<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:32:14 -0500 Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:32:14 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[7 UConn Players Earn AAC Honors]]> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:31:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kiah+stokes_1.jpg

When you're the nation's top-ranked team, and you're currently on a 28-game winning streak, it's only fitting that the all-conference squad is littered with familiar faces. On Thursday, seven members of the UConn women's team earned such honors.

Guard Moriah Jefferson, guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, forward Breanna Stewart and forward Morgan Tuck were named to the American Athletic Conference first team. Kiah Stokes was named to the second team, and freshmen Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams earned all-freshman honors.

There's more: Stokes' dominating play in the paint made her the obvious choice for AAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Jefferson, who seamlessly replaced Bria Hartley at point guard, was named most improved. Meanwhile, Williams was named sixth man of the year for her role coming off UConn's bench.

More details via the press release:

Stokes becomes the fifth-ever Husky to earn a conference Defensive Player of the Year and third-straight after Stefanie Dolson grabbed the honor a season ago and Kelly Faris took home the accolade in 2012-13. Stokes (125) is just six blocks shy of Rebecca Lobo’s program single-season blocks record of 131. The senior center leads the Huskies with 7.4 rebounds in just 19.7 minutes per game. Her 5.5 defensive boards per game ranks fourth in the conference and she leads the league with 4.2 rejections per contest. ...

Jefferson’s Most Improved Player accolade is the third such award in program history and first since Faris earned the distinction in 2012-13. The Texan, who is averaging 11.7 points in 27.1 minutes per game this season, has been one of the Huskies' most consistent scoring options in In total, she ranks first on the team in assists (139) and steals (79) and is one of seven Huskies shooting over 50.0 percent from the floor (56.4).

Williams earned the Huskies’ third-ever Sixth Player of the Year nod and first since Mosqueda-Lewis in 2011-12. The freshman boasts the conference’s best field goal percentage (.633) and is averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 16.7 minutes off the bench.

"I don't get tired of [being the hunted team]," coach Geno Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "It's OK because [the excellence] is something we've created. So it's not like something someone dumped on us; the responsibility of being that team. It's taken us 20 years to create this. And now that we've created it we have to deal with it. But I tend to get kids to come to UConn that want to deal with it."



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Take Step Back in Loss to Memphis]]> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:28:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP569834851424.jpg

So much for momentum. After winning six of its last eight games, the Huskies fell to Memphis after a last-second shot from senior Ryan Boatright couldn't find the bottom of the net.

"I just didn't take a real good shot, I'm not even going make up any excuses," he said afterwards. "I could have got a better shot off than that. I didn't make the right decision."

It was Boatright's final home game and the 54-53 loss served as something of a microcosm of UConn's 2014-15 season.

“Give Memphis credit," coach Kevin Ollie said. "They came out and they played hard. They took it to us right at the beginning of the game. They junked up the game. They played with a sense of urgency, and we didn’t, right from the tap.

"I thought the guys just forgot what we did against SMU," Ollie said of the team's big win just four days prior. "We shared the basketball, we played together, and I just thought there was just a little bit too much selfishness out there today.”

With one regular-season game remaining (Temple, on Saturday), the Huskies are pretty much where Boatright feared they would be a few weeks ago: needing to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament to get invited to the Big Dance.

"We know what we have to do," Boatright said.

Freshman Daniel Hamilton added: "This is no time to hang our heads now."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders-Charges Stadium Docs Filed]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:20:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/rhhoachhhh.jpg

Organizers behind a proposed stadium for the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers in a Los Angeles suburb filed paperwork Wednesday to bring their plan before voters.

Submission of the ballot initiative to the city of Carson, California, marks an incremental step in development of the $1.7 billion project.

If approved, it would modify zoning laws to allow construction of a stadium on the site of a former landfill.

Organizers, funded by the two teams, could begin collecting petition signatures as soon as next week to place the plan on the ballot. They'll need to get 8,041 signatures in the next 180 days.

The Raiders and Chargers announced last month they are planning a shared stadium in Carson if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.

A ballot approval would put the plan on the same footing as another NFL stadium project 10 miles away in Inglewood that is backed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The fast-tracked Inglewood plan last week got to skip the ballot process with a simple City Council vote because it is being added to an already-in-progress development.

Yet another stadium plan, for downtown Los Angeles, also remains alive, but has no team attached.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Senior Night Awaits Ryan Boatright]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:28:40 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/uconn+kentucky+win+6.jpg

Thursday night is Senior Night at Gampel Pavilion, which, if nothing else, serves as a stark reminder that Ryan Boatright's UConn career is coming to an end. He's the latest great point guard to play for the Huskies, most recently following Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier, who both led the team to national titles during their final year.

But Boatright has always had his sights on the NBA, which is why it was something of a surprise when he announced last offseason that he'd return for his senior year.

"Coming into school I'd had some rough upbringing, grew up in not the best circumstances," Boatright said, via the Hartford Courant. "My main thing was to get an education yes, but the education could always be there, I could always go back to school. I wanted to get to the NBA and make some money and get my family out of that situation that we were in."

But that perspective -- that urgency -- changed in part due to coach Kevin Ollie.

"I don't think another guard has been through the ups and downs that [Boatright] has," Ollie said. "I don't compare guards. But to stick with it the way he has, really puts him up there with the best of them. … And it was a beautiful thing to see him mature. ...

"He was always a leader, but it's the way he goes about being a leader now," Ollie told the Courant. "He has really changed his ways, and that's the most powerful thing he's done is change his mind-set from the first day he came to Storrs to now. He's just got a great future ahead of him and I thank him and his family for letting me be a part of it.'

Boatright added: "It didn't work out like [I planned], and I'm proud. I'm glad it didn't work out like that, because I wouldn't have a national championship. I wouldn't be the man I am today."

But unfinished business remains. The Huskies are the definition of a bubble team; they're going to need a good showing in the AAC Tournament -- and may even need to win the whole thing, as Boatright suggested a few weeks ago -- to get an invite to the Big Dance.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Purvis, Hamilton Critical to UConn's Success]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:37:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/purvis-AP905155440152.jpg

Coach Kevin Ollie has talked for weeks about how Ryan Boatright can't carry this team the entire season. Thankfully, transfer Rodney Purvis has recently shown signs of playing like the McDonald's High School All-American he was, and Daniel Hamilton continues to play like one of the best freshman in the country.

And those players, along with the Amida Brimahs and Omar Calhouns and Kentan Faceys will only make the Huskies more dangerous as we head into the AAC Tournament -- and, Lord willing, the NCAAs.

"I've been waiting on it all year," Boatright said of the play of Purvis and Hamilton in the team's win over SMU (via the Hartford Courant). "I've seen these guys since the summertime, I know all the work they put in. I know how good they can be, if they just have the confidence in themselves and know they can do it. It sure was good to see them do it. ...

