5 Keys to Beating the College System

college spendigGoing to college is one of the most important steps one can take to ensure a stable career.  Don’t get me wrong, some people don’t need college to succeed, but for many who have chosen the conventional methods of living, it is critical.  In the past, college gave graduates an advantage; now, it simply puts you in an even playing field with most of your peers.  With this being enough of a daunting task, it is important to put yourself in position to not be defeated by the college system.  As a recent graduate, I like to think that I know enough about the college system.  My exposure was not limited to just one institution, as I spent two years at Virginia Commonwealth, and two at George Mason University.  Graduating with a 3.54 GPA at GMU, after attaining a 3.9 GPA from VCU, I have mastered enough of this craft to be able to give advice to others on how to successfully beat the college system.

1)Take at least 15 credits a semester

15 credsColleges will never admit to this, but they want you to stay in their institution as long as possible.  Why would they not? The longer you stay, the more tuition you pay.  The more tuition you, you know the rest.  At orientation, advisors try to seem empathetic when they tell you that enrolling in 12-16 credits make you a full-time student; therefore enroll in the amount of credits you find you will be able to handle.  Never listen to that. To successfully complete an undergraduate program in 4 years, which requires 120 credits, you need 30 credits a year.  To obtain that, divide that number into 2, which equals 15 credits a semester.  As you may or may not know, most courses give you 3 credits (some 4, depending on the workload….which is why taking 16 credits here and there is acceptable).  This means you should be taking about 5 classes a semester.  Taking 12 credits a semester means that in the same 4 year span that a student who takes 15 credits a semester would have earned a degree, you would have racked up only 96 credits; 24 short of the amount needed to graduate. 24 credits equals out to be around 8 more courses.  Now, at the 4 class per semester rate (if you take 12 credits each semester), this would require another year.  Get the point? Another year worth of tuition wasted by pretty much being lazy and not challenging yourself.  DON’T DO THAT TO YOURSELF!

2) Go to class

300-go-to-classMy second point is important for many reasons.  In most courses, going to class is imperative because it is a way to ensure mastery of the course, sometimes a requirement for your grade, a way to make sure you don’t miss pop-quizzes, and lastly a way to perhaps avoid needing to buy the textbook! Most professors, not all but most, teach the content in the course strictly out of the textbook.  By going to class and paying attention, you can gather all the information needed for the course, without having to spend your precious dollars on the textbook! Again, I stress that this doesn’t apply to ALL classes, although my experience in college taught me that it applies to about 80-90% of courses offered.  In addition, professors typically go a step further when explaining content from the textbooks.   This puts you in position to succeed, and not fail the class, and ultimately avoid needing to retake the class all over again.  The whole point (in this post at least) is to be as efficient as you can, and to beat the college system.  Going to class will certainly help you do that.

3)Don’t use the assigned college book store!

College-Books-are-a-Rip-OffCollege is as much of a revenue generating industry as it is an educational institute.  With that being said, universities will take any opportunity that they can to profit off of students.  One of the biggest ways of doing so is through the inflated prices of textbooks and other materials sold at the School’s book store.  Unless a book is distributed only by the school’s book store, you should by all means avoid buying textbooks from them.  You will almost ALWAYS find it cheaper elsewhere, whether new or used.  One thing I would actually advice students to do is to rent textbooks.  They are MUCH cheaper, and save you the hassle of trying to sell back.  Speaking of selling back books, the school’s bookstores absolutely rip you off when you sell your books back to them.  They can look you dead in the eye and tell you that the same book you bought for $80 about 3-4 months ago is now worth $10….absolutely ridiculous.  Meanwhile entities such as Amazon are much more reasonable and give you anywhere from 50-80% of the price you paid for the book.  The morale of the story: unless it’s something published by the school, or Scantrons and things of that nature, NEVER buy anything from the school’s bookstore if you can avoid it.

