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‘Unbeatable’ Bolt Set to Draw Curtain on Illustrious Career

first_imgAsked in a pre-championships briefing what the 30-year old sprinter wants to be remembered as a legacy, bolt spelt it out thus: “Unbeatable! Unstoppable!”Yet, this is that same starry-eyed 15-year old who shot into global attention winning the 200m event of the IAAF World Junior Championship inside the National Stadium in Kingston in 2002 to kick-start his ride to stardom.Winning his first sprint double at Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and following it up with two world records of 100m (9.58secs) and 200m (19.19) at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany a year later, really shot lightning Bolt to the summit of global athletics. Between then and now, the Jamaican has showed to all and sundry that there is nothing more to prove.However, it remains to be seen how Bolt can actualize his dream of leaving the sport unbeaten at this last outing in London. After the 100m final tomorrow night and the 4x100m relay final on August 12, the world will know whether Bolt was merely grandstanding.To Nigerians who have tasted the coolness of winning silver and bronze medals in the past, focus will be on reigning Commonwealth double gold medalist, Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor. Nigerians will be looking forward to see if the Sapele-born sprinter is capable of stepping higher to become the first Nigerian to win a blue ribband medal after the silver and bronze at the 14th edition of the Championships in Moscow, Russia four years ago.The closest Nigeria came was Olusoji Fasuba’s fourth place finish in 2007 at the Naggai Stadium in Osaka, Japan but Okagbare will relish her chances of surpassing that feat following her late return to form.The six-time Nigeria 100m champion ran her first sub-11 seconds 100m race (10.99 seconds) last month at the IAAF Diamond League meeting at the Olympic stadium in London, venue of the championships. It was the first time since September 2015 she would break 11 seconds in the event and she will be confident she has got the momentum going for her.Okagbare will also be banking on the fast track at the Olympic stadium which has proved to be a good ground for her as it was at the same track in 2013 that she became the first Nigerian nay African woman to run a sub-10.80 seconds (10.79 seconds) in the 100m.So, can Nigerians and indeed Africans start counting their chickens? Can she achieve what the great Mary Onyali who ran in three consecutive 100m finals at the championships between 1991 and 1995 failed to achieve?On the surface it looks a very herculean task as she will not only have to think about the duo of Elaine Thompson, the Jamaican who won the world title two years ago and added the Olympic crown just last year in Rio and the flying Dutch woman, Dafne Schippers who won the silver medal behind Thompson two years ago in Beijing but also add the two Ivorians, Muriel Ahoure who broke her African record by one hundreth of a second (10.78 seconds) last year and the more impressive Marie-Jose Ta Lou.Okagbare will also have to spare some thoughts for the dark but talented American, Torie Bowie who won a surprise bronze medal in Beijing.If the track gets congested for the Nigerian, she could seek redemption in the long jump where she will only require one long leap to achieve another slice of history: become the first Nigerian to be crowned a world champion.Only three athletes have come closest to making the mark. Innocent Egbunike was the odds-on-favourite to win the 400m title in 1987 after his impressive, pre-championships performance in the circuit and came to the event in Rome as the fastest man in the world in the event. When the chips came down, he settled for a silver medal.Fast forward to 1999.Two athletes, Francis Obikwelu in the men’s 200m and Glory Alozie in the women’s 100m hurdles looked sure bets to be crowned world champions.While Alozie’s pre-championships’ feats made her look one of the sure favourites alongside Gail Devers, Olga Shishigina and the Swede, Ludmila Enquist. Obikwelu’s 19.84 seconds run in the 200m at the semi-final of the event got the reigning 100m king, Maurice Green who was gunning for a sprints double