by Trot Scholl/Staff Writer
Greenfield Central baseball’s season is underway with a record of 10-5-1. This team has done a lot leading up to the season to get them to this point.
Like every athlete and teams, players do rigorous amounts of training and conditioning to prepare themselves for the season and hope for it to pay off in the long run. Senior Brodie Mayberry stated, “The work I have done during the off season has helped me a lot so far into this season.” Junior Owen Zumbolo said, “I would say that the training and conditioning has paid off very well, we wouldn’t be nearly as coordinated or work as well together without all that time practicing.” Senior Grant Shepherd said, “I think the training and conditioning I have done, and the team has done has definitely paid off this year.”
Every team and players set goals for themselves before the start of the season, and GC baseball is no different. Shepherd stated, “I don’t think I have fully accomplished my goals but there is still a fair amount of games left to accomplish them.” Mayberry said, “We started off really hot and hit a cold stretch, but now we are back on track and we are closer and closer to reaching our goals.” Zumbolo said, “I mostly say yes. There are still some things that need to be worked out, and almost any problems I have right now are purely mental problems.”
Showing emotions about your team is very common. The most common emotion is happiness and how happy you are with the team. Zumbolo stated, “Honestly, I think we have a lot more potential than we are showing right now, and we really aren’t getting beat by teams because they are outplaying us, we’re just losing to ourselves.” Shepherd said, “I’m pretty pleased with myself and the team, we’ve had some ups and downs but overall I’m pretty happy.” Mayberry said, “I would say I’m still not satisfied with the way we are playing and with our record as we probably don’t have a chance to win the conference.”
For every team and every player, there is some sort of motivation that drives this team to be the best and do the best they can, and that’s not different for GC baseball. Mayberry stated, “We have 11 seniors this year, all with one goal, to get to sectional title so we stay on that path every day.” Zumbolo said, “I think everyone on our team is a very competitive person and just wants to win.” Shepherd said, “The motivation for us this season has been wanting to win a sectional championship and everyone knows what we have to do to accomplish that goal.”
With the season coming to a close soon, the best we can do is wish the best of luck to this Cougars team.
by Katie Rigney/Staff Writer
Girls in photo: Abby Capen, Alyssa Greenwalt, Alyssa Dodds, freshmen softball players.
The girls softball team at GC is a very hard-working team. “My coach pushes us to always be better and to not be satisfied with not being the best we can be,” said Charlotte Riehle, grade 9. The girls practice almost every chance they get so they can play their best at games. “We practice pretty much every day when we don’t have a game,“ said Alyssa Dodds, grade 9. With wanting to be your best self at playing the girls have had to focus on certain things and try to excel at. They’ve pushed through and fought to do so, with simple things like supporting each other is important.
No matter if it’s a home or away game the girls try to keep it positive, while most like home games better they still play their best no matter what. Getting prepared for games is different for everyone; answers included listening to upbeat music, hyping each other up, and staying calm and relaxed. Player Abby Capen, grade 9, said this, “I don’t typically ever get worked up over playing. I always act like my normal self and have fun.”
A lot of these girls have been playing for most of their lives and it‘s something that they soak in and enjoy rather than worry and get scared. The girls are aiming to be on varsity next year and focusing on things they struggle more at so they can accomplish that goal. “I see myself playing next season and probably the rest of the school year because I enjoy softball,“ said Dodds. Most girls are committed and plan to play softball next year and most likely the rest of their high school years. Dodds also went on to say this, “I want to go to college doing softball too if I get the chance.“
Communication is important considering there are girls on the team that haven’t played before. The girls find that communication is hard but group chats and talking in the dugout is helpful. “Since there are girls that haven’t played before it’s hard to communicate with them since there are people on the team that have been playing for 10+ years,“ said Capen.
Dodds and Capen both said that they can’t really remember the reason they wanted to play softball; they just started between the ages 4-5 and stuck with it. “My little sister and a lot of my friends that are in 8th grade look up to me and ask me about softball so it makes me want to keep doing softball,” said Dodds. Most of these girls play for themselves because they enjoy it, but they are still a role model for many. While sticking through this year tough and going against their biggest rivals like New Pal and Connersville they’ve come out with a positive attitude and given their best.
Photo Caption: Claire Bishop, the brand new Indiana State fair Queen getting crowned after a long weekend of competition.
When you think of successful people, what traits come to mind? Organization? Strong work ethic? Positive attitude? Open-mindedness? These things come to mind when people think of Claire Bishop. Many teachers, administrators and friends can attest to this as well.
Claire is projected to be valedictorian, is one of the two selected for the Lilly Scholarship, is Indiana State Fair Queen 2023, and was Hancock County Queen 2022. Along with academics and pageants she has also been in 4-H most of her life. These accomplishments are few of the many successes of Claire Bishop.
“Claire is having such a fruitful year in that all of her hard work and growth are paying off! I have had her in my classroom for three years now, so I know it wasn’t overnight success— she has put in the time, energy, and effort, so anyone who really knows her is ecstatic to see her continue to shine,” Laken Rosing, teacher and mentor to Claire, is one of the many people who know just how hard she has worked for everything. Claire has put in nonstop effort in everything she does. Her work ethic is virtually unmatchable.
Claire was homeschooled up until her freshman year, and one of the questions she was asked her was just how different public school is compared to home school. “Public school has been challenging for me because I have little control or freedom in my day, and have a daily routine that’s pretty much identical every day. The courses and teachers here, though, have definitely helped as I’ll go into college with over 30 credit hours.” She went on to say that home school taught her time management, and independence which helped make the switch easier.
