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Sports Strength

Who is the Highest Paid WNBA Player?

In 2022, the highest paid WNBA players are Breanna Stewart, DeWanna Bonner, Jewell Loyd, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner, and Diana Taurasi. These seven players will each earn a base supermax salary of $221,450 for the 2021 WNBA season. The base max salary is $190,550. The league minimum salary is now $58,710. The salary cap, which is regarded as a hard cap, stands at $1,339,000; this amount of money is distributed among 11 or 12  players on each of 12 rosters. In 2020, the top WNBA base salary was $215,000; in 2019, the top  WNBA base salary was $117,500.

The groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement unveiled by the WNBPA, WNBA Board of  Governors, and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in January 2020 boosted base salaries and continues to provide for extra earning opportunities for WNBA players. Max and supermax players now receive annual 3 percent salary bumps, and by 2027, the salary cap will have grown incrementally by nearly $300,000. 

Jewell Loyd
$231,515
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

All-star guard Jewell Loyd became the highest paid WNBA player after resigning with the Seattle Storm before last season. She signed a two year $463,030 contract last offseason, giving her an annual salary of $231,515. Loyd was the first overall pick in 2015 after an illustrious career at Notre Dame, going to two national championship games. She has helped the Storm win two championships, with the most recent coming in the 2020 ‘wubble’. Last season Loyd averaged 17.9 points, 3.8 assists, and 1.4 steals, earning her All-WNBA First team honors. Although the Storm enjoyed a trip to the semifinals last season, they will have a large gap to fill with the retirement of Sue Bird. It will be interesting to see what the Storm can accomplished with an even larger role carved out for Jewell Loyd.

DeWanna Bonner
$224,870
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Former Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner was cored by the Mercury the league maximum of four times, so her pursuit of a new team was inevitable. In February 2020, Bonner was signed and traded to the Connecticut Sun, making her eligible for supermax earnings there. This season, Bonner will earn $221,450. In spite of the Sun’s disappointing loss in the WNBA Finals, Bonner enjoyed an efficient postseason that saw her come up clutch in the semifinals against the Chicago Sky. The Suns have clear championship expectations and Bonner will have to play at an elite level if they want to win their first chip.

Elena Delle Donne
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In the afterglow of a hard-fought championship, 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne re-signed with the Washington Mystics in the 2020 offseason to a well-deserved supermax deal. In 2021,  Delle Donne earned the updated supermax base salary of $221,450. 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delle Donne, a longtime Lyme disease patient, elected to sit out the 2020 season due to her susceptibility to the virus. Her decision came in spite of a panel of league-appointed doctors who would not deem her “medically excused” from play in the WNBA  Bubble, which would have allowed the Mystics to withhold her 2020 salary.

After Delle Donne went public with her disgust at the situation, the Mystics backtracked and promised to pay her to stay home. Delle Donne’s highly anticipated return to competition has the W community on the edge of their seats—as the star forward has been sidelined for nearly two years now. Due to injuries and the pandemic, Delle Donne has only registered three games over the last two seasons. Hopefully Elena Delle Donne can return to 100% in the near future.

Phoenix Mercury
Skylar Diggins-Smith, Brittney Griner, and Diana Taurasi
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The Phoenix Mercury boast three supermax players—and yes, one of them, at long last, is Diana  Taurasi. To the confusion of CBA novices, eighth-year players Brittney Griner and Skylar  Diggins-Smith both out-earned teammate and resident GOAT Diana Taurasi in 2020 by nearly  $100,000.

Through a sign-and-trade deal between Phoenix and Dallas (for whom she was a  designated core player), point guard Diggins-Smith was able to sign a four-year supermax  contract with the Mercury in February 2020. Meanwhile, center Griner re-signed with and was  cored by Phoenix, and was able to take advantage of the new supermax rules as well. To that  point, Taurasi’s most recent contract was negotiated under the previous CBA, leaving her  criminally underpaid. Taurasi was actually the fourth-highest earner on her team last year, and  took home nearly 35% less than sixth woman Bria Hartley did.  

Diana Taurasi, now 38, signed a two-year supermax deal on February 1, 2021. She will earn a base salary of $228,094 next season. In celebration, Mercury GM Jim Pitman emphasized the obvious: “[Diana] is the heart of our franchise, the first face on our Mount Rushmore, the best winner and competitor in the women’s game. The  trajectory of our organization changed the day we drafted her 17 years ago, and we are excited  she will be here into the future.” The deal could be the last of Taurasi’s career, but we can feel relieved that she is reaping some of the benefits she’s worked to sow for the next generation. 

