APJ Boxing Club recaps their Golden Gloves expierence

By Stefan Anderson

“Hardwork, focus and determination will get you to where you need to be” said APJ Owner and Trainer “Kap” Patterson.

With two of its fighters, Tyriece Stokes in 178 lb.division and Dominique Crowder in the 123 lb. division, to the New York Daily News Golden Gloves championship, the APJ Boxing Club is relishing on the moment and want to ride the momentum to carry their boxing gym to the next level.

After falling short in semifinals for the past two years, Crowder, earned the revenge he was seeking when he defeated Ariel Lopez from Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn, NY and is heading to the National Golden Gloves tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 16th.

Stokes, fell short in his title bout with Patrick Aristhene from Freeport PAL. Although he lost in the finals, Stokes has appreciated the lesson from his title fight and hopes to make the third time a charm similar to his teammate Crowder and capture the “Gloves” in the upcoming year.

Both boxers and their trainer “Kap” Patterson recap the experience at the Golden Gloves and what it meant for APJ Boxing Club. The trio along with the many fighters who train in APJ daily, are all working toward enriching the boxing culture amongst the city of Poughkeepsie, NY.

With the city’s first NY Daily News Golden Glove champion, it will certainly expand the sport along the small city on the Hudson River.

 

Making History ! or Making History ?

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By Stefan Anderson

To return from a retirement to a 4-2 defeat to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern conference semifinals in 1995, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were looking for revenge.

“I think it was without question the biggest motivation coming that following season,” former Orlando Magic head coach Brian Hill said. “Michael Jordan played the whole season with an unbelievable will to win. There were eight to 10 games where he basically willed his teammates into winning games.

The vengeance they sought was a record setting 72-10 season solidifying  the 95-96 Bulls as one of the greatest, if not the greatest team ever.

One game away from eclipsing Chicago’s record, the Golden State Warriors will have to beat the team provided their magic, the gritty Memphis Grizzlies. 

After falling down 2-1 to the Grizzlies during the Western Conference semifinals last season, the Warriors magical season appeared to coming to end and the old adage of fast, jump shooting teams could never win a NBA championship.

As told by soon to be named back to back MVP, Stephen Curry during an interview with ESPN’s Zach Lowe in February the losses to Memphis motivated the Warriors to get back on track to where they were.

“It wasn’t clicking. We didn’t have our usual flow, as Coach Kerr would call it. For whatever reason, Memphis found a way to muck up the game. We had to shake it out, and get back to who were. We showed our resilience rolling off three straight, and doing the same thing against Cleveland.”

“That has made us such a more mature team going into this year — having gone through that.” said Curry.

The Bulls went on to sweep the Magic in the conference finals the following year en route to their first championship of their second three-peat.

Golden State has the same opportunity to turn motivation into history with their Wednesday night win over Memphis, while continuing to defying the odds set against them on how great of a team they too are one of the best teams we’ve ever witnessed.

The Magic will forever be etched in NBA history not only for Nick Anderson’s missed FT’s in the finals and his infamous “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan,” and “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to”, but were responsible for assembling a top-five guard-big combo in Shaq and Penny.

Memphis might not be remembered in the latter years, but have been a maverick of their own, with their grit and grind style of play in today’s NBA.

But if the Grizzlies can find another way to “muck up” the game again, it will the brightest spot of their gloomy injury ridden season. Memphis will be amongst the New York Giants of 2007 and University of Wisconsin of 2015, keeping them in the history books as not only the team that helped to inspire the storming Warriors, but that stopped the possibility of 73-9.

 

New York Knicks F Derrick Williams talks with the Starting Point

By Stefan Anderson

Derrick Williams of the New York Knicks sat down to discuss a range of topics with The Starting Point during a charity event hosted at Quinnz Pinz in Middletown, NY. Williams along with Knicks teammates Pine Bush, NY native, Cleanthony Early and Kevin Seraphin participated in the bowling charity that gave proceedings to the Kevin Shaw Foundation and the Middletown Middies sports program.