4) Avoid on-campus room and board if you can

apartment-for-rentMost schools are kind enough to offer housing opportunities to their students.  Unfortunately, this too comes with an inflated cost.  If you want to live in a moderately nice housing complex with a respectable amount of space, you’re going to have to pay for it, excessively! Otherwise, take your little assigned sh*thole and shut your mouth for the next 3-4 months.  And even THAT too will cost you a good amount.  To be smart financially, find a spot off campus that is relatively close, gather some roommates, and save money!    Not only will you save money, you will also be free from the rules and regulations of the school….not to mention fire drills.  If you’re able to commute from home, do so by all means. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on a social life.  You will always have an out-of state friend who has no choice but to live on campus.  Their spot can be your on-campus hang out.  Not to mention, you can probably buy yourself a car with the money that you would otherwise spend on room and board.   That car will last a lot longer than your stay on campus.  Even though you would have to get a parking pass, also at an inflated rate, it won’t compare to the rate of room and board.

5)Be a proactive high “schooler”

Scholarship-300x291Believe it or not, a lot of what you do in high school can set you up for success in college.  Start off with your GPA.  If you take high school seriously and graduate with a very high GPA, you can potentially earn a scholarship and relieve yourself of a huge economic burden.  Secondly, your SAT scores can dictate what school you can get into.  It can determine whether or not you get into that local in-state school, which will save you lots of money through in-state tuition, and perhaps eliminate the need for on-campus room and board.  Do whatever you can to get the highest score possible.  Next, if you play sports, take it seriously! This can lead to you getting a free education.  Also, take AP courses! Getting high scores on your AP exams can earn you some credits that will go toward the 120 total needed to graduate.  This can shorten your tenure, and inevitably save you some money.  Lastly, participate in as many extracurricular activities as you can.  This will look good on your resume and increase your chances of getting into your first choice school.  Doing most of these things in high school will make you look like a nerd but f**k it, be the biggest f**king nerd there is! You will end up being the one pulling up in a fast-food drive thru with a fly car buying extra fries from the “cool” kids.  Take my word on that.

Photo Credits:

www.dailygossip.org

www.uvu.edu

www.presidentsleadershipclass.org

www.2nerd.com

www.collegecandy.com

www.ppbaonline.com

Top 5 Players in the NBA today

In honor of the NBA season officially setting of in 9 days, I have decided to compile a list of the the 5 players that I believe stand as the best in the league.  This list is based on pure talent, performance/impact, and statistics.

5) Chris Paul

cp3CP3, as Paul is commonly known, had a stretch of about 2 or 3 years where most people referred to him as the best point guard in the league.  His shortcoming in the playoffs however, especially last year, has led many to lose favor with Chris.  Nevertheless, one cannot deny the impact that CP3 has on a basketball floor.  He is one of very few players who are able to dominate the game with their scoring and their playmaking.  Although his playmaking is what he is commonly known for, Chris has proven that he can carry a team on his back when needed, and put up high scoring numbers.  Hs ability to dictate the flow of things on offense, while disrupting the play of opponents defensivley is a deadly combination that is a rarity in the league today.  Until he makes some noise in the playoffs, CP3 may continue to descend on many people’s top NBA players lists; however he is still good enough to make mine, starting off at 5.

4) Stephen Curry

Stephen-CurryIt is hard for me to put a player who only seems to have an impact on one end of the floor on this list; however, the effect that Steph Curry has on the game offensively is great enough to earn him the number 4 spot on my list.  When most people think of Steph, they automatically think of the 3 ball; and rightfully so, as he is without a doubt the best shooter in the game today.  The 3 ball has become so big in our game today that a specialist of his kind is ever so valuable.  As a shooter, Steph is multi dimensional: spotting up, off the dribble, coming off of screens, mid range, around the basket, at the free throw line, etc.  This is a man you certainly would not like to play horse against.  Steph is however much more than just a shooter.  He is a tremendous ball handler who’s passing ability is very underrated.  Steph Curry has arguably the prettiest left handed passes in the game.  Being a player who can give you either 50 points or 12 plus assists on any given night (or both), I think it is reasonable to say that Steph is the 4th best player in the NBA.  His offensive ability does more than enough to make up for his defensive inabilities, which OH BY THE WAY are slowly improving.