Las Vegas Aces
Chelsea Gray, A’ja Wilson, and Kelsey Plum
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The Las Vegas Aces big three of Chelsea Gray, A’ja Wilson, and Kelsey Plum all sit somewhere in the top 30 WNBA players salary list, and for good reason. Chelsea Gray is a hardened veteran, and one of the best shotmakers in the league. She is proficient at getting to her spot and knocking down jumpers at the most crucial moments. Borderline unstoppable in this years playoffs, Gray helped the Aces win their first WNBA title en route to her first WNBA Finals MVP.

The second highest earner on the Aces is two-time league MVP A’ja Wilson. Wilson’s 2022 campaign will go down as arguably the most dominant season in WNBA history. Not only did she win regular season MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, but her team won the Commissioners Cup and the WNBA Finals. A’ja Wilson has a long and illustrious career ahead of her.

The third highest salary on the 2022 championship Las Vegas Aces roster was all-star guard Kelsey Plum. Plum had a spectacular regular season that even saw her claim the all-star game MVP this year. Plum remains a seminal piece for the Aces, as they regularly look at her to break interior defenders and draw fouls on opposing defenses. The Ace’s core remains young and hungry after their first taste of winning, but can they do it again next season?

Around the League
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Elsewhere around the league, star players are enjoying new lucrative contracts.  

Tiffany Hayes ($215,000) is the highest-paid player for the Atlanta Dream for the second consecutive year. She has been with the Dream since she first entered the league in 2o12 after being selected 14th overall in the draft.  

Two of Chicago’s highest-paid players happen to be married: Courtney Vandersloot ($195,000) and Allie Quigley ($135,000), cheekily known as the Vanderquigs, each signed new deals with the Sky earlier last year. In 2021, they hit the floor with Chicago native Candace Parker, who stands as the second-highest earner on the team at $195,000. 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper sits at the top of the Sky’s salary cap, earning $200,000 annually.

In Dallas, guard Allisha Gray ($164,800) will be the top earner on a youthful Wings team set to be held down by its burgeoning superstars—Arike Ogunbowale ($72,141) and Satou  Sabally ($76,297) will have to wait until at least 2023 for the substantial pay rises they deserve.  

The LA Sparks, who lost superstars Parker and Gray in the offseason, will pay Kristi Toliver and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike max salaries of $190,550 each this year. 

Over in Minnesota, Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers—shocking Lynx acquisitions in a  whirlwind period of free agency—will each receive max salaries of $190,550, out-earning new teammate and former MVP Sylvia Fowles ($117,894). 

The perpetually rebuilding New York Liberty traded for the three-time champ and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard, whom they will reward with $221,000 this year; the Libs also scored 2020 Wubble breakthrough star Betnijah Laney in free agency, and she, in turn, will take home a max salary of $190,550. The Liberties young star point guard Sabrina Ionescu is slated to make $76,297 this upcoming season.

In February 2020, Sue Bird told Howard Megdal, “money has really never been the motivator in  the WNBA.” In equal parts, Bird enlightens the privilege of having a spot in such an incredibly competitive league and points out that the CBA’s new salary structure marks a historic turning point for the WNBA.

Highest Paid Player of 2023 (Jewell Loyd)
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The highest paid player this season is, you guessed it—Jewell Loyd. Clocking in roughly $228,094 for the year, Loyd is currently in the midst of bringing the Storm back to the WNBA mountaintop.

Breanna Stewart
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Double trouble. The duo of Stewart and Loyd have earned their spots not only as some of the top players in the W, but they are both tied for the number two spot in the list of top WNBA earners at $228,094. Maybe they should play one on one? Winner gets $1 to break the tie.

Elena Delle Donne
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Surprise! Kidding. True W fans know that Elena Delle Donne has been one of the top earners in the W for a hot minute, and it’s well deserved. She’s a sensational player.

DeWanna Bonner
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Seems like the top spots are dominated by the Connecticut Suns and Seattle Storm huh? DeWanna Bonner comes fourth at $227,900.

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Sports Strength

The 15 Best College Football Uniforms

We’re here to start trouble. There’s no other way around it. Team jerseys are a pretty big deal in sports, and oftentimes there is the inevitable discussion of which teams are the best. With us now being on the cusp of another exciting college football season, we thought we’d highlight which teams look the best, literally.

