Michael Brindley, just1mike.com a memorial tribute

Known for his kind heart, passion for sports and zest for life, Michael Brindley passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this summer at the age of 16 from natural causes.Michael.Soph.Photo

A rising high school junior, Michael created this blog three years ago when he was just 13 as a place to begin his dream of sports writing and broadcasting. His passion for sports was contagious and he was described by many as having an encyclopedic mind for stats and sports knowledge. Since the inception of just1mike.com, Michael published 110 posts with his last post on June 18, 2016, just days before he died.

IMG_7855Michael’s sports passion started at a very early age and his allegiance to certain teams was no secret. He absolutely loved the Oregon Ducks, Michigan Wolverines, Buffalo Bills, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Cubs. His favorite sports were undeniably football, baseball and basketball. He was also a fierce supporter of his two brothers and their football teams, the Nazareth Academy Roadrunners and the Saint Xavier University Cougars as well as his beloved high school teams, the Hinsdale Central Red Devils.

While this blog was Michael’s main vehicle for writing, he was also a student writer for the Daisy Field Life Magazine in his hometown community, contributing regularly with an “Athlete of the Month” column. After completing a high school journalism course last year, he interviewed for and was brought on staff to start writing this school year for The Devil’s Advocate, an award winning publication from his high school.

IMG_3666 (1)Michael’s favorite times of year were undoubtedly “March Madness” with college football season playing a very close second. His passion for college sports was always electric but caught even more fire during March Madness. His ability to master information on all the teams and his own form of bracketology dazzled us all. What we will never forget is the enthusiasm, big smile and the twinkle in his eye when he was so happily wrapped up in all the excitement.  He shared his bracket and predictions for this year’s tournament on his blog. On April 5, 2016 he predicted Villanova to win the tournament by two….Villanova won this year by three points.

Before Michael left for camp this summer he worked on his college football predictions and had those ready to post at the end of the summer. We will post those predictions before the start of the college football season this weekend.

IMG_0043Attending games and sporting events was naturally one of Michael’s favorite past times and he went to some great events….the BCS National Championship game in 2011 to watch his Ducks take on Auburn, the Big 10 Football Championship in December of this year where we also went to the College GameDay broadcast (his favorite show), some great games at Wrigley Field cheering on his beloved Cubs and several Michigan basketball games, to mention just a few. He missed getting to a couple meaningful places on his wish list….watching Michigan football at the Big House in Ann Arbor and seeing the Buffalo Bills play a home game in Buffalo.

IMG_8520Some very special things in the world of sports took place in the days following Michael’s passing through the help of his cousin Meghan who works in social media. Seth Davis, @sethdavishoops, writer for Sports Illustrated, host of Campus Insiders and in-studio analyst for CBS’ NCAA men’s college basketball coverage tweeted about Michael…

 

IMG_9797Mike Golic,@espngolic, co-host of ESPN’s radio show Mike & Mike and Adnan Virk, @adnanESPN, an anchor for ESPN’s Baseball tonight honored Michael with a photo holding up Michael’s blog name, just1mike.

On July 1st, the day of Michael’s memorial service, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts added a just1mike sign to the NBA championship display for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That night, the dome was illuminated in red to honor and remember Michael. We can just see the smile on our boy’s face as he saw these wonderful tributes and the red dome that night.

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IMG_8516Michael was all in when it came to sports, but he had another very strong interest and passion as well and that was his team, his company at Culver Military Academy Summer School. This six week summer camp is a unique and wonderful leadership opportunity that draws kids from around the world to the campus of Culver Academies on the shore of Lake Maxincukee in Indiana. Michael had just started his third and final summer of the program in June and would have graduated with a First Class rank from Culver at the end of July. He was in the Naval School and a devoted member of the unit Naval Two, affectionately known as Super Two.

IMG_8525Michael loved Culver and the brotherhood of Super Two. He formed friendships around the globe and became both a leader and a great friend to so many kids from his company and throughout the camp. We traveled back to Culver at the end of July to represent Michael at an important end of camp event and his favorite event, the Naval School Communications Relay. The boys of Naval Two lost a friend and a brother this summer. They are a very special group of young men who dedicated their summer to Michael and honored him in many beautiful ways.They designed a special Com Relay shirt and dog tags which they wore for Michael during the race. We were presented shirts and dog tags before the race by two of Michael’s dear friends of Naval Two which is something that will stay with us forever.

