Category Archives: Sports

Premier League Week 33 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured league-leading Chelsea falling to defeat, while Tottenham Hotspur continued their hot streak.
The Red Devils of Manchester United continue to improve their offense. Following their 2-0 home victory against Chelsea, they have scored five goals in their past two matches. The result is also thanks to great defense; they shut down the league-leaders to zero shots on goal.
Marcus Rashford struck a goal first for United in minute seven. The 19-year-old forward met a through pass by Ander Herrera that cut through Chelsea’s defense, and scored with a low shot that snuck past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

It was Rashford’s fifth goal of the season. The goal came as a surprise to many, as the youngster started in front of Zlatan Ibrahimović, who currently leads United with 17 goals on the season.

Controversy surrounds the play as well. Herrera’s hand touched the ball just before he gained position, but referee Robert Madley did not call a handball, allowing the play to continue. Herrera was responsible for United’s second goal in minute 49.

The Spain international took advantage of sloppy defense and gained possession inside the box. He then scored with a shot that deflected off a Chelsea defender and went into the center of the net. It was the midfielder’s first goal of the season.
Chelsea faced offensive woes the entire match. This is largely due to the Blues’ biggest play makers, Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, being unable to create opportunities. The offense recorded just five shots total.

Costa’s struggles continued throughout the match. After a scoring streak at the beginning of the season, he has failed to strike goal in his last five matches.

With this drought, he still has 17 goals on the season and is tied with Ibrahimović and Sergio Aguero for fourth-most in the league. Hazard has not had as tough a time in recent matches, but he was practically invisible against United’s defense.

The Belgium international currently has 15 goals on the season.
Following the victory, United stays put at fifth in the table. They sit just three points ahead of Everton and four points behind Manchester City.

If they continue playing good offense, they will have a chance to make it into the top four in the following weeks. A resurgence in Paul Pogba’s game would help make that happen. He has not recorded a goal since December, and has lost possession to opponents quite frequently, even with his size.

Manchester United’s next match is against Burnley on Sunday. The club fell to 14 in the table, following a 1-3 defeat to Everton on Saturday.
The loss was Chelsea’s second in their last five matches. The loss gives Tottenham a chance at the title, as they sit just four points behind in second place.

The Blues look to find their groove again as they face Southampton next Tuesday. The Saints sit at ninth in the table, and were shut out 0-3 by Manchester City on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur have been the hottest club in the Premier League over the past couple months, winning seven straight matches including their dominant 4-0 victory against Bournemouth on Saturday. The Spurs’ offense has been firing on all cylinders, as they have scored 11 goals in their past three matches.
Midfielder Mousa Dembele scored the first goal for Tottenham in minute 16. The Belgium international found open space in the box following a corner, and fired a shot into the center of the net. It was his first goal of the season.

Son Heung-Min scored for the Spurs three minutes later with a short-range strike into the back corner of the net. It was his 12th goal of the season and fifth in the last four matches.

Forward Harry Kane scored his 20th goal of the season, with a short-range goal from the center of the box. The England international gained possession, following a cross by midfielder Dele Alli.

Substitute Vincent Janssen scored his second goal of the season in stoppage time. He capitalized from short-range, after his first shot was blocked by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth managed to record just one shot on goal against the Spurs’ defense. Their best goal opportunity came in minute 24 when defender Steve Cook’s header went just over the net. They held just 31 percent of possession for the match.
Tottenham hopes for a chance at the title following the victory and Chelsea’s defeat. They currently sit just four points behind the Blues, and face bottom-half club Crystal Palace next Wednesday.

If their offense continues to get everyone involved, they will be the scariest team to face in the coming weeks. Harry Kane has a chance at the Golden Boot, as his 20 goals are second-most in the league behind Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. It would be his second straight season earning the award after he recorded the league-best 25 goals last season.
Bournemouth falls to 16 in the table with the defeat. It was their second straight loss. They sit just two spots away from relegation, but could stand their ground with a home victory against 19th place Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Hernandez To Seek Appeal

by Brennah Dallaire

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, was acquitted of first degree murder charges on Friday, in the killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. While Hernandez’ attorneys work on a case for appeal of his 2015 conviction, speculation about his future circulate.

