Sunday, May 4, 2014

USF Lacrosse Story

USF Basketball: NIT Tournament

Despite grabbing a No. 4 seed in the NIT Tournament, USF was outmatched and eliminated in the first round, losing 71-63 to the Louisiana State University Tigers. With their early exit in the NIT, the Dons’ most successful season under head coach Rex Walters officially came to an end.
USF (21-12) started the scoring off on a jumper by junior forward Kruize Pinkins, but LSU picked it up from there, going on an 11-2 run to grab and cement the lead. The Dons showed resilience, however, staying on the Tigers’ heels for most of the first half. After LSU managed to jump out to an eight point lead with 4:28 remaining in the half, The Dons began to take over and eventually came within one point. Layups by senior forward Cole Dickerson and sophomore guard Avry Holmes, as well as a tip in by Dickerson off of a missed Holmes layup, reduced the deficit to two. The Tigers answered with a dunk by Jarell Martin, but Dickerson followed with a massive three-pointer to bring the score to 29-28.
USF began the second half down 33-30, and was able to keep up early on, scoring 10 points and trailing by no more than six for the first six minutes of the half. However, from this point forward, LSU dominated and went up 61-45, their largest lead of the game, with 8:15 left. The Dons clawed away at the lead, getting within six points at 68-62, but sophomore guard Tim Derksen’s layup attempt was blocked with 1:07 to go, and the Dons never got any closer.
Dickerson led the Dons in scoring with 24 points in addition to eight rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Dickerson was the lone USF senior this season, and his final game as a Don was filled with moments of individual excellence. He shot 10-for-20 from the field and carried the Dons on a night where they struggled offensively.
In a season that started with a rocky stretch, the Dons came on strong in conference play and overachieved in the eyes of many, earned themselves the No. 3 seed in the West Coast Conference tournament behind only Gonzaga and BYU. USF’s NIT bid was even more impressive considering that starting point guard Cody Doolin quit the team just five games into the season after his involvement in an altercation with another player.
Despite losing their rock-solid point guard, the Dons earned a 13-5 record in conference play, including a win against their longtime rival Saint Mary's, a team they hadn’t beaten since 2006.
After finishing the regular season with a 20-10 record, USF faced San Diego in the first round of the WCC Tournament and were able to pull off the win, 69-60. In the second round of the tournament, the Dons played the BYU Cougars, who had gone 2-0 against USF during the season. In a thrilling game that ended up going into overtime, the Dons fell to the Cougars by only two points with a final score of 79-77.

No Walk In The Park: Travel Story

As you pass the wide variety of liquor stores and bong shops on Haight street while heading westward you may find yourself in an area that smells a little bit less like piss than what you have just seen. This is a tourists best indication that they have crossed over the threshold of Stanyan street and into Golden Gate Park.
No longer will your vision be crowded by homeless people sitting on the sidewalk but instead by homeless people sitting on the parks otherwise mostly green grass. Unless you want to answer their requests for money make sure to shuffle past them quickly while keeping your head down, silently praying that their attention will be caught instead by some other tourist who doesn't know better than to pause in their journey.
After making it past the initial opening to the park and those that surround it you will come upon a pond tinted with an unnatural shade of green. What you are now gazing at in mixed confusion and wonder is what many in the area refer to as "Hep-C Pond". Take some time to stare deep into its murky waters and wonder what combination of pollutants could produce this sickly of a color. Whatever you do though don't dip a toe in, it's called Hep-C Pond for a reason!
Continue on from here through a fake stucco cave that opens up into the larger section of the park and towards numerous different attractions stuffed with tourists. At some point in your trip along this path you will almost certainly be offered the opportunity to purchase any of a number of different substances by a friendly man and his cohorts. It is not uncommon to receive three or even four of these offers on your walk so make sure that if you're that type of person you've brought at least a little bit of cash with you.
After a short walk on the path after the tunnel you should see a large, open area overlooked by a hill. This is the famous "Hippie Hill" you've probably heard so much about. In addition to other groups of homeless the hill is almost always populated by packs of kids from the local high schools and colleges, many of whom can be observed smoking an unidentifiable substance that reminds you of your own college days. Those not smoking anything may also be on a trip of their own, but one that is very different from the one that you're on.
Moving on from here you'll most likely find a large drum circle blocking the path forward. In addition to people banging on drums, garbage cans, and other "instruments" there should be people dancing to the uncoordinated mashup of noise as well. Push your way through this crowd and past Hippie Hill as a whole.
From this point the best thing to do is to just forget about everything you've seen and keep walking deeper into the park. Despite everything you've just encountered it actually does have some redeeming qualities and there are in fact quite a few nice things to see. If you can manage to do that your time in Golden Gate Park should be one of the highlights of your day.

