<![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 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:52:35 -0400 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:52:35 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Michael Phelps Arrested for DUI in Maryland]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:04:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_080212_phelps20i.jpg

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI and other charges in Maryland early Tuesday morning, News4 has confirmed.

Phelps was clocked driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone on southbound Interstate 395 leaving Baltimore, said Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

An officer followed Phelps' white 2014 Land Rover through the Fort McHenry Tunnel on northbound Interstate 95, police said. Authorities say he was speeding and crossing double lines in the tunnel.

Phelps was stopped just beyond the tunnel’s toll plaza. Authorities say he appeared to be under the influence and failed a series of field sobriety tests. Phelps was cooperative during the process, they said.

Phelps was charged with DUI, excessive speed and crossing double lane lines. He was arrested around 1:40 a.m., TMZ first reported. He was later released.

Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history with 22 medals: 18 gold, two silver and two bronze. He won an unprecedented eight gold medals in eight events at the Beijing Games in 2008, and returned to win four more golds at the London Games in 2012.

The swimmer said after the London Games that he was finished with competitive swimming. But he recently returned to the pool, competing in significant championship events this summer. He has not yet confirmed his plans for the Summer Games in Rio in 2016.

Phelps has been charged with DUI previously. In November 2004, he was stopped by state troopers in Salisbury, Maryland, after failing to stop for a stop sign. He was 19 at the time.

In that case, Phelps pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. He was fined $250 and was ordered to serve 18 months probation.

During an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today," Phelps called the event an isolated incident and said he had "let myself down and my family down... I think I let a lot of people in the country down."

Phelps faced further controversy when a photograph surfaced in February 2009 showing him with a water pipe used to smoke tobacco or marijuana.

Phelps publicly apologized and admitted that the image, taken at a student party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic. The brouhaha surrounding the photo resulted in the swimmer losing Kellogg's as a sponsor and a three-month suspension from USA Swimming.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Diaco: 'We're Disappointed But Not Crushed']]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bob-diaco-boise-state-sept.jpg

If Bob Diaco has grown tired of giving virtually the same press conference from one loss to the next, you wouldn't know it to hear him. Yes, he's clearly not happy with the results, but as he's alluded to -- and we've written time and again -- this is a process.

The Huskies were bad when he got the job in December and not much has changed in the nine months since. The latest proof came in Saturday's 36-10 loss to Temple. Afterwards, Diaco sounded a familiar tone, both in terms of what went wrong and why, ultimately, this thing will get turned around.

"We are taking turns with young guys doing bonehead things, which they will eventually stop doing," Diaco said. "They will stop doing this because we are going to stay the course and with love, care, diligence and respect in how we communicate, we are going to keep getting better. ...

"Some of the other facts of the game: 16 uncontested points make it impossible to win, period. When you look at it defensively, you have some exposure there that creates some of those circumstances. They had two scoring drives. We are unhappy with the four explosive-play passes because that is just not what we do. We don’t have our defense structured to give up explosive-play passes. So those four plays were disappointing. The other couple of field goals (produced by Temple) were plus-field setups. And then obviously 16 uncontested points.

"We are disappointed but not crushed," Diaco conceded. "The players understand what we are going to do. We have a bye-week so we are going to practice a bunch and get better. So we are resolute and our spirit is not cracked. The team and coaches are upset but we also know, big picture, where we are going."

The Huskies have the week off before facing Tulane on Oct. 11.

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<![CDATA[Report: Michigan Gauges AD Manuel's Interest]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:18:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/warde+manuel_722_406.jpg

Back in January, UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel refuted rumors that he was in the running for the same job at Virginia Tech. Now, nine months later, Manuel is again at the center of a report, this time linking him to AD job at Michigan, where Manuel once played for Bo Schembechler.

According to CoachingSearch.com, the Wolverines are gauging interest from not only Manuel but Boston College AD Brad Bates.

Before accepting the UConn athletic director position, Manuel served six years as the athletic director at Buffalo.

Bates was also a part of the Wolverines football program under Schembechler. Bates holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan, and a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt.

Before accepting the athletic director position at Boston College, he spent ten years as the athletic director at Miami (OH) University.

