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Who is Tua Tagovailoa? The new hope and pride of football in Hawaii

If you witnessed the second half of the 2018 college football National Championship game, or have watched/listened to/ read any sports related news this week, you’ve definitely seen the name Tua Tagovailoa.

But there’s a lot more to the true freshman backup QB (who is now realistically the favorite to win the Heisman next season) than that one half of football and that game winning pass against Georgia to give Alabama their 17th national title.

I mean, who the hell is this kid that playing like a beast in his first real game ever?

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Tua actually attended Saint Louis High School, yes, the same one as Heisman trophy winner and fellow Hawaiian Marcus Mariota. And it just so happened that Marcus has mentored Tua on his path to stardom.

At a young age, Mariota saw something special in him and when he was just in the 4th grade he took Tua under his wing at a local quarterback camp to help mold him not only become a better football player, but a better man. Their bond came to the point that people called Tua the “Little Mariota.”

Now as a franchise quarterback in the NFL leading the Tennessee Titans to the playoffs this year, Mariota has paved the way for not just Tua to play a skilled position in the NFL, but Polynesians everywhere. Of course he’s got some high hopes for Tua though. In an interview with ESPN after Tagovailoa’s breakout performance, he went on to say,

“Tua is a stud. He’s the next guy coming up. Proud of him. From where that kid’s come, how he’s grown and how he handled the situation last night. He’s very special. Hopefully he can continue his success. I’m sure you guys saw the interview after the game. That’s who he is.”

After following Mariota’s footsteps at Alabama, when Tua’s time came, he took over the reigns at St. Louis High School and proved that he was special. Colleges from the mainland began to take notice and he was the the top dual-threat quarterback recruit in his class.  Tua really solidified his place with scouts during the Nike Elite 11 quarterback showcase, where the best high school QBs in the country go to compete.

Tua showed that he was the best of them all and won MVP. Camp coach and former Super Bowl champion Trent Dilfer pushed him and had some high praise for Tua after calling him the best prospect he’s seen since Andrew Luck.

So how, after a full season at Alabama, has no one has ever heard of this guy?

Before even committing to the Crimson Tide, of course Tua wanted to go to Oregon to follow the path his big bro Mariota set for him. But when the Ducks never offered him a scholarship, Saban and the Crimson Tide swooped in. This would give him the chance to compete at the highest level and Saban made it clear that while Tua might have to wait, he would get his shot.

While other schools were on his list, Tua felt that Alabama was the perfect place for him, not only because of the level of football, but for how he would be able to practice his faith. As a very religious young man, wherever Tua chose to go, his family would move with him. So they picked up their things from Hawaii and moved to Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Fast forward to the National Championship game and it was Nick Saban’s plan all along to unleash Tagovailoa if they really needed him. They did.

Replacing starting QB Jalen Hurts in the second half, Tua won it all for the Crimson Tide with his big play-making ability and heart. Saban told the Washington Post,

“‘We’ve had this in our mind that if we were struggling offensively, that we would give Tua an opportunity, even in the last game.”

Ironically, earlier in the season Tua was pretty frustrated with this whole seniority thing, sitting behind starter Jalen Hurts. Tua reportedly wanted to transfer out out of Tuscaloosa if he didn’t get to play. So in the end, Saban may have not only made the coaching decision that won them the game, but help them keep their best player for the future.

Whether Tua truly wanted to transfer or not, faith truly is a big part of Tua’s life, and he decided to stick it out because he is a man of his word. In his post-game interview, the articulate young man gave all of his gratitude to God. And he has always been like this.

In local interview in high school, Tua spoke about how in five years, his goal isn’t to make it in the NFL, but to build a church and take care of his family.

Ladies and gents, Tua is an inspiration, and most definitely on rise to football stardom.

How can you not root for such a grounded and genuine dude like him? The guy is one of the most humble stars to put his talents on display in years and he’s only getting started.

His story is a prime example of trusting the process. Being patient, working hard, and waiting your turn can lead to the best possible outcome. His talent, attitude and mission to do what he does for his faith makes him very different. Oh yeah, and he can sing too!

While Mariota does his thing in the NFL, Tua is next to take up the torch and will be inspiring a whole new generation of Polynesians in Hawaii and all over to work hard and follow their dreams. One of those players is actually Tua’s little brother, Taulia, who is also a quarterback and building up some major hype. He wants to go to Alabama too.

You already know coming back to campus, Tua is an instant living legend and people will try to do anything to get near him. But he’s already ready to focus in on next season and getting better. Now he’s even getting the attention of girls from Fifth Harmony.

Shout out to Tua, and good luck next season and beyond!

