<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:44:04 -0400 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:44:04 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[A Kicking Love Story]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 18:32:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kickball072214.jpg Nicole and Chris Van Dyke met playing kickball two years ago.]]> <![CDATA[WNBA Coach Michael Cooper has Tongue Cancer]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP13030709140.jpg

Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper has early stage tongue cancer and has taken a leave from the WNBA team.

He will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and a full recovery is expected, the Dream said Monday.

The 58-year-old coach is expected to miss about two weeks, with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection," Cooper said. "I know the team will be in good hands with coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."

Cooper is in his first season with Atlanta. His team leads the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game Saturday.

Cooper won five NBA titles as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers during the "Showtime" era from 1978-90. As a coach, he won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and one NBA Development League championships with Albuquerque.

After his second run with the Sparks, Cooper was hired as the women's coach at Southern California. He resigned in March following an 11-20 season, his first losing mark in four seasons.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pose With Red Sox World Series Trophies Tonight]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:11:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Red+Sox+World+Series+trophiesa.jpg

2004, 2007 and 2014 were good years to be a Red Sox fan and you can continue to bask in that glory by posing for a photo with the team’s trophies.

They will be on display at New Britain Stadium tonight as the Rock Cats take on the Altoona Curve.

The price is the cost of a ticket to the game.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Daniels Could Be Headed to Europe]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:31:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483283511.jpg

We mentioned it briefly Thursday but DeAndre Daniels, the Raptors' second-round pick in last month's NBA Draft, almost certainly won't be on the bench for the big club this season. Instead, as often happens with young players who need more experience, he'll be shipped to a lower league to get playing time all while gaining confidence and getting physically stronger.

According to the Toronto Sun, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri "has indicated Daniels will be stashed in Europe for a year to get some much-needed playing time."

If you're new to "stashing" -- and we were until recently -- here's a quick primer, courtesy of SheridanHoops.com:

Since second-round picks usually are not guaranteed to make NBA rosters, teams can use Europe (or Australia, Asia and South America) as a viable option to develop their draft picks on someone else’s dime while still retaining the rights to the player down the road.

Typically, European players took this route to continue their development on their home continent, delaying their arrival stateside until they expanded their skills or had a more relaxed escape clause in their contract.

However, the D-League ‘s spartan rookie pay scale has made playing overseas a viable option even for American rookies, who despite being drafted may not want to risk getting cut in training camp and being forced to play for pennies in the minors.

There has never been any question about Daniels' athleticism or potential, but he struggled with consistency for much of his college career. That said, Daniels got hot late in the season and was a vital cog in the Huskies' championship run. A good showing in Europe this season could mean a place on the Raptors roster in 2015 -- or sooner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[KML Looking Forward to Senior Season]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:25:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP116320717091%281%29.jpg

It's hard to believe that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is entering her senior season. It seems like it was three months -- not three years -- that the former high school player of the year was making her way to Storrs for the first time.

And yet here we are: two national championships later, one of the best pure shooters in college basketball is gearing up for her last go round. Along with Kiah Stokes, Mosqueda-Lewis is the only senior on the roster.

“There is definitely a lot more pressure, and a lot more responsibility,” she told SNY.com's Carl Adamec recently. “But the people on this team, they take care of themselves.”

That pressure is lessened considerably playing alongside rising junior Breanna Stewart, who also happens to be the best player in the country. Then there's point guard Moriah Jefferson, not to mention the highly touted incoming freshmen: Sadie Edwards, Courtney Ekmark, Kia Nurse, and Gabby Williams.

But like the seniors that preceded her -- Kelly Faris, Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, for example -- Mosqueda-Lewis will be counted on to provide veteran leadership.

“I’m excited for this year,” she said. “It’s a new year, we have a great team, and I’m excited to play with the freshmen. Yeah, we lost Stef and Bria, but I’m really excited about what this year is going to bring.”

Earlier this summer, coach Geno Auriemma admitted that he wanted Mosqueda-Lewis in better shape after an injury-plagued 2013-14 season. And Mosqueda-Lewis is doing just that.

“Personally what I am working on right now is just getting in the best shape that I can,” she said. “I would like to go back to trying to get to the basket more, get fouled more. I didn’t really go to the basket as much and get fouled last year.”

And as Adamec notes, there's also another reason: a big senior season will in all likelihood translate into a high-round pick in the WNBA Draft.