3) Blake Griffin

Blake-Griffin1This pick will most likely shock a lot of people, but hear me out: other than the two players who will be listed after this, no one in the NBA is better than Blake Griffin.  For his first few years in the NBA, the “potential” label has been synonymous with Blake Griffin’s name.  After 4 years however, we can finally take that tag off, and take it off for good.  Blake has arrived and yes he is the real deal.  Blake Griffin can do it all on the basketball court (even if awkwardly).  He has always been known as an athlete, posterizing his fair share of NBA players nationwide.  In addition to his athleticism, Blake has always been an exceptional ball handler and passer for a player of his size and position.  His one achilles heel was his inability to consistently and fluidly shoot the basketball away from the basket; Blake has however worked on his jumper and has now developed into a consistent enough shooter.  From what we’ve seen thus far in the preseason, not only has he improved his jumper and improved his release, Blake has even extended his range to the three point line! This in addition to his athleticism, post-up ability, ball handling and passing makes him one of the most versatile and dynamic players in the game today; third best to be specific.  The one thing left for Blake to finally put to rest is his free throw shooting.  Once he does that, he may very well climb up my list and that of other NBA fans.

2) Kevin Durant

kevin durantThis pick is pretty obvious.  Although KD has closed the gap between him and the number one player in the league, it is safe to say that the king (hint hint) is not ready to be dethroned.  Nevertheless, Kevin Durant has separated himself from the rest of the league with his unparalleled scoring ability.  KD gets his 30 points on a nightly basis in the most effortless fashion probably ever.  The league has never seen a sweet stroking 6’11 swingman with the athleticism and smoothness of a George Gervin.  KD was criticized in the past for being a ball-hog who seemed to be a shoot-first, second , and third kind of player.  With the injury to Russell Westbrook last year however, KD seemed to finally understand that his scoring ability could be used to create easily for other on his team.  With that in mind, he went on to increase his assist numbers, posting a career high 5.5 assists per game.  With his height, it is inevitable for Durant to snatch down anywhere from 6 to 8 rebounds on a nightly basis.  His wingspan naturally makes him a  nuisance on defense whenever he choses to be.  With the totally of circumstances, he is easily the second best player in the NBA.

1) LeBron James

lebronSurprise, surprise.  I am actually waiting for the day that someone can objectively prove to me that LeBron ISN’T the best player in the league today.  How many players in the history of the game can you name that were/are able to dominate the game in as many facets as LeBron? Not many, if any.  At 6’8, 250 pounds with the mobility of a track star, LeBron is arguably STILL the most athletic player in the NBA despite approaching his 30s.  Athleticism aside, LeBron is one of the best scorers in the league, and arguably the best passer despite not even being a point guard (although he initially came into the league as a point guard).  His jump shot continues to improve, as he hit the 40% mark from the 3 point line for the first time last year.  He continues to perfect his post game, adding a sky hook to an already deadly turn around jumper, along with other impressive post moves. Ever since his NBA debut, LeBron established himself as a great rebounder for his position.  As the years went on, he added on to his already impressive skill set by becoming a force on the defensive end.  One can make the argument that he is the best perimeter defender in the league; although I’m not going to touch on that subject for this post. The list goes on and on, but to sum it up, LeBron James is without a doubt the best player in the NBA until further notice (drops mic).

Photo Credits:

www.usatoday.com

isportsweb.com

dimemag.com

espn.go.com

www.ohio.com

Sales Jobs: Are They for Everyone?