Shaw, who passed away in a tragic car accident, was a good friend of Williams during their basketball encounters. Shaw known for his impact on the court and as coach  for the infamous New York City’s Gauchos  program. The event was a great opportunity for some aspiring players including the NYS Class AA state finalist Middletown Middies to get acquainted with professionals.

Check out the interview above.

Westchester Knicks G Travis Trice talks with The Starting Point

By Stefan Anderson

Westchester Knicks guard Travis Trice spoke with The Starting Point following their final regular as the Knicks head to the NBA Development League playoffs. Trice, following a good career at Michigan State University playing with good talent like Draymond Green, Adrien Payne and Denzel Valentine gathered many deep postseason runs and is hopeful to use his experiences to propel Westchester.

Averaging 15.3 points and 5.7 assists per game, Trice has teamed up with highly touted prospect Jimmer Fredette to combine into one of the best back court tandems in the D-League. Trice and Fredette will showcase their skills as they face off against the record-setting Maine Red Claws in an opening round series.

What A Time

By Stefan Anderson

The 2016 NCAA Men’s Tournament was filled with a range of emotions and some legendary matchups that killed brackets, bets and predictions from anyone you can think of.

It started with some of this….

Then there was some of this ….

This was setting for Monday evening’s classic National Championship game, between North Carolina and Villanova. We saw two of the best, consistent teams in college basketball and got what we ordered then some. It would be hard to say that the best team won the game but I will say that the more disciplined team did.

You cannot discredit how great of a season the Tarheels had but the Wildcats were proven to stick with their game plan good, bad or indifferent. They were going to play tough defense and make North Carolina beat them from the outside and if they get a chance to score in the paint they will harass penetration from ball handlers and hound big men when close to the rim. Villanova held UNC tandem of Johnson and Meeks to 7-18 from the field.

The Tarheels closed the first half shooting 7-9 from outside but as hot Carolina seemed to be they could not shake off the determined Villanova Wildcats. Villanova’s strategic defense plan to keep the high flying UNC offense to play at their tempo kept them alive no matter how many haymakers the Tarheels threw at them. But when you shoot 58 % from the field it’s hard to counter any attack.

The win was perfect for Villanova and embodied the greatness that this tournament exemplified. Villanova coming from the “weak” Big East conference proved why they placed at the top of the rankings all season. Despite what their regular season may look like, they played three tough games to head to the National Championship. To beat the top ranked Kansas team, shut down the best player in college hoops in Buddy Hield and Oklahoma to then completing it with a win over North Carolina, Nova rightfully deserved this title. This win is a great win for a great team and should cement Coach Jay Wright’s Hall of Fame career.

APJ Boxing Club eyes “Golden Gloves”

 

By Stefan Anderson

POUGHKEEPSIE-It was just six months ago, while preparing for his second annual boxing showcase,  Upstate vs. New York City, when APJ Boxing trainer/owner Kariym Patterson, envisioned his talent transform from its humble beginnings in 2012 to budding talent here in 2016.

To turn their compact gym on Catherine St, into a household name has been the objective since its opening. The affirmation is now within six rounds as two of the gym’s fighters, Tyriece Stokes and Dominque Crowder set to compete for in the 89th annual, New York Daily News Golden Gloves championship in the 178 lb. and 123 lb. open divisions.

“I say this every day, this is our year” said Crowder.

Determination has been the pillar for APJ as they continue to strive for greatness.  From trainer to fighters, the same message resonates through the boxing Club.

“It’s a blessing to be here, but I know I’m here because of hard work and dedication” says Stokes. “From Monday through Sunday, we work hard, no days off” added the 123-pounder Crowder.

For Stokes, the fight on Wednesday evening at the Empire City Casino versus former Golden Glove finalist, Patrick Aristhene, will be the biggest test in the Poughkeepsie native career.

