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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Sports world pays tribute to Prince after singer’s death

04.22.16 at 8:17 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN2)
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Pistons, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Spurs at Grizzlies, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Panthers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (CNBC)


— The sports community paid tribute to Prince on Thursday night following the singer’s death at the age of 57.

Warriors players played Prince music on a stereo during the team’s shootaround before their game against the Rockets in Houston. Prince attended a Warriors game last month, the day before playing a concert in Oakland.

Tweeted Warriors forward Draymond Green: RIP Prince! Had the pleasure of seeing him in concert last month in Oakland. Once of the best shows I’ve ever seen!!! Rest up legend!! WOW!!

During the Red Sox’ afternoon game against the Rays, organist Josh Kantor played a different Prince song each inning, starting with “Little Red Corvette” in the first and “Purple Rain” in the second.

A native of Minnesota — said to be a pretty good basketball player in high school — Prince was known as a support of the local teams. The Twins turned all their electronic scoreboards purple in tribute Thursday afternoon, and all of the state’s major professional teams tweeted out tributes.

Prince performed at halftime of Super Bowl XLI in 2007, and it was recognized by Billboard as the best halftime show in the game’s history.

Tweeted Cardinals receiver (and Minnesota native) Larry Fitzgerald: There will never be another Prince. He was a cultural icon & a musical genius. Minneapolis & the world lost a legend today. #RIP #Prince

Wrote Clippers guard (and former Celtics star) Paul Pierce: To the man I named my son after RIP to the great Prince.

— NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been trying to be diplomatic regarding the political controversy in North Carolina, but on Thursday he said the league has made it clear that the 2017 All-Star Game won’t be played in Charlotte unless there is a change to the state law that excludes transgender individuals from anti-discrimination protections.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Blackhawks F Andrew Shaw suspended for anti-gay slur

04.21.16 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 1:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Braves, 12:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Royals, 7:15 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Mavericks, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Pacers, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Warriors at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Predators, 8 p.m. (CNBC)


— Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw is known for getting under the skin of opposing players. On Tuesday he drew the ire of a whole lot more people when he made an inappropriate gesture (a double-middle-finger salute) and then uttered an anti-gay slur after being called for a penalty. That earned him a one-game suspension and a $5,000 fine.

After Tuesday’s game, a 4-3 loss to the Blues, Shaw said he did not know what he said because he was so mad at the time. After heading home and watching the video — which quickly went viral — his mistake was clear.

“It was hard to see,” he said Wednesday. “Emotions got the best of me.”

Shaw, who will miss Thursday’s Game 5 in St. Louis, also will have to undergo sensitivity training, although he claims he already has learned his lesson.

“I’ll never use that word again, that’s for sure … That’s not the type of guy I am,” he said.

Added Shaw: “I apologize to many people, including the gay and lesbian community, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, Blackhawks fans and anyone else I may have offended. I know my words were hurtful and I will learn from my mistake.”

— Controversial cornerback Josh Norman, one of the league’s top defensive backs, reportedly has heard from a large number of teams since he became a free agent Wednesday after the Panthers rescinded their non-exclusive franchise tag offer.

The 28-year-old All-Pro passed on signing the franchise tag — worth $13.9 million for 2016 — and instead was holding out for a long-term deal. However, the sides apparently were not close to an agreement.

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Curt Schilling fired by ESPN after transgender controversy

04.20.16 at 10:03 pm ET
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Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

During his Wednesday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane, baseball analyst Curt Schilling claimed he was “blindsided” when his bosses at ESPN called to talk to him about his latest firestorm, insisting his comments about the transgender controversy were “as innocuous and as non-aggressive as anything anybody can say.”

ESPN obviously did not agree, ending Schilling’s relationship with the network later Wednesday.

“ESPN is an inclusive company,” the network said in a statement. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

On Tuesday, Schilling reposted a graphic that pictured a burly man dressed in suggestive women’s clothing with the words: Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!

He followed that by writing in a separate post: A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.

The posts were a response to the controversy in North Carolina, where a law was passed directing individuals to use bathrooms based on their biological sex. Companies and entertainers have responded by boycotting the state or threatening to pull their business.

Defending himself to D&C, Schilling said, “That [graphic] wasn’t my post. “I commented on that. … I replied to the post. I didn’t post that. I made a comment paraphrasing it would be people that go to the bathroom standing up use one, and people that go the bathroom sitting down use the other. That’s turned into somehow I’m transphobic. I don’t know.”

When asked about the possibility of discipline, he said: “I have not even thought that. I don’t want to say it snuck up on me, but it did. I know that might be hard to believe for some people, but I swear to God. My comment was as innocuous and as non-aggressive as anything anybody can say. I’m still kind of trying to figure out how the hell this all happened. But if that is the case, then I”l deal with that when the time comes.”