scared.Both Nigerians failed to fulfill expectations. While Alozie (12.44 seconds) raced to a silver medal finish behind Devers (12.37 seconds), Obikwelu settled for a bronze medal behind Green (19.90 seconds) and Brazil’s Claudinei da Silva (20.20 seconds).Interestingly, Obikwelu’s 19.84 seconds run was the fastest time in the world that year.For Okagbare, the task may look less herculean unlike in the 100m but she will have to leap farther than the 6.77m persona season’s best she jumped last month in Hungary or even the 6.99m that fetched her the silver medal behind Britney Reese four years ago in Moscow where she lost the gold by 2cm.While all attention will be on Okagbare, petite sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan could prove to be the joker in the pack of the 18 athletes that will dorn Nigeria’s green and white colours at the championships.Amusan, the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) undergraduate student is the hottest sprint hurdler in Africa this year and one of the seven fastest in the world following the 12.57 seconds she ran last June to win the American collegiate title.She is also the second fastest African of all time in the event after compatriot Glory Alozie and looks a good bet for a place in the final in her first trip to the championships.The gold may be far from her reach unless reigning world record holder (12.20 seconds) in the event Kendra Harrison hits the hurdle and crashes, she can make the podium if she runs faster than her personal best of 12.57 seconds.While podium appearances by Okagbare and Amusan may not come much as a surprise to Nigerians, shot putter, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi’s will need a miracle to throw his way to the podium.The best the USA-based Nigerian who changed his allegiance to represent his parents’ country just before the championships should be hoping for should be to throw farther than the 21.07m that secured his qualification for the event and see if it could land him in the final.A place in the final will be historic for Enekwechi as no Nigerian shot putter had made it that far.The women’s 4x400m relay team will also be hoping to emulate the feat performed by the Sunday Bada-led male team in 1995 in Gothenburg, Sweden where the team finished third after a spirited anchor-leg run by the late Bada.Two years ago the team, led by Patience Okon-George ran an impressive 3:23:27 seconds in the semi-finals but failed to make it count in the final before Tosin Adeloye’s positive dope test rendered their fourth place finish and second fastest time in the Nigerian nay African all-time list illegal.Meanwhile, Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Ibrahim Gusau, has charged the athletes to stay clear of performance enahncing drugs while assuring them the federation under his leadership will ensure their welfare comes first at all times.Gusau who bankrolled the team’s trip to the championships is optimistic the future is bright for track and field in Nigeria.“I am delighted to be attending my first World Championships as AFN president and I want to assure you that we shall ensure there is competition at home for athletes to enable them improve on their performances and have the chance to compete against the very best in the world,” he said.Gusau is confident the programmes the federation under his watch will roll out for next season will make positive impacts in the lives of the athletes.“We have plan for training programmes for our coaches and as we improve their capacity they in turn will produce athletes that can be reckoned with in continental and global athletics,” concludes the former member of the Federal House of Representatives.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram 16TH IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN IN LONDON Okagbare on cusp of history with Team NigeriaDuro Ikhazuagbe with agency reportBeginning from this morning, global attention will be on the Olympic Stadium in London as the 16th IAAF World Championships begin. Jamaican Usain Bolt who has remained a phenomenon since becoming the poster-boy of global athletics way back in 2008 will be the focus of everyone to see if he is capable of drawing curtain on his illustrious career unbeaten.last_img read more