"He's just playing basketball," Boatright said of Purvis' recent surge. "He wasn't thinking too much, he was playing hard on the defensive end. Any time you play hard on the defensive end, your offense is going to come from that, especially when we were moving the ball the way we were [against SMU]. He stopped thinking, just let his athleticism and his instinct take over."

After a post-New Year's stretch that involved mostly inconsistent basketball, UConn has won six of eight and, in typical UConn fashion, is getting hot as we enter tournament season.

"We can beat anybody here," Hamilton said, via the Courant. "If we play the way we played [Sunday], it will be tough for anybody to beat us. … We have to step up and make plays. Boat has been carrying us on his back all season, so we have to make plays for the senior."

The explanation for Hamilton's improvement?

"I'm just letting the game come to me, not forcing shot," he said. "In the second half, I just took what they gave me, and didn't try to force it. Early in the season I would have tried to force it."



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Wants QB Leader to Emerge This Spring]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:34:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+bob+diaco+stony+brook.jpg

Coach Bob Diaco, entering his second year as the Huskies coach, spoke with the media Wednesday. Not surprisingly, UConn's quarterback situation came up. The candidates include junior Tim Boyle, transfer Bryant Shirreffs or true freshman Tyler Davis.

It's not ideal, but that's been a recurring them since the Huskies played in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2010 season. But with spring practice upon us, the hope is that the players will differentiate themselves.

“I am not backing away from it, I would like to see a leader emerge from those three, knock on wood, everyone for practice one is expected to be full speed,” Diaco said, via SNY.com. “I am very hopeful that not only a leader emerge, and a pecking order 1-2-3. ...

As for the differences between Boyle and Shirreffs, the two likely candidates for the starting job, Diaco offered this: "Physically, they are different, they move different. Bryant is a quicker and faster player. He’s overall core strength and body strength. He’s a stronger overall player body-wise than the other two. He’s a faster player in term of leg and running speed…

“Tim has a stronger arm in terms of velocity, rotation, down the field length. There’s a strength right there in Tim’s corner. Tim’s taller from a vision standpoint. I am excited to see what decisions they both make moving forward,” Diaco told SNY.com.

But that doesn't mean the freshman Davis is out of the picture. Too many questions remain unanswered to rule him out in March.

“He’s going to have to (be the No. 3 quarterback)," Diaco conceded. "We don’t have a choice. Not enough depth at position yet. The attrition, has been well documented and has been profound. There’s just not enough depth…all hands on deck. I think (Davis) has got to go, compete, and get equal reps until someone separates.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Wilfork Told He Won't be Re-Signed by Patriots ]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 12:40:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/178*120/136098124.jpg

Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots says he has been informed that the team will not be picking up his option.

He released the following statement via his Twitter account Thursday morning.

33-year-old Wilfork was drafted by the Pats in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. 

He played college football for the University of Miami. 

No. 75 was named both to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. 

Wilfork is thanking the Patriots and fans for the past 11 years. 

He was due to receive a $4 million roster bonus by Monday and would have gotten $14 million over the next two seasons if it had been picked up.

It should be noted that Wilfork has not ruled out a return to New England next season.



Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NFL Commissioner Testifies at Super Bowl Seats Trial]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:42:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/super+bowl+xlv+temp+seats.jpg

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified in a video deposition played Wednesday at the North Texas Super Bowl seats trial in Dallas federal court.

Goodell said he relied on people under him who provided assurances that temporary seats were being installed as planned for Super Bowl XLV in Arlington.

"Everyone was fully aware of the consequences and the need to address the issue," Goodell said in the August 2013 recording.

Goodell said he did not mention seating concerns for fans at a Feb. 4, 2011, press conference, two days before the game, because he was still under the impression the seats would be ready.

"My comments were very brief and I was there to answer the questions from the media," he said.

By game time about 1,200 sets were still not approved by city inspectors. Approximately 400 fans who never got seats that day were taken to a club below the seating area where they watched the game on TV. They were allowed on the field after the game.

One of those fans is plaintiff David Wanta, a Wausau, Wis., school teacher. Wanta testified Wednesday that he took out a $5,000 loan at his credit union and used savings that upset his wife, to see his beloved Green Bay Packers in the 2011 Super Bowl.

He and plaintiff Ken Laffin paid $800 for each of their tickets. They flew from Madison, Wis., to Denver and then to Oklahoma City, where they rented a car because icy weather that year made the rest of the trip impossible by plane.

At the game they were blocked from entry and corralled in a fenced area with other angry fans whose seats were not ready.

Wanta testified he never would have made the trip if he'd known he would end up watching the game on television.

But an attorney for the NFL questioned Wanta on the $7,245 in total expenses he claimed for the trip. It included $320 in taxi cab fares, $565 in food, $800 of incidentals and $1,000 for events other than the Super Bowl.

Wanta said he purchased Packers clothing and wanted to make the most of the disappointing experience since they made the long trip.

The NFL has already settled with hundreds of other fans, offering refunds and trips to subsequent Super Bowls. In opening statements an NFL attorney said these plaintiffs made excessive demands.

The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones were responsible for temporary seat construction at the stadium for the 2011 Super Bowl. Jones and the team are not defendants in the lawsuit, but Jones is expected to be a witness in the trial.

NFL officials have said icy weather before the game was a big factor in failing to have all the seats ready but that the league accepts responsibility for what went wrong. Goodell repeated that in the deposition heard Wednesday.

"Ultimately it's our responsibility," Goodell said. "It is our responsibility to put the event on and make sure fans have a positive experience."

The trial could last two weeks. The threat of freezing weather ended Wednesday's session at 1:30 p.m.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn told jurors to return at 1 p.m. Thursday after the threat of icy roads has passed. Goodell's video deposition will continue Thursday.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Could Take a Toll on High School Sports]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:36:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/530pspringstill030415doug00000000.jpg

Relentless snow has buried high school playing fields and could jeopardize spring seasons if it doesn't melt soon.

The sign on the tennis courts near Manchester High School says "tennis shoes only" but right now, only snowshoes can get you near the snow-covered nets.

Down the hill, hurdles peeking out from under the snow reveals just how much accumulation has to melt before the school can use its track.

"I suspect that coaches will get out here with some shovels and snowblowers and take at least a coat off there so the sun gets to it," said the athletic director, Lindsey Boutilier. "We'll be out here, my bet is, March 23, when we're due to get out here."

Practices for spring sports don't begin until then, except for baseball, which starts March 16. Boutilier said the snow has created a level playing field: all Connecticut high schools' fields are buried in snow.

