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Dartmouth High Football tops New Bedford 20-14

By Brendan Kurie
Contributor

The red zone wasn’t kind to the New Bedford High football team on Friday night.
Three times the Whalers drove inside the 20 only to be turned away without points by Dartmouth’s defense in a 20-14 loss at Memorial Stadium that kicked off the 2020-21 high school football season.

“They did a great job,” New Bedford coach Mark DeBrito said. “They played great upfront and we were misaligned a lot. They took advantage of it. We just have to stay true and teach these guys. We’ll keep working on it.”

Despite twin brothers Bill and Billois Sousa teaming up for a touchdown and 160 rushing yards from electric junior tailback Jayden Frazier, a shifty, compact runner in the style of Maurice Jones-Drew, the Whalers stepped on their own feet too often, committing six second-half turnovers and failing to score on four-straight plays from the 4-yard line in the third quarter.

“I can’t make excuses,” DeBrito said. “You have to go out there and perform. But when you have guys who haven’t been in that situation before, it’s tough. We had some guys forget what they were doing and weren’t sure of themselves so they’re going slower than they normally would. Those are things we have to clean up.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME
For the Whalers, it was Frazier, who averaged 8 yards on his 20 carries, including a 43-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that nearly got New Bedford back in the game.
“He’s a workhorse,” DeBrito said. “I was hoping we could get him in the end zone, but we didn’t. He’s a tough back. He has a low center of gravity and some wiggle in him. We just have to find ways to get him the ball as much as we can and I think we’ll be alright.”

THE BIGGEST PLAY
For the Whalers, it came while trailing 6-0 with five minutes left in the second quarter. Billois Sousa broke through Dartmouth’s line to block a punt deep in Dartmouth territory. His twin brother, Bill, came up with the scoop and score and Ian DaCosta tacked on an extra point to give New Bedford its only lead of the game, 7-6.

“That was nice for them,” DeBrito said. “They’re awesome. They’ve taken a leadership role. They’ve always been leaders, but this year, especially, with it being their last time playing for us, they’re helping out a lot with the younger guys.”

THE GAME PLAY
Dartmouth junior JJ Esterlin opened the game with a 41-yard kickoff return. Two plays later, Dartmouth converted a 3rd-and-18, and two plays after that Marques broke off a 16-yard touchdown run up the middle.

After a Whalers punt, the Indians were poised to add to their 6-0 lead, but a 64-yard drive was undone by a fumble on New Bedford’s 17-yard line.

The Whalers drove down to Dartmouth’s 16, but turned the ball over on downs after a 10-yard pass on 4th-and-12 failed to reach the marker.

After a three-and-out, Dartmouth was punting the ball away when the Sousa brothers teamed up for New Bedford’s first lead, 7-6, with 5:05 left in the second quarter.

That lead lasted exactly 17 seconds. On Dartmouth’s next play, junior quarterback Will Kelly hit a wide open Baron Dutra in stride on a seam route up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown. A blocked extra point made it a 12-7 game with 4:48 left before halftime.

New Bedford’s first possession of the second half started strong with three Frazier runs for 43 yards and a 12-yard connection from junior quarterback Ryan Dosenberg to senior wide receiver Michael Fernandes. But even with a powerful offensive line, New Bedford couldn’t find pay dirt on four plays from the 4-yard line. Junior Dan Martin made the stop on fourth down and Dartmouth took over on its own 2.

The Indians proceeded to march 98 yards on 12 plays, highlighted by a 53-yard run by Kelly and capped by a 2-yard off-tackle touchdown run by Marques.

Frazier broke off a 43-yard run down to the 11 with just under seven minutes left, but the Whalers were unable to score once again, throwing incomplete on third and fourth downs.
The Whalers nearly got stifled a fourth time inside the red zone, but Dosenberg slipped through a small hole on a 4th-and-goal play from the 4. With the Whalers out of timeouts, they had to attempt an onside kick, which Dartmouth recovered.

THE RECORDS
Dartmouth is now 1-0, while New Bedford is 0-1.

SERIES HISTORY
This was Dartmouth’s first win over New Bedford since 2016. It was the lowest scoring game between the two teams since Dartmouth won 10-6 in 2014.

