Friday, in Tim Lester’s mind, was the day the competition truly began.It was the first time that Syracuse practiced in full pads. It also was one of the first times that Drew Allen has been truly comfortable in the SU system. Until now, it’s been tough for Lester, the quarterbacks coach, to make any judgments on who will win the starting job under center.“There’s not much clarity yet,” Lester said, “but they’ve all been playing hard and learning.”Allen and Terrel Hunt are splitting snaps evenly at quarterback, Lester said, with Charley Loeb following behind. Days ago it seemed that Hunt was the frontrunner in the two-horse race. Now it’s a dead heat.The next few days will go a long way in separating the pack. The Orange practiced third downs for the first time on Saturday and will do further situational work in the upcoming practices. Those are when Lester will learn each quarterback’s “quirks.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWho holds on to the ball too long? Who can execute on third downs? Or in the red zone? It’s questions like those that Lester hopes will be answered in the coming days, and the answers will shed light on the outlook of the quarterback competition.“Today was good,” Lester said. “Real fun for me to see the guys in a unique situation because we’ve been doing first down for five days now.”Also adding some clarity is Allen’s rapid progression into the flow of the offense over the past few days.For the first few days he spent practicing with Syracuse, he had yet to familiarize himself.“He was just uncomfortable with everything,” Lester said.But he’s improved quickly, faster even than Lester expected, and is now on level footing with Hunt and Loeb.It’s helped make Hunt better, too. Lester said that Loeb and John Kinder pushed Hunt well in the spring, but adding Allen and freshmen Mitch Kimble and Austin Wilson has made for a crowded competition that has only elevated Hunt’s play. Over the next few days, though, there should be some clarity.Said Lester: “Now we’re into the unique things that make a quarterback special.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm Contact David: firstname.lastname@example.org | @DBWilson2
She seemed puzzled by the question. She said she misses her “sweetheart” dearly while he’s at school. When she first opened the door to the Melo Center, she said, “Where’s my son? Where’s my son?” And she loved going to every one of his games at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. She knew all of that. But a more challenging question stumped her. His mother Sharon Dash watched intently from two feet to his right. Johnson’s aunt, uncle and cousin surrounded her. Dash listened as her son mentioned that he can’t swim, his favorite villain is the Joker and he loves any kind of rice. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text From his standard, squeaky-clean white, size 14 Jordans up to his No. 2 jersey and orange headband, everything was traditional. No Ron Patterson wacky hair. No DaJuan Coleman outlandish tattoos. No Jerami Grant irreversible grin. “At one point in time I thought you had to stick a pin in him to get him to wake up,” Bobby Johnson said. “He was always laid back, and I would always tell him, ‘When you come out on the floor, we don’t need that cool sh*t.’” But she couldn’t pinpoint anything that stood out about him. The banter continued. Dash and her sister Michelle Scott quipped about just how quiet Johnson is. “Noooo,” Dash responded, incredulously looking at her sister, taking a step back and jerking her head downward in disbelief. “I think he talks too much,” Scott said. Published on November 6, 2013 at 3:28 am Contact Trevor: email@example.com | @TrevorHass “He’s just such a plain kid,” Dash said. “Baby, you’ve got to get interesting.” But Johnson’s father Bobby Johnson, who played professional basketball in Portugal and Germany, is the antithesis of quiet. When Bobby grew up in South Philadelphia, the culture was completely different. Jawing and trash talk was incessant. It was the expectation. You had to go out there and play and shut those people up, Bobby Johnson said. If you didn’t, you’d never come back on the floor again.Johnson and his father used to wake up at 6 a.m. and head to Lower Merion to work out for an hour. Johnson was dedicated throughout, Bobby said, but he didn’t always show enthusiasm on the court. B.J. Johnson stood firmly in place with his hands behind his back on the outskirts of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center gym during media day on Oct. 18. “I was being facetious,” Scott responded wryly. Facebook Twitter Google+ Then Johnson flashed a golden smile, revealing a slight gap between his two front teeth. He swayed back and forth, clearly uncomfortable by the entire situation. Johnson, who’s only 17, is as quiet as they come, according to his relatives. But his reserved nature and tendency to fly under the radar made him lethal in high school and may help him earn a spot in the Syracuse rotation. Comments He didn’t hear his son swear until he was 15 or 16.“I think the first time I actually heard him yell out the four-letter word he was playing at one of the practices and he was like ‘F*ck!’” Bobby Johnson said. “I was like, ‘OK, you do care.’”Before Lower Merion’s state championship game against Chester (Pa.) High School, Johnson and his father drove to the rehabilitation center because Johnson had sprained his ankle and needed treatment. Bobby tried to elicit some sort of enthusiasm out of his son — to make sure he was ready for the biggest game of his high school career.After losing to Chester three years in a row, Johnson and the Aces were out for revenge. But Johnson was calm, unfazed by the pressure of the situation.“I got ’em, dad,” he said coolly.“He got ’em!” Bobby said. Lower Merion beat Chester 63-47, ending the Clippers’ 78-game in-state winning streak. Johnson finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds. But the fire was never fully there. When Bobby Johnson first watched his son play at Lower Merion, he sat there wondering if the other fans would get riled up like he did.“When I first went to the games, the Lower Merion people are sitting there like it’s a cricket match,” Bobby said. “I remember being like, ‘What the — ain’t anybody going to get the guys going?’”Months later, removed from one of the most dominant stints at Lower Merion since Kobe Bryant’s hey-day, Johnson comes to SU as the No. 17 small forward in the class of 2013. Yet on media day, few reporters come his way. He stands far from the center of attention as reporters crowd around stars C.J. Fair and Grant. Most people don’t expect Johnson to play much this season. He may not. But his quiet confidence will help prepare him if he does. He’s not a blue-chipper, 5-star guy, Bobby said, but he works every day.“Sometimes it’s better to be that guy that comes in under the radar and just does what he needs to do,” Bobby said. “Then all of a sudden everybody’s saying, ‘I knew he would be that guy.’”Bobby Johnson recalls asking his son a question back in high school. “It was funny because I asked B.J., ‘Suppose this summer you really blew up and had Roy Williams knocking on your door. Would you want to go to North Carolina?“And he was like, ‘No.’“I said ‘If Coach K was knocking on your door, would you want to go to Duke?’“And he was like, ‘No.’“He had a plan, and it’s what he wanted to do.”Now Johnson’s ready to live out the dream he has had since seventh grade: star at Syracuse. Jim Boeheim said Johnson has surprised the coaching staff up to this point. He’s young, but he can ball. “I’m just really excited to be here and for the season to start,” Johnson said. “That’s pretty much all I’ve been waiting for and now it’s here.” “What’s the most fascinating thing about B.J.?” a reporter asked.
Published on November 6, 2013 at 11:57 am Ryan Norton will start at kicker in Syracuse’s game against Maryland on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., head coach Scott Shafer announced Wednesday during the weekly Atlantic Coast Conference coaches’ teleconference.Norton was suspended last week after being charged with resisting arrest and underage possession of alcohol, and did not play in SU’s 13-0 win against Wake Forest last Saturday.When asked why he issued a one-week suspension to Norton after dismissing Markus Pierce-Brewster and Davon Walls following felony burglary and misdemeanor petit larceny charges in March, Shafer offered a second straight short response.“It’s just my policy,” Shafer said.Regardless of circumstance, Norton may be one of as many as three players to bolster the Orange roster when it travels to College Park, Md.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShafer said nose tackle Eric Crume, who was a game-time decision against the Demon Deacons and finished with only nine snaps, looked sharp in practice Tuesday, and running back George Morris II returned to practice as well.Shafer said Crume probably could have played more against Wake Forest, but the Okie package was thriving without him and it seemed smartest to let him rest.“I think our training staff’s done a great job getting him back,” Shafer said. “I think he’s close to being at 100 percent.”Morris, who hasn’t played since the Clemson game on Oct. 5, appears on the mend as well.“He had a good practice, kind of had to knock the rust off, but nice to see him back out there,” Shafer said. “We’ll kind of take it day by day.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
Reed Kamyszek is always taking some sort of course.First, there are the Syracuse courses. With his biochemistry major complete, the senior concentrates on his other major, ethics and his psychology minor.Then there are the medical school applications — the top ones, this side of the Mississippi River, Kamyszek needs to stay the course and finish.And lastly, 2–3 hours per day, six days a week, he spends on an actual course as a top runner on the Syracuse men’s cross-country team. The team is ranked sixth in the nation, which prepares for the Atlantic Coast Conference championships in three weeks. Time management and organization are keys to his success because, for him, running and school are the same.When it comes to his 4.0 GPA, his NCAA Elite 89 award and an eighth overall finish in Syracuse’s most recent meet, he approaches all of these with the same mind-set and a methodical game plan.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In cross-country, there are four or five major races during your season,” he said. “In a class, there are four or five major exams.”He admitted that the spacing of these tests might differ between the two areas, but he stressed that consistency is the biggest part.“There’s a difference between simply going to lecture and paying attention,” he said. “And the same thing goes for practice. Are you mentally up for (either)?”Every day starts at 7:25 a.m. on the same street corner, where a group of cross-country teammates get an early run in. Then comes breakfast — mostly organic food he cooks himself — before lectures, workouts, dinner, homework and 8–9 hours of sleep to finish the day.And his attention to detail was fostered at a young age.“We had high expectations. We harked on the kids, ‘My name’s attached to you, don’t mess it up,’” Kamyszek’s father, Eric, said with a laugh about his and his wife Dawn’s parenting style.In school, he consistently received top marks in the classroom and impressed athletically. In sixth grade, during a mandatory mile run for gym class, Kamyszek flew to a 5:30 time.Kamyszek dropped hockey his freshman year at Kenowa Hills High School in Michigan and went under the tutelage of Greg Meyer — who won the Boston Marathon in 1983 and before this year, was the last American to do so. Meyer trained any and all high school kids in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.Any skill level was welcome and it was free.Kamyszek soon began dominating his conference. By junior year, he won the Division II cross-country state championship in the fall and the 2-mile event in track in the spring. He was so successful running that he began to lose, on purpose — but only to his teammates.During the regular season, he would slow up toward the end of meets and allow his teammates to pass him across the finish line. He wanted to share the spotlight and give his teammates ink in the paper.He did this because Kamyszek is only competitive with himself, not his teammates or opponents.“I don’t like to lay out what I’m going to do beforehand,” Kamyszek said when asked if he trash talks. “Everyone’s there to learn, so why would you hinder someone’s ability to do that?”This comes from the Midwestern sensibility Syracuse coach Chris Fox can’t help but mention when discussing Kamyszek.“He only does things that make sense,” he said. “He’s very calculating.”On a team-wide scale, Kamyszek said, it doesn’t matter who’s the first or fifth man because everyone has to pass the person in front of them to help the team. Especially because points matter so much, particularly in championships, and that’s where the Orange will be in just three short weeks.Until then, Kamyszek will stay on course, repeating his routine, because he knows that’s the quickest way to success.“The last thing you want to do (is get overwhelmed),” Kamyszek said. “If that happens, your work suffers — and that’s the last thing you want to happen.” Comments Published on October 15, 2014 at 12:05 am Contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+
Published on November 13, 2014 at 12:19 am Contact Sam: email@example.com | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse wasn’t shy about the fact that it wanted Louisville.After the Orange defeated Duke in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Sunday, the attention quickly turned to exacting revenge on its most disappointing loss of the season.“I’d love to play them again,” junior goalkeeper Alex Bono said. “Neutral site. Went down a man down there, unfortunately, right or wrong. I’d love to get back after them and get some re-venge.“Just going out there and seeing those red jerseys and walking all over them.”In its best season in program history, Syracuse’s biggest blemish came on Oct. 17, when it lost at Louisville after relenting a one-goal advantage. Cardinals midfielder Tim Kubel tied the game on a penalty kick and SU’s Alex Halis was ejected after receiving a controversial second yellow card with just more than four minutes to play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith the Orange down a man, Louisville’s Jerry Ramirez scored off a free kick six minutes into overtime and then-No. 2 SU’s eight-game winning streak was over. The No. 1 Orange (15-2-1, 5-2-1 ACC), though, has a chance to redeem itself when it travels to Cary, North Carolina to face the sixth-seeded Cardinals (9-6-3, 4-3-1) in the semifinals of the ACC tournament at 8 p.m. on Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park.“Right after we played them down there, we realized we’d hopefully have another chance to play,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “I’m sure they’re as excited to play us as we are to play them.”After Halis was whistled for pushing another player from behind in the 86th minute of SU’s eventual loss, the home crowd of 3,367 immediately started yelling before referee Ted Unkel gave Halis a second yellow card, despite there not being much contact, backup goalkeeper Matt Stith said.SU right wing Oyvind Alseth said that moment demoralized SU, and a team that works constant-ly on defensive set pieces conceded a goal on one just six minutes into overtime.“It wasn’t just the result. It was the morale and the way we played,” Alseth said. “Letting that goal was pretty disappointing. I think the team got over it pretty quickly. The most important thing is how you react to losses, and we haven’t lost since then.”Its loss to Louisville wasn’t a game that highlighted Syracuse’s weaknesses, it was an anomaly in a season where seemingly every break has gone SU’s way. Six of its first 13 games had been 1-0 wins, and when the Orange jumped out to that advantage in the 55th minute, there was no reason to think the game would be any different.“Yes and no,” midfielder Stefanos Stamoulacatos said when asked if he wished the Orange could have that game back. “Everything happens for a reason. We’re playing them now in the final four, I think we’re going to come up on top this time.”McIntyre jokingly said he owed the ACC an apology for robbing the league of a potential Duke-North Carolina semifinal this weekend, noting that it will probably be harder to sell tickets in Cary now.But whether the Orange plays in front of a packed house or empty bleachers, it’s the chance to get back at Louisville that gives SU extra motivation.“We lost two games this season, and now we get to play one of the teams we lost to,” Alseth said. “It’s a big chance for redemption for us and it is quite a big deal.” Comments
While Tyler Roberson continues to assert himself on the offensive end, there’s one part of his game he’s still hesitant to use — his midrange jumper.But for the Syracuse sophomore forward, there’s a simple adjustment to make when those shots don’t fall.“I took it a few times today and it didn’t go in,” Roberson said. “Once I knew it wasn’t really going in, I just looked to attack.”It paid off, as Roberson set a career-high in scoring with 19 points while grabbing 10 rebounds to help the Orange (16-9, 7-5 Atlantic Coast) keep pace with No. 4 Duke (22-3, 9-3) before ultimately losing, 80-72, on Saturday in the Carrier Dome.Roberson’s role in the SU frontcourt has evolved throughout the season as a result of injuries to DaJuan Coleman and Chris McCullough. Though his production hasn’t been totally consistent, his aggression on the offensive end is on an upward spike.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I was attacking, good things were happening,” Roberson said, “so I just kept going to it and it was working out for me.”Michael Gbinije was blanketed. Trevor Cooney was face-guarded. Rakeem Christmas had the attention of Duke’s biggest defender, Jahlil Okafor.The combination created plenty of space for Roberson to supply Syracuse’s frontcourt with plenty of production.“They’re leaving him,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said, “and he’s got to take the ball to the basket when he can and he did it. He had a tremendous game.”After scoring SU’s first points with a layup, Roberson took a dump-off pass from Christmas underneath the basket and threw down a dunk to put the Orange up 14-8. He then added a late floater from the block to head into halftime as SU’s second-leading scorer.Roberson took a feed from Gbinije to flush another dunk, and four minutes later cleaned up his own missed floater with an aggressive chase after the rebound and a power dribble to clear space before putting it back in.Roberson added two more layups — including an and-one, drawing a fourth foul on Okafor — and tacked on some free throws. His 10 points and his six rebounds, including four off SU misses, led Syracuse in the second half.Although his 19 points were more than he had scored in his previous three games combined, his career night wasn’t enough to upend the Blue Devils.But it was another step in the right direction as Roberson continues to pick his spots to be effective.“(He’s) just finishing better, getting open and just going after loose balls,” Gbinije said. “He did a good job of getting some second chances for us. We need them down there.” Comments Published on February 16, 2015 at 12:17 am Contact Phil: firstname.lastname@example.org | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+
On Thursday, the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, USC’s research center for risk and management analysis related to homeland security, hosted its 10-year anniversary conference at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.‘I am the captain now’ · Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama was the closing speaker of CREATE’s 10-Year Anniversary event, which took place on Thursday in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Phillips spoke on the 2009 hijacking of his ship by Somali pirates. – Nick Entin | Daily TrojanThe all-day event’s closing speaker was Capt. Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama. In 2009, a team of Somali pirates hijacked Phillips’ ship and held him hostage until a team of U.S. Navy SEALs rescued him; the incident inspired the 2013 film starring Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips, and made Phillips a national hero.Sponsored by the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the event also featured panelists such as Randy Hall, vice president of research and co-founder of CREATE, and Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Panels involving “Next Generation’s Greatest Chaos,” “Advancing Homeland Security through University Research” and “The Changing Face of Terrorism” were also featured.Yannis Yortsos, dean of the Viterbi School, introduced Phillips. Yortsos briefly discussed how rapid technological advances have expanded engineers’ role in society before commending Phillips’ heroism, calling Phillips a true American hero.“Engineering can now enable disciplines which in the past were nontraditional, like risk analysis, economics and behavioral science,” Yortsos said. “CREATE has utilized this convergence to help our country.”Phillips’ talk focused on leadership, and he emphasized the importance of preparation. Because Phillips knew about the prevalence of pirates off the coast of Somali prior to the highjacking, he organized a disaster drill to test the ship’s security procedures.After this test, Phillips developed a security protocol with his crew that may have saved their lives during the highjacking. Phillips stressed the importance of flexibility and adapting to situations, however, after sharing that he had to deviate from his plan to eject the pirates from his ship.Throughout the speech, Phillips reiterated three key points he wanted conference attendees to take away from his experience on to be applied to their own lives.“I have three things I would like to leave you with: One, you are stronger than you know and you can handle much more than you think,” Phillips said. “Two, the only time it is over is when you say it is over. Three, a motivated, focused team of professionals can solve any problem.”Throughout his talk, Phillips explained the events as they unfolded during the highjacking. After the pirates boarded the ship and held him at gunpoint, Phillips played what he called “mind games” to prevent further trouble.For example, Phillips prevented the pirates from calling their headquarters to assist in the highjacking by reconfiguring the radar system so they were unable to do so. Phillips was very humble when he discussed his actions during the hijacking, emphasizing that bravery is possible when one remains calm and maintains a level head during times of duress.“When faced with a threatening situation, we find something within us to do what must be done,” Phillips said. “It’s not possible to persevere when you’re panicked.”During the attack, Phillips attempted to regain control of the situation by luring the pirates off the Maersk Alabama and away from the members of his crew, who were hiding below deck. Adding that he wished to clear up one aspect of his portrayal in the media, Phillips said that he did not give himself up with the intent of becoming a hostage or as a heroic sacrifice.“My strategy was to be their adversary instead of their hostage, so I didn’t give up,” Phillips said. “My major responsibility was to get the pirates off my ship, so I carried out my duty.”
When Lida Dianti turned on the news and saw Syrian children losing their homes, their families and their very lives, she wanted to help in a sustainable way. Her purpose became to give young Syrians something that could never be taken away from them: education.Dianti founded the USC chapter of Students Organize for Syria in Fall 2016. The organization tutors students in English as part of their Students Teach for Syria program and co-hosts donation drives with UCLA to support families in El Cajon, a city near San Diego. The Syrian Civil War is currently in its sixth year, and millions have been displaced from their homes. Three years ago, the United Nations called the Syrian Civil War “the biggest humanitarian crisis of our era.” Because of the prevalence of information about the war, Dianti is adamant that the purpose of her club is not to raise awareness. “People know,” she said. “It’s 2017; we all have iPhones. People are well aware of what’s going on. I’m done having dialogue. I’m done raising awareness. I want action.”Action is an understatement for Dianti’s role in the club. She spends all her free time on SOS, whether she’s picking up lunch ingredients for the kids, brainstorming ideas for new projects or driving down to El Cajon to help out — a trip she makes every weekend. The dozen or so families she works with in El Cajon know and expect her; they have her number, they know her name and they know her car.The focus of Dianti’s club is education as she believes it is crucial for refugee children to continue their studies. As a senior majoring in international relations, she had been closely following the conflict. Over a year ago, she began tutoring a Syrian student, someone she still considers a very close friend. After meeting her, Dianti had a personal stake in the war.“She changed my whole life,” Dianti said. Dianti wanted to start a tutoring program here on campus because of the high demand for English speaking tutors. In her experience, there are a variety of reasons Syrian children want English tutors. Primarily, students want to be prepared for placement exams so they can get into universities and make a life for themselves outside of their unstable country. Students also need English assistance to fill out applications for jobs, for asylum and for colleges. A third group simply wants to practice their speaking. “[When studying a foreign language], it’s very common that reading and writing is easy, but speaking, that can only come from experience and practice,” Dianti said. “The best way to do that is with a native speaker.”Sofia Deak, vice president of SOS, first got involved as a tutor. “I had been looking for a way to help out with the crisis going on in Syria and have a lasting impact on the people who were suffering there,” she said. Deak then helped expand SOS’ work to El Cajon and coordinated volunteers for their donation drives, and has had memorable interactions with refugees on each trip. Families invited her in for Arabic tea or coffee (which Dianti raves about), and one family even insisted Deak stay for dinner. Kids hugged and kissed her after receiving gifts, and one man cried of joy after the volunteers bought glasses for him after he was unable to fill his prescription.“He was grateful for something that we thought was small,” Deak said.Deak has been studying Arabic for two years, but knowledge of Arabic is by no means a requirement for tutors or volunteers, given the high demand. “My Arabic is so bad, but they just want to hang out with you,” Dianti said of her frequent trips to El Cajon. She visits nine to 15 families each week and has gotten to know each family well. On Jan. 6, she took a young boy to In-N-Out, and they were laughing and eating together despite the language barrier. She would try to speak Arabic, and he wouldn’t understand. The boy would speak English, and she would get confused, but they would both learn a little as they laughed a lot. “It’s genuinely fun,” she said. “It’s like hanging out with family. They need compassion. They need to be treated like human beings because that hasn’t happened to them in a very long time.”Dianti graduates this year, but she still has new plans for SOS in the works. Her latest is a program that allows USC students to improve their colloquial Arabic skills and allows refugees to earn some money. Students can study Arabic in school, but she feels that it’s focused on reading and writing formally, not conversing casually. Ideally, USC students could have Skype Arabic lessons from, for example, a Syrian mother with young children who can’t leave the house to work, and pay them $15 to $20 an hour. It’s essentially the inverse of the English tutoring program they have in place, but unlike the English program, there isn’t a huge demand for tutors. According to Dianti, the hardest part of working with refugees is making promises that are difficult to keep. She said the executive board has no shortage of passion and enthusiasm, but there is a shortage of volunteers, forcing the few dedicated members to overextend themselves and work long hours to ensure they don’t let the refugees down. And yet, they keep doing it, over and over.“It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life, honest to God,” she said. “They just want people to hang out with, they want to meet Americans, they want to practice English, they want to feel like they’re a part of the community.”
“UCLA kicked our butts,” USC head coach Michael Cooper said.That statement pretty much summed up the game for the Women of Troy (13-10, 7-5) as they lost their fourth consecutive game, 74-56, to the UCLA Bruins (16-7, 9-3) Saturday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion.Reserves · Freshman forward Christina Marinacci contributed eight points off the bench for the Women of Troy in their loss to the Bruins. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan “We didn’t handle their traps well, we didn’t move the ball, and we didn’t look to attack,” Cooper said.The Bruins came out aggressive and firing on all cylinders, jumping out to an early 10-point lead.Meanwhile, the Women of Troy looked confused on offense, committing 14 first-half turnovers.“I thought we were apprehensive on the offensive side. We dug ourselves in a hole, and it’s always difficult to come out of that, especially with the intenseness of this rivalry,” Cooper said.Not only did the Women of Troy struggle to find any rhythm on offense, but rebounding the basketball was also a problem as the Bruins grabbed 12 offensive rebounds during the first half.“Rebounding has been our Achilles’ heel all season long,” Cooper said. “You’re not going to win very many games getting out-rebounded.”The Bruins stifling defense, coupled with the Women of Troy’s offensive woes, allowed the Bruins to stretch that early 10-point lead to 19 points going into halftime.To start the second half, the Women of Troy went on a 6-0 run, cutting the deficit to 37-24, but the little hope that was there was quickly gone in a flash as the Bruins reeled off eight consecutive points of their own to push the lead to 21 points.And from that point on, the Women of Troy couldn’t muster much else.“I was very pleased with our defensive effort, and each player brought something to the game,” UCLA coach Nikki Caldwell said.Not only did the Bruins have a solid defensive game, but they also had a balanced offensive attack that saw four players score in double figures.The Women of Troy were led by junior center Kari LaPlante and sophomore guard Ashley Corral, who both scored 11 points.One bright spot for the Women of Troy was the play of redshirt junior guard Jacki Gemelos, who scored 11 points off the bench in just her third game back from numerous knee injuries that had plagued her the previous couple of years.“I’m definitely rusty, and I’m trying to get a feel back for the game and let it come to me,” Gemelos said. “I’m not trying to take over a game or anything, but I’m just trying to play solid and give us the best chance to win.”The Women of Troy return home to the Galen Center for the next two games, starting Thursday against Washington State and then Saturday against Washington.
After a four-game road swing, the USC baseball team had a home game Tuesday.But with the way the team played in the 7-1 loss to Long Beach State, USC interim coach Frank Cruz is probably happy to get back on the road.The Trojans (18-22, 8-7) will finish a swing in which seven of eight games have been away from Dedeaux Field this weekend when they travel to Frank Sancet Stadium to take on Arizona.The Wildcats (24-16, 6-9) welcome USC on Friday night at 5 p.m. hoping to turn around recent struggles. Arizona lost to rival Arizona State for the fourth time this season Tuesday and has lost five of six games.After being ranked as high as No. 11 following a 17-5 start, Arizona has run into trouble since starting Pac-10 play. The Wildcats are only 6-9 in conference games and have only won one series despite winning the series opener four of five times.They’ve been so successful in game one because of the arm of Orange County’s Kurt Heyer. The sophomore right-hander has a 6-3 record, a minuscule 2.20 ERA and has struck out 95 batters in 86 innings while issuing only 20 base on balls.Heyer, however, started on three-days rest Tuesday as the Wildcats tried to take down their archrivals, so it will be Kyle Simon on the mound Friday night. The 6-foot-5 righty has a 7-3 record with a 2.95 ERA. He is coming off a three-hit complete game against Oregon in his last start.To beat Simon, USC will need junior Andrew Triggs (3-3, 4.52 ERA) to replicate his performance from last week when he threw a complete game five-hitter as the Trojans beat Washington 2-1.Junior Austin Wood (4-5, 4.69 ERA) will start Saturday for USC. He will likely take on Tyler Hale (3-4, 5.26 ERA), who isn’t on firm ground. Hale is 0-4 in Pac-10 play, and his ERA jumped to 9.43 after he allowed four runs in one and two-thirds innings in his last start.The series finale will feature senior Logan Odom (3-5, 3.49 ERA), who has helped the Trojans win their last three conference series. Odom won the rubber match in two of those series.Arizona’s Sunday starter has still yet to be determined. But don’t be surprised to see Heyer return even though it’s unconventional to see collegiate starters pitch a midweek and weekend game. If he doesn’t start, he’s likely to be used as a reliever throughout the series.If the Trojans want to improve on their fourth place standing in the Pac-10, they need to get into Arizona’s bullpen where the Wildcats have a 5.79 ERA this season.USC will also have to contain an offense that averages 6.7 runs per game and is hitting .320 as a team. Joey Rickard (.402) and Cole Frenzel (.387) lead an Arizona offense that features six hitters batting .315 and above.In comparison, the Trojans’ offense has only two batters hitting better than .300 with junior first baseman Ricky Oropesa’s .345 batting average, six home runs and 33 RBI leading the way.The Trojans will try to return to their winning ways after their five-game streak was broken last week.Before losing its last two games, USC had won eight of 10 games.
The USC men’s basketball team lost its fourth consecutive game on Sunday, falling to the Stanford Cardinal (17-8, 7-6) 59-47. USC’s defeat was their 20th of the season, the first time the Trojans have lost at least 20 games since 1989, when they finished 10-22.For the second time in four days, the Trojans (6-20, 1-12) played a competitive first 20 minutes but were unable to keep up with their opponents in the second half.USC trailed 20-18 going into the break after forcing 10 turnovers and holding Stanford to an 8-24 shooting performance. But the Trojans didn’t fare any better, shooting 7-24 (29 percent) in the first half and 15-48 (31 percent) for the game. They were outscored 39-29 in the second half of play.“We played pretty hard, but when you’re not making, you’re not making,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “When you force 18 turnovers and basically hold them to 40 percent shooting, that’s enough to win only if you score.”USC received 13 points apiece from junior guard Greg Allen and freshman forward Byron Wesley. Wesley, however, was just 1-6 from the floor after pacing the Trojans with 10 early points.“They made defensive changes,” Wesley said. “They switched to zone in the second half. That slowed me down a bit.”USC’s leading scorer of the season, sophomore guard Maurice Jones, struggled offensively, finishing 2-14 and 6-7 at the free throw line en route to 10 points.“Mo’s shots when he’s at the point are not nearly as good of shots for him when he’s off the ball,” O’Neill said. “He had a lot of wide-open looks that didn’t go down. The guy’s got to be fatigued, let’s face it, playing that amount of minutes all year long as a sophomore.”Stanford was led by freshman guard Chasson Randle’s 16 points, while senior forward Josh Owens added 15 points and five rebounds of his own. Coach Johnny Dawkins utilized his entire roster on Sunday, as Owens was the only Cardinal player on the court for more than 30 minutes.USC, meanwhile, had six players with at least 20 minutes of playing time, a point O’Neill made after the game.“Every one of these guys is playing too many minutes,” O’Neill said. “They’re doing as well as they can.”The Trojans have two days to prepare for their cross-town rivals, the UCLA Bruins, whom they will face Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Bruins (14-11, 7-6) lost their previous game on Feb. 11 to the Cal Golden Bears, 73-63.Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
Frustration is natural, but give the Trojans time.We shouldn’t overreact. But, admittedly, it remains increasingly difficult not to.We’re watching the USC men’s basketball team amid its worst season in school history.The 23 losses are a program first. They have won 20 percent of their games, the lowest since the program’s inception. The Trojans have won one game since mid-December, while utilizing a shortened eight-man rotation, including two walk-ons, for much of conference play.Nothing in that is reassuring that next year will see USC return to the NCAA tournament following four appearances in the Big Dance from 2007-2011. Most Cardinal-and-Gold fans remain understandably aggravated, frustrated and irritated with recent results. If they weren’t, it’d be strange. Nobody likes losing. And nobody likes ugly losing.“I’m frustrated for the players,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said Saturday. “And I’m frustrated for our fans. I’ve done this for 33 years at many different places and at different levels. Basketball sometimes goes like this.”The responses have been what you would expect: Just fire the coach. That’s what they say. It sounds easy, painless and something a school like Kentucky might do, should its team be swimming in mediocrity.“Coaching staff should get the boot,” read one message board post following the Trojans’ latest ordeal — a 56-52 loss at Arizona State on Saturday.But here’s the thing: USC isn’t Kentucky.The Trojans haven’t been to the Final Four since Dwight Eisenhower was president. They haven’t won a regular season conference title since 1985. USC basketball is vastly different from USC football.Recovering from NCAA-levied sanctions is not as seamless as USC football coach Lane Kiffin has made it look on the gridiron.If you’re looking for an explanation as to why the Trojans have become fixated in the Pac-12 cellar, it’s a rather simple one.USC has one player, redshirt sophomore forward Evan Smith, from its 2009 recruiting class. Its 2008 class vanished in the aftermath of then-coach Tim Floyd’s resignation three years ago. In short, USC has no recruited junior or senior scholarship players available. The Trojans lost three starters from last season’s 19-win team in forwards Marcus Simmons and Nikola Vucevic and center Alex Stepheson. They lost five players this season, three of them starters, because of season-ending injuries.The counterargument remains: O’Neill should have recruited better.He recruited senior guard Jio Fontan and redshirt junior forward Aaron Fuller, two transfer players, but they’ve been in street clothes for much of the season. He recruited a 7-foot center in redshirt sophomore forward Dewayne Dedmon, but he hasn’t played since Jan. 26 and has worn a splint on his hand, a brace on his left knee and a boot on his right foot at different points this season.“I’ve never seen a team with that conglomeration of situations and circumstances that have led to where we’re at,” O’Neill said. “It’s not an excuse; it’s a set of circumstances.”Whatever it is, it certainly explains the Trojans’ current predicament.NCAA investigations and sanctions are designed to be crippling. The Trojans’ success in football is the exception to the rule. You aren’t supposed to be ranked in the top 10 amid scholarship restrictions and a postseason ban.No, O’Neill’s team isn’t facing such restrictions now, but back in 2010 the program was, and that lingering cloud over the program in the months before the NCAA released its findings hampered the program.“It killed recruiting,” O’Neill said, reflecting upon his first season with the program in 2009-2010. “I got the job late, we didn’t self-impose until January, and then we didn’t get the sanctions confirmed until May really handcuffed us for a full year.”In football, guys will take a chance on USC. After all, the program has produced more NFL draft picks than any school in the country. But such isn’t the case when it comes to basketball. It doesn’t have the same pedigree.The Trojans start two freshmen, two sophomores and one junior in James Blasczyk, who is a first-year transfer and has been limited because of a stress injury to his right foot. And those players aren’t the one-and-done types you’d see at top-10 programs. That talent doesn’t typically flock to the Galen Center.Until USC is a few years removed from its self-imposed sanctions and can field a healthy unit, we won’t be able to fairly evaluate O’Neill, the coaching staff and his personnel.Is this a coach who can annually lead the Trojans to the NCAA tournament? The top of the Pac-12 pecking order?I’m guessing he can. A season ago, he took a depth-plagued USC team to the Big Dance. He led Marquette to back-to-back 20-win seasons in the early 1990s. But even at this point, it’s still just endless speculation.We only know this: As the nightmarish 2012 season comes to a close, O’Neill’s young group needs more time to develop. Evidently, based on recent weeks, it needs a lot of time. “The 19th Hole” runs Mondays. If you would like to comment on this story, visit DailyTrojan.com or email Joey at email@example.com.
