<![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 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:37:21 -0400 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:37:21 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Players and Fans Celebrate Giants' World Series Win]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:42:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP283856501206.jpg Giants fans and players celebrated their team's eighth World Series win, only two years after they last claimed the title.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Belichick Says Manning Has No Weaknesses]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:10:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/manning+chargers+defense.jpg

Bill Belichick isn't one for hyperbole, which is readily apparent if you've seen him in front of a microphone for more than 15 seconds. And with the latest Brady-Manning Bowl looming, the Patriots coach pretty much relayed the facts on the Pats' latest opponent, even if it sounded like he was introducing Peyton Manning at an awards show.

"He's good because he does everything good," Belichick said. "Really I don't think there are any weak points in his game. ... He's very smart. He has a great understanding of concepts and timing, game management, clock management, situational football -- third down, red area -- great utilization of the field from sideline-to-sideline and attacking the deep part of the field, very accurate, great decision-maker, quick release."

So Bill, to summarize, how would you describe Manning's game?

"It's pretty much everything really, I don't think there are any weaknesses in his game," Belichick said.

If you're fishing for a couple (of weak spots), here you go, courtesy of CBSSports.com's John Breech: "Manning is 8-11 in games where the temperature is under 40 degrees at kickoff. Manning's also 3-8 against the Patriots during the regular season."

And then there's Brady, whom Belichick has won three Super Bowls with.

"I love coaching Tom," the coach said last week. "We spend a considerable amount of time together, and I think that's important to have that relationship between the head coach and the quarterback, so at least we're on the same page with what we're trying to do.

"He has great feedback. Nobody works harder or prepares better than Tom does. He's about as good as it gets in that category, with a lot of great ideas. He's a very smart, experienced player, obviously, and does a great job executing the team game plan."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Headline AAC Preseason Awards]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:56:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300509.jpg

The American Athletic Conference preseason awards are out and there are Huskies everywhere. Not only was UConn picked to win the AAC by the league's coaches, senior point guard Ryan Boatright has been named the preseason player of the year, and swingman Daniel Hamilton is the AAC's preseason rookie of the year.

SMU finished two points behind the Huskies in the voting for the top spot in the conference, followed by Memphis, Cincinnati and Tulsa.

Boatright was also named to the AAC first-team, along with SMU's Markus Kennedy and Mic Moore, Memphis' Shaq Goodwin and Autin Nichols, and Tulsa's James Woodard. Sophomore center Amida Brimah found his way onto the second team, along with USF's Anthony Collin and Chris Perry, and Temple's Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey.

UConn begins its title defense on Nov. 14 when it hosts Bryant University.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Calhoun Could Miss Week With Knee Injury]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:54:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/omar-calhoun-napier.jpg

This is a big season for Omar Calhoun. The junior guard struggled with injuries and inconsistency last season but now he's fully focused and has the full confidence of coach Kevin Ollie. And until yesterday, Calhoun was fully healthy. He'll be sidelined for a week or so after suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee.

"There is no immediate timetable for his return," UConn spokesman Phil Chardis said, via the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore, "as he is being monitored daily, but he will likely be out of action for at least a week or so."

Calhoun arrived in Storrs as a sharpshooting guard, something we saw regularly during his freshman season. But he was buried on the bench for the Huskies' title run last season, which he used as motivation in recent months ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.

"We want to get a tempo so all of his shots don't have to be three-point shots," Ollie said last week, via the Courant. "So he can get some layups, offensive rebounds, so some more of the movement, cutting. That allows your offensive game to open up, once you're seeing the ball going in, getting to the free throw line. That's something we saw him do exceptionally well in high school."

When Calhoun returns, he'll join a crowded backcourt that includes Ryan Boatright, Rodney Purvis, Terrance Samuel, Sam Cassell Jr. and Daniel Hamilton.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Diaco Talks Young Secondary, WRs, RBs]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:49:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+bob+diaco+stony+brook.jpg

It's homecoming. Typically, that means a cream puff opponent is scheduled to insure an easy win. But this isn't a typical season for the Huskies, a team in transition. So when USF comes to town Saturday, just about anything can happen.

And now, with senior Byron Jones lost for the season to a shoulder injury, we have one more area where first-year coach Bob Diaco will have to rely on young players to pick up the slack.

"What (Javon Hadley) might lack in size and overall speed, he makes up for in toughness," Diaco said Tuesday, via the team's website. "He's got some fundamental base for playing the position. We're excited about him and taking a look at him. He's in competition with John Green so we'll see who ends up claiming that spot in the game. John is a guy who just moved to that position, and the same goes for Brice McAllister. He has never played the position, it's probably at times going to look like that, but there's only one way to solve that and that's for him to play in the games.

"We don't have any other option and we don't want any other option. We believe Brice is going to be a great cornerback here. We think it's his best position, his most natural position. He was a very productive tailback throughout his life but he possesses a few traits that separate him to that next level of athleticism on the perimeter. Almost all the great corners could play tailback, but not all the great tailbacks could play corner. You have to be that much higher level of an athlete to play corner because it is all reaction. Brice possesses those traits, it's just going to be a work in progress."

On the other side of the ball, Diaco talked about the youth movement at running back and wide receiver.

"At the end of the day, Arkeel Newsome and Ron Johnson possess high-level, tangible talents that in time, their maturity of their games will catch up through game experience," he said. ...

"Their route-running is getting better, the preciseness. In Thomas Lucas' in particular, in Noel Thomas' case he's blocking better, more aggressively. I also have seen a higher level of leadership, a higher level of professionalism in how they prepare and live. We're pleased in all four, including Dhameer Bradley and Brian Lemelle."



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Jordan Tweets "I'm Back!"]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:50:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/tlmd_michael_jordan_apuesta.JPG

Michael Jordan is trying his hand at social media, and he went all out for his first tweet Tuesday.

In the tweet, which was posted to the Charlotte Hornets official Twitter account, Jordan revived his legendary “I’m back!” announcement, which signaled he was coming out of retirement roughly 19 years ago.

“I’M BACK!” the tweet read, followed by Jordan clarifying that he's "just kidding" then “laughing out loud.”

The tweet comes on the opening day of the NBA season.

As the owner of the Hornets, Jordan, 51, posted a series of tweets with the hashtag #MJTakeover as part of a social media promotion.

