BayHawks to Play Preseason Game in Meadville, Pa.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yesterday the Erie BayHawks announced they will host their first ever home preseason game. The BayHawks will host the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at the Meadville Area Senior High School in Meadville, Pa., November 20 with tipoff slated for 7 p.m. Tickets are just $5 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the school’s stadium turf replacement fund.

“We see this opportunity as a real win-win situation. First, it allows us to showcase the team to a nearby community of potential fans,” said BayHawks president Matt Bresee. “Secondly, it gives us the chance to reach out to a community that has seen some difficult times recently given the state of our current economy, by bringing in a professional basketball game where all the tickets are just five bucks.”

For those outside the local area, Meadville is Erie's neighbor to the south, about a 45-minute drive down I-79. This will be a rare treat for the high school to play host to professional basketball in its gym.

“The Meadville High School Athletic Department is honored that the BayHawks
organization has chosen Meadville High School to host this first ever event,” said Meadville High School athletic director Greg Williams. “The 'House of Thrills' has seen some great teams and players over the last 50 years, but this will be the first time it has played host to professional athletes. I would expect that the ability to watch NBA caliber athletes at a fraction of the cost, combined with the fact that a portion of the proceeds will go to a local cause, will result in a great turnout.”

A full team autograph session will follow the conclusion of the game, with a selection of official BayHawks merchandise available for purchase throughout the night. BayHawks players also plan to make appearances at Meadville area schools in the weeks prior to the game.

My Twitter-Friendly NBA Preview, Part 2

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yesterday, I broke down the NBA's Eastern Conference Twitter style, 140 characters or less per team. With the NBA tipping off the 2009-10 season later tonight, it's now time for my Western Conference preview as well as playoff picks and major awards.

Western Conference

  1. @LAKERS: Artest in place of Ariza will be the headline all year. Bynum's development. Fish & Kobe mileage, Odom's marriage, bench play key subplots.

  2. @spurs: Duncan's run at a 5th ring comes with help...Jefferson, McDyess, Blair, healthy Manu, don't forget Parker. Loaded roster for a great coach.

  3. @hornetsdotcom: CP3 & co. add Emeka Okafor in hopes that the former #1 pick can give them the frontcourt presence they've lacked in recent years.

  4. @pdxtrailblazers: Roy, Fernandez are sneak good, but '09 Cinderella won't sneak up on anyone this year. Title contender if Oden becomes #1 pick worthy.

  5. @denvernuggets: Billups one year older means Anthony must take increased leadership role. Same question as last year...who guards Kobe?

  6. @dallasmavs: Now or never for an aging Mavs team. No shortage of scoring options. The question will be how good is the D in Big D?

  7. @Utah_Jazz: Boozer's back, backup Millsap may be better, causing PF logjam. PG Williams deserves all-star bid; 2-guard is big hole Utah needs to fill.

  8. @LAClippers: Young talent including #1 pick Blake Griffin along with a healthy Baron Davis running the show makes optimism the new word in Clipperland.

  9. @okcthunder: Not breaking news that Durant should be an all-star this year. But talented young surrounding cast could make them this year's Blazers.

  10. @PhoenixSuns: Stoudemire's health, Nash's age are two big question marks for best two players on an old Suns team. Also lack depth.

  11. @MNTimberwolves: Jefferson + Love are the best frontline you've never seen. Backcourt needs bolstered, though. No Rubio, no sizzle in Minny.

  12. @HoustonRockets: Well run team. But no Yao, questions about TMac. This team's identity and go-to-guy is unknown heading into the season.

  13. @memgrizz: Iverson + Randolph + Mayo = trouble. Who passes on this team?

  14. @WARRIORS: Captain Jack wants out. Two (too?) small scoring guards in the backcourt. Nellie could be in for a long year.

  15. @sacramentokings: Kevin Martin is a scoring phenom, the team's top asset. Also, Kevin Martin is their best player.
Eastern Conference Playoffs: Round One
1. Cleveland over 8. Toronto
4. Chicago over 5. Atlanta
3. Boston over 6. Washington
2. Orlando over 7. Miami

Eastern Conference Semifinals
1. Cleveland over 4. Chicago
3. Boston over 2. Orlando

Eastern Conference Finals
1. Cleveland over 3. Boston

Western Conference Playoffs: Round One
1. Los Angeles Lakers over 8. Los Angeles Clippers
5. Denver Nuggets over 4. Portland Trail Blazers
3. New Orleans Hornets over 6. Dallas Mavericks
2. San Antonio Spurs over 7. Utah Jazz