After kicking off the NCAA championships with two sweeps, the men’s tennis team looks to string together four more wins to capture its fourth-consecutive NCAA title.In front of a home crowd at Marks Stadium, No. 1 USC (29-1) posted a 4-0 victory against Fairfield (16-5) on Saturday, followed by another 4-0 win against No. 30 Texas A&M (14-15) on Sunday to advance to the round of 16 at Athens, Ga.The Trojans, who hold the top seed in the tournament, eliminated the Aggies behind freshman Roberto Quiroz’s 6-1, 6-3 clincher over Jackson Withrow.Reason to celebrate · Freshman Roberto Quiroz (left) and senior Steve Johnson (right) won their doubles match against Texas A&M to help the Trojans advance to the second round of the NCAA championships. – Photo courtesy of Dan Avila If the Trojans advance, they will take on either No. 8 Duke or Baylor in the quarterfinals on Sunday. USC set the tone early in doubles action, where No. 2 pair Johnson and Quiroz and No. 35 pair Nguyen and Sarmiento both dispatched their opponents to the tune of 8-4 to give the Trojans a quick 1-0 advantage.USC’s first singles point of the day came from No. 1 senior Steve Johnson, who defeated No. 33 Alexis Klegou 6-2, 6-1 for his 62nd consecutive singles win.No. 25 sophomore Ray Sarmiento then extended USC’s lead to 3-0 with a 6-1, 6-4 finish over Junior Ore.Quiroz clinched the win five minutes later, suspending the matches featuring No. 21 senior Daniel Nguyen, No. 51 freshman Yannick Hanfmann and No. 57 sophomore Emilio Gomez.The win over Texas A&M was Johnson and Nguyen’s last match at Marks Stadium. The two graduating seniors were both a part of the Trojans’ last three consecutive championship teams.“It’s always great to play at home, but it’s special for the seniors,” Sarmiento said. “I’m happy we got the wins for them.”The Trojans saw similar success in the tournament opener the day before in their sweep over Fairfield, which was capped off by Hanfmann’s 6-2, 6-2 win over Dennis Zlobinsky.After USC’s ranked pairs captured the doubles point in just 35 minutes, Johnson and Sarmiento defeated their opponents in straight singles sets to set up Hanfmann’s win.“I feel like the team is playing well. It’s a great way to go into the tournament,” Nguyen said.The first-round victory came nearly two weeks after the Trojans defeated No. 5 UCLA 4-2 at Ojai, Calif., on April 29 for the inaugural Pac-12 Team Championship.The Bruins had snapped the Trojans’ 45-match winning streak in a tight 4-3 win in the regular season finale at Marks Stadium on April 20.With a new four-match win streak intact, the Trojans continue their quest for a fourth consecutive NCAA title at the University of Georgia, where they will face No. 16 Illinois (19-7) in the round of 16 on Friday at 6 a.m.The Fighting Illini are led by No. 7 Dennis Nevolo and No. 31 Roy Kalmanovich, who also comprise the No. 21 doubles pair for Illinois.“It’ll definitely be tough,” Sarmiento said. “Illinois is proven, so we have to be ready to play and battle.” USC ultimately hopes to play for its 20th national title in the championship match, which will take place on Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST.
Following a season-opening loss to UC San Diego, the USC men’s volleyball team is looking to re-group with a slate of matchups against top-ranked opponents.Feather in the cap · Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers has tallied a combined 19 kills in the season’s first two games. – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanThe Trojans got off to a solid start in that regard, earning their first victory of the season by knocking off reigning champion and the No. 1 UC Irvine Anteaters 25-21, 25-23, 27-25 Friday night.The Trojans atoned for their tough loss to the Anteaters in last season’s championship game in which they were swept on their home court. The victory enabled the Trojans to overcome their loss at the hands of UC San Diego, also a three-set sweep.Sophomore middle blocker Robert Feathers shined on both sides of the court, registering a team-high 12 kills to go along with six blocks. Freshman outside hitter Alex Slaught and junior opposite Tanner Jansen each notched eight kills to pace the Trojan attack alongside Feathers, while the defense was anchored by freshman libero Brooks Varni (eight digs) and sophomore setter Micah Christenson (seven digs).The Trojans are coming off a successful 2012 campaign, one in which USC coach Bill Ferguson lost four 2011 starters, including three All-Americans. After starting slowly at 5-4, the Trojans dominated the remainder of the season to finish with a No. 2 overall ranking and 26-4 record, including an 18-4 mark in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play to earn their second straight regular season title. USC thoroughly dominated its regular season schedule, posting an 18-game winning streak, a 14-match MPSF winning streak and an 11-game home winning streak.As the Trojans attempt to make another trip to the NCAA Championship, youth will play a major role. Ferguson leads a 2013 squad featuring 18 underclassmen (including 10 freshmen) and only one senior opposite/outside hitter Maddison McKibbin.After lagging behind the competition during the earlier part of the 2000s, the Trojans have developed a dependable program behind Ferguson, who is in his seventh season at the helm. The two-time National Coach of the Year has guided Troy to three NCAA Final Four appearances in the last four years. The team will attempt to make up for the absences of 2012 National Player of the Year Tony Ciarelli at outside hitter and All-American middle blocker Steven Shandrick.Following the resounding win over the Anteaters, the Trojans (1-1) will return to the Galen Center for a three-game homestand, beginning with a match against Pac-12 rival Stanford on Friday night.
The No. 3 USC women’s water polo team (21-3, 4-2 MPSF) heads to Tempe, Arizona, this weekend to begin postseason play in the MPSF conference tournament. Up first in the conference tournament for third-seeded USC is No. 6 seed San Jose State.The Women of Troy are coming off a huge 9-5 loss to UCLA on April 18. Not too often has USC lost by such a large deficit this late in the season, especially with a 5-4 score going into the fourth quarter.Head coach Jovan Vavic felt good about his team at that point.“We were fighting to get back,” Vavic said. “We were down 4-1, and I felt the momentum was in our favor. With being down 4-1 and being in their pool, it looked like we were done. I thought we did a great job to score two goals in the third, making it a one goal game going into the fourth quarter. I felt we were in really good shape. I felt that this is where we wanted to be, a close game in the fourth quarter.”But as Vavic explained, the tide turned very quickly for USC.“What happened really was that when we had our chance in the first possession of the fourth quarter, we didn’t score the goal. We gave up an immediate goal, and the counterattack that happened after that possession really was huge for UCLA. It was really a killer because we gave up that goal immediately, and it kind of took the wind out of our sails after they scored that. And then the very next possession, same thing happened again. It really hurt us. They basically had a 7-4 lead with six minutes to go.”Now the Women of Troy have to switch gears from regular season play to the conference tournament. And even after coming off a loss, they are still staying positive, knowing that there is a lot more water polo to be played.“[We are staying positive by] just knowing that the season isn’t over. We still have six games to really make it happen, and dwelling on something like that isn’t gonna help us,” said senior Eike Daube.Right now, the only team that the Women of Troy are dwelling on is San Jose State. USC beat the Spartans earlier this year at home in a 21-6 blowout. One would think it would be a similar result this time around, but last year USC lost in the first round to what many thought was an inferior Arizona State team. According to Daube, the Women of Troy have no plans to incur the same result this year.“ASU beating us last year was probably one of the toughest losses we took last year,” Daube said. “I think we underestimated them in a lot of regards, and when we went into the game we weren’t having the same energy and approach to them as we would maybe UCLA or Stanford, but that’s something that we don’t plan on doing with [San Jose State]. I think we take every game very seriously.”USC, without a doubt, has the capability of beating the Spartans, but to win the tournament they’ll most likely have to face both UCLA and Stanford. USC played close games against both teams until running out of gas near the end. Freshman goalie Victória Chamorro said this is a pattern that the team will have to eliminate.“Towards the end, we are not as energetic as we are at the beginning, but that’s something that we are working to fix,” Chamorro said. “We are not going to be giving a lack of energy in these next games.”If the conference tournament and a possible NCAA berth isn’t enough motivation, however, the Women of Troy will want to prove that they can beat their crosstown rival.Daube said the team will be back to get even with UCLA.“No one can take a loss very easy, and knowing that that’s our biggest rival, I think if you look back at it we’ve lost four consecutive games against them from last year going into this year, so I think it’s definitely time that we show them what we’re made of,” he said.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm Contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org | @SamBlum3 The Syracuse defense slowly jogged back onto the field. The type of play that Syracuse had become accustomed to making had just been done to them. Ryan Winslow was set to punt and then he wasn’t. A harmlessly lofted throw landed in the hands of linebacker Matt Galambos, who had a first down. Syracuse, futile in it’s third-down abilities, had finally made the play it needed to. But it was erased by a trick out of its own playbook. The play extended a Pittsburgh drive that started at its own 5-yard line with 9:20 to play. And it finished with a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Orange (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) lost its fourth game in a row, 23-20, to No. 25 Pitt (6-1, 4-0) and second on the game’s final play. Its inability to make late defensive plays again erased a chance to win the game. In the first half the Orange and Panthers repeatedly traded scores. After a five-minute first drive that ended with just three points, it took Syracuse only two plays to respond with seven of its own. Quarterback Eric Dungey handed it off to fellow freshman Jordan Fredericks on the first play, and he took it up the gut before cutting past the secondary for 55 yards. Moments later, Dungey found Ervin Philips on a screen pass. The sophomore juked a defender and had nothing but space that separated him from the early score. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSU’s second touchdown drive to close the first half went nearly as quickly. Following a Pittsburgh touchdown, the Orange took 71 seconds to retake the lead. Dungey hit Steve Ishmael who stopped and rose up for a 40-yard catch before corralling the touchdown a few plays later. Syracuse lost its momentum closing out the half. Kicker Ryan Norton booted a short kickoff and was called for a late hit before the Panthers got in field goal position. The Orange offense couldn’t get on track in the third quarter. Dungey broke free of a tackle in the backfield but was brought down with helmet-to-helmet contact. He was taken off the field and into the locker room. His replacement, walk-on Zack Mahoney, threw one complete pass but Dungey returned later in the quarter. But on two consecutive passes, he threw interceptions. The first was a pass over the middle that was picked off by Galambos. On the first play of the next drive, Dungey’s deep ball attempt was snagged by Lafayette Pitts. It took only one minute at the start of the fourth quarter for Pittsburgh to take its first lead since the opening moments. Running back Qadree Ollison burst through the middle on two straight plays to flip the momentum. But Syracuse drove right back down to tie it up on a field goal. The final drive was again the nail in Syracuse’s coffin. The final field goal was just a chip shot. A quick finish to lengthy, 89-yard buildup. The roar of the crowd in anticipation of a miss was silenced the second the kick went through the middle of the uprights. Comments
Facebook Twitter Google+ Richardson had his first bad game of the season against Elon on Nov. 21. He said afterward that he compensated by attacking the rim. When Syracuse defeated then-No. 18 Connecticut in November, Richardson said he’d played his “worst brand of basketball” by going 1-of-4 from the field, turning it over twice and committing three fouls in the first half. When he made none of his 11 attempts against St. John’s less than a month later, he said to reporters after the game that he knew shots would eventually fall.He’s owned up to his freshman season struggles every time they’ve manifested themselves. But with Syracuse hanging on by a thread against the nation’s current No. 5 (UNC) and No. 8 (Miami) teams, it’s largely been due to Richardson’s renaissance. When Gbinije shot 0-of-7 from 3 against Miami, Richardson shot 5-of-6. When Gbinije again scored just 10 points against the Tar Heels, 16 from Richardson proved to be clutch.It hasn’t been enough to beat the best teams, but it’s enough to make a statement.“We don’t look at Mali as a freshman now,” Trevor Cooney said. “He’s played enough minutes in enough big games. We have the trust in him and the faith in him to go out there and make plays. We believe that he can do it and he’s done it.” Comments Logan Reidsma | Staff Photographer Published on January 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm Contact Sam: email@example.com | @SamBlum3 Related Stories The best game of Malachi Richardson’s career was painfully incompleteMalachi Richardson pours in career-high 20 points against MiamiMalachi Richardson struggles in 1st half, thrives in 2nd as SU beats No. 18 UConnMalachi Richardson struggles from field against Elon but finds other ways to score Malachi Richardson cut across the baseline, curled around a Tyler Lydon off-ball screen and caught a pass. Richardson reset the offense out toward halfcourt along the sideline.Then, with 4:45 left and Syracuse facing a four-point deficit, Richardson powered through the teeth of North Carolina’s defense, switching hands with the ball and laying in a basket to cut that UNC lead in half.Richardson’s second-half scoring on Saturday had a knack for the dramatic. His first shot was a long, uncontested 3-pointer to end an 8-5 Tar Heels run that started the half. His second cut a three-point lead to one. And his final bucket gave the Orange a last-gasp chance at a comeback against the No. 6 team in the country.“I’m a confident kid and I believe in what I do,” Richardson said. “I’m always going to play hard no matter what. Whether the ball is going in the basket or not. I work hard. I know I can do it. That’s where my confidence comes from.”Before Syracuse played Miami on Jan. 2, Richardson hit a cold stretch in which he made 10-of-57 from behind the arc over a nine-game span. In the three games since, all against Atlantic Coast Conference competition, Richardson has made 15 of his 27 attempts from long range. As point guard Michael Gbinije struggled and consistency on offense was tough to find from others, Richardson experienced a breakout for the free-falling Orange (10-7, 0-4 ACC).AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe freshman, who had a career high in assists (five) on Saturday and a career high in rebounds (nine) the game before, will have a chance to continue to carry Syracuse on offense when it hosts Boston College (7-8, 0-2) on Wednesday in the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m.“He’s improved,” head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I think he’s become a better player and I think he still has a big upside. There’s still a lot of things that he can to get better. He’s having a tremendous year.”
Published on April 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm Contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+ HOUSTON — Body paint makes it harder to forget.Sitting in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott on Sunday morning, a Syracuse student’s skin still had the orange tinge. He said he hadn’t tried too hard to scrub it off. He liked the reminder. Many students wandered the lobby of the hotel still wearing their green student-access wristbands. More than one person joked he hoped to wake up from this vividly detailed dream.The bus ride home from NRG Stadium wasn’t silent. Beyoncé’s “Formation” played softly and people re-hashed the game in detail. Though there were certainly exceptions, the prevailing thought wasn’t anger. It wasn’t regret at driving 32 hours to spend 29 hours in Houston. It wasn’t even blaming the game on one player, coach or referee.Just acceptance that North Carolina was simply the better team.The witnesses of No. 10 seed Syracuse’s 83-66, magical-season-ending loss to the top-seeded Tar Heels filed from the stadium, lined up in the dark at the buses and talked about how cool it had all been.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt was hard to tell if some students were disappointed or just drained from a three-week-long run from a team that wasn’t supposed to make the NCAA Tournament.Either way, it wasn’t the same group of students that stood behind Syracuse’s basket for the whole game, cheering the Orange and verbally abusing anyone who tried to stop the march to victory.Standing in one of the six rows of black chairs, on top of the black carpet still littered with shreds of Oklahoma basketball programs that the OU students had tossed before their game began, the SU faithful whipped themselves in a yelling, throbbing, orange mass.The 75,505-person stadium seemed cavernous from the floor, the farthest reaches of the stands shrouded in darkness, but the Syracuse fans were intent on filling it with the only chant they had: “Lets go Orange!”Kenny “The Jet” Smith, a TBS college basketball analyst, laughed as fans swarmed their set and jumped in the background, trying to make it on TV. Security guards repeatedly screamed at students for jumping on the chairs, that they were being too rowdy. Vice President Joe Biden appeared in the student section for selfies about 10 minutes before tip.Then, the students who had arrived in Texas a dozen hours prior and mostly ran on fewer than four hours of sleep, reached the apex of their delirious frenzy. They were there to cheer their team in the program’s biggest game since 2013, and perhaps its unlikeliest ever.Down 17 points with 12 minutes to go, a bearded fan turned to his friend and said, “We’ve got ‘em right where we want ‘em!” His conviction was undeniable. He yelled louder and surrounding students nodded in a seriousness that, for any other team, may have bordered on delusion.But this was Syracuse. A miracle team which has predicated its success on seemingly impossible second-half runs against teams that seemed to overwhelm it with pure talent.And, the wildest part, he seemed vindicated. But only for a moment.As Syracuse’s season shipwrecked in the NRG Center, the fans under the basket clung to any pieces of driftwood that floated past. A Trevor Cooney 3. His ensuing steal-and-slam. A Malachi Richardson layup that cut the lead to 10.Otto’s Army vice president Johnny Oliver, who wears an orange spray-painted Batman mask to every game, started the “I believe that we will win!” chant after a Richardson 3-pointer cut the deficit to seven.But UNC responded. Time dribbled away. Every Orange basket earned a louder, more desperate roar; each foul call, a shriller denial. Oliver lifted up his mask and put a hand to his forehead.All the while, North Carolina dunks smashed Syracuse’s floating hopes to splinters.And over the course of the next eight minutes, each student slowly realized that, this time, there’d be no more driftwood to stop the sinking. Comments
Related Stories Syracuse lacrosse head coach John Desko wins 2nd consecutive ACC Coach of the Year awardSyracuse men’s lacrosse’s offense is rounding into form at just the right timeSyracuse weathers Duke comeback to win 2nd straight ACC tournament championship4 Syracuse lacrosse players earn All-ACC honors Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 8, 2016 at 9:10 pm Contact Jon: email@example.com | @jmettus Syracuse was named the No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament and will face Albany (12-3, 6-0 America East) in the first round in the Carrier Dome on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.The Orange beat the Great Danes on Feb. 21, 16-7. It was SU’s second game of the season and Albany’s first.The Orange finished the season 11-4 (2-2 Atlantic Coast) and received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament when it won its second ACC title in a row. SU battled back from a stretch of four losses in five games during the middle of the season to win five straight — three over ranked teams.Syracuse boasts the seventh-best offense in the country with 12.9 goals per game. Dylan Donahue leads the way with 59 points (28 goals and 31 assists) while Massachusetts transfer Nick Mariano has the most goals on the team with 34. Junior Sergio Salcido hadn’t scored a goal through the first two years of his career, but has 26 this season and is second on the team in points.Faceoff specialist Ben Williams’ 63.1 percent winning percentage is eighth-best. Since becoming the Orange’s starter in goal seven games ago, Evan Molloy is 6-1 with a 58.3 save percentage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIf SU wins its first-round matchup, it will play its quarterfinal game in Providence, Rhode Island on May 21 against either No. 1 seed Maryland, Quinnipiac or Hartford.
Published on November 18, 2016 at 7:06 pm Contact Matthew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @MatthewGut21 Syracuse Athletics hired this week two members to its senior leadership team. Chris Fuller will join the staff as deputy athletics director of external operations and Kristen Jones Kolod will join as deputy athletics director and chief financial officer.Fuller will help manage marketing athletics tickets sales, communications and the Orange Club, SU’s primary fundraising arm. Jones Kolod will oversee SU Athletics’ financials, acting as the athletic department’s liaison with the university’s budget office.Fuller worked at Tennessee for 12 years, holding positions in sales, marketing and external operations. Since 2009, he has served as senior associate athletics director for external operations. Jones Kolod has served as SU’s executive director of budget and administrative operations in the Division of Enrollment and Student Experience, which formed this summer as a combination of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.Fuller and Jones Kolod join Director of Athletics John Wildhack’s staff. Wildhack was hired in July after Mark Coyle stepped down from the director of athletics position. Comments AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+
Facebook Twitter Google+ [View the story “Syracuse fans react to SU’s 76-61 loss to Pittsburgh” on Storify] Comments Published on November 26, 2016 at 4:19 pm Contact Byron: email@example.com
Published on March 15, 2017 at 11:51 pm Contact Paul: firstname.lastname@example.org | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+ The second occurrence came with over 12 minutes left in the second half, when Lydon drew UNCG’s fifth foul of the 10-minute segment after grabbing a defensive rebound. He converted both free throws.With the Orange pulling away for most of the second half, the change in free-throw situations didn’t affect the outcome of the game. But as SU’s march toward the NIT crown continues it could be a factor down the line, a factor that Boeheim doesn’t like. Comments Prior to Syracuse’s opening game in the National Invitation Tournament, head coach Jim Boeheim said he wasn’t sure what to expect from the tournament’s experimental rules.Boeheim and his staff mentioned the rules to the SU players, although they didn’t go into great detail before No. 1 seed SU’s (19-14, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) 90-77 win over No. 8 seed North Carolina-Greensboro (25-10, 14-4 Southern) on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome in the first round of the NIT. After one game with the new rules, Boeheim came to his own conclusions.“I don’t know what it’s for, I don’t know where it came from or why,” Boeheim said referring to a rule that affects when teams shoot free throws. “It makes no sense.”The rule change was a shift in the resetting of team fouls from halftime to every 10 minutes of game time. When playing under the normal rule, each team is allowed six team fouls before the opposition shoots one-and-one free throws (meaning one shot is granted and if it’s made, the second one is earned) beginning with the seventh team foul in a half. Once 10 team fouls in a half are reached, the opposition earns two free throws with each foul.Under the experimental rules being used for the NIT, two free throws are granted once the opposition reaches four team fouls. But those team fouls reset after each of the four 10-minute segments in the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I don’t think the four-foul rule is a good rule at all,” Boeheim said. “Say you get (four), but you get the (fourth) one just after 10 (minutes into a half) and now they get (four) more, so you don’t get a free throw for 10 minutes.”Under the regular rules, Boeheim explained that once a team starts racking up fouls, it’s easier to earn free throws quicker rather than having to restart halfway through a half.“Now, it punishes you because now there’s no more free throws,” Boeheim said. “… You might get around four in eight or 10 minutes because they usually give a couple, the next couple and that seventh one usually comes, you get one-and-ones for six minutes. The way this works out, you might not get the two-shot foul possibly.”Sophomore forward Tyler Lydon said he thinks the rule is interesting. It helps teams get to the bonus quicker, he said, but defensively, forces players to avoid weak fouls away from the basket more than they already would.“Offensively it works out well for you. You get more shots, you can be more aggressive,” Lydon said, “but defensively it kind of makes you more hesitant to make plays because your team only has three fouls or whatever and a guy goes up and try to play it more straight or stop doing little ticky-tack fouls so I don’t know how much I really like it.”The rule came into play twice for the Orange on Wednesday night. With just under five minutes to play in the first half, Tyler Roberson grabbed a rebound and got fouled. It was the Spartans’ eighth team foul of the half, but instead of shooting a one-and-one, Roberson shot two. He missed both, but under the regular rules, the ball would have been live after the first miss.MORE COVERAGEGallery: Syracuse stiff-arms North Carolina-Greensboro, 90-77, in NIT openerWhat Syracuse players did during snowstorm StellaSyracuse fights off NCAA Tournament disappointment to beat UNC-Greensboro, 90-77, in NIT openerAssistant coach Gerry McNamara fueled Andrew White to break his single-season 3-point recordThe Final Word: Beat writers discuss takeaways from Syracuse’s 90-77 win over UNC-Greensboro
Syracuse (7-6-2, 2-4-1 Atlantic Coast) fell at North Carolina State (10-4-1, 3-3-1) 3-0, after recording its fewest shot total all season.The Orange has taken the fewest shots in the conference (51) of teams that have played at least seven ACC games. SU, which only has three scores in conference play, is averaging 0.429 goals per ACC game. That ranks 11th in the conference.After a scoreless 35 minutes, N.C. State’s Ricarda Walkling delivered the first blow. Later in the game, just over a minute removed from Kailee Coonan giving the Orange its second shot of the game, Tziarra King matched that number for the Wolfpack in goals. It was her first of what would be two goals in the game.SU didn’t even record a shot on goal before King gave NC State a 3-0 lead that it never looked back from.The sophomore King not only added two goals, but assisted on the first goal of the game. She alone outshot the Orange 6-4 and nearly matched the Orange’s total number of goals since beginning ACC play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis performance marks the sixth time the Orange has been shutout, five of those coming in SU’s past seven games.Senior goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan, who faced eight shots on goal, made five saves and enters her final three regular season games with 317 career saves. She continues to inch closer to the Syracuse all-time lead, needing just 15 in her next three games to reach that mark..Syracuse returns to SU soccer stadium to play Virginia at 7 p.m. on Thursday for the first of a two-game home stand. Comments Published on October 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm Contact Michael: email@example.com | @MikeJMcCleary Facebook Twitter Google+
The kick-start to Syracuse’s upswing this fall began in the Heinz Field visitors locker room 11 months ago. After the Orange’s season-ending loss at Pittsburgh last November — the end of a second-straight 4-8 season for SU — head coach Dino Babers did not allow any other coaches in the locker room. He spoke to only the players, then he asked the seniors to leave and addressed only players who would return this year.Babers’ message: “Everybody wasn’t on board.”“There’s the saying, ‘What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say,’” Babers said Monday morning. “They were saying the right things, they weren’t doing the right things. And I think I have a team full of guys doing the right things.“And this is where we’re at.”Where Syracuse is at is a significantly more opportune position than that of last year. Through eight games, SU (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) has the same record as it did this time a year ago. But the 2017 Orange have beaten the defending national champion, stayed within striking distance against Top 25 opponents in LSU, North Carolina State and Miami on the road, and has not lost by more than 11 points all year despite facing one of the most difficult schedules in the country.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Saturday afternoon at Florida State, Syracuse will have a chance to snap a nine-game losing streak against FSU and beat the plunging Seminoles (2-5, 2-4) for the first time since the teams’ first meeting in 1966. This Syracuse upswing, Babers said, is rooted in the Heinz Field locker room last November.“When we lost that Pittsburgh game, and the way we lost it, that was a very emotional time for the team and I,” Babers said. “… I think that’s where we planted the seed, put some fertilizer down and then coming break in spring ball, and the things we did in the summer, we needed to water it and put a lot of sun on it.”Two weeks ago, Syracuse thrust into the national spotlight with the Clemson victory, one of the biggest in program history. At then-No. 8 Miami, one of only five remaining undefeated teams in FBS, Syracuse pulled to within one point in the fourth quarter.Babers said it all traces back to the Pitt game last year. Shortly after that game, Babers looked at the podium in front of him and paused before his postgame press conference.“I gotta stand here after all that?” he said jokingly.By “all that,” Babers meant a near four-hour affair that included 165 plays, 1,312 yards, nine punts, 19 kickoffs, 20 touchdowns, 58 first downs and Syracuse’s defensive collapse. The Orange broke the program record for points allowed, 76, a mark that stood for 125 years.The defensive miscues were a microcosm of the season. In 2016, SU finished 122nd out of 128 FBS teams in total defense and lost its final four games of the season.“It’s going to get better,” Babers said after the game.“The thing you have to remember is that this year the players were thinking and next year they won’t be,” Babers added.Now, here is Syracuse, two wins away from guaranteed bowl eligibility and only 2.5-point underdogs on the road at Florida State, the No. 3 team in the Preseason Top 25.Other notes from Babers’ weekly press conference:Babers said sophomore defensive lineman Kendall Coleman probably could have played at Miami on Oct. 21 at about 65 percent. “I think we’re going to get Coleman back,” for the FSU game, Babers said.As for fellow defensive lineman Josh Black: “We’ll have to see about Joshua.”Graduate transfer safety Jordan Martin has played the last two games with a cast, contributing mostly to special teams. “I don’t think Jordan’s going to be able to be with us. I think he’s going to be pretty much done.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm Contact Matthew: firstname.lastname@example.org | @MatthewGut21
Published on November 15, 2017 at 9:48 pm Contact Matt: email@example.com In 2016, Knight missed qualifying for the Olympics by 0.1 seconds, his mother Jennifer said. That November, Tiernan beat Knight at the national championship. Come 2017, he qualified for the World Championships in the 5,000-meter. When it turned to race time, a familiar face lurked in the finals. It was Tiernan.With five laps to go, Tiernan moved into the lead, quickening the pace by two seconds. But Knight didn’t budge. He stayed with the pack, gradually chasing down the man that beat him a year earlier.Tiernan couldn’t maintain his pace, and Knight only sped up, inching closer and closer. Knight finished in ninth place in his first appearance on the world stage. Tiernan took 11th.“If he doesn’t win,” former SU runner Martin Hehir said, “he’s just going to come back with a vengeance.Knight’s talent matches his flare to make him one of the most well-known runners in the world. As one of the nation’s most dominant athletes, he’s commanded attention from everyone, including his teammates. They want to run with him.Everyone’s always wanted to run with him.When the St. Michael Catholic (Ontario, Canada) High School runner was just beginning to rise to local stardom, his head coach, Frank Bergin, found him waiting at the track after practice. Everyone else was gone, and Bergin was on his way out, but Knight was waiting for two kids from the nearby elementary school, who couldn’t have been older than 11, Bergin said. The two had seen Knight run and asked him to run a lap with them after school. So Knight waited and ran with them.“I remember just going ‘wow.’” Bergin said. “That’s Justyn.”Once Knight arrived on Syracuse’s campus two years later, he made an immediate impact, running in the national championship his true freshman season.By his sophomore season in 2015, Knight emerged as one of the best runners in the country. Hehir had always been the runner that teammates modeled themselves after. Soon, even for Hehir, that runner became Knight.Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorOne of the reasons that Hehir excelled so much as a senior, Smith said, was because Knight took the pressure off Hehir and let him run freely.“Justin’s transformed the program and he’s taken us to a place where we couldn’t have been without him,” Hehir said. “That’s meant a lot for the program and for the future of the program.”The pair, along with emerging star Colin Bennie, led Syracuse to its first national championship in 64 years. When Bennie arrived at campus, like many, he copied Hehir’s model. But in 2015, he mimicked Knight.“Justyn being the guy to keep with,” Bennie’s mother Lisa said, “is the best training situation Colin could be in.”The entire time Knight trained for worlds, he checked on his teammate’s summer training, Jennifer said. In between workouts this summer in Vaughan, Ontario, Knight’s phone would be littered with messages from younger runners asking how his training was going, but also asking questions about their own training and how to prepare for the fall.Syracuse head coach Chris Fox traveled to London this summer for Knight’s race. As soon as it was over, Knight found his coach.“‘Let’s get ready for cross-country,’” he said to Fox.Throughout this season, Knight has worked to ensure his teammates are ready to battle at NCAAs. He sets the tones in workouts, checks in on how his teammates train and recover and takes on his own coaching responsibilities as the team’s leader. All his preparations have lined up for this Saturday, when Knight has one final attempt at a cross-country crown. “I think it’s a pretty fitting final chapter for him to put his mark on,” Hehir said. “The fact that he hasn’t won a title yet chomps this up to make it even sweeter. It could be a storybook ending.”Knight loves the pressure and the spotlight, but he’s had to adjust to it. Being the favorite is something he’s struggled with in the past. After he rose to prominence in 2015, the lights shined brighter and the microphones in his face multiplied. He felt overwhelmed. But he’s learned to embrace it and use the added attention to take the pressure off of his team.No matter the finish, Saturday’s race will bring an end to the greatest cross-country career a Syracuse runner has ever had.“I’m 30 years old and I don’t think that I will ever have another Justyn in my coaching career,” Smith said. “He is a once in a lifetime talent.”And on Saturday afternoon, he can capture the one thing that’s eluded him. Comments For two years, across three seasons, Justyn Knight couldn’t beat Oregon’s Edward Cheserek. No one could. Cheserek, or “the King” as he was called, finished his college career as a 17-time national champion in 21 possible events. But, at the cross-country national championship last year, Knight finished ahead of him.Then he ran into another problem: Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan. Knight prefers a sit-and-kick type race, where the runners don’t burn themselves out during the race, but then sprint ahead at the end. Tiernan set the pace that day, and made sure he didn’t let Knight kick. Instead, he burned the last mile, forcing Knight to chase, preventing a strong kick.“Sometimes you have your day,” Syracuse assistant coach Adam Smith said, “and that day was Tiernan’s day.”Cheserek and Tiernan were both experienced runners in their last year of eligibility. Knight was one of the favorites, but not the favorite. In all cross-country disciplines, outdoor and indoor track, Knight has had his share of chances to claim an individual national title, but hasn’t won one yet.Knight is the best runner in Syracuse history, with two top-five finishes in three years at the national championship. When Knight began his college career, Syracuse was a middle-of-the-pack finisher at nationals, unable to get over the hump. Knight turned the team into a perennial top-three team and national champion in 2015. He has carried the program on his back while making his teammates better. But he has never captured an individual cross-country championship. On Saturday, he has one final opportunity to do it.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I don’t go into any race racing for second,” Knight said. Facebook Twitter Google+
UPDATED: Jan. 23, 2018 at 12:01 p.m.Jim Boeheim’s salary could force Syracuse University to pay thousands of dollars in additional taxes every year under a provision of the Republican Party’s controversial tax overhaul plan.“I don’t have much of a feeling on that,” Boeheim said on Monday during the Atlantic Coast Conference coaches teleconference. “I don’t understand exactly what this is all about, really. It’s beyond me.”A nonprofit’s five highest paid employees will generally subject their employer to a new 21 percent excise tax of some of their pay if they make more than $1 million a year in taxable compensation as part of the provision. Boeheim, the university’s head basketball coach, was paid $1,957,449 in reportable income by SU in Fiscal Year 2014. He also earned $2,151,736 in FY 2015. It’s unlikely Boeheim’s annual salary has dipped below $1 million since then.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlmost every coach in the ACC league in recent years has been paid more than $1 million as a salary, 990 forms and school announcements show. An SU spokeswoman in a statement said the university’s aware of the tax provision but, “we are not able to discuss specifics of personnel matters.” The excise tax wouldn’t take a chunk out of Boeheim’s salary, though. Consider his reported compensation for FY 2014 as an example. According to the university’s 990 form, SU paid the basketball coach $1,957,449. Of that salary, the excise tax could apply to the amount Boeheim made over $1 million. The GOP’s new excise, if theoretically applied to FY 2014, could hit SU with 21 percent of $957,449, which would be an additional $201,064 in taxes.In FY 2014, Boeheim was also paid $86,221 in an estimated amount of, “other compensation from the organization and related organizations,” according to the 990 form. It remains unclear if that $86,221 would factor into the total amount SU could be taxed 21 percent for, of Boeheim’s salary, if considering FY 2014 as an example. The 990 does not detail if any of that $86,221 was taxable income. So, in theory, the university could be forced to pay more than $201,064 in additional taxes. Nonprofits, including major universities, have to foot the bill under this provision. Not individual employees. Take Duke University as another example.Mike Krzyzewski, one of the highest paid collegiate coaches in history, was paid $4,015,468 in reportable compensation by Duke in FY 2014, according to the university’s 990 form.Krzyzewski could force Duke to pay about $843,248 yearly in additional taxes, under the provision, if theoretically using reportable compensation in FY 2014, as an example. But, like Boeheim, it’s unclear if more than $1.5 million in Krzyzewski’s estimated “compensation from the organization and related organizations” in FY 2014 could also affect that figure. Brian Pinheiro, chair of Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr, LLP’s business and finance department, said the new excise tax applies to nonprofits in a way similar to that of other taxes applied to publicly traded companies, such as IBM.“The problem with that proposition is that the rest of the tax bill also gives a pretty significant tax cut to publicly traded companies,” Pinheiro said.Pinheiro represents for-profit, tax-exempt church and government employers on matters relating to executive compensation.As part of the Republican Party’s $1.5 trillion tax plan, the country’s federal corporate tax rate was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent at the start of the year.“It may just purely have been, ‘we need to raise money somewhere, and here’s a good place to do it,’” Pinheiro said of the nonprofit compensation tax.CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, the theoretical effect of the GOP’s new excise on Fiscal Year 2014 was misstated. The excise could have hit SU with 21 percent of $957,449 of Jim Boeheim’s salary, or an additional $201,064 in taxes. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on January 22, 2018 at 12:58 pm Contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org | @SamOgozalek Facebook Twitter Google+
Fiammetta:This PCP could have been written July 8, 2010.That’s the date of “The Decision” heard ’round the world: the day LeBron James took his talents to South Beach. Clearly, it’s also the day sports writers were set for life with new phrases to annoy readers with.When LeBron ditched Cleveland for the greener (and warmer, in more ways than one) pastures of Miami, the Heat instantly became the most hated team…ever? I’m sure a bunch of old-guy sports historians would spend the rest of their lives debating that with me – no disrespect to the Bad Boys of the 1980s Detroit Pistons, the 2007 New England Patriots or any New York Yankees team ever, as much as it pains me to say it.Regardless, that’s not the point. Everyone wants to see how the Heat will fare in the NBA Playoffs, and given their recent three-game winning streak (with a 100-77 beat down of Boston sandwiched in the middle), all signs point to the sky for Miami. The Heat is – and really has been for the duration of the season – a remarkably underrated defensive team. Miami allows 94.9 points per game (seventh in the league) and holds a plus-7.3 scoring differential (tied with Chicago for tops in the league).Plus, they also have James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. But you already knew that.Erickson:Apparently Phil Jackson’s team has lost the will to win.With only two games left until the playoffs, the Lakers have lost five consecutive games – despite their 55-25 record.Sure, L.A. has clinched its division and a spot in the playoffs, but going in on a losing streak isn’t exactly the best way to make it back to the NBA Finals.While the Heat has finally hit a winning streak, the Lakers’ losing streak is more concerning, especially considering they are the defending champions and they’ve had a strong season up to this point.With the losing streak comes a lack a confidence and frustration, which could be the kiss of death for any team headed into the playoffs.If the Lakers aren’t able to get back on track, they can give up any hope of achieving their third three-peat. If L.A. can turn things around and hit a hot streak, they might be able to achieve the NBA’s ultimate form of a hat trick. However, losing to the likes of Utah and Golden State – both of whom are wavering around the .500 mark and will miss the playoffs – in the midst of its season-end collapse doesn’t carry a lot of promise.The Lakers may have lost the drive that helps them be one of the league’s best teams year-in and year-out, but if they don’t find it soon, they might as well just hand over the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy now.
