Bruce defends Tigers swarm

first_imgHull boss Steve Bruce has accused Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez of faking injury and insists his club will “vigorously defend” a Football Association charge arising from last weekend’s goalless draw at the King Power Stadium. Press Association Bruce said: “I’ve got the highest respect for Mahrez but the way he rolled around the pitch is something which for me we’ve got to stamp out because I think that’s what incenses all of us. “The frustration was that he was blatantly trying to get somebody sent off. We surrounded the referee because it was a perfectly fair challenge and we will vigorously defend it. “I’m not saying the reaction of the players (was right), but there was an injustice and the one thing we have to stamp out more than anything is players rolling around faking injuries.” Tom Huddlestone’s sending-off in the same fixture means the former Tottenham man will be suspended for the visit of Jose Mourinho’s men while Nikica Jelavic is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines following knee surgery. And Bruce believes Chelsea’s exit from continental competition could count against the Tigers as they look to boost their survival chances by claiming more valuable points against the biggest teams in the division. Bruce added: “Jose has focused his attention straight back on the Premier League. The one thing (the exit) has done for them is refocus them because they haven’t got that distraction and they are near-on certainties to go on and win the league. “Chelsea are the team everybody is trying to beat. You can’t see them, five points clear and with a game in hand, blowing the situation. But we need a result ourselves because we’ve got some tough games ahead.” Meanwhile Bruce revealed he had spoken briefly with Paul Ince over son Tom’s decision this week to no longer make himself available for the England Under-21s. Ince, currently on loan at Derby, played in all of the Under-21s’ successful European Championship qualifying campaign but informed boss Gareth Southgate this week he did not wish to be considered for the squad. Bruce said: “I had a quick word with his father at Derby this week and it has been their decision, but whatever decision they take of course we will back. “I haven’t really spoken to Tom himself about it, but I will go and speak to him and see what his ideas are. He has had a long, tough season playing with various clubs.” The Tigers were charged with failing to control their players following a 68th-minute incident in which they surrounded referee Jonathan Moss after Alex Bruce was booked for his challenge on the Foxes winger. But ahead of Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Chelsea – who were also accused of badgering the referee during their UEFA Champions League match at home to Paris St Germain recently – Bruce says Mahrez’s alleged offence is more serious. last_img read more

Proteas close in on series victory

first_img(REUTERS) – South Africa need six more wickets with two days still to play to win the second Test against Sri Lanka, who closed the third day at Newlands yesterday on 130 for four, still 377 runs behind the mammoth target set them.Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada both took two wickets in the Sri Lankan second innings as the home team closed in on victory and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.South Africa have ample time to whittle away the rest of the Sri Lankan batting while the visitors, set 507 runs to win, must survive six more sessions if they are to force a most improbable outcome.Angelo Mathews (29 not out) and Dinesh Chandimal (28 not out) will resume today, having shown some resistance to the close of play with an unbeaten 61-run partnership.Philander made an early inroad before tea when he clean-bowled Dimuth Karunaratne for six and then added the wicket of Kusal Mendis after the break as he edged a ball on a tempting length to Dean Elgar for only four.Kaushal Silva went for 29 runs when a rising Rabada delivery hit him on the glove and popped up for an easy catch for Stephen Cook.Dhananjaya de Silva was then given out leg-before-wicket off a Rabada delivery that was heading down leg-side but surprisingly did not ask for a review. Had he done so, de Silva would have been able to add to his 22 runs.Sri Lanka were put in to bat midway the second session after the South African lead went past 500 runs. They declared on 224 for seven, having resumed at 35-0 overnight.Seamer Suranga Lakmal took four wickets in a rare highlight for Sri Lanka while Elgar top-scored for the home side with 55, to add to his first-innings century.Captain Faf du Plessis made 41 while Stephen Cook was out for 30.South Africa scored 392 in their first innings to which Sri Lanka replied with a paltry 110. The hosts, who won the first Test in Port Elizabeth last week, did not enforce the follow-on.SOUTH AFRICA 1st innings 392 (D. Elgar 129, Q. de Kock 101; L. Kumara 6-122)SRI LANKA 1st innings 110 (V. Philander 4-27, K. Rabada 4-37)SOUTH AFRICA 2nd innings (o/n 35-0)S. Cook c Karunaratne b Lakmal 30D. Elgar c Mathews b Herath 55H. Amla c Chandimal b Lakmal 0J. Duminy lbw b Lakmal 30F. du Plessis c Chandimal b Lakmal 41T. Bavuma run-out (D. de Silva) 0Q. de Kock c Chandimal b Kumara 29K. Maharaj not out 20V. Philander not out 15Extras: (nb-3, w-1) 4Total: (for 7 wickets declared, 51.5 overs) 224Fall of wickets: 1-64, 2-64, 3-110, 4-136, 5-137, 6-170, 7-192.Bowling: S. Lakmal 19.5-2- 69–4, N. Pradeep 11-0-46-0 (nb-1) L Kumara 12-0-62-1 (w-1), D. de Silva 3-0-15-0, R. Herath 6-0-32-1.SRI LANKA 2nd innings (Target: 507 runs)D. Karunaratne b Philander 6K. Silva c Cook b Rabada 29K. Mendis c Elgar b Philander 4D. de Silva lbw b Rabada 22A. Mathews not out 29D. Chandimal not out 28Extras: (b-6, lb-5, nb-1) 12Total: (for 4 wickets, 40 overs) 130Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-25, 3-66, 4-69.Bowling: K. Abbott 10-3- 23-0, V. Philander 10-1-34-2 (nb-1) K. Rabada 10-3-22-2, K. Maharaj 10-2-40-0.last_img read more