Western Conference Semifinals
1. Los Angeles Lakers over 5. Denver Nuggets
2. San Antonio Spurs over 3. New Orleans Hornets

Western Conference Finals
1. Los Angeles Lakers over 2. San Antonio Spurs

2010 NBA Finals
Los Angeles Lakers over Cleveland Cavaliers
Finals MVP: Kobe Bryant

2010 NBA MVP: LeBron James
2010 Coach of the Year: Phil Jackson
2010 Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin
2010 All-NBA 1st Team: Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul
2nd Team: Shaquille O'Neal, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade, Tony Parker
3rd Team: Andrew Bynum, Dirk Nowitski, Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo

My Twitter-Friendly 2009 NBA Preview, Part 1

Monday, October 26, 2009

With the NBA season set to tip off tomorrow and plenty of media outlets already offering comprehensive preview articles, I thought I'd keep my thoughts brief, essentially a 140-character tweet for each team as well as a few thoughts on the playoffs and major awards. Today, I'll cover the East. Tomorrow I'll delve into the West and the rest of the preview.

Eastern Conference

  1. @cavs: Shaq/Kobe = 3 titles/8 years. Shaq/Wade = 1 title/3.5 years. Shaq/LeBron? Spotlight is on this season, possibly LeBron's last as a Cav.

  2. @Orlando_Magic: Vinsanity has never played with an all-star big man, let alone one as dominant as Dwight Howard. If Lewis/Nelson maintain form, watch out.

  3. @celtics: KG's knee + Rondo's psyche + Rasheed's crazy = a dangerous recipe in Beantown. Allen/Pierce need to be All-Stars, steadying forces.

  4. @chicagobulls: Without Gordon, Rose has to blossom in second year. Still young roster but classic playoff series with Boston makes Baby Bulls dangerous.

  5. @atlanta_hawks: Back-to-back playoff appearances. Deeper bench. Still can't see Hawks eclipsing the big three in the East.

  6. @WashWizards: Agent Zero has meant zilch to the Wizards due to injury in recent seasons. If healthy, he adds to a stacked starting lineup.

  7. @MHEAT: Dwayne Wade is a top-5 NBA talent, but the Heat need someone else to step up or they risk Wade fleeing South Beach in the offseason.

  8. @raptors: If Hedo can bring his playoff magic north of the border, Bosh's contract year could be a blessing for the Raptors, even if only for a year.

  9. @detroitpistons: Only Hamilton and Prince remain from '04 title team. Villanueva and Gordon come with large price tags. GM Dumars has reputation at stake.

  10. @Sixers: May try a new Brand of basketball if Elton's health allows. Loss of Andre Miller hurts. Is this the year Iguodala becomes A-list?

  11. @indianapacers: Granger is the best player you've never seen. Supporting cast leaves a lot of be desired. Rookie Hansbrough: will he/won't he at NBA level?

  12. @gobobcats: Still searching for franchise's first playoff berth. Need to find first franchise player first. Don't see one on current roster.

  13. @thenyknicks: Could there be any less star power in this city that loves star power? Coach is the only big name in the Big Apple. Just don't, LeBron.

  14. @netsbasketball: Young is one way to view the Nets. Inexperienced is another. Either way, the Russian billionaire has a lot of work to do.

  15. @Bucks: Michael Redd is the only household name here, and his best days may be in the past. Playoffs would be be a major overachievement effort.

America's Image Problem: Body Image vs. Body Health

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today I break from my usual focus on the Erie BayHawks and NBA Development League. I was asked to write a short essay in accordance with Fat Talk Free Week (Oct. 19-23), an international, 5-day body activism campaign to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the ‘thin ideal’ on women in society.

Though it may not directly tie into the regular content of the blog, it's not hard to connect the dots between body image and sports. Whether it's the BayHawks players, the dance team members, or the training staff, proper fitness and health are an integral part of sports. Conversely, sports can play an integral role in helping one maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, sports is also big business and therefore contributes in some negative ways―specifically through marketing and advertising―to our culture's obsession with body image over body health.

So, without further ado, I hope you'll find my words interesting and thought-provoking about a topic you might not often think about. For more information, please visit or

We live in an image-obsessed society full of Nike signs, tan lines, and infomercials touting the latest weight-loss craze. America is the land of the free and the home of the bravado, where the only thing more valuable than the almighty dollar is how good you look after you've spent it.

