Archive for February 2014

Poor Second Half haunts Fordham in 85-66 loss to VCU

February 28, 2014

The Sports Cycle’s Donnie Dwyer is at the Rose Hill Gym as Fordham loses it’s 5th straight game 85-66 to VCU. Freshman Jon Severe and Sophomore Mandell Thomas had 14 points apiece while Senior Guard Branden Frazier had 10 points in the loss. Junior center Ryan Canty had 2 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. The Rams take on LaSalle this Saturday at 5pm on their home floor.


Review: 12 team ESPN Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts from prospective of #1 and #2 pick

February 20, 2014

Hey baseball fans.! With Baseball about a month away, I am preparing my draft rankings at each position and have been participating in ESPN Fantasy Baseball mock drafts the past two days.  I am part of a complex 20 team league in ESPN and want to do a 20 team mock but they only allow a max of 12. So let’s get on with it. Here are the draft results, commentary will be posted on the bottom.

Feb 19th Mock Draft – #2 pick



Catcher- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants

1st Base – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox

2nd Base – Jed Gyorko – San Diego Padres

3rd Base – Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers (will be eligible for 1st base this season)

Shortstop – Ian Desmond – Washington Nationals

Utility – Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals

1st/3rd – Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies

2nd/SS – Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals

Outfield – Josh Hamilton – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Outfield – Coco Crisp – Oakland A’s

Outfield – Khris Davis – Milwaukee Brewers

Outfield – Norichika Aoki – Kansas City Royals

Outfield – Josh Willingham – Minnesota Twins

Photo By: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

Photo By: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

Rotation (5 man, 3 RP, 1 spot starter)

Starter – Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins

Starter -Zack Grienke – Los Angeles Dodgers

Starter – Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants

Starter – Jordan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals

Starter – Matt Moore – Tampa Bay Rays

Reliever – Joaquin Benoit – San Diego Padres

Reliever – Luke Gregerson – Oakland A’s

Reliever – Brian Wilson- Los Angeles Dodgers

Sixth Man Spot – Zach Wheeler – New York Mets



OF – Melky Cabrera – Toronto Blue Jays

OF – Nick Markakis – Baltimore Orioles

C – Jarred Saltalamacchia – Miami Marlins


Feb. 20 Mock Draft – #1 pick

(Photo by: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

(Photo by: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)


Catcher- Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants (R3, #25)

1st Base – Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox (R13, #145)

2nd Base – Ben Zobrist- Tampa Bay Rays (available at SS, OF as well) (R4, #48)

3rd Base – Pedro Alvarez- Pittsburgh Pirates (R9, #97)

Shortstop – Jean Segura- Milwaukee Brewers (R5, #49)

1st/3rd – Justin Morneau- Colorado Rockies (R16, #192)

2nd/SS – Omar Infante – Kansas City Royals (R17, #193)

Utility – Chris Carter – Houston Astros (R18, #216)

Outfield – Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (R1, #1)

Outfield – Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers (R2, #24)

Outfield – Alfonso Soriano – New York Yankees (R10, #120)

Outfield – Torii Hunter  – Detroit Tigers (R14, #168)

Outfield – Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins (R15, #169)


Rotation (5 man, 3 RP, 1 spot starter)

Starter – Mat Latos – Cincinnati Reds (R6, #72)

Starter – Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals (R7, #73)

Starter – Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates (R8, #96)

Starter – Hyun-Jin Ryu – Los Angeles Dodgers (R11, #121)

Starter – Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals (R12, #144)

Reliever – Rex Brothers – Colorado Rockies (R19, #217)

Reliever – Luis Avilan – Atlanta Braves (R20, #240)

Reliever – Tyler Clippard – Washington Nationals (R21, #240)

Sixth Man Spot – Jonathan Neise- New York Mets (R22, #264)

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)


OF – Melky Cabrera – Toronto Blue Jays (R23, #265)

2B- Scooter Gennett – Milwaukee Brewers (R24, #288)

SS – Derek Jeter – New York Yankees (R251, #289)


Feb 19th Draft Analysis

– Lineup filled with balance and power. Tons of .OBP and HR potential. Remember, in most leagues RBI’s mean a lot, but in our 20 team league they are not a factor.

