Local Superstar Rapper Lil Lonnie Murdered In Hometown

On April 29, 2018 around 10:00 in Jackson, Miss, Jackson Police Department responded to a shooting in West Jackson. The body would soon be revealed as 22-year-old, local rap artist, and Jackson State student Lonnie Montrel Taylor.

Lil Lonnie was beloved by the city of Jackson, where he was born, raised, and regarded as one of the rising rap artists in the state of Mississippi. Taylor loved his family and friends. In an interview in December, Taylor was asked what he would do with his first mega check. Taylor responded, “I’d buy a house for my family.”

Taylor’s 2015 song “colors” put him on the map nationally. When asked who influenced him, he said Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie. Taylor also said that 50 cent gave similar advice which was to stay consistent with his music. Lil Lonnie wasn’t only a local figure, he was a national figure in the hip hop game, gaining attention by some of the legendary rappers. After finding out about his death, LL Cool J tweeted, “Rest in power Lil Lonnie.. may your music live on…. may the almighty lift up and bless your family.”

Lil Lonnie gained the attention by many, and even more are devastated by his death. Now the question is, how far could he have gone if his career had continued for 15-plus years. He might have been one of the greatest of all-time.


Gordon Hayward Dislocates Ankle, Fractures Leg In Celtics Debut!

gordon-hayward_v8boy2ho50i1jrf8acows1khShortly under the seven minute mark in the first quarter, the 27-year old Celtics’ star Gordon Hayward landed awkwardly as he was going up for an alley-oop. According to Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps, Hayward’s leg looked to be at a 90 degree angle from his foot.

After coming off of a career season where he earned his first All-Star berth and averaged career-highs with 21.9 points and 5.4 assists per game while shooting a efficient 53.6 percent from the field, a stretcher had to be brought out to take Hayward off of the court during his Celtics’ debut, noted by Jay King of MassLive.com.

This offseason the Celtics signed him to a four-year $128 million, so it’s not a secret this injury will be devastating for Boston if Hayward is forced to missed extensive amounts of time.

Will Hayward sidelined, the Celtics will turn to the young lottery picks, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to fill the void.

Who Will Be The Lakers Best Player In 2017-2018?

After a miserable ending to the Kobe Bryant led Lakers’ era and a 26-56 season for 2016-2017, the Lakers will look to reclaim the Los Angeles city as the premier NBA team.
The Lakers finished at the bottom of the west each of the last several years and are expecting a major increase in excitement in the area, and most importantly the win column. Lakers’ owner Jeanie Buss started the process by naming hall of fame player and Laker great Magic Johnson as the president of basketball operations, along with former Lakers’ small forward and former Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton as the head coach. The first question of the “New Era” is, who is the best player in year #1?

Jordan Clarkson stealing the ball from Jamal Murray.
Guard, Jordan Clarkson will be entering his 4th season in the league. He was a 2nd round pick by the Lakers in 2014 and once Kobe got hurt and Clarkson received the opportunity, he exploded immediately as the point guard. In 3 years with the Lakers his averages are at 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists,  and 1 steal per game on 44.1 percent shooting from the field. He has become one of the more explosive players in the league, and although he’s an undersized shooting guard, he can play both positions and play off of the ball. He also has a wingspan of 7’0. Clarkson will more than likely serve as a spark off of the bench, and perhaps a future 6th man of the year.

Julius Randle posting up Warriors’ forward Draymond Green.
Julius Randle was the 7th pick of the 2014 draft, but suffered a season ending leg injury during the season opener. He bounced back the following season averaging 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a power forward. His career averages entering his 4th season are at 12.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. It’s difficult calling him a stretch 4 with that 27.3 percent from 3 point range, but he has displayed some great ball handling skills and the ability to start a fast break for a big man. With Magic Johnson running the show, expect to see many fast breaks ending with a show-time slam-dunk from Randle.

Brandon Ingram at the top of the key.
The 2016-2017 season was a disappointment for the 2016 #2 overall pick Brandon Ingram. After drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant, at 6’9 with a 7’0 wingspan Ingram only averaged 9.4 points, and 4.0 rebounds in  28.8 minutes per game on 40.2 percent shooting from the field. My excuse for him would be he started the season playing behind Luol Deng, who’s a highly respected veteran, but that 72 million dollars guaranteed for 4 years was a head scratcher by the Lakers front office. He’s 32 years old and was never a star player. But back to Ingram. Ingram has a skinny frame that forces him to play the guard positions, which is why he never was truly playing his natural position which is small forward. His weight has been a concern since his college days, so it’s a must that he gets stronger or else it’s going to be very difficult imagining him being able to compete on defense against the best.

