Albany, NY– The Albany Legends took the court tonight against last night’s rival the Kankakee Soldiers. They started out strong heading up a 7-0 run. All 7 points were scored by Damone Morris. Although this was a slow start for the Soldiers, they would not be counted out of the game so soon.
DeAndre Thomas proved to be unstoppable when on the court. He took control of the game when the team was struggling. He had numerous back to back buckets and kept pace up and down the court. He led in tonight’s scoring with 33 points. Tiki Mayben was also ready to get things rolling. He has a spot beyond the arc in the right corner he positions himself in and that is all she wrote, ball seems to sink every time. Coach Barry Bradford of the Soldiers saw this trend and related it to players. Unfortunately for them, Mayben got in another sweet 3 before the adjustment was made. Coach Bradford was looking to “attack and take him out of his comfort zone.”
The physicality in this game was apparent throughout. Coach Bradford commented, “first half I thought our guys really wanted to win, but I think that they thought being tough was fighting and really getting gritty.” It’s basketball it will get chippy at times, however silly fouls and overwhelming emotions can drain a player and the whole team from accomplishing the task at hand. Ryan Edwards the 6’5″ Soldiers guard, enabled himself to stay in control and aide the Soldiers in maintaining a close game even though he had his emotions riding high. I also think that Zach Ramey had a heavy hand in controlling key rebounds and assisting shots.
The end of the second quarter did come at an ideal time. The refs (should I dare say) could have choked up on the whistles for a bit and let the men play. This caused some serious frustration on the Soldiers part, as well as not being able to fully gain control of the game.
After the half, both teams came out looking more collected. Fresh legs didn’t last long. Chris Grant the silent leader started strong. Coach Ben Smith of the Legends said, “Chris Grant came out played good early, as he got going and time passed he started to fade on me a bit. He’s really my defensive force against 32 and there goes Edwards, he went off.” You ain’t kidding Coach. With less defensive pressure brought by the Legends the Soldiers were able to rally back. Billy Baptist and Ryan Edwards ignited the spark in the team, not in the “chippy” way but used the aggression out on the back of the glass and through the hoop.
Lloyd Johnson 5’11″ guard for the Legends, also came out with plenty of open looks behind the arc. I mean he hit multiple 3s in the 3rd quarter. 16 of his total points came in the 3rd alone! This was something that hurt the Soldiers the previous night, a lot of unanswered 3 point shots. Unfortunately for the Legends, the Soldiers answered right back and gained a 1 point lead 87-86.
Ryan Edwards continued to pick away at the Legends defense scoring 12 points in a 3 minute span during the 4th quarter. Another key were free throws. The Soldiers capitalized on every opportunity they had. Part of this was also a team effort. Edwards says, “the chemistry started coming together in the 4th quarter.”
The two teams meet tomorrow for the final game starting at 6pm at CBA. The Legends are gaining Lloyd Clinton, who is taking over for Anthony Bruin. A pair of fresh legs and a former Legend, he should be active and very adaptable to the team. Don’t think this is an advantage by any means for the Legends, this Soldiers team collectively have positive attitudes and a strong drive to win. Coach Bradford says, “we have a theme that says we are one.” It will take more than a pair of fresh legs to defeat this spunky team.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Dead at 23
Olympic track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who competed in the 2016 Rio Janeiro Games, was found dead in her California home this past Friday due to an apparent suicide, according to an announcement from her father, according to Reuters.
“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” her father, Mark Catlin said, according to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”
Catlin, 23, took the silver medal in Rio and was part of the teams who took home the gold in 2016, 2017, and 2018 World Championships.
Catlin had reportedly struggled with mental health in the past and her sister, Christine Catlin, said that Catlin was “a really special person – kind, funny, empathetic, and talented at literally everything she did, per the Washington Post. She just felt like she couldn’t say no to everything that was asked of her and this was her only escape.”
Tom Brady And Pats Play Record 8th AFC Championship Game, Seek 6th Superbowl
A season that most organizations would be happy with, was one of challenge for the Patriots. Usually a top tier team, they suffered bad losses to the Jaguars, Titans and Dolphins. However, in Patriot fashion along a weak AFC East, the Patriots finished 11-5, won a 10th straight conference title and secured a first round bye.