THE NOTES
Dosenberg had a nifty no-look, behind-the-back handoff to Frazier in the fourth quarter. … New Bedford committed eight penalties for 45 yards, with six of those whistles and 35 yards coming in the second half. … The Whalers regularly used a huddle, while the Indians used cards held up on the sidelines to signal their plays.

UP NEXT
New Bedford has a bye in Week 2 before Bridgewater-Raynham comes to town on Saturday, March 27.

“We’ll keep working,” DeBrito said. “We have some talent. It’s just a matter of getting some experience. If we can keep these guys learning and watching film, we’ll get there.”

THE STATISTICS
Total offense: Dartmouth 307, New Bedford 251
Rushing yards: Dartmouth 212, New Bedford 178

New Bedford
Passing: Ryan Dosenberg 8-18-73
Rushing: Jayden Frazier 20-160, Ryan Dosenberg 6-18
Receiving: Darius Harrison 1-4, Michael Fernandes 4-55, Flordan Bazile 2-18, Ranen Goodine 1-(-2)

Dartmouth
Passing: Will Kelly 3-6-95-1
Rushing: Will Kelly 17-128, Ethan Marques 11-39-2, JJ Esterlin 4-36, Patrick Crane 2-9
Receiving: Baron Dutra 2-94-1, Ethan Marques 1-1

THE BOX SCORE
New Bedford;07;0;7—14
Dartmouth;6;6;8;0—20

Scoring Plays

First Quarter
Dartmouth: Ethan Marques 16-yard run (run failed) 9:24

Second Quarter
New Bedford: Bill Sousa recovers blocked punt (Ian DaCosta good) 5:05
Dartmouth: Baron Dutra 67-yard pass from Will Kelly (kick blocked) 4:48

Third Quarter
Dartmouth: Ethan Marques 2-yard run (Kelly run) 1:00

Fourth Quarter
New Bedford: Ryan Dosenberg 4-yard run (Ian DaCosta good) 1:49




New Bedford-Dartmouth High School Football Preview

By Brendan Kurie
New Bedford Guide Contributor

It’s been 470 days since high school football was played in the New Bedford area. The long sabbatical ends on Friday night when Dartmouth High School hosts New Bedford High School in the first-ever Southeastern Conference football game. Here’s everything you need to know before kickoff.

Video: New Bedford High School Whalers takes field vs Dartmouth in 2019. Video by Brendan Kurie.

When is the game?
6 p.m. on Friday

Where is it?
Dartmouth Memorial Stadium, which was updated with new turf before the 2019 season.

Can I go?
No, unless you were invited by a Dartmouth High player. But you can follow along on New Bedford Guide and Dartmouth Guide’s social media channels.

Is this really the first SEC football game?
Yup. The conference debuted for the 2019-20 school year, with the exception of football. The league’s five schools played independent schedules in 2019, making this the debut of SEC football.

What were their records last year?
Dartmouth went 4-7, while New Bedford went 8-3 and lost in the first round of the Div. 1 South tournament.

What happened in this game last year?
The Whalers scored three touchdowns in a four-minute span of the third quarter to pull away for a 46-26 victory. Senior Ethan Medeiros threw for 228 yards and three touchdowns, while fellow senior Nygel Palmer ran for 128 yards and three scores. It was New Bedford’s sixth-straight win to open the 2019 season and ninth-straight overall. The next week, the Whalers’ winning streak was halted by Brockton.

So who is back?
Not many starters. New Bedford graduated 23 seniors, while Dartmouth graduated 20. While the Whalers have 16 seniors and a large sophomore class this spring, the Indians have just five seniors and a large junior class.

Does that mean new quarterbacks?
Oh yeah! The Whalers will start 6’4″ junior Ryan Dosenberg. The younger brother of former All-Star lineman Eric Dosenberg, Ryan has the opportunity to become a four-sport athlete this year, after running cross country in the fall and playing basketball in the winter. “He played very well,” Whalers coach Mark DeBrito said of how Dosenberg’s looked in a recent scrimmage.