Jan 8, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) goes up for a dunk over Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee (24) in the first half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope just signed a 1-year deal worth 18 million dollars with the Lakers and will be the starting shooting guard. This is a make or break season for the 8th overall pick of the 2013 draft by the Detroit Pistons. Pope spent his first 4 years in Detroit and emerged as the team’s best defensive player and a good outside shooter. The only question about his game is his consistency on offense. Pope has a career average of 11.7 points on 40.5 percent shooting from the field. I personally believe that Stan Van Gundy wasn’t utilizing him correct by forcing him to become a spot up shooter. His highest scoring output was 38 points, hitting 8 3 pointers. Pope is one of those players that stats don’t tell you the entire story. He has improved as an overall basketball player every single year since he entered the draft and became the go-to man in the clutch for Detroit. He has game winners against several teams. Pope is also an underrated passer, tallying a 10 assists game. His best attribute is his defense and energy at 6’5 being able to guard 3 positions. He’s one of the best young 2-way players in the league, and if he breaks out this season he’s due for a major payday.
Lonzo Ball, the hometown kid, the UCLA Bruin, the #2 pick in the 2017 draft is #2. It’s difficult proclaiming a player will be #1 before they play a single game in the NBA. After a miserable first summer league game where he shot 2-15 from the field, Ball averaged a triple double the rest of the way and quickly became the MVP of the summer league, and what it looks like to be the best passer in all of basketball. Whichever comparison you wish to make either if it’s to Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson, the 19-year old kid can ball. At 6’6 he’s already a great passer, rebounder, and athletic. He’s unselfish and has made his teammates better since he started playing basketball. He’s also a winner. He averaged a triple double in high and won, won in college, won in the summer league, and will look to win in LA.

Jan 12, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) is fouled as he moves by New Orleans Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones (9) during the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brook Lopez, a surprising #1 for most people, but he’s underrated and was playing for a terrible Brooklyn Nets franchise that had traded away all of their draft picks. Lopez was the 10th pick in the 2008 draft and spent his entire career with the Nets while being named to the Eastern Conference all-star squad once in 2013. His career averages are at 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks on 50.6 percent shooting from the field. He averaged 20 or more points during 4 different seasons, and has not averaged less than 17 points since his rookie year. With Lonzo Ball as the point guard wanting to help guys score the basketball, Caldwell-Pope and Randle being the defensive aces, and  Brandon Ingram still developing, there’s no reason Lopez should take a step back in his 9th season.

2016-17 Jackson State Men’s Basketball Comparisons

Jackson State ended the 2016-2017 season with a disappointing 14-18 overall record, ranking 3rd in the conference. The roster is talented, just has not found that go-to guy on offense, and they’re a bit undersized at every position, which causes mismatches on defense.

Below I’ve made a list of comparisons in my opinion on which NBA players the men’s basketball team remind me of.

Yettra Specks, the starting point guard capped off his senior more than doubling his scoring average from a season ago. He averaged a career high 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Specks is undersized listed at 5-10, but his 171lbs gives him size. He doesn’t “wow” an NBA prospect with athleticism, but is a prototypical floor general that can score when needed.

NBA Comparison- Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies

Paris Collins, at 6-4 186lbs, plays shooting guard and small forward. Known more for his great energy and defense. He averaged 12.3 points in just his second season, and a career high 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2 steals per game. Collins is a streaky shooter. The type of player that can explode for 26 points one, then 5 points the next night. The team relies on the energy he brings every nights. He does the dirty work that is not shown in the stat sheet. Every team needs a Paris Collins type of player.

NBA Comparison- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons

Janarius Middleton, the 6-8 223 forward also just capped off his senior year. Middleton usually plays center because the team is undersized and he’s arguably the most durable and has been the most consistent big man for Jackson State since he came in. He averages 7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Middleton doesn’t shoot many 3’s, but he’s well capable of hitting occasional deep shots. He has post offense, can shoot the midrange jumper, and can move his feet well for his size.