NJIT looks to sweep N. Fla.

first_img February 5, 2020 Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNorth Florida (14-10, 7-2) vs. NJIT (7-14, 4-4)Wellness and Events Center, Newark, New Jersey; Thursday, 7 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: NJIT goes for the season sweep over North Florida after winning the previous matchup in Jacksonville. The teams last went at it on Jan. 11, when the Highlanders outshot North Florida 58.8 percent to 43.9 percent and had seven fewer turnovers en route to the 12-point victory. NJIT looks to sweep N. Fla. SUPER SENIORS: North Florida has relied heavily on its seniors. Ivan Gandia-Rosa, Garrett Sams, Wajid Aminu and JT Escobar have collectively accounted for 62 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 59 percent of all Ospreys points over the team’s last five games.CLAMPING DOWN: The Highlanders have allowed only 62.6 points per game to Atlantic Sun opponents thus far, an improvement from the 74.3 per game they gave up to non-conference competition.CREATING OFFENSE: Gandia-Rosa has either made or assisted on 43 percent of all North Florida field goals over the last three games. Gandia-Rosa has accounted for 14 field goals and 21 assists in those games.SLIPPING AT 72: NJIT is 0-10 this year when it allows 72 points or more and 7-4 when holding opponents to fewer than 72.PERFECT WHEN: North Florida is a perfect 6-0 when its defense holds opponents to a field goal percentage of 41.8 percent or less. The Ospreys are 8-10 when allowing the opposition to shoot any better than that.center_img DID YOU KNOW: North Florida as a collective unit has made 12.1 3-pointers per game this season, which is most among Division I teams. The Ospreys have averaged 13.7 3-pointers per game over their last three games.___For more AP college basketball coverage: and was generated by Automated Insights,, using data from STATS LLC, Associated Press last_img read more

SU volleyball suffers first home loss of season to Marquette

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Chris: | @chris_isemancenter_img Syracuse assistant coach Carol LaMarche stood on the side of the court, hands on her head, expressing anger at the referee over a call he had just made. No matter how hard she tried to make her case, there was only one thing that didn’t need a ruling: It just wasn’t the Orange’s day. ‘(The calls) definitely didn’t help our score,’ LaMarche said. ‘There were a couple of key points where if it swung a point our way and a little momentum, things could’ve been different.’ Unfortunately for Syracuse (20-3, 3-3 Big East), the momentum stayed on the side of Marquette. In a match in which the Golden Eagles (13-7, 4-2) overmatched the Orange, SU suffered a 0-3 loss at the Women’s Building Saturday for its first home defeat this season. Little went right for Syracuse throughout the entire match. The Golden Eagles hitters overpowered the Orange defense, while the Syracuse offense couldn’t find the holes in Marquette’s. ‘They just came out ready to play,’ defensive specialist Sarah Hayes said. ‘They’re pretty big girls, so if our block wasn’t there, they could just crush a ball on the 15-foot line. I don’t think we’ve really seen that too much this year.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text As good as Syracuse was, Marquette was better. SU came into the day confident, ready to add another ‘W’ to the win column in the conference standings. It didn’t matter. The Golden Eagles came in more ready and more confident. Both teams were evenly matched, each coming into the day with a 3-2 record in the Big East. On paper, either one had a chance to get a victory. SU was coming off two hard-fought wins and was staring at a spot in the conference top five right in the face. Marquette stood as the one thing blocking Syracuse on its way up the standings. And no matter what it did, Syracuse just couldn’t get past it. ‘Defense was definitely down today,’ LaMarche said. ‘They were the better team today, and we had no answer.’ Syracuse never had a chance to take the lead. When it would get a point, Marquette would get one right back. SU was in the position of playing catch-up for the whole match, and the impenetrable Golden Eagles defense never let up. Going on a run for SU wasn’t possible. The Orange came within reach in the second set, when it got the score to 22-24. All it had to do was hold Marquette down to get a chance at scoring three points. But like it had all day long, Marquette retook control and made a kill to win the set. That was as close as Syracuse came to tying the score. ‘Sometimes you’re hoping that they’re going to have a weakness and wouldn’t be able to hold (the lead),’ outside hitter Noemie Lefebvre said. ‘But they came out really strong, they wanted to beat us like crazy.’ That was clear from the time even before the match. Marquette was vocal during warm-ups, making sure its presence was known. When they won a point, the Golden Eagles erupted in cheers loud enough to suggest it had won the entire match. As the match went on, the frustration for the Orange built up more and more. Every questionable call against the Orange elicited a shocked response from every SU player on the court. It seemed all of the controversial calls went against the Orange. Every time a call was made in Marquette’s favor, its side of the court erupted in cheers, while Syracuse tried to regroup enough to try and get some control of the match. But no matter how hard it tried, it was never able to do so. ‘We don’t have control over what they call,’ Hayes said. ‘I think it does have an effect, especially when there are so many of them.’ The calls were just one part of what went wrong for the Orange. SU had no answer for the overwhelming Marquette hitters, while the Orange had no chance at getting past an unbreakable Golden Eagles defense. For SU, it was a day to forget. ‘Everything was going well for them today,’ Lefebvre said. ‘Not so much on our side.’ cjiseman@syr.edulast_img read more

