True Bull Analysis

The Royal Wedding was a statement of Inclusion

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by Cameron Dinkins

Since the announcement of the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, many people have been waiting with immense anticipation to witness their nuptial ceremony.

Meghan Markle looked stunning in her dress designed by Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy. The dress was simple, yet elegant, much like Markle herself. The dress featured a 16-foot veil that beautifully trailed behind the bride as she cascaded down the aisle.

The groom, Prince Harry, followed the lead of his beautiful bride and looked rather dapper himself in his military suit.

The wedding itself was a spectacle and undoubtedly the most lit wedding the Royal Family has probably ever seen. The exciting gospel choir and the powerful words by Reverend Michael Curry provided a refreshing black component to one of the most noteworthy events of 2018. The newlyweds definitely spiced up the traditional royal wedding.

Curry, who is currently the presiding elder of the Episcopal Church, started the ceremony with an amazing word. He both opened and ended his sermon with quotes from the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and spoke on the power of love. His message illustrated how people must make love the way. He even touched on the topic of slavery (how ironic knowing the setting). Many in the crowd looked stuffy and seemed to not understand Reverend Curry’s delivery, but his words were something everyone needed to hear.

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Reverend Curry was not the only exciting part of the ceremony, The Kingdom Choir’s performance was one for the books. A local British choir made up of about 20 black men and women, totally shut the ceremony down with their rendition of “Lean On Me”. Their booming sound livened up the entire feeling in the room. There were many smiles as they sung their hearts out. Not only did the crowd liven a little, twitter was excited to see the soulful choir at the wedding.

The Kingdom Choir did not stop with the endless soulful hits. They sung “This Little Light of Mine” a powerful negro spiritual and a song just about every black person who has ever been to church knows well, and they sung the chorus of the hymn “Amen” as the bride and groom exited the chapel. The harmonies in the hymn were so beautiful that they could be heard over the reporters talking on the broadcast. Needless to say, the choir truly made you feel like you were at church on a Sunday morning.

In addition to the choir, Markle picked, 19-year-old, Sheku Kanneh- Mason to play the cello ceremony. He elegantly played, “Sicilienne” by Maria Theresia von Paradis;” “Apres un Reve” by Gabriel Faure and “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert. In 2016, Kanneh- Mason was the first black person to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

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While the day itself seemed magical the preparation for the wedding wasn’t, there was a significant amount of drama coming from Meghan’s side. Her father would have to miss the wedding because of a heart surgery and her estranged siblings were bitter that they were not invited to wedding. Yet, through all the chaos, the wedding still was amazing. Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, was there by her daughter’s side through the whole process and was beaming with pride as she watched her only daughter become the Duchess of Sussex.

Although most of her family was absent, the congregation was filled with some of Meghan’s closest friends, whom just happen to be A- list celebrities. Oprah, Serena Williams, the cast of Suits, Priankya Chopra, Elton John and many more were in attendance.

It’s safe to say, Windsor Castle has never seen a wedding like this one. This Royal Wedding was uniquely and intentionally designed to portray a level of love and cultural inclusion very few had witnessed before. Hopefully this wedding will influence other ceremonies in the future. We know Princess Diana is smiling from Heaven right now seeing her youngest son happy in love, and there is nothing but the best wishes to the newest Duke and Duchess of Sussex, everyone’s new favorite royals.

The MVP should really be the MOP

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by Jarod Hamilton

In a sports fan’s perspective the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is given to the player whose value to their team is so significant that if he/she was not a member of the team it would likely diminish the teams success.

While this is one of the many ways to measure a respective player’s greatness, it is also one of the most subjective.

However, if we changed the name of the accolade to the Most Outstanding Player Award (MOP) then we might be able to come to a more unified conclusion. The MOP award winner would be the player who possesses the best statistical averages after the duration of a series of games. When a player gets an MOP award he/she does not necessarily have to be the most important asset to their team. That player could have just had the best performance through the series of games.

At the conclusion of the NCAA tournament, the MOP award is given as opposed to the MVP award. Many NBA All-Stars have won the MOP in the tournament including Richard Hamilton, Anthony Davis, and Kemba Walker. However, there have been instances where a player who was not the star of their respective championship team was named the MOP, such as Louisville’s Luke Hancock in 2013.

Hancock was a reserve player for the Louisville Championship Team. The 2013 NCAA Championship (now vacated), had impact players such as Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and NBA center Montrezl Harrell. Yet, Hancock was given the award after scoring 20 points in the national semifinal and 22 points in the title game. Hancock averaged less than 8 points per game in the regular season that year.