 

From: Pursuit of Happyness
From: Pursuit of Happyness

So it’s 1 a.m. and I am up thinking about sales jobs. I know, no one thought the nights of an Accountant will be that stressful right? If there is anything that studying Finance/Accounting and Economics has taught me in life though, it is that the foundation of any good economy comes from its corporations that run on making sales. Don’t quote me on this but I am pretty sure there is a study somewhere that finds a positive correlation between a nation with a lot of sales corporations and the eventual economic success of that nation. Many of the things that factor into whether a nation is growing, plateauing, or in a deep crisis is driven by sales oriented sectors (i.e. real estate, mortgages, financial advising…) So with sales being such an important part of any nation’s economy, it begs the question, is a sales job for everyone?

Coming from college into the workforce or even prior to college, this is a question that most American youth face. This is where in my opinion it is important to distinguish between the two types of sales. Read on and see if you agree with me. For several years, I worked within a sales industry, specializing in the sale of insurance products. Call it an insurance specialist, insurance account representative, in the end it is a sales job! In that small sector alone, we can distinguish between the two types of sales. For the purposes of this post, let us imagine I am still working in insurance sales and my good friend Jake calls asking if I could provide my expert advice on insurance packages. He wants to know about auto insurance since he recently purchased a new car. I give the expert customer service I am trained to and you guessed it, my good friend buys auto insurance from my company. Let’s call this company Red Polo Insurance Company. However, in a few days I call my Jake, to solicit his Life insurance business because we all know no one man/woman or company became rich selling car insurance. Now like most young people, Jake knows very little about life insurance and immediately declines the offer, saying since he is young and thus he does not see the need for such a product. Now my time in sales never got me past the expert way to overcome an objection like that so I’ll leave it to the readers to think about what they would say if they were in my shoes. But therein lies the problem with sales. Jake is fine with getting the policy he asked for (auto insurance) on the initial call but for something he doesn’t find the need for, he is hesitant. And those are the 2 types of sales.

In scenario 1, I did not have to create a need for Jake, in fact the State of Virginia already made that decision for him by requiring him to have auto insurance. On the other hand in scenario 2, I had to invent that need for Bob. Inventing that need is what one needs to think about before they take a sales job. That is also the one factor that sets a mediocre sales representative apart from an excellent one. Does the sales job involve creating a need for that customer like in scenario 2 or is the need already established in scenario 1? In the former case, creating the need could prove to be a stressor or could be successful. The stressors may come in initial promises such as unlimited potential income, flexible schedules, and things of that nature, but aren’t most other jobs the same? These are not characteristics unique to sales jobs. People outside of sales work and eventually get to receive promotions, which in most cases may mean more income. They even get to have flexible schedules in some cases. Many who have been roped into sales eventually end up believing this lie of special unlimited income potential and promised leisure time but fail to realize a major factor in having a sales job.

Keep reading….

There are a lot of factors that go into whether a salesperson is successful. And one salesperson’s success in a particular industry in no way guarantees that of another even if they wrote a manual of daily business activities. Truth is, times change, buying habits change, we all don’t live in the same zip code and to be honest work habits are not equal in every one. So dreaming of becoming like the successful salesman next door is not a valid reason to get into the same type of business. Someone who is faced with whether to take that sales job after college has to think about their own potential, their working habits, knowledge capacity, and time management skills. True, there have been a ton of people who have become successful from being in sales but it takes a combination of not only individual ability but also economic factors to make that work.

So to answer the question, No! Sales jobs are not for every one especially not ones who are not willing to put in the time and work to even examine their potential to be successful in that industry. Let alone actually execute the work of going as far as educating/creating/inventing/ defining the need for a potential customer.