Dartmouth will be starting junior Will Kelly, who also had an older brother play for the Indians, even winning a Super Bowl title in 2015. Last year, the 5-foot-9 Kelly played understudy to Nolan Ellis, who finished with the most career touchdown passes of any Dartmouth quarterback in the past 55 years. Kelly ran for 44 yards in Dartmouth’s 2019 loss to New Bedford.

Who are they going to throw to?
New Bedford‘s receiving corp will be led by Michael Fernandes, who started at cornerback last year but will now be a starting wideout and safety. Track star Flordan Bazile is out for the team and will bring blazing speed on the outside.

Expect Dartmouth’s 6′ junior tight end William Chau to get a lot of looks from Kelly, as well as 5’10” junior Baron Dutra and 6’1″ senior Landen Soares, who is playing football for the first time.

New running backs too?
You betcha. The Indians will start junior Ethan Marques, a 5’11”, 175-pound back who ran for 89 yards and a touchdown in a Thanksgiving Day win over Fairhaven.

New Bedford will have junior Jayden Frazier taking the bulk of the carries. Another small back in the style of Palmer, he provides quickness and athleticism in the Whalers’ backfield.

What about the guys who do the real work in the trenches and on defense?
New Bedford’s strongest returning players are the Sousa brothers, Bill and Billois, who will be second-year starters on the offensive line and at linebacker.

Dartmouth got a boost when senior Jared Holmes returned after a year at Whitman-Hanson to help anchor the offensive line alongside center Cole Perry, the team’s only returning senior starter. Linebackers Dan Martin, Dutra, and Chau will be key.

What’s coach got to say?
“We have a lot of kids who are new at a lot of positions, so we’re getting there. This lets the seniors enjoy a last hurrah. For many, it’s the last time they’ll put on a helmet and shoulder pads.” — New Bedford head coach Mark DeBrito

“The overall effort and attitude has been outstanding. Guys are happy to be back. They’ve been working hard and picking things up quickly.” — Dartmouth head coach Rick White.

When do they play next?
New Bedford has a bye before hosting Bridgewater-Raynham on March 27. The Whalers then play at Brockton at noon on April 23 and host Durfee at 1 p.m. on April 10.

The Indians host Brockton on March 19, then play at Durfee on March 27 and at Bridgewater-Raynham on April 2. The SEC Championship game will be held on Saturday, April 17.

Hey, what about New Bedford’s other team?
GNB Voc-Tech’s season doesn’t start until March 26 when the Bears host Apponequet. Don’t worry, we’ll be back with everything you need to know before that one kicks off.




New Massachusetts Bill To Legalize Pro and College Sports Betting Advances

By Colin A. Young, State House News Service

Adults in Massachusetts would be able to bet on professional and Division I college sports in person and through web or mobile apps under legislation released Friday by a legislative panel that’s been studying sports betting for a year.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission would be given the discretion to write the actual rules for sports wagering, but the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies envisions a betting ecosystem that could include the state’s resort casinos, the lone slots parlor, tracks with live horse racing, and as many as five online-only operators.

Bettors would have to be at least 21 years old and be physically present in Massachusetts.

While 17 other states, including neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire, have already authorized gamblers to place legal bets on sports, Massachusetts has been considering whether to similarly legalize betting since the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 ruled that the nearly-nationwide prohibition on sports wagering was unconstitutional and gave states the ability to legalize the activity.

“We didn’t rush this process. We took a very deliberative approach, recognizing that there were goals to this legislation and above all else was to protect the consumer and the taxpayer. We always said that we wanted to be in the black on this bill and not suffer losses like other states have done,” Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, House chair of the committee, told the News Service on Friday.

“The second thing was that we wanted to make sure we put protections in for athletes and recognizing that bets are usually taken on horses and, in some states, dogs and other animals. With people, we really stepped back and said, ‘what provisions can we give the people who participate in these sports and especially for the college athletes?'”

Gov. Charlie Baker last year proposed a bill that would allow betting at licensed casinos in Massachusetts and through online platforms like Boston-based DraftKings. A slew of lawmakers proposed similar legislation.

