Rolle to Birmingham International Airport, where a jet on loan from Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham awaited. (The NCAA allowed Basham to give the flight as an in-kind donation to FSU's booster club). Rolle settled in and discussed this Rhodes interview with a small group of reporters. Then he clicked on his iPod and allowed Frank Sinatra and Ice Cube to sing/rap him to sleep. By the time the jet touched down in Baltimore, the Seminoles and the Terrapins had kicked off. Rolle hopped into a University police pick-up bound for Byrd Stadium, and FSU fans gave him a standing O when he appeared late in the first half. After Rolle's third play, back judge Tommy Pace walked over and shook his hand.

Rolle made two tackles, and FSU cruised to a 37-3 win. Afterward Rolle-still chilly from the Gatorade bath his teammates gave him-had a hug-heavy reunion with his parents and four brothers. 'Myron,' he said, 'has always been exceptional. Always."

Great Sportsmanship!!!

By: Associated Press

The coach never considered any other option.

It didn't matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn't matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big city team.

Johntel Franklin scored 10 points in the game following the loss of his mother.
Something else was on Dave Rohlman's mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.
Only this time it was different.

"You realize you're going to miss them, don't you?" Rohlman said.
Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.
It was a Saturday night in February, and the Barbs were playing a non-conference game on the road against Milwaukee Madison. It was the third meeting between the two schools, who were developing a friendly rivalry that spanned two states.
The teams planned to get together after the game and share some pizzas and soda. But the game itself almost never took place.

Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntel Franklin died at a local hospital. Carlitha Franklin had been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer, but she began to hemorrhage that morning while Johntel was taking his college ACT exam.
Her son and several of his teammates were at the hospital late that afternoon when the decision was made to turn off the life-support system. Carlitha Franklin was just 39.

"She was young and they were real close," said Milwaukee coach Aaron Womack Jr., who was at the hospital. "He was very distraught and it happened so suddenly he didn't have time to grieve."

Womack was going to cancel the game, but Franklin told him he wanted the team to play. And play they did, even though the game started late and Milwaukee Madison dressed only eight players.

Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on.
The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same.

"We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench," Womack said during a telephone interview.
"No," Franklin replied. "I want to play."

There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws.
Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing.

Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn't so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play.
"I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, `We're not taking it, we're not taking it," Womack said. "The refs told them, no, that's the rule. You have to take them."

That's when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal's hand went up.
He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.

His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.
It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.
They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.
"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."

They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night.
? Dave Rohlman, head coach of the opposing DeKalb team on what his players will take away from this experience.

Franklin would go on to score 10 points, and Milwaukee Madison broke open the game in the second half to win 62-47. Afterward, the teams went out for pizza, two players from each team sharing each pie.
Franklin stopped by briefly, thankful that his team was there for him.
"I got kind of emotional but it helped a lot just to play," he said. "I felt like I had a lot of support out there."

Carlitha Franklin's funeral was last Friday, and the school turned out for her and her son. Cheerleaders came in uniform, and everyone from the principal and teachers to Johntel's classmates were there.

"Even the cooks from school showed up," Womack said. "It lets you know what kind of kid he is."
Basketball is a second sport for the 18-year-old Franklin, who says he has had some scholarship nibbles and plans to play football in college. He just has a few games left for the Knights, who are 6-11 and got beat 71-36 Tuesday night by Milwaukee Hamilton.
It hasn't been the greatest season for the team, but they have stuck together through a lot of adversity.

"We maybe don't have the best basketball players in the world but they go to class and take care of business," Womack said. "We have a losing record but there's life lessons going on, good ones."
None so good, though, as the moment a team and a player decided there were more important things than winning and having good stats.
Yes, DeKalb would go home with a loss. But it was a trip they'll never forget.

"This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," Rohlman said. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night."

What are you going to do in 2009?

Thoughts By: B. Brown

It’s 2009 and it’s time for your goals and aspirations to manifest into reality!!!

Barack Obama is the 44th President and the 1st African-American President of the United States! It is an exciting time to be an American! We as Americans are embarking on a new adventure and it sure feels great!

I am personally very excited about the history that has been made with Obama leading the U.S. into a new positive direction. I am truly grateful for my parents, grand parents and the rest of the generations before me that paved the way for this great moment to take place. If you go and ask any person white or black that is over fifty (50) years old, the majority of them will tell you that they did not expect to see a black man in the White House in their lifetime. Oh, what a wonderful time it is right now!

A lot of different things have been put out there in regards to Obama being President, but the fact is that he has a tremendous appeal to people all around the world and that his appeal along with his economic and political strategies have a great chance of pulling the U.S. out of one of it’s most challenging economic downturns ever! I believe we as a nation are going to be ok in the near future.

What ever you aspire to be and whatever your goals are, there is no better time than now to actually write them down, visualize them and move forth with action to achieve your goals. Action is the key! It is just like Faith. Faith without action is dead. The time is now for each and every one of us to improve ourselves and make a difference. The time is now for us to take advantage of education and use that education to parlay ourselves into new fields of business and new opportunities. Focusing on your goals everyday and actively working towards them will allow you to have a drive and desire that can be unstoppable and that day will come when you realize that your life has changed and beautiful things are happening to you! Close your eyes for a moment … isn’t that a beautiful vision?

Your goal may be to spend more time with your family --- do it!
Your goal may be to lose weight --- do it!
Your goal may be to get a better paying job --- do it!

Whatever your goals and aspirations --- there’s now better phrase to use than Nike’s awesome slogan --- just do it!!!

“The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.” – Bobby Knight

It’s 2009 and it is truly your time!!!