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In the NBA, there’s a regular season MVP, All-Star game MVP, and a Finals MVP. No one really cares about the All-Star game MVP, as the players usually try to get the hometown team’s player the award in a glorified dunk contest. The Finals MVP is awarded similarly to the NCAA’s MOP award for the NCAA tournament which is a step in a positive direction because the person who contributed the most statistically gets the award. The regular season award is the problem.

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During the regular season, there are too many excuses for why the player with the best statistical averages does not actually win the MVP.

Michael Jordan won the MVP award six times in his career. However, he had many more seasons where he was statistically dominate. Jordan could have won the MVP award almost every season he played, yet, “voter fatigue” thwarted him from doing so. “Voter Fatigue” is a phenomenon that takes place in sports voting that allows a less worthy candidate to win an award because the voters are tired of seeing the same person continuously win it every season.

Other times winning the MVP award can come as a result of being on the best team with the best record. While that’s a very plausible reason for winning the award, sometimes that means someone with better stats is losing out on the award. In 2006, Kobe Bryant averaged a league-best 35.4 points per game along with five rebounds and almost five assists. Bryant led the Lakers to the #7 seed in the Western conference that season but lost the MVP award to Steve Nash.

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Nash won his second consecutive MVP award after averaging 18.8 points and 10.5 assists in the 2005-2006 season. The Suns were 54-28 and finished with the #2 seed in the Western conference. Because Nash was the best player on a better team he won the MVP. But had the award been named the MOP Bryant would have most likely won it because of the production he provided to propel the Lakers into the postseason.

If James Harden wins the MVP this year maybe the league should think about renaming the award. Harden had another incredible season and has a legitimate argument to win the award. However, when you take into account other factors such as Harden coming in second in MVP voting in two of the previous three seasons and presumable voter fatigue against LeBron James, this award may be given to Harden simply because “it’s his turn”.

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While Nash and possibly Harden are valuable players in their own right. Is it right to say they are the most valuable in the league when neither one of them was ever heralded as the best player in the NBA? That is why the NBA should clear up all confusion and change the name from MVP to MOP.

College Students should be fluent in Financial literacy

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#130425 North Carolina A&T State University.Left: James Higgs, jchiggs@aggies.ncat.edu, 919-219-6937. Right: LaVana Greene, lvgreene@aggies.ncat.edu, 616-481-6707

by Jaelan Leonard

College should be a time of exciting new experiences in route to achieving an education, but sometimes the burden of paying for your schooling can put a damper on the pursuit of your degree.

According to Studentloanhero.com, United States college students are a combined $1.48 trillion dollars in student loan debt. What is even more surprising is that students who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) borrow student loans from the federal government at higher rates and graduate with significantly higher debt totals than students who attend predominantly white institutions (PWIs).

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A study done in 2012 by UNCF.org showed that a quarter of HBCU bachelor’s degree recipients borrowed $40,000 or more to pay off their student loan debt.

“I wish I was more prepared with understanding where my finances go instead of letting my parents handle most of it. I’m in college now, so it’s important for me to be financially independent,” said Autumn Smith, a sophomore student at Hampton University.

Despite there being heavy financial burdens, many students feel the need to understand the importance of being financially literate so that they won’t fall victim to the endless battle of paying off huge loans that have lasting consequences.

In order to support lifelong financial mobility, many HBCUs have incentives to produce alumni who are successful in their careers. Some become mirror images of the university’s legacy, and are able to pay off whatever loans they have (this allows universities to stay eligible for federal financial aid).

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While in college, students can take the initiative in developing financial practices that will set them up for effective personal monetary management in the future.

However, many Students are interested in programs that help students navigate through the financial aid process and programs that focus on improving the short- and long-term costs associated with education loans and other debt assumed while in college, their repayment obligations, and their protection as borrowers.

Financial education programs, one-on-one counseling, and innovative personal monetary management tools can help provide students and graduates with information and skills to effectively manage their finances moving forward in their lives.

HBCU Draft Picks are opening the door for future prospects

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by Donovan Dooley

It shouldn’t be a secret that players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been cornerstones throughout the National Football League. In the Golden Age of HBCU Football, Hall of Fame Players such as Jerry Rice, Walter Payton and Richard Dent became household names after being drafted from HBCUs.

However, after integration enticed more top-level talent to matriculate to the bigger predominantly white institutions, the level of HBCU talent and the number of HBCU draftees fell.

