<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:24:42 -0400 Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:24:42 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Huskies Add Cornell Transfer Shonn Miller]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:05:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconnj.jpg

UConn has landed 6-7 forward Shonn Miller, who will be a graduate student for the 2015-16 season. Miller previously played at Cornell, where he averaged 16.8 points and 8.5 rebounds last season.

Miller missed his junior season with a shoulder injury, and because the Ivy Leagues do not allow redshirting, he would have to transfer to continue his college basketball career.

"I just felt accepted from the first moment I stepped up here," Miller told the Hartford Courant. "I felt like part of the family. I just got a good vibe from the whole situation."

The Huskies are familiar with graduate transfers; in recent years R.J. Evans and Lasan Kromah were contributors off the bench for UConn.

"What I hope to get out of this opportunity is to win, in whatever role the coaches want me," Miller said. "I feel like I can do whatever they need me to do — score, rebound."

So what are the Huskies getting in Miller? The Courant asked Yale coach James Jones.

"I think Shonn is a tremendous talent," Jones said. "He's big, strong, athletic, he had some thunderous dunks over his career, you shake your head at how awesome they were. He's a tremendous defensive rebounder. … He can fall in love with the three-pointer. I think he's more effective scoring around the basket and he could be a better offensive rebounder."

Miller will join a 2015 class that includes freshman point guard Jalen Adams and big man Steve Enoch.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds of CT Runners to Race in Boston Marathon]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:35:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Fleet+Feet+Boston+Marathon+Runners+1200.jpg

Hundreds of runners in Connecticut are in Boston this morning, getting ready to run the 119th Boston Marathon.

Two years have passed since bombs went off at the finish line of the race and, for that reason, emotions are running high for Natalie Carpenter, a running coach from Hartford.

"To hear what happened, I wanted the chance last year to run, such an important race, to show the world that we're not afraid," Carpenter said. 

Last year was her first Boston Marathon and this year, she coached a group of 25 runners through Fleet Feet in West Hartford, helping them prepare for the 26.2 mile run.

"We have been running through the winter. Ice, snow, angry drivers. Anything nature has thrown at us we've been running through," Carpenter said.

This year there are nearly 500 of the marathon runners from Connecticut.

Brent Robertson, of West Hartford, is running his first Boston Marathon.

"I just started training in January. This is my first ever marathon, I just started running a year ago," Robertson said. 

He said he's ready.

"I was fine as soon as I picked up my bib, as soon as i picked that up I started to get the jitters," he said.

Carpenter said the 26.2 mile race is not easy, but that it pushes runners like him to remember the marathon bombings and use the tragedy as motivation to finish Monday's race Boston Strong.

"My best advice is to take it one step at a time, and just remember that Boston is behind you every step of the way," Carpenter said.

Start times:

  • Mobility Impaired - 8:50 a.m.
  • Push Rim Wheelchair - 9:17 a.m.
  • Handcycles - 9:22 a.m.
  • Elite Women 9:32 a.m.
  • Elite Men and Wave One - 10 a.m.
  • Wave Two - 10:25 a.m.
  • Wave Three - 10:50 a.m.
  • Wave Four - 11:15 a.m.

Are you there? Send your photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Ballpark Construction Prompts Road Closures in Hartford]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:23:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/RockcatsStadiumGroundBreakingPic00000000.jpg

Hartford is alerting drivers of road closures in the city during construction on the new Downtown North development and ballpark, including part of Trumbull Street.

Trumbull Street will be closed between Main Street and Market Street from the end of the day today until around Sept. 4 to realign it, according to city officials. That section of Trumbull Street will be redesigned to accommodate the new baseball stadium. (Note: This date changed from April 17.)

Pleasant Street has four lanes during construction, two westbound and two eastbound. One lane was recently closed to allow for construction of the north end of the ballpark.

Windsor Street will close permanently between Pleasant and Trumbull streets. It will be used first as a construction staging area and will then be turned into the "Windsor Walk," which will include pedestrian and bicycle lanes.

