matt

Guess Who’s back? Back again…

Ok, so maybe he wasn’t gone that long! But the 2006 Flint Powers graduate, Matt Wittbrodt, will make his return to the “Great Lake State” this season at Northwood University in the fall. After spending the last three seasons at Eldon Academy (Petosky, Mich) and Ohlone College (Freemont, California)  in the Bay Area of “Sunshine State,” he’s finally ready to showcase his talents in his own residence.

He says “I’m finally where I want to be skill-wise, I just have to show it!”

This type of attitude has propelled him to silence his critics as well bowlderize his past struggles. After receiving many offers from big-time universities while in high school, including Central Michigan University, a DUI he caught his senior year dimmed his buzz just a tidbit. Instead of letting the adversity get to him, “Witty” simply took his skills elsewhere and continued to make his mark.  

With pin-point passes, yo-yo handles, and devastating quickness, Wittbrodt has drawn comparisons to Jason “White Chocolate” Williams (…in his Sacramento Kings days). This is why he will be suiting up for a respectable Division II program like the Northwood Timberwolves this season after being a ‘Renegade’ for the last two years.

Not only does “Witty” excel in the skill department of the sport, he’s also a student of the game, studying players like “Pistol” Pete Maravich and Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway to help mold his style. Step into his room (…no homo) and you’ll feel as though you were in the Naismith Hall of Fame with all of the basketball paraphernalia clogging up his area. He has everything from autographed Penny Hardaway photos to Air Jordan IV’s in a glass case! He just loves the game!!   

And did I forget to mention his swag? Sorry, I get off topic sometimes…But his swag is through the roof! You may catch him around the city rolling in his apple red 1999 Cadillac Deville with two 12’s in the trunk bumping some Dayton Family or Three 6 Mafia. Rapping word for word! You can’t teach that…it has to be in you.

Our relationship dates back to elementary school, when we raced at recess and “tied.” We still battle from time to time and I usually win (…just kidding). But on a rather serious note, expect Matt Wittbrodt to finally get his credit this year. After sharing the spotlight in high school with Laval Lucas Perry and Tom Herzog, he finally will be awarded the opportunity to compile his own list of luminary achievements.

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mike

Does he smoke? Never. Does he drink? Not a chance. He has to party 
sometimes?
Nope. And you sure he’s from Flint? Yes! All he enjoys doing is shooting a circular object  into a 10 foot goal post. That’s it! Literally. Figuratively. Or any other way you may want to classify it.

The game of basketball is as important to former 2004 Flint 
Southwestern grad, Mike Henderson as ice is to rapper Gucci Mane! But 
Henderson’s ice isnt on the exterior, it’s in his veins. It propels him 
to succeed with a competitive drive that is unmatched.

He stays immersed in the game, all of the time. All of his energy and 
focus is put into improving on the hardwood. It’s not just a desire but more of an obligation for him to be good.

From weightlifting to shooting drills to conditioning…he gives it 
110%! Although he does have a car of his own, He even walks (…around 
Flint!) to stay in shape. Shirt off and all. If you see him just wave.

If you haven’t seen Mike Henderson play then just picture this: Kobe Bryant‘s skills meets Tayshaun Prince‘s left-handed awkwardness with Dwight  Howard’s blocking ability. That’s his game in a nutshell. You’re 
pretty much at his mercy in other words.

You may be wondering how I know all of this? Well let’s just say that I’ve got the inside scoop from watching as well participating in workouts with Henderson throughout much of the new millenium. From small gyms to parks to pretty much anywhere with a basketball hoop, we have honed our skills there at some point. The only difference is that he kept improving while I’m here writing this post.

All of Henderson’s hard work paid off last season when he blossomed at St. Clair Community College averaging 17.8 buckets and 10.3 rebounds per game. Not bad for a kid who gave up his senior year of of high school elgibility at FSWA because of “creative differences?”

 He’s played everywhere: Eldon Academy, Wayne State University, The Job Corps of Flint, multiple church leagues, the Pro-Am, and now he is finally in a position to shine this season. Playing his natural position, small forward, look for Henderson to shine bright at Fairmont State University. If you have never rooted for the underdog in your life then here is your flippin chance!

