Season of change for Trask’s squad

first_imgChange is a good thing — at least the men’s soccer team hopes so.With a new coach and 14 freshmen, the Badgers are expecting the new talent to help push the team and set new standards.First-year head coach John Trask feels with all the changes going on around the program, this year is a fresh start and an opportunity to make something new out of the program.“I think change is good. We’ve had a lot of change within the department even. In some ways I kind of like it — it’s a fresh start. We can all set our own standards — coaches, media, everything about the program,” Trask said. “We have a chance to set a different standard, because the standard of the past hasn’t been set high enough. I think we can all admit to that.”Trask isn’t the only one setting new standards for this season. The players themselves are setting their own goals and standards in an effort to quickly overcome any uneasiness.Senior Aaron Nichols believes his team is capable of anything.“As a team, I think we have high standards for ourselves,” Nichols said. “Like I said, we’re young, but there’s nothing that I don’t think we can’t achieve. And we’re all trying to buy into that and believe in that together.”Trask is trying to mesh the older guys who have been through so much change in their careers at UW and the new players who don’t know any differently, into a stable team.While Trask isn’t afraid to play freshmen, he’s hoping the new talent on the team will push the veterans and bring out the competition within the team that will transfer to the field. Aside from the fact senior goalkeeper Ryan Vint is tabbed to start in net, the rest of UW’s starting 11 remains fluid right now.“We have some talented freshmen that will push these older players — and I don’t mind playing freshmen,” Trask said. “They know they’re all being critiqued on everything they’re doing and they know they can change teams at any minute. We’re hopefully bleeding some of that competition with these guys. It’s been pretty cool so far.”Senior Jon Rzepka also noted the competition within the team and the need to prove himself to the coaches all over again.“It’s kind of been tough because you have to prove yourself all over again,” Rzepka said. “It’s taught me to be a better player because it’s pushed me more to prove myself to the coaches and to step up my game to that next level.”Despite trying to fuel some competition within his team, Trask still wants to see the veterans find their place and feel comfortable in his new system.“I’m pulling for the older guys — not that I’m sorry for them — I just know where I’ve seen what they’ve gone through,” he said. “We’re pulling for all the older guys, it’s not like we’re trying to run these guys out the door. I made a commitment to them, to make sure they have success before they leave, whatever success is.”Keeping hopes for a successful season in mind, the Badgers working on coming together and just being one united team.Although they certainly have high hopes for a good season, right now Wisconsin is taking practice one day at a time, one game at a time. Being such a young team, they’re working on getting better each day.“I think as a team, we’re young, that’s first of all,” Nichols said. “So every day we get out here, we want to try to improve, we want to get better and better. I know that’s a small goal, but every day we’re trying to come out here and just do one thing better.”“Some guys one day look real good and some guys another day look real good,” Trask said. “We’re getting closer, we’re moving in a direction. We’re very much a work in progress, that’s the best way I can put it.”last_img read more


