Tarik Cohen Becomes the Next Big Thing to Happen to HBCU Sports Programs...and the Chicago Bears

photo credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports via The Undefeated
Last summer, I wrote one of the first pieces I wrote as a sports' contributor to HBCU Buzz, which was an article about Tarik Cohen, the star Running Back at my university. At that point, he'd already received national attention and his notorious back flip catch moves on YouTube went viral, so of course, I wasn't the only one nor the first fan who could foresee NFL in his career path. 

Fast forward and draft season rolls around. Tarik, who is now a graduating senior at the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, is on everyone's radar, and rightfully so. It's not necessary go into detailed stats or anything, but from his freshman year to his most recent season at N.C.A&T, his stellar performance and athletic ability has been nothing less than exceptional. 

As much as we'd like to think that our sons, brothers, cousins, and nephews are going to make it to the big leagues, most of us understand how slim the chances actually are. The pool of those who will be drafted or contracted into a professional team is small, and even smaller for colleges with a majority African American student population. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are often overlooked in the corporate world. 

On April 29, family, friends, and peers of Tarik gathered at an on campus watch party, which was open to the student body as well, in anticipation to see which team would call the name that so many sports fans, especially HBCU students and alum, were emotionally invested in. In the days leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, social media buzzed with the #DraftCohen hashtag and Aggies all over the country tuned in to what could potentially be the next big thing regarding HBCU's sports programs. 

When the announcement was made that Cohen was chosen in the 4th round (119th overall) to play for the Chicago Bears, it-as you could probably imagine- was a huge deal. Any time something like this happens within the HBCU community, it feels like a win for all of us. Aggie family worldwide let out that roaring proclamation (AGGIE PRIDE!!!) that united us all, no matter where we where in that moment. It felt so good to witness yet another young athlete, proud product of one of the best HBCU's in the country, make such a positive impression over the course of his collegiate career and whose hard work and dedication landed him a spot in the National Football League. 

Everyone knows I'm a die hard Dallas fan, but next season, I will be rooting for fellow Aggie, Tarik Cohen with no shame whatsoever. Hopefully for the Bears, he'll be the catalyst for another long awaited championship title for the franchise.

Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA

Tidal Wave Wednesdays no. 4 | NBA Playoff szn, #WrestleMania33, & More

Excuse me for missing last week, following the climax of #MarchMadness at that, but Tidal Wave Wednesdays are back in action and I'll do my very best to not bypass or overlook another week on and committ to a weekly sports news series in this format.

photo cred: Maddie Meyer-Getty

#MarchMadness

  • For starters, it's no new news who dominated the NCAA basketball tournament, but a huge congratulations is due to the ladies of University of South Carolina for winning their very first NCAA championship title and to the University of North Carolina Men's basketball. 
  • Also, shout out to Morgan William, guard for Mississippi State University's team, who came in super clutch with the final shot that ultimately lead to a victory over University of Connecticut in the Final Four, single handedly ending UConn's 111 game winning streak. After the tragic loss of her father just a few years prior, that was such a beautiful moment. 

WrestleMania 33

  • I hadn't watched WWE since the late 90's, but this year, I was really into the entire week of WrestleMania events. Not only was the production itself incredible, but I now have a new found respect for the athleticism behind professional wrestling. It was really cool getting to know all the animated characters, almost like watching a sitcom with heavy action, tough fighting scenes, and dramatic, yet entertaining story lines. It lead me to binge watch Total Divas as well just to get a little more insight on the women of WWE. I definitely felt the glow (Trinity Fatu aka Naomi is one of my faves). 

NBA + playoff szn

  • The endless discussion when it comes to the NBA seems to be who should be this year's MVP and the conversation continues to blow my mind. I could be like every other sports writer and write a think piece on why I've chosen Russell Westbrook over everyone else in the running, but to save time and energy: Russell Westbrook for MVP. The end. 
  • Speaking of Brodie, this article confirms my belief that there was never bad blood between Westbrook and Durant. 
  • Saturday April 15, 2017 is officially day 1 of NBA playoff szn. 