Rowing : Orange works on establishing rhythm after last-place finish

first_img Published on April 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Kevin: In the week leading up to last week’s race with Yale and Cornell, the Syracuse women’s rowing team knew it would have to go ‘crazy’ in the water to contend. Although the team did just that, it learned that without a consistent rhythm, it can’t move a boat fast enough.‘You can’t race for seven minutes without a rhythm,’ said first-year SU head coach Justin Moore. ‘Yale and Cornell had it.’The team heads to Boston this weekend for the Orange Challenge Cup. It will race against Northeastern and Pennsylvania, hoping to find its rhythm. Last weekend, the Orange learned that rhythm can mean everything in a race. In a boat that only includes four or eight rowers, if one rower is not able to pull her weight and maintain the ideal rhythm, the overall pace will be thrown off.The team is now focusing on developing this consistency at practice, looking to fix what went wrong last week. Against Yale and Cornell, the Orange finished in third place in all five races. And the thing that Yale and Cornell had, that the Orange lacked, was that consistent rhythm in the water, Moore said.So the Orange took to the water for practice this week, hoping to fix that. The team switched the makeup of each of its five boats a few times to get the right mix in each one. The team concluded that no changes had to be made, but that tempo was still the key focus, said graduate rower Chelsea Macpherson.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith such a young team, developing rhythm can be difficult and time-consuming, and a process that can take months. It’s a task that requires all boat members’ attention and effort for success to be realized, Macpherson said. And with a developing team, it’s not the easiest of tasks.‘It’s going to be hard to get that rhythm,’ Macpherson said. ‘You need the whole boat’s effort. Every single person has to be locked in.’Macpherson has rowed for the Orange since 2006 and has seen the program change during her time at Syracuse. With a new coach in Moore this year, coupled with the young makeup of the team, she realized from the start that this year would bring new challenges. Still, although concrete results on the water may not be at the level they were at a few years ago, Macpherson feels a new start was just what the program needed.‘The old coach tried to work hard,’ Macpherson said. ‘But the message wasn’t working for our team.’So the program was revamped, and Moore came in with impressive credentials as a six-time NCAA Division III champion in 11 years as head coach at Williams College. Still, making a mark on a program can take a while, especially at the college level.When Moore started at Syracuse last summer, the team was not performing at the necessary level. The team’s indoor raw scores — including statistics that don’t need to be measured on the water, such as how hard the team pulled — were not as good as they needed to be, Macpherson said.So Moore immediately put a premium on being in shape, Macpherson said.‘Coach Moore has a different mindset,’ Macpherson said. ‘Every single practice, we’re improving our fitness.’Because of that, rowers like Macpherson and junior Tiffany Macon feel the team can still progress to the point where it can contend at the Big East championships. But that rhythm must be improved in order to contend.‘We understand exactly where we need to fix problems,’ Macon said. ‘We have to come off the line fast and find sprints at the end.’Moore knows pure talent is not enough to win races. Work ethic pays dividends as well, but not just over a few weeks or even months. If the team continues to put in the amount of work it has so far this season, results will come, Moore said. Results to rival those of last week’s opponents.‘It’s a combination of genetic talent and the cumulative work in progress,’ Moore said. ‘As painful as it is to admit, the women of Yale and Cornell have worked harder for over a year.’ Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Intrigue and change characterize break