Men’s basketball to open promising season

first_imgThe roster looks dramatically different from last year’s after securing the No. 7 recruiting class in the nation, highlighted by five-star freshman forwards Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okongwu. Mobley was named to the watch list for the Malone Award, given to the top power forward in the nation. Those two are the fifth- and seventh-highest rated recruits, respectively, in USC’s history (not including 2020 center Evan Mobley, who is ranked No. 1 in his class).  The Pac-12 preseason media poll had the Trojans finishing fifth in the conference behind Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Arizona. Washington brought in two stud freshmen forwards in the front court — Jaden McDaniels, who has drawn comparisons to a young Kevin Durant, and Isaiah Stewart. Sophomore transfer forward and former Trojan J’Raan Brooks will sit this season due to NCAA eligibility rules, but sophomore transfer guard Quade Green was ruled eligible over the weekend. The Huskies lost their top player from last year, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle, to the first round of the NBA Draft. The Trojans will take on Florida A&M Tuesday at 8 p.m. to begin the regular season.  Editor’s note: A previous version of this article included inaccurate statistics from USC’s preseason game against Santa Clara. The article has been updated online with the correct information. Rakocevic was second in last year’s team in scoring with 14.7 points per game to go along with 9.3 rebounds. He is the sixth-leading returning scorer and second-leading rebounder in the Pac-12, and was named to the watch list for the Abdul-Jabbar award, given to the nation’s top centers. The Buffaloes return their two top players in juniors guard McKinley Wright IV and guard/forward Tyler Bey, who was the winner of the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award and named All-Pac-12 Conference First Team last season. Although this year’s recruiting class ranked last in the Pac-12, the Buffaloes have plenty of experience and depth, and the team’s core is entering its third season together.  Returning for this season are seniors guard Jonah Mathews and forward Nick Rakocevic, redshirt sophomore guard Charles O’Bannon Jr. and sophomore guard Elijah Weaver.  Head coach Andy Enfield added graduate transfer guard Daniel Utomi and redshirt senior guard Quinton Adlesh. Both will bring veteran leadership, physicality and shooting to the Trojans.  Adding physicality, athleticism, versatile defenders and even more shooting is a great start, and if the team can gel and play unselfish basketball in order to reach its potential, the Trojans will have a chance in a crowded Pac-12.  O’Bannon is ready to make an impact after a broken left pinky finger limited him to just one game last season. Weaver, who started five games as a freshman and averaged 5.1 points per game, will provide shooting and ball handling. He scored 11 points in the exhibition against Villanova. “The two of them are really fun to watch,” Enfield said of Utomi and Adlesh in an interview with the Orange County Register. “We hope that they can grow quickly because we need both of them to contribute.” Despite having two players last season now in the NBA — first-round pick guard Kevin Porter Jr. and undrafted free agent forward Bennie Boatwright — the squad could only muster a disappointing 16-17 record overall and 8-10 in conference, leading to an eventual Pac-12 quarterfinal defeat at the hands of regular season champion Washington. This lack of translation from talent to on-court success has been a recent trend. center_img Last season, the Trojans had the Pac-12’s highest team three-point percentage, the most assists per game and scored the third-most points per game. However, between a 2-8 record on the road and allowing the seventh-most points per game in the Pac-12, it will take much more consistency to contend this year. The Trojans have six freshmen that should make an impact from the get-go, including four-star small forward Max Agbonkpolo, three-star guards Kyle Sturdivant and Ethan Anderson and three star shooting guard and two-sport athlete Drake London once he finishes the football season. The freshmen scored 56 points in USC’s 72-68 preseason victory over Santa Clara, led by Okongwu’s 17.  Mathews, who was one of two players to start every game for the Trojans last season, was third in the team in scoring, putting up 12.6 points per game.  The success of this year’s squad will likely be predicated on the performance of its freshman.  Amid FBI investigations and allegations against head coach Sean Miller, the Arizona Wildcats were able to bring in yet another uber-talented class, with two of ESPN’s top 10 players in the country in freshmen guards Nico Mannion and Josh Green. After a couple of inconsistent and underwhelming seasons, the Wildcats need to get back on track or else more people will call for Miller’s firing.  The Trojans are coming off their winningest four-year span in program history with 87 total victories. That said, a loss in the Round of 32 like 2017 isn’t exactly the golden standard for a team that has consistently been in the top 35 in recruiting — and has improved its incoming classes every year.  Freshman forward Isaiah Mobley and the young Trojan team are looking to compete for a conference championship this season. (Sarah Ko | Daily Trojan) Oregon will be led by last year’s conference tournament MVP, senior guard Payton Pritchard, who has hit countless clutch shots over conference opponents throughout his career. He’ll be aided by the Ducks’ No. 4-ranked recruiting class.  The USC men’s basketball team opens its regular season Tuesday night as it begins the hunt for its first March Madness appearance since 2017.  Although they’ll be without their top recruit, freshman center N’Faly Dante, for the first nine games of the season due to the NCAA missing his clearance date, five-star forward CJ Walker and four-star point guard Addison Patterson and forward Chandler Lawson will contribute early for the Ducks.  “Gritty and tough, that’s what we want to be labeled as. A team you don’t want to play against,” Mathews said in an interview with the Orange County Register. “There’s some teams that you don’t want to meet up with in the tournament or whatever, and we want that to be us.”last_img read more


