Why Solo a Star Wars story 2 should be made

Embed from Getty Images When “Solo: a Star Wars story” came out, it was missed by and large because fans were disappointed with “Star Wars the Last Jedi.” Which lead to Solo doing poor at the box office. Which is a shame. Solo is a much better film than The Last Jedi.

Why should Disney/Lucasfilm invest time, energy and money into a Solo sequel. Let’s dive in. First and foremost Donald Glover was fantastic as Lando Calrissian. As was Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra.

Alden Ehrenreich made us believe he was a young Han Solo. The film was very solid. What needs to be explored more are a few things. Things that would make Solo 2 as enjoyable as the first film.

Enfys Nest, she has a great role in the film. But more is needed in her backstory. He was a great Star Wars character. We also need more from the Han/ Chewbacca  relationship that started in the first film.

Now we get to the real fun. Darth Maul. Who is no longer a Darth. He left the Sith because he did not agree with everything they stood for. Also the fact he was left for dead after Obi-Wan Kenobi sliced him in half. Maul used crime syndicates to take over Mandalore. After he was removed by the Republic, he escaped.

Maul, who did use the Force, started the crime gang Crimson Dawn. More is needed from this aspect of the story. Not to mention Qi’ra. Is she really with Maul and Crimson Dawn? Or is she leaning to following Han Solo and Chewbacca?

Fans of the film, of which I am one. Would love to see a sequel to a film that was missed by so many. If you have not seen “Solo: a Star Wars story,” do yourself a favor and watch it.

Report Michigan offered Juwan Howard the basketball coaching job

Embed from Getty Images First it was Jim Harbaugh. The former Michigan Wolverines quarterback who returned to Michigan to coach the football team. Now another famous Michigan alum is on the cusp of taking over the basketball program.

He was a member of Michigan’s “Fab Five” in the 1990’s. Then Juwan Howard had a successful NBA career. in 2013 Howard retired from playing, he then immediately transitioned into a coaching position with the Miami Heat.

When Michigan basketball coach John Beilein left the school for the NBA the door was open. Juwan had no shortage of supporters for the Michigan job. Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King who helped make up the legendary “Fab Five” have been very vocal in support of their former teammate and friend Howard.

Then some of his former NBA teammates joined in. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James who won championships in Miami with Juwan Howard also lent their voices in total support. James is an avid Ohio State fan. But he also knows how big the Michigan job is and wants to see his friend get the chance.

While it has been a rumor for some time now. Howard’s wife sent out a not so subtle hint.

 

This is a good move for Michigan. Juwan Howard is well respected inside NBA circles. He was bound to be a coach sooner or later. What he brings to Michigan is huge.

Being in the NBA for many years and building a relationship with players and coaches, Howard can recruit some of the players sons to Michigan. Something other schools can not do.

Make no mistake there will be a step or two backwards at first. Coaching changes generally do that. But Juwan Howard will do a very good job at Michigan.

Howard was  clearly the sentimental favorite among Wolverines fans after helping guide the program to back to back title games in 1992 and 1993.

Star Wars theory: Anakin is the Skywalker in “Rise of the Skywalker”

Embed from Getty Images Going back before “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” was released creator and director George Lucas said episode’s 1-9 were “Anakin’s story.” Flash forward to what we know heading into “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” All signs point to Anakin being the Skywalker who will rise. Let’s take a look at facts and my own personal theory.

We now know through the teaser trailer, Emperor Palpatine is back in one form or another. Weather he did learn from his former master Darth Plagueis and was able to cheat death. Or if he went an ancient Sith route like Darth Nihilus and was able to separate his soul and transplant it into another form.

 

 

Anakin Skywalker, was the chosen one. The one would would bring balance to the Force. At least that is what many thought. Until he followed his own path and went down a dark path until redemption found him. We do know he became one with the Force after the battle on the second Death Star.

To have Palpatine return (again in some form) would cheapen the death of Anakin. To have the person who’s story is being told not have a role in the final chapter of his own story would be bad story writing.