Windsor Street, between Trumbull and Pleasant streets, will be closed to through traffic, but it will be accessible for emegency vehicles and public transportation through construction. 

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<![CDATA[Clippers Beat Spurs, 107-92, in Game 1]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 04:03:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Clippers-Spurs-Game-1_Playoffs-2015.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the San Antonio Spurs 107-92 to take Game 1 in their first-round playoff series Sunday night at Staples Center.

The LA Clippers had won 14 of their last 15 games entering the 2015 NBA Playoffs, and Clippers coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers was asked about his thoughts on drawing the San Antonio Spurs, who are the defending champions, during his pregame press conference.

"Wow! That's what you get for going 14-1?!" Rivers exclaimed.

The Spurs may be the defending champions, but the Clippers (56-26) finished with a slightly better record than the Spurs (55-27), and so, the series started in LA with the Clippers holding the home court advantage in a potential seventh game. Taking full advantage of the reward of finishing one game better than the Spurs, the Clippers got off to a hot start in front of a jam packed Staples Center.

Almost immediately, the Clippers led by double-digits. Adding to the slow start, Spurs point guard Tony Parker rolled his ankle, which forced him off the court and into the locker room in the first quarter. Shooting 55 percent and holding the Spurs to 30 percent from the field, the Clippers led 30-18 after one quarter.

At the start of the second quarter, the Spurs put together a 10-0 run, and the Clippers' lead suddenly shrunk to only two points. At that stage, Parker shook off his niggle and returned to the ball game. In the blink of an eye, the game would be level.

For the final few minutes of the first half, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan would become a central figure in the contest. Jordan's defense would help shut the Spurs down and quickly give the home team an eight-point edge. However, San Antonio went to the "Hack-a-Jordan" strategy, and the Clippers' center would shoot 12 free throws in the second quarter alone. He made five of them.

At the halftime buzzer, the Clippers still retained a six-point edge despite Kawhi Leonard getting into an offensive rhythm late in the half. Leonard led the Spurs with nine points at the break, while Blake Griffin led the home team with 13 points at the intermission.

In the third quarter, the Clippers would break the game open with Griffin continuing to add to his tally. The 26-year-old forward would score 10 points in the third quarter, and Clippers point guard Chris Paul would contribute another 12 points of his own in the quarter. With the two Clippers' superstars firing, LA would open up a 15-point lead after three quarters.

At the start of the fourth quarter, that lead would jump back up to 18 points, which was the game high. Quickly, the Spurs would hit a flurry of three-pointers to bring the game back down to single digits with about seven and a half minutes remaining in the contest. Only one minute later, the home team re-extended the lead to 16 points to silence the Spurs' rally.

From there, the clock would slowly count down, and the Clippers took a 1-0 lead in the series. Griffin finished with 26 points and Paul ended the game with 32 points, six assists and seven rebounds.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series will take place on Wednesday night at Staples Center.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Source: Eagles to Sign Tim Tebow]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 08:47:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tim-tebow-easter-sermon-texas.jpg

Tebowmania is about to sweep the Delaware Valley.

At least for the spring and summer.

The Eagles on Monday are expected to sign former Jets and Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, according to an NFL source Sunday night. The former national champion Florida quarterback and Heisman winner has been out of football since the end of the 2012 season.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports was first to report Sunday evening that Tebow is expected to sign a contract on Monday at the NovaCare Complex as the Eagles prepare to start their offseason program. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Tebow arrived in Philadelphia on Sunday and will sign a one-year deal.

Tebow, 27, worked out for the Eagles on March 16 but left without signing a contract. When he signs, Tebow will become the team’s fifth quarterback, joining Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne.

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates with the Jets in 2012, which made for a circus-like atmosphere around the franchise. Tebow has a passionate and outspoken legion of fans, many of which rally behind the quarterback because of his religious beliefs and travel to see him play.

Chip Kelly traded for Bradford this offseason and made Sanchez among the league’s highest-paid backups (see Eagles offseason moves), so Tebow will have to battle with Barkley, Kinne and most likely a rookie draft pick to make the roster as the No. 3 quarterback.

