Nick Saban’s Comments On Rival NIL Deals Sparks Drama

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders drew criticism from Nick Saban over NIL and star recruit Travis Hunter
Photo Credit: JSU / Edward Waters

During a media interview, Alabama head coach Nick Saban attempted to reveal his competition’s unscrupulous techniques in bringing recruits — mainly concerning NIL practices — into their institution. During said interview, Saban accused SEC rival Texas A&M of “buying every player,” while also pointing the charge at Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders for paying top recruit Travis Hunter one million dollars to commit to his school.

The college football community was incensed by these accusations, and both head coaches were enraged by what was said about them. Jimbo Fisher was the first to answer, and he delivered a Nas-worthy ether, calling Saban a “narcissist” and saying that some individuals believe they are God.

It’s one thing to poke fun at a competitor, but to accuse them of nefarious business practices is plain unprofessional and makes you appear entitled. The next person who quickly responded was Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders and his number one recruit, Travis Hunter.

These claims were swiftly debunked, with Sanders writing, “We as a People Don’t Have to Pay Our People to Play With Our People.” Even the millionaire recruit chimed in, tweeting, “I got a mill, but my mom still lives in a three-bedroom house with five kids.”

What Does All This Mean

This essentially implies that when it comes to recruiting, every school’s football program is on an equal playing field. While pay-for-play has been practiced in college sports for many years, Saban should not be concerned; if anything, it raises the level of competitiveness.

This coach is known as the Bill Belichick of college football, having sent countless Crimson Tide players to the NFL. It simply appears he feels as if the pressure is coming, and has real challenges ahead.

The SEC has grown a little stronger, and if Alabama is still the powerhouse it has been for the previous ten years, what happens inside another school’s program shouldn’t be their business. Saban’s remarks have undoubtedly made their games against Texas A&M a little more personal this season.

Jackson State Is A Huge Threat

When Jackson State hired Deion Sanders, he immediately transformed that program, putting all eyes on the HBCUs. In his debut season, he led his team to a near-unbeaten season and the SWAC conference championship. He also gained a number of recruits, the most notable being Travis Hunter, the nation’s number one recruit, who switched from Florida State to Jackson State.

Simply put, HBCU football programs are back, and Deion is leading the fight. With him at the helm, it is evident that prospects do not need to attend a big school to flourish; it is possible to do so at an HBCU.

If Hunter can flourish at Jackson State, the sky is the limit for Deion, as countless recruits will follow suit and leave a legacy rather than simply being a part of a winning program. It’s clear that NIL has changed the landscape of college football, and the comments from Nick Saban clearly reflect that.

Washington State Cameron Ward Is The Player To Watch This Season

Washington State QB Cameron Ward is a darkhorse top QB in the 2023 NFL Draft
Photo Credit: wsucougars.com

With all of the buzz about quarterbacks to keep an eye on this season — a list that could include potential first-round picks like Miami’s Tyler Van Dyke or Kentucky’s Will Levis — let me shine a light on a Pac-12 quarterback who recently transferred from an FCS school where he set multiple records. That quarterback is current Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, a blazing talent cannon-slinger who is a vastly underrated prospect for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ward most recently attended Incarnate Word, where he starred in head coach Eric Morris’ air raid scheme. The same offense he utilized at Texas Tech when he was coaching a valiant young Patrick Mahomes.

Under Morris, Ward had some of the most jaw-dropping games that captivated college football fans, and he garnered a lot of notoriety. He led his team to a nail-biting overtime triumph over rival Stephen F Austin in the first round of the FCS playoffs at home in front of thousands of fans at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium.

This man is absolutely fantastic on the field, whether it’s tossing a 40-yard bomb to his favorite target, Taylor Grimes, or making plays with his feet. He concluded the season with 47 touchdowns, 4,648 passing yards, and only 10 interceptions, which are incredible stats. He was among the most anticipated prospects after expressing his intention to enter the transfer portal.

Easy Transition From FCS TO FBS

While there will be many questions about whether his talents can transition from FCS to FBS, there really shouldn’t be. When you have talent in you, it stays with you forever. It also helps that his former head coach is currently with him at Washington State. Ward will join a Pac-12 conference that includes Caleb Williams of USC, Bo Nix of Oregon, and Cameron Rising of Utah.

When the college football season begins, expect to witness a bunch of duels. He begins this season as the sleeper, the underdog, which just adds to his determination to improve as a player.

Ready For The Big Moment

Cameron Ward is more than prepared for the big moment and deserves just as much acclaim as the other quarterbacks receiving media attention for the 2023 NFL Draft. Just keep in mind that once he starts turning heads in the Pac-12, don’t be surprised if the bandwagon becomes a little too heavy.

2022 NBA Draft: Fits for Top 3 Teams

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As the NBA draft lottery came to a close, the Orlando Magic struck gold and were awarded the first overall selection in the 2022 draft. The Oklahoma City Thunder pick second and the Houston Rockets pick third. Having first-round draft picks for rebuilding teams is a dream come true, as these prospects may be the help your franchise has needed. Today, we take a look at the best fits for the top three teams in the 2022 NBA draft.

Orlando Magic-Chet Holmgren

When you look at the Orlando Magic’s roster, you’ll notice that they’ve filled many of the gaps where they need the greatest support. Last year, they upgraded their guard and forward positions by picking Gonzaga shooting guard, Jalen Suggs, and Michigan small forward, Franz Wagner.