As SBNation notes, Michigan hasn't announced that current AD Dave Brandon has been fired.

Meanwhile, in January, Manuel sounded like he was content in his current role. "I am very happy as the Director of Athletics at UConn and look forward to continuing to work with President Herbst, my coaches, staff, student-athletes, donors and fans to enjoy a high level of continued success in athletics at UConn," he said at the time.

We'll have to see if that changes should the Michigan job come open.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Wrigley Field Renovation Begins]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 05:00:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wrigley_reno_.jpg

Construction on the $575 million Wrigley Field renovation project officially went into high gear Monday.

The Chicago Cubs wasted zero time between the end of the baseball season last week and the start of construction.

Over the next six months, workers will expand the bleachers in both outfields, push the stadium's footprint further onto both Waveland Avenue and Sheffield, and lay the foundation for seven new outfield signs along with a 2,400 square foot video scoreboard in right field. The Red and Purple parking lots will also be excavated to make room for underground players' locker rooms and lounges.

Some fans are excited about the changes but others are worried about losing the historic venue's character.

"I don't want to see it get too doctored up with too much commercial-ness, but I appreciate what they're trying to do. I support the Ricketts," a Cubs fan told NBC 5 near the stadium.

"I just think the neighborhood feel of the ballpark's going to be greatly diluted, or maybe disappear," another fan said.

A pending lawsuit looms over the project. Eight nearby rooftop owners are suing the city claiming the project violates their profit-sharing agreement with the team.

The first phase of renovations is expected to completed by Opening Day 2015.
 

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<![CDATA[Patriots' D Can Help Struggling O]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 14:48:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/vince-wilfork-interception.jpg

With the Patriots' offense struggling, the team faces a tough task on Monday night in Kansas City, one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. The Chiefs aren't the group they were a season ago, when they began the year 9-0 and finished 11-5, but we could say the same thing about the Pats.

Which is why Tom Brady's evening would go a lot smoother if New England's defense was able to get off the field. One of the many early season storylines is whether Darrelle Revis has lost a step both literally and in terms of his annual status as the league's best cornerback.

"At corner, guys are going to make plays," Revis said last week. "This is the NFL. It’s not like we are playing against high school players or any talent that is less. Some of the greatest athletes in the world play this game. Sometimes they make plays, sometimes you make plays."

Fair enough. But the plan against the Chiefs will be to limit the deep ball -- and by extension -- the big plays.

"As a secondary as a whole, deep balls will kill you," Revis continued. "They kill you on defense. So double moves in the high red area, usually [means] teams go for the end zone and try and take a chance. We’ve been doing great so far and we just have to continue to be consistent in that area."

For what it's worth: Revis might not be the player he once was, say, four years ago, but he's still part of the NFL's best defense. Through three weeks, the unit ranked first overall (1st against the pass, 18th against the run), according to Football Outsiders.

So while thwarting the deep ball might be on the to-do list, slowing up the Chiefs' running game will be critical too.

"We are preparing like [Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles] is going to play," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said, via ESPN.com. "If he doesn't play, he doesn't play. They didn't miss a beat last week without him, so this is a team that wants to run the football and that's what they do. They are built to run the ball. They have explosive guys at the skill positions. We have to be able to stop all of them."

And even if Charles can't go, Knile Davis proved he could be an explosive alternative last week against the Dolphins.

"A big, strong, powerful running back that can hit you anywhere on the field. He's a bigger guy but he is fast," Wilfork said of Davis.

"They both run downhill," Wilfork said of Charles and Davis. "They both test the edges. They both catch the ball out of the backfield. They both block. So they are built differently but at the same time they run hard like a big back. The big guy has speed and the small guy has toughness.

"They are kind of similar when you look at them like that, but Charles, there are not too many guys faster than him. We have to do a real good job up front of playing well in the run game and pass game because they use him so much everywhere on the field."

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<![CDATA[Diaco Thanks Fans, Asks Them to Hang in There]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:18:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

First-year UConn coach Bob Diaco is trying to build something here but it's going to take time. Perhaps more time than fans will be willing to wait. In the hopes of buying as much time as possible, Diaco has gone out of his way to 1) ask fans to support a team that is admittedly struggling right now, and b) remind fans that he really appreciates their support through what has been some pretty terrible football.