“There is still a lot of work I have to do," Mosqueda-Lewis conceded, "and Coach will probably be the first person to tell you that.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Giffey Signs With German Team]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:20:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP269919261435.jpg

Niels Giffey went undrafted last month, but joined the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies summer league team before moving onto the Utah Jazz. And now he's headed back to Germany after signing a three-year deal with with Alba Berlin, his hometown EuroLeague team, the club's website reported.

The Connecticut Post's Kevin Duffy caught up with Giffey to talk about everything from the Huskies' championship run in the spring, to the Germans winning the World Cup last week, to Giffey's professional basketball travels over the last month or so.

"It's going to be different for me than for other players because I'm actually going back home, and a lot of people with the staff there already know me," Giffey said of returning to Germany, "but at the end of the day it's a little more business than college basketball."

On his brief NBA summer league experience. "There really was no chance for me because they had a couple of guys they drafted this year and in previous years that they wanted to see," Giffey said of his time in Memphis. "They pretty much just benched me. As I saw that happening, I knew there was interest from Utah, so I went out to Utah and started practicing with them."

Giffey went 3-for-14 from the floor -- including 1-for-5 from behind the arc -- during his Las Vegas summer league games.

On the Huskies' run to its second title in three years. "There was never the moment when we came into the gym and thought we were unbeatable," he said. "You really had to take each game at a time, but when we came to the Sweet 16 and started stopping these big-bodied guys -- that was always one of our weaknesses -- like Michigan State and Adreian Payne, when we did that, there was no doubt in my mind that we could win it."

And now Giffey returns to where his basketball dreams all started: home in Germany.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cochran Nominated for Good Works Team]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:56:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/casey-cochran-starter-smu.jpg

On the same day teammate Geremy Davis found his way onto the Biletnikoff Watch List, quarterback Casey Cochran was nominated for the 2014 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.

Details via the AFCA release:

The team recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among others. Since its establishment in 1992, the award has existed to pay tribute to the good in college football that extends beyond the wins and the losses. The final roster of 22 award recipients will be unveiled in September.

Cochran is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at UConn, which oversees community service projects for the entire University and also serves as a voice between student-athletes and the athletic department.

He has regularly spoken to students at the Stafford Springs (Conn.) Elementary School about athletics and academics. Cochran has also been part of a group of football student-athletes that visit elementary schools in East Hartford and Manchester, Conn.

Cochran has volunteered at the New London (Conn.) Community Meal Center helping prepare and serve food and as an Athlete-Reader at the New London Elementary Schools.

Cochran, who is in good position to win the starting job as the Huskies' quarterback in 2014, was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic team last season. In eight games -- including four starts -- Cochran led UConn to its only three wins, all while setting the school's single-game passing record (461 yards) against Memphis.

<![CDATA[Daniels Talks About NBA]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483304153.jpg

DeAndre Daniels was a second-round pick of the Raptors last month, and like most other rookies, he's taking part in the NBA Summer League. The former UConn standout spoke recently about transitioning to the professional game.

On moving from power forward in college to small forward in the NBA. "That's what I've been working on since I was in high school," Daniels said, and I played (small forward) in college some a little bit ... but I'm just a basketball player. Whatever the coaching staff tells me to do I'm going to do it."

Lessons of facing much better competition from one game to the next. "It's definitely a learning experience, just learning how to play the game that's different from college -- different spacing and just trying to learn all the defensive techniques, guys helping and rotating. I feel like that's what we need to focus on more."

You can watch the entire interview below:

Last weekend, Daniels and the Raptors played in Las Vegas and in three games Daniels scored 7, 12 and 16 points. According to SB Nation's UConn Blog, Daniels could be shipped off to Europe to gain some much needed experience.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stewart, Moore Honored at ESPYs]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:31:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breanna-stewart-nd-finals.png

Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore never played together at UConn but two of the best players to come through Geno Auriemma's program in recent years were both honored Wednesday night at the annual ESPYs.

Stewart, a rising junior, won Best Female College Athlete, and Moore, now with the Minnesota Lynx,was named the Best WNBA Player.

More details via the press release:

UConn has had a total of 16 ESPY winners since 1993, with seven coming since 2010.

Stewart, who averaged 19.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 2013-14 , becomes the first Husky to win the accolade since Moore won three straight from 2009-11. The 6-4 forward was tabbed as the AP, USBWA, and espnW Player of the Year following UConn's perfect 40-0 season.