Before (maybe) Tim Tebow and (possibly) Kyler Murray, D.J. Dozier blazed rare NFL-to-MLB path

first_imgHe split the 1993 season between the Padres’ and Cardinals’ Triple-A squads, posting an .800 OPS with eight homers and six stolen bases in 88 games. Dozier, who played six games for the NFL’s Lions in 1991, officially retired as an athlete after the 1993 baseball season.Following his passion for baseball, he carved out a unique niche in American sports. “I didn’t want the regret of not trying,” he said. Kyler Murray, as you know, chose football earlier this week. This doesn’t close the book on Murray’s potential baseball career, of course. Not completely. It does, certainly, close the chapter.  Last June, Murray was the No. 9 overall pick in the MLB Draft, but the Oakland A’s allowed him to play one more year of football at Oklahoma. The ultra-talented quarterback won the Heisman Trophy, and buoyed by that success and the prospect of playing in the NFL this fall, he forfeited the $4.66 million bonus from the A’s and will concentrate his efforts on preparing for the NFL Draft. If he’s picked in the first round, as expected, he’ll earn more than $4.66 million over the next few years.MORE: Opening Day schedule for all 30 MLB teamsAnd if he’s the star quarterback most expect him to be, he might never give baseball a second thought. But funny things happen along the way to NFL stardom — and very unfunny things, too (injuries, etc.) — and with elite talent in baseball, too, Murray has a fallback option. He wouldn’t be the first NFL/MLB two-sport star, obviously. But his path, going from the NFL to MLB, would be pretty rare.Superstar Bo Jackson started with baseball in 1986, then began his NFL career in 1987. Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan both started in the minors a year before being drafted into the NFL. Drew Henson and Chad Hutchinson, to name a couple, went from baseball-only to football-only.Only one player since 1949 — when former NFL punter/halfback/defensive back Andy Tomasic pitched two innings for the New York Giants — has gone from a football-only career to a baseball-only career and actually reached the major leagues. Tim Tebow is attempting to become the second to make that leap, following in the footsteps of D.J. Dozier. Dozier helped lead the Penn State football team to the 1987 national championship, then played four years for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings before officially launching his professional baseball career. He reached the majors in 1992, playing 25 games with the New York Mets.To know what challenges Kyler Murray might eventually have to overcome, should circumstances ever lead to a sport change, I wanted to talk with Dozier about his story. He lives and works in Virginia Beach, Va. — his self-help book, “Decide to Dominate,” was released in October 2018 and we spent an hour on the phone, talking about his journey.“Either way, it’s hard,” Dozier said with a laugh. “To take a few years off of football and try to go back, that would be challenging, from a physical standpoint. With baseball, it’s the same level of challenge, only on the mental and skill-development side. I tell people I had no idea how challenging it would be to learn how to hit in the big leagues.”Really, to learn how to hit, period.”MORE: For Murray, baseball question will be big challenge of NFL Draft processDozier was a star in both football and baseball at Kempsville High in Virginia Beach. Despite his strong Penn State commitment, the Detroit Tigers picked him in the 18th round of the 1983 MLB Draft, just in case. Dozier planned to play both baseball and football at Penn State, but Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno had one request. Paterno wanted Dozier to dedicate his freshman season to football, and then he was fine with Dozier picking baseball back up in the spring of his sophomore year. Dozier was a football star from the beginning, rushing for 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman. He followed that with 741 yards from scrimmage as a sophomore, but a swollen knee led to minor surgery after the season, and rushing back from that to play baseball seemed like a bad idea. And after a junior season that saw Penn State go 11-0 and a No. 1 ranking before losing to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, Dozier opted — wisely — to focus on helping his teammates achieve their national championship dreams his senior year.That year, Dozier led Penn State in rushing yards (811), receptions (26) and total touchdowns (12), and the Nittany Lions stayed perfect into a Fiesta Bowl matchup with top-ranked juggernaut Miami. “Nobody gave us much of a shot,” Dozier said, “but they forgot how good our defense was.”MORE: 30 teams, 30 grades: Rating each MLB team’s offseasonPenn State, of course, won 14-10, with Dozier scoring the go-ahead touchdown, a six-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. Dozier was a first-round pick by the Vikings in the 1987 NFL Draft (14th overall), and football consumed his efforts. Baseball, though, made a couple of pointed appearances in his mind. The first time was his senior year at Penn State, when some of his friends were watching a Pirates game on the television and Dozier said, in a thought out loud, “Oh, I can do that.” Playing for the Vikings in his rookie year, Dozier went to the 1987 World Series games in Minneapolis, and in Game 2 had the same “I can do that” thought, a little deeper this time.After the 1989 NFL season, baseball tugged again. This time, he acted. “It became so overwhelming that I decided to pray about it, then called my agent. ‘Hey Brett (Senior), listen. I’ve done a lot of thinking, praying. I’m going to play baseball,’ ” Dozier said, “The phone went silent for about 10 or 12 seconds. Then he quietly says, ‘Well, what do you want to do that for?’ And I said, ‘Because I do.’ ”The Tigers’ draft rights had expired. Senior had a few contacts in baseball, but Dozier asked him to call Dave Rosenfield, the longtime general manager of the Tidewater Tides, the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate. Rosenfield knew Dozier from his high school days, when Dozier was a local prep baseball star. “Dave always said to me, ‘D.J., I don’t care where you go or what you do, don’t stop thinking about baseball. You’d make a heck of a player,’ ” Dozier said. An offer to come work out with the Mets that spring followed. Dozier went out and bought spikes, a bat and a glove, then spent 30-something days quietly working out at Saginaw Sports, trying to remember and refine baseball skills he hadn’t used in more than six years. Dozier’s first day in spring camp with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., included a batting practice session with Dwight Gooden, of all people, on the mound. That spring, Dozier’s “hit anything that looks good” philosophy from high school was quickly challenged.“The curveball didn’t intimidate me, but I realized the curveball was a little better at this level, and those left-handed changeups were ridiculous,” he said with a laugh. “That pitch was my nemesis. I could not figure out how to hit that pitch, and it frustrated the heck out of me. It put me in a humble place. I’d never even seen a slider in high school. I was as green as they get. But I was also a guy living a dream, that no one could even imagine how amazing it was for me. I realized how much of a gift this was.”The Mets liked what they saw from Dozier’s time and wanted to send him to low-A Columbia that summer, but he was still under contract with the Vikings, and the NFL team nixed that idea. In the spring of 1990, though, the Mets brought him back and signed him. That summer, split between High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Jackson, Dozier — an outfielder who hit and threw right-handed — was a revelation. In 122 games, he stole 36 bases, hit 15 homers, 10 triples and posted an .882 OPS. Dozier spent spring 1991 in the big-league camp, then had 33 stolen bases, nine homers and 11 triples between Double-A and Triple-A that season. But a lack of playing time in spring training 1992 was frustrating, and then he spent the first month in Triple-A watching other players get the call to the majors.“I was thinking to myself, ‘What am I doing here?’ They’re not even thinking about me. I’m wasting my time,” Dozier said. “It’s probably the most dejected I’ve ever been in my sports career.”He’d forgotten to enjoy the game, and it showed in his play. An epiphany in his hotel room one night changed all that, and his production improved as his attitude improved. And then came a moment he’ll never forget. “We were in Syracuse,” Dozier said. “After the game, we walked into the locker room, and the Mets are on the TV. Vince Coleman is the left fielder for the Mets, and as I walk in and look up at the screen, he literally pulls a hamstring the very moment I look up. One of my teammates, Dale Plummer, who was a pitcher, says, ‘That’s you.’ And I said, ‘No, no, no. I’m content right where I am.’ I was serious about that.”Around midnight, Clint Hurdle — whose managerial rise paralleled Dozier’s rise through the Mets’ system — knocked on Dozier’s door to tell him he was being called up. Dozier made his debut May 6 as a pinch-hitter against Cincinnati lefty Greg Swindell.“My first at-bat, I told myself, ‘You’re not going to be nervous,’ ” Dozier remembered. “But I’m going to tell you, when I stepped in that batter’s box, it literally felt like the earth was shaking. I mean, to this day and before that day, I’d never, ever been that nervous in my life. And I couldn’t stop it. I tried to talk myself out of it, but I was not listening to myself. I didn’t even know how I’d see the ball.”MORE: 19 reasons why baseball will be great in 2019After the first pitch, the nervousness went away. Dozier fell behind, 0-2, fouled off a pitch and then smacked a grounder to the left side of the infield. “I thought I’d gotten a hit, because I hit it toward the shortstop and beat out the throw,” Dozier said. “What I didn’t realize was he’d bobbled the ball and still tried to get it there.” Dozier started the next night, walking and stealing second base in the second inning. His first hit came May 8 in his first at-bat at the Mets’ home park, Shea Stadium, against Dodgers right-hander Roger McDowell. “He jams me, and I’m not exaggerating when I say when I was 5 years old I could hit the ball farther,” Dozier laughs. “This ball dribbles off my bat, like a pulling bunt for a lefty. It’s moving fast enough that it gets past McDowell and the first baseman has to get it. When it comes to a race, very seldom do I lose, and I ended up beating him to first.” Dozier spent most of May in the big leagues, then was called up again in September. He saw action in 25 games — 14 starts — and hit .191, with four stolen bases, two doubles and two RBIs in 54 plate appearances. Turns out, that was his only taste of the majors. last_img read more