The NC game was lit, but college football still needs a better playoff system

After last night’s National Championship game between Alabama and Georgia where a freshman QB from Hawaii led the Crimson Tide to victory, there is no doubting that college football is one of the most electrifying and entertaining sports out.

And while this year’s postseason was full of intensity, that hasn’t exactly been the case since the College Football Playoffs started in 2014.

The college football postseason has always consisted of a magnitude of bowl games but the problem with the format is this: are the best teams actually getting to compete?

To put it simply, the selection team favors bigger conferences. Have you ever heard of the term Power 5 Conference? The Power 5 conference stands for a subdivision in the Division-1 level of collegiate football.

It is made up of the most competitive conferences in football which are currently the Pac-12, SEC, Big 10, ACC, and the Big 12. These conferences bring in the most revenue, they have the most watched games, their games get televised on popular channels, and they gather up the best recruits in the country.

So when selecting teams for bowl games and for college football playoff selection, obviously teams that are in these 5 conferences are going to have a leg up from teams in the “smaller” conferences.

This raises controversy because there are many teams that aren’t in the power five conferences that should be getting picked for big games like the Cotton Bowl, or the Orange bowl but aren’t getting the looks they deserve simply based on their conference.

An extremely recent example of this favoritism occurred this past season. The team rankings fluctuated this season with many smaller programs breaking the top 25. One of which included the University of Central Florida Knights.

UCF went undefeated this season but still didn’t get selected for the playoff.

People argued that UCF’s conference should keep them from getting into the College Football Playoff, but in the Peach Bowl they went on and a beat a ranked Auburn team that beat both Alabama and Georgia.

One idea to fix this problem of favoritism in the selection committee would be to expand the college playoff bracket into more teams.

This not only would’ve made more room for teams like Ohio State and Central Florida that deserved to be there, but it would bring about many more viewers.

There would be matchups that before would have been unheard of, new rivalries would come about, the college football realm would be crazy. Why can’t this happen?

ESPN has a contract with the NCAA to keep the format at 4 teams for a very long time over the next 10 years. What is being missed here is the amount of money they would be making if they make the bracket larger.

According to Forbes:

“The revenue for each of the Power Five Conferences during the 2015 CFP reached $70 million, more than doubling the revenue under the old BCS system (more on that here).If the NCAA were to add another week of the playoff, that number would hit north of $100 million for each conference. This is a much higher total than each conference would see during a normal regular season week of action.”

I think it’s safe to say that a three week long College Football Playoff system would be insane. One flaw I could see with this is that, that is a lot of football for the team that is making it to the championship game, but other than that I feel that this is the best move for the NCAA to take with the playoff.

It gives way more teams a chance they never had, and more of a chance for players to get the exposure they deserve to make it to the next level. We need this to happen!

End the monopoly the Power 5 conferences have on college football and let the kids play.

How Kyle Kuzma went from having no shot in the NBA to the Lakers’ new star

Kyle Kuzma came into the league being known by many as “the other guy the Lakers drafted,” and has quickly made a name for himself in the NBA.

With all of the hype going to Lonzo Ball this season, Kyle has flown under the radar and has already proved that he may be the better rookie of the two.

At 25-years-old, Kuzma one of the best rookie scorers averaging the most points per game for any Laker right now with 17.4. His overall performance has even put him in the running for the Rookie of the Year Award (if he can beat out Ben Simmons).

Working hard for what he wants to accomplish and staying focused on his goals is in this man’s DNA. Born to a single mother, Karri Kuzma raised Kyle and his two siblings in Flint, Michigan which wasn’t the best of times for the family.

In an interview with CBS, Kuzma described Flint as “a very violent place, with a lot of social pressure for children to get involved in the streets.”

In fact Kyle went on to talk about how throughout his childhood he witnessed some of his close friends begin to get involved in the streets.

His home life throughout it all, Kuzma knew that basketball was his way out, he knew his skills could get him out of this volatile environment.

Kyle started to really excel in basketball at a young age after his mother bought him a Fisher Price rim to keep him out of the streets. In his hometown, he quickly became a regular at the YMCA playing and dominating people much older than him on the court.

He took his skills from the Y to his local high school varsity team. At Bentley High School he was a force to be reckoned with, averaging about 18 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. Even with such a colorful stat sheet, Kuzma wasn’t getting the big time D1 looks he deserved.

This was due to the fact that he was playing at such a small school that wasn’t well known on the recruiting circuit. He didn’t receive offers so Kuzma and his mother decided it would be best for him to take his talents to a bigger name school, preferably a prep school.

So the summer going into his senior year of high school, Kuzma trained everyday and sent videos of his workouts to prep schools to find a new home to evolve his game.

Luckily, Vincent Sparacio, head coach of The High Rise Academy in Philadelphia took a liking to Kuzma. He found him to be a great raw talent and told Bleacher Report,

“He wasn’t a great defender, a great shooter or a great ball-handler… But you could just tell he had that special feel that’s hard to teach.”