The Syracuse, N.Y. native led UConn in scoring in 22 contests, scoring a total of 777 points in her sophomore year. The 2013-14 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Stewart joined Diana Taurasi as the only Huskies to earn Final Four Most Outstanding Player in two years after earning the honor in both 2013 and 2014.

Moore was recognized after leading the Minnesota Lynx to the 2013 WNBA title, earning the Finals MVP award. As a student-athlete, she led UConn to a 150-4 record over her four-year career, which included four Final Four appearances and two National Championships. She finished her career as the fourth-leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,036 points and was honored as the Capital One University Division Academic All-American of the Year and BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011.

The Huskies had a total eight ESPY nominations: Auriemma and Kevin Ollie were up for best coach; Shabazz Napier was nominated for Best Championship Performance; and Stewart and Moore also received nominations for Best Female Athlete.

<![CDATA[McEnroe's Son Arrested for Drugs]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:11:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+mcenroe.jpg

Kevin McEnroe, the 27-year-old son of tennis champion John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal, was arrested in New York City after he was allegedly caught with dozens of oxycodone and morphine pills, authorities say.

McEnroe was arrested late Tuesday after an alleged drug exchange with another suspect on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village, the district attorney's office said.

Police found 20 oxycodone pills and 10 morphine pills in an inner pocket in his jacket, according to the criminal complaint. 

McEnroe was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance Tuesday and released on $5,000 bail. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. 

His attorney declined to comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[6-10 Steve Enoch Likes Huskies]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:48:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

Steve Enoch, a 6-10 power forward, visited UConn recently and he doesn't shy away from the fact that he's a big Huskies fan.

Growing up I’ve always wanted to play at UConn and my family wanted me to,” he told SNY.tv last week. “And they’ve all been fans of UConn. Now that I have [a scholarship offer] I gotta take it slow because I really have to study their program.”

Enoch, it turns out, has a lot of scholarship offers. In addition to UConn, there's Memphis, Arizona State, Kansas State, Fairfield, Sacred Heart, VCU, Oregon, Boston College, Providence, Rhode Island and Drexel. And Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa and Virginia have shown interest in recent weeks.

“It’s not overwhelming,” Enoch said of the process. “I’m enjoying it because I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work and effort into my game and into my skills so I’m just glad.”

As for the Storrs visit, Enoch says it went well.

“I visited UConn two weeks ago,” Enoch said. “It was good because a whole bunch of other players came to visit, too, Tyus Battle, Ray Smith, Tremont Waters were there. And my teammate Ian Gardner was there so we had a good time.”

Enoch, who says he's "built a really good relationship" with coach Kevin Ollie and the staff, also appreciates that the team is coming off a national title.

“I watched them win but I was just rooting for them,” he said. “I didn’t have anybody special that I was really rooting for. It was really good that they won and I’m happy for them.”

But Enoch says he's in no hurry to make a decision.

"I think towards the end of my senior year, the spring, near May,” he said.

As it stands, the Huskies have a verbal commitment from Jalen Adams, but two players -- Will Jackson and Prince Ali -- have de-committed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Davis Named to Biletnikoff Watch List]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:44:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geremy-davis-catch.jpg

Training camp is just weeks away, which means we're that much closer to seeing what first-year coach Bob Diaco has in store for the Huskies football program. And while much of the conversation centers around the quarterbacks (as it should), whomever ends up under center will have at least one big-play target: wide receiver Geremy Davis, who was named to the 2014 Biletnikoff Award Pre-Season Watch List Tuesday.

Details via the release:

Davis enters the 2014 season ranked ninth in UConn career history in receptions with 121 and is 10th in receiving yardage at 1,771.
He had one of the most prolific seasons for a receiver in UConn history in 2013, starting all 12 games and finishing with 71 receptions, 1,085 yards and three touchdowns. Davis was UConn's first 1,000 yard receiver in the FBS era and first since Carl Bond in 1998. The 1,085 yards rank sixth-highest in a season in UConn history and the 71 receptions place fifth. He had a single-game program-record 15 catches for 207 yards, fifth-most ever, and a touchdown against Memphis on Dec. 7.
The 2014 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented live on December 11, 2014, on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show to be broadcast from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. on ESPN. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff will announce the 2014 winner on the show.

Davis was named to Phil Steele's Preseason American Athletic Conference first-team, and landed on Athlon had him on its second team.