first_imgWinter break is over.It’s sad, but it’s true. Now, it’s back to the daily grind of classes, homework, internships and jobs. It may not seem like it’s been that long since you’ve been on campus — in reality, it’s only been a few weeks. But in that short time, a lot has happened in the world of USC sports.It’s sometimes hard to follow what’s been going on around USC when you’re not on campus.However, this column might give you a chance to catch up quickly at the beginning of spring semester. With the huge quantity and varying range of stories that broke over break, from accusations of NCAA infractions to self-imposed sanctions, it was a hectic few weeks.This might help clear up any questions you might still have.The USC football team ended the 2009 regular season on a low note and had to play in a non-BCS bowl for the first time since 2001. Having to settle for the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, the team was dealt another blow shortly before its Dec. 26 matchup against Boston College.Junior running back Joe McKnight was reportedly observed violating NCAA rules by driving a SUV that did not belong to him. The vehicle was registered to a Santa Monica businessman who said he had nothing to do with marketing players or representing athletes. Still, the rule states that an NCAA student-athlete cannot accept extra benefits from anyone based on their athletic ability. The investigation is still in progress.Although McKnight joined the team in San Francisco for practice, he was not cleared to play. Without its star running back, USC won its seventh bowl game under coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans defeated the Eagles 24-13 behind freshman quarterback Matt Barkley’s two touchdown passes and one rushing touchdown.The win placed a positive note on an otherwise disappointing season.With the football season over, the focus shifted to men’s basketball, where the Trojans were piecing together a surprisingly solid start to their season under new coach Kevin O’Neill. After losing three of its first five games, USC capped off an eight-game winning streak by defeating Arizona State on Jan. 2.The following day, however, this feel-good story didn’t feel so good anymore.On Jan. 3, USC implemented self-imposed sanctions on the men’s basketball program for violating NCAA rules with regards to O.J. Mayo’s involvement with booster Rodney Guillory during the 2007-2008 season.Under the sanctions, the current team is banned from postseason competition, including the Pac-10 Conference basketball tournament, and the program will lose one scholarship for the next two academic years, among other penalties.Is it fair that this team and this coach get punished for others’ wrongdoings? No.But it was necessary.The Trojans have lost two straight since the sanctions were announced.But team suffered a bigger loss over break. On Jan. 5, Rory Markas, the voice of the team, was found dead at his Palmdale, Calif. home. He was 54.“He was a consummate professional and a well-loved individual,” USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said. “He’ll be a very difficult person to replace.”The following day, USC alum Randy Johnson, arguably the most dominating left-handed pitcher to every play Major League Baseball, retired from the sport. He finished his career with five Cy Young Awards, 303 wins and 4,875 strike outs, second on the all-time list behind Nolan Ryan.As winter recess came to a close, the news shifted back to the football team.First, it was redshirt junior receiver Damian Williams and McKnight declaring to opt for the NFL draft next season. Williams, the team’s MVP last season, and McKnight will leave gaping holes for the team to fill.Also, backup quarterback Aaron Corp transferred to Richmond.Although USC’s offense will be filled with new faces next season, the team recently discovered it has bigger shoes to fill.In the words of Pete Carroll himself, “It came out of nowhere.”Yes, Carroll is leaving.Yes, that means no more “Big Balls Pete” chants.And yes, I am bitter just like you.It was a day I thought I’d never see, especially during my time here at USC, but Carroll’s tenure coaching the Trojans is over.He leaves behind a remarkable legacy that will be tough for any coach to follow. And he leaves it all behind to coach the Seattle Seahawks next season. The deal was made official Monday.While everyone in USC land probably knew of Carroll’s departure, maybe some of the other stories that occurred over break didn’t catch your attention.But now that you’re all caught up, let the semester begin.“Soft Hands” runs on Tuesdays. To comment on this article, visit or email Jon at read more

Trojans hire LMU’s Jason Gill as new baseball coach

first_imgJason Gill will help lead junior infielder Ben Ramirez and the Trojan baseball team as it starts its 2020 season. (Daily Trojan file photo) Jason Gill will take over as head coach of USC Baseball, Athletic Director Lynn Swann announced Friday. Gill will replace former coach Dan Hubbs, who was terminated after the Trojans missed the postseason for the fourth consecutive year. This season, Gill guided the Lions to a 34-25 record, earning a spot in the postseason before being eliminated by the top overall seed in the nation, UCLA. “We are very excited to welcome Jason Gill to the Trojan family as the head coach of USC Baseball,” Swann said in a statement. Gill brings plenty of head coaching experience to his new position at USC, having served as head coach of Loyola Marymount for the past 11 years. During that time, Gill’s LMU teams had an overall record of 322-286-1 for a .530 winning percentage. “College baseball has some unique challenges with the roster size and the number of scholarships, and with recruits being drafted out of high school,” Swann said. “We wanted someone familiar with those challenges. We also wanted someone with a history of putting together a staff that can consistently prepare players to not only succeed in the college game but at the next level as well. All of those things led us to Coach Gill and to inviting him to lead our program forward.” USC has not made the postseason since 2015, despite seeing 32 players selected in the MLB Draft in that span and welcoming top 25 recruiting classes the last two years. Gill, who has made the postseason nine times as a coach, hopes to be part of the solution. This is uncharacteristic of a Trojan program that has won 12 national championships, six more than any other Division I school. USC has also sent a record 114 players to the Major Leagues.center_img Gill is known for his recruiting and player development skills. Gill coached 31 players at LMU that were selected in the MLB Draft and has seen 24 of his players reach the big leagues over the entirety of his coaching career. Gill began his collegiate baseball career as an infielder for Cal State Fullerton, reaching the College World Series in 1994. He served as an undergraduate assistant at CSUF the following year when the Titans won the national championship. After brief assistant coaching stints at Nevada, LMU and UC Irvine, Gill returned to CSUF in the same role and reached the College World Series in 2006 and 2007. “Our desire was to get someone who can elevate USC baseball back into the postseason and help the team once again compete for a College World Series title,” Swann said. Gill will now try to bring USC to the College World Series as well — a feat the Trojans have not accomplished since 2001. Despite this, the Trojans have not made the College World Series since 2001 and have not brought a national championship trophy to Heritage Hall since 1998. Gill also has seven years of experience as a recruiting coordinator while serving as an assistant coach, bringing in six recruiting classes in the top 30 and two in the top 10 during that span. His recruiting classes at LMU ranked in the top 25 twice — which the program had failed to do for the previous 15 years. “I would like to thank Lynn Swann and the USC administration for their belief in me as the next head baseball coach at USC,” Gill said in a statement. “I am looking forward to building on the traditions established by the great players and coaches from the most storied college baseball program in the country. USC’s commitment to winning championships while providing a top tier education is unmatched. I am extremely excited and can’t wait to get started.”last_img read more