The sense of relief at Camp Randall Stadium Saturday afternoon was so blatantly obvious that it left many Wisconsin fans wondering, “Why can’t we play teams like Purdue on the road”?Scheduling gripes aside, the Badgers got back on track this weekend, cruising to a 62-17 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. Finally, all was good as the Badgers finally returned to Camp Randall after the massive heartbreak of the past two weeks. Wisconsin might not be able to push the losses at Ohio State and at Michigan State out of their heads forever, but they can at least bump them to the backs of their minds now.Control of their own destiny – if there is such a meaningful thing halfway through the season – is beyond the Badgers’ reach, but with some very feasible help from the rest of the Big Ten and/or the BCS computers, a BCS bowl berth is still attainable.But as much as Wisconsin is hoping for losses from Ohio State and Penn State, the Badgers will reap their own benefits from improving on some weakness that were highlighted throughout that brutal road stretch and apparent even Saturday against Purdue.Settle the special teamsThe Badgers now rank second-to-last in the Big Ten in kickoff coverage, a testament to how dire the special teams situation has become in Madison.“Dire” might seem a bit exaggerated following a 62-17 blowout, but the nightmares in Columbus and East Lansing proved just how critical special teams miscues can be. Granted, the Badgers finally prevented a kick or punt from being blocked and Phillip Welch’s 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half was a tremendous confidence booster for the senior kicker.However, that also strengthened the spotlight on Wisconsin’s coverage issues. The Badgers are No. 115 in the country with 139.9 yards allowed on kickoffs per game and No. 74 with 22.09 yards allowed per kickoff, two staggeringly alarming rankings for a team that otherwise plays generally clean football.After the game Saturday saw Purdue’s freshman returner Raheem Mostert average 41.2 yards on five kickoffs with a 49-yarder on his first and a 74-yarder on his second, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema pointed out a need to evaluate the personnel and assignments the Badgers send out on kickoffs.But how many changes can they really make? Wisconsin also naturally struggles covering punts, ranking No. 76 in yards allowed per punt return (809). Wisconsin’s remaining opponents, Minnesota, Illinois and Penn State, rank seventh, 12th and fourth, respectively, in kickoff returns and fourth, 12th and 10th in punt returns, respectively. But with only three regular season games left, can the Badgers really afford much tinkering when they essentially must win every game?Ignite James WhiteThe sophomore running back was one of Wisconsin’s most electric players in 2010, averaging 6.7 yards per carry en route to a 1,052-yard, 14-touchdown season. This season, White is down to 5.1 yards per carry and he’s been trending downward since rushing for 87 yards on 13 carries (6.7 yards per) against Indiana. Against Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue in the subsequent weeks, White’s averages have dipped to 3.8, 3.2 and 2.9, respectively.Sudden spells of an inability to move the football have been the Badgers’ kryptonite this season – most notably in their two losses – and White has barely provided a spark since his season-high 95 yards and one touchdown against South Dakota Sept. 24. At Michigan State, White rushed 11 times for 42 yards and caught one pass for 12 yards. One week later at Ohio State, he contributed only five rushes for 16 yards and one catch for six yards.Explanations for White’s stunning ineffectiveness have ranged from a perceived lack of explosiveness to the fact there’s no longer last year’s element of surprise with him in the game. White has also taken a more secondary role behind Ball this year, whereas last season saw him contribute as a centerpiece of Wisconsin’s Three-Headed Monster with John Clay, Ball and himself.Regardless, White’s contributions have diminished this season, and at times, they’ve been lethal to Wisconsin’s offense. The Badgers remain as dynamic a unit as there is in the nation, but those offensive droughts that have developed in the middle of games – on the road, no less – can halt any momentum Wisconsin will gain with victories in its final three games.Discover a concrete No. 3 wide receiverThis issue has permeated throughout the season, beginning during the Badgers’ stellar performance in non-conference games and rising steadily in prominence with each of the challenges presented since. With opponents well aware of Nick Toon’s skill and Jared Abbrederis’ emergence as a legitimate No. 1 receiver, Wisconsin seemed to be in need of one more firm receiving option.Tight end Jacob Pedersen has developed into UW’s latest promising tight end, catching 24 passes for 310 yards and seven touchdowns this season. The redshirt sophomore has proven to be good for about three catches a game in Big Ten play and a reliable security blanket for Wilson, but in the search for weapons that will further open up defenses and create options for his quarterback, Pedersen generally lacks big-play ability.Augmenting the issue is Toon’s sudden disappearing act; the redshirt senior has not caught more than three passes since Oct. 1 against Nebraska and hasn’t scored since then either. Sure, as the team’s No. 1 wideout, Toon draws the majority of the opposing defenses’ attention. But also, as the No. 1 wideout, isn’t he supposed to beat it consistently?So behind Toon and Abbrederis, the Badgers have yet to see a true answer emerge at the No. 3 receiver spot. Jeff Duckworth has taken the snaps at that role this season, though he’s caught more than two passes in a game once which was against Indiana Oct. 15. Against Purdue Saturday, he saw arguably his most snaps in a game and caught two passes for 78 yards, 66 of which came on one pass in the first quarter.Sophomore Manasseh Garner is next in line and was widely expected to emerge this season, though surgery to repair a hernia cost him the first three games of the season. Since then, he has only suited up for the Sept. 24 South Dakota game and Saturday. In those games, Garner’s caught two passes for 45 yards.Mike is a senior majoring in journalism. What’s the biggest issue for this Badgers team? Let him know on Twitter @mikefiammetta and be sure to follow @BHeraldSports for all the latest Badgers news.
Junior Michala Johnson has finally made her long anticipated step back into the limelight. After sitting out last season in accordance with NCAA transfer bylaws, the 6-foot-3 forward has dreams of achieving goals that seemed impossible just two years ago.Johnson’s journey to Madison ironically began in the spotlight.Coming out of Bellwood, Ill., and the perennial powerhouse Montini Catholic High School, she was ranked the No. 46 recruit in the nation and seventh at the power forward position. Head coach Bobbie Kelsey had the chance to scout and recruit Johnson while she was an assistant coach at Stanford University. Kelsey said Johnson was dominant at the high-school level, where the phenom averaged 16.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, and four blocks per game.Johnson was so coveted by college coaches that the dynastic University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma offered her a scholarship. Johnson packed her bags and headed to Storrs, Conn., to begin her college basketball career for the No. 1 team in the nation. Johnson was attracted to the publicity that came with being a part of the Huskies and felt that she could be a big-time player at the nation’s top program.“Sometimes kids get caught up in the hype,” Kelsey said, reflecting on what might have been going through her head.It was there she won a national championship to cap off her freshmen season against Kelsey’s Stanford squad. It was also there Johnson realized she did not fit in with the program was not maximizing her potential as a basketball player. She only played 288 total minutes in two seasons at UCONN, 161 in 2010-2011 and just 127 in 2011-2012.Midway through her sophomore season, Johnson decided that she would transfer and pursue her basketball career at a different institution of higher learning.Johnson targeted her search to almost all Big Ten schools, notably Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois and Northwestern. In the end Wisconsin won out, primarily because of her familiarity with Kelsey, the proximity to home and the prospects of earning a ton of court time.Johnson describes her transfer season as frustrating and trying, yet beneficial. While she was upset that she could not play in the games, she says she learned about Kelsey’s system in practice and the way the coaches operated. Johnson shifted to a mental focus and became a student of the game by scouting Big Ten teams and other prominent opponents from the bench.Something that made the transfer process bearable for Johnson was having fifth-year senior point guard Taylor Wurtz with her on the bench that season. Wurtz grabbed a medical redshirt five games into last season after suffering a season-ending back injury. Wurtz said that both players helped each other get through the difficult time by keeping their sights set on the next season.“During the last preseason I always joked, ‘Wow, Michala, I would love to play with you,’” Wurtz said. “When it actually happened, I was really happy I could play with her because she is a special player.”Now that Johnson has the spotlight, she has shown minimal interest in relinquishing it. Johnson put her season of practice to work for the first time on October 10 in the season opener. After an explosive first half against Drake, she finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, both career highs. The following game she scored 21 points, shooting 10-17 from the field against UW-Milwaukee.“Everybody else said they couldn’t tell, but I was extremely nervous and excited at the same time,” Johnson said of the first time she pulled her No. 25 jersey over her head. “We worked on a lot of stuff in practice, and I just went with the flow of the game.”Johnson serves as an enforcer in the middle for UW. She adds a completely different aspect to the offensive game plan, and Kelsey has every intention of her touching the ball on each possession. Kelsey also praised Johnson’s work ethic during her season of ineligibility because she was aware she would have to step into a starting role eventually.“She brings a lot of scoring power. She brings a lot of rebounding ability,” Kelsey said. “She has a nice shot up top and foot-fake to get to the basket, and she can finish with both hands. We’re happy to have her because we have that outside punch but you need to have that inside force.”Johnson wants to improve on her rebounding game and considers it a point of emphasis for her improvement. Kelsey has set a goal for Johnson for the upcoming season, that she should get a double-double every game. Coach knows that this is a lofty task, but that Johnson is one of the few players in the nation capable of attaining this goal.Affectionately known as “Mick” by her teammates and coaches, Johnson still has two years of eligibility remaining, which is great news for Badgers fans. After many trials and tribulations, Michala finally has her spotlight back. Badger nation will most definitely not mind if she stays there for a while.
Male Athlete of the Year — Frank Kaminsky, junior forward, basketballEntering the 2013-14 men’s basketball season, questions about who would be able to solidify Wisconsin’s front court lingered after losing three starting forwards to graduation. Frank Kaminsky quickly put any doubts to bed in a season that displayed a meteoric rise from bench player to anchor of a Final Four team.Just four games into the regular season, the Kohl Center was already filled with chants of “Frank the Tank” as the junior forward broke UW’s single-game scoring record — a record that stood for more than 40 years — scoring 43 points against North Dakota.By the time Wisconsin entered its Big Ten schedule, Kaminsky had established himself as a force in the paint with the ability to stretch defenses with his perimeter shooting.The 7-footer burst onto the national stage with a NCAA Tournament campaign where he averaged 18.5 points and six rebounds per game. Kaminsky’s 28 point, 11 rebound performance in Wisconsin’s Elite Eight win over Arizona clinched the Most Outstanding Player award for the NCAA Tournament West Regional.Kaminsky would finish his first-team All-Big Ten season leading the team in points (13.9) and rebounds (6.3) per game.-Spencer SmithFemale Athlete of the Year — Lauren Carlini, freshman setter, volleyballBefore she even stepped onto the UW Field House volleyball court, freshman setter Lauren Carlini carried the weight of the University of Wisconsin volleyball program squarely on her shoulders.The No. 1-ranked recruit in the nation and 2012 Gatorade National Player of the Year was projected to start as Badgers’ setter immediately, but she surpassed sky-high expectations by leading a feisty Wisconsin offense and averaging 11.15 assists per set, good for third overall in the Big Ten conference.After Wisconsin failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament for six consecutive seasons, Carlini guided the team to its first national title match since 2000. She distributed 12.55 assists in six tournament games, including 50 total assists in a victory against the tournament’s top seed in Texas in the Final Four match. Carlini earned 2013 regional MVP honors for her tournament performance in addition to 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.Carlini developed as a dynamic playmaker on the court in a variety of ways. She used her athletic 6-foot-2 frame not only to set up opportunities for her teammates, but also to scramble for digs and put away balls with powerful strikes or acrobatic tips.-Lee GordonHonorable Mention: Alex Rigsby, women’s hockey; Michelle Mueller, softballCoach of the Year — Kelly Sheffield, VolleyballAfter a lackluster 2012 season for the Wisconsin volleyball team, it seemed like the right time for Wisconsin to move in another coaching direction.Hired to replace former head coach Pete Waite, Kelly Sheffield inherited a young team without high expectations for its first year in the ultra-competitive Big Ten volleyball conference. Still, success seemed just a few years away for Sheffield who had a proven track record at Dayton, where he compiled a 131-33 record over 5 years. Especially because UW had also managed to poach the No. 1 high school recruit in Lauren Carlini prior to Sheffield’s arrival.Still, nobody expected him to turn things around this quickly.Given little more than a summer to get his team prepared, Sheffield was often characterized as a coach that expected perfection from his players. In his first week of practice, he set a precedent that would last throughout the season: Mistakes would be punished with extra cardio.A stark contrast from the previous coach, it worked wonders for an undersized, unathletic team, helping them finish the regular season ranked No. 13 nationally, before continuing on a NCAA tournament run that captivated the University of Wisconsin campus.Although Sheffield and co. suffered heartbreak in the National Championship, the team will lose only one senior and is expected to be right back in the title conversation next year with Sheffield at the helm.–Nick DanielsHonorable Mention: Bo Ryan, men’s basketballMoment of the Year — Bo Ryan cutting down the net in AnaheimIt was 13 seasons in the making when Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan finally got his chance to cut down the nets with Wisconsin after an Elite Eight win in the NCAA Tournament.Coach Ryan had gone to every Final Four with his dad, Butch, since his days back at UW-Platteville. Butch passed away in the summer of 2013. On what would have been his dad’s 90th birthday, Bo Ryan led his Wisconsin team to an overtime win over No. 1 seed Arizona in the West Regional Final to send the Badgers to the Final Four for the first time in his tenure with UW.When the game was over, anticipation built in the wake of victory as player after player, staff member after staff member, climbed the ladder in the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. cutting a piece of netting from the rim to signify their accomplishment. Finally it was the head coach’s turn. Chants of “Bo! Bo! Bo!” began to fill the arena as Wisconsin fans eagerly waited for their coach to cut the final piece of netting down.Ryan sheered the final string and hoisted the net in victory. After he had made his way back down the ladder, the Wisconsin players put the ultimate exclamation point on the moment when they lifted their coach in the air. Grasping his freshly cut net, Ryan lifted his fist in the air while his face showed what the moment meant. The coach from Chester, Penn. had done it. A wide smile filled his face as he sat on the shoulders of his team.-Spencer SmithHonorable mention: Wisconsin volleyball advancing to NCAA Championship after defeating Texas, NCAA SemifinalGame of the Year — Wisconsin vs. Arizona, men’s basketball, Elite EightThe Badger Herald game of the year didn’t have much for competition. It was the most recent, most riveting game and kept this campus alive through another elongated winter. It also vaulted Frank Kaminsky to a popularity level once thought impossible – that’ll happen when you score 28 points and grab 11 rebounds en route to claiming a spot in the final four.Wisconsin and Arizona balanced each other for most of the game on opposite ends of the see-saw. Arizona led first, then Wisconsin. Arizona again, then Wisconsin. In the end, regulation just wasn’t enough to settle the West Region.And while the Badgers were in control for much of the extra period, they were never out of harms reach until the final buzzer sounded. Nick Johnson took one dribble too many and failed to get a shot off before his season officially ended.Kaminsky was the leading horse for the Badgers down the stretch, but was joined in double figures by Traevon Jackson, who also contributed five assists, two of them in overtime.The win sent the Badgers to Dallas and the Final Four, the first of Ryan’s coaching career. It also sent thousands of Badgers back home to enjoy it on State Street.-Sean ZakHonorable Mention: Wisconsin vs. Texas, volleyball, NCAA SemifinalsPlay of the Year — Mark Zengerle OT winner vs. Ohio State, men’s hockey, Big Ten Tournament Championship game In his four years at Wisconsin, Mark Zengerle made a name for himself as a playmaker, but his label didn’t hold him back when his team needed a pivotal score.Ohio State was the underdog heading into the Big Ten Tournament Championship game March 22, but over halfway through the third period Wisconsin was up against the odds.The Buckeyes possessed a 4-2 lead with only six minutes and 52 seconds left in the game. But then, in the blink of an eye, the senior class for Wisconsin answered the bell and brought the Badgers even; just 48 seconds later they set the stage for the heroics of Zengerle.More than seven minutes ticked off the clocked after Wisconsin had tied the game at four, sending the game to a sudden death overtime. In the overtime, with margin for error even slimmer – especially for OSU who was trying to secure an NCAA bid – neither team made a critical mistake for over seven minutes.But then Zengerle, the opportunist, released a shot in the offensive zone from the top of the slot. It looked harmless at first and didn’t even reach they Buckeyes’ goaltender Christian Frey. A pile of players in front of Frey fumbled for the puck, but none of them could come away with it. However, behind the scrum, Zengerle slipped to the left side of the net and secured possession, fired a wrister and somehow trickled the puck past Frey as the celebration ensued with Zengerle sliding in exhilaration across the ice.It was only the 37th goal of his career against his 125 assists, but he couldn’t have saved his last collegiate goal for a better time.-Dan Corcoran
Wisconsin softball’s senior class has been providing some highlight worthy moments for the team this year, but more importantly, they’ve been an anchor for a team that is largely made up of underclassmen.Seniors Katie Christner, Ashley Van Zeeland, Taylor-Paige Stewart and Macy Oswald are proving to be the team’s backbone this year, providing leadership and support whenever possible.This kind of support is needed now more than ever, considering the Badgers have spent a majority of their season away from Goodman Diamond. The Badgers have only played 11 out of 44 games at home this year, so relying on a home support system has not been an option for this team.This season has been filled with some high moments, along with some shocking upsets for the Badgers.One thing Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy is thankful for is the persistence of her team in crucial moments and their determination to never give up on themselves.“I think a lot of teams would just fold [after losing to a weaker team] at that point,” Healy said. “It’s gut-wrenching to lose a game that you think you should win.“We have really good seniors, and I think that speaks volumes. Katie Christner came in and she was the story of the day. She was a senior that’s had knee surgery and been battling injury. She and Ashley Van Zeeland, all of them, they keep the team believing.”Of course, every team will find themselves losing a game at one point in time, but Christner knows one of the key elements of success for any team is to not only push past those losses, but to just keep moving forward.And it is not like the Badgers have much time to dwell on any past games, considering they play anywhere from four to six games a week. This kind of fast-paced schedule means the Badgers cannot let any past games become a hindrance to future success.“I think our team handles [the fast-paced schedule] really well,” Christner said. “I think our team is really good at making sure we’re not dwelling on games. Once a game is over, we’re automatically looking at the next game, which is something that I think we have going for us.”Courtesy of Jack McLaughlinIf the fast-paced schedule seems to be becoming too much for the younger players, they look to their seniors.From the outside, you would have a hard time believing that Stewart had just pitched her 20th inning of the week, or that Oswald had just been up to bat for the fourth time that weekend.Van Zeeland knows that, as a senior, sometimes the best thing she can do for her team is just to be a leader for them. Whether that means trying to get a scoring drive started, or pushing through the third game of the weekend, Van Zeeland always leads her team by example.“I think just being a leader [helps the team succeed],” Van Zeeland said. “Being out there and knowing that I’ve been playing for four years, it’s just important to lead the team and know that they are going to listen.”Van Zeeland doesn’t need to worry about leading her team on a consistent basis, because she says this year’s team is one of the most motivated in the league.Whether it is watching extra film in preparation for a game, or putting in a few extra hours of batting practice, the team’s hard work is paying off.“I think each person on our team is super self-motivated,” Christner said. “I think every person wants to help the team and do it for the team. I think that is super important and something this team is doing a really good job of.”With just 11 games remaining in the regular season before the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin will need to rely on leadership to carry the team all the way to the end of an already promising season.Luckily for this young team, they have four leaders who are more than willing to carry these Badgers back to a level of success they’ve had in past seasons.
Four University of Wisconsin rowers have secured invitations to attend the 2017 USRowing Men’s U23 Selection Camp, a precursor to representing the U.S. in the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championship. Wisconsin rowers, senior Sebastian Amberger, senior Andrew Griffin, senior Sam Weeks and junior Erik Kernozek are among the 29 athletes invited to the national team camp. The Men’s U23 Selection Camp will be held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, this summer. The group of invited rowers will compete for making boat placement to represent the U.S. at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in July in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The training camp will be coached by Dave O’Neill of the University of Texas and Brian De Regt of Oakland Strokes. They will evaluate the rowers and winnow down the group to comprise just an eight and a four.Rowing in a league of their own, Wisconsin women compete at elite levelsOn an international stage in Rotterdam, Netherlands, rowers from around the world gathered to compete in the 2016 World Under 23 Rowing Read…Wisconsin’s Sam Weeks attended the national team selection camp in 2016 and is determined to take his upcoming experience as far as he can. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get a second shot at selection camp,” Weeks said. “Being cut on the final day of camp last year, I’m hoping to use my experience to take the next step this summer and make one of the boats.”As a senior, with his NCAA eligibility coming to a close and years of rowing for one of the top men’s rowing teams in the country, Weeks has both the ideal mindset and skillset to accomplish his goals. “This is likely the best I will be at rowing since my collegiate eligibility runs out once this season is over, so I will be in the best possible position to perform at my highest ability,” Weeks said.College basketball’s top performers throughout historyCentral Michigan’s Marcus Keene recorded the first 50-point game in NCAA Division I play in the last four years a Read…Along with Wisconsin rowers being frequently invited to U23 selection camp on consecutive years, UW’s rowing team also provides the most athletes chosen for the prestigious camp compared to other schools each year. In 2016, six Badgers were invited to the Men’s U23 National Team Selection camp: John Laing Wise IV, Sam Weeks, Sebastian Amberger, Andrew Griffin, James Lueken and James Roen. An invitation to selection camp is based upon “coach recommendations, physical and physiological characteristics (e.g. height, weight,), past performance in international and domestic competition, and the athlete’s ability to match the style and technique of the crew as determined by the designated coach,” according to USRowing. Cornell University and Yale are each sending three rowers, followed by Harvard and Princeton, who will each send two. The men’s rowing program at Wisconsin has great strength in producing athletes who are highly competitive at the top level of collegiate rowing. “Coach Clark has always told us he runs the Wisconsin system like a national team program,” Weeks said. “We race a lot and are constantly being tested and scored, but this gives every rower countless opportunities to show improvement and move up in the rankings.” While other colleges with rowing traditions use a strategy of creating a winning team by further developing rowers who proved themselves on the high school stage, Wisconsin largely draws from “walk-ons” with no prior rowing experience. UW cultivates top rowers from scratch in the realm of collegiate rowing, and for some, on the national and international arena.Wisconsin’s Erik Kernozek walked on to the men’s rowing team at Wisconsin his freshman year and now has the revered opportunity to make the national team. “The top end of collegiate rowing right now is extremely saturated with internationally recruited oarsmen,” Kernozek said. “I’m proud to be a part of a team that develops walk-on, home-grown athletes like myself to the United States national team selection camp level.”Men’s hockey: Here are all the Badgers currently playing in the 2017 NHL PlayoffsWith the NHL Playoffs beginning last weekend, it can be hard to know who to root for. Maybe your team Read…Weeks came into NCAA Division I collegiate rowing with some high school rowing experience, but showed dramatic improvement while rowing for the Badgers. “The system here allowed me to develop from being the slowest recruit in my class to being invited to the U23 camp,” Weeks said. “What is even more impressive is that two of the other three guys invited from Wisconsin are walk-ons and had never rowed a stroke before college, which really validates how quickly and well the system can develop elite American oarsmen.” Beyond the athletic development that makes a top collegiate rower, the dedication and commitment needed for such achievements has also had profound positive mental effects on the athletes. “Rowing has forced my mentality to change from being afraid of work and pain, to the love of results,” Kernozek said. “Because of rowing, when I approach obstacles in my life, rather than thinking about where I would rather be in the moment, I always look forward to where I know I will be if I put in the work.” The Wisconsin rowers selected for the Men’s U23 Selection Camp are optimistic about their upcoming experience and the prudence of their efforts. “Ending my rowing career by representing the United States at the World Championships would be a very nice way to go out,” Weeks said. “Regardless of the final outcome, I want to end the camp with no regrets about my effort.”
