Brady gathers new Bucs teammates for workout on prep field

Tom Brady isn’t letting the coronavirus pandemic – or NFL rules against players working out at team facilities – keep him from preparing for a new season with his new Tampa Bay team.

Brady gathered some of his Buccaneers teammates on a high school field early Tuesday for a throwing session. Brady wore a Buccaneers helmet and an orange jersey over his shoulder pads. The informal, players-only workout at Berkeley Preparatory School lasted two hours, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

It’s not unusual for quarterbacks to organize passing workouts before training camp, but the pandemic has changed normal routines. Teams have had to rely on virtual meetings instead of traditional offseason programs as the NFL tries to make plans for a 2020 season, possibly without fans at stadiums.

Because of the pandemic, which has forced social distancing and sheltering at home as the new rules, any gathering of players is notable – especially one involving Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. Brady, 42, signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs in March.

After signing with the Bucs, Brady asked for phone numbers of his teammates. He apparently made use of that list to organize Tuesday’s workout.

It was an encouraging sign for fans on the same day NFL teams began opening facilities to a limited number of personnel. The facilities are still off-limits for coaches and players, except for players undergoing injury rehabilitation.

Center Ryan Jensen practiced shotgun snaps to Brady on the artificial turf football field.

Though he’s the newcomer, Brady was in charge, according to the newspaper. Brady walked through a route with receiver Mike Evans, demonstrating for the veteran and other players exactly where to make their cuts.

Quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin also threw passes.

Among other players attending the session were receiver Scotty Miller, tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard and running back Dare Ogunbowale.

Teams cannot organize such workouts, and the Buccaneers did not publicize Tuesday’s session. There was no immediate reply from the team to a request from The Associated Press for comment on the workout.

Tuesday’s session went better than Brady’s attempt to work out privately at a Tampa park last month. After he was told by a security guard that the park was closed and he had to leave, Brady received an apology from Mayor Jane Castor.

NFLPA pres Tretter says “hurdles” remain before NFL’s return

Browns center JC Tretter is cautiously optimistic the NFL season – at least some version of it – will take place in 2020. He’s just not certain when it will start.

The newly elected president of the NFL Players Association, Tretter said Tuesday that the COVID-19 virus outbreak has hatched so many unknowns and created such a fluid situation it’s impossible to predict when football will be back – or what it will look like.

“This is a contact disease, and we play a contact sport,” Tretter said during a Zoom video conference.

Voted in by his peers just days before the global pandemic brought the sports world to a standstill in March, Tretter said he’s solely focused on the health of the league’s players, who have remained in virtual contact during an offseason none of them could have imagined.

Tretter is encouraged that some teams have reopened their facilities, but he acknowledged there’s a “long list of hurdles” to be cleared before players can get back together to prepare for a season that remains uncertain and strangely distant.

The 29-year-old Tretter, who graduated from Cornell with a degree in industrial labor relations, has been deeply involved in discussions ranging from scheduling to players with pre-existing medical conditions and other safety considerations.

Everything is in play. Nothing is higher on Tretter’s checklist than the well-being of players who are facing a ruthless, invisible opponent with an ever-changing game plan.

Although he’s a relative rookie when it comes to football diplomacy, Tretter gave several noncommittal answers Tuesday like a seasoned politician.

“There’s no bad idea at this point, and you kind of have to think outside the box,” Tretter said when asked about the potential of players wearing modified face masks with surgical materials. “And just because it’s an idea doesn’t mean things are definitely going to happen, but you need to explore it, and you need to understand it.

“You have to focus on fitting football inside of this world of coronavirus and don’t get caught up in trying to fit coronavirus inside this world. The way coronavirus has kind of changed how every industry is working, you can’t expect just to throw football back in and think that the virus is going to kneel down to almighty football.”

Tretter said the union has been holding bi-weekly conference calls for players and their spouses to answer questions and address concerns. He said communication and information are equally vital.

For players to feel confident outside their homes, Tretter said they’ll need guarantees that every precaution has been taken to minimize the chance of infection.

“The way this thing passes along is through contact, and that’s what we do for a living,” he said. “We interact with each other at the facility, at practice, weight lifting, at the meal room, it is shoulder to shoulder standing by each other, passing things around. So there is a long list of ideas we need to come up with on how to make this environment safe for us. And that’s why it’s going to be a lot of thinking involved in that.”

Tretter said testing will be a key to any return, and that for now, the league has the luxury of some time, with the scheduled regular-season openers four months away.

“In the end, we just have to make good decisions and safe decisions,” he said. “As more people leave quarantine, we’ll be able to see what’s going on and get more data points with that. We still have time before our season is projected to start. A lot of the other leagues are trying to figure this out right now and piece it together. We still have time.”

Tretter understands there can be no guarantees, but it’s his responsibility to present every potential scenario. Even then, when players are cleared to go back, they do so knowing they could still become exposed to the virus.

“There’s a level of risk to everything,” Tretter said. “You’re facing a level of risk right now going to the grocery store. There’s always going to be a level of exposure that people are going to face in this. So I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where there’s no risk of exposure.

“Coming in contact with other people is a risk of exposure. So that’s never going to be down to zero. Our job is to try to get that to as close to zero as possible, and that’s why you kind of have to look at everything.”

NFL teams can reopen training facilities with government OK

A limited number of NFL teams are reopening their training facilities Tuesday, while many are prohibited by government restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Commissioner Roger Goodell gave the 32 clubs the go-ahead for limited reopenings as long as state and local municipalities allow them. Coaching staffs and all players except those undergoing injury rehabilitation are barred from the facilities in the first phase of the league’s plan.

With such states as California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts and Virginia still under heavy restrictions, that immediately leaves 12 franchises unable to use their facilities. The Raiders, headed for Las Vegas for the upcoming season, still have their training complex in Alameda, California.

The Packers, Ravens, Dolphins, Vikings, Titans, Buccaneers, Browns, Panthers, Saints, Eagles and Packers have chosen not to reopen Tuesday. Cincinnati expects to reopen on Wednesday. Jacksonville has set May 26 for its reopening, and Denver also is targeting next week.

Among the teams taking advantage of using their buildings on the first day they are allowed are the Cowboys, Falcons, Texans, Cardinals, Chiefs and Colts.

“We’ve spent the entire quarantine period preparing to reopen,” the Colts said in a statement, “… but it will be very gradual and deliberate. And of course we’re taking steps to make sure we’re in compliance with state and local regulations, and NFL and CDC guidelines.”

That means primarily employees that must be in the office to do their jobs: people who need to access files that are only at the office; maintenance workers; trainers; and technology workers.

Those people will have their temperature taken when entering the building and must wear personal protective equipment. The Colts have set up one-way hallways with arrows on the carpet pointing to the proper direction, and there will be limits on how many people can be in rooms at the same time.

Coach Frank Reich was realistic about a full return to the training complex.

“The guys who have been hurt, who have been coming into the building, keep coming in and rehabbing and doing their thing,” he said.

“Other than that, as soon as we can get more players in the building – we want that to make up for a little bit of lost time. The sooner we can get together and get out there working, the better it will be.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took part in an owners conference call from the team’s practice facility, The Star. About two dozen staffers were present at the complex.

The Steelers are doing a soft reopening Tuesday mainly for medical personnel and rehabbing players. They expect to ramp up use of their facility next week under league guidelines.

As the Cardinals reopen, only essential staffers will be involved, far fewer than the 75 allowed at the facility. The Super Bowl champion Chiefs also opted for a soft opening, as did the Falcons, with only about 15 people at their complex on Tuesday. Those numbers will increase over the next week.

“The fact that some teams can get in today with limited staff in non-football functions, we didn’t think in any way, shape or form that created a competitive balance issue,” said Falcons President Rich McKay, who also is co-chairman of the league’s powerful competition committee.

The Falcons train in Flowery Branch, Georgia, about 45 miles from their downtown Atlanta stadium.

“There’s one entrance to come in and out of. There’s all the social distancing to be complied with,” McKay added. “Everyone’s temperature is checked at the door and you’re asked a series of questions. Everyone must put gloves on and wear a mask the whole time unless they’re alone in a closed office. We don’t have the cafeteria open. We don’t have the team meeting rooms open.

“As we move around building, we’ll see if there are areas that give us a challenge and go from there.”

The Texans sent less than 10 people to their facility, and said, “We are considering this Phase Zero which will lead in to Phase 1 (up to 70 to 75 people) in the future.”

The Vikings are one of the teams to delay their return to their facility. Star receiver Adam Thielen notes it’s important not to rush things.

“When they say it’s OK,” he said of when he anticipates players being approved to enter team facilities.

“I’m not paid to know when that is, but when they say it’s OK to be back and the facilities open up to players, I’ll be there, and I’ll be comfortable with it. I’m trying to control what I can control. That is not one of those things that I can control.

“For me, I’m leaving it up to the professionals, and when they say we can go back and we can start practicing, I’ll be there and I’ll be excited to be back.”

Goodell has extended virtual workouts for teams through most of June. All of the clubs normally would be having organized team activities (OTAs), which are voluntarily, at this time.

“That protocol was developed with a lot of input from not only infectious disease and public health expects, but the CDC and others,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officers, said of the league’s phased program for reopenings.

“I’ve used the phrase that we want to walk, then jog, then run as we talk about how we reopen our facilities.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, though, new Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady worked out with teammates at a local high school Tuesday morning.

NFL owners make changes to enhance diversity on many levels

Changes designed to enhance opportunities for minorities to get executive, head coaching and coordinator positions were passed Tuesday by NFL owners.

They include addendums to the Rooney Rule, which has fallen short in its goal of increasing diversity in the league.

“We feel the package of steps and initiatives the owners fully supported today all will contribute to making progress in this area,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “Most importantly, our work is not done. We continue to focus on a number of other initiatives and will continue to until we have greater success in this area.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a conference call among the 32 teams owners replaced the planned spring meeting in Marina del Rey, California. The league’s annual meeting in March in Florida was canceled.

On the same day that teams were allowed a limited reopening of their training facilities – most clubs did not do so, many because of governmental restrictions in their area – the owners eliminated one perceived barrier for minorities. By the beginning of 2021, all clubs will now be required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside the organization for head coach vacancies; at least one minority candidate for any of the three coordinator vacancies; and at least one external minority candidate for senior football operations or general manager positions.

The Rooney Rule has been expanded to apply to a wide range of executive positions. Teams must now include minorities and/or female applicants in the interviewing processes for senior level front-office positions. Those include club president and senior executives in communications, finance, human resources, legal, football operations, sales, marketing, sponsorship, information technology and security jobs. The league office will also adhere to these requirements.

“The NFL is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, which I believe is critical to our continued success,” added Goodell, who acknowledged that the Rooney Rule has worked, but not to its full intent.

“While we have seen positive strides in our coaching ranks over the years aided by the Rooney Rule, we recognize, after the last two seasons, that we can and must do more. The policy changes made today are bold and demonstrate the commitment of our ownership to increase diversity in leadership positions throughout the league.”

Passed in 2003 and named after the late Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who along with then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue championed the push for more NFL diversity, the Rooney Rule has fallen short of its goal in recent years. There currently are four minority coaches and two general managers in the league.

After the 2018 season, eight head coaches lost their jobs. Only one opening was filled by a minority candidate, Brian Flores in Miami.

Following last season, five jobs came open and one minority, Ron Rivera, was hired, by Washington.

“We have been doing poorly in this area,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations and a former player and president of the players’ union.

Also passed was a proposal to free up assistant coaches to pursue coordinator jobs with other teams. After the conclusion of the regular season through March 1, clubs are prohibited from denying an assistant coach such opportunities, though the league has specified the opening must be for a “bona fide” offensive, defensive or special teams coordinator.

Goodell will have the authority to rule on any disputes that arise between teams.

The owners also voted to ban denying a “non-high level/non-secondary football executive” from interviewing for a “bona fide assistant general manager position.” No contract can be negotiated or signed until after the conclusion of the employer club’s season.

A plan to reward clubs that hire minorities as head coaches or general managers with improved draft-pick positioning was tabled after being met with some hefty criticism.

“We table resolutions frequently because the discussion leads to other ideas that can make it more effective,” Goodell said. “There was a great deal of support, but also suggestions and amendments that we may try to go back and talk to the Fritz Pollard Alliances and others and strengthen it.”

The owners have another conference call on May 28, but that is designed to deal with rules, including dumping the video review of pass interference after a one-year experiment that many in the NFL believed caused more headaches than solutions.

“I did not feel like it worked,” said Falcons President Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee. “We put New York in some really tough, tough spots. Whatever New York did, someone was going to criticize it on the other side. It was a no-win situation. That had always been the fear and was why we were scared , or I should say hesitant, to make those fouls subject to review. We didn’t make a recommendation to have a continuation of that after the one-year trial, so the rule dies on its own accord.”

AP Exclusive: Power Five spend big on lobbying Congress

The Power Five conferences spent $350,000 on lobbying in the first three months of 2020, more than they had previously spent in any full year, as part of a coordinated effort to influence Congress on legislation affecting the ability of college athletes to earn endorsement money.

The Southeastern Conference was the biggest spender, hiring three lobbying firms and paying them a total of $140,000, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by The Associated Press. Before this year, the SEC did not employ Washington lobbyists, instead leaving the work of influencing Congress to individual universities and the NCAA.

In a statement to AP, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference hired lobbyists so it could be part of the discussion as Congress gets more serious about reforming college sports.

“It is important for the SEC to have a voice in this national dialogue,” Sankey said. “We look forward to a constructive exchange of ideas about ways we can further enhance our student-athletes’ educational and athletic experiences while ensuring that any future changes can be administered fairly on a national level.”

The NCAA announced last month it was moving forward with a plan to allow college athletes to earn money for endorsements and other activities including personal appearances and social media content. California and other states have passed laws that would that would guarantee that right to athletes with few of the restrictions the NCAA is seeking. Florida could be the first to have its law take effect, starting next year.

The NCAA is pushing Congress for a federal law that would render those state laws moot and perhaps stave off future legal challenges.

Conference commissioners have spoken about a chaotic recruiting environment that would result from a handful of states passing athlete-friendly laws and schools using them to entice the best players.

At a hearing in February, NCAA President Mark Emmert said Congress needs to put “guardrails” on athletes’ ability to earn money, in part to protect against potential recruiting abuses and endorsement money being used as a pay-for-play scheme. That argument was met with skepticism by some lawmakers and athlete advocates, who believe scholarship athletes should have access to the free market like any other college student.

The NCAA’s lobbyists have continued to press the case for those guardrails, and now they have more help. A document circulated by the Power Five lobbyists, obtained by AP, lists the conferences’ “core principles” for athlete compensation, and most of those principles include limitations.

They include: a requirement for “one term of academic progress” before athletes can sign endorsement deals; a ban on athlete deals with “advertising categories inconsistent with higher education”; and limits on who can advise athletes on third-party contracts to prevent “unscrupulous actors.”

Each of the Power Five hired the same two lobbying firms this year, and each of those firms collected $10,000 from each conference. The firms – Marshall & Popp, led by ex-Republican congressional staffers; and Subject Matter, led by Democrats – both stated as their objective a “national solution to preserve the unique model of American college athletics” while allowing players to earn money from their names, images and likenesses (NIL).

“In this particular case, the (Power Five) conferences are working together on this so that there’s less confusion, not more, in terms of the messaging to congressional leaders that helps explain NIL and what the concerns are, and how it might work,” Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford told The Associated Press.

Like the SEC, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten also hired their first Washington lobbyists. The Pac-12 spent $70,000, giving $50,000 to its own firm and $10,000 each to Marshall & Popp and Subject Matter. The Big Ten paid $20,000 to the firms working for all the Power Five but did not hire its own dedicated lobbyist.

