The James Madison University Women’s Basketball team finished the 2011-2012 season with a 29-8 record and a trip to Women’s National Invitational Tournament Finals (WNIT). Like recent years past, the Dukes once again brought bragging rights back to Harrisonburg with a successful season for JMU.

In each of the past seven seasons the Dukes have been able to acquire more than 20 wins and reach a postseason tournament, NCAA or WNIT. This season James Madison was able to reach 29 wins, setting the school record for most wins in a season. The Dukes were also able to advance to the WNIT Finals for the first time under Head Coach Kenny Brooks and were able to defeat teams from powerhouse conferences, such as the ACC and Big East.

Team MVP and starting guard, junior Tarik Hislop mentioned, “This season was just the beginning of what this team is capable of accomplishing.”

This accomplishment is greatly due to the team’s talent, with each member of the starting lineup earning CAA postseason awards, including representatives on the All-CAA Defensive Team, All-CAA 2nd and 3rd Teams, and the All-CAA Rookie Team. However, the Dukes will not credit their success to talent, but instead hard work.

Tri-Captain and junior forward, Nikki Newman credits the team’s success to “having pride in this program and working hard everyday.” She also mentioned team chemistry, and everyone working together to achieve the same goal was an important factor.

Becoming a member of the JMU Women’s Basketball team stands for much more than playing basketball. The team takes their relationships with each other very seriously. Many of the players and coaches consider the team to be a family on and off the court.

Hislop stated, “My relationship with my teammates is very special; we do everything together and they are like my sisters.”

Head Coach Kenny Brooks takes this idea of family to extremes holding team gatherings at his house, involving the team with his wife and daughters, and ultimately providing a second home for the girls.

Every great player must make their start somewhere, and the Dukes take pride in helping and building on the transition of new freshmen players being “born into” the family. This transition, however, is no easy route, as the staff looks to recruit only players who they think will be coachable and have a positive attitude towards teammates, coaches, and officials.

Brooks says, “We want people who work hard, buy-in, and support what we do here at Madison.”

This hard work attitude is one single trait that the members of this diverse family have in common. It is vital to the growth and betterment of each member, as well as the team as a whole. Brooks mentions that the intensity of his practices must be very high and model the competition the players will see in games so that they are able to get better every day.

Consecutive CAA titles in 2010 and 2011 are certainly the product of this hard work for the Dukes. The Dukes’ respectable run in the WNIT proves a successful season, placing Madison as the CAA runner-up to nationally ranked Delaware, and its NCAA leading scorer Elena Delle Donne.

“It stung not winning a three-peat or getting into the NCAA’s, but our journey with the WNIT was just as great and we learned a lot from that,” Newman pointed out.

Coach Brooks hopes the loss will reiterate the principle of hard work. It should help the team stay focused and determined to return to the throne as CAA Champion next season. If that “stinging” loss weren’t enough to fuel the Dukes, Brooks’ locker room bulletin board with clips from newspapers and the words “GET IT BACK” should provide motivation for the upcoming season and the clean slate that comes with it. The new team motto, “Get It Back”, is part of Coach Brooks’ plan to help his team realize the goal they must work towards as a family for next season.

In the words of Coach Brooks, “When you get a whole team and support staff on the same page, success will follow.”

A Path Less Taken

Posted: May 1, 2012 by Brian Delaporte in Uncategorized

Four points away from a shot at Nationals.

One overtime point away from beating a top-ranked team in the nation.

The James Madison University Men’s Club Basketball team experienced a great deal of success this 2011/2012 season, compiling an impressive resume of 35 wins and 11 losses.

“We finished with 18 double digit victories and just two double digit losses,” said senior coach Luke Atwood.

“We beat every single team that we played at least once, with the exception of East Carolina University and Virginia Tech,” added Atwood. “We beat a national semifinalist [Villanova] and lost to a national finalist by 4 [Howard]. We have good reason to be proud of our accomplishments.”

Indeed they do.

One key reason for the team’s success this season was 6’5, 200 pound junior Andrew Register.

Andrew almost wasn’t a part of that team.

In the fall of 2008, the Rustin Golden Knights football team saw themselves in the Regional Playoffs against rival high school Strathhaven.

“That’s when it first happened,” says Register. “It was a running play. I went to hit the running back up the middle with my shoulder and just felt a pop.”

Register lay on the field for a mere matter of seconds until he felt his shoulder painfully slide back into place. He played the rest of the game and scored the winning touchdown.