Abreu, 29, and Furtado, 28, were gunned down outside of the Boston nightclub, Cure. The shooting was in response to a supposed altercation inside the nightclub after Abreu bumped into Hernandez on the dance floor, spilling his drink.

The prosecutor’s explained that Hernandez and friend Alexander Bradley left the club, followed the victims by car, pulled up next to them at a stop light and opened fire on Abreu, Furtado and three other men. One other man in the vehicle sustained an injury but survived.

After making an immunity deal with the Suffolk District Attorneys Office, Bradley went on to testify that Hernandez had in fact shot and killed the victims. Bradley is serving time in prison in Connecticut for involvement in a Hartford nightclub shooting. Bradley believes Hernandez is involved in a shooting in Miami in 2013, that left Bradley blind in one eye.

However, jurors found that the burden of proof was not met. Hernandez was found not guilty on the first degree murder charge, but was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Judge Jeffrey Locke sentenced him to four to five years in prison on top of his life sentence without parole, at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center for the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Surveillance video and texts messaged show Hernandez and two friends pick Lloyd up from his home the night of his murder. Texts messages between Lloyd and his sister showed Lloyd wanted her to know who he was with referring to Hernandez as “nfl.” Other surveillance footage from that night show Hernandez with a gun at his North Attleboro, Massachusetts home. Lloyd was shot and killed in an industrial park a half mile away from Hernandez’ home.

Hernandez’s attorneys felt that they have a strong case for appeal. Hernandez’s defense attorney, Jose Baez told ESPN “I wish he’d called me [for the first trial].”

“I think there are plenty of flaws in that (Lloyd) conviction. If they are exposed properly, he certainly can and should get a new trial,” Baez said.

Not all parties are happy to hear that Hernandez may have a shot at getting out of prison. Although he was found not guilty on the most recent murder charges, the families of the victims found comfort in the verdict knowing that Hernandez would stay in prison.

“At least he’s not walking out the door today,” is what Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley told ESPN family members of the victims said.

The appeals process can take years. Hernandez’s defense team would have to prove that Judge Susan Garsh made mistakes in the Odin Loyd case, that impacted his receipt of a fair trial.

According to Sports Illustrated, those injustices could not adequately explain to the jury the definition of extreme atrocity and cruelty in the first degree murder convictions. The jury came to the conclusion that the murder was not premeditated, but was of a cruel nature warranting first degree murder.

There is a possibility that the court will hear his appeal in the Lloyd murder case. However, Hernandez would still serve four to five years for the unlawful possession of firearms conviction; unless this charge is appealed and vacated as well.

Retired NFL Hall of Fame player Cris Carter, told TMZ Sports that he does not think Hernandez will ever play in the NFL again, even with a successful appeal.

“I doubt he would ever play again in the NFL…if he was in any other industry besides the rap industry he wouldn’t be able to get work,” said Carter.

In 2013, the Patriots released Hernandez less than two hours after his arrest. The team quickly distanced themselves from the investigation and Hernandez who had no previous behavioral or criminal issues.

A prison record doesn’t necessarily mean athletes can’t return to play in professional sports. Michael Vick served 18 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to operate a dog fighting ring.

Shortly after, Vick was reinstated to the NFL and began playing with the Philadelphia Eagles, then went on to play for the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring.

 

Premier League Week 32 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured all top-five teams earning a victory and top club Chelsea extending their lead to seven points.

Although Manchester United has not lost a match since Oct., goals have been hard to come by. Prior to Sunday’s match, the Red Devils have only scored 43 goals, well behind the other top clubs. United’s offense woke up this week with a 3-0 victory at last-place Sunderland.

United’s first goal came in minute 30, thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimović. The Sweden international met a pass by Ander Herrera, and scored from just outside the box with a shot that curled into the right side of the net. It was his 17th goal of the season, good enough for fourth in the league, tied against Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Manchester got off to a hot start after halftime, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring his fourth goal of the season in minute 46. The former Dortmund star took a left-footed shot that went past Sunderland’s goalkeeper into the right side of the net. Forward Marcus Rashford secured the victory for United with his goal in minute 89. Ibrahimovic provided the assist on the short-range goal. It was Rashford’s fourth goal of the season in his 12th substitute appearance.