The ACC and the Big 12 each spent $60,000 – $40,000 on their own lobbyists and $20,000 on the Power Five firms. Both conferences had the same lobbyists last year, the first year either had spent significant money to influence members of Congress.

Last year, the NCAA spent $450,000 on lobbying, the most it has spent in any year since 2014, and it continued at that accelerated pace by spending $130,000 in the first quarter of this year, records show.

Rep. Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican and an outspoken NCAA critic who has introduced legislation on the topic, said the NCAA and its allies were “tone deaf” for spending money on lobbying to limit the earning power of athletes during a pandemic that has wrecked the U.S. economy.

“You’ve got millions of Americans struggling. Close to 500,000 student-athletes have had practices and competitions canceled, and they want Congress to drop everything and give them some kind of legal backdrop, cover, after decades of abuse,” Walker said.

The coronavirus pandemic, however, has not stopped the debate over athletes’ pay, either in Washington or in statehouses. Swofford said he expected the Power Five to continue to have a lobbying presence.

“With the potential financial implications that come with the pandemic, I think any and all expenditures will be considered,” Swofford said. “But this is also a very important issue in terms of the future of college athletics and what it looks like.”

Oklahoma basketball team to face Florida next 2 seasons

Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger will return to the University of Florida as the opposing coach for the first time in 2021.

Oklahoma announced Tuesday the schools have scheduled a home-and-home series the next two seasons. The Sooners expect to host the Gators on Dec. 2, 2020, and will make their first trip to Florida the next season on a date to be determined.

Kruger coached Florida from 1990-96 and led the Gators to the Final Four in 1994.

Oklahoma and Florida have played three times, including twice in the last four years. The Sooners won the most recent matchup 65-60 in the 2019 Battle 4 Atlantis.

Seton Hall gets commitment from 6-foot-9 center Jeff Ngandu

Center Jeff Ngandu, a native of the Congo who played scholastically in Canada, has signed a letter of intent to play at Seton Hall.

Coach Kevin Willard announced the 6-foot-9 big man joined the Big East Conference basketball program on Tuesday.

Ngandu attended Orangeville Prep, which went 19-0 in winning the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association championship last season. One of his top performances was a 12-point, 13-rebound game in October.

The Pirates were nationally ranked and on the verge of earning their fifth straight bid to the NCAA Tournament when the season was canceled two months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic. Senior center Romaro Gill won’t be back next season, leaving 7-foot-2 junior Ike Obiagu in the middle.

Seton Hall, which shared the regular-season Big East title with Creighton and Villanova, returns six players from last season, including starters Sandro Mamukelashvili, Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden. It also added graduate transfer Bryce Aiken, a point guard from Harvard.

NHL’s plan to return face possible border restriction hurdle

The NHL is still more than a week away from determining a return-to-play format, a person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

And what that plan resembles could be complicated further should the U.S. and Canada extend border restrictions to non-essential travel into July, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

The person spoke after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced border restrictions will stay in effect through June 21. This marks the second time the restrictions have been extended since first being put into place March 18 because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

“I am hopeful that today’s announcement will not have a material impact on our return to play discussions and timeline,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email.

Though the NHL has left open the possibility of having training camps open as late as early August, it was unclear what effect further border restrictions will have on a league with seven of its 31 teams based in Canada.

There’s also a question of how travel restrictions will affect players, many of whom have returned to their offseason homes – including about 17% of players currently self-isolating overseas.

In a separate development, the NHLPA’s executive board voted to defer the final payment of players’ regular season salaries through the end of May. Players were owed their final checks on April 15, before voting to defer those payments for a month.

The decision provides temporary relief to the NHL’s bottom line, opening the possibility of players foregoing some or the entire remainder of their final checks. The players stand to lose all or a portion of what they are owed under the collective bargaining agreement.

Players and owners split hockey-related revenue on a 50-50 basis, with a percentage of players’ salaries placed in an escrow fund. Owners can draw from the fund should their share fall below 50%, which is projected to happen this season.

Owners considered the players previous decision to defer payment as a sign of good faith. Daly declined to comment on the latest deferment, saying it’s a decision left entirely to players.

The NHL paused its season on March 12, with Commissioner Gary Bettman adamant the league intends to award the Stanley Cup, even it means extending the playoffs into September.

The decision on when and how to resume the season is being left with a committee made up of representatives of the NHL and NHL Players’ Association.

The topics of discussion include whether it’s feasible to conclude all or a portion of the regular season or go directly into the playoffs. The season was postponed with 189 games remaining and teams having played an uneven number of games.

Among the options discussed are an expanded playoff format, featuring as many as 24 teams, and the likelihood of having groups of teams gather and play games in a select number of hub cities around the continent and without fans present.

There is no set deadline as to when play must resume before the NHL considers canceling the season. Games could feasibly be played into October with the 2020-21 season potential opening in December or January.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Connor Carrick said both sides are attempting to make the best of a difficult situation.

“It’s going to be an interesting solution, and I think you embrace the novelty with it,” Carrick said.

One concern is how a potential nine-month layoff would affect players on non-playoff teams.

On Monday, veteran Devils goaltender Cory Schneider said a growing number of players are concerned the NHL will announce a “drop-dead” deadline for returning to play.

“I think that’s everyone’s concern right now,” said Schneider, the team’s union representative. “It’s a lot of guys asking is there a drop-dead date? What’s the date that it’s just too late, that you can get a semblance of a season or a playoff.”

Belmont set for June 20 without fans, leads off Triple Crown

Horse racing’s Triple Crown will look different this year from start to finish.

The Belmont Stakes will be run before the Kentucky Derby and Preakness for the first time and take place at a shorter distance. It will lead off the Triple Crown on June 20 in New York with no fans in attendance and at a distance of 1 1/8 miles instead of the 1 1/2-mile “test of the champion” that has been the race’s trademark for nearly a century.

“The way it fits in the calendar, it’s a completely different race than the traditional Belmont would be,” New York Racing Association president and CEO Dave O’Rourke said Tuesday. “I think we’re going to have a big field. I think it’ll be a really competitive field. I think the dynamics of the race are different.”

The three Triple Crown races will be run out of their traditional order for the first time since 1931. The Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5 and the Preakness from May 16 to Oct. 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic that has upended the sports calendar.

“I’m just happy we get to run,” two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert said. “I’m just fortunate that they didn’t cancel any of them. A couple months ago, it didn’t look good.”

An out-of-order Triple Crown presents another set of challenges and would be a different kind of accomplishment than the one competed by the 13 past champions. The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont are usually run during a six-week span in the spring, and 3-year-olds are more mature by the summer and fall.

“It’s going to help some, it’s going to hurt others,” trainer Mark Casse said. “You’re going to see a lot stronger, probably a bigger, stronger horse from May.”

The Belmont is only being run two weeks after it was scheduled, but the shorter distance changes the complexion of the race and the Triple Crown. It has been run at 1 1/2 miles each year dating to 1926 and last ran at 1 1/8 miles in 1894.

It’s not the same going before the Kentucky Derby.

“The Belmont, running after that, the `test of champions’ is: `How tough is your horse? How can he handle it?'” said Baffert, who trained 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and 2018 winner Justify. “Now, a mile and a half, they can handle it easier the first time. It wouldn’t be as difficult as it would be after running those other two races.

Barclay Tagg would have been fine with running top contender Tiz the Law at 1 1/2 miles, and Baffert plans for elite 3-year-olds Nadal and Charlatan to go to the Belmont.

NYRA officials said in a release that the distance adjustment was made “to properly account for the schedule adjustments to the Triple Crown series and overall calendar for 3-year-olds in training.” O’Rourke said there wasn’t much debate about shortening the race, and all comers are welcome.

“You wouldn’t get that many horses going a mile and a half right now,” Baffert said. “We would’ve gone a mile and a quarter, mile and a half. I don’t care what the distance was. We’re going to be there.”

The Belmont was originally scheduled for June 6. But racing in New York was halted in late March after a backstretch worker tested positive for COVID-19, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t give the green light to resume until Saturday.

O’Rourke said NYRA had been in touch with the Stronach Group that owns Pimlico Race Course since the Kentucky Derby was rescheduled so they could coordinate the timing of the Preakness and Belmont. With little desire for squeezing in the Belmont in October before the Breeders’ Cup Nov. 6-7, the focus was on June or July while awaiting government approval.

“We didn’t have dates for a while. Every day seemed like a week,” O’Rourke said. “As long as we were able to start at Belmont the first week of June, we thought we could hold to this June 20 date with a different race in a sense of distance and whatnot.”

Live racing is gradually ramping up operations across North America because tracks feel they can operate safely and still make money without fans on site because of online betting and TV revenue. More than $90 million was wagered off track last year on Belmont day, and NYRA gets a cut of that money along with revenue from NBC.

Racing will return to Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., on June 3 and go through July 12. The Belmont will be the highlight of that meet, even with the purse reduced from $1.5 million to $1 million as a result of the pandemic-related closures of racetracks and casinos in New York.

The race will also offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points instead of being the culmination of the Triple Crown that has been won by just 13 horses. Doing so will be a different kind of challenge this year, and Baffert hopes to build up his horses to still take a Run for the Roses in September with the Belmont in the leadoff spot.

“I think they’re going to be more competitive with that spaced-out time,” Baffert said. “At the end of the day, the end game is the Kentucky Derby. That Sept. 5 date is what we’re all shooting for.”

 

James Wiseman NBA Draft Scouting Report

HT: 7-1 – WT: 247 – WING: 7-4 1/2 – FROM: USA

Overview
A big, long and talented lefty who has all the physical tools to be an elite PF/C at the NBA level.
Wiseman is developing rapidly and is a likely one and done top 5 pick.
Strengths
Wiseman has a great frame with long arms, good strength and excellent agility. He runs the floor well and is a high level athlete, not just a big body. He can play in areas above the rim that most players can’t reach.
His post up and mid-range game are on point and he knows how to get to his spot and body up against the defender to create space. He shows quick moves in the lane and a soft touch around the basket. He’s a ferocious dunker who can really explode off the floor and play way above the rim. He’s also got a sweet left-hand baby hook shot, which he shoots with great elevation.
He has a nice shooting stroke and shows a lot of promise as a mid-range scorer, with potential to expand his range out to three. He’s got the skills of a true post player but is also highly skilled from the perimeter. He’s a talented passer in half court sets and also a great outlet passer after defensive rebounds.

Wiseman is a force on the defensive end, where he alters and blocks a lot of shots, showing good timing, quick elevation and good shot blocking instincts. His awareness on the defensive end is something that can’t be taught and Wiseman projects as a legit rim protector at the college and NBA levels. He also does a nice job of altering perimeter shots and has enough foot-speed to bother guards beyond the three point line.
He has size, length and instincts that you can’t teach and a chance to be special.
Weaknesses
Wiseman is still learning the finer points of the game such as playing with proper positioning on defense and making the right rotations and switches. This isn’t so much a weakness as it is inexperience.
Relies too much on his left hand when scoring in the paint. Needs to polish up his footwork and get better body control and balance on his spin moves, drop steps and turn-around jumpers.
Has to get stronger and fill out his frame.
Needs to play with consistent intensity and develop some alpha dog tendencies.

2020 NBA MOCK DRAFT

FIRST ROUND:

#1: Golden State, Anthony Edwards – Georgia

#2: Cleveland, Obi Toppin – Dayton

#3: Minnesota, James Wiseman – Memphis

#4: Atlanta, LaMelo Ball – USA/International

#5: Detroit, Onyeka Okongwu – USC

#6: New York, Cole Anthony – North Carolina

#7: Chicago, Deni Avdija – Israel

#8: Charlotte, Daniel Oturu – Minnesota

#9: Washington, Theo Maledon – France

#10: Phoenix, Nico Mannion – Arizona

#11: San Antonio, Isaac Okoro – Auburn

#12: Sacramento, Tyrese Haliburton – Iowa State

#13: New Orleans, Vernon Carey – Duke

#14: Portland, Killian Hayes – France

#15: Orlando, Jaden McDaniels – Washington

#16: Minnesota, Josh Green – Arizona

#17: Boston, RJ Hampton – USA/International

#18: Milwaukee, Precious Achiuwa – Memphis

#19: Brooklyn, Tyrese Maxey – Kentucky

#20: Philadelphia, Reggie Perry – Mississippi State

#21: Dallas, Isaiah Stewart – Washington

#22: Memphis, Jordan Nwora – Louisville

#23: Denver, Zeke Nnaji – Arizona

#24: Miami, Immanuel Quickley – Kentucky

#25: New York, Aaron Nesmith – Vanderbilt

#26: Boston, Leandro Bolmaro – Argentina

#27: Oklahoma City, Tyler Bey – Colorado

#28: Toronto, Udoka Azubuike – Kansas

#29: LA Lakers, Jay Scrubb –JC

#30: Boston, Devin Vassell – Florida State

SECOND ROUND:

#31: Dallas, Elijah Hughes – Syracuse

#32: Charlotte, Jahmius Ramsey – Texas Tech

#33: Minnesota, Patrick Williams – Florida State

#34: Philadelphia, Nick Richards – Kentucky

#35: Sacramento, Devon Dotson – Kansas

#36: Philadelphia, Landers Nolley – Virginia Tech

#37: Washington, Paul Reed –DePaul

#38: New York, CJ Elleby – Washington State

#39: New Orleans, Chris Smith – UCLA

#40: Memphis, Jalen Smith – Maryland

#41: San Antonio, Saddiq Bey – Villanova

#42: Sacramento, Payton Pritchard – Oregon

#43: New Orleans, Malachi Flynn – San Diego State

#44: Portland, Ashton Hagans – Kentucky

#45: Orlando, Cassius Stanley – Duke

#46: Boston, Omer Yurtseven – Georgetown

#47: Chicago, Markus Howard – Marquette

#48: Indiana, Arturs Zagars – Latvia

#49: Philadelphia, Austin Wiley – Auburn

#50: Oklahoma City, Steven Enoch – Louisville

#51: Golden State, Mamadi Diakite – Virginia

#52: Golden State, Derrick Alston Jr. – Boise State

#53: Atlanta, Malik Fitts – St. Mary’s

#54: Sacramento, Tre Jones – Duke

#55: LA Clippers, Cassius Winston – Michigan State

#56: Charlotte,  Lamar Stevens – Penn State

#57: Brooklyn, Paul Eboua – Italy

#58: Toronto, Killian Tillie – Gonzaga

#59: Philadelphia, Mustapha Heron – St. John’s

#60: New Orleans, Myles Powell – Seton Hall

2021 TOP NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS

Trevor Lawrence QB

CLEMSON • SOPH • 6’6″ / 220 LBS

Considering how so many people picked apart every facet of Lawrence’s game in 2019, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to him in 2020 when he’s projected to be the first pick. There are no sure things at the QB position, but Lawrence feels like the safest bet I’ve seen since Andrew Luck.

Penei Sewell OL

OREGON • SOPH • 6’6″ / 325 LBS

How often is an offensive tackle the most exciting player to watch on the field? Seriously, you don’t have to be a line play aficionado to notice Sewell when the Ducks are playing. He dominates opponents, and could easily end up being the No. 1 pick overall.

Shaun Wade CB

OHIO STATE • SOPH • 6’1″ / 194 LBS

Ohio State has become DB U in recent years. If the Redskins are picking third next year, there’s an excellent chance a Buckeyes corner goes in the top three in consecutive drafts. Excelled in the slot last season and should spend more time outside in 2020. That kind of versatility is precious in today’s NFL.

Gregory Rousseau DL

MIAMI (FL) • FR • 6’6″ / 250 LBS

The former three-star recruit had a monster season in 2019, finishing with 15.5 sacks. There isn’t a Chase Young type in this draft class as far as the obvious pass-rusher is concerned, but Rousseau could easily emerge as that guy.