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling defends conservative view of transgender issue after controversial post

04.20.16 at 8:20 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 1:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Royals, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hornets at Heat, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Pistons at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Panthers at Islanders, 8 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Wild, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (USA)
Soccer: Premier League, Everton at Liverpool, 3 p.m. (NBCSN)


Schilling transgender post 4-19-16— Curt Schilling again finds himself in the middle of a political firestorm, as the ESPN baseball analyst and former Red Sox pitcher supported the conservative view in the debate about transgendered people and the public bathroom they should use, and as usual he expressed that view in an aggressive way.

Schilling, who is scheduled to appear on Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday morning, shared on Facebook a graphic that featured a man dressed in suggestive women’s clothing with the statement: Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!

He added in another post: A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.

The posts are a response to the controversy in North Carolina, where a law was passed directing individuals to use bathrooms based on their biological sex. Companies and entertainers have responded by boycotting the state or threatening to pull their business.

Schilling followed up with a blog post later Tuesday to “address all of you out there who are just dying to be offended to you can create some sort of faux cause to rally behind.”

In that post, he brought up his controversial tweet from last year that compared Muslims and Islamist extremists to Germans living during the time when Nazis took over their country. He blasted the media for failing to accurately portray his opinion on that subject — “All you fraudulent media folks, you lazy ass “don’t actually won’t to work for a story” clowns.”

He went on to insist he is not biased, and that people who criticize him are missing the point.

Wrote Schilling: You know how I know you ‘offended’ people are full of crap? Because I’m not even close to any of the things you so desperately want me to be, so you can whine. … You frauds out there ranting and screaming about my ‘opinions’ (even if it isn’t) and comments are screaming for “tolerance” and “acceptance” while you refuse to do and be either.

— Agent Drew Rosenhaus made good on his threat to drop Johnny Manziel as a client if he did not seek help for his personal issues, moving on from the former Browns quarterback Tuesday.

Manziel had hired Rosenhaus after his previous agent, Erik Burkhart, parted ways with him after last season. Manziel also was dropped by his marketing firm (LeBron James’ MMR company) in January, and news broke Tuesday that Manziel recently lost his endorsement deal with Nike, which signed him in March 2014 to a multiyear deal.

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Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile on D&C: ‘The BAA hasn’t really been too welcoming to us as hand cyclists’

04.19.16 at 11:41 am ET
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Marc Fucarile (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, shown during an appearance at Fenway Park in 2014, said the BAA has not been very receptive to hand cyclists such as himself. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, who competed in Monday’s race propelling a hand cycle, joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Tuesday morning to talk about his experience and question the Boston Athletic Association’s treatment of handicapped athletes. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Fucarile, who recently returned to the Boston area after spending a year at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland as he continues to be treated for his injuries, said Monday’s experience was “amazing” due to the support of family, friends and fans. However, he expressed some disappointment with comments apparently made by an announcer, who said it’s much easier for someone to complete the course in a hand cycle than a wheelchair.

“I don’t know if the guy just used … a poor choice of words and not thinking what he was saying,” said Fucarile, who lost his right leg in the bombing. “The BAA hasn’t really been too welcoming to us as hand cyclists. More so the wounded veterans than me, [fellow bombing survivors] Patrick [Downes] and Jess [Kensky]. Patrick Downes has been fighting for Team Achilles to get more bibs [race numbers] because they keep making cutbacks on the bibs. I think it’s kind of sad and pathetic.”

Fucarile said BAA executive director Tom Grilk does not take a positive view of hand cycles, “doesn’t like it, thinks they’re not safe.”

“They want elite athletes,” Fucarile said. “And I can’t think of on Patriots Day any more elite athletes than wounded warriors to ride. These guys lost numerous limbs, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, the whole nine yards. Some of them aren’t able to ride wheelchairs.”

Added Fucarile: “I just think the [announcer] used a bad choice of words. But then again, like I said, Boston Marathon, they only want elite athletes is what they claim. … They’re just not too welcoming, which is really, really, really sad on Patriots Day, not welcoming wounded warriors in our country. But we’re going to address that, I think. Patrick’s been dealing with them for the last two years, trying to convince the BAA to allow more wounded veterans and hand cyclists in the race. But I offer anybody that wants to try the 26.2 miles on a hand cycle, I’ll let them use my bike and they can see how ‘easy’ it is.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Bills coach Rex Ryan introduces Donald Trump at Buffalo rally

04.19.16 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Twins, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Hawks, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Rangers, 7 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Red Wings, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Predators, 9:30 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Blackhawks, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Manchester City at Newcastle United, 2:45 p.m. (NBCSN)


— Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft aren’t the only ones in the NFL who are friendly with Donald Trump. Bills coach Rex Ryan introduced the Republican presidential candidate Monday night at a rally in advance of Tuesday’s New York primary.