"I want to thank all the Husky fans that came out today," Diaco said Saturday after UConn fell to 1-3 following a 36-10 loss to Temple. "When the buses rolled into the stadium ... to see that awesome tailgate scene, it was energizing to the group. It was a wonderful crowd, the stadium was energized and rockin', it's appreciated, Diaco said (via Sox and Dawgs).

"I know that we're all going to eat another late dinner and have our Sunday meals not taste quite as good as they would otherwise be after a win. And for that I'm sorry. But this is a young football team, and one that you can rally behind. There are names that you can cheer for that you're going to be seeing for the next three or four years.

"So keep coming please," Diaco continued. "You're going to see wins. We're going to turn this team. And again, I'm talking to the UConn Husky fans and UConn country. And I really appreciate the support and the team appreciates the support.

"And we're going keep fighting and be resolute and indomitable in turning this around. ... We appreciate you guys coming, it was a wonderful crowd."



It's important for Diaco to acknowledge the support and the team's struggles but fans, by definition, are fanatical -- and impatient. It'll be interesting to see how much losing they will put up with, particularly since this team has gone 5-7, 5-7 and 3-9 since 2011.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Jim Calhoun on Documentary: 'Its Surreal']]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 12:09:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP629438118385.jpg

The documentary "Born to Lead: Jim Calhoun" premieres Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Bushnell Theatre in Hartford. During a Thursday conference call, the Hall of Fame coach talked about the film.

"It's surreal, in the sense of seeing your life being depicted," Calhoun said, via the New Haven Register. "It's something different. As (UConn soccer coach) Ray Reid said, 'Who plays you?' It's a documentary. They had to use me, because they couldn't use Sean Connery at the time. I think it's kind of fun."

Calhoun conceded that he never thought about having a documentary made about his life but was approached about the possibility shortly after he retired in Sept. 2012 and eventually relented.

"I thought it would be good to talk about leadership, maybe be inspirational to some people," he said. "We have different parts of our lives -- we used to call it a Polaroid, now we call it a selfie -- different snapshots of our lives. If you look at me as a stone-cutter from Quincy, Massachusetts at 18, or on the podium getting a national championship ring, or the Final Four or Hall of Fame, all those things are a positive picture. ...

"When I'm watching clips of it, it's amazing how many memories come back," he added. And in case you're curious, Calhoun's done coaching.

"The good thing about it, when you stop coaching, you stop losing. The things that we’ve already done have been great."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Deshon Foxx Could Get Looks at QB]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 10:53:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/deshon-foxx-2013.jpg

We've typed these three words countless time the last month: It's a process. We were reminded of that once again Saturday as Temple came to Rentschler Field and easily handled UConn, 36-10.

"We are not crushed, players understand what we are going to do," first-year coach Bob Diaco said. "We have a bye week and we are going to concentrate on getting better."

Getting better might include mixing it up on offense, partly because there's nothing to lose by doing so. During the closing minutes of Saturday's loss, wide receiver Deshon Foxx ran the read option well enough to make you think we might see it again.

Specifically: Fox had ran the gal three times -- including a 26-yarder -- and he completed a four-yard pass to Noel Thomas. Also worth noting: According to the New Haven Register's Jim Fuller, Fox has quietly been taking snaps at quarterback since Casey Cochran announced his retirement in early September.

"If they feel like it will help the offense," Foxx said of continuing to get snaps at quarterback. "I know they will do whatever for our team to win they will do whatever they have to do."

And that includes possibly putting the ball in the air.

"I can do a little something, maybe one day we will see," Foxx said.If nothing else, that final drive enabled UConn to finish a game with more than 100 rushing yards for the first time this season.

And Diaco didn't dismiss the notion outright either.

"Foxx is a quarterback," the coach said. "He can throw too, he can throw down the field. He can throw the intermediate (routes), he can throw the ball shallow, he can move with the ball and throw on the run and we have a whole package of plays for him, runs and passes."