Micah Parsons LB

PENN STATE • SOPH • 6’3″ / 245 LBS

Parsons is this draft’s version of Isaiah Simmons. He’s a tremendous, playmaking athlete that can fill several roles comfortably at the next level.

Ja’Marr Chase WR

LSU • SOPH • 6’1″ / 200 LBS

You know how everyone talked about how amazing the 2020 WR class was? Well, had Chase come out, it’s not inconceivable to think he’d have been the first one taken off the board.

Justin Fields QB

OHIO STATE • SOPH • 6’3″ / 223 LBS

Fields has the kind of talent and potential that will likely see somebody trading up into the top three to get him come draft time. The way this board falls, however, nobody else needed a QB until the Panthers. The difference in ceiling between him and Lawrence isn’t massive.

Trey Lance QB

NORTH DAKOTA STATE • FR • 6’3″ / 221 LBS

The Lions are going to have to find a replacement for Matt Stafford at some point, and Lance is a prospect a lot of teams like. He’s big, mobile, and accurate.

Jevon Holland S

OREGON • SOPH • 6’1″ / 196 LBS

Holland is the second Oregon player off the board in this top 10. Some might ding him a bit because he’s not truly great at anything, but I don’t see a weakness, either. He’s also served as a returner, which is another indication of his overall athleticism and playmaking ability should he get the ball in his hands on defense.

Kyle Pitts TE

FLORIDA • SOPH • 6’6″ / 239 LBS

Pitts was the one player who stood out to me on the Florida offense last season. He hasn’t shown to be a great in-line tight end to this point, but he has the size and frame that indicates he could be. Either way, his size and athleticism make him a matchup nightmare.

Patrick Surtain II DB

ALABAMA • SOPH • 6’2″ / 203 LBS

It’s depressing when you see the children of players you watched growing up showing up in mock drafts. What isn’t depressing is Surtain’s ability as a corner. I have Shaun Wade as my top corner in this draft as of now, but Surtain could easily be the first one off the board by next spring.

Marvin Wilson DL

FLORIDA STATE • JR • 6’5″ / 311 LBS

There have been many things about Florida State that have gone wrong in recent years, but Marvin Wilson was never one of them. He’s just an absolute stud in the middle of your defensive line. He’s not just a run-stuffer, either, as he can get to the QB. I like him better than Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw, who were top 13 picks this year.

Creed Humphrey OL

OKLAHOMA • SOPH • 6’5″ / 316 LBS

An absolute mauler at the guard position. He’s built like a refrigerator if your fridge hated you and put you on your butt every time you walked in front of it.

K.J. Costello QB

STANFORD • SR • 6’5″ / 222 LBS

Costello was a highly-rated recruit out of high school whose career got off to an impressive start at Stanford. After a down 2019, he’ll be playing in Mike Leach’s offense in 2020 at Mississippi State. He’s got the size NFL teams love, and a strong arm. He’s not all that dissimilar from Philip Rivers, whom the Colts just signed as a free agent.

Dylan Moses LB

ALABAMA • JR • 6’3″ / 235 LBS

Moses missed the 2019 season due to injury, and had he played, there’s a good chance he’d have left for the NFL Draft. If he stays healthy in 2020, he could end up being a top-10 pick.

Rondale Moore WR

PURDUE • SOPH • 5’9″ / 180 LBS

Moore is everything the Bears offense lacks at the moment. He has game-breaking ability and is a threat to score every time he touches the football.

Justyn Ross WR

CLEMSON • SOPH • 6’4″ / 205 LBS

The Packers finally draft a wide receiver! It’s hard to know how teams will view the receivers in this class, but while I don’t think it’s as top-heavy as the 2020 class, I do think there’s a lot of depth to it.

Caden Sterns DB

TEXAS • SOPH • 6’1″ / 205 LBS

Sterns was banged up in 2019, but is a terrific prospect. His size will be a concern to some, but he has everything else an NFL team could want in a safety.

Walker Little OL

STANFORD • JR • 6’7″ / 309 LBS

Little was a five-star prospect out of high school, and I think there’s more projection to his game than production. That projection, though, is that of a cornerstone tackle on your offensive line.

Pat Freiermuth TE

PENN STATE • SOPH • 6’5″ / 256 LBS

Pitts is the first TE off the board in my mock, but I’m a bigger fan of Freiermuth. The difference between the two is that Pitts is a bigger playmaking threat in the passing game, but Freiermuth isn’t too far behind. The most significant difference is that Freiermuth isn’t just a good blocker, but he enjoys blocking too. It’s evident when watching him play.

Samuel Cosmi OL

TEXAS • SOPH • 6’7″ / 300 LBS

Not all that dissimilar to Walker Little in that there’s room for improvement. Played right tackle for a year at Texas before moving to left tackle in 2019. Not sure which side he ends up playing in the NFL.

Caleb Farley DB

VIRGINIA TECH • SOPH • 6’2″ / 207 LBS

Farley is one of my favorite corners in the country. I don’t think he’ll be on top of most boards simply because he lacks the overall ability and polish of guys like Wade and Surtain, but the dude just makes plays. Actually, I suppose the best way to say it is he stops offenses from making plays.

Tanner Morgan QB

MINNESOTA • SOPH • 6’2″ / 215 LBS

I love Tanner Morgan. I don’t know if he’s tall enough for Bruce Arians, but everything else about him reminds me of an Arians kind of QB. He has great accuracy pushing the ball down the field.

Xavier Thomas DE

CLEMSON • SOPH • 6’2″ / 265 LBS

Based on pure ability, Thomas has a real chance of becoming The Elite Pass Rusher of this class. The problem is he didn’t show it often enough during the 2020 season at Clemson. How he performs in 2021 will dictate where he goes in the draft, but somebody is going to fall in love with what he can be.

Jamie Newman QB

GEORGIA • JR • 6’4″ / 230 LBS

Newman strikes me as the Jordan Love of 2021. There are a lot of things about him teams will love, and they might overlook some of the glaring weaknesses. His accuracy is an issue, and if he can show improvement upon it with Georgia in 2021, he could end up as a top-10 pick. As of now, there’s a lot more projection than production here.

Paulson Adebo CB

STANFORD • JR • 6’1″ / 190 LBS

Adebo was originally a wide receiver before moving to the defensive side. That shows up in his playmaking ability on the ball, but at times it shows up in his lack of polish as well. Of course, that’s what makes him so enticing, because he’s already terrific despite the overall lack of experience!

Eric Stokes DB

GEORGIA • SOPH • 6’1″ / 185 LBS

Stokes is unlikely to be burned deep very often as he has tremendous speed. That helps him a lot in defense, though he’s not very big. As a result, big, physical receivers can sometimes have their way with him.

Aidan Hutchinson DL

MICHIGAN • SOPH • 6’6″ / 278 LBS

Hutchinson showed a knack for getting in the backfield last season, and is one of the more enticing edge rushers to watch in this upcoming class. I don’t think he is a top-10 kind of prospect, but he strikes me as a high-floor guy.

Nick Bolton LB

MISSOURI • SOPH • 6’0″ / 235 LBS

The best LB in the country you’ve probably never heard of. He’s a willing and solid tackler who shines his brightest in pass coverage.

Carlos Basham Jr. EDGE

WAKE FOREST • JR • 6’5″ / 275 LBS

If Basham can show more consistency as a complete defender in 2021, he can end up as a first-round pick. I have him here simply because he’s a productive pass-rusher, and that’s always valued.

Richard LeCounte DB

GEORGIA • JR • 5’11” / 190 LBS

Physically talented and also incredibly smart. The former five-star recruit seems to know where the ball is going before the QB sometimes does. Not sure he’ll ever be a playmaker in the box due to his size (the effort isn’t a question, however), but as a free safety roaming on the back end, he could be a Pro Bowler.

Wyatt Davis OL

OHIO STATE • SOPH • 6’4″ / 313 LBS

How boring will it be if the Chiefs draft a guard? Davis would be tremendous value for the Chiefs here. And I’m sure Andy Reid can figure out a way to use him as a receiver too. Just for fun.

Angels plan employee furloughs amid coronavirus pandemic

The Los Angeles Angels will implement furloughs across their organization starting June 1, becoming the latest team to take steps against the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey issued a statement on the decision Tuesday.

“We, like businesses throughout the United States, are making difficult decisions to protect our long-term stability,” Garvey said. “We are assisting all staff by paying health care through the end of the year. We are also contributing $1 Million to an Angels Employee Assistance Fund to provide grants for those in need.”

The Angels’ furloughs will impact employees across the front office, scouting department, player development department and minor league system. They had already pledged to pay their employees through May.

The $1 million employee assistance fund is separate from the $1.2 million already put up by the team to pay Angel Stadium’s roughly 1,800 workers. The furloughed employees will keep their medical benefits for the rest of the year or until Oct. 31, depending on their contracts.

The Tampa Bay Rays have already implemented furloughs, while the Miami Marlins and the Cincinnati Reds also plan furloughs, including some baseball operations employees. Other teams have cut employees’ salaries, and more announcements of furloughs are expected as the lack of game revenue widely impacts the sport.

An unusual ring to it: Nats opt for virtual Series ceremony

The Washington Nationals will unveil their World Series championship rings during a “virtual” ceremony shown on television and online Sunday — an unprecedented approach brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the start of the Major League Baseball season on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak, Nationals owner Mark Lerner said Tuesday night he hopes the plan to show off the team’s hardware would provide “a moment of joy in these uncertain times.”

Teams typically unveil their title rings at a home stadium packed with fans.

“We don’t know when we’ll all be together again at Nationals Park,” Lerner said during the announcement Tuesday on MASN, the local television channel the team shares with the Baltimore Orioles.

The ring ceremony will be shown on MASN, MLB Network and online.

Lerner noted that the ceremony falls on May 24, now a key date in Nationals history. A year ago, Washington went into that day of the calendar with a 19-31 record before starting a turnaround that led to the franchise’s first World Series appearance and championship.

Lerner also said that a documentary about Washington’s 2019 season, “Improbable” will be shown in two parts on Saturday and Sunday.

Vince McMahon planning to buy XFL out of bankruptcy?

You didn’t think Vince McMahon was really going to let the XFL go down the way it did, did you?

McMahon spent money, time, and energy reviving the XFL for a launch this year and got screwed when the pandemic hit, forcing the cancellation of the season halfway through. The XFL filed for bankruptcy, which may have drawn jeers from some corners, but as usual, McMahon knew what he was doing.

It seems that filing for bankruptcy was a strategic financial move. How do we know?

According to The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, the XFL’s president has reached out to representatives in St. Louis and Seattle about reinstating the leases where the local teams played. Additionally, unsecured creditors said in a bankruptcy court filing that they believe McMahon is attempting to buy back the league and its assets at a low price.

McMahon reportedly is attempting to pay $3.5 million back to season ticket holders. Season ticket holders are regarded as unsecured creditors in terms of money given to the league, and would be low on the list to receive repayment in an ordinary bankruptcy behind other lenders. However, an attempt to refund season ticket holders seems like a gesture of goodwill from someone who might be intending to restart the league.

McMahon owns 80 percent of the league through Alpha Entertainment, and WWE owns 20 percent.

There was no way McMahon would put so much into the league and just give up. He is likely planning to revive it, but will probably need new players and coaches so that he doesn’t have to pay the ones who were owed money from the canceled 2020 season. Of course, McMahon still has the lawsuit with Oliver Luck he is fighting over guaranteed pay for the league’s former commissioner.

Horace Grant says Michael Jordan lied in documentary about accusation

“The Last Dance” documentary may have reinforced the greatness of Michael Jordan for many, but it was a sore point for Horace Grant.

In the documentary, Jordan accused Grant of being the anonymous source providing information to writer Sam Smith for his “The Jordan Rules” book that had some unflattering details about the former Chicago Bulls superstar.

Grant says that is nonsense.

Grant told Kap and Co. on ESPN 1000 Radio Tuesday that Jordan’s accusation “is a downright, outright, completely lie.”

“If MJ had a grudge with me, let’s settle this like men,” Grant said during the interview. “Let’s talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book]. Sam and I have always been great friends. We’re still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?

“It’s only a grudge, man. I’m telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he’s going to cut you off, he’s going to try to destroy your character.”

Grant expressed the same thoughts during an interview with “Pardon My Take” earlier this month. He also shared in that interview why he thinks Jordan picked on him. Grant believe it’s rooted in Jordan wanting the Bulls to draft someone else with the No. 10 pick in 1987.

Grant also confirmed the infamous food story, but says he went right back at MJ and didn’t back down.

Grant believes the documentary was biased — it was influenced and approved by Jordan. He feels it leaves out a lot of details, including that many teammates went back at Jordan and did not tolerate the disrespectful bullying that Jordan admits makes him look bad.

Despite being held in low regard by Jordan, Grant averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, a block and a steal per game during his lengthy NBA career. He won three championships with the Bulls and was an All-Star power forward in 1993-1994. He also won a championship in 2001 with the Lakers.

Alex Bregman leaving Klutch Sports over planned sign-stealing documentary?

Alex Bregman is now seeking new representation, and there may be more to the story than meets the eye.

Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that the Houston Astros star has parted ways with agent Brodie Scoffield, who negotiated the $100 million extension that Bregman signed with the team last year. Scoffield formerly ran Tidal Sports Group, which was acquired by Klutch Sports last month to serve as its baseball wing.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network adds that Uninterrupted, the media company founded by Klutch Sports star LeBron James, is producing a documentary about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Heyman says that other players aren’t thrilled either and that it could be a clue about Bregman’s exit from Klutch.

The two-time All-Star Bregman, who finished second in AL MVP voting last season, had taken on somewhat of a defiant tone about the Astros’ cheating scandal. While there may have been other factors that went into his decision to part ways with his agent, plans for an unflattering documentary about his team probably didn’t help matters.

Rain postpones Xfinity Series’ return at Darlington

Noah Gragson couldn’t wait to get back to Xfinity Series racing at Darlington.

Instead, he and the rest of the competitors will have to wait until Thursday after heavy rain postponed the series’ first race since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports.

“After two months of waiting, what’s another couple of days?” Gragson said.

NASCAR officials called the race about two hours after the scheduled 6 p.m. start. The event is now set for Thursday at noon.

The track was dry and fast until the rains hit about 4 p.m. The storms increased and lessened several times during that stretch and NASCAR had Air Titans out at least three times when it looked like things might clear.

In the end, it was too wet to continue during one of the busiest weeks in Darlington history. It started Sunday with the NASCAR Cup Series’ return to racing and will continue when those racers are back on the track for a rare midweek event Wednesday night.

Gregson, the series points leader who’ll start on the pole Thursday, acknowledged he was anxious about racing at Darlington without practice laps or fans in the stands. He walked around the track earlier Tuesday to get a reminder of what it was like.

“It’s going to be really difficult,” Gragson said. “We saw some guys in the Cup race who were pretty tame at the start and other guys who were pretty aggressive. That’s what I’m nervous of.”

Kevin Harvick won the Cup event on Sunday for his 50th victory in the sport’s top series. Cup drivers are scheduled to run again at Darlington on Wednesday night, although forecasts have called for additional rain. NASCAR hasn’t raced on a Wednesday since Richard Petty won his series-leading 200th race at Daytona on July 4, 1984.

If that race gets postponed, it would move to Thursday night, setting up a same-day doubleheader in a season like no other. NASCAR would likely inspect the Cup cars on Wednesday, then stagger the arrival times for Xfinity and Cup teams on Thursday.

Thursday’s Xfinity race will be the first in the series since March 7 at Phoenix.

All drivers, teams and essential personnel were screened at the track before being let in. All cars passed pre-race inspection. Now, they’ll have to wait and hope for better weather.

The 21-year-old Gragson said he spent much of the rain delay playing Xbox and keeping to himself.