Tebow, who hasn’t started a game since the 2011 postseason, owns a career 8-6 record with 17 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He has a career 47.9 completion percentage and 75.3 passer rating. The dual-threat quarterback also has 989 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

Tebow spent his first two seasons with Denver, which selected him in the first round of the 2010 draft, and led the Broncos to a first-round playoff win over the Steelers in 2011, but he and the Broncos were clobbered in the second round by the Patriots, 45-10.

Tebow completed just 9 of 26 passes against New England for 136 yards and didn’t throw or rush for a touchdown. In the offseason, the Broncos traded him to the Jets after signing Peyton Manning. Tebow hasn’t started since and thrown just eight passes.

Tebow went to training camp with the Patriots in 2013 but didn’t make the team. Last year, while still out of football, he did college football analyst work for ESPN and the SEC Network.

Glazer reported that the Eagles spent time with Tebow’s personal quarterback coach, Tom House, and came away convinced that Tebow had improved.

Check out some of the best responses to the Tebow news on social media: 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Cubs Fan Catches Foul Ball in Beer Cup, Then Chugs Beer]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:53:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cubs+fan+beer+catch.jpg

A Chicago woman proved her Cubs fandom during Saturday's game when she caught a foul ball in her beer... and then chugged the beer with the ball still inside.

Krista Dotzenrod was caught on camera by Comcast Sportsnet catching a foul ball and holding it up to the sky before chugging her beer.

Dotzenrod told the Chicago Sun-Times she was drinking a Goose Island Green Line beer.

The Cubs were playing against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. When Dotzenrod caught the foul ball, they were ahead 6-2. The Padres surged to a tie later in the game, but the Cubs ultimately prevailed with a final score of 7-6.



Photo Credit: Comcast Sportsnet
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Stoll Arrested for Drugs]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:23:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/199*120/jarret-stoll-arrest-cocaine-ecstasy.jpg

It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Kings. Not only were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, but now news has broken that their star center, Jarret Stoll, has been arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and MDMA.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested Stoll on Friday at the MGM Grand hotel for drug possession. The 32-year-old hockey player was relaxing at the Wet Republic pool when he was taken into custody for possession of cocaine and MDMA, a more pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Stoll was released from jail on a $5,000 bond later in the evening and a hearing has been set for Saturday. According to the Clark County police, the NHL and the LA Kings have been made aware of the situation. When contacted regarding the incident, an LA Kings spokesperson said that they are aware of Stoll’s arrest and are “actively investigating” the matter and had no further comment.

Stoll completed the final year of his contract this season with the Kings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Off the ice, Stoll is the long time boyfriend of sportscaster and “Dancing with the Stars” host Erin Andrews. The pair have been dating since 2013, and recent reports had the couple engaged. No word yet on whether or not Andrews was with Stoll at the time of his arrest or if anybody else was with Stoll at the scene.



Photo Credit: Courtesy Las Vegas Metropolitan Police]]>
<![CDATA[Abdul-Jabbar Has Heart Surgery]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:09:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/173*120/AP120126058268.jpg

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday after being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease this week, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released by the University of California Los Angeles' Health Science Department.

The Basketball Hall of Fame member's surgery was a success and he was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Richard Shermin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, said in the statement.

Abdul-Jabbar thanked his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA and said he was "looking forward to getting back to normal activities soon."

He asked that support for him go toward people in the community who may also be suffering from various health issues.

No other information was available.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Liberty Take Kiah Stokes With 11th Pick in Draft]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:23:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kiah+stokes_1.jpg

Most of the discussions in the days leading up to the draft were about where Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis would go (the Storm ended up taking her third overall). But, center Kiah Stokes, Mosqueda-Lewis' teammate at UConn, went mostly unnoticed through the process, though WNBA teams were well aware of who she was.

On Thursday night, the New York Liberty selected Stokes, a force in the paint but not much of a scorer in college, with the No. 11 pick. New York coach Bill Laimbeer thought so much of Stokes that he traded up to get her.