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<![CDATA[Jets' Geno Smith Curses at Fan]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:33:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Geno-Smith-Lashes-Out-0925.jpg

Geno Smith completely lost his cool — and maybe a bit of his grip on the Jets' starting quarterback job.

Frustrated after a third straight loss and calls for his backup increasing, Smith was caught by a TV camera yelling an expletive at a heckler in the stands as he walked off the MetLife Stadium field following a 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"Before we start this off, first of all I want to apologize if any kids saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field," Smith said to open his postgame news conference. "I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation, and it's a part of my learning process."

Smith had two more turnovers as chants of "We Want Vick!" echoed throughout the stadium at times, perhaps none louder than after he was intercepted by Darius Slay in the fourth quarter.

"That stuff, to me, is B.S.," wide receiver Eric Decker said of the chants.

Asked what he thought when he heard the calls for Vick, defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was blunt.

"Shut up," Richardson said. "If that's the case, produce a child who can come and make it to the NFL and let's see what he's got. Other than that, just shut up."

Vick didn't get into this one, and coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Smith will start again for the Jets (1-3) next Sunday at San Diego despite his struggles.

"No, I'm not going to replace him," Ryan said. "I feel good about Geno. I think he will get it turned (around). He's a tough, resilient young man. I think we're going to win. We'll win soon."

Smith was 17 of 33 for 209 yards, including an 11-yard TD pass to Decker, but threw an interception and lost a fumble — giving him seven turnovers in four games.

That's what has many fans frustrated, tired of the mistakes being made by the second-year quarterback.

"He's got to keep his composure, no matter how frustrated he gets," Richardson said. "But it happens."

Despite the skid and the struggles, the Jets players insist they still believe in Smith as the starting quarterback.

"One hundred percent, yeah," Decker said. "It's hard to see him take, really, all the criticism. It's not just him. Everyone is doing this together. ... We've got to make some plays for him, take some pressure off him."

Matthew Stafford got the Lions up and down the field — even without Calvin Johnson being much of a factor.

Stafford threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score and the Lions overcame Johnson being limited by an ankle injury. Jeremy Ross and Eric Ebron caught scoring passes for the Lions, who are off to a 3-1 start for the second straight season. Stafford finished 24 of 34 for 293 yards, and appeared unfazed by his top receiver being in and out of the game.

Johnson was clearly impeded by his injured ankle, which had him questionable for the game. He had just two catches for 12 yards, but Golden Tate picked up for him, catching eight passes for 116 yards.

"We knew Calvin was going to be limited today and we were hoping to not have to use him unless it was an emergency," wide receiver Golden Tate said. "I think we responded well."

The Jets, who made it close on Chris Johnson's 35-yard run with 6:58 left, fell to 1-3 for the first time in Ryan's six seasons as coach.

New York stayed in it by scoring on its first possession of the second half, an 11-yard touchdown from Smith to Decker midway through the third quarter that made it 17-10.

But the Lions reclaimed control on Stafford's 1-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Detroit a 24-10 lead. Stafford's run — upheld by video review — capped a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive.

"We have the ability," Decker said. "It's about executing the plays. Period."

NOTES: On New York's next possession after Slay's interception, former Jets safety James Ihedigbo had a strip sack of Smith on New York's next possession. The fumble was recovered by Darryl Tapp. ... Jets WR David Nelson (left ankle) and S Calvin Pryor (thigh) left and didn't return. CB Antonio Allen also had a significant limp after the game. Lions RB Joique Bell was being evaluated for a head injury, while running back Theo Riddick and fullback Montell Owens left with hamstring injuries. Neither coach had any updates.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UConn vs. Temple]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 21:21:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/181*120/UConn+Temple+-+04.jpg UConn took on Temple at Rentschler Field on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Coach Sends Gift to Girl]]> Sat, 27 Sep 2014 08:26:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/Devon-Still-and-Daughter.jpg

Chip Kelly may be all-business on the football field, but the Eagles head coach proved to be a true class act off the gridiron after he showed his support for an NFL player and his young daughter who is battling cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Kelly sent a gift basket and flowers to 4-year-old Leah Still Friday after her successful operation. Leah’s father, defensive tackle Devon Still, posted a photo of the gift on his Instagram page, thanking Kelly and the Eagles.

