MS Dhoni has amazing hands, Ben Stokes’ warning to batsmen

first_imgMS Dhoni turned back the years with his sensational stumping of AB de Villiers in Rising Pune Supergiant’s crushing win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.Dhoni has been under fire for his run of scores in the IPL this year but he showed glimpses of the past when he first hammered leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for a montrsous six and then whipped off the bails in a flash when Imran Tahir lured de Villiers out of the crease. (Mahendra Singh Dhoni answers critics with stunning glovework, monstrous six)Earlier this year, Steve Smith had replaced Dhoni as Pune captain. Many felt that would allow MSD to express himself better and play more freely like he did for India soon after stepping down as the limited-overs skipper.However, it was a different Dhoni turned out on Sunday and that sure left English all-rounder Ben Stokes, also a key member of the RPS set-up, thoroughly impressed.”He’s got amazing hands. If your foot is out of the crease even by a millimetre, you’re gone,” he told fact, Dhoni’s presence had got the Bengaluru crowd cheering for Pune even as their own team, led by the inimitable Virat Kohli suffered their fourth defeat in five matches.Stokes reckoned with MSD in the side, they didn’t really have to worry about home advantage.”I think wherever you go when Dhoni’s in your team is a home ground,” Stokes said at presentation ceremony after had been named man-of-the-match for his spectacular spell against the Royal Challengers.advertisementlast_img read more

Sachin Tendulkar reveals his mother started the ‘Sachin Sachin’ chant

first_imgIt would be innumerable times that you have heard the chant ‘Sachin Sachin’ when the legendary cricketer would come out to bat. (Nobody knows everything about me: Tendulkar)The fans present both inside the stadium as well as those glued to their TV screens would be chanting ‘Sachin Sachin’ in order to show their support to the ‘God of Cricket’.The chants of ‘Sachin-Sachin’ with appreciable decibel levels, echoing in unison throughout the stadium, had become customary each time the Mumbaikar played on the field. (Sachin: A Billion Dreams relives important moments of my life: Tendulkar)The chants brought the country together time and again and it seemed as if there was no other person than Sachin playing inside the stadium.But did you ever wonder who first chanted the ‘Sachin mantra’? Well, the Master Blaster himself has given the answer to the same. It was his mother.”My mother would do that. When I would be playing downstairs in the building and I won’t want to come home, so that’s when my mother would start shouting ‘Sachin Sachin upar upar aa jao’,” Sachin Tendulkar revealed during the song launch of Sachin Anthem for the upcoming movie ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’.The movie captures the cricket and personal life of the Master Blaster in detail, revealing aspects of his life, which have never been heard of or seen before.Produced by Ravi Bhagchandka of 200 Not Out and Shrikant Bhasi of Carnival Motion Pictures, and helmed by Emmy-nominated James Erskine, ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ is all set to hit the screens on May 26.advertisementlast_img read more

Wrist injury forces Scotland batsman Matt Machan to retire at age 26

first_imgScotland and Sussex batsman Matt Machan has been forced to call curtains on his career at the age of just 26 because of a wrist injury.The left-hander had earlier ruled out of the second half of the 2016 English domestic season in order to undergo surgery on what his Sussex coach Mark Davis described a ‘repetitive’ wrist injury.However, Machan, who was a part of the Scotland squad in 2015 World Cup as well as in the 2016 World T20, failed to alleviate the problem fully by going under the knife and, now, he has decided to retire from the game.Deeply saddened to announce the news, Machan insisted that he had taken the decision following a medical advice and keeping in mind his long-term health.”It is with great sadness and an extremely heavy heart that I have to announce my retirement from the professional game due to a wrist injury. Following medical advice, my long-term health is most important to me and I have to take that into account,” quoted Machan as saying.The 26-year-old, who made his international debut in 2013, also said that he feels extremely sad to see his career cut short at a time when he just started performing at his menacing best.”I believe as a batsman I was only just starting to come into my own and it is a real shame that this has been cut short so early as I believe I had so much still to offer Sussex over the next few years,” he added.advertisementWith the development, Machan became the latest cricketer in his mid-20s to announce shocking retirement this year. In April, Surrey and England all-rounder Zafar Ansari called curtains on his cricketing career at the age of 25 while NSW batsman Ryan Carters bid adieu to the game in May at the age of just 26.Machan, who appeared in 36 matches across ODIs and T20Is and scored 1,141 runs with six fifties and one century, will be best remembered for his match-winning performance during Scotland’s breakthrough victory against Hong Kong at the World T20 last year. He smashed 15 runs from just four balls, including a six, to finish the match and hand Scotland their first major victory at a world event after 17 years.last_img read more