"I had not had any contact with anyone from New York, so this is all very exciting to me," Stokes said, via the Hartford Courant. "I'm taking a moment to take it all in, but I am also very anxious to get it all started. To hear your name called is an incredible experience. And now it's all about trying to do what I can to best make an impact."

Despite spending four years in Storrs, Stokes doesn't know much about New York City. That will change soon.

“I’ve been there a few times, taken a train ride,” she said, via SNY.com. “To live in New York is going to be amazing. It’s a new scenery. Connecticut has been great. So was Iowa.

“I just want to make sure that they know I’m working hard and I’m going to do everything I can to make the team and then be a consistent defensive threat. I’m going to do anything I can on and off the court.”

And Stokes is now teammates with former UConn All-American Tina Charles.

“This is an opportunity you dream of when you’re a little girl,” Stokes said. “To make this a reality is an honor and to play with Tina, someone that I’ve looked up to especially coming from UConn. I’m excited to get to know her better and learn from her. She’s a great player and I want to follow in her footsteps.”



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Ollie Could Be Candidate for Thunder's Job]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:22:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-rim.jpg

A year ago, Kevin Ollie was fresh off a national championship and suddenly one of the hottest young names for possible NBA coaching vacancies. Nothing ever materialized, and UConn wisely renegotiated Ollie's contract, but the 42-year-old has again been mentioned as a potential candidate for an NBA team.

According to Yahoo.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to evaluated whether they're committed long term to current coach Scott Brooks. And if the two sides part ways, Ollie could be in the mix as his replacement.

More from Wojnarowski:

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie would be a candidate for the Thunder's coaching job if it opens, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Ollie was a teammate with Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and he's an individual whom Presti holds in high esteem.

League sources tell Wojnarowski that Florida's Billy Donovan "could emerge as a serious candidate" as well.

In June 2014, Ollie reiterated his commitment to UConn.

"I want to be here at UConn," he said at the time.

"I don't know about the future," he admitted. "The only thing I can do is take care of today. I got a five-year contract, and I believe I'm going to be here all five years. That's my motto, that's where I want to be at. I want to be here with my family. I want to see my daughter graduate high school here in Connecticut. And whatever happens is going to happen. There's going to be speculation ever year, but the kids know that I have their back, their best interest in mind."

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<![CDATA[Storm Draft Mosqueda-Lewis With No. 3 Pick]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:20:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaleena+mosqueda+lewis+uconn.jpg

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis grew up in California and now, after four outstanding years at UConn -- including three national titles -- she's returning to the west. She was selected third overall by the Seattle Storm in Thursday's WNBA Draft.

I’m excited,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “My family is excited that they’ll be able to come to more games and see me more often.

“This is something me and my family have been dreaming about since I started playing basketball. To finally hear my name called and be part of something that I’ve been watching since I was little. It’s amazing. ...

“I’m really proud and honored that Seattle thinks I can be part of their organization,” Mosqueda-Lewis continued. “I’m really excited to play with Sue (Bird) and excited to play with Jewell.”

That would be Jewell Loyd, the Notre Dame standout whom Seattle took with the No. 1 pick.

“We won a gold medal together and we’re friends now,” said Loyd, who played with Mosqueda-Lewis USA Basketball’s 2010 national team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships. “I love playing with Kaleena.”

Heading into the draft, there were questions about where Mosqueda-Lewis would play -- off guard or small forward. Wherever the Storm sees fit to put her, she plans on having success.

“I think I’ll be able to get my shot off,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I think I’m going to have great teammates around me to help me. And I’m going to continue to work on my game and try to elevate it to another level. Hopefully my 3-point shooting didn’t end in college. I’m going to have to prove myself like every rookie in this league.”

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<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:38:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots to Visit White House]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:41:17 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/sb-35-462643306.jpg

President Barack Obama will honor the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots next Thursday in Washington.

The team will visit the White House for a ceremony that begins at 2 p.m. on April 23.

The Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in February to win their fourth Super Bowl. All of the victories have been under head coach Bill Belichick and with quarterback Tom Brady.