What do the Hornets want to be in a post-Kemba Walker world?

first_imgWhat will the Hornets become as they transition into the next decade? “Even September workouts, we had most of our guys here, it just felt like something was missing,” Zeller said. “Kemba, Jeremy Lamb, [former Hornets forward] Frank [Kaminsky], those guys — it just felt like our team wasn’t there. This is the group that we’re gonna go into the season with, so it will be different for a while. But we’ll move forward.”Where that road forward takes the Hornets is anybody’s guess. “We gotta move forward,” Borrego said. “I honor [Walker]. Love that guy, but it’s our job — now my job — to move this organization forward. We’ll learn from last year, but this year is about this year’s team.”MORE: Opening Night schedule, first game for each NBA teamThe idea of moving forward is easier said than done. The team isn’t just looking to replace the 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds Walker, now a member of the Celtics, averaged last season — not to mention the production of Charlotte’s second-leading scorer, Jeremy Lamb (15.3 points), who signed with the Pacers in free agency. Walker was the clear face of the Hornets, the unquestioned leader within the walls of the Spectrum Center and a fixture in the community since his selection at the 2011 NBA Draft.”When you have a player of Kemba’s magnitude leave the locker room, let’s see who steps up, both on the floor and off the floor,” Borrego said. “Those guys in there should be salivating right now at this opportunity that’s in front of them.”Offseason acquisition Terry Rozier is the obvious choice given he will slide into Walker’s old spot. However, the former Celtic has never been the lead guard for a significant portion of the regular season (30 total starts from 2015-19 with Boston). Oddly enough, Rozier rattled off his longest streak of starts during the 2018 playoffs when he jumped off the bench to replace an injured Kyrie Irving, posting 16.5 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 19 games. Rozier understands simply playing 30-plus minutes each night brings a new set of challenges without the additional pressure of replacing an iconic figure. He has already pushed back on Walker comparisons knowing that filling those shoes is an impossible task.”It’s annoying because I’m not him, and I don’t look to be him,” Rozier said. “I get it. He is Kemba. He did a lot for this organization. Leading scorer, that’s hard to replace… I’m looking to push this organization in a different way.”At the very least, Rozier knows he will play a prominent role in the Hornets’ future after agreeing to a three-year, $58 million deal this past offseason. The same can’t be said for much of the rest of the roster.Borrego’s group is a mishmash of youngsters with some potential (Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, first-round pick PJ Washington) and veterans who don’t make sense in a rebuilding scenario (Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller). Borrego said he has “no idea” about a starting five and expects a competitive training camp to determine who will play.MORE: Five under-the-radar NBA rookies worth watchingPerhaps the best illustration of a franchise-in-flux came when Williams and Kidd-Gilchrist offered different answers to similar questions about how they will be utilized as part of a youth movement.”I think [Borrego has] done a great job with the older guys, just trying to let them know where everything is at, where we stand with everything,” Williams said. “I think the biggest thing sometimes with players and coaches is just the communication factor. If you just kind of sit down and communicate and let a guy know what the situation is, that goes a long way.”And I think JB’s done a tremendous job of kind of letting everybody know what their role is gonna be and then what he expects of them, whether that be an older guy or a younger guy.”Shortly after Williams exited the podium, Kidd-Gilchrist entered the room. When asked about how he fits into the Hornets’ plans, the former No. 2 overall pick said, “I don’t know.” When hit with a follow-up question about the amount of communication he has received regarding his place on the team, he declined comment.With so much uncertainty hanging in the air and previous talent now wearing other jerseys, it would be unreasonable to expect Charlotte to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Borrego defines success as hitting what he calls his four pillars: compete, player development, identity and winning habits.But again, that’s easier said than done. The third pillar could be the most important. There is no Kemba Walker in place, no Zion Williamson or Luka Doncic to inspire hope for the future. The vets will likely be on the move, whether that’s before the Feb. 6 trade deadline or after their contracts expire.  CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hornets coach James Borrego put a positive spin on a number of topics at Monday’s media day. Playing with pace, defensive strategies, ball movement — his voice was filled with excitement because that’s how these things usually go ahead of another season. Every team is tied for first place, after all.However, there is still a cloud hanging over Charlotte, one that will linger as the 2019-20 campaign kicks into high gear later this month. Without Kemba Walker, a three-time All-Star guard and the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, the Hornets lack any sort of identity.last_img read more