“It definitely hurt. A lot,” says Register. “But in those moments you don’t really think about the pain. Adrenaline takes over and you just play through it.”

Register not only played the rest of his high school senior football season with a bummed shoulder, but his basketball season as well. It wasn’t until December 2010, over a year later, that he decided it was finally time to repair his torn labrum.

“There’s never really a good time for an injury, or to have surgery,” says Register. “When you finish one sport, it’s on to the next one. And when school’s over, it’s time for summer and then college”.

And who can blame him? Being in a sling is terrible to begin with, but your dominant arm in a sling?

Now that’s a whole different story.

“I couldn’t write or type, and in college, well that’s a problem,” Register laughed. “I had to learn to do everything with my left hand, from eating to brushing my teeth.”

Yet those things failed in comparison to Andrew’s inability to shoot a basketball.

“I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I was definitely experiencing withdrawal,” says Register. “I’ve played sports my whole life, and tearing my shoulder was really the first time I had ever had them [sports] taken away from me. That was the first time I realized how much I took something like playing basketball for granted.”

Register’s high school friend and freshman roommate, Shawn Thornton, says he noticed a definitive difference in Andrew’s attitude and demeanor post-surgery.

“You could just kind of tell something wasn’t quite there with him,” explained Thornton. “The shoulder threw him for a loop if you ask me. He didn’t know how to occupy his time.”

Among finding ways to occupy his time, Register underwent four months of physical therapy that spring to re-strengthen his shoulder, four times a week. That summer he told himself he’d get back to playing basketball, something he undoubtedly had looked forward to.

“The first time I stepped back onto the court, I definitely wasn’t myself,” says Register. “I basically shot three-pointers the whole time. I didn’t want make contact with anybody or get hit, and that was difficult to do. That’s not how I like to play.”

“I told myself that needed to get back to the player I was, the player I knew I could still be.”

That’s exactly what he did.

Spending most of the summer in the weight room and at the gym, Andrew slowly built his shoulder and overall strength back up. As the next fall semester began at JMU, he planned to try out for the club team, something he had always anticipated on doing.

That fall however, he missed tryouts.

“To be honest I was pissed,” simply stated Register.

The next year, this past fall, Andrew finally got his shot. With only four roster spots to fill on the team and 30 plus people trying out, his chances of making the team weren’t great.

But they were enough.

“As a coach, what I was looking for was someone who knew how to do all the little things, namely rebound and play defense,” stated Coach Atwood. “Andrew is able to do just that, and then some.”

After beating Villanova in the championship game of Pennsylvania State University’s home tournament this semester, the Dukes Club team advanced to their regional tournament hosted by Old Dominion University. The tournament requires each team to submit a limited roster of 12, the winner moving on to Club Nationals.

Andrew was one of the 12 players selected, and the only rookie.

“It was definitely special for me,” says Register. “I knew I had been playing well, but making that 12-man roster really boosted my confidence and indicated that I was back to the player I knew I could be.”

Andrew’s level of play advanced the team to the regional championship game, where the Dukes late season push was ended in a four-point deficit to Howard University.

“He was a big contributor for our team’s success this season, no doubt,” said fellow teammate Patrick Hart of Register.

Aside from his coach’s and teammates’ acknowledgements and support, it seems as though Andrew made a few new friends since joining the team as well.

“Now just cause he [Register] was a contributor, doesn’t mean he didn’t get posterized [dunked on] like seven times this semester,” laughed Hart.

“He’s the laziest kid out there,” jokingly exclaimed Register in response to Hart’s more “light-hearted” comments.

Sometimes misfortunes tend to transpire for unknown reasons.

And sometimes things in life just seem to fall into place in all the right ways.



Andrew Register:

Phone:  484-883-1677


Luke Atwood, JMU Men’s Club Basketball Coach:


Shawn Thornton, Roommate:

Phone:  610-715-7160


Patrick Hart, Teammate:

Phone:  732-948-6146


By: Houston Stutz

Last week I mentioned teams that disappointed, but at the end of my post I stated, “JMU does have teams who can live up to their expectations.”

The JMU Women’s Basketball Dukes are a team who usually lives up to expectations and perform well, so this week they will be in the spotlight for this JMU Sports blog.

Of course the women’s basketball team performed well this year, as they have done a lot of under Head Coach Kenny Brooks in his 10 seasons here.