Late 2nd period goal halts momentum for Syracuse in 4-2 loss to Mercyhurst

first_imgAllie Olnowich’s clear should’ve ended the second period with Syracuse and Mercyhurst locked at one apiece. But it didn’t.Maggie Knott intercepted the pass and pushed forward. She passed the puck to forward Emma Nuutinen who noticed the Lakers had a three to one advantage. Knott raised her arm, waving for a pass, as she crept toward SU goalkeeper Maddi Welch. Olnowich fell on her chest trying to contain Knott as she laid on the ground with nowhere to go.Nuutinen slung the puck to Summer-Rae Dobson who bobbled it as the clock neared single digits. Dobson relayed it back to Knott. Her low wrist shot caught Welch off guard, sneaking past the senior to give Mercyhurst a 2-1 lead with 9.4 seconds left.“We got a little lazy as the clock was ticking down,” SU head coach Paul Flanagan said. “The timing was just awful.”The Orange left the rink in shock. Players started to dwell on the last second blunder, Flanagan said. Syracuse (0-2, 0-1 College Hockey America) trailed the rest of the game against Mercyhurst (1-4, 1-0) in an eventual 4-2 loss. The Orange couldn’t sustain the momentum it held for the game’s first 40 minutes, and didn’t muster a third-period comeback.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Lakers and Orange played identically in the first period. Every SU opportunity was followed by a Mercyhurst response. But nothing came out of the combined 30 shots as both teams remained scoreless.Going into the second, the two exchanged six power plays included a one-minute three on five opportunity for Syracuse that led to nothing. Midway through the second, the Lakers’ Vilma Tanskanen maneuvered past Welch to make it 1-0. The Orange responded 90 seconds later off of a Jessica Digirolamo slap shot on the green line.“Things were pretty close,” Flanagan said. “They were doubling us down.”As SU and MU exchanged power play opportunities, both overmatched each other with defense late in the second, waiting for one to break through. It appeared a third period would determine who would take the advantage after three-straight advantages were squandered. But it didn’t.Off a faceoff near the Mercyhurst goal, the Orange came out in an offensive zone. It tried to play shoot the puck forward to accelerate the period’s final 30 seconds, SU’s Dakota Derrer said. Derrer slid a pass to Olnowich who tried to careen it off the board near the Lakers’ sideline.When Knott intercepted it, Olnowich was flat on the ice, swinging her stick with her chest down. Knott looped around her, eventually scoring the go-ahead score.“It was a bloop play,” Derrer said. “We lost our puck in the offensive zone…It just changed the energy of the game.”Flanagan stayed on the bench after the goal. When the period ended, he waited for his players to enter locker room before rising from the bench and walking in. Despite a three-goal period that featured a multitude of prominent moments, SU’s last play was the only thing brought up by the players.They couldn’t get it out of their mind, Digirolamo said.“I can’t go in there and be a cheerleader all the time,” Flanagan said. “…It was really hard to pull them out of that disappointment.”Flanagan said he could sense his player’s attitude the minute he walked into the locker room. But unlike them, he stayed optimistic, imploring them that there was still 20 minutes left to play.Seconds into the third, Abby Moloughney jumped on the faceoff and hooked a shot toward the Mercyhurst net, ultimately landing into the mitt of its goalie. After Moloughney’s jump, SU fell flat and couldn’t advance the puck.Knott snuck past a pair of defenders again six minutes into the third and made it a two-goal advantage for the Lakers. The Orange’s only hope came off a Lauren Bellefontaine power play goal which cut the lead back to one, but Mercyhurst responded three minutes later, running the score up to 4-2.When Syracuse accepted its first deficit of the game seconds before going into the third with a tie, the gridlock of the first two periods were lost, Flanagan said. The Orange tried to regroup but were stuck in place.“We (were) really low,” Derrer said, “and we should have came back harder.” Comments Published on October 12, 2018 at 11:25 pm Contact KJ: | @KJEdelman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Maritzburg near Komphela appointment