Last year’s 8-5 record was anything but indicative of what this year’s edition of the Badger football team is capable of doing. Despite a loss to Illinois this weekend, the Badgers have competed at a high level all season.Before the loss, the Badgers were rolling with an undefeated record. As they prepare for a critical second-half slate that includes matchups against The Ohio State University and Iowa, the team is aware these games will be critical for their playoff hopes.Much of Wisconsin’s success can be credited to junior Heisman hopeful running back Jonathan Taylor. The 2018 Doak Walker Award winner for Best Running Back has picked up right where he left off in the first seven games of the 2019 campaign, scampering for 957 yards and 15 touchdowns.On top of that, Taylor has developed as a receiver, surpassing his receiving yards total from last year and managing to find the endzone four times.Taylor’s best performance of the year came against Kent State, running for 186 yards and totaling five all-purpose touchdowns.Football: Wisconsin rolls through Kent State en route to fifth straight victoryThe No. 8 University of Wisconsin football team (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) defeated Kent State (2-3, 1-0 MAC) at Camp Read…Taylor’s dominance hasn’t been the only story for the Badger offense. After a mediocre 2018 season, junior quarterback Jack Coan kept defenses on its heels and provided balance to the offense. In his first seven starts, Coan has managed the game masterfully, ranking second in the NCAA in completion percentage.Following the 38–0 win against Michigan State, Coan credited his improvement this season to his teammates.“I just got a lot of great guys around me,” Coan said. “They are really making plays and just making me look good.”Football: Five takeaways from Wisconsin’s pummeling of MichiganThe University of Wisconsin football team welcomed Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines to Madison on Saturday and Read…On the outside, Quintez Cephus and AJ Taylor have used their game-breaking athleticism when given the opportunity. Following his return, Cephus has burned defenses for 353 yards and three touchdowns through seven games. Taylor and Coan have also found chemistry, connecting for 16 receptions and 158 total yards.“It all started in the spring and winter workouts,” AJ Taylor said. “We were throwing all of the time, and we’ve got a pretty good relationship. We also got a little bit of a party planned for him when his birthday comes around.”These great relationships, combined with Wisconsin’s variety of offensive weapons, make it difficult for defenses to game plan against the Badgers.On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin’s stifling defense complements their balanced offense. Wisconsin ranks first in the country in points allowed and yards per game with 7.6 and 193.9, respectively. The opportunistic defense has forced 14 net turnovers, good for sixth-best in the country.The linebacking trio of Zack Baun, Chris Orr and Jack Sanborn has been lethal, combining for 108 tackles, 18 sacks and five forced fumbles. Baun is a nightmare for offensive tackles, using his speed to edge rush quarterbacks for 6.5 sacks through seven games.Baun credits friendly competition to the rise of the defense’s play.“I think competition between anyone is good. Whenever there is competition, it builds more character and advances everyone’s play,” Baun said.Football: Four takeaways from Badgers’ fourth shutout win of the seasonThe No. 6 University of Wisconsin football team (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) welcomed the Michigan State Spartans (4-3, 2-2) to Read…This week’s matchup against The Ohio State University brings back some tortured memories for Badger fans. Wisconsin has lost six consecutive games to the Buckeyes, including two losses in the Big Ten championship, one of which was a 59-0 thumping that propelled the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff. The last Wisconsin win against Ohio State came almost a decade ago at Camp Randall in 2010.To end the cursed streak, Wisconsin’s game plan must focus on stopping dual-threat Heisman candidate Justin Fields. In just six games, Fields has torched opposing defenses, throwing for 1,492 yards, 22 touchdowns and just one interception.Junior running back J.K. Dobbins is as dynamic as they come. Dobbins is well on his way to his third consecutive 1,000 yard season and has eclipsed over 170 rushing yards in three separate games.The Badgers have yet to play a ranked opponent on the road and will be welcomed to the “Horseshoe” from approximately 104,944 raucous Buckeye fans. It will be interesting to see how Coan and the offense handle the noise.The other ranked matchup in Wisconsin’s remaining five games is a home game against the No. 20 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The Badgers have dominated the matchup, winning six of their last seven games against Iowa dating back to 2010.Iowa is led by senior quarterback and three-year starter Nate Stanley. Stanley has been solid for the Hawkeyes this year, throwing for nine touchdowns and achieving a 62.3% completion percentage. Despite this, Stanley has struggled against ranked opponents and threw three interceptions in Iowa’s road matchup against Michigan.Football: Previewing Big Ten West before major conference gamesThe University of Wisconsin football team (3-0) has looked like a complete team through their first few games of 2019. Read…Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin football has been one of the nation’s most consistent teams. Since 2009, the Badgers hold the country’s 6th-highest winning percentage at 77.7% with an impressive 98-28 record.Even though the program has appeared in four conference championship games and six New Year’s Six bowls, the team still has not appeared in a College Football Playoff. This final stretch will be pivotal for the Badgers’ hopes and will dictate whether this year is different from years past.
Sophomore midfielder Jalen Woodward heads the ball over an Eastern Washington defender in a game at McAlister Field. Photo by Emily Smith | Daily TrojanThe No. 3 seeded women’s soccer team kicked off its postseason last Friday with a 2-1 victory against a familiar foe — Eastern Washington University. Last season, the Women of Troy dominated the Eagles 3-1 to kick off the 2016 NCAA tournament. “At least it’s a team we know, we’ve played them,” head coach Keidane McAlpine said before the match. “The hard part is they know us and they’ve played us. They have had another good year and we are going to have to be prepared to play them.”Despite the Trojans’ preparation, the Eagles stole the early lead. In the sixth minute, the Eagles drove the ball into the USC zone and placed a shot on target. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kaylie Collins made the save but was unable to secure the ball. Senior forward Chloe Williams found the rebound and delivered a shot to the back of the Trojans’ net to grant the Eagles the lead. “When you get scored on early, it wakes you up and the urgency had to pick up,” Collins said. “It was more of everyone getting on each other at that point and asking more from each other.” After the score, USC played lockdown defense and generated a couple scoring opportunities but was unable to convert the equalizer. The score held at 1-0 going into the half. Even though Eastern Washington held the momentum for the majority of the first half, the Trojans outshot the Eagles 14-3. Something needed to change for the Trojans in the second half if they wanted to extend their season another day. “We [the coaching staff] asked them what they wanted the end of their season to look like,” McAlpine said. “We changed a few things [with our formation]. But more importantly, [the coaching staff] just challenged them to really think about what they wanted the end to look like and if they wanted today to be it.” McAlpine’s words must have hit home with the Women of Troy because the Trojans came out flying. In the second half, the Trojans tallied 14 shots and 10 corner kicks. An early Eagle scoring opportunity almost put a damper on the Trojans’ hope of tying the match, but Collins denied the attempt and the USC offense went to work. Senior forward Alex Anthony found the equalizer off of the pass from junior forward Hailey Hite in just five minutes. The Trojans applied pressure for the entire second half, spending most of the time in the offensive zone.In the 73rd minute, USC nearly found the go-ahead goal thanks to a rifling shot from freshman midfielder Savannah DeMelo. The ball was just wide of the post and the score remained knotted at one.Neither team could settle the match in regulation and the game went to overtime for the first time this season at McAlister Field. USC produced a few scoring opportunities in the first 10-minute period with chances from both senior forward Alex Anthony and Savannah DeMelo. Once again, neither squad could best the other and the game was forced into a second overtime.The fourth period would be short-lived, as the Trojans found the golden goal in just 18 seconds. Deep into the offensive zone, sophomore midfielder Ashleigh Plumptre lofted a cross over Eagles goalkeeper Emily Busselman toward the far post where junior forward Erika Okuma was stationed. Okuma finished the play by pounding the ball into the open net to secure the 2-1 win for the Trojans.“We found a way to win on a day where it wasn’t our best performance and far from it,” McAlpine said. “But this team has some resolve, and it showed today. Kaylie [Collins] kept us in it in the first half and then between Alex [Anthony] and Erika [Okuma] we found a way to win it in the end.”With the victory, the Trojans advance to the second round of NCAA Tournament where they will travel to College Station, Tex. to take on the Baylor Bears Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Down 2-0 after two close sets, Syracuse (2-0) came all the way back, winning the next three to defeat UConn (5-2) in the final game of the UConn Invitational in Storrs, Connecticut. Freshman Polina Shemanova led the way for the Orange with a team-high 18 kills after racking up 17 yesterday against New Hampshire.In the first set, Syracuse found themselves down 10-18 before fighting their way into a 22-20 lead. However, UConn would tie it up at 24 and eventually took the set, 26-24. Syracuse came out strong for the second set and were only down 16-14 before UConn once again pulled away to win the second set, 25-19.But the Orange did not want to go down without a fight. In the third set, down 16-17, Syracuse went on a nine to two run and won the set, 25-19. The fourth set was back and forth, but once SU took a 20-19 lead, it never gave it back up. A powerful kill by Shemanova ended the fourth set with Syracuse ahead, 25-23.The fifth and final set was almost all Orange. Syracuse took a 5-4 lead and didn’t stop, going on to win the game with a 15-7 fifth set victory.Three other SU players finished with double-digit kills. Sophomore Ella Saada had 12, redshirt senior Amber Witherspoon finished with 11 and senior Santita Ebangwese came away with 10.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse will next head to Milwaukee for the Marquette Tournament on Friday where it will face off against BYU at 6 p.m. Comments Published on September 1, 2018 at 6:10 pm Contact Eric: email@example.com
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 2, 2018 at 12:12 am Contact Billy: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Wheyen3 On one Syracuse possession late in Saturday’s first half, Buddy Boeheim received a pass on the right wing with his 18-month older brother, Cornell’s Jimmy Boeheim, in a defensive stance in front of him. The Carrier Dome crowd’s noise level rose in anticipation. Buddy jab-stepped twice, but then just passed the ball off. On a night when SU head coach Jim Boeheim’s sons played against each other, that was about as close as they came to going one-on-one.“I was so worried about the game and what was going on, I wasn’t really thinking about that to be honest with you,” Boeheim said. “I really wasn’t. Their mother can think about that. I’m thinking about trying to get us to play better.”In the end, Boeheim and Buddy came out on top, as Syracuse (5-2) beat Cornell (4-4) and Jimmy, 63-55, in the Carrier Dome. Buddy made one of his two 3-point attempts. Jimmy tallied nine points, six rebounds and four assists. The two bumped hips a few times on the floor, and Jimmy guarded Buddy on at least two possessions. Cornell hung around, but in the end Syracuse found the edge.“It’s tough because we really were right there, we had a really good chance to win,” Jimmy said. “It’s definitely in my mind. It might be there for a while.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAlexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerWhen Jimmy checked in first, with 15:03 to go in the first half, the crowd cheered at a decent volume. He grabbed a couple boards and an assist, and then about four minutes into his court time, he leaked out as Steven Julian grabbed a steal.Julian led Jimmy toward the basket, and even as SU’s Elijah Hughes trailed the play looking to pin Jimmy’s shot to the backboard, the sophomore didn’t waver.“He’s starting to realize how tall and long he is,” Cornell star Matt Morgan said of Jimmy. “Offensively and defensively he can get to the rim whenever he wants to.”Naturally right-handed but a lefty jump shooter, Jimmy got to the glass with his right hand and finished for two. He knocked down a 3 a few possessions later. Juli Boeheim and Jamie Boeheim, Jim’s wife and daughter, stood and cheered with two other people who’d accompanied them. They were the only group in their section of the Carrier Dome cheering.“He hasn’t made any 3s,” Boeheim exaggerated. “He would have to make one against us.”Two minutes after Jimmy’s 3, Buddy answered with one of his own. He’d missed his first attempt from beyond the arc, but when Frank Howard swung the ball to Buddy on the left wing, he rose up and knocked it down.Again, Juli and Jamie stood and cheered. They weren’t the only ones, that time.“Buddy got a good look, and he had another chance to get a good look and we’re not smart enough to get him the ball,” Boeheim said.Alexandra Moreo | Senior Staff PhotographerAt one point in their time on the court together, Jimmy and Buddy lined up along the free throw lane. For most of the game, Jimmy said he didn’t think about the fact that they were playing each other.But lined up next to each other, Jimmy noticed.“He came down and stood next to me,” Jimmy said. “And I was like wow, that’s pretty crazy. In that moment, it clicked.”With 18 seconds to go and Syracuse finally having stemmed a Cornell rally, Jimmy took one more shot. He caught the ball near the top of the key, drove right, and put it off glass over Marek Dolezaj, again with his right hand.Then with five seconds left, Boeheim subbed Buddy back in for the closing seconds. When the buzzer sounded, the family didn’t leave the court yet. Instead, Jamie and Juli joined the three competitors.They had to pose for a photo.“My mom told me that was gonna happen,” Jimmy said. “I tried to run out of there before. But she grabbed me, and I don’t think I really had a choice … She wants that to be our Christmas card.”Senior Staff Writer Matthew Gutierrez and Senior Staff Photographer Alexandra Moreo contributed reporting. Comments
After dominating Georgetown in the rain on Sunday, No. 5 seed Syracuse (16-4, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) will face No. 4 seed Northwestern (15-4, 5-1 Big Ten) for a trip to the national semifinals. The Wildcats scored eight unanswered goals in their second-round matchup against Notre Dame, ultimately winning 13-10. The two will face off at 2 p.m. in Evanston, Illinois in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.Here’s what our beat writers predict to happen.Eric BlackSyracuse 15, Northwestern 13WildcaughtNorthwestern has won six straight games and boasts the best offense in the country. The Wildcats just beat No. 1 Maryland and feature a Tewaaraton finalist. On top of all that, Saturday’s game is in Evanston. But Syracuse is better. The Orange have shown that all season, including in the team’s first matchup this year when SU took down Northwestern in overtime. After dropping five games by one goal last season, this year they’ve flipped the script and won five one-goal games. In poor conditions on Sunday, Syracuse showed that its offense will take more than rain to slow down, and against the Wildcats’ subpar defense, SU should explode. Sure, Northwestern has Selena Lasota, but Syracuse has Emily Hawryschuk. The latter said “this is the team that’s gonna do it,” and a win Saturday is the first step in doing so.KJ EdelmanSyracuse 13, Northwestern 12Deep dish dubAdvertisementThis is placeholder textI don’t know if I should laugh or cry that Saturday’s outdoor game might be another overcast. But Syracuse just showed its offense won’t die in the rain. Northwestern’s attack took its foot off the pedal in the second half of its last matchup and has more in store. I’m more interested in defense in this quarterfinal game, though. Emily Hawryschuk couldn’t help but laugh when recalling Nell Copeland’s face-guard tactics against her in February. That game ended in a turnover on the opening possession of overtime and a Hawryschuk game-winner. I expect something similar on Saturday — coming down to a final shot. Syracuse has shown with its top-notch backline that discrepancies on the draw area are a small formality. Hawryschuk will dominate, and if she’s face-guarded, the likes of Megan Carney, Nicole Levy and Sam Swart will lead the Orange to their first final four since 2016.Kaci WasilewskiNorthwestern 15, Syracuse 14The North RemembersSyracuse’s 15-14 win over then-No. 4 Northwestern was its first win of the season that showed SU wasn’t the 9-10 Orange of 2018. After a back-and-forth game, an Emily Hawryschuk goal in overtime lifted SU to its first ranked win of the season. That being said, Northwestern is on a six-game win streak that includes wins over Notre Dame, Michigan and top-ranked Maryland. Northwestern is playing its best lacrosse right now, especially with its top-ranked offense. For Syracuse to win, its defense is going to have to be better than its best this season. That being said, I think it’s going to be a close game that will come down to the wire, but this time, Northwestern is coming out on top. Comments Published on May 18, 2019 at 12:25 am Facebook Twitter Google+
Published on November 18, 2019 at 5:21 pm Contact Andrew: email@example.com | @CraneAndrew After defeating Maryland Eastern Shore and Albany last week, No. 17 Syracuse (3-0) rose three spots in the weekly AP Top 25 Poll. Emily Engstler had two double-doubles to lead the Orange in their second and third straight home wins to open the season.Yet in both games, SU again started slow against nonconference opponents. A one-point lead over the Hawks at the end of the first quarter only turned into nine after the next 10 minutes. But behind Digna Strautmane’s four 3-pointers in the second half, SU pulled away for a 15-point win.A similar situation unfolded just four days later. Syracuse and the Great Danes were tied at 16 after the opening quarter and SU only led by 10 at half. For the third consecutive time — the Orange were down 14 points against Ohio in their season-opener — SU pulled away in the final 20 minutes to ensure its third 3-0 start in four seasons.Syracuse next faces No. 1 Oregon (3-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, its toughest nonconference game of the season. The Ducks are led by seniors Ruthy Hebard (23.1 points per game) and reigning Wooden Award winner Sabrina Ionescu (12.7 points per game). As a team, the Ducks currently average 99.0 points per game. SU, by comparison, has failed to top 75 points through its three games. Comments AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+
The 23 year old has had a highly impressive opening year with Team NetApp Endura picking up wins in the Clasica de Almeria, the German classic Rund um Köln, and a stage of the Tour of Bavaria. He already had a contract for 2015 but has decided to remain with the squad until the end of 2017.The German based team has a new title sponsor in the form of Bora for next season – they have also announced the signing of New Zealander Shane Archibold for from Bennett’s former home An Post Chain Reaction.
The Tipp players included in the EirGrid 21 are goalkeeper Evan Comerford, defenders Ross Mulcahy and Bill Maher, midfielders Steven O’Brien and Colin O’Riordan and forward Kevin O’Halloran. While All-Ireland winners Tyrone lead with seven, six Tipperary footballers have been selected as recipients of the inaugural ‘EirGrid 21 U21 Awards’.The awards honour the twenty-one standout players from the 2015 U21 All-Ireland Championship as selected by members of the Gaelic Writers Association.In addition to the 21 U21 awards, EirGrid are asking fans of the championship to select their Player of the Year. Tipp captain Colin O’Riordan and the Tyrone duo of Lee Brennan and Cathal McShane are the nominees.
O Neill feels it will be tight to qualify from Group D even though they face familier opponents They’ve been drawn with sides including Wales and Serbia, as well as Austria , Georgia and Moldova.
A fantastic second half performance saw them beat Connaught champions Galway in Tullamore yesterday.Inane Rovers Alan Tynan scored a second half goal to put the result beyond doubt with Tipp running out 1-10 to 6 point winners in the end.Manager Charlie McGeever felt that the players fitness levels were good despite their hectic schedule and felt that players “freshness” for the game was key.
The four-time winners produced their best performance of the season as tries from Isa Nacewa Jamie Heaslip and Sean Cronin helped them to a comprehensive win – despite a brace of tries from Ulster’s Craig Gilroy.So Leinster now awaits the winners of this evening’s semi-final at the Sportsground, where Connacht will once-again play host to the Glasgow Warriors.Pat Lam’s men beat Glasgow just two weeks ago to secure home advantage and former Ireland Captain Brian O’Driscoll says that it’s hard to know which team will have improved more in the intervening period.
Vianello took the second and although the Tipp man won the third he couldn’t get the knock-out he needed to win the bout.Meanwhile, Michael O’Reilly from Portlaoise, who had already qualified, has won the middleweight title after getting a walkover in the final. The Clonmel man was beaten in today’s super-heavyweight final at a qualifying event in Azerbaijan.He was beaten 29-28 by Guido Vianello of Italy.Dean seemed to have the better of the first round but the judges sided with his opponent.
Photo © Tipperary GAA The Cork full forward trio of Mark Cronin, Damien Gore and Cathail O Mahony scoring 3-13 between themAfterwards Tipp manager Matt O Doherty paid tribute to last nights opponents saying they were physically strong.However he said the Premier hadn’t performed as well as they can.Reigning champions Kerry are through to the semi finals after Peter Keane’s side comfortably saw off Clare 2-16 to 1-6 in Tralee.At the Gaelic Grounds Limerick were 1-10 to 0-9 winners over Waterford.Clare will play Waterford now and the winners will meet Tipp in a playoff on the 26th of April. A strong Cork team were comprehensive 3-21 to 1-8 winners over Tipp in the Munster minor football championship quarter finals last night.The Rebels built up an early lead and went in 1-9 to 0-4 ahead at half time in Semple Stadium.Ryan Lambe from Clonmel Commercials hit 0- 3 on the night for Tipp while Adam McGrath of Galtee Rovers bagged a late consolation goal for the home team.
Tipp and Galway renew rivalries on Sunday when the sides clash in the National Hurling League final.Michael Ryan’s men are targeting their first league title since 2008.The sides last met in the All Ireland semi-final last year where Tipp won by a single point. Tipp’s Noel McGrath says the history between the sides will mean little on Sunday afternoon.Throw-in is at 3.30 on Sunday afternoon at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick and the game will be live here on Tipp FM.
Tipp FM’s live updates of this Sundays game between Tipperary and Down comes in association with Eldons Bar Clonmel and Walsh Barbers shop, Mitchell Street, Clonmel. Down are far more formidable opposition for Tipp’s senior footballers that Louth were, according to the Premier’s Under 20s manager.David Power says that a run of unlucky misses have held down back from victories – and that Tipp need to be careful.Tipp travel to Newry on Sunday, however, Power says having consolodated their position in the division – the pressure is off…
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in AbujaIn a bid to find a lasting solution to the lingering tussle over the leadership of the country’s apex football governing body, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, said the ministry has set up a seven-man advisory committee, including seasoned technocrats with the FIFA.The committee, which has two weeks to submit its report, is to seek ways of resolving the seeming logjam in the crisis that engulfed the Football House by trying to reconcile the factions involved in the crisis.The Minister, who was at the national secretariat of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday in Abuja, said he couldn’t have supported the Chris Giwa’s group against the NFF leadership led by Amaju Pinnick because it will not be in his interest to allow the crisis to escalate.“I have set up a seven-man advisory committee, and from the briefings I got they would start sitting today. I think, by the end of two weeks, when I receive their report, there would be sufficient advise in the way forward.“They have invited so many stakeholders in the football industry to interact with them. And some of them have worked with FIFA, some of them are working with FIFA I brought them together, so that we can benefit from their experiences,” he said.Lalong said the development in the football industry is unfortunate, especially the leadership tussle, adding that both parties in the conflict “must shieft position from their extreme position to a mid-way in the. Interest of football and in the interest of the nation”.MORE TO FOLLOWShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Many local athletics watchers had been doubting Okagbare’s ability to bounce back after a rather disappointing 2016 season when she not only failed to race inside 11 seconds in the 100m but also could not make the final of the event at the Rio Olympics.The last time she ran a sub-11 seconds in the 100m was way back in September 2015 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich where she closed her season with a 10.98 seconds performance.Interestingly, the Nigerian ran an incredible six sub-11 seconds in the 100m that season, topping it with the 10.80 seconds she ran at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the Stade De France in Paris on July 4. It was her and Nigeria’s second fastest 100m time ever.It was also the third fastest time in the world that year. Okagbare broke 11 seconds for the first time in 2012 when she ran 10.96 seconds to place second in the first semi-final at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Crystal Palace, London on July 14.She ran three more sub-11 seconds to close the season with a 10.92 personal best on August 4 at the Olympics in London.She ran three more the following year with an incredible 10.79 seconds performance to become the first Nigerian nay African woman to break 10.80 seconds in the 100m.It was then a new African record which proved to be the second fastest in the world that year behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pyrce’s IAAF World-title winning 10.71 seconds performance in Moscow.In 2014,Okagbare broke 11 seconds thrice like she did the previous year and ended the season with a 10.85 seconds personal season’s best which not only fetched her the Commonwealth Games gold but also ensured she ended the year with the second fastest time in the world, again behind USA’s Torie Bowie (10.80 seconds).The following year she ran six times inside 11 seconds and was on course to becoming the first Nigerian to win a 100m medal at the IAAF Worlds in Beijing but wishes refused to turn to horses as she finished last in the final. Last year she did not legally break 11 seconds as the 10.92 seconds she ran at the Istvan Guylai Memorial Grand Prix in Hungary on July 18 was aided by a +2.6 metres per second trailing wind which rendered it illegal.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram *Picks bronze in IAAF Diamond League in LondonReigning Nigeria sprint queen Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor on SundayÂ at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London ran 10.99 seconds, her first sub-11 seconds performance of the season to place third behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (10.94) and Dutch girl, Dafne Schippers (10.97). She has thus raced back to reckoning ahead of next month’s 16th IAAF World Championships also in London.It was the Nigerian’s first sub-11 seconds performance in the 100m in over 21 months and 17th of a very storied career since she raced into the limelight in Abuja on July 25 when she won her first national title in the blue ribband event.
Peak, the Official Milk of the Super Eagles, treated the team to their last breakfast in Asaba as they made to depart for Egypt to battle for honours in the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on June 21.All the 25 players in camp as at that time as well as their officials were at the breakfast session.Captain John Mikel Obi and his teammates could not hide their excitement at the gesture by the brand, which has stood behind the squad over the years. Coach Gernot Rohr said that with the support from Peak, the team would be inspired to conquer in Egypt as the Super Eagles chase a fourth African title after the successes of 1980, 1994 and 2013.Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa expressed his delight at the special bonding session and said that Peak had been his No 1 milk.“I am happy with Peak. I love Peak milk. And I am thrilled that the brand is supporting the Super Eagles,” the goalkeeper enthused.Since 1998 when it backed the Super Eagles to the FIFA World Cup in France, Peak Milk has been supporting the national football team.The brand was part of the success story of the Super Eagles as they went all the way in South Africa to lift the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013.It is set to see the Super Eagles triumph again in Egypt 2019.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Flying Eagles at training session in Poland.
Tampa Bay Rays two-way rookie Brendan McKay will have season-ending surgery on his left throwing shoulder Wednesday.The 24-year-old McKay tested positive for the coronavirus in early July and missed most of the club’s preseason camp. He was cleared to resume activities July 31 and reported to the club’s alternate site, but then experienced stiffness in his pitching shoulder and was shut down last week.“Obviously frustration, but we’re optimistic with the procedure that Brendan will have. Hopefully we’ll have him for 2021 spring training and go from there,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday night before a series opener against the Yankees. “There’s no doubt it’s unfortunate for him, for us, because we probably would have already been using him, but just the shoulder never cooperated.”Cash said the issue is in the back of McKay’s shoulder, but the exact nature of the injury won’t be known until after the procedure.McKay was 2-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) last season, and went 2 for 10 with a home run as a designated hitter. He’s also played 49 minor league games at first base since being selected fourth overall in the 2017 draft out of Louisville.The Rays sit in second place in the AL East entering Tuesday’s action, 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees.Image credits: AP WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News SUBSCRIBE TO US COMMENT Last Updated: 19th August, 2020 07:42 IST Rays’ 2-way Player McKay To Have Season-ending Surgery Tampa Bay Rays two-way rookie Brendan McKay will have season-ending surgery on his left throwing shoulder Wednesday First Published: 19th August, 2020 07:42 IST FOLLOW US LIVE TV Written By
WATCH US LIVE Jedd Gyorko homered twice and Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in six innings, helping the Milwaukee Brewers pound the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 on Friday night.Burnes (1-0) gave up three hits and walked one as the Brewers bounced back after dropping six of their previous eight games. They were swept in a three-game series at Pittsburgh last weekend.Gyorko hit solo shots in the first and seventh innings for his sixth career multihomer game. His last one came against the Brewers on May 1, 2017, when he was playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.Ryan Braun and Jacob Nottingham also homered for the Brewers. JT Riddle connected in the seventh for Pittsburgh.Braun hit a three-run shot to left in the third to join Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano as the only active players with at least 800 extra-base hits.The only player to collect more extra-base hits for the Brewers is Hall of Famer Robin Yount with 960 from 1974-93.Pirates starter Derek Holland (1-2) faced Milwaukee for the third time this season. In his first two starts against the Brewers, Holland allowed a total of three runs over 10 2/3 innings.He wasn’t nearly as effective this time. Holland struck out eight, but gave up eight runs, six hits and four walks over five innings.Gyorko gave the Brewers a rare early lead with a two-out drive just inside the left-field foul pole in the first. The Brewers had been outscored 17-3 in the first inning before Friday.After Braun’s blast extended the lead to 4-0, Nottingham crushed a 0-2 pitch to left-center in the fourth for his second career homer. Nottingham had been called up earlier in the day to replace catcher Manny Piña, who went on the injured list with torn meniscus in his right knee.Holland also gave up a two-run double to Mark Mathias with two outs in the fifth.Riddle homered against David Phelps in the seventh, but Pittsburgh finished with just four hits.WORTH NOTINGThe Brewers released utilityman Brock Holt and designated reliever Justin Grimm for assignment. Holt had been designated for assignment last week.FAREWELL TO DYSONPirates manager Derek Shelton had nice parting words for outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox for international signing bonus pool money. Shelton called Dyson an “unbelievable teammate” and credited the veteran for assisting in former shortstop Cole Tucker’s move to the outfield.“One of the things he told Tuck is you have to be able to embrace opportunities,” Shelton said.TRAINER’S ROOMBrewers: Piña will miss at least the rest of the regular season. He hurt his knee while sliding back to first on a pick-off attempt Thursday. “When I touched the base, I knew right away that something happened with my knee,” Piña said. “I left the game and didn’t feel too much pain after the game, but when I was back in my apartment trying to sleep, it was very painful.” Manager Craig Counsell said Piña would undergo surgery but might be available for the postseason if Milwaukee gets there.UP NEXTThe four-game series continues Saturday with JT Brubaker (0-0, 4.80 ERA) pitching for the Pirates and Brett Anderson (2-2, 3.52) starting for the Brewers.Image credits: AP SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 29th August, 2020 09:00 IST Written By Associated Press Television News LIVE TV FOLLOW US Last Updated: 29th August, 2020 09:00 IST Gyorko, Burnes Come Up Big As Brewers Trounce Pirates 9-1 Jedd Gyorko homered twice and Corbin Burnes struck out 10 in six innings, helping the Milwaukee Brewers pound the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-1 on Friday night COMMENT
First Published: 3rd September, 2020 12:50 IST SUBSCRIBE TO US Last Updated: 3rd September, 2020 12:50 IST Wheeler Outpitches Scherzer, Phillies Beat Nationals 3-0 Zack Wheeler tossed three-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings to outpitch Max Scherzer, Jay Bruce hit a solo homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night. Associated Press Television News LIVE TV COMMENT Written By Zack Wheeler tossed three-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings to outpitch Max Scherzer, Jay Bruce hit a solo homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.Neil Walker was 3 for 3 with two RBIs for the Phillies, who’ve won eight of nine and three in a row to go two games over .500 for the first time since they were 79-77 last Sept. 24.The defending World Series champion Nationals have lost five straight and eight of nine to fall to 12-22. They’ve been shut out in consecutive games.Wheeler (4-0) struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.20. David Phelps retired the four batters he faced in his debut with the Phillies. Brandon Workman finished for his eighth save in nine chances and fourth for Philadelphia.Scherzer (3-2) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings. He slammed his glove with two hands in the dugout after his final inning.The three-time Cy Young Award winner ran into trouble in the fourth when he walked J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura and Alec Bohm lined a single to load the bases with one out. Walker then slapped an opposite-field hit to left-center to score two.Bruce drove his sixth homer the opposite way to left in the sixth to make it 3-0.Victor Robles, Asdrubal Cabrera and Luis Garcia hit singles off Wheeler, who threw 108 pitches. Wheeler has been outstanding for the Phillies in his first season after signing a $118 million, five-year contract in free agency.BACK TO BACKAaron Nola and Hector Neris combined on a four-hitter in Philadelphia’s 6-0 win Tuesday night.WISE MOVEPhillies manager Joe Girardi gave red-hot Rhys Hoskins, who is 0 for 17 against Scherzer, a night off. Walker replaced him at first base and raised his average from .192 to .276 with three hits.TRAINER’S ROOMNationals: RHP Javy Guerra was placed on the 10-day injury list with a left hamstring strain and RHP Kyle McGowin was recalled.Phillies: Girardi said LHP Adam Morgan could be ready to return from the injury list when he’s eligible on Sept. 10. Morgan has a tired throwing shoulder.(Image Credit Pixbay) FOLLOW US WATCH US LIVE
COMMENT First Published: 3rd September, 2020 12:56 IST WATCH US LIVE Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US Associated Press Television News Last Updated: 3rd September, 2020 12:56 IST Gurriel Homers To Lead Blue Jays Past Marlins 2-1 Lourdes Gurriel homered and Hyun Jin Ryu pitched six solid innings to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night. LIVE TV Lourdes Gurriel homered and Hyun Jin Ryu pitched six solid innings to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.After Miami’s Sixto Sanchez got through the first four innings on 43 pitches, Gurriel snapped the rookie right-hander’s 11-inning scoreless string with a two-run shot for a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Gurriel drove Sanchez’s 0-1 slider over the left-center wall for his fifth homer.Ryu (3-1) allowed one run and six hits, walked two and matched a season high with eight strikeouts.A.J. Cole and Rafael Dolis each pitched scoreless innings and Anthony Bass got his fourth save for the Blue Jays, who are 12-12 in one-run games.Jonathan Villar had two hits in his second game since joining the Blue Jays in a trade with Miami on Monday.Sanchez (1-1) was lifted after seven innings. He allowed six hits and struck out five.Miami scored its run on Garrett Cooper’s RBI single in the fifth.The Blue Jays committed three baserunning blunders that ended innings. Jonathan Villar was thrown out attempting to stretch a single into a double in the first, and Miami catcher Jorge Alfaro picked off Gurriel at first in the second and Villar at third in the fourth.TRAINER’S ROOM:Blue Jays: RHP Trent Thornton underwent surgery Tuesday to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow. Manager Charlie Montoyo anticipates Thornton will be ready for next spring training.Marlins: RHP Eliecer Hernandez (lat muscle sprain) was placed on the 10-day injured list. Hernandez felt discomfort and departed after pitching two plus innings in his start Tuesday against the Blue Jays. In a corresponding move, Miami promoted IF Eddy Alvarez from its alternate training site.(Image Credit Pixabay) FOLLOW US
Tracy-Ann Hall When Tracy-Ann Hall was going through high school none of her peers or teachers would harbor the thought that she would be an outstanding educator.Hall’s school years were difficult as she was afflicted with undiagnosed dyslexia and never matriculated to tertiary education immediately after graduating from high school.Instead she trained as an automotive technician and worked in a garage. But driven by a fierce will to succeed, the young woman sought to qualify herself further and entered into teachers college where she graduated top of her class after a three-year course..This was would prove to be her best roll of the dice.Hall now teaches an automotive technology class at the Jonathan grant high School and her love for the classroom and her undying passion to see her students succeed has borne fruit.Hall has been nominated as one of the 10 finalists for the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher award for 2017. She was selected from a pool of 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries..Now in its third year, the US $1 million award is the largest prize of its kind, and was implemented to recognize an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the teaching profession as well as magnify the important role teachers play in the world.The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday, March 19.Hall’s firsdt classroom experience was one that most teachers would dread. She was assigned to a class of young males who were written off as below average with poor literacy skills.However, she was not daunted and motivated the class of 30 boys. She established a class library, encouraged her charges to read and deliver a book review on completion of each volume.Soon the students began to excel in grade ten and by grade 11 were so transformed that eight of them joined the school choir and one became head boy at the school. Her class was also the first automotive exam class to score a 95 percent pass in the history of the school. She also started and oversaw a programme for her class to feed street people, launch a junior automotive club and serve on the school magazine committee.Her students have taken on careers as policemen, scuba divers, hotel managers, chefs, and, without a doubt, automotive technicians. Hall has never wavered in encouraging all her students to get enrolled in a tertiary institution.Tracy-Ann Hall has taught at various schools, all with the same success. She has convinced business leaders in the automotive sector to sponsor scholarships for exceptional students, ensuring they start with a firm foothold in the industry. With resources scarce, she has been ingenious in finding materials and components for her automotive classes, which are difficult to attract funding for, again forming partnerships with those in the automotive sector to use their facilities and spare parts. She has hosted summer schools for low-income families, bolstering her community. Her contribution has been recognised with a number of awards from the schools she has taught at.The other nine finalists for the Global Teacher prize 2017 are:Raymond Chambers, a computer science teacher from Brooke Weston Academy in Corby, NorthamptonshireSalima Begum, Headteacher at Elementary College for Women Gilgit, PakistanDavid Calle, from Madrid, Spain, the founder and creator of the Unicoos educational websiteWemerson da Silva Nogueira, a science teacher at the Escola Antônio dos Santos Neves in Boa Esperança, BrazilMarie-Christine Ghanbari Jahromi, a physical education, maths and German teacher at Gesamtschule Gescher school, in Gescher, GermanyMaggie MacDonnell, a teacher at Ikusik School, Kativik School Board, Canadian ArcticKen Silburn, a science teacher at Casula High School, south-west Sydney, AustraliaYang Boya, a psychology teacher at The Affiliated Middle School of Kunming Teachers College, ChinaMichael Wamaya, a dance teacher from Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya.
The Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP), says it welcomes the ruling by the Trinidad and Tobago High Court that deemed the country’s buggery laws unconstitutional.In his ruling last Thursday, Justice Devindra Rampersad said “Sections 13 and 16 of the (Sexual Offences Act) are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalize any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults.”The Trinidad and Tobago government has already indicated it will appeal the ruling.The right to human dignityBut in a statement, PANCAP, the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, said the ruling acknowledges that every individual regardless of their race, color, gender, age or sexual orientation has the right to human dignity.PANCAP said in reflecting on one of the recommendations of the Regional Consultation of Faith Leaders held in Trinidad in February, noted that the meeting had acknowledged areas of litigation that may challenge religious values and the responses required to harmonize principles and practices around human rights, human sexuality and human dignity.“In handing down his decision, Justice Rampersad said the ruling however is “not an assessment or denial of the religious beliefs of anyone …However, this conclusion is a recognition that the beliefs of some, is not the belief of all.”Encourages dialogue“PANCAP therefore encourages continued dialogue between the Faith Community and the LGBTI community on areas of agreement and commonality,” it said.In his ruling, Justice Rampersad said the current law goes against the basic rights of any citizen to enjoy the freedom of privacy and family life.He said it was unfortunate when society, in any way, values a person or gives a person their identity based on their race, color, gender, age or sexual orientation.The lawsuit is one of several landmark cases filed by Caribbean LGBT activists challenging regional homophobic laws.In 2016, Jamaican lawyer Maurice Tomlinson challenged the immigration laws in Trinidad and Tobago and Belize which allow for refusal of entry to regional homosexuals visitors.While the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) dismissed his case, both governments admitted that the laws were not enforced by their immigration officials.
As several Florida electoral races between Democrats and Republicans come down to the wire, especially the contentious race for governor between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, the heavyweights from party are set to arrive.Obama in Miami on FridayOn Friday, former President Barack Obama will be in Miami to offer his support to Gillum’s campaign and the reelection campaign of Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson. Trump today and SaturdayPreceding Obama’s visit, President Donald Trump was scheduled to be in Fort Myers on Wednesday, and return to the state for campaign stops in Pensacola on Saturday with DeSantis and Florida incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott who is challenging Nelson for his senate seat.The arrival of the former and current president to campaign on behalf of their respective parties is reminiscent of similar heavyweights who visited Florida in the waning days of the 2016 presidential elections to campaign for the presidential candidates Trump and Democrat Hilary Clinton.Very different mid-term election mood But, as local political analyst Bruce Dally told CNW, “Something is very different in these mid-terms elections. For one, there seems to be more enthusiasm from voters on both sides of the political aisle. Secondly, the tone of the campaign in several of the races is much more vitriolic. Just look at tone of the political ads, and the nature of the two recent debates between Gillum and DeSantis.”Too close to callThe aggressive nature of the campaign for state governor, the US Senate, several US Congress races and state offices, sends a message that several of these races could be too close to call. Despite recent polls indicating Gillum is leading DeSantis by an average of 4.5 percent members of both the Gillum and DeSantis campaigns are urging their supporters to not to heed the polls. The same message is coming from several political pundits in the state, Desreen Peres, a political analyst in Tampa, says there is so much tension surrounding the elections, the polls are unreliable. Anything, the simplest thing or comment, can easily change voter’s minds.”Although millions of Floridians have already cast votes in early voting, and mail-in votes, there’s still a significant percentage, estimated at over 60 percent who are yet to vote. Independent voters targeted Pers said, “A large bloc of voters will be voting on November 6. Party die-hards of both parties normally vote early and by mail. Independent voters, without party affiliation usually wait for the last day to vote. They take longer to decide who to vote for, and are more susceptible to late breaking events and the late messages from the candidates. These are the people who will be more influenced by Obama and Trump.. At this stage it’s all about the independent voter.”Obama is scheduled to stump with Gillum and Nelson at the Ice Palace film studios near Overtown in Miami-Dade County.Miami is key voting bloc for Dems The locations where Obama and Trump are campaigning are interesting. Miami, once considered a bastion of Republican supporters with a large Cuban American community, have over the past decade trended towards the Democrats. Obama won in Miami in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, and the region also supported Clinton over Trump in 2016. Moreover, Miami-Dade County has the largest component of registered independent or NPA voters – 441,467 – as of last week, who could be persuaded to vote Democrat, and also the largest component of registered Democrats – 593,000.Campaigning in Fort Myers and Pensacola Trump will be targeting traditional Republican voting blocs, and his accustomed base.Much anticipation from voters Judging from the comments of voters in the region the visit of the party leaders is keenly anticipated. “I want to hear what closing argument Trump can give to persuade me to vote Republican in the face of so much recent negativity,” said Alex Spence, a registered independent voter of Pensacola who has not yet made up my mind who to vote for governor, senator or the US House. representative.While Democrat Laurice Magnus of Miami, says she believe Trump is going to “go very low in his comments as Election Day draws closer. He has already called Gillum a ‘thief’ in a tweet on Monday. He also lied that Gillum was an ineffective mayor in Tallahassee. I am anxious to hear Barack push back on these atrocities coming from Trump.” Should Gillum win the governor he will be Florida’s first African American governor, and the first time a Democrat become Florida’s governor since 1998. If Nelson is reelected it would be his third victory for the US Senate seat since 2000. The next governor of Florida is destined to play an influential role in the pending 2020 presidential elections, in which it seems certain Trump will be seeking reelection.
MIAMI, Florida – The Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (RBCRA) recently voted to begin preliminary negotiations with APD Solutions Real Estate Group (APD) and Tezral Partners LLC, for the development of the Riviera Beach Marina, Phase II.The newly found partnership entitled APD-Tezral will be a joint venture between APD Solutions based in Atlanta, and Tezral Partners based in West Palm Beach. Both firms are 100 percent minority-owned. The action returns Tony Brown of Tezral and former RBCRA Executive Director, to play a leading role in the redevelopment of Riviera Beach. “As the other co-manager of this venture, Tezral Partners are pleased to be teamed with APD Solutions and we now have the opportunity to complete the work we started.” Our proposal will complete the redevelopment and provide opportunities for the local community to invest, work as sub-contractors, and secure jobs for local residents from the success of our redevelopment efforts, said Brown.Proposals for the development were initially submitted by each firm in July 2018. On May 1, 2019 RBCRA staff requested permission from the CRA board to collect a unified proposal from APD and Tezral. On July 22, 2019 APD-Tezral replied with a joint proposal, meeting all requirements. “We are honored to have been selected as a result of a rigorous procurement process. With our local partner, Tezral Partners, we plan to make the Riviera Beach Marina Village a destination of choice that empowers community residents with economic opportunity.”, said Vaughn Irons CEO of APD Solutions. The Marina Village Phase II state-of-the-art site will feature:A 130 Room Hotel, 225,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space, including 56,000 sq. ft dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and growing local businesses; up to 320 apartment units for local residents, 1,600 parking spaces, as well as various attractions and entertainment activities that will take place in Bicentennial Park.The project is estimated to provide over 1300 local jobs, and create multi-generational wealth through equity ownership by local minority investorsAPD Solutions Consulting (APDS) is an award-winning community and economic development firm providing services and strategies that impact distressed and underserved areas across the United States. Tezral Partners is a 100 percent minority-owned firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida and formed by T. Brown Consulting Group (TBCG) and All-Site Construction to develop Phase II of the Riviera Beach Marina Village.
PALM BEACH COUNTY – Palm Beach County has announced that they will offer on-site testing for COVID-19, along with several other measures.On-site testing (swab sample collection) will begin on Tuesday, March 31st at the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Preapproval and appointments will be required.Telephone registration and appointment scheduling for COVID-19 testing will begin on Monday, March 30th from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Individuals requesting testing will be approved through telephone screening conducted by The Healthcare District of Palm Beach County. Health Care District of Palm Beach County testing line: (561) 642-1000Palm Beach County also reiterates that all Non-critical retail and commercial businesses in Palm Beach County have remained closed until further notice. The continuing operation of critical businesses is necessary to provide goods and services to the public, to keep the public healthy and to ensure the availability of supplies.A list of critical businesses can be found here: Emergency Order Number 2aPalm Beach County still remains under a State of Emergencyhttp://discover.pbcgov.org/PDF/COVID19/Declaration-of-Continuing-State-of-Emergency_3-25-2020.pdfSCHOOL INFORMATIONStarting Monday, March 30th, schools across Palm Beach County will be distributing ‘Grab and Go’ bags. The hours for Food distribution will be from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.Please be sure to check the full list of food distribution locations as some have changed.·
Hapoel Beer Sheva midfielder, John Ogu, says his club is “not afraid to play any team” as they get ready to begin their Europa League campaign.Ogu’s Israeli club would face former Romanian champions, Steaua Bucuresti; former Czech league winners, Victoria Plzen; and former Swiss cup winners, FC Lugano, in Group G of the European second tier competition. Hapoel Beer Sheva’s first game will be at home to Europa League debutantes, FC Lugano, on Thursday.The Israeli Champions got to the round of 32 stage of the Europa League in 2016, emerging from a group that had Inter Milan and Southampton. The experience from last year gives the Nigerian more confidence about his team’s chances this season, although, he admits, things will be difficult.“It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough,” the 29-year-old told Busybuddiesng.com, admitting in the process that “these are good sides.”“I’ve played against them when I was in Portugal,” the former U.D. Leiria and Academica midfielder said of Victoria Plzen, as he compared the teams in the group. “Steaua Bucuresti is a big club but in this Europa League, in a group like this, it’s always good for you to come out on top in your home games, and when you go away you try to get points.”The race for the Europa League title begins on Thursday with 48 teams, from 12 groups, in action. The final takes place on May 16, 2018, at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in France.Audio Playerhttps://www.busybuddiesng.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ogu-europa-league.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.RelatedAUDIO: John Ogu Predicts Tough UCL Playoff Tie Against MariborAugust 5, 2017In “National Team”John Ogu Set To Sign For Asian ClubJanuary 5, 2020In “Asia”UCL Qualifying Stage: Nigerian Stars Ogu, Nwakaeme On Target For Israeli ClubJuly 20, 2017In “UEFA”
Related Articles Submit GVC absorbs retail shocks as business recalibrates for critical H2 trading August 13, 2020 Share SportCaller teams up with Coral for Racing Super Series launch August 12, 2020 StumbleUpon FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 Share In another of our end of year roundups we spoke to Ari Lewski, Executive Director at Digital Sports Tech. Ari Lewski, Digital Sports TechClearly not one to believe in patience being a virtue, Digital Sports Tech only launched in 2016 but has already entered Australia and the UK, whilst it has ambitious, and advanced, plans for global expansion in the new year. The company offers bookmakers new bet types based around player proposition, or ‘prop’, bets and is focused on personalised betting. SBC: You only launched earlier this year, how have the first six months been for Digital Sports Tech?Ari: Very busy and very exciting at the same time! We first launched with Madbookie in Australia and then Coral in the UK, so it has been all hands on deck. All of the feedback from both of those operators, including their players, has been excellent so far. Our momentum with signing new operators is building quickly. We have recently announced two new deals in Australia with Ladbrokes and TopSport, and have also started integrations with major Russian and LatAm operators which we will be announcing shortly. The first wave of sportsbook operators that have come on board all realise just how important it is to put the power back into users’ hands when it comes to the markets they bet on and Player Props is by far the most effective and engaging way of doing this.SBC: You’re live in Australia and the UK, what other markets are you looking at?Ari: Australia and the UK are large markets and are of major importance to us. Sport is phenomenally popular in both countries, and betting markets are established, mature, and ready for a product such as Player Props.We are also in very advanced discussions with a number of operators in LatAM, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and Africa. The latter in particular is a very interesting market for us given their customer base is highly opinionated when it comes to betting, which ties in very nicely to our product offering.SBC: What innovations are you expecting to see in sports betting in 2017?Ari: I think there has been a real lack of innovation in sports betting in recent times. Sure, cash out has been a big positive for the industry, but that was introduced quite a few years ago and not much else has surfaced since then.The online betting industry is moving forward at such a rapid pace, with competition hotter than ever before, so operators and suppliers need to find something new that engages players – in particular the millennial generation coming through – by enhancing the experience. And we believe Player Props does just that.We also believe “player betting” is going to grow quite rapidly as a segment of the betting market, while personalisation will continue to be a major focus for operators as they try to better tailor their offering to specific customer’s interests.SBC: What are your plans for 2017? Are you planning any new product developments or bringing in new sports?Ari: The current product roadmap is extensive and we will be evolving and enhancing our product in a number of exciting ways in 2017.The big one that we always get asked about is our in-play offering, which we’re hoping to go live with in Q1 next year. We will also soon be adding a number of new bet types, many of which will be firsts for the sports betting industry, and we think the punters are going to love them as they will add a whole new dimension to how users get to bet on and engage with their favourite sports. Our sales pipeline is also very strong with a number of operators gearing up to launch Player Props over the coming weeks and months. So overall 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year for us!
Submit Enlarged Gamesys returns to UK growth eyeing FTSE250 spot March 17, 2020 SBTech boosts platform offering with BetGames.TV deal April 14, 2020 Share Share StumbleUpon Related Articles IOC emphasises stakeholder cooperation protecting sports integrity in critical 2020 December 10, 2019 Japanese casino games developer Ganapati the platinum sponsor for London Baby 2017 (7 February – Café de Paris Leicester Square) has major ambitions in bringing added diversity and flair to the industry operators’ current games portfolio.Opening the London Baby ‘Ice Breaker’ series, Ganapati’s Richard Hogg tells SBC readers what he believes will dominate 2017’s industry agenda and discussion.______________________________SBC: What new products/services will you have for the market in 2017?Since Ganapati are new to the industry everything we are showing we will new to the market for 2017. We will be displaying the casino games we have near completion along with our RGS. We will focus on two main games, CrypBattle and Suzu She Ninja which are games with licensed IP and one of our own creations, respectively. Licence applications in both Malta and UK are nearing completion in order that we are able to serve many clients from all over the globe. Whilst our games have a truly authentic Japanese look and feel we believe are games will be successful in all markets.SBC: What do you think will be the industry buzzword this year and why?I am not a fan of ‘buzzwords’. There is always too much focus on such terms without any understanding of what is trying to be achieved. Last year the buzzword seemed to be ‘disruptive’, but anyone trying to be ‘disruptive’ without giving the customer a product they understand to begin with lead to failure. We are trying to be different with our range of products but we understand we need to do this by education and gradual diversification which is what we wl do delivering traditional slot games with our look and feel before moving to other forms of gambling games.SBC: Which new technology, service or consumer trend will have the biggest impact on the igaming industry this year?Technology in the industry is still behind in general, what we want to do is try and deliver our content and additional services through one simple integration. Our focus is on delivering a balanced mix of mobile and desktop games. The main frustration still lies with the telecoms in that connectivity remains a problem, for on the move end users, If this is addressed then everyone will capitalise.SBC: Why have you chosen to begin 2017 by sponsoring the London Baby Party?We wanted a balanced mix of C-level and Managers in a relaxed atmosphere. A location in Central London which is accessible for all but away from the melee of Excel. Blah blah blahSBC: Finally, where can people expect to find you at ICE?We will be very visible at ICE with our Welcome Towels at registration for people to wipe of that travel grime for the journey in. We will have a large stand at S2-325 which will include a sake and beer bar, a sushi bar, a DJ and meeting rooms. Of course our games will be on display. In addition we will have characters from our games dressed up moving around the exhibition halls_____________________Richard Hogg – Ganapati
‘Better for Bettors’: Better Collective’s formalised approach to sustainable development June 15, 2020 RankTipsterRace WinsPoints Better Collective moves fast to mitigate COVID-19 as esports journey begins May 15, 2020 For the second week running, our industry guest found the going tough, with Bookmaker Ratings’ Bradley Gibbs managing just a single 1/5 winner at Fontwell.Gibbs has taken over from 32Red’s Gerry Murray at the bottom of the Tipster Challenge leaderboard, which has been sponsored by Betting Gods for the 2016/17 jump season.Stephen Harris, the horse racing guru at bettingexpert, and the experts from Timeform didn’t fare much better at the seven-race meet, with a total of 3.28 points between them.At 15/8, Lakeshore Lady represented the day’s biggest win for Timeform, while Harris stayed in sixth place after Dingo Dollar (Evens) profited from Red Rising’s late withdrawal to win the opening race.Race Winners at Fontwell:Dingo Dollar – EvensShantou Village – 1/5Goodnitesweetheart – 13/2Knight ofthe Realm – 10/1Gibson Park – 10/1Lakeshore Lady – 15/8Sunnytahliateigan – 5/1Tipster Challenge 2016/17 Leaderboard Submit StumbleUpon bettingexpert, Timeform and a rotation of guests will be providing expert tips for a specific Wednesday race meet.We will keep record of points won each week and the number of race wins for each.The guests will compete individually, with their points going up against the average totals for bettingexpert and Timeform.The new tips will be published on Wednesday ahead of the race meet, and the results will be available on Thursday.For the competition, we will assume that all selections are backed with 1 point.Lost tips will count as 0 and won bets will be added to the leaderboard at SP value.For example, if bettingexpert backs a winning horse at 8/1, they will get 8 points. Better Collective secures esports vision by acquiring HLTV.org for €35m February 28, 2020 Related Articles Share 1Sarah Shannon – AppBet313.69 2Alan Alger – Betway311.41 3Jacob Johns – Easyodds37.72 4Phillip Anderson – Before The Off36.17 5Ciaran O’Brien – William Hill35.29 6bettingexpert1.644.65 7Ben Cleminson – Square in the Air14.50 8John Hill – Coral24.25 9Alex Donohue – Ladbrokes24.11 10Michael Shinners – Sky Bet24.00 11Stuart Tilly – Argyll Entertainment14.00 12Darren Moore – Betting Gods23.66 13Conor White – BetBright33.62 14Trevor Keane – Sportego23.50 15Harry Lang – Pinnacle13.50 16Matthew Hulmes – Betfred23.25 17Timeform1.843.19 18Paddy Power13.00 19Russell Yershon11.88 20Edward Rycroft – LeoVegas21.82 21Charlie McCann – BetVictor11.75 22Stephen Power – @racingblogger21.69 23John Cruces – Dafabet11.25 24Michael Whittle – Team FA10.91 25Ed Nicholson – Unibet10.73 26Gerry Murray – 32Red10.44 27Bradley Gibbs – Bookmaker Ratings10.20 Share
Danske Spil calls for esports makeover with Pinnacle Solution August 25, 2020 StumbleUpon More than 15 leading industry speakers will take to the stage in the inaugural SBC Betting Forum at this year’s iGaming Super Show in Amsterdam (11-14 July).SBC Events has joined forces with iGaming Business to create a dedicated one-day sports betting conference at the Amsterdam RAI on 12 July, while also providing a meeting place for the industry to come together to learn and network.The SBC Betting Forum agenda has been designed for operators, suppliers, affiliates and service providers, with a focus on latest trends, strategies and opportunities in the sports betting industry, mobile user experience, in play betting, pricing, risk management and brand loyalty.There will be refreshments available in the SBC Lounge throughout the conference, which will conclude with the Sports Betting Networking Drinks Party at The Corner Amsterdam, sponsored by Betcart, to lead into the evening’s festivities in the Dutch capital.SBC Managing Director Andrew McCarron commented: “We’re really pleased that SBC can take greater involvement in the iGaming Super Show in the shape of the SBC Betting Forum. We think that there is plenty on offer for the sports betting sector to get their teeth into.”Among the speakers confirmed are Guy Harding, Head of Commercial at Oddschecker, Meir Moses, VP of Business Development for Don Best Sports, Pinnacle Marketing Director Harry Lang, Sportito founder Riccardo Mittiga and Adam Kalmanson, co-founder at Bookee.Referencing the ongoing battle between a bookmaker’s marketing and trading teams, Harding will deliver an analysis on overround erosion, margin for error and finding the pricing ‘sweet spot’.Harding said: “Given my role at Oddschecker, I am well placed to discuss overrounds erosion (OR’s) and pricing within the sports betting industry. I am particularly looking forward to sharing insight on how this can translate into market share.”Click here for more information about the SBC Betting Forum.A quick reminder that Betting on Sports 2017 is coming up from 13-15 September @ Olympia Conference Centre in London. If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at #boscon2017, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit ESI Digital – No Drama Please… Esports growth should be treated as business as usual August 20, 2020 Björn Nilsson: How Triggy is delivering digestible data through pre-set triggers August 28, 2020 Related Articles Share Share
UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Submit Share Scott Longley Scott Longley details why industry leaders Philip Bowcock (Group CEO of William Hill Plc) and Richard Flint (CEO of Sky Betting & Gaming) share an aligned vision and solidarity in raising industry social responsibility standards. In 2018, the betting industry has more to lose than just a punishing FOBTs judgement…______________William Hill has just endured one of those weeks. By the time chief executive Philip Bowcock stood in front of analysts last Friday to delve deeper into the annual results, the company had been hauled over the coals for past misdemeanours by the UK Gambling Commission and given a whipping by the press for its trouble.On Monday the Commission announced that William Hill was guilty of “systemic” failures in its anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes, to such a degree that the company has to pay a penalty package of at least £6.2m.The multiple failures occurred between 2014 and 2016 and included at least one instance of a customer using money from the proceeds of crime to fund their accounts. As the Gambling Commission said, the penalty figure levied “reflects the seriousness of the breaches.”The timing was not helpful to the gambling industry’s reputation with the wider public, a fact that was seemingly acknowledged in the company results statement. “A key pillar of our strategy moving forward will be to act in a sustainable way,” the company said. “In the months ahead we will be taking a number of steps as a matter of urgency to ensure we embed this approach in our business for the long term.”The sentiments echo those of Richard Flint, the chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, who took the opportunity of a speech at the recent ICE exhibition in London to extol exactly the same sustainability message.Bowcock says William Hill’s failings exposed by the Commission were “clearly not good enough” but he steers clear of believing that similar incidents won’t happen again. While William Hill has instigated new processes to improve what was clearly a system not fit for purpose, he suggests that the new regime won’t be 100 percent effective. “There is always the potential for the wrong thing to happen,” he says. “No process can be fool-proof.”On the wider message sustainability and social responsibility, though, he is very clear that he agrees with one of Flint’s key messages that the industry as a whole has not done itself any favours when it comes to social responsibility and problem gambling. He suggests the fractured – some would say dysfunctional – nature of the gambling industry in the UK is at the root of the problems.“We are only as good as the lowest common denominator,” he says. “I have to say the disjointed nature of the gambling industry is quite staggering. We are all in the same boat here.” He includes the National Lottery in this and noted that it had to date failed to pay a voluntary amount to problem gambling charity GambleAware.He adds that he talks to Flint at SBG “regularly.” “We are aligned with the fact that this is an area where no company should be going it alone.”That sense of cross-industry solidarity has somewhat broken down in recent times, of course. The biggest bone of contention remains the ongoing and seemingly forever looming decision in the UK government’s triennial review. Most industry and analyst expectations are that we are now in the final stages of the government finally coming to a decision over the maximum stake that will be allowed for B2 gaming machines.It has been a bruising process for all involved. Most notably, it has left the relationship between the high-street bookmakers and the politicians of all parties shattered and broken and for that Bowcock suggests that previous management at the big bookmakers should shoulder their share of the blame.“Four or five years back, the relationship between the gambling industry and the government has been pretty antagonistic,” he says. “There was a mutual distrust. It’s not as bad now, but it could be a lot better.”Improvements, if they are to be made, will have to wait until the triennial review is out of the way but Bowcock signals a warning for the online sector. “The online guys now see what is going on with FOBTs is going to be landing on their doorstep pretty quickly,” he says.The implication is that the anti-FOBT lobby isn’t going to stop campaigning even if it gets its preferred maximum £2 stake. More to the point for global businesses such as William Hill the regulatory issues it faces multiply with every new jurisdiction added to the business map. The company has hopes that the SCOTUS cards will fall in its favour in the US, but in Australia, a new credit betting ban and the prospect of the introduction of a PoC regime led to a £238m writedown of the Australian business in this year’s results. It is more proof, as if William Hill needed it, that regulation comes with its costs as much as its benefits.________________________Industry social responsibility standards and governance dynamics will be discussed and debated at the upcoming Betting on Football Conference (#bofcon2018 – 20-23 March – London- Stamford Bridge). Click on the below banner for more information. Camelot aims for ‘Big September’ supporting a high street recovery August 26, 2020 Related Articles StumbleUpon Share SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020
Share Will Whitehead, mkodo: Achieving sportsbook and casino differentiation through UX April 29, 2020 Related Articles GG.BET embraces improved partnership with Start2Pay January 31, 2020 Submit Aspire builds Q1 momentum through regulated market focus May 5, 2020 Share StumbleUpon With sportsbook operators constantly looking to expand their offering, Aspire Global has unveiled its new Robotip feature, a bot that enriches the betting experience and advises punters on in-play opportunities. SBC interviewed Aspire Global’s head of Sport Morten Hauge, who detailed how Robotip can help enhance the in-play experience for players during the World Cup, as well as how the group has ensured the new feature sticks within responsible gambling guidelines. SBC: Firstly, could you tell us further how Robotip enhances the in-play experience for sports bettors? Morten Hauge: Quite simply put it, enables the customers to quickly get an opinion through statistics, on matches that you would normally have no clue or interest. The bot will search through the markets for the punter, going through the time consuming task of analysing the key stats allowing punters to just place the bet, sit back and watch the action unfold.SBC: How much can the new feature help expand the value of an operator’s sportsbook offering?MH: There are always a lot of live football matches running, and therefore there is always potential for turnover, but bettors don’t know what to bet on, so they stick to the major leagues. By applying the Bot we expect our customers to engage in a wider range of leagues, and in doing so bringing more value and revenue from a wider scope of leagues.SBC: Will the bot feature increase the personalisation in a sportsbook offering? MH: Yes, we are working on letting the customer set up their own scenarios based on live statistics instead of the pre-defined scenarios.SBC: Can the new feature be maximised on all platforms? MH: Yes, the widget is extremely easy to stage and integrate to our current partners. As long as we have branded colour guidelines it will be on site within one or two days after requesting the feature. Since it is from a widget it can be place on basically any webpage which makes it a useful tool for acquisition. A smaller ‘acquisition bot with banner is ready and should be starting to see traffic very soon.
Share Related Articles Betfred supports Stroke Association with £32,000 donation July 29, 2020 Submit Betfred debuts new rockabilly TV campaign promoting ‘Nifty Fifty’ live draws July 31, 2020 Share StumbleUpon Betfred secures British Masters title extension July 27, 2020 Barry Hearn – PDCProfessional darts association the PDC, has confirmed Betfred as the ‘official title sponsor’ for its ‘PDC World Matchplay’ tournament.Held every July at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool (Lancashire), the World Matchplay tournament is the PDC’s second longest running pro darts event (first staged 1994)Confirming Betfred as title sponsor for the next three years, the PDC states that from 2019 the ‘Betfred World Matchplay’ will a record prizepool of £700,000, an increase of circa £200,000 or previous tournaments.With the support of Betfred, PDC Chairman Barry Hearn anticipates that 2019 will be the biggest edition of World Matchplay darts, with PDC’s leading 32 athletes competing at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.“I couldn’t be happier to see Betfred involved in one of the biggest in events in the darts calendar,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.“We had committed to increasing prize money across the PDC circuit, and this announcement of an increase for the Betfred World Matchplay will be followed by more good news for players in the coming weeks!”Change is coming to Blackpool… ?Welcome to the @Betfred World Matchplay! pic.twitter.com/2boMyCG7IO— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) November 22, 2018Backing the PDC partnership, Betfred Founder Fred Done said: “We have always enjoyed a great working relationship with Barry Hearn so I am delighted to have agreed to a deal to link up with Barry and the PDC to sponsor one of the biggest tournaments in world darts.”