Early last year Claire decided to apply for the Llilly scholarship, which is primarily based on community service and involvement. “I have volunteered service to areas such as STEM, music, agriculture, education, and youth. I have many passions and found ways to give back to those areas through my community. I genuinely care about my community and those within it,” she said. This is what sets Claire apart from the other applicants.
Claire does have a plan for after high school. she is going to Purdue University and majoring in Brain and Behavioral Sciences with a double major in Interpersonal Communication.
Besides her passion school she also has a passion for 4H pageants. In 2022 she was crowned as Hancock County Queen, which then made her eligible for the state pageant this January. “Although a lot of contestants practiced (interview, speech, modeling, etc), I went into the pageant with little practice because I truly wanted to be my authentic and genuine self,” Claire’s prep for the state pageant looks a little different than some of the other contestants. She wanted to put Claire on the stage, not a rehearsed version of her, which panned out for her because she ended up winning the whole pageant. Her reign began on January 9, 2023.
“Claire Bishop has had as much positive impact on our school (and the larger community) as any of the Cougar students who went before her. I am incredibly proud of her for the things she has accomplished. She is truly an amazing ambassador for G-C!” Dr. Harold Olin, superintendent of Greenfield-Central said.
Mr. Jason Cary, principal of GCHS commented as well, “We are very proud of Claire and her accomplishments. She is a great representative of our school and our community, and we can’t wait to hear about her successes after she graduates. She has a bright future ahead of her.”
By DJ Ramirez/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Ms. Erin Grimes, Spanish teacher, is teaching her Spanish 2 class.
The kids of Greenfield Central always see the adults in the building, but don’t necessarily know anything about them. Four adults in the building have been asked to share some facts and things they do during their day. Lisa Hines, one of our lunch ladies, shared that her typical day is super busy, where she starts her day off with a prayer, gets to school and starts cooking right away.
Hines said her hardest part of the day is cooking in between lunches and the easiest is cleaning. “Outside of work, I love to kayak, garden, and do anything outdoors. If I could change professions, it would be anything animal related,” Hines said.
Jeanie Hull, Greenfield Central’s librarian, said, “My typical work day starts off at 4:30am. I start and end my day with a prayer. I arrive at school by 8am. I usually have several kids first thing to return or check out books. Kids come in and out of the library throughout the day for EB or during lunch. I process new books, work on displays, and am now planning for the end of the year inventory. My day usually ends at 3:30pm.”
Hull said when she’s not at work, she loves to garden, read, craft, and bake cakes for weddings and birthdays. “Easiest part of my day is talking and joking with the kids, and the hardest part is seeing kids upset. If I could change my profession it would be in Accounting, I love AR and payroll,” said Hull. A cool fact about Hull is that she collects Emmett Kelly Clowns.
Jamie Stein, EB teacher at Greenfield Central, explained that a typical day for her includes taking attendance and helping students. She also has cafeteria duty. “When I’m not working I enjoy spending time with my kids and family. I do like what I do, but I could change professions, I would work in health care.”
Stein said her hardest part of the day is feeling like there isn’t enough time in the day, but her easiest part of the day is talking with my students. “I have been doing this position for 3 years. The biggest skill I need for my job is listening. It is important to be able to communicate with students. A cool fact about me is I have worked with kids in all of my jobs since I was 13,” said Stein.
Erin Grimes, Spanish teacher at Greenfield Central, said she starts the same with getting up and getting ready for school. “After school, I usually work teaching Driver’s Ed, 2 nights a week. The other nights I might catch a game at school, hang out with my friends, or hang out at home watching TV. I sometimes go to Indy to spend time with my family on the weekends. I enjoy the actual teaching part, but I don’t really like all of the prep work and grading that is also required,” Grimes said.
She also said,”The hardest part of my day is waking up in the mornings. I am not a morning person by any means. I have been doing this job for 7 years, 6 at GC. The skills required are organization, patience, compassion, a strong work ethic, and the ability to multitask.”
by Hunter Baylous/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: The head of the snake for all 12 Playoff teams Source: https://chswingspan.com/17808/sports/2023-nba-playoffs/
With the NBA playoffs in full swing and the first round has officially ended, it is about that time where sports media goes crazy as the storylines enhance for teams flying to Cancun, and teams fighting for that hardware. Whether it is Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas mocking Memphis Grizzlies Small Forward Dillion Brooks (who averaged a career low field goal percentage this year) stating, “You asked for 40. Here’s your 40.” Or it’s the media explosion after the 1st ever 50 point game in a game 7 by the Baby Faced Assassin, Stephen Curry. The sports media and sports fans die for the drama that comes with the NBA Playoffs.
Let’s start with the most fun and entertaining series first. The Kings and Warriors battled hard which led to a win or go home game 7 (The only one in the 1st round this year). The Kings are one of the youngest playoff teams this year averaging around 26 years old per player, while the warriors are almost 28 years old on average. The series had such a high viewership due to the Kings finally making the playoffs again. Their last appearance was in the 2005-2006 NBA season. Another reason was due to the Golden State Warriors being the defending champions and one of the most viewed teams in the league in general.
However, it was the games itself that proved more interesting than storylines. In the first game De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk (bench player) combined for 70 of the Kings 126 points. De’Aaron Fox ended up with the second highest scoring game for a playoff debut. The kings also stole game 2 which led to the kings holdin a 2 – 0 against the defending champs. The game itself ended with an event the media had exploded due to. Causing every basketball analyst, commentator, and even some players to give their 2 cents. Draymond Green stomps on Domantas Sabonis Sternum which results in a Sternum Contusion and causes an ejection on and a 1 game suspension for Green and a technical foul on Sabonis. After this Sabonis did play in game 3 despite the injury but the warriors took the next 3 games to go up 3 – 2 in the series and the kings took game 6 to force game 7. In game 7 no one could have predicted the performance Stephen Curry would have. The first ever 50 point game in a game 7 in NBA history. An exciting ending to an exciting series.