With four months remaining for the Legislature to conduct significant business, the issue of sports betting could now vault onto lawmakers’ to-do lists alongside the state budget, a tax-hiking transportation bill, health care legislation and an expected economic development bill.

The legislation, crafted after a two-day hearing last May and months of research on betting laws and regulations in other states, is expected to net the state about $20 million in annual revenue, Ferrante said, after accounting for the costs associated with enforcement.

It would allow wagers on professional and major college sports, though prop bets on individual college athletes would be prohibited. Bets on amateur sports, the Olympics, eSports or fantasy sports contests also would be prohibited.

Whether bettors should be allowed to place wagers on collegiate sporting events and whether legalization would be successful without collegiate betting emerged as a key consideration during the committee’s hearings last year.

“It’s a huge piece of the market, so if you prohibit college betting you are ignoring an active black market,” Gaming Commission Associate Counsel Justin Stempeck told the committee last May. “On the other hand, if you allow college betting on sports, you have to be cognizant of the added pressures it puts on student athletes and they’re perhaps the most susceptible to these pressures because they’re not making millions of dollars on a professional league contract.”

Baker’s bill would not have allowed betting on any college contests, a decision his secretary of housing and economic development said was made in an attempt to take a “measured approach” to introducing betting.

Ferrante said the bill also establishes a Collegiate Health, Wellness, and Education Fund into which 5 percent of all sports betting revenues would be deposited to help shield college athletes from some of the possible pressures that could come with legal betting.

“If there’s a threat, if there’s a security issue, if there’s an educational issue, we would put aside revenue into a fund to provide them with the extra support that they would need,” the chairwoman said.

The three in-state casino operators — MGM, Wynn Resorts and Penn National Gaming — submitted joint testimony to the committee last spring in which they said they would support allowing some online operators, DraftKings or FanDuel, to get a piece of the sports betting pie.

The companies said they should be the only ones allowed to take bets at physical locations and that mobile betting should be reserved for themselves and “a limited number of daily fantasy operators with proven sports wagering experience.”

The committee appears to have followed a similar path. Only licensed casinos, the Penn-run slots parlor and live horse tracks could take in-person bets under the committee’s bill.

Because the slots parlor at Plainridge Park Casino is the only licensed live horse racing track for 2020, in-person betting could be limited to the three current casino operators. Each of the resort casinos could run up to three online pools and the slots parlor could run up to two.

The committee also adopted the idea of requiring mobile or online-only sportsbooks to have proven experience and to limit them in number. The legislation released Friday would allow up to five online operators and would require that they have at least one year of experience operating daily fantasy sports contests and experience offering online betting in at least two other states.

“This bill is an important step toward eliminating the pervasive illegal market, creating a safe and responsible sports betting experience for sports fans in Massachusetts and boosting the Commonwealth’s innovation economy,” a DraftKings spokesman said Friday afternoon. “We want to thank Chair Ferrante and the members of the House Economic Development Committee for their leadership and diligence on this issue. We look forward to working with Chair Michlewitz and all the members of the House Ways and Means Committee to move this legislation forward.”

In 2013 and 2014, 12.6 percent of Massachusetts residents had placed a bet on a sporting event in the last year, Gaming Commission Chairwoman Cathy Judd-Stein told lawmakers last year as they first dove into sports betting policy. By 2015, that percentage had climbed to 17.9 percent, but fell back to 16.9 percent in 2016, she said, citing the commission’s research into the topic.

People who might have influence over the outcome of a game or information not available publicly — athletes, coaches, umpires and officials, team or league employees and others — would be barred from placing bets, under the bill, as would employees of the Gaming Commission, sports betting licensees and vendors.

Under the committee’s bill, licensees would be required to pay a monthly tax of 10 percent of the gross revenue from sports wagers placed in person and 12 percent of the revenue from bets placed online or on mobile apps. The bill also levies a 12 percent tax on the monthly revenue for fantasy sports contest operators. The taxes would be deposited into the Gaming Revenue Fund.

Ferrante said the data her committee reviewed showed that about 85 percent of all sports wagering revenue is generated by mobile betting platforms. The difference in tax rates is meant to recognize the investments physical sportsbooks operators have or will have to make and the additional costs that hold down the profit margin at a physical betting location.