Related Articles Toals Bookmakers has partnered with the Irish FA to become the official bookmaker of the Northern Ireland senior international football teams, the Tennent’s Irish Cup and the Match Intermediate Cup.Established in 1932, Toals now has 50 branches across Northern Ireland, as well as has a presence in every county. The family-run business emphasised that partnering with the Irish FA symbolises a shared desire to see football grow at all levels.Gary Toal commented on the new partnership: “This is an exciting partnership which fits with the Toals brand. We are a local business and we are keen to support Northern Ireland football. “This partnership allows us to invest in the local game played in footballing towns across the province. As the Leading independent Bookmakers in Northern Ireland, the association with the Irish FA and Northern Ireland football will boost our profile further.”Gareth Williamson, Business Development Manager for the Irish FA added: “We are pleased to be announcing this new commercial relationship with Toals, a local company who have a strong track record of investing in football. “Toals are an excellent partner as they share the Irish FA’s vision of seeing football grow at all levels across the country. We look forward to working with them in the coming years and to sharing success both on and off the pitch.”Toals Bookmakers also emphasised how much it means to be associated with The Tennent’s Irish Cup, one of the oldest club competitions in the world. This deal means that Toals now sponsor the County Antrim FA, The County Antrim Shield, Steel and Sons Cup, Junior Shield and of course Irish League Champions Crusaders FC. Submit StumbleUpon Share Share BoyleSports agrees takeover of William Hill’s NI portfolio January 13, 2020 Finalists announced for Racing Post/SIS Betting Shop Manager of the Year November 1, 2019 Paddy Power to reopen English & Irish betting shops in Royal Ascot week June 10, 2020
Affiliate concerns: Maintaining trust in the modern market July 9, 2020 Betsson rolls out new Group Affiliates site August 7, 2020 Blockchain-based BETR has backed up the recent release of its sportsbook app – BETROdds – by launching a new version of its smart contract featuring BETR Affiliates.This new development, designed to encourage wider use of the BETR token, has made it possible to tag BETR wallets introduced by affiliates.It enables affiliate commissions to be paid instantly from the layer wallet, at a rate initially set to 1.5%. This equates to approximately 20% of Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) depending on the margin of the bets. There is no negative exposure to winning bets and, more significantly, the layer pay-out is instantaneous on settlement of a bet rather than at month end. There is also no negative carry-over as with traditional affiliate programs. Each wallet introduced by an affiliate is tagged on Ethereum and cannot be de-tagged or changed in the future. CEO Adriaan Brink said: “Affiliate marketing is vital for any growing business. We need to drive user numbers and we believe the unique BETR Affiliate model will attract affiliates from across the industry and ultimately increase the player base. “The instant commission pay-out from layer wallets to affiliate wallets is a one of a kind in this industry and a game changer for affiliates.” As well as the added affiliate logic, the optimisation of the new smart contracts has contributed to the lowering of ETH gas costs on transactions by up to a third. It also allows support for virtual sports and other game providers, as well as support for rule 4 and dead heats in horseracing. Submit Related Articles Share StumbleUpon Cloudbet makes stablecoin foray with USDT addition May 28, 2020 Share
Share BetMotion migrates to AGS platform for better localised South American provisions April 26, 2017 Related Articles Betmotion revamps LATAM proposition with Patagonia Entertainment July 17, 2019 StumbleUpon Peter Nolte lays out Patagonia Entertainment’s 2020 LatAm vision December 12, 2019 Share Submit LatAm online bookmaker Betmotion has moved to expand its Brazilian market profile, confirming that it will sponsor beach Volleyball stars Carol Solberg and Maria Elisa.The pair are the current reigning Brazil Beach Volleyball Tour champions for 2018, winning six of seven tour tournaments.Having partnered only last year, Solberg and Elisa are considered Team Brazil’s lead female volleyball pairing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.Betmotion.com’s COO Luis Traversa said: “We are very proud to be able to follow and establish a partnership with Carol Solberg and Maria Elisa, two great athletes, exemplary representatives of Brazilian beach volleyball on the world circuit and we believe it will be a success for everyone.”For the experienced star Elisa (main picture), the partnership with Betmotion reinforces the values of excellence and good results that the team strives for every day.Elisa commented: “Betmotion has come to add even more to our team. It’s a company linked to the sport, which already knows our philosophy and wants to go deeper into beach volleyball, so for us, it is a perfect mix. Another sponsor to trust our team and help us to pursue that Olympic dream.”
StumbleUpon Related Articles Share Submit Share Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 Playtech goes live in the US with bet365 August 7, 2020 Retail closures have ‘severe’ impact on Playtech August 5, 2020 Athens-listed gambling group OPAP SA is confident it will deliver on its full-year corporate expectations after recording a strong Q3 2019 performance including growth across all core metrics.Continuing to reap the benefits of its VLT and systems upgrade, OPAP maintains year-to-date revenues of €1.173 billion – up 6% on year-to-date (YTD) 2018 comparatives of €1.106 billion.Publishing its latest corporate update, OPAP details that Q3 2019 trading saw the company deploy 21,000 new VLTs, hosted by 369 Play Gaming Halls and 2,022 betting agencies.“Our results in Q3 provide further evidence of the positive growth that is being delivered by the OPAP team thanks to the investments made, and hard work put in, over the last few years,” said OPAP Group Chief Executive Damian Cope. “With both revenues and profitability once again showing good growth over 2018, I believe that OPAP continues to demonstrate the sustained benefits of the company’s ongoing transformation.”Detailing a significant increase in VLT contributions (up 52%), combined with a solid lottery performance (up 2%), OPAP YTD gross profits currently track at €463 million – up 7% on YTD 2018’s €433 million.Highlighting a series of operational efficiencies, OPAP has been able to maintain its growth momentum whilst group expenditure is contained to €200 million – a 6% decrease on 2018’s €212 million.Closing a successful Q3 2019 trading period, OPAP governance reports YTD group profits of €140 million, up 33% on 2018’s €105 million.“In Q3 we saw similar trends to the first half of 2019 with solid Lottery figures and a strong VLT performance, together with the ongoing improvement of our sports betting offer,” added Cope. “In terms of customer engagement, we continue to steadily grow the number of monthly actives across Online, VLTs and our new Tora services.“We are now within a few weeks of 2020, the year that will represent the culmination of our original ‘2020 Vision’ ambition. Until then we will be focused on successfully delivering for the remainder of 2019 and in this regard, we are confident in meeting our full-year expectations.”
StumbleUpon Share Related Articles Submit Swedish online gambling trade association BOS has moved to expand and diversify its industry representation after confirming sports betting technology supplier Kambi Group Plc as its latest member.The Stockholm-listed technology group becomes the first dedicated sports betting platform supplier to join BOS ranks.Kambi is recognised amongst the industry’s leading systems suppliers and currently maintains sports betting provisions for a number of BOS’ members.“We are delighted to have been elected to join BOS, an organisation aligned with our aims of building a successful and sustainable betting market in Sweden that not only protects players through high rates of channelisation but safeguards the integrity of sport through sensible regulation,” said Tommaso Di Chio, Kambi Associate General Counsel.This week representing its membership, BOS governance published a detailed response to Swedish gambling inspectorate Spelinspektionen proposed recommendations on market bet-types, underlining that wagering restrictions would only benefit black market actors.“Welcoming Kambi is a milestone for BOS. It is the first member who engages solely in supplying the gambling market with technology, odds and other data for sports betting,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS Secretary General.“I am convinced that Kambi has plenty to offer in our efforts to create a prosperous Swedish gambling market. Having worked with a broad variety of gambling operators, their experience is unique. I am particularly convinced that Kambi’s knowledge will contribute greatly to the effort on conserving and strengthening the integrity in sports.” LeoVegas hits back at Swedish regulations despite Q2 successes August 13, 2020 Kambi lauds resilience as COVID impacts Q2 figures July 24, 2020 Share Betsson outrides pandemic challenges as regulatory dramas loom July 21, 2020
Share Share Submit Related Articles Greek retail closures rock OPAP Q1 performance June 11, 2020 Stoiximan/Betano rebrands to Kaizen Gaming July 13, 2020 OPAP delivers on Athens children’s hospital CSR projects July 6, 2020 StumbleUpon Leading Greek online bookmaker Stoiximan Group has launched its new TV advertising campaign thanking Greece’s emergency services and the general public in their efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.The campaign titled ‘#OneTeam’ sees Stoiximan promote none of its betting services, with the bookmaker choosing to use its broadcasts to ‘express gratitude and solidarity’ to all Greeks fighting against the disease.Despite years of austerity crippling public health networks, Greece (population 11m) has recorded amongst Europe’s lowest COVID-19 cases (2,700) and deaths (150).Avoiding a pandemic scenario that has plagued its neighbours, international health experts have recognised Greece as a role model in its actions against the virus, with emergency services adopting early protocols to constrain the virus and citizens following strict national lockdown policies.Calling on its roster of sponsored athletes, Eleftherios Petrounias, Katerina Stefanidis, Anna Korakaki, Spyros Gianniotis and Vassiliki Milousi, alongside Greek sporting legends Dimitris Diamantidis, Giorgos Samaras, Mathieu Valbuena and Adelino Vieira – Stoiximan applauds ‘Greece’s frontline for defying the odds’.Further to launching the campaign, Stoiximan Group has made individual €250,000 donations to emergency services in which it operates flagship Stoiximan (Greece and Cyprus) and Betano (Romania and Portugal) brands.
The Olympic Channel will be looking at using esports to engage young audiences after the Pyeongchang Olympics. A digital platform launched in 2016 with a $450 million (£320.8m) budget, The Olympic Channel has been tasked with keeping young people interested in sport.Yiannis Exarchos, The Olympic ChannelEsports was finally recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee in November last year, and this step is another positive sign for the industry’s future. Esports is on its way to become a billion dollar market, so it’s not too hard to see why traditional sports is opening its arms to it after years of skepticism.Yiannis Exarchos, Executive Director of The Olympic Channel explained: “As a youthful digital platform we cannot ignore the phenomenon of esports. With the channel after the Games we want to explore the area of esports more deeply.”“Esports is still a very male dominated area, 85 percent to 15 percent,” he continued. “Secondly a lot of the content is quite violent or has the violence narrative engrained to it. This is obviously very foreign to what the Olympics represent.”Exarchos doesn’t think those hurdles will get it esports’ way, though. “I don’t believe any of those three current limitations are not addressable. I believe it is a movement that has emerged out of nowhere without necessarily clear directions.”Esports Insider says: An official channel for the Olympics embracing esports is just another step in the right direction for competitive gaming. If it proves to be a success, it’d be hard to ignore esports as a viable inclusion to the Olympics in the future as has been much discussed. What form this would take of course, is very much up in the air.
Take a look at Pogba’s performance below Manchester United’s comeback draw against Tottenham dealt a blow to both teams’ hopes of making it into next season’s Champions League.However, for both sides, the return of players who had previously been ruled out of the rest of the campaign was a huge plus.None more successfully, however, than Paul Pogba’s 34-minute second-half masterclass.Pogba had been out of action in the Premier League since Boxing Day in 2019 with injury but returned to the United side with a flourish, albeit from the bench.His introduction in the second half, with Man United 1-0 down, served as a catalyst for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.His long-awaited partnership with Bruno Fernandes immediately change the course of the game not just in terms of the final result but the side’s style of play as well.Passes were more incisive and United were more threatening.It all culminated in him dancing his way past Spurs’ Eric Dier and into the box before he was tugged down by the bamboozled Englishman.The resulting penalty was tucked away by Fernandes as Man United secured a point.Another highlight of his night was an almost effortless long-range pass to Marcus Rashford.The response on social media was overwhelmingly positive, although some people called for more consistency.
Ghana’s Majeed Ashimeru became winner of a domestic double after helping RB Salzburg beat TSV Hartberg 3-0 in the 2019/20 Austrian Bundesliga on Sunday.The midfielder played 20 minutes of the game which had Andre Ramalho, Hwang Hee-chan and Patson Daka scoring the goals for Salzburg.The results of title rivals LASK Linz who were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by Wolfsberger handed RB Salzburg an unassailable 11-point lead and in effect making them official league champions with two games to end the season.LASK had been top of the table before the club was docked six points and fined 75,000 euros ($83,150) last month for breaking strict social distancing rules in training. The sanction was later reduced to four points on appeal.RB Salzburg are now Austrian Bundesliga champions for seven straight seasons. They also won the Austrian Cup in May after a 5-0 rout of Lustenau.Austria’s league restarted earlier this month after being suspended due to COVID-19 lockdown in the county.The final matches of the 2019/20 season are due to be played next weekend. The matches are however still being played to empty stadiums as restrictions on large public gatherings remain in force.
Ex-Black Stars midfielder, Derek Boateng has named the late Cecil Jones Attuquayefio as the best Ghanaian coach ever.The former Black Stars player worked under Jones Attuquayefio in 1999 when the team was preparing for the World Youth Championships.However, Derek Boateng did not make it to the final team list that represented the country in Australia.The 37-year-old says Jones Attuquayefio’s works speak for itself and he was as good as any foreign coach.“Every player knows, all my colleagues know that whatever Jones shows us during our time in the team, whenever we go to Europe, we see the same things being done by the white coaches. So for me, he is the best coach,” he said on Joy FM.Cecil Jones Attuquayefio led Hearts of Oak to an unprecedented treble in 2000, winning the CAF Champions League, the Ghana Premier League and the CAF Super Cup.The late coach also handled Ghana’s U-17 team that won bronze in the 1999 World Youth Champions in Australia.Background of Derek BoatengDerek Boateng played for the Black Stars from 2001 to 2013.Earning for himself over 40 appearances and scoring a goal. He also played for several club sides insides including Panathinaikos, Getafe and Fulham.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich. – A group of school children toured our news studio for a chance to learn about the ins–and–outs of lightning bolts, thunderstorms and clouds.On this Halloween night, WBKB gave the kids a behind the scenes look into the work of a meteorologist.“It’s really exciting that I have the opportunity to give back to the younger generation of students to teach them and share with them about the weather and what we do hear at WBKB,” said chief meteorologist Elie Morrison.First, a group of third graders from Hinks Elementary got a tour of our TV studio. Then, they grabbed some candy along the way, and got their hands on some pretty sweet equipment.“They’re having a good time,”said the classroom’s teacher, Nicolle Wieschowski. “We know children love technology, getting up there and touching that gigantic touch screen – it has their engagement and excitement.”Ms. W has been teaching her students how to create their own precipitation weather maps with the help of our weatherman Elie Morrison.“Technology is so crucial to the way we track weather,” Morrison said. “We’re always using computers. We’re always using imagery that’s coming over the Internet.”One student shared her enthusiasm in an excited way.“I really liked when [Morrison] was talking about that precipitation ’cause I’m into weather!” said Jaycee Worth.These third graders have been drawing weather maps everyday so they can spot weather patterns, the same way Morrison spots a cold front leaving our area.“We can learn about it in books,” said Ms. W. “But actually meeting the person and seeing what they do with their own eyes is going to help make that a little more concrete in their minds.”Another student, Matthew Kowalski said, “I really learned a lot about the weather, what all the symbols mean. It really helps me understand weather maps.If you want to know the current temperature, then you’ll need to tune in live on WBKB for your full weather forecast.Do you have a story idea? Connect with reporter Elijah Baker at email@example.com AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Halloween Special: Spirits of the Old Presque Isle LighthouseNext Early Morning Talk with NMIGLSI 11-1-2018
WELCOME to Frenetic Friday, the last day of the summer transfer window and the last chance for clubs to snap up some last-minute bargains and/or offload some of that unwanted stock that’s been sitting around for months just gathering dust.But enough of Marouane Chamakh. Let’s begin with the Daily Mail’s extraordinary claim that Arsenal – who remain hopeful of dumping Chamakh on Turkish club Besiktas and Nicklas Bendtner on Juventus – have contacted Chelsea with a view to bringing midfielder Michael Essien to the Emirates.Apparently Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has identified the 29-year-old Ghana international as the sort of no-nonsense defensive midfielder who will give his side a greater physical presence.The Mail says “strides have been taken” to negotiate a season-long loan deal for the Blues man, similar to the deal that last season saw Yossi Benayoun move from the Bridge to the Emirates. Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo is believed to be happy with the idea now that Essien is a bit-part player at the Bridge.Everton had earlier in the week made a play for Essien but the Mail reports that the move fell through on Thursday with neither the Toffees nor Chelsea able to agree on the terms of the proposed deal.Elsewhere and The Sun is just one of many papers to report that Andy Carroll’s “Anfield agony” is over. The 23-year-old striker is leaving Liverpool for West Ham, who have persuaded the Reds to let Carroll join them with the option of making the move permanent at the end of the season. Carroll left Newcastle for Liverpool in January 2011 in a £35m deal, but the England frontman will leave Merseyside for just £1m. If he and the Hammers get on then the London club will pay Liverpool a further £16m next May.“It’s great to be at West Ham, I just can’t wait to get started now,” said Carroll. “I want to be playing games and hopefully scoring goals.”Meanwhile The Guardian claims that Liverpool will look to fill the gap left in their ranks by Carroll’s departure with the signing of Daniel Sturridge today. The Reds are hopeful of securing a loan deal for the 22-year-old striker in the coming hours.Speaking on Thursday night after his side had defeated Hearts in the Europa League, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers said: “Hopefully tomorrow we can do some work and get something complete because we certainly need it. I am hoping for one or two. We need one, that’s for sure.”The Guardian says that one player Liverpool look unlikely to land is Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. The American says it’s “highly unlikely” a deal will be done before tonight’s 11pm deadline because Liverpool can’t meet Fulham’s asking price of £7m. Finally, the Mirror claims that there will be comings and goings at Manchester City today as the Sky Blues wave goodbye to Nigel de Jong and welcome Maicon.Apparently the former will be heading to AC Milan while Inter Milan right-back Maicon will be travelling in the opposite direction in a £3m deal.The 31-year-old South American is tipped to sign a two-year deal worth £90,000-a-week, while Dutchman de Jong will join AC Milan in a deal the Mirror says comes in at around £3.5m.The capture of Maicon follows City’s signing of Swansea striker Scott Sinclair, the 23-year-old agreeing terms with the Premier League champions and the Swans also happy with the £8m deal. ·
Ghana hold the advantage to qualify to the 2013 African Youth Championship finals after beating Morocco 4-1 on Sunday in the final round first leg tie.The Black Satellites took the lead through South Africa-based winger Frank Sarfo Gyamfi who finished off a through pass from Moses Odjer in the 31st minute.But the Atlas Cubs came back from the break revitalized and levelled the scoring two minutes into play.Striker Chibi Mohammed made use of a counter-attack to beat Ghana goalkeeper Felix Annan.Seven minutes later, Ghana captain Lawrence Lartey headed home from a Derrick Mensah corner to give the Satellites the lead.Substitute Frank Acheampong was at the right place to head in the third goal on 58 minutes after a goal bound shot deflected off the body of a Moroccan. On the 90th minute mark, the Thailand-based player rounded the Moroccan goalkeeper after a delicious counter-attack to seal the win for the 2009 Africa and World champions.Ghana travel to Rabat in a fortnight time for the second leg tie.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho claims “there is no time limit” for the club’s pursuit of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.Rooney has been strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge after Chelsea lodged a bid for the unsettled forward.United have repeatedly insisted the striker is not for sale, but Mourinho insists he has no plans to give up on his target.“There is no time limit,” said Mourinho.“We have our squad of strikers. We have identified the player as one we would look to have with us.”The interest is believed to frustrate United with the Premier League champions continuing to be adamant that they have no intention of letting Rooney go. But Mourinho believes Chelsea have acted properly in their dealings, having done all of their activity through the official channels.He added: “We are doing things legally, making the official bid directly to the club, no interviews or comments or direct relations with the player, no contact, absolutely nothing.“We have done it in an ethical way and we are going to do that until the last day. And we will see how it comes.”
Ghana striker Richmond Boakye-Yiadom will complete his loan move to promoted Spanish side Elche on Wednesday.The 20-year-old has been farmed out by Italian champions Juventus, who own his registration rights, for more first team experience.Reports in Italy say Elche paid 250,000 euros for his season-long services.Juventus coach Antonio Conte had wanted to field the young goal poacher in his team this season but the club’s inability to offload Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella meant he had no chance.Boakye arrived in Alicante on Tuesday and will joined by his agent Oliver Arthur on Wednesday.He spent last season on loan at Sassuolo in the Serie B where he banged in 11 goals to hand them automatic promotion to the Italian top-flight.
Cape Verde Islands shocked Tunisia 2-0 in Rades Saturday to reach the Africa zone play-offs in the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition.Platini and Nhuck – two of many Cape Verdean footballers who use nicknames – scored in the first half to trigger celebrations in the islands state of 500,000 inhabitants.Victory lifted the ‘Blue Sharks’ to 12 points, one more than four-time World Cup qualifiers Tunisia, and completed a remarkable Group B comeback. The surprise 2013 Africa Cup quarter-finalists were pointless after three rounds, then FIFA changed a loss in Malabo to a 3-0 win because of an ineligible Equatorial Guinea player. Home victories against the Equatoguineans and Sierra Leone brought the Cape Verdeans back into contention — but they had to win in Tunisia.The ‘Carthage Eagles’ were favoured to qualify for the play-off series as they had home advantage and the confidence boost of a 2-1 win in Praia. But goals from Cyprus-based Platini and Portugal-based Nhuck rocked the Tunisians, whose second-half pressure went unrewarded.Tunisia were not the only ‘big name’ to fall — 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa bit the dust despite a 4-1 win over Botswana in Durban.Bottom Group A seeds Ethiopia came from behind to edge Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo and finish two points ahead of Bafana Bafana . Burkina Faso completed an amazing Group E comeback by defeating Gabon 1-0 in Ouagadougou and pipping Congo Brazzaville. The ‘Stallions’ trailed the ‘Red Devils’ by six points with three rounds to go, but three consecutive victories squeezed them through.Nigeria were another country to progress, scoring late in the first half and early in the second in Group F to defeat 10-man Malawi 2-0 in Calabar.Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nigeria joined Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Ghana in the final elimination round. The winner of the match between Cameroon and Libya Sunday will complete the 10-nation line-up after Senegal beat Uganda 1-0 late on Saturday in a match played in Marrakech, Morocco.A seeded September 16 draw in Cairo, based on FIFA rankings to be released Thursday, will create five two-leg ties with the winners going to the finals in Brazil.Ethiopia recovered from conceding a mid-first half goal with Salahdin Ahmed levelling soon after the break and Minyahel Teshome the match-winner. Success was particularly sweet for Teshome as he cost Ethiopia three points by playing in an away victory over Botswana when suspended.South Africa dominated neighbours Botswana almost throughout and a late brace from Bernard Parker completed what proved a futile win. Prejuce Nakoulma was the toast of 2013 Africa Cup runners-up Burkina Faso, scoring nine minutes into the second half.Congo needed a win in Niger to stay top, but trailed twice to goals from Mahamane Cisse and Daouda Kamilou and had to settle for a 2-2 draw. Emmanuel Emenike put Nigeria ahead in first-half stoppage time and Victor Moses doubled the lead from a 51st-minute penalty.Any hope Malawi had of clawing back into the game vanished soon after when Limbikani Mzava was red carded following a second caution. Ivory Coast and Morocco drew 1-1, Gambia beat Tanzania 2-0, Sierra Leone edged Equatorial Guinea 3-2 and Angola whipped Liberia 4-1 in other games.
The house of former Celtic and AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso was searched overnight by investigators as part of an ongoing enquiry into match-fixing.Gattuso and former Lazio and Milan midfielder Cristian Brocchi are among the latest names to be linked with match-fixing as Cremona prosecutors expand their enquiry, resulting in four arrests being made overnight.Gattuso and Brocchi are both suspected of having contacts with one of the four individuals arrested, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, with the accusation of an involvement in ‘sporting fraud’. Two of the individuals arrested – Salvatore Spadaro and Francesco Bazzani – were identified by suspects held as part of a match-fixing trial which commenced two years ago. The two men held have been named as Cosimo Rinci and Fabio Quadri.Lazio captain Stefano Mauri is currently serving a suspension for his part in the scandal with his first appeal rejected and no date yet set for a further appeal. Former Serie A capocannoniere Giuseppe Signori has also been heavily involved. In 2011 the former Lazio captain was placed under house arrest and subsequently banned for five years from all footballing activity.”This is another result which confirms the Police efforts against illegal betting in football and which forms part of a much greater context,” Raffaele Grassi, director of the operation, told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Today’s result is the fruit of the continued investigation Last Bet 1 and Last Bet 2 which have led to a total of 54 arrests with more than 120 people investigated.”Several former Serie A and Serie B players, as well as a few players still playing now are part of the investigation.” Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino went further by naming 2006 World Cup-winner Gattuso as one of those under investigation, telling the ANSA news agency: “Gattuso and Brocchi were connected to the case by the use of phone taps.”A total of 15 raids were made on homes in northern Italy overnight, including Gattuso’s and Brocchi’s. First reports suggest Milan’s game with Lazio from February 1, 2011, in addition to two more Milan matches – against Chievo and Bari – are being investigated.Speaking to ANSA, Gattuso’s attorney, Andrea D’Amico, confirmed the investigation and added: “At this time we cannot make any comment. He wants to wait to see.”
UniBank Ghana Limited the official bank of the Black Stars, has struck a two year deal with Black Stars’ captain, Asamoah Gyan, as its brand icon. Gyan, who led the Black Stars to their third successive World Cup qualification, would for the next two years, promote the products and services of the bank. The lethal striker, as per the terms of the deal, would appear on both print and electronic advertising media of the bank, as well as endorse the uniBank brand in and outside the country. The bank would also make annual financial commitments to the player as part of the deal. UniBank’s recent association with the player has further strengthened their relationship with the Ghana Football Association (GFA), after entering into a 1.2 million dollar sponsorship deal with the football controlling body late last year. The bank last year also entered into a one year sponsorship deal with coach James Akwesi Appiah as its brand icon, after closing the sponsorship deal with the Black Stars. The bank is expected to play a major role in the campaign of the Black Stars at the 2014 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Brazil. Ghana has been drawn in group G alongside Germany, Portugal and USA
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will today unveil the new jersey of Nigeria’s national football teams, which will also serve as the official jersey of the Super Eagles at the 20th FIFA World Cup finals taking place in Brazil this summer.The Super Eagles are to wear the new jersey at next week’s international friendly against Mexico in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.The new design produced by Adidas, the official kit supplier of the national teams and the leading kit manufacturers in the world, is already raising eyebrow because of the lemon green used instead of the traditional leaf green associated with Nigeria. Minister of Sports and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Alhaji Bolaji Abdullahi will be special guest of honour at the event slated for the front area of the Sunday Dankaro Football House, Package B of the National Stadium Complex, Abuja, from 10am.Also invited are Director General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, Senator Adamu Gumba, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Sports, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, Chairman of the League Management Company, Hon. Nduka Irabor, President-General of Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Oladipo and a number of prominent football figures.NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari, will have the compliment of members of his executive committee, as well as NFF management led by General Secretary, Musa Amadu.Assistant Coach of Super Eagles, Daniel Amokachi, will represent Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, who is already in the United States preparatory to next Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico in Atlanta. “There is a uniqueness about the new jersey that Nigerians will love. The design is a top-of-the-range thing specially for the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014,” Amadu said yesterday.Super Eagles’ players, goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, midfielder Abdullahi Shehu and striker Ejike Uzoenyi will showcase the new wears at the occasion.
Despite winning 4-0 over Portugal in their first match, Germany coach Joachim Loew said the players have to be very careful and pay attention referring to what happened in the 2008 Euro and 2010 FIFA World Cup when they won the first match and lost the second. Germany play play Ghana in a Group G.Germany coach Joachim Loew has urged his side to stay focused and avoid surprises when they face Ghana in Group G of the FIFA World Cup here Saturday.Despite winning 4-0 over Portugal in their first match, Loew said the players have to be very careful and pay attention referring to what happened in 2008 Euro and 2010 World Cup when they won the first match and lost the second.The 54-year-old also compared the situation to what happened to Italy, who won their first match against England 2-1 and then lost 0-1 to Costa Rica.Loew praised Ghana’s fit players, saying that they are strong and likely to strike. On the other hand, he said that defender Mats Hummels may not play as he is not 100 percent fit. Hummels suffered a bruise during Portugal’s match.Germany take on Ghana at the Estadio Castelao.Despite winning 4-0 over Portugal in their first match, Germany coach Joachim Loew said the players have to be very careful and pay attention referring to what happened in the 2008 Euro and 2010 FIFA World Cup when they won the first match and lost the second. Germany play play Ghana in a Group G.
Ghana’s bid team were left licking their wounds after losing out on hosting Afcon 2017 following an announcement in Gabon’s favour on Wednesday.However, Randy Abbey, a member of the Ghana team that traveled to Cairo to witness the landmark announcement alleges underhand dealings.He made the serious allegations while speaking to Joy Sports editor Nathaniel Attoh on Sports Today.”We will like to congratulate Gabon for being declared the winner. But there was something and in the coming hours or days you will hear, I’m sure, from especially the Algerians.”Abbey methodically detailed how the final moments of the voting went on, intoning how bizarre the entire Executive Committe felt the procedure had gone.”Even the Executive Committee members who cast their vote did not know the result of the vote. Only two of them, with Issa Hayatou were called to look at the vote,” Abbey alleged hours after the vote on the primetime afternoon show aired on Multi TV. He went on: “After that they were all ushered into the conference room where the media and the other three countries were.”Issa Hayatou, according to Abbey, then proclaimed Gabon as the winner, but how it happened was fishy.Procedure According to Joy Sports sources, the draw had been slated to be shown live around Africa via pay TV broadcaster, Supersport, but had been cancelled at the last minute, with no reasons given. Randy explains that till date, no one knows how the voting patterns panned out. The procedure is that after the vote, all delegates must know what majority the winner scored. As an example, when Ghana won the 2008 bid the country got a clear 9-3 berth. “What the votes were we don’t know. There were 14 members of Executive Committee who voted,” Abbey explains. “What the rules say is that there must be an outright winner, with a minimum of eight votes.””In this case we didnt know how Gabon won – whether they got five, [or] eight, [or] 10, [or] 13 [or] 14, nobody knows. Even the Executive Committee members weren’t told the results of their votes!””Everybody was brought to the conference room and the Caf president just took a paper that said Gabon had won.”Abbey, a former Communications Director of the Ghana FA said he was sad at the development. “And I found that quite embarrassing, [that this happened] in 2015. Maybe that is the value and culture here. Like they say in strategic management, that is how business is run here.”As at the time of writing this report, CAF have still not made details of the voting immediately available.Strong contendersAlgeria, the other country also in for the bid, are said to be readying an appeal, although it would have to come with the backing of its FA.Sources say Gabon won not only because of their bid’s promise to build on the legacy of 2012, when they last hosted, but due to the well-known relationship between President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Issa Hayatou. Caf is yet to respond to these allegations by Mr. Abbey, but a rep of the football-governing body tells Joy Sports there is no comment on the claims at this time.–Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmith
Liberian FA President Musa Bility has expressed his disappointment at the state of football on the continent.The FIFA presidential hopeful, speaking exclusively on Asempa FM’s Sports Night stated the major bane of African football was down to poor cash injection.Bility was of the view football in Africa is on a downward football spiral.“It is in a downward trend. There is no money, the clubs are suffering. Our competitions are not funded,” he told Asempa Sports.“I am sure by now, Ghanaians are watching the English Premier League. We are being colonized through football again. Unless we put money behind our clubs and hire professionals to play for us. Football is in a bad state.”When asked whether FIFA was of any help, Musa believed it was incumbent on Africans to develop their own game and not solely rely on FIFA aid. “You give me money, 500,000, 200,000 , that is not what I want. It is to develop my capacity to make my own money and that has not happened to Africa yet. Unless that happens we are going to stay where we are.”Musa Bility was banned for six months by CAF on May 2, 2013 for violating status to the use of confidential documents.–Follow Kweku on Twitter: @nana_odum. The Joy Sports hashtag is #JoySports
19 – The nomadic forward Kofi Owusu emerged top scorer with 19 goals in 25 games in his first season at Berekum Chelsea. He had been declared surplus to requirement after scoring twice at former club Aduana last season. #FORM
511 – The number of goals scored in 240 games played from 30 match-days – averaging 2.13 goals per league game – 35 goals more than the number scored after the 2013/14 season. 0 – Three teams (Medeama, Bechem United and B.A United) failed to win a single game away from home. The latter managed just one point from 15 away games. 39 – Berekum Chelsea, AshantiGold and Aduana Stars bagged the most points from home games. Record: W – 12, D – 3, L – 0 but the former emerged tops with better goal difference of +18. AshantiGold became champions of the 2014/15 First Capital Plus Premier League with a game to spare.A fourth Ghana Premier League title since the last time 19 years ago when they had enjoyed a three-year run as the best in the then new Professional League. AshGold copped 52 from a possible 90 points after featuring in the 30 match-days Championship competed by 16 clubs. Overall, 240 games were honoured from January 17 to September 13, 2015. 2 – Top scorer Kofi Owusu’s 19 goals had two converted penalties. 15 – Winners AshantiGold recorded the most wins – 12 at Home; 3 from Away games. 54 – Bottom placed B.A United conceded the most goals. 16 at Home; 38 Away 15:7:8 – Champions AshantiGold’s 52 points came out of 15 Wins, 7 stalemates and 8 defeats. KEY NOTES: 37 – Third placed Berekum Chelsea ended the season as the highest scoring side. 4:5:6 – Dethroned champions Asante Kotoko emerged best travellers recording four wins, five drawn games and six defeats better than any other side on the road. 19 – BA United recorded the most defeats in the 2014/15 FCPPL. They drew 7 and won three times – the least in the season. Aduana Stars follow the Miners as the second-placed with Berekum Chelsea and Accra Hearts of Oak completing the Top 4 spots respectively. Below is a summary of the significant numbers that were recorded. 8 – AshantiGold recorded the least number of defeats. 28 – Asante Kotoko were the second-worst side at home after bottom placed B.A United. They bagged 28 points from a possible 45 – 8 wins, 4 drawn games and 3 losses at the Baba Yara Stadium. The worst home team, B.A Utd managed 18 points at home. 15 – Kotoko scored the most goals away. 29 – Berekum Chelsea scored the most home goals.More league reviews– 7 things we learned from #SurvivalSunday– Joy Sports Season Review: Top 10 flops– Survival Sunday: Olympics, Lions relegated as Kotoko ensure safety – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Division One side Okwahu United with the able assistance of their club President Brian Acheampong have acquired a new bus ahead of the upcoming Division One season.The Kwahu side under their club President have embarked on a journey to restructuring the club in line with modrern standards.Parts of the restructuring includes improved player salaries, professional and attrctive branding and renovation works at the Nkawkaw Stadium which is ongoing.The latest addition is the acquisition of a new bus to aid their transportation to and from match venues.The Kwahu side have gone 10 seasons without Premier League soccer after being relegated in the 2005/2006 finishing 14th on 32 points.Okwahu begin their search for promotion with a game against Accra Great Olympics at the Aquinas Park View pictures of the newly acquired bus below –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Kenpong Group of Companies president, Kennedy Agyapong (Kenpong) is calling on Asante Kotoko faithful to remain resolute behind the club despite its poor start of the league.Kotoko began the 2016/17 league campaign on a wrong footing, losing 0-2 to WAFA at Sogakope few weeks ago.The Sogakope results generated argument at the supporters’ front, with some calling for the head of the club’s General Manager, Opoku Nti.But the former board member of the Porcupine Warriors has said it is early yet to call for the chairman’s head.Speaking at the Kotoka International Airport on his way to Burkina Faso, he bemoaned how the supporters’ front has failed to support the club financially, yet expect so much from the club.To him, if the club’s teeming fans should contribute GH¢5 per month, it will help the club a great deal in many aspects. He said in an interview that “It is too early for the fans to call for Opoku Nti’s head, we just lost to WAFA, and I can say the tall injury list could be a factor for the loss.””When I was a board member, you hardly see the big men pay for matches. They always request for VIP tickets for free. We shouldn’t encourage that practice, VIP tickets should be sold””Elsewhere where football has developed, the big men pay for matches and that helps in the club’s income generation.””‘We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Opoku Nti is not on his own, he operates on the instructions of the board.””He has managed to buy some of the finest players in the country so let’s be patient with him. I heard from some quarters that Opoku is not a businessman so he should be stripped of his post. They shouldn’t forget Nana hasn’t dissolved the Board yet. “It’s a club we all love but we shouldn’t pay lip service only, let’s all support and stop the unnecessary criticism, Nti is an honest man, having walked with him for sometime.”He added that:“I am told that those who come in the name of supporting the club end up placing interest on whatever money they inject to the team, I don’t think it is right, we shouldn’t milk the club we claim we love.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Ghanaian Supreme court judge Justice Anin Yeboah has been named on the newly constituted FIFA Ethics Committee. Justice Yeboah will serve on the Adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics committee for the next four years alongside Akihiro Hara (Japan), Oscar Vicente Scavone Rivas (Paraquay),Damiani Juan Pedro (Uruguay), Abdoulaye Diop (Senegal), Hallen Yngve (Norway), Jack Kariko (Papua New Guinea), Liu Chi (China) and Alan Rothenberg (USA).Before his recent appointment Justice Yeboah had served on various judicial bodies in the Ghana Football Association including the Disciplinary Committee, Appeals Committee.He also served on the Appeals Committee of the Confederation of African Football. The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee reviews the reports of the Investigatory Chamber and decide whether a case should be proceeded or closed. Investigatory Chamber and after conducting further investigations if deemed necessary, the Adjudicatory Chamber sends a report to all parties involved and asks for their statements. The Adjudicatory Chamber has to finally decide on appropriate sanctions after conducting further investigations if deemed necessary. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
Denver Broncos star Menelik Watson proposed to girlfriend Azania Stewart during his pre-season clash against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.The Manchester-born offensive tackler, 28, spotted his partner in the crowd at the Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado, and asked for her hand in marriage there and then.Stewart was part of the 2012 Team GB basketball team that competed at the Olympics.Speaking to BTV after the game, Watson said: “It was spontaneous. I came in, got changed, I had a couple good reps out there so was feeling pretty good and just thought to myself, why not.”She was shocked, naturally. She didn’t think I was serious at first.”Stewart, who was in the stands, said: “He came over, got down on one knee and said, ‘Will you marry me’. “I said, ‘Are you joking’, he said, ‘No I promise’, I just started crying and said yes.”Stewart added: “He’s wonderful, he’s a big softy at home but a beast here. I see two sides to him and no one sees the teddy bear one that I get. He’s an awesome man, very humble and I’m excited for him for the rest of the season.