The year before, they drafted North Carolina point guard Cole Anthony. The biggest thing they are lacking is a rim protector to pair with Wendell Carter Jr. That is where Gonzaga center, Chet Holmgren. The former Bulldog averaged nearly four blocks per game and can also hit a jumper when necessary.

Prepare for excitement at the Amway Center when you reunite him with his former AAU teammate Suggs. Orlando has a great history when it comes to drafting big men number one overall, and Holmgren could be the next player on that list.

Oklahoma City Thunder- Paolo Banchero

If you look at the Thunder roster; it’s overflowing with young, hungry talent, such as Shai Gilgeous Alexander and Josh Giddey. The two form a young, skilled backcourt combo for Oklahoma City. Because they want a fast-space offensive style, Paolo Banchero, who is speedy, should be a player to watch at second overall. When combined with their young core, the former Blue Devil will generate highlight reel-level offense.

He would quickly fit in with the youthful nucleus, forming a starting five capable of developing into one of the top teams in the league. Banchero could demonstrate his full versatility on a team like the Thunder.

Houston Rockets- Jabari Smith

When it comes to acquiring talent, the Houston Rockets have hit gold. They acquired the uber-talented Kevin Porter Jr. through trade, drafted shooting guard Jalen Green, and signed Christian Wood two years ago. While their team is nearly complete, they are missing one piece to complete the full rebuild.

The primary concern with their roster is the power forward position. Auburn’s Jabari Smith is the solution to those issues, bringing size, scoring, and rebounding skills.

Combining him with Woods will open up the offense and offer a variety of opportunities. Not only can he stretch the floor, but he can also drive to the hoop for a layup or a posterizing dunk. Fans will be jumping out of their seats in the Toyota Center if he is picked in June.

Luka Doncic is on a different level

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar point guard, is putting the NBA on notice for anyone who questions his game. If there were any doubts about his determination to lead his team to victory, they were put to rest after Sunday’s performance. Now, he faces his toughest challenge of his career against the Golden State Warriors. But he’s shown time and time again that he’s not afraid.

He dominated a 60 win team

When he faced the top-seeded Phoenix Suns, the odds were plainly stacked against him. No one anticipated his team to win this series. Throughout the series, even in games where he lost, he averaged an incredible 32 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, and two blocks. Whoever the Suns chose to try and defend him was added to Luka’s highlight reel for the night.

If there was a game where it was clearly evident that Luka is simply on a different level it was games six and seven. After being chastised by opponent Devin Booker for employing drama to get foul calls, dubbed the “Luka Special,” he summoned his inner Michael Jordan and took it personally.

In game six, he exploded for 33 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, and four steals. He came up when it counted and forced a win-or-go-home game seven, and to say he rose to the occasion is an understatement. Luka was out for blood in that game, scoring the same number of points individually as Phoenix did as a team by halftime. He not only humbled the Suns, but he humiliated them on their own home court, defeating them by 33 points.

On Sunday, he served his own Luka Special in Pheonix, and everyone received it. The series cemented his status as a league star, despite the fact that he is only 23 years old.

Now on to the Warriors

Luka will face some pretty tough competition in a veteran Warriors team. Nobody on the opposing side of the court has a chance of containing him. He’s a scoring machine with a variety of moves in his arsenal, whether it’s in the low post or on the top of the key.

Simply put, Luka gives you everything you wish to see out of your young, talented players. During this series, the Warriors will almost certainly try to throw Klay Thompson or perhaps Draymond Green on him. While both are excellent defenders, they will have a difficult time stopping him.

The last time Luka faced this exact Warrior squad this season, he finished with 41 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. After defeating the Jazz and the Suns, there’s little doubt Luka isn’t afraid of the spotlight.

Paolo Banchero is Here to Save Your Franchise

Potential #1 pick in the NBA Draft, Duke forward Paolo Banchero
Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

While the NBA draft approaches and organizations prepare for the lottery and subsequent workouts with prospects, a particular Blue Devil, Paolo Banchero, screams franchise changer.

Paolo Banchero is Flat-Out Special

During his first year of college basketball, the former Duke freshman excelled by all standards. He took home multiple honors including ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC. Paolo averaged 17 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. Banchero was a driving force on offense, propelling them to a Final Four appearance before falling to eventual runner-up North Carolina. 

He held his own this season against another future lottery pick, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, outscoring him with 21 points, 1 steal, and 5 rebounds. Following this game, it was clear who was the superior player and should have been picked first.

Paolo is sure to send his next franchise to new heights

There is no doubt about the fact that Paolo Banchero should be the top pick in the NBA draft. His talent is something you can’t afford to pass on, regardless of who picks first. A 6’10 prospect weighing 250 pounds who can shoot, rebound, and dish out assists. With Paolo set to join the league, prepare to see explosions when you plug him in at power forward or center position.

The Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and Oklahoma City Thunder are the top four teams with the potential to draft first and win his services. He fits perfectly with any of these young, up-and-coming rosters.

When you look at the Rockets, for example, you have a group that already has rising stars in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Adding Paolo to the mix could create something amazing right in front of your eyes.

Paolo would also fit in nicely in Oklahoma City where he would partner with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddy, and Lou Dort, forming a group similar to Oklahoma’s inaugural big four.

Whoever gets the privilege to draft Banchero this summer will be staring down the next face of their organization with the number one overall pick.