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney era almost didn’t happen & more fun facts you didn’t know about the coach

first_imgDabo Swinney has turned Clemson into a college football powerhouse.The Tigers have won two national titles in four seasons and will look to add a third when they face LSU on Monday in the College Football Playoff national championship game. While Swinney is loved by Clemson fans, it wasn’t always that way.Here are 10 facts about the coach and how the Tigers almost missed out on the most successful era in program history.LSU vs. CLEMSON: Odds, predictions, betting trends for national championshipDabo Swinney was considered a bad hireIn October 2008, former Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips promoted Swinney to interim head coach, replacing Tommy Bowden.Swinney was only 38 years old, a wide receivers coach and had never even been a coordinator. Many fans were not happy about the decision.”I don’t blame them,” Phillips told The Clemson Insider. “When you elevate someone from an assistant coach’s position, when they have not even been a coordinator, I understand why people were upset.”In an interview with ESPN, Phillips said he was impressed with Swinney’s recruiting abilities, his charisma and his relationship with the players.”I just kept hearing about this energetic receivers coach we had and found myself wandering over to his side of the field,” Phillips said. “I liked the way he coached his players, how he was tough on them, but was always teaching them and always there for them outside of football. It’s not a facade with Dabo. He genuinely cares, and his players sense that.”Phillips said players were always hanging out around Swinney’s office when they weren’t on the practice field or in class.”And not just receivers, but players from all positions,” Phillips said. “Kids migrated to this particular coach, and that caught my eye.”Under Swinney, Clemson finished the remainder of the 2008 regular season with a 4-2 record.In December 2008, Swinney’s interim title was removed and Phillips named him head coach.”Long story short, I just had a feeling that Dabo was exactly what we needed at Clemson, even though I knew a lot of others wouldn’t share that feeling,” Phillips said.Many media outlets criticized the decision, including ESPN, who called him a D-plus hire.”I was a D+ hire.”Look at Dabo now 🏆🏆— ACC Network (@accnetwork) September 4, 2019″Probably the biggest thing (I remember) is I was a D-plus hire,” Swinney said in 2019. “You know, ESPN in 2009 all the new coaches, I don’t know it was 15 new coaches; it’s about 15 a year or so. And my name, and I was a D-plus. And I was so happy to get that plus. You know, and you’ve heard me say this past week, I come to work every day with that mindset. I’m a D-plus hire. And that’s one thing that I’ve probably hung on to. The rest of it I flush it on right out the door.”Regardless of the criticism, Swinney was confident in his abilities to accomplish great things from the start.Belief.It’s a powerful thing.— Clemson Football (@ClemsonFB) January 13, 2017Swinney hid in a storage closet after he got the jobSwinney was overcome with emotion when Phillips named him interim head coach.When Bowden was fired, he expected he would lose his job, too. When that wasn’t the case, he needed somewhere quiet to collect his thoughts after learning about his new position. “Well, first thing I did was I went in a storage closet somewhere ’cause now I had this flood of emotions,” Swinney said. “I had a million thoughts going through my head and I was just literally writing notes.”He almost got firedSwinney had a successful 9-5 season in 2009, but 2010 was a different story.The Tigers finished 6-7, including a season-ending loss to rival South Carolina.“After the press conference following the South Carolina game, I was told that Terry Don (Phillips) was in my office,” Swinney told “I thought, ‘Well, I have done the best I could.’ I really thought he was there to fire me.”But instead, Phillips shared his support for the coach.“He told me things were going to be rough for a while, but he had more confidence in me now than the day he hired me. That is rare today. That meeting motivated me to pay him back for his confidence.”Swinney paid Phillips back in 2011 by winning Clemson’s first ACC championship in 20 years.“Without his guts to show confidence in me and allow us to build the program the right way, I am not here,” admitted Swinney. “None of what we have accomplished would have happened. He supported me in the face of a lot of criticism and gave us the tools we needed to be successful.“We are not where we are today without Terry Don Phillips.”His real name is not DaboSwinney’s legal first name is William.Happy Birthday to William Christopher Swinney! Why yes Coach, we are No. 1! #Clemson— Championship Phase Sons of Clemson (@SonsOfClemson) November 20, 2015The coach said he didn’t even know his real name until he was in third grade.On Versus, Dabo Swinney is asked about his first name: “I didn’t even know my real name until 3rd grade and they had those scantron sheets”— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 29, 2011″Dabo” comes from a nickname used by Swinney’s older brother, who used to call him Dat Boy.It morphed into Dabo, thanks to his brother’s heavy southern drawl, and the name stuck.The coach trademarked his name in 2013, according to USA Today.Swinney’s mom was his college roommateWhile Swinney was enrolled at Alabama, he lived with his mom in an apartment complex in Tuscaloosa.From The State:”The Swinneys rented Unit 81 at the Fontainebleau Apartments in Tuscaloosa while Dabo attended Alabama, sharing the other bedroom – and rent – with a teammate. Unable to afford two beds, Mom and son slept in one. She drove an hour each way to Birmingham to keep her $8-an-hour job as a sales clerk at Parisian department store. On off days, she cooked chicken and dumplings, pot roast and peach cobbler for members of the Alabama football team.”Swinney met his wife in elementary schoolSwinney first met his wife, Kathleen, when he was in the second grade.While Kathleen and Swinney went to a middle school dance together, they officially started dating in high school.Kathleen attended Alabama with Swinney and the two got married in 1994.