The Lakers and Grizzlies series was entertaining but great for one team and disasterful for another. The Los Angeles Lakers ended up winning in 6 games but there were outstanding performances in Game 1 Anthony Davis had 22 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocks. In game 3 where the Memphis Grizzlies played horribly but Ja Morant dropped 45 points, 13 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds. As well as LeBron James the next game dropping 22 points and 20 rebounds in an OT win. Aside from those 3 performances there wasn’t any game that was very exciting.
There was also the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks series where Jimmy Butler turned into a prime Micheal Jordan during that series dropping 56 points in game 4 and also beating the number 1 seed 4 – 1. The Knicks and Cavaliers series was also an interesting series due to the Cavs losing in 5 and their all star caliber big Jarret Allen saying the lights were too bright for them along with a Jalen Brunson masterclass for those games. The L.A Clippers and the Phoenix Suns series had potential to be amazing. However, Kawhi Leonard suffered an MCL tear and Paul George suffered a season ending leg injury. However the series was fun to watch at least with Russell Westbrook looking like he was still in 2017 with his athleticism and his ability averaging 23.6 points 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists along with Devin Booker averaging over 37 points for the series and Kevin Durant being Kevin Durant.
With the NBA playoffs everybody has an opinion on it, even the staff at GCHS so why don’t we hear from them?
Q: What was your overall opinion of this year’s 1st round series? (Was there a specific series that jumped out at you?)
Mr. Potter (Gov and Econ teacher): I loved the first round of the playoffs this year. I don’t know if we’ll ever see an 8 seed and a 7 seed advance in the same season again. I love parity and upsets so it was a breath of fresh air to watch Miami go out and dominate Milwaukee the way that they did. The added drama from the Grizz/Lakers series gave the first round a bit of extra flare as well which was interesting to follow off the court.
Coach Meredith (boy varsity basketball head coach): Warriors vs. Kings series was very entertaining. Stephen Curry dropping 50 points in game 7 is legendary stuff!
Q: If you were to rate the excitement or enjoyment of the 1st round on a scale of 1-10, what would you rate it?
Mr. Potter: I would rate this year’s first round an 8/10. My main sticking point that kept it from being a 10/10 was the lack of game 7s. I enjoyed the Sunday afternoon showdown between the Kings/Warriors but I could always go for more game 7s. All of the series had their own energies and nothing (outside of Brooklyn getting manhandled) seemed to be a guaranteed win.
Coach Meredith:1st round 8 of 10…rest of playoffs are heating up 10/10
Q:What was the most unexpected upset (Team or Player wise) you have witnessed this year?
Mr.vPotter: It’s really all about Miami right now. What Jimmy Butler did to not just the Bucks was unbelievable. The way they’ve supplemented their roster with castaways from other teams gives me hope that my mediocre NBA team can pull it off too!
Coach Meredith:Miami Heat and Jimmy Buckets Butler upsetting the 1 seed Bucks
Q:Which players do you think will thrive in the playoffs this year?
Mr.Potter: I think there are a lot of players who have something to prove this year who will silence a lot of critics. Jokic has been slandered a lot over the last year or two and I think he’ll play with a big chip on his shoulder. My more controversial opinion going into the playoffs was that James Harden would go off. I feel like the media and fans online have gotten out of hand calling him washed and he has something to prove in order to secure his big contract this summer.
Q:What upcoming series are you the most excited for?
Mr. Potter: You just have to love the Golden State/LA matchup. I’ve never watched a better series than the Cleveland/GS NBA Finals a handful of years back. I’m hoping to see some of the same fireworks we did then with a long tough series. I also am crazy about the Miami/NYK matchup. It just feels like a series from 2003 where bodies will be flying and the refs will let them duke it out. I’m expecting some ejections and intensity by the end of this one.
Coach Meredith:Warriors vs. Lakers
Q:If you had to choose your 2022-2023 NBA Champion who would you HAVE to choose?
Mr. Potter: In all honesty I had chosen Milwaukee to win it all before the playoffs so I’m hoping my new guess works out. I’m going with the Nuggets to win it all this year especially with how well their role players have been playing. All I really hope for is an entertaining wrap-up to the season!
Coach Meredith: Boston Celtics (Hoping for Warriors, but I think this is the Celtics’ year.)
By Drew Smith/Guest Writer
Photo Caption: NBA Conference Finals were Tuesday, May 16 for the West, and tonight, Thursday, May 18 for the East.
Right now, everyone is thinking about the playoffs. But, I thought I would be the Debbie Downer, and ask the really pressing questions each team has going into this upcoming off-season. Where will teams really land after all this is settled? A lot (and I mean a lot) of teams have found ways to convince themselves that they can make a run in the upcoming playoffs, but only four teams make the conference finals, two teams make the finals, and only one wins the chip. So, when the dust settles, where do these teams actually lie? What will the offseason look like for a swathe of teams in chaos? Let’s dig into it.
Will James Harden re-sign? The league’s leader in assists and the 76ers’ perfect match with superstar Joel Embiid, James Harden, has had several rumors circulating about interest in a reunion with the Houston Rockets. But, is that just meaningless postulating by Harden and crew, in an attempt to negotiate and threaten his way towards a supermax deal with the 76ers? Or, is there genuine interest in a reunion and will Embiid be left starless and the 76ers’ organization with no means of fulfilling Embiid’s needs? I think it’s one of the more interesting questions, but I doubt Daryl Morey will lose his buddy James Harden for nothing.
