College Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Warriors F Draymond Green denies intentionally hitting Thunder C Steven Adams in groin for 2nd straight game

05.23.16 at 8:19 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Raptors, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt at FC Nuremberg, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— For the second straight game, Thunder center Steven Adams was hit in the groin by Warriors forward Draymond Green. And despite Green’s protestations, Adams is convinced it’s no accident.

During the second quarter Sunday’s Game 3 — an Oklahoma City victory — Green kicked out his leg after being fouled by Adams in the post, and his foot hit Adams right in the sweet spot.

Officials reviews the play and gave Green a flagrant foul 1 for the play. Green — who did not apologize to Adams during or after the game but said he plans to — is hopeful the call will get rescinded.

“I followed through on a shot,” Green insisted. “I’m not trying to kick somebody in the men’s section. I’m sure he wants to have kids one day. I’m not trying to end that on the basketball court. That don’t make sense. I brought the ball over the top this way [makes motion], he fouled me, and I brought my leg up. I mean, I know my core’s not strong enough to stop my leg halfway from wherever it was going.

“Honestly, I didn’t know I hit him. I walked to the 3-point line and clapped everybody’s hand, and I turned around and he was on the floor. I’m like, ‘What happened?’ I’m standing at the 3-point line, I look at [teammate Andrew] Bogut, and he looked at the replay, and he was like [cringes]. So then I looked at the replay, like, ‘Uh oh.’

“But like I said, I thought it would get rescinded because I’m not trying to kick him. I was following through on the shot, and my leg went up. So no, I don’t think I’ll get suspended. I don’t know how anyone could possibly say I did that on purpose, regardless of the way it looked.”

Green has his coach’s support.

“Stuff like that happens all the time,” Steve Kerr said. “There’s contact, people’s arms, legs flailing. If they think it’s on purpose, play the game, you know. This stuff happens all the time. [Russell] Westbrook kicks his feet out on every 3, and there is contact. I mean, that’s just part of the game. So I don’t understand how that can be deemed a flagrant 1. I think it should be rescinded.”

The Thunder, of course, have a different perspective, and the fact that Green kneed Adams in the groin on a drive to the basket in Game 2 makes them less sympathetic.

“I mean, it happened before, mate,” Adams said Sunday. “He’s pretty accurate, that guy.”

Added Thunder guard Bryant Westbrook: “Honestly, I think it’s intentional. That’s two times in the last two games. I don’t think you can keep [hitting] somebody in their private areas.”

— Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is keeping his options open regarding the race for president.

During comments that aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the “fiercely independent” Cuban said he’d “absolutely” consider an offer to be running mate to Republican Donald Trump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Donald Trump, Draymond Green, Georges Laraque, hillary clinton

Thinking Out Loud: NFL might be king, but NBA rules on Twitter

05.20.16 at 5:44 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering why ads on uniforms are such a big deal.

— Yes, yes. The NFL is king. On TV, and in the stands. In the hearts and minds of most sports fans, football has long been anointed as our true national pastime. But in the world of social media, apparently, synthetic rubber and cowhide hold an edge over pigskin. Especially when it comes to Twitter followers.

— Recent numbers compiled by Greg Auman of the Tampa Tribune bear this out, somewhat surprisingly. In Twitter’s current top 10 pro sports team accounts, the NBA beats the NFL with five teams represented, compared to four for football and one in baseball. In fact, the top three Twitter accounts in total followers all belong to basketball teams — the Lakers (4.82 million), Heat (3.35 million) and Bulls (2.6 million).

— The Patriots are No. 1 in the NFL, fourth overall, with 2.41 million Twitter followers. The Celtics are right behind at fifth overall with 1.86 million followers. The Yankees are baseball’s lone rep in the top 10, ranking ninth (1.65 million).