A day earlier, Jordan, who faced criticism when the Hornets played one of the worst seasons in NBA history, told ESPN that being an owner is very different than playing.

“You can’t impact the game. You cannot impact the game,” he said. “I played this game for a long time and I always took criticism in a way that’s going to make me better as a basketball player and I could affect the game per se. Here, I can’t do that other than talking to my other employees or coaches or players.”
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Canseco Accidentally Shoots Own Finger Cleaning Gun]]> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:13:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jose-canseco-getty.jpg

Former baseball star Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself in the finger while cleaning what authorities say is a large-caliber handgun in his Las Vegas home Monday afternoon, police told NBC News.

Canseco shot a finger on his left hand, apparently unaware that a bullet was in the chamber, Las Vegas Metro Lt. Mark Reddon said.

"It was a serious hand injury," but not a serious medical injury, Reddon told NBC News. "There was nothing suspicious. There was no alcohol involved, just a misstep with a handgun."

Canseco began his long major league career in the 1980s playing for the Oakland Athletics, before going on to play for the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and other teams.

He has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his MLB career and after retiring also competed in mixed martial arts and boxing.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Team CT Finishes 5th in PGA Junior Golf Championship]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:58:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Golf+Ball+Generic.jpg

This past weekend, Team Connecticut placed fifth at the PGA Junior League Golf Championship in Duluth, Georgia.

Eight teams from across the United States participated in the tournament, which ran from Oct. 23 to 26, including Texas, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, California, Tennessee and Georgia.

The Connecticut team, coached by Suzy Whaley, consisted of 10 children from across the state.

“The kids are working together as a team – good or bad, win or lose,“ said Whaley. “What we’re building here is something incredible. We’re building people, young men and women, who are going to play golf for a lifetime.”

In the championship round on Sunday, Team Connecticut beat out Team Texas 8-4, to secure a fifth place finish.

Team member Maisie Filler said that she enjoyed playing and improving alongside her teammates.

“We worked together this week and that was really cool,” said Maisie. “I like playing with other people – you can help each other and get better.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Several Yale Bulldogs Leading The Nation]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:03:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Several_Yale_Bulldogs_Leading_The_Nation_1200x675_349010499880.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Redskins PR Pulls QB From Interview]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 19:29:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/165*120/457968826.jpg

Amid the euphoria of the Redskins' 20-17 overtime victory against the Cowboys on Monday, no one can blame quarterback Colt McCoy's exuberance following his exceptional performance

But when ESPN Deportes reporter John Sutcliffe attempted to interview McCoy, Washington senior vice president of communications Tony Wyllie forcibly pulled the quarterback away.

From Dan Steinberg

"No no no, we gotta go guys, we gotta go," Wyllie said, hands on his quarterback, attempting to physically move McCoy toward his destination. But there was resistance from Sutcliffe.

"No means NO!" Wyllie finally shouted, which became the seminal moment for people attempting to make late-night jokes on the internet.

The interview eventually took place.

Wyllie explained the now-infamous moment to ProFootballTalk Tuesday morning. According to Wyllie, McCoy was needed in the locker room for a postgame speech from coach Jay Gruden. Sutcliffe had not set up an on-field interview with McCoy, but still attempted to speak to him. 

Wyllie told News4 he had nothing more to add Tuesday afternoon. "We were just trying to get the player into the locker room so he could hear the post-game speech," he said.

"The guy refused to listen about getting the player in."


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brady and Manning Meet (Again) Sunday]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:53:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/457377524.jpg

It's that time of year again: Brady vs. Manning. This time the Patriots host the Patriots in Foxboro at 4:25 p.m. ET this Sunday and New England's 37-year-old quarterback took time to reflect on his rivalry with his 38-year-old counterpart in Denver.

"Five, six years ago you don't think about those things," Brady said in a radio interview with WEEI in Boston, via ESPN.com. "But as you mature a little bit and realize this could always be the last one, then you do. It's pretty special.

"[Manning has] been one of the greatest players to ever play. I've been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that has ever played the game. And every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team, it comes down to the wire. Everything is usually at stake."

Both players are first-ballot Hall of Famers, and while Brady has two more Super Bowl" rings he also knows that Manning is a once-in-a-generation player.

What can you say more about what Peyton Manning has been able to accomplish? It's been the greatest season-and-a-half stretch in the history of the NFL," Brady said. "Nobody has really matched what he has been able to do, what that offense has been able to do most importantly. When we play this weekend, we are going to have to try to match it because that is what it is going to take. They have a great team, and we are going to have to be at our best."

But this isn't about two players -- even if it's the two best players in recent memory. The Patriots are trying to extend their lead in the AFC East while the Broncos want to do the same in the AFC West.

"I think there is always room for improvement, but truthfully the guys, they make it easy for the quarterback when they play the way they did yesterday," said Brady. "It makes it easy for me -- not that playing the Bears' defense is easy because it's not -- but when the guys around you play the way they did, it makes it easy for the quarterback.

"I'm proud of the way all those guys -- Julian [Edelman], [Rob Gronkowski], Danny [Amendola], the offensive line especially, Tim Wright played great, got off to a great start in the run game. Those things all have a cumulative effect on the offense."

And if those same guys play against the Broncos like they have the last month of the season, the Patriots will be tough to beat.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pomeroy Ratings Have UConn No. 16]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:48:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-rim.jpg

Statistician Ken Pomeroy has released his preseason rankings and unlike other such endeavors, this list isn't about hunches or gut feelings, but numbers and equations. A year ago, Pomeroy had Shabazz Napier as the runner-up in his 2014 Player of the Year Rankings behind Louisville's Russ Smith, and now he has the Huskies' as the No. 16 team heading into the 2014-15 season.

UConn is the highest-rated American Athletic Conference team, followed by Memphis (No. 27), SMU (No. 36), Tulsa (No. 45), Cincinnati (No. 46) and then things fall off a cliff. Temple is 110th, USF is 158th, ECU is 183rd, UCF is 188, Houston is 202 and Tulane is 208.

Pomeroy's top 15:

1. Duke
2. Kentucky
3. Louisville
4. Kansas
5. Arizona
6. Wisconsin
7. Florida
8. Virginia
9. Villanova
10. Wichita St.
11. Syracuse
12. Michigan St.
13. UCLA
14. Ohio St.
15. Michigan

It's worth remembering that, despite the math involved, predicting real-life events with simplified models, while better than guessing, is still difficult. Put another way: a lot can change once the games begin. Coach Kevin Ollie was asked earlier this month about what the Huskies need to do to get better and it came down to the details, something that's difficult to measure with computer models.