Third Wave Coffee Trend Story

For many years coffee has been considered more like cheap beer than fine wine, something you drink for its effects rather than how it actually tastes. Now however, a new type of coffee is beginning to gain popularity among those looking for more than a caffeine fix. Third wave coffee is coffee that focuses more on things like the beans and how they’re roasted, as well as other factors that enrich the flavor rather than  the buzz it gives you.
Colin Gallagher, a bartender at Bar Agricole, a third wave coffee shop in the Mission, says that the difference in quality between third wave and other types of coffee is extremely apparent, “It’s not mass produced, most of it is grown organically, it’s as organic as you can get, they have specific people that go, they’re called green buyers, they go down to different countries in Africa, South America, Central America and basically visit all these coffee farms and find who has the best production, who makes the best coffee, stuff you really wouldn’t see if we just had Starbucks and Peets.”
Gallagher points to knowing where your coffee comes from as one of the biggest advantages of third wave coffee and something that you just don’t find at larger chains, “I don’t  know where they’re getting their coffees, it’s sort of just a blend of mass production things. It’s also that you’re supporting these really tiny farmers. It’s coffee that you would never get a chance to try with huge these corporate machines that aren’t focusing on smaller producers.”
One of the main differences between third wave and other types of coffee is the price point. While it depends on the place you decide to go to a cup of third wave coffee will probably cost a bit more than your average cup of Joe. Gallagher says that while the price will range anywhere from two to five dollars for a cup the average is usually around $3.50.
Third wave coffee may cost more but Gallagher believes the quality of the product warrants the increase. “It’s really not that much more for the quality you get. Some people just want a cup of coffee, throw the cream and sugar in there and call it a day and certain cafes adhere to that, we made a bunch of coffee and here it is, it’s cheaper, but if you want the whole spiel, if you want to nerd out on it, if you want to know where it’s from, if you want to know the producers, if you want to know about everything then it’s a little more expensive but only like a few dollars more.”
While some people may be driven away by the higher cost Colin feels that the number of people who really care about their coffee is going up, increasing the amount of customers they have as well, "There’s more access now because there’s a few different coffee roasters in the city that are doing nicer things, that are focusing more on small farms and small production. Yeah, I’d say there’s more people drinking it, there’s more people appreciating the smaller craft and the craft of roasting these really nice coffees.”
Niko Escudero, a sophomore media studies major at University of San Francisco says that he has also seen an increase in the number of customers at the third wave shops he frequents, and that this has also been accompanied by a diversification of the customers themselves. “I’ve been going to four barrel since I was a freshman and it seemed like there was a very particular crowd there the first time, a lot of the hipper San Franciscans, and now it just seems like anyone will go in there for a cup of coffee and spend time in there, families will be in there, young high school kids will be getting their lattes and stuff whereas before it would have been almost intimidating to go in there.”
Niko says that while he does enjoy a good cup of third wave coffee he only drinks it about three times a week out of his four to five cups a day. A lot of the time he is drinking it mainly for the effect rather than the taste, leading him to other sources.
While there may be some coffee drinkers who have moved away from non-third wave coffee entirely some still think that other establishments can be perfectly good as well. Devan Stegman, a freshman design major at Adirondack Community College says that while he will spring for a more expensive better brew the less artisanal stuff can have its benefits also, “I might pick Peets also because it’s a name I trust and my dad always used to say it was good. Plus I know I can find it most places and it is generally fairly affordable.”

