Month: July 2016

Railhawks Draw Hammers in Sellout Crowd

By: Trey Walker


Wakemed Soccer Park:  Cary, NC                                   July 12, 2016

For the first time ever, a British Premier League team made a trip to the Triangle for a friendly. High hopes surrounded this match, as it was the first ever sellout in Railhawks history (10,125 people were in attendance).  Prior to the match, fans enjoyed food and festivities outside the stadium. The sun set behind the east stand and at 8, arguably Carolina’s most important match ever began.

Initially, the momentum of the game didn’t really favor either West Ham or Carolina, defensive stops resulted in counterattacks that sailed off target or were turned over.

Until the 13th minute.

Carolina had pushed the ball onto the Hammers side of the field, where a wingman crossed the rock over to forward Matt Fondy for a shot on goal.

In attempt to clear the ball out, West Ham defender, Winston Reid, slid near the goal and in front of Fondy, and took a bad touch. The ball slipped past the goalie for an own goal. Suddenly fireworks shot up, and the crowd went absolutely berserk, for their 5 to 1 underdog Railhawks had just taken a 1-0 lead over an elite Premier League team.

Fans really expressed their pride after the own goal. One man sitting close shouted, “Reid is our best player!”

Play shortly resumed, and it did not take long for the Hammers to earn back what they had lost. Ironically, Winston Reid(Guess he learned which goal to shoot on) scored the equalizer for West Ham in the 17th minute.

West Ham took advantage of the momentum swing, and in the 20th minute, notched one more goal before the half off of a nice shot from forward Andy Carroll.

Once the whistle blew for halftime, the PA announcer informed the fans to stay in their seats and await an “important announcement”. Then Railhawks owner, Steve Malik, and the play by play announcer approached midfield and stopped in front of a press conference back-drop.

The crowd fell silent awaiting the big news.

Steve Malik took the mic and happily informed the fans that the Railhawks had just signed Mexican International Team star, Omar Bravo, who he believed to be the biggest front office move in franchise history. Bravo emerged from the tunnel and received a warm welcome from his fans. He is the all-time leading scorer at his former club, Cd Chivas Guadalajara, and should be a great scorer for the Railhawks.

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Bravo being signed at Wakemed.

A slew of substitutions occurred before the teams continued to play in the second half. Both teams looked a little sluggish coming out of the break, and players started to get a little chippy with one another.

Rain started to fall in the early moments of the half, and in the 62nd minute, the referee decided to postpone the game after spotting lightning. Fans were forced to evacuate the stadium. Many fled to their cars and headed home.

In their last important homestand (against the New England Revolution of the MLS), the Railhawks fell victim of inclement weather(the game was called due to lightning) and they were not about to let that happen again.

After about a 45 minute delay, the match finally resumed. Despite taking a break, the fans didn’t fail to keep it rowdy.

As time waned, the Railhawks started to take chances, as it was becoming evident that a draw was a more plausible outcome than a victory.

In the 67th minute, Marvin Ceballos was rewarded a penalty kick after a West Ham defender committed a hand ball inside of the box, and easily scored the tying goal.

No team had complete control for the rest of the game, it was evenly matched. When the referee blew the final whistle, the soaked, exhausted, dirty players applauded their keeper and the crowd.

This game was a great step forward for soccer in the Triangle. Carolina proved that they can hang with high caliber competition, and the Triangle proved that they will show out for matches.

Thanks to our sponsor: 

Legendary Spurs Forward Retires

By: Matt Chilson, Wake Forest Contributor


Tim Duncan has more NBA Championships to his name than 26 of the 30 franchises in the NBA. The future Hall of Famer played 19 seasons in the NBA all with the same team, the San Antonio Spurs. Duncan has helped the Spurs make the postseason every single year he has been in the league. How about what happened before Duncan’s Hall of Fame career?

Duncan grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and didn’t pick up basketball until his freshman year in high school. Before then, Duncan was a swimmer, a good one at that. He was the best swimmer in the whole country in the 400-meter freestyle for his age group. However, a hurricane destroyed his team’s pool and he gave up swimming and picked up basketball, which was probably the best decision of his life.