After stepping in the ring for the first time in 2013, the 178-pounder remembers when he first began the sport, “I remember when I first started, I could barely even jump rope and now I am mixing it up with some of the best,” said Stokes. “But it doesn’t feel complete until I put those gloves around my neck and I’m the Golden Gloves champ.”

“It’s a lot of great things about him but it’s his will to become a great in this sport that will take him higher,” said the APJ owner/trainer, “If he wants it bad enough, he will get it.”

Crowder, after migrating from the city of Baltimore, MD, has found a home in Poughkeepsie especially at APJ. “I did the right thing at the right time and I feel like this is what I am supposed to be doing”, Crowder stated.  With his lanky 6’2 frame at 123 pounds makes him scarce at that weight class. But it is the “Dominator’s” passion is what makes him unique.  As Patterson puts it “Coming from fighting in the streets, Dom has a lot of heart and he never gets rattled.”

The rematch with finalist Ariel Lopez, on April 18th at the Barclays Center has also been on his checklist since the defeat. “He beat in 2013, it was split decision last time but this time I want to take him out”, said the former Baltimore Native.

“I think these guys will be successful, just based on their will to want it” said Patterson.

 

Thunder in Oklahoma City

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By Stefan Anderson

It was all good just a week ago, well maybe a few weeks ago.

Prior to the All-Star break the Oklahoma City Thunder were rolling through teams, gathering wins in seven of its eight games during the stretch, and showing they are amongst the elite of the NBA. It has been a different story as of late for OKC , losing its last six of eight games heading into a downward spiral heading into the latter part of the season. But what has caused the Thunder to come falling down ?

The second ranked offensive team has struggled to complete games due to their inconsistencies of lineups have led the Thunder to fall out of the discussion of the top teams and one game from losing their 3rd place standing in the Western Conference.

OKC’s lineup has two gaps in the shooting guard and center position.

Since James Harden was sent to Houston, the Thunder has yet to find a solution at the two spot.  Andre Roberson has shouldered the load due his defense prowess but offensively just allows teams to help on drives and trap the teams prolific scorers, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Dion Waiters appeared to be a solution for a brief stint , but his streaky shooting has given Coach Billy Donavon and fellow teammates headaches. Although OKC traded for Randy Foye at the trade deadline, Foye has yet to find his niche amongst his new roster.

Why not give a proven shooter an opportunity? Anthony Morrow has been known to be less of a defender than a Roberson, but has a better offensive skill set than Roberson and with Waiters giving the Thunder a -5.7 rating while on the court and not to mention his current 24/68 shooting slump over the past  few games. I think Morrow makes a good fill-in for Thunder.

Also, Steven Adams gives solid minutes each night as a starter we practically ever seen their $70 million dollar signee, Enes Kanter,when it matters.  Kanter gives the Thunder another scorer when the possessions are closer allows another option for Durant and Westbrook to make more plays.

During the limited minutes experienced the lineup of Westbrook, Morrow, Durant, Ibaka and Kanter has been a plus in the majority of categories including points and field goal efficiency.  I am aware that the two players listed are not adept defenders but they Thunder have not been able to come up with stops with better defenders on the floor and cannot gain points either.

In their recent fourth quarter debacles, the Thunder have reverted to their old offensively ways of Durant/Westbrook isolate and score.  The two are in the top ten in isolation possessions this season, with Durant in 6th with 220 and Westbrook in 8th with 199, but have taken nearly half of their team’s shots during the final period.

For example:

  • In their loss to Indiana: Durant and Westbrook combined for 9-21 shots taken in the 4th.
  • Loss to vs New Orleans , 16-24
  • Loss to Golden State, 13-24
  • Loss to LA Clippers , 11-20
  • Loss to Golden State, 11-20

That ball stopping offense cannot help them win as it has been proven these past two weeks. The lineup change could be what they are looking with the recent slide. The Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA, but will fall short again if they cannot figure out to close out games.