– Starting Rotation filled with innings eaters and HUGE strikeout potential. Every starter can have a 7.5+ k/9 and end the season with over 200 innings pitched. This rotation is as deep as they come.

– Bullpen not important in most leagues but this one has a well rounded group of players who put up 0’s when it comes to hits and walks with lots of potential to get Holds.


February 20th Draft Analysis

Worked on OF depth which is very good in this lineup with a lot of .OBP and power from Puig and Trout.

– LOTS AND LOTS of power in this lineup (Alvarez, Soriano, Carter, Abreu) but also good .OBP and walk percentages (Infante, Morneau, Zobrist, Segura, Posey, Yelich)

– Rotation very solid from 1-5 with good mix of lefty and righty (not important but cool if you were a manager). Lots of ACE potential in rotation (Cole, Wacha, Latos)


Analysis from both drafts (Feb 19th and Feb 20th)

– Why no love for Abreu? Got him in the 13-14 round. Has 40 homer potential much like Cuban friend Yoenis Cespedes. Can also get a high walk rate at first base. The position is deep this year. If you get him in 13th round with Goldschmidt power, it’s a steal. People need to take note.

Catcher is the weakest position besides shortstop in the draft. How can I get Buster Posey in the third round both times. In most leagues, he is a top 15 talent. Beware of the Miguel Montero’s, Travis D’Arnaud’s, and Alex Avila’s of the world. They might be okay or they might hurt your team more than help.

– First Draft focused on pitching, second I focused on offense. I don’t know which team I would take right now but they are both so even. I see the outfield though as a weak position this season so players need to take note when they are drafting.

– First draft I got 2 starting catchers with offensive potential. That’s rare to find and I can’t believe I got Salty with my last pick. He could be good in the National League. Also, with your bench players you need to take risks or players you think can have great season (Cabrera, Jeter, Gennett, Markakis) all capable of big seasons for their team.

– Notice both teams have players who have played 150+ games consistently. Drafting successful teams is all about players who play everyday and get at-bats consistently and are not injury prone. You can’t rely on the waiver wire to win you championships. Players like Tulowitzki, Kemp, Ellsbury, Carlos Gonzalez, Strasburg, Morrow, and Josh Johnson are not good choices to draft. Be safe, it will help in the long run.

-Finally, balance. Both teams have so much balance. Yes, I have Chris Carter who hits 35 homers and strikes out 200 times but Omar Infante strikes out 50 times a year and has .365 OBP. I also have Hamilton on one team who had a down season and could possibly continue to trend down but with consistency of Coco Crisp (22 homers, .350OBP+) it helps balance the team out. If you have a team of boppers, you won’t win and the same is to be said about singles hitters.

– After reading this, go out and give a mock draft a try and see what you come up with. I would love to see the results.

If there was a UP Basketball All Star Weekend…

February 17, 2014

The NBA All Star Weekend just finished up and I was thinking to myself, “What if I did a UP All Star game with the current girls and boys basketball players?” So I got together a list of players and made an East/West roster with the central UP players being divided up to make it a little more even. This is purely subjective and no feelings were meant to be hurt when I created these rosters and events. Enjoy and keep balling out on the hardwood. Prove me wrong…


Jared Purcell |

Jared Purcell |



G Tyler Jandron – Negaunee

Leader with ball in hand, extremely crafty, and shot creator. Pure scorer with very quick ball handling skills.–

G Larry Burnette – Marquette

–Pure slasher/scorer. Spreads the floor and does a good job finishing at the rim. Succeeding for Redmen in hot start.–

F Brandon Robinette – Escanaba

Pure scorer inside and out. Knows what his job is in the offense and controls the glass on both ends.–

F Rob Granquist – North Central

–Big part of Jets success last year and this year. Finishes at the rim and finds contact to get to the foul line. Communicates well and one of the leaders in huddle for Jets.–