"Everybody's worried," said the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Executive Director Karissa Niehoff. "The rain increases the weight of the snow and it's so deep right now that removal basically is impossible."

She warned that the snow sits above a frozen tundra, and after the snow melts the ground will be soggy for days.

The first high school games are slated for April 8, and some schools may have to reschedule until later in the spring, even if that means teams will play four or five games a week.

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<![CDATA[Rock Cats Reveal Options for New Name]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:36:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rock+Cat+names+revealed+1200.jpg

The former New Britain Rock Cats will be packing up and heading to Hartford, and the team revealed its top 10 name choices at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

The names are as follows:

  • Blue Frogs, honoring ” Mark Twain’s "Jumping Frog," and the name of Hartford’s first baseball team, the Dark Blues.
  • Choppers, in honor of Connecticut inventing the first helicopter in 1939.
  • Hedgehogs, a tribute to the insurance industry.
  • Honey Badgers
  • Hound Dogs
  • Praying Mantic, after Connecticut's state insect
  • River Hogs, a tribute to the Hog River that flows under the city of Hartford
  • Screech Owls, native to Hartford.
  • Whirlybirds, celebrating helicopter manufacturing
  • Yard Goats, railroad slang for an engine that switches a train to get it ready for another locomotive to take over.

Hartford will be hosting the newly-named professional baseball team for the first time in 60 years. The new label for the team will be launched in April of 2016.

Fans were given the chance to submit their name ideas as part of an online contest. Today, the team will reveal the top 10 catchiest names chosen by a selection committee.

Local children stood at the podium, where they each announced a finalist name and the explanation on why it should be the winner was give.

You can vote on your top three choices online. Voting ends March 11.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Former NBA Star, Addict to Speak at Glastonbury School]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:56:04 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Chris+Herren.jpg

Former NBA star Chris Herren is heading to Glastonbury later this week to share his story of substance abuse and recovery with students at Smith Middle School.

Chris Herren, who played for the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, dealt with substance abuse throughout his professional basketball career. He has been alcohol- and drug-free since Aug. 1, 2008, and has become a motivational speaker and author.

Herren will speak at Smith Middle School at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on March 6. The session is being sponsored by The Kenneth Joyce Foundation and G’bury Kids for Kids.

He put his journey onto paper in his memoir, Basketball Junkie, and is also involved in the ESPN Films documentary "Unguarded."

The Chris Herren program is a kickoff event to G’bury Kids for Kids 3rd Annual Basketball Tournament, which will be on Sunday, March 22 in efforts to raise money for charities helping children.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Sam to Speak at Quinnipiac University]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:30:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/27d55e682d08415eaf4ce0fabc4e4a99.jpg

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, will speak at Quinnipiac University on Tuesday evening.

Sam’s speech will begin at 7 p.m. at the Burt Kahn Court located on Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel campus. He will focus on his journey to the NFL while dealing with adversity along the way.

“Michael Sam’s life journey is so valuable and he has much to offer others,” Stefano Fasulo, associate director for campus life, said in a statement Tuesday. “He faced adversity head-on from an early age and became SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Sam has remained true to his authentic self. That is a very important message for our students.”

Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in May 2014. He was later cut before the start of the regular season, when the Dallas Cowboys then added Sam to its practice squad on Sept. 3.

Despite being waived by the Cowboys on Oct. 21, Sam is continuing his pursuit of becoming the first openly gay player to make an NFL roster.
 

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<![CDATA[Top Photos: MLB Spring Training 2015 ]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:56:33 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mlb-th-AP38074322960_0.jpg See photos from Major League Baseball's 2015 spring training as teams gear up for the upcoming season.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Geno: Stewart's Best Player in the Country]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:58:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breanna-stewart-nd-finals.png

Breanna Stewart was the 2014 national player of the year, and it would surprise no one -- least of all Geno Auriemma -- if she earned that honor again in 2015. She's that good, that valuable to her team -- and, frankly, that much better than everybody else in college basketball.

“Stewie’s the best player in the country and there are a lot of other really good players in the country,” Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “You know how I know? There are 365 Division I coaches. If you put a gun to their head and say, ‘You can only have one player in America, who would you take?’ Anybody who took anyone other than Stewie should just pull the trigger. Stewie just doesn’t go out every night trying to get everybody to say, ‘Wow, she’s the best player in the country.’ She doesn’t do that. That’s not who she is.

“She likes to play basketball, she loves the game, and loves the big games. The bigger the game, the better she plays. When the time is right, when March comes around, Stewie is at her best. Does that mean she’ll deliver all the time? This is a real challenge for Stewie. This is the first time she’s been the oldest player on her team. She was always that great player that had older guys around her to carry her along when things didn’t go well. This year is the first time she’s been that person that everyone looks up to and it’s not easy to be in that situation in Connecticut.”

On Monday night, Stewart scored 29 points, had 11 rebounds and blocked seven shots in UConn's 88-65 win over South Florida. And even though she's been shining at UConn for almost three seasons now, Auriemma still finds himself impressed.

“She was unbelievable tonight, and they were pretty physical with her," he said of Stewart's performance against USF. "I wish this was men’s basketball or some other teams in the country. I wish they treated Stewie with a little more respect. Stewie gets her butt beat every possession. If you watch the game and you watch closely, no one gets beat up more than that kid when she cuts, when she goes into the lane, wherever she goes. And she hardly ever shoots any free throws. There’s a different standard for Stewie than there is for anybody else," Auriemma told Adamec.

“I think it’s ‘Hey, she’s the best player in the country, they’re up by 25, hell with it.’ If it was someone else, they’d be going to the line. We’ve played against a lot of kids and they’ve lived at the free throw line. As a matter of fact, they would shoot two free throws before the game started just on principle.”

Depth, toughness and amazing talent. These are all good things to have in a team if you're Auriemma, especially when Stewart is the centerpiece.

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<![CDATA[Teams Struggling to Shutdown Stewart]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:58:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn-AP967109896261.jpg

Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented player to come through Storrs. That's a bold statement give UConn's history -- including nine national championships -- right up until the moment you watch Stewart play. Then it becomes much easier to make that argument.

Either way, the 2014 national player of the year isn't sneaking up on anybody. It's why every opponent game plans to stop her, and it's why she often finds herself on the receiving end of college basketball's version of Jordan Rules. The attention hasn't been lost on Stewart.

“It’s different each game,” Stewart said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “The refs, you have to see how they’ll call the game. Sometimes it’s physical and sometimes they call it tight. A lot of teams want to get our posts in foul trouble because they know we don’t have six post players. That’s why we have to be careful. Maybe there will be bad calls against us, some flops and that kind of thing. We’re expecting it.