Cincinnati Open: Garbine Muguruza powers into round of 16

first_imgGarbine Muguruza got her final U.S. Open tune-up event off to a flying start as the Wimbledon champion stormed by Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-0 to reach the third round of the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday.Second seed Simona Halep overcame an early deficit to beat American qualifier Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-1 and also reach the third round, while Venus Williams beat Alison Riske 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the second.French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was upset 6-4, 6-2 in the first round by unseeded Serbian Aleksandra Krunic and Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded 10th, was another to suffer an early exit, losing 6-4, 6-4 to German Julia Gorges.Spanish fourth seed Muguruza, fresh off a quarter-finals loss to eventual winner Elina Svitolina at Toronto last week, needed only 65 minutes to earn the straight sets win over Haddad Maia and book her spot in the round of 16.After trading breaks with Haddad Maia over the course of the first four games, Muguruza found another gear and went on to win the final 10 games of the match.”I felt like a lot of games were super tight. She’s super tall, big serve with big shots. It was a strange result, because the match was pretty good,” said world number six Muguruza.”I feel like yesterday I was playing on the grass, and now I’m here. I’m happy to be in the third round here.”Muguruza now awaits the winner of Wednesday’s clash between American 16th seed Madison Keys and Russian Daria Kasatkina.advertisementRomanian Halep, the 2015 Cincinnati runner-up, fell behind early but reeled off four consecutive games, including two love service holds, to clinch the opening set and remained in control the rest of the way.Halep will next face Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, who earlier rallied to beat China’s Peng Shuai 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.Williams was aggressive from the start and only got better as the match went on, stepping in and finishing rallies at the net.Fashion-conscious Williams’ biggest struggle on the court may have been with her jewellery after her hoop earring fell off at one point and later got tangled with her necklace.The win set up a second round match-up against Australian Ashleigh Barty, who beat American Varvara Lepchenko earlier on Tuesday.last_img read more

Juan Antonio Pizzi stands down as Chile coach after elimination: Reports

first_imgJuan Antonio Pizzi has confirmed he will stand down as Chile coach, just hours after his team were beaten 3-0 by Brazil to miss out on qualification for the 2018 World Cup Finals, local news reports said.Pizzi’s contract was due to expire at the conclusion of the qualifiers and after Chile finished sixth in the 10-team group, outside the places for Russia, he said there was no reason to discuss a new deal.”I am ruling myself out of continuing,” Pizzi said in comments reported by Chilean media and confirmed by veteran midfielder Gary Medel.Pizzi, 49, led Chile to victory at the 2016 Centenary Copa America but his aging team have struggled in the closing stages of the qualifiers, winning just two of their last six games.Several of the team’s biggest names — including Claudio Bravo, Arturo Vidal and Medel — are already in their 30s and Tuesday’s defeat in Sao Paulo appears to have signaled the end of the most successful team in the country’s history.last_img read more

Manoj strikes gold, Shiva settles for silver at Nationals

first_img(Eds: updating with additional inputs)Visakhapatnam, Oct 30 (PTI) Manoj Kumar claimed his second successive National Championships gold but Shiva Thapa settled for a silver on an eventful day of summit clashes in the premier domestic boxing event here today.Manoj (69kg), competing for the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), got the better of Services Sports Control Boards (SSCB) Duryodhan Singh for his second successive gold at the event in a 4-1 decision.Another defending champion, Shiva, however, lost on a split verdict to SSCBs Manish Kaushik, settling for the silver medal in the lightweight (60kg) category.World Championship bronze medallist Shiva began on an aggressive manner, connecting some good punches, but in the second round he sustained a cut above his eye and the referee had to stop the contest momentarily.After the forced break, Shiva, competing for his home state Assam in the event, was not at his 100 per cent but he did not give up. Manish, though, had the last laugh.Manoj was adjudged the best boxer, while Manish was declared the most promising boxerKings Cup gold-medallist Shyam Kumar (49kg), who was representing RSPB, pulled off a close 3-2 win over Mizorams Nt Lalbiakkima in the final to claim the top honours.Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra, who is competing for the RSPB, won his maiden national title in the middleweight (75kg) category, after he out-punched Mizorams Vanhlimpuia 5-0.Asian Games bronze-medallist Satish, who turned up for the SSCB, defeated Haryanas Parvin Kumar 5-0 to claim the super heavyweight (+91kg) gold.advertisementIn the other bouts of the day, SSCBs Madan Lal became the bantamweight (56kg) champion after edging past Goas Santosh Harijan 3-2 in a hard-fought contest.The light welterweight (64kg) crown went to SSCBs Dheeraj Rangi.Dheeraj did not even have to step inside the ring as his rival, Basant Thapa of Madhya Pradesh, gave him a walkover owing to an injury picked up his previous bout.Similar was the case of Manish Panwar, who clinched the 81kg gold after a walkover from Delhi rival Neel Kamal.Haryana fetched just one gold medal in this edition with Naman picking up the heavyweight (91kg) top honours with a 5-0 win over Himachal Pradeshs Varinder Kumar.RSPBs Salman Sheikh beat Laldinmawia of Mizoram to claim the top honours in the 52kg division. PTI PM CM CMlast_img read more