Photos: Beauty and fun of Accra Milo Marathon

first_imgThe 2016 edition of the annual Accra Milo Marathon this week crowned Corporal Alhaji Kassim Yakuub in the male adult category race and Ms Elizabeth Azure from the Upper East Region winning the female category award.The Marathon saw the participation of over 10,000 athletes competing in three different categories; 42.2km race for adults, 15km race for U-15 school children and 5km fun run for the family.Being a major event on the sporting calendar in Ghana for nearly three decades, the Accra Milo marathon has become the choice for both professional and amateur athletes to shape their career for international competitions.The colorful and biggest athletic event has a wonderful display of chorography by school children was put up as part of the closing ceremony.Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, Freda Duplan said, “Nestle will continue to inspire the youths to get into sports. We believe sport has a unique ability to help instill life values such as hard work, responsibility, fair play, discipline, perseverance and team spirit in them.”                                       last_img read more


NBA changes All-Star Game format, adds Kobe Bryant tribute

first_imgThere’s at least $500,000 for charity at stake from the game alone. Each of the first three quarters is worth $100,000 – if there’s a tie, the money rolls over to the next quarter – and the final score is worth another $200,000. If one team sweeps all four quarters, the other team will receive $100,000 for its charity regardless.All-Star weekend generates more than $1 million over the three days for Chicago neighborhood non-profit organizations, through the game itself and other events held under the NBA Cares umbrella.For now, this is a one-year change, though the NBA is hopeful that the quarter-score for charity element and the target-score ending become part of the All-Star Game on a long-term basis.“If successful, I would imagine we keep it moving,” Spruell said. Kobe Bryant: 42 photos for the Laker legend’s 42nd birthday The team that has the most points after the first quarter will win $100,000 for its charity. The same will apply to the second and third quarters. The scores get added for the fourth to set the target score – for example, if the score is 100-95 at that point, then the team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach 124.The target score concept is something that the NBA has been considering since last summer, when National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul – a big fan of The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all $2 million event composed mostly of college alumni teams – reached out to say the league should explore the concept. The Basketball Tournament uses what is called the Elam Ending; the game clock is turned off at the first stoppage with four minutes or less in the fourth quarter, and the target score there is eight points more than the leading score at the time.Paul coached in the TBT last season.“It almost takes us back to when we would play on the playground,” Spruell said. “We’d go up to 15 or 21 or what have you. This time it’ll be 24 with someone hitting a game-winning shot.”Related Articles Helicopter company in fatal Kobe Bryant crash sues 2 air traffic controllers How Kobe Bryant was remembered on his birthday “We spent a lot of time considering the right target number to use for the fourth quarter,” said Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president for league operations. “Through the events of this week, it became clear to us that the only appropriate number for this season’s All-Star game is 24.”The target score is the latest addition to the NBA’s quest to make the game more competitive, something that players have wanted for some time.This is the third year where the NBA has had a format where captains – it’ll be the Lakers’ LeBron James and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo in those roles this year, just like last year – get to draft their teams, something that will take place next week.“We’ve been very focused on making it more competitive, making it more exciting and making it fun,” Spruell said. “And we’ve had a great collaboration with the union. For this year’s game, we really focused on what new things we could do to make it a really competitive game where each quarter mattered in this case.”It’ll matter to Chicago-area charities, which will benefit from however many quarters Team LeBron and Team Giannis win that night.center_img Kobe Bryant’s final jersey number will be something this year’s NBA All-Stars play to reach.The NBA announced major changes to the All-Star format on Thursday, turning every quarter into a mini-game for charity before an untimed final quarter with a target score that will decide which team wins. Scores will be reset – back to 0-0 – at the start of the second and third quarters, then restored to begin the fourth quarter.That’s where the tribute to Bryant and the No. 24 jersey he wore for the last decade of his NBA career comes into play. The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined – plus 24, the obvious nod to Bryant, an 18-time All-Star selection.The NBA said there will be multiple tributes to Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven others who lost their lives in Sunday’s helicopter crash throughout All-Star weekend, including the showcase game on Feb. 16. The target score is just one of them. On Mamba’s day, councilmen aim to create Kobe Bryant Boulevard Councilmembers move to make Kobe Bryant Boulevard an LA street Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more