<![CDATA[Napier Explains Unfollowing LeBron]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:57:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483308981.jpg

LeBron James was Shabazz Napier's biggest supporter in the weeks and months leading up to the NBA Draft. So it wasn't altogether surprising when the Heat made a trade to land Napier, presumably in the hopes of keeping James in Miami. But James eventually signed with the Cavs, which led Napier to unfollow James on Twitter.

But Napier, who joined Twitter on June 25, said he had no knowledge of unfollowing James.

"The whole thing about that is I don't know how to work Twitter yet and I'm not on my Twitter, so I don't know where that came from," Napier said, according to ESPN.com.

And tweets from Napier to James had also been deleted.

"I don't pay attention to it," Napier said. "It gets brought to me by family members, but I don't pay any attention to it. I just think it's how it is. Media wants something to bite on."

So there you go, mystery solved.

Meanwhile, Napier has more important things to concern himself with than social media. He's played inconsistently during summer league action, averaging 9.5 points and 4.3 assists to go along with 4.8 turnovers in eight games.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's All-Star Goodbye]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:12:10 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jeter-ASG-Goodbye-0715.jpg

The All-Star Game telecast opened Tuesday night with Fox’s Joe Buck surveying the impressive talent in the American League locker room as he made his way to the undisputed star among all stars: Derek Jeter. But the Yankees’ captain waved off the announcer, telling him, “We’ve got a game to play, bro.” 

His words, even if possibly scripted, offered a vintage Jeter moment: It’s never about him, it’s all about the game.
Jeter played his 14th and final All-Star contest Tuesday night, in what could be his farewell appearance before a major league-sized national TV audience, barring a Yankees playoff run. The bittersweet milestone marked the latest leg in a victory lap for the future Hall of Famer – and for baseball.
Like his longtime team mate Mariano Rivera, who earned a similar sendoff last year, Jeter emerged as a standout in the 1990s as the game rebounded from labor strife on the bulging backs of sluggers with a seemingly endless capacity to belt the long ball. But the home run heroics turned out to be an illusion fueled by witches’ brews, injected by cheaters who, hopefully, will never see Cooperstown.
Amid the cloud that hung over the game, Jeter shined, not as a slugger, but as player whose dirt-caked uniform testified to an all-out style that sent him flying into the stands after balls. His stats, especially in the post-season (a record 200 hits on the way to five World Series victories), speak to his clutch hitting. With Derek Jeter, there’s no room for illusion: What you see is what you get.
He gave us plenty to watch Tuesday. In the first play of the game, Jeter, at age 40 and in his 20th season, dove for a ball with the verve of a rookie. He later ran full steam as he laced a double in his first at bat and scored the game’s first run. Jeter added to his stature as one of the greatest to grace the diamond – among them his fellow shortstops Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken, Jr., who also embodied a love for the game with their ceaseless hard play and leadership, on and off the field.
Even amid the World Cup afterglow and the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, Jeter’s last All-Star berth on his way to his final Major League at bat provided a potent reminder of why baseball remains out National Pastime, a game equally capable of breaking hearts and sending them soaring. He transcends his storied franchise and the game, with a quiet class to which other players – and other sports – aspire.
Jeter is the kind of player who commands the respect of all who love baseball – even those of us who hate the Yankees. Cheers, from fans and rivals alike, filled Minnesota’s Target Field Tuesday as Jeter left the game at the top of the fourth inning.
Even the commercials packed an emotional punch: A spot for Jordan Brand featured everyone from Michael Jordan to Red Sox fans to Mr. Met tipping their hats to a player who helped mend his sport and will leave it stronger when he caps his career at the season’s end. Check out the clip below as baseball tips its cap to a player who wears No. 2, but ranks higher in the estimation of many who share his love – and respect – for the game.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Farmington Pitcher Overcomes Cancer to Pitch With One Eye]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 21:19:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bailey071514.jpg When Bailey Meccareillo was 2 years old, he had a rare cancer called Retinablastoma.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Derek Jeter Ad Creates A Buzz]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:32:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DerekJeter21.jpg
Fans, celebrities, and rivals alike, are tipping their hats to departing New York Yankee Derek Jeter in a new star-studded ad creating a buzz online.
The commerical honoring the all-star shortstop, who will take his final walk off the field this year after 20 seasons with MLB, debuted online Monday, part of Nike's Jordan Brand. The two minute clip has racked up more than 2 million views ahead of its scheduled on-air debut during tonight's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. 
The Jordan Brand ad features Jeter’s wide fan base from sports stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, to entertainers including Jay-Z and Billy Crystal - all paying homage to the award-winning captain. Even Boston Red Sox die-hards and New York Mets’ fanatics cannot deny their admiration for him. 
Jeter is respected not only for his talent, but also his character. “You try to carry yourself the right way. I’ve always tried to do that,” Jeter told NBC 4 New York. “I am who I am. I don’t try to be any different.”
The 40-year-old signed with the company in 1999, and became the first Jordan Brand-endorsed baseball player. He is one of Nike’s longest sponsored athletes, according to the Bleacher Report. The world famous brand also awarded Jeter his own RE2SPECT collection.  
The RE2PECT ad will debut tonight on TV during Jeter’s 14th and final All-Star game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Purvis Looking Forward to 2014-15]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rodney-purvis-ncsu-uconn-14.jpg