Understandably at first, Kuzma struggled with the new level of competition. But as the season went on, he began to lift more in the gym and practice on weekends with his coach in between AAU games. His coach continued,

“During AAU weekends, Kuzma stayed on campus, alternating between lifting weights and playing pickup basketball from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

This extra work sparked a complete 180 in Kyle’s season finishing with an average of 22 points and 7 rebounds.

This strong performance brought numerous offers from some serious Division 1 programs, including: University of Connecticut, Iowa State University, University of Tennessee and many others.

Ultimately, Kuzma decided to commit to the University of Utah.

During the Ute’s 2014 campaign (Kuzma’s freshman year), he averaged 8.1, 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

After three years, Kuzma was averaging 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while getting his sociology degree. Kuzma then decided it was time to take his game to the big leagues, and declared for the draft.

Contrary to where most draft experts expected, Kyle Kuzma was drafted as the 27th pick in the first round of the draft by the Brooklyn Nets. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell.

The Lakers have simply been Kuzma’s launching pad.

Whether it be preseason or actual NBA games, Kuzma has completely dominated. Kuzma has finally set out what he planned to do since he was just a kid. Guess you can say he’s always been destined for NBA stardom.

According to an article done by Bleacher Report, this is just the beginning.

“‘He’s still working out like he hasn’t gotten drafted,’ Sparacio says. ‘With the NBA money, guys take a break, and he hasn’t taken a break since he got drafted. It’s probably not going to stop.’”

If this is just the beginning, teams in the NBA should be nervous. In his short career, he’s turned the heads of Lakers greats like Magic Johnson and even Kobe Bryant.

He’s held his own against some of the best teams in the league right now, and isn’t slowing down.

The Kyle Kuzma story is extremely inspiring, and shouldn’t going unnoticed. And who else is going to roast Lonzo Ball like thison the team?

Going from growing up in a city where it’s still too dangerous to open your mouth in the shower, to NBA stardom is the perfect example that if you put your mind to something and stick to a plan. Anything is possible and Kyle Kuzma proved that.

At the end of the day, what inspires him is his own family, and a certain Laker legend who he looked up to his entire childhood. There’s no doubt that he’s making Kobe proud this season. Keep grinding Kuz!

boogie with da hoodie

Who is A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie? The BX rapper bringing a new sound to NYC

In an an era of mumble rap and trap artists flexing over the beat, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s style brings-hip hop (and most musical genre’s) back to its roots, singing about love and growing up.

When asked about his style and why he doesn’t dabble in the elusive art of mumble rapping he told NewsWeek,

“I guess I never really got to a point where I decided I wanted to rap like a mumble rapper. As a New York rapper, I feel like I can’t take it there anyway. That would be changing New York. My music, it needs to be heard. Sometimes the vibe is good, but I don’t really care about [being played in the club]. I care to be heard.”

Artist Julius Dubose was born in Highbridge, NYC in the Bronx (the same place as Cardi B) and started rapping at age 12. He acquired the name “A Boogie Wit da Hoodie” for a multitude of reasons.

@papermagazine 🖤

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The A comes from his first name, Artist. The “boogie” comes from being from the Bronx. And the “hoodie” part is due to the fact that he always had a hoodie on as part of his wardrobe.

Although A boogie stays repping New York, he credits his real incentive to taking rap seriously and entering the game by the time he spent in Florida.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, A-Boogie went on to explain how his parents moved to Florida first and how he ended up down there with them.

“My mom and my dad moved to Florida first. I was in New York, I got in trouble a few times – just regular little weed charges and shit. They were like, ‘It’s over, you gotta come with us.'”

It was in Florida where Artist met producer Mr. Whyte, who evidently helped him turn into the artist he is today and reach the stardom he has achieved.

With songs like “Say A”, “No Promises”, “Undefeated”, “Beast Mode”, and “No Comparison”, (and let’s not forget “Drowning”) all breaking the Billboard top 100 off of his first legitimate studio album The Bigger Artist, it seems that Artist (get it?) Dubose has already established a solid foundation in the rap game.

But this is just the beginning, A Boogie went into detail about new directions he wants to take his music in the future, telling NewsWeek,

“I would like to do more singing, but I want more of a pop feeling when I do that. I don’t wanna just do it out of nowhere. [My career] gotta rise more.”

A Boogie is quietly taking over the rap game, with a famous artist like Drake as his cosign, the sky is the limit for Artist Dubose.

Of course, being under the spotlight at such a young age brings about a lot of stress. Being that he is twenty one years old, A Boogie is not immune to cracking under the pressure.
Earlier this year on October 21st, A Boogie and his crew allegedly attacked Lil B backstage at Rolling Loud music festival after an altercation between the two parties.

