Introducing the #1 8th and 9th Graders in the Nation Marvin Bagley III and Cody Riley (Video)

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We here at #TTO love being on the cutting edge, and we are going to introduce you to the top 8th and 9th graders in the nation. Marvin Bagley III, of Arizona, is a 6-10 phenom who is dominating the middle school circuit and exhibits excellent skill and athleticisim for a 6-10 14 year old! While Cody Riley, the top 9th grader in the nation has led his California Basketball Club team to back-to-back AAU national championship  with a combination of skill, athletic ability and BRUTE physical force.  Enjoy these videos and leave a comment because we would love your feedback!!!!

Marvin Bagley III Highlight #1

Marvin Bagley III Highlight #2

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Cody Riley Highlight #1

Cody Riley Highlight #2 (8th Grade)

Thon Maker: 7 Foot High School Sophomore Phenom is NEXT

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Thon Maker is currently dominating High School hoops for Carlisle High in Virginia, while running with one of the original AAU programs Boo Williams Elite. This young man is originally from Australia with a skill-set to DIE for. He can shoot, dribble, rebound, defend and TAKE COACHING! He measured 7.05″ feet at the LeBron James Skills Academy, while weighing in at 200 pounds. The sky is the limit for this young man and we her at the #TTO are truly looking forward to monitoring his development as he breaks onto the national stage. Here are some videos of Maker for to wet your appetite. 

Jermaine Samuels and Kimani Lawrence are NEXT: By @ProfessorCorria

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Jermaine Samuels and Kimani Lawrence are two great freshman basketball players in the New England Area that are slightly under the radar to the “mainstream”, but are supremely talented and I have personally seen them dominate some of the top competition in the United States. Samuels is a 6-6 Forward from Franklin, Massachusetts, who is a highly skilled athlete with a GREAT motor. He plays AAU ball for Expressions Elite and attends Rivers Prep School. This young man is easily one of the top 30 players in the Country and is already receiving offers from D-1 Programs, including URI.

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Kimani Lawrence is a 6-5 Forward from Providence, Rhode Island, whom is a smooth athlete with a great overall floor game. The maturation he has made since we saw him balling up for Zuccolo Recreation to now is amazing. He plays AAU for Expressions Elite, and attends Cushing Academy in Massachusetts, which will develop and nurture his talent. Lawrence has a very high ceiling and when it’s all said and done could easily be a top 40 player in his class nationally. If this young man was playing in the R.I.I.L. his name would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but he is FAR better off playing ball at Cushing Prep.

Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

College football no longer has a defending national champion. The formally #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide tasted defeat for the first time Saturday, and must prepare to relinquish the title belt come January 6th. The Tide lost a heart-breaker to their in state/arch rival Auburn, in the year end clash known as, The Iron Bowl. In a finish that was EASILY the craziest I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes, the Tigers trumped the Tide and punched their ticket to Atlanta for the SEC title game. Below I’ll dissect this weekends 4 marquee conference titles games, and unveil the new BCS top 10.

  1. Florida State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Auburn
  4. Alabama
  5. Missouri
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. Stanford
  8. South Carolina
  9. Baylor
  10. Michigan State

ACC Championship Game- The newly minted #1 Seminoles of Florida State have just one hurdle in their way in order to punch their ticket to Pasadena. That hurdle comes in the form of the Duke Blue Devils, easily the countries most surprising team this season. Duke clinched their first ever 10 win season on Saturday after besting rival North Carolina, and will make their first appearance in the conference title game. Duke coach David Cutcliffe seems to be a shoe in for national coach of the year with the exceptional job he’s done turning around this once dismal program. Cinderella story aside, the Blue Devils may have finally met their match. FSU is without a doubt the best and most complete team in the country. There is not a single hole anywhere on this Florida State roster, and with the BCS title game in their sights, you better believe coach Jimbo Fisher will have his team exhibiting laser focus Saturday. Couple that with the superior athletes on FSU’s side, and most are expecting a runaway victory for the Noles.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Pittsburgh