"You can't be distracted by the crumbs, because the cake is at the end of the season," Ollie told CBSSports.com. "A lot of people are grabbing for the crumbs and get frustrated if we lose a couple of games here or there but you need to understand that we want to go after the cake. We want to be right when the time is right in March and April and we can't distracted because injuries happen or something happens where we're not playing our best basketball. We need to stay with the program. We need to stay with the process. We have to have the mindset that if we're always learning then that's when we're most successful."

]]>
<![CDATA[Young Players Emerging for Huskies]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/deshon-foxx-2013.jpg

When it comes to the Huskies' offense, there here hasn't been much to celebrate this season. At least not until last Thursday, against 18th-ranked ECU. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer finished with 303 yards in the loss -- still the team's best game of the season -- and he did it thanks to big games from senior Deshon Foxx (four receptions, 120 yards, 1 TD) and freshman Thomas Lucas (two receptions, 80 yards).

Then there was sophomore Noel Thomas (3 receptions, 57 yards, 1 TD), sophomore Dhameer Bradley (4, 21), freshman running back Josh Marriner (3, 15) and sophomore Brian Lemelle (1, 10).

The takeaway: Young skill position players are getting involved, and that's good news as the offense continues to grow.

"They are going to continue to play more and more," UConn coach Bob Diaco said, via the New Haven Register.

"They now collectively need to grow up and mature, mature with how they prepare, prepare all week, prepare on the practice field, prepare in the meetings, prepare in their volunteer time and what (time) they spend studying, we just need to take that next step. They are passionate about (football).

"Here's what you've got, you have four guys, all four of them, they love to compete, they are passionate about football. They like to play football, love to play football. You would like to say that is inherent for everyone, it is not. Those four guys definitely are that way and they are talented. Now what we have to do is hone in on the professionalism as far as what it takes to become a productive player and how to become a good to great player," he told the Register.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Jones' UConn Career Is Over]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:38:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

Senior cornerback Byron Jones came into the season as one of the few established bright spots on a Huskies team in transition. But on Thursday night in Greenville, NC, Jones played his last game in UConn's 31-21 loss to ECU. The team captain reaggravated a shoulder injury that will end his college playing days, though his NFL future remains bright.

Byron was playing through a small issue there,” coach Bob Diaco said. “That, then exacerbated himself (on Thursday) to the point that it needs to be addressed. If it doesn’t get addressed it will be something else. Right now, an isolated thing that needs to be fixed.”

As for Jones' professional future, Diaco added this: “He’s very highly thought of. Executives that are in the building think highly of him. This will help him from a time frame standpoint. He will be full speed, not good as new, better than new when he has a time to show his wears.”

Here's how Diaco described Jones this summer.

"I think he will be one of the best players in the country,” he said. “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.

"Then you factor in this incredible resume 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]]>
<![CDATA[CCSU Basketball Star Suspended After Hitting Girlfriend: Cops]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:43:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kyle+vinales+mug+with+roster+pic.jpg

Central Connecticut State University basketball star Kyle Vinales has been suspended indefinitely from the team after he was arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend.

A university spokesperson said Vinales, a senior, is "not currently participating in any men's basketball activities" and has been suspended from the team indefinitely.

According to the incident report, Vinales was in the car with his girlfriend on Oct. 23 driving home from dinner at Plan B when an argument turned physical.

His girlfriend, also a CCSU student, told police that Vinales "punched her on the forehead" and "squeezed hard, causing her pain." Police said Vinales admitted to shoving her head against the driver's side window, then getting out on Ella Grasso Boulevard to walk back to campus.

Vinales' girlfriend called police to her apartment on East Street around 11:30 that night. Officers found Vinales walking south on East Street near the intersection of Biltmore Avenue and confronted him about the incident, police said.

He told police his girlfriend was complaining about losing her job, so he asked her, "Why are you blaming everyone else?" Vinales said his girlfriend then snatched his phone because she was annoyed when he started playing music, and that he kept the music on when she gave it back to him, according to the report.

Vinales said his girlfriend then pulled the car over on Ella Grasso Boulevard and hit him in the chest and the left side of his face, telling him, "You are so disrespectful," the incident report says.

Officers, however, said they did not see any marks on Vinales' body, and his girlfriend denied hitting him, according to police. 

Vinales was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and third-degree assault. His girlfriend was not charged.

According to his bio on the CCSU basketball roster, Vinales played at the Phelps School and Farmington Hills High School in Michigan before heading to college.

In the 2012-2013 season, Vinales "became the quickest player in CCSU history to reach 1,000 career points," his bio says. He led the conference in scoring and finished seventh in the country.

Vinales was released on a promise to appear and is due back in court Dec. 5.



Photo Credit: CCSU/New Britain Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[LA Soccer Team Ceases Operations]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 22:03:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lafile-chivas-usa-fans.jpg

Major League Soccer announced Monday that Chivas USA ceased operations and that a new franchise planned for Los Angeles would begin play in a new soccer-specific stadium in 2017.

The league’s Board of Governors unanimously decided to disband Chivas USA as part of a change in strategy for the Los Angeles market, MLS said in an announcement on its site.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California -- a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support -- we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in the statement.

The ownership group for the new team will be announced Thursday.

The league will play with 20 clubs in the 2015 season.

MLS said it will conduct a dispersal draft of the Chivas USA roster in the near future.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pats Tom Brady Still Dominating]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:16:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/457894978.jpg

Any questions about Tom Brady and the Patriots offense seem like a distant memory, and for good reason. It's been a month since the Chiefs manhandled New England, 41-14, and in that time the Pats are 4-0, including a blowout win over a hapless Bears outfit Sunday, 51-23.

Tom Brady continues to play like he's 30 years old, which is just the latest reminder that it's silly to suggest he's over the hill. Consider this: Since that loss to the Chiefs, Brady, 37, is 100 of 144 with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He's also utilizing a receiver corps he seemed uneasy with early in the season; Rob Gronkowski gets better every week as he recovers from a knee injury and offseason acquisition Brandon LaFell appears to finally be on the same page as Brady. The former had 9 catches for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns Sunday while the latter added 11 receptions for 124 yards and a score.

