Sunday, March 10th, 2013


Undefeated documentary benefitted from Hoops Dreams


When the critically acclaimed documentary “Hoop Dreams” was denied Oscar consideration in 1995, public outcry forced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revise its nomination process. That revision came far too late to help “Hoop Dreams,” which esteemed film critic Roger Ebert once called “the great American documentary,” but it paved the way for similar documentaries that may otherwise have been snubbed or overlooked to receive consideration for the greatest prize in filmmaking. One such film will be on display when the Oscars are handed out on Sunday night.Read More

Creekers go off the beaten path to indulge their passion

Creekers Photo

A day after a series of tornadoes carved a deadly path through Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, an intrepid band of creekers—kayakers with a taste for rain-fueled, rock-lined, steep runs—are somewhere on the Cumberland Plateau, seeking to do what few before them have done. The objective is a 55-foot waterfall. As in, riding it down. This is no whitewater raft adventure at Dollywood. “This sport,” said Nick Murphy, 25, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga environmental geology major, “is inherently dangerous.” Uh, yeah. And on this day, there’s an added obstacle.Read More

Putting boots on the ground in the Cherokee National Forest


TELLICO PLAINS, Tenn. — On a flawless day in early November, with nary a cloud diminishing the blue sky overhead and the temperature just cool enough to require a light jacket, Tennessee Wild director Jeff Hunter is leading an expedition. Inspired by Jenni Frankenberg Veal’s article about the Tennessee Wilderness Act, photographer Jeff Guenther, an avid outdoorsman, and I are tagging along behind Hunter so we can see for ourselves why this bill matters. Introduced by Sen. Lamar Alexander and co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, it seeks to expand fiveRead More

Bucknell’s Mike Muscala a do-it-all threat

Mike Muscala

Last week, we told the story of South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters, a formerly little-known high school player from Minnesota who has improved his game and his profile enough to be considered a legitimate NBA Draft pick. Clearly there’s something going on in the North Star State besides hockey, because this week we present … another story about a formerly little-known high school player from Minnesota who has improved his game and his profile enough to be considered a legitimate NBA Draft pick. A reasonable argument could be presentedRead More

NBA scouts know all about South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters


Because he plays at one of college basketball’s more remote outposts, South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters occasionally gets lost amid a barrage of televised games, forgotten in conversations about the game’s best point guards and pushed to the background by higher-profile players with seemingly better NBA Draft resumes. Every now and again, he reminds people he’s still out there.  One of those reminders came last week. After Wolters scored 53 points in a game at Fort Wayne, the Twitterverse immediately lit up with praise from the college hoops media.Read More

Jumpin’ D.J. Stephens a raw but intriguing NBA prospect

D.J. Stephens

In a late February game between Conference USA opponents, Southern Miss forward Dwayne Davis is faced with a decision. Davis is a couple of steps beyond the 3-point line and, for a second at least, is wide open. But there’s a problem barreling his way. That would be Memphis forward D.J. Stephens, who closes out in the blink of an eye and leaves Davis, already into his shooting motion, just one option. Davis half pump fakes and half travels as Stephens, who can’t stop his forward momentum, leaves his feetRead More

The film that reinvented the soundtrack


Rare is the film that sparks a cultural reawakening. I won’t name names, but a certain national magazine gave the Coen Brothers’ excellent O Brother Where Art Thou? an F review when it was released in 2000. Not sure what movie the magazine’s reviewer was watching, but the film went on to box office success — a gross of more than $71 million against a budget of $26 million — was generally enjoyed by critics — 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — snared a couple of Oscar noms, and oh, byRead More

One on One With Chris Dortch: Tennessee’s Jordan McRae

McRae Photo

If Tennessee ends up earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament, Vol fans have Jessie Fleming to thank. Were it not for the urging of Fleming, an AAU basketball coach in Hinesville, Ga., Tennessee junior guard Jordan McRae might be playing center field in the minor leagues, not shooting guard for a power conference team that, some experts believe, is a win over Missouri on Saturday away from claiming a spot in the Big Dance. In his last six games, McRae has been arguably the hottest offensive player in theRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes

Jarnell Stokes

The photo, posted by Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes earlier this week on his Instagram feed, speaks volumes. It’s a shot, from the Vols’ game at South Carolina on Sunday, of Stokes and Gamecock freshman Michael Carrera battling for a loose ball. Or rather, Carrera is holding on for dear life, because in the process of trying to wrest the ball away from his opponent, Stokes has lifted the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Carrera nearly two feet off the ground. “I guess he really wanted the ball,” Stokes said, laughing. “He wouldn’t letRead More

One on One with Chris Dortch: Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins

John Jenkins

It’s finals week at Vanderbilt, but sophomore guard John Jenkins, just minutes away from taking an oceanography exam, is putting on a little demonstration. A visitor to the Commodores’ practice gym wanted to hear Jenkins’ jump shot—that’s right, hear it—and Jenkins is happy to oblige. After a couple of shots that nick the back of the rim but still go in—poor efforts in Jenkins’ mind—he gets into a groove. As his guest rebounds, the 6-foot-4 Jenkins rises off the floor, his body as straight as a No. 2 pencil andRead More