Tough hill to climb for Trojan basketball

first_imgThey happened five months and more than 6,000 miles apart.First, there was the late March press conference at the Galen Center in Los Angeles where first-team All-Pac-10 center Nikola Vucevic declared he was skipping his senior season at USC to enter the NBA draft.Just last week, in a nondescript gymnasium outside Sao Paulo, star senior guard Jio Fontan landed awkwardly after being hit on a drive to the basket late in the first half of USC’s preseason game against a Brazilian professional team, tearing a ligament in his left knee and ending his season before it started.USC’s 2011-2012 basketball season doesn’t tip off until mid-November, yet its two defining moments have already taken place.The Trojans record is still unblemished at 0-0, but it feels like they’ve already lost so much.Now, let’s spare the doom and gloom and refrain from calling this a lost season for USC basketball.It is still only August and the Trojans have some intriguing young talent.USC’s group of freshmen and transfers could end up gelling very well together.A return trip to the NCAA tournament isn’t out of the question.The season that will be, however, is overshadowed by what could have been.With Vucevic and Fontan in the lineup alongside guard Maurice Jones, the Trojans would have returned their top three scorers from a season ago.Instead, USC now only boasts two players on its roster that scored in a game for the Trojans last year — Jones and sophomore forward Garrett Jackson.Newcomers Aaron Fuller and Dewayne Dedmon would have been expected to fill their roles solidly, not spectacularly.Now, they will be counted on to shoulder a good portion of the offensive load.The leftover effects of the O.J. Mayo scandal won’t help the team cope with the losses of Vucevic and Fontan, either.“Right now, this third year, especially with Jio getting hurt, that’s when you get hit with the remnant of these sanctions where we lost two recruiting classes,” USC coach Kevin O’Neill said. “We have a bunch of inexperienced guys that have never played. They’re going to get a lot of experience early and hopefully they respond well and turn themselves into a really good postseason team.”This could have been a banner season for recently rejuvenated USC basketball.After making only six NCAA tournament appearances from 1962 to 2000, the Trojans have qualified six times in the last 11 seasons.USC’s runs to the Elite Eight in 2001 and the Sweet 16 in 2007 marked the first time the program had made it past the second round of the Big Dance since 1954.“Our only goal is to make the NCAA tournament and try to win the Pac-12 title,” O’Neill said. “Those are our goals and I don’t think we should change those goals.”Fontan’s injury was an especially cruel blow to the Trojans, with his teammates forced to watch their leader stretchered off the floor.“In my career, I’ve never felt worse for a player than I feel for him,” O’Neill said. “The first two and a half games [of the Brazil trip], he was playing at a first-round-NBA-draft-pick level. I feel bad for him that way and bad for our team that he can’t be there to lead us and do all the things that a guy of his caliber would do.”Freshman Alexis Moore, from Long Beach Poly High, will be tasked with stepping into Fontan’s spot in the starting lineup.“He’s going to have to be a guy that doesn’t play like a freshman,” O’Neill said. “And even then, it’s going to be very difficult for a guy his age to step into his role that requires a ton of leadership, especially for what is a very young and inexperienced team now.”The schedule will do the Trojans no favors, either.With non-conference games against Kansas, San Diego State and Georgia, a potential tournament date with North Carolina in Las Vegas and a challenging Pac-12 slate, USC’s young players will be tested early and often.This season, however, will not make or break USC basketball.The gains the Trojans have made over the last decade have been substantial. The program weathered the storm of NCAA sanctions while enjoying its greatest run of success in recent history.The future remains bright for the Trojans — a talented and youthful roster, an experienced head coach and a recruiting foothold in the Southern California basketball market are all long-term assets.The short term gains of the 2011-2012 year, however, don’t look nearly as promising as how they were projected six months ago. “Sellin’ the Sizzle” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Jonathan at jkendric@usc.edu.last_img read more


