Zach Hodskins has one of the smoothest basketball strokes you will ever see. But it’s not his incredibly accurate shot that has heads turning across the nation. It’s the fact that Hodskins can shoot like that with only one arm.
Earlier this month, the University of Florida and head coach Billy Donovan offered Hodskins a spot on the team as a walk-on. The offer would guarantee him a spot on the bench beginning in 2014 without a full scholarship. Hodskins has yet to decide if we will attend Florida.
“When I’m out [on the court], I forget my arm isn’t there and just play ball,” Hodskins told the News-Herald of Northern Ohio. “Passion and love for the sport helps me overcome all obstacles. To this day I haven’t come across anything I can’t do.”
Hodskins has played high school and AAU ball over the past several years and scouts who have watched him play say he has incredible fundamentals and a “deadly” jump shot. Marcus Gibbs, Hodskins’ AAU coach for the Tennessee Playmakers, said Hodskins is an inspiration both on and off the court.
“He is a role model to any aspiring basketball player that no matter the odds if you work harder than everybody else the sky is the limit,” Gibbs told Prep Rally back in December. “There is nothing that this kid cannot do and if there is he will definitely work to eliminate that problem!”
The University of Alabama-Birmingham and Birmingham Southern have both reportedly been considering offering Hodskins a scholarship. While Hodskins’ story is heartwarming and inspirational, this isn’t a matter of a kid who has faced obstacles being allowed to score by an opponent. He can flat out ball.
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- College Basketball
TNA Wrestling and Bellator MMA have combined forces to help promote Spike TV’s newest personalities, and they’re doing a good job of creating a buzz leading up to the Nov. 2 pay-per-view bout between ex-UFC stars Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson.
Two weeks ago, Ortiz was revealed as TNA’s August 1 warning. On Thursday at TNA’s Impact Wrestling Hardcore Justice event, Rampage offered Ortiz a chance to join the Main Event Mafia, telling him that he was needed to fill Kurt Angle’s spot. Ortiz turned on Jackson and “hit” Rampage with a sledgehammer to help Bully Ray beat Chris Sabin to regain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. By the end of the show, it looked like Ortiz was partnering up with the rival Aces & Eights.
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Lansing Lugnuts pitcher Daniel Norris nearly had his head taken off by a line drive up the middle, but the minor leaguer managed to snare the rod with a catch.
Norris was pitching to David Gonzalez of the West Michigan Whitecaps on Thursday when the right-handed batter drilled a line drive up the box on the first pitch he saw. Norris dropped to try ducking the ball, but he was able to throw up his glove for the catch, giving the Lugnuts the second out of the inning. The Lugnuts won the game 2-1.
Norris has struggled this season, posting a 1-7 record and 4.64 ERA for the Toronto Blue Jays’ Single-A affiliate. However, he has had three solid starts in a row, allowing just one run in 14 innings. He can also thank his lucky stars he avoided a trip to the hospital on that chuck-and-duck play.
- Daniel Norris
Whitlock confirmed this week that he is leaving FOX Sports to return to ESPN, seven years after leaving the network. In an interview on Bill Simmons’ BS Report, Whitlock elaborated on his new role at ESPN and said he would be creating the “black Grantland.”
“For lack of a better description, I hope this isn’t offensive — but I’m going to get to do something along the lines of a black Grantland,” Whitlock told Simmons.
Whitlock says his meeting with ESPN president John Skipper convinced him to return to the network. He said he “fell in love” with Skipper and the vision Skipper had for him.
“Man, that was like music to my ears. I would love to work with some young people and to really have a chance to influence sports culture and the sports world with some young people … we’re going to try to be original thinkers,” Whitlock said of his project.
Whitlock is pumped up for his new gig and called getting his new job the greatest days of his professional life.
One of the reasons for Whitlock’s move to ESPN, aside from Skipper’s vision for him, was that he did not feel like his vision for his column aligned with FOX Sports’. It sounds like FOX Sports wanted to make Whitlock more of a multimedia personality, whereas Whitlock still wanted his column to be his top priority.
Whitlock says he is looking forward to engaging minority sports fans through his new project, and he wants to mentor young minority writers. He also likes that he will be going to a place with a bigger audience, which will result in at least one change for him. Whitlock says he will partially change the way he runs his Twitter account because he is on a bigger stage. He believes you have to act a little differently when on Broadway compared to off Broadway, where you do different things go get attention, like showing a little nudity.
Lastly, Whitlock says he always believed that returning to ESPN would be tantamount to selling out, and that’s why he was resistant to the move. But after seeing Nate Silver and Keith Olbermann leave for the network, he no longer felt that was the case.
Both Simmons and Whitlock are looking forward to the launch of FOX Sports 1 and 2 because they embrace the competition. Simmons believes FOX Sports inspired ESPN to make some of their recent moves, and he believes competition will force the network to “fight to keep the lead.”
H/T The Big Lead
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- Jason Whitlock
Andrew Lambo got called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates to make his Major League debut this week, and the youngster still has a lot to learn.
Lambo, who led the minor leagues with 31 home runs this season (14 in Double-A and 17 in Triple-A), smacked his first career hit on Thursday. The 25-year-old outfielder crushed an RBI double to right-center in the fifth inning of the Pirates’ 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. After settling in at second, Lambo tried to give the “Z” sign to the dugout, which is a symbol the Pirates give each other after recording extra-base hits. Unfortunately, since this was the first time Lambo got an extra-base hit with the Pirates, he gave a backwards version of the sign (Starling Marte is seen at right doing the correct version).