In high school, Duncan grew nine inches and ended up being heavily recruited by Wake Forest University. The Demon Deacon’s head coach at the time, David Odom, wanted another big to compliment the play of Randolph Childress and found just that in Duncan. The 17-year-old islander later committed to Wake.

During his freshman season, Duncan averaged under 10 points per game but was producing on the glass, as he collected over 10 rebounds per game. During ACC play the Deacs surprisingly beat both of their rivals: UNC and Duke. Wake was later eliminated by Kansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but that season was just the beginning of Tim’s amazing career.

The following season was one that Wake fans were excited about because Duncan had some experience and Childress was about to embark on his senior season. Throughout the season, Duncan became a household name and was competing with one of the best players in ACC history, Rasheed Wallace. This set up for some outstanding matchups between Wake and UNC in which the Deacs took down the Heels in a regular season meeting, 79-70 behind Duncan’s 25 points while he held Wallace to a mere 4. This result held up once again the ACC championship game where Wake beat UNC behind 20 boards from Duncan. The Deacs ended the season in the Sweet 16 where Duncan still snatched 22 rebounds.

Coming out his sophomore season Duncan was projected to go number one in the NBA draft but decided to finish all four years at Wake Forest and get his degree. This was an example of how great a person Duncan would show himself as.

The following year was daunting to many Wake fans because it seemed as if Duncan would be the whole team with Childress graduated. However, Tim showed an unusual confidence in his young teammates and kept giving them shots when they missed the majority of them. During the season, this pattern was continued except for one difference; the shots began to go in. The Deacs repeated as ACC champions against Georgia Tech in a game where Duncan scored 27 points and pulled down 22 rebounds.

During the NCAA tournament that year, Duncan ended up having the flu, but played through it all the way to the Elite 8 where Rick Pitino’s Kentucky squad eliminated the Deacs.

Once again in the off season, everyone wanted to know if Duncan would go pro or stay for his senior season. Without a doubt, he elected to stay at Wake, who were the favorites to win the big dance.

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Duncan was an ACC legend

The Deacs earned the highest ranking in school history at number two in the early part of the season. However, much to the disappointment of Wake fans the team failed to win a third straight ACC championship. In the NCAA tournament to favorites at the beginning of the season earned a three seed. The Deacs later ended the year in disappointment to the sixth seed in their region, Stanford. In his final season at Wake Timmy averaged 20.8 points per game and 14.7 rebounds per game making him the Player of the Year in college basketball. This also set him up to be the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

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5 rings

The Spurs had the third best odds to win the draft lottery but nonetheless beat the odds to have the first pick. David Robinson was already a part of the team but was hurt for the majority of the previous season. This worked out well for the franchise as the ended up drafting the best power forward to every play the game of basketball.

The rest is history.

 

 

 

 

In Case You Missed It: Free Agency

By: Trey Walker


On Friday, July 1st at 12 PM EST, the scramble for free agents began. Let’s take a look at the new destinations for some NBA superstars…

1.) Nic Batum

Contract: 5-year, $120 Million

Team: Charlotte Hornets (Re-signed)

This move should have Buzz City fans relieved, as Nic Batum emerged as one of Charlotte’s most valuable players down the stretch last season.

2.) Michael Conley

Contract: 5-year, $153 Million

Team: Memphis Grizzlies (Re-signed)

CHA-CHING!  ….The Grizzlies better hope this pays off. This yet-to-be All-Star’s contract is the richest in NBA history.

3.) DeMar DeRozan

Contract: 5-year, $145 Million

Team: Toronto Raptors (Re-signed)

LA really let this one slip. DeRozan dissed the Lakers and returned to Toronto where a nice paycheck awaited him.

4.) Andre Drummond

Contract: 5-year, $130 Million

Team: Detroit Pistons (Re-signed)

Big man. Big money. Big expectations.