Obviously these types of rankings are pretty hard to do. It seems like a cop out to get the top jerseys award to the top/most popular teams in college football, but the reality is that those are the highest selling jerseys. That said, we’re also a firm believer that a great jersey is a great jersey, regardless of ranking and popularity.

As we prepare to block off our Saturdays for the rest of fall, we’re rounding out our 15 favorite jerseys of this season. Hang around and see if your team made the list.

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1. Cincinnati Bearcats

While you might be paying a little extra attention to Cincinnati because of their playoff appearance last year, the reality is that they have always had sick jerseys. Whether it’s red, white, or black, the Bearcats always look crisp.

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2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama is a no-brainer. One of the most successful teams not just in the history of college football, but in the history of sports as well, Bama has always had some of the top-selling jerseys. The Crimson Red never fails.

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3. Georgia Bulldogs

Reigning National Champion or not, you can’t deny the power of the Bulldogs fanbase. They sellout games whether they are having a great season or not, and a simple look at the crowd will show everyone decked out in UGA jerseys and apparel. Again, the power of the Bulldogs.

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4. Michigan Wolverines

Coming off of last year’s dream season, the Wolverines hope to reprise their College Football Playoff appearance this year. The Wolverines are known for their classic dark blue jerseys that can be instantly recognized.

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5. Florida Gators

Come on, it’s Florida! The Florida Gators jerseys are a tried and true classic that represents school spirit to the fullest. Plus the colors go well with beautiful Florida weather.

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6. Clemson Tigers

The #4 team in the country in the pre-season polls, the Tigers will certainly be donning those iconic jerseys as they try to rebound from a disappointing 2021 season.

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7. Florida State Seminoles

The Seminoles look fresh every time they step onto the field. A little garnett and gold has never hurt anybody.

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8. LSU Tigers

LSU. Land of the purple, white, and gold. Enough said.

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9. Ohio State University

Studs like CJ Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson would make any jersey look good, but they look especially sharp in Ohio State’s iconic grey and scarlet jerseys.

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10. UCLA Bruins

You’ve got to admit that UCLA has some killer uniforms. It’s very “Los Angeles” and “City of Angels.”

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11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Every college football list has to include the Fighting Irish. It just has to. No other options.

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12. Oregon Ducks

Green just has a way of bringing a new life to the football field. The Oregon Ducks have done it time and time again.

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13. Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State is another team that has to be included on any and every jersey ranking/list. The crisp blue is a killer, and you can’t knock the white either.

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14. Miami Hurricanes

The green stripes with a solid orange is a fresh look, that once again screams “Florida.” Check out the Hurricanes on December 31st when they take on the Washington State Cougars.

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“Norrrtth Carolinaaaa” (Petey Pablo for the youngins). The baby blue is an instant eye catcher. You literally can’t take your eyes off it. You can’t look away. The material is rich. That is all.

SMU
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SMU may never replicate their Pony Express eliteness, but they’ve never looked better on the field. Last season the Mustangs debuted a new get-up with a script “Dallas” along the front, rather than the team or school name. It—alongside the helmets with the Mustang logo running through a big D—is cold as hell.

University of Maryland
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Inspired by Phil Knight’s efforts at the University of Oregon, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank has made several generous donations to the University of Maryland, his alma mater. Like Oregon, the Terrapins have some of the most outre jerseys in college football, paying homage to their home state by wearing its famously garish flag on their sleeves.  

Tulane
Getty Images

Although most people don’t even realize that Tulane has a D1 football team, their stellar football jerseys deserve more love. With their combination of powder blue, green and white, the Green Wave have some of the most unique ensembles in the sport. Their logo is very cool too.

Navy
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It’s impossible to not respect the troops when their jerseys are so clean.

Auburn

That’s gonna do it. Whether you agree with our selections or not, nobody can ever take away the power of school pride. Happy Bowl season!

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Sports Strength

The AHL’s Charlotte Checkers Are Ready For The Playoffs

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of covering the Charlotte Checkers who played their final regular-season home game against the Hartford Wolf Pack. Not only was it my first time ever covering a hockey game, but it was also my first time even attending a hockey match in person, which was incredible. The game took place at the Bojangles Coliseum, which was an overtime matchup that ended with the Hartford Wolf Pack taking it 4-3.

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While the Checkers may not have gotten the win, it was still a memorable day for team captain Zac Dalpe who was playing in his milestone 600th professional game. I attended this game not for a “recap,” but to learn more about the team that has Charlotte’s heart.