So what's changed for Brady and this offense?

"It's his attitude," LaFell said after the game. "Even though we weren't playing great ball the first couple games, he never came in here and was down on himself or down on anybody. He always encouraged everybody and made us work extra after practice and pulled us into meetings. He always said, 'The next game might be the one we explode, so be ready.'"

Coach Bill Belichick, who isn't one for hyperbole, was gushing in his praise of Brady after the game.

"I love coaching Tom," the coach said. "We spend a considerable amount of time together, and I think that's important to have that relationship between the head coach and the quarterback, so at least we're on the same page with what we're trying to do.

"He has great feedback. Nobody works harder or prepares better than Tom does. He's about as good as it gets in that category, with a lot of great ideas. He's a very smart, experienced player, obviously, and does a great job executing the team game plan."

Next up: It's Brady-Manning week. The two rivals -- and future first ballot Hall of Famer's square off this Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NBA Scout: Huskies are Better Than You Think]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:40:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483304023.jpg

UConn is regularly undervalued in October when preseason polls are all we have to judge how good or bad a team might be, but once we get to February and March, the Huskies often exceed expectations. It happened during Shabazz Napier's freshman season, when junior Kemba Walker led the team to a national title.

It happened two years ago when UConn, facing sanctions that kept them out of the postseason, still won 20 games in Kevin Ollie's first season. And it certainly happened last season, when then-senior Napier reenacted Walker's march to a championship three years before and the Huskies did it again.

And now, with Napier gone, it's perfectly reasonable to expect the Huskies to be something less than they were in 2013-14. But according to on NBA scout, this team is stacked. Not just with good college players, but potential NBA players. From

ZagsBlog.com's Adam Zagoria, who got the scouting report on three Huskies:

Amida Brimah, 7-0, So., C: “Brimah has improved 100 percent, maybe 150 percent, from last year. He’s blocking shots, runs the floor. Sensational dunker. Has a beautiful shooting stroke, beautiful form which is very surprising.”

Daniel Hamilton, 6-7, Fr, G/F: “He’ll be one of the better young players in the country. Really shoots the ball well. Good handle. Floaters, runners, pull-up jump shots, shoots the 3. He’ll be one of the best freshman in that league without a doubt, one of the best freshman in the country.”

Ryan Boatright, 6-0, Sr., G: “For two-thirds of the season, he could not play against [Napier], but Kevin [Ollie] did a great job with him to convince him to play with him and not against him. He’s a two-way player. He’s a tremendous on-the-ball defender, as Kentucky’s guards found out last year. He’s the point guard, penetrates and dishes and kicks for 3’s. He’s bought into the program.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chong Looking to Break Out]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:35:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Saniya+Chong.jpg

It's not unusual for freshmen on Geno Auriemma's teams to learn by watching; the roster is stocked with All-Americans and, in general, the coach feels more comfortable with upperclassmen on the floor than wide-eyed rookies.

Saniya Chong is hoping to make the jump to more consistency and playing time as she embarks on her sophomore season. As a freshman, especially as the Huskies were making their title run, she was often relegated to mop-up duty -- those final seconds, long after the game had been decided.

“The beginning of the season was great but at the end I wasn’t getting off the bench until the end of games and it was hard,” Chong told SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “I wish I had contributed more. I wanted to help out. It would have been a great opportunity for me to get a couple more minutes in the championship game. It was great to win it, but I wanted to do more than I did.”

And that's the plan for 2014-15.

“I think I am very much more confident this year,” Chong continued. “You come in as a freshman and it’s new and the intensity is different. Even though you think you’re ready and you’re playing for the No. 1 team in the country and for Coach Auriemma, it’s a shock. But I think that since the summer I’ve stepped it up to another level and we’ll see what happens.

“I think I’m more intense and a better listener. I know what I’m doing now. It’s hard for a freshman. Now I have to be a leader to our new freshmen so I have to know what’s going on,” she told Ademec.

Chong was something of an aberration last year in that she was UConn's only recruit. She'll now be competing with four players in the 2014 freshman class -- Sadie Edwards, Courtney Ekmark, Kia Nurse, and Gabby Williams -- vying for playing time.

“Being a sophomore I should be more prepared and I should work harder,” Chong said. “Coach always says the sophomores, juniors, and seniors always should be working the hardest. So coming out here and knowing any of those four freshmen can take my spot makes me work five times harder.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[UConn and Georgetown to Meet in 2016]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:30:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

UConn announced Friday that it would renew its rivalry with old Big East foe Georgetown. The home-and-home series begins in 2016 -- the Hoyas come to the XL Center on Jan. 23 2016 and the Huskies head to Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center on Jan. 21, 2017.

“It’s gonna be great,” coach Kevin Ollie said, via the New Haven Register's David Borges. “I know our fans want to see it, I know their fans want to see it. Hopefully, we put on a great game.”

More from Borges:

UConn and Georgetown have a long history which dates back to 1958 and includes 64 games, with Georgetown holding a 35-29 advantage. As Big East Conference opponents, Georgetown had a 32-26 edge. The two programs share the record for most Big East Conference tournament championships with seven apiece.

Georgetown won the last game played between the two teams, a 79-78 double-overtime thriller at Gampel Pavilion on Feb. 27, 2013. UConn lost its last two games against the Hoyas, but the teams split their last four. UConn’s last win against Georgetown was a 79-62 decision on March 9, 2011 during the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Ollie also suggested that a Syracuse-UConn reunion could be in the works.

"Two Big East teams in the same season would be awesome,” he said. “I think we’re trying to finalize some things with Syracuse later on down the road.,” he told the Register.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Big Clippers Tax Write-Off]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 02:50:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_steve_ballmer_clippers_microsoft.jpg

Billionaire Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers in August for $2 billion, but he could write off as much as half of that amount in taxes by 2030, according to an analysis by the Financial Times.

A tax break for owners of sports franchises would let the ex-Microsoft CEO claim about $1 billion of the team's purchase price from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years, said the report, published Sunday in the London newspaper (paywall, registration required).