NBA Comparison- Enes Kanter/Pau Gasol, Oklahoma City Thunder/San Antonio Spurs

Maurice Rivers, the 6-7 200lb junior made his debut with the Tigers this past season. Rivers is a forward and was instant offense off of the bench at the forward position. He shot  47.8% from the field averaging 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in only 19.7 minutes. Rivers is a scorer and plays pretty solid defense. He’s not big, but has the length to block shots get steals, averaging  0.5 blocks, and 0.6 steals in the 2016-2017 season.

NBA Comparison– Nerleans Noel, Dallas Mavericks

Edric Dennis, the 6-3 188lbs combo guard just finished his first season at JSU. He’s probably the most well-rounded player on the team if you want to get statistical. He averaged 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1 steal as the backcourt mate of Yettra Specks. His main problem is that he turns the ball over the most, averaging 3.0 a game, along with 2.2 personal fouls. He displays frustration in his body language, but other than that he’s been the second primary ball handler, and has more than enough time to be a great player for years to come.

NBA Comparison- Marcus Smart- Boston Celtics

Always Blame YOURSELF For YOUR Short-Comings

Never blame anybody for ones’ failures. Never blame the marijuana, the alcohol, your parents, surroundings, ethic, or even the fact that you maybe on the bad side of a stereotype in history. Whenever you fail to reach your goals BLAME YOURSELF. IT’S YOUR FAULT!

LaVar Ball, the father of UCLA basketball prodigy and future NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball said, “I’ve always instilled in my boys that whenever your team loses it’s your fault, and when the team wins give credit to the team.” There’s always something you can do better for a better result. Not just in sports, but in life. Even if Lonzo scores 50 points in a loss, “he could’ve done more”, says LaVar. That mentality has Lonzo along with his brothers as some of the best non-NBA basketball players in the state California, and they’re all teenagers still.

I’m only 22 years old. I’ve made mistakes throughout my life, I hung with the wrong people, I made decisions before fully having a thought process, but it wasn’t until I realized that I was the problem that I started to make the proper leaps in the right direction. I have goals and ambitions just like many young men and women, and I’m perfect. I’m a former weed smoker. It caused me to over-sleep, relax too often, and to not have the conscious to save money to purchase necessary upgrades in my life, and most importantly, to have a savings account.

But guess what, IT’S MY FAULT!

I don’t blame the drug, the parties, nor the influences. It took for ME to realize what had to be done, and that I was the problem for me to bury that addiction. Weed is drug that causing relaxation and self-awareness in my case, but once it became an addiction then I became the problem.

With that being said, I no longer associate myself with marijuana or any mind altering substances because once it becomes an addiction then that’s when I become the problem. I have only one life to live. Drugs can temporarily take away pain and build self-confidence, but once those few hours expire and that high cools down, you’re back to reality, and you’re back spending money.

Why do that when I’ve gotten to this point of my life with a sober brain? Drugs will always be here, but our time to get the job done won’t.

Who’s OKC’s X-Factor Going Into The Playoffs?

Russell Westbrook finished the season as the leading scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game, but that 42% has people wondering if that will be enough to be the only star on a team that can advance

The Thunder will play against the soon to be MVP runner up James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the first round. Houston is loaded with 3 point snippers and a Mike D’antoni system that helped Steve Nash win back to back MVP awards and extremely high scoring. This new look Thunder team will go into the playoffs with an entirely new identity, not having Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. The team is built around Russell Westbrook and skilled big-men.

James Harden finished the season as the leader in assists averaging 11.2 a game, and Westbrook is at 10.4. An argument can be made tat Hardens’ assists are much easier that Westbrooks’. Rockets’ perimeter consists on Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, all proven shooters in this league. Westbrook has no true 3 point shooters. Majority of his assists come off of alley-oops and penetrations in the paint to feed the big-men.

Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter have both shared the role as the number 2 scoring options, but Oladipo is only averaging 15.9 points as a starter and Kanter adds 14.3 of the bench, but banter is a defensive liability, which is the only reason he’s not a starter. OKC picked up Doug McDermott at the deadline and has proven that he can score from anywhere on the court, but where will his minutes come from? Andre Roberson is the best perimeter defender on the team but can’t buy a jump shot or offensive game.

OKC still doesn’t have an identity of who their 2nd best player is. OKC will have an advantage and will be able to hide some of the flaws against Houston because of the size, length and skills of the OKC big-men.

Maybe, there will be a unsung hero.