IMG_8474 3We are a family of five and will always be a family of five. Michael is the youngest of three boys and has grown up surrounded by the love of his two devoted parents, his brothers Robbie and Jack along with two dogs, Lucy and Hunter. He brought so much love, joy and laughter to our family. Our house was filled with sports banter, and endless loop of ESPN on TV followed by the countless games we watched together. We have been a divided house when it comes to Chicago baseball with Michael and his mom rooting for northside Cubbies and his dad and brothers cheering on the White Sox. This year though, our family has united for Michael to cheer on the Cubs. We are so hoping that this is the year for the Cubs to take it all…GO CUBS GO!

 

Michael, was a passionate sports fan with a love for writing and dreams of working for ESPN one day. More importantly, he was a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and dear friend to so many. He was and will always be a gift and tremendous blessing to our family. Our lives are forever changed by the life and loss of our beloved Michael. A bright light to all who knew him, Michael touched the lives of so many people with his beautiful smile and friendly ways. While his life on this earth was much too short, he packed it full of love, passion, affection, laughter and loving kindness.

We love you so very much Michael and know your light will shine forever❤️

Your loving family,

Mom, Dad, Robbie & JackIMG_7328

 

 

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Where in the world will Kevin Durant go?

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have been eliminated, and the summer of KD has begun. Every fan of basketball wants to know, where will Durant go? Many people believe that he could go to Golden State or San Antonio, but I am going to eliminate those options. Kevin Durant may end up on those teams, but I am going to talk about good fits for Durant. If he goes to the Warriors or the Spurs it is blatant that he is chasing a ring. He needs to either stay in Oklahoma City, or go to a place where he will elevate that team to a championship level, not a team that is already at that level. I am also going to eliminate the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. These teams have been abominations for the past couple years. Adding one mega start to these teams will make them a playoff team, but Durant would never get the ring he has been searching for wearing the purple and gold or in the bright lights of New York City.  I am going to talk about the teams that would be the best fits for Durant to go to keep  his reputation and finally get that championship ring that he deserves.

Heading down to South Beach, might be the most attractive offer Durant is going to get 0416917001429329967_filepickerhis way. First of all, moving form Oklahoma City to Miami is a big upgrade, and the big three would be recreated in Miami. There is no doubt that if KD settles down in the 305 they would be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and this would lead to a huge playoff rivalry with Lebron James. I am sure everyone wants to see KD and the King face off each year for a chance to play in the NBA Finals. As sexy as this offer seems, I believe that this would be  a good fit of KD, but not the best fit for him.

Imagine KD in the classic green and white playing for the C’s. The Boston Celtics are one

of the NBA’s up and coming teams. Coach Brad Stevens is a great young coach that has his team on the rise, and Isaiah Thomas is a superstar in the making. There have also been rumors that the Celtics are looking to trade for a big man like Demarcus Cousin or signing Al Horford in free agency. The combination of Thomas, Cousins or Horford, and Kevin Durant…this Celtics team would be lethal, and we would have an annual Durant vs Lebron playoff rivalry up likewise in Miami. All of that star power, and just imagine Durant writing his own legacy under the shadows of players like Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Kevin McHale.  What a story that would be. Boston would be on the top of the NBA once again.

Kevin Durant was born in the Baltimore area, and grew up in Washington D.C. Many people have speculated that he will pull a Lebron, and play for the hometown Washington Wizards. This would be a great story, and they would be a fantastic team. Imagine John Wall, Bradly Beal, and Kevin Durant. D.C would be ecstatic. This city has been cursed for sports with the Wizards, Capitals, and the inconsistent Redskins, but adding Durant to the Wiz would mean so much to the city and there would finally be some good basketball in our Nation’s Capital.

There are two other new teams that I think Durant may consider, and he should. The  Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls. These two teams are going in opposite directions. 0SBMSThe Raptors have been just on the cusp of a great team. They are the two seed in the East right now, but many people believe that they are paper tigers. The Raptors have been a really good team for the past couple years, but they have yet to become a great team. Adding Durant would make Toronto a team that can actually come out of the East, and beat Leborn and the Cavs. Durant grew up a Raptors fan, and Rapper Drake gave KD a shout out in his new song “Weston Road Flows” maybe this is recruiting to have KD in the Six. The Bulls have been on the decline since they fired head coach Tom Thibodeau in 2015. There have been many rumors that the Bulls should just start to rebuild, but trust me the fans are not ready for another rebuild. Adding Kevin Durant would put these Bulls right back on a champion level. I am a Bulls fan and KD would love the city, trust me.

