The King of Rio rises again

Tim Caplan – News Editor

The last time the “King of Rio” Jose Aldo Jr. fought in his beloved home country of Brazil, he was knocked out in the third round in front of thousands of his fellow Brazilians by current featherweight (145 lbs.) champion Max “Blessed” Holloway at UFC 212. Aldo lost his world championship belt for the second time that night, by knockout, the same way in which he lost his belt a year and a half earlier to Conor Mcgregor at UFC 194 in Las Vegas.

Jose Aldo held the featherweight since the UFC introduced the weight class in 2011 and defended it seven times against the best the sport had to offer at that weight. After Aldo’s final title defense against Chad Mendes at UFC 179 in 2014 he went 1-3 in his next four fights, losing all three by knockout.

Saturday night gave Aldo an opportunity at redemption in front of his home crowd for the first time since losing to “Blessed.” UFC Fight Night 144 was held in Fortaleza, Brazil at the Centro de Formação Olímpica do Nordeste. The main event was a rematch between the number two and three ranked fighters at 135 pounds, Rafael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes, both native Brazilians.

Many fans and media alike believed Aldo’s best days were behind him. Even after an electrifying body shot knockout against perennial featherweight contender and hard-nosed veteran Jeremy Stephens in August, Aldo was still expected to fall to the up and coming Brazilian star Renato Moicano. Moicano was the perfect pick for UFC matchmakers to face off against the style of Aldo. Moicano is smart, lanky, and held wins over Jeremy Stephens and number seven ranked contender Cub Swanson, with his only loss out of 14 professional fights coming by way of split decision to number one ranked featherweight Brian Ortega. Moicano had six submission victories leading into the fight with Aldo, all by rear naked choke. Aldo had an uphill battle to come out on top in a fight in which he was a -130 betting underdog.  

The fight started off slow, with Moicano searching for an opening to land a left high kick and Aldo utilizing his patented head movement and leg kicks to keep the pace of the fight slow. Aldo seemed to have trouble closing the distance in the first round as Moicano popped his jab steadily in the face of Aldo.

The second round was just 29 seconds in when Aldo landed a looping left hook that stunned Moicano, and followed up with a vicious knee and upper cut which caused the referee to stop the fight and Aldo, per usual, ran into the stands to be with his countrymen.

The King of Rio had made his triumphant return, even amidst rumors of his retirement looming. Aldo has stated that he wants to fight three times in 2019 before hanging up his gloves for good.

Saturday night was a great night for the natives of Brazil, as veteran grappling specialists Charles Oliveira and Demian Maia won by second and first round submissions, but the real surprise came in the main event, a rematch between the two top bantamweight contenders, the winner of which would likely receive the next title shot.

Moraes wasted no time as he came out swinging and floored Assuncao with a brutal series of overhand rights before finishing the fight by guillotine choke at 3:17 of round one.

Moraes has established himself as the clear number one contender, calling out champion T.J Dillashaw in his post-fight speech.

A Dillashaw-Moraes will most likely be in the works for a fight between the middle and end of this year, if Dillashaw chooses not to rematch 125 pound champion Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo.

The next UFC event will be a pay-per-view event for the middleweight(185 lbs.) championship at UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum

Oh Neaux: how the NFL can avoid future officiating gaffes 

Joseph A. Griswold  –Assistant Sports Editor

It was the non-call heard round the world. With under two minutes left to play in a 20-20 tie game in the NFL’s NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, referees missed a blatant pass-interference call that would have virtually guaranteed a win for the Saints and sent them to Super Bowl LIII.

On third-and-10 from the Rams 13, Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees dropped back and tossed a pass towards receiver Tommylee Lewis. Before the ball arrived, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman dropped his head leveling Lewis in what the world saw as a clear and obvious pass interference.

However, no flags fell and the pass was called incomplete to the amazement of the 73,000 fans in attendance and the millions watching from home. Rather than a game-clinching score as time expired, the Saints were forced to settle for a field goal, which allowed the Rams to manufacture a game-tying drive and then ultimately capture the victory in overtime.

It was not simply the call that left fans and players outraged, as many have become accustomed to missed calls as part of the game, but the egregious nature of the non-call. “They blew the call,” Head coach Sean Payton stated, standing stunned and disgusted as he attempted to digest the non-call after the game. Payton was not the only outraged person as players and fans alike took to social media to discuss the missed call. Billboards plastered the city citing, “We were robbed,” and “NFL bleaux it.” The fanbase even went as far as filing a lawsuit on behalf of the season-ticket-holders for the missed call.