Sunderland’s performance was overshadowed by Sebastian Larsson’s red card in minute 43. The midfielder was booked following an aggressive slide on United’s Herrera. This left Sunderland down a man for the rest of the match. Their offense produced just nine total shots, and held just 29 precent of possession. Forward Victor Anichebe had a goal opportunity in minute 40, with a shot to the left side of the net that was saved by United’s David De Gea.

With the win, Manchester United moves up to fifth in the table. It was the club’s first victory since March, 19. If the offense continues to produce like they did on Sunday, they can continue their push for a spot in the top-four. Paul Pogba’s play has been disappointing recently with his last Premier League goal being in December. His hefty cost has resulted in him still finding spots in the starting lineup. If Pogba steps up, the offense will improve. The Red Devils’ next match will be a tough test as they host league-leaders Chelsea on Easter Sunday. United’s last loss was a 4-0 defeat at Chelsea. The Blues have won two straight.

Sunderland continued their disappointing season with the defeat. They currently sit at last place in the table and face relegation to the English Football League next season. They barely escaped relegation last season with a 17th place finish. Being relegated gives the club an opportunity to rebuild and grow their young players. Their next match is against West Ham United.

Liverpool bounced back from their draw against Bournemouth on Wednesday with a 1-2 victory at Stoke City. The win keeps them ahead of Manchester City, who is just two points behind in fourth place.

Two late goals secured the comeback victory for the Reds. Midfielder Philippe Coutinho scored in minute 70 with a shot from the center of the box into the left side of the net. It was the Brazil international’s ninth goal of the season. Forward Roberto Firmino scored just two minutes later with a stunning goal. He met a pass by Georginio Wijnaldum that went over Stoke’s defense. Firmino then scored with a curling goal from just outside the box, being his tenth goal of the season.

Stoke scored first with a goal by Jonathan Waters in minute 44. The Ireland international met a pass by Xherdan Shaqiri in the center of the box and scored with a header. It was Waters’ fourth goal of the season. Stoke had an opportunity to tie the match in minute 74 with a close-range attempt on goal by forward Saido Berahino. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved the shot.

Liverpool’s successful season continues. Their balanced, unselfish attack puts them among the best. They sit behind second-place Tottenham by five points, and first-place Chelsea by 12. A top-two finish is not out of reach, but it will be hard to catch up. Tottenham have won six straight. The Reds’ next match is against West Bromwich Albion, who currently sits at ninth in the table.

The loss was Stoke’s fourth straight and sets them back to 13th in the table. Their last victory came on March, 4. against relegation-facing Middlesbrough. Their next match is against Hull City who is just outside of the relegation zone at 17.

Other notable matches next week include Southampton- Manchester City and Tottenham- Bournemouth.

 

North Carolina Wins Sixth NCAA Tournament

by Kyle Flynn

March Madness – arguably the pinnacle of American sports – is what everyone is waiting for all year long regardless of age, gender or interest in sport. Filling out a bracket and rooting for crazy upsets while pulling for an alma mater to go all the way, is a thrill like no other.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are possibly the most storied university in the realm of college basketball, and best team in the 68-team field in 2017. They carved their path to the championship game by beating Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler, Kentucky and Oregon.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs, the mid-major school that has always been a Final Four hopeful, made it into the Elite 8 this season for the first year. This year was an anomaly for the Bulldogs, as they finished the regular season with just one loss before defying all odds and making it all the way to national title game against the Tar Heels. Gonzaga defeated South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, Xavier and South Carolina to get to the final game.

This was the eighth ever national championship game that featured two number one seeds, and as expected, it came down the wire. North Carolina, who lost the 2016 title game at the buzzer to Villanova, was looking for redemption against the Zags. This year’s rendition of the championship had a total of 46 made shots and 44 fouls called. Many would agree that the game was too much in the referees hands, as the officiating was so tightly called that neither team was able to get a great rhythm going in the game. Joel Berry II, Carolina’s star guard finished with 22 points, six assists and three rebounds. Berry made all four of North Carolina’s three-point tries, and became the first player to score 20 points in back-to-back title games since Bill Walton (1972-73).