That doesn’t mean he’ll drink anything however, there are some brands that don’t get his approval no matter what the price or convenience, “I could just never settle for something like Folgers.”

Friday, February 28, 2014

Olympic Dons Foghorn Article

The Olympic Games in Sochi have come to a close, and the best athletes from the United States will be returning home after finishing second in the medal count. This year, there were no Olympians from the University of San Francisco on the squad, but USF has previously been a starting point for a number of Olympic athletes, some of which have managed to bring home medals.
One of these medal-winning Olympians was Bill Russell, who is arguably the most famous athlete in USF history. After winning back to back NCAA championships for the Dons in 1955 and 1956, Russell became a member of the United States national basketball team. He competed in the 1956 Summer Olympics, and went on to win the gold that year after the USA beat the Soviet Union 89-55 in the final.
Russell wasn’t the only basketball player from USF to win Olympic gold. His teammate K.C. Jones, joined him on the podium in 1956. In addition, current USF Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jennifer Azzi won a gold medal at the 1996 games in Atlanta.
Another standout Olympic athlete who attended USF was Ollie Matson. Although he is now better known as a football player, Matson also excelled in track and field for which he attended the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. The future NFL hall-of-famer won bronze in the 400-meter race and silver in the 4×400-meter events.
Out of 22 Olympians that have come from USF, only figure skater Yvonne Gomez has competed in the Winter Games. The three-time Spanish national champion participated in the 1988 Winter Olympics. Gomez, a San Francisco native, did not earn a medal at the games, placing 18th.
Of all the Olympians with ties to USF, the majority have been soccer players. The United States, Nigeria, Mexico, and El Salvador have all featured former USF alums on their Olympic soccer teams. Dons soccer players that have been selected for the United States Olympic team include Alex Roboostoff and goalkeeper Mike Ivanow, members of the 1972 squad, as well as John Doyle of the 1988 squad and Troy Dayak of the 1992 squad.
More recently, Haley Nemra, who graduated from USF in 2012, represented the Marshall Islands as a track and field athlete at the 2012 London Olympics. Nemra was unable to advance to the semifinals, but she was honored as the flag bearer for her country.

Dons Basketball Article Week of 2/27

The Dons won both of their two games last week, beating the Pacific Tigers in a close matchup on Saturday after defeating St. Mary’s for the first time since 2006 just two days before. The wins improve the Dons’ season record to 18-10 and their conference record to 11-5, currently putting them at third in the Western Coast Conference.
Despite a late drive by Pacific that almost won them the game, USF managed to hang on for the win against the Tigers in a 64-59 victory, aided in part by 15-point games from both senior forward Cole Dickerson and sophomore guard Avry Holmes. Dickerson also tacked on 13 rebounds for the Dons in his final home game for USF before he graduates.
“I’m sure emotions played a big part with Cole [Dickerson] today,” head coach Rex Walters told “He doesn’t show much on the outside, but he wanted this one bad for obvious reasons.”
The Dons jumped out to an early lead against the Tigers and maintained it throughout the course of the first half. USF headed into halftime up 33-21, but the Tigers rallied fiercely in the second half and managed to take the lead a couple of times, but only by two points at most. A layup by Dickerson broke a 57-57 tie, and free throws from both Holmes and redshirt sophomore forward Mark Tollefson helped the Dons cement their lead and secure the victory.
USF’s win on Saturday was their second of the week, and it came after a commanding performance against St. Mary’s on Thursday that concluded with the Dons shutting down the Gaels 73-62. USF had lost 17 straight games to the Gaels over the last nine years.
Before Saturday, the Dons’ last victory against the Gaels was on Jan. 10, 2006.
The first half was very similar to that of the Pacific game, as the Dons performed well and maintained a double-digit lead going into halftime. Their performance was highlighted by massive dunks from both Tollefson and junior forward Kruize Pinkins. Tollefson, Pinkins, and junior guard Matt Glover led the Dons in scoring with 16 points each.
Although there were times in the second half when it seemed like the Gaels might rally for a comeback, USF always managed to stay on top and respond to St. Mary’s attempts at a run. The Gaels were able to cut the lead to 61-52 with 3:40 to play, but they would get no closer than that. A fastbreak dunk by Tollefson with 1:14 to go put USF up by a comfortable 12 points, and effectively sealed the win for the Dons. As a team, the Dons shot 50 percent both from the field and from beyond the arc, while also giving up only four turnovers.
The games against Pacific and St. Mary’s were the last Dons home contests of the year. USF has two games left in the regular season, with the first coming on Feb. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in Malibu, Calif. versus Pepperdine, and the second on Mar. 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Los Angeles, Calif. against LMU.