“I notice it. It’s something I expect. When I go through the lane I expect to get hit. And if I were to do it to someone else, they’d call a foul. It’s a part of the game, there’s nothing you can really say about it. It happens.”

The latest episode came Monday night, in UConn's 88-65 win over South Florida. Stewart still scored 29 points, pulled 11 rebounds and blocked seven shots.

Put another way: Stewart has a knack for getting hot as tournament time approaches. That's trouble for whomever the Huskies face.

“Each game I want to play better, but March is when you want to play your best,” she said. “That’s when people play at their best.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Geno Has Nickname for Gabby Williams]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:58:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP884776180431.jpg

Last month, coach Geno Auriemma explained that a reduction in Gabby Williams' minutes during the critical game against South Carolina had nothing to do with the freshman's performance, and a lot to do with the starters finding their rhythm.

Either way, Williams was only motivated by the perceived slight. On Saturday against Memphis, Williams scored 16 points and pulled 10 rebounds. But like most freshmen, the issue isn't talent, it's consistency. And this is what puzzles Auriemma.

Against South Florida on Monday, Williams played just nine minutes and finished 0-1 from the field with no points, on rebounds, two assists and two turnovers.

"I've started calling Gabby Williams 'Forest Gump,' " Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "You know when he talks about how you never know what you're going to get in the box of chocolates? Well, I come to games saying, 'OK, let's see what the Gabby Williams show looks like today.' And you have no idea what it's going to look like. It's like this at practice sometimes, too. You never know when it is going to blow up or something completely different."

Williams knows she's a work in progress, but she uses that as motivation.

"I'm still not done proving myself to him," she said. "I feel like I still need to show him that I am consistent and reliable. And hopefully, he'll have that confidence in me if he perceives I have it in myself, which I do now."

If this sounds familiar, it should. Here's Williams after the South Carolina game last month.

"...All I can do is find a way to get him to trust me," she said at the time. "I understand you have to wait your time, make way for the experienced players. But at the same time, I'm not going to be satisfied to just sit on my butt and wait for it to happen. I'm going to do what's necessary to change it."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[DeLorean Time Machine Giveaway]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:07:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/179*120/GettyImages_52521392.jpg

Great Scott! One lucky museum-goer could own their very one "Back to the Future" DeLorean time machine, but there’s a catch.

“Back to the Future Part II” predicted the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2015 and if that prediction holds true, one fan could become the owner of their very own DeLorean time machine automobile.

Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois, says it is prepared to give away a 1981 exhibition model DeLorean, valued at $85,000, should the Cubs become champions for the first time in more than 100 years, according to their website.

The year 2015 was depicted in the 1989 cult film "Back to the Future Part II," which saw Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly travel to the future, then back to the past (well, an alternate present, if you want to get technical), then really back to the past. For Cubs fans, the film’s bold World Series prediction has been something to look forward to.

The giveaway is part of a contest scheduled to begin March 21. The contest ends one day before the 2015 World Series game and anyone who visits the museum is eligible to win.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Begin Process of Finding a QB]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:04:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim-boyle-2014-uconn.jpg

Stop us if this sounds familiar: UConn heads into spring practice with myriad questions about the quarterback position. The names change but the concerns remain. At least that's been the case for the last four seasons.

The 2015 cast of characters: junior Tim Boyle, transfer Bryant Shirreffs, and freshman Tyler Davis.

Boyle is the only player with experience at UConn, but he struggled in spot duty his first two seasons. Shirreffs, meanwhile, played in eight games as a freshman at NC State where he completed 4 of 5 passes for 17 yards and a score, and ran for another 158 yards and a touchdown. And the New Haven Register describes Davis as "at the top of the wish list of the current staff."

"It is important that we raise our level but every position we have to be better," quarterbacks coach Wayne Lineburg told the Register. "Obviously quarterback is a focal point, you get too much blame when you lose, too much credit when you win. It is a big position and we have to do a great job of finding a guy that is going to lead the team, move the team and score points. Who is that guy who is going to protect the ball and do those things. If we can do those things, it will help us out and lead us to better production."

And what does Lineburg think of Shirreffs?

"I have seen him some, but mostly he was on the scout team so I haven't been able to watch him a ton so it will be interesting to see how he does." he said. "He has a good skill set and he is an intelligent guy and he has shown some leadership skills. We will have to see how he does and I'll be able to tell you more at the end of spring of where he is."

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<![CDATA[Larry Brown Likes What He Sees in UConn]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:02:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/462056739.jpg

Before Sunday, UConn and SMU last met on Feb. 14, and the Mustangs' version of "would you be my Valentine?" included a 73-55 beatdown. Two weeks later in the rematch, Rodney Purvis scored a career-high 28 points and the Huskies beat 21st-ranked SMU, 81-73.

The Turnaround -- UConn has an uncanny knack for putting it all together as spring approaches -- wasn't lost on SMU's Hall of Fame coach, Larry Brown.

"This is a quality win for Connecticut," Brown said, via the Hartford Courant. "I don't know how they'll look at it. They might just think we're SMU, like SMU was years ago. [UConn is] good, you've got [Ryan] Boatright, you've got a shot blocker [Amida Brimah], you've got a freshman [Daniel Hamilton] who is as good as any freshman around. If Purvis and [Omar] Calhoun can play and their big [men] can come in and take fouls ... and they've got a great young coach [Kevin Ollie] that does things the right way."

That's the hope -- Purvis and just about everybody else not named Boatright can step up. Because as Ollie has been preaching for months, that has to happen for the Huskies to make a run. It's also why, as Boatright has pointed out, UConn needs to win the AAC Tournament to guarantee their ticket to the Big Dance. Brown has first-hand experience with this, too. A year ago, SMU won 23 games and was overlooked by the NCAA selection committee, instead settling for an NIT bid.

"I don't know if anybody knows what conference we're in," Brown said Sunday, via the Courant. "I don't even know what the criteria is, to be honest with you. I never said anything last year about us not going in because I didn't want to not be appreciative of some other team that got in.

"But when I saw Louisville got a No. 4 seed, and Connecticut and Cincinnati got 7s, Memphis an 8, I knew we didn't have a chance. We were 4-6 against top 20 teams, so I don't understand the criteria, I don't know what a BPI is, or RPI. … You ask somebody, they [consider injuries], you ask somebody else, it's how you're doing at the end of the year. I just hope we have somebody in the room that realizes there's some quality teams in this conference."

Brown's not alone.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Madison Skiers Clinch World Cup Titles]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:45:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mac+Bohonnon+1200.jpg

Two Madison residents on the United States ski team placed second in aerials events Sunday at the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, but clinched season titles in a historic moment for the team, according to team's website.