first_imgMaritzburg United chairman Farook Kadodia aims to appoint Steve Komphela head coach of the club before Wednesday.Komphela, who parted ways with Free State Stars at the beginning of December, is poised to succeed Clinton Larsen at the Team of Choice.Larsen was fired last month after picking up five points from nine games at the helm following his return to United from Bloemfontein Celtic in mid-October.”Yes, we are interested to sign Steve Komphela,” Kadodia confirmed to”We hope to finalise the deal before Wednesday.”Black Stars defender Awal Mohammed plays for Maritzburglast_img read more

Official photos: Samuel Inkoom signs for Boavista

first_imgBoavista have completed the signing of Ghana defender Samuel Inkoom on a free transfer.The Portuguese club announced the three-year deal on their website on Thursday and it is a chance for a fresh start for the 26-year old.”I had some conversations with the Boavista coach (Armando Goncalves Teixeira) and I’m exited and motivated by his positive vision and plans.”The club has a great history and I am excited to play in one of the best leagues in Europe,” Inkoom said.In response to why rejected a move to Houston Dynamo after his inability to hold down a place at DC United, he said: “The competitive nature of the European game is incomparable because you get to face tough opponents every weekend.”I plan to repay the club’s confidence with all the required dedication.” Inkoom has had a more than decent career since he came to the fore in the local Ghanaian league for Kotoko and moved to Switzerland’s Basel.His launchpad at the national level came following his showing for the Black Satellites in the 2009 World Youth Championship, which they won.But from Basel his fortunes have not been rosy, as he left for Ukraine in a big €10 million Euro move to Dnipro. There, former Tottenham boss Juande Ramos kept him on the bench. Stints in France and Greece did not help his reputation either.”I’m currently training very hard and keeping fit. I’m in great shape and looking forward to the new season,” Inkoom, who has been in the news in the last few months for legal issues in the States, told BBC Sport.Official photos –––Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyalsmithlast_img read more

