Tar Takes 4/1: Coby White, Nassir Little, Zion William’s NBA draft outlook, recap from Duke + UNC’s early NCAA exit

Tar Takes 4.1.19

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, Ryan Lipton and David Matlock give their takeaways from the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils’ early exits from NCAA March Madness and why the exits might not have been as surprising as one might think.

Tar Takes also examines whether it is the right decision for Nassir Little to enter the NBA draft, if Coby White should follow Little’s footsteps and leave for the NBA, looks forward to possibly landing the No. 1 G in the country in Cole Anthony and Zion Williams/Ja Morant talk.

Tar Takes 4/1 Topics:

Thoughts on UNC’s loss to Auburn in the Sweet 16 and Duke’s loss to Michigan State in the Elite 8.

UNC F Nassir Little declares for NBA draft. Is that the right move for Nassir?

Should Coby White declare for the NBA draft? His decision is still unknown.

What are the prospects for next year’s Tar Heel team? Armando Barcot is committed, Cole Anthony is looking hard at UNC but some think his decision depends on Coby White.

Would a Cole Anthony and Coby White back court work together?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes 3/25: UNC to face Auburn in Sweet 16, Zion and Duke barely escape UCF, Lonzo Ball no longer with BBB

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes, Ryan Lipton and David Matlock analyze UNC’s two wins over Iona and Washington and look forward to their matchup against the Auburn Tigers on Friday. They also look at Duke’s one-point victory over UCF and discuss the recent news involving Lonzo Ball severing ties with Big Baller Brand.

UNC struggles for a period against No. 16 Iona, beats No. 9 Washington easily. What are your thoughts on the Tar Heels after the first two games?

UNC v. Auburn: What are the keys to victory against Auburn?

Would we rather play Houston or Kentucky in the Elite 8 assuming UNC beats Auburn?

Duke v. UCF comes down to one point. Does the one-point win show a weakness in Duke or is it a catapult for Duke to make a run going forward?

Lonzo Ball breaks away from BBB brand after company founder in trouble for fraud

Tar Takes 2/25: Aftermath of UNC defeating Duke, FSU, Should Zion Williamson sit out season?

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes we discuss the aftermath of the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team’s amazing week which included two decisive wins over the Duke Blue Devils and Florida State Seminoles. We also break down what we saw against Duke, who will win on Tuesday in Syracuse vs. UNC, and ask the question should Zion Williamson play anymore basketball games for Duke?

We also start the show by making an apology to UNC forward Luke Maye since he balled out against Duke after Tar Takes was not optimistic in its predictions for Maye against the Blue Devils last Wednesday.

Takeaways and thoughts after UNC’s win over Duke? Florida State?

Is UNC being ranked at No. 5 too high, too low or just right?

What should we expect tomorrow night against Syracuse? Will UNC lose, win by a little or win by a lot?

Should Zion Williamson play another game for Duke?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes 1/21: Who is Tar Heels’ leader? NFL change OT rules? Pats/Rams best teams?

UNC Forward Luke Maye – Photo via Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On this week’s episode of Tar Takes we break down the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball season to date and discuss what we saw on Sunday in the NFL’s Conference Championship games.

UNC Basketball: Do they have a leader and if so who should UNC’s leader be?

Tar Heels have won six out of seven and are 4-1 in conference play. But how confident are you in the team?

Evaluate how the UNC freshman have done thus far in the year.

Did the outcome of yesterday’s games reflect which teams are actually better?

New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints 

Should the NFL change overtime rules?


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes S2E7: LeBron + Lakers playoffs, Amari Cooper traded, UNC Basketball 3rd best ACC team?

On this week’s episode we discuss LeBron James and the Lakers, the latest trades in the NFL and the Tar Heel’s outlook for basketball season which is just right around the corner.

Tar Takes with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock is presented by The JR Report and Relevnt!

Lakers are off to a rough start, so you think they can still make the playoffs? If so what seed?