The Charlotte Checkers are a minor league professional ice hockey team that are a part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the American Hockey League. They are affiliates of the NHL’s Florida Panthers and Seattle Kraken.

Originally known as the Capital District Islanders from 1990 to 1993 and based in Troy, New York, the team took on another moniker, the Albany River Rats for nearly seventeen years before relocating to Charlotte in 2010. Once there, the River Rats officially changed their name to the Charlotte Checkers, making them the second professional minor league hockey team to officially be recognized in the highest level of minor-league hockey.

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At the time, the Checkers were playing at what was then known as the Time Warner Cable Arena (now the Spectrum Center) and moved to the Bojangles Coliseum in 2010. While the Checkers have been fun to watch every year, their 2018-2019 season is widely regarded as their best thus far in team history. That year, the Checkers captured the Regular Season Title, the Division Championship, the Conference Championship, and the Calder Cup.

For those that don’t know, the Calder Cup is the annual trophy awarded to the American Hockey League Champion each year. Fast forward to 2022, and the Checkers are hoping for the same outcome. The team clinched their playoff berth on April 7th, making them the first team to get an invitation to the 2022 Playoffs

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Obviously, the city of Charlotte is very excited about the team’s chance to bring home another trophy this year, and that was evident during this final home game. The Bojangles Coliseum houses 8,600 seats, and despite already clinching a playoff spot, the turnout was still amazing. I’d estimate that at least 8,300 of 8,600 seats were filled, and that number could have been more as there were tons of people getting food and merchandise.

Many of those fans were rocking Checkers gear, and we’re genuinely disappointed to see their team lose despite the fact that in the grand scheme of things, the game really didn’t matter much.

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The food options were simple yet satisfying with an abundance of pizza, popcorn, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and more, and the live experience was awesome. Since I had never been to a hockey game before, I didn’t know what to expect. I had multiple people tell me that the hockey live experience is among the most exciting to watch, and after attending myself, I would have to agree. I can only imagine what a hockey playoff game feels like, and it is my hope that one day I’ll be able to attend one.

Best of luck to the Charlotte Checkers as they embark on their postseason journey, which you can follow via their Instagram and Twitter.


Categories
Sports Strength

Get Ready For The 2022 WNBA Draft

Well, this is a quick turnaround, right? It was just a few days ago that we were watching the Final Four and Championship matchups, and now in just three days, we are going to have the first in-person WNBA Draft since 2019. And if we’re having the draft, that means we’re only about a month away (actually less than a month) from the season starting. We’ll have a little more on that as we get closer to the May 6th tip-off date, but for now, our focus is solely on this draft, and the exciting storylines that are following it.

Here are some of the key things to look forward to.

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When is the 2022 WNBA Draft?

The WNBA Draft will take place on Monday, April 11, 2022, and ESPN will broadcast the event at 7 pm EST.

Where is the 2022 WNBA Draft?
DraftKings

As we mentioned earlier, the draft will be held in person at Spring Studios in New York for the first time since 2019.

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Who’s Picking First?

If you watched the WNBA Draft Lottery on December 21st, then you probably already know that the Washington Mystics won the first pick. However, there’s been a development. This past Wednesday, the Mystics traded that number one pick to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for the No 3. overall pick, No. 14 overall pick, and the rights to swap 2023 draft picks. This means ATL is officially picking first this year, which leads us to our next point?

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Who Is The Anticipated No. 1 Draft Pick?

This is gonna be a close one. The projected number one picks this year are Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith. The Atlanta Dream aren’t giving any hints either. In fact, they are having a lot of fun with their secretive “we know something you don’t,” social media teasers. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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How Many Players Will Be Drafted?

A total of 36 players will be drafted, with 12 players being selected in each round, so there are plenty of opportunities for players coming out of college to get picked up by a team.

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Who Are Some of the Top 12?

Obviously, Rhyne Howard and NaLyssa Smith are a part of the top 12, but other names to look out for include: Destanni Henderson from South Carolina, Shakira Austin from Ole Miss, Nyara Sabally (recognize the last name?) from Oregon, Elissa Cunane from NC State, and more.

So, we’re watching the draft as a family right? Cool! Be sure to keep up with me on Twitter as I will be live-tweeting through the night.

