Atlanta Dream Adds Markeisha Gatling to Roster

Atlanta Dream logoRelease from Atlanta Dream:

The Atlanta Dream have signed center Markeisha Gatling to a contract after claiming her off waivers, the organization announced Monday.  The Dream also waived forward Cierra Burdick to finalize the roster move.


Gatling, in her third WNBA season, most recently played for the Seattle Storm, seeing action in 11 games in 2016 before being released on June 25.  She averaged 5.8 minutes of action and 2.3 points per game in her time with Seattle this season.


Originally selected No. 10 overall in the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky, Gatling will be joining her third WNBA franchise after playing her rookie season in 2014 with Chicago (3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg) before joining Seattle in 2015.


Over her WNBA career Gatling has posted averages of 4.1 points and 2.6 rebounds while seeing an average of 11.2 minutes of action per contest.


During her collegiate career at North Carolina State, Gatling was a first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a senior (2014) and was an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America choice.


She averaged 17.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a senior and finished her career as N.C. State’s all-time field-goal percentage leader.   Gatling also closed out her collegiate tenure by ranking 11th in scoring and seventh in offensive rebounds in ACC  career record books.


Burdick spent the majority of 2015 with Atlanta but was limited to 11 games after suffering a foot injury that required season-ending surgery.  In 2016, Burdick appeared in eight games while averaging 0.4 points and 3.7 minutes per contest.


atlanta hawks logoRelease from Atlanta Hawks:

The Atlanta Hawks selected Saint Joseph’s University forward DeAndre’ Bembry with the 21st overall pick in the first round and Isaia Cordinier in the second round (44th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft.

An early entry candidate, Bembry was a three-year letterman at St. Joseph’s averaging 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals (.457 FG%) in 36.1 minutes in 101 career games.  As a junior, he tallied 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.4 steals (.479 FG%) in 37.3 minutes over 36 contests, while being named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and garnering All-League, All-Defensive Team and All-Tournament honors for the conference.  Additionally, he was an AP Honorable Mention All-American and was selected to the NABC and USBWA All-District teams.

“DeAndre’ is a player we have watched for quite some time,” said Hawks General Manager Wes Wilcox.  “He has a great deal of versatility, is a very good passer, has a high basketball IQ, and is a very good person and hard worker.  We’re excited to bring him to the Hawks family.”

As a sophomore, the 6’6” Bembry recorded 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 steals in 38.6 minutes (tops in the nation) in 31 games, while becoming the first SJU player to win the conference’s scoring title.  A First Team All-League selection, he was also chosen to the NABC and USBWA All-District teams.  Named the Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Year and to the A-10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman after posting 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 32.6 minutes in 34 outings.

Cordinier has played professionally in France, his home country, for the last four seasons.  The 6’4” guard saw action in 32 games in 2015-16 with AS Denain Voltaire in the French Pro B league, averaging 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals in 23.4 minutes.  He also played with Evreux (French Pro B) in 2014-15, Antibes (French Pro A) in 2013-14 and Antibes (French Pro B) in 2012-13.  Additionally, he competed for France in the 2014 U18 European Championship.  Cordinier was born Nov. 28, 1996.

“Isaia is a player we studied deeply throughout the season, he’s very athletic and plays extremely hard” said Wilcox.  “He has high character and we are very pleased he was available at the 44th pick.”

Atlanta selected Oakland University’s Kay Felder in the second round (54th overall) before trading his rights to Cleveland for cash considerations.

Passing the Guard: #MMA Power #Rankings June 2016


By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor

Music to listen to:What is Love?/Shakedown Street by STS9

Been too damn long since we’ve done an MMA Power Rankings. Let’s get it.


1)      Stipe Miotich
2)      Fabricio Werdum
3)      Alistair Overeem
4)      Cain Velasquez
5)      Junior Dos Santos


Thoughts: This division received a new king with Miotich earning a TKO win over Werdum at UFC 198. The Cleveland native dominated throughout the bout and the fireman now has UFC gold for his efforts. Werdum demanded an immediate title shot but was usurped by Overeem, who gets Miotich at UFC 203. Overeem went from losing to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and potentially not having his UFC contract renewed to posting a four-match winning streak including a victory over Andrei Arlovski. Overeem went into free agency, signed a new deal with the UFC and gets an immediate title shot.

Some may have Velasquez in the third spot but I think Overeem beats him in a fight at this moment. Velasquez gets Travis Browne at UFC 200 and with a victory can find himself back in the title picture because the UFC division is so volatile at the top. Heck, dos Santos could find himself in line for a title bout by this time next year, doubt it but it can happen.