Samsung Galaxy J7 Nxt with octa-core CPU, 3000mAh battery launched at Rs 11,490

first_imgSamsung launched a new budget Galaxy J-series phone, aka the Galaxy J7 Nxt, in India on Monday at a price of Rs 11,490. The Samsung Galaxy J7 Nxt will be available for buying from both online and offline stores in the colours: Black and Gold.The Galaxy J7 Nxt comes with an all-plastic body and a 5.5-inch HD (720p) Super AMOLED display. It is powered by a 1.6 Ghz octa-core processor (unspecified chipset) clubbed with 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage which is also expandable. The dual-SIM phone runs Android Nougat software and supports 4G LTE connectivity.The Galaxy J7 Nxt sports a 13-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. It is further backed by a 3,000mAh battery.Samsung recently launched the Galaxy On Max photography-centric mid-level phone in India at a price of Rs 16,900. The USP of the Galaxy On Max, besides its all-metal unibody design, is Samsung Pay Mini and Social camera (read a camera with filters). While Samsung Pay Mini is a lighter version of the company’s Pay mobile payments service platform, the Social camera lets users apply filters and interact with social media apps like Facebook and Instagram directly from the camera app itself.Being photography-centric, the Galaxy On Max comes with 13-megapixel cameras on the front as well as on the back. While one of the lenses has an aperture of f/1.7 the other has an aperture of f/1.9 which technically should entail in better low light photos. Both the cameras on-board the Galaxy On Max come with flash.advertisementErstwhile, the Samsung Galaxy On Max comes with a 5.7-inch 1080p screen and is powered by an octa-core MediaTek processor clubbed with 4 gigs of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which is expandable by up to 256GB via micro-SD card slot.The dual-SIM phone runs Android Nougat software and supports 4G LTE connectivity. It is further backed by a 3,300mAh battery.Also Read: Samsung Galaxy On Max quick review: Galaxy J7 Max version 2.0 for online buyerslast_img read more

Getting married was much more important: Kohli

first_imgMumbai, Dec 27 (PTI) Getting married was “something much more important” than a cricket series for Virat Kohli as he asserted that the three-week break wont affect his preparations for the upcoming South Africa tour.The India captain opted out of the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka to get married to Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma in a private ceremony in Tuscan, Italy.Kohli, who scored 2818 international runs and 11 hundreds in 2017, will head for South Africa tonight for a tough tour where India play three Tests starting January 5. The Tests will be followed by six ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals.Asked how difficult will it be for him to return to cricket post the marriage celebrations, Kohli replied: “Not difficult at all, I was away for something (marriage) which is much more important. That is a period that will always remain special for both of us.””Switching back to cricket is not difficult at all because it is in my blood, like it is for every other team member and the team management as well, so getting back to professional front is not difficult at all,” he added.Following their wedding in Italy on December 11, Kohli and Anuskha had hosted grand receptions in New Delhi and Mumbai, where several Bollywood and sporting celebrities were spotted.Just prior to the break, Kohli was in red-hot form smashing 610 runs in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka. Even though he was busy with his wedding celebrations, Kohli said he continued to prepare for the gruelling South Africa tour side-by-side during the break.advertisement”I havent done anything in the past three weeks. I have been training to get back to play in South Africa. Somewhere in your head you are always thinking about you have something important coming up, so subconsciously you are looking forward to it (South Africa tour). So, mentally I am very well prepared.” PTI NRB SSC AT ATlast_img read more

Ashes: International Cricket Council rates Melbourne Cricket Ground pitch poor

first_imgThe International Cricket Council (ICC) has officially warned and rated the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch for the Boxing Day Test at the Ashes as ‘poor’.The track drew criticism from both teams after the drawn clash between Australia and England saw only 24 wickets fall over five days, the only stalemate in a series dominated 4-0 by the hosts as they regained the urn.Australia scored 327 and 263 for four declared, while England scored 491 in their only innings, with match referee Ranjan Madugalle saying in his report that the surface did not allow for an even contest between bat and ball.Cricket Australia (CA) did not contest the rating given by Madugalle, the governing body said in a statement.”Cricket Australia… highlighted that the ground is a frequently used venue that has no history of preparing poor pitches for international cricket,” the ICC said.The ICC said there was a commitment by both the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia to improve the pitches presented for international cricket at the MCG in the future.The Melbourne Test was the last to be rated under the ICC’s pitch and outfield monitoring process, with a revision of the system coming into effect from January 4.Under the new process, if a pitch or outfield is rated as being substandard, that venue will be allocated a number of demerit points, which will be active for a five-year period.The MCG will host the first one-day international between Australia and England on Sunday.(Courtesy: Reuters)advertisementlast_img read more

