Posts Tagged ‘South Florida’

This Is the Los Angeles Galaxy: Yohance Marshall

July 17th, 2010

This is Part 24 in a series of articles on the players that make up the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Football shares a few parallels with life in general. One of those parallels is a significant one: Getting a chance to prove yourself isn't always a given.

For Yohance Marshall, it's a parallel he knows very well. Standing tall at 6'2" (1.88 m), this defender from Trinidad & Tobago has yet to shine on game day for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Currently, he is playing for the Austin Aztex in the USSF Division 2 Professional League on loan from the Gs. One day, his experience playing on the back line at House Park will translate to many memorable matches at the Home Depot Center.

Yohance Marshall was born on January 22, 2020 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. One of the most important cities in the Caribbean, Port-of-Spain is home to the pre-lenten Carnival, its main annual cultural festival and tourist attraction.

The city's major sporting venues the Queen's Park Oval, Hasely Crawford Stadium (the home of the Soca Warriors), the Jean Pierre Complex and various sporting fields on the Queen's Park Savannah. Port-of-Spain has also hosted concerts by entertainers like Beyonce, Chris Brown, Sean Paul, Rihanna, The Outfield, Cascada, Akon, Usher and Kumar Sanu.

Marshall's footballing career began at St. Anthony's College, a high school in Port-of-Spain. He starred on the national Under-17 team, and also was a fixture Under-20 and Under-21 teams while playing with the South Florida Bulls from 2005-2008.

An imposing presence on defence, Marshall helped USF reach the final stages of the NCAA Tournament in three of his four campaigns. He led South Florida to their first-ever conference final and captained the team to the title in his senior year.

After 73 appearances with the Bulls, Marshall was named an NSCAA Second Team All-American, a College Soccer News First Team All-American and an All-Big East First Team selection in 2008.

In March 2009, Yohance Marshall was signed as an undrafted free agent and made his season debut against D.C. on March 22. Marshall would earn his first start in the Galaxy's U.S. Open Cup playoff defeat to the Colorado Rapids.

In late March, Marshall suffered a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain and would not return to training for a month. As a result, Marshall would be loaned to the Aztex in late June.

Marshall made three appearances for the Aztex, making his club debut on June 27, a 2-2 draw with the Cleveland City Stars. They failed to impress in their first season, finishing a dismal 10th in the USL First Division.

In between appearing at a friendly against Boca Juniors earlier this season, Marshall continued to improve in his second season with the Aztex, who are competing in the USL COnference of the USSF D2 Pro League this season.

As of July 15, Austin are 9-2-5 (32 points), five to the good of the Rochester Rhinos for first in the conference. And as of this article date, Marshall has made 15 appearances for Austin this season in defense.

With the best record in USSF D2, Adrian Heath's Aztex share another parallel with Bruce Arena's Galaxy.

As a result, the Galaxy's No. 5 has been blessed to be part of two great clubs. But while Austin's No. 19 is enjoying the pleasure of making house calls at House Park, the question remains: When will Victoria Street call for Yohance Marshall?

Stay tuned.

John Wall: Washington Wizards’ Guard Flashing Potential

July 17th, 2010

Get used to seeing the No. 2 jersey blaze down the hardwood, leaving defenders in its wake. You’ll be seeing it a lot over the next few years.

The first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, John Wall, is an electrifying talent and a point guard that the Washington Wizards will be glad to make the cornerstone of their offense for many years.

In college for the University of Kentucky, Wall was simply one of the most dynamic players in the country. He could shoot well, pass well, had great court vision and poise, and ran the fast break better than anyone else.

When Wall had the ball in his hands, the crowd held their collective breath as he would drive down the court as fast as lightning, pull off a spiffy spin move, and either lay the ball in the hole or dish it off to a wide-open Wildcat teammate.

So the question on many NBA fans’ minds going into the Summer League was whether or not Wall’s game speed would be able to translate with him to the higher level of competition. 

The resounding opinion is yes.

Thus far, Wall has without a doubt showed off the tantalizing potential that leaves Wizards fans drooling over the prospect of watching him for the next however many years. But his Summer League experience has not been without road bumps.