Rodney Purvis is a patient man. But after sitting out last season -- he transferred from NC State in the spring of 2013 -- the 6-4, 205-pound guard is ready to contribute on the court.

But watching the Huskies' title run wasn't without its benefits, chief among them: Learning from two of the best guards in the country, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. Napier is now in the NBA playing with the Heat but Boatright returned for his senior season and he'll be primarily responsible for filling Napier's shoes. But he won't be alone.

"Sitting out of basketball for a very long time is rough, but I've tried to make it worth it," Purvis told the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore. "I took advantage of everything, going up against guys like Shabazz and Boatright every day in practice, I was in Shabazz's ear all the time, in the room watching film with him, asking questions, and he gave me a lot of great feedback before he left."

One of the biggest takeaways for Purvis last season: The importance of sticking together.

"We stayed together no matter what. Any time you saw one of us, there was always five or six of us," Purvis said. "I don't think people understand how being close off the court carries onto the court. We're really brothers. We don't put on a front for Twitter or the media, we take our relationships seriously amongst each other. We're always there for each other and it carried onto the court. That's how we did it, we stayed together.

"Now, I'm in the guys' ears every day in the locker room, 'Let's stay together, let's do things together.' Me and Sam we're roommates. We go everywhere together, do things together. Same with [freshmen Daniel Hamilton and Rakim Lubin] — I don't want them to feel like outsiders because they're new guys. I'm real strong on brotherhood, that's how I was raised and I saw what brotherhood can do last season and we want that same thing this season."

Boatright and Purvis will be joined in the backcourt by sophomore Terence Samuel and Juco transfer Sam Cassell Jr. And while the group will have plenty of depth, we'll have to wait and see if they're capable of replacing Napier, one of the best players to come through the program in recent years.

<![CDATA[Napier Struggling in NBA Summer League ]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:49:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/063014+shabazz+napier.jpg

First, LeBron James leaves for Cleveland weeks after calling Shabazz Napier the best guard in the NBA Draft, and now the former UConn star and Miami first-round pick has had an inauspicious start to his fledgling professional career.

Napier, who put the Huskies on his shoulders all the way to a national title this spring, has struggled in summer league play. He's been plagued by poor shooting and turnovers, something we rarely saw during his college days. He's averaged 9.2 points per game and 4.6 assists, but has 4.8 turnovers, an unthinkable number and just about any level. He also shot 27 percent from the floor and an anemic 15 percent from behind the arc. But again, this is summer league, which will be long forgotten by the time the season rolls around.

"I can't make all my shots," Napier told FoxSports.com last week after another substandard outing. "I've just got to prepare myself to make the shot, and if I miss it, it's human error. The biggest thing I've got to control is my effort and trying to slow down my turnovers. And I think I'm doing a better job from my first game and my second game."

It wasn't all doom and gloom, however. Napier played well in his first summer league game:





A lot can change in the coming weeks, but the expectation is that Napier will serve as the Heat's backup point guard behind Norris Cole.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Sharks Fans Protest Sexy "Ice Girl" Uniforms]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:36:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ice+girls.jpg

The San Jose Sharks are taking a hit on social media over their decision to recruit midriff-baring "ice girls" to sweep away the ice, which some fans say is exploitative of women's bodies.

Online petitions, tweets, and a Facebook page called "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls," have already begun to circulate, calling for the team's management to reconsider the design of the ice girls uniforms, the San Jose Mercury News reported Monday.

The ice team, which is "devoted to maintaining excellent ice conditions and energizing the crowd," according to the team's audition page, will include both men and women. But while the men's uniform would include a zip-up jacket, the women would wear cropped long-sleeve shirts, exposing their midriffs.

Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Shark's ice team auditions web page, the guidelines state that there is no height or weight requirement for auditions, but "please be aware that uniforms may be form fitting with some skin exposure," and the list of requirements calls for a "physically fit/athletic appearance."

The "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls" Facebook page calls the outfits sexist and objectifying, stating, "Their decision to change the women's uniform, but not the men's, is inherently sexist and only reinforces a negative double-standard where men are taken seriously but women are sexualized and objectified." 

As of Monday morning, the Facebook page has 705 "likes" since it was created on July 2.

"If the guys are not going to be wearing tightfitting clothing, then why are the girls wearing tightfitting clothing? I don't know where the trade-off is," Jarrod Hicks of San Jose told NBC Bay Area. "And also, it won't make us win a cup, and that's what San Jose wants."

Another Sharks fan tweeted at the San Jose Sharks, "My 6 year daughter plays hockey and Ice Girls is not how I want her envisioning herself. #saynotoIceGirls #SJSharks," Tania Chadwick tweeted.

Other Sharks fans find the ice girls to be a positive addition to hockey.

Michael Alameda, 25, of San Jose told the Mercury News he likes the idea.

"Every sport has cheerleaders, and it's kind of like a cheerleader," he said

In the National Hockey League, 21 other teams have ice girls, many of which have female uniforms that are more revealing than the Sharks', according to the Mercury News.

Sharks management says the current design for the uniforms is not set in stone.

"Once all of the final details are in place, we're confident the final version of the ice team will be very tasteful and appropriate for the city of San Jose and the Sharks," John Tortora, the team's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron Captures World Cup Streaker in Instagram Video]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:56:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Streaker-LeBron.jpg

Basketball star LeBron James posted an Instagram video of a streaker who ran onto the field during the World Cup final showdown between Germany and Argentina.

The game was briefly delayed in the second half when a fan ran onto the field with the words “Natural Born Prankster” written on his chest, according to USA Today Sports.

The incident did not make it on air, as broadcasters cut away to a shot of Christ the Redeemer. James, however, managed to capture the moment and post it on Instagram, which you can see below.

The NBA star captioned the video: “Hahaha!! We're going streaking! Everyone's doing it. Man that was hilarious. #WorldCupFinal #Brazil”

Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup.

Recently, James announced he will be leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

<![CDATA[The Best of The World Cup in Pictures]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 18:48:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP448499730854_0.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the games.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres' Intriguing G.M. Candidate]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 08:42:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/248*120/Kim+Ng.JPG

As of this writing, the Padres have interviewed eight candidates for their open General Manager job. On Friday, they talked with the most intriguing candidate, who also might be the best fit.

Kim Ng is the Sr. Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. She (yes, she) has also worked as the assistant G.M. for the Yankees and Dodgers. Ng has previously interviewed for the G.M. position with Los Angeles (they went with Ned Colletti, who kept her on his staff), Seattle (who chose Jack Zduriencik), and the Padres (who at the time hired Jed Hoyer).

This time around, the Padres would be wise to take a long look at Ng. Her baseball experience speaks for itself. When she joined the Yankees she became the youngest assistant G.M. is baseball history. She did not get that job because of a publicity stunt.

What sets Ng apart from the other candidates the Friars have talked to are two very important selling points most other candidates cannot offer.

One is her ability to win salary disputes. When Ng was with the White Sox in the mid-90's she became the first woman to argue a salary arbitration case, winning the decision for the team against pitcher Alex Fernandez. A money-conscious team like the Padres needs all the help it can get in trimming payroll.

The other is her schooling. Ng earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago in Public Policy (she also played four years of softball there). That means she is keenly aware of the relationship between the people and professional organizations.

The Padres have had more than a few issues with how they've handled public relations in 2014, from the P.A. Announcer situation to the price and size of beer at Petco Park to the interestingly timed firing of previous G.M. Josh Byrnes.

Ng would be a great sounding board in future situations. She has the ability to be a conduit between the fans and the front office.

Now, no woman has ever been the General Manager of a major professional American sport. But, the Padres have come awfully close.

Former owner Joan Kroc was intimately involved in decisions regarding her team (just ask Jack McKeon what happens when you made a move without consulting Joan).

San Diego is one of the few professional sports towns that will not care about the gender of a General Manager. If Kim Ng can help the Padres win, and all indications are she absolutely can, they would be foolish not to give her a chance.