Categories
Sports Strength

How Steph Curry’s UNDERRATED Is Producing The Talent of Tomorrow

As Steph Curry and the Warriors prepare for yet another postseason run, there was another “playoff” that had Steph’s focus over this past weekend. Last Friday, the UNDERRATED Championship kicked off with a weekend-long event, which took place at the Soldiertown indoor basketball court. The event consisted of a talented roster of high school student basketball players from across the country who competed in tournament-style games while also receiving specialized training, tailored experiences, and best-in-class resources.

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Now in its third season, the UNDERRATED tournament seeks to find America’s most UNDERRATED region and was created and designed to raise visibility for often-overlooked three-star high school players, like Steph in his own basketball career, to give more opportunities to enter college-level athletics.

The invite-only event is the culmination of a nationwide search for overlooked and underrepresented high school student basketball talent, bringing together tour finalists to compete in tournament-style games where one boy and one girl are crowned the country’s most UNDERRATED athlete representing their region.

Powered by Rakuten this year, two $20,000 scholarship opportunities for Championship-bound players that can be used toward the college were presented to the participants, and one boy and one girl were selected to receive them during the event as well.

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One thing is clear—the UNDERRATED tour is dedicated to producing the talent of tomorrow, and ONE37pm spoke with MyLinh Chau, Head of Experience for UNDERRATED, about the program, and the direction the SC30 team plans on taking it in the future.

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ONE37pm: Congratulations on this great event! Could you tell us more about the UNDERRATED championship?

Chau: This year marks our third annual UNDERRATED Championship, which brings together high schoolers from across the country to compete and play the sport they love – basketball – under the guidance of Stephen Curry and the UNDERRATED family. Throughout the summer of 2021, the UNDERRATED Tour stopped in four cities (Washington D.C., Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles) where 75 boys and 75 girls were given a chance to learn and break through the noise.

The final 64 participants (16 from each city) were flown to the Bay Area for the Championship. The weekend-long event will include tournament-style games and specialized training, tailored experiences, and best-in-class resources like drills, off-court education, personal skills development, expert panels, and more.

ONE37pm: What was the process of putting this event together in terms of selecting the teams, location, etc.?

Chau: During the first day at each regional stop, there are 75 boys and 75 girls who have been selected to participate. On the second day, it is narrowed down to 30 boys and 30 girls who have been selected to come back, and from there we pare it down to eight boys and eight girls from each region.

The UNDERRATED Championships is a tournament style. With that in mind, we wanted to bring all of the student-athletes to the Bay Area and support them with a large championship moment, in the city that is so near and dear to Stephen’s heart.

ONE37pm: A new addition to this year’s program includes Rakuten’s $20,000 scholarship opportunities. Could you tell us more about that?

Chau: The $20,000 scholarship that Rakuten has offered is an incredible addition to this year’s championship, as these athletes are being given a chance to reach their truest potential when they otherwise might not have had such resources available to attend their first-choice college, university or trade school. The scholarship will be granted to two individuals, one boy and one girl, at this weekend’s final tour stop in Oakland.

ONE37pm: The UNDERRATED Championship was created and designed to raise visibility for often-overlooked three-star high school players, like Steph, and you guys continue to evolve. Are there any more events planned for this year?

Chau: We’re empowered to evolve the UNDERRATED mission in shedding light on overlooked talents through continuing these championships, beyond just basketball. We have a very exciting year ahead and look forward to engaging with even more talented young athletes nationwide.

You can keep up with the UNDERRATED tour via Twitter

Categories
Sports Strength

Stony Brook Basketball Team Partners With College HUNKS

As we prepare to wrap up the end of the 2021-2022 college basketball season with some exciting matchups over the next couple of days, big time moves are already being made for the 2022-2023 season. One of those moves is a major announcement coming from Stony Brook University. The school recently announced a new partnership with College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving in Long Island, which will sponsor the entire Stony Brook Men’s Basketball Team for the ‘22 campaign.

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This deal marks the first full-team endorsement of a Long Island college team, as College HUNKS believes in building and supporting leaders. Since the NCAA passed a policy that opened up sponsorship opportunities for college athletes, College HUNKS has been showing their support across the country with the signing of  University of Miami Quarterback D’Eriq King, and endorsement deals with the San Diego State football team, and Howard University Men’s Basketball team, making them the first to partner with an HBCU. 

College HUNKS celebrated the moment with Stony Brook basketball players at a signing event at their offices in Hauppauge, NY, and we connected with Mo Diallo from the Stony Brook team to talk more about this groundbreaking partnership.

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ONE37pm: Congratulations on this partnership with College HUNKS! What does this mean for the university?