Yet, with the play of Former North Carolina A&T running back and Chicago Bears standout, Tarik Cohen, eyes on HBCU prospects could be starting to increase. And it might not be long until we see another Golden Age of HBCU NFL talent.

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In the 2018 NFL Draft, Former South Carolina State Linebacker, Darius Leonard, was selected in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts with the number 36th pick overall. This means that Leonard, who is the two-time MEAC defensive player of the year and the Bulldog’s all-time leader in tackles, was only four picks away from being selected in the first round. He is one of the highest HBCU prospects taken in recent history.

“If you are a ball player they can find you,” said Leonard. “Just because you didn’t go to a big-time school like Clemson, Carolina or Alabama you still can get picked high in the draft if you are doing all the right things and you got that right tape you can still be a great ball player.”

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Leonard believes his speed, athleticism, and intelligence about the game can help get him on the field in Indianapolis early. However, it might be his work ethic and proverbial “chip on his shoulder” that could turn Leonard into a standout performer for the Colts for years to come.

“You have to make the best of your opportunity to standout, I wanted to go to Clemson, and with them not offering I had a big chip on my shoulder,” said Leonard. “I think personally I work harder than anybody in the NFL Draft because in my head I want to be the best.”

One of his colleagues who shares that chip is North Carolina A&T offensive lineman, Brandon Parker. Parker, who was a two-time MEAC Offensive Lineman of the year award winner and a first team All-American at NCAT, was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the third round with the 65th pick overall.

“The thing that is going to really get me going is that I’ve always kind of played the underdog role, “said Parker.” And I think that the fact that a lot of people still don’t agree with myself and (Leonard’s) pick being so high .. it’s just going to be like okay now I still got more people to prove wrong, let’s go! “

Parker was selected by the Raiders to compete for a starting spot on that offensive line to protect Franchise Quarterback, Derek Carr. And Parker is confident he can bring a toughness and a will to work that can help benefit his new team.

“Toughness and a will to work goes a long way, obviously there is going to be a lot of banging around for the initial adjustment period and it’s going to be a lot to learn as far as schemes and learning the ropes as a rookie.” Said Parker. “The best thing you can do is bring a positive attitude and come to work hard every single day.”

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Hard work and inspiration have been recurring themes for both of these highly selected HBCU draft picks. Whether it was Leonard being inspired by his brother, former NFL player and Clemson Tigers standout, Anthony Waters, to become the best player he could possibly be. Or Parker, who has been inspired by his father to never be discouraged and trust God’s plan, it seems evident that the future of HBCUs in the NFL are in the good hands of two of the most talented 2018 NFL Draft selections.

What Cohen as well as other HBCU players in the league helped spark could be another age of HBCU excellence in the league. And with Parker and Leonard both being selected relatively high they could pave the way for the next HBCU first round selection.

“I think myself and (Leonard) realize just how big this is from just how high we went” said Parker. “Not only does that kind of motivate us but it makes us the leaders and puts us at the forefront of what HBCU players can do.”

There are no more Cinderella’s only Bracket Busters.

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by Jarod Hamilton

As March Madness closes and we say a sad goodbye to another college basketball season, it’s important that we recap one of the most unpredictable NCAA Tournaments in recent history. Lower seeded teams ran wild through this years tournament, but the question is should we really be shocked by a “Cinderella’s” success?

On March 16th, 2018, the University of Maryland Baltimore County did the impossible as they upset the number one overall seeded, Virginia Cavaliers. This wasn’t any regular number one seed, this team boasted a 31-2 regular season record, won both the ACC regular season and tournament title, and was statistically one of the most dominant defensive squads in the history of the NCAA. However, The UMBC Retrievers demolished the Cavaliers in a 20 point clubbing. Many People (including myself) believed that UPenn was the best 16 seed in tournament history and after their 16 point loss to Kansas followed by UMBC’s 20 point win over Virginia, I have no choice but to admit that I should have put some “respeck” on the retrievers’ name.

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Most of us were all shocked by the performances of UMBC and other cinderella teams such as The Loyola Chicago Ramblers, The Buffalo Bulls and even the 11 seeded Syracuse Orangemen. But Should we really have been surprised? Basketball has changed. The Golden State Warriors have developed a new style of play that proves that you don’t have to be the tallest, strongest, or most athletically gifted player to win. However, if the team can crash the boards and make three pointers at an efficient rate, then they can put themselves in position to win against anyone.

Buffalo blew out the Arizona Wildcats 68-89 by shooting 50% from the three point line, while Arizona only shot a measly 11% from downtown. Millions of people had Arizona winning the title, led by projected top two pick, DeAndre Ayton, but as we see the Bulls style of play overwhelmed the more talented Wildcats.