We're obsessed with celebrity, and so we see our actors, athletes, and musicians as larger than life figures to be praised and emulated. And more damning, we see our own lives as somehow inferior. Our obsession with celebrity and image has gotten to the point where our society has actually re-defined “reality” through a genre of television that is frighteningly fake, and we now have a generation of people who value Reality TV Star as a valid and worthwhile career pursuit. Thanks to shows like The Real World and The Real Housevives of New Jersey, we've become detached from the real world.

Perception has become the deciding factor in our life choices. What will they think if I wear that? What will they say if I eat this? Will they judge me if I don't look like him or her? And it all comes back to the issue of image. If you turn on the TV, flip through a magazine, or drive past a billboard, society's message about body image is clear. For women, this means they should be thin and petite, preferably with Barbie's breasts. And for men this means they should be athletic and muscular, preferably with a full head of hair.

Women often hear, “You look great! Have you lost weight?” Heavier-set men may get the same or less masculine men may hear the opposite, “You look great! Have you been bulking up?” In either case, the statement, even if intended as a compliment is improperly focused. Let's assume the person offering the observation is just offering a friendly compliment to a friend or relative.

The problem is that they are offering an image-based statement also known as fat talk. The person “looks better” because they more closely resemble that societal ideal (thinness). And unfortunately, these image-based statements are damaging, even when the intention behind them may be good. Image-based statements like, “You look great! Have you lost weight?” place an emphasis on appearance rather than health, which perpetuates society's message that looks are what matter regardless of how or why a person looks that way.

As a result, people become obsessed with their appearance rather than focusing on healthy methods and habits. They want a body like the stars, thinking that's what they should look like. For some people, fat talk forces them to try fad diet after fad diet as they try to keep up with the pressure to lose weight. For others, it may be more debilitating. Fat talk may result in low self-esteem that, in turn, causes them to shy away from the gym for fear of what others might think or say about them. It may even drive some people to engage in more serious behaviors like self-induced starvation, anorexia, or bulimia. In all, 10 million people suffer from eating disorders nationwide.

That number is alarmingly high, and that is why we need to re-brand society's message. We need to stop obsessing over body image and start preaching a positive message about body health because health is not measured by a scale or a dress size. In fact, health and beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We need to view exercise and a balanced diet not as temporary steps on a weight-loss program but as essential elements needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We need to teach young people about the positive life benefits of eating right and regular exercise, helping them find healthy food choices that they like and forms of exercise that can be both fun and helpful.

We also need to feel free to indulge in the occasional fast-food meal or loaded dessert without fearing a scornful eye, and accordingly, we also need to learn the healthy value of moderation. More importantly, we need to learn these things and adapt these changes not because it will impact what we look like or how we are perceived, but because we owe it to ourselves to treat our bodies with respect. By striving for a healthy ideal rather than an image-based thin (or ripped) ideal, we can reclaim reality from the unnatural and unrealistic portrayals in Hollywood.

As fad diets and Photoshopped starlets continue to shine the spotlight on transformed bodies, we have to ignite the flame of a new idea that can transform lives. And it starts with ending fat talk. Think big picture: America's obesity epidemic. America doesn't have a weight problem, we have a healthy lifestyle problem. By shifting the focus from body image to body health, we can make the difference in the lives of millions of people.

So do your part to stop fat talk and start the health talk movement. Then move from health talk to walk the walk. Be active. Eat right. Run, jump, dance your way to a healthier life. And love yourself all the way through. Because it doesn't matter whether you're an A-list celebrity, a D-League basketball player, or just a blogger with a small voice like me, we all have the right to a healthy lifestyle that endures long beyond our 15 minutes of fame.

BayHawks Team Up With Erie Area High School Basketball

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Erie BayHawks aren't the only basketball game in town. On the college level, Erie features Division II PSAC rivals Mercyhurst College and Gannon University as well as Division III Penn State Behrend.

Additionally, the high school rivalries in the Erie area captivate fans throughout the city and county every winter from the season's opening tipoff to the McDonald's Classic to the state championships, where Erie often represents itself well.

This season, several of Erie's high school basketball teams will play as the opening act for Erie BayHawks games at Tullio Arena.

Five games spanning three nights will give Erie high school basketball fans the chance to see bonus basketball from their hometown NBA Development League team, the Erie BayHawks.

“We felt it was a perfect opportunity to showcase the next generation of players and give the players a taste of the excitement of playing on the BayHawks’ court, in front of a Tullio Arena crowd,”said BayHawks president Matt Bresee. “It also presents a great value to our fans, with the chance to see two or three games for the price of one ticket.”