"This visit will continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities," the White House said in a statement.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WNBA Teams Wonder About Mosqueda-Lewis' D]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:13:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP37428220699.jpg

The WNBA Draft is Thursday night, which means that the speculation will be over and we'll know exactly where Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis will be playing next season. For now, we're all still wondering -- based not only on how the players will go off the board once the draft starts, but how teams picking early in the draft feel about Mosqueda-Lewis.

As one of the best shooters to ever come through UConn, no one questions her ability to put the ball through the hoop. The issues arise when teams try to find a position for Mosqueda-Lewis, particularly on defense.

Geno Auriemma's response was typically Geno Auriemma. When asked how Mosqueda-Lewis would be able to guard a player like Diana Taurasi, he said (via the Hartford Courant), "Tell me who can guard [Taurasi]?"

Fair question. But also fair are the concerns about Mosqueda-Lewis on the defensive end. Indiana assistant coach Gail Goestenkors spoke about those concerns earlier this season.

"Well, there is no better shooter than she is," Goestenkors said, via the Courant. "If a team needs a shooter, she's going. But her defense and her conditioning are the question marks.

"She's going to have to defend, at the three on the perimeter, and the question is can she defend the most athletic players in the league. Will she get herself into the best shape of her life?

"Again, there is so much respect for Geno and what he is able to get from his players. So with [Mosqueda-Lewis] you wonder if she hasn't gotten herself into tip-top shape at UConn, will she do it at the next level. To have a job, you have to be in great shape and be able to do certain things. But she is big, strong and physical, so that's a good thing.

"But every team needs a player like her. Every team is searching for more shooters. They need one that in crunch time can be depended on. In terms of her defense, she may just need to be one of the smartest players on the floor, one that's able to use angles [to help]."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Auriemma Knows Stability Vital to Success]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:10:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geno-auriemma-nat-champs.jpg

Thirty years ago, the men's game looked a lot like the women's game, at least in that a coach knew when he recruited a player, he had him for three -- and usually four -- years. We're now in the age of one-and-done, and sustained success (unless you're Duke) is pretty much impossible to come by.

Geno Auriemma, who won his 10th national title earlier this month, is well aware of this fact, and understands that it has allowed for stability to the program he built from the ground up more than a quarter-century ago.

"What happens, too, is the kids get a chance over a four-year period, if they are in the right place, to really create something for themselves," Auriemma said earlier this week, via the Hartford Courant. "Not only for the school and team and that the coaches get a chance to develop you, but you can create a brand for yourself. There probably isn't a basketball fan in America, man or woman, who doesn't know who Breanna Stewart is. If you leave after one year, that doesn't get traction. It's a special quality the women's game possesses."

Interestingly, Notre Dame's Jewell Lloyd said she was forgoing her final year in college to declare for the WNBA Draft. Like Breanna Stewart in a year's time, Lloyd will be one of the top picks, but Stewart, who remains college basketball's best player, has no interest in leaving school before she's required.

"I was pretty surprised," Stewart said of Lloyd's decision. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Obviously, I'm only 20, so I can't do it, but I don't think I'd want to. You come here, college is the best four years of your life. Plus, I have my sights on winning four."

Morgan Tuck, who will be a redshirt junior next year, but will be able to leave school for the WNBA after that if she chooses, agrees with Stewart.

"I was pretty surprised about Jewell," she admitted. "It's not common. A lot of people have opinions about it, but she made the best decision for her. I'm happy for her.

"Right now, I'm planning on staying my fifth year and getting my master's degree. I'm not in a rush to get out. I like it here. A master's can only help me. It's free school. Why not use it? My goal coming in was four national championships. A chance to get five? It would be unbelievable."

Put another way: Playing for UConn doesn't hurt. But Geno Auriemma says he wouldn't change the way he recruited if the women's game allowed players to leave after one season.

"If I knew there was a chance Stewie might go after one year, I'd still recruit her if I thought she was serious about, 'Coach, I want to come to Connecticut and I want to be part of that,'" Auriemma said.