Ryan has not endorsed Trump, instead saying he is 100 percent behind New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Trump.

Nonetheless, Ryan took the stage at a rally in downtown Buffalo that drew a crowd of about 10,000 people.

“There’s so many things I admire about Mr. Trump, but one thing I really admire about him is, you know what, he’ll say what’s on his mind,” Ryan told the crowd. “But so many times, you’ll see people, a lot of people want to say the same thing. But there’s a big difference. They don’t have the courage to say it. They all think it, but they don’t have the courage to say it.

“And Donald Trump certainly has the courage to say it, and that’s why I respect him. And you know what? So do the people of New York. This man, he’s one of the greatest businessmen, obviously, that we can ever remember. There’s no question about that.”

After being introduced, Trump made a misstatement about Ryan, saying the loud-mouthed coach “won championships in New York — the AFC, I think, twice.” In actuality Ryan led the Jets to two AFC championship games in his previous stop but lost both times.

Added Trump: “I’ve been watching, and I’ll tell you, you’re going to have a very, very good season this year, you watch. It’s going to be good, and it’s because you have a good coach, you really do. And he’s also a terrific guy. … I’m going to be rooting for the Buffalo Bills this year. Believe me.”

Trump was a candidate to buy the Bills in 2014, but he was outbid by Terry and Kim Pegula, who spent an NFL-record $1.4 billion. Trump said Monday that he “bid a billion,” and he praised the Pegulas as “great people.”

The Pegulas distanced themselves from Ryan’s appearance, saying in a statement: “The Bills organization does not endorse political candidates and so he is not representing the organization at [Monday’s] event.”

— Philadelphia fans, often cited as the worst behaved in the nation, added to their legacy Monday when they threw commemorative wristbands on the ice during the Flyers-Capitals game and caused their team to be assessed with a penalty.

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Boston Marathon: 21-year-old Lemi Berhanu Hayle wins men’s race, Atsede Baysa rallies for women’s title

04.18.16 at 12:35 pm ET
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Lemi Hayle crosses the finish line. (Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports)

Lemi Berhanu Hayle crosses the finish line to lead an Ethiopian sweep. (Brian Fluharty/USA Today Sports)

A pair of Ethiopians won titles at Monday’s 120th running of the Boston Marathon, with 21-year-old Lemi Berhanu Hayle pulling away late in the men’s race and Atsede Baysa storming back from a late 37-second deficit to win the women’s title.

Hayle was running alongside defending champion and countryman Lelisa Desisa when he made his move without about a mile to go and won with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, 45 seconds. Desisa held on for second in 2:13:32, followed by Yemane Adhae Tsegay in 2:14:02 as Ethiopia completed a sweep of the top three spots.

Hayle had run just five marathons before Boston, winning three.

Tirfi Tsegaye and Joyce Chepkirui were leading the women’s race when Baysa, trailing the lead pair by 37 seconds with about 5 miles to go, rallied and took the lead at about 24 miles. She went on to win in 2:29:19. Her win breaks a streak of five straight Kenyan women’s winners. Tsegaye, also from Ethiopia, finished second in 2:30:03 and Chepkirui, a Kenyan, was third in 2:30:50.

Defending champion Caroline Rotich began walking shortly after the start and dropped out about 5 miles into the race. She was spotted getting her ankle taped.

In the wheelchair division, Sweden’s Marcel Hug defended his 2015 crown, winning by less than a second over two competitors, and American Tatyana McFadden won the women’s race for the fourth straight time.

About 30,000 runners took over from the start line in Hopkinton, including Adrianne Haslet, who lost a leg in the 2013 bombing at the finish line. She was one of 21 survivors competing this year.

Most of the top American runners sat out this year so they could focus their preparation on this summer’s Olympic Games. The top American male finisher was Zachary Hine, from the Western Massachusetts town of South Hadley, who was 10th in 2:21:37. On the women’s side, Neely Spence Gracey was ninth in 2:35:00.

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Bill Richard, father of Marathon bombing victim, on D&C: ‘We quite frankly did not want to be portrayed in the movie’

04.18.16 at 11:59 am ET
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Bill Richard, the father of Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard, joined Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday morning from the finish line and said that he wishes Mark Wahlberg’s “Patriots Day” movie wasn’t being made.

“We quite frankly did not want to be portrayed in the movie,” Richard said. “We did not want any actors playing the Richard family. Those were the plans. We received assurances that we wouldn’t be portrayed. There’s just no benefit to us being onscreen having actors play a family of five when everyone knows what the outcome is.”

