Fresno St Wyoming Basketball

Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson focuses on recovery, return to the court

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On September 3 Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson was involved in a car accident that left him with a displacement of his C-5 through C-6 vertebrae. Luckily for Anderson no damage was done to his spinal cord but the effects of the accident left him unable to swallow or eat for nearly two weeks, resulting in the 6-foot-9 forward losing a substantial amount of weight.

It’s unlikely that Anderson, who averaged 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in ten games last season, will see the floor for Rodney Terry’s Bulldogs this season but the fact of the matter is that the situation could have been far worse. In a story written by Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee, Anderson reflected on the crash while also looking forward to the future.

A future that will undoubtedly include a return to the court in 2014.

“I think the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this is that I’ve been through a lot of things in my life and this is just another thing that I’m going to get through,” said Anderson. “At the point of impact, that’s when I got lucky. The injury, it’s still a severe injury. But God still has a plan for me and he still has more things for me to do and I’m going to make a full recovery.

“There are not a lot of people who come away from this injury being able to move everything and with the doctors saying, ‘Hey, your neck is going to be stronger than 100% a couple of years from now.’ I’m just kind of holding on to that.”

Before the accident Anderson was a player more than a few expected to enjoy a breakout 2013-14 season in the Mountain West. Originally a Kansas signee in 2011, Anderson didn’t take the floor until January 2013 due to his being deemed a non-qualifier and subsequent transfer to Fresno State. With Robert Upshaw being dismissed from the program earlier in the summer, Anderson was expected to play a major role in the Bulldogs’ quest to improve their standing within the Mountain West.

But even with his inability to begin rehab until the holidays, Anderson’s dreams remain on the table. Doctors expect that he’ll be able to return to the court, and Anderson will continue to work towards his goal of attending law school.

“That’s definitely a big goal of mine — to get the most out of being a student-athlete and not taking for granted the opportunity to get your education,” Anderson told Kurada.

There’s a say that in every dark cloud there’s a silver lining, and that certainly seems to be the case for Anderson. He may not be able to help Fresno State on the court this season, but the situation could have been far worse than having to sit out a season.

Nigel Hayes’ comment on basketball brands hits on greater point

Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes (10) drives on Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Madison, Wis. Hayes had a team-high 21 points in Wisconsin's 79-68 win. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
AP Photo/Andy Manis
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Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.

Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.

Thursday Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes offered up his observations on the basketball while also pointing out (albeit sarcastically) the goal of intercollegiate athletics.

“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.

“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”

Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.

But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.

Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.

Marquette fan sends Providence money for missed free throw

Providence's Kris Dunn reacts to his shot during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against Villanova, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.

Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.

Schilling’s gesture did not go unnoticed by Marquette either, as the school sent him a gift card to use in the Marquette Spirit Shop.

H/T For The Win