Ballmer paid the Sterling family almost four times as much for the Clippers as the previous record NBA franchise purchase, $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ballmer bought the Clippers at a tough time for fans, many of whom were distraught at apparently racist comments made by previous owner Donald Sterling on a tape recording. Those comments kicked off a long battle with the NBA that eventually led to a bidding war, which Ballmer won.

The difference between the value of the company's assets and what the purchaser paid for it is the key to the tax breaks Ballmer may be able to take, according to the Financial Times article:

"Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."

Most corporations can't charge for goodwill, but sports franchises are an exception, according to the Financial Times.

Representatives of the Clippers and of Ballmer didn't comment for the Financial Times report. Ballmer didn't immediately reply to an e-mail from NBC4 Sunday afternoon.

]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 8]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 01:51:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/457913960.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the eighth week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots Roll Past Bears]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:02:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Brady+Gronk+Beating+Bears.jpg

Nearly a month after a soul-crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs called Tom Brady's longevity into question, the New England Patriots put an exclamation point on their fourth consecutive win.

In the Pats' 51-23 victory over the Chicago Bears, Brady threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns.

More impressive than that, the veteran quarterback completed 30 passes in 35 attempts.

Three of Brady's scores came courtesy of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who received all nine of the catches on which he was targeted for 149 yards.

Wide receiver Brandon LaFell and tight end Tim Wright made the other two touchdown catches, with LaFell receiving for 124 yards.

Notably absent from the equation was Julian Edelman. Brady's primary target through the first seven games of the season made just one catch after being targeted four times, accounting for three of the quarterback's five misses.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's numbers were solid, completing 20 passes in 30 attempts and throwing for three touchdowns against one pick. But two of those touchdowns came after the Pats took a 45-7 lead in the third quarter.

Midseason pickup Jonas Gray, a former undrafted free agent signed off the practice squad to fill the void left by Stevan Ridley's injury, served to diversify New England's offense even as Brady fired the ball all over the field. The rookie running back ran it for 86 yards.

Mainstay Shane Vereen contributed out of the backfield and a weapon for Brady, with 22 rushing yards and 23 receiving.

More to come.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Tie Series Against Royals ]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 03:44:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/457868870%281%29.jpg

The World Series was slipping away from the San Francisco Giants.

A botched grounder led to a three-run deficit, and they were in danger of falling behind the Kansas City Royals three games to one.

Instead of panic, it was time for some Panda-monium. Pablo Sandoval's single set up Hunter Pence to score the tying run in the fifth inning and the 2012 Series MVP followed with dramatics later in the game.

The San Francisco Giants evened up the World Series 2-2 against the Kansas City Royals, with an 11-4 win in Game 4.

The Giants were down 4-1 in the third inning, but scored 10 unanswered runs the rest of the way. The big blow in the 4-hour game came in the sixth inning, where the Giants scored three runs to take a 7-4 lead.

Sandoval delivered in the sixth with the winning, two-RBI single that put the Giants on top 6-4.

"We're going to battle and scratch and claw,'' Giants second baseman Joe Panik said.

With the World Series tied at two games apiece, the title will be decided at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium next week.

"We never give up, that's the thing,'' said Sandoval, who shook off a stomach bug after starting to feel ill Friday. "We've been doing it all year in these situations. We know how that feels.''

Pence, eyes ablaze, had three hits, three RBIs and a nifty sliding catch in the ninth inning, and Panik hit a two-run double in a four-run seventh.

"We had to win this game tonight no matter what,'' said Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, who was knocked out of the game in the third inning.

Vogelsong only went 2 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs, but the Giants still have not lost a postseason game Vogelsong has pitched in.

Reliever Yusmeiro Petit (3-0) went three shutout innings to earn the win.

Up next, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will take on James Shields in Game 5 Sunday night at 5:07 p.m. at AT&T Park.

"This was a great ballgame, I thought, especially the way we came back,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Showcasing baseball at its exciting best, the game included a sprawling catch by Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson that left a pair of divots, and the first use of expanded video review in Series history, which became a turning point. Jeff Kellogg's safe call at second base was upheld by replay ump Jerry Meals on catcher Salvador Perez's pickoff attempt of Joaquin Arias, helping the Giants build the pivotal rally.

Four fans in the first row near the Giants dugout wore giant, of course, white panda heads as they cheered on Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda and a veteran of the team's World Series titles in 2010 and '12. The switch-hitter batted just .199 right-handed during the regular season but came up with his first two-hit game from that side of the plate since Aug. 25, emphatically tossing his bat after lining a single to center that put the Giants ahead 6-4.

Sandoval said he vomited after batting practice and took medication.

"No one was taking me out of the lineup,'' he said. "I play giving my heart and soul to the team.''

Lost in the torrent of runs was the earlier fit of pique by Bochy, who threw his hat to the dugout floor when his team botched a third-inning grounder. The mood was different by the eighth, when former Journey singer Steve Perry sprinted to the front row of the second deck behind home plate and led the crowd of 43,066 in a sing-along of "Lights.''

The outlook seemed far different in the third , when ominous, dark clouds formed over the bayside ballpark, and the Royals burst ahead 4-1 against Vogelsong with the pitcher's help. He failed to step on first while covering and trying to catch Brandon Belt's throw on Eric Hosmer's tapper. Orange-clad fans quieted, and there even were scattered boos.

"I thought we had the situation right in the palm of our hand,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

But Petit settled the NL champions with his scoreless relief.

"The way Petey threw tonight saved our bullpen. He was our MVP tonight for me,'' San Francisco pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.

Yost stayed with starter Jason Vargas into the fifth, removing him after Panik's leadoff double. Royals relievers had been 7-0 in the postseason, but Yost couldn't get to his hard-throwing HDH triad of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

Jason Frasor and Danny Duffy combined to allow the tying run in a two-run fifth. And Brandon Finnegan, the first player to appear in the College World Series and World Series in the same year, allowed Sandoval's two-run single and Brandon Belt's RBI's single in the sixth.

Click here for full Giants coverage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Edged by KC, Down 2-1 in WS]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:12:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/457810112.jpg

Sparkling defense, a stingy bullpen and just enough timely hitting. That same winning formula of fundamental baseball put the Kansas City Royals on top in the World Series.

The San Francisco Giants were edged by the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in Game 3 of the World Series and are now down 2-1 in the best of seven.

Down 3-0 in the sixth inning, the Giants rallied for two runs on a Michael Morse double and a Buster Posey groundout, but the Royals bullpen shut out the Giants for the final three innings.