LA Clippers’ Jamal Crawford understands Blake Griffin’s plight

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error As they wait to find out which team they will play in the first round, they want to refine their product.“Just us continuing to get better, continue to jell and be that team, you know what I mean?” center DeAndre Jordan said about the team’s goals down the stretch. “Every game now, we’re looking as preparation for the playoffs. We’ve been preparing for this since October.”More rest for startersCoach Doc Rivers rested starters Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick on Thursday in Oklahoma City, where the Clipper put up a fine effort but lost, 119-117.Rivers said some of the starters will rest at least one more game before the postseason. He said a couple of them might rest for Wednesday’s second leg of the back-to-back games with the Lakers.Another Ralph Lawler honorClippers longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler recently was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On Tuesday, the media entrance on the north side of Staples Center was officially renamed “Ralph Lawler Media and Team Entry.”This and thatPoint guard Paul was fourth in the league in assists at 10.0 per game, second in steals (2.1) and fourth in free-throw percentage (89.4) before Tuesday. … Shooting guard Redick was shooting a league-best 47.1 percent (189 of 401) from 3-point range. Steph Curry of Golden State was second at 45.9 (378 of 823). Jamal Crawford and the rest of the Clippers know it’s going to take time for Blake Griffin to round into the MVP form he was showing before he went down with injuries that have sidelined him more than three months.Crawford is of the mind Griffin will get it all back. And when he does, look out.“He is getting his feet wet again as far as being out for a while and coming back again,” said Crawford, whose team defeated the Lakers on Tuesday in the first of back-to-back games between the rivals. “I missed a month last year and it was tough to come back, and that was just a month. He has been out for (more than three) months. So each game, each day and each practice he will get better and better.“He will manage the soreness, and once your conditioning is better, everything kind of falls in place.”center_img Crawford played in 64 of 82 games this past season, missing several weeks with a bruised right calf.In Griffin’s first game back Sunday, he scored six points on 2-of-7 shooting and had five rebounds and four assists in a 114-109 victory over the Washington Wizards at Staples Center. He had missed the previous 45 games, during which time the Clippers went 30-15.Goals ahead of playoffsThe Clippers were 48-28 and had six games remaining before Tuesday’s game. They have already clinched the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference as well as homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.last_img read more

NBA free agency 2019: 3 potential impact players you probably forgot about

first_img Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum becomes latest NBA star to pass on FIBA World Cup Believe it or not NBA free agency is still going on, even if there aren’t any All-Star caliber players left on the market.Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard are all spoken for (Yes we know that’s a lot of K’s). But there are still players available who can make a difference. Let’s take a look at some of the top role players for hire this summer.Carmelo AnthonyNo one really knows what Anthony plans on doing. The 35-year-old forward only played in 10 games in 2018-19 as a member for the Rockets before stepping away from the team after Houston decided he wasn’t a good fit. He was later traded to Chicago and released. Related News Faried didn’t make any noise as a reserve of the Nets last season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.7 rebounds. Once Brooklyn waived him he tallied 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds on a significantly better Rockets team.Faried is a product of his environment and plenty of teams could benefit from his grit and relentless effort. He’s called “The Manimal” for a reason.center_img Rockets’ James Harden on reported feud with Chris Paul: ‘It was a lot of false talk’ Some wonder if Anthony is just washed up and should retire, but he can still have some value as a spark plug off the bench. It’s just a matter of whether he’s willing to accept that role.The 10-time all star has a career scoring average of 24.0 points per game and averaged more than 20 points for his first 14 seasons in the league. His already questionable efficiency has dropped in recent years, but plenty of teams need firepower from their reserves.Everybody shipped Anthony to the Lakers after he was released by the Bulls. But that didn’t pan out. Nevertheless, it’s not crazy to think a team will take a chance on signing a consistent double-digit scorer for the league minimum.Thabo SefoloshaSefolosha can be plugged into basically any lineup, making him one of the best catches available.The 3-and-D wing has length at 6-7 and can pester opposing teams on the ball or off it. He shot 43.6% from beyond the arc in 2018-19 with the Jazz. However his durability could be looked at as a major concern, as he’s played more than 70 games just five times in his 13-year career.Sefolosha consistently demonstrates his skillset and knows exactly what role he’s brought in to fill, regardless of schemes.Kenneth FariedWhatever team signs Faried will get the ultimate hustle guy.The 6-8 big man is undersized, but can bring an influx of energy to any lineup when he’s on the court. He catches lobs, blocks shots and grabs rebounds with an intensity that’s rarely matched by the opposition.last_img read more