Still and his daughter have captured the hearts of millions of people nationwide as she continues to receive treatment at CHOP. The Delaware native and former Penn State Nittany Lion was cut from the Cincinnati Bengals in August. However, the Bengals re-signed Still to their practice squad in order to help him pay for his daughter’s medical treatment after she was diagnosed with cancer.

After the Bengals decided to donate proceeds from his jersey sales to the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and pediatric cancer care and research, Still’s No. 75 jersey quickly became the team’s top seller.

Still has kept his followers updated on his daughter’s progress, posting a video of a pep talk he gave her prior to her surgery.

Still later announced Thursday a surgeon at CHOP was able to remove her tumor, lymph nodes and right adrenal gland where her cancer originated. He also stated however that his daughter’s battle was far from over, as doctors still need to remove the cancer from her bone marrow.

 



Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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<![CDATA[Ray Allen Foundation Donates Computer Lab in Hartford ]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:53:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/081414+ray+allen.jpg

NBA All Star and University of Connecticut Alumnus Ray Allen is set to make an appearance this coming Monday at the Simpson-Waverly Public School in Hartford to help open its’ new computer laboratory.

Allen’s Ray of Hope Foundation has donated a “state-of-the-art” computer laboratory to the students at Simpson-Waverly, a Pre-K to 8th grade school.

The lab, which has been under construction for several weeks, will include 30 new desktop computers in addition to a completely refurbished classroom. 

This computer lab marks the 5th such donation made by the Ray of Hope Foundation to a Hartford Public School including labs at Hartford’s Museum Academy at Wish School, John C. Clark Jr. Elementary and Middle School, the McDonough Expeditionary Learning School and SAND Elementary School.

The Ray of Hope Foundation was established by Allen in 1997 to assist with sports and community related programs which provide opportunities helping youth to realize their full potential.

The unveiling is set for 8:30 a.m.  Allen will be joined by Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez and Principal Leonardo Watson for the ceremony.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jeter’s Nephew Tips Hat to Uncle]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:09:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-26+at+9.59.36+AM.jpg

There were many emotional moments during Derek Jeter’s final home game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night, but the most adorable was a simple tip of the cap from his young nephew.

Little Jalen was there in the stands and watched as his famous uncle hit the walk-off single that would end his reign in the Bronx.

The Captain’s biggest fan grabbed the brim of his Re2pect cap and tipped it to Jeter. It’s a moment you can watch over and over again.

Jeter plans to play three more games, but Thursday night was his last at shortstop.

When the Yankees head to Fenway Park in Boston, Jeter plans to be the designated hitter.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut



Photo Credit: MLB
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<![CDATA[Derek Jeter Through the Years]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 09:14:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/153334595.jpg A look back at some of the most memorable moments of the Captain's career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's Last Game at Yankee Stadium]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 02:46:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/456108670.jpg As if on cue, the rain let up, a rainbow came out and Derek Jeter began his final home game with one more jolt.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 4]]> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 23:23:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/455677434.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the fourth week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calhoun Documentary Premieres Oct. 2]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:50:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jim-calhoun-be-careful.jpg

A documentary into the 40-year coaching career of Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun, the man responsible for making the Huskies basketball program what it is and bringing three national titles to UConn during his tenure, will premiere next week.

Details via the university news release:

"Born to Lead: Jim Calhoun", provides a unique inside look into the 40-year coaching legacy of one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history and one of Connecticut's most influential and colorful personalities.

Calhoun pushed and prodded players to exceed limits and self-imposed barriers to become champions. His motivational tactics and leadership styles are the stuff of legends. Relishing the role of the underdog and combining a relentless quest for perfection with a tough love commitment to his players, Calhoun won three NCAA titles in 12 years and elevated the UConn program to a place among the elite in the country.

This documentary also unveils a softer, more vulnerable side of the private Calhoun that fans and followers have yet to see or understand and that he hid from public view.