Cheteshwar Pujara sees Sri Lanka series as opportunity to prepare for South Africa tour

first_imgCheteshwar Pujara is expected to play a major role during next year’s tour of South Africa and Cheteshwar Pujara is confident that the upcoming Sri Lanka series will give him a “good opportunity” to prepare for the tough assignment ahead. “Obviously, next year’s South Africa series is something that is there at the back of my mind. The upcoming Sri Lanka series will be a good opportunity to prepare for the South Africa assignment. I am confident of doing well,” Pujara told PTI during an interaction.Asked if he had started preparing for the South Africa series, which starts with first Test in Cape Town on January 6, Pujara said: “The main preparation will certainly start closer to the series. But I believe once we assemble to play the Test series against Sri Lanka, there will be some serious discussions on the South African tour. There will be strategies and plans in place.”Asked if he is keen doing some special preparations for the bouncy pitches of South Africa, Pujara replied:”Like every series, I will be doing my own homework. There are a a few areas that I will like to work in the nets before the series. Those are very specific things but it will be unfair to reveal them as that’s a part of the strategy.”Pujara had a fantastic outing against Sri Lanka few months back with scores of 153 and 133 in the first two Tests at Galle and Colombo.Sri Lanka’s bowling attack wasn’t upto the mark during that series but the Saurashtra right-hander will not like to be complacent ahead of a new series.advertisement”I agree that during the last series, Sri Lanka’s bowling attack may not been one of the best but Test runs never come easy. You have to fight for every run that you score in longer format.”Also every series is a new series. Your intensity does not change according to the opposition you play. Sri Lanka is also an international side and you have to give them the same respect like any other team,” said the 29-year-old, who has scored 4107 runs in 51 Tests with 13 hundreds.Recently, Pujara went through a lean patch in first-class cricket — nine successive innings in first-class cricket (which includes four County matches for Northamptonshire) without a half-century — but not for once was he worried as he felt good while batting.”I always knew that a big innings is just round the corner. When you know that you are batting well, you can feel it. It was about one good innings and it came against Jharkhand,” added Pujara.The 204 against Jharkhand made him the Indian batsman with most number of double hundreds (12) in first-class cricket surpassing the legendary late Vijay Merchant (11). Late Vijay Hazare (11 double tons), Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid (10 each) are behind him now.”Actually, I didn’t know about the record while I was batting. I only came to know about it once second day’s play was over. I got a few text messages and came to know that it was a national record. It was a good feeling indeed knowing that there are some great players on that list.”Along with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, Pujara has been a pillar of the Test squad, giving the batting order much-needed solidity.Ask him if he can copy Kohli’s flamboyant style of batsmanship, Pujara said that it is not the best thing to do. “Each and every batsman has his own distinct style of batsmanship. It’s of no use trying to copy anyone else. Each and every player has his own strengths and builds his game accordingly,” concluded Pujara.last_img read more

England reserves determined not to be embarrassed in international friendlies

first_imgIt was meant to be an opportunity to let England’s young lions roam free to demonstrate how they may just be equipped to inject fear into the two best teams in world football.Instead, the build-up to the glamour friendlies against Germany and Brazil at Wembley has been accompanied in the English media by mutterings of “farce” and “embarrassment” amid the plethora of withdrawals from Gareth Southgate’s squad.Because with so many of his key players having pulled out with injuries of varying severity, there’s an argument that for Southgate the two matches – against Germany on Friday and Brazil next Tuesday – have now become futile exercises.Not that the young manager would dare admit to any dismay in public. With qualification for the World Cup finals wrapped up, he had, in any case, already trotted out how performances meant more than the results in these two matches.He cut senior players while blooding youngsters he believed could help him build a passing team with enterprise and verve. “We can see what’s possible here, how can we evolve the team, how can we take it forward,” he said.Yet the loss of at least five players who would surely have launched this brave new world in his starting XI on Friday has wholly scuppered his plans to give potential ‘A teamers’ a taste of the quality they will face in Russia next year.It will be far removed from the opposition they ground down in an unbeaten, if uninspiring, qualifying campaign.advertisementSouthgate’s captain Harry Kane and thrusting young Tottenham Hotspur team mate Harry Winks withdrew on Monday while Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, both in great form, pulled out along with Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson the next day.The squad had lost its potential talisman in Spurs’ Dele Alli while the likes of Liverpool’s Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck were among a dozen potential candidates sidelined by injury.So, opportunity knocks louder for uncapped youngsters like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Joe Gomez and Tammy Abraham and late replacements like Jack Cork and Jake Livermore. Yet at this stage it still takes a leap of the imagination to see any of these playing much of a part for England in Russia next year.Not that any player can afford to think that way. There may be five uncapped squad members in total but as Tottenham’s Eric Dier, now the key figure in a depleted midfield, said: “We have to challenge ourselves – that’s the right mentality.”He was asked whether there was a potential for England’s second-stringers to end up being embarrassed by both their old fierce rivals Germany and the quality of the world’s second-ranked side Brazil.”I don’t really see it as a risk,” shrugged Dier. “If we get embarrassed then there is a lot more to work on. If we don’t, we are on the right path.”If we want to be prepared for one of the biggest sporting events in the world we have to prepare by facing the best.”The real frustration for Southgate is that he will only have two more friendlies, against the Netherlands in Amsterdam and Italy at Wembley in March, before naming his provisional World Cup squad.Not, as he asserts, that there could an ever be such a thing as an England friendly against these sides. The upside for him could only come if his fledgling reserves can somehow fashion a victory over their greatest continental rivals on Friday.last_img read more

