All posts by Dillon Meehan

Game Of Throne’s Premier Refuses to Answer the Largest Question

by Dillon Meehan

It has been a long eight months, but Game of Thrones is finally back. Fans were forced to sit and wait, with some turning to Reddit and other messaging boards to discuss the various plot lines that were left unanswered at the end of season five.

For fans of the show who have not yet caught up, stop reading now, as this article will contain major spoilers not only about season six, but of prior seasons as well.

HBO has made sure to milk the death of Jon Snow for all that it is worth. In the winter, the teaser poster was released which only featured a picture of Snow and season six’s release date.

When the first trailer was released, it was a camera zooming in on the dead body of Snow lying in the bloody snow, with the sign “Traitor” nailed above him; sunday’s premiere started with the same exact shot.

The premiere was properly titled “The Red Woman,” named after Melisandre, the woman who every crackpot Reddit conspirator believes will be responsible for bringing back Jon Snow.

The Red Priestess had spent a handful of season’s convincing Stannis Baratheon that he will become King, to the point that he even sacrificed his daughter by burning her at the stake at the end of season five.

However when Melisandre’s prophecy does not come true, fans believed that her God the “Lord of the Light,” was nothing more than a scam.

But the final scene of Sunday’s premier served one purpose: to show the true power of the Lord of Light, and how much power all Red Priests and Priestess’ have.

Apart from the disgusting final image that all Thrones fans were forced to sit through, there was another scene involving Melisandre that was nearly as interesting. Davos is now pushed into a corner with his life on the line and will be forced to essentially weaponize her in order to save his own life and resurrect Jon Snow.

The fear amongst most fans was that Jon Snow’s resurrection would not be done in the first episode and in typical Thrones fashion, would take half the season. With one episode down, a mere suggestion of him coming back has yet to be muttered by a single person.

With so many other plot lines currently in full swing, there is a good chance that this will be dragged along for multiple episodes until Sansa, and most likely Bran all join together at Castle Black.

 

The Cinderella Story That Will Never Be Repeated

by Dillon Meehan

Over the past decade, cash has become king in soccer. While some of the worlds top clubs have a rich and storied history, others such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have billionaire owners who have taken them from mediocrity to winning multiple league titles.

Heading into this fall, Chelsea and Manchester City were once again expected to battle it out for the Barclays Premier League trophy. But for once, money will not prevail.

Enter Leicester City, it is a name that is rarely even uttered as a relegation team, let alone as a mid-table, or dare one say a champion-esque team. Even to some hardcore fans, the ones who wake up early every Saturday and Sunday morning, it is a name that was still unrecognizable a few months ago.

But now with three games left to play in the season, Leicester has a chance to shock the world and capture the league with a win on Sunday against Manchester United. A team that was a 5,000-1 odd in August will win the Premier League.

They are managed by Claudio Ranieri, a man who has become more famous for his inability to capture a league title. He uses a simple 4-4-2 formation, he doesn’t rely on his central defenders to push the ball up field, which has become commonplace in today’s game. It is an old-school style that is rarely seen in 2016.

For some, this is a changing of the guard in soccer. They believe this is the end of big money, and heavy spending. That teams will rely more on building a team from within. They are wrong.

Will teams still rely on youth systems for players? Of course. Manchester City just spent hundred of millions of dollars on a new training ground with an emphasis on youth development. Teams will always look for “home grown” talent. But they will also spend for key players when they can.

Next year, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho will be heading to Manchester City and United, Chelsea and Arsenal are also expected to appoint new managers. When Managers come to a team, they bring in players to fit their season; it is likely that those teams will spend over a billion dollars combined in the summer.

For Leicester, they will have solidified the title of the world’s greatest underdog story. Making the Boise State Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and the 2004 Red Sox comeback against the Yankees look like sure things.

They are a phenomenal story, but it is just that. Next year it will go back to how things “should” work. Liverpool and Manchester United teams that are perennial top four teams that will have revamped squads. It won’t last.

 

Blue Devils Show Progress With Annual Blue-White Game

by Dillon Meehan

With only a handful of months before Central Connecticut’s football season kicks off, the team gathered for their annual Blue-White game. The game that featured the Blue team (offense) against the White team (defense) is less for the players’ benefit than it is a chance for the fans to get excited about the upcoming season.