Thoughts on Big NFL trades and rumors: Amari Cooper to Cowboys, Apple to Saints, etc.

After a tough 40-37 loss to Syracuse, what should Tar Heel fans look for going forward as UNC football finishes out the season?

UNC ranked No. 8 in AP Poll Duke #4, Virginia: Are the Tar Heels the third best team in the ACC?

Zion Williamson scored 29 points and 6 rebounds in an exhibition game: Should UNC fans be worried about Zion’s performance?

Photo Credit:

LeBron James – Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Amari Cooper – Getty Images

Syracuse UNC – Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Theo Pinson – Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson – Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Tar Takes 5.6.18: NBA rookie/coach of the year, Matt Ryan contract, Duke lands another 5 star

Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell – Bill Streicher, USA Today Sports

Watch the fourth Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!

We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today, we take a debate the following topics! (Click on links for segments)

Who is your NBA rookie of the year?

Who is your NBA coach of the year?

Is Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan deserving of his new contract?

Duke lands another 5-star recruit, should Tar Heel fans be worried?

For more Tar Takes click the links below!

Tar Takes 4.29.18: NBA Playoffs, Raiders/Falcons 2018 NFL draft recap

Is Patrick Reed’s brother-in-law commenting on Tar Takes?

Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Tar Takes 4.23.18: LeBron James, Ben Simmons, Lamar Jackson, Luke Maye

Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (Photo via Getty Images)

Watch the second Tar Takes broadcast with Ryan Lipton and David Matlock below! Tar Takes is presented by The JR Report and the brand new app Relevnt!

We discuss the latest in the sports world with debate segments of the hottest NBA/NFL topics of the week as well as the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Today, we take a look at LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ struggles against the Indiana Pacers, who we think the favorites are in the Eastern Conference, what we think of Luke Maye, Joel Berry, Theo Pinson and the NBA Draft, and the top storylines for the 2018 NFL draft.

For individual segments click the links below!

What do you make of the Cavaliers’ struggles?

What will be the Eastern Conference Finals matchup in the 2018 NBA playoffs?

Can UNC’s Luke Maye make it to the NBA?

Will Joel Berry or Theo Pinson be drafted to the NBA?

What are the top storylines for the 2018 NFL draft?

Is Patrick Reed commenting on our post?

Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

How the NCAA created and absolved themselves of corruption

Arizona Wildcats F DeAndre Ayton (Photo via Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

This past June, the NBA shattered another draft night record when 16 players who had only played their freshman year, also known as “one-and-dones,” were selected in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft. Much of this is the result of the eligibility rules imposed by the NBA which state that an athlete must be at least 19 years of age during the draft and that any non-international athlete must be at least one year removed from graduating high school.

The recent reports of many college athletes receiving improper benefits surfaced. Most notable was Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton who was accused of receiving $100,000 to sign with the Wildcats.

With such overt hypocrisy in college basketball, the economics of the industry and nature of its current rules suggest that revising the one-and-done rule is necessary for the salvation of the sport.

The NCAA clearly states that it is a platform for amateurism which promotes the idea that its athletes are students first and athletes second. However, in an October 2017 article, sports economist Daniel Rascher estimates that the college sports industry generates $13 billion dollars a year.

With such high economic stakes, pressure mounts on coaches to win games. This is supported by the fact that of the 351 college basketball coaches 57 percent have been at their current school for fewer than five years. Naturally, the easiest way for basketball coaches to maintain their jobs is to win, which is also much simpler when you have the best players. The highly competitive market for athletic success has resulted in many coaches resorting to bribing top recruits to come to their school.

High School recruiting databases such as Rivals, 247 and Scout.com numerically rank prospects on their talent. Affirmation of their value creates an elastic market for players that eliminates the incentive to settle for the fixed rate salary which many believe to be an effective resolution to the issue.