Diallo: This is the first entire Long Island team to receive a sponsorship – which is bringing awareness and recognition to our university. Our team and university look forward to broadening our partnership and working together. 

ONE37pm: This sponsorship will carry through until the 2022 season, so what can fans expect this upcoming season?

Diallo: Spotlighting that our team is able to collect from NIL deals will help with recruitment, as well as showing student-athletes with an entrepreneurial spirit how to capitalize on their own name, image and likeness. This upcoming season, our team members will work in collaboration with College HUNKS to be out in the community giving back, as well as encouraging people to come and work for the brand. 

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ONE37pm: You guys had a signing recently to celebrate. How was that?

Diallo: Many of our team members work with College HUNKS in the summer, and this was a great way to celebrate with the College HUNKS brand. The brand hosted a signing event where we received SWAG and gear. It was a great celebration for our team being the first full team in Long Island to receive a sponsorship. 

ONE37pm: How does this deal pave the way for future sponsorship opportunities?

Diallo: Working with NOCAP Sports helped to ensure that all of our players were in alignment with NIL deals. This deal paves the way for future sponsorship opportunities as our team is now comfortable with the process of NIL deals and how they work.

When asked about College HUNKS decision to partner with Stony Brook, Co-Founder and Visionary Nick Friedman and Co-Owner of Long Island College HUNKS had this to say.

College HUNKS believes in building leaders within our organization and in the communities that we serve. We are honored to support college athletes as they set the path for their careers. We chose to support Stony Brook, so we could help local Long Island student athletes, many who work with us during the summer months.

We are committed to offering our top-notch service and support to our local communities and upholding the core values of our brand, which include being a purpose-driven company.”

Fun times are ahead this fall, but in the meantime you can keep up with the Stony Brook Basketball Team and College HUNKS on Instagram.

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Sports Strength

The Latest NBA G-League Highlights from the Past Week

We’re back with another G-League update. Now if the date on the G-League calendar is correct, then that means the playoffs start on April 5th, which means we are only a little over a week away. So we figured that we would give you guys an update on what the playoff picture is looking like.

Before we get into that though, the G-League has a new way that they are revealing post-season awards. Last week the league unveiled the first-ever custom-designed family of post-season awards designed by artist Victor Solomon, whose previous credits include working with the G League to redesign the Winter Showcase trophy collection, as well as the NBA on the Kobe Bryant Trophy for the Kia All-Star Game MVP.

NBA G-League
G-League Championship Trophy

The NBA G League Championship Trophy, NBA G League Finals MVP Award, NBA G League Eastern and Western Conference Championship Trophies, Kia NBA G League MVP Award, and Kia NBA G League Rookie of the Year Award amongst others all have a brand new design courtesy of Solomon, and we must say the drip is pretty nice. 

Now that we have that established, let’s get back to the playoff scenario. The format for the 2021-2022 season is quite simple. The format will feature four rounds and 12 total teams, the six top teams from the Eastern Conference and the six top teams from the Western Conference.  

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The top two teams from each conference will receive an automatic bye into the second round. The playoffs will begin with three single-elimination rounds before culminating with a best-of-three NBA G League Finals, which will be played in a one-on-one format.

That means if the action were to start today, these are the teams that would be in:

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Eastern Conference:

1. Raptors 905

2. Capital City Go-Go

3. Delaware Blue Coats

4. Motor City Cruise

5. Grand Rapids Gold

6. College Park Skyhawks

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Western Conference

1. Rio Grande Valley Vipers

2. Agua Caliente Clippers

3. South Bay Lakers

4. Texas Legends

5. Birmingham Squadron

6. Stockton Kings

Raptors 905, Capital City Go-Go, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Agua Caliente Clippers would automatically receive a bye into the second round, and the remaining teams would have to duke it out in single round elimination games. 

We’ll know more information on the standings and matchups at the end of the week, so we’ll be back with another update to let you guys know what’s happening. In the meantime, enjoy the final week of the season.

Categories
Sports Strength

Breaking Down The New Adidas NIL Program

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost a year into the introduction of Name, Image, and Likeness officially being introduced into the lives of collegiate athletes, but we’re here, and things are progressing rapidly. Yesterday, Adidas became the first major sports brand to enact a wide-sweeping, equitable and inclusive NIL network open to every eligible student-athlete at an Adidas-partnered NCAA Division I university.

adidas
adidas More Than Possible

Here are the details.