C Alex Briones – Ishpeming

Not only a football star. Found success in basketball season due to success on the glass. Uses big frame to his advantage getting to the rim and finding his own shot in the offense.–


G Devon Harris – Menominee

Speed kills. Fastest players on the floor. Flashy guard with big play potential.–

G Andy Nyquist – Marquette

All around basketball player. Wants to fill up stat sheets and box scores with play. A winner.–

F Ben Stasewich – Munising

–Long and athletic. Uses height to advantage in scoring and rebounding categories. Anchor of the Mustangs defense.–

G Justin Luke – Westwood

–Scorer for the Patriots all season long. Cleans up the glass on defensive and offensive end. Big motor that doesn’t slow down.

F Travis Vincent – North Central

Hard to guard in the post. Knows how to use both hands at the rim. Moves very well without the ball and can show off the vertical when he wants.–

G Eric Lori – Negaunee

Solid in every sense of the word. Solid Point Guard, Solid scorer, solid defender, solid leader, just solid.–

F Evan Winklebauer – Mid Pen

–Total sleeper coming from Rock. Can do everything (shoot, rebound, pass, defend). He learned well from Brett Branstrom last year and showing it on the floor this season. —

F Jason Whitens- North Central

–Young, athletic, hectic, powerful. Those are all the words to describe this Jet. Having a very good season in Powers.–

G Austin Snell – Forest Park

–The Senior just finds a way to win. He scores, he defends, he leads. He is a hard nosed, tough-minded kid who wants to beat you on any playing surface. As tough as they get.–

Extra Reserve F Owen Devought – Gwinn

–Owen is a pure scrapper. Scraps up lose balls, puts back offensive boards, and makes layups when teammates find him. Uses big frame to his advantage inside the paint.–


Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo


G Trent Keteri – Houghton

–Crafty guard who is a rhythm shooter. When he is hot, he is hot. Finds ways to lead team back to victory on offense and has such a quick release. Very tough to guard.–

G Alex Outinen – Jeffers

–One word, consistent. Knows how to fill up the box score with points and has a nice arc on his shot from the outside. Really good player that many coaches would want to have.–

F Paul Torola- Calumet

–For Paul, it’s dynamic. Can shoot, can slash, can fill up the box score in bunches. Even with multiple defenders, he slices and dices them to finish what he wants to do on offense. Scores 20 easily and 30 can happen often in Calumet–

F Adam Mackey – Ironwood

Tough kid. Plays through contact and is physical with defenders. Scores from the low block and perimeter.  When he gets it going, he is red hot for the Red Devils.–

C Alex Almquist – Hancock

–Was a shooter his first few years but has found the use for his big body this season. Just can use his length to grab rebounds and go up strong with the rock to get to the line. Knows how to convert on the line with very nice touch and I can’t wait to see him in black and gold at Michigan Tech next season.–


F Kyle Klieman – Bark River-Harris

–Long, athletic, and essential for Broncos this season. Many double-doubles and can put up double figures quickly.

F Jimmy Veeker – L’Anse

–Quick and fast without the basketball. Very good hands finishing at the rim. Outside shot in his arsenal of moves which makes him a threat to guard on the perimeter.–

G Ryan Laberge – L’Anse

–Floor General. Excellent passer, very good ball handler, and nice step back jumper with range. Ryan is the complete package for the Purple Hornets. He is a very unselfish player and it shows.–

G Tyler Roose – Lake Linden-Hubbell

–Another scorer/slasher in the Copper Country. Fills it up from the outside with ease and works on his jumper consistently. Love the range on this kid and his stroke is effortless.–

G Cole Potvin – Big Bay de Noc

–Cole Potvin is a scoring point guard with very good defensive feet. He scores in double figure on a regular basis and a team leader who works hard in the gym to get better.–