Mac Bohonnon, 19, of Madison, won the first crystal globe for the U.S. men's ski team since Jeret "Speedy" Peterson's in 2005, placing second in the aerials event and winning the overall World Cup title with 491 points, according to the U.S. ski team's website. 

"Unfortunately I did know how close I was to winning the globe, so I was pretty stressed out all day and just tried to eliminate that from my head. But yeah, jumping went well. It was a tough site. We only had one day of training and got used to it quick and had a good day. Sasha jumped really well," Bohonnon said on the U.S. ski team's website. 

He said on the ski team's website that winning the globe "is a dream come true."

"I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time. And to do it 10 years after Speedy did it feels really special,"Bohonnon said on the ski team's website. "He was a huge influence on me and motivated me to get in to the sport of aerials. He was always someone I looked up to when I was trying to get into aerials. To think that I’m in a similar category as him, the last person who won a globe, is pretty special."

Kiley McKinnon, of Madison, placed 14 points behind her teammate Ashley Caldwell, of Ashburn, Virginia, to take second place in the aerials event with a "full, double full" move" and win the overall World Cup title, according to the U.S. ski team. She earned a crystal globe and is the first to do so on the team since Nikki Stone in 1998, the ski team said on its website.

"It’s kind of hard to describe what just happened," McKinnon said on the U.S. ski team's website. "I can’t really explain the feeling, it’s amazing. I’m so proud of Mac and Ashley for also being up there on the podium. It’s been so long since a U.S. woman has gotten this globe. It just makes me feel so honored to represent the U.S. To have me and Mac together there on top, being from the same town in Connecticut, it’s just amazing. It’s such an awesome feeling and I’m so proud of the whole team for bringing the nations cup home. It’s something that we really wanted, so to be able to stand up there with the entire team and cheer together was spectacular. It was awesome."

In February of last year, Bohonnon made his Olympic debut in the freestyle skiing men's aerial event at Sochi, Russia. His hometown declared it Mac Bohonnon Day to honor him as he competed that day. He was the only American to advance to the final round, ultimately finishing in fifth place



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Purvis Scores 28, UConn Beats SMU 81-73]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 12:06:27 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/purvis-AP905155440152.jpg

Early in the season, when Rodney Purvis was struggling to find his way, coach Kevin Ollie described the NC State transfer as like having a "Ferrari in the garage." We're not sure if Ollie or Ryan Boatright is Ferris Bueller in the metaphor that is falling apart around us, but the Ferrari's out of the garage and speeding through the streets of Chicago like a finely tuned machine.

The latest proof: Sunday night, Purvis hung 28 points on 21st-ranked SMU, giving the Huskies the momentum they will desperately need as they make an NCAA Tournament push. And as Boatright made clear several weeks ago, the only way that happens is if UConn wins the AAC Tournament. Purvis will need to be a big part of that.

“I’ve been waiting on him to prove to himself that he can do it,” Boatright said after the SMU game, via SNY.com. “I knew he could do. I’ve seen him play like that plenty of times in the summer time. When Bazz (Shabazz Napier) and Kemba (Walker) come back, he competes. He stopped thinking so much and let his athleticism and instincts take over tonight. ...

“It’s growing pains," Boatright continued. He really only played one full year of college basketball and he sat our last year, had surgery and saw us make an unbelievable run. He got that pressure from the Ferrari, I think early in the year he had his ups and downs. You have to go through those things. I went through it last year, ups and downs. Last year wasn’t my best year but I stayed with it and we finished strong.”

“It’s been tough,” Purvis conceded. “Just staying patient and staying ready, because it has been a tough time for our whole team, not just me individually. We’ve been struggling as a team. For us to come together at this point of the season when we needed to, there is no better timer to come together. ”

But against SMU, it all came together.

“I came out aggressive,” said Purvis, who scored from everywhere on the court. “That’s been the coaches’ pitch to me, stay aggressive at all times. As long as I am aggressive that is all that matters.”



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jessica Hill]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Legend Minnie Minoso Dies]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:59:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/minnie+minoso+sox.jpg

White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, affectionately known as the "Cuban Comet," died Saturday night at 90 years old.

Minoso died of natural causes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The Cuban-born Minoso was the first black player for the South Side baseball team. He is a nine-time All-Star outfielder and Gold Glove winner.

Minoso made his debut at Comiskey Park in 1951, and his play time with the team spanned four decades. He was named as a candidate for induction into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2012 but was denied last year.

In tweet after his death, the White Sox said, "Minnie Minoso -- Mr. #WhiteSox -- has died. Tears of sadness are falling for a great man."

The Minoso family confirmed the death Sunday afternoon in a statement to the press.

"Minnie lived a full life of joy and happiness, surrounded always by friends and family," the family said. "It is during moments like these that love matters most. Minnie enjoyed nothing more than to be at the ballpark cheering on his White Sox. For Minnie, every day was a reason to smile."

Minoso appeared in a total of 1,835 career games over 17 major-league seasons with Cleveland, the White Sox, St. Louis and Washington.

Minoso's influence reached far beyond the baseball stadium. As the first black Major League player in Chicago, he served as an inspiration to countless young people, including President Barack Obama.

"Minnie may  have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie's quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could," the president said in a statement.

Governor Bruce Rauner called Minoso "a trailblazer, a leader and an extraordinary baseball player."

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Minoso's "infectious enthusiasm forever solidified his place as a Chicago icon for the ages."

The Chicago Cubs also released a statement expressing their condolences for the White Sox.

"Having recently lost one of our all-time greats Ernie Banks, we share the heartache with the White Sox organization and fans everywhere who were blessed to enjoy the talent, heart and passion of Mr. White Sox," the North Side team said. "He will be forever known as an electric offensive player and great ambassador for the game of baseball."

According to the Chicago White Sox, Minoso once talked about wearing his Sox uniform till the day he died -- and even afterward.

"When I die, I want to be playing baseball," Minoso said. "Truly. They don't bury me without my uniform. If I die, I die happy because I was wearing No. 9 for the White Sox."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Knick Anthony Mason Dies at 48]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:34:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/22815mason.jpg

Anthony Mason, one of the Knicks’ most popular players of the 1990s who had one All-Star season during a 13-year pro career, has died following a massive heart attack, the team said Saturday. He was 48.

According to multiple reports and league sources, Mason had been fighting for his life after undergoing multiple surgeries over the last few days. Veteran NBA writer Peter Vescey broke the news Wednesday about Mason.

The Springfield Gardens, Queens, native was a bruising power forward with a no-nonsense demeanor on the court, and he had a fan-pleasing blue-collar work ethic. He came up from the minor leagues and also played overseas before finally making the NBA.

Mason won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award in 1994-95, a season after helping the Knicks reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1973. The Knicks lost to the Rockets in seven games.