Overall, it is no surprise that the juxtaposition between the NCAA generating 13 billion dollars of revenue while the agents (players) of their institution receive no compensation is capable of creating an extremely toxic environment.

How the rules under the current system endorse corruption

Under the current rules, no American player can go directly from high school to the NBA. Therefore, they have two options: play a year of college or play internationally and be legally compensated.

NBA Rookie Terrance Ferguson (Photo via Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

NBA rookie Terrance Ferguson, just one of three Americans who ever opted to forego college basketball and play internationally, articulated his rationale in a June 2017 interview with the Charlotte Observer saying, “Most one-and-done players only spend a few months in college. You have to do schoolwork and all this other stuff. At college, the only people making money off you are the coaches.”

Unfortunately, playing internationally robs athletes of the opportunity to compete against the highest level of competition that is not the NBA and can consequently harm an athlete’s draft stock. Of the four major American sports (football, basketball, baseball and hockey), basketball is the only one that allows athletes to leave after just one year.

As a result, any wrongful compensation these athletes receive must be investigated and processed; only after this can athletes finally be punished. However, by the time sanctions are ready to be carried out, most players have already bolted for the NBA. Therefore, because there is very little chance that an athlete will miss any games or face legal consequences, they have little reason to decline money.

To synthesize, corruption is nearly impossible to erase from an institution that has such a wide disparity between what the athletes deserve versus what they receive. However, disallowing one-and-dones can reduce the corruption. If the NBA eliminates the minimum age, then the number of one-and-dones would diminish dramatically, as many more would opt to be paid immediately.

If the NBA stands pat, then the NCAA would be wise to follow College Football’s policy and force athletes to spend three years at their school before leaving for the pros. Such a rule would force athletes to decide whether they are interested in the NCAA’s message of being “student-athletes” with the risk of the NCAA investigating them for receiving wrongful benefits, or they could opt to play internationally until they meet the NBA’s age requirements.

Allowing the existing rules to remain would tell every fan and athlete that the NCAA cares more about the economic benefits of college basketball than the sanctity of the game and its institution.

Trae Young and the making of a celebrity college basketball player

Photo via Rob Ferguson - USA Today Sports

Pompous pull-ups from 30 plus, high-floating layups with improbable angles and perfect touches of English, step-back jumpers over outstretched hands. Swish. I’m not talking about Steph Curry, and this isn’t under the bright lights of the Bay Area. Believe it or not, this is college basketball in the last place you would expect it.

Deep in the heartland of football country, the eyes of the basketball world have descended upon a short, skinny 19-year-old with an unorthodox jump-shot and overt confidence. We’ve seen this story before. And now, everyone wants to be a part of it. These days, it seems like anybody who’s anybody in basketball has something to say about Trae Young.

“Keep going young King!! Don’t stop fam!!” exclaimed the current King of the NBA, Lebron James, on Instagram, laying early claim to a prince that could potentially be primed to one day take the throne.

“He’s unbelievable,” Steph Curry told Bleacher Report, the player Young had so clearly studied meticulously and endlessly. “I call it ‘the flair.’… when I turn on the game, [I’m] just watching him on the floor, where he is at all times.”

“He has early eyes,” repeated ESPN college basketball broadcaster Fran Fraschilla over and over as Young made one miraculous no-look pass after another in Oklahoma’s game against Alabama this past Saturday.

“If you know an NBA scout, he was in Tuscaloosa this past weekend,” declared ESPN announcer Rece Davis, a statement that would have been unfathomable just three months ago.

In the latest tally, 57 NBA scouts traveled to Alabama’s home court to watch Trae Young and fellow top prospect Collin Sexton battle it out this past Saturday afternoon. Both players are projected lottery picks in the next NBA draft, and both possess an undeniable appeal and charisma.

Just like Sexton, Young had turned down offers from perennial powerhouses to stay local. And now, at the same time these titans of industry played their Saturday games, the attention of college basketball was diverted away to a matchup most often associated with football.