The Pirates have been giving each other the “Z” sign since last year. If the Z sign looks familiar, it’s because the team got it from the Zoltan scene in the movie, “Dude, Where’s my Car?”
I’m sure the Pirates will set Lambo straight.
You can watch the Zoltan cult scene below:
- Andrew Lambo
Duke walk-on sophomore cornerback Hud Mellencamp, the son of recording artist John Cougar Mellencamp, is facing felony battery charges for an alleged assault that took place in July in his native Indiana, according to the Charlotte Observer.
19-year-old Hud, his 18-year-old brother Speck, and 18-year-old Ty Smith (the son of Indiana University’s baseball coach) are accused of jumping three men in front of a Bloomington, Ind., home on July 29. An arrest warrant was issued Thursday by the Bloomington Police Department for all three men, who are each facing a single felony assault charge.
The Observer says Speck told police that he attended a party at the house earlier in the night and was struck by a guy while breaking up a fight between two women who were arguing over him. After rounding up his brother and Smith, Speck returned to the home where they confronted the alleged victim, who was sitting on the porch of the home with two friends. The alleged victim tells police he asked the men “Can I help you?” and was punched by Speck. Hud and Smith allegedly joined in and kicked and beat up the alleged victim. Other men living in the house came out to break up the fight, and once the alleged victim was back on his feet, Speck knocked him down and beat him up some more. The other people broke up the fight and say the trio ran away.
The alleged victim reportedly suffered facial fractures that required stitches and the attention of a plastic surgeon.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe told The Observer in an email that he was aware of the charges and was allowing Mellencamp to Indiana to handle the matter. Hud, by the way, is a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion in Indiana and a Junior Olympics state boxing champion, according to his Duke bio.
Photo: Twitter/Hud Mellencamp
- Hud Mellencamp
Ronda Rousey caused a stir when she said last week that she might retire from MMA in two years. Rousey’s comment came in the context of her newfound acting career — she has roles in “The Expendables 3” and “Fast & Furious 7.” The UFC women’s bantamweight champion is not transitioning from fighting to acting yet, but she said she might be ready to move on to the next phase in her life in two years.
UFC boss Dana White says that’s not happening.
“There’s no way in hell [she retires in two years],” White said at a UFC press conference in Boston on Thursday, per MMA Fighting.
White then repeated the same line he has used in the past when confronted with the possibility of losing one of his stars to the movies.
“I don’t care what Hollywood offers, they’re ain’t paying what we’re paying,” White said. “These guys, when they go out and make a movie, they’re not paying what we are.”
White may be confident that Rousey, 26, is not retiring in two years, but Rousey is thinking about her long-term prospects. Why fight for a living if she can make money acting?
“I think one profession has a much-longer shelf life than the other,” Rousey told MMA Junkie last week. “My last fight, I was kind of forced to face my mortality a little bit. I had an air of invincibility about me, and I was kind of forced to realize statistically there is a chance you could get permanently hurt or even die. There’s only so many times you can roll the dice.”
Rousey says that she wants to have an exit strategy in place for MMA because she knows it’s a short-term career. She also noted that she has experience as an Olympian and is used to working in four-year spans. In two years, her most recent four-year span of competing at a high level will be over.
I don’t think that Rousey will be done fighting in two years, but I think this is an indication that we should prepare for the likelihood that she won’t stick around the sport for too long. Since she’s one of the biggest figures in the sport, White will do almost anything to keep her around.
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I stole that headline from a joke by DJ Gallo. It was too good to pass up.
I guess we found the one thing that can bring a grown man like LeBron James to his knees … a visit to the dentist.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 14, 2013
Photo: Instagram/LeBron James
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- LeBron James
And they say athletes don’t read their own press clippings …
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is on the cover of the sports issue of “Hollywood Reporter,” and he shared a photo on Instagram of himself reading the magazine (or at least holding it up and looking like he was reading). Just something about the photo made me laugh.
How many other people get the opportunity to see a magazine with themselves on the cover? That has to be pretty cool.
Photo: Instagram/Yasiel Puig
- Yasiel Puig
I was hanging out with of my recently single buddies when he introduced me to a relatively new, totally awesome dating app. The app — Tinder — was first available on the iPhone and recently became available for Androids. It’s fun, it’s cool, it requires very little effort, and … it may lead you to some fun new people.
One of the best parts about Tinder is how simple it is. Once you download the app, you log in via your Facebook account and the two synchronize to create your Tinder profile. The Tinder app downloads all the pictures you have uploaded to your Facebook account and allows you to choose five photos for your profile. Tinder also ingests your “about” section from Facebook, but you can edit that in Tinder and customize it to your liking. The other thing Tinder does is use the birthday you have in your Facebook account to display your age, so make sure that’s set correctly, otherwise you’ll be stuck with the wrong age on your Tinder profile.
Once you’ve got your profile squared away, getting used to the app is easy. You go into settings and choose an age range for profiles you want to display. You can also narrow the radius of profiles you want to see from 1-100 miles away from your current location (it works based on GPS). Once you’ve done that, profiles start appearing and you can “like” or “pass” on each one similar to “Hot or Not.” If two people happen to like each other, then you get a match and the ability to chat on the app’s instant message system. Once you’ve chatted a bit and feel comfortable with each other, I recommend swapping phone numbers because the message system is wonky and sometimes unreliable.
So if you’re thinking about trying out Tinder or looking for some Tinder tips, here are some recoemmended do’s and don’ts for users.