— Out of 122 professional sports teams in the four major leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), there’s a bottom 10 in Twitter followers, too. Six hockey teams, four baseball teams. Dead last among the 122, the Miami Marlins with 198,000 followers, roughly the equivalent of a nice, long two-week homestand. Or, a four-game Sox-Yankees series.

— There still are games to play, but former Friar Billy Donovan has the defending NBA champ Warriors’ attention at the very least, don’t you think? The key to success, by my way of thinking, for a good college coach to transition successfully into the pros is for the coach to put aside his own ego. Or at least make his players believe he’s doing that.

— It’s something Rick Pitino, through my observations, couldn’t quite accomplish while in the NBA. Of course, you can make the argument Boston (and New England) wouldn’t let him, either.

— Donovan’s ego is so nondescript, did you even remember he was the coach in Oklahoma City before the last few weeks? The one-time student learned from the teacher in this case, and he has, so far, successfully applied those lessons to his present-day team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jets CB Darrelle Revis fires longtime agents

05.20.16 at 12:38 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Darrelle Revis

Darrelle Revis

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has made a reported $101 million in his NFL career, fired his longtime agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, who have been with the player since his rookie season in 2007. Schwartz confirmed the move (first reported by ESPN) to The Associated Press without explanation.

Revis, known as something of an NFL mercenary, is in the second year of a five-year, $70 million contract that guarantees him $17 million this season.

Schwartz and Feinsod over the past nine seasons have made Revis one of the wealthiest players in the NFL. According to sportrac.com, Revis is one of only three non-quarterbacks in the top 15 in NFL player earnings among active players.

Patriots fans know Revis’ money-first mindset. In 2014 Revis signed a two-year $32 million contract with New England that essentially was a one-year $12 million deal that allowed Revis to cash in and also win a Super Bowl ring before bolting for the Jets the following season.

Read More: Darrelle Revis,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-NBA executive questions Ben Simmons’ maturity

05.20.16 at 8:08 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Indians at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— There was a time when Ben Simmons was considered the certain No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. But after a season in which he was not able to lead LSU to an NCAA Tournament berth, some concerns have been raised about the 6-foot-10 forward.

His work ethic and overall passion for the game has been questioned, and now a former NBA executive said there also are concerns about his maturity level.

“He’s a great talent, great passer and knows the game,” former Nuggets vice president of player personnel (and former player) Rex Chapman said Thursday on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “But I think if you ask people around LSU, around the league, he’s got some immaturity issues, and I think that’s what frightens teams a little bit.

“I think more so off the court. I think his game is a little more mature than his age for sure, but I think there are questions about his ability to be a really good teammate.”

The 76ers, who hold the No. 1 pick, apparently still are high on Simmons, as coach Brett Brown this week compared him to Magic Johnson and LeBron James.

Simmons, who is credited with being able to do just about everything except shoot from outside, averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for an LSU team that went 19-14.

Brown also revealed that he has been friendly with the Simmons family since he coached Ben’s father, David, for five seasons with the Melbourne Tigers in Australia in the late 1980s/early 1990s, although NBA rules forced him to limit his contact with them.

— The NFL finally did something in an attempt to improve its image, indicating that it will refund $723,734 to the Defense Department, which had paid teams to honor military service members at games and events.

The league had come under heavy criticism for accepting the payments, with Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake criticizing the Pentagon for the “paid patriotism.” A reports issued last year found 72 contracts — in various sports — in which the government paid for patriotic tributes, something the Defense Department said it no longer will do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ben Simmons, Rex Chapman,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Knicks reportedly set to hire Jeff Hornacek as coach

05.19.16 at 8:26 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Astros at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Cavaliers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Sharks, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championships, 9 a.m., 1 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jeff Hornacek

Jeff Hornacek

— The Knicks apparently have settled on Jeff Hornacek to be their next coach, a decision that turned some heads in New York.

Hornacek, who was spotted with team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills leaving a New York restaurant Wednesday evening, did not play or coach under Jackson, and he has not coached Jackson’s preferred triangle offense. He compiled a 101-112 record during two-plus seasons with the Suns before being fired in February.

ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, a former Knicks coach, said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio that he was told Hornacek won’t be pushed to run the triangle, even though Jackson worked with the players on the offense after New York’s season ended.

“The things I’ve heard is that he’s not going to be required to run the triangle,” Van Gundy said. “Which is smart from the standpoint that he’s never taught it before. So you don’t want to come in trying [something] that you’ve never played in or taught. I’m interested in that. But I think it’s an inspired choice.”

Jackson reportedly wanted to promote interim coach Kurt Rambis but apparently was concerned that Rambis was not popular with the players or team owner James Dolan.

Since Jackson’s arrival in New York two years ago, the Knicks are 49-115.

— It wasn’t close to the kind of tirades his father used to go on, but Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a few choice words for his last-place team during a meeting with the media Wednesday at the MLB owners meetings in New York.

Steinbrenner placed the blame for the team’s struggles squarely on the shoulders of the players.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Hal Steinbrenner, Jeff Hornacek, Phil Jackson,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Former Bruin Kevin Stevens released after pleading not guilty to federal drug charges

05.18.16 at 8:21 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, Game 1, 2:15 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, Game 2, 8:15 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Warriors, 9 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Europa League, Sevilla vs. Liverpool, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Former Bruin Kevin Stevens, who had been in custody since being arrested Thursday on federal drug charges, pleaded not guilty Tuesday and was released — then was arrested by local police for violating terms of his probation. He was released by local police later in the day.

The 51-year-old, who grew up in Pembroke and starred at Boston College before playing 15 years in the NHL, is accused of conspiracy and intent to distribute the highly addictive painkiller oxycodone.

Stevens, who received treatment for substance issues late in his NHL career, agreed to participate in a mental health treatment program and undergo a substance abuse evaluation as part of his terms for release.

His attorney, Paul Kelly, told The Boston Globe that Stevens developed additions to Percocet, Vicodin and various opioids during his recovery from multiple fractures in his face after he slammed headfirst into the ice following a collision during a game in 1993. Stevens, who helped the Penguins win Stanley Cups in 1991 and ’92, continued his career — playing a half-season for his hometown Bruins in 1995-96 — but was arrested in 2000 after being found in a motel room after a game with crack cocaine and a prostitute. He entered the NHL’s Substance Abuse Program but apparently never was able to get clean.

Stevens was arrested in May 2015 in Plymouth County for driving with a suspended license.

“He has beaten the opioid addiction a couple of times,” Kelly told the Globe prior to Tuesday’s hearing. “He’s done a couple of stints in rehab through the NHL drug treatment program, which is all very hush-hush and confidential. But the NHL and NHLPA stepped in, and he has done a couple of stints. But the problem is he struggles with pain.

“Maybe a year or 18 months ago, he was in a car accident and he broke a couple of vertebra in his neck and upper back and again he was just in incredible pain. And again, they put him on Oxycontin, or one of these painkillers, and of course for a guy who has been fighting an addiction to these things, it immediately just sucks him right back in.”

— Rougned Odor said he will appeal the eight-game suspension he was given by Major League Baseball for punching Jose Bautista in the face during Sunday’s game.

“I knew I was going to be suspended,” Odor said Tuesday after the punishment was announced. “I have to follow the rules, and I’m just waiting for the appeal. I want to be with my team all year. I don’t want to be out eight games.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Kevin Stevens, Rougned Odor,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Thunder again benefit from late missed call to win playoff game, this time over Warriors

05.17.16 at 8:13 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:15 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Cavaliers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Draft lottery, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Thunder benefited from some key missed calls during their second-round series victory over the Spurs, and that trend continued in Monday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

After the Thunder rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to take a three-point lead, guard Russell Westbrook dribbled up the court, picked up his dribble and clearly dragged his pivot foot before calling a timeout.