“He has been my best friend since I can remember,” Kathleen said to TheClemsonInsider. “I can’t remember my life without him. I really can’t. I don’t know what life is like without him in it.”I guess a lot of people meet their spouse in college or out of college or maybe even high school, but I don’t know anything but him being in my life. I’m really blessed.”He spent 13 years at AlabamaBefore competing against Alabama in national championship games, Swinney played and coached for the Crimson Tide.He was a wide receiver on Alabama’s 1992 national championship team.Swinney, who caught seven passes for 81 yards in his three seasons, joked that he was more of a “crawl-on” instead of a “walk-on.”In 1993, he became a graduate assistant and, three years later, a full-time assistant coach in charge of wide receivers and tight ends.Swinney left the program in 2000 when Mike DuBose was forced to resign as Alabama’s coach.He was a real estate agentI like to call this part of Swinney’s life, “How Dabo got his groove back.”When the coach left Alabama, he was a 31-year-old father of two and no major college wanted him due to an ongoing NCAA investigation.From CBS:”At the time Swinney was fired, Alabama coaches became nearly untouchable for other jobs. The NCAA was investigating major violations involving players getting paid, a case that in 2002 resulted in a two-year bowl ban for Alabama, which nearly received the death penalty. Swinney wasn’t tied to the violations, but that didn’t matter when looking for jobs.”Swinney felt a bit lost.“How did I get here?” Swinney recalled thinking to CBS. “I told my wife — and this is how naive I was at the time — ‘Everybody’s gonna want to hire me. I’ve coached eight years at Alabama. I’ve won a national championship. I’ve won an SEC championship. I’ve recruited all these guys.’”So instead of coaching, Swinney worked two years as a shopping center leasing agent for a commercial real estate company in Birmingham, Alabama..@ClemsonFB’s Dabo Swinney told us about breaking up with his future wife in middle school, and spoke a bit of Spanish to Papi.— Highly Questionable (@HQonESPN) November 8, 2017While Swinney hoped to make a return to football, he wasn’t sure if he actually would.At the advice of former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, Swinney turned down an offer to become the head coach at a Football Championship Subdivision school.In 2003, Swinney left his real estate profession when Tommy Bowden asked him to become Clemson’s wide receivers coach.”He literally called me out of the blue on a Friday,” Swinney said. “I coached eight years at Alabama, then got out of coaching ’01 and ’02, those two seasons. He just called me in February of ’03, asked me if I was interested in getting back into coaching. I said absolutely.“There were a lot of reasons not to take the job,” Swinney said. “Some people told me, ‘You’ll be fired in six months.’ I had people tell me to rent in Clemson. We built a home.”Bowden was Swinney’s former wide receivers coach at Alabama and Swinney said the two maintained a relationship following his playing career.”Had it not been for that relationship,” Swinney said. “Just that seed that was planted years ago when I was just a young player, probably wouldn’t have had that opportunity. So very fortunate that he gave me a chance to come to Clemson.”Two of his sons play at ClemsonSwinney has three sons — Will (21), Drew (19) and Clay (16).Will and Drew are both wide receivers for the Tigers.”Tiger Walk”Swinney created the now infamous tradition when he was an interim head coach at Clemson in 2008.”Tiger Walk” takes place two hours before kickoff when the team walks over 100 yards through thousands of Clemson fans to Memorial Stadium.”It’s five minutes of intense interaction with the fan base,” Swinney said. “When you walk through Tiger Walk, there is no way you can’t be ready to play.”Alabama buyout penaltyIn April 2019, Clemson gave Dabo Swinney the biggest contract in college football history, a 10-year, $93 million deal that would keep him with the Tigers through 2028. There was just one catch — a steep financial penalty if he decides to leave early for Alabama.Clemson created the clause amid speculation Swinney could be the eventual replacement for Nick Saban.From”Should Swinney leave for a job besides Alabama, the buyout would be $4 million through 2020, $3 million through 2022, $2 million through 2025 and $1 million through 2027. Should he leave for Alabama, he’d owe an ADDITIONAL $2 million through 2020, $1.5 million through 2022, $1 million through 2025 and $500,000 through 2027.”Swinney has downplayed any talk about leaving Clemson. “I was at Alabama 13 years,” Swinney said in 2019. “I love Alabama and always will. That won’t change. But I’m going on my 17th year at Clemson, my 11th as head coach. I love where I am, love what I do.”At this point, it’s clear it would take much more than money for Swinney to make a move to Alabama.With his new contract, he’ll earn $650,000 in bonuses for every national championship.last_img read more