F Lane Brown – Ewen Trout-Creek

–Leading scorer for the Panthers who continue to works hard in the gym. Had a big 26 points and 20 rebound effort vs. Ontonagon this season. Big time athlete taking over for Dillon Gordon who is now at Michigan Tech.–

G Kevin Lane/Tyler Cole – Wakefield-Marenisco

–This is a toss up. Both can score. You want both on your team, so you will have decide who you want more. Both can score 20 + points together on a nightly basis. Really hard to take both out of the equation for the Cardinals. —

F Dionte Blahnik – Carney-Nadeau

I think Dionte saw how hard Brett Branstrom worked at Mid-Pen last season and brought it into this season for the Wolves. Double-Double machine who does more than just score at the basket. He rebounds, defends at a very high level, and enters passing lanes. Really good overall player that you should continue to keep your eye on.–

F Jake Pearson – Rapid River

–Football star like Briones who brings total toughness to the basketball court. Rapid River may lack depth but the effort this team puts in is hard to overlook. Pearson is a strong athlete and teammate.–

Extra Reserve: F Nate Gockenbach

Houghton’s #2 or 2.5 scorer this season. Does everything well inside and runs the floor well. He and Keteri have been a good 1-2 punch up in the Copper Country.–



Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo



G Hunter Viitala – Marquette

–Only a junior but plays like a senior or college freshman. Sweet girl off the court but tough as nails on the floor. There is no flaw in her game. Plays both offense and defense with passion which will translate to the next level easily. Her future is bright.–

G Jessica Spencer – Ishpeming

She is having herself a fine season. Consistently in double figures and has been leading Ishpeming to 12-5 record. Huge heart with a winners mentality. I would want her on my team.–

F Kelley Wright – St. Ignace

State Champ. Going to play at Youngstown State next year. Really long and athletic with great hands. Can score with or without the basketball and is a pleasure to watch.–

F Vanessa Freeberg – Superior Central

Softest hands in the UP around the rim. When she gets position in the block and her teammates find her, points are coming. She scores at will and has a good motor on the defensive glass tracking down rebounds.–

C Michele LaFave – Escanaba

–Makes double-double’s look easy. She has put up multiple 30+ point and 15+ rebound games as a Junior. So much time for her to dominate as an Eskymo. Real pleasure to watch in Escanaba for the future.–


F Frankie Mattson – Munising

–A freshman that plays like a senior. Were 12-4 at one point in season. Played through pain which speaks about her toughness. The game has come simple to her. Imagine her as a senior in black and orange. One word, buckets.–

F – Caitlyn Frazer – Bark River-Harris

–Really talented big for Broncos. She has good hands around the rim offensively and defensively and anchors the defense in the paint. Long arms help her get easy looks and rebounds.–

F Lexi Hongisto – Gladstone

–Tough girl who would dive for every lose ball. Very aggressive player which makes her one of the best Braves on the floor.–

G Hunter Branstrom – Mid Peninsula

Part of the Branstrom core at Mid Pen. Good point guard who is a floor general for the Wolverines. Can score if she wants or find teammates. Makes smart decisions with the rock in her hand.–

G Tiffany Wangerin – Stephenson

–Recent 1,000 point scorer for the Eagles. Really makes the defense work and scoring comes easy for her. Her motor never stops and she never gives up. 20 points has been a norm this season.–

G Lyndsey Collins – Escanaba

–The second punch for Escanaba. Very good guard who helps when Michele Lafave gets all the attention. Can score in the lane and stroke it from the outside. Continues to play at a high level each night.–

F Destiny Beckwith – Marquette

Has developed into Marquette’s key player in this recent stretch. Over the past month, she has scored in double figures regularly with Hunter Viitala. Has improved from December a lot and deserves a spot on this list.–

F Morgan Eichorn – Carney-Nadeau

–A Wolve who can score and play defense. Plays well in the system and can take over games with her playmaking.–

Extra Reserve:  Teslyn Tyner- Superior Central

–Really tough girl who has up and down games but the reason she is an all star is because she can shoot from the outside and drive with the basketball in her hand to convert at the rim. Her toughness and energy are hard to find in student athletes in this day and age.–