Light Heavyweight
1)      Daniel Cormier
2)      Jon Jones
3)      Anthony Johnson
4)      Alex Gustafsson
5)      Phil Davis

Thoughts: We’ll finally get to see Cormier and Jones fight for the second time and unify the UFC light heavyweight crown at UFC 200. Personally, I didn’t like the fact that Jones’ fight against Ovince St. Preux was for the interim title. It was a ploy to sell a pay-per-view and enhance Jones’ profile which wasn’t deserved due to his actions outside the ring. Jones dominated over his inferior opponent but showed the fighter rust expected from someone coming off of a 15-month layoff.

Cormier’s last action in the octagon came in a decision win over Gustafsson at UFC 192. It was a grind-it-out victory that left many with doubts. I saw it as a championship effort and he’s still atop of my rankings, for now.

Johnson and Gustafsson still lurk in the title picture but each guy has individual losses to Jones and Cormier. I have Johnson ahead in the standings due to a head-to-head win over the Swede.

Davis is making a name for himself at Bellator and picked up a win over Mo Lawal at Bellator 154. It wasn’t the most impressive win but it was still a victory that sets up a title shot against Liam McGeary later this year.
1)      Michael Bisping
2)      Luke Rockhold
3)      Chris Weidman
4)      Yoel Romero
5)      Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza


Thoughts: While it didn’t rank as my biggest upset in MMA history (Matt Serra over Georges St. Pierre may never be topped again in shock value), Bisping defeating Rockhold at UFC 199 on two-weeks notice definitely sent shock waves throughout the sport. Especially when you consider that Rockhold dominated the first meeting between the two guys back in 2014 and has shown vast improvement since then, seeing Bisping overcome that was a surprise, particularly in the fashion he did. Bisping, who was fighting in his 26th UFC fight, was aggressive from the start and took advantage of a tentative Rockhold.

So, what’s next? Many assumed that Rockhold would win and fight Weidman who had to pull out of the UFC 199 event due to a neck injury. However, Bisping may now have sights set on Jacare who was impressive in a dominant win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 198. Romero is also lurking even though he’s currently serving a six-month drug suspension. Title shots usually don’t come that easy.

1)      Robbie Lawler
2)      Rory MacDonald
3)      Tyron Woodley
4)      Stephen Thompson
5)      Damian Maia


Thoughts: Lawler has continued his improbable run from MMA vagabond to UFC champion including a close decision victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 195. Re-watch the final two rounds of that fight and you will see why I continue to be a fan of this sport. Lawler now faces Woodley at UFC 201 in Atlanta (I’ll be there!).

MacDonald had a figurative way with Lawler himself at UFC 189 with the champ showing resolve in the last round to earn the decision. The Canadian returns to face Thompson this Saturday at a UFC event. Win that fight and a deserved second title shot may be in line.

Maia may have something to say about the title shots himself seeing how he’s on a four-fight win streak himself including a submission victory over Matt Brown at UFC 198. He’s the hottest fighter in the division and should be noticed.

1)      Rafael dos Anjos
2)      Eddie Alvarez
3)      Donald Cerrone
4)      Khabib Nurmagomedov
5)      Tony Ferguson

Thoughts: dos Anjos has begun to gain a margin over the rest of his UFC counterparts in this division. The champion dismantled Cerrone in 66 seconds last year and has won 10 of his last 11 fights. Next up for dos Anjos is Alvarez in July. Cerrone is still in the picture which is fair considering his loss snapped an eight-match winning streak. He’ll face Patrick Cote this Saturday.

If there’s someone who can claim a win over dos Anjos in the title picture is Nurmagomedov who earned the victory in April 2014. He returned to the Octagon after a two-year absence due to injury and picked up a second-round stoppage against Darrell Horcher in April. Nurmagomedov is now undefeated in 23 career fights, including seven in the UFC.
1)      Conor McGregor
2)      Jose Aldo
3)      Frankie Edgar
4)      Max Holloway
5)      Chad Mendes


Thoughts: Enjoy seeing McGregor at the top of this division Power Ranking because he may not even be in the top-five in the next one, which will probably be in December knowing my luck putting these together. Actually, the reason will be that we’ve seen the last of McGregor in this division. He’s a massive featherweight and the weight cut is brutal especially now that he’s preparing for a welterweight fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 202. That extra weight isn’t going to come off easily and the effort won’t be worth it for McGregor physically or financially. There are more enticing opponents in other divisions, particularly lightweight which will ultimately be his home in the future.

For now, he’s the champion in the UFC for now and gets the top spot. Aldo and Edgar fight for the interim title at UFC 200. Aldo looks for redemption after his embarrassing first-round loss to McGregor at UFC 194 while Edgar finally gets a second shot at the title in this division after an impressive first round knockout of Mendes at that save event.

Holloway is a major contender and riding a nine-fight winning streak but until the McGregor/Aldo/Edgar triangle is figured out, he’s going to have to wait on the title shot for now.


Those are my thoughts, what are yours?