After spending the past month and a half practicing, the team was able to show off their progress made since last November.

“We made a lot of progress,” said Head Coach Pete Rossomando after the game.

The Blue team was able to defeat the White team 47-25 in a game that awarded each side points for unusual reasons, such as quarterback sacks or first downs.

“Overall, we’re good. Jake has had a really great camp, he has established himself as a starter and we think going forward that he is going to be a guy that is going to help us,” said Rossomando of his starting quarterback.

It has been an interesting year and a half for Jake Dolegala. An injury to fellow freshman Tavion Pauldo gave him the opportunity to split time as the starting quarterback, a position he has since solidified as his own after Pauldo left the team this spring.

“Knowing that the job is mine now, it has settled me down. Allowing me to be myself out there, and not be as nervous,” said Dolegala of winning the position as starting quarterback.

In 11 games last season, Dolegala showed improvements in nearly every game, moving from a quarterback who barely had a grasp of offense to someone who could be relied on to win games.

“It was there in the spring [last year] but a freshman quarterback is a freshman quarterback. It’s still a lot to learn. He did a great job,” said Rossomando. “He got us our first win against Bowie and played every game, valuable experience that you can’t put a price tag on. You can see it in his leadership and his comfort with the offense.”

Dolegala completed 13-20 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. The highlight of the game was his 52-yard throw to classmate Trey Hodge on a deep post. The following play, Dolegala found sophomore Joey Fields wide open in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.

“When I first got out here, the game was so fast. But now playing against our defense, which is one of the best in the conference, it has really slowed down for me,” said Dolegala of his ability to read a defense.

Apart from the improvements on offense, the Blue Devils continue to improve on their stellar defense that is retuning seven players who received All-Conference honors.

“Defensively, we’re really strong right now,“ said Rossomando.

The secondary has been the strongpoint for the Blue Devils during Rossomando’s tenure, and next fall looks as though it may be the best in the conference.

Jevon Elmore, who is entering his senior year, was one of two Blue Devils named to the NEC’s first team All-Conference list. However there is another member of the Blue Devils’ secondary that is challenging for a spot as CCSU’s best defensive back.

Najae Brown, a sophomore safety, was named to the NEC second team last fall, and Rossomando believes he can become the best player in the conference.

Two years ago, Brown was named the Division II Defensive Freshman of the Year while playing for New Haven. When Rossomando left New Haven for CCSU in January 2014, Brown followed and has continued to become a standout player.

“We have a lot of experience coming back this year,” said Brown. “This should be the year where we make that big jump forward. I’m looking forward to the challenge and making that leap.”

CCSU’s season starts out Friday, September 2 when they take on Lafayette at 6:00 p.m.

Welcome, Donyell

by Dillon Meehan

After days of speculations and rumors, Central Connecticut officially announced the hiring of Donyell Marshall last Wednesday.

The following day, CCSU held a press conference in Founder’s Hall to formally introduce Marshall as the tenth coach in the programs history.

After landing a job as an assistant at the University of Buffalo, Marshall will be taking his first job as a head coach.

Marshall will be replacing Howie Dickenman, who is not only the man who coached him at UConn, but recruited him out of high school.

“You look at the career he has had, and the money he has made, and he is still one of the most humble, thankful and appreciative people you will ever meet,” said Dickenman about his former player.

It will be a tough situation for Marshall, who is being brought in to turn around a program that has been stagnant for the past few years. Luckily enough, he has the experience of playing under not only coach Jim Calhoun, but also under Jerry Sloan and with Lebron James.

“When you have a guy like that in your corner who has won three national championships, to be able to pick up the phone and call a guy like that is relaxing,” said Marshall following his press conference. “I’ve learned a lot from the greats that I played with and sometimes being able to call those guys and giving them a chance to talk to those guys in front of the team has always been helpful.”

Calhoun attended the press conference with his son, Jeffery, who roomed with Marshall while at UConn.