Photo Credits:

http://www.beyondhollywood.com/the-pursuit-of-happyness-2006-movie-review/

Making Amends: A Male Figure’s Impact

Father-daughter

We live within a very f**ked up generation.  I repeat, we live within a very f**ked up generation.  This generation is f**ked up for many reasons, but for the purpose of this post, I will focus on the “f**kedupness” that impacts the standard of love that some women are willing to accept from their male counterparts.  As a male figure who has been in a relationship for many years, I am glad to say that I am well aware of a female’s worth.  This awareness has been raised in a couple of ways: 1) I have been fortunate to be surrounded by admirable male figures who have treated their significant others properly, and 2)My relationship history has made me accustomed to giving my significant other nothing less than what she deserves.  In more specific terms, the only girlfriend I’ve ever had holds me to a very high standard. Not to say that she is demanding, but rather she expects an honest effort and mutual respect.  I believe this expectation stems from the relationship that she has with her father.  In this piece, I am going to propose a theory (one that probably already exists) on the correlation between a strong father-daughter relationship and a woman’s self worth.

Why is it that some women ACCEPT the bare minimum from males, yet others EXPECT the upmost quality.  I think the answer is simple: it all comes down to what they’ve grown to know.  Some women are fortunate and blessed to have been shown great love from the male figures in their lives since birth.  A father-daughter relationship can be instrumental in a female’s life in more ways than a father can ever imagine.  A father sets the standard for a women when it comes to what to expect in a man.  A father is supposed to be a strong protective, yet loving figure in a woman’s life.  These traits are what a woman will later go on to seek in life.  There is a saying that goes somewhere along the lines of “a woman looks for a man who is most like her father” (I know, I butchered it…but you get the point). My point being that there is a direct correlation, or even causation, when it comes to a strong father-daughter relationship, and a woman’s standard of self-worth.  It is no surprise that a daddy’s girl is unlikely to put up with a male’s shenanigans, simply because her father has shown her what to expect from a man.

Conversely, a woman who has lacked a strong bond with the male gender from the get-go is likely to put up with mediocre treatment for one simple reason: they don’t know any better.  What standard would a female hold in this position?  A woman can be so deprived of love and affection from the male figure that they would be willing to ACCEPT anything, instead of EXPECTING quality. Now, I am not here to diagnose the problem of every woman who can relate, as there will always be exceptions.  I am simply here to share a reoccurring theme that I’ve noticed in my mere 22 years of existence on this planet.  To take it a step further, I blame the generation before ours, for putting some women in the position that they’re in today.  To be specific, I blame them for having children without planning to have a FAMILY.  By doing this, kids…especially daughters, were done a disservice as a pivotal component in nurturing was left missing.  Unfortunately, it’s not looking very bright for our generation either, as it seems to be the baby boom 2.0 with a father’s commitment missing in many households.  This is however a whole topic on its own; therefore I will not touch on it in this post.  I will simply end this post by saying this: fathers and fathers-to-be in the future, let’s not do our daughters a disservice by not being integral parts of their lives.  Let us love them wholeheartedly, that way they will not be one day treated like the low-esteem women that some of us continue to play today. Let us set the bar extremely high, for what they should EXPECT from men.  Let us do our part to prevent the tears that we cause today from one day falling from the eyes of our daughters.

Photo Credits:

www.simplethingsinmylife.com

The Macklemore Paradox

racism

I have a confession to make. I am a racist. Foreal. Indeed. No lie, no lie, no lie. But since I’m sharing my Nayked Truth with you guys, I think it’s
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only fair for you all to look deep down and do the same for me. Let’s take a minute, hold hands, and introspect. I mean … aren’t we all to some degree ? Of course, I’m not talking about white sheet, “I only date [insert ethnicity],” exclude you from the group racism. I’m talking about modern day racism. You know, affirmative action racism. The type of racism that is extremely subtle and sneaky … kind of like those Mexicans, but not quite as clever. Now before I get Juan-Jose and Antonio Banderez sent to my crib I think an explanation is in order.