How long is Kyrie Irving out? Injury timeline, return date, latest updates on Nets star

first_imgThe Nets emerged as one of the biggest winners in free agency when they signed both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to four-year contracts. Brooklyn’s front office never expected Durant to play this season, but with Irving running the show at the Barclays Center, the Nets entered the year with playoff expectations.Irving’s Brooklyn tenure started off strong with averages of 28.5 points, 7.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds through 11 games. Then a shoulder injury forced the six-time All-Star to trade in his jersey for street clothes. Irving offered a glimmer of hope in January, but it appears he’s heading back to the bench permanently with that same shoulder issue. — Irving out for second consecutive game against Celtics— Irving not available for Boston return game— Kyrie causing problems? Nets’ Jarrett Allen shoots down rumors What’s next for the Nets star? Here’s everything we know about Irving’s injury and the latest news on when he may return to the court.LATEST INJURY NEWS: Stephen Curry | Kevin Durant How long will Kyrie Irving be out?Irving told reporters on Jan. 4 that he received a cortisone injection to relieve an impingement and bursitis in his right (shooting) shoulder. Irving ultimately decided to get the injection to avoid — or at least put off — surgery. He returned to practice on Jan. 9 and fully participated in five-on-five contact drills.After rejoining the Nets’ starting lineup on Jan. 12, Irving played only nine games before sitting from Feb. 3 through the NBA All-Star break due to a sprained knee. On Feb. 20, Nets general manager Sean Marks announced Irving will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder and miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.Marks said he was disappointed that he and the Nets have gotten so little of a look at their full team this season. Irving has only played 20 games. “It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season,” he said.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 20, 2020Kyrie Irving injury timelineDespite hurting his shoulder on Nov. 12 against the Jazz, Irving played two days later against the Nuggets. The injury may explain why Irving shot 18-of-50 (36 percent) from the field in those games. Nets coach Kenny Atkinson then told reporters Irving would miss the Nov. 16 contest in Chicago.Nets coach Kenny Atkinson on Kyrie Irving’s shoulder injury: “Definitely played through some pain starting after the hit in Utah and I think he gutted it out against Denver quite honestly. We all thought it was the best interest to give him a game here.”— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) November 16, 2019While the rest of the Nets push for an Eastern Conference playoff berth, both Irving and Durant will now focus on rehabilitation plans ahead of the 2020-21 season.Kyrie Irving injury updates— Irving considering shoulder surgery (Getty Images) read more

Gilbert and Fuller scoop the ÔHenry Cooper’ honours

first_img England regional squad players Michael Gilbert and Annabell Fuller scooped the honours at the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters at Nizels, Kent. Gilbert, from Chelmsford, Essex, won the boys’ title on eight-under par, while Fuller, from Roehampton in Surry, was four-under in the girls’ event – and 13 shots clear of her closest rival. Fuller, 14, also teamed up with Jake Benson (Beeston Fields) and Arrun Singh Brar (Foxhills) to win the Nations Cup for England. Gilbert, 15, missed the cut in this tournament last year – but there was no holding him this season. He finished two clear of Jack Cope (Minchinhampton) and Harry Gillespie (Welwyn Garden City), who both shot six-under. Conor Richards (Shanklin & Sandown) and Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor) were a stroke further back, while Jake Bolton (Ogbourne Downs) finished on four-under. Gilbert is a member of the England Golf East U16 boys’ squad and tied fifth in the U16 spring championship at Hawkstone Park. Fuller, who trains with the England Golf South U16 girls’ squad, went into this event determined to win, having been second five times this year – and losing three titles in play-offs. She made no mistakes, leading from the start and returning the best score in each of the four rounds, shooting 71 72 67 74. Her third round, of five-under par, was her highlight of the tournament. Among the events in which she has been runner-up this season are the Scottish U18 girls’ championship, the Frilford Heath Salver and the U16 spring championship. Along the way she’s cut her handicap from five to plus-one. The girls’ runner-up was Chiara Tamburlini of Switzerland, who had a hole-in-one during the tournament. Image courtesy Adrian Cheeseman 20 Jun 2016 Gilbert and Fuller scoop the ÔHenry Cooper’ honours last_img read more

ABG soccer community disagree with change of venues

first_imgDescribing it as a major blow to the organizing committee on the ground, who have spent sleepless nights preparing for the event.President of the Bougainville Football Federation Justine Helele told PNG Loop in Buka that he only learnt of the change of venue by reading it in the Post Courier.“According to our NGI Presidents meeting in Goroka, Buka was chosen and we were all preparing and looking forward to the event but then without notice it changed.” Helele said.“We have now missed out on a lot of opportunities for Bougainville soccer, first of all we were never notified of the change of venue, and now all teams participating will miss out on the 20 percent discount offered by Chebu shipping.” he said.“Road construction company Raibro currently sealing the second phase of the Buka ring road have pledged sponsorship and were waiting to announce it during the Besta cup when it will be held here, in Buka,” he said.The member for Haku Constituency in the ABG Robert Tulsa had taken the initiative to head the organizing committee and it has also been a major blow for him too.last_img read more