Olympiakos Rises, Beats Xanthi, 3-1

first_imgATHENS — Defending champion Olympiakos beat hosts Xanthi 3-1 to overtake PAOK into first place in the Greek league on Jan. 11.At the league’s halfway point, Olympiakos is a point ahead of PAOK, which lost 3-0 to Asteras on Jan. 10, and six over Panathinaikos, a 5-0 winner over Ergotelis on Jan. 11.Costas Mitroglou scored in the 19th and 53rd minutes, with headers from an Alexandro Dominguez free-kick and corner kick. Mathieu Dossevi added a goal in the 30th and Adrian Lucero scored a consolation goal for Xanthi in the 82nd.Also, OFI beat Kerkyra 3-2, Atromitos drew 1-1 at Panthrakikos and Panetolikos vs. Giannena ended in a 0-0 draw. Niki Volos, in dire financial straits, forfeited a match for the second round in a row, this time to Levadiakos.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

Anthony Mason Dies at 48

first_imgNEW YORK — Anthony Mason’s game was grit over glitz, more force than flash.That might not fit some stereotypes of New York, but it was the perfect style for the Knicks of the 1990s, and made the rugged forward a beloved bruiser by teammates and fans.Mason died Saturday morning, the Knicks said. He was 48.Former teammate Patrick Ewing said his “heart is heavy” after learning Mason died after recent heart problems.“Mase came to play every night and was always ready to go to battle with me every time we stepped on the court together,” Ewing said in a statement. “I will remember him for his strength, determination and perseverance.”Mason was a defensive force who played for six NBA teams from 1989-2003, a popular protector of superstars like Ewing and respected by opponents who knew they were in for punishment when they lined up against his muscular frame.“As a competitor, there was none fiercer than Anthony Mason. Standing on the opposite end of the playing field, coaching in those great Chicago/New York battles, No. 14 in the orange and blue always stood out,” said Knicks President Phil Jackson, who coached the Chicago Bulls during their many matchups against the ’90s Knicks.Added Michael Jordan: “Mase was one of the toughest competitors of his era.”He remained a fighter throughout his health problems, his family said in thanking fans for their prayers.“Anthony felt each and every one. He fought like a warrior to the very end,” the Mason family said in a statement provided by the Knicks.The Knicks held a moment of silence for Mason on Saturday night before their game against the Toronto Raptors. Many former Knicks posted their thoughts about Mason on Twitter throughout what the Madison Square Garden public address announcer called a sad day for the franchise.The Knicks have been unable to duplicate their success of the ’90s and coach Derek Fisher said Mason’s determination could serve as a guide.“He embodied a lot of what we’re continuing to try to do here,” Fisher said.Part power forward, part point forward, the 6-foot-7 Mason won the 1995 Sixth Man Award with the Knicks, later made an All-Star team, and twice led the league in minutes played. But it was the toughness he provided alongside Charles Oakley while surrounding franchise center Ewing that made him a fan favorite in New York.“MY MAN MY MAN A. MASON R.I.P, WE GONNA MISS U BROTHER,” Oakley wrote on Twitter.Mason’s career averages — 10.9 points, 8.3 rebounds — don’t tell the full story of his game. A solid, muscular presence down low, Mason was there to play defense, and on coach Pat Riley’s bruising teams, he could shine.Mason played for New York from 1991-1996, and then for the Hornets until 2000. He made his only All-Star team in 2001 as a member of the Miami Heat, after reuniting with Riley.“Anthony Mason exemplified perseverance for all players fighting for their chance in the NBA,” Commissioner Adam Silver said. “NBA fans and players around the league admired his tenacity on defense and playmaking on offense.”He wasn’t all grit, though. Despite his plodding look, Mason was a nimble athlete and deft ballhandler who often showed up for games with words or designs styled into his hair.Mason was drafted in the third round out of Tennessee State in 1988 by Portland, but he never played for the Trail Blazers. After a brief stint overseas, he played sparingly in 21 games for the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets before he finally caught on with Riley’s defense-first Knicks in 1991. He was a force for them as they made a run to the 1994 NBA Finals, and clashed with other powerful Eastern Conference teams, including Jordan’s Bulls.He was dealt to Charlotte in a July 1996 trade that brought Larry Johnson to New York. With the Hornets, Mason played three strong seasons in four years, missing 1998-99 due to injury, before Riley brought him to Miami, where he was coaching a Heat team that played with the same style as those Knicks teams with which Mason flourished.“News like this is not only sad, but it’s tragic,” Riley said. “Anthony Mason was a very young man with a great family and friends. To lose him so quickly during his journey, especially to those of us that knew him, hurts.”At Tennessee State, Mason was dominant, and was the school’s first All-Ohio Valley Conference selection. In the 1987-88 season, he took a school-record 247 free throws.Anthony Mason was born Dec. 14, 1966, in Miami. He went to high school in the New York City borough of Queens, where son Anthony Jr. would later play for St. John’s before going on to a pro career in the minor leagues and overseas. Another son, Antoine, is at Auburn this season after transferring from Niagara, where he graduated after finishing second nationally with 25.6 points per game last season.Funeral arrangements weren’t yet available.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Let The March Madness Begin