But Jeremy Guthrie outpitched fellow Series newcomer Tim Hudson and four Royals relievers combined on four hitless innings, as Kansas City beat the San Francisco.

"This is the way our games have gone all year,'' said Royals manager Ned Yost, who made several lineup changes that paid off. "I'm getting really good at protecting a one-run lead because a lot of times that's exactly what we have to deal with.

"But I have the necessary tools to be able to do that. It's not me doing it. It's the guys that we put out there that are doing it. We have the type of pitchers in our bullpen that can accomplish that,'' he said.

Alex Gordon hit a run-scoring double and Lorenzo Cain made two slick grabs in right field as the Royals backed Guthrie with nifty glove work. All night long, Kansas City looked perfectly comfortable playing in the tricky territory at unfamiliar AT&T Park.

Eric Hosmer had a sixth-inning RBI single on the 11th pitch of his at-bat against lefty Javier Lopez. It was the first World Series hit for Hosmer _ on his 25th birthday.

Cain drove in the first run with a groundout after Alcides Escobar's leadoff double in the first.

Game 4 is Saturday night, with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to pitch for the Giants against lefty Jason Vargas.

"We've got to keep grinding. It's going to be a tough series,'' said Royals center fielder Jarrod Dyson, added to the starting lineup in Game 3.

Yost moved Cain from center field to right in place of Nori Aoki for a defensive boost in the expansive outfield at AT&T Park. Cain chased down Buster Posey's slicing line drive in the first for a pretty catch from his knees, then snagged Travis Ishikawa's sinking liner in the second.

Gordon was moved up from sixth to second in the lineup and came through with his RBI double following Escobar's single in the sixth.

On a night that began with a remembrance of late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Kansas City produced just enough offense even without designated hitter Billy Butler. The Series shifted to AT&T Park and National League rules for three games.

The Giants had their six-game home winning streak in the World Series snapped. The unbeaten run dated to the 2002 wild-card club of Barry Bonds and Co. that lost in seven games to the Angels.

The Royals seemed unfazed by the fanfare and tough conditions in improving to 5-0 on the road this postseason. Of the first 56 times the World Series was tied 1-all, the Game 3 winner went on to win in 37 of those instances and four of the last five.

A cast of Giants Hall of Famers were celebrated on the field in a star-studded pregame featuring a "Play Ball!'' chant by Huey Lewis.

Pinch-hitter Michael Morse hit an RBI double with none out in the sixth to chase Guthrie. Yost turned it over to his fantastic bullpen, and Kelvin Herrera immediately walked Gregor Blanco.

With the hard-throwing Herrera clocking 99-101 mph on the radar gun, Joe Panik had a tough time attempting a sacrifice bunt. His high-bouncing grounder still did the trick to advance both runners, and Buster Posey pulled the Giants to 3-2 on a groundout.

Then, the Royals shut down San Francisco the rest of the way.

"I don't know if there's a better bullpen, because that seventh, eighth and ninth inning, and you get a tough go when you're facing those guys,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Hopefully you get some runs early, but Guthrie did a great job on us.''

Herrera worked 1 1-3 innings, rookie Brandon Finnegan got two outs in his World Series debut, and Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Greg Holland got three quick outs for the save.

The four hitless innings of relief were the most in the World Series in 22 years.

"Our bullpen's been lights out. We've got 100 percent confidence in (those) guys getting their job done,'' Dyson said. "From an offensive standpoint, we're just trying to put runs on the board and get them in position.''

Guthrie, who attended nearby Stanford, retired 10 straight during one stretch and combined with Hudson to retire 20 in a row. That was the longest Series streak since the Yankees' Don Larsen and the Brooklyn Dodgers' Sal Maglie retired the first 23 batters during Larsen's perfect game in 1956, according to STATS.

"What a gutsy performance,'' Royals teammate James Shields said. ``He went out there and pitched his heart out. He did a phenomenal job.''

As a gorgeous Bay Area afternoon turned into a breezy night along the water, the 39-year-old Hudson left in the sixth to a rousing ovation from the orange towel-twirling sellout crowd.

Hudson waited 16 years for his first World Series chance only to watch Escobar hit the game's first pitch for a double. Escobar scored on Cain's groundout, and Hudson settled in nicely after the second. The right-hander retired 12 in a row before Escobar's one-out single through Hudson's legs in the sixth. Gordon followed with his RBI double.

GUTHRIE'S MARK

In a quirky stat, Guthrie became the fifth starting pitcher in World Series history to not record a walk or a strikeout through five innings and the first since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux in Game 2 of the 1996 Series for Atlanta against the Yankees.

UP NEXT

Royals: Vargas, an 11-game winner who pitched the ALCS clincher against Baltimore, attended Game 1 of the Giants' 2010 World Series at AT&T Park against Texas with his wife as a fan.

Giants: Vogelsong is the only pitcher to yield no more than one run in his first five postseason starts. That run ended in the NL Championship Series when Vogelsong allowed four runs in three innings of a no-decision against St. Louis. ... Bochy said he and pitching coach Dave Righetti discussed going with ace lefty Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 on short rest if trailing something they know he can handle physically despite his heavy workload.

The Giants will look to even up the series tomorrow with Ryan Vogelsong taking the hill.

Full Giants coverage here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots Wary of Bears' Forte]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:07:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vince-wilfork-interception.jpg

The Bears (3-4) come to Foxoboro Sunday in desperate need of a win. If that's to happen, a lot has to go right for Chicago, starting with the play of quarterback Jay Cutler, who has been wildly inconsistent this season. He has downfield playmakers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, but the Patriots know that in order to make the Bears' offense one-dimensional, they first have to stop running back Matt Forte.

“That’s the biggest thing defensively -- being able to tackle,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said, via ESPN.com. “And that’s part of our problem, too; sometimes we miss tackles, we overplay some things and it costs us. It costs us big.

“No matter how you slice it, we have to be able to tackle. We have to be able to get off the field on third down, in the red area, just make them kick field goals. The team has played good football in the red area. I think that’s one of those things that helped us last week was in the red area they kicked field goals instead of us giving up seven points. That’s big. That’s probably the only thing we did well.”

The Patriots will be without linebacker Jerod Mayo, who is out for the season, as well as defensive end Chandler Jones, who could be sidelined a month.