In Wall’s Summer League debut on July 11th against the Golden State Warriors, he experienced the rockiest start he could possibly imagine.

Instead of coolly dropping in his first shot attempt for two points, Wall missed badly from the free throw line, failing even to hit the rim before the backboard. Shortly thereafter, he displayed his trademark fast break spin move but had his shot rejected.

He would settle down to score 24 points and dish out eight assists. And while those numbers are high, they look worse when you see that he only shot seven-for-15 from the field and turned the ball over eight times. His free throw shooting impressed many though, as he made 10 of 11 from the line. 

This trend would continue.

Wall’s second professional-level game would see him matched up against fellow rookie Eric Bledsoe, a player he knew quite well from their communal time at Kentucky.

In this game, Wall finished with 18 points, 10 assists, and five steals. From the charity stripe, he shot a perfect eight-for-eight, but once again his points came on an inefficient five-for-12 shooting performance from the field and he turned the ball over eight times.

Nothing exemplified Wall’s play better than one series of possessions in the first quarter. The rookie point guard turned the ball over at the top of the key on one end, chased down the thief and stole it back, drove down the court, and found an open man who knocked down the three. Inefficient but effective.

Throughout the game, he was careless with the ball but still put together numerous plays where he made perfect passes to teammates and displayed nice fast break skills.

The third game, this time against the Dallas Mavericks, was no different.

Wall looked like a superstar at times and had a near triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. He also minimized his turnovers, only giving up the ball three times, and shot well from the free throw line with a 13-for-15 mark. But he was inefficient yet again, going four-for-19 against the tenacious defense of the rookie from South Florida, Dominique Jones.

There was more of the same in Wall’s fourth professional game.

Against the New Orleans Hornets, Wall had a personal-best 31 points on 10 of 23 shooting from the field and 10 of 13 shooting from the free throw line. He also drained his first three-pointer of the still-young Summer League season.

In addition, Wall had six rebounds, three steals, and three assists. He also kept with the trend of diminishing turnovers, only handing the ball over twice in nearly 36 minutes.

Though Wall has not even played in his first real NBA game, he is already showing the Wizards that they made a good pick when they selected him first overall. He may be playing with some inconsistency and inefficiency, but that does come with being a rookie.

Most impressively, Wall has a plus-39 plus/minus through his first four games, meaning that his team has scored 39 more points than it has allowed with him on the floor.

Wall will be fun to watch this season, so keep an eye on that Wizards jersey that will inevitably be streaking down the court. Or at least try to. 

SEC East: Does Georgia Have What It Takes To Beat Florida?

July 17th, 2010

The SEC East is gearing up for a football season without having to deal with Tim Tebow knocking them on their backs, but can any team in the SEC East take advantage of Florida in a perceived down year?

The SEC East is the weaker half of the SEC. Tennessee is recovering from their Lane Kiffin disaster and Kentucky and Vanderbilt are expected to be the cellar dwellers, which makes Georgia the early favorite to unseat Florida and Urban Meyer .

The following is the predicted order of finish for the six SEC East teams with a brief synopsis of their best players and their possible record in the SEC and overall.

Florida: SEC 6-2, Overall 9-4, SEC East Champs

Florida is in a down year, but in the SEC East Florida won't face much competition. Florida will lose an early out of conference game in a surprise (South Florida) and they will lose two SEC regular season games to Georgia and Alabama. In the SEC Title game Florida will lose to either Arkansas or Alabama, and it won't be close.

Quarterback John Brantley will be a solid quarterback, but it will take a year for Florida to get in sync. They still have enough talented players and they should hold their own on offense.

On the the defensive side of the ball there are plenty of issues to be addressed. The main area of concern is defensive line. Can Florida replace Carlos Dunlop and Jermaine Cunningham and keep their high pressure pass rush of years passed? Florida will be in tighter games against the less talented bottom half of the SEC.

Georgia Bulldogs: SEC 6-2, Overall 8-4, SEC East Runner-Up

Georgia was a preseason favorite to win the SEC East or at least contend in 2009 and they crashed and burned. This year will be tougher for Georgia to gain traction as they are most likely bringing in a red shirt freshman, Aaron Murray . Murray is not a guarantee at the QB position, but is the leader heading into the season.