There are more than 30 interviews from coaches and star players -- including Ray Allen, Ben Gordon and Kevin Ollie -- as well as "never before seen childhood photos, a tour of Madison Square Garden (where UConn played some of its greatest games) and footage from the only time Calhoun wore a wireless microphone at practice."

The premiere is Oct. 2 at 7:30 pm, at The Bushnell Theater for the Performing Arts on 166 Captial Avenue in Hartford.

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<![CDATA[Brady Explains Social Media Presence]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:50:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tom-brady-beard-dolphins.jpg

It's taken 15 seasons but Tom Brady has finally come out of his shell. Thanks to Facebook, the Patriots quarterback has posted a photo of his resume from back in 2000 (just in case he didn't get drafted), trolled Raiders fans by calling the Tuck-Rule Game his favorite memory from those New England-Oakland rivalries, and recently Photoshopped himself high-fiving team owner Robert Kraft after Mark Wahlberg originally left Kraft hanging.

Brady was asked on Thursday morning about his increased social-media presence and he offered this:

"I'm not really the social media king," he said, via ESPN.com. "But there are a lot of people that put a lot of time and energy into it, and it's a pretty popular thing these days. I'm glad you had some fun with it, I'm glad you enjoyed it; that's the goal."

We're guessing the Raiders didn't enjoy it, but to be fair they haven't enjoyed much for quite some time. (We're also guessing Bill Belichick didn't enjoy it but only because the Facebook app isn't installed on the sideline tablets teams now use to review plays. And Belichick has made it quite clear that he's not into social media. At all.)

Meanwhile, the Patriots are preparing to face the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Brady will make only the third start of his career at Arrowhead Stadium. The most memorable Pats-Chiefs game involving Brady came in Week 1 of the 2008 season, when Bernard Pollard hit Brady low and tore his ACL. The Patriots went 11-5 that season with Matt Cassel, but missed the playoffs.

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<![CDATA[Samuelson Resting Up for Sr. Season]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:50:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Katie+Lou+Samuelson.jpg

As Breanna Stewart prepares to represent Team USA in the FIBA Championship in Turkey next week, what Huskies' fans hope is the next Breanna Stewart -- Katie Lou Samuelson -- is wrapping up a stint with the national team this summer that included two gold medals and a bronze.

But Samuelson, who will take time off to rest her ailing ankle, has no plans on coasting through her senior season of high school before graduating to Storrs a year from now.

“Playing with these two USA teams allowed me to see so many talented players and how hard they are willing to work,” Samuelson said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “They also showed me my weaknesses. I really want to focus on being a better and quicker defender and on becoming more of an inside player.

“I need to be a better player and there are a lot of things that I need to do to be one. I know that I can’t slack off at all. I have a lot of work ahead of me.”

Sounds exactly like something a self-motivated, highly skilled player headed for UConn would say. Which, along with coach Geno Auriemma, goes a long way in explaining the program's sustained success.

Samuelson is battling through an ankle injury that slowed her at times in recent month, but not enough keep her from starting six of seven games in the U-17 FIBA World Championships where she averaged 13.9 points per contest, including draining six three-pointers in a semifinals win over Hungary. Team USA would beat Spain to win gold.

“Being able to hold that trophy in the air was awesome and made it all feel real,” Samuelson said. “We knew it was going to be tough and to win it the way we did, in a close game, made it that much more rewarding. Getting that trophy and wearing the gold medal meant the world.”

A month later, she and her teammates won another gold, this time at the Youth Olympic Games, and won a bronze for a third-place finish in the Games' three-point shootout. Now, with her senior season closely approaching, the goal is to get healthy.

“I’m not in any rush. Our season doesn’t fully start until late November so I have time. I want my ankle to be at a point where I don’t worry about it again.”



Photo Credit: YouTube/Hoopher]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Men to Sport New Uniforms]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:34:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/basketball-generic2.jpg

When Sam Cassell Jr., one of the newest members of the Huskies' 2014-15 men's basketball team, takes the court for the first time later this fall he, along with his teammates will be wearing new new uniforms.

Cassell took to Instagram to Wednesday model the new duds:



If the look seems familiar it should; as CollegeBasketballTalk.com's Terrence Payne notes, "The new lettering and logo the school revealed in April 2013 is still the same, but the side of the jersey and shorts are similar to the uniforms worn by the 1999 and 2004 national championship teams. UConn switched up that style before the 2007-2008 season."