The two sides were trading blows and exchanging leads throughout the game, especially during the second half of the final game of the 2017 season. In the second half, Gonzaga went eight entire minutes without scoring a basket, but was able to create foul calls and get to the free throw line to keep themselves in the game.

Nigel Williams-Goss was Gonzaga’s top scorer in the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but he shot just 5-17 from the field. Only one other Gonzaga player finished the game with more than 10 points (Perkins, 13).

Tar Heels frontcourt stars Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks, who average 34 points per game during their tourney run, finished with just 23 points on 9-24 shooting. Meeks blocked a shot in the final minute of the game, which led to North Carolina being crowned champion for the first time since 2009.

The victory was head coach Roy Williams third national championship win and 100th overall tournament victory.

Joel Berry II earned MVP honors for his performance in the Final Four, while dealing with an ankle injury.

This was North Carolina basketball’s sixth national championship win in their school’s history, third most in history behind UCLA (11) and Kentucky (8).

NHL Turns Down the Olympics

by Tyler Roaix

The National Hockey League made waves with commissioner Gary Bettman’s announcement that the league would not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

There are several factors that leave the NHL and its owners reluctant to allow their players to compete in the Olympics. The first is simply that the players could get hurt. In reality, if a player suffers an injury requiring them to miss an extended period of time, the NHL team ultimately has to face the brunt of that burden.

Another major hurdle in the way of a deal, is that the NHL wants the International Olympic Committee to somehow compensate the league to essentially rent out its players. The two sides have fiercely debated over who should pay various expenses, such as travel and insurance.

One final concern for the NHL is a unique one. Whenever the Winter Games come around, the league puts its season on hold while its players are overseas. Typically the break is roughly two and a half to three weeks, but it makes it difficult to schedule the rest of the season. It forces teams to have more back-to-back situations that players are accustomed to. In a physical sport like hockey, that kind of wear-and-tear can take a serious toll on a player’s body.

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was quick to show his displeasure in Bettman’s announcement, stating that he didn’t care what the league had to say. He still plans to take part and play for Russia. Several players have also expressed their dissatisfaction. Some are also following Ovechkin, saying they will compete regardless of what the league thinks.

As a hockey fan, it’s hard not to be disappointed in the NHL’s decision. The Olympic Games are when we get to see the very best from each country go at it. It adds another layer to the idea of competition. There is something special about fighting for the title of “Best in the World” that a regular NHL season could never give.

Bearing this in mind, what this means for the NHL next season is also worrisome. The league stated they are moving forward as if they won’t be participating. This means that when they generate the schedule, there won’t be any break or layoff as there normally is in an “Olympic year.” So what happens if a player, like Ovechkin, decides to go anyway? What would that mean for the Capitals? Would the NHL reprimand him in some fashion? These are all questions that have to be troubling fans, players, owners and even Bettman himself.

If both sides are unable to come to an agreement before the games get underway in South Korea next winter, it would be the first time since 1998 that the NHL doesn’t participate. Although it sure seems like the NHL will stand its ground, nothing is definite.

After all, there was a similar situation before the 2014 Games until the sides came together months before the start. As a fan, you have to hope that some sort of deal can be made. Because if not, it could get very ugly.

Blue Devils Softball Split Double Header After A Tough Start

 

The Blue Devils are now 3-5 in conference play

by Kimberly Pena and Brennah Dallaire 

Game 1

The Central Connecticut State University Softball team faced Bryant University in a double header at Arute field this past Saturday. After a strong performance by pitcher Emily Sargent, the CCSU offense couldn’t come through with the big hit.

Sargent was efficient as she pitched all seven innings and saw 30 batters. Sargent cites some of her performance highs as contributing to “getting out of some tough spots with runners on base in the first and fourth innings.”

“Our defense played well with runners in scoring position, and held them to only three runs on eight hits,” said Sargent.

Sargent could not find the strike zone when she walked in a run in the second inning. After throwing a wild pitch that hit Bryant’s center fielder, Haylee Haas, catcher Robyn Ukegawa scored the first run of the game. Sargent also gave up a home run in the third to Bryant University’s short stop, Marianna Politis.

Politis’s teammates congratulated her at home plate after she hit the only home run of the game over the left field wall.