Referee Monty McCutchen, standing a few feet away, gave Westbrook the timeout despite the protestations of the Warriors and coach Steve Kerr, who signaled for a travel.

“I thought he walked, but it wasn’t called, so that’s the way it goes,” Kerr said.

Said Westbrook: “I just play until I hear the whistle.”

After the timeout, Westbrook was fouled and hit one free throw to make it a two-possession game, and the Thunder held on for a 108-102 victory.

“The officials, no one could get in a good position to see him drag that pivot foot,” NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia told NBA TV. “It’s an unfortunate miss, but so much going on in the play, the speed of it, and officiating is about getting angles and sometimes you just can’t get them, and they did not get a great angle on that play.”

— One day after his fight with Blue Jays star Jose Bautista, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor said Monday that he did not regret what happened but that he respects Bautista and wants to move on from Sunday’s incident.

“I think it’s over,” the Venezuelan said through a translator. “It’s in the past.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Joey Bautista, Rougned Odor, Russell Westbrook, Sammy Watkins

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista ‘pretty surprised’ by Rougned Odor’s punch to his face

05.16.16 at 8:12 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:15 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Warriors, 9 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— It’s not secret that the Rangers were not happy with Jose Bautista’s bat flip during the playoffs last season. On Sunday they got some revenge, courtesy of second baseman Rougned Odor’s right hand to Bautista’s jaw.

In the eighth inning of Texas’ 7-6 victory, Rangers pitcher Matt Bush — the 30-year-old rookie whose career was derailed by a 3 1/2-year stint in prison for a drunken driving accident — plunked Bautista.

On an ensuing grounder, Bautista slid through second base and forced a wild relay throw from Odor (but the runner was called out due to Bautista’s obstruction). As Bautista got up, Odor pushed him in the chest, and they both took a fighting stance. Odor then connected with a strong right that knocked off Bautista’s helmet and glasses and appeared to stun him.

“I was pretty surprised,” Bautista said. “I mean, obviously, that’s the only reason that he got me and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down.”

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre grabbed Bautista and pulled him away as players from both teams rushed in.

Bautista and Odor were ejected along with another representative from each team.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who had been ejected during a third inning argument with umpires, returned to the field during the fight and exchanged words with Rangers manager Jeff Banister.

“I didn’t want to sit here and drink too much wine,” Gibbons joked. “You’ve got to go out there. I’m sure the league will say something about that, but it’s kind of the manager’s responsibility.”

When the game resumed, Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Prince Fielder with the next pitch and was ejected along with bench coach Demarlo Hale, who had replaced Gibbons.

Gibbons said he didn’t appreciate that the Rangers waited until Bautista’s last at-bat of the series to start something.

“It was ugly and unfortunate,” Gibbons said. “To me, it was gutless. The other 29 teams, they come at you right away, but to wait until the end, it just sort of tells you something. Everybody is going to say, ‘Oh, it was a one-run game. The ball got away.’ That ain’t going to fly.”

— The Mayor of Manchester, England, expressed his frustration with Sunday’s postponement of a Premier League soccer game due to a fake bomb left apparently behind after a training exercise.

After the Manchester United-Bournemouth match was called off and the stadium cleared of fans, the device — found in a toilet — was blown up in a controlled explosion. It was later determined to be a fake.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Curt Schilling, Donald Trump, Jose Bautista, Rougned Odor

Thinking Out Loud: NBA draft combine will have big effect on Big East

05.13.16 at 5:41 pm ET
By   |   Comments

Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to the Olympic ideal.

— Junior Lomomba certainly could have been a part of PC’s backcourt mix next season. Fifth-year players can be found gold for many programs, because they often serve as “coaches on the floor.” In Junior’s case, however, the guess here is that he’ll need a chance to showcase or develop skills that might allow him to pursue pro ball — so he heads to Western Kentucky.

— Junior’s role for the Friars was to defend and rebound — worthwhile and needed, but not conducive to developing an all-around game. He’s a solid student, and a great young man. Hope he gets what he needs.