On Saturday, Anthony Mason Jr. issued a statement following his dad's death.

"Overnight New York City and the world lost a legend, a friend, a brother - but more than anything our father. ... As you all would expect our father - Big Mase - put up an incredible fight, dealing with a severe heart issue," he said.

"Pops we've got to let you know we love you and know you'll always be with us," Anthony Mason Jr. said.

Figures from Mason's past took to Twitter to express their grief.

"We gonna miss u brother," tweeted Charles Oakley. 

"A great athlete and true gentleman. He will be missed," wrote the Rev. Al Sharpton.

When Don Nelson succeeded Pat Riley in 1995-96 as the Knicks' head coach, Mason was at the center of a full-blown controversy. Nelson decided to make Mason the focal point of the Knicks’ attack, going away from perennial All-Star and the face of the franchise, Patrick Ewing. Nelson’s move was unpopular with Ewing and other Knicks and led to his removal as head coach only 59 games into his first and only season in New York.

“For Nelson to do that was amazing," former Knicks great Bernard King told NBC 4 New York. “Patrick was still a dominant player in the league at that time. While Anthony was a very good player for the Knicks, Patrick was still one of the best players in the league."

Mason was later traded to Charlotte in the famous Larry Johnson deal that helped key the Knicks’ success in the late 1990’s, culminating with a trip to the NBA Finals in 1999, where the Knicks lost to the Spurs. That was the first of Tim Duncan's five title teams.

Mason later played for Riley in Miami, becoming an All-Star in 2001 as an injury replacement for Grant Hill.

-- Mitch Lawrence contributed to this report.

Longtime New York columnist Mitch Lawrence continues to write about pro basketball, as he’s done for the last 22 years. His columns for NBCNewYork.com on the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and the NBA, along with other major sports, appear twice weekly. Follow him on Twitter.

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<![CDATA[Stokes Is Dominating Defensive Presence]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:50:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/UCONN13.jpg

Kiah Stokes has a just a few games left in her college career. The 6-3 senior has played in all 28 games this season (3 starts), averaging 19.5 minutes, 4.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per contest.

On Saturday, she along with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, will be honored on Senior Day. The thing is, Stokes almost didn't come to UConn.

“On the way to the airport we found out our flight had been canceled,” Stokes told SNY.com's Carl Adamec about her planned recruiting visit back in Oct. 2010. “My mom goes, ‘Do you still want to go?’ I went, ‘If we can find another flight, sure. But if not it’s all right because I probably won’t end up going there anyway.’”

We know how that turned out. And now, more than four years later, Stokes has won two national titles on the nation's best team.

“Now that it’s near, it’s sad,” she said. “But knowing that we’ll have a chance to play at least one more at Gampel in the NCAA Tournament is a good feeling. I’m trying to keep my emotions off to the side while we’re in-season and when it’s over I’ll be sad. But right now I’m working to stay strong and stay focused to the end.”

Stokes' strength is dominating the lane; she's one block away from 300, and six blocks away from passing former Husky Tina Charles for third on the all-time list.

“I never expected her to have the defensive presence she’s had here,” coach Geno Auriemma told Adamec. “I don’t want to say it came out of nowhere but it’s been way more than I thought she was capable of. And it’s something she takes great pride in.

“I would venture to say that Kiah’s biggest strengths are the things she brings off the court. Some kids have no presence off the court. Their contribution is only what’s on the floor. What she contributes in all the other areas, she has a tremendous impact on her teammates. There’s a lot to be said for a kid that does that.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Can Huskies Sustain Momentum?]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

We've been here before. The Huskies string together a few wins and we're left wondering if this is the time they put it together ... only to watch them lose a game they shouldn't.

So here we are. UConn beat ECU on the road in convincing fashion and the timing couldn't be better. The regular season is almost over, the conference tournament is nigh and , along with with, any hopes of defending that national title. Because as senior point guard Ryan Boatright made clear last week: the only way the Huskies are getting an NCAA invite is by winning the American Athletic Conference tourney.

But back to point: Has this team finally figured it out?

"It's great," Rodney Purvis said shortly after the ECU game on Wednesday, via the Hartford Courant. "But we're kind of past this now. We got the win under our belts but we've got a huge game on Sunday, so we're going to get back and prepare for that."

Freshman Daniel Hamilton added: "This (ECU win) is real big, especially going into SMU, the No.1 team in our conference. This is a big conference win, and we've been struggling on the road, so this is a good win for us."

And Boatright said; "We learned from our mistakes from our losses on the road and we stayed together and fought to the end."

Meanwhile, coach Kevin Ollie admits that even the wins aren't stress-free.

"It was frustrating, the first half, I'm not going to lie," he said of ECU. "But we stayed in, stayed believing in one another and what we wrote on the board was 'execution' and 'connected' and we wanted to do that for 40 minutes, and I think we did that."

But can the Huskies do this consistently, night in and night out? We'll find out one way or the other soon enough.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Earl Lloyd, First Black NBA Player, Dies at 86]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:14:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP861620179640.jpg

Earl Lloyd, the first black player in NBA history, died Thursday. He was 86.

Lloyd's alma mater, West Virginia State, confirmed the death. It did not provide details.

Lloyd made his NBA debut in 1950 for the Washington Capitals, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

"The State family mourns the loss of a fellow Yellow Jacket and trailblazer who was a true champion both on and off of the basketball court," West Virginia State President Brian Hemphill said in a statement. "When Earl stepped out on the court on that fateful date in 1950, this remarkable man rightfully earned his place in the historic civil rights movement and, more important, he opened the door to equality in America."

Lloyd helped the Syracuse Nationals win the 1955 NBA title, joining teammate Jim Tucker as the first black players to play on a championship team.

The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 560 regular-season games in nine seasons with Washington, Syracuse and Detroit. He missed the 1951-52 season while serving in the U.S. Army.

Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 as a contributor, Lloyd was 22-55 as Detroit's coach in 1971-72 and the first nine games in the 1972-73 season.

Lloyd, a native of Alexandria, Virginia, lived in Crossville, Tennessee. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Acho Taking Va. Teen to Prom]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:52:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/228*120/2015-02-26_1345.png

A Loudoun County, Virginia, teen got the surprise of a lifetime Friday when Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho agreed to take her to prom.

Back in January, Hannah Delmonte reached out to Acho on Instagram and asked if he would take her to prom if she got 2,000 retweets on Twitter, Comcast SportsNet Philly reports. But Acho upped the ante -- Delmonte had to reach 10,000 retweets.

And she did.

Delmonte's post received over 17,000 retweets, far surpassing her goal.

Acho dropped by Woodgrove High School in Purcellville on Friday and surprised Delmonte with a customized Eagles jersey with the number 15 and the word "prom" written across the back.

