It's been another week in professional sports, and Georgia Tech's professional athletes were quite busy again. Two pros saw their seasons come to an end, while one was just getting started. Others had rough weeks and weren't able to heat up like they had hoped. There's a lot to get to, but first let's review the week that was in the NBA Playoffs and what you need to know for next week.
Heading into last week, the Knicks were down 2-1 in their series with the Pacers and the Warriors were tied up with the Spurs. Iman Shumpert hadn't had a major impact early on in the Knicks' series, and was looking to have a big performance in Game 4. Unfortunately for him, he posted an ugly 0 in the points column and had a rough night. Things didn't get much better for him in Game 5 either as he had another horrendous shooting night, but he was saved by the rest of the team, who forced a Game 6 with a win at home. In Game 6, Shumpert finally had a great offensive game, scoring 19 points on 5-6 three point shooting. This wasn't enough to win, however, since the rest of the team, excluding Carmelo Anthony, had rough games. The Knicks finally made it back to the second round of the playoffs, but their fans were expecting more from the #2 seed in the East.
The Warriors started off their series with the Spurs by taking two of the first four games. They had looked like the better all around team, and seemed poised to force a Game 7. In Games 5 and 6 of the series, Jarrett Jack had 20 points and 15 points respectively, but the Warriors lost both contests. The Spurs were able to really dominate the Warriors with their bench and their experience, and the spotlight seemed too much for the Warriors. Jack's season is over, but he finished on a high note, which should make his agent happy heading into FA.
Chris Bosh and the Heat had a much easier path in the second round of the playoffs, since the Bulls were depleted due to injury. Luol Deng, Derrick Rose, and Kirk Hinrich were all out for the Bulls, which really eliminated any chance they had of winning the series. The Heat asserted the dominance in the series by closing it out in 5 games. They have a big series against the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they'll need to be focused if they expect to make it past them.
In baseball news, Tech's recent call ups have played quite well and are contributing on a nightly basis. Derek Dietrich has seen the majority of playing time at second base for the Miami Marlins since he was called up two weeks ago, and he has made the most of his opportunity. Last week he went 5-21 at the plate with two walks, which is a pleasant sign for a rookie. The Marlins shouldn't expect too much from him right now since he's still a young player, but he's doing a pretty good job considering the lineup he's playing in. Charlie Blackmon also had a solid week in which he went 2-8 from the plate and scored 2 runs. He hasn't seen consistent playing time since he got called up, but he has made the most of his chances.
While both Dietrich and Blackmon have played well in recent days, Matt Wieters has had another stressful week at the plate. He went 2-14 with a home run, 3 RBIs, and 3 walks. The walks make his week a little better, since it raises his OBP quite a bit, but Orioles fans expected more from him after he looked like he was starting to heat up. It's a good sign Wieters is showing the plate discipline to force walks though, since that was a major problem for him earlier in the season.
This week was a much quieter one in golf, and the tournament of the week was the HP Byron Nelson Championship. There were a few major names on the course over the weekend, but it is certainly not one of the more impressive tournaments during the season. After the first two days, Troy Matteson (+2), Nick Thompson (+2), and Bryce Molder (+4) all missed the cut, which was set at E. That left Matt Kuchar as the only Tech pro left in the tournament. Kuchar had a very quiet weekend and was never able to heat up. He finished the tournament at -1, which was 12 shots behind the leader, Sang-Moon Bae.
This week was also the first time drafted players and UDFA could compete with their new NFL teams in OTAs. OTAs are a voluntary (but almost everyone attends for obvious reasons) group of practices that are held throughout the early stages of the summer and are important for rookies and other young players looking to make the team. They can definitely hurt your chances more than they can help you though, since they are done without pads. There weren't any major developments out of OTAs for any of Georgia Tech's NFL rookies, but one veteran player did sign a contract. Anthony Hargrove, who was out of a job after many past issues in the league, signed a one year deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. The deal was only a one year veteran's minimum contract, but it still gives him an opportunity to get back in the league. It will be interesting to see if he actually makes the team out of training camp, since the Cowboys invested very little in him and wouldn't be afraid to cut him if younger players perform well.
Last but not least, the WNBA finally started their preseason last week, and that means Sasha Goodlett is looking to improve her role on the Indiana Fever. So far through the preseason, she has averaged 17 MPG, 8.5 PPG, and 2.5 RPG, and has played well when on the court. Her first regular season game will be this upcoming Friday against San Antonio and that should be a good indicator of what her role will be on the team this year.
Georgia Tech has consistently been able to send athletes to the pros in different sports, and it makes following the sports that much more interesting. There is almost always a Tech pro in the news, which makes covering them a year round process. Heading into the summer, there's a lot of chances for Tech pros to make a name for themselves, so keep following them and be prepared to hear someone's name on ESPN (like Roberto Castro at the TPC).