Foghorn Opinion Article On Student Athlete Play

The issue of whether or not to pay college athletes is one that is much less glamorous than some other aspects of college sports, but also one that tends to get as much media coverage as some of the sports themselves. It has been a hotly contested topic for many years, and it seems like the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and those who support its unpaid athlete policy are losing more ground every year.

One place the NCAA’s system faces challenges is within the court system, the most notable case being that of former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon. O’Bannon is suing for former athletes’ entitlement to compensation for further use of their image after they have left school. Currently the NCAA licenses the likenesses of college players for commercial purposes, the most notable of which is video games. To an average person it would seem absurd if a company took their image and name, used it to make millions of dollars and then paid them nothing for it. However, this is common practice under current NCAA regulations.
This lawsuit is an important move forward in the battle for college athlete pay, but one that needs to be taken a step further. It is not enough that players should be compensated for their likeness only after they graduate or leave school. The NCAA is still making money off of them while they are a student, so why is it unreasonable for them to see some of it?
One of the most popular arguments against paying college athletes is that schools already spend too much and are losing money on their sports programs so paying athletes would only further intensify this problem.
As Businessweek points out this argument does not hold much water, “In one of the filings in the O’Bannon case, the plaintiffs detail how schools use accounting tricks to obscure the profitability of their football and basketball programs…”
Another attempt to break the NCAA’s policies includes players at some schools trying to unionize, claiming that while they are students they are also “employee-athletes”. One such challenge comes from Northwestern football players who will have a hearing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Feb. 18 to plead their case. As reported by ESPN, the hearing is not a court case. A representative of the NLRB will take testimony and documents from each party and give them to their regional director who will make his decision from there. From there the losing party can submit an appeal, and the process can eventually move into federal court.
While this is an important part of the process, the Northwestern players’ struggle will not be over even if they are allowed to unionize. The statement released by the players states that this is only a more localized effort with a national objective: “Establishing a union at Northwestern is not the endgame. Rather, it is a first step toward building a nationwide players’ association that will eventually have the leverage to eliminate unjust NCAA policies that affect players at each college.”
If it is decided that athletes should be paid, the obvious next question is, how much? According to Businessweek, the best system might be one that is already used by professional sports organizations — the free market. “Colleges could simply bid for the services of high school recruits. Contracts could be negotiated individually, like the contracts for coaches and athletic administrators.”
This is only one of numerous ideas being considered but it may just be the best one. Setting up regulations for how much athletes should be paid would be an enormous task, and would only extend the time athletes go uncompensated. Do all athletes get paid the same amount? Should pay be determined by performance, or by how successful the school is during the season? The best option is to simply let players negotiate their contracts on an individual basis, because no two athletes are the the same so no two athletes should be paid the same.
While we seem to finally be moving towards paying college athletes for their work, the ideal salary system is still a long way off. There are still many challenges to overcome, legal and otherwise, but if college sports are to continue being the financial giants that they have become, the only just option is to give the “employee-athletes” the compensation they deserve.