More than 50,000 student-athletes across 23 sports and 109 schools will be eligible to become paid Adidas brand ambassadors through the program, with the network roll-out beginning with HBCUs and Power-5 conference partners in Fall. By this time next year, every qualified Adidas school will have access to the program.

To help celebrate the anniversary of Title IX, the remaining schools participating in the Sweet 16 will be donning “More is Possible” t-shirts for the rest of their time in the tournament. On the back, the shirts list the iconic 37 words that formally outlawed gender discrimination in American education and collegiate athletics.

adidas
More Than Possible NC State

Rupert Campbell, president of Adidas, had this to say about this groundbreaking partnership.

“At Adidas, we are committed to creating change through sport and recognize the important role student-athletes play in shaping the future,” said Rupert Campbell, president of Adidas North America. “Our groundbreaking NIL program advances our commitments toward building inclusivity in sport and inspires athletes to realize a more equitable world. I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

Candace Parker, who has a new documentary Title IX: 37 Words That Changed America that’s set to premiere on TBS during the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four weekend programming, will also have an active voice and presence in the program.

Getty Images
Candace Parker

“Adidas’s NIL network is an incredible step forward for the growth of women’s sports,” adds Candace Parker, Adidas partner. “It will have an impact on the future of college athletics and hopefully create a more equal, sustainable landscape where athletes feel supported and invested in as they grow in their college careers. It builds upon Adidas’s and my shared ambition to empower the next generation of women in life and sport.”

​​To celebrate March Madness, ‘More Is Possible’ shirts will be available for retail starting March 23 on adidas.com, Fanatics, and other local collegiate retailers for $25.

Categories
Sports Strength

8 NCAA Women’s Players To Watch in The 2022 March Madness Tournament

We’re finally here everyone. What an exciting season this has been! The first-round matchups are set, and now it’s time for the stars to shine their brightest. As you all know, March Madness is when lives are changed and careers are made.

The ante is upped, and the competition is intensified in a scenario where it is win or go home. While nobody knows for sure what will happen, we do know a few players who have made splashes this season. Sticking with our bracket theme, here’s our “Elite 8.”

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1. Aliyah Boston

Let’s start with the obvious. Aliyah Boston has been nothing short of sensational, putting together a near-perfect season offensively and defensively that has her to be the widely projected National Player of The Year. One thing’s for certain, the South Carolina Gamecocks are going to need Boston’s efforts if they want to take home the trophy this year.

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2. Nalyssa Smith

We’ve heard a lot about the talent that is Nalyssa Smith over the past couple of years, and boy has she continued to deliver. Averaging 22.5 points, Smith is currently expected to be picked first at next month’s WNBA Draft in New York City.

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3. Paige Bueckers

Paige Bueckers had a dominant freshman campaign and probably would have pulled similar numbers this year if not for a knee injury that caused her to miss nineteen games this season. That said, let’s not forget who Paige Bueckers is, and what she is capable of. If health isn’t an issue, we could easily Bueckers in peak form. If she’s scoring 20 plus a night…look out.

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4. Caitlin Clark

Ladies and gentlemen, the Caitlin Clark. To say Clark has been incredible this year, would be one of the biggest understatements of the 21-22 campaign. Clark has also presented a case for National Player of the Year honors with many memorable games such as her 43 point showing against Ohio State, and her 46 point barrage against the 5th ranked Michigan. Let’s see what Clark does in the tournament.

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5. Ayoka Lee

Let’s take a look at Kansas St. center Ayoka Lee. There’s often a debate if “true centers” exist in the game of basketball anymore, and Lee proves on a nightly basis that it very much still exists amongst certain teams and players. Lee is wildly dominant on both offense and defense and is hard to stop once she gets going. In fact, it’s best not to get her going if you want to beat Kansas St.

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6. Rhyne Howard

The recently announced Cheryl Miller award finalist has been on a tear ladies and gentlemen, and there are a couple of games we could highlight as an example. Let’s take it back to Howard’s season-high 32 point effort on Senior Day two weeks ago where she put on a show one final time for the Kentucky crowd. Or we could take it back a little further to the game where she officially became No. 2 on the UK scoring list with a 19 point showing against Missouri. Howard will be another player to watch for at the draft.

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7. Cameron Brink

You could call her Cameron Brink. Or you could also call her the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Defensive Player of the Year. She’ll answer to both. While defense got her that honor, we can’t ignore her offensive contributions either. Brink is averaging 13.6 points per game, roughly four points more than last year, and can easily give you eight to ten rebounds each night. Brink is a tenacious player who we’re excited to see have an impact on this year’s tourney.