The debate this year for the Dukes, though, was were they good enough to make the NCAA Tournament? The Dukes finished second in the CAA behind nationally ranked Delaware, but they lost in the CAA Tournament Semi-Finals to Drexel, which really hurt their chances since they were a team “on the bubble.”

OK, that really hurt JMU Nation and all the players as each of them left the Showcase Arena in tears.

Did it work out for the better though? Was that loss a blessing? The Dukes did not get their NCAA Tournament bid, which really angered Coach Brooks because of the resume they had over a certain school that got in (Cough, Cough MTSU). Coach Brooks certainly showed his anger to his followers on Twitter. Here is a picture of his tweets that night.

Screenshot Taken From Kenny Brooks Twitter Page

Everyone was upset, but not getting in meant an automatic WNIT bid for being the first school in the conference standings to not get in the NCAA Tournament.

Obviously the NCAA Tournament is the big prize in college basketball and it’s where all players dream to play. Nobody dreams of the WNIT, but honestly it was probably better for a mid-major school like JMU.

Look at this way, where there are plenty of positives.

JMU got five extra home games. That means five more JMU Clubs could run the concessions and make money. JMU fans got to see their pride and joy play five more times at home. JMU also got to sell tickets and make a little bit more money. Some did go to the WNIT I’m sure.

The Dukes got to play longer. JMU got to play more competition on their level, instead of possibly going to the NCAA Tournament and losing first round.

JMU set attendance records and really had a hostile environment. There were over 4,000 people in Convo for the win over Syracuse in the semi-finals. It really gave the women’s program a new excitement it hasn’t had. Students showed up and there were actually people yelling and screaming, besides the JMU Pep Band.

Besides getting a good chunk of change from the NCAA for making the tournament, I don’t see much JMU Nation missed out on. Even that, though, doesn’t hurt as bad because of the five games at home. Plus, if the excitement that was around at the end of the season can stay for next year, then the Dukes have a lot to look forward to!


Did Yanks Get Damaged Goods?

Posted: April 27, 2012 by Brian Delaporte in Uncategorized

Photo of the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


Some say that timing is everything.

Well in that case, the timing of Michael Pineda’s injury sucks.

23-years-old and a torn labrum…


It’s unlikely that when the Yankees traded for starting pitcher Michael Pineda this past off-season, they had anticipated him warming the bench, rather than up on the mound every fifth day.

At 6’7 and 260 pounds, Pineda was the center piece of the Yankees off-season acquisitions, and at a position in which they clearly needed help.

In his rookie season just a year ago, Pineda was 8-6 as a starter for the Mariners with a 3.03 ERA at the All-Star break. His velocity was up to 98 MPH, and it seemed as if CC Sabathia would be pitching twice every five days for the Yanks in 2012.

That won’t be the case.

The 23-year-old’s shoulder injury will likely keep him off the mound for a minimum of one year, and seemingly makes what was finally one of the Yankee’s strengths this season, into somewhat of a weakness moving forward.

Pineda has not started a game this season due to the injury, which leaves some fans entertaining the question:

Did the Seattle Mariners knowingly trade an injured player?

Here are a few reasons as to why this speculation might just add up in all the right ways.

A.  Pineda’s numbers after the 2011 All-Star break.

In the second half of last season, Pineda only went 1-4 as a starter for the Mariners with a 5.12 ERA. In addition, his velocity fell staggeringly from 98 MPH to 90 MPH.

In baseball, the slightest dip in velocity for a pitcher can mean the difference between strikeouts and homeruns.

These are signs that either Pineda struggled the second half of his rookie year, OR that he had been fighting an injury.

B.  Who the Mariners acquired in the Pineda trade.

Obviously the Mariners weren’t going to just give up their top young pitching prospect without first being compensated.

And boy, were they ever.

Jesus Montaro had been the Yankees’ top minor league prospect for a number of years. He’s a solid catcher and a phenomenal hitter, as shown by his minor league statistics.

A coveted young player, the Mariners were willing to give up Pineda for Montaro without too many qualms. Could this be because the Mariners’ organization knew Pineda was injured, thereby acquiring a young player in Montaro to build their team around and essentially giving up nothing?

Mariners’ Gerneral Manager Jack Zduriencik has denied the idea of trading the Yankees an injured player, and Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has said he does not believe Pineda was injured before the Yanks traded for him, and that he passed all team physicals before the trade went down.

Still, Yankees fans are left only to ponder at some of the sketchy details surrounding this trade.