"We've always taken into consideration if the kid fits into what we were doing. I don't care how good they are. There has been a lot of first-team All-Americans we didn't make a phone call to. I didn't think they fit in with what I believe in. So, yeah, I'd do what Coach K is doing. I'd do it the exact same way. I'd go out and try to get the best kids who are the best players."

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<![CDATA[Ollie Weighs in on Enoch, Adams]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:08:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin+ollie+uconn+against+bryant.jpg

Kevin Ollie spoke at Husky Day earlier this week and he was asked about, well, everything, starting with how he can be a better coach in 2015-16.

“Everything -- management of the team, getting them in better positions," he said, via the New Haven Register. "I can always improve on everything. It’s not just one thing. I’ve got to get these guys better. We all fell short. We’re all UConn, and we’d like to get to the tournament. It’s a fine line between good and bad. We lost a lot of close games. You look back at those situations, I could have done things better, players could have made shots. We’re all in this together. It’s not one thing.”

Ollie also talked about possible transfers ("No one came in my office yet, it’s always an open door.") as well as the two incoming recruits who could have a big impact for the Huskies if for no other reason than they need help in the paint and, more importantly, have to figure out how to replace Ryan Boatright.

Ollie on big man Steve Enoch: "Every time I see Steve, he’s getting bigger, he’s getting better, he’s performing very well, he’s rebounding the ball. He’s got a chip on his shoulder every time I see him. I think he’s gonna be a phenomenal basketball player for us. He’s gonna be a serviceable big man coming in his freshman year, getting to learn from Amida (Brimah), Kentan (Facey) and Phil (Nolan) on how to conduct yourself as a UConn basketball player. I see a lot of potential in him. Now, that potential’s got to turn into skill. And that just depends on how hard he’s gonna work. What I see from him, I don’t see where that pattern’s gonna stop. Every time I see him, he’s adding something to his offensive repertoire, defensive rebounding -- doing things we lacked a little bit last year.”

Ollie on guard Jalen Adams: "Jalen Adams is gonna be an instant player for us that’s gonna really impact the game instantly. He can do so much stuff off the bounce, he’s very athletic. A lot of people don’t know how good a passer he is. I’m just gonna weigh on him to come in and do the different things we know he can do. But, athletically, ball-handling, pushing the ball -- those are his strengths. I’m gonna try to display that every single day, give him a platform where he can go out there and show his God-given talents. And God has given him a lot.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calgary Flames Defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:22:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/469873146.jpg

Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.

Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.

Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.

Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.

Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.

Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.

The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.

Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett — playing in just his second professional game — had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of the 2015 NHL Playoffs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:05:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP710209314180.jpg The 2015 NHL playoffs are officially underway. Check out these photos highlighting the best teams in the league and their quest to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Blackhawks Player Surprises Firefighters With Pizza]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:23:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/patrick+kane+pizza.png

What would you do if your favorite hockey player showed up at your doorstep with dinner?

For the guys at the Downers Grove firehouse, they did what they do best and kept their cool despite being massive Chicago Blackhawks fans.

The team has made it a trend to surprise their biggest fans in unexpected ways, and in their latest video from the “What's Your Goal” series Patrick Kane answers the call of Courtney O’Leary – whose goal was to have a Blackhawks player deliver dinner to her husband and his fellow firefighters.

“He is a wonderful husband and an amazing dad and he loves his job as a firefighter/paramedic and he absolutely loves the Blackhawks,” Courtney said of her husband Patrick O’Leary. “It’s my hope that he can be surprised in a really awesome way because no one on this planet deserves it more than he does.”

Watch the video above to see the whole surprise unfold.


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<![CDATA[Could Suns Draft Mosqueda-Lewis?]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:45:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaleena+mosqueda+lewis+uconn.jpg

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis leaves UConn as a three-time national champion and the NCAA leader in 3-pointers made. She's now setting her sights on the WNBA, where the only question is how high will she be selected.

The Seattle Storm have the No. 1 pick and coach Jenny Boucek said offered this glimpse into their draft plans.

"I think there's a 100 percent chance that we'll take one of them [Jewell Loyd, Amanda Zahui B. or Mosqueda-Lewis] at 1," she said, via the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla. "And at 3, we're really exploring a lot of options with that pick. We are not restricting ourselves to a position. We're going to try to take who we think are the best players in those spots and really try to add two pieces for the future."