Acho also plans to play piano and sing Delmonte a song on the night of the prom, according to Comcast SportsNet Philly. Prom is scheduled for May 9, according to the school's calendar.

Check out her priceless reaction in the video above.



Photo Credit: Comcast SportsNet Philly
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<![CDATA[Purvis Shines in Win Over ECU]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:37:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rodney-purvis-uconn44.jpg

The Huskies improved their record to 16-11 (9-6 in the AAC) with a 60-49 victory over ECU on Wednesday night in Greenville, NC. By itself, the win means little this time of year; as Ryan Boatright has said for weeks, UConn is going to need to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament to get an invitation to the Big Dance.

But it is encouraging when players other than Boatright, the senior do-everything point guard, see their games grow, and help the team get better in the process. Which brings us to Rodney Purvis, the NC State transfer who has been inconsistent during his first season in Storrs. On Wednesday, however, his development continued; Purvis scored 12 points in 38 minutes, including two big 3-pointers down the stretch. It probably didn't hurt that he was playing so close to his Raleigh, NC home.

"This is great," he said, via the Hartford Courant. "I was happy to see all my family. Even with bad weather they made effort to get down here. I'm not technically home, but this is close as it's going to get. So I'm enjoying this moment and I'll be back next year."

Coach Kevin Ollie has been lamenting for some time about the need for other players stepping up, and it's a good sign that Purvis is finally able to do that.

"He's just getting better and better," Ollie said. "He's getting tougher, mentally tougher. That showed tonight, all the fans were screaming his name. He went 1-for-6 in the first half and came back and had three huge threes. Great penetration, finding other guys, doing the energy things we need. His defense on Whisnant was awesome."

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<![CDATA[Is Byron Jones NFL 1st-Round Pick?]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 16:01:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

Byron Jones didn't participate in every drill at last weekend's NFL Combine, but what he accomplished in the broad jump and vertical leap was enough to get every scout, coach and general manager's attention.

Not only are NFL teams scurrying to do more homework on Jones, who UConn coach Bob Diaco has been talking up since this summer, at least one mock draft expert thinks Jones could be a first-round pick.

And to be clear, we don't use "mock draft expert" lightly; in this day and age, everybody has a mock draft. But NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah is a former NFL scout, and one of the most knowledgeable draft commentators. It's noteworthy that he likes Jones.

In his Feb. 25 mock draft, Jeremiah has the Eagles selecting Jones with the 20th pick.

"Jones put on a show in Indy, but he's much more than a workout warrior," Jeremiah wrote "He was a four-year starter at UConn with toughness and smarts. That fits the Chip Kelly profile."

This is the first time we've seen Jones mentioned as a first-rounder. The cornerback class isn't particularly deep; Michigan State's Trae Waynes, Washington's Marcus Peters and LSU's Jalen Collins were widely considered the best draft-eligible cornerbacks heading into the combine, but that could certainly change in the coming weeks and months.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Defeats East Carolina 60-49]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:56:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/481616597.jpg

Ryan Boatright scored 16 points and freshman Daniel Hamilton grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds to lead UConn to a 60-49 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday night.

Amida Brimah and Rodney Purvis each had 12 points for the Huskies (16-11, 9-6 American Athletic Conference), who used a 14-2 run to start the second half to sweep the season series against ECU (12-16, 5-10). Hamilton added nine points and a game-high five assists.

UConn won its first road game since a 62-53 victory at Tulane on Feb. 7 and recorded its third league win away from home this season.

Marshall Guilmette scored 13 points to lead the Pirates, who were hosting a defending national champion for the first time in school history. B.J. Tyson added 11 for ECU, which shot just 32.2 percent from the field, including 3 of 20 from 3-point range.

Brimah's dunk capped the Huskies' game-changing run and made it 38-35 UConn with 12:03 left in the game.

ECU's Lance Tejada hit a 3 to tie the game at the 11:31 mark, but Purvis, a Raleigh native playing about an hour and a half from home, answered with a 3-pointer to put UConn back on top for good, 41-38.

The Huskies took their biggest lead on two Boatright free throws that completed the scoring with 1:05 left to play.

In the first half, the Pirates used a 15-3 run to take a 25-17 lead. Tyson hit consecutive layups in the final minute, including a driving score past Boatright with two ticks left to give ECU a 33-24 lead at halftime.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Son of NFL Long Snapper Sings National Anthem]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 05:48:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/AP828165311104.jpg

Forget football! The 2-year-old son of Cincinnati Bengals' long snapper showed he is ready for the stage when he belted out the National Anthem at a high school basketball game.

The NFL player, Clark Harris, held son Trent's hand as he led him to the court for the tot's performance.

Decked out in a blazer and with hair reminiscent of his father's mane, Trent sang in front of a packed gym ahead of a matchup between the Southern Regional High School and Pinelands Regional High School boys' basketball teams.

Clark's wife and proud mom, Jessica, posted Trent's rendition to YouTube, captioning the video: "My sons first performance!! ... I'm so proud!!!" 

Watch the full video below.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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<![CDATA[NFL Stadium Proposals ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:41:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

Ever since the Rams and the Raiders left Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, there have been attempts to bring an NFL team back to the city.

The football league approved an expansion franchise for Los Angeles as early as 1999, but no agreement was reached and a team went to Houston. The NFL requires a three-quarters vote of the 32 teams for any team to move.

There are now four proposals on the table. Here they are:


Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to Share a Stadium

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have announced that they will together pursue a new home at a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, in Los Angeles County,  but only if both teams cannot find alternatives in their home markets. The stadium, which would require voter approval, would have more than 72,000 seats and with 18,000 parking spots, room for tailgating. It would be built on the site of an old municipal landfill at the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard. Right now, the Jets and the Giants are the only NFL teams to share a stadium.

Meanwhile negotiations over a new stadium for the Raiders in the Bay area could be facing a 30-day deadline, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland Mayor Libby Scaaf has said she would be wiling to spend taxpayer money to help pay for a new stadium, which could total up to $300 million, according to columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross. But issues over using public money could be insurmountable, they report.


Replacing Hollywood Park Racetrack

Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, wants to build a new $2 billion stadium on the site of the now closed Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California. The proposal is for an 80,000-seat stadium, 6,000-seat performance venue, 300-room hotel, and 1.5 million square feet of retail, office and residential space.

The developer, not the public, would pay for the cost of building the stadium, according to a consultants' report.

The Inglewood City Council unanimously approved the plan on Feb. 24.

Kroenke has partnered with Stockbridge Capital Group and is the first NFL team owner to control a site large enough for a new stadium. The Rams are playing at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, but are unhappy with the conditions. The Inglewood proposal will put pressure on St Louis to reach a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.

