Author Archives: cdonsereaux

LA’s Big Three

Why Does Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers make sense? There are a lot of answers to that question. 

After he averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds last season with the Washington Wizards, leading them to the playoffs with fellow superstar Bradley Beal, Westbrook is being shipped to the Lakers. The package for the superstar included Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a first-round draft pick, which turned out to be Isaiah Jackson. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the last five seasons, dating back to his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

Does “Brodie” have the desire to put his pride and stat line aside to refer to James and Davis this season in hopes of capturing his first NBA Title? I think it is very possible to do, but there are reasons that it may not work out — the biggest being shooting ability. 

LeBron James has always had shooters around him on a championship team — that’s what makes him thrive in an offense. Westbrook is not known for his great shooting ability, if any ability at all. The Lakers finished 21st overall last season in three-point shooting percentage28th overall in free-throw percentage and 12th overall in field goal percentage. Does Westbrook help these stats? Simply put, no. Westbrook shot 43.9% from the field overall, while only shooting 31.5% from three-point range and 65.6% from free-throw range. This is not what the Lakers need, but it’s what they got. James is going to be running the show and Westbrook is there to take the focus off Davis and James, h allowing them to stay healthy. This is especially important for James as he enters is 18th season in the league. 

The Russell Westbrook sign-and-trade allowed the Lakers to acquire different players to surround the three stars in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook. These players included future Hall of Famers Dwight Howard, who was a part of the 2020 Lakers Championship team, and Carmelo Anthony who can still play at a high level despite coming off the bench. Veterans like Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore allow James to attack and have the ability to kick out to a very reliable three-point option. Other signings like Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk bring youth, and perimeter defense along with the three-point option. These players are pieces of the Lakers puzzle that can allow them to contend for an NBA Championship next season.  

Westbrook would not be enough by himself alongside James and Davis, simply because he does not shoot the ball well. It would be easy to beat the Lakers with just those three by making them shoot jumpers. That’s not either of their strong suits, so it could be a recipe for disaster in LA.  

With the help of these key additions the Lakers big three of Westbrook, James, and Davis are NBA Title contenders. 

Anthony Jordan: On the right track

Tragedy, heartbreak and hardships. Student-athletes encounter so much more than people think, life is not all joyful and fun because of the way a person may seem on the outside. After losing his father, Piedmont University’s Anthony Jordan encountered such hardship. 

Jordan was recruited during both his junior and senior years of high school by previous head track and field director/coach Jeff Jenkins and assistant BT Pham. “When Coach Pham contacted me regarding Piedmont, I immediately became interested because it was the first school in Georgia to reach out to me,” said Jordan. “When I talked to them, they really made me feel wanted and valuable to the team, which helped my decision.” 

Unfortunately for Jordan, what he did not know is that the passing of his father would make him change his mind. “My dad died a month exactly before I graduated high school, which made me want to quit everything — track, school, etc. That’s how rough that moment was for me,” said Jordan. “My dad always wanted to see me graduate, and he always told me that I was going to be better than him, so getting this degree means so much more.”  

Another rough thing Jordan dealt with came shortly after his commitment to Piedmont. Coach Pham, who had been recruiting Jordan to come and jump for the school, decided it was time to move on. He left Piedmont to take on a new job at a different college before Anthony even got on campus. “Not having him here after recruiting me was a let down because he was the coach that got me here and I really wanted to work with him,” said Jordan. “At the same time, I had the mentality of just coming here to stay focused and make my dad proud of me.” 

Since coming to Piedmont as a freshman in fall 2018, Jordan has done just that, helping lead the Lions to two conference championships while also getting many individual accolades. In the 2019 season, Jordan made two All-Conference teams — second team for the long jump and third team for the triple jump. Jordan also made the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team in 2019.  

“I feel like it would make my dad proud because he was always one of my biggest supporters. When I decided to quit football and focus on track, he was my biggest fan and said he’d love me no matter what sport I wanted to play,” said Jordan, who is a criminal justice major. “He was a great athlete in high school in Miami so I wanted to do the things he couldn’t do collegiately.” 

Although the 2020 season that was cut short due to COVID-19, Jordan broke the school record for indoor long jump with a mark of 6.82 meters. In the 2021 season, Jordan made three All-Conference teams. First team for the long jump, first team for the triple jump, and first team for the 400-meter relay. Once again Jordan made the USA South All-Sportsmanship. 

Jordan has encountered two different coaches since he has been here at Piedmont. Coach Taylor Browning and Coach Remel Williams. 

“Coach Browning was a great coach, and his coaching style was something that I was not used to, so I had to get adjusted to being coached that way,” said Jordan. “After getting accustomed to the way Coach Browning was coaching, I saw better results in my jumps and sprints.”  

Coach Williams is heading into her second year as Piedmont’s sprint/ jump coach, so she has the best relationship with Jordan than any other coach on the team does. “Ant is a great student-athlete and such a great leader for the younger people on the team, I know I can count on him to help others when I’m not around or busy with other athletes,” said Williams.  

“Even though he is one of the biggest goofballs I know here, he is also one of the hardest workers and takes accountability for all his actions.”   

Williams has high hopes for Jordan this season because of the dedication that Jordan has to make nationals for both indoor and outdoor long jump events. “I know Anthony can make it to nationals, I just need him to go out there and have fun while doing it. Breathe and stay focused during all his events no matter what,” said Williams. “If Anthony can take everything we work on in practice and translate it to every meet we go to this year, there is no doubt he can make it to nationals this year.”  

Jordan has done better with Williams at the helm of things and continues to do great things ever year. “Remel is a great coach, she really wants us as a team to stay healthy and make good choices, so that’s always good to have a coach that cares,” said Jordan. “I expect big things from not just myself, but from the team as a whole this year.”  

Going into what could be his last year of track and field for Piedmont University, Jordan has high hopes for the season and is happy with the decision he made four years ago. “I really came to Piedmont because it’s a small family-oriented college, and I never been a big University type of guy,” said Jordan. “My parents and grandma also loved the environment. Coming here has allowed me to accomplish goals that I know my father would be proud of so I’m glad I came here.”