Big 10 Championship Game- The only fans in the country who were happier than Auburn fans Saturday night, were those in Columbus. With Alabama going down, Ohio State finally found itself on the inside looking out after nearly two years. Now at #2, the Buckeyes find themselves one win away from reaching the Rose Bowl to play in the BCS title game. Michigan State and the nations #1 defense stands in their way. All year Big 10 folks have wondered what would happen if OSU’s high powered O, met Sparty’s vaunted D, on Saturday evening we find out. All the talk has been about QB Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes wide receivers but Carlos Hyde is a MAN, and one of the more under appreciated players in the nation. I personally believe this game will be decided when the Spartans have the ball. The Michigan State offense hasn’t scared many folks this year, but yet the OSU defense can’t seem to stop a nosebleed. The Buckeyes enter the game as a slight favorite, but I’m having a hard time having any confidence in Urban Meyer’s squad, now that they control their own destiny.

SEC Championship Game- Riding high off of their miracle win over Bama, the Auburn Tigers now find themselves in the spot Ohio State’s been in for weeks, spot #3. They draw the SEC east champion, Missouri Tigers in the Georgia Dome, Saturday afternoon. A stingy defense, filthy receiving corp, and clutch quarterbacking has vaulted Mizzou to the top of the SEC east. Senior James Franklin is back at the helm after a mid-season shoulder injury and he’s the leader the Tigers will need if they want to hoist the SEC crown. Auburn will have to take their momentum into the Georgia Dome and again rely on the arm of QB Nick Marshall to lead them to victory. Unfortunately for both teams, winning this game may just be a consolation prize, as I wouldn’t expect either to pass the Buckeyes in the polls if OSU beats Michigan State. Of course, if Ohio State losses (wouldn’t surprise me) the winner of the SEC title game would then head to Pasadena, to play for it all.

Pac 12 Championship Game- I know you were expecting hurry up offense, scat backs everywhere, beautifully hideous uniforms (had a nice ring to it) in this game but, nope, no Ducks. Just grown men, smash mouth football, and traditional uni’s, kinda. The Arizona State Sun Devils will host the Stanford Cardinal in this year’s title game. The Cardinal come in as the national power, who dismantled the conference favorites earlier in the season. The Sun Devils come in with a chip on their shoulder, as the national media has seemed to neglect that they even exist, let alone that they’re on the verge of a Rose Bowl birth. Even with a loss, the Cardinal may receive a BCS at-large bid, but of course they’d like to keep it rolling with a victory. Winning this game is the only way for Arizona State to make a BCS appearance. Expect them to be ready, and Tempe to be rocking.

Extra Point- I would like to sincerely thank the Big 12 conference for NOT having a conference title game, thus forcing me to explain the scenario to you regarding who can win the Big 12 title this Saturday. It’s really not that complicated actually, I’m just getting toward the end of this post and my arthritis is beginning to kick in (I’m 24, going on 42). Oklahoma and Oklahoma State face of in their year end clash known as, Bedlam. If the Cowboys can beat the Sooners at home in Stillwater, they will be the outright Big 12 champs and clinch a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. If the underdog Sooners pull off the upset, things get interesting, and the atmosphere in Waco will ratchet right up. The nightcap between the Texas Longhorns and the Baylor Bears would then be for the Big 12 crown. While I have no dog in the race, the college football fan in me wouldn’t mind seeing a Sooners victory, in order to make the Texas vs Baylor contest for all the marbles.

The NBA’s “One and Done” Rule and Our Modern Day Indentured Servants: By @ProfessorCorria

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“The subject matter is over their head but…Under their nose.”- David Styles

Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, established in the early years of the American colonies and elsewhere. It was most used as a way for poor teenagers in Britain and the German states to get free passage to the American colonies. They would work for a fixed number of years, then be free to work on their own. Sound familiar? This definition of indentured servitude sounds eerily similar to how we would describe our modern day student athletes. The only difference is the glory and star worship they receive on campus and nationally, but the only compensation is room and board. NCAA football and College basketball traffic in the inner city, dangling the carrot of the NBA and NFL in front of a majority of kids who see becoming a professional athlete as their only way of becoming successful, with their million dollar a year coaches acting as de-facto overseers. It’s high comedy that the coach of the Kentucky Wildcats is vilified in the media and seen as the boggy man by other college basketball coaches, because he has found a happy medium in getting his prospects to the NBA as fast as possible, while maintaining an elite program. And when a player like Johnny Manziel challenges the construct of the stereotype of an athlete who is looking to cash out, it brings the entire process of amateur athletics into the forefront.