Despite the billboards and the lawsuit, the outcome of the game cannot be changed even though the NFL has come forward and admitted fault on the call. What can change, however, is how the NFL handles future clear and obvious missed calls, especially those that can have game-altering ramifications.

The non-call reignited the argument for the expansion of instant replay use and the use of more advanced technology in order to most accurately and efficiently officiate a game. Previous talks of more technological advancement and expansion of replay have stalled, but this error seems to be enough to force the NFL’s hand. In a sport that still relies so much on judgment calls made by old men from 20 yards away, it is clear the NFL needs adjusting.

Other major sports have shown the benefits of technology such as the use of it in tennis to determine if a ball is in or out of bounds.

In a corporation as large as the NFL, where money is no expense, the integrity of the game must be protected through the expansion of replay and the introduction of technology that allow for more accurate and efficient officiating.

RIC athlete spotlight: Tamar Williams

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

It is fairly common for NBA teams who are trying to compete in the playoffs to trade for a player who provides them with that certain something they are missing. Be it a big man to help out with rebounding, a secondary ball handler to help facilitate passing, some extra scoring off the bench or even just an extra body to provide some depth. These sorts of acquisitions do not tend to happen in the world of Division III Basketball; however, the Rhode Island College Anchormen may have just lucked out with the midseason addition of freshman guard Tamar Williams.

#3 – Tamar Williams, Photo by Thomas Crudale

Williams began the season as a red shirt freshman at Division II Post University, a small private institution in Waterbury, Connecticut. Williams never felt quite comfortable at the university and believed that the school’s size and lack of opportunities both athletically and academically were limiting his ability to succeed.

Williams, a New Haven native, desired a change and two key personal connections helped him to settle on RIC. Firstly, he has a long-standing relationship with Anchormen captain and senior Justin Campbell, as both attended Hill Regional Career High School and according to Williams, the two are like brothers. Secondly, a Post University assistant coach, Garvin Mcalister has worked alongside RIC first-year head coach Tom Glynn, another connection that gave Williams a foot in the door with the RIC program.

Williams officially transferred to RIC on Jan. 1, and his impact was immediately felt by the Anchormen. Williams recorded double digit scoring efforts in each of his first three games including a 16 point effort over Castleton. When asked how he feels about playing for the Anchormen, Williams explained “playing for RIC is great, everybody stays together everyone picks each other up, we’re like a family, we practice hard every day, coach pushes us hard but he’s also like a friend.”

With the spring semester having started up in the last week, Williams, a business administration major also has nothing but good things to say about RIC academically: “RIC is fantastic, the professors are helpful, they make sure you get what you need.”

Williams has no plans to leave RIC anytime soon explaining that “I feel like this is home, we have a young team and I feel like I play a big part in that. Coach has me helping out with a lot of recruits, I feel like we have a big future and that I’m a key part of that future.” Williams also stressed that it was noted how thankful he is to Coach Glynn for the opportunity to play for RIC.

Women’s Basketball loses steam in overtime

Jake Elmslie  -Sports Editor

Rhode Island College’s Women’s Basketball nearly overcame a plethora of their own inconsistencies Saturday afternoon, but the holes they had dug for themselves were too much for them to manage in a 63-58 conference loss to the University of Southern Maine Huskies.

The Anchorwomen opened the game on a strong note, claiming a 14-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. They were able to secure this early lead in part due to strong shooting, with RIC going 50 percent on field goals in the game’s initial frame.  

From here, the Anchorwomen’s fortunes turned sour. The team played a dreadful second quarter, committing more turnovers than scored points. The only scoring for RIC came in the form of a Marie Gallagher three pointer and a single free throw made by Analeesia Fernandes. On the other side of things, the Huskies managed to put up 16 points and went into the half with a 26-18 lead.

The Anchorwomen continued to play the same brand of sloppy basketball that had led to their deficit for the first chunk of the third quarter. However, they were able to cut USM’s lead down to one with around four minutes left in the third quarter, before again falling behind by double digits.

RIC’s continued ineffectiveness made a comeback seem unlikely, and the team remained down 46-36 with six minutes left to play. From there, the Anchorwomen went on an explosive 18-8 scoring run in the games final minutes and managed to tie the game at 54 a piece by the end of regulation. The team was able to accomplish this with impressive offensive performances from both Jordyn Gauvin and Sophia Guerrier who managed to score seven and eight points respectively in the game’s fourth quarter.