*click on the pic to view this post at It’s Just Sports on mlive.com!

This summer I attended my very first convention for the National Association of Black Journalists! It was in Tampa, Florida at the Convention Center from August 5-9. I had a blast and here are some of the sights from the event. Some of the guests included: Stuart Scott (ESPN), Roland Martin (CNN), LeBron James (NBA), Chris Rock (Comedian), and Nia Long (Actress).

Here are the photos:

Sports Seminar including David Aldridge (far right) from TNT

Sports Seminar including David Aldridge (far right) from TNTESPN sponsored dinner

Me and Stuart Scott (ESPN)

Me and Stuart Scott (ESPN)

ESPN sponsored breakfast

ESPN sponsored breakfast

King James

King James

lebron 2
lebron 3
Roland Martin (CNN)

Roland Martin (CNN)

Tiki Barber (former NFL player)

Tiki Barber (former NFL player)

Stuart Scott (ESPN)

Stuart Scott (ESPN)

photo from minnesotaboxing.com

photo from minnesotaboxing.com

Former six-time world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s latest injury wasn’t an accident — his ribs were bruised at the hands of Flint native Dion Savage, who’s yet to lose since he turned pro in boxing.

With a 5-0 record (three knockouts), Savage is slowly storming the super-middleweight division. His quest for the crown has driven him to make some moves that were even questioned by some of his family members.

“When I got fired from Wal-Mart, I saved up my unemployment checks and one night at like three or four in the morning I just got up like ‘I’m getting tired of this condition, man, I’m about to go to (Las) Vegas,’ and I got my plane ticket and flew down there,” Savage said. “I flew there with only like $200 in my pocket and my momma was like ‘You crazy!’ but I didn’t care what nobody said because I was just focused.”

Savage’s focus started at 12-years-old when he took up the sport after his father, who owned a string of local party stores, was incarcerated. He was forced to step up and become the man of the house, so he began boxing at Berston Fieldhouse with the intent to make enough money to provide for his close relatives.

After learning the gist of the sport, he took his skills to the Flint PAL where he trained with Leon “Bumper” Lawson and later in Joe Byrd’s gym, where he qualified for the U.S. Nationals before turning pro.

Initially, he was nothing but target practice for Lawson’s grandsons, Andre and Anthony Dirrell.

“They was whupping on me with one hand but I used to go home and do extra stuff,” Savage said. “I used to work double harder than them to try to catch up with them because they was so ahead of me and had so much more experience than me. I used to beat my body up (by) getting up at like 3 in the morning and just running or doing pushups in the house.”

He now trains with the legendary Roger Mayweather in Las Vegas as he prepares for his next bout. Savage said he will fight on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight Sept. 19 on HBO, although he doesn’t have an opponent yet.
Savage’s accomplishments early in his career have impressed his former tutors.

“He did this by himself on his own dedication and I just really praise him for that because a lot of guys that have big dreams just sit on them and let them go to waste and get older,” top-ranked super-middleweight contender Andre Dirrell said. “With Dion, that’s not what he’s about. He gets out and he chases his dreams and I kind of, in a way, look up to him for that.”

“I’m very proud of him,” said legendary Flint-area trainer Joe Byrd. “There’s nothing in Michigan for a young man and he’s down there with the Mayweather family who have proved that they can make champions. He has all the tools to be champion, so as long as he listens to them he can be champ. I’m just looking forward to him remembering Flint and coming back to Flint to put on a show for us once he gets into the main event fights and I think he will do that.”

Although it may seem as though Savage is making all of the right moves, he still feels the need to prove to the world that he can shine in the national spotlight.

“My talent has been in the dark, don’t nobody know about it but the people that have seen me work, so that’s why Floyd took me in,” Savage said. “I’m about to be the world champ, I ain’t come here to be like ‘I tried.'”

*click on the pic to view this post on Mlive.com for the Flint Journal!