What’s going on with Khris Middleton? I mean, really? Khris Middleton, star small forward for the Bucks, has had a trepid return from injury. Minutes restrictions, coming off the bench, mysterious exits. Plus, Middleton has a player option this off-season that he could willingly decline. While that seems unlikely considering the injury-riddled past two seasons he’s had, it’s still an interesting flux point for the Bucks, as they manage an ever-aging roster built around superstar Giannis Antetokounmpou. Brook Lopez (my personal DPOY), is a free agent this summer. While the Bucks are undoubtedly title contenders, can that status begin to slip this offseason? Are we looking at a disaster in the coming seasons?
What do you do with this roster? A vague question, but this team is weird. They’ve had one of the league’s best defenses this season, despite not having major defensive talent outside of Alex Caruso and (maybe) Patrick Williams, and a small ball, slow-footed center in Nikola Vucevic. But, they’re also a 10-seed in a top-heavy conference. Their young stars, Zach Lavine and Lonzo Ball, both have some injury questions, and Zach Lavine has one of the largest contracts in the league, despite not even being an All-Star this season. Demar DeRozan, their mid-range maestro, has questions around his success in the playoffs. And, to dig deeper into the Lonzo Ball stuff, Ball has just had a rough go-of-it with his injuries, and reports suggest he could miss all of next season after another knee surgery. So, where does this team really go? They’re interesting, and they have too much talent to tank, but not enough talent to really do anything meaningful. Hey, nothing’s wrong with just trying to win basketball games, and who knows, maybe they can get back to the 1-seed they held at last year’s all star break, if things break nice for them this upcoming season.
Does Evan Mobley make the offensive jump? Do the shots start falling from 3? Does his post-up game evolve? How does he improve his catch-and-go opportunities? Can he adequately improve both the spacing and rim-finishing? Evan Mobley, Evan Mobley, Evan Mobley. That’s all I am worried about for the Cavs. And I have to say, I am fairly confident he’ll make the jump. He’s put some games together this year that have been pretty impressive, and I won’t be surprised if next season he makes another leap. Pretty crazy that as time has gone on since the 2021-22 season, how much further ahead Mobley is than the rest of the guys in his class.
Does Jaylen Brown get the supermax contract extension? Can the noise finally be quieted with 200+ million dollars? Probably. The Celtics are set in a pretty meaningful way, and if Jaylen Brown makes an All-NBA team, he will be eligible for the supermax extension. Not many players have ever turned that down. I think securing Jaylen Brown is #1 priority, and outside of their front court depth with an ever-injured Robert Williams and aging Al Horford, they don’t have too much to worry about.
Los Angeles Clippers
Oh boy. If the Clippers don’t win it all this year, which seems unlikely with a Paul George injury and a first-round matchup against the Kevin Durant led Phoenix Suns, what does this team do? They have these two insanely talented superstar wings who just have never put together a really great regular season together, full of health and winning. The Clippers have as much wing depth as you could want, one of the most expensive teams of all time, a new stadium in the works, and a somewhat revitalized Russell Westbrook. I don’t really know how to feel about this team going forward. Is it inevitably going down the path of blowing-it-all-up?
Can the drama stop? Can the Dillon Brooks antics stop? Can Ja Morant not have a cringe news story come out during the season? Can they just focus on the basketball? This team is full of young talent, one of the best young guards in the league and a DPOY candidate every year in Jaren Jackson Jr., along with an insanely gifted shooter in Desmond Bane. Not to mention, plenty of depth sprinkled around them, with plenty of draft assets available to trade. The Grizzlies were rumored to have offered four draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Mikal Bridges, a deal that fell out at this year’s trade deadline. They have so much they can build, they just need to not let dumb things get in the way.
Do you trade Trae Young? I mean, right? Do you move on from the franchise superstar and call it wraps? Get as much as you can for him and get out? Probably not a bad idea. Young is one of the worst defenders in the league, short with a small stature, and a lack of effort and defensive IQ. But, he’s also one of the premier offensive players in the league, with elite lob-passing and scoring ability. Young, while having a down-shooting season, is also an excellent shooter. But, his refusal to put significant effort towards playing off-ball, and tweaking his play to assist Dejounte Murray, who, reminder, the Hawks traded three first round picks for (3 is really crazy when you think about it) is concerning. This team has been one of the most lost teams in the league, suffocating at just around .500. Jump ship before you end up like the Washington Wizards.
Oh, the Miami Heat. Do you get rid of Pat Riley? The current, albeit legendary President of Basketball Operations has truly put one of the most horrid rosters around superstar wing Jimmy Butler, while also handing out a wreckless contract extension to Duncan Robinson and an admittedly, retrospectively horrific signing of Kyle Lowry. The team just seems asleep at the wheel, they have one of the best coaches in the league, and significant talent, but a lack of outer depth to properly buoy the team. They also have an incredibly small amount of options, with a lack of significant draft capital to really do much of anything. It’s just such a shame to see this team fledgling and look so directionless. Maybe things will reveal themselves next season.
Can this team just start winning? And, more importantly, can they win the draft? Can they add a Victor Wembanyama, a Brandon Miller, a Scoot Henderson, an Ausar Thompson? This team doesn’t really need more talent, it just needs things to break the right way. A significant addition from the draft would help, but really they just need health and consistency. The talent on the roster isn’t half bad, and I like rookie center Mark Williams. Their coach, Steve Clifford, has done a solid job of generating buy-in to his defensive scheme, and I’m actually excited to see how that looks with LaMelo Ball next season, with his off-ball activity. I think things will ultimately resolve themselves for the Hornets, and they just need more time for things to figure themselves out and for roster pieces to start clicking.