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         Something’s feel so simple, yet have no easy answer. It’s not because there isn’t a viable solution, it’s because every individual has a different opinion on how to deal with the same subject, and it’s supremely difficult to get a snowball to reverse its motion once it begins to cascade down the hill. The business at hand, and I do emphasize the word business, is the NBA’s “One and Done” rule, and the industry as a whole that does not pay its labor force. We live in a space where in our pro sports everything is “collectively bargained”, meaning that the players and owners get together to set the financial parameters in which their league or association will adhere to over a finite amount of time.

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        There are 3 primary reasons for the NBA’s “One and Done” rule, no it’s not money, money and money, but the current NBA players want to keep high school kids out an extra year because that’s an extra year on the back end of a veteran’s career. Secondly, the NBA enjoys their “free” minor league, even though they have the NBDL, nobody watches it, and therefore college basketball acts as a marketing tool to help bring millions of eyes to the new crop of young basketball players that will be coming into the NBA. Lastly, the NBA’s GM’s and coaches feel like they can get a better feel for the players that will be in the draft if they get a chance to watch them in college for a year and talk to the college coaches who they trust to get honest insight about a particular player. Lots of unspoken agreements are intertwined between the NCAA and the pro leagues in order to put both parties in mutually beneficial situations in regards to maximizing their profits, and they will go to great lengths in order to make sure gravy train keeps undulating.

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The “One and Done” rule evokes a great deal of emotion, simply because most if not all of the prospects that it effects are black youths. Nobody cares if baseball, hockey, tennis or golf players skip college or in some cases parts of their high school careers in order to become professionals, where most of the athletes are comprised of mostly white people. Make no mistake, there is jealousy, resentment, anger, biased and bigotry when it comes to the discussion of the NBA’s one and done rule. Are some people bitter that there were unproven 18 year old black kids coming straight out of high school and getting guaranteed contracts for millions of dollars, while they’re struggling to make ends meet? Of course. One thing I think David Stern never gets credit for is selling a black league to a majority white consumer base, which no one wants to acknowledge because race is such a difficult subject to broach.

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Race has a great deal to do with the feelings and sentiment around the NBA’s “One and Done” rule and the NFL keeping prospects out of the league until they have spent three years on a college campus. But, in reality the only color that really matters is green, money, the religion that we all worship in this great nation, is why the gate keepers of these two great sports have decided to place restrictions on when players can enter the professional ranks. The NCAA signed a 14 year, $10.8 billion dollar deal in 2010 to televise the Men’s Basketball tournament on CBS and Turner Networks, as well as 14 year, $500 million dollar deal to televise the “smaller sports” championship games with ESPN. This doesn’t take into account the dollar amount that the individual NCAA conferences have signed  to show basketball games on ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS, Raycom, NBC Sports, Big Ten Network, Longhorn Network, and the Pac 12 Network. All of these deals factor into Billions of dollars over the next few years, but the basketball money barely begins to scratch the surface of the money troth that is major NCAA sports. College Football is the number two sport in terms of television ratings, and the amount of money that TV networks will pay in order to broadcast these games being played by kids age 17-22 are staggering. ESPN and Fox will pay the Big 12 conference $ 2.6 Billion Dollars until the year 2024, while also shelling out $3 Billion Dollars to the Pac 12 conference through 2023. The SEC, the number one football conference in America will receive $3.075 Billion Dollars through 2023 from CBS and ESPN, while the Big Ten will receive $1 Billion Dollars from ESPN through 2017 and another $2.8 Billion Dollars from their own “Big Ten Network” through 2031. The ACC is bringing up the rear with $ 3.6 Billion Dollars from ESPN through the year 2026. Those numbers are staggering considering the labor force of these “corporations” aren’t being properly compensated, unless you consider a college scholarship fair compensation? I wanted to share these numbers because it’s important to see the revenue that is being generated by big time college sports, do with these dollar amounts what you will.