— Tyree Chambers’ departure shouldn’t come as a surprise, either. It’s simple — the younger guards coming into the program need the playing time in order to develop. They also probably give the Friars the best chance to win — now. Another good program kid who filled a need, and deserves to play somewhere.

— Don’t know if anyone noticed, but Providence was one of 12 college basketball programs with multiple players (2) attending the NBA draft combine this week. If you want to be one of the big boys, you’d best go recruit some big boys. Just sayin’.

— Thoughts on the NBA combine in Chicago? Early returns are mixed, at least where Ben Bentil is concerned. ESPN’s Chad Ford believes he could be a sleeper in the draft and potentially selected anywhere from 18 to 28 overall. Is that enough for him to stay in the draft? It shouldn’t be. On occasion, these “expert” opinions can do more harm than good, if the athletes (and those who are in their ears) pay them any attention at all.

— Hopes for next season are hanging in the balance of this week’s combine at three Big East schools — Providence (Bentil), Villanova (Josh Hart) and Seton Hall (Isaiah Whitehead). All three could return — unless they set the floor on fire this week and hire an agent. All three remain front runners for preseason Player of the Year in the Big East next season, too.

— An NBA scout told the New York Post this week, “It’s a big few days for [the three players] because it allows them to figure out who they are. It’s one thing to be the second-best guy at Providence, the best guy at Seton Hall, and a real good guy at Villanova. But that’s something totally different from being a first-round pick.”

— The Big East could be L-O-A-D-E-D once again, coming off of a national championship year, if these three players are around to lead the way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ben Bentil, Junior Lomomba,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Aaron Hernandez associate Ernest Wallace acquitted of murder but found guilty of being accessory

05.13.16 at 8:13 am ET
By   |   Comments

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Astros at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cubs, 2 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championships, United States vs. Hungary, 9:30 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Ernest Wallace, one of Aaron Hernandez’s associates who was with the former Patriots tight end the night Hernandez shot and killed Odin Lloyd, was acquitted of first-degree murder but found guilty of being an accessory after the fact.

Wallace was sentenced to serve 4 1/2 to seven years in state prison. He has been in custody since turning himself into authorities in June 2013, shortly after Lloyd’s death, and will receive credit for the nearly three years he already has been in custody.

The Bristol Superior Court jury’s decision Thursday came after a 10-week trial and about eight hours of deliberations over two days.

“I very much respect the jury’s verdict,” District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn said in a statement. “They apparently felt there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Mr. Wallace and Mr. Hernandez were acting in concert to kill Odin Lloyd. I am happy the jury found the defendant guilty of accessory after the fact to murder, and was involved in the attempt to cover up the crime. I am pleased he will serve a state prison sentence.”

Wallace’s attorney, David E. Meier, also sounded pleased with the result.

“The jury’s verdict on the first-degree murder charge speaks for itself, as does the speed with which the jury returned that verdict,” Meier told The Boston Globe. “In the end, the truth won out. Mr. Wallace looks forward to rejoining his family in Florida as soon as possible and moving on with his life.”

Another man, Carlos Ortiz, faces similar charges and is due to be tried in October. Prosecutors say all three men played meaningful roles in Lloyd’s death after picking him up from his Dorchester apartment.

Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder last year and is serving a life sentence, which he is appealing. He also faces a double-murder charge for the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside a Boston nightclub in July 2012.

— Russia’s chances of competing in track and field in the upcoming Rio Olympics took a blow Thursday when the World Anti-Doping Agency criticized the country’s oversight of its program.

WADA released statistics indicating that testing by independent authorities in Russia decreased by more than two-thirds in the past year, despite reports of widespread violations by athletes.

On the same day, The New York Times published a story detailing how at the Sochi Games in 2014 Russia switched out urine samples and committed other acts to hide doping in its athletes, including 15 who won medals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Ernest Wallace, Scott Skiles,