Once he fires up the engine, it will be racing as usual, no matter how long he’s been away.

“Still a lot of butterflies,” he said. “But once I get that helmet on and make a lap around this place, get back to that rhythm and feel comfortable again, it will feel natural.”

HCAC Announces Spring Academic Teams

CARMEL, Ind. – The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) has announced the spring honorees for Tom Bohlsen Academic All-HCAC.  Academic All-Conference selections have at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA and are varsity athletes.

The cumulative GPA is the student-athletes GPA at the end of the semester preceding the end of the winter season. The student-athlete must have completed the equivalent of a full academic year and must be a full-time enrolled student at the institution to be eligible for the Academic All-Conference award.

The Spring 2020 HCAC All-Academic list features 286 athletes from the 10 member institutions and showcases student athletes from the spring HCAC sports of baseball, softball, men’s golf, men’s tennis, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

The award is named after Tom Bohlsen, who served as the HCAC’s first commissioner from 1998 to 2008.

For more information on all thing HCAC, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the HCAC’s home on the internet at www.heartlandconf.org. Be sure to stay up to date on all of your Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference news by following @HCACDIII on Twitter and by liking the “HCAC DIII” Facebook page.

ANDERSON UNIVERSITY

Jackson Bland

SR

Baseball

Nick Bland

SR

Baseball

Tyler Burton

SO

Baseball

M.J. Furnish

JR

Baseball

Kyle Hall

SR

Baseball

Nick Jones

GR

Baseball

Joe Moran

SR

Baseball

Branton Sanders

GR

Baseball

Zach Wagner

SO

Baseball

Chandler Wise

SO

Baseball

Micah Senft

SR

Men’s Golf

Joey Stern

SO

Men’s Golf

Emily Albert

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Mallory Housman

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Samantha Huber

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Samantha Kulesa

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Kaitlyn Lawson

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Sabrina Morrison

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Hadley Decker

SR

Softball

Tara Morey

SR

Softball

Blakelee Steeb

SR

Softball

Jesse Hernandez

SO

Men’s Tennis

Austin Hostetler

SO

Men’s Tennis

Ian Leatherman

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Clayton Wilson

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Krista Franklin

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Rebecca Gregg

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Emily Kelley

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Mariah Murray

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Emily Smatlak

JR

Women’s Track and Field

BLUFFTON UNIVERSITY

Adam Duncan

SR

Baseball

Parker Reynolds

SR

Baseball

Jacob Latkofsky

JR

Baseball

Garrett O’Reilly

JR

Baseball

Lenny Winiarski

JR

Baseball

Nathan Campolo

SO

Baseball

Spencer Garrison

SO

Baseball

Wayne Frey

SO

Baseball

Julian LaVallee

JR

Men’s Golf

Megan Hill

SR

Softball

Courtney Jasinski

SR

Softball

Caylin Morstadt

SR

Softball

Brianna Baker

JR

Softball

Sydney Bowen

JR

Softball

Taylor Steinke

JR

Softball

Tabatha Koetter

SO

Softball

Taylor Shimp

SO

Softball

Dakota Frost

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Justin Kauffman

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Arie Cox

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Alexis Cash

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Bailie Barrington

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Remi Bower

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Stephanie Fox

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Kayla Ferguson

SO

Women’s Track and Field

DEFIANCE COLLEGE

Derek Angelone

SR

Baseball

Jonathan Brown

SR

Baseball

Paris Creek

SR

Baseball

Zachary Johnson

JR

Baseball

Jude Neary

SR

Baseball

Michael Reese

JR

Baseball

Lucas Thomeier

JR

Baseball

Hayden Clingaman

JR

Men’s Golf

Erin Breece

JR

Softball

Kaylee Dunkle

SO

Softball

Hali Geraci

JR

Softball

Brooke Gostomsky

SR

Softball

Jessica Mello

SR

Softball

Sophia Moller

SO

Softball

Jennifer Nashalsky

JR

Softball

Makenzie Wilson

SO

Softball

Ethan Harris

SO

Men’s Tennis

Madison Bowman

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Malia Ferry

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Lisa Maria Markau

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Blake Newman

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Katrina Wicher

SR

Women’s Track and Field

EARLHAM COLLEGE

Zachary Brake

SR

Baseball

Alec Bryan

SR

Baseball

Jordan Christian

SR

Baseball

Danny Dopp

SR

Baseball

Marc Gendreau

JR

Baseball

Nathaniel Hemmerich

JR

Baseball

Louis Lipthratt

SO

Baseball

Brian Pincura

JR

Baseball

Isaiah Shake

SR

Baseball

Robert Shondel

JR

Baseball

Samuel Sprockett

JR

Baseball

Aidan Talarek

SO

Baseball

Cameron Wissel

JR

Baseball

Jared Birr

SR

Men’s Golf

Matthew Bushik

SR

Men’s Golf

Xiaocheng Kang

JR

Men’s Golf

Graham Sherard

SR

Men’s Golf

Robert Alba

SR

Men’s Lacrosse

Jacob Cope

SR

Men’s Lacrosse

Rebecca Belcher

JR

Women’s Lacrosse

Maya Claggett

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Madeline Gullion

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Taylor Hunt

JR

Women’s Lacrosse

Krista Kirk

JR

Women’s Lacrosse

Yousra Manar

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Serena Pisacano

JR

Women’s Lacrosse

Claudette Roskamp

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Gordian Bruns

SO

Men’s Tennis

Elijah Sadler

JR

Men’s Tennis

Cade Orchard

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Garris Radloff

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Tyrique Richardson

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Noah Scherf

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Ian Shriner

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Wesley Smith

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Mairead Blatner

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Krishna Cousins

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Sarah Dickman

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Shabnam Fayyaz

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Lindsey Gearin

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Miette Hennessy

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Joyce Li

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Jasmine Lorenzana

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Esther Mano

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Sophia Pickering

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Summia Tora

SR

Women’s Track and Field

FRANKLIN COLLEGE

Nicholas Elmendorf

SO

Baseball

Adam Hedinger

JR

Baseball

Garett Hill

SO

Baseball

Mitch Merica

JR

Baseball

Alex Mis

SR

Baseball

Alex Reinoehl

JR

Baseball

Jackson Williams

SR

Men’s Golf

Samantha Collier

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Alisha Burch

JR

Softball

Makayla Plymale

SO

Softball

Sydney Rose

SO

Softball

Kayla Selzer

SR

Softball

Emily Thompson

SR

Softball

Joshua Stewart

SR

Men’s Tennis

Henry Davidson

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Jordan Johnson

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Mathew Lee

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Sara Miller

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Grace Esterline

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Taylor Wooten

SO

Women ‘s Track and Field

HANOVER COLLEGE

Brayden Imel

SR

Baseball

Andrew Littlefield

SO

Baseball

Hayden McIlwain

SR

Baseball

Justin Pope

JR

Baseball

Luke Van Leeuwen

SO

Men’s Golf

Anne Breeding

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Eme Edman

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Julia Long

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Milah Young

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Lily Beurman

JR

Softball

Shelby Edington

SR

Softball

Taylor Merrill

SR

Softball

Mackenzie Smith

JR

Softball

Becca Woosley

SO

Softball

Keith Asplund

SO

Men’s Tennis

Landon Carrico

SR

Men’s Tennis

Jed Fajt

JR

Men’s Tennis

Roger Trombley

JR

Men’s Tennis

Gabe Beatty

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Paxton Caldwell

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Andrew Clegg

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Deacon Fountain

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Reece Hunter

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Ethan Monnin

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Elijah Williams

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Erin Browning

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Sydney Claypoole

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Kenna Hunter

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Emily Jones

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Brianna Medcalf

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Emma Shockley

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Madison VanWinkle

SR

Women’s Track and Field

MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY

Brett Kron

JR

Baseball

Alex Morr

SO

Baseball

Zach White

SO

Baseball

Mallory Sands

SO

Softball

Samuel Hollingsworth

SO

Men’s Tennis

Isaac Miller

JR

Men’s Tennis

Blake Rentschler

SO

Men’s Tennis

Daniel Baker

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Dilyn Dewey

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Lucas Fontanez

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Justin Meredith

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Conner Sherwin

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Bella Case

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Fiona Frost

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Dinah Gilbert

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Emily Lynn

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Erica Mohr

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Elizabeth Russell

JR

Women’s Track and Field

MOUNT ST. JOSEPH UNIVERSITY

Oakley Billingsley

JR

Baseball

Hunter Collins

SO

Baseball

Nicholas Heil

SO

Baseball

Brice McGee

SO

Baseball

Hunter Mills

SO

Baseball

Ryan Murray

JR

Baseball

Roman Rothwell

SR

Baseball

Michael Sundahl

SO

Baseball

Austin Blakenship

SO

Men’s Lacrosse

Tayler Lindholz

SR

Men’s Lacrosse

Kevin McClanahan

JR

Men’s Lacrosse

Megan Dancer

SO

Woman’s Lacrosse

Kamryn McCool

SO

Softball

Sarah Miller

JR

Softball

Brooke Otto

JR

Softball

Gracie Woodyard

JR

Softball

Hannah Broermann

SR

Men’s Tennis

Gray Benjamin

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Cedric Woods

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Kayla Gibson

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Ashley Klosterman

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Jamie Lenart

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Andrea Meyer

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Kathryn Nix

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Phuong Phan

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Emma Roth

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Haley Warndorf

SR

Women’s Track and Field

ROSE-HULMAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Luke Calabrese

JR

Baseball

Josh Mesenbrink

SO

Baseball

Matthew Rouse

SO

Baseball

Ryan Stachowski

SR

Baseball

Peyton Tracy

SO

Baseball

Brett Tuttle

SO

Baseball

Jacob Woodrome

SO

Baseball

Ben Yoss

JR

Baseball

Max Gogel

JR

Men’s Golf

Alexis Sullivan

SO

Softball

Rhiannon Turner

SR

Softball

Joseph Conrad

SO

Men’s Tennis

Joshua Giambattista

SO

Men’s Tennis

Mark Slaninka

SO

Men’s Tennis

Grant Stamper

JR

Men’s Tennis

Jacob Back

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Hunter Crumly

JR

Men’s Track and Field

Ben Hall

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Nick Hall

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Chris Jaeger

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Aaron Lannoy

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Stephen Payne

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Nathan Schrader

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Matthew Stevenot

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Jake Untener

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Kristian Zadlo

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Clare Bruns

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Abi Clayton

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Kristin East

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Karen Folz

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Gabrielle Gilbertson

SR

Women’s Track and Field

Patricia Giraldo

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Claire Perkins

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Taryn Perry

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Brooke Schroeder

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Maggie Sheerin

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Dara Smith

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Christina Rogers

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Danielle Villa

SO

Women’s Track and Field

TRANSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY

Hudson Chastain

JR

Baseball

TJ Keck

SO

Baseball

Wade Lopiccolo

JR

Baseball

Max Medley

SO

Baseball

Luke Wilson

JR

Baseball

Harrison Lane

SR

Men’s Golf

Connor Davis

SO

Men’s Lacrosse

Connor Haney

SO

Men’s Lacrosse

Jacob Miller

JR

Men’s Lacrosse

Paul Stickel

SR

Men’s Lacrosse

RJ Johnston

JR

Women’s Lacrosse

Brianna McCulley

SR

Women’s Lacrosse

Lindy Walker

SO

Women’s Lacrosse

Courtney Gentry

JR

Softball

Alyssa Nunn

SO

Softball

Annie Schuck

SO

Softball

Cece Wittry

JR

Softball

Hunter Gregg

SO

Men’s Tennis

Nick McNamee

SO

Men’s Tennis

Jacob Burnam

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Zachary Minion

SR

Men’s Track and Field

Bobby Payne

SO

Men’s Track and Field

Taylor Allen

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Maddie Bell

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Cassidy Kelien

SO

Women’s Track and Field

Ally Priebe

JR

Women’s Track and Field

Emily Trammell

SO

Women’s Track and Field

 

Notre Dame Leads in APR Public Recognition Awards

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame led all Football Bowl Subdivision programs with 13 Academic Progress Rating (APR) Public Recognition Awards and totaled 13 perfect scores (1,000) in the latest set of statistics issued by the NCAA.

Each Fighting Irish program scored above the APR average in each sport, while men’s cross country, men’s fencing, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s track, softball, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse and women’s volleyball all earned perfect 1,000 scores.

Notre Dame’s 13 programs with scores of 1,000 tied with Stanford to lead all FBS programs and marked the fifth time in the 14-year history of the APR in which at least 13 Irish teams had scored perfectly (also in 2006, 2015, 2016 and 2018).

No other FBS institution has had more years of at least 13 perfect scores than Notre Dame. Only three schools (Notre Dame, Boston College and Stanford) in the 14-year history of the APR have had 13 or more teams post scores of 1,000 in a single report.

Notre Dame’s number of perfect scores of 1,000 has ranked either first or second among all FBS programs for 15 consecutive years. Notre Dame led FBS schools in 1,000 scores in 2019 (with 13, tied with Stanford), 2016 (with 16), 2015 (with an institutional record 17), 2013 and 2012 (both with 12), 2009 (with nine), 2008 (with eight, tied with Duke) and 2006 (with 14, tied with Boston College). Notre Dame finished second in number of 1,000 scores in 2018, 2017, 2014, 2011, 2010 and 2007.

The ACC once again had a strong showing as 83 teams from member schools received APR recognition awards, second-most among Power 5 conferences and third among all Division I conferences, trailing only the Ivy League (113) and Big Ten (84).

The APR, created to provide more of a real‐time measurement of academic success than graduation rates offer, is a team-based metric where scholarship student-athletes earn one point each term for remaining eligible and one point for staying in school or graduating. Schools that don’t offer scholarships track their recruited student-athletes.

Every Division I sports team submits data to have its Academic Progress Rate calculated each academic year. The NCAA reports both single-year rates and four-year rates, on which penalties for poor academic performance are based. National aggregates are based on all teams with usable, member-provided data. APRs for each team, lists of teams receiving public recognition and those receiving sanctions are available online through the NCAA’s searchable database.

University of Notre Dame

APR Ratings by Sport:

Baseball — 990

Football — 970

Men’s Basketball — 989

Men’s Cross Country — 1,000

Men’s Fencing — 1,000

Men’s Golf — 988

Men’s Ice Hockey — 991

Men’s Lacrosse — 991

Men’s Soccer — 1,000

Men’s Swimming and Diving — 1,000

Men’s Tennis — 1,000

Men’s Track — 1,000

Softball — 1,000

Women’s Basketball — 995

Women’s Cross Country — 995

Women’s Fencing — 993

Women’s Golf — 1,000

Women’s Lacrosse — 1,000

Women’s Rowing — 993

Women’s Soccer — 1,000

Women’s Swimming and Diving — 1,000

Women’s Tennis — 1,000

Women’s Track — 992

Women’s Track, Indoor (Prior to 2015) — 992

Women’s Track, Outdoor (Prior to 2015) — 990

Women’s Volleyball — 1,000

Here is where Notre Dame has ranked annually among FBS institutions in terms of raw numbers of individual team 1,000 APR scores:

2020 —  1. (tie) Notre Dame (7 men’s sports, 6 women’s sports), Stanford 13; 3. Northwestern 12; 4. Arizona State 11; 5. (tie) Temple, California 10

2019 — 1. Notre Dame 13 (6 men’s sports, 7 women’s sports); 2. (tie) Stanford, Northwestern 12; 4. Boston College 11; 5. Syracuse 9

2018 — 1. Stanford 16; 2. Notre Dame 12 (5 men’s, 7 women’s); 3. (tie) Boston College, Northwestern 11; 5. (tie) Duke, North Carolina 10.