first_imgA topsy-turvy season in college basketball delivered a few more twists when the brackets came out Sunday.Exhibit A: Oregon and Virginia are No. 1 seeds, while Michigan State is not.Exhibit B: Monmouth and Valparaiso aren’t part of March Madness, but Michigan and Syracuse are.As usual, the NCAA selection committee released a 68-team bracket with its fair share of surprises. This year, the debate started right away, when the committee named Pac-12 champion Oregon a top seed in the West, ACC runner-up Virginia a top seed in the Midwest and made Tom Izzo’s Spartans, champs of the Big Ten, a “2.”They’ll decide it on the court. The tournament starts March 15 with a pair of opening-round games. The main draw begins March 17 at eight sites. The Final Four is April 2 and 4 in Houston.In a season in which six teams held the top spot in The Associated Press poll — one short of the record — there was no doubt there would be some debate about who belonged in the four top spots.That Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference champions Kansas and North Carolina earned two of the spots wasn’t that surprising. The rest of it raised eyebrows.The head of the selection committee, Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione, lauded Oregon’s third-rated strength of schedule (as of March 13) and No.2 ranking in the RPI, along with its regular-season and tournament titles in the Pac-12. He said Michigan State was the fifth overall seed.“Very close. It was a vigorous debate,” Castiglione said. “We know how good a team they are. … It was just a close call and the committee felt Michigan State was fifth.”But there were no easy choices for the committee this season, and the way the big slate of conference tournaments played out only emphasized the way this season has gone. Of the 31 postseason tournaments, top seeds only won 10.That gave automatic spots to bubble teams (or less) such as Fresno State, Gonzaga and Connecticut, while squeezing out a few spots bubble spots — even though there were two more available this season because Louisville (and Rick Pitino) and SMU (and Larry Brown) are both ineligible.Among those sitting out include Monmouth, which played a killer non-conference schedule but lost too many games to bad teams; St. Mary’s, which won the regular-season title in the West Coast Conference but didn’t play a tough enough schedule; and Valpo, which ranked 49 in the RPI but had only four wins against top 100 teams.Of the at-large teams, 25 came from the Power Five conferences, with 11 from the smaller leagues. Of the last eight teams to make it, the count was 4-4, with Michigan, Vanderbilt and Syracuse among the most hotly debated among the bigger schools.“In the past, the committee has taken teams with wins, especially road wins,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose team’s wins away from home against Duke, Texas A&M and UConn made up for the fact that the Orange (19-13) has lost five of its last six. “I’m not sure there’s anyone on the bubble who had as good of road wins as we did.”Boeheim missed the first nine games of the season, while serving a suspension for committing NCAA violations, but Castiglione said that didn’t much factor into bringing Syracuse in.Castiglione said the last bubble team to make it was Tulsa, which plays Michigan on Wednesday.Other notables from the bracket:KENTUCKY: Two things stood out about the Wildcats. First, their possible second-round match-up against border rival Indiana, a team they don’t schedule in the regular season. Second, their No. 4 seeding, one spot worse than Texas A&M, the team the Wildcats beat in the SEC tournament title game. Coach John Calipari was outspoken: “Did we not play a basketball game against them today?” Calipari said. “When you mis-seed a team, it’s not that team you hurt, it’s the teams they play that you hurt. But at the end of the day, they’re not stealing my joy.”KANSAS: If there’s a favorite in this year’s tournament, it’s the Jayhawks, who won both the regular-season and tournament titles in the nation’s toughest conference, and also come in on a 14-game winning streak. “You obviously have to be healthy, catch a few breaks and have your best players perform,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self. “With most teams, it comes down to making shots. That’s as big a key with us as any.”FUTURE PROS: The mock drafts project Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown as potential top-10 picks later this year. Both play for Cal. So, did the fourth-seeded Bears underachieve by going 23-10 and finishing tied for third in the Pac-12? We’ll find out starting March 18 when they open against No. 13 Hawaii. Other tournament players who could soon be starring on an NBA team near you: Brandon Ingram (Duke), Kris Dunn (Providence) and shooting guard Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), the nation’s second-leading scorer at 25 points a game.UCONN, UCAN?: When UConn won the title two years ago, the Huskies were a bubble team that caught fire at the right time. Sound familiar? Courtesy of the 70-foot miracle shot by Jalen Adams that pushed the conference semifinal against Cincinnati into a fourth overtime, the Huskies didn’t have to sweat Selection Sunday. They’re champions of the American Athletic Conference, a No. 9 seed (they were a No. 7 in 2014) and will open against Colorado, with a possible meeting against Kansas up next.WELCOME BACK: Oregon State is back in the tournament for the first time since 1990. Last time the Beavers made it, Gary Payton was closing out a college career, about to be an NBA star. This time, it’s Payton’s son, Gary Payton II, leading the team into the spotlight. Payton II is averaging nearly 16 points a game for Oregon State, a No. 7 seed that faces No. 10 VCU on Friday.(EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Brazil’s armed forces get extra funds before Rio Olympics