Zduriencik’s “unethical motives” in making this trade may seem farfetched, an easy scapegoat, or even just the New York media poking a stick into the bee hive that is Michael Pineda’s torn labrum.

But then again…

I guess we’ll never really know.

Tonight’s the night. The NFL Draft kicks off at 7pm and every team will take turns choosing players fresh out of college to help their team sell jerseys win a championship. In light of the occasion I decided to look back on the 4 (I know, it’s a weird number but it’s my blog an I can do what I want) best and worst players the Philadelphia Eagles have ever drafted. Here we go:

Photo of the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

The Best:

1. Chuck Bednarik (1949) – “Concrete Charlie” as we like to call him. This Hall of Famer was not only  intimidating even by today’s standards; he played various positions, was selected to 10 All-Pro teams, and led the Eagles to win 2 championships (before it was called the Super Bowl). So what if the old man is extremely bitter and complains about the new NFL? He could still beat the snot out of pretty much anyone.

2. Steve Van Buren (1944) – Another Philadelphia favorite from those classic championship teams. Chosen 5th overall, this halfback would become the league’s leading rusher in just his second year. Not to mention he just happened to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. He is one of the greats of the past who will never be forgotten.

3. Reggie White (1985…kinda) – “The Minister of Defense” was the most intimidating man on that powerful Eagles defense of the early 90s. He owns the most sacks in team history and his overall numbers got him into the Hall. The interesting thing is, he technically played in the now extinct USFL league before being drafted by the Eagles . Above all else, he was an incredible human being who carried his views of religion and peace with him into all aspects of his life. His passing in 2004 left a hole in our hearts. Another favorite of ours, and a life that was taken far too soon.

4. Brian Dawkins (1996) – Recently-retired just a few days ago, this is another frighteningly intimidating player on the field and genuinely good person off of it. His numbers have solidified his spot as the best safety to ever play the game, and will undoubtedly be selected for the Hall of Fame. Not only that, his hard work and toughness gave this city an identity and a figure to rally behind. His values coincided with those of the city’s, and we never forgot that. You will rarely see a more respectful player in the current football era. Cheers to a great career, Dawk.

The Worst

1. Kevin Allen (1985) – Allen was the team’s first round pick in the ’85 draft, and first round picks are supposed to be superstars with long careers, right?! If by superstar you mean flop and by long career you mean prison sentence, than yes. After an abysmal rookie season (head coach Buddy Ryan even publicly criticized him) Allen later tested positive for cocaine. He followed that performance up with a sexual assault charge soon after. The only uniform he wore from then on was an all-orange jumpsuit.

2. Mike Mamula (1995) – The Eagles picked this bum up after a strong showing at the NFL Combine where teams scout players as they workout. So the birds decided to waste their first pick on solely that. Well, he proved everyone wrong and it didn’t take nearly the six years of gross under-performing for the city to realize what a waste of a pick he was. Today he is only remembered as a lesson to teams not to judge players only on their NFL Combine performance. I can’t believe I actually had a jersey of this guy, but it did make a pretty good dust rag. Coach Andy Reid would have been more satisfied drafting a meatball hoagie.

3. Bernard Williams (1994) – We took this offensive tackle in the first round, hoping he had a lot of potential. He did have a lot of something…drugs…in his system. Williams failed the drug test not one, not two, but FIFTEEN times over the course of his short career. He was permanently banned from the NFL and tried various other leagues. After some hopping around he ended up in the failed Xtreme Football League where dreams and brain cells go to die.

4.Freddie Mitchell (2001) – I call this one the “ugh” pick. On one hand, he made one of the greatest catches of all time which we now call “4th and 26”. If he would have just shut his yapper, he would be beloved in Philadelphia. Instead he went on to prove that he was not just a tool, he was the entire Home Depot. The mold for many wide receivers is cocky and talented. Freddie got the first part down, but he left out the talented part. He talked a big game and couldn’t back it up. And now he is most likely working at a 7-11 in Texas.

Enjoy the draft everyone!

By: Houston Stutz

Photo of  the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

With it being Spring and the school year almost over, that means everyone is already talking about next year in JMU Sports.

The Spring Scrimmage is Saturday for the football team and it will give everyone a first glance at the team, which looks to knock off the West Virginia Mountaineers on September 15.

JMU Football is said to have the top recruiting class in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for next season. With a playoff appearance this past season, JMU Nation is only hoping the Dukes will improve and we can all celebrate a national championship.