Specially priced tickets will be available at all of the participating schools, and will include admission to the BayHawks game. Tickets will go on sale in November.

The affected dates and schedule is as follows:

December 29 (Tuesday)
Warren High School vs. Cathedral Prep, 5 p.m.
Bakersfield Jam vs. Erie BayHawks, 7 p.m.

January 9 (Saturday)
McDowell High School vs. Mercyhurst Prep (Girls), 3:30 p.m.
Fairview High School vs. Mercyhurst Prep (Boys), 5 p.m.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants vs. Erie BayHawks, 7 p.m.

January 23 (Saturday)
Iroquois vs. Villa Maria (Boys), 3:30 p.m.
East High School vs. Franklin High School, 5 p.m.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers vs. Erie BayHawks, 7 p.m.

This promotion is a win-win for basketball fans in Erie. It's a great opportunity to see high quality basketball at the high school and professional level. Hopefully it'll entice the casual high school fan that hasn't seen the BayHawks yet because I think they'll be impressed by what they see.

Jarvis Gunter's Summer Vacation: Business, Basketball, and Bettering Himself

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remember that classic first-day-of-school assignment? The one where your teacher would ask what you did on your summer vacation?

Well, if NBA D-League players had that assignment, Jarvis Gunter would need a few extra sheets of looseleaf paper to pen his essay. However, since technology is all the rage these days, I'll relay his interesting tale via blog post instead.

Gunter, the BayHawks 6'10” forward, has been busy both on an off the court, making his presence felt back home in Mississippi, at minicamp with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and here in Erie (where summer ended long ago and snow fell for the first time just yesterday).

For starters, Gunter is currently taking advantage of an apprenticeship offered by the BayHawks that gives him an opportunity to see how the team operates on the business side. Gunter graduated from Arkansas Pine-Bluff in 2008 with a major in accounting and says he'd like to work for a team once his playing days are over. “Or own a team. That would really be my dream job,” Gunter said.

When Gunter heard about the internship last year from the D-League, he was excited about the opportunity. Working with the BayHawks staff has been an educational experience.. “From all the work that they do selling tickets to obtaining business partnerships and sponsorships and getting out in the community, I've learned a lot about what it takes to be a good businessman,” he said.

One of the major aspects of his work has been community outreach. Gunter's been making several public appearances, including a rally at the United Way. Most recently he was at Jefferson Elementary and Our Lady's Christian School yesterday and today on behalf of the Read to Achieve program, which stresses to children the importance of reading and the value of a good education in general.

While Gunter's been learning a lot about the business of basketball and making a difference locally in the community, he's also been improving his game on the court where he hopes to make a difference for the BayHawks this season.

Gunter spent much of the month of September taking part in scrimmages in Cleveland and the Cavaliers' minicamp. And yes, that included time on the court against the two biggest names in Cleveland―and two of the NBA's biggest stars―LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.

The experience was a memorable one. “We beat LeBron's team once, but then he got in his teammates' faces and they never lost again,” he said. And as for Shaq? “It was awesome being on the court against one of the best ever, a guy I've watched on TV all these years growing up, but he makes me look like a little kid. He even makes Big Z [Zydrunas Ilgauskas] look small.”

But beyond the star power around him, the experience was extremely beneficial for Gunter. He said the coaches were impressed with his work ethic and effort on the floor and said that the time on the court with some of the game's elite did wonders for his confidence.

Gunter also offered some encouraging news to BayHawks fans by suggesting that a handful of players from last year's team are hoping to be back this year, including Jackie Manuel. Though it's not official yet and rosters won't be set for a few weeks, one would figure that bringing back as many pieces from a playoff team last year as possible would benefit the team from a continuity and learning standpoint.

As most players are this time of year, Gunter is chomping at the bit to get this season underway. And after spending much of the summer working out with his old high school coach in Columbus, Mississippi, and holding his own against Cavaliers players, his confidence in his playing ability is at an all-time high. “Last year was my first year playing professionally, and I've been learning a lot. I feel I have improved confidence and more patience on offense.”

An improved offensive game may earn him more minutes on the court his season, but Gunter's game is built on hustle and desire. “Rebounding, defense, all the little things the team needs. I'm just trying to get Erie a D-League championship by any means necessary.” Now that's a mantra that any coach or fan loves to hear. And if he can make it happen, it would certainly validate all that hard work he put in during his eventful “summer vacation.”