I don’t really know what this organization wants. It seemed that they had expressed interest in tanking this season, with the roster construction, but they just won. A lot. Their new head coach, Will Hardy, did an excellent job, and Lauri Markkanen revealed himself as an all-star, but this team ultimately fell out of the play-in race. I guess, my main question would be, can this team find a direction? Do they want to build with Lauri, with the draft, or maybe they’re doing both? I just don’t know how fruitful being too good to be high in the draft order, while also being too bad to be in the play-in is.
Can you add defensive talent to this roster without giving too much up on offense? The Kings held the league’s best offensive rating ever, but there’s a reason there’s so much doubt surrounding this team going into the postseason. There is nowhere near enough defensive talent to properly bolster this team. But, you don’t wanna fix something that ain’t broke. I think the key for the Kings is finding two-way talent. I really think a player like Jarred Vanderbilt would be great for their team, the motor and athleticism to bloom in their quick-hitting offense, and the versatility as a rim protector and perimeter lockdown to give the Kings switch-ability on the defensive end. They’re a great story, but how will things shape out if they can’t make a playoff run, and just making the playoffs isn’t enough to satisfy Kings fans?
New York Knicks
Can the Knicks get the guy? Can the Knicks bring in a significant superstar, a spectacular addition, that allows star point guard Jalen Brunson and likely All-NBA forward Julius Randle to relax more into their roles? They have plenty of draft assets and a plethora of young talent, as well as the contracts to match. If the Knicks can get the right guy, the superstar, then things look better. They have a solid team, but not nearly enough to compete with the top teams in their conference.
Los Angeles Lakers
Is this the roster? Is this really the roster that, going into next season, could be a top-3 seed in the conference? The Lakers have had the best record in the West after the All-Star break. But, is that really enough? While I like the new additions of Jarred Vanderbilt, D’Angelo Russel, and Malik Beasley, is that really enough to make them contenders? Do you want to shell out the massive contract required for Russel? How about drafted, fan-favorite Austin Reaves, who could be looking at a sizable contract this offseason? I guess, while I like this team, and in theory it has solid pieces, I’m so unsure of what this team really is and what it can look like. What really is the ceiling, especially going into next season, as LeBron James ages another year, as well as an ever-injured Anthony Davis? It feels like the floor could fall out beneath them at any time if James declines. I guess, really the question is, can LeBron James continue to be great?
I will be the first to admit that I did not watch a lot of Magic games. I think the Magic’s biggest question is, will Paolo Banchero get better? And I am confident he will, to some degree, but the outside shot is concerning. Here is your franchise cornerstone, the guy who is supposed to carry you through the next couple seasons, and evolve into a top-10 player, and I have serious concerns about his ability to shoot the ball in a league that requires shooting more and more. While Paolo Banchero was not my Rookie of the Year, I respect his massive (literally) talent, and trust his playmaking ability, but when I watch him, I don’t see a top-10 player.
Wow, this team makes me sad. This team has the league’s most exciting young talent, an MVP caliber player since he was 20-21, and yet they have built such an ugly roster around him. The blunders are apparent. Let’s look back at the track record of the Mavericks’ moves around Luka Doncic: First round picks and contracts for Kristaps Porzingis (who they traded at last year’s trade deadline), a failure to make a contract extension with blooming star Jalen Brunson (who they let walk for nothing), and then, finally, a trade for headcase Kyrie Irving (who they traded Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and a 2029 first round pick for), who has one year left on his deal and very well could walk this offseason. Can the Mavericks keep Luka Doncic happy?
I love the Nets roster but I do wonder what exactly the ceiling is. Can Mikal Bridges continue to make offensive leaps? Can Cam Thomas add enough to his defense to earn more minutes? This team has all the supplemental pieces, championship-level role players and an excellent defense bolstered by DPOY candidate Nicolas Claxton, I guess you just wonder if they have enough offense to really push the needle. I want to see Cam Thomas, who seems to score 40 points any time he gets in the starting lineup, make improvements in his point-of-attack defense and help contribute to Nets switching scheme in at least some regard. I also want to see Mikal Bridges give us more and more of that offensive punch, and upgrade his passing to punish doubles and help. This team is exciting. I just want to see more from the pieces they already have.
Can we get more from Michael Porter Jr.? I mean, at this point, it feels like we already kind of know what we’re getting, elite shot-making, but sloppy defense. I would love to see Porter Jr. improve his defense, improve his help-rim protection, and give the Nuggets some more versatility in how they operate around Nikola Jokic’s lackluster defense as a center. The Nuggets are going to be good for awhile, I just think the supplemental pieces are going to have to reflect the 2011 Dallas Mavericks to some degree. How much defense can you put around Jokic without losing too much on offense?
The Pacers need wing-defense, bad. The Pacers had the 26th worst defensive rating in the league. Can the Pacers add someone in the draft to improve that? Best-case scenario, they grab Brandon Miller, a two-way wing who can shoot, create, pass, and defend (outside of the best case scenario being that they get the 1st overall pick and can draft generational prospect Victor Wembanyama). I also want to see Benedict Mathurin return to the level he started the year at. The shooting will regress to the mean, but I want to see more confidence and decisiveness in the shot. The defense needs to take a step up as well.
New Orleans Pelicans
Do you trade Zion Williamson? Is that really worth it? You have enough talent, enough of a supporting cast, along with the continued improvement of Brandon Ingram, that there is an argument that you move Williamson on for an All-NBA caliber player. Williamson has only played 114 (!!!) games in over four seasons in the league. The injuries are frequent and awkward, and have odd and ever-changing timelines. While Zion Williamson is one of the best prospects to ever come to the league, I have serious concerns about his health and his ability to remain on the court. It might be smart to move on from him while his value is still high.