“When [Stephen] Curry hit those 12 three pointers last week who’s record did he tie? Donyell Marshall’s. When the Cavs drafted Lebron James number one overall in 2003, who did they have him live with? Donyell Marshall, because of his mature approach to the game. I think Central is getting a really special guy,” said Calhoun of his former player.

Marshall said he told players on Wednesday that the season has already begun. With seven months until the season opener, many expect this team to learn from his high basketball IQ.

“It felt great, I had a one-on-one talk with him and it was awesome. He told me about how excited he was for the future and everything he intends to do for us, and I think he’s going to do a great job at it,” said freshman forward Evan Phoenix.

The hope is that Marshall’s 15-year NBA experience will help bring in recruits. Marshall was the recruiting coordinator and helped with player development while helping lead Buffalo to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and the first team to win back-to-back Mid-American Conference titles in 14-years.

The End of An Era

by Tyler Roaix

In 1996, a high school kid named Kobe Bean Bryant from Pennsylvania burst onto the NBA scene and took the league by the hand. On Wednesday night, Kobe Bryant will finally let go, as his 20th and final season comes to an end.

In the last two decades he has been called many names. Why? Maybe it’s because he’s the kind of player who grits his teeth in a way that terrifies you. Maybe it’s because in even the toughest spots, you still know he’s going to beat you. Maybe it’s simply because he is that good. Either way, it’s been obvious from the very start that he was something special.

Sustaining an unprecedented level of success for 20 consecutive seasons with the most storied franchise in NBA history, Bryant has remained dominant, despite consistently competing against rosters of talented superstars and future Hall-of-Famers. Bryant’s legacy has transcended eras, adding timeless chapters to an iconic dynasty previously defined by legendary names such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West. Combining relentless tenacity, intense focus and an unmatched will to win, Kobe not only pushed every player who shared the roster to be the best, he undoubtedly enhanced the energy and excitement that propelled the NBA.

After reaching the level of a legitimate superstar in just his fourth season, the eventual five-time champion kept getting better, continuously improving new parts of his game each summer. In a way, Bryant sort of lacks a true prime. That’s not a bad thing. His game never stopped evolving, and before his Achilles’ heel popped in 2013, it was perfectly reasonable to equate Bryant with immortality.

Of course, he is not immortal. In fact, it’s easy to argue that Bryant has actually played too long. The last three years, he has suffered injuries that shortened his season. Now he’s playing on a Lakers team that is putting up the worst record in franchise history. Amid drama and speculation, Bryant is quietly having a solid year, averaging a modest 17 points per game.

Bryant’s 2005-06 campaign stands as his finest statistical season and one of the most impressive years any player has ever had, averaging 35.4 points per game, making 45 percent of his shots and scoring at least 50 points six times. Only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain ever totaled more points in one year. Despite zero, the Lakers still won 45 games and finished with the eighth best offense in the league. Bryant also managed to score 81 points in one game against the Toronto Raptors that season. Kobe: a miracle worker.

After five championships, an MVP award, 15 All-Star appearances, and some of the most memorable performances in NBA history, it’s hard to deny that Bryant is one of the most legendary players ever. Magic Johnson himself called Bryant the best Laker of all time. But it is his heart and tenacity that make him one of the greats.

“Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game,” said Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, according to a statement to AP.

“My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind but my body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” said Bryant in a statement to the Player’s Tribune.

Those are the words of an icon that has devoted his entire life to a game he loves. Bryant loves basketball in a way that seems almost unimaginable. But he simply has nothing left in the tank.

I grew up watching Bryant win championships and make opponents look just flat out silly. He was the reason I became a basketball fan. He was the man I was inspired by and the player I pretended to be.

As a basketball fan, to see a true sports icon ride off into the sunset leaves me with a sort of emptiness. Bryant is basketball, and basketball is Bryant. The idea of the two not going hand-in-hand any longer just doesn’t make sense. His retirement leaves a void that LeBron James or even Stephen Curry couldn’t fill. I’ll always love the game of basketball, but it will never be the same again.

Kobe Bryant the basketball player is retiring, but to me, there is something beyond that which remains and can’t be defeated by Father Time. The “Mamba Mentality” will live forever in myself as well as millions of others and the mark this man has left on the game will never ever be forgotten.