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8. Haley Jones

Haley Jones. Let’s break it down for a second. First of all, Jones is already a national champion as the Cardinal took home the trophy last season in a tournament run that led to the standout athlete being named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Now Jones is back, averaging a nearly identical stat line as her 20-21 season. Perhaps the Cardinal will have an identical outcome and repeat as champions? It will be tough, but anything is possible when it’s March Madness.

So who you got? The women’s tournament officially kicks off tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s stock up on our popcorn.

Categories
Sports Strength

ONE37pm Speaks With College Basketball Legend Kris Jenkins

Kris Jenkins will forever have his place not just in Villanova Wildcats history, but in NCAA history with his buzzer beating, championship-winning shot against number one ranked UNC in 2016. “The shot” encapsulated what March Madness is all about. The score was 74-71, Villanova. With a little over 13 seconds left in the game, North Carolina guard, Marcus Paige hit an almost indescribable three pointer that tied the game at 74 with a little over four second remaining. Those four seconds left Villanova with just enough time to get a shot off. Make it, you win the championship. Miss it, you go to overtime.

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Hall of Fame coach, Jay Wright, drew up a play that was originally designed for Villanova senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, except he didn’t have the look he wanted. It was Kris Jenkins that was open, and with 0.9 seconds remaining, Jenkins pulled up from beyond the three point line to hit the first and only buzzer beater in the Men’s NCAA National Championship. Since Selection Sunday was yesterday, we figured we’d catch up with Jenkins to talk about this historic moment, and what he has been up to recently.

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ONE37pm: Great to chat with you Kris! We all want to know what was going on through your mind when you hit the shot?

Jenkins: Well, North Carolina’s Marcus Paige had just hit this circus ridiculous tough shot. As we were walking back into the huddle, we kind of had a sense of the play that we were going to run. We were all pretty calm because we knew there was time to get a good look. 

ONE37pm: What was the play Coach Wright drew up?

Jenkins: It’s crazy because normally in that scenario we would give the ball to Arcidiacono who was our senior captain. Obviously we were going to give him the ball and tell him to win the game with our end of the game scenarios that we ran at practice. Daniel (Ochefu) set a good screen, and Arch was able to make a good pass because he didn’t have the shot he wanted. I was the last option. Arch was the first option, and then Phil [Booth] and Josh [Hart] were the second and third options. 

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ONE37pm: How does it feel having one of if not the most iconic shots in NCAA Basketball history? That’s a life-changing shot right?

Jenkins: It was definitely a life-changing shot! Life has certainly been a little crazy after that, just getting recognized at certain places, and going out with your family and being recognized not just in the area, but kind of across the world. It’s been cool! I didn’t really know what to expect after the moment exactly happened, but it’s been pretty fun!

ONE37pm: How much can you share about your upcoming NFT project?

Jenkins: We definitely have some NFT projects coming out in the near future, so be on the lookout for that. We’re also going to do a separate auction for the game shoes that I wore during the championship. So we’re in the process of figuring out how to do that, while also trying to map out how we can give back because that’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I want to make a positive change and put a smile on a Villanova fan’s face because I’m pretty sure the buyer will be one.

ONE37pm: What does a normal day in the life look like for you?

Jenkins: A normal day in the life is me continuing to strengthen my hip because I was playing basketball and had a little minor setback. I’m recovering that and trying to exalt business relationships while creating new relationships because that’s what it’s about not only in the basketball world, but in life in general. I help my mom with my grandad from time to time, and I’m just staying focused on the next basketball season coming up.

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ONE37pm: Awesome! You have a clothing line coming up as well right?

Jenkins: Yeah! We just partnered with Fanarch to release t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases, and things like that. We’re also giving back some of the proceeds to different charities, so it’s not just me trying to do something for my own personal gain. I’m always looking to give back. I give more than I receive, and I’ve always kind of been like that. The clothing line is a big deal, so definitely holding it down in that regard!

ONE37pm: Okay final question. The madness has officially begun. What is your advice to the athletes competing this year?

Jenkins: The only advice I would probably give would be to stay in the moment, and be all about winning with your team because that is the best chance you have to do something special. Be in the moment, work as hard as you can, and leave no stone unturned because like you said earlier, this month can not only change the lives of one individual, but an entire university. If you look at it from that regard, it can make you focus more because a lot is at stake.

Be sure to keep up with Kris and all of his latest updates on Instagram and Twitter