Is Cade Cunningham returning healthy enough for this team to be significantly better? Cunningham has kind of become an afterthought over the course of the season, as a shin injury took him out for most of the year. We didn’t get to see any improvement, anything new really click for the young guard, so it’s going to be interesting next year to see how he fits in and finally gets to have his sophomore season. I’m excited for the Pistons and I think all of it centers around Cade Cunningham becoming an elite offensive player. Can he become that?
Can team president Masai Ujiri finally blow this team up? Or is he still holding onto the scraps of a 2019 championship team? Scottie Barnes, last year’s Rookie of the Year, has hit a wall and we haven’t seen much offensive improvement. The defense has slipped as well. Plus, there are some serious concerns about Scottie Barnes’ fit with Pascal Siakam, and oh, OG Anunoby, and oh yeah, this roster is full of 6 ‘8 wings with similar skill sets that it’s bound to make someone redundant in any lineup. This team has been teetering between lottery-bound and playoff-hungry. They need to clear the board, reset the pieces, and focus on improving Scottie Barnes and adding young pieces around him.
This team can’t lose next year. They legitimately can’t. They owe their 2024 first round pick to Oklahoma City, so losing is not much of an incentive. Can this team add a coach who can get serious buy-in from these players? Because this team was absolutely putrid in its offense, and was happy to allow anyone to the basket on defense. The James Harden rumors, which I talked about, I really don’t like from the Rockets point-of-view. You have two offensive guards who need to see improvement and need reps on the ball. Bringing in James Harden, I promise you, he will dribble that ball till it has no air left in it. Yes, Harden has had an elite season as a point guard and setting up his teammates, but I doubt we see that same Harden when he returns to his helio-centric stomping grounds and does not have a Joel Embiid to swallow up possessions. Just build upon what you have. Don’t get ahead of yourself because you’re so scared of losing.
Portland Trail Blazers
Please trade Damian Lillard. This relationship is getting toxic at this point. I know Damian Lillard wants to stay, he wants to be a one-jersey, one-team player. But this team has no realistic chance of improving around him. Can the Blazers move on from Lillard and build around an insanely talented young roster? Shaedon Sharpe has had a ridiculous stretch to end the season, putting up 20+ points on several occasions. Anfernee Simons had a case for Most Improved Player last season and is an insanely talented off-the-dribble, off-screens three point shooter. The team brought in Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish at the trade deadline, two young players who are interesting prospects. I just want to see this team not suffocate its youth under its overly ambitious goals.
San Antonio Spurs
If you are the Spurs, you are crossing your fingers that you get the 1st overall or even 2nd overall pick. This team desperately needs shotmaking and a player for an offense to be structured around, someone who can really move the needle. But, does legendary Coach Greg Popvich stay around? Even if the Spurs luck out and draft generational prospect Victor Wembanyama, will Coach Pop stay around for the ride? How does the Spurs culture change without him? How will things shape out in his absence? I don’t think people often think this much about a coach’s impact, but Popovich has had an elite history and control of an organization’s culture. I would love for him to stay around, to nurture the league’s best prospect since LeBron James, or even the super athlete Scoot Henderson, but I totally understand a 74 year old’s desire to retire.
Can Chris Paul not fall off a cliff? Chris Paul is age 38, turning 39 this playoffs, and his play has significantly taken a step down this season. I have serious concerns that Paul could only age worse, making a sort-of big three in Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul, into an elite two of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. The Suns have to win now and so ultimately their biggest question is do they win the championship or not? And if not, what moves need to be made around the edges to make this a championship level team?
Oklahoma City Thunder
I love this team. When do the Thunder become buyers? They have 3 insanely talented young players, an injured and resting Chet Holmgren, 15 (!!!) first round picks in the next five years, and they have an absolute superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. So, when do the Thunder decide, “Hey, we’re trading for this superstar.” Or, do they have enough confidence in their ability to draft, that they hold onto as much of their draft capital that they can. But, there’s a certain rule when it comes to drafting and scouting, never get too confident in your own evaluations. Now, if there is any exception to that rule, it would likely be Sam Presti, but (and this is a big but), this team needs to not get too high on its own stuff. You have had an insanely productive stretch of drafting and trades, don’t get too greedy. Build around what you have ascertained. This is the team that has the undeniable package, the package so insanely enticing, that teams will be willing to give up MVP-caliber players in return. I could see this team trading for a Jimmy Butler, a Kawhi Leonard, maybe even a Joel Embiid (although I doubt Embiid would be excited to live in Oklahoma City). All I’m saying is, what you’re doing is great, but don’t mistake the sky for the horizon, and end up lost in your own flood of young talent and draft picks you have no clue who to use on.
How soon before you have no other choice but to trade Rudy Gobert? The absolute mess that this team has become in a complete spiral of the last game of the season, punches thrown on the sideline, hands broken on walls, suspensions, lackluster chemistry, a team lacking any semblance of depth. This team has become ugly. Not to mention, Rudy Gobert was traded for four first round picks, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverly, oh and don’t forget, Rookie of the Year candidate Walker Kessler, who has served functionally as a Rudy Gobert-esque player, with a higher ceiling offensively. Rudy Gobert punching Kyle Anderson was a cherry on top. I can’t believe this team has fallen this low. The complete lack of chemistry, and the fact that Rudy Gobert’s contract is so expensive, this is looking like an inevitable Rudy Gobert trade. I don’t understand how we got here. But, it seems the Timberwolves might have to salvage their relationship with star Anthony Edwards by moving the French center to another team, for likely way less than they paid to bring him to Minnesota.