Dethroned World Boxing Organisation (WBO) super bantamweight champion, Isaac Dogboe, will battle with Black Stars and Athletico Madrid’s ace Thomas Partey for the coveted MTN Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) Sports Personality of the Year Award to be held later this year.The annual awards ceremony to honour the nation’s illustrious athletes will see the two top contenders of the highest award on the night being given a run for their money by football administrator Anthony Baffoe who is also gunning for the enviable honour for the second time after winning the 2016 top prize.The list of the over 40 nominees who are to be rewarded in their various disciplines was released last Saturday in Accra.Partey will also challenge four others, namely John Antwi, a loanee from Egyptian club Al Ahly; Kotoko goalie Felix Annan, Kassim Nuhu of German club, Hoffenheim, and Joseph Aidoo of Genk in the Belgian First Division for the Male Footballer of the Year award.For her superb performance at the recently held Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, Black Maiden’s striker Mukarama Abdulai will contend with Black Queen’s Faustina Ampah and Black Princesses’ Grace Asantewaa for the Female Footballer of the Year award.The stakes will be high for Coach of the Year award as hockey takes centre stage, with Ebenezer Frimpong of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Boakye Danquah (Exchequers) and Richmond Attipoe also of Exchequers vying for the award on the night. Two teams will compete for the national team of the year award: The Ghana Rugby Men’s team, The Ghana Eagles, and national wrestling team, The Golden Arms.The president of the Ghana Armwrestling Association, Charles Osei Assibey, will compete against Evans Kojo Yeboah, president of the Ghana Badminton Association, for the president of the year award.Lightweight world title hopeful, Richard Oblitey Commey, will have a straight fight with Isaac Dogboe for the professional boxer of the year award, while Janet Amponsah and Jesse Lartey will scoop the athlete of the year and amateur boxer of the year, respectively.National ping pong top seed Derek Abrefa and female ace player Celia Baah Danso will be rewarded with the male and female table tennis players of the year award, respectively.Alberta Ampomah and Haruna Tahiru will take home the Armwrestler of the year award in both the female and male categories, respectively, while Michael Arko and Rafatu Inusah take awards in male and female rugby players of the year. In para-athletics, Frederick Assor and Haruna Tahiru will go home with respective awards and golfer Kojo Barni takes home the professional golfer of the year award.Female athlete Hor Halutie is expected to be rewarded the prospect of the year, while ping-pong player Samuel Akayade and hockey ace Dennis Ababio will receive awards for dedication and valour.Boxing promotion outfit, Cabic Promotions will take the award for promoter of the year. There will be eight special awards for individuals, corporate entities and persons on the night.They are the Binatone Ghana Limited, Greater Accra Handball Association and kickboxer Jonathan Euro.The rest are Casely Hayford Hall, Ghana Revenue Authority, Akwasi Frimpong, Kofikrom Pharmacy and Albert K Frimpong.
HOUSTON — The Angels’ season is going to end the way it began, with about a month worth of games in which the outcome means little.Fall training?Starting Thursday, the Angels have 29 games left. They are 64-69, with almost no chance of making the playoffs. What they are doing now is essentially prepping for 2019.This team doesn’t do long-term rebuilding, but the next month certainly will have the look of short-term rebuilding, with as many as eight or nine rookies in the box score some nights. The Angels will be busy evaluating their roster to determine how best to return to contention in 2019. Also, will Ohtani’s return to the mound vault him back into the race for AL Rookie of the Year? You can make a case he should be there now, but if he reminds people in September how well he can pitch, it can only help his chances at winning the award.What about the other pitchers?Three other Angels starters – Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and Nick Tropeano – are on the disabled list. All three are expected to come back at some point in September.Shoemaker (forearm surgery) was set for a 60-pitch rehab outing Wednesday night at Class-A Inland Empire. Skaggs (groin) and Tropeano (shoulder) are a little further behind, perhaps returning in the middle of the month.As with Ohtani, the Angels would like to see each of those pitchers successfully pitch in the majors in September, for the peace of mind of the pitchers and to help with the organization’s winter roster planning.What’s going to happen with Mike Scioscia?The Angels’ longtime manager is down to the final month of his 10-year contract. Although Scioscia has denied that he’d made any decisions about his plans, it is widely assumed this will be the end of his tenure.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.What’s unclear is how it will all happen. Will there be an announcement before the end of the season, allowing for a public farewell during the final days of the season?If so, how quickly will the Angels replace him? If the decision to move on has been made for some time, maybe the Angels already have a plan for his successor and will announce that immediately.How will Taylor Ward and David Fletcher do?Ward and Fletcher are getting the chance to play every day at third and second, respectively. Those positions are wide open for next season, although Zack Cozart is expected to be back and playing one of them.In the meantime, September offers an opportunity for Ward and Fletcher to show how ready they are to take on a larger role in 2019.Ward got off to a hot start offensively, but has since cooled. Fletcher has been fairly consistent at the plate so far.To a lesser extent, rookie catcher Francisco Arcia is also auditioning for a role in 2019.Who else will be called up?Roster expansion in September is typically a time many prospects get their first taste of the majors. Among the Angels players knocking on the door for their big league debuts are pitchers José Suarez and Griffin Canning and infielders Luis Rengifo and Matt Thaiss.None are on the 40-man roster now – and Canning and Thaiss don’t even need to be added this winter – so it’s possible none of them get the call. Since Suarez and Rengifo are already expected to be added to the 40-man roster in November, the Angels could justify adding them now to give them a taste of the majors.Is Albert Pujols going to play the whole month?Pujols has played 70 games at first, more than twice as much as he played the previous two years combined. At the All-Star break, they put him on the disabled list to “recharge” his knees.At some point in the final month, it’s reasonable to think the Angels might just shut him down so he can begin resting for next season. As long as the Angels have Ohtani and want him to DH, they are going to need Pujols, 38, to play first. He’s going to have to condition himself over the winter to do so. A head start on that preparation couldn’t hurt, and it would also open up more plate appearances for young players.Pujols, by the way, is 18 RBIs away from 2,000. He’s got a chance to reach that milestone this season if he plays out the string.One more trade?It is possible Jim Johnson, an impending free agent, will be dealt before the Friday night deadline for players to be eligible for postseason rosters. Johnson has a 3.74 ERA and he’s a veteran with closing experience, so it’s possible a contender wants him to add depth.If you’re thinking no one would want Johnson, remember in 2016 the Angels traded Fernando Salas to the New York Mets on Aug. 31. Salas had a 4.47 ERA at the time but posted a 2.08 ERA in 17-1/3 innings to help the Mets reach the NL wild-card game. A team could hope for the same from Johnson.Draft positionAs they currently sit, the Angels would pick 12th in next year’s draft. If they have a bad month, they could “climb” to seventh or eighth. Before you root for them to lose, be aware of a couple things.First, the system that used to protect top 10 picks from being lost as free-agent compensation no longer exists. Now, a club can’t lose its highest pick, no matter what number it is, from signing a free agent who rejects a qualifying offer. A team could lose its second pick, no matter what number it is.Second, historically there’s not that much difference. No. 7 picks have made the majors 70 percent of the time, each accounting for an average career WAR of 10, according to Baseball Reference. No. 14 picks have also made the majors 70 percent of the time, with an average WAR of 7.8. Averages mean little when talking about one particular draft, so you’re still talking about roughly the same caliber of players available in that part of the first round.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Andrew Heaney, 7-8, 4.25) at Astros (RHP Justin Verlander, 13-8, 2.72), Thursday, 5 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error With that in mind, there are going to be plenty of Angels storylines worth following, as they chart their course for next season.Will Shohei Ohtani make it back?Ohtani threw a 50-pitch simulated game Monday and then said he’s ready to return to the majors. After Ohtani was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament, which prompted whispers of Tommy John surgery, the Angels opted instead to try stem-cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection.Although it looks like it worked so far, the Angels will only really know after Ohtani has started unleashing 100 mph fastballs and diving splitters to major league hitters.Doctors have assured the Angels it’s safe to try now – or at least as safe as it ever will be – so the Angels are cautiously moving Ohtani toward a return, which could come as soon as this weekend in Houston.If Ohtani comes back and pitches without issue early in September, the question will then be how much more do the Angels need to see before they consider him healed and pack him up in bubble wrap for next season?
Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield CLEVELAND — With the passing of the trade deadline, the Angels’ roster is essentially set for the rest of this season, which makes this a good time to take stock of where they are and where they’re going.After losing five of seven in a frustrating homestand, they are 56-54, six games back in the race for the second American League wild-card berth.We took your questions on Twitter and our Angels Facebook page.Q: Are we throwing in the towel with no new pitching? — @ds8106 Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros A: For this season, it seems like it. However, the towel was probably thrown in a while ago. General Manager Billy Eppler knew they had a long way to go to catch the Houston Astros last winter, so he chose a conservative approach. He held on to all the top prospects and avoided any long-term contracts that could affect future spending. He took a few short-term chances with the hope that, if some things broke right, they could grab a wild card. But all three of their free-agent pitching signings (Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill and Cody Allen) were whiffs. Given that none of that worked, and along with the tragic passing of Tyler Skaggs, the Angels have been stuck on the fringes of the playoff race. There was little Eppler could do at the deadline that would significantly help the 2019 team make the playoffs, and he didn’t feel the prospect cost for players controllable beyond 2019 was appropriate.Q: Why a catcher and why not (Dustin) Garneau? — John ClarkeA: Many fans were puzzled when the Angels acquired Max Stassi at the deadline. The Angels didn’t really have a true defensive specialist at catcher going forward. Jonathan Lucroy is going to be a free agent at the end of the year. Kevan Smith is more of an offensive catcher. Their top catching prospect, Jack Kruger, is in Double-A and probably wouldn’t be ready next season. As for Garneau, clearly the Angels feel Stassi is a defensive upgrade. The Angels also have Stassi for three more seasons. It’s clear the Angels feel getting a defensive whiz behind the plate can help their pitchers, which is obviously a need. Stassi is perhaps a poor man’s version of Martín Maldonado, who had also been a backup catcher known as an elite defender without much success at the plate when the Angels got him.Q: What is the plan with Lucroy, Smith, and Stassi all out of options? — @ZacharyMLangA: That’s an excellent question. I don’t know the answer, but we’ll find out by Friday, when the Angels will have to add Stassi to the 25-man roster. The Angels won’t have three catchers on the roster, and they can’t option any of them. So either one is going on the injured list – and none were hurt as of Wednesday – or one of them is going to be gone. Obviously, the Angels just got Stassi, so the choice will be between Lucroy and Smith. The Angels have viewed Lucroy as the starter when both have been healthy, but Smith is the one who is still under control beyond this season. Q: Jeff, will they at least spend huge in the offseason for an actual ACE? (Madison) Bumgarner?? They are wasting Mike Trout’s prime years … — @irishzorro2010A: Eppler has said that spending on free agents has to be coordinated with the development of the rest of the team, and the young core is actually going to be in better shape this winter than in previous years. Young players like David Fletcher, Luís Rengifo, Griffin Canning, José Suarez, Jaime Barría and Ty Buttrey will all be making around the big league minimum next year, with Jo Adell likely also in the mix. Last winter, the Angels didn’t have any minimum-salary players they could comfortably pencil into prominent roles. So instead of having to spread their payroll to fill five or six holes, they can use it for two or three. That means aiming for better players. Obviously, pitching is their primary need. All of that is a long-winded way of saying, yes, I expect the Angels to compete at the top of the free-agent pitching market, starting with Gerrit Cole, who is a native of Orange County and a former UCLA star.Q: Will they still be afraid and refuse to break the luxury tax threshold in the offseason?? That seems to be the exact reason they go dumpster diving every winter. They need to do whatever it takes to A. Bring Gerrit Cole home and B. sign a second top-line starter (i.e. Hyun-Jin Ryu /Bumgarner) — @TheRealArt_BA: Just two teams exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2018. The Angels’ payroll, depending on how you calculate it, is around the top quarter of major league teams. Plus, as I said in the previous answer, Eppler is more interested in spending when it can make a difference. If a team has a 75-win core of young players, you can’t just throw money at it and add a bunch of 30-year-old free agents and make it a 90-win team. If you have an 85-win core, you can add a couple of free agents to get above 90.Q: Will Fletcher, Rengifo and Andrelton Simmons be our everyday infield next season? — @RePLAY619Q: Does Zack Cozart get another chance to be an everyday player next year for the Angels? Or have the young guys (Fletcher, Rengifo, Taylor Ward, Matt Thaiss, etc) done enough to push Cozart off the roster? — Greg LuttrellA: These questions obviously are worth being combined. As for Cozart, he is not going anywhere this winter. The Angels are going to have to pay him, so they might as well bring him to spring training and see if his most recent shoulder surgery has helped make him an effective player again, even if that’s as a bench player. If not, they now have more alternatives than they did last year or even at the start of this season, thanks to the development of Fletcher, Rengifo and Tommy La Stella. So I expect them to go into spring training with Simmons at shortstop and Fletcher, Rengifo, La Stella and Cozart all in the mix for playing time at second and third. Whoever plays the best will play.Q: With the Albert Pujols contract running through 2021 and the emergence of Thaiss looking like a Major Leaguer and (Shohei) Ohtani being the obvious DH, what do the Angels do with the situation? Pujols is the obvious out, but it’s tough to let 25M sit on the bench all year for multiple seasons. — @LTBU271A: First, it’s a little early to say Thaiss has established himself as a major league player after 49 plate appearances. Like the Cozart situation, this is one the Angels can let play out on the field. Unless the Angels trade Thaiss or Pujols unexpectedly retires, they will have both players in spring training, and they will play according to their production. The Angels also still might have Justin Bour, who is arbitration-eligible. Don’t forget that Ohtani will be pitching next season, which will open up the DH spot more often for Pujols or anyone else. Plus, next season, rosters are expanding to 26 players, which makes it a little easier to carry any position player who isn’t playing as much.Q: Any idea what’s the plan for Ohtani next year. He’s really turning into a great hitter but I think he needs consistent at-bats not just hitting three times a week. — @CesarCM13A: This is a good question. Since Ohtani still has a ways to go in his pitching rehab, it’s a little early for the Angels to figure out if they want him pitching once a week, as they did last year, or on a normal five-day rotation, like other starters. It’ll probably be something in between. If he pitches once a week, and gets the day off before and after, that’s four days a week at the plate. However, as he gets going and they get more comfortable with what he can handle physically, I would not be surprised to see them let him hit the day after he pitches. It’s tougher to let him hit the day before, because if he gets hurt they’d be in a bind for a starting pitcher the next day.Q: Chances Jo Adell is called up this season and how soon? — @d_leycoA: He was just moved to Triple-A on Thursday, which certainly increases the chances. Eppler said he sees value in players going to Triple-A before the majors. Even though the raw talent at Double-A is similar to Triple-A, the players at the higher level have more big-league experience and provide a different challenge to help add polish to a prospect. If Adell performs well enough at Triple-A that they feel he’s ready for significant playing time in the majors in September, he could be up. I don’t think they’d bring him up just to sit on the bench, though. Once they add him to the 40-man roster, he’ll take up a spot all winter that could have gone to someone else. Each year that the Angels’ system gets deeper, their 40-man roster gets a little tighter.Q: Out of all our top prospects, including those who graduated this year (Canning, Rengifo, Buttrey) who would you say is expendable? I know Eppler said he tried to trade from the surplus of position players. Just curious if they value some over others, say Thaiss over Rengifo or Fletcher? — Ruben J. RosasRelated Articles Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter A: Eppler said they had trade discussions involving all of their top prospects except one, which was presumably Adell. It seems like the best prospect they have who could be traded is Brandon Marsh. Marsh is an outfielder who is only a year or two from the majors, and between Trout, Adell and Justin Upton, the outfield is going to be full for a while. The only opening for Marsh would be if Upton needs to move to first base or DH, which seems like a longshot since they have players at those spots too. It also seems as if Taylor Ward has been passed on the depth chart by Thaiss, and they play the same positions, so perhaps Ward could be moved in a trade.UP NEXTAngels (LHP Dillon Peters, 2-0, 3.06) at Indians (RHP Mike Clevinger, 5-2, 3.28), Friday, 4:10 p.m., Fox Sports West, 830 AM Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
“I just want to be aggressive and get ahead early,” said Heaney, who threw only five first-pitch balls to 25 batters. “If you can do that with your fastball it makes your offspeed pitches better. You can get some worse swings. Especially early in the count, guys have to respect the fact you’re coming at them with strikes. It’s how everyone wants to pitch, but getting some swing throughs and first pitches with the heater definitely helps.”Heaney got 11 swings and misses with his fastball and allowed just two hits.Delino Deshields Jr. hit a 1-and-1 curveball from Heaney with one out in the third inning. Calhoun played it on an in-between hop. When the ball bounced off his chest and toward center field, Deshields was able to take second base, and Calhoun was charged with an error.With two outs, Choo dumped a single into right field, scoring Deshields and giving Texas a 1-0 lead.For most of the night, Minor (11-8) seemed determined to make the run hold up.“He threw the ball well, probably the best slider that I’ve seen him have, having faced him 15 times now,” Calhoun said. “He threw the ball good. He was locating well. Really didn’t miss a lot of spots until probably that seventh inning.”The Angels have seen two versions of the Rangers’ ace left-hander this season. One version tossed a complete-game shutout in Arlington on April 16, then allowed one run over six innings in a May rematch in Anaheim.Then, in his last start before making his All-Star Game debut at age 31, Minor allowed three runs in 4⅓ laborious innings against the Angels on July 3. On Aug. 21, the Angels scored seven runs against Minor in 5⅓ innings. That was his last start prior to Tuesday.In their fifth head-to-head meeting, the Angels saw both versions of Minor. He allowed only one hit – a single by Andrelton Simmons – prior to the fateful seventh inning, in which he recorded only two outs and allowed four runs.Related Articles Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros PreviousAngels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (No. 2) is congratulated by his teammates after the final out of their 5-2 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Rangers starting pitcher Mike Minor throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 27: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels comes up to bat agaisnt the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 27, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun throws the ball to the infield while center fielder Mike Trout backs him up after the Rangers’ Delino DeShields hit a double during the third inning of Tuesday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)The Rangers’ Delino DeShields is congratulated after scoring the game’s first run during the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the second inning of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout makes a running catch of a fly ball from Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Rangers starting pitcher Mike Minor throws to the plate during the second inning of Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani singles against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)The Angels’ Kole Calhoun drives in the tying and go-ahead runs with a double during the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun leaves the batter’s box with a two-run double against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 27: Kole Calhoun #56 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two-run double in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 27, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun celebrates after driving in two runs with a double against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 27: Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a two-run single in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 27, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin drives in two runs with a single against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin, left, claps after driving in two runs with a single against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 27: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels and Kole Calhoun #56 celebrate after being driven in by Brian Goodwin #18 in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 27, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols, right, is congratulated in the dugout after scoring on a single by Brian Goodwin during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin, right, slides, but is tagged out by Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor as Goodwin tried to steal second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Angels relief pitcher Hansel Robles throws to the plate during the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game at Angel Stadium. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Angels relief pitcher Hansel Robles avoids a ball hit over his head by the Rangers’ Logan Forsythe during the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, left, and right fielder Kole Calhoun celebrate after the final out of their 5-2 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons (No. 2) is congratulated by his teammates after the final out of their 5-2 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)NextShow Caption1 of 23Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)ExpandANAHEIM — Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun did not need to redeem himself so much as he needed to even the scoreboard.Calhoun made a soft error early in Tuesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers. For six innings it loomed as the lone stain on an unblemished box score, leading to the Rangers’ only run against Andrew Heaney.When Calhoun stepped to the plate against Mike Minor with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, he deserved relatively little blame for the Angels’ predicament. Calhoun more than atoned. He split the gap in right-center field with a double, driving in two runs and giving the Angels the lead for good in an eventual 5-2 victory before an announced crowd of 39,008 at Angel Stadium.“When you’re in those spots you need the one big hit,” Calhoun said, “and tonight we got one.” Shohei Ohtani led off the seventh with a first-pitch single. Minor then walked Justin Upton and Albert Pujols back-to-back, loading the bases for Simmons.Minor struck out Simmons for the first out. But he hung a 2-and-2 slider over the middle of the plate for Calhoun, whose double gave the Angels a 2-1 lead. Pujols went to third on the play. Calhoun called it “one of the few pitches that got a lot of the plate tonight.”With two outs, Goodwin pinch hit for Max Stassi and lined a single up the middle to score Pujols and Calhoun.In the eighth inning, Danny Santana hit a home run against Cam Bedrosian to pull Texas within 4-2. But Trout launched a towering homer to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning against Rafael Montero, giving him 43 home runs and 100 RBIs for the season. Trout has hit 11 of his home runs this year against the Rangers.The Angels (64-70) allowed the Rangers (64-69) to move into third place in the American League West when they lost three of four games in Arlington a week ago. Their final meeting of the season is Wednesday. If the Angels win, they will swap spots in the standings again. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter The Angels went 4 for 24 with runners in scoring position while losing three consecutive games in Houston to end last week. They went 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position Tuesday.The Angels got two more runs in the seventh inning on a two-out single by Brian Goodwin. Mike Trout hit his major league-leading 43rd home run in the eighth inning, a solo shot, establishing a new single-season career-high.Hansel Robles recorded his 19th save in support of Miguel Del Pozo (1-0). Del Pozo struck out the only batter he faced, Shin-Soo Choo, in the eighth inning. That was enough to earn his first major league win in his fifth appearance.Heaney allowed four hits and walked three batters in six innings. He struck out 10. The Rangers scored their only run against him in the third inning.In his last two starts, both against the Rangers, Heaney has struck out 24 batters across 14 innings while allowing two runs.
Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros After a nondescript pitching career that included a stop with the Angels and would eventually lead Callaway to pitch in Asia, he started a coaching career in the Cleveland Indians organization. He spent three years in the minors before being promoted to big league pitching coach, inheriting a team in 2012 had ranked 27th in the majors in strike percentage.The Indians had also posted team ERA’s over 4.00 for the previous six years in a row.In 2013, the first season under Callaway, the Indians jumped to 18th in strike percentage, and then fifth, third, seventh and second. Their cumulative ERA over those five seasons was 3.76, the best in the American League.Indians manager Terry Francona, who hired Callaway when he took over the club, was instantly impressed.“He’s an extremely confident person,” Francona said this week. “That’s what amazed me. His first year as a major league pitching coach and you look at him in the first week of the season and it was like he’d been there for 10 years. And I mean that as a compliment. Not that he’s arrogant. He’s just good.” Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Callaway’s prized pupil, of course, was Corey Kluber. In 2012, Kluber had posted a 5.14 ERA in 63 innings. The next season, under Callaway, he cut that to 3.85 in 147-1/3 innings. The year after that, he won the first of his two Cy Young Awards. Kluber improved his strike rate in each of his first three seasons under Callaway.“He may simplify it, but there’s a method to what he’s doing,” Francona said. “If not, everybody could do it. He tries to identify what you’re able to throw for strikes, and go from there.”It’s not as simple as telling pitchers to throw strikes, but it’s also not that complicated, Callaway said. Much of it is, in fact, an aggressive mentality, and constant reminders.“It’s something we have to preach every day,” Callaway said. “Are we going to worry about their spin rate and the shape of their pitches? Absolutely. We can help that. But the last thing I want them worried about is ‘I gotta shape this pitch this way when I’m on the mound.’ No, you have to throw a strike, with that ball that’s in your hand.”A few Angels pitchers have said that Callaway so far has done a good job of keeping things simple.“In this world of pitching where everybody is worried about movement and velocity and shape and all kinds of stuff, sometimes you do miss out on simple things,” Andrew Heaney said. “That’s not to say you can throw the ball down the middle and hope it goes well, but there is a mentality where even if you try to throw the ball down the middle and miss, you’re going to miss on the corners. If you start being too fine with stuff and start nibbling, that’s when you get in trouble.”Dylan Bundy, who has already had four pitching coaches in the big leagues, said so far he gets a “vibe” from Callaway that he won’t be bogging them down with analytics. He preaches sticking to what pitchers do best.“If you throw to your strengths, you’ll be consistently good,” Bundy said.Callaway recalled one year with the Indians when he went into a playoff advance scouting meeting and essentially ditched the scouting reports.“I walked in the room and I said, ‘I want you to deal with adversity better than anyone on the other staff,’” Callaway said. “That was our advance meeting. I didn’t go over the hitters. That’s how I view the mental side of the game. You watch Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, the best guys. They don’t let anything bother them. You can’t tell if they’re pitching good or bad. And that goes a long way. You can control the opponent’s confidence by doing that sort of thing. We’re going to talk a lot about that.”All of which is not to say that Callaway doesn’t have a foothold in analytics. No pitching coach could get a job in this era without it. He said his normal strategy is to work with the front office’s analytics team to determine what information can help the pitcher the most, and only take that small fraction of the data to him.“When we go to the player, it’s one small nudge in the right direction that’s going to be impactful,” Callaway said.Callaway, 44, talks excitedly in his folksy Tennessee drawl about all things pitching. His passion for the job is evident after he spent two years away from it, as the manager of the New York Mets. Callaway joked that he has “PTSD” when thinking back to the tumultuous couple seasons in the fishbowl of New York. Aside from the team not playing up to expectations, he had a public confrontation with a reporter, one that was explained away later as a misunderstanding.It wasn’t long after the Mets fired Callaway in October that he heard from Joe Maddon, who had just been hired to manage the Angels. Maddon was the bench coach when Callaway pitched for the Angels.“Joe called me and I was like ‘Heck yes,’” Callaway said. “Absolutely. I am just elated to be back here.”Although Callaway is admittedly more comfortable back in the pitching coach role than he was as a manager, he said he took lessons from the manager’s chair that he can now apply to make him a better pitching coach.“There’s a lot of things that a manager has to think about that a pitching coach doesn’t think about, so what it’s going to do is allow me to help Joe out a little more,” Callaway said. “I probably wasn’t helping (Francona) in a lot of areas that didn’t really occur to me at the time.”For example, Callaway said as a pitching coach he didn’t appreciate the value of controlling the running game as much as he did as a manager.Related Articles Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Maddon, who had managed against Callaway in the National League, also sees that he’s grown from the experience.“A mind once stretched has a difficult time going back to its original form,” Maddon said.Maddon and Callaway have both spoken about their pitchers being aggressive in the strike zone, and hopefully getting an out within the first three pitches. That will help toward another priority, which is getting starters deeper into games.Callaway will be attempting that without the marquee names he had in Cleveland or New York, but with inconsistent veterans like Heaney and Bundy, and inexperienced young pitchers like Griffin Canning, Patrick Sandoval and José Suarez.“When I got (to Cleveland) it was very similar,” Callaway said. “Very good stuff. Pretty good strikeout numbers. The walks were too high. They weren’t willing to throw the ball over the plate. We talked constantly about throwing strikes. We just beat it into them, every single day.”NOTESThe Angels were scheduled to open Cactus League play with split-squad games on Saturday, but both were rained out. The game against the Chicago White Sox in Glendale was cancelled, but the home game against the Kansas City Royals was rescheduled for Mar. 6. The Angels were scheduled to play the Royals at Surprise that day, so now that will become a split-squad with games in both parks…The Angels last spring training rainout was Mar. 8, 2013. That game was called in the third inning…The Angels had been scheduled to wear Orange Coast College caps on Saturday in memory of coach John Altobelli, who died along with his wife and daughter in the helicopter crash that also killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and four others. The Angels will now wear the caps on Tuesday, because that’s the day that most of the regulars will be playing…Ty Buttrey, who is out with a strained oblique, has continued to throw, and he said he is expecting to be able to throw off a mound by Thursday. Buttrey is expected to be ready for Opening Day. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter PreviousNew Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway watches spring training workouts next to his pitchers on Friday in Tempe, Ariz. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway talks with General Manger Billy Eppler during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway talks to his pitchers during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsNew Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway speaks about his philosophies outside the clubhouse last week at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. After his difficult two-year tenure as the New York Mets’ manager ended last fall, Callaway says he is energized by his return to a familiar role as he becomes a key assistant to new Angels manager Joe Maddon. (AP Photo/Greg Beacham)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway talks with General Manger Billy Eppler during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway watches spring training workouts next to his pitchers on Friday in Tempe, Ariz. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway talks with General Manger Billy Eppler during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 6New Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway talks with General Manger Billy Eppler during spring training workouts at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)ExpandTEMPE, Ariz. — Mickey Callaway’s strategy for fixing the Angels’ pitching staff is a simple one, the most basic idea that every coach tells his pitchers from Little League to the major leagues.“We have to throw strikes,” the Angels’ new pitching coach said. “That’s going to be our mission. We’re going to try to throw more strikes than anybody else in the league. If we can do that, we’re going to be where we need to be.”The Angels were dead last in the majors in 2019, throwing just 62.3 percent of their pitches for strikes. No surprise, then, that they were 25th with a 5.12 ERA.Callaway, however, has been here before. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Angels ended up turning a morning workout into an optional afternoon workout, with only about a dozen players actually working out on the field at Angel Stadium.Manager Joe Maddon said it was prudent to simply allow most of the players to stay home because of the uncertainty, but he did not sound concerned that there was a larger issue with the testing.“I believe this will be a short lived situation,” Maddon said Monday. “I think it has a lot to do with the Fourth of July. That’s my opinion. I want to believe that everything will get straightened out relatively soon. I have not lost any confidence.”As MLB attempts to forge ahead with a season amid the coronavirus pandemic, all players are supposed to be tested at least every 48 hours. The tests are administered by an outside company, which runs them through a lab in Salt Lake City.On Sunday, the testers did not arrive at either Angel Stadium or Long Beach State’s Blair Field, the alternate site the Angels are using for many of their players. The Angels instead collected the saliva samples with their own staff. Their workout on Monday had been scheduled to start at 9 a.m., but on Sunday night it was pushed back to noon and then on Monday morning it was pushed back to 1 p.m and changed to optional. As of Monday morning, they were expecting testers to be present on Monday. They will continue to work out later in the day to allow more time for the test results to be logged.Teams began reporting for summer camp last Wednesday, a process that involved extensive testing of all players and staffers who work closely with players. In order to participate, a person must receive a negative test for coronavirus.Many players throughout the majors have been absent from camps so far, and only a fraction of those have actually been reported to have positive tests. Many others are presumably still awaiting results, or awaiting results of tests from family members.So far different teams appear to be having different issues with the logistics of the testing.The A’s had a batch of their samples still awaiting transportation to Salt Lake City, apparently delayed because of the holiday. The Nationals, Astros and Cardinals canceled their workout on Monday because they hadn’t received the results of tests taken on Friday. The Diamondbacks delayed the start of their workout on Monday.The New York Yankees also apparently took the saliva samples themselves on Sunday when no tester showed up, but they did not alter their workout schedule.“The process has not been without some unforeseen difficulties, which are being addressed with the service providers that are essential to the execution of the protocols,” the MLB statement said. “It is important to be mindful that nearly all of the individuals have been tested as planned. The health and safety of our players and employees will remain our highest priorities.”Maddon said he had not heard any complaints from Angels players, despite the issue on Sunday.“I didn’t have one guy come up to me yesterday complaining about anything,” Maddon said. “So I didn’t look for it. Today so far, nobody has contacted me.”GAME TIME … SORT OFThe Angels are scheduled for their first intrasquad game on Tuesday. Andrew Heaney and Shohei Ohtani will be the two starting pitchers, with Heaney throwing about four innings and Ohtani working two or three, Manager Joe Maddon said.Maddon said the game will also include most of the everyday players, although there won’t necessarily be two lineups or traditional innings. For example, Maddon said they may have coaches playing the outfield. Hitters will get as many at-bats as they need.“You want to make sure the varsity feels good about themselves by the time they leave,” Maddo said. “They will get plenty of opportunity on the field. Right now that we’re unable to bring other teams in and play normal competitive baseball, this is the best way to get things done.”The Angels are scheduled to have some sort of intrasquad game just about every day for the next couple weeks.ALSOMaddon said he had no updates on any of the players who have not yet begun workouts, the most prominent of which is Julio Teheran. Teams are prohibited from giving information about coronavirus-related absences without the player’s consent. Players also could be missing simply because they haven’t yet received results. A day after officials contracted by Major League Baseball failed to show up to administer the Angels’ coronavirus tests, the team twice delayed its workouts to accommodate the tests.At least five other teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland A’s, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals — have had workouts delayed or canceled because of logistical issues with testing in the past 24 hours.MLB released a statement on Monday afternoon acknowledging issues with the testing.“We have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend and do not expect a recurrence,” the statement said. “We commend the affected Clubs that responded properly by cancelling workouts.”