Think of the possibilities, Palpatine vs Anakin Skwalker. Weather Anakin is a Force ghost or turned the table on his former master and learned how to truly cheat death and come back in human form. It would be perhaps the greatest ta-da’s in movie history.

Rey, who seems ill equipped to be able to handle the Emperor on her own, would yield to Anakin and perhaps Luke Skywalker much like we saw in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” Father and son unite to  defeat the galaxies most feared enemy.

I have no idea what director JJ Abrams is going to do. But, to leave out THE central character in the entire saga would cheapen the story and  leave fans feeling empty. Abrams is a better writer and director than to just leave the story unfulfilled. It is known that JJ sought help from George Lucas as to how to wrap Episode’s 1-9 up. That is a good thing.

 

 

The Detroit Tigers are proving rebuilds are no fun

Embed from Getty Images Having good prospects is well and all, however when the current Detroit Tigers are in a seven game losing streak the prospects seem a long way off. Rebuilds are no fun.

It was never going to be a good season for the Detroit Tigers. But on paper it should not be or have been this bad. The Tigers are getting decent pitching, not great mind you but decent. The Tigers can not hit this season.

When they are hitting no one is on base to knock in. It has not been pretty as of late in Motown. The Tigers currently sit 9 games under .500 and 12.5 back in the standing, good for second to last in the American League Central.

Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer were brought in as free agents. The hope was that both former All-Star players would add stability both in the field and in the batting lineup. Mercer is hitting .206, with 1 home run and 3 R.B.I.’s. While Harrison is hitting .161, with 1 home run and 8 R.B.I.’s.

It is not on those two players only. But that is just a microcosm highlight of what is taking place this spring heading into summer at Comerica Park. Not good, not fun. Growing pains were going to take place. But this was not the predicted level of pains.

While it is good for the organization top prospects are performing well. Some are also struggling, which is to be expected as they figure things out at a new baseball level.

Yet, fans in Detroit do not care about what is going on in Grand Rapids Michigan, Lakeland Florida, Erie P.A., or Toledo Ohio. It is hard to root for prospects to develop when players that should be developed and are getting paid very well are failing on such a large scale.

But that should be the fans focus. It is the Detroit Tigers front office focus as well. It is all about prospects. Most Detroit area media members want to talk about Casey Mize or Matt Manning or another prized prospect. That is what this season is in Detroit.

Next season will see the arrival of some of those prospects and the sun will shine again. Right now it is dark.

Who could stay and who could go on the Detroit Red Wings roster

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Red Wings, new general manager Steve Yzerman, with solid prospects and a lot of salary cap room  likely will be looking to make some moves to improve his roster.

Yzerman said at his introductory press conference to not expect any big, splashy moves early in his tenure, he wants to let his young players continue to develop. Yzerman thinks the bigger moves might be in a year or two, when the youngsters are closer to being ready to contend.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see Yzerman do some tweaking this offseason, in an effort to strengthen the roster.

Forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha would net big returns if Yzerman goes the trade rout. So before any trade is rumored let’s see who could stay and who could go.

Jonathan Bernier, goalie,

His season would probably leave many to wonder why Bernier is in this category. But with two more years left on his contract, and no Wings prospect close to the NHL, Bernier will return. Bernier is a proven NHL goaltender, though he’ll have to be better next season. He’s staying

Tyler Bertuzzi, Forward,

Bertuzzi does not excel with jaw-dropping plays. He accomplishes things in a “greasy” style that makes him capable of blending with any line coach Jeff Blashill puts him on. Bertuzzi is a long-term presence on this roster.  He’s staying

Trevor Daley, Defense,

 Daley could not stay healthy last season and with only one year left on his contract, he is not likely to remain in the organization beyond that. He could be a nice acquisition for a contender at the deadline. He leaves at the trade deadline.

Also staying for sure will be:

Madison Bowey, D, Danny DeKeyser, D, Christoffer Ehn, F, Darren Helm, F, Taro Hirose, F, Michael Rasmussen, F, Filip Hronek, D, Dylan Larkin, F, Frans Nielsen, F, Andreas Athanasiou, F, Luke Glendening, F, Anthony Mantha, F, Evgeny Svechnikov, F.