Golden State Warriors
Do you really let Draymond Green walk? The end of a dynasty, just like that, because you wanted to shell out a 140 million dollar contract to Jordan Poole, who has looked worth way less than his pay grade this year. I understand it has been messy. The Warriors two timeline vision has been way worse than “not working out.” It has arguably sabotaged their chances of winning a championship this year and the years to follow. The Warriors got greedy. They thought they could do something no team or organization has ever done. Because the truth is, you don’t find Steph Curry’s, Draymond Green’s, and Klay Thompson’s in the draft all the time. These caliber of players are rare. The NBA draft is a crapshoot, every year. Not even #1 overall picks are guaranteed to be anything. The Warriors tried to bridge two eras, but what really bothers me about it, is that they are taking for granted the franchise’s greatest player ever. This team should be true-blood contenders, but as they currently stand, they are a #6 seed who will have to play on the road in any Game 7 they play-in, and they have been horrid on the road this year. Leading into next year, the organization is forced to reflect. It’s creepy how much this reflects Michael Jordan’s tenure with the Chicago Bulls, where organizations and front offices can convince themselves that they are better than the players they drafted and put on the court. That these things are easily replicable. This team needs to take advantage of the talent they have. And get over the teams they could have in the future. Nothing is guaranteed for the future, but what is guaranteed is that you have Stephen Curry on your roster. Stop playing pretend championships for the future, and start putting the pieces together to win championships now.
Do you really want this to be the franchise? Is 35, 38, maybe even 42 win seasons this franchise’s destiny? Because if so, then this team needs to accept that they will never go anywhere. They can’t even make the play-in tournament. Nothing suggests that they are heading in the direction of winning basketball. This team would be better off losing every game than putting this same lackluster roster out next year and crossing their fingers that they get lucky. Who knows, they could get extremely lucky and jump up several spots to have a high draft pick. But, for all I’m concerned, this team does not have a track record of luck.
So, that’s it! That’s every team in the league, painstakingly covered and overthinked. Some teams have more pressing questions than others. Each team has its own angle and each team has its own issue to be resolved. It wouldn’t be the National Basketball Association if there wasn’t a flurry of drama surrounding every situation. The league is exciting, and before you have a panic attack about your team’s future, just enjoy this year’s playoffs (if your team made it). It’s a great time to be a fan, and there has never been so much talent. Don’t get too caught up on the future and miss the greatness in front of you.
Photo Caption: NBA Conference Finals are coming up Tuesday, May 16 for the West, and Wednesday, May 17 for the East.
by Drew Smith/Guest Writer
Photo Captions: Left, Jaren Jackson Jr., Power Forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, pictured right, Brook Lopez, Center for the Milwaukee Bucks.
What do you think when you hear Defensive Player of the Year? Do you see a 7-footer with great rim-protecting ability and shot-blocking numbers? Do you see the best defensive player on the best defensive team in the league, the justification used for Marcus Smart’s case for DPOY last year? Maybe it’s the premier wing-stopper who makes for a good highlight reel of show stopping ability and lockdowns. Maybe you’re a contrarian that looks at Dillon Brooks and Patrick Beverly and the antics are what butters your bread. In all, defense in the NBA is one of the hardest things to measure. So much of it is unable to be measured, and confusing advanced metrics often paint pictures that fail to fully reflect a player’s defensive impact. The two main defensive stats, steals and blocks, are the highlights, but also happen the least in the full scope of defensive possessions. This year’s race features two interesting figures, 35-year-old Milwaukee Buck–Brook Lopez, and the up-and-coming defensive star of the Memphis Grizzlies–Jaren Jackson Jr. Both have great cases and both lead two of the best defenses in the league. So, how do we properly dissect who is having the better defensive season?
Rim protection: the single most important defensive factor in basketball. Making sure players have a hard time converting the most efficient baskets is clearly valuable. Both players are having particularly great seasons protecting the rim, but in different ways. Brook Lopez plays a key role in Milwaukee’s pick-and-roll coverage, and has taken significant steps this year in evolving in it. Lopez, in seasons before, played a heavy drop coverage, encouraging players to shoot coming off of screens and shoot a lot. But, this season, Lopez has played much more at the level of the screen, and has handled it well. His feet move with solid pace and help contain ball handlers from raining in jumpers all day, while still applying significant rim protection. Lopez stands at a towering 7’1 with a giant wingspan of 7′ 6, not to mention built like a brickhouse, weighing in at 282 lbs. He is averaging 2.5 blocks per game with a 6.8% block percentage (an estimate of the percentage of 2-point field goal attempts blocked by the player while they’re on the floor). For context, those are some of the best numbers in the league. But, what do these numbers really tell us?
Sure, Lopez is getting a lot of blocks, but as I indicated earlier, that doesn’t nearly tell the whole story. At the end of the day, what does Lopez do so much better than others that makes him a clear candidate for DPOY? For that, we have to go to the tape. Three things really pop when watching Brook Lopez film: 1) This dude moves his feet so well, 2) For a guy his size, his activity level and play involvement is impressive, and 3) This guy is just huge!!! Yes, Lopez has enough lateral quickness and hip-swiveling to contain ball handlers, but his biggest advantage is his enormous arms. Contesting shots is just easier for him than most players. He basically walks the perfect line between being close enough to screening actions to still use his gargantuan size to make pull-ups difficult, but also being far enough back that he doesn’t have to move too much to meet players on drives to the rim. It helps to have the perimeter nightmares that are Jrue Holiday and the pesky Jevon Carter, but in my honest opinion, there isn’t anyone else in the league that I would want guarding the league’s favorite action (pick-and-roll) than Brook Lopez. He also has a great level of activity, not losing sight of developing plays, and great at moving all that mass to affect shots.