<![CDATA[Dwayne Wade Speaks on LeBron Choice]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:00:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/leBron-chanpion+2012.jpg

Dwyane Wade released a statement Saturday to address LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James announced his decision in a Sports Illustrated essay on Friday.

Wade has not yet announced where he will be playing next season, although he is expected to sign an extension with the Heat.

“As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey," Wade said in his statement. "In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal – to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond the past four years. Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for himself and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots. As an organization, a community, and as individuals, we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions.”

<![CDATA[Brewers' Segura Leaves After 9-Month-Old Son Died]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 01:36:53 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/451784002.jpg

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright knew how tough it was for the Milwaukee Brewers to play Saturday after finding out that shortstop Jean Segura's 9-month-old son had died.

But Wainwright had to push those thoughts aside as he pitched seven strong innings to lead the Cardinals to a 10-2 win over Milwaukee for a tie atop the NL Central.

The Brewers lost their seventh in a row.

Segura left the team and traveled home to the Dominican Republic, a day after his 9-month-old son died. The Brewers observed a moment of silence for Janniel Segura, and the clubhouse was closed before the game.

The 24-year-old shortstop was put on the bereavement list when he learned after the Brewers' 7-6 loss to St. Louis on Friday night that his son had died. Manager Ron Roenicke said the boy had been ill.

"When something like that happens, you become a family," Wainwright said. "Baseball as a whole becomes a family. There's bigger things than baseball. I understand that he's going through something that I hope I never, never have to go through. So our hearts and prayers go out to him."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was catcher for the Cardinals when St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart problem on June 22, 2002.

"The extended family in (Milwaukee's) clubhouse is hurting right along with him," he said. "You can't help but take a step back and just prioritize life. Prioritize just how fragile it is. It gives us perspective."

"When that happened (Kile's death), we had a lot of guys having a bunch of conversations you typically wouldn't have inside a clubhouse," Matheny said.

Wainwright (12-4) gave up two runs and five hits. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last six starts.

Wainwright helped himself with an RBI single and tied Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon and the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka for the most wins in the majors.

St. Louis trailed Milwaukee by 6 1/2 games on July 1, but Wainwright knows how quickly a team's fortune can change in a week. In fact, he said that a week ago.

"My quote was 'In a week from now, we could be doing a completely different kind of interview,'" he said. "It could be what has turned the season around for. And, that's what's happened. This game is a funny game of ups and downs. The teams that have the most ups and the least amount of downs end up winning the whole thing."

Tony Cruz drove in a career-high three runs and Kolten Wong homered for the Cardinals.

"It's nice to be able to make a little ground," Matheny said. "It just comes back to playing each game the right way."

For the Brewers, it was a most difficult day.

"I think everybody in the clubhouse was affected quite a bit," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don't want to make excuses. We knew that we still have a game to play and a job to do, but we did not play well today."

The Brewers have lost 11 of 12. They had held sole possession of first place since April 9.

Frustrated Brewers star Carlos Gomez struck out swinging in the fifth inning and tried three times without success to break the bat over his leg. He slammed his helmet and tore up his batting gloves.

Jimmy Nelson (1-1) went 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs and eight hits. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday to make his first start since replacing ineffective Marco Estrada in the rotation.

St. Louis took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. A two-out error by second baseman Scooter Gennett on a grounder set up Cruz's two-run single.

Wong hit a two-run homer in the second. It was his fifth home run in the last six games since coming back from the disabled list.

Cruz doubled home a run in the third.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pau Gasol Will Play for Chicago]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 06:56:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/475702777.jpg

Hours after several reports surfaced that Carmelo Anthony will be re-signing with the New York Knicks, Pau Gasol announced on Twitter that he has chosen to play for the Chicago Bulls.

"It hasn't been easy," Gasol said in the tweet, which he first posted in Spanish. "After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career."

The Bulls have been looking to add more scoring weapons to their roster and have had several players in the running after a possible deal with their top free agency target Carmelo Anthony was reported to be off the table.

While the Chicago Bulls have not made an announcement about Gasol, several reports indicated they were finalizing a deal Saturday.

Anthony's representatives have not officially announced that he will be returning to the New York Knicks, but a deal with Gasol would likely take the Bulls out of the running for the All-Star forward.

Chicago was among several teams vying for Gasol-- including the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[I Know Why LeBron Is Going Back to Cleveland]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:13:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Miami-Heat-November-25-2013.jpg

Today I woke up to a text from my aunt: “Lebron is back!!!”