UConn opens its season Nov. 14 at Gampel Pavilion against Bryant University.

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<![CDATA[MLB Teams' Parting Gifts for Derek Jeter]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:37:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/jeter+parting+gifts+2.jpg Images of gifts from teams around the MLB for Yankees superstar Derek Jeter, who is retiring at the end of the 2014 season.]]> <![CDATA[Tom Brady Supports Robert Kraft on Facebook]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:55:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/tlmd_mark_wahlberg_cuarentones_guapos_hollywood_1.jpg

So Mark Wahlberg (don't call him Marky Mark, please) was in Patriots owner Robert Kraft's box during Sunday's Raiders-Pats game. We know this because cameras caught Wahlberg leaving Kraft hanging on a high-five attempt.

Awkward, but it happens.

Well, it turns out Tom Brady, who knows something about being ignored mid-high-five attempt, returned to Facebook to show off his Photoshop skills and offer Kraft his full support.

 

No word if coach Bill Belichick plans to make a comment on MyFace, YourFace or InstaFace.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stewart Named to Team USA Roster]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:56:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/breanna-stewart-nd-finals.png

Team USA coach Geno Auriemma had until Sept. 26 to decide on which 12 players would comprise the group that would travel to Turkey Saturday to compete in the FIBA world championships. By Tuesday -- a full three days before the deadline, Auriemma knew who he wanted, and the final roster includes UConn junior Breanna Stewart.

Center Jantel Lavender was the final cut -- the announcement came after Tuesday's exhibition win over the Czech Republic -- and now Stewart will join 11 others on the roster. She also becomes the third Huskies player to represent her country while still in college (Maya Moore did it in 2010 and Kara Walters did it in 1994).

“I think anytime a team is selected, you are always excited about who was picked and disappointed for those who weren’t picked,” Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “We knew it was going to be difficult. We are missing so many veterans from previous world championships and the Olympics, so it was a great opportunity for some younger players for some new faces to be added. I think they’ve done a great job. I think from what I can see, we’ve got a little bit of everything. We still have, obviously, some things that we have to work on. Brittney is going to get here, and this will be her first time through this. Odyssey’s first time. Breanna’s first time. Nneka’s first time. That’s a lot of new faces. I know our coaching staff has our work cut out for us, and we are excited to finally get the team together and get started.”

Along with Stewart, Team USA includes: Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Candice Dupree, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Odyssey Sims, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.

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<![CDATA[Diaco: Defense Showing Glimpses]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:42:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bob-diaco-boise-state-sept.jpg

Coach Bob Diaco's decision to abandon the passing game was the primary storyline coming out of Friday night's loss to USF, but that's not the only reason the Huskies continue struggle. We've talked about it several time in recent weeks and Diaco talked about the unit Tuesday, ahead of this weekend's matchup with the upstart Temple Owls.

"They're working at it, it's probably fair to say from a moving parts it's easier to move faster on defense than it is on offense at the beginning of the development phase," he said. "They're working hard, Coach Poindexter and company are doing a great job putting realistic plans together for them that gives them a chance to execute, keeps it simple. They're operating at much less than full speed from a book standpoint, from an installation standpoint. There's a lot of things that we would like to be doing that we can't yet. He and his staff are doing a nice job with installation and call patterns to those guys can execute to their full talent."

We'll repeat what we've said countless times in the last month: This is a process. Diaco knows this and he keeps reminding us just in case we forget. But that doesn't mean there aren't glimmers of hope.

"I'm so excited about (our young defensive players)," Diaco said. "Foley (Fatukasi) played his best game on Friday night, I'm looking forward to him participating more. Kenton Adeyemi, Cole Ormsby, these guys are going to be around here for a long time. Those three, plus Mikal Myers, Julian Campenni, Vontae Diggs played a bunch, Luke Carrezola played a bunch. Junior Joseph made a big impact on the game from inside linebacker. So it's exciting."

Temple comes to Rentschler Field this Saturday at noon.

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