Sportsbooks tend to operate on small profit margins and the projections for state revenues under previously proposed legislation have hovered around roughly $30 to $35 million. Baker was confident enough about sports betting becoming legal to write $35 million in sports betting revenues into the $44.6 billion fiscal 2021 budget he filed last month.

The committee’s bill does not appear to include any compensation for the sports leagues, though the NBA and others have pushed for a 0.25 percent fee on all wagers placed on any specific league’s games.

“It is modest compensation that fairly treats the leagues as stakeholders and partners. If this happens in Massachusetts, it is new and exciting and a lot of people see a lot of opportunities. But you cannot escape the fact that absent our games, there is no new market to bet on or to be excited about,” Alexandra Roth, associate counsel for league governance and policy at the NBA, told lawmakers last year.

Ferrante said the issue of “integrity fees” is one that could become part of the conversation as her committee’s bill moves on to the House Ways and Means Committee, the House floor and possibly through a similar process in the Senate.

“It was important to us to put a bill out so that we could start this process going and that may be resolved later on in the process,” she said.

The bill also includes consumer safeguards to protect against problem gambling similar to those provisions put in place for casinos when Massachusetts expanded gaming in 2013, like allowing gamblers to add themselves to an exclusion list and requiring that operators implement responsible gaming programs.

Though much of the discussion during the committee’s consideration of sports betting revolved around how to structure and regulate bets, the committee also heard from people who think the Massachusetts should not further expand state-sanctioned gambling.

“Last year alone, the American people lost $118 billion of personal wealth to government-sanctioned gambling. Over the next eight years, the American people are on a collision course to lose more than $1 trillion of their personal wealth to government-sanctioned gambling,” Les Bernal, national director of Stop Predatory Gambling and a former chief of staff to former state Sen. Susan Tucker, said in May.

He added, “If you bring in sports gambling, particularly online, you’re going to make these financial losses to citizens even worse.”




Mass Saints Basketball Tryouts Starting on February 3rd in Fairhaven

Do you have kids THAT love to play basketball?

Did you know that the Mass Saints is the largest AAU basketball organization in Southern Massachusetts? The Saints mission is to provide our players a solid basketball foundation in a competitive environment, so they can have fun, improve their skills and maximize their basketball potential. Their program consists of both boys and girls teams which compete from the 3rd grade through Varsity levels of play. There is no cost to try out.

Be a part of this volunteer run and non-profit organization! Tryouts start on Monday, February 3rd at the Leroy Wood at 60 Sconticut Neck Road, Fairhaven. Check out the full schedule below and follow Mass Saints on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MassSaints/

Fees are $300 for players who already have their uniform and $400 for players who do not. All players will receive a new Nike basketball back pack!




The 3rd Annual “Run to End Addiction” 5K to feature “Kid’s Zone,” face-painting, live music, games, food, bounce house and more!

Join thousands of Teen Challenge supporters on the beautiful campus of Bridgewater State University for a day filled with entertainment, food, fellowship, prizes, and so much more!

Individuals, teams, churches, schools, and corporations from around the state will join together in support of our efforts to End Addiction. You can help make this campaign a success; people from all walks of life are welcome. Your time and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated!

There will have live music, a Kid Zone with face painting, games and bounce houses, and FREE food! The goal is to create an environment where the community can join together in raising awareness and hope for those in our midst who suffer from substance use disorder.

Money raised will go towards supporting sponsorships to Teen Challenge Massachusetts. Teen Challenge Massachusetts provides adults, teens and families with an effective and comprehensive Christian faith-based solution, clinical counseling, and life-coaching for drugs, alcohol, and other life-controlling problems in order to become productive members of society. Register Online: racewire.com/register.php

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5K Run/Walk

Bridgewater State University,
131 Summer Street,
Bridgewater, MA

Saturday, June 1, 2019, rain or shine
Registration opens at 7:30am; Race begins at 9:00am; Walk begins at 9:05am
Parking is at the Bridgewater State Parking Garage, 451 Great Hill Drive, Bridgewater.