#13 – Sophia Guerrier, Photo by Britt Donahue

The Anchorwomen’s hopes were quickly dashed in overtime, however, with the RIC team being unable to keep pace with the Husky offense en route to the overtime defeat. The Anchorwomen only managed to convert on one field goal in extra time, going 1-8 shooting overall. When asked about the game’s roller coaster finish, Gauvin explained that “Basketball is a game of runs, we went on ours and they went on theirs and theirs came at the right time.”

With this loss, RIC will fall to 12-7 on the season as well as 5-6 in the conference. The Anchorwomen’s next game will take them up north for a Wednesday evening Little East matchup against the Castleton University Spartans where tip off is scheduled for 5:30.

#12 – Analeesia Fernandes, #25 – Taylor Thompson, Photo by Britt Donahue

Men’s Basketball avoids colonization

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

Rhode Island College Men’s Basketball earned their first Little East Conference win of the season Saturday afternoon in convincing fashion in a 76-62 victory over the Western Connecticut State University Colonials.

For the first chunk of the game it appeared that RIC was in for a dogfight, with both teams trading point for point in a physical contest that tested the limits of the Anchormen’s ball movement ability. The game remained close deep into the first half with the score being tied at 16-16 with 7:36 left to play in the frame. From here the Anchormen dominated their opponent and went into the locker room with a 31-20 lead at half time.

The Anchormen continued to make prey of their opponent in the second half, never relinquishing their double digit lead over the Colonials. RIC’s ball movement was significantly improved from their Wednesday evening loss against the Eastern Connecticut State University Warriors due in a large part to the return of starting guard Jonatan Batista to the lineup. While Batista suffered a frightening injury scare near the end of the first half, falling to the ground hard and requiring assistance off of the court he managed to play nearly the entire second half and racked up a team high nine assists on the day.

#4 – Adham Floyd, Photo courtesy of Thomas Crudale

Outside of the lopsided final score the Anchormen and the Colonials finished with surprisingly similar statistics in a number of key areas. Both teams turned in virtually identical shooting percentages at 37% a piece. Also, both teams had nearly identical rebounding numbers and each turned the ball over 18 times. When asked about how his team was able to dominate scoring wise in a game where they did not do much to distinguish themselves on the stat sheet RIC head coach Tom Glynn explained that “we put in a great defensive effort, that’s what we’re trying to forge as our identity going forward and I hope we can keep it up throughout the rest of the season.”

#11 – Benjamin Vezele, Photo courtesy of Thomas Crudale

Staring for the Anchormen was senior captain Justin Campbell who managed to score 24 points to go alongside a game high 12 rebounds in a stellar performance where he was seemingly able to hit shots from every part of the floor.

#24 – Deyshawn Tengbe, Photo courtesy of Thomas Crudale

RIC will improve to 7-2 and 1-1 in the Little East as a result of this win. The Anchormen will be on the road Monday evening for an out of conference matchup against Regis College.

Boom or Bust: Quarterbacks of The Future

Joseph A. Griswold – Anchor Staff

Patrick Mahomes will displace Tom Brady as the greatest of all-time. Hyperbole? Maybe, but with the elites of the National Football League, Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. It is important to understand which young quarterbacks are slated to take their spots and which are likely headed to the XFL. Who is going to boom? And who is a bust?

Patrick Mahomes, 23, Kansas City Chiefs: Simply put, Mahomes, has set the NFL on fire this season and is leading virtually all major quarterback categories, including touchdowns with 37. Mahomes has shown not just spurts, but MVP performance throughout the entire season. The demerit is the plethora of weapons he has surrounding him, which some believe is the reason for his success. However, Alex Smith had virtually all the same weapons and never threw for more than 26 touchdowns. Mahomes has 37, and there are still five games to play. Although Mahomes may not surpass Brady, it is clear to see that he will be one of the top quarterbacks for years to come. –Boom

Sam Darnold, 21, New York Jets: Darnold currently leads the league in interceptions (14) and has only completed 55 percent of his passes. Darnold has been victim to constant pressure and a lack-luster receiving core. However, his biggest downfall comes in the form of his team and head coach. The New York Jets organization as a whole has a knack for stunting quarterback growth. Despite having an ample amount of money to spend in next year’s free agency the Jets will surely not add enough talent to make Sam Darnold a top quarterback. –Bust