On defense it is a complete overhaul, with a new defensive staff led by Todd Grantham coming from the Dallas Cowboys. Grantham has already begun implementation of a new scheme changing from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4.

Using one less down lineman should be an easy transition for the Georgia defense and should lead to more aggressive play in the middle of the field.

Tennessee Volunteers: SEC 4-4, Overall 7-5

New head coach Derek Dooley has his work cut out for him in his first SEC East season at Tennessee , and not just because he is replacing Lane Kiffin . Dooley has to rebuild Tennessee's damaged image in the aftermath of the Kiffin debacle.

Dooley's father once dominated the SEC while at Georgia and the Tennessee administration is hoping his pedigree is true. Look for Tennessee to beat Oregon in the second week, which will surprise many experts.

South Carolina Gamecocks: SEC 4-4, Overall 7-5

South Carolina and Steve Spurrier have languished in the SEC East for years and although the SEC East is the weaker side of the SEC, Spurrier has not been able to get over the top.

Spurrier's quarterback Protégé, Stephen Garcia , is not living up to the Ol' Ball Coaches expectations. South Carolina could surprise some big powers late in the season and sneak into second place in the SEC East.

Kentucky Wildcats: SEC 1-7, Overall 5-7

Kentucky has gone to four straight bowl games, but now with new coach Joker Phillips, Kentucky is looking to regroup in 2010. Kentucky's only possible win in 2010 is against the SEC East doormat, Vanderbilt, and that win is no guarantee.

Vanderbilt Commodores: SEC 0-8, Overall 1-11

Vanderbilt is in a hopeless free fall and they will fulfill their calling in life in the SEC East in 2010, providing a virtual bye week for the better teams in the SEC.

Final Breakdown of SEC East

It is obvious Florida , while in a down year, still has the most talent in a very weak SEC East. Georgia has a shot at Florida if their red shirt freshman, Aaron Murray, can acclimate to the quarterback position and their new defensive 3-4 scheme is effective. These are the only two teams that will contend for the right to play for the SEC Championship.

Conference Realignment Wrap Up: How The Big East Can Save Itself

July 17th, 2010

Being from the other side of the country, the Big East as a football conference suffers from the same questions that the Mountain West does. Do the Big East and Mountain West deserve to be AQ BCS conferences?

Just as important in the current economy are two additional questions: First, how is your TV contract treating you? And, second, in the upcoming age of the superconference, will the Big East and Mountain West be able to survive?

Instead of letting the Big Ten+2 and the Pac-10+2 lead the way, the Big East and select teams from the Mountain West Conference (MWC) should lead the way and form the country's first superconference with the best and most well-positioned teams from the MWC. For simplicity sake, I’ll refer to these teams as the MWCII.

Three things would be crucial for this to work:


1. This "marriage" would be for football only. The MWCII teams would be on their own for all other sports. But other opportunities would exist for these teams to work together outside of football. This is especially true for basketball.


2. This new superconference should run its own TV network, a la the Big Ten Network and The Mountain Network.


3. These new BCS conference teams should expand the offerings of their new TV network by implementing significant inter-conference play in basketball and other sports. 

Why would this work? Simple: It makes sense. The Big East currently lacks the prestige of the SEC or the Big 10+2, and its champion's quality is called into question yearly.

On the other hand, the MWCII teams, led by TCU, Boise State, and BYU deserve to be in a BCS AQ conference. Both conferences are filled with teams that are either “not too long ago” mid-majors or are currently mid-majors (Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, South Florida, UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico and Air Force).

By joining together these questions are all put to rest on the field. This new superconference would pit the best of the West against the best of the (Big) East.

1. The “New” Big East…the “Great American Conference” Anyone?

So, how could they make it work? 