Facebook: facebook.com/TeenChallengeBrockton/

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“My name is Teddy Conseillant. I grew up in a very violent neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. My mother was a single parent and a prayer warrior. I remember being forced to go to church but I didn’t want anything to do with God. At age 13, I joined any gang and ran the streets for years. Gang banging was my life and but I didn’t do drugs because I was paranoid. When I was 19, a very close friend got shot twice in the chest right in front of me. He died in my arms. His death affected me greatly and I stopped caring about anything. My behavior became out of control.

My biological father was not a part of my life, but I always had a father. His name was Pastor Barry. I met him when I was ten years old. We became very close and he became my Pops. He adopted me into his family. He always tried to get me in church but it never worked. By the age of 22, I had three beautiful daughters and a very bad drinking habit. I chose the bottle over my daughters. I couldn’t stop drinking. My life was quickly becoming a mess. I didn’t know what to do.

I called Pops and told him that if I stayed on the streets I would die. He told me to come to Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge opened my eyes to the truth. Learning how to submit was a major part in my change and I quickly fell in love with Christ.

I had come into Teen Challenge a high school dropout, but I was able to get my high school diploma in Teen Challenge. Last January I started college at North Point Bible College. I couldn’t have done any this without Christ!” – Teddy

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Here’s how to participate:

1. Complete your registration by going to racewire.com/register.php.

2. Start a Crowdrise fundraiser at crowdrise.com/RunToEndAddiction2019 and ask people to sponsor you. Spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers, everyone!

3. Show up on race day! Come to run, walk or just spend your morning with us as we gather together as a community.

Additional Details: This year’s event is chip timed. Everyone that registers on or before May 19th will be receiving a premium quality custom Run to End Addiction t-shirt. Custom finisher medals will be given to everyone that crosses the finish line and there will also be great prizes for First, Second and Third place winners for Men & Women.

We encourage both runners and walkers of all ages to sign up! There will be music, kid-friendly games, light refreshments and informational booths for those attending.

Please contact Run to End Addiction 5K Committee Chair John at progdev@tcmassachusetts.org or (508) 326-7365 with any questions or concerns.

Please note that you will receive a tax-deductible receipt for all donations.

You can also donate to Teen Challenge directly by starting a Facebook fundraiser, a Crowdrise fundraiser, or by simply joining or donating to another already existing fundraiser.




New Bedford High School Basketball Presents: FREE “Future of New Bedford” Basketball Clinic

This is a FREE basketball clinic at New Bedford High School for all New Bedford students in grade 2-grade 7 (ages 7 – 13). This will be a great opportunity for our youth to become familiar with the high school basketball program while providing our high school student-athletes an opportunity to teach a passion of theirs and give back to their community.

Online registration is open: https://forms.gle/xU47tLnbzVfsJjZFA

WHEN:
May 11, 1:00pm-3:00pm
Registration begins at 12:30




New Bedford man wins 2019 USA New England Boxing Championships

On April 6th New Bedford native Jose Ferrer, Jr. won the 2019 USA New England Golden Gloves Championships in the 114lb division. He will now represent New Bedford as he advances to the Olympic qualifiers in Columbus Ohio in October.




Edwin Soto gets KO win over New Bedford’s Ray Oliveira Jr.

Last night at Twin River Casino, Edwin Soto (12-2) got the TKO win over New Bedford’s Ray Oliveira Jr. (8-2). The referee stopped the fight in the second round.

A total of three New Bedford fighters fought last night.

Miguel Ortiz (3-1) defeated New Bedford’s Wilson Mascarenhas (0-1) at Twin River Casino this evening. Unanimous decision, 40-35 on all three judges scorecards.

Ricky Delossantos (4-0) defeated New Bedford’s Efren Nunez (0-2) at Twin River Casino this evening. TKO in the second round.




To the “Fans” Burning Isaiah Thomas Jerseys

Your ignorance is not representative of the majority of New England sports fans. Your burning of Isaiah Thomas’s #4 Celtics jerseys is nothing more than disrespectful. And if you paid your own hard earned money to then burn the jerseys to the ground, so be it. But know this; your hot blooded expression of “fandom” is tremendously misguided.