As a native Clevelander, I can’t help but rejoice in today’s announcement that LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA, is returning home. I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world — especially compared to some hardcore Cleveland fans out there — but I’ve been to plenty of Cavs, Indians and Browns games in my day, and the spirit is in me. LeBron’s decision is huge for the city, and I’m sure most Clevelanders will welcome him home with open arms.

LeBron’s leaving a beautiful place. I’ve been to Miami, and there’s no doubt it has great food, awesome beaches, fantastic culture and cool people. But Cleveland has all those things too, and much more.

Here’s what LeBron will be returning to when he heads back to the Big Plum (yes, that’s one of Cleveland’s nicknames).

1. Realness. Cleveland is not Miami. It never was and never will be. It is what it is. Obviously Miami has plenty of real people living real lives, but in terms of its image, Cleveland is just a humbler, down-to-earth place. It’s been kicked down plenty of times and is well aware of this. LeBron will be returning to a city that is easy to dismiss on the surface but impossible not to love when you get to know it.

When you leave downtown Cleveland — the Rock Hall, the stadiums, the theaters — you find the real place. It’s not about sports, although with three national sports teams, it is indeed a sports city, and the fans here are passionate. It’s not about rock ’n’ roll, even though people here do love good tunes, and the number of music venues proves it. As a city, it’s about the people. They’re hardened but easygoing, eccentric but unassuming.

2. Cleveland Metroparks. It can’t be said enough: Cleveland’s park system is an overlooked gem. It’s what outsiders ignore when they take jabs at the city. Clevelanders love the Metroparks, once dubbed the Emerald Necklace, and see it as a source of pride. Its deep forests, crooked rivers and steep ravines are the perfect places for LeBron to take his family — not to mention that Cuyahoga Valley National Park sits just south of the city, near Akron, Ohio, where LeBron was born.

3. Lake Erie and its seasons. Miami and Cleveland share one thing in common: beaches. And even if Cleveland’s lake is frozen over half the year, that only adds to its charm. You can watch the lake change with the seasons. The trees along it become vibrant and orange in fall. In the winter, strong winds and snow blow off the lake, yielding every kid’s dream, a snow day… maybe two, three or four. 

4. Food, beer and the West Side Market. Cleveland has become a destination food city. Period. From cutting-edge, nationally acclaimed restaurants to hole-in-the-wall spots that have been around for years, the city is host to a vast selection of old-fashioned and ground-breaking cuisine. And it’s being discovered by more and more food lovers every year.

The classic cuisine has its roots in German, Polish and Eastern European countries, but don’t be fooled. You can find food here from all over the world. Middle Eastern food is particularly popular, given the city’s proximity to heavily-Arab south Michigan. Cleveland also has a Little Italy, a Chinatown and a hippie enclave with plenty of vegan fare, not to mention a slew of breweries and the West Side Market, a massive century-old indoor farmers' market.

5. Harvey Pekar and all that he represents. Harvey Pekar, a comic book writer who died back in 2010, is the quintessential Clevelander. If you want to know what Cleveland is at its heart, read his comics and see American Splendor, a 2003 film about his life starring Paul Giamatti. He perfected the comedy about nothing long before "Seinfeld" came along. What he wrote was about everyday life — insights on the ups and downs of working, playing and living. He’s the perfect ambassador for the city. 


I could talk about Cleveland all day: The views of industry gone to naught. The beauty of Lake View Cemetery and its cavernous hills of headstones. Big Fun, a curiosity shop that is weird, wonderful and a staple of my childhood. All the art, history and science museums that you never hear mentioned when people talk about the Mistake on the Lake.

But I think Pekar sums up Cleveland and what LeBron will be coming back to in two lines: “I try and write the way things happen. I don’t try and fulfill people’s wishes.”

That is the Cleveland LeBron will find.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Interactive: LeBron James' Numbers Don't Lie]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:58:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lebron-return-comparison-cleveland-miami.jpg

When it comes to judging LeBron James as a basketball player, numbers don't tell the whole story, but they certainly make clear what an all-around talent he is, and why the city of Cleveland is rejoicing that he's returning.

His ability to post high numbers in scoring, rebounds and assists, usually in the same game, speak to his depth as a player and how he can dominate a game.

Click below to compare his performances in Cleveland and Miami, and check out the accolades he has garnered during his 11-year career.