2017 — 1. Stanford 14; 2. Notre Dame 12 (4 men’s, 8 women’s) , 3. Boston College 11; 4. (tie), Duke, Minnesota, Northwestern 9; 7. Michigan 8; 8. (tie) California, North Carolina, Rice, Rutgers 7.

2016 —  1. Notre Dame 16 (7 men’s, 9 women’s); 2. Stanford 14; 3. Boston College 12; 4. Minnesota 11; 5. Rice 10; 6. (tie) Duke, Northwestern 9; 8. Tulane 7, 9. (tie) Auburn, Michigan, North Carolina 6.

2015 — 1. Notre Dame 17 (9 men’s, 8 women’s) ; 2. Stanford 15; 3. Northwestern 12; 4. Boston College 10; 5. Duke 9; 6. Minnesota 7; 7. (tie) Arizona State, Tulane, Vanderbilt 7; 10. (tie) Illinois, North Carolina, Penn State, Rice 6.

2014 — 1. Stanford 12; 2. Notre Dame 11 (7 men’s, 4 women’s), 3. Northwestern 10; 4. Minnesota 9; 5. (tie) Boston College, Duke 8; 7. Penn State 7; 8. (tie) Ohio State, Vanderbilt 6.

2013 — 1. Notre Dame 12 (8 men’s, 4 women’s) , 2. Stanford 11; 3. Duke 10; 4. (tie) Boston College, Northwestern 9; 6. Vanderbilt 7; 7. Rice 6.

2012 — 1. Notre Dame 12 (8 men’s, 4 women’s) ; 2. (tie) Boston College, Duke 9; 4. (tie) Northwestern, Vanderbilt 8; 6. Stanford 7; 7. (tie) North Carolina, Rice, Texas 5.

2011 — 1. Duke 10; 2. Notre Dame 9 (5 men’s, 4 women’s); 3. Boston College 6, 4. (tie) Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State, Texas, Tulane, U.S. Naval Academy, Vanderbilt 5.

2010 — 1. Duke 10, 2. Notre Dame 8 (5 men’s, 3 women’s); 3. Boston College 7.

2009 — 1. Notre Dame 9 (4 men’s, 5 women’s); 2. Duke 8; 3. (tie) Boston College, Stanford 6; 5. U.S. Naval Academy 5; 6. Michigan 4.

2008 — 1. (tie) Notre Dame (5 men’s, 3 women’s), Duke 8; 3. Boston College 7; 4. Stanford 5; 5. (tie) Northwestern, Rice, U.S. Naval Academy 4.

2007 — 1. Boston College 10, 2. Notre Dame 9 (5 men’s, 4 women’s); 3. (tie) Rice, Stanford, U.S. Naval Academy 7; 6. Duke 6; 7. Northwestern 5.

2006 — 1. (tie) Notre Dame (7 men’s, 7 women’s), Boston College 14.

Ohio State Posts Outstanding APR Numbers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Programs in the Ohio State Department of Athletics have been outstanding in the classroom recently, as evidenced by Academic Progress Rate numbers released Tuesday.

In the 16th year of APR data for most teams, the scores provide a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete on scholarship. The APR accounts for academic eligibility, retention and graduation and provides a measure of each team’s academic performance. The most recent APR scores are based on a multi-year rate that averages scores from the 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.

Dr. John Davidson, Ohio State Faculty Athletics Representative, noted the impressive performance as a department overall.

“This was a remarkable year for the Buckeyes in the Academic Progress Rate, a key measure of student-athlete academic success. The most recent single-year statistics show that 21 Ohio State teams received all the points possible for academic eligibility and retention and our athletics programs as a whole averaged an amazing 995/1000 – by far the highest in recent memory.”

Among the highlights …

  • For the 2018-19 school year, Ohio State student-athletes combined for a 995 single-year APR, with 21 teams posting perfect 1000 scores.

o   Teams with 1000 scores: men’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s gymnastics, men’s soccer, men’s swimming, men’s tennis, men’s track and field, men’s volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country, women’s fencing, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, women’s ice hockey, women’s lacrosse, softball, women’s swimming, women’s tennis, women’s volleyball and rifle.

  • Twenty-three teams either increased their single-year score or maintained a perfect score.

  • Looking at multi-year scores, 11 teams have scores of 990 or better and 23 are at 980 or higher.

o   990+ teams: men’s cross country, men’s fencing, men’s golf, men’s tennis, men’s volleyball, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer, women’s swimming, women’s tennis, women’s volleyball.

o   Teams with 980-989: football, men’s ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, women’s cross country, women’s rowing, women’s fencing, field hockey, women’s ice hockey, women’s lacrosse, softball, women’s track and field and rifle.

Last week, six Ohio State teams – men’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, women’s soccer and men’s tennis – were honored with Public Recognition Awards. The awards are given each year to teams scoring in the Top 10 percent in each sport based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APR). All six had perfect 1,000 multi-year APR scores.

In 2019-20, the Buckeyes had an outstanding year in the classroom, with 647 named Ohio State Scholar-Athletes. In addition, 206 have received Academic All-Big Ten honors, with spring and at-large sports to be recognized later this spring. This spring, 172 current and former student-athletes earned degrees, joining 79 graduates combined from the Summer and Autumn 2019 terms.

 SPORTS EXTRA

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1989

BALTIMORE – Sunday Silence, who raised more questions than he answered when he beat Easy Goer by two and a half lengths in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, proved himself a worthy Triple Crown contender today by winning the 114th and closest Preakness Stakes ever at Pimlico Race Course. The blackish colt from California raced head and head with Easy Goer for the length of the stretch before regaining the lead in the final yards to win by a long nose.

The last time a Preakness was decided in a photo finish was when Affirmed held off Alydar by a neck in 1978. Now Sunday Silence is one victory away from becoming racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed, and his rivalry with Easy Goer, a son of Alydar, is the tightest Triple Crown battle since then. The two colts will hook up again in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10.

The winner had to survive a claim of foul from Pat Day, Easy Goer’s rider, who alleged interference by Pat Valenzuela and Sunday Silence through their stretch duel. After reviewing the films for seven minutes, the stewards let the order of finish stand. The bettors in a record Pimlico crowd of 90,145, unconvinced by Sunday Silence’s weaving Derby finish and the slow final time of that race, made Easy Goer the 3-to-5 favorite today and let Sunday Silence off as the second choice at 2 to 1. Sunday Silence paid $6.20 for $2 to win after running the mile and three-sixteenths in 1:53 4/5, the third fast-est Preakness ever. Sunday Silence, a son of Halo and the Understanding mare Wishing Well, is owned by Arthur B. Hancock 3d, Ernest Gaillard and Charlie Whittingham and trained by Whittingham. The colt has won six of eight career starts and is undefeated in five races this year.

The tight finish capped a race in which the two principals both looked as if they would win easily at some point. Each appeared to fire his best shot, and while there will be plenty of interest in a rematch, and some excuses made for the loser, the race seemed more genuine than the Derby. “I think this puts to rest the talk that Easy Goer is the better horse,” Valenzuela said.

Shug McGaughey, Easy Goer’s trainer, said within moments of the finish that he was eager to try Sunday Silence one more time in the Belmont. But McGaughey seemed even more dispirited today than he was after the Derby, which he had hoped was a fluke. “We’ll just try again,” McGaughey said. “I guess I’m going to start hearing a whole lot about Affirmed and Alydar now, but I hope we can put that to rest in the Belmont.”

Easy Goer finally lived up to his promise of early spring in the Belmont Stakes in June, roaring past Sunday Silence on the turn for home and winning by eight lengths. Sunday Silence thereby lost his chance to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

 

ALSO:

1990: Sixteen-year-old Monica Seles ended the second-longest winning streak in tennis history when she defeated Steffi Graf, 6-4, 6-3, in the German Open in Berlin. It was Graf’s first defeat after 66 straight victories, eight short of Martina Navratilova’s record in 1984.

1900: The second modern Olympics opened in Paris, home of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the movement’s founder. Named the International Meeting of Physical Training and Sport, the Games were a failure. They were held as a sideshow to the Universal Paris Exhibition, lasted more than four months and featured such long-since discarded events as cricket, croquet and tug of war.

1977: A two-year-old gelding named John Henry, owned by Harold Snowden Jr. and trained by Phil Marino, won his first start, a four-furlong maiden race at Jefferson Downs in Kenner, La. When he was retired in 1984 after 83 starts, he had won 39 races, finished in the money 63 times, received seven Eclipse Awards and earned more than $6 million.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1878       In a 3-1 National League loss to the White Stockings at Chicago’s Lake Front Park, right-hander Jim McCormick of the Indianapolis Blues becomes the first player born in Scotland to appear in a major league game. Next season, as a 23 year-old, the Glasgow native will manage the team, which will move to Cleveland, making him the youngest skipper in the history of the game.

1918       In what will become a precursor of a tragic event, Indian outfielder Tris Speaker is struck on the head by a pitch thrown by Red Sox hurler Carl Mays. The submarine pitcher, who will fatally bean Ray Chapman with a ball in 1920 as a member of the Yankees, denies Speaker’s allegation that the pitch was intentional.

1919       Red Sox southpaw Babe Ruth hits the first of his 16 career grand slams. The bases-loaded home run proves to be the difference when Boston and the ‘Bambino’ beat the Browns at Sportsman’s Park, 6-4.

1920       The Chicago police, dressed as soldiers and farmers, raid the Wrigley Field bleachers, arresting two dozen Cub fans for gambling. All bets are off when Grover Cleveland Alexander blanks Philadelphia, 6-0.

1925       Tris Speaker, scoring from first base on a single, plates the winning run in the Indians’ 10-9 walk-off win over the Yankees. The Tribe scores six times in the bottom of the ninth to accomplish the incredible comeback.

1932       Paul Waner, known as Big Poison to his teammates, strokes four doubles in one game, tying a major league record shared with 11 other players. The 29 year-old future Hall of Fame outfielder’s quartet of two-baggers enables the Pirates to beat the Cardinals at Sportsman’s Park, 5-0.

1940       Tiger slugger Pinky Higgins hits three consecutive home runs at Briggs Stadium. The third baseman’s offensive output contributes to Detroit’s 10-7 victory over Boston.

1945       Pete Gray leads the St. Louis Browns to a doubleheader sweep of the Yankees, scoring the winning run in the nightcap and collecting three hits in the opener. During the Sportsman’s Park twin bill, the one-armed left fielder makes ten putouts in the outfield.

1947       In a game which features no extra-base knocks, the Pirates defeat Boston at Forbes Field, 4-3. The teams compile a total of 22 hits, all singles, with Pittsburgh collecting a dozen.

1947       A’s catcher Buddy Rosar drops Walt Judnich’s pop-up, ending his record-setting errorless game streak at 147 games. The All-Star backstop’s perfect fielding included the span of the 117 games he played for Philadelphia last season, handling 605 chances without a miscue during the entire campaign.

1948       In front of only 5,001 fans in Chicago, Joe DiMaggio strokes four extra-base hits for the fourth time in his career when he hits for the cycle for the second time in a 13-2 rout of the White Sox. The ‘Yankee Clipper’ paces the Bombers’ 22-hit attack with two homers, a triple, a double, and a single and drives in six runs.

1951       Philadelphia center fielder Richie Ashburn, who will lead the NL in hits this season, goes 4-for-6 and 4-for-5 during the Phillies’ sweep of a twin bill from Pittsburgh. The eight hits that Whitey collects during the Forbes Field’s 17-0 and 12-4 victories are all singles.

1953       In just their thirteenth home game of the season, the Milwaukee Braves attendance surpasses the entire total of 281,278 fans attending their 77 contests in Boston last year. The team will set a National League record for attendance when 1,826,397 patrons pass through the turnstiles this season, more than the combined total of the last three years in the Massachusetts capital.

1958       The Cardinals trade Alvin Dark to the Cubs in exchange for hurler Jim Brosnan. Both players will be productive on their new teams during the remainder of the season, with ‘Blackie’ hitting .297 in 114 games for Chicago, and the newest Redbirds’ right-hander will compile an 8-4 record for St. Louis.

1959       The Yankees slip into last place when the team drops a 13-6 decision to Detroit in the Bronx. The Bronx Bombers’ position in standings marks the first time in 19 years that the club has occupied the basement of the American League.

1962       During the Cubs’ doubleheader sweep of the Phillies, Ken Hubbs strokes eight singles in eight trips to the plate at Connie Mack Stadium. The BBWAA will select Chicago second baseman as the National League’s Rookie of the Year.

1968       For the second time in his career and the second time in franchise history, Jim Fregosi, with a single in the 11th inning, hits for the cycle in the Angels’ 5-4 victory over Boston at Anaheim Stadium. The California shortstop became the first player to accomplish the feat for the club in 1964.

1969       At RFK Stadium, Pilots manager Joe Schultz is ejected for disputing Bernie Allen’s fourth inning ‘foul’ two-run home run that ties the score at 4 in a game his team will eventually lose to Washington, 6-5. According to Jim Bouton’s account in his book, Ball Four, the Seattle skipper is tossed after offering his glasses to the plate umpire Ed Runge.

1970       With an RBI-triple in the eighth inning, Rod Carew completes the cycle, becoming the sixth player in franchise history and the first Minnesota Twin player to accomplish the feat. The 24 year-old All-Star second baseman’s four hits contribute to the team’s 10-5 victory over the Royals at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium.

1976       A shoving match, after a home-plate collision between Lou Piniella and Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, escalates into an ugly bench-clearing brawl. Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles and Boston’s Bill Lee fight so fiercely that the ‘Spaceman’ suffers a separation of his left shoulder, significantly affecting the remainder of his pitching career.

1978       Pirates first baseman Willie Stargell hits the longest home run in the history of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, smashing the ball 535 feet into the 300 club deck level in right field in the team’s 6-0 victory over the Expos. The yellow upper deck seat, which replaced the original red one to commemorate the location of the behemoth blast, is now on display at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

1979       Don Sutton becomes the franchise’s winningest pitcher when he is credited with the victory, tossing eight innings in the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory over the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. The 34 year-old right-hander’s 210th win surpasses the team mark established in 1969 by Don Drysdale.

1983       Phillies southpaw Steve Carlton becomes the second of three major league hurlers this season to surpass Walter Johnson’s career strikeout mark of 3,508 K’s, a record that had survived for 56 years. In April, Nolan Ryan broke the Big Train’s mark, and Gaylord Perry will reach the milestone later in the season. (Ed. Note – Some websites, including the Baseball Hall of Fame, ESPN, and Baseball Reference, differ with the official MLB stats, crediting the Washington Senator legend with 3,509 career strikeouts, with an extra strikeout recorded in his rookie season accounting for the difference – LP).

1985       A major league game is postponed due to inclement a record after 458 major league games are played from the start of the season. Rain causes the game between the Brewers and Indians scheduled to take place at Cleveland Stadium to be called off.

1987       In a season of streaks, the second-place Brewers end a 12-game losing streak by beating the Chicago White Sox County Stadium, 5-1. The 21-15 Brew Crew had opened the season winning 13 consecutive games.

1991       Jeff Reardon becomes the fourth major leaguer to compile 300 career saves. The 35 year-old right-handed reliever, who will retire with 367 saves, reaches the milestone when he retires the side in order in the ninth inning of the Red Sox’ 3-0 victory over Milwaukee at Fenway Park.

1999       In a twin bill sweep of Milwaukee, Mets’ third baseman Robin Ventura becomes the first major league player to hit a grand slam in both ends of a doubleheader. As a member of the White Sox in 1995, the infielder also hit a pair of ‘grand salamis’ in a game against Texas.

2000       After being released earlier in the month by the Mets for not hustling, Rickey Henderson, in his first at-bat for the Mariners, hits his record 76th career leadoff home run, a shot off Esteban Yan in the team’s 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay at Safeco Field. With the round-tripper, the future Hall of Fame outfielder joins Ted Williams and Willie McCovey as the third major leaguer to have homered in four different decades.