  • The top 4 teams clinched in the eastern conference: 

    1. Celtics (52-29) 
    2. Cleveland (51-30) 
    3. Wizards (49-32)
    4. Raptors (50-31) 

  • In the west: 

    1. Warriors (66-15)
    2. Spurs (61-20) 
    3. Rockets (54-27)
    4. Clippers (50-31). 
  • As of yesterday, 6/8 of the first round match ups are set, 5 of those teams have home court advantage, and most of the series in west is already locked in {Spurs vs. Grizzlies, Rockets vs. Thunder, Jazz vs. Clippers, Golden State vs. Portland}. Tonight-which concludes regular season-we'll know the entire field going into the playoffs. 
  • Although GSW is locked in as no. 1 seed with home court advantage throughout the playoffs, San Antonio is the most explosive team in the western conference and their match is easily Boston for the east. 

NFL + NFL Draft 2017

  • NFL Draft is quickly approaching and so much is happening on that playground. It's always a thrill to try to guess who will go where and how the team will take to the new rookie in town. Just to get a glimpse of what the playing field looks like to the executives and reps, here are a list of NFL's top 50 prospects for this year's draft...
  • In other distant news, Tony Romo has officially "retired" and will soon be taking a position as NFL analyst over at CBS Sports. In a quote provided by Todd Archer, reporter for ESPN, Romo expressed his sentiments about leaving the team:
"That's part of playing sports. It doesn't always go the way you expect. You can put everything into it and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't..."
  • After 14 seasons with the franchise, it's unfortunate that the Cowboys didn't honor him a little better, but I do believe the ones who truly enjoyed watching him play showed appreciation for his dedication to Dallas. It was bittersweet to watch it all play out, but certainly, I can speak on behalf on all fans by wishing him well in all his future endeavors. 

MLB

  • The New York Mets had a phenomenal win this week, sealing the deal on a 14-4 victory against the Phillies; achieving 20 hits, 14 extra base hits, and 14 runs. Yoenis Cespedes was in a zone last night, becoming the first Met with multiple 3-homer games. #LGM!!!
  • There was speculation that Yoenis was well on his way to the free agency, however, it's been confirmed that he resigned a 4-year contract with his current team last November, so the Mets won't have any issues in that regard. 
  • When it comes to baseball, I've been completely out of the loop, because why am I just now finding out that Matt Kemp is on the Atlanta Braves now?!? I have to do better...
Photo credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA



Tidal Wave Wednesdays no. 3 | Road to the Final Four, NFL Draft, & Battle of MVP

#MarchMadness

NCAAM Basketball

image source
  • March Madness is coming to an end, as 03.25 commenced the face-off of the Elite 8, which consisted of Gonzaga. Xavier. Kansas. Oregon. Florida. South Carolina. UNC. Kentucky.  
  • That Sunday night match up between Oregon and Kansas...wow; just wow. Ultimately, Oregon advances to their first Final 4 match-up in 78 years, so although I was rooting for Kansas, I have to give them props. 
  • Congratulations to the NCAAM Final 4: South Carolina, Gonzaga, UNC, and Oregon, UNC heading to this round of the tournament for the 20th time. This has been an incredible tournament and makes me really look forward to the 2017 NBA draft. 
  • News, but not really: South Carolina officially has more wins in Madison Square Garden than New York Knicks. 

NCAAW Basketball Tournament

  • As for NCAA Women's basketball, Monday [03.27] was the last of the Elite 8 series: UConn vs. Oregon and South Carolina vs. Florida State. 
  • Standford was able to come back from a 16 point deficit and advance to the final 4 against Notre Dame, so now we have Standford, South Carolina, UConn, and Mississippi State for the female ballers. 
  • Both South Carolina teams are headed to the Final 4, which is pretty amazing. 