After a slow start offensively, the Blue Devils picked up momentum in the third inning. Central’s right fielder, Kerri Dadalski doubled to right center field sending catcher, Brittany McNulla to third and center fielder, Brittany Camara in to score. Central’s second baseman, Kaitlin Paterson followed up with a single through the left side, sending McNulla in to score Central’s second and last run of the game.

In the sixth inning, Bryant’s third baseman, Rachel Monroe tripled to right center. With Monroe in scoring position, Gabrielle Ermish hit an RBI single to center field and the Bulldogs took a 3-2 lead over the Blue Devils.

“I think that offensively we put up a good fight, but struggled stringing together the hits that could’ve given us one or two more runs,” said Sargent.

“We showed up to win two games today, played hard and unfortunately fell short by one run in game one,” said Sargent.

Kaitlin Paterson dives for grounder

Game 2 

After dropping their first game of a double-header in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss, the Central Connecticut State University softball team redeemed themselves with a 4-1 win over Bryant University on a windy Saturday afternoon. The win improved the CCSU’s record to 6-16 for the season.

Pitcher Alex Casañas threw a complete game of one-run ball against the Bull Dogs, giving Casañas her first win of the season and dropping her ERA to 4.96 for the season. The only blemish in Casañas outing came from an RBI single by Gabrielle Ermish in the second inning.

“Today I focused more on the small details and just trying to focus on each pitch I threw to the batters and as a team we focused on winning each inning,” said Casañas. “My changeup was working great today, so I threw that way more often than I normally do.”

Unlike the first game, the Blue Devils provided much more offense, scoring four runs in the third inning to back up the strong performance by Casañas. Tori Constantin led off the inning with a single, Emily Cronnin followed up with a walk and a bunt single by Alexis Debrosse loaded up the bases. Brittany Camara came through with a two-run scoring single to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

“It was great though to see my team hitting like I know they can,” said Casañas. “When your team is able to back you up offensively, it makes the game a lot easier for the pitcher.”

Brittany McNulla then hit a sacrifice fly, increasing the Blue Devils lead to 3-1. The inning was capped off by an RBI single by Kaleigh Edwards, scoring Camara to give the Blue Devils a 4-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

“Some changes that we made between games was that we reset our mindset and realized that we needed to string some hits together and tally up some more runs, which we did,” said Sargent.

Casañas surrendered only one hit after the second inning, breezing right through the Bull Dogs offense.

“The defense did another great job and backed up our sophomore pitcher Alex Casañas for her first win in the circle,” said Sargent.

Alexis Debrosse lines a ball into play

Although the team has been off to a rocky start, the team is hoping with the win a lot more W’s can come their way.

“I hope that we as a team can move forward with a lot more confidence to finish off the season with the wins we need, and the right mindset to win the conference,” said Casañas.

The Blue Devils move on to Mount Saint Mary’s University on Friday, April 14 for a double-header. First pitch for game one is set for 1 p.m.

Blue Devils Beginning to Find Their Groove

by Dillon Meehan

Following last week’s string of games, Central Connecticut is beginning to find their form. Winning four of their five games this past week, the Blue Devils have now won seven out of their last nine games overall.

“You get into a little bit more of a groove, I think it’s better to say we’re evolving as a team,” Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey said.

On Tuesday, the Blue Devils (16-12, 7-3 NEC) came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third inning to defeat Quinnipiac 6-3.

Just a half inning later, CCSU was able to kickstart the comeback. Junior Nick Garland led off the inning by reaching safely on an error by Quinnipiac’s third baseman. The next at-bat senior Nick Landell walked, while fellow senior Franklin Jennings moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

With runners on second and third, freshman Chris Kanios grounded out at third to score. Garland and Landell would score on a wild pitch during the following at bat, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Devils extended their lead in the forth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Sean Udris grounded into a double play allowing fellow junior Ron Jackson to score, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1.

CCSU would extend their lead in the fourth inning to 5-1, with hits from junior Ryan Costello and Landell.