2001       Barry Bonds becomes the thirteenth player in major league history to hit home runs in four consecutive at-bats. The Giant outfielder went yard in his final two at-bats yesterday and homers in his first two official turns at the plate today.

2004       Cardinals’ catcher Mike Matheny handles his 1,295th chance without an error to establish a major league record for backstops. Charles Johnson, playing for Florida, had set the previous mark in 1997.

2006       After barreling over fellow catcher Michael Barrett in a play he considered hard but clean, A.J. Pierzynski is surprised when the Cub backstop shows his displeasure by punching him in the face. The incident ignites a bench-clearing brawl between the Windy City rivals that leads to a 15-minute delay and four ejections during the White Sox’ 7-0 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

2006       After a 29 at-bats homerless drought, Barry Bonds finally catches Babe Ruth with his 714th home run. The historic homer, which ties the designated hitter for second place for career round-trippers, comes during the second inning of an interleague contest against the A’s, with the pitch thrown by southpaw Brad Halsey landing in the first deck of the right-center stands of McAfee Coliseum.

2009       After setting a franchise record in the sixth inning with 11 putouts in the outfield, Jacoby Ellsbury ties the big league mark when he catches the final out of the game for #12. The Red Sox center fielder equals the 1929 performance of Braves’ outfielder Earl Clark and Lyman Bostock, who also accomplished the feat in 1977 playing for the Twins.

2010       Trailing the Reds 9-3 starting the bottom of the ninth, Brooks Conrad’s pinch-hit grand slam gives the Braves an incredible 10-9 walk-off victory at Turner Field. The seven-run frame’s big blow by the 30 year-old journeyman barely clears the fence, with the ball deflecting off Laynce Nix’s glove when the left fielder reaches over the top of the wall at the 380-foot sign.

2012       Babe Ruth’s circa 1920 jersey sells to an undisclosed buyer for $4,415,658, the most significant amount ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia, according to auctionreport.com. The woolen uniform top was probably worn by the Babe during his first season with the Yankees after being traded by Red Sox’s owner Harry Frazee.

2017       Terry Collins passes Davey Johnson (1984-1990) to become the longest-tenured manager in Mets history, reaching 1,013 games with the team. The 67 year-old baseball lifer, the oldest skipper in the majors, sees his charges hang on to a 7-5 victory when Addison Reed strikes out Angel pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded after three runs have scored in the top of the ninth inning at Citi Field.

2018       Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks equals Aroldis Chapman’s mark for the fastest pitch known in baseball history when he throws, not one, but two balls clocked at 105 mph in team’s 5-1 victory over the Phillies at Busch Stadium. The 21 year-old Redbird rookie right-handed reliever had never appeared in a game above Class A before starting the season with St. Louis this year.

WORLD SERIES HISTORY-1951

The ’51 season has been referred to by some as “The Season of Change” as it witnessed the departure of several of the games veteran superstars and the introduction of a new generation of talent. Many of the games’ biggest names from the previous two decades were nearing the end of their careers and the empty spaces on the line-up cards would need to be filled by players of the same caliber. Luckily for the managers (and the fans), there was no shortage of up-and-coming talent in the various farm systems around the league. Several new rookies on the scene included a young switch-hitter named Mickey Mantle and a phenomenal fielder named Willie Mays. The nineteen year-old Mantle was called up to the big leagues from the Yankees Kansas City franchise and hit thirteen home runs in ninety-six games. Mays had been called up in late May by the Giants from their Minneapolis team (where he was batting .477) and the twenty-year old responded with twenty homers of his own. It seems fitting that in their first year of professional play, both future Hall of Famers found themselves competing against one another in the biggest game of the year; the 1951 World Series.

The Giants had steamrolled their way to the Fall Classic and were determined to dethrone their world champion, cross-town rivals. Manager Leo Durocher’s team had rallied to win the National League pennant after trailing the Brooklyn Dodgers by 13½ games. Beginning August 12, the Giants won sixteen consecutive outings and thirty-seven of their last forty-four to forge a tie for the top of the National League with Brooklyn. They went on to beat the Dodgers in a best-of-three playoff, ending with the infamous Thomson three-run homer off Ralph Branca that gave the Giants a 5-4 victory in the third game at the Polo Grounds. With Brooklyn out of the way, the Bronx was next and the Giants wanted to prove that the last team standing was truly “New York’s baseball team”.

Things continued to go the Giants way as they went on to shock the Yankees in a 5-1 Series opening triumph. Dave Koslo held the Yankees to just seven-hits and Alvin Dark came up big with a three-run homer. Monte Irvin was the game’s “MVP” though with three singles, a triple and the first Series steal of home plate since the Yankees’ Bob Meusel snatched the bag in 1928. Eddie Lopat got his team back in the running in Game 2 while pitching a five-hitter and adding a run-scoring single in the 3-1 victory. However, the biggest play of Game 2 involved a devastating injury that would haunt the New York Yankees for years to come. Willie Mays had led off the top of the fifth with a high shot to right-center in what was to be an easy fly-out. Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio prepared to make the catch while Mickey Mantle followed from rightfield in pursuit. According to several sources, Yankees manager Casey Stengel had instructed Mantle earlier to “take everything he could get” as ” Joe D” was in the twilight of his career. The nineteen-year old speedster pulled up at the last second as DiMaggio made the play and caught his foot on the wooden cover of a drainage outlet. His knee buckled forcing him out of the Series and instigating the start of several leg problems that would haunt Mantle for the rest of his eighteen-season career.

Game 3 remained anyone’s for 4½ innings as the Giants held on to a slim 1-0 lead. All that would change though as the National League champs would capitalize on a crucial error by their American League rivals. With one out in the fifth, Eddie Starky managed to coax a walk off of Series veteran Vic Raschi. The Yankees, thinking the Giants were about to play a “hit-and-run”, “run-and-hit” or “straight steal”, called for a “pitchout” and catcher Yogi Berra responded with a perfect throw to shortstop Phil Rizzuto in plenty of time to catch Stanky. However, the determined veteran kicked the ball out of Rizzuto’s hand on the slide and scrambled up and onto third. Instead of two out and nobody on, Stanky was standing firm on third with only one out. Dark scored him in on his next single and Whitey Lockman delivered the final blow, a three-run homer for the 6-2 victory at the Polo Grounds.

With a two-games-to-one lead in the Series and Games 4 and 5 also at home, the Giants were in a favorable position. Their momentum was slightly stalled though as Game 4 was postponed for a single day due to rain. The inclement weather had allowed the Yankees to rest Game 1 loser Allie Reynolds and the “Bomber’s” ace responded the following day with a clutch, 6-2 win over the Giants’ Sal Maglie. “Joe D” added his eighth (and final) World Series homer and the Yanks were back in business. The victory by Reynolds inspired his fellow pinstripes and they went on to crush the Giants 13-1 in a Game 5 massacre. Yankees utility infielder Gil McDougald, who alternated between second and third for Stengel’s club, nailed a bases-loaded homerun in the third off Larry Jansen. The rocket, which broke a 1-1 tie, was only the third World Series grand-slam (Cleveland’s Elmer Smith in 1920 and the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri in 1936).

Game 6 was a real nail-biter as both teams went head-to-head for over five innings. With the bases loaded and two out in the sixth, Yankees outfielder Hank Bauer stepped up to the plate against Dave Koslo attempting to break through the 1-1 tie. For Bauer, it was the perfect opportunity to shake off his World Series despair. In thirty-eight previous at-bats in the Fall Classic, Bauer had collected only five hits (all singles), a .132 Series batting average and only one RBI in postseason play. This time the former United States Marine came through with “flying colors” with a bases-clearing triple. Then in the ninth, after the Giants closed within one and had the potential tying run in scoring position, a racing Bauer made a sensational 4-3 game-winning catch on a hit by pinch-hitter Sal Yvars.

Once again, the Yankees had ended the Giants “Cinderella” season and although the Series was nothing compared to the National League playoff in terms of memorable moments (“The Giants Win The Pennant!”), it was a sweet ending for some and a new beginning for others; Game 6 marked the final Major League game for the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, who was headed for retirement at age thirty-six, Mantle would appear in eleven more World Series, and Mays would compete in the Fall Classic three more times. The Yankees were now 14-4 in World Series appearances and 1951 marked the start of what would become their second dynasty.

 

TODAY IN NBA HISTORY

May 20, 1979
Washington reserve Larry Wright hit two free throws with no time on the clock to give his club a 99-97 victory in the opening game of the NBA Finals against Seattle. Wright’s clutch shots gave him 26 points in just 23 minutes and led the Bullets to their only victory of the five-game championship series.

May 20, 1995
Houston’s Mario Elie sank a three-pointer from the corner with 7.1 seconds left in the game, lifting the visiting Rockets to a 115-114 win over Phoenix in Game 7 of their Western Conference Semifinal Round series at America West Arena. With the win, the Rockets became the first NBA team in 13 years (since the ’82 Sixers against Boston) to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series. Houston’s victory also broke a string of 20 consecutive wins by the home team in the deciding Game 7 of a playoff series. Just 24 hours later, Indiana repeated that feat by the road team after downing host New York 97-95 in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Round series.

May 20, 1996
Chicago’s Michael Jordan earns a record 96.5 percent of first-place votes (109 of 113) from the media to win the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 1995-96 NBA Most Valuable Player, his fourth overall NBA MVP Award. Jordan’s MVP stats include 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.20 steals per game

May 20, 2000
Malik Sealy of the Minnesota Timberwolves dies in an auto accident at the age of 30. Sealy starred at Tolentine High School in the Bronx, leading the school to the mythical high school national championship in 1988. Later that year, he took his game to St. John’s, where he carved out a stellar career, putting together numbers bettered only by Chris Mullin. Sealy was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 14th pick in the first round of the 1992 NBA Draft, and he played with Indiana, the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit and Minnesota in an eight-year NBA career.

May 20, 2012
The San Antonio Spurs defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 in the Western Conference semifinals for a 4-0 series win.

May 20, 2019
A Game 4 win against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals sends the Golden State Warriors to The Finals for a fifth straight postseason. They join the 1960s Boston Celtics (10 total) as the only teams in NBA history to make The Finals in five consecutive seasons or more. The Celtics hold the all-time record for consecutive Finals berths, appearing in 10 championship series from 1957-67.

BASKETBALL’S BEST: SPENCER HAYWOOD

On the court, Spencer Haywood was such a devastating force in his prime that no opponent could defend him or keep him off the boards. Off the court, he had a lasting effect on the game of basketball, largely because he provided the 1970 legal test case that opened the NBA to undergraduate college players.

At his best Haywood was as dominating as they come. As a 20-year-old rookie in 1969-70 he led the American Basketball Association in both scoring and rebounding and was named the ABA’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year.

After moving to the NBA he averaged better than 20 points for five consecutive seasons, including 29.2 ppg in 1972-73, and he was twice selected to the All-NBA First Team.

Haywood was born into a family of 10 children on April 22, 1949, in tiny Silver City, Miss. Taking the opportunity to escape the stifling conditions at the time in the rural South, Haywood at age 15 went to Chicago and then to Detroit to live with his brother. In the Motor City, he led his Pershing High School to the 1967 Michigan Class A championship.

He spent a year at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, where he tallied 28.2 points and 22.1 rebounds per game. In the summer of 1968, Haywood helped the United States to a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Mexico City. He moved on to the University of Detroit for 1968-69, where as a sophomore he scored 32.1 ppg and led the nation in rebounding with an average of 21.5 rpg. Feeling that he had accomplished all that he needed to at the college level, Haywood passed up his final two years of eligibility to sign with the ABA’s Denver Rockets.

Haywood joined the ABA in 1969-70 and had a phenomenal first season. He was the league’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. He also won the ABA scoring title with an average of 30.0 ppg, and he led the league in rebounding with a remarkable 19.5 rpg to set the ABA’s all-time record. The next season the 21-year-old Haywood shook up both the ABA and the NBA when he left the Rockets to sign with the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics.

At the time, the NBA prohibited the drafting or signing of a player before his college class had graduated. Haywood’s class wouldn’t graduate until the end of the 1970-71 campaign, but the Sonics signed him anyway. The NBA league office and other NBA teams opposed the move, protesting that it violated existing rules and that, since Haywood hadn’t gone through a draft, the Sonics had no right to him.

The NBA took Haywood and the Sonics to court. The argument in Haywood’s favor was that, as the sole wage earner in his struggling family, he was a “hardship case” and therefore had a right to begin earning his living. The Supreme Court ruled in Haywood’s favor, forever altering professional basketball.

Beginning in 1971, underclassmen were allowed to enter the NBA Draft provided they could give evidence of “hardship” to the NBA office. In 1976 the hardship requirement was eliminated in favor of the current Early Entry procedure, whereby any athlete with remaining college eligibility can enter the NBA Draft on the condition that he notifies the league office at least 45 days before the draft.

But before the final legal decision, Haywood encountered hostility from the general public about his attempts to play in the NBA. However, after finally being cleared to play late in the 1970-71 season, Haywood joined the Sonics and averaged 20.6 ppg over the final 33 games. The five years he spent with Seattle represented the most stable and productive period of his career — he made four NBA All-Star Teams, two All-NBA First Teams and two All-NBA Second Teams.

In 1971-72, his first full NBA season, Haywood scored 26.2 ppg and grabbed 12.7 rpg. The next year he was unstoppable, pouring in 29.2 ppg (third in the league behind Nate Archibald and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and pulling down 12.9 rpg. His most effective shot was a turnaround jumper in which Haywood took advantage of his height and reach to extend above the defender before lofting a soft arc toward the hoop. He scored 51 points against the Kansas City-Omaha Kings that year. The Sonics, however, finished with a 26-56 record, 34 games out of first place in the division.

Haywood continued to provide stellar play. In 1973-74, his scoring average dropped to 23.5 ppg, but he increased his rebounding to 13.4 rpg, sixth in the NBA. The Sonics finished 36-46 under new coach Bill Russell and missed the playoffs again.

Haywood and Russell made history in 1974-75 when they led Seattle to its first playoff berth in the team’s eight-year existence. Haywood was dominating as usual, averaging 22.4 ppg and 9.3 rpg and earning his fourth straight trip to the NBA All-Star Game. The Sonics finished 43-39 and actually made some noise in the postseason, bumping off the Detroit Pistons in the first round before losing to the eventual NBA-champion Golden State Warriors in the conference semifinals.

After that season, Haywood was traded to the New York Knicks for cash and a draft choice. In the Big Apple he led the life of a star. He married glamorous fashion model Iman, and the celebrity couple were regulars on the social scene. But New York acquired Bob McAdoo during the 1976-77 season, and the Knicks found themselves with two high-scoring forwards.

In the middle of the 1978-79 campaign, Haywood was swapped to the New Orleans Jazz for Joe C. Meriweather. When the Jazz moved to Utah the next season, Haywood was sent to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Adrian Dantley, a future Hall of Famer.

He averaged 9.7 ppg in a limited role with the Lakers in 1979-80, but was a key reserve on L.A.’s championship team.

Haywood spent the 1980-81 campaign playing in Italy and working toward returning to the NBA. He played 76 games with the Washington Bullets in 1981-82 and 38 more the following season. He was waived in March 1983, then retired from the NBA with 14,592 career points and 7,038 rebounds.

After retiring from playing in 1983, Haywood became involved in real estate development in Detroit, and wrote his autobiography, Spencer Haywood: The Rise, the Fall, the Recovery.

In 2015, he was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

NBA SEASON RE-CAP 1961-62

The 1961-62 season would be defined by the amazing feats of two players: Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.