The Richard family met with Wahlberg before filming to express their concerns. Like Wahlberg, they are Dorchester natives.

“I’m comfortable that Mark is a local guy doing it,” Richard said. “If it was anybody else, we might not have even been given the courtesy of a conversation with them. We don’t have any ill will towards them. I think a lot of people share the sentiment that we do — it’s a little too soon.”

Asked if he believed the movie would respectfully portray the events of the 2013 Marathon, Richard said he didn’t know. Bombing victim Jeff Bauman and actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who will portray him in a separate film entitled “Stronger,” threw out first pitches at Fenway on Monday.

“It’s Hollywood,” Richard said. “While we’re not personally looking forward to it, nor do we think it should be portrayed by Hollywood, we can only control so much. Mark is a standup guy. We talked to him about it, we told him our feelings. We respect their process. There are many survivors who are involved in it.”

Richard chose instead to focus on the work of the Martin Richard Foundation. His son was 8 when he lost his life following the second explosion, but he keeps his memory alive with a team of roughly 100 runners partaking in the race as part of the MR8 charity team. The foundation has also partnered with John Hancock to build a park in Martin’s name on the Boston waterfront, with $8 donations possible by texting the name “Martin” to 91999.

“I don’t subscribe to the idea that things happen for a reason, that God has a list,” Richard said. “We got dealt a bad hand and we’re going to deal with it in the future going forward. Martin’s going to live a full life, through these hundred runners, previous runners, and the runners we have in years ahead.”

Read More: Bill Richard, Martin Richard, Martin Richard Foundation, Patriots Day movie

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Controversial CB Brandon Browner returns to Seahawks

04.18.16 at 8:28 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 11:05 a.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Raptors, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Mavericks at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Flyers, 7 pm. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Wild, 8:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Road racing: Boston Marathon, 8:30 a.m. (WBZ-TV, NBCSN)


Brandon Browner

Brandon Browner

— Cornerback Brandon Browner, who had a rough season with the Saints in 2015 after parting ways with the Patriots, is looking forward to a chance to resurrect his career with the Seahawks.

The Seahawks announced Sunday that Browner agreed to a one-year deal to return to Seattle, where he was a part of a Super Bowl championship team before moving on to the Patriots.

His agent said Browner was so excited about the situation that he planned to fly directly from his brother’s wedding in Maui, Hawaii, to get to Seattle in time to sign his contract and join the team’s offseason conditioning program that starts Monday.

“I’ve never heard him happier,” agent Peter Schaffer said. “I really haven’t.”

Browner initially joined the Seahawks in 2011 after a four-year stint in the CFL. He was a key part of the heralded Seattle defense that dominated the league in 2013, although he missed the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory over the Broncos with an injury.

After helping the Patriots beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl the following year, Browner was cut by New England and latched on with the Saints, where his trend of drawing penalties worsened. He also was part of a defense that allowed an NFL record 45 touchdown passes. He said he played the season with a torn knee ligament but expects to be healthy for 2016.

— In-game interviews generally offer little to no insight or entertainment value, but occasionally there’s one worth remembering. Such was the case during Sunday’s Pistons-Cavaliers playoff game, when Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy took a shot at the officials for allegedly protecting LeBron James.

“A couple of calls have upset our guys,” Van Gundy told ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters after the first quarter. “They’ve got to understand, LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do what he wants. They’ve got to understand that.”

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Thinking Out Loud: Ryan Gomes shines in D-League, waiting for chance to return to NBA

04.15.16 at 5:28 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if I’m really too old to hunt for Easter eggs.

— The good news? Former Friar All-American Bryce Cotton did, indeed, sign a contract for the remainder of the regular season with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies under the league’s hardship rules. The bad news? It was a short-term deal, good only for the two regular-season games the Grizz had left on their schedule. He’s not eligible for the playoffs.

— Another former Friar who should be eligible for someone — Ryan Gomes. Gomes was named the NBA D-League’s Impact Player of the Year, averaging 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 31 games for the Los Angeles D-Fenders. He shot 37 percent from 3, too, at age 33 competing against guys 10 years his junior.

— Susan Robinson-Fruchtl resigned this week as women’s basketball coach at Providence after four seasons to accept the athletic director position at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. A former Wade Trophy winner as the top women’s player in the country while at Penn State, she never found the magic at PC she may have once had on the floor as a player, or as a one-time coach at Saint Francis.

— It will be tough for her replacement to find the magic, too, considering the athletic success other teams at PC have had — and still are having.

— Like the men’s hockey team, which had sophomore defenseman Jake Walman named this week as a first team All-American, and senior forward Mark Jankowski earningsecond-team A-A honors. Walman becomes the first Friar since Chris Terreri and Tim Army in 1985 to earn first-team All-America accolades.

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