Next victim.The Clippers over the past week have had to endure one of the bigger sports scandals in recent memory, no thanks to the racist comments of since-banned team owner Donald Sterling caught on tape.Battered but unbowed, they found a way to weather a hurtful and emotional storm when they defeated the Golden State Warriors 126-121 on Saturday to win Game 7 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series before 19,543 at Staples Center.The Clippers win the series 4-3 and advance to the conference semifinals and will play Game 1 at Oklahoma City on Monday. The Warriors, though they played a gallant series, will head home to Oakland, their season over. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It was an incredible back-and-forth game with plenty of heroics.The Clippers trailed almost all of the first 2 1/2 quarters before they finally took the lead for the first time at 73-72 on a basket by J.J. Redick. The Clippers lead 87-84 heading into the fourth quarter.The Clippers led 103-96, but then the Warriors came back to take a 107-106 lead on a 3-pointer by Andre Iguodala with 4:24 to play. But the Clippers were not going to roll over on their homecourt and when Blake Griffin threw down a dunk with 1:54 to play, they were up 112-109.The Warriors called time out to set up the final moments of a real thriller.Blake Griffin, who led the Clippers with 24 points, made a layup then rolled over backward after hitting the floor for a 116-111 lead. Leading 118-115, DeAndre Jordan threw down a dunk off a lob by Griffin for a 120-115 lead. But Draymond Greed nailed a 3-point basket to get the Warriors within 120-118 with 13 seconds to play. The Clippers’ J.J. Redick made two free throws with 12.1 seconds to play. Stephen Curry then threw up an air ball, and Chris Paul made two free throws for a 124-118 lead.Curry came back and made a 3-pointer to cut his team’s deficit to 124-121, but Darren Collison made two free throws with two seconds left to seal Golden State’s fate.Paul scored 22 points and had 14 assists for the Clippers and Jamal Crawford added 22 points. Redick scored 20 points.Curry led the Warriors with 33 points, Green had 24 and Klay Thompson 15.The Clippers trailed almost all of the first 2 1/2 quarters before they finally took the lead for the first time at 73-72 on a basket by J.J. Redick. The Clippers led 87-84 heading into the fourth quarter.The Warriors didn’t waste any time jumping on the Clippers and led seven points at 15-8 with the game just over four minutes old. They led 19-10 on a dunk by Iguodala at the 6:20 mark, but the Clippers fought back with a 6-0 run that culminated with a 3-footer by DeAndre Jordan to get within 19-16.Los Angeles got to within 23-21 on an 18-footer by Chris Paul, but Golden State finished the quarter on 9-1 run to lead 32-22 heading into the second quarter.The Warriors up their advantage to 34-22 at the outset of the second on two free throws by Curry, but then it was the Clippers’ time to get their fans revved up a bit.Beginning with two free throws by Darren Collison, they outscored the Warriors 7-0 to cut their deficit to 34-29.Los Angeles kept at Golden State, thanks in large part to sixth-man Jamal Crawford. When Crawford hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw, the Warriors’ lead was down to 45-43.Down 49-44, Crawford buried another 3-pointer to get again get close at 49-47. Paul tied it 49-49 on a 16-footer with 3:58 left before intermission.Undaunted, the Warriors outscored the Clippers 15-7 the rest of the way to take a 64-56 lead into the break.Golden State shot 58.5 percent in the half, the Clippers 51.3. Crawford and Griffin both had 13 points in the half for Los Angeles, as did Stephen Curry and Draymond Green for Golden State.Before the game, the coaches engaged each other in psychological warfare after Clippers coach Doc Rivers was informed that Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been saying all the pressure is on the Clippers.“You know, whatever. He’s been saying that for a while, so I think what he’s trying to say is, ‘Please, my team, you’ve gotta relax yourself because it’s all on them.’ I think that’s what Mark’s really saying.”The Clippers are the No. 3 seed, the Warriors are No. 6. That’s not to mention that although both teams are battling nagging injuries, Golden State has not had the services of its starting post – Andrew Bogut – all series because of a fractured rib.Jackson pointed some of that out about 15 minutes after Rivers spoke to reporters.“I appreciatre Doc,” Jackson said. “We’re trying to play chess, three’s no question about it. It’s high level, I’m in over my head.”Laughs all around.“But the facts remain that they have two of the top 10 players in the world (meaning Blake Griffin and Chris Paul), the facts tell me that they have the Sixth-Man of the Year (Jamal Crawford), the facts tell me that have a future Hall of Fame coach.“The facts tell me that they’re a better basketball team over the course or 82 games, which made them the No. 3 seed, and have homecourt advantage in Game 7. So the facts are that they’re the better basketball team up until this point. And the pressure is on them to finish off a No. 6 seed.”
Game 2 is here Wednesday.Paul made his first eight 3-point baskets on his way to a game-high 32 points. He had 17 first-quarter points and made all five of his 3-pointers in those first 12 minutes. He made 12 of 14 from the field overall and, showing he’s human on a night when he was otherworldly, missed his ninth 3-point attempt.Keep in mind Paul is nursing a sore right hamstring. He didn’t look like it, though. He did not play in the fourth quarter. Neither did three of the other starters. They didn’t have to.“Me and Blake (Griffin) talked about it at shootaround this morning,” Paul said. “We were still a little tight from the traveling, but we talked about it and said, ‘At 8:30, we’ve gotta be ready to go.’“So I came over here early before the game and got a lot of shots up, so I think that had a lot to do with it.” OKLAHOMA CITY >> Chris Paul, Mr. 3-pointer.“That’s what I do, that’s what I do. That’s a lie,” he said, laughing.Paul and the rest of the Clippers were in a terrific mood late Monday, and for good reason. Thanks to a prolific shooting night by Paul and just a strong, overall performance by the entire team, the Clippers walloped the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-105 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinals series in front of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.The fans who were loud at the outset quickly were hushed by Paul and Co. The game was not that close, either, as the Clippers led by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Paul also had 10 assists.Clippers coach Doc Rivers noticed Griffin didn’t go to the post as much as usual because he saw how hot Paul was at the outset, so he stayed outside more to help set screens.“When somebody’s going like that, you just want to try to stay out of the way as much as possible, but also help keep that fire going,” Griffin said.Thunder coach Scott Brooks was stunned, to be sure. Like the Clippers, his team had just survived a tough, seven-game first-round series. But as the No. 2 seed, Oklahoma City had home-court advantage. Not anymore.“Chris Paul had an unbelievable 3-point night,” Brooks said. “We have to do a better job of guarding the line and guarding the ball.”The Thunder actually led 16-10 before Paul went off. By the time the first quarter ended, the Clippers were up 39-25. They led 69-52 at intermission and 104-76 entering the fourth quarter.Griffin contributed 23 points, five rebounds and five assists. Jamal Crawford had 17 points off the bench and went 6 of 11 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.The Clippers shot 54.9 percent (45 of 82) overall from the field, including 51.7 percent (15 of 29) from beyond the arc.J.J. Redick had 12 points for the Clippers and Matt Barnes had 10.Russell Westbrook scored 29 for Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant had 25.Westbrook was asked if his team may have let up after starting off well.“I don’t think we relaxed, they just hit some tough shots,” he said.Westbrook and Durant understandably were disappointed.“It’s a quick turnaround, we only have a day between games,” Durant said. “That’s the best part about it.”The Clippers’ bench had 38 points, which was good but not spectacular. Still, Rivers correctly noted the second unit built a 14-point first-quarter lead to 19 points in the second.“Other than Chris Paul setting the tone, I thought the bench was the key to the game tonight,” Rivers said.Crawford said he liked what the team did as a whole.“Coach said it was one of our most complete wins, top to bottom,” he said. “I think Chris came in and set the tone, being aggressive like that.”Paul is a career 35.7 percent shooter from 3-point range.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The 21-year-old, considered one of the game’s best young pitchers, has been clocked throwing as fast as 100 mph.“He’s not a guy that’s fun to face or easy for anybody,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “On the other side, you don’t want a guy to be hurt. He’s good for our game. We all want to see this be a minor thing.”The Marlins recalled left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from Triple-A to take Fernandez’s roster spot. Manager Mike Redmond mentioned left-hander Brad Hand and right-hander Kevin Slowey as possibilities to start Wednesday’s game. Miami could also recall a starting pitcher from the minor leagues.“We’re going to take every precaution necessary,” Redmond said. “He said he had discomfort, so we immediately are going to give him treatment and the rest that he needs. Hopefully he just has to take a little bit of a break. Obviously, you’re always concerned (if a pitcher needs Tommy John surgery) when you talk about an elbow. But that’s something we have to wait to find out.”The Dodgers haven’t seen much of Hand in the past. Justin Turner has one hit in three career at-bats against the left-hander, Yasiel Puig is 1 for 1 and Dee Gordon and Chone Figgins are both 0 for 1 in their careers against Hand. Slowey has been rather miserable against the Dodgers in his career. Scott Van Slyke (1 for 1), Turner (1 for 3), Miguel Olivo (1 for 1, HR), Matt Kemp (1 for 3), Adrian Gonzalez (1 for 6), Andre Ethier (1 for 4) and Carl Crawford (1 for 3) all have hits against the right-hander.Paul Maholm is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Dodgers.Ellis set to returnDodgers catcher A.J. Ellis caught six innings for Triple-A Albuquerque and will return to Los Angeles today. Ellis, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee five weeks ago today, can be activated from the 15-day disabled list at any time.In two rehab games with the Isotopes, Ellis went 2 for 5 with a walk and a home run. Monday, Ellis went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the El Paso Chihuahuas. It was the first home run ever to clear Southwest University Park’s 35-foot wall in left field.Mattingly said Sunday that the Dodgers won’t carry three catchers once Ellis is activated from the DL. That means that either Miguel Olivo or Drew Butera, neither of whom can be optioned to the minor leagues, is likely to be designated for assignment. The other will remain as Ellis’ backup. Butera entered Monday’s game with a .227 batting average and got the catching assignment. Olivo entered the game riding an 0-for-11 streak that dropped his average to .217.AlsoMattingly said prior to the game that third baseman Juan Uribe will not need to be placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Uribe took infield and batting practice for the first time since suffering the injury. … Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) played long toss and threw to a crouching catcher from flat ground for the second day. The Dodgers don’t know who their opposing starter will be Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, but it won’t be Jose Fernandez.The Miami Marlins’ misery greatly overshadows the Dodgers’ uncertainty. Fernandez, the reigning National League rookie of the year, has a sprained ligament in his right elbow. In a worst-case scenario, he will need season-ending Tommy John surgery.Fernandez met with Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Monday in Los Angeles and flew back to Miami for a second opinion from Dr. Lee Kaplan, the Marlins’ medical director. According to multiple reports Monday, the team is bracing for the worst-case scenario.Fernandez is 4-2 with a 2.44 earned-run average and an MLB-best 70 strikeouts this season. He is believed to have suffered the sprain in his most recent start, Friday in San Diego, when the right-hander uncharacteristically was shelled for six runs in five innings.
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> Amazon Prime offers same-day delivery. The Dodgers had to be more patient.Twenty-three days after they traded three well-regarded prospects to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Josh Reddick and someone suited to fill the void at the front of their starting rotation, Rich Hill finally made his debut for the Dodgers.There was no buyer’s remorse. Hill looked like the top-tier starter the Dodgers thought they were getting – and have sorely lacked since Clayton Kershaw went to the DL. He pitched six scoreless innings Wednesday night as the Dodgers won, 1-0.“I’m not surprised. That’s Rich,” Reddick said. “I’ve seen it all year. “It just shows what a competitor he is. He hasn’t pitched in over a month and he goes out there and shuts down a lineup like that.”Justin Turner provided the night’s only offense, ruining Giants starter Johnny Cueto’s own gem with a solo home run in the fourth inning. The home run was the Dodgers’ first hit of the game and one of only five they managed in the game.With back-to-back wins over Madison Bumgarner and Cueto, the Dodgers have continued the Giants’ second-half freefall. They are 11-25 since the All-Star break (the worst record in baseball over that time) ceding 9½ games to the Dodgers since the break. The Dodgers have gone from 6 ½ games down to a season-high three games up, assuring themselves of a victory in the first of three series between the two rivals over the final seven weeks of the season.“We’re not panicking, I don’t think,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “Yeah, we haven’t been playing well but hopefully we’ll turn it around.“I think a clubhouse full of guys that have been through tough times before, that have pulled out and been a World Series-winning team – we’ve been through tough stretches before, we wound up winning the World Series at the end of the year.” Hill came just as advertised in the catalog. He kept the Giants off balance with a variety pack of off-speed pitches – one of which floated up toward the plate at 52 mph.The Giants had five hits in Hill’s six innings. All were singles and only one baserunner reached second base. That came in the first inning when Buster Posey’s two-out single was followed by Hunter Pence just beating out an infield single on a ground ball to third.Hill didn’t walk a batter and 63 of his 81 pitches were strikes. It was only the ninth “quality start” (six innings or more, three runs or fewer) by a Dodgers pitcher in 35 games since the All-Star break.“He knew exactly what he wanted to do,” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “He got a lot of pop ups, a lot of soft grounders. He got ahead of hitters and knew how to put them away.”Hill had not pitched since July 17 when a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand ripped open five pitches into a start for the Oakland A’s. Before that he had made only two starts since the end of May due to a groin injury and the blister problem.“There’s nothing I can control about that,” Hill said of his delayed debut. “The only thing I can control is to go out there and continue to pitch with conviction and passion and intensity. In conjunction with staying in the moment, anything outside of that is really irrelevant.”Roberts gladly accepted the gift of six innings from a starting pitcher – something he has gotten just 16 times in the past 49 games (since Clayton Kershaw’s last start on June 26) – and manipulated his bullpen to make the one-run lead stand up over the final three innings.Pedro Baez and Adam Liberatore tag-teamed the seventh inning. But Joe Blanton found himself with runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth with the left-handed Crawford coming up. Rookie left-hander Grant Dayton was warming up in the bullpen as Roberts went out to the mound.“I wanted to go out there and look in his eyes and check on him a little bit, see how he felt,” Roberts said. “I know he used a lot of energy with those first four hitters. But as I went out there I just knew he had to stay in there. It’s the confidence I have in Joe Blanton.”Roberts might have regretted that decision for a split second as Crawford sent Reddick back to the wall in right field to haul in his drive.“I felt much better after it went in Reddick’s glove,” Roberts said. “Regardless of the outcome, he got ahead two strikes. I still liked that matchup.”Kenley Jansen retired the side in order in the ninth for his 37th save of the season.“This group has been in this position before. They’re battle-tested,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Every day we think, ‘Hey, it’s our day to come out of this.’ They’re going out there, going hard early. We put pressure on them. They got the big hit and we didn’t.”
Roberts offered that Hill’s fiery nature on the mound might be getting in his way, causing him to focus too much on “some grounders that had eyes” in the first innings rather than moving to the next pitch. Honeycutt explained that Hill has had to fight a number of things since spring training (including his recurring blister problem) that have prevented him from getting “on a regular roll.”“We’ve seen good innings then bad innings,” Honeycutt said. “So it’s there. It’s just the consistency part.”The second inning was another bad inning. Hill gave up an RBI double to Jose Ramirez and a 414-foot home run to Encarnacion.He did make it through two more uneventful innings but his pitch count was at 93 as he took the mound for the fifth inning. The Dodgers had closed to within a run by then thanks to Cody Bellinger’s 18th home run of the season in the fourth inning then back-to-back doubles by Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig plus a two-run home run by Chris Taylor in the fifth.That was the high point of the afternoon for the Dodgers.With Kenta Maeda no longer a long reliever – he will start Sunday in order to give the rest of the rotation an extra day’s rest – Roberts sent Hill back out for the fifth. He walked the first batter he faced and gave up a single to Carlos Santana before Ross Stripling replaced Hill. Lonnie Chisenhall launched Stripling’s second pitch into the right field seats for a three-run home run. The Indians added three more in the sixth to break the game open.“I think his value and any top-end starter is to give you a chance to win , No. 1, but also take care of the ’pen on days that he starts. He’s clearly aware of that,” Roberts said of Hill’s failure Thursday.“For us to win a championship, he’s got to be good and be in the rotation. But obviously he knows he’s got to get better and he’s trying.” Acquired at the trade deadline last season in a deal that cost the Dodgers three top pitching prospects and re-signed to a three-year, $48 million contract this past winter, the Dodgers envisioned Hill being a dominant starter to pair with Clayton Kershaw. They have seen only flashes of that – and none of it this season.The seven runs charged to Hill are the most he has allowed in a game since June 30, 2009 for the Baltimore Orioles (when he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings) and raised his ERA through eight starts this season to 5.14 with an unsightly 1.69 WHIP bloated by 23 walks and four hit batters in only 35 innings. He has yet to throw a pitch in the sixth inning of a game this season – despite throwing more pitches Thursday (105) than he has in a start since May 2016.“There are no excuses,” Hill said, hitting himself harder than the Indians did during a three-run first inning that featured three consecutive ground ball singles, a hit batter, a bases-loaded walk and an infield single. “At the end of the day, when you stink, you stink and I’m not making any excuses for that.“Results obviously need to be better, at the end of the day – striking the curveball better, sequences, getting ahead with the curveball, being able to actually have that work for you would be huge for me. I’m missing a little bit on that right now. Other than that, I don’t think it has anything to do with mechanics. I don’t think it has anything to do with anything physically. I don’t think it’s anything mentally. It’s just about going out there and making better pitches. That’s it.”Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt were much less effective in trying to explain Hill’s struggles this season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error CLEVELAND >> After giving up seven runs in the Dodgers’ 12-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday afternoon, Rich Hill dismissed physical issues, mechanical problems in his delivery and a lack of focus or composure as being responsible for his season-long struggles.So what is the problem?“Sucking,” Hill said, his normally affable personality replaced by disgust and disappointment with the latest in a string of starts that have fallen far short of his and the Dodgers’ expectations.“I mean, that’s really it. At the end of the day, that’s what it is.”
The last time he pitched in Miami before Sunday was last Sept. 10, when Hill threw seven perfect innings. He was then removed due to a pitch-count restriction with much ballyhoo. Manager Dave Roberts faced no such dilemma this time.Besides the fact that Hill’s fingers have been blister-free since May, he allowed a double to Ozuna to begin the second inning. Hill got out of that jam and mostly succeeded in avoiding stressful situations. The left-hander allowed just one run on five hits. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine, two shy of his season high.“The last five or so outings have been really good,” Hill said. “Today was no different: just attacking the hitters. Austin (Barnes) did a great job behind the dish.”“He was in complete control today,” Roberts said of Hill. “Some of the best stuff he’s had all year.”Since compacting his windup with help from pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, Hill has a 1.45 ERA in five starts dating to June 21. He has 44 strikeouts in 31 innings over that span.Sunday, he pitched all five innings with a lead.Turner’s solo home run against Marlins starter Chris O’Grady (1-1), his 11th this season, gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Turner’s sacrifice fly in the third inning allowed Logan Forsythe to tag up and score the Dodgers’ second run.Chris Taylor’s triple, followed by a single by Barnes, made it 3-0 in the fourth inning.Miami got its only run against Hill in the fifth inning on a fluky infield single by a future Hall of Famer.With one out, former Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis lined a double to left field. A single by J.T. Riddle sent Ellis to third. With the ninth spot in the batting order due up, Marlins manager Don Mattingly removed O’Grady and inserted Ichiro Suzuki.Suzuki’s 3,055th career hit was a tapper back to the pitcher’s mound, and it caught Hill off balance. The pitcher fell down. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager retrieved the ball but had no play as Ellis scored easily.“They hung in there. They were fighting. You could see it,” Roberts said. “For us to still find a way to win says a lot about our guys.” MIAMI >> The Dodgers won their ninth consecutive game Sunday. Their 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins completed their 11th series sweep and lifted their record to 64-29, the best mark in baseball.After a day off Monday, the Dodgers will begin a two-game series against the Chicago White Sox in their most comfortable position this year. They hold a 101/2-game lead in the NL West over the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost their fifth consecutive game Sunday. Only the Houston Astros lead their division by a greater margin.It remains to be seen if the Dodgers’ current streak — 29 wins in their past 33 games — is their new reality or a mere twist of fortune. Either way, it’s been short on drama. The Marlins at least made the series finale interesting at the end.After Dee Gordon reached on an infield single off Brandon Morrow to begin the eighth inning, then advanced on Kenley Jansen’s balk — his first in six years — he scored on Christian Yelich’s single to narrow the Dodgers’ lead to a single run. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Jansen ultimately locked down a save, his 23rd in 23 tries this year. Even that required a diving stop by Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner on a ground ball to his left, robbing J.T. Riddle for the game’s final out.“I think a lot of offensive guys are going to be really happy to get out of this place,” Turner said of Marlins Park. “If we were at home at Dodger Stadium, we might have hit 20 homers this series, but this place is enormous. They have a very athletic outfield, they cover a lot of ground. They made a lot of good plays today. The whole series, really.”The most memorable play Sunday was a wall-scaling, home run-robbing catch by left fielder Marcell Ozuna, reaching high above the rail to snatch Kiké Hernandez’s blast before it could fall in the Dodgers bullpen in the sixth inning. The Dodgers made five other outs on the warning track.Ultimately the long outs didn’t matter. Dodgers starter Rich Hill (6-4) continued his resurgence by pitching five strong innings, and the bullpen survived its eighth-inning hiccup. The Dodgers hadn’t swept a three-game series against the Marlins since 2008.“Today’s win was a great team win,” Hill said. “You saw great defense. The offense came through. And the bullpen has been tremendous. You can say that it starts with the starters. It’s really all 25 guys in here that are coming to compete every single day and bringing their best out on the field. It’s a lot of fun to see.”
THE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP HYUN-JIN RYU (4-6, 3.45)Vs. Pirates: 3-0, 2.79At PNC Park: 1-0, 2.57Hates to face: David Freese, 4 for 8 (.500), 2B DODGERS at PIRATESWhen: Thursday, 1 p.m.Where: PNC ParkTV: SportsNet LA Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Loves to face: Starling Marte, 2 for 9 (.222), 2 KsPIRATES RHP CHAD KUHL (6-8, 4.52)Vs. Dodgers: 2-1, 5.06At PNC Park: 6-7, 5.48Hates to face: Justin Turner, 2 for 4 (.500), 2B, HRLoves to face: Chris Taylor, 0 for 2
A sense of calmness radiated through Derek Fisher’s voice as he boarded the Thunder’s team plane, giving a sense that not much has changed since he wore a Lakers uniform.He’s averaging a career-low 2.7 points on 35.2-percent shooting, raising the never-ending gripes about Fisher’s age (39), a streaky shooting stroke and a lack of foot speed. Yet, his coaches and teammates endlessly laud him for his on-court hustle and locker-room leadership. But as he sat on the team plane before the Thunder traveled this week for a set of back-to-back games in Atlanta and Memphis, one significant backdrop was different.Fisher will retire after this season, putting an end to an 18-year career that brought him five NBA championships and becoming the league’s second-oldest player behind the Lakers’ Steve Nash. “I rarely use the word never, but I feel like this is a good opportunity to put a cap on a great career,” Fisher said in an interview this week with this newspaper. “I think we have a legitimate chance to make a run at the title.”Fisher’s quest to earn his sixth championship seems realistic. The Thunder (17-4) enter tonight’s game against the Lakers (10-11) at Chesapeake Energy Arena with a four-game winning streak, an undefeated home record (10-0) and the NBA’s leading scorer in Kevin Durant (28.4 points per game on 47.2-percent shooting). Fisher also notices Durant and Russell Westbrook adopting similar traits from Bryant that ensured five NBA titles. “Kevin has a lot of Kobe’s versatility. Kobe is a very versatile player and has all the skills. He can shoot, he can dribble, he can pass, he can defend and he wants to win,” Fisher said. “With Russell, I see similarities in the way that Kobe wanted to impose his will on every game. They try to physically dominate so they can attack the game. They have no conscience shooting the ball. They take and make the big shots and they play through their mistakes.”Bryant has played differently in two games since returning from a left Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for eight months. Bryant has morphed between becoming a ball-handling point guard and off-ball screen setter instead of his usual dominant scoring role. He’s averaged 14.5 points on 40-percent shooting, 3.5 assists and 5.5 turnovers through two games, a far cry from his career averages of 25.5 points on 45.4-percent shooting and 4.7 assists. “It’s been difficult for him to persevere through all the different stages of rehab that he’s gone through just so he can come back,” Fisher said. “Now that he’s back on the court, I think there’s a new beginning. This is the first step. I see a very strong trajectory going up in the near future.”What will that entail?“When the switch goes on, it will go on to the way people are accustomed toward seeing Kobe Bryant play,” Fisher said. “It’s just a matter of time before that happens.”For Fisher’s sake, hopefully not quickly enough for Bryant to lead the Lakers out of a 12th-place standing in the Western Conference and unexpectedly spoil the Thunder’s title aspirations. A sixth NBA title for Fisher would put him in a tie with Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Scottie Pippen and Bob Cousy. Do Bryant and Fisher engage in friendly banter over who will end his career with the most rings?“That never comes up. In some ways, I can’t even fathom winning championships and looking up and not seeing him right there,” said Fisher, who played with Bryant for 12½ seasons before being traded in 2012 to Houston in a salary dump. “It’s hard to even have that kind of conversation. But at the same time, we’ll feel very driven to try to be on a championship team again before our career is over.”That’s why Fisher said he hasn’t planned yet for post-retirement. “I’m not going to want to necessarily just sit around the house, but I’ll take a step back from the grind of the NBA schedule and see where my heart and passion takes me,” said Fisher, who believes he’ll have some broadcasting opportunities. “I want to take a step back right after retiring from playing and see through conversations, meetings and discussions what would fit the best.”After serving as the president of the National Basketball Players Association during the 145-day lockout in 2011, Fisher also expressed interest in possible leadership positions. But Fisher still has to deal with an early termination lawsuit from former NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter that accuses Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka of acting on behalf of Fisher by urging Hunter to accept a 50-50 split in of basketball-related income. Both sides eventually agreed to a near 50-50 split, but Fisher has denied he secretly negotiated with owners. “I don’t really lose a lot of sleep over it,” Fisher said. “We have attorneys who are doing the heavy lifting. It’s in the hands of the lawyers and the legal system. Hopefully something will get figured out and clarified pretty soon.” Instead, Fisher pledges he will focus his last NBA season, fulfilling a job description that sounds very familiar to Laker fans. “I’m trying to continue building this team in terms of the relationships. I think they appreciate feedback better when they know you more,” Fisher said. “If I make some shots, that’s great. But I’m always going to do a lot of other things that don’t necessarily show up in the stat sheet that helps my team win.”Fisher did that plenty of times with the Lakers, including his game-winner with .04 seconds left in the Lakers’ Game 5 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 West semifinals and his endless clutch shots in the 2009 NBA Finals and 2010 NBA playoffs en route to two championships.But Fisher talked more on the Lakers’ 2000 NBA season that ended the franchise’s 13-year championship drought and the “luck” he had in staying healthy on talented teams than rehashing his memorable playoff moments.“The success of our teams helped feed my development,” Fisher said. “But if you have a passion or love for something that you do, you’re willing to persevere and endure and fight through adversity and still enjoy the process of what you do.”Soon enough, the Thunder’s plane departed. Fisher had to go to fill that role one last time. 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