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In the Retrievers win against Virginia, they shot 50% from three and outrebounded the Cavaliers by 11, 33 to 22. The tallest player for the Retrievers is 6’10” Nolan Gerrity. The Cavaliers have a 7-footer, someone else at 6’10” and someone at 6’9”. Although they are outsized by prospects who were at least 3 star recruits coming out of high school, their style of play led them to complete the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history.

The cinderella story that has a little bit more depth is the story of the 11 seeded Loyola- Chicago Ramblers who made it all the way to the Final Four. They have upset a six seed, three seed, seven seed and nine seed on their way to the national semifinal game. Their success should be contributed in part to a combined 41.6% three point shooting percentage over the duration of the team’s run in the tournament, and sister Jean of course, the team’s 98 year-old chaplain.

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An “upset” during March Madness is the what creates the hysteria, the fun, and the madness! But with this new style of play, the gap between these top programs and smaller schools is slimming drastically and because of this the chance of an higher seed going down is more likely than ever.

Howard Embezzlement Scandal has caused tensions between students and administration.

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by Donovan Dooley

Twitter went into a frenzy after records that alleged Howard University financial aid employees embezzled $1 Million Dollars in financial funding were posted by an anonymous author in The Medium yesterday. Howard University’s student newspaper, The Hilltop, details that the story received mass attention following a social media post from the student activist group, HU resist.

Many Howard Students were already skeptical of the administration on campus and this latest news of financial wrongdoing has only increased tensions on campus between administrators and students.

“I had heard people before saying that money was being embezzled so this wasn’t the first I had heard of something along these lines,” said Lawrence Dow, a senior sports management student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “It made me think they figured out something was wrong but wanted to avoid public embarrassment. So, they instead tried to keep it as quiet as they could. It made them seem untrustworthy to me. “

Dow is not alone, as the news broke on twitter HU Resist started the #StudentPowerHU movement on twitter. Many students using the hashtag voiced their displeasure with the university and some even called for the resignation of Howard University President, Wayne Frederick.

Frederick did release a statement in response to the report that included the dismissal of six employees for “gross misconduct and neglect of duties”. However, even with the president’s statement students are still unhappy and looking for more transparency between the students and administration.

“I think the strife between students and administrators already existed,” said Dow. “This will probably further exacerbate it and I would be beyond shocked if there wasn’t protests.”

HU resist has already published a list of demands that they wish to be rectified by the administration. But there has been no word on if a formal protest has been planned to challenge Frederick’s leadership.

The name of a former student-employee have surfaced on Twitter as having taken money from the Howard financial aid office. But he has denied any connection to the missing funds.

This is a story that we will continue to follow as more development arise.

Marvin Bagley III should still be the number 1 pick.

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by Cameron Rivers.

After an 85-81 loss against the Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite Eight, Duke’s season had come to a close. Arguably, the most talented Blue Devil’s roster in the last fifteen years saw their season end with all five of their starters scoring in double figures. The lineup that featured four of the top High School Prospects from the Class of 2017 and senior leader Grayson Allen, were perceived to be the most talented group in college basketball. However, throughout the season Marvin Bagley III seemed to emerge over the rest and cement himself in a class of his own.

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Scouts and experts say that Bagley’s size, length, and skillset is comparable to future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. While at first the comparison shocked me, I started to think “What would Kevin Garnett’s numbers look like in his first year of college?”

Would they be close to 21 points and 11 rebounds while shooting an efficient 60 percent from the field?

I would venture to say Garnett’s numbers would have probably been identical. Even without the Garnett comparison, Bagley’s resume speaks for itself. He won the ACC player of the year award as a freshman and is in the running to win college basketball’s most coveted individual honor, The Wooden Award.

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There has not been a player at Duke with Bagley’s skillset and talent in the last ten years, and that includes former number two overall NBA draft pick Jabari Parker. While Bagley was looked at as the consensus number one pick in the preseason, the emergence of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and Oklahoma’s Trae Young have seemed to have opened up the conversation of who deserves to be selected at the top of the 2018 draft. However, if NBA general managers were smart, this would not even be a question. Bagley is more physically ready for the NBA than Young and while Bagley does not maintain the imposing size of Ayton, he possess a more versatile skillset that will translate to the NBA game well.

Bagley’s combination of size, athleticism and motor will make him a top five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft but if you were really paying attention to college basketball then you know he should be the undisputed first selection.