The Connecticut Suns select fourth, and while they're very familiar with Mosqueda-Lewis' game, they not tipping their hand ahead of the draft.

"It is going to be interesting," Sun coach Anne Donovan said. "Every player in this draft has some liability, if you will, with the possible exception of Amanda Zahui B. [the 6-foot-5 center from Minnesota], which makes her very hard to pass up.

"Still, there is no one coming out in the draft who I would classify as a sure thing. I don't know if I see a starter in the draft. I see a lot of players with the capacity right now to make a bench stronger who in a couple of years could be an impact player. There is something about everyone that will require you to funnel them into the equation and see what you come out with. ...

"We've had a lot of offers [for the fourth pick], but there has been nothing so far that's been even remotely tempting," Donovan continued. "We got the most we could from the three pick. Getting another younger player [at the 4] to develop would be a good thing. But I would say right now, the odds are good that we would hang onto the four.

"As for the pick, we can go either way. We can afford to get our depth stronger at any position. And Zahui B. likely pushes a player down to us that I didn't think we might have a chance at."

Like, say, Mosqueda-Lewis.

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<![CDATA[Byron Jones Invited to Attend NFL Draft]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:42:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

Byron Jones has gone from obscurity to possible first-round pick pretty much in the time it took him to unofficially break the world broad jump record at the NFL Combine in February. And in two weeks, he'll be in Chicago, as one of the 26 players invited by the league to attend the 2015 NFL Draft in person.

Jones will join three other members of the secondary to get invites: Wake Forest's Kevin Johnson, Michigan State's Trae Waynes and Alabama's Landon Collins.

At Jones' pro day last month, he made it clear that being a good football player is about more than jumping high or running fast. It seems obvious, but fans, media and even some coaches lose sight of that fact this time of year.

"My main goal is not to be a world-record holder or run the fastest 40, my main goal is to be a great NFL player,"Jones said. "This is a small step in my journey towards being a great NFL player."

Jones is projected to go somewhere in the first two rounds.

Here's the full list of prospects set to attend:
Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon Vic Beasley, DE/LB, Clemson
La’el Collins, OL, LSU
Landon Collins, S, Alabama
Bud Dupree, LB, Kentucky
Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
Dante Fowler, DE/LB, Florida
Melvin Gordon, RB Wisconsin
Randy Gregory, DE/LB, Nebraska
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
D.J. Humphries, OL, Florida
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut
Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
Andrus Peat, OL, Stanford
Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida
Shane Ray, DL, Missouri
Brandon Scherff, OL, Iowa
Danny Shelton, DL, Washington
Devin Smith, WR, Ohio State
Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
Laken Tomlinson, OL, Duke
Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Leonard Williams, DL, USC



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton 'Never Had Any Thoughts' on Leaving]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:36:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/daniel-hamilton-uconn.jpg

Daniel Hamilton was one of the bright spots in what was an otherwise disappointing 2014-2015 season. The Huskies didn't make the NCAA Tournament, and lost in the first round of the NIT. And they'll head into next season without Ryan Boatright, who is set to graduate, and there was speculation that Hamilton, a standout freshman, could leave early for the NBA.

On Tuesday, Hamilton assuaged those concerns.

“I never had any thoughts (on leaving)," he said, via the New Haven Register. "I had a sitdown with Coach Ollie, and we talked about the season during the exit meeting. Everything was good. I’m excited to be coming back.

“He said I’ve got to shoot the ball better, and just getting to where I wanted to go, not forcing shots, not taking ill-advised shots.

“It never crossed my mind," Hamilton reiterated. "I know there were some rumors out there saying I might leave, but there was no thought of me going. Especially after the year that we had, I want to come back and do even better things next year. I wasn’t satisfied with the year we had as a team. Next year, I want to come back and be better than we were this year.

“I knew my grandma’s been sick the last couple of years. I was always talking to her, she was always watching my games. She was just proud of me throughout the whole year.”

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