Should be gone one way or another but may not be:

Justin Abdelkader, F

Gone at least by the trade deadline:

Jonathan Ericsson, D, Mike Green, D

Gone because likely retiring:

Niklas Kronwall, D

Is Mark Dantonio on the hot seat at Michigan State

Embed from Getty Images Sports are all about win now and what have you done for me lately. Michigan State’s football team is coming off back-to-back sup-par seasons. Michigan State football has never been a national powerhouse consistently. Head coach Mark Dantonio has had good seasons. What comes next?

Dantonio, started off with a bang when he arrived in East Lansing. Three Big Ten championships, five bowl game wins, a Rose Bowl victory, a College Football Playoff appearance not to mention three Spartans selected in the first round of the NFL draft over the last 10 seasons. Not bad at all.

But then,  two of the past three saw a sharp decline in wins , 2016 and 2018, t have not been so kind to Spartan football team or it’s fan base. What really hurt the Spartans last season was the offense showed little to no improvement at all. In fact in rushing yards and years from the line of scrimmage the Spartans actually regressed.

It was so bad on the offensive side of the ball last season that Michigan State saw their points per game dropped below 19. What is a tough pill for the Spartan faithful to swallow is  Dave Warner is still on the coaching staff. Yes, he has been demoted from offensive coordinator, but the  fact that Dantonio either can not or does not want to recognize his team is struggling with Warner is enough to frustrate Spartan fans. Reshuffling the coaching staff will not help.

There have been whispers on the Michigan State campus and around East Lansing, how much longer will Dantonio have to prove his coaching method works? One thing the coach has going for him is defense wins championships. Michigan State has a top 10 defense. But points still need to be scored.

I believe Dantonio needs a good season to continue to be the head football coach. He needs to show he can make a change or two in his program because if he does not, he might not be the guy making decisions anymore.

Detroit Lions: Tracy Walker ready to take the next step

Embed from Getty Images A third round draft pick in 2018, Tracy Walker was a question mark among the Detroit Lions fan base and some media members. At the Time Glover Quinn was cemented at one safety position and Quandre Diggs at the other. So why draft another safety?

After the Detroit Lions released the popular Quinn, mostly because he did not fit what Matt Patricia envisioned for his defense, Detroit began to give Tracy Walker more playing time.

Walker was a small school draft pick, he started the season on special teams. When the Detroit Lions were eliminated from the playoffs, Walker saw his playing time increase greatly as it became apparent the Lions were moving on from Quinn.

With every game as well as every snap Walker looked more and more comfortable. He showed tremendous range and versatility. Lining up at different spots in the secondary. Tracy Walker disrupted passes and recorded 2 interceptions. Had Walker qualified for enough snaps, he would have ranked fourth among safeties with an 89.9 grade. Tracy only played 27.1% of the defensive snaps.

Heading into OTA’s and fall camp, one safety job belongs to Walker. Patricia has always hated giving out jobs with a player facing competition. In the case of Walker, it would take an unbelievable performance to knock his out of the starting job.

I have penciled Tracy Walker as my Detroit Lion who very well could be a breakout player this coming season.

The Detroit Pistons 2019 draft outlook

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Pistons are taking a new approach to the NBA draft. In years past the Pistons took the player who best fit the system they ran. Now using a much smarter approach, the Detroit Pistons are going with the best player available.

There is no exact science to any sports team drafts. Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said of the draft “It’s like throwing darts at a board and hoping you get as close to the bulls-eye as possible.”

The Detroit Pistons currently hold the 15th pick in the first round of this years draft. Detroit has two areas of need. Small forward and point guard. One thing there is only three elite point guards in this years draft who will be gone lone before Detroit picks.

So who is the best player who could be there? Here are some names Detroit Pistons fans should begin to memorize:

KZ Okpala, Stanford, The Pistons lack size at the forward position. At 6; 8″ Okpala would make Detroit bigger. KZ showed good improvement in his 3 point shooting. As a freshman he shot 23% from beyond the arch. Last season he shot 37%. For as big as Okpala is he needs to put on weight.