G Madi Swanson – L’Anse

Future Lake Superior State Guard. So quick, so smart with the basketball, and can pick pockets better than most guards. She’s a floor general I would want to have start every game.–

G Lexie Rowe- Calumet

–One word, Fun. It is fun to watch Lexie Rowe play basketball. She is upbeat all the time and she plays like the energizer bunny until that final horn sounds. She’s worth seeing in the Copper Country.–

F Elisa Jurmu – Houghton

–Elisa is an undersized post player who uses her hands and quick feet to her advantage in games. She scores at the rim very well and converts at the line consistently each game. She’s a gamer.–

F Julia Daavatilla – Dollar Bay

–Every night, it seems like she has been putting up 20+ scoring. Dollar Bay is CCC champs this season and it seems like she has gone above and beyond to make it happen. Well deserved for this girl and this team.–

C Lexi Gussert – Forest Park

–Future Spartan at Michigan State who is the all time leading scorer in the Upper Peninsula but is top 5 best teammate in the whole area. She passes the ball to her team and she really doesn’t know at times how good she actually is. She is as humble and honest as it gets. That’s the making of a super star.–


G Brooke Turin – Ontonagon

–One of the leading scorers for this Gladiators team that has had success this season compared to other years.  Just hit a clutch 3 a few days ago to beat Baraga. She’s risen to this level.—

F Haley Makela – Jeffers

–High motor and high energy player who controls the paint and the glass. Starting and finishing games for Jets all season. Seems to be in double figures and leading the box score each night.–

G Michaela Burke – Watersmeet

–Sister Marissa plays at Finlandia and she really plays well for the Nimrods. She can shoot from outside, scoring in double figures. Just last week she has 22 points and made 6 of the team’s 7 three point shots.–

G Niemi (Taylor or Molly) – Ewen Trout-Creek

The Niemi sisters own Ewen Trout-Creek girls hoops these days. Both are efficient scorers and passers who play on the floor at the same time. To me, they come as a pair. If you want one, you have to have both.–

F – Kelsey Richards – Houghton

–Really the second scoring option in Houghton. She has proven to hit the outside shot effectively but also is a double-double machine. Seems to have 12 pts and 10 reb a night. Really improving as the Gremlins push to get back to the Breslin.–

F Morgan Wells – North Central

–Just had a 26 point 15 rebound night the other night. Enough said.–

G Morgan DuPont – Carney Nadeau

–Another Wolves scorer who makes the list. She seems to find double figures every game and when she gets in a rhythm, they seem to fall easily. Not to mention, she always finishes in top 5 during cross country season. She’s fast.–

F Maija Sebbas– Hancock

–Huge piece to Hancock’s puzzle this season. Constant threat for double figures. Only a freshman and continues to grow in a tough WestPAC Conference.

Extra Reserve: G Maddy Anderla/Allia Stewart – Menominee

Both average 7 points a game and both are a big reason to why Menominee is doing well up to this point. If you combine their numbers together it gives you 14 which makes them valuable.


Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo

Boys Snubs

F Zane Radloff – Negaunee

–Close on my list but can’t find consistent scoring nights with Lori and Jandron seeing most touches. Huge on the offensive and defensive glass which makes him an X-Factor for Miners.–

G Kennan Lampinen – Carney Nadeau

–A scorer who goes through funks sometimes. Can light up the box score with 30 on some nights which is key for the Wolves but I think Dionte provides a dual threat for Carney.–

F Ben Kleiman – Escanaba

–Solid scorer with good rebounding numbers but just misses the cut. Great #2 punch to Brandon Robinette.–

G Bradley Brow – Marquette

–Another X-Factor for Marquette going into March. He is another Nyquist type guard who does everything on the floor. Solid role player for Redmen.–

G Austin Grayvold – Norway

–Star Potential who gets star attention in games. In playoffs last year, he just shinned. This year he has played well but has had his ups and downs. Once districts come, you’ll see Austin explode. —


Photo by Grandpa Camo

Photo by Grandpa Camo

Girls Snubs

G Kelsey Ross – L’Anse

–One of the nicest left handed shots in the UP. Just seems to be streaky at time but when she gets hot like she did a few weeks ago with 17,19, and 23 point games, she becomes unstoppable.–

G Abby Sutherland – Lake Linden-Hubbell

–Extremely talented girl. Really athletic player who takes it to the lane strong. With such depth for the Lakes this season, her numbers fluctuate but that doesn’t show how valuable she is for her team.