First, the Great American Conference (GAC) would need to invite the best and most geographically relevant of the MWC and one non-MWC team on the rise that is geographically relevant to join the conference for football only. These MWC teams would be Air Force, Boise State, BYU, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, and UNLV. (Sorry Wyoming and Colorado State, you’re out. But, the WAC will be happy to have you back.) The non-MWC team to make the grade would be Houston (from C-USA). These teams would form the West Division of the conference, which would look like this:

Great American Conference








South Florida


West Virginia

Air Force

Boise State



New Mexico

San Diego State




Second, scheduling. As the teams from the MWC know, the 16-team WAC was a dismal failure. But, that was due to the quad system and lost rivalries and unknown teams. The GAC should play nine regular season games, seven within each division and two inter-division games. So, travel wouldn’t be greatly affected, as each school would be required to make only one “long” road trip each year. But these games would open up new markets for new recruiting and rivalries in the long run.

The GAC would be a success from day one with the addition of three perennial top 25 programs in Boise State, TCU, and BYU. Boise State and TCU have both busted the BCS in the past four years. Air Force is a strong mid-level team with a national following due to it being a service academy. Houston is up-and-coming and its market is huge. Finally, New Mexico, UNLV, and San Diego State are strategic in maintaining existing bowl tie-ins and are located in mid-to-large media markets.

The GAC would then be able to pick from a number of great venues at which to hold its conference championship game: Heinz Field (Pittsburgh), Reliant Stadium (Houston), and Invesco Field at Mile High (Denver) are just a few of the possibilities. How does Pitt vs. BYU or Rutgers vs. TCU or Boise State vs. West Virginia for the right to go to the Orange Bowl sound?

2. The New GAC Network

Both the Mountain West Conference and the Big Ten have shown that a conference can improve its financial well being with its own TV network. The New GAC Network would do exactly the same for the GAC, Big East, and MWCII. But unlike the Big Ten Network and Mountain Network, the GAC Network will have much more programming.

Instead of offering programming from only 12 teams (Big 10) or nine teams (MWC), the GAC Network would offer programming for 24 teams—16 teams during football season and 24 teams the rest of the year. Yes, the new GAC Network should provide nationwide programming for all 24 teams. Such an arrangement would work because the teams currently in the Big East would utilize the earlier time slots for programming and the teams from the MWCII would utilize the later-starting programming slots. Inter-conference play outside of football would also increase viewership nationwide. Also, with 24 teams, there is also a greater inventory of relevant programming to fill the Network’s schedule.

To keep things financially simple, the 16 teams making up the Big East should receive two-thirds of the money from the network, due to the larger population base in the east and more teams to feed come basketball season. The eight teams of the MWCII should receive one-third of the money. Each group would then be responsible for splitting their respective “bounty” amongst their member schools as they felt best.

While the new GAC Network would likely not generate revenue equal to that of the Big Ten Network, on a team-by-team basis, it would like generate significantly more revenue than the Big East and the Mountain West are currently making.

Now that the plan is laid out, what does it accomplish? That is simple. First, the teams from the Big East maintain their status as BCS teams and they are insulated from the certain death that will come upon them should the Big 10+2 and the SEC expand. For example, if the Big 10+2 took Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse with Notre Dame to form a new Big 10+6 and the SEC took four teams from the ACC, all the GAC would need to do to maintain its Eastern Division would be to add four teams from the ACC. Dogs need not apply. 

Second, it will ensure the long-term viability of all of these football programs in the era of the soon-to-be superconference. If there is a Big Ten+6, an SEC+4, a Pac-10+2+6, it would be in all of these teams’ best interest to ensure they have a seat at the BCS superconference table.

Be assured, the day of the superconference is coming. Who knows where Notre Dame will land, or Texas for that matter. But one thing is for certain: When the dawn of the superconference rises over the college football horizon, colleges don’t want to find themselves on the outside looking in. Just ask Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri.

NBA Free Agent Rumors: Why Shaquille O’Neal Won’t Return to Miami Heat

July 16th, 2010
Shaquille O'Neal needs to tie things up with Kobe Bryant. With the Los Angeles Lakers' back-to-back titles, Shaq now trails Kobe five-to-four in the rings department. Rumors have been swirling that his former team, the Miami Heat, might be interested in adding him to the already-present superstar cast. Despite the baggage and his age (oldest among current NBA players), the Heat could use another center to complement Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Here are five reasons why O'Neal won't return to South Florida, and one reason why he could.

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