New Erie BayHawks Blog Takes Flight

Thursday, October 15, 2009

If you visit the Erie BayHawks Web site recently, you may have noticed something new. They recently added a blog called "View From the Nest." In the first post, Matt Bresee, president of the Erie BayHawks and friend of the blog, writes about the offseason, the preseason, and getting ready for next season.

I had the pleasure of sitting down for a casual face-to-face chat with Bresee earlier today and can vouch for the hard work that he and the BayHawks staff has put into this offseason. They're doing a lot to build on the year one success on the court and also working to make the overall fan experience even better in year two.

And don't worry. The new official BayHawks blog doesn't mean Blog Talk BayHawk is going away. The way I see it, the more D-League sources that emerge, the better. So, I welcome "View From the Nest" and their unique contributions to the blogosphere and look forward to continuing to collaborate with the BayHawks organization as the opening of the season draws near.

Former BayHawks Update

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So after posting the former BayHawks update about Erik Daniels last week, I vowed to follow suit with similar posts about other players from last year's BayHawks team.

Then I conducted some basic Google searches and found that it's not easy to find information on a lot of these guys. Thankfully, after putting out an APB on Twitter, I managed to get responses from Ridiculous Upside and Sham Sports updating me about the status of a few former BayHawks. My thanks to them for sharing the information. If anyone has knowledge of the whereabouts/future basketball plans of any of the other BayHawks from last season, please shoot me an e-mail or an @ message on Twitter.

For now, here's all that we know:

  • Darian Townes has signed to play the season for a team in Holland.
  • Quinton Day, a former BayHawks draft pick, is playing in Greece.
  • Mike Cook has signed to play in Great Britain.

BayHawks Set Toronto Free Agent Tryouts

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Erie BayHawks, NBA Development League affiliates of the Toronto Raptors, have set Toronto free agent tryouts for October 31 and November 1, at the Kerr Hall Gymnasium on the campus of Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto.

Players interested in participating in the free agent tryout can get registration forms online at

“We are excited about our new affiliation with the Raptors,” said BayHawks head coach John Treloar. “With this being the only NBA Development League tryout held in Canada this season, we expect a strong turnout.”

Space for the tryouts is limited, interested participants should register early to guarantee their place. Hopefuls should arrive prepared to participate in team drills, individual skills work and scrimmages. BayHawks coaches and staffers will be on hand for player evaluations.

The BayHawks' Cleveland free agent tryouts will be held later this week, October 17-18 at the Cavaliers' practice facility at Quicken Loans Arena. The BayHawks also held free agent tryouts in Erie back in September.

D-League Draft on NBA TV and Streamed Online

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good news broke yesterday for fans of the NBA Development League. The 2009 NBA D-League Draft, which will be held November 5, will be broadcast live on NBA TV and streamed online at starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Although teams are already preparing for the upcoming season with open tryouts in cities across the country, the 10-round draft is a major step toward forming rosters for the upcoming season, which tipos off November 27.

During the telecast, NBA TV host Rick Kamla will share the stage with NBA D-League Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel Chris Alpert to provide insight into the draft proceedings and the composition of NBA D-League team rosters.

“The upcoming NBA D-League Draft will feature more than 140 talented prospects, many of whom will have recently competed in NBA training camps and summer leagues,” said Alpert. “If history is any indication, a number of those players drafted in November will go on to have successful NBA D-League and NBA careers.”

The Erie BayHawks have the second overall pick in the draft. Because the draft uses a serpentine format, they will not choose again until the second-to-last selection of round two (selection number 31 overall). Click here for the complete D-League draft order.

Former BayHawks Update: Erik Daniels

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We're still about a month away from the D-League draft that will help shape this season's Erie BayHawks roster. So, over the next few days/weeks leading up to the draft, I'm going to do my best to track down the current whereabouts of as many of last year's BayHawks as possible.

For starters, I'll take a look at Erik Daniels. Daniels was the team's best player last year, earning 1st-team All-D-League status.

The former Kentucky Wildcat just recently played his first game of the season for Azovmash Mariupol in Ukraine, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting in a one-point loss.

Daniels weighed in via Twitter after the game, saying, "[W]e lost our first game by one point. I didn't play my best game but I still managed to get 14 points. We need to work on our free throws."

Daniels' Twitter feed also included some additional insights. He said he'd never played for a European team that practiced so light, and he also said he plans to 20 points and 10 rebounds this season, which he did last year for Erie.

Hopefully Daniels continues to keep the tweets coming to keep us updated on his progress in Ukraine. His presence will be missed on the court for the BayHawks this season.

About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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