Have you guys noticed that I have only talked about Eastern Conference teams? I did this for a reason. The West is so strong with the resurgence of Golden State, and the ageless kevin-durant-oklahoma-city-thunder-2013-2014-mvp-futures-nba-650x432Spurs it would be hard for KD to get that championship ring in the West. Yet this next team I think is the best fit and they are in the Western Conference. This is where I think Kevin Durant will end up playing next year. This may sound boring, but staying with Russell Westbrook and his boys in Oklahoma City is the best fit for my favorite player. This is the obvious choice, they are already a championship contender with great players and coaching. This is the best case for Durant’s reputation, and he could be one of the rare players whom play with one organization their whole career.

Regardless where Kevin Durant goes, he will have a great amount of success, and I will be wearing those colors too. I can’t wait to see what Durant will do, but I do know one thing there is no wrong choice. kevin_durant_nba_mvp_award_speech

NBA All-Star MVP Prediction

The NBA All-Star Game is tonight and I am going to rank who I think have the best chance to win MVP.

1. russellRussell Westbrook, PG, West, OKC 

Westbrook always has a great All-Star break and this really has been is best season. He is playing out of this World and is the most explosive player in the game. Don’t be surprised if the MVP Westbrook wins it coming off the bench.

2. James Harden, SG, West, Houston images-1

James Harden is playing at an MVP level, leading the league in scoring and he is the best one on one player in the NBA. Me as a Thunder fan, I am still in disbelief that OKC traded him. Harden is the favorite to win it. He will put on a show tonight.

 

3. Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, East, Chicago Unknown

Being from Chicago, I had to put a Bull on this list. Although Butler has been nurturing an injury he said he’s ready to go. Butler has the most upside in the NBA and he is relentless. Many people would be shocked if he brings back the ASG MVP to Chicago, but I won’t be.

4. Steph Curry, PG, West, GS Unknown-1

Curry is arguably the greatest shooter of all time. Coming off of his very impressive 3-point contest victory, it could be very likely that Steph rides that momentum into the All-Star game and winning the MVP.

5. Carmelo Anthony, SF, East, NYimages-2

Even though Melo and his Knicks have had the worst season possible, the Stars are aligning for Anthony at the All-Star game. His home town is the host city and this will be his last game of the season for him because the Knicks are shutting him down after the ASG. How sweet would it be front of the Knicks fans to see Melo end it with the MVP.

Emotional Swing

 

This week Kevin Durant was honored as the league MVP and gave one o fthe greatest MVP speeches in NBA history.  During this speech, Durant was spilling tears of joy and Unknown-2tears of the memories and struggles he had to get to where he is now.  In my opinion it was the most well done speech in all of basketball and it is up there with the greatest speeches in sports history.  Durant talked about his team mates and also shared  stories about them.  The most notable thing he said was to a team mate was to frustrated star point guard, Russell Westbrook.  Durant said, “ A lot of people put unfair criticism on you as a player, and I’m the first to have your back through it all, just stay the person you are, everybody loves you here, I love you.”  This is important for Westbrook and his team chemistry because  during a time out in a Clippers game Westbrook separated him self from the team huddle and stayed secluded from the team.  Durant acknowledged everyone else on his team, which will most likely bond this Thunder team together and make them a force to reckon with.  Durant made sure he thanked everyone for their contributions and help in achieving this award. After acknowledging his team mates, one by one,  he saved the best for last when he thanked his mother.  He thanked her for always being there for him and his brother.  He also commented on how the odds were stacked against them, a young single mother with two small children. He finished his speech by telling his mother, “ You’re the real MVP.”  This was such a heart warming moment there wasn’t even a dry eye in the building.  Durant gave his mother the best Mother’s Day gift ever with those words.

I think that his heartfelt speech will glue OKC together. This should help rally the team and the city to win the next four games in this series and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 5-1 and eventually win the NBA title.