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Monday Morning Quarterback by @YeahFlanny

BCS Top 10 (11/24/13)

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida State
  3. Ohio State
  4. Auburn
  5. Missouri
  6. Clemson
  7. Oklahoma State
  8. Stanford
  9. Baylor
  10. South Carolina

We have made it to the last week of November. Most folks refer to it as Thanksgiving week, but us college football fans would prefer to refer to it as, rivalry week. Rivalry week, which doubles as the last week of the college football regular season is often the most exciting week of the season as not only bragging right are on the line, but in many cases, conference titles and national title implications hinge on this weekend’s slate of games. Let’s dissect some of the weekends marquee match-ups.

  • The Iron Bowl. Alabama vs Auburn. Number 4 hosting number 1, with the SEC West crown on the line. It’s been a few years since we’ve had an intriguing Iron Bowl match-up with both Bama’s supremacy and Auburn’s rapid dissent from the top of the mountain. The Tigers enter this game riding high, with an undefeated record, and the luxury of hosting this always important rivalry game. While QB Nick Marshall still has some question marks a passer, his running ability and the ability of his backfield mate Tre Mason have helped Auburn become one of the nation’s best rushing teams. We all know what to expect from #1 Bama by now, laser focus, pinpoint execution, and grown man football. I expect the Tigers to come out firing, but I don’t expect it to last long. The Tide will weather the early storm, and pull away late, strengthening their hold on the #1 spot in the BCS, heading into the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
  • The #2 team in the country, the Florida State Seminoles, coming off of an 80 (YES, 80) to 14 victory over lowly Idaho will travel to “the swamp” to face off against the dumpster fire that is the Florida Gators. The Gators coming off what just may be the worst loss in the history of the program, a 26-20 defeat to Georgia…Southern, stand absolutely NO chance against the high-power Seminoles. The Florida players seem to already given up on their coach, who may be roaming the home sideline at Florida for the last time. The Noles will look to keep it rolling against their in state rival, while attempting to avoid any injuries with the ACC title game looming December 7th. FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who with 2 passing TD’s will break FSU’s single season TD record, currently held by former Heisman winner, Chris Weinke, hopes to pad his Heisman resume, while continuing to block out the off field issues he is currently dealing with. I said months ago that this Florida team would endure a 4-5 loss season, after Saturday’s game they’ll end the season at 4-8…
  • In the other BCS top ten match-up, the #6 ranked Clemson Tigers will make the short trip to Columbia to face their arch rival, and #10 ranked Gamecocks of South Carolina. There are HUGE postseason implications for both squads in this season finale. The Gamecocks must win, and hope for a Missouri loss in order to qualify for the SEC title game, while the Tigers are looking to lock up a BCS at large bid, likely sending them to Miami for the Orange Bowl, if they can beat South Carolina. The Gamecocks have had Clemson’s number for what seems like forever, but I have a feeling this is the Tigers year. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins have never beat their in state rivals, and I think that changes before they head off to the NFL next year.

Quick Hitter Predictions-

– Ohio State at Michigan- It really pains me to see a Michigan team THIS bad. They can’t pass, they damn sure can’t run. Honestly, I don’t know what they can do. Ohio State is rolling, and hoping that style points can somehow get them ahead of FSU (no chance) in the BCS. Urban and his crew will be out for blood, I got the Buckeyes…BIG.

– Texas A&M at Missouri- The jig just may be up for Johnny Football. He looked horrendous against LSU on Saturday and floundered any chance he had left of winning back to back Heisman’s. The Tigers have their leader back at the helm in senior QB James Franklin. Mizzou knows what’s at stake, comes out firing, and books their trip to Atlanta.

– Minnesota at Mich St- Sparty may be the best team in the country that no one is talking about. They are undefeated in conference play and last week locked up an appearance in the Big 10 title game. The Gophers come in at 8-3 after a crushing defeat at the hands of Wisconsin last Saturday. I got the Spartans winning this one, but closer than the experts think.

– UCLA at USC- Bruins QB Brett Hundley has been extremely underwhelming down the stretch, while the defense has been a little suspect themselves. Myles Jack has been the savior on BOTH sides of the ball. The Trojans come in rolling, winning 5 in a row, and 6 of their last 7. This SC team seems to want Ed Orgeron as their official new head man, and while I don’t believe he’ll get the gig, I think the players send him out with a victory in his last game in the Coliseum, as the Trojans head coach.