5.) Dwight Howard

Contract: 3-years, $70.5 Million

Team: Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets)

Howard helps bolster the Hawk’s rim protection, as Al Horford has moved on.

6.) Solomon Hill

Contract: 4-year, $50 Million

Team: New Orleans Pelicans (from Indiana Pacers)

THIS IS LUDACRIS. The Pelicans have invested 50 million in a player who averaged 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds last season. You decide if he was worth it….

7.) Matthew Dellavedova

Contract: 4-year, $38 Million

Team: Milwaukee Bucks (from Cleveland Cavaliers)

Delly just cashed in. Aside from a killer shoe deal on the way with PEAK Sports, Delly just earned himself some serious lettuce. The Aussie now makes almost as much as Stephen Curry.

8.) Luol Deng

Contract: 4-year, $72 Million

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (from Miami Heat)

After failing to lure in DeRozan, the Lakers had to intensify their efforts to land someone during the free agency period. Deng will be a good veteran presence for a young Lakers roster.

9.) Timofey Mozgov

Contract: 4-year, $64 Million

Team: Los Angeles Lakers (from Cleveland Cavaliers)

Not too shabby for a guy who only averaged 5.8 minutes in the Finals this year….

10.) Al Horford

Contract: 4-year, $113 Million

Team: Boston Celtics (from Atlanta Hawks)

Al Horford will get the unique chance to mentor the League’s brightest company of big men in Boston: Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, and Jared Sullinger.

11.) Bradley Beal

Contract: 5-year, $128 Million

Team: Washington Wizards (Re-signed)

After KD lost interest in Washington, the Wizards had plenty of cap space to keep their best shooter locked up for 5 more years.

12.) Joakim Noah

Contract: 4-year, $72 Million

Team: New York Knicks (from Chicago Bulls)

And just like that, the Knicks have become a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

13.) Harrison Barnes

Contract: 4-years, $95 Million

Team: Dallas Mavericks (from Golden State Warriors)

A shaky Finals performance did not prevent the Maverick’s front office from offering this former Tar Heel a wealthy deal.

14.) Kent Bazemore

Contract: 4-year, $70 Million

Team: Atlanta Hawks (Re-signed)

Atlanta didn’t want to take any chance of letting Bazemore loose after Al Horford escaped to Boston.

15.) Ish Smith

Contract: 3-year, $18 Million

Team: Detroit Pistons (from Philadelphia 76ers)

This former Demon Deacon has finally gotten what he needs: stability. Smith has bounced around between 9 different teams in his NBA career, and now he will get to stay in one place at last. Well deserved.

16.) Bismack Biyombo

Contract: 4-year, $72 Million

Team: Orlando Magic (from Toronto Raptors)

Biyombo took advantage of his dominant and somewhat surprising performance in this years playoffs to gain exposure for himself. As a result, he became a hot target on the free agency market, and fell to the highest bidder: Orlando.

17.) Pau Gasol

Contract: 2-year, $30 Million

Team: San Antonio Spurs (from Chicago Bulls)

With Tim Duncan mulling retirement, Gasol is a reliable option for Coach Popovic to play in the post.

18.) Courtney Lee

Contract: 4-years, $50 Million

Team: New York Knicks (from Charlotte Hornets)

Lee’s acquisition by the Knicks rules out a scenario where D-Wade goes to the Big Apple.

19.) Chandler Parsons

Contract: 4-year, $94 Million

Team: Memphis Grizzlies (from Dallas Mavericks)

Parsons should be the player that the Grizzlies need to become a serious threat in the Western Conference.

20.) Kevin Durant

Contract: 2-year, $54 Million

Team: Golden State Warriors (from Oklahoma City Thunder)

If you can’t beat them, join them. Durant’s move was considered by many a weak and classless one. After spending almost a decade with Oklahoma City, KD built up a great reputation, and even led his team to the NBA Finals. Since his announcement, fans have torn apart, burned, and defecated Durant’s jersey. This move is up there with Lebron’s as the most scrutinized in NBA history.