First Round Finale

 It has been the greatest first round in NBA history and what would be a better way to finish off with two more game sevens to top it off. There have been five game sevens and only two series that weren’t close. On a day when California’s colors are Chrome not Golden and certainly not Sterling, the L.A the Clippers were true Warriors and advanced to the western conference semi-finals. The League’s MVP shines bright in a small town sending Memphis back to playing the blues once again, and Indiana is back on Pace for their Championship dreams. Last night was one of the most historic nights in NBA history and tonight hopefully won’t disappoint. The Dallas Mavericks vs the San Antonio Spurs and the Brooklyn Nets vs the Toronto Raptors. Win or go Home.

#6 Brooklyn vs #3 Toronto:Unknown

Going into this series everyone knew it was going to be a battle.  The experience of the Brooklyn Nets vs the young guns of Toronto.  The Raptors have the longest active playoff victory drought in the NBA and they are looking to snap it today.  This game is a battle of two prolific back courts.  The Nets Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are the keys for this team.  Both of them need to heat up early or Brooklyn could start off in a deep hole.  The Raptors dynamic duo of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.  imagesThese young emerging stars have to show up, which is expected.  Kyle Lowry has to shoot the three ball extremely well.  Lowry is a dead-eye from behind the arch and if he gets hot, it is almost impossible to stop him because of his passing great ability.  Terrence Ross is the x-factor in this game.  Toronto needs to have that third scorer who gives instant energy and Ross is perfect for that role.  He is an excellent defender and his high flying dunking ability can spark the crowd and make it very hard for the Nets to execute their plays.

 

Prediction:  This game may be a game for the ages, both of these teams are so evenly matched their are not many advantages for each team.  I believe the home court advantage will be huge for the Raptors and DeRozan will have a monstrous game including hitting a game winning buzzer-beater to eliminate the Brooklyn Nets and advance to the conference semi-finals to take on the defending champs, the Miami Heat. Toronto 105  Brooklyn 104

#8 Dallas vs #1 San Antonio

No one expected this, San Antonio the team with the best record in the NBA has been images-1beat up all the way to game seven against the eighth seeded Dallas Mavericks, who were one game away from almost missing the playoffs.  Two future Hall of Famers, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan have been going to war in this series, rewriting history to their long historic rivalry.  The Spurs are the best coached team in the entire NBA and the Mavs are arguably playing the best basketball right now.  Monta Ellis is the reason that Dallas has been in this series.  He has always been an incredible scorer, but he has never had his chance in the playoffs because of the quality of teams he has been on.  Ellis is the best player on this Mavericks team and it is his time tonight he has to shine bright with all of the stars in the NBA.  Tony Parker is always going to play well for the Spurs, but he was been sort of rattled by Shawn Marion’s stifling defense.  Kawhi Leonard is the future of this San Antonio team and he is their best defender.  Leonard has been in the spot light already at the age of 22, but Kawhi can’t choke if he want his Spurs to avoid the upset from their bitter rivals.

Prediction:   Who will win the Lonestar state showdown, the reigning conference images-2champions or the upstart underdogs of Dallas? I believe Monta Ellis will play great and Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki will add more to their legacies and the Dallas Mavericks will upset the Spurs in San Antonio and advance to the second round for a date with the Portland Trailblazers. Dallas 96  San Antonio 93 

 

 

 

 

NBA Playoffs – Contenders and Pretenders

Pretenders: 

New York Knicks: nba_g_melo15_288v2

The Knicks have had an uplifting season and are back to the way the New York Knicks should play. They are in a tough situation right now being down three games to two against a great Indiana team. They are very full of themselves and Carmelo Anthony doesn’t know how to share the basketball. In my opinion the New York Knicks are pretenders in this year’s playoffs.

Memphis Grizzlies: 

There’s a lot of hype about this Grizzlies and it seems like more and more people hop tony-allen-memphison their bandwagon, well I’m not one of them. After they beat the Thunder without Russell Westbrook everyone thought they were great. Well, I believe if Russell Westbrook wasn’t hurt OKC would have swept the Grizzlies. They are a good team, but not a great team.

Contenders: 

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat Indiana Pacers: 

The Indiana Pacers are back and better then ever. For many years now they have just been a good team without a star player, but young Paul George has risen to the occasion and has broken out into a star. This team has a stellar defense and they can shred it from long range. I think that the Indiana Pacers will win the NBA Finals this year.

Who do you think are the contenders…or the pretenders?