Jared Goff, 24, Los Angeles Rams: Goff is perhaps the most interesting of the young quarterbacks because of his lackluster start. During his first season Goff was being labeled a bust and looked abysmal on the field. Luckily for Goff, the Rams decided former head coach Jeff Fisher’s mediocre mantra was not good enough and ousted him in favor of Sean Mcvay. Since Mcvay’s entrance last season the Rams have found new life and dominated most of their competition. Led by Goff’s 26 touchdown’s the Rams are frontrunners for the Super Bowl this year. Goff has shown incredible accuracy, arm strength and poise under pressure and has shown the capability to be an elite quarterback for years to come. –Boom

Baker Mayfield, 23, Cleveland Browns: The Cleveland Browns have won a game. In fact, they have won several games, four this season, which is tied for as many wins as they have had in the last three seasons combined. At the root of this turnaround, if you want to call it that is starting quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has shown the aggression and drive to take a talented team and win some games. Mayfield has shown throughout his young career and through college that he is not afraid to make any throw. However, Mayfield is eerily reminiscent to another former NFL quarterback with a ton of arm-strength: Jay Cutler. To the city of Cleveland, I apologize, but Mayfield will never develop to anything more than a gunslinger who will make some spectacular throws, but also trust his arm way more than he should. –Bust

Deshaun Watson, 23, Houston Texans: Last season, Deshaun Watson set the league on fire and was on pace to run away with the rookie-of-the-year-award, that was until he tore his ACL. This season the Texans started 0-3 before winning eight straight under Watson. Adversity has surrounded Watson since his entrance to the league, but through every challenge he has persevered. Watson has shown throughout his college and professional career that he is a winner. This season, despite the slow start Watson has led his team to first in the division and in a prime spot for a playoff berth. Watson has mobility, accuracy and arm-strength, all which flourish in an increasingly faster NFL. Watson’s ability and compete factor will drive him to be an elite quarterback over the next several seasons. –Boom

The NFL is changing. Although the next tier of elite quarterbacks may have different styles, rest assured the NFL is in very good hands.

Nathan Peterman: Worst NFL QB of All-Time

Joshua Percy – Anchor Staff

Nathan Peterman was a fifth round pick out of Pittsburgh in the 2017 NFL draft with his two years at Pittsburgh showing he had potential in the NFL. In 26 games over two season at Pittsburgh, he threw for 5,142 yards with 47 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Over these two seasons in college, he had a record of 16-10. His best college victory came against eventual National Champion Clemson Tigers, a 43-42 victory where Peterman threw for 308 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, even though Peternam had a solid college career and showed enough potential for the Buffalo Bills to draft him, it turned out far worse than anyone would have thought.

Nathan Peterman, Graphic courtesy Sports Illustrated

In two seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Peterman has played in nine games, while starting four of them. The Bills are 1-8 in games that Peterman plays in, while only winning one of the four games he has started. In 2017, Peterman tied the NFL record for most interceptions in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers with five. His NFL career completion percentage is 52.3%, is one of the lowest completion rates in recent history for an NFL starter.  He has thrown 12 interceptions and only three touchdowns, in eight games he threw four times more interceptions than touchdowns. Peterman has a 32.5 quarterback rating, which is the lowest of all time, for an NFL starter with at least four starts. In the nine games that the Buffalo Bills have played with Peterman, they were outscored 274 to 84.

By looking and comparing Nathan Peterman’s stats from college and the NFL there are some clear issues, and reasons for why some may think he is the worst QB of all time. Peterman put up respectable stats and played respectable football in college with Pittsburgh. In the NFL Peterman played some of the worst football of all time, and it took Buffalo two seasons to figure out he would not adjust well enough from college to the NFL. The Bills fans shared a breath of relief on Nov. 12th when Nathan Peterman was released by the Buffalo Bills.

Women’s Swimming continues to tread water

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

Rhode Island College Women’s Swimming sustained their 3rd team loss of the season Friday night in a 130-61 defeat at the hands of the 2-2 Western New England University Golden Bears.

The loss did not come without bright spots however, with Athena Sampalis continuing her strong freshmen season. The Toll Gate product earned individual victories in both the 100-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle with times of 1:17.2 and 28.87 respectively. She also took second in the 50 yard backstroke with a time of 35.69 and swam the final leg of RIC’s first place 200-yard freestyle relay team.