FSB powers Goldchip sportsbook

first_img Dave McDowell, FSB: Hitting the bullseye during the global sports blackout June 8, 2020 Related Articles Share Sports betting platform and systems provider FSB Tech has secured a new agreement with private bookmaker Goldchip, which will see two roll-out a new digital sportsbook and online casino.Under the terms of the new agreement, FSB will integrate its flexible sports betting solutions with Goldchip’s existing technology, which is hoped to boost both user experience as well as the operator’s betting services.David McDowell, CEO at FSB, commented: “We’re delighted to announce yet another bespoke and progressive partnership, with one of the emerging forces of the UK’s high-end scene. FSB’s tailored approach sets us apart with a uniquely modular, flexible raft of solutions which are easy to partition according to client preference, and light to deploy.“We look forward to evolving our managed solution with Goldchip over the coming year, enabling them to refine their digital offering, without ever sacrificing the customer-first approach that has made them so successful in the rarefied air of VIP bookmaking.”Goldchip punters will benefit from the FSB unique pricing models, which will deliver in-play odds as well as markets for a variety of sports.Goldchip Operations Manager Rob Stephenson added: “FSB’s pioneering platform aligns perfectly with our dedication to major sports and traditional betting markets. We handle millions of pounds worth of bets every month and have become the private member’s bookmaker of choice. Our business is built on a foundation of peerless customer service. Now we have the tools to set ourselves apart in the digital domain, too.“Our VIP service is premised on entertainment and that old-school thrill of pitting your wits against our traders. FSB’s elastic platform now ensures that our specially tailored services effectively cater to whichever betting preferences or channel our members prioritise.”In addition to the betting services, FSB will make its proprietary gaming platform available to Goldchip customers, which will include over 3000 casino games, virtual sports and lottery solutions. StumbleUpon Submit Share Fast growth FSB appoints Susan Ball as corporate advisor January 29, 2020 David Clifton: Licensing Expert – Puzzle upon puzzle marks the path ahead June 4, 2020last_img read more


Mike Scioscia, Ken Landreaux and several college all-stars elevate local wood bat league

first_imgPreviousThe OC Riptide’s Blake Evans waits on a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters during Wednesday’s game at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Carson Matthews, left, tags out Santa Barbara ForestersÕ Eric Kennedy trying to steal second base during a California Collegiate League game at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe OC Riptide’s Andre Antone prepares for his at bat during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans, right, rounds the bases during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius delivers a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Connor Aube, right, celebrates with teammates after finishing up an inning during a California Collegiate League game Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, and Connor Aoki get ready for the game in a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans takes a lead during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Marrick Crouse, left, shares laugher with the dugout before a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, right, waves at the kids in attendance during a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Connor Aube checks his bat before a California Collegiate League game against Santa Barbara Foresters at Great Park in Irvine on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Blake Evans waits on a pitch during a California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters during Wednesday’s game at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)NextShow Caption1 of 12The OC Riptide’s Devin Sutorius, left, celebrates with catcher Connor Aoki after finishing an inning during their California Collegiate League game against the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday at Great Park in Irvine. Now in its 27th year, the CCL, which includes teams in Irvine, Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Compton, offers players from all over the country MLB-caliber coaching and competitive playing experience in front of pro scouts. (Photo by Kyusung Gong/Contributing Photographer)ExpandThe first time Mike Scioscia laid eyes on C.J. Cron was not in 2014, when Cron debuted with the Angels, or when Cron signed his first professional contract after the 2011 draft, or even at a pre-draft workout. It was in Thousand Oaks in the summer of 2009, when the San Luis Obispo Blues played the Conejo Oaks.“You could see he could swing the bat,” Scioscia recalled Wednesday.These days, Scioscia stays clear of the dugout. That is Dave Soliz’s territory. But if you happen past Sparky Anderson Field on the campus of California Lutheran University in the early afternoon, you might find Scioscia between the lines doing what he loves: teaching young men the game of baseball.Hit up the Urban Youth Academy field in Compton and you will find Ken Landreaux, another member of the Dodgers’ 1981 championship team. He’ll be in the dugout. Landreaux is the manager of the Academy Barons, a rival of Scioscia’s Oaks in the California Collegiate League. If the initials CCL aren’t familiar to you, they should be.California’s oldest amateur wood-bat league fired up its 27th season this month. Its nine teams are comprised of college players from around the country. Some, such as Texas Tech pitcher Micah Dallas, haven’t had a chance to join their CCL teams yet because they’re still playing in the College World Series. The talent level is high, the tickets are cheap, and the seasons bridge a two-month gap in the baseball calendar when many college players retreat home for the summer.Still, you might wonder why two former major leaguers are toiling in relative anonymity, lending their time and talents to teams whose crowds number in the dozens on a good day.“It’s the level,” said Pat Burns, the CCL’s commissioner. “What we’re trying to do is get college all-star players. So if you’re a Division I college baseball player, you’re a very good, elite baseball player. … The fact that those players are hungry to train for a professional career, and we are that level that introduces wood bats and flat-seam baseballs, they’re treated well, the competition is solid day in and day out, they’re able to focus on their development – that is attractive to people who know the game like Mike Scioscia and Ken Landreaux.“The players are hungry to get better, and that’s fun to be around if you’re on the field coaching.” This is the thread that unites summer wood-bat leagues around the country. Burns estimates there are close to 40. Maybe you’ve heard of the Cape Cod League, a proving ground for future major leaguers whose history dates to 1885. If that’s the gold standard, the California League falls somewhere short of silver; how near it stands to the podium depends on who you ask. Some players will spend one summer in the CCL and the next in the Cape, or the Northwoods League, or the Alaska Baseball League.Take the example of the Fletcher brothers, David and Dominic. David, an infielder for the Angels, played in the Alaska Baseball League after his senior year at Cypress High. He played in the Cape Cod League after his freshman year at Loyola Marymount, then was drafted by the Angels as a sophomore.Dominic played for the CCL’s OC Riptide, which plays its home games at Great Park in Irvine, after his freshman year at the University of Arkansas. He played for Team USA after his sophomore year, then was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 75th overall pick in last week’s amateur draft.“He could’ve gone to play in the Cape,” David Fletcher said of his brother. “But he wanted to stay home, work on lifting and getting stronger.”Many of the CCL’s rosters are filled with locally born and raised players. That helps with attendance – a network of family and friends can make for a good crowd – but not every player wants to spend his summer at home. That’s why out-of-state players, such as Dallas, often find their way to the CCL.“I think it’s good to go out of state and play in summer ball,” Fletcher said. “It was good. It was my first time really away from home, the Alaska League, for like 2½ months. You play every day with wood bats. It gets you ready for pro ball a little bit.”Throw in the allure of competitive playing experience, MLB-caliber coaching, professional scouts in attendance, and a televised All-Star Game, and the CCL has plenty to offer a player.For Scioscia, Burns, and others involved with league operations, the challenges are many. Major League Baseball provides the league with a grant in the tens of thousands of dollars. In exchange for MLB’s support, the teams are run as registered nonprofits, with the fruits of their fundraising efforts poured back into everyday expenses.Travel is the big one. Charter buses transport players to and from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, Pasadena, Compton and Irvine in the south. Four Northern California teams compete in their own division. A champion is crowned in August. The Conejo Oaks won the title last year.“We’re getting rings on Saturday,” Scioscia said. “It’ll be cool.”Scioscia, who lives in Thousand Oaks, said he’s been involved with his local CCL team for about 10 years. He was able to take a more active role late last year, after his final season managing the Angels. He was able to facilitate the hire of Soliz, the brother of former Angels bullpen coach Steve Soliz. Cody Ramer, who recently retired as a player after spending two years in the Angels’ system, is an assistant coach. Scioscia also recruited college pitcher Peyton Ebel, the nephew of Dino Ebel, the longtime Angel (and current Dodger) third base coach.In a crowded field of college summer leagues, the CCL must fight to stand out. It trails the gate receipts of the Northwoods League, with teams based in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, whose crowds number in the thousands. It lacks the history of Cape Cod. The Oregon-based West Coast League features TrackMan devices in several of its ballparks – a valuable evaluation tool for scouts and coaches alike. The CCL parks, gleaming at a glance, do not.Yet the CCL does not lack for star power. It counts Cron, Fletcher and Kris Bryant among its alumni. Tyger Pederson, the brother of Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, managed the Riptide before graduating to a coaching position in the Cardinals’ organization. The league oozes with the passion of those yearning to move up in the baseball world, led by some who have reached the game’s highest peak.“That’s the bottom line: giving these kids the experience, the ability to improve,” Scioscia said. “Every opportunity we’ve had, we have kids out on the field at 1 o’clock doing early work – much like you would see in the minor leagues, even in the majors.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more