“The emergence of Ryan Costello was big for us Tuesday,” said Hickey. “He delivered with a clutch hit for us to win the ballgame.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Jennings practically scored by himself. He reached first safely with a leadoff bunt, and proceeded to steal both second and third base before scoring on a throwing error by the catcher.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Quinnipiac hit a two-run home run to make it 6-3 but were unable to retake the lead.

Freshman Andrew Braun started for the Blue Devils and completed three innings, allowing only one run and two hits. Arik Sypher came on in relief for the final six innings, allowing only two runs and three hits.

“With conference games losing, trying to maximize pitching depth is crucial,” said Hickey of the ability to . “Arik Sypher continued to throw strikes and continue to take advantage of their aggressiveness. The more versatility and more depth you have, the better you’re going to be, that’s what we are striving for.”

Following Tuesday’s game, the Blue Devils went on the road for a four game series against LIU-Brooklyn, winning three of the games.

The Blue Devils won Friday’s opener shutting out LIU-Brooklyn 5-0.

It was the Blue Devils third shutout in NEC play this season.

The Blue Devils started the scoring off in the third, when freshman Buddy Dewaine walked with the bases loaded. On the next at bat, Costello singled to score two runs to extend the lead to 3-0.

Costello would get another RBI in the fifth inning, when he launched a double to left field to score junior Dean Lockery, extending their lead to 4-0.

CCSU would add their final run in the eight, when junior Ron Jackson singled in Jennings who had tripled to center field.

Senior Brendan Smith pitched eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits.

Saturday saw both teams split the doubleheader. The Blue Devils won the opening game 9-8, scoring all of their runs in the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Blue Devils were trailing. Freshman TT Bowens started the comeback with a pinch hit single to score junior Dylan Maher. With the score at 5-1, four singles from Mitch Guilmette, Jennings, DeBrosse and Kanios to score four more runs.

Following that, the bases were still loaded with no outs. With the score tied 5-5, Lockery earned a walk with the bases loaded to score a run, as Costello lined a double off and cleared the bases to make it 9-5.

The Blue Devils offensive inefficiencies reappeared for the second leg of the doubleheader, when they were only able to score four runs off of nine hits.

The Blue Devils trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning before Bowen’s third home run of the season tied the game. But the Blue Devils could not complete the comeback, as LIU would add another two runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure their lone win in the series.

The Curious Case of Lonzo and Lavar Ball

by Kyle Flynn

Lonzo Ball is a star freshman basketball player at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is averaging 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game. Lonzo has two younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, who are both in high school and have already committed to UCLA themselves, as part of a package deal made by his father. 

Lonzo Ball is slated to be picked in the top three of the 2017 NBA Draft, and his father has been vocal about his sons and their perspective futures. Lavar Ball, 48, of Chino Hills, Calif. has been at the head of the news cycle in the world of sports lately, due to some comments he has made.

Ball has been interviewed by major news outlets and has said his oldest son Lonzo is better than Steph Curry, and that he should be selected first in the draft.

 Former NFL Star Ray Lewis said “I would have cried if my dad showed up to even one of my games.”

 Ball has made statements regarding his sons that are almost unachievable, similar to asking for a billion dollar shoe contract and saying his son will only play for the Lakers, which he later rephrased.

At what point does it become too much? His son has no choice but to play for the team that drafts him, and is fortunate enough to have this opportunity. 

Lavar has also brought his own career into this, a career in which he averaged 2.2 points per game at Washington State. He has taken shots at hall-of-famer Charles Barkley, and at the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan, by saying he could be them both in a one on one basketball game.

So far, Lonzo Ball is living up to his father’s expectations as he carried his UCLA team to the NCAA Tournaments Sweet Sixteen, before losing to the Kentucky Wildcats. Lonzo, who is being considered one of the best draft prospects in the past decade, was asked about his father and his expectations, and ended up giving an answer that surprised many.

“My dad’s a funny guy. People were coming up to me and saying, ‘Are you embarrassed? Your dad said you’re going to win the championship.’ No, I’m not embarrassed. I know how he’s going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him. He’s been this way my whole life,” said Ball to The New York Daily News. The New York Daily also reported NBA executives will not be scared away by the potential distraction that Lonzo’s father could be if a team drafts him.