I’ve listened to a lot of rap in my day. I think it’s safe to assume I have got a bit of cred on these streets. Yes … with the black community. (I know right, as A$AP Rocky would say, trill <— with a t) I’ve noticed that there are a few stigmas when it comes to “the game.” One of these being the emergence of white rappers. “Nahh what about Emin….” Shut the f*ck up, you know damn well he is an exception to the rule…. (And even now there are still non-believers with regards to Shady) I remember hearing Mac Miller for the first time and hating his voice. Yes, I said it. The “H” word. Hating ! I remember listening to Asher Roth and setting the bar higher comparative to his black counterparts at the time. Charles Hamilton … lol. I know that I recently found it hard to take G-Eazy seriously as a rapper. Did anyone really though ? (Like foreal, comment below if you did, I’m genuinely curious.) The point is, even with how understanding I claim to be, I have a certain stereotype of what a rapper should be. Is it right ? Of course not … but it’s still in my mind and I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s in a lot of other people’s minds as well. If it’s not, good for you, you’re just a better person than I am I guess. (You should be a politician, you’ll fit right in) But if you have found yourself thinking this way, or something similar, I think you will be interested to know my own thought process on these ultimately ridiculous and inhibiting stereotypes. My honest observations.

Culture can be defined as many things and is not limited to race, but for simplicity that is what I am going to speak on. From birth, we are taught to love our culture, live our culture, be OUR culture. Typically, what we value, tends to be what our culture values. When it comes to black people in America, values for males are typically, but not limited to, self-reliance, resiliency, and progression. White: Stability, reservation, and structure. (Yes, these are stereotypes, just as any analysis at a macro level will be … Otherwise known as assumptions) Some could speculate this is because of slavery, but I don’t think it matters. It is what it is. When I see a black person “act black” or a white person “act white” based on stereotypes it immediately makes sense to me. I don’t question their motives or wonder why they are acting that way. However, when I see the opposite, I sit back and think twice about the scenario. *gasp* I call this the Macklemore Paradox.

Macklemore

My reasoning is very simple. Rap was/is commonly associated with black culture as a means of expressing trials and tribulation. In my mind, it is only natural that most successful rappers are predominantly black. So, when I see rap artists like Macklemore, I unfortunately question their genuinity. Am I right ? Once again, of course not … But I still do it because it is a stereotype I see being broken. A break away from normalcy. This is what culture has done. This is what putting a metaphorical box around ourselves and labeling us as Mexican, Black, Asian, White etc … has done. Given us such normalcy within our respective race, ethnicity, nationality, etc …. Macklemore has a vision and because of values that my culture has taught me as “better,” I judge his differences rather than embrace it. I listen to Macklemore and don’t appreciate him for what he truly is because of my inability to hear past his obvious Caucasian vocal timbre. And truly, it’s just me who ends up being a stereotype… Stereotypically ignorant.

So what am I ultimately saying ? Well … And this is bound to get a few eye-rolls … But I condemn culture. I think it brings about more problems than I deem it a necessary factor in improving our lives. The biggest argument may be that culture influences the creation of beautiful things such as music, art, dance, etc … and that is a great point. But when I say culture, I use it as an abstract and mean the masses that hop along for the ride and judge those who do not jump a certain band wagon with them. Everybody knows that one old-head that talks about how good it was back in the day. Or those individuals that always seem to find the negatives in something before even trying to look for something positive. To bring it back to point though, culture can be inhibiting in the same way that thinking America is the greatest country on Earth. Or that your God is the right and absolute deity. Ultimately, it is not black people who created rap; it was a group of individuals who wanted to express themselves through rhythmic vocal patterns, the rest followed. It was not white people who created country; it was individuals who wanted to sing about their experiences, the rest followed. At this point you should realize I’m speaking hyperbolically and should know that culture can be wonderful when used in the creation of something unique, but the moment people start using it to destroy or belittle is when we should start re-evaluating it. Of course, we’re just talking about music right now. But even the little things can show a glimpse of how the world really works, that is, if you are willing to look at them with the honesty and respect they deserve. So, perhaps generalizations are generally true and Asian women really can’t drive. That is, we do need some stereotypes/assumptions to describe the world we live in. But maybe it’s something deeper than that and we’re only looking through one angle just as I view white people rapping as somewhat odd. It really just depends on how far you’re willing to look into it. All I know that at the end of the day a 5 minute reflection never hurts. What do I value ? Where do those values come from ? And the most importantly, why do I value them ? Maybe you don’t need to and you’re content as of the moment. That’s fine too. Just remember a wise man who thinks himself to be wise is the product of someone else’s thinking.