 

 

2013 NBA Mock Draft

The NBA regular season is coming to an end and the playoffs are near which means the NBA draft is around the corner.  I am so excited right now with all that is going on I decided to make a Mock Draft. I will analyze the top 10 NBA prospects and make my predictions. So here is my top 10 NBA Mock Draft.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentuckyimages copy

Once again the Bobcats are at the bottom of the pack. They were so bad that they would be better off with their 50 year old owner on the court, Michael Jordan. In my opinion Noel would be a perfect fit with the Cats. He has great upside to his game and is also only a freshman. Noel had his season destroyed when he tore his ACL against the Florida Gators. He has to have time to recover but when time comes Noel will be at the top of the charts.

2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansasbenmclemore

The Magic have really struggled after the departure of Dwight Howard. I think McLemore would be just the man to turn this organization around. McLemore is not at his full potential yet but he will be there soon, and when he gets there he will be a huge star. If the Magic want to get back to the top they need to Draft Ben McLemore.

3. Phoenix Suns: Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, UCLA

The Suns have looked like a lost puppy after Steve Nash left to sign with the Lakers. images-1 copyThey need some good play at the SG/SF position BIG TIME, and Muhammad will give you that. He was the top recruit going into college, but didn’t live up to all of his great expectations. I think it is because of his inexperience, but he has one year of college under the belt so I think he will be ready. Shabazz Muhammad can help bring the the Suns back to life.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown130313150638-otto-porter-georgetown-story-body

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a bright future with rising star Kyrie Irving. They have one star in Cleveland but it wouldn’t hurt to have another one. I think Otto Porter would complement the play of Kyrie Irving very well. If the Cavs pick up Porter they could be an unstoppable force.

5. New Orleans Hornets: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan 

Burke is the hottest name going into the draft, winning every single player of the year award possible. He has had many comparisons to Chris Paul, who used to be a Trey_Burke_Dec_2012Hornet. Once Paul left, New Orleans has really been in the bottom of the standings. They need a new Chris Paul, and Burke is the man to do it. In my opinion Burke is the best player going into the draft and loves the big moments. Burke is the best college player and he will be a huge name in a couple years in the NBA. Last year the Hornets picked center Anthony Davis number one overall and with Burke along side him the Hornets will be back in playoff contention, and maybe even title contention. The New Orleans Hornets need to draft Trey Burke.

6.  Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLVimages-2

The Pistons have a solid front-court but Bennett has too much talent to pass up. He’s very young but his talent makes him look like a fifth year senior. He is long and lengthy, can score inside, a solid shooter, and he is a threat from three point range. If the Pistons pass up Bennett they will make a big mistake.

7.  Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana images-3

The Kings have had a rough year and the locker room has been dead. No one wants to give the ball up, there are some problems in California’s capital. Oladipo is the man to spark up the locker room in Sacramento. His electrifying game will get the bench up on their feet and brighten up the mood in Sacramento. The Kings should definitely draft Victor Oladipo.

8.  Washington Wizards: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego StateJamaal-Franklin-celebrates-in-the-Nike-Air-Zoom-Generation-Wheat

The Nation’s capital hasn’t had a good season since they were the Bullets. Jamaal Franklin could get them out of the shadows though, he already did it to another program when he was at San Diego State so why can’t he turn the Wizards around? He is a lethal three point shooter and is automatic energy.  Jamaal Franklin would be a total steal.

 

 

9.  Minnesota Timberwolves: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse NCAA Basketball: Canisius at Syracuse

The T-Wolves looked like a playoff contender at the beginning of the year, but they slowly moved their way out of contention. They could use Carter-Williams. He is explosive, quick, and a good passer. He would a great back up for the always hurt Ricky Rubio.

 

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Glenn Robinson III, SF/PF, Michigan 

The Thunder have dominated the Western Conference, and they are my pick to win the NBA Finals this year. GR3 had a great freshman season with the Wolverines and has boosted his draft stock very high. He is a high flying explosive dunker that will Bradley vs. Michiganalways get the crowd roaring, and in OKC the crowd is already 100x louder then any other team. He has developed his three point shooting and is always a threat from mid-range. Robinson is still very young but playing behind superstar Kevin Durant will elevate his game. He will be a good back up at the small forward position, which they need and he will learn from Durant. I think Glenn Robinson III will be a future superstar in the association. The OKC Thunder wouldn’t want to miss out on Glenn Robinson III.