What if the class is a big flop? JMU Nation will be highly upset and some may even want Mickey Matthews out of Harrisonburg. A lot can change in sports in a short amount of time with injuries or discipline issues like last season.

JMU received a lot of hype last season only to lose our starting quarterback a few games in. The team still made the playoffs, but could the chemistry have improved and JMU made it further with a starter who played all season?

What about JMU Baseball?

The Diamond Dukes were predicted to win the CAA again, but late in the season they are battling to even qualify for the CAA Tournament. One suspension and a few injuries seemed to have hurt their season drastically.

Or JMU Basketball?

The Dukes just recently signed Serbian forward Dimitrije Cabarkapa, which adds some hype to next season since everyone is trying to forget about this last season. JMU Basketball was also predicted to at least be decent in basketball this past season and finish behind conference powerhouses, GMU, VCU, and ODU. Instead, the Dukes were struggling to keep enough players ready to play and win at home.

The Dukes will have a great chance to finish well, with many players returning to the lineup.

I’d rather not here anything about JMU Sports in their respected offseason, because when I do I think to myself, “Alright, that’s a key addition, I can’t wait to see them next year! The future is looking good.”

But, I always set myself up for heartbreak when something wild happens or the teams just decide to not show up.

This year, though, Cross Country won the CAA Championship and so did the Swimming and Diving team. I never heard a thing about these teams in the offseason. (But then again these teams do not receive the media coverage they deserve.) It’s always a nice surprise to click on and read about a championship I didn’t expect, rather than how good a team is predicted to do or the disappointment of losing due to preseason polls.

What if every season was a surprise and no one knew what was expected of a team or had high expectations?

I know this can’t happen in reality. Sports Journalists cannot just take off work, as well. They need to have something to write about.

In a perfect world, wouldn’t you like to see less preseason talk, so the end result can always seem a little bit better?

Do not forget, though, JMU does have teams who can live up to their expectations like Men’s Soccer (NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance), Women’s Basketball (WNIT Finals), and others previously mentioned.

Former Philadelpia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb stated today that he believes he is Hall of Fame worthy, and went on to say that he would vote for himself if he could.

I would vote myself for the Hall of Fame and I played with probably two or three Hall of Famershe told Let’s get one thing out of the way: the fact that is where he needs to go to to generate publicity for his Hall of Fame cause just shows how far this man has fallen from grace.

Photo of the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Yes, McNabb is without question the greatest quarterback in Eagles history. But that’s not hard to do. We’ve had some great teams over the years but they didn’t usually center around the QB. Ron Jaworski put up great numbers, but he wasn’t really the star of that 80s team. Randall Cunningham was an amazingly gifted athelete, but his teams were mainly focused around their stellar defense.

McNabb’s numbers are there, I will give him that. He was amazingly consistent at least in his Philadelphia years. I’ll even ignore his comment that he played at his peak physical condition his the final years in Washington and Minnesota (is that why you were pulled for backups both years, Donnie?). But we have to remember that the Hall of Fame voters are humans, not robots, and McNabb didn’t have it when it counted.

When these voters see McNabb’s name on the ballot and think back on his career what will they remember? Well, most likely his reputation, which is that he can’t seal the deal. They will remember 4 conference championship losses with the Super Bowl in plain sight. They will remember one Super Bowl drive for the go ahead win where he keeled over and threw up as the clock was winding down. They will remember that as soon as he played in a system that wasn’t Andy Reid’s he looked like a deer in headlights.

They will then look at all the other quarterbacks eligible for the Hall that played around the same time including Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rogers, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, and Drew Brees. They will look at their accomplishments, and how McNabb was given more to work with but produced less.

And of course, they will look at his hand and see no Super Bowl rings. If the guy could have mustered one in all of those chances, he would be a shoe in. There is no question McNabb would be enshrined in Canton, Ohio if he would have delivered the Eagles’ first and only league championship win. But he didn’t. And he had many many chances.

Now don’t get me wrong, I would like to see Donovan make it into the Hall. I think he’s a genuinely good guy, he holds many team records, and he was very consistent (his 04 season was godly). But voters are going to be looking for something that stands out and with those other quarterbacks as his peers, being consistently pretty good might not cut it. Donovan, maybe I’m wrong. Either way, best of luck to you.

Now, does anyone else have a craving for some Campbell’s Chunky Soup?