Young did not want to be just another product in the basketball prospect machines of Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari or Bill Self. Here is a player who is confident enough in his ability to take the road less travelled, who did not want to simply fit into a proven formula.

It is refreshing. Young wasn’t going to just be the next guy, he was going to be the guy. In what is a rarity nowadays, the young man is playing his one-and-done season with purpose, his home state proudly displayed on the front of his jersey.

This passion radiates in his style of play. The way Young controls his tight handle, finds the open man with his head turned in a different direction and flicks his shot from his shoulders all seem effortless.

At the same time, Young always looks like the player on the floor who is working the hardest. He jabs at opponents, waves play-calls vigorously and runs around the floor in an endless pursuit of the basketball. When the ball is in his hands, as it so often is, he is a perfectionist who consistently pries and probes for just the smallest space he needs to let it fly.

Unlike many of his fellow top prospects, Young’s presence is always felt on the court. Curry referred to this as his “magnetism.” Despite struggling in the first half of the Alabama game, only scoring five points, Young was still very much in control. On one telling play, Oklahoma freshmen Brady Manek caught the ball at the top of the key. Young ran behind Manek looking for a handoff, and when he was denied, swooped around the right side of the court and then through the paint under the basket, finally concluding his journey in the opposite weakside corner.

In the process, Young had drawn the help of a second defender, leaving big man Khadeem Lattin wide open on the block. Manek tossed an alley-oop to Lattin. Without even touching the basketball, Young’s presence on the court had shifted the entire defense and opened up space necessary for an easy two points.

For any team that goes up against Oklahoma, the game plan has only one simple objective: shut down Young. When a defense forces one of his teammates to take the shot, it is a sigh of relief. Yet despite the double teams and constant ball denial, Young still finds himself responsible for almost 50 percent of his team’s production. This is what happens when one is handed the keys to the offense and is afforded the freedom to take any shot, from any distance, without consequence.

Young is the rare college basketball player that is his very own maker. While top prospects at more historic college programs are limited by detailed, precise offense systems and checked by comparable surrounding talent, Young stands alone in Norman. He always has the ball in his hands and is given the opportunity to make decisions with it. This makes it unsurprising that he is atop college basketball’s leaderboard in points (29.6 ppg) and assists (9.6), and, as a natural consequence, turnovers (5.3).

Yet, most casual basketball fans would not know about Young’s struggles with turnovers, or that his team has already lost 10 games, including the one against Alabama, in which Young was outplayed by Sexton.

Many pundits and analysts have come to label Young’s increasing stardom as the result of the fact that he is the first of the “Steph Curry era,” the first guy whose impressionable years as a player coincided with the rise of Curry’s popularity and style of play.

More profoundly, in my opinion, is that Young is one of the basketball prospects of the “Highlight Era.” Scrolling through Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, it’s easy to find short clips of his deep line-drive threes and his no-look passes, or photos of him alongside his improbable stat lines in bold letters. While most know Trae Young, and most have something to say about his game, many less have actually watched one of his games.

Young is a basketball celebrity built by virality. For die-hard followers, internet highlights have accompanied him since high school. He is one of the first players to have grown up alongside his biggest fans. We have watched him develop as a player, each step meticulously documented through recruiting forums and highlight videos.

American culture has a nasty habit of attaching itself to a narrative. It loves to create heroes, and also villains. For skinny basketball players with overt confidence levels and unorthodox jumpshots, it is easy to become enframed in this culture.

Last year, it was Lonzo Ball and his bombastic father who captivated the prospect spotlight. Before that, there was Jimmer Fredette, with his relatable looks and brave three-point pull-ups. To a fault, we are constantly in search to bill someone as the next protege. Trae Young was next in line.
Looking past his profile, it is important to keep in mind that Young is still only 19, and is still developing as a player. He is not yet a superstar, but a prospect. Fredette could not live up his billing and shuffled around the NBA before finally relocating to China’s top league. Although Ball is showing flashes of being a more-than-capable NBA player, he does not look like the future perennial all-star he was once made out to be. Young is immensely talented, and has the perfect resume for NBA stardom. However, we must keep in mind that the alternative is still a possibility.