Farmers Field

The Anschutz Entertainment Group or AEG agreed in 2012 to build a football stadium at the L.A. LIVE complex downtown and renovate the Los Angeles Convention Center. In October, the city granted AEG a six-month extension. AEG plans to commit $600,000 to development, but it is also offering alternatives to a stadium, meaning a large hotel might be built in its place.
 
Grand Crossing

Developer Ed Roski Jr., the president of Majestic Realty Co., in 2008 announced plans to build an $800 million stadium in the city of Industry near the interchange of the 60 and 57 freeways. The project is being called Grand Crossing.



Photo Credit: MANICA ARCHITECTURE]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Olympics Criticism OK: Mayor]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Walsh+Olympics.jpg

It's now OK for city workers to criticize Boston's bid for the 2024 Olympics, thanks to a change to the city's deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced the change Tuesday, saying that the agreement with the USOC had been revised to remove any language discouraging city employees from criticizing the Olympic bid. Walsh had earlier defended the stipulation, which civil liberties advocates had criticized.

The Boston Globe reported last month that the "joinder agreement" between the city and the USOC banned city employees from badmouthing the 2024 Olympic bid. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said the agreement was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

"This revised agreement is the result of positive negotiations with the United States Olympic Committee to reach a consensus that accurately represents how Boston is moving forward with our Olympic bid," Walsh said in a statement.

"I want to thank those who have already offered their thoughts on Boston's bid and I continue to encourage all residents, including city employees, to share their opinions over the coming months. My top priority is to ensure an open and transparent process, and it is important that any proposal is shaped by the input and ideas of people from every neighborhood in order to offer the greatest benefit to our city," Walsh continued.

Walsh's statement characterized the original ban on employee criticism of the Olympic bid as "boilerplate language that all cities have historically signed regarding city employees and their participation in the Olympic process."

Rich Davey, Boston 2024's CEO, said the new agreement "will strengthen Boston's efforts to work with communities to build a stronger Olympic bid."

The next citywide Olympic discussion is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Condon School Cafeteria in South Boston. 

Additional citywide meetings are scheduled for March 31, April 28, May 19, June 30, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 29.



Photo Credit: FILE - NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:39:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/189*120/mlb-22-AP580561729536.jpg Click to see dramatic sports photos from the NFL, to basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tulsa Shock Interested in KML With No.2 Pick]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:49:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaleena+mosqueda+lewis+uconn.jpg

Back in December, we first heard that WNBA teams were looking at Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis as a first-rounder. Not surprising, really, just confirmation what most of us expected, even with Mosqueda-Lewis battling injuries for part of her junior season.

As KML's senior season winds down, WNBA eyes will be watching her closer than ever. The Hartford Courant John Altavilla writes Tulsa Shock coach Fred Williams will doing just that on Saturday. Tulsa has the second pick in this spring's WNBA Draft and it sounds like they'll think long and hard about taking Mosqueda-Lewis should she get past the Seattle Storm, who select first.

"Well, it all depends what happens with the first choice," Williams said of Seattle. "Players with her skill set, with the ability to shoot deep threes with a high basketball IQ, are great qualities to have. ...

"If Seattle happens to pass on her, we will deeply consider taking her."

The Shock have Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims; adding Mosqueda-Lewis would give them three of the league's best perimeter shooters.

"You always want to have shooters and those who can really cover the floor [defensively]," Williams continued. "In my career, I have always favored quickness and speed and strength. When you have all those qualities assembled on the perimeter, it only helps your post game succeed even more.

"If you have a player like that on your team, you know the opponent has to practice to stop her and make sure they always know where she is in transition. You can never leave her alone for a spot-up shot."

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<![CDATA[Calhoun Making Best of Tough Situation]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:47:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/omar-calhoun-jan15.jpg

Omar Calhoun's junior season may be going better than his sophomore season, but the bar was set pretty low a year ago. He battled injuries and found himself lost in the mix as the Huskies were making their championship run.

Finally healthy, Calhoun still hasn't had the success he saw as a freshman, when he averaged 32 minutes and 11.1 points per game. As a junior, those numbers are down to 16 minutes and 6 points, but he's done the little things in recent weeks that not only have caught coach Kevin Ollie's attention, they've helped UConn get much-needed wins. On Sunday, he scored 12 points in 28 minutes in the Huskies' 67-60 victory over Tulane. More importantly, Calhoun was solid on defense.

"That was good, that was great," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "Omar came in and what I really liked was Omar's defense down the stretch. That's what I keep stressing with Omar, if he plays better defense he can stay on the court. He stepped up to the plate and showed he could do that down the stretch."

Calhoun agreed: "If I play D I can stay on the court and produce offensively. The coaches liked how I was taking the initiative on defense and trying to do more on that side."

It's an interesting transformation for Calhoun, who arrived in Storrs as a sharpshooter and has evolved into a defensive stalwart. Still, he knows there's room for improvement -- for both him and his teammates.

"We had to communicate even more," he said. "A couple of times in the first half (against Tulane) we didn't communicate getting back in transition and they hit open threes. We did a better job late in the game of communicating, calling our switches, and we put the game away."

The Huskies host ECU on Wednesday in Gampel Pavilion.

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<![CDATA[Byron Jones Blows Up at NFL Combine]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:45:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

On Monday, the rest of the world got a glimpse of what Bob Diaco has been saying for months: Byron Jones is legit.

At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, working out with other defensive backs, the former UConn cornerback's broad jump measured 12 feet, 3 inches. Not only is that eight inches better than the previous combine mark, but it would have been a world record (12'2" has stood since 1968).

"My personal [broad jump] record was 11-7. That's what I was doing at the training facility, and I obviously broke that," Jones told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It feels good to put a [personal record] up."

There's more: Jones' vertical was 44.5 inches, just a half-inch behind the combine-best 45 inches Chris Conley jumped on Saturday. Jones didn't run at the combine -- he'll likely do that at his pro day on March 31, but NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he texted Diaco, who thinks Jones will run in the 4.3s.

If that happens, expect Jones to, ahem, leap to the top of the list as one of the draft's best cornerbacks. He wisely points out that while all the attention is nice, at the end of the day, his game film is what matters most. And that's where Diaco comes in. The Huskies' coach has been talking up Jones for months.

"I think he will be one of the best players in the country,” Diaco said last summer. "Everyone will see it eventually when they put him in those compression shorts [at combines]. You will see a tall, long, lean and fast and explosive and athletic player. His numbers, with our developmental process, you are going to see at the end of the day one of the best tangibly gifted cornerback players in the country.

"[Y]ou factor in this incredible résumé socially, academically, he's an 'A' student and on all the committees. At that position, he has some intangible traits that are an incredible commodity."



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>