The Anchorwomen also got a strong performance from Senior Madison Lane who recorded second place finishes in both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyles with respective times of 2:34.75 and 6:55.04.

The RIC swim team will fall to 0-3 on the season as a result of this loss. The team will take a brief reprieve for the thanksgiving holiday before looking to rebound Saturday, December 1st when they will take to the road to face off against the 1-1 Plymouth State University Panthers.

Jimmy Butler and the NBA’s boldening Eastern Conference

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

There have been two adages going around in the National Basketball Association’s circles for the better part of the last half decade. First, toppling the Golden State Warriors as champions is going to be nigh impossible until ether their current core breaks up or one of their key players sustains a significant injury. Secondly, the eastern conference pales in comparison to the west.

Since the offseason two moves in particular have reflected a shift in mindset among certain teams in how they have chosen to deal with the mountain of Golden State and the futility of the eastern conference, a conference many were handing to the Boston Celtics following the exodus of Lebron James to Los Angeles.

The first of these was the trade that sent Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors took a large risk trading for the disgruntled former finals MVP. Toronto had won 48 plus games each of the last five seasons with their Kyle Lowry-Demar DeRozan core. However the organization recognized that they were most likely never going to have a chance at a championship with this iteration of the team and thusly they risked alienating fans by trading DeRozan, a homegrown four time all star, for Leonard, a player they could not guarantee would even suit up for the Raptors. Early returns on this gamble have been excellent, the Raptors currently hold an Eastern Conference best 12-4 record and look to be contenders in the conference down the stretch.  

Secondly, and far more recently, was the Nov. 12th trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers sent the Timberwolves two starters in Dario Saric and Robert Covington as well as a regular rotational piece in Jerryd Bayless in exchange for Butler. While none of the players Philadelphia traded would be considered building blocks they have also taken a sizable risk, gutting their rotation in exchange for an all star caliber player.

These moves both involve teams being unwilling to accept the status quo and their standings in the leagues hierarchy. Both represent risks, the trading of valuable assets in exchange for a single season of a talented player. However within the current landscape of the NBA these sorts of risks are necessary and the teams willing to take them are possibly deserving of praise.

It is easy for a franchise to accept being a perennial playoff team, never quite good enough to truly contend for a championship but good enough to always be in the mix once playoffs roll around. For many organizations, especially those in small markets this is a profitable position to be in, a solid team will draw sizable crowds and playoff games bring in significant extra revenue.

The Raptors could of easily rested on their status as such as team but instead they opted to swing for the fences and bring in Leonard. Similarly the 76ers could have chosen to wait for their young stars to develop but instead opted to bring in Butler to enhance their team now. They recognized bringing in a player of Butler’s stature is multiple times harder than replacing a few above average starters or rotational pieces. For teams hoping to contend with Golden State and it’s assortment of all stars and MVP caliber players engaging in a talent arms race is necessary to have a chance at success.

These teams taking a more aggressive approach to team building has radically improved the quality of competition in the eastern conference. Now while it still does not look like there is a team ready to challenge Golden State set to emerge from the east it is hard to deny that bolder NBA personal departments help to improve the quality of the product for all basketball fans.

The Payment to College Athletes

Joshua Percy – Anchor Staff

Colleges across the country house some of the premier sporting talent around the world, however none of them receive payment for playing. The conversation on whether or not they deserve to be paid has been constant for the last two decades. While top college athletes receive scholarships from colleges to come play for their school, however those who don’t really don’t receive any type of payment for playing.

The argument is that these college athletes put their careers on the line by playing in college, due to the fact that a career-ending injury could happen at any time. With that type of risk, should these athletes get paid from the start of their careers in college, or is scholarships and full rides through college enough to compensate these athletes?  

Graphic courtesy of NCAA

Injuries are always a risk no matter what you do, however, if you are a top 10 ranked athlete maybe you deserve more than just a scholarship, or maybe you should not have to go to college. The possibility of high school seniors going straight to the NBA and skipping college could solve the problem of college athletes wanting to get paid, it gives them the ability to choose if they want to go to college or go to get paid. Other sports faces challenges in solving the issue in the payment of college students, however, this type of conversation will always be a topic until some type of a solution is given in all sports, not just the NBA.

College football players should have similar a option to skip college and go straight to the NFL or possibly get bigger scholarships then they originally got. For baseball players, if they are drafted while in college, and they opt to stay in college but are connected to a major league team, they should get some type of payment or salary on top of scholarships.