Nobody was as shocked to hear about the Kyrie Irving trade to Boston more than Isaiah Thomas himself. This is a man who had no intentions of leaving Boston. In fact, Thomas was poised to lead the Celtics through another season as the team’s best player, while rehabbing an injury that knocked him out of the playoff series against his new team. Isaiah was the focal point of team that won the Eastern Conference, in large part because of Thomas’ record high stat lines throughout the season. And who could ever forget Isaiah Thomas’ tremendous 50+ point playoff game just hours after the tragic news of his sister’s death.

This trade, which included Celtics forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, and a 2018 Brooklyn Nets lottery pick, brought an NBA finals game winner in Kyrie Irving to our hometown team. While many will argue which team “won the trade”, it is clear that both teams received valuable assets in return.

The Cavaliers received two starters (Thomas and Crowder) and two potential future stars (Zizic and the Brooklyn pick). They also unloaded Kyrie Irving, who had made it clear that his intentions of staying in Cleveland were nonexistent. Mainly because LeBron is rumored to leave for the west coast next season. And so, the Cavaliers can contend this season and still be poised for another rebuild in case LeBron leaves.

The Celtics, meanwhile, received an All Star-finals winning point guard in his physical prime. Irving is only 25, and is under contract for another two seasons. And Kyrie will now get to play with recently acquired all star Gordon Hayward on a Celtics team that surprisingly only has 4 players from last year’s team on their current roster. Even with a new look roster, the Celtics should certainly be contending to make the NBA finals this season, as they have a talented group of role players such as Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and roomie Jayson Tatum. And this time, they just might have to face Isaiah Thomas and the Cavaliers to do so.

Oddly enough, Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas were the first and last respective picks in the same draft 6 years ago(#1 and #60). Irving has played in Cleveland his whole career, while Thomas has played for several teams since. It was Celtics GM Danny Ainge who a few years ago traded Marcus Thornton and a Cleveland 1st round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns to acquire PG Isaiah Thomas. At the time, IT was only a 6th man coming off of the Suns’ bench. Today, Isaiah Thomas is coming off his best season in the NBA; averaging about 29 points per game, leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals, and being named to his first ever all NBA 2nd team.

This trade came as a genuine shock to all that follow the sport of basketball. The Cavaliers and Celtics are undoubtedly the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. And they just traded two of their best players to each other!

The point is this; both teams made the tough decision of completing this blockbuster trade to not only compete now, but to be better positioned for success in 2-5 years as well. At the end of this upcoming season, the result may as well be determined with a coin flip given how close these two teams skill levels are.

The NBA is a business first and an entertainment entity second. Decisions such as trading fan favorites like IT and Kyrie are not made easily, for various reasons. But these decisions are not avoided in fear of potential fan backlash. Celtics GM Danny Ainge did not fear fans burning jerseys before completing this trade. With ownership groups that are focused on winning championships, these trades are ultimately made because it is agreed within the organization that the trade is the best for sustained success. The goal should be to compete to win in the present and be poised to win down the road. It’s a fine line to walk, but it is one that successful companies tow year in and year out.

And so-to see so many Celtics fan unleash their passion by trying to “erase” the history of IT in Boston by burning their #4 jerseys-is truly saddening. Because through these burnings, there is a deliberate avoidance of the team’s goals and ignorance of the difficulty of the decision itself. The goal for the Celtics remains the same; even though the “how” has changed drastically.

What true Celtics fan would want to forget the heroics of IT last season? Thomas was a sixth man in Phoenix, and came to Boston with nobody expecting anything more from him. Two seasons later he is scoring 54 points in a playoff game just hours after finding out his sister had passed away in a car accident. What true fan would want to forget about IT playing through several injuries throughout the playoffs, and ultimately leading the team in scoring throughout the whole season? What true Celtics fan would turn on a player that most fans loved wholeheartedly, just because they were traded against their own will? If it were up to Thomas, he would have stayed in Boston to strive to win banner #18.