At the end of the Alabama game, with one minute left and the Crimson Tide up about 10 points (the contest fleeting, but still in reach), Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger made the curious decision to pull Young out. In what was in reality just another meaningless season game, I believe this move was meant as a lesson for Young. It was an opportunity for him to take in his own defeat, and accept the fact that he had been outplayed. It was an opportunity for him to think about how he could get better. For a prospect emerging into a celebrity, this was a sobering moment, an important reminder, one very much needed.

The article can also be found on the Miscellany News!

Historic debate continues: To foul or not to foul

Photo via Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review

For any basketball fan, it’s the type of nail-biting, game-deciding situation that leaves you screaming at your TV. Your favorite team just scored a big basket to put them up by three, 10 seconds left. What should the defense do? Defend the play, and run the risk of a game-tying three? Or should they foul, forcing free throws and a maximum of two points?

These are the age-old questions that have polarized some of basketball’s greatest minds. There’s Team Rihanna and Team Beyonce, Team Edward and Team Jacob and now, there’s Team Defend and Team Foul.

The most prominent display of a defend or foul dilemma (maybe of the last decade) occurred on the basketball’s biggest stage in the Final Four matchup between powerhouse Gonzaga Bulldogs and cinderella South Carolina Gamecocks with the Zags up 75-72.

After the Gamecocks managed to cross the mid-court line, Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins gave the strategic foul with 3.5 seconds left, sending Thornwell to the line for two shots.

Thornwell stepped up and nailed the first free throw. With very little time left on the clock, Thornwell had no choice but to intentionally miss the second, in hopes for a fellow Gamecock to grab the rebound and put it back in for two points to send the game to overtime. However, Gonzaga freshmen center Killian Tillie grabbed the board and was fouled. Tillie would go on to hit two throws, giving Gonzaga a four-point lead, effectively ending the game.

Gonzaga’s defensive sequence was a defend or foul situation executed to perfection.

Perkins picked the right moment to give the foul. There was not enough time left (3.5 seconds) for South Carolina to have a chance to gain another possession and Thornwell was handling the ball about two feet outside the three point line, which made him unlikely to begin a shooting motion and draw a three-shot foul.

However, in the heat of the moment, there was a divide in the Zags huddle about the play call, as many players were uneasy about Gonzaga coach Mark Few’s call to foul. “I was screaming at my teammates to foul because I saw they weren’t fouling,” said Gonzaga starting point guard Nigel Williams-Goss in an interview.

Although Few has been one of very few coaches to be a proponent of fouling, he too was torn by the decision at hand.

Few pointed out, choosing to foul leads a team to run the risk of not obtaining the rebound off the intentionally missed second free throw, giving the opposing team another possession to either tie the game or win the game with a three. This is the nightmare scenario that often scares coaches away from fouling and instead electing to play out the final defensive possession.

However, a player knocking down a clutch three-pointer is much more likely than the team grabbing an offensive board off an intentional miss after a foul.

So is fouling the right move?

“I would pressure the ball and slow them [the offensive team down by three] down and foul after they get over half court,” said Vassar basketball player Steve Palecki. “Limits them from tying the game with a three but necessary to rebound on the free throws for this plan to work.”

One does not have to look at the numbers to recognize that defending often turns sour for the defensive team more often than fouling.

Recall the 2008 NCAA national championship game, where Memphis choose to defend, resulting in Kansas knocking down a clutch three-pointer to tie and send the game to overtime.

Kansas would eventually go on to win. But can anyone recall any game in which fouling under six seconds actually resulted in an overtime?

Evidence goes to show, when in doubt, just foul.


The article can also be found on the Miscellany News!