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s interim government announced Tuesday that it is beefing up funding for the military to help it meet security needs for the Olympics that open next month in Rio de Janeiro.Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said that despite a budget crunch, the government is granting the armed forces an additional $24 million at the request of the Defense Ministry.The military will begin patrolling sports venues July 24.Some 85,000 police and soldiers are to be deployed during the Aug. 5-21 games. That’s roughly twice the security contingent that was used at the London Olympics.Rio de Janeiro state has slashed budgets across the board, including that of the police. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

Greece Represented in the NBA Draft: Hawks Select Dorsey, Nets Pick Vezenkov

first_imgNEW YORK – The Atlanta Hawks selected Oregon shooting guard Tyler Dorsey with their first second-round pick, No. 41 overall, in the NBA Draft on Thursday.The Oregon Greek-American sophomore got rolling late in the season with 20-plus points in his last eight games, helping the Ducks reach the Final Four for the first time since 1939.Dorsey, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound sophomore, averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists last season. He shot .423 (88 of 208) from 3-point range, a strength.After graduating from Maranatha High School, in Pasadena, California, he played college basketball for the Oregon Ducks. He is also a member of the senior Greek national team.Dorsey acquired dual citizenship (full citizenship with both the United States and Greece) and a Greek passport, due to his mother’s Greek background. Dorsey’s mother was born to a Greek father and Israeli mother, and her Greek surname is Konstantinidou.In the second round with the 57th overall pick, the Nets selected 6-foot-9, Cyprus born Aleksandar Vezenkov. Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks called the 21-year-old an elite shooter.Aleksandar VezenkovVezenkov is a professional basketball player for FC Barcelona of the Liga ACB.Vezenkov was born in Cyprus, and was raised in Greek communities in Cyprus and Greece. However, due to his Bulgarian descent, he has Bulgarian citizenship, and he has regularly chosen to represent the Bulgarian national team, on both the junior and senior levels. Despite that, Vezenkov holds triple citizenship for Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece.Always considered to be one of the best players in his age group in Europe, Vezenkov began playing youth club basketball in Cyprus in 2005 with APOEL Nicosia’s youth teams. In 2009, he moved to Greece and began playing youth club basketball with Aris’ youth teams, until 2011, when he joined Aris’ senior men’s club. He trained for several years at Nick Galis Hall, located near the center of Thessaloniki, Greece.Team-by-team breakdown of the players each team ended up with in the NBA draft (includes proposed trades):Atlanta Hawks1 (19) John Collins, f, Wake Forest2 (41) Tyler Dorsey, g, Oregon2 (60) Alpha Kaba, f, Mega Leks (Serbia)Boston Celtics1 (3) Jayson Tatum, f, Duke2 (37) Semi Ojeleye, f, SMU2 (53) Kadeem Allen, g, Arizona2 (56) Jabari Bird, g, CaliforniaBrooklyn Nets1 (22) Jarrett Allen, c, Texas2 (57) Aleksandar Vezenkov, f, FC Barcelona Lassa (Spain)Charlotte Hornets1 (11) Malik Monk, g, Kentucky2 (40) Dwayne Bacon, f, Florida State (from New Orleans)Chicago Bulls1 (7) Lauri Markkanen, f, Arizona (from Minnesota)Cleveland CavaliersNONE.Dallas Mavericks1 (9) Dennis Smith Jr., g, N.C. StateDenver Nuggets1 (24) Tyler Lydon, f, Syracuse (from Utah)2 (49) Vlatko Cancar, f, Mega Leks (Serbia)2 (51) Monte’ Morris, g, Iowa