Lavar Ball was also recently quoted as saying that his own kids are set up for a better chance at success than LeBron James kids, because “the expectations aren’t as high, he can’t spend the same amount of time with his kids that I can because he has his own career to worry about.”

James, who was a basketball prodigy in his own rights and one of the most influential people on earth, responded swiftly, “Keep my kid’s names out of your mouth. Keep my family out of your mouth. This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.” 

Scott Van Pelt on his late-night edition of SportsCenter, has a segment known as “One Big Thing” that carried over from his radio show. He uses this segment to talk on a particular issue, last week he weighed in on Lavar Ball and his comments of LeBron James’ kids.

“This all started with him loving his sons, but this isn’t about loving his sons, it’s about loving the spotlight that he never had. This is where you tell me it’s working because people keep putting microphones in his face. Sure, he’s getting attention, but are you rushing to the internet to buy his $57 T-Shirts? I bet you aren’t. Do you know anyone who is? So fine he can continue to cultivate this persona, this stage dad gone wild, he can continue saying nonsensible things about some of the greatest players to ever play, or their kids. From this point forward we will continue to pay attention to the young man in the jersey, and not the dad who can’t stop talking; because it’s not interesting, it’s insufferable,” Van Pelt said on his show.

Lonzo has since declared for the 2017 NBA Draft after playing just his freshman season at UCLA. He is projected to go top three overall in the first round in the last edition of the mock drat, by almost every draft insider.

Premier League Week 30 Recap

by Evan Sobol

This week’s action featured a draw between two top clubs and the league’s leaders falling to a bottom-half team.

Chelsea has held a solid lead at the top of the table for several weeks. Following the Blues’ surprising 1-2 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, the three teams behind them gained traction in the title race, with second-place Tottenham only seven points behind.

Palace is one of the hottest bottom-half teams in the league right now. The victory at Stamford Bridge was their fourth straight win. Chemistry between the midfielders and forwards led to two early goals.

Wilfried Zaha scored in the ninth minute with a strike in the bottom-left corner of the net when he was surrounded by four Chelsea defenders. It was Zaha’s sixth goal of the season, triple his total of last year.

Christian Benteke, who assisted on the first goal, scored the second goal for Palace two minutes later. The forward dribbled from midfield and put the ball past two defenders to meet Zaha, who was waiting in the box. Zaha then passed back to Benteke who lobbed a strike into the wide-open net.

It was the Belgium international’s 10th goal of the season, good enough for 13th in the league. Palace’s offense stayed dormant for the rest of the match, but good defense secured the lead until the end.

The home side got off to a hot start after an early goal in minute five. Eden Hazard was left isolated on the left edge of the box when he fired a pass into the center of the box that met midfielder, Cesc Fabregas.

The Spain international met the ball untouched and capitalized with the short-range goal. It was his fourth of the season. The Blues would have had a chance to tie in minute 15, if not for a blown officiating call.

Palace’s Andros Townsend stuck out his arm to deflect a shot by Chelsea’s Pedro. Officials did not call the handball leading to Chelsea’s lack of a penalty kick. Forward Diego Costa missed a header in minute 75. The Spain international is currently among the league leaders in goals, but has not scored since March 6.

The league-leaders still have solid command of the table. Seven points clear is a good lead, especially in April. If Diego Costa can get on another scoring streak and Hazard keeps providing good passes into the box, they can bounce back quickly. They will face a tough test on Wednesday when they face Manchester City, who currently sits fourth in the table.

Crystal Palace looks to continue their winning streak when they face 10th place Southampton on Wednesday. Their last two victories came with the help of luck; they won last week’s match against Watford, thanks to an own-goal, the lone goal of the match. Although they sit near the bottom of the table, they can continue to shake up the standings with upset victories.

Arsenal hosted Manchester City on Sunday, in a clash between two top-six teams. Both teams have faced tough form lately, with the Gunners losing two straight and City being held to draws. With the 2-2 draw, both clubs failed to move up in the table, leading to Liverpool taking a spot at third place.

City’s Leroy Sane scored the first goal of the match in minute five. The midfielder dribbled past Arsenal’s goalkeeper and fired a shot from the edge of the box into the net. It was his fourth league goal of the season, and his second in the last four matches.