Photo credits:

taikonenfea.wordpress.com

en.wikipedia.org

NBA 2014/2015 Preview: Breakout Player Watch

Tip-off to the 2014/15 NBA season is approximately three weeks away, and the excitement continues to grow, especially after seeing the new look Cavaliers in action today.  The pieces to the puzzle seem to fit very well, but just as importantly, the individual players looked good as well.  With that in mind, hoop fans have our eyes set out on other players who we expect to have big individual performances this year.   I have narrowed down my list to three players who I think will have a breakout year and solidify their place in the NBA hierachy.

3.  Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

klay thompsonKlay Thompson, the other member of the Splash Brothers, is the next big shooting sensation to emerge in the NBA.  Although Klay has already made a name for himself in the three seasons that he has played in the league thus far, he is yet to reach his ceiling.  Klay has the potential to go down in history as one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game with the likes of Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic, and Allan Houston.  What’s even more impressive is the fact that Klay is much more than a phenomenal shooter.  He is able to attack the rim, post up, and even more importantly DEFEND.  Klay was able to showcase this summer playing for Team USA that he is able to use his 6’6 frame and quick feet to be a shutdown defender when needed.  I’m not here to say that Klay Thompson is headed for Steph Curry’s throne as the man in Golden State, however I think it is safe to say that Klay Thompson is going to be putting up some pretty delicious numbers this season that could potentially earn him a trophy (Most Improved Player of the Year) better than the one he currently has: Hannah Stocking (that’s if it is even possible to find a better looking trophy).  Look for Klay to put up 23 points on average, with  high shooting percentages; a jump from his 18 points per game average from last year.

2. Bradly Beal – Washington Wizards

beal2222In the playoffs last season, Bradley Beal gave hoop fans a glimpse of what he has the potential to be in his career, and why the Wizards were so high on him coming out of the University of Florida.  Beal solidified himself as the go-to player down the stretch, coming up with some crucial buckets for the Wizards.  The maturity and confidence that he showcased in that postseason run gave Wizards fans hope for the future, as the backcourt tandem of Wall and Beal is already established as one of the best in the league.  Beal has also proven that he is not a liability on the defensive end, and can certainly turn it up on that end when needed.  Getting buckets is something that he has showcased an ability to do: whether it’s spotting up, off-the-dribble, or even sometimes in the post.  Once he establishes himself as a consistent defender, he is bound to climb the ranks of the top shooting guards in the league.  I expect Beal to have a breakout season, similar to the one Paul George had after his playoff maturation process.  I look for Beal to get into the low 20’s in scoring this season; a little less than Klay who plays in a much faster paced offense.

1. Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans

anthony davisLast season, Anthony Davis made a HUGE jump from his rookie season, scoring 7 points more on a nightly basis and going on to lead the league in shots blocked per game.  Despite this major progression, I still believe that there is another level that Davis is yet to showcase.  He has already proven to the league that he is a dominant defensive player; the next step is to impose that dominance on the offensive side of the floor.  Davis has the potential to establish himself as a great two-way player in the league, sort of like NBA greats Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and even Hakeem Olajuwon.  A player of his stature comes around maybe once every decade, and I believe that he is going to be THAT big man of this generation that we will one day look back and reminisce on his greatness.  I expect Davis to make some improvements statically this upcoming season, but even more importantly, I expect him to have a greater impact on his team.  Last season, he got most of his points playing off of others; this season, I expect him to be the focal point on offense for the Hornets, while continuing to dominate on the defensive end.  I expect Davis to put up MVP type numbers, although I don’t except him to be the recipient of such an award unless the Hornets go on to exceed everybody’s expectations.