StateDetroit Pistons1 (12) Luke Kennard, g, DukeGolden State Warriors2 (38) Jordan Bell, f, Oregon (from Chicago)Houston Rockets2 (43) Isaiah Hartenstein, c, Zalgiris (Lithuania)Indiana Pacers1 (18) TJ Leaf, f, UCLA2 (47) Ike Anigbogu, c, UCLA2 (52) Edmond Sumner, g, Xavier (from New Orelans)L.A. ClippersNONE.L.A. Lakers1 (2) Lonzo Ball, g, UCLA1 (27) Kyle Kuzma, f, Utah (from Brooklyn)1 (30) Josh Hart, g, Villanova (from Utah)2 (42) Thomas Bryant, c, Indiana (from Utah)Memphis Grizzlies2 (35) Ivan Rabb, f, California (from Orlando)2 (45) Dillon Brooks, f, Oregon (from Houston)Miami Heat1 (14) Bam Adebayo, f, KentuckyMilwaukee Bucks1 (17) D.J. Wilson, f, Michigan2 (48) Sindarius Thornwell, g, South CarolinaMinnesota Timberwolves1 (16) Justin Patton, c, Creighton (from Chicago)New Orleans Pelicans2 (31) Frank Jackson, g, Duke (from Charlotte)New York Knicks1 (8) Frank Ntilikina, g, Strasbourg (France)2 (44) Damyean Dotson, g, Houston2 (58) Ognjen Jaramaz, g, Mega Leks (Serbia)Oklahoma City Thunder1 (21) Terrance Ferguson, g, Adelaide 36ers (Australia)Orlando Magic1 (6) Jonathan Isaac, f, Florida State2 (33) Wesley Iwundu, f, Kansas StatePhiladelphia 76ers1 (1) Markelle Fultz, g, Washington1 (25) Anzejs Pasecniks, c, Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain) (from Orlando)2 (36) Jonah Bolden, f, FMP Beograd (Serbia)2 (39) Jawun Evans, g, Oklahoma State2 (46) Sterling Brown, g, SMU2 (50) Mathias Lessort, f, Nanterre 92 (France)Phoenix Suns1 (4) Josh Jackson, f, Kansas2 (32) Davon Reed, g, Miami2 (54) Alec Peters, f, ValparaisoPortland Trail Blazers1 (10) Zach Collins, c, Gonzaga (from Sacramento)1 (26) Caleb Swanigan, f, PurdueSacramento Kings1 (5) De’Aaron Fox, g, Kentucky1 (15) Justin Jackson, f, North Carolina (from Portland)1 (20) Harry Giles, c, Duke (from Portland)2 (34) Frank Mason III, g, KansasSan Antonio Spurs1 (29) Derrick White, g, Colorado2 (59) Jaron Blossomgame, f, ClemsonToronto Raptors1 (23) OG Anunoby, f, IndianaUtah Jazz1 (13) Donovan Mitchell, g, Louisville (from Denver)1 (28) Tony Bradley, c, North Carolina (from LA Lakers)2 (55) Nigel Williams-Goss, g, GonzagaWashington WizardsNONE.TweetPinShare11 Shareslast_img read more

Federer Going for No. 8 at Wimbledon Against Marin Cilic

first_imgLONDON (AP) — Roger Federer is going for No. 8 at Wimbledon.The seven-time champion at the All England Club will face Marin Cilic on Centre Court for the Wimbledon title.Federer last won the grass-court major in 2012. But he won the Australian Open this year for his 18th Grand Slam title.Federer is 6-1 against Cilic, but the big-serving Croat beat Federer in the U.S. Open semifinals in 2014 on his way to his only major title.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

Salah Set to Return for Title-Chasing Liverpool’s Final Game

first_imgLIVERPOOL, England — Mohamed Salah is set to return for Liverpool’s last Premier League game as the team looks to win the English top-flight title for the first time since 1990.The Egypt forward was concussed in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Newcastle in the league last weekend, and missed the 4-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday to follow return-to-play protocols.Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says Salah has been back in training and expects him to play against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.Klopp said left back Andrew Robertson and captain Jordan Henderson should be fit to play after knocks during the game against Barcelona, but striker Roberto Firmino will miss out again.Liverpool heads into the final round of games one point behind first-placed Manchester City, which is away to Brighton.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more