I believe IT will undoubtedly carry a chip on his shoulder for as long as he plays in Cleveland. And when he comes to Boston on opening night, it will certainly be must TV. And while I will be cheering for my home town Boston Celtics, I will still be watching for #4 on Cleveland. Because no matter where he plays, Isaiah Thomas proved to me that his skill and pedigree for the game is ultimately what led him to Cleveland from Boston in the first place. It is what led him from being a “nobody” in Phoenix to an all star in Boston. And I can only hope every burnt jersey is used as fuel for Isaiah to continue to prove his worth on the court. As if he hasn’t proved so much already.

Celtics fans gear up-it’s going to be a feisty season. And here’s to hoping we see IT in the Eastern Conference finals.

Again.




Coming this summer to Dartmouth: The 3×3 hoops revolution

150 star-studded teams of all ages will take court for first Northeast 3×3 Basketball Federation tourney, Aug. 4-6 at Burgo courts

By Jonathan Comey

The Greater New Bedford area has long had a love affair with the humble game of basketball.

From Fall River to Wareham, high school gyms and college arenas have been the place for boys and girls to chase their hoop dreams — large and small.

Now there’s a new player on the court, one that shapes up to be a signature event on the local basketball scene: the inaugural Northeast 3×3 Basketball Federation summer tournament, Aug. 4-6 at Burgo Basketball Association courts in Dartmouth.

“I’m extremely excited to be part of this event,” said former New Bedford High star Marques Houtman, who played over 10 years professionally overseas and for the Cape Verdean National Team and is one of the organizers. “Man to man, in your face, show and prove. I’m happy something this big is coming to my hometown area.”

The outdoor tournament is expected to feature 150 teams and 600 players during a three-day weekend family-friendly festival. There are competitive divisions open for players of both genders; as young as nine years old all the way through to an age 30-plus ‘Legends’ division.

For spectators, in addition to a whole lot of good basketball being played by what will be familiar names and up-and-comers, there is a dunk contest (expect some vicious jams from one entrant, Mike Kaufman) and a four-point shooting contest that takes long range shooting to a new level.

Check out the NE3x3 “hype video” to get a sense of what’s going to be happening in Dartmouth.

Sponsored by adidas and scheduled for the same weekend as the legendary Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford, it’s a great companion event: hoops by day, celebration by night.

The area’s “who’s who” of basketball leadership are on board with this event and the Northeast 3×3 Basketball Federation: Steve Burgo (Burgo Basketball), Manny DeBrito (A’s Before J’s), Bill Shea (Southcoast 3on3 founder) and Houtman all have leadership roles.

“It’s not often organizations get together to do something of this magnitude,” said DeBrito. “I’m excited for the collaboration and I know this is just the first of many.”

It’s led by Zach Rocha, a New Bedford High grad who has been the driving force behind the Sidekick Sports Academy since 2012. A believer in the power of sports to inspire and unite, he sees 3×3 hoops as the future.

“By working together, the greatest things can be achieved,” Rocha said. “I think this tournament will be an annual showcase event, and the leaders involved are what will drive its success.”

According to an International Olympic Committee study, 3×3 Basketball is the fastest growing urban sport in the world, and FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, wants 3×3 to be its own stand-alone Olympic sport. This past winter, the Junior NBA launched a 3v3 initiative within its curriculum.

The Northeast 3×3 rules are simple, and lead to exciting, action-packed basketball. The games are halfcourt, with 3- and 4-point zones. At the August tournament, every team that signs up is guaranteed to play at least three games

Rocha, whom is also the co-founder and executive director of Sidekick Sports Academy, has seen the global rise of 3×3 basketball (also known as 3v3 or 3-on-3) internationally and can’t wait to see it become a part of the SouthCoast sports fabric.

“Our leadership team has made successful careers out of providing fun education and family-friendly entertainment opportunities through sports,” Rocha said.

Registration for the Northeast 3×3 Basketball Federation can be found online at ne3x3hoop.com. There are early-bird deadlines of May 1 ($150/team), June 1 ($175/team) and July 15 ($200/team).

Prizes for winning teams include customized adidas James Harden Volume 1 shoes, designed by Sidekick Illustrations’ Ethan Weinstein.

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