G Melissa Putala – Baraga

–Last few weeks, this girl has stepped up and shown she can play at a high level. Plus, her team is winning too. She needs to prove she can score 14-15 points a night and she is next to rise to the top.–

F Megan Miatech – West Iron County

–Strongest girl in the paint. She can control games on the glass and on the defensive end altering shots. Just had 20 points against Calumet. Needs to continue that production to be added up the list.

G Abby Domitrovich – Ontonagon

–Big time shooter who has made many triples this season. Scores in double figures with Brooke Turin and she could be easily added up on the list if she adds just a little consistency.–


Boys Skills Competition

Eric Lori

Tyler Jandron

Ryan Laberge

Andy Nyquist

Austin Grayvold

Girls Skills Competition

Hunter Viitala

Lexi Gussert

Madi Swanson

Lexi Rowe


Boys 3 Point Shootout

Trent Keteri

Mitch Borseth – Ontonagon

Evan Winkelbauer

Tyler Jandron

Girls 3 Point Shootout

Kelsey Ross

Lexi Gussert

Abby Domitrovich

Michaela Burke


Photo by Jack Hall of

Photo by Jack Hall of

Boys Dunk Contest – Would love to see Jets Ekberg fly in this contest

Larry Burnette

Dionte Blahnik

Alex Almquist

Vejas Grazulis -Marquette

Travis Vincent

Trevor Ekberg – North Central

Jimmy Veeker

Rand Hruska Photo

Rand Hruska Photo

Girls Dunk Contest

Lexi Gussert

–Can she dunk? I haven’t seen it but I always feel like she could.–

Kirsten Iwanski- Marquette

–Big and Physical. I think she could throw it down with two hands.–

Amanda Pederson – Menominee

–Really nice girl and she looks like the type who could dunk. She looks the part.–

Sydney Dillinger- Houghton

–She has the long wing span who looks like she can do some sweet dunks.–

Rosalie/Adena Anderson – Negaunee

–These girls are awesome. I add them because it would be so cool to see them dunk.–

Liz Charlevoix – North Dickinson

She looks the part. She has all the flare and spice you want in basketball. Definitely feel she could be a high flyer at the rim–

St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt after 76-65 win at Fordham

February 13, 2014

Bonnies Head Coach Mark Schmidt talks about the win with reporters after 76-65 win.

Fordham Basketball’s defense fails to stop St. Bonaventure in 76-65 loss

February 13, 2014

The Sports Cycle’s Donnie Dwyer is at the Rose Hill Gym as Fordham lost to St. Bonaventure 76-65. Mandell Thomas and Branden Frazier scored 20 points apiece but the Rams gave up 44 points in the paint, 17 offensive rebounds, and allowed the Bonnies to shoot 49% for the game.


URI Men’s Basketball Post Game Press Conference after 85-79 loss at Fordham

February 3, 2014

URI head coach Danny Hurley and guard E.C. Matthews discuss the loss to Fordham on the road 85-79.

Fordham Men’s Basketball beat Rhode Island 85-79 to earn 2nd A-10 victory

February 2, 2014

The Sports Cycle’s Donnie Dwyer is at the Rose Hill Gym as Fordham beat URI 85-79 to earn their second conference win. Branden Frazier led the Rams with 27 points, Mandell Thomas added 18, and Bryan Smith scored 10. Ryan Rhoomes crashed the boards with 13 rebounds and Jon Severe had 16 points. Fordham has a week off before they go on the road to take on GW.