But, what does Jaren Jackson Jr. do? How is he one of the league’s premier shot blockers, playing at power forward? What value does JJJ bring? Jackson plays a role as a roamer. Put him on the opposing team’s worst 3 point shooter, and let him stalk plays and protect the rim. JJJ plays best away from the screening actions, and showing up as a superhero to stop plays when the rest of the defense breaks down. He’s the league’s best athletic executive, serving as a cleaner-upper of breakdowns. Someone gets crossed over and loses their man? JJJ’s there to clean it up. The big struggles to contain his man and the ball handler, giving up the backline lob? JJJ’s there to clean it up. Someone unable to fight through the screening action? JJJ’s there to use his lateral quickness and instincts to switch out on the perimeter. Jaren Jackson Jr. is the league’s best magic-eraser, there to remove any mistake made in glowing fashion.
But JJJ has one glaring issue: fouling. And fouling a lot. Jackson has struggled with this for a long time, and in past years, it has made him nearly unplayable. Part of what makes him so effective at the rim (averaging 3.1 blocks per game), is what also makes him, at times, so unplayable (averaging 3.6 personal fouls per game). JJJ’s heroics often entail him flying at players, attempting to stop shots by flinging his large body, hurling himself towards the play. And why does he do this? Because he wants to block every shot! He’s not just going for the stop, he’s going for the show-stopping spike. But, I think JJJ could benefit from slowing down, just a bit. Play more straight up defense, don’t just go for the plays, because at the end of the day, his most valuable trait is being out there. Be on the court to defer players away and affect shots. Obviously, I don’t want Jaren Jackson Jr. to change how he plays, but change his goal.
Watching JJJ’s tape, it’s very clear that he’s an athletic, shot-blocking freak. His timing is impeccable, and boy, does he have a second jump! I love him on isolations, against bigger players, he’s got the quickness to swallow them up, and against quick-twitch guards, he has the length to contest a shot from behind, even if he isn’t able to keep his man in front of him. He’s versatile in the pick and roll, possessing the speed to blitz and play at the level, while having the clear abilities to play in a drop. I think Jackson’s biggest question is why he struggles with fouls as much when his frontcourt teammate, center Steven Adams, is out of the line-up. My best guess is that Jackson goes into full superhero mode and without Adams’ additional rim protection, he feels he has to clean up a lot more. He’s also just plainly more engaged and going to be involved in more screening actions when placed in the line-up at center. To me, it makes sense that his foul rate increases without Adams on the court. Nothing to particularly worry about.
So where does this leave us? What can we ultimately draw from this discussion? I think both players have great cases, and to be honest, could care less about who actually wins it. Who is having the better defensive season? Probably Lopez, just purely based on his activity level and what he has brought to the Milwaukee pick-and-roll coverage. I’m also less concerned with him fouling out. But, JJJ has had an incredible season. Both players ultimately play different roles in their defenses. Team fit plays a huge part in how these players make plays on the defensive end. Brook Lopez has a roamer on his team, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who helps clean up his mistakes, and Jaren Jackson Jr. has a Lopez-type on his team, Steven Adams, who helps take on the pick-and-roll coverage. I think, more than anything, it’s never been more exciting to see these guys play, and you’re missing out when you don’t tune into their games.
by DJ Ramirez/Staff Writer
Photo Caption: Josh Allen (second row fourth down on the right), Avery Young (second row second on the right), Tyler Young (bottom row 4th to the right, Xavier Robinson (second row first person, Andrew Munden (bottom row 5th to the right), Jon Smith (bottom row second person), Corbin Elliot (top row, 5th person to the right), Bryce Hasty (bottom row third person).
The Greenfield Central boys golf season is coming up. Last year, Josh and Tyler Young were the top two on the team and have returned. They ended last year’s season with a 2-5 overall record. With the season starting, some students on the team were asked a couple of questions. Xavier Robinson,11, explained what golf means to him and what he does to get ready. “Golf is a big part of my life especially during the summer. I started playing golf when I was eight years old.”
Robinson said during golf season he tries to play nine holes every day. “I usually practice my putting or chipping to get ready before a match,” he said. “My favorite golf memory would be the time that I shot a 38. My goal for this season is to have my best round under 40,” Xavier said.
Josh Allen, grade 12, said when asked about his golf life and what it means to him, “Golf means a lot to me. It’s a sport that you can play through your entire lifetime. I started playing when I was 11. I work on my swing and keep things in line so that when the season comes up I’m prepared. To get ready for the season, my varsity teammates and I will go out and help each other get better. My favorite golf memories are usually just being with the team because we are all so close and good friends. My goals this season would be the entire team move on to regionals and maybe get myself into state.”
Andrew Munden, grade 10, another player, answered,”Golf is a way for me to get away from everything going on in my life and be at peace with myself. It is also a good way to socialize if you play with your friends. I started playing golf when I was 12. When it is nice outside, I play golf 3-4 times a week. To get ready for the season, I practice my putting indoors and hit balls on simulators and heated driving ranges.My favorite golf memory is when I shot my best score ever with one of my friends and his dad. My goals this season are to improve my scoring average and have a varsity spot all year.”
Another golfer, Jonathan Smith, grade 10, said, “Golf is a way for me to get away. I get to meet a lot of new people, and spend time with friends.I started playing when I was about 11.I train or play 9 about 2-3 times a week, but most of the time I go with friends or family. To get ready for the season I practice and play a lot. My favorite golf memory is when I was playing with my dad and some of our friends. We ended up scoring pretty good and had so much fun.My goals are to play varsity like last year.” Andrew ended the interview with some motivation.”If you’re wanting to start or get better at golf, just know its process but if you put the work in, you can achieve what you want.”
Josh Allen(second row fourth down on the right.), Avery young(second row second on the right), Tyler Young(bottom row 4th to the right , Xavier Robinson(second row first person, Andrew Munden(bottom row 5th to the right, Jon smith(bottom row second person), Corbin Elliot(top row, 5th person to the right), Bryce hasty(bottom row third person