“Who said we don’t have Chandler?” Wilfork asked, apparently taking a page from the Bill Belichick playbook on talking publicly about injuries. “I don’t know if we are going to have Chandler or not, but when the time comes we will figure it out.

“I’m confident in everybody we put on the field because the way we practice around here, the way guys get taught the same way. We don’t change any type of defense because we lack a person, we don’t care who that person is. Just the next man up, he has to be able to step in and do his job and do it to the fullest.”

The last time the Pats faced the Bears, Forte managed just 25 yards. Wilfork says not to put too much stock in those numbers.

“Last time we played them they were totally different,” he said. “They probably have a couple guys that are still there but for the most part it’s a different team. A team we don’t play a lot. We have to do a lot of study on those guys on tendencies and what they want to do and how they do it, formations, situations in the game, understanding what they want to do.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ollie Tries to Block Out Distraction]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:47:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/amida-brimah-surgery.jpg

Earlier this week, coach Kevin Ollie spoke with CBSSports.com about the 2014-15 Huskies, particularly the group of players tasked with defending UConn's national title. Gone is Shabazz Napier, but Ryan Boatright remains and NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, a former McDonald's All-American, will also be in the backcourt.

CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein asked Ollie about what we can expect from Purvis, who has been in Storrs for over a year and is eager to get back on the floor. Specifically, can Purvis step into the lineup and be one of the great UConn guards?

"He's got to work for that," Ollie admitted. "You can't just say that. Potential is a bad word and he does have potential to be one of the more explosive players in our history here, but the guys that are in that conversation now -- they just worked and worked and kept getting better. Daniel Hamilton is the exact same way. He's got great potential, but at the end of the day, God-given talent has to change into skills, hard work and toughness -- especially mental toughness. All of those great players were mentally tough. When we got in do or die situations, they always made the right plays and hopefully the new guys that are here have that same makeup."

Ollie was also asked about sophomore Amida Brimah, who was a pleasant frontcourt surprise last season, especially on the Huskies' title run.

"The same thing, but I don't expect to see just flashes," he said. "I expect him to be a consistent player for us. People really didn't see his offense, but he's gotten so much better in that area of his game. He's got jump hooks now that he can go to over his right or left shoulder. He's doing that a lot more effectively and now we just want him to rebound. That's what I'm pushing him towards -- I want him to be a monster. He's still going to be able to block shots, but I want him to be the total package as a player and he's certainly capable of doing that."

About defending that title... So what do the Huskies need to do this season?

"We've just go to pay attention to details right now," Ollie said. "You can't be distracted by the crumbs, because the cake is at the end of the season. A lot of people are grabbing for the crumbs and get frustrated if we lose a couple of games here or there but you need to understand that we want to go after the cake. We want to be right when the time is right in March and April and we can't distracted because injuries happen or something happens where we're not playing our best basketball. We need to stay with the program. We need to stay with the process. We have to have the mindset that if we're always learning then that's when we're most successful."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lauren Cox Taking Time During Recruiting Process]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:42:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-pat-summitt.jpg

UConn received verbal commitments from two of the country's best high school players this week -- Crystal Dangerfield and Kyla Irwin -- and the 2016 class is already taking shape. But for Lauren Cox, another top recruit in the class, pace wins the race.

The 6-4 frontcourt player from Flower Mound, Texas will follow in the steps of '14 top recruit A'ja Wilson, who was deliberate throughout the recruiting process before deciding on South Carolina, which was near her home.

“Baylor is an hour-and-a-half away and it’s a drive,” Dennis Cox, Lauren's father, said Wednesday, according to SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “Yeah, we’ve been to football games there. We’ve visited some schools that we can drive to. Don’t read anything to it. I don’t think (distance) is a priority for her. Lauren keeps pretty much to herself so I don’t know if she’s going to go near or far, east or west, north or south, or hot or cold.”

Lauren isn't just a basketball standout. She also stars on the volleyball court, and she's being recruited in that sport too. But again, Lauren is taking her time on that front too.

“We talked late in the summer about trying to get some kind of list out of her,” Dennis Cox said. “We started out at 29 schools and 19 came to see her at her high school. We knew everyone could not make it and that was fine. We did no home visits.”

Cox, who averaged 18.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 4.8 blocked shots as a sophomore, has UConn among her top 20 schools, along with Notre Dame. She'll be in South Bend on Dec. 6 when the Huskies and Irish meet in the Jimmy V Classic, though there are no plans yet to visit Storrs.

“I have a calendar and I have UConn’s schedule,” Dennis Cox said. “We’re looking. But Lauren has games on Tuesdays and Fridays so we have to find an open date that they’re at home.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huskies Show Life in Loss to ECU]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:41:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geremy-davis-ecu.jpg

We know it's not popular in big-time athletics but after the way UConn played against 18th-ranked ECU Thursday night, we're going to say it: Despite coming up short 31-21, the performance was a moral victory for first-year coach Bob Diaco and his team, and we mean this in the most laudatory sense possible.

“There are no moral victories,” Diaco said after the game. “We didn’t come here to play well, we came to a win a football game and we didn’t.”

And that's what Diaco has to say. He wasn't brought to Storrs to get the Huskies close against the best teams in the AAC. He was brought to Storrs to transform the Huskies into the best team in the AAC. But as we've written countless times, this is a process. And along the way, there will be times when a loss on the scoreboard can translate to something more than that in the locker room after the game.

Thursday's effort against an explosive ECU offense is one such example.

“We have a massive amount to build on,” Diaco said, unwavering in his assessment of the game. “Down the stretch we needed to make more plays, we didn’t. ... “Soon, we will be able to take these games at the end and not give it up."

UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer easily had his best game of the season, completing 18 of 30 passes for 303 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception to go along with a rushing score.

Whitmer found Deshon Foxx on an 88-yard score and tossed a 32-yarder to sophomore Noel Thomas. Redshirt freshman Thomas Lucas had two catches for 80 yards, and freshman running back Ron Johnson added 45 yards on the ground, The emergence of these young players will help to lay the foundation for the future of the program.

“They are great. It’s exciting for the future for them,” Whitmer said, via SNY.com. ” It’s tough for me that I only have five more games left. We are starting to hit stride and ave a lot of young talent, it’s good for the future of the program.”