Sergio Aguero scored his 14th goal of the season with a short-range goal into the left side of the net. The forward had another opportunity in minute 52 with a header, but missed wide-right of the net.

Both of Arsenal’s goals were equalizers. Theo Walcott’s goal came just before halftime in minute 40. The English forward met a ball that flew over his head in open space, and got past tough defense to score from short-range. The score brought his season total to nine goals.

Defender Shkodran Mustafi’s header off a corner kick into the right-side of the net in minute 53, secured the draw for the Gunners and was his second goal of the season.

Manchester City fell to fourth in the table, but sit just one point behind Liverpool and four behind second-place Tottenham. Sane has stepped up for City’s offense and continued to score in important situations. He has become a useful part of Pep’s midfield. City looks to get back to their winning against Chelsea on Wednesday.

The draw was a bright spot for Arsenal following their recent form. They have lost three of their last five and fell out of the top-four. They sit just two points behind Manchester United, who drew on Saturday. The Gunners can move up with a victory against West Ham on Wednesday, who have lost four straight.

Other notable matches for match week 31 include Manchester United vs. Everton and Liverpool vs. Bournemouth.

 

 

Fantasy Baseball Preview

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by Christopher Aquino

April marks the beginning of the 2017 Major League Baseball season and many fans already have completed their drafts for their fantasy league.

With the season in an early effect, it is not too late to finish drafts. Hopefully this will help to guide fans to proper decisions in the 2017 season.

Cash Out on Catching

With a weak catching market this season, it necessary to cash out on a valuable catcher. There are three main catchers to focus on within the fourth to seventh rounds, those names being the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, Texas Rangers’ Jonathan Lucroy and the New York Yankees’ Gary Sanchez.

These catchers produced a batting average above .280, along with great leadership skills with two of the following earning starting spots in the 2016 All-Star game. Even with most types of leagues ranking these three past the seventh round, it truly would be a safe route to attempt to draft these prime catchers in this year’s draft.

Steep on Shortstops

Within the first four rounds, there are numerous shortstops that are looking for a good home on your team. With names like Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor, Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, Los Angeles Dodger’s Corey Seager and Houston’s Carlos Correa, it would be a smart rout to go in your league.

This young-era of shortstops typically reaches the highlight reels each day, with many of them earning MVP consideration. Even in the late rounds, San Francisco’s duo of defensive wizard Brandon Crawford and utility shortstop Eduardo Nunez, would be a steal with him snagging 40 stolen bases last year, along with a .288 batting average.

The Atlanta Braves top prospect and former number one MLB draft pick Dansby Swanson, will be in his first full-season, picking up the prospect that has been referred to as a young Derek Jeter, is always a tempting pick. With a steep front of shortstops in the beginning and under the radar picks in the later rounds, it is a deep foundation to build in your draft whether if you are in a category league or points league.

Rebound on Rebounding Pitchers

Last year’s season was dark for many of big-name pitchers in this year’s draft. Though it is risky to draft some of these streaky ace’s, don’t be scared to pick the right one.

With an off year last season for the Tampa Bay Rays Ace right handed starter Chris Archer, look forward for a comeback year. Archer, a strikeout pitcher that recorded 233 strikeouts and earned a run average of 4.02 and a league high of 19 losses, Archer is looking to show that last year was a fluke.

Two seasons ago Archer was a top five Cy Young candidate, with an ERA of 3.23, 252 strikeouts and an all-star nomination. With a roller coaster few years, Archer is here to prove last year was indeed a definite fluke.

Toronto’s youngster Marcus Stroman, is in the same shoes as Chris Archer with showing glimpses of greatness, but looking to lower their ERA. This off-season, Stroman showcased his true potential with team USA in this year’s 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Stroman earned the MVP of the whole tournament when headlining to pitching staff that allowed five runs on 25 hits within 36 innings. He did not allow a single run in 17 1/3 runs and 29 strikeouts, or four walks within the tournament. Stroman shows true potential and would be a steal within the mid rounds. In the end, it is a risk to take on these high risk high reward pitchers.

With baseball being a long season, picking your players is unpredictable to say the very least. There are many of options to look at within this year’s 2017 fantasy year, whether if you are looking for star shortstops or rebounding pitchers that are a diamonds in the rough.