Kansas City will host New England in the AFC Championship game in what is a rematch from week six. That game featured an offensive clinic , As reported by CBS Boston, Brady went 24-35 passing for 340 yards and touchdown in that game; Mahomes went 23-36 passing for 352 yards and four touchdowns. The AFC Championship could very well play out the same way.
The Chiefs will be a tough out, They won their first home playoff game in 25 years last week against the Colts and are riding one of the most prolific offenses in history behind quarterback whisperer Andy Reid and phenome Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the NFLs best young QB.
In what is a David and Goliath matchup, Brady seems to imply they are the underdog. As he told CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, “I know everyone thinks we suck and, you know, cant win games,”. Will the dynasty continue? Or will Reid and Mahomes hoist the Lombardi?
I’m leaning towards the game plan of Bill Belichick and veteran experience of Tom Brady in this one. I think a Patriot/Saints matchup is in order. Either way, it will undoubtedly be one for the ages.
Game Time: Sunday January 20th at 6:40ET/5:40CT on CBS.
An Agency Changing the Sponsorship Game for Athletes
The following is an official press release from Eight Seven Media
Sponsorships and endorsements have changed significantly over the past few years. Historically, we know them as mainstream commercials and endorsements by top apparel and shoe brands with professional athletes and celebrities at the forefront. Until recently, the huge rise of influencer marketing has changed brands perspective and they have gravitated towards using social media stars as their advocates. Influencers are compensated with hundreds of thousands of dollars and brands have turned away from the traditional celebrity or professional athlete. Eight Seven Media is looking to turn that model on its head and bring sponsorship dollars back to professional athletes.
Founded by Dylan Scance and Derek Flodmand, Eight Seven Media creates social media content for professional athletes. Working on the talent buying side, they noticed that brands were only picking talent based on either their audience or their content. When they would pitch athletes to certain brands, they knew they were a perfect fit for the brand from a personality and lifestyle perspective, but the athletes had a tough time getting deals from brands. Aside from the lack of resources these agencies provided, the number one reason was their lack of content. Most athletes understand that having a social media presence is crucial in today’s market, but they don’t necessarily understand exactly how to leverage their channels to their maximum potential.
We’ve outlined Eight Seven’s process below:
Step 1: Identification
Along with a data-backed strategy, their team works hand-in-hand with both the athlete and agent to understand what types of brands they are interested in partnering with.
Step 2: Content Creation
Their team then works directly with the athlete to create rich, bespoke lifestyle social media content, specific to the verticals they have identified. They will meet directly with the athlete to bring this content to life.
Step 3: Amplification
As the athlete pushes out bespoke content via their social channels, their team leverages a specialized software called Social Ads to amplify top-performing content to target audience(s) based on the verticals we have identified. This provides the athlete with increased reach and exposure within the right audience segments- thus increasing their potential value to identified brands.
Step 4: Reporting
Via the Social Ads software, their team provides intuitive reporting on content performance, inclusive of demographic and geographic data which highlights the extended audience that has been exposed to the athlete’s content.
Athletes are a perfect fit for brands for many reasons. They have a highly engaged audience that’s not filled with bot accounts (something that’s been plaguing the influencer industry for years). They are inspirational, motivational, and have overcome many challenges and hardships in life that inspire generations of fans. They are the perfect example of a true “influencer”, but they are still getting overlooked for sponsorship deals.
Eight Seven Media also offers their “Athlete Incubator”, a service where they work with newly signed athletes that are being developed by agents and teams and completely rebrand their social channels out of college. These athletes go through a 12-month process with Eight Seven where they advise them on best practices for their social channels, how to create and leverage high-quality content on their own, what brands look for from a social media perspective, and how to engage with their audience. Along with content creation, Eight Seven Media provides its clients with an analysis of how well their athletes social channels are performing.
The content being created is leveraged by agents when they’re pitching an athlete for sponsorships or endorsements. With the huge rise in lifestyle and fashion brands, non-traditional endorsements are something that’s taking the industry by storm. Kyle Kuzma signing with the GOAT app is a perfect example of how optimizing your content to fit the brands you want to work with pays off in the long-term. Brands not only want to partner with athletes that they can trust to produce high-quality content, but they want to ensure that this can be pushed out to their brands owned and operated social channels by repurposing these assets.
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