Not only did Chamberlain, the Philadelphia Warriors center, average a staggering 50.4 points, but poured in an NBA-record 100 points in a game against the Knicks on March 2, 1962. Chamberlain was 36-for-63 from the field and went 28-for-32 from the free-throw line in a 169-147 victory. Although 4,124 were in attendance, many thousands more would claim to have been there for decades afterward.

Aside from that scoring feat, Chamberlain proved he was plenty durable, too. He played in all but eight possible minutes for the Warriors and set single-season league records for minutes per game (48.5) and minutes played 3,882.

As for Robertson, all he did was something that has never been done before — or since: average a triple-double (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists). In the next three seasons, Robertson would come close to duplicating his accomplishment, but never did.

Chicago had been added to the league as an expansion franchise, and the Packers’ center, Walt Bellamy, won Rookie of the Year honors by averaging 31.6 ppg (second in the league behind Chamberlain) and 19.0 rpg and leading the league with a .519 shooting percentage. The Packers would eventually become the Washington Bullets, who would then become the Washington Wizards.

While Chamberlain was setting records that would hold up for decades, the Celtics were busily adding to their dynasty, winning a record 60 games in an 80-game season. In contrast to Chamberlain’s scoring feats, no Boston player appeared among the NBA’s top 10 in scoring.

Boston and Philadelphia engaged in one of their legendary battles in the Eastern Division Finals, with Sam Jones hitting a jump shot with two seconds left in Game 7 to give the Celtics the win. St. Louis’ run of Finals appearances ended with the Lakers winning 54 games and advancing to the Finals against Boston. Boston came back from being down 2-1 and 3-2 in the series to win a fourth straight NBA title in dramatic fashion in Game 7 at the Boston Garden.

Frank Selvy of the Lakers had the chance to put Boston away on the parquet in Game 7. With seconds remaining and the score tied, Selvy was being guarded by Bob Cousy, who had left him momentarily to double-team West. When Hot Rod Hundley passed him the ball, Selvy had a good look at an eight-foot shot.

But his shot bounced off the rim and the game went into overtime, where Boston prevailed 110-107.

“It was a fairly tough shot because I was almost on the baseline,” Selvy said. “But I would trade all my points for that last basket.”

PLAYOFFS

Eastern Division semifinals

Philadelphia defeated Syracuse (3-2)

Western Division semifinals

Detroit defeated Cincinnati (3-1)

Eastern Division finals

Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-3)

Western Division finals

Los Angeles defeated Detroit (4-2)

NBA Finals

Boston defeated Los Angeles (4-3)

SEASON LEADERS

Points — Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors (50.4)

Assists — Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (11.4)

Rebounds — Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors (25.7)

FG% — Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers (51.9)

FT% — Dolph Schayes, Syracuse Nationals (89.7)

AWARD WINNERS

Most Valuable Player — Bill Russell, Boston Celtics

Rookie of the Year — Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers

All-Star Game MVP — Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks

 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S HALL OF FAME: CHARLES BARKLEY

Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Charles Barkley has followed up his Hall of Fame basketball career with an Emmy Award-winning television run. A consummate entertainer, Barkley has evolved into a pop culture icon who commands a diverse audience that may not always agree with his opinions, but respects his ability to tell it like it is. Never one to dodge controversy or consequences, Barkley shoots from the hip and speaks from the heart.

But Barkley isn’t outspoken for the mere sake of being outrageous, earning a buck or getting a laugh. Barkley’s larger-than-life personality is seeded in his ability to connect with others through a unique combination of humor, honesty and humility. His direct pipeline to people enables him to open up the often uncomfortable but ultimately critical dialogues about issues such as racism and classism that impact the day-to-day lives of the members of his community and the world at large.

Barkley’s compassion and activism can be traced back to his roots in the rural South. Born on February 20, 1963 in Leeds, Alabama, Charles Wade Barkley played basketball at Leeds High School and caught the attention of Auburn University scouts at the state semifinals his senior year. Barkley was recruited by head coach Sonny Smith and played basketball at Auburn for three years. Physical, fiery and fiercely competitive, number 34 outplayed taller and quicker opponents because of his strength, agility and passion for the game. Barkley led his conference in rebounding for three years, earning the moniker “The Round Mound of Rebound.” He was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1984 and received three All-SEC selections, one Second Team All-American selection and one Third Team All-American selection.

Following his junior year at Auburn, Charles Barkley entered the NBA Draft in 1984 as a unique proposition. Barkley’s energy and powerful athleticism convinced the 76ers to take him with their fifth overall pick despite his being an undersized and overweight power forward. That summer, Bobby Knight famously cut Barkley from the U.S. Olympic team for gaining weight during the Trials even though, by Knight’s own admission, he wanted Barkley on the team. In his autobiography “Outrageous,” Barkley’s first of four books, he credits Knight for giving him an early insight into what it would take to become a truly great player. Barkley would later get his Olympic gold medals as the leading scorer for the original Dream Team in 1992 and again in 1996.

A gifted but raw talent, Barkley joined a cast of veteran and proven players in Philadelphia, including the legendary Julius Erving and three-time MVP Moses Malone. Malone in particular took Barkley under his wing and taught him not only how to rebound, but also how to lead by example. Barkley earned a berth on the NBA All-Rookie Team, and the Sixers advanced to the 1985 Eastern Conference Finals. Barkley evolved into a relentless offensive and defensive rebounder, leading the league at 14.6 rebounds per game in 1986-87. Over the next five years Barkley’s offensive game expanded considerably, and he along with high-flying phenom Michael Jordan were the rising stars of the NBA.

Barkley’s skill and determination almost single-handedly kept the 76ers competitive. As the unquestioned leader of the team, Barkley’s vocal nature became increasingly evident, and he gained a reputation for being one of the most quotable players in the league in addition to being among the most dominant. Barkley made six straight All-Star appearances and guided his squad to several strong post-season showings during his eight-year tenure with the Sixers. However, in spite of his affection for Philly and the fans, the team’s mounting struggles ultimately prompted Barkley to part ways with the 76ers, and he was traded to the Phoenix Suns following the 1991-92 season.

Moving out West proved positive for Barkley, and he got off to a strong start in Phoenix. On the court, the talented Suns leveraged their new anchor into an elite team that came very close to dethroning Jordan’s Bulls in the 1992-93 NBA Finals. Barkley won the NBA MVP Award in 1993 and helped make the Suns one of the most entertaining teams in the league during his remaining three seasons. Barkley also began his transformation from the brashness of his youth to the charismatic personality we see on TV today. Barkley finished off his illustrious playing career in Houston and retired after the 1999-2000 season.

Despite never winning that elusive championship, the five-time All-NBA First Team selection and 11-time All-Star is widely considered one of the greatest players of his generation and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Barkley is the 23rd all-time scorer in the NBA; he ranks 19th in all-time rebounds per game, 18th in total career rebounds and is one of only five players in NBA history with 23,000 points, 12,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. The self-proclaimed “ninth wonder of the world” is the shortest player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounding. His career statistics of 22.1 points per game and 11.7 rebounds per game over 16 years are remarkable for his size and a credit to his will power.

Currently, Barkley is a popular and insightful NBA analyst for TNT’s Emmy award-winning studio show Inside the NBA along with Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and host Ernie Johnson. His studio team’s on-air chemistry and unpredictable antics have continued to make Inside the NBA one of the most entertaining shows of its kind for over a decade. Barkley’s jolly nature, quick wit and candor have earned him an audience that transcends the sports arena, as well as a rare pass to speak his mind regardless of the topic or public opinion. Barkley always has and always will say what other people won’t.

Barkley is also more than willing to opine on the social issues of today in a way that other prominent athletes do not. As a player and as a media member, Barkley has stayed true to his own values and principles without succumbing to stereotypes and expectations. Barkley has expressed his opinions on numerous socio-economic and political topics in the books he authored: Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man? (2005), I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It (2002), Sir Charles(1995) and Outrageous! (1992). As generous as he is outspoken, Barkley has made countless donations to the Minority Health & Research Center at UAB Birmingham, the Auburn University Foundation, the Cornerstone Schools in Alabama, Leeds High School (his alma mater) and Macedonia Baptist Church (Leeds, AL) among other contributions to charitable organizations and individuals in need. In 2011 he hosted the inaugural Earn Chuck’s Bucks contest on charlesbarkley.com and hand delivered a $25,000 check to the winner to help fund his How To Tech startup.

BARKLEY OUTSIDE THE PAINT

  • Barkley is a member of Auburn University’s All-Century team.

  • Barkley was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

  • Since 2001, Auburn University, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns have retired Barkley’s #34 jersey.

  • Barkley was named the 2002 Personality of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

  • Barkley was the first player from the state of Alabama to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

  • Barkley was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.

  • Barkley’s career honors and awards include: 1× NBA MVP (1993), 11× NBA All-Star (1987–1997), 5× All-NBA First Team Selection (1988–1991, 1993), 5× All-NBA Second Team Selection (1986–1987, 1992, 1994–1995), 1× All-NBA Third Team (1996), 1985 NBA All-Rookie Team, 1× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1991), NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, 1984 SEC Player of the Year, 1980s SEC Player of the Decade.

  • In 2012 and 2013 Barkley won back-to-back Sports Emmy® Awards for “Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Analyst” for his work on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

  • Barkley has made guest appearances on numerous talk shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Jay Leno Show, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!,The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Lopez Tonight, Larry King Live, The Mo’Nique Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, The View and the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

  • Barkley hosted Saturday Night Livein 1993, 2010 and 2012.

  • Barkley has been featured in a variety of sports television programs including Pardon the Interruption, Rome Is Burning, Sports Unfiltered with Dennis Miller, Costas Now and Open Court.

  • Barkley starred in the premiere episodes of the Golf Channel’s reality series The Haney Project, giving top golf instructor Hank Haney the biggest challenge of his life – fixing Chuck’s infamous golf swing.

  • Barkley’s television credits include Santa Barbara, Martin,Clerks and The Bernie Mac Show.

  • Barkley’s feature film credits include Hot Shots, Look Who’s Talking Now, Forget Paris, Space Jam and He Got Game.

  • Nike developed a signature line of Charles Barkley sneakers, which launched with the Air Max 2 CB 34 during the 1993-1994 season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL 1943-44

At a Glance
NCAA Champion–Utah (22-4; coached by Vadal Peterson/17th of 26 seasons with Utes).
NIT Champion–St. John’s (18-5; coached by Joe Lapchick/eighth of 20 seasons with Redmen).
NCAA Consensus First-Team All-Americans–Bob Brannum, C, Fr., Kentucky (12.1 ppg); Audley Brindley, C, Jr., Dartmouth (16.2 ppg); Otto Graham, F, Sr., Northwestern (11 ppg); Leo Klier, F, Jr., Notre Dame (15.4 ppg); Bob Kurland, C, Soph., Oklahoma A&M (13.5 ppg); George Mikan, C, Soph., DePaul (18.7 ppg); Alva “Allie” Paine, G, Jr., Oklahoma (11 ppg).

NCAA champion-to-be Utah was invited to the NCAA playoffs following Arkansas’ withdrawal after two of its best players were injured in a horrific automobile accident. The SWC representative declined to participate because of the auto mishap involving the Razorbacks’ five starters. Their station wagon, driven by physical education instructor Eugene Norris, had a flat left rear tire about 20 miles outside Fayetteville, Ark., while returning from a tune-up game against a military team in Fort Smith. Norris stopped in the right lane on U.S. 71 because the shoulder was too narrow. Norris and two of the starters–Deno Nichols and Ben Jones–were putting the flat in the back of the wagon when a car driven by a local undertaker plowed into the vehicle at full speed.

The 28-year-old Norris, escorting the team for the first time, was pronounced dead of internal injuries and extreme shock after arriving at a nearby hospital. Nichols’ right leg was broken in two places and both of Jones’ legs were broken and his back fractured. Nichols’ leg became gangrenous and was amputated just two months after he was married. Jones spent the next two years in various casts and braces.

Times were different in 1944. All-SWC guard “Parson” Bill Flynt had dropped out of Arkansas to become a full-time minister at a Baptist church in Perryville, Ark., just before the NCAA Tournament.

The Razorbacks tied for the SWC title with Rice, which withdrew from playoff consideration because of military commitments and regulations. Arkansas’ only league loss was by 26 points (67-41) at Rice.

St. John’s guard Dick McGuire became the first freshman to win the award given by the New York Basketball Writers Association to the outstanding college player in the metropolitan area. McGuire, Cornell center Bob Gale, NYU forward Harry Leggat and Fordham guard Walter Mercer finished the season playing for Dartmouth, where they underwent military training as Navy trainees stationed at the Hanover, N.H., college under the wartime V-12 program. St. John’s won the NIT while Dartmouth finished runner-up to Utah in the NCAA Tournament.

All three of Utah’s regular-season defeats were to non-collegiate contingents (Ft. Warren, Salt Lake AB and Dow Chemical). The Utes lost to Salt Lake by 15 points and the three other Final Four teams also succumbed to service squads by significant margins–Dartmouth (Mitchell Field by 14), Iowa State (Iowa Pre-Flight by 6) and Ohio State (Norfolk Navy by 28). The prowess of service squads can be further exemplified by the fact that two of Notre Dame’s nine setbacks, three of Big Six Conference co-champion Oklahoma’s defeats, three of UCLA’s 10 defeats, four of Kansas’ nine losses, all four of Oklahoma A&M’s regular-season defeats, four of North Carolina State’s 13 setbacks, four of defending SWC champion Texas’ defeats, six of North Carolina’s 10 defeats and seven of Duke’s 13 losses were to military-base teams.

Rhode Island State (New England) and Dartmouth (Ivy League) each captured its seventh consecutive conference championship. Dartmouth compiled a 19-2 record (.905) under Earl Brown in his only year as coach of the Big Green. The influx of trainees at Dartmouth for the largest V-12 program in the country also included St. John’s forward Lionel Baxter, NYU guard Joe Fater and Vermont forward Tom Killick during the regular season before they were shipped out.

Sophomore guard Ernie Calverley, after returning to Rhode Island State following his discharge from the Army Air Corps because of a heart murmur, averaged 26.7 points per game, a mark that remained a national record until 1951 and still is a school standard. No individual has had a school single-season scoring average mark remain intact longer. Calverley was the third different Rhode Island State player in six years to set the major-college single-season scoring average record. He became the first major-college player to score at least 45 points twice in a single season (48 vs. Northwestern and 45 vs. Maine).

The University of Havana became the first foreign team to play at Madison Square Garden, losing to LIU, 40-37. Havana displayed “the most spectacular ballhandling seen in New York in many years,” according to the Official Basketball Guide. . . . Rider registered its lone victory over Villanova (42-27) in their first 20 meetings. . . . Penn State coach John Lawther had a running feud with animated Pittsburgh coach Doc Carlson, who despised the zone defense that Lawther favored. When the two teams met in the Steel City, Pitt froze the ball and the resulting 15-12 Penn State triumph grabbed national headlines. Rhode Island coach Frank Keaney declared the zone “un-American.” Bristled Lawther: “The idea of the game is to win, isn’t it?” The Nittany Lions yielded more than 50 points only three times in his first eight seasons at their helm.

The final Converse-Dunkel Ratings for the season had Army in first, followed by Utah, Kentucky, DePaul and Western Michigan. Army, under first-year coach Ed Kelleher after going 5-10 the previous season, compiled a 15-0 record with three starters (Dale Hall, Doug Kenna and John Hennessey) who had lettered for the school’s football squad. Hall went on to succeed legendary Earle “Red” Blaik as Army’s football coach in 1959. The U.S. Military Academy’s closest game was its season finale (47-40 over archrival Navy) and its largest margin of victory was its next-to-last game (85-22 over Maryland). Army’s basketball arena is named after team captain Edward C. Christl, a first lieutenant the next year when he was killed in Austria. Christl was third in scoring average for the undefeated team. . . . Kelleher left the Army program after the next season with only one defeat (against Penn). He is among the last 18 Army head coaches who have an average tenure there of less than four years.