NFL/NFL Draft

Photo cred.: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas, Nevada has officially been approved and will be their new home next season. 
  • NFL bans leaping over field goal and extra point attempts. Some say it takes the fun out the game; others understand that it's too protect players from potential injury. 
  • Football fans, we're one month away from the 2017 NFL Draft. There are a few I'm personally looking forward to, such as the super confident teenage prodigy, a new generation athlete of his immediate family, Myles Garrett, and the other being someone who is slightly more overlooked, Tarik Cohen, who is senior at the illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. 

NBA

Photo cred.: Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
  • The battle of who will win MVP this year is a close one between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Personally, I see it more for Westbrook, but I don't know if that's a little bias, considering he is in my top 5 afterall. 
  • The Golden State Warriors organization treats Isaiah Simpson, a 6 year old Steph Curry fan, and his mom to airfare coverage to fly out to California and tickets to watch the game Sunday night after hearing about issues they experienced getting into a game earlier this month. Best fly-out story EVER!!! *link below*
  • It's going to be a trip watching what team decides to draft Lonzo Ball next season. There has been speculation revolving around him going to the Lakers, which I'm sure will make dad so proud, but we shall see what's next for this young, ambitious player. 

Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA





Mon-Wave Mondays #2

photo cred: Rod Mar for Sports Illustrated


  • Anyone who watched last night’s L.A. Vs. OKC game knows what was the highlight drama of the night. Ron Artest…and yes I mean Mr. World Peace himself… was ejected for losing his cool with J. Harden. It was a combination of ego and bad decision-making. With the last game of regular season on Thursday against Sacremento approaching, this could mean a lot of things for overall performance of the Lakers. They could suffer defensively or find a way to reconfigure some plays and make it work. If they work the court like they did last night, however, it’ll be no major loss. What a game!
  • MVP: Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant?? Both equally deserving.
  • A few days away from NFL draft and I’m lead to question the motive behind deciding what players to add to a pro roster. To me, many coaches and scouts will have clouded judgement when it comes to drafting new prospects due to how much time the players have to prepare for draft. Pre-draft workouts are conducted under different terms than their regular performance, which can lead to overrated evaluations and blinded judgement. Off season, players like Stephen Gilmore, Corner Back from USC and Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill both have an impeccable performance level to show off, but it’s not the same momentum they maintained during the season. It’s a bit hard to predict what happens at this point, but soon we will find out.
  • White Sox’ Philip Humber makes a commendable mark in sports history by notching the 21st perfect game in MLB history. This basically means that in one game, a team must have a record of 27 outs without any hits, runs, or errors. Congratulations to his well-deserved success!!!

*This concludes the weekly briefing of [Mon-Wave Mondays] 
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Mon-Wave Mondays #1

Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports
  • Lamar Odom leaves Dallas and gets denounced to D-league, however it’s not as bad as everyone is making it out to be.  Initially, I was sad for him to even get traded at all from my beloved Lakers.  It wasn’t a good fit, in my opinion, and he and Kobe had amazing chemistry on the court.  Ever since he joined the Mavericks, his game has been upsetting to watch; his heart was just not there.  I say it’s not that bad, because his team has decided to just list him as inactive, which means he stands the chance of being traded post-season.  Perhaps back to the Lakers…If that is even possible?  Hopefully, he takes this time to really understand where he is at this point in his life and career and mentally prepare for whatever is next.
  • Kobe Bryant is injured once again in the shin area.  Staying true to his nature, he tried to play pass the pain and his team suffered because of it Saturday. He is recommended to sit out until he gets better.  Despite his absence, I think that there is enough viable talent to uphold the team tonight as they play Hornets in a rematch.
  • 17 days until the NFL Draft!!! Fans are anxious to see what the coming season has in store.  Hopefully my Cowboys pick up more offensive linemen.  They’d have a pretty good season if they pick up a new receiver.  No comment on T. Romo, as of now.
Follow me on Twitter: @TheSkyBoxSuite | @ChymereA