Romeo Langford, Indiana, In nearly every mock draft Langford has been linked to Detroit. One drawback is Romeo has lacked desire at times and is not always mentally engaged for entire games. shooting 27% from 3-point land makes L:angford a bit of a project. Perhaps not worth a first round pick.

Cameron Johnson, North Carolina, A player with a lot of positives has one rather large drawback, Johnson is 23 years old which lowers his ceiling. Age aside, Cameron shot 46% from 3 point land, while averaging 5.8 rebounds per game. If he can add some muscle, Johnson could be the best option for the Detroit Pistons.

Detroit’s senior adviser Ed Stefanski and director of player personnel, Gregg Polinsky are working on crafting the Pistons draft strategy. Best fit is in the past. Best player? We shall see.

Could the Detroit Red Wings trade a young forward for a defenseman?

Embed from Getty Images At the World Championships, Detroit Red Wings forward  Anthony Mantha is generating a lot of buzz. With 3 goals, 4 assists and 7 points in three games. Anthony Mantha could have possibly  increased … his trade value.

No Red Wings fan should read too much into that. Steve Yzerman pointed out Mantha as being a “core player.” Odds are slight he would get moved. Not to mention Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi’s line absolutely exploded the final weeks of the regular season.

Andreas Athanasiou, and Michael Rasmussen, Taro Hirose, Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, Evgeny Svechnikov and Jonatan Berggren not to mention whoever the Detroit Red Wings  draft next month gives them some great talent at forward.

One problem, outside of Dennis Cholowski and Filip Hronek there is no good defensive talent in the Wings pipeline. Defense is the single most need the Red Wings have.

Tyler Bertuzzi is not going anywhere. He simply brings too much to the table night in and night out for the Red Wings. Which means in a league where you have to give talent to get talent the two names that would bring in a young top line defensive player is Mantha and Athanasiou.

For that to happen it would have to be a trade that makes sense, especially for a general manager like Steve Yzerman. Yzerman, is known as a very aggressive general manager. He will want to get the Wings closer to the playoffs sooner than later.

The Colorado Avalanche, are said to be looking to add scoring. Defensemen Tyson Barrie could be moved for that to happen. That could be an option for Detroit. Also, Carolina, or Anaheim or Nashville all have deep defensive players who could be moved to add scoring.

Players like Mantha and Athanasiou have become valuable bargaining chips if the Wings choose to go the trade route. Both players will become restricted free agents in the summer of 2020, with Mantha currently making $3.3 million per season and Athanasiou $3 million. Both players will be in line for big raises.

Factor in Veleno and Zadina and it is probable a trade is made.

Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah is the key to Ohio State’s secondary

Embed from Getty Images Projected to be Ohio State’s next great cornerback from the time he arrived in Columbus, Ohio in 2017,  Jeffrey Okudah  has seen steady increase in playing time over the course of his first two seasons as a Buckeye. This season Okudah will be the focal point of the secondary.

Out of Texas, Okudah was ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect and the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the recruiting class of 2017. Okudah earned playing time in Ohio State’s cornerback rotation as a true freshman in 2017. The then freshman appeared in all 14 of the Buckeyes games and played on defensive snaps in 10 of them, all the while also being a regular on the special teams units.

Jeffrey Okudah made one start in the secondary in 2018, but gained more playing time as the season went on. Okudah had 32 total tackles with 8 pass breakups. Jeffery battled through inconsistent play and issues with penalties to become a solid dependable player.

Jeffery Okudah will enter the 2019 season as the starting outside cornerback.  At 6′ 1″ he is blessed with excellent length and speed, making steady improvement should make Jeffrey one of the Big Ten’s best defensive backs.

Last season the Buckeyes defense was plagued by mistakes. The secondary drew the second most penalties in the Big Ten.  That will need to be cleaned up this season. It would greatly help Ohio State if Jeffrey Okudah were  to blossom into the consistent shutdown cornerback they believe he can be.