Northwestern forward Otto Graham, a quarterback for the school’s football squad, became the first athlete ever to earn first-team All-American status in both sports in the same school year. . . . Iowa freshman forward Dick Ives set a Big Ten Conference single-game standard with 43 points against the University of Chicago en route to leading the league in scoring. . . . Illinois lost eight of 10 games in one stretch after going undefeated in Big Ten competition the previous year. . . . Dave Strack, Michigan’s leading scorer with 12.1 points per game, went on to coach his alma mater to back-to-back Final Fours in 1964 and 1965. One of his teammates was football sensation Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, who averaged 7.3 ppg. . . . Toledo, after winning more than 20 games each of the previous four seasons, compiled a 5-13 mark for its only losing record in a 20-year span from 1934-35 through 1953-54.

Nebraska, 2-13, posted its fewest victories in a season since the 1897-98 campaign. . . . Seven of Drake’s 13 defeats came against small schools Carleton, Dubuque, Loras, St. Ambrose and Simpson. . . . Guard Floyd Burdette, runner-up to All-American center Bob Kurland in scoring for NIT participant Oklahoma A&M with 9.8 points per game, went on to coach Alabama for six seasons from 1946-47 through 1951-52 before becoming Tennessee-Martin’s all-time winningest mentor. . . . Forward Zeke Chronister became TCU’s first All-SWC first-team selection in 10 years.

North Carolina, in Bill Lange’s final season as coach of the Tar Heels, posted the best record in the Southern Conference (9-1) just one year after compiling the league’s 11th-best mark (8-9). . . . Berea (Ky.), winning by a total of 42 points, twice beat Western Kentucky, one of the five winningest major-college programs of the decade. It was the first of three years that WKU was without All-Americans-to-be John Oldham (Navy) and Odie Spears (Army) while they served in the U.S. military. . . . Virginia Tech (11-4) snapped a streak of 20 consecutive non-winning seasons. . . . Trainer Smoky Harper fell heir to Vanderbilt’s head coaching position and guided the Commodores to an 11-4 record (.733) in his only season for their best winning percentage in a 28-year span from 1927-28 through 1954-55. . . . Four freshmen were named to the SEC’s All-Tournament first team, including three from champion Kentucky. A second-team freshman selection was Tulane center Hugh Taylor, who went on to become a two-time Pro Bowler (1953 and 1955) as an offensive end with the Washington Redskins. Taylor, nicknamed “Bones”, led the NFL in average per reception in 1950 (21.4 yards) and 1952 (23.4) and in touchdown receptions in 1949 with nine.

Each of the five members of the All-PCC North Division team played for Washington (26-6). One of them was guard Bill Morris, an All-American the previous season who gained a fourth year of eligibility as a Navy V-12 trainee. The Huskies, who won 20 of 21 games in one stretch under coach Hec Edmundson, didn’t participate in the NCAA playoffs. Their leading scorer was freshman center Jack Nichols (9.7 ppg). . . . Washington State sustained its only losing mark (8-19) in a 23-year stretch from 1929-30 through 1951-52 during Jack Friel’s 30 seasons as head coach of the Cougars. . . . Southern California dropped its last seven games to suffer the Trojans’ first losing record in 12 years (8-12).

George Edwards became the only coach to direct Missouri to the NCAA Tournament in the first 37 years of the event. Edwards was a classic example showing the assortment of duties coaches had in the “old” days. He was also the school’s sports information director at the time and probably encountered difficulty drumming up much publicity because the Tigers had non-winning records seven of the previous nine seasons. Edwards, a former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, wrote the NABC creed the organization still embraces.

1944 NCAA Tournament
Summary: With so many upperclassmen enlisting or been drafted during World War II, Utah had to rely almost entirely on freshmen and sophomores. Utah, entering the NCAA Tournament through the back door after losing to Kentucky in the first round of the NIT, won the NCAA championship game against Dartmouth in overtime (42-40) on freshman Herb Wilkinson’s basket from far beyond the top of the key. Wilkinson’s shot hung for a fraction of a second on the back of the rim before falling through the hoop. Utah freshman Arnie Ferrin scored 22 points in the final to help end Dartmouth’s school-record 17-game winning streak. Two nights later in a benefit game at Madison Square Garden for the American Red Cross, the Utes defeated yet another favorite, beating NIT titlist St. John’s, 43-36, when Ferrin tallied a game-high 17 points. St. John’s had edged Utah’s initial postseason opponent, Kentucky, in the NIT semifinals. Utah’s players, all raised within 35 miles of the campus, had an average age of 18 years, six months. Among the “locals” was junior college recruit Wat Misaka, a spirited Japanese-American whose country was at war with the homeland of his ancestors. Utah lost its last eight games and 11 of its last 12 the previous season when it compiled a 10-12 record, the Utes’ only losing mark in a 16-year span from 1936-37 through 1951-52.
Outcome for Defending Champion: Wyoming, the only school to win the NCAA championship one season and not compete in basketball the next year, did not field a team because of the war. In 1944-45, Wyoming lost its first nine games en route to compiling a 10-18 record.
Star Gazing: Ferrin, Misaka and Fred Sheffield were the only three of this group to earn any more letters with the Utes, which lost both of their NCAA playoff games in 1945. Ferrin was a second-team consensus All-American in 1947, when Utah won the NIT as the 5-8 Misaka restricted unanimous first-team All-American Ralph Beard to one point in a 49-45 triumph over Kentucky in the championship game. Wilkinson played the next three seasons for Iowa, where he was an NCAA consensus second-team All-American in 1945. Wilkinson’s Iowa connection came through his brother, Clayton, who served an LDS church mission in that state. Bob Lewis transferred to Stanford, where he was a three-year letterman in the late 1940s. . . . Misaka was the only freshman point guard to lead his team to an NCAA title until Arizona’s Mike Bibby achieved the feat in 1997. . . . Iowa State star Price Brookfield missed all 14 of his second-half shots in a regional final loss to Utah. . . . Iowa State, with most of its roster comprised of Naval trainees, reversed an earlier decision to decline an invitation to the tourney. Bitter rival Iowa withdrew from the playoffs in a huff when ISU changed its verdict. Oddly, it was revealed after Iowa State’s loss to Utah that had the Cyclones defeated Utah they could not have made the trip to New York for the final because of Navy rules limiting its trainees to leaves of 48 hours from their base.
One and Only: Sheffield, Utah’s starting center who was nursing a sprained ankle in the final, is the only Final Four player to finish among the top two high jumpers in four NCAA national track meets. Sheffield, the first athlete to place in the NCAA high jump four consecutive years, was first in 1943 with a best jump of 6-8, second in 1944, tied for first in 1945 and tied for second in 1946. . . . Dartmouth, finishing national runner-up for the second time in three years, is the only school to finish the 20th Century with an all-time losing record (1,125-1,147, .495) despite twice reaching the NCAA playoff title game. Iowa State, which bowed to Utah in the national semifinals, also finished the century with a losing mark (1,009-1,067, .486). . . . Army is the only undefeated team with at least 15 victories not to participate in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT since the start of national postseason competition.
Celebrity Status: John “Mo” Monahan, a football All-American at Dartmouth as a defensive end, was in the regular rotation for the school’s basketball team that lost in the NCAA championship game to Utah. Monahan averaged five points per game for Dartmouth’s undefeated EIBL champion. . . . Ray and Roy Wehde, two of the top three scorers for Iowa State’s Final Four club, had an older brother, Wilbur, who pitched briefly with the Chicago White Sox in 1930 and 1931.
Numbers Game: Utah is the only championship team to have as many as four freshman starters. Lyman Condie, a second-year medical student, was an original starter. Condie was invited by coach Vadal Peterson to try out for the squad because of a manpower shortage stemming from the war. Condie had a free block of time in the afternoons to practice during the fall quarter. However, when the winter quarter started his afternoons were no longer free and he had to make a choice between basketball or medical school. He chose medical school and left the team. His place as a starter was taken by Dick Smuin. . . . The first time two members of the same league earned invitations to the NCAA playoffs occurred when Iowa State and Missouri of the Big Six Conference played in the Western Regional. Iowa State and Mizzou made their lone NCAA Tournament appearance until 1985 and 1976, respectively. . . . Dartmouth won at least one NCAA playoff game for the fourth consecutive year. The Big Green beat Ohio State, 60-53, in the Eastern Regional final behind Aud Brindley’s tourney-high 28 points. Brindley’s output remains a school NCAA playoff single-game scoring record. . . . The Pacific Coast (North regular-season champion Washington), Southern Conference (North Carolina before Duke won postseason tournament) and SWC (shared by Arkansas and Rice) did not have representatives in the NCAA tourney. The Missouri Valley and SEC (Kentucky won postseason tournament) did not have complete regular-season league schedules.
NCAA Champion Defeats: Ft. Warren (2-point margin), Salt Lake AB (15), Dow Chemical (10), and neutral court vs. Kentucky in NIT (8).
Scoring Leader: Aud Brindley, Dartmouth (52 points, 17.3 ppg).
Highest Scoring Average: Nick Buzolich, Pepperdine (45 points, 22.5 ppg).
Most Outstanding Player: Arnie Ferrin, F, Fr., Utah (28 points in final two games).

Championship Team Results
First Round: Utah 45 (Ferrin team-high 12 points), Missouri 35 (Collins 10)
Regional Final: Utah 40 (Misaka/Sheffield 9), Iowa State 31 (Brookfield 6)
Championship Game: Utah 42 (Ferrin 22), Dartmouth 40 (Brindley 11)*
*Overtime.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: GEORGE GIPP

The “Win one for The Gipper!” pep talk is one of college football’s most famous half time speeches. Knute Rockne’s words came with a special emotion as he urged his Notre Dame players to remember and respond accordingly. It was not just Rockne’s impassioned pleas which had made George Gipp a Notre Dame legend. It was the talents of a free-spirited, untamed athlete scoring touchdown after touchdown and leading Irish teams to a pair of perfect nine-game seasons in his final two years. It was remembering that late afternoon in South Bend’s St. Joseph Hospital when the failing Gipp, losing the battle with pneumonia, slipped through death’s door. “I gotta go, Rock,” Gipp had said. “Someday, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are going bad and breaks are beating the boys – tell them to go on in there with all they’ve got and win just one for The Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock, but I’ll know about it, and I’ll be happy.” December 14, 1920; George Gipp, age 25, died. In four varsity years Gipp rushed for 2,341 yards. This was a school record that lasted until 1978. He also completed 93 passes for 1,769 yards, punted, and returned kicks. He scored 156 points, counting touchdowns, extra points, and field goals. The speech Rockne gave using Gipp’s plea, was at halftime Nov. 10, 1928, against Army. Notre Dame trailing 6-0, came back to win 12-6.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S BEST: BARRY SANDERS

Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)
Rushing yards: 3,556 | Touchdowns: 54 | All-purpose yards in 1988: 3,250
In one of the great recruiting coups of all time, an Oklahoma State assistant got the only highlight tape of the Wichita, Kansas, prep star — and kept it. Sanders stayed under the radar while in Stillwater, in part because the Cowboys also had a back named Thurman Thomas. Sanders, as a sophomore, backed up Thomas and led the nation in kickoff returns (31.6-yard average), in part by returning the first kickoff of the season for a touchdown. Sanders began as a junior by returning that season’s opening kickoff for a touchdown too. Sanders never slowed down. His four 300-yard games in a season? It created a record more than broke one; no one had ever done it more than once in a season. He rushed for an FBS-record 2,628 yards and set 34 NCAA records in his Heisman-winning 1998 campaign.

TODAY IN NHL HISTORY

1975: The Buffalo Sabres overcome the Philadelphia Flyers and the fog in a 5-4 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

A hot, humid evening in Buffalo combines with a non-air conditioned Memorial Auditorium to slow things down. Play is interrupted five times by fog during regulation. After Sabres defenseman Bill Hajt scores midway through the third period to tie the game 4-4, it’s interrupted seven times during overtime so players and rink attendants can skate around and try to dissipate the fog.

Despite the conditions, neither team is able to score until Buffalo’s Rene Robert beats Bernie Parent at 18:29 to give the Sabres the victory.

“I saw Robert’s shot too late for me to come out and stop it,” Parent said. “I’m surprised the overtime took so long. It was hard to see the puck from the red line. If three men came down and one made a good pass from the red line, you couldn’t see the puck. A good shot from the red line could have won it.”

MORE MOMENTS:

1986: The Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames combine for four goals in a span of 1:34 during the first period of Game 3 of the Final; it’s the fastest four goals by two teams in a Final game. A power-play goal by Joel Otto’ at 17:59 puts the Flames ahead 2-1, but the Canadiens get goals by Bobby Smith, Mats Naslund and Bob Gainey to take a 4-2 lead after one period. Montreal wins 5-3 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

1992: The Chicago Blackhawks tie a single-year record with their 10th consecutive playoff victory when Jeremy Roenick scores at 2:45 of overtime to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Game 3 of the Campbell Conference Final at Northlands Coliseum. The Blackhawks trail 2-0 before scoring three times in the second period; Oilers defenseman Brian Glynn scores with less than 13 minutes left in the third period to force overtime.

1993: Montreal sets an NHL record with its seventh straight playoff overtime victory when Guy Carbonneau scores at 12:34 of OT to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win against the New York Islanders in Game 3 of the Wales Conference Final at Nassau Coliseum. Vincent Damphousse scores with 5:14 remaining in the third period to tie the game 1-1, and Patrick Roy makes 31 saves before Carbonneau wins it to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

1997: Eric Lindros scores three goals for the first playoff hat trick of his NHL career to help Philadelphia defeat the New York Rangers 6-3 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Lindros scores the first of Philadelphia’s two goals in the first period, then breaks a 2-2 tie at 6:35 of the third. After Trent Klatt scores with 5:01 remaining to put the Flyers ahead 4-3, Lindros powers his way down the ice and puts the puck into an empty net to complete his hat trick.

2002: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios becomes the first U.S.-born player to appear in 200 Stanley Cup Playoff games when he takes the ice for Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena. Captain Steve Yzerman has an assist on Nicklas Lidstrom’s third-period goal to become the second player in Red Wings history to have 100 NHL playoff assists. However, the Avalanche go home with the victory when Chris Drury scores 2:17 into overtime for a 4-3 win.

2007: The Anaheim Ducks turn defeat into victory against the Red Wings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit leads 1-0 before Scott Niedermayer scores the tying goal with 48 seconds remaining in the third period. Teemu Selanne’s unassisted goal at 11:57 gives the Ducks a stunning 2-1 win and a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. The Ducks close out the series two days later to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time.

2015: Nikita Kucherov scores 3:33 into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-5 win against the Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final at Amalie Arena. Kucherov skates into the New York zone, makes a move against defenseman Ryan McDonagh and beats Henrik Lundqvist with a wrist shot from between the circles to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

2017: Rookie forward Pontus Aberg scores the go-ahead goal at 11:01 of the third period, and the Nashville Predators defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 at Honda Center in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. It’s Aberg’s first playoff goal. Pekka Rinne makes 32 saves to help the Predators take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series and move within one win of their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since entering the NHL in 1998.

2018: The Vegas Golden Knights become the first team in 50 years to reach the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season when they defeat the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 at Bell MTS Place in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves scores the tie-breaking goal in the second period. The Golden Knights, who win four in a row after losing Game 1, are the first team to make the Final in its inaugural season since 1968, when the St. Louis Blues win the all-expansion West Division title before being swept by the Montreal Canadiens. Marc-Andre Fleury becomes the first goalie in NHL history to reach the Cup Final in consecutive years with different teams.