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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Take Four | NBA hot takes, Pitt predictions

Los+Angeles+Clippers+forward+Kawhi+Leonard+%282%29+shoots+over+Charlotte+Hornets+forward+Miles+Bridges+%280%29+during+the+first+half+of+an+NBA+basketball+game+in+Charlotte%2C+N.C.+on+Sunday%2C+March+31.
AP Photo/Nell Redmond
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots over Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, March 31.

From NBA hot takes to bold predictions about Pitt athletics, this week’s Take Four features a wide range of opinions. 

Kawhi Leonard is one of the best NBA players of all time // Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff 

Writer

In a world without injury, Kawhi Leonard would go down as the greatest basketball player of all time. From his accolades to his career moves and on-court dominance, Leonard has put together an extraordinary tenure in the NBA — one that I personally think has flown under the radar. 

For starters, look at his accomplishments. Leonard is a two-time NBA champion and two-time finals MVP. Leonard also has two defensive Player of the Year awards, has appeared in six All-Star games and is a five-time All-NBA player and seven-time All-Defensive player. 

The problem with Leonard’s career is his missed time. Leonard has never played a full NBA season and has missed tons of games due to injury and “load management,” dating back to his first season. 

I have a strong belief that if Leonard was not plagued by his body, he would have shown the world how good he truly is.

Leonard came into the NBA and immediately started winning. On the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard dominated alongside hall-of-fame teammates to take down the fearful Miami Heat Big Three, one of the best teams ever assembled. 

He then took his talents to Toronto, where he was the centerpiece alongside young bucks and role players. Despite this, the result was the same, as Leonard tore through a tough Eastern Conference and destroyed one of the NBA’s top dynasties in the Golden State Warriors. 

Pitt men’s basketball will return to March Madness despite losing Carrington and Hinson // Matthew Scabilloni, Senior Staff Writer 

First-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington announced he is entering his name into the NBA Draft on Wednesday afternoon. With this announcement, Pitt men’s basketball is losing two players — Carrington and senior forward Blake Hinson — who combined for 42.6% of the points Pitt scored in the 22-win 2023-2024 season. This takes a lot of hope away from Panthers fans for the next season.

But Pitt is returning a dynamic guard duo who displayed they can carry a team to victory in the latter half of the season in first-year Jaland Lowe and junior Ishmael Leggett. 

In the frontcourt, Pitt is returning the uber-athletic junior forward Zach Austin and the sophomore Spanish twin duo of forward Jorge Diaz Graham and center Guillermo Diaz Graham who can get hot from deep. 

Panthers fans can get excited to watch first-year forwards Papa Amadou Kante and Marlon Barnes in their first action in a Pitt uniform. 

Along with all of these student-athletes returning from last year’s squad, Nelly Cummings’ younger brother Brandin Cummings will make a difference for Pitt in the 2024-2025 season. He has shown his four-star talent in his senior season by scoring 37 points in Lincoln Park’s state championship game.

Pitt head coach Jeff Capel has shown the ability to find ACC award winners in the transfer portal with players like Hinson and Leggett coming to Pitt and making huge dividends. Pitt fans can be sure that Capel will get more special talent to Oakland for next season. 

Pirates won’t keep up the momentum this season // Conor Hutchison, Staff Writer

Buccos fans, maybe take a step back before yelling, “Charge!” with a pirate accent this April. 

I’m not exactly breaking any news when I say that the Pirates are a bad baseball club, and there isn’t enough space to show why.

The Pirates started off this season 5-0, including a four-game sweep at the Miami Marlins and a win against the Washington Nationals. Many Pirates fans who do not know better are impressed. I would agree, as the Pirates started 5-0 for the first time since 1983. 

The irony is in the opponents. The Marlins were founded in 1993, 14 years after the Pirates’ last World Series win, and have already won two World Series since their inception. 

The Nationals were in a similar boat to the Pirates for many years. Being MLB neighbors, it was nice that the Nationals and Pirates could beat up on each other every year, with neither team having any chance of doing damage to any other teams. This was until the Nationals decided to cash in their chips and they won their first World Series in 2019 after not even winning a Playoff series since 1981. But the Nationals have returned to irrelevance with the Pirates since then.

So why can’t the Pirates even get lucky like these other teams and have one season where they matter? Last year the Bucs ended April with the best record in the National League at 20-9. They finished the season 71-91. 

So slow down Buccos fans. I’m excited too, but fans have seen this song and dance before.

The transfer portal is affecting dominance of Power Six conferences in college basketball // Lily Goldstein, Staff Writer

As March Madness concludes, April brings chaos in collegiate sports when hundreds or even thousands of DI men’s basketball student-athletes enter the transfer portal. The transfer portal has evolved into one of the most controversial topics in college sports. 

The NCAA transfer portal was established in 2018, and in 2021, the NCAA announced that collegiate athletes are able to transfer one time without a required redshirt year. It’s clear this new “immediate play” rule has allowed student-athletes to take more control and have more freedom over their collegiate careers. But with this freedom comes the risk that an athlete’s current institution can pull their athletic scholarship. Some student-athletes enter the portal and never play again. 

According to NCAA’s official transfer portal statistics, in 2023 nearly 1,300 men’s basketball student-athletes, including undergraduate and graduate players, transferred to another school. 

Pitt men’s basketball recently announced two players have entered the transfer portal, juniors Federiko Federiko and William Jeffress. Louisville men’s basketball, after a poor season, has every scholarship player in the portal, requiring a complete roster rebuild. 

With countless Power Six conference players making a switch, statistics indicate the portal is affecting Power Six dominance in men’s basketball. Since the portal was established, the percentage of non-Power Six teams in the NCAA tournament Elite Eight has more than doubled, from 10% to 21%.

With inconsistency comes a lack of spirit. Fans and players lose passion for their team, creating a less exciting environment for athletes to play in. Students and local fans want a team they can count on from season to season. The ease of the transfer portal makes it increasingly difficult to maintain fan enthusiasm and team chemistry, a vital factor for any sports team. 

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