And Diaco added: “They are going to be really good players. They had their victories tonight too. They just didn’t win all the plays and (ECU's) quarterback is spectacular ... he’s on the move and throwing it on the move and doing a great job there. The wide receivers and quarterback makes for a tough matchup for young corners.”

The Huskies fall to 1-6 on the season and are still looking for their first win against an FBS school.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Revis Barred From Tuesday Practice]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:28:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Darrelle+Revis+Getty.jpg

Darrelle Revis was absent from Patriots' practice on Tuesday and it had nothing to do with an injury or a personal matter. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Revis was late and coach Bill Belichick sent him home.

Following last Thursday's win over the Jets, Patriots players were given the weekend off and were to report for work on Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. Revis was late. The cornerback told the media that whatever happened was "between me and coach" and to "talk to him" about it.

More via Reiss:

The Boston Herald reported Revis missed practice after oversleeping but was told to stay home instead of showing up late. Revis appeared at Gillette Stadium later in the day after his teammates had left, when he met privately with Belichick and apologized, according to the Herald report. ...

The Globe report cited a source saying Revis accepted being sent home and understands that Belichick's rules apply to everyone. In the past, Belichick has sent players home, including former linebacker Adalius Thomas and star wide receiver Randy Moss.

Revis returned to practice on Wednesday and we suspect he'll see normal duty this Sunday against the Bears.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Defense Bright Spot for Diaco]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:35:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+sideline_1200.jpg

There haven't been many bright spots to the 2014 season but if first-year coach Bob Diaco has taught us anything through the first two months of the season it's perseverance. While we wait for the offense to find its way, there have been some positives. Namely: The defense, which will have its work cut Thursday against 18th-ranked ECU.

“We are always looking for more negative plays and turnovers but we are not a feast or famine outfit,” Diaco said Sunday, via SNY.com's John Silver. “You see a lot of teams play like that and you may see a lot of sacks, TFL’s and maybe a pick or a ball disruption here or there but also see a lot of points. So our objective, and we are built, because we want to keep the points down. So nothing is going to compromise that charge.”

More from Silver:

The Huskies are 1-5, but in the last five games have held all their opponents under 302 yards of offense. The defense is ranked No. 4 in the nation in first downs allowed (95), No. 17 in the nation in total offense surrendering 325 yards per game, 28th in rushing defense at 121.2 per game and 18th in the nation in third down conversion percentage defense allowing only 31 percent of conversions. The Huskies make teams move the ball and generally get off the field when given the chance.

And the defensive line, which is a young unit, has been a bright spot.

“I think that the D-Line, especially the young D-Line players, are getting better with their fundamental eye progression as it relates to foot action,” Diaco said. “The synapses firing, I think they have done a better job there. Faster, violent more heavy hands. So I’ve seen some improvements with those guys. They are moving along.”

It almost certainly won't be enough to salvage the season but that was never the point. Diaco is laying the foundation for the future.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[AAU Coach Says UConn Right Fit for Irwin]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:32:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-2014-recruits.jpg

Tina Thomas is the AAU coach for the Central PA Elite AAU program. One of her players: Kyla Irwin, the latest 2016 recruit for Geno Auriemma and the Huskies. And when Thomas says that Irwin is special, she knows what she's talking about; her daughter was an All-American at Maryland and now plays in the NBA, and her son plays at Wake Forest. Thomas knows basketball.

“I think she’s played for me three years now,’’ Thomas said, via the Connecticut News' Rich Elliott. “I saw her as a freshman. She was playing at my daughter’s old high school. So I went to see her because I was looking for a big and someone told me to go watch her so I did. So I knew her mom (Bethany) because I played against her mom for a couple years and I approached her and said if she’d be interested. Her mother said, `No, she’s on an AAU team.’ And then she kind of talked it out with Kyla and Kyla really wanted to do it.

"So going into her sophomore year I played at the highest level so she was playing upcoming seniors and she was only going to be a sophomore. And she held her own. It was pretty impressive. Her mom taught her well. Her mom played at Penn State. Her mom knows the game extremely well, and she’s a coach’s kid. So I knew she’d play big. Her dream was to play at Connecticut so hat’s off to her.

“She’s just one of those kids that’s a coach’s daughter," Thomas continued. "She knows the game so well. She knows so much about it. The little things that most kids just don’t know she does know. She plays hard, 110 percent, whether we’re killing a team or it’s a very competitive game. And she’s loved by all of her teammates because she’s just one of those kids that she’s cheering whether she’s in the game or sitting on the bench. I’ve never seen a kid like her in that she gets the whole bench rallied up. It’s really a neat thing to see.’’

In addition to UConn, Irwin also had scholarship offers from DePaul, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John’s and Saint Joseph’s. But Storrs is where she wanted to be and as far as Thomas is concerned, it makes the most sense.

“She’s Geno’s kind of kid in the sense that whatever he asks her to do she’s going to do it and run through a brick wall through and through,’’ Thomas said. “She’s that kind of kid. She doesn’t get down on herself. If she can’t do something she’s going to work at it until she can do it. She’s that kind of kid.’’

]]>
<![CDATA[Report: UConn-Louisville to Play in 2016-17]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:09:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-PVAM.jpg

Between 2006 and 2013, Louisville and UConn played 16 times. The series is currently on hiatus -- Louisville bolted for the ACC after the '13 season -- but that will be short-lived; according to the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla, the Cardinals and Huskies will renew their rivalry in 2016-17.

UConn is 16-1 all-time against Louisville -- including a 16-game winning streak -- but as Altavilla writes, "many of their games since Jeff Walz became coach in 2007 have been among the most important UConn has played."

More via Altavilla:

Included have been two national championship games, in 2009 (UConn, 75-36) and 2013 (UConn, 93-60) and the last year’s American Athletic Conference championship game (UConn, 72-52).

Walz and Geno Auriemma get along quite well and have enjoyed kidding each around in the prelude leading up to their meetings. And there is no question now that Walz is one of the best young coaches in the country, a formidable recruiter with the luxury of a the 22,000-seat KFC Yum Center as his home arena.

It's unclear if a contract has been signed for the 2016-17 games, but Altavilla writes that the series is scheduled to begin in Dec. 2016 and continue in Louisville the following year. And because Walz and Auriemma have a good relationship, the games could continue indefinitely.

]]>