Photo credits:

bleacherreport.com

washiongtonpost.com

White House Invasion: Endless Question Marks

whitehouse_fenceEarlier this week, reports of a White House intrusion by an Omar Gonzalez surfaced the web. The 42 year old veteran was said to have jumped over the White House fence and invaded the main floor of the nation’s palace.  This led to the Secret Service Agency being heavily criticized, with the Director Julia Pierson ultimately stepping down from her post.  Amidst this controversy, a portion of the public is increasingly losing faith in the Secret Service, as even the President of this beloved country seems to be vulnerable to attacks from civilians.  What propelled Mr. Gonzalez to attempt such an action is beyond me; however the more important question is: HOW was he able to 1)enter the premises so easily, and 2)get that far INTO the premises?

Protection of the White House is a subject that shouldn’t even be touched on, simply due to how obvious its importance is.  Firstly, the President is arguably (or almost certainly) the most important man in this country.  His safety has to be of the utmost importance.  Secondly, the White House serves as the most cherished building in this country; therefore its doors must be heavily guarded at all times.  To accomplish these two goals, whatever steps deemed necessary by protective forces must be taken.  With that being said, deadly force should be used when necessary, with the intent to hinder progress and not necessarily to kill.  Well, when is it necessary in this context?  The answer to me is quite simple: whenever an intrusion takes place.

Under the Castle Doctrine, an individual is authorized to resort to the use of force, including deadly force, when he/she feels as though their “humble abode” is being intruded upon.  Considering the White House serves as the President’s primary residence, this doctrine applies.  Granted the Secret Service acts on behalf of the President in  protecting his “castle,” it is up to their discretion to determine what constitutes an intrusion.  Sadly, it doesn’t take a genius to determine that a forceful entrance into a premises (forceful due to the manner in which the intruder entered the space, and the resistance offered when initially approached) warrants an intrusion.  With that being said, the use of force was permissible in this case.  So why wasn’t this the case?  How did the security allow Mr. Gonzalez to get as far as he did?

This all points back to the training and leadership received by the staff on duty at the time of the invasion.  The Secret Service has had a fair share of controversial incidents, and an incident like this one certainly did not help.  Julia Pierson certainly made the right decision by stepping down from her post, as her leadership during her tenure was certainly questionable.  Although we are all aware of how difficult of a job she had, it also safe to say that perhaps somebody else could have done a more admirable job.  Unfortunately for her, the inability of her subordinates to carry out their job points back to her leadership.  With that being said, an overhaul of the Secret Service Agency is much needed, and it starts with the appointment of a worthy proven candidate to lead the team.

Next, clear procedural guidelines must be established as to what happens in situations such as this, as uncertainty leaves important figures such as the President vulnerable to attacks.  If these guidelines are already established, (which I’m assuming they are) they need to be reinforced.  In order to ensure the safety of the nation and its leaders, this problem must be addressed and addressed quickly before foreign enemies plan to exploit this “vulnerability.”    Lastly, citizens of this nation must get rid of the hatred and ill feelings towards the leaders of this country.  Although not everyone agrees with the policies put in place by the President and others in position of power, hatred and a desire to eliminate our leaders of their positions through means as drastic as homicide is  clearly not the answer.  If anything, this will inevitably create chaos.  Citizens must patiently rely on democracy to take its course when it comes to replacing the nation’s leaders, and that simply takes time.  If these steps are taken, protection of the nation is bound to be strengthened.

Photo credits:

www.pbs.org