Everything turned out ok, no one was severely injured, and the two parties absolved the issue pretty quickly. In fact, Lil B came out during his show and publicly forgave A Boogie right after it happened, and A Boogie apologized a couple days later via Twitter.

All incidents aside, Artist Julius Dubose is an up and coming artist with a very melodic flow that’ll take you on a musical journey, backed with meaningful lyrics.

He is helping bring the rap game back to its rightful home, New York City, albeit with a very new sound.

A Boogie is up next, and we can’t wait to see what he does with it.

Peep his debut album The Bigger Artist here

Enes Kanter is beefing with the president of Turkey and he gives zero f*cks

For those of you who don’t know, Enes Kanter is the 25-year-old Turkish center for the New York Knicks who is currently beefing with the president of Turkey.

In fact, the Turkish government now wants to jail Kanter for four years just for talking shit about their leader. So how did this all come about?

First thing you should know about Enes is that he has never been one to hold back on expressing his thoughts and opinions. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he’ll speak on it, whether it’s off or on the court.

In fact in an article on Sports Illustrated, he was given the title of the NBA’s “biggest troll” due to how big of a savage he is on social media.

Even though he’s built up a reputation of being a troll, recently Kanter has been using his platform to speak on political issues that have been going on in his home country.

Kanter’s biggest complaint with the Turkish government is about the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as Edroğan has slowly been overstepping the democratic boundaries as president of Turkey.

A referendum that was passed in Turkey last April gave Erdoğan the power to “control the Turkish budget, control the military, appoint judges, dissolve the parliament and extend his term limit.”

Basically this referendum gave him the ability to do whatever he’d like, and stay in power for as long as he wants (doesn’t that scream dictator?). He had the power to do so because about a year ago, there was a coup led by religious leader Fethullah Gülen, who is the leader of Gulen movement in Turkey.

The Gulen movemnt is based on the Islamic social and religious belief of inclusion, basically everyone should be able to do, and believe in what they like, a very progressive theory. The coup ended up failing, which basically just gave Edroğan more power and more of a following than he already had. He’s gone on to shut down schools and imprison more people who think differently than he does. According to a report by BBC,

“Since the thwarted coup, nearly 50,000 people have been detained, including many soldiers, journalists, lawyers, police officers, academics and Kurdish politicians. The authorities have sacked 120,000 public servants, and there are widespread complaints of AKP-inspired intimidation.”

Edroğan’s intolerant attitude has not been confined to just Turkey either. On a trip to our nation’s capital, he ordered his bodyguards to “harass” reporters and protesters questioning his movement.

Now where does Enes fall into play here? Well he called the Turkish president a “terrible man” and even compared him as the “Hitler of our century.”

Oh yeah and there was a retweet that they didn’t really like either.

“After a military coup attempt in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed blame for the attempt on Gulen and his supporters… Kanter appeared to mock the arrest warrant in his native Turkish as part of a retweet of the Daily Sabah’s report…”

Ever since Kanter has spoken out, Erdoğan and his executives have blocked Enes’ Twitter for the entire country and have tried multiple times to bring him back to Turkey to arrest him. For example, during a summer trip to Romania to appear at basketball camps and run clinics, Kanter was detained in the airport because his Turkish passport was cancelled.

Luckily, he was able to use his green card to get back into the United States. Also, Enes hasn’t been able to get in contact with his family for two years. They allegedly disowned him after the comments he made about Erdoğan.

Now, Turkish prosecutors have openly said to the Turkish media that they are looking to sentence Enes for more than four years due to the comments he’s made. Surprisingly, Enes doesn’t seem too worried about this.

In an interview with ESPN he laughed it off saying,

“‘I was like, ‘Oh, four years.’ I was like, ‘That’s it? Only four years? All the trash I’ve been talking?’ I said I promise you guys, it doesn’t really bother me a little, even one bit,’ he said. ‘My thing is just going out there and just playing basketball.’”

Whether you love or hate Enes as a basketball player, you gotta love how he’s advocating for his people, he just wants to get the word out there. He continued,

“People don’t understand. They’re saying you’re family is still back in Turkey — why are you doing all of this? Why are you talking? I’m just trying to be the voice of all of these innocent people, man.”

Enes isn’t really focused on going back to Turkey anytime soon. In fact he is working on speeding up the process of becoming a US citizen.

His only focus right now is having fun and playing basketball. In fact, he has quite the incentive to make the playoffs

“If we make playoffs, then that will drive him crazy, so that’s what I’m really focused on right now, just make the playoffs and drive this dude crazy…”

Keep on smiling Enes, we’re all rooting for you.