Five ways Jose Mourinho has transformed Spurs including hands-on approach

first_imgDESPITE the exceptional achievements of former boss Mauricio Pochettino, there was a feeling that things had gone stale under the Argentine.Having won just six of their 24 Premier League games since February 10, something had to give, and the 47-year-old was relieved of his duties nine days ago.6 Mourinho has changed the atmosphere at Spurs on and off the pitchWithin 11 hours, chairman Daniel Levy pounced to secure Jose Mourinho on a three-and-a-half year deal.And Spurs have instantly reaped the rewards on the pitch, having ended their ten month wait for an away win in the league on Saturday – before sealing qualification for the Champions League round of 16 against Olympiakos on Tuesday night.SunSport take a look at how the Special One has changed things already at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.TRAINING CHANGESWhile players loved Pochettino, there was a feeling that training had become samey and repetitive – as you’d expect after a five-and-a-half years.Without consciously turning on their manager, with whom most were still close to, players noticeably dropped their intensity in training.This lead to increasingly poor performances come matchday, and suddenly motivation became a huge issue for Tottenham’s beleaguered stars.A hallmark of Pochettino’s training sessions is the remarkable intensity – which when lacking motivation, can become a chore.Mourinho has put more on an emphasis on recovery – not working his players too hard between matches.The mood has quickly improved, with players appearing to get their edge back.6 Mourinho has sought to change the mood on the training groundCredit: EPAMAN MANAGEMENTMuch has been made of his first conversation with Dele Alli, when he asked the 23-year-old if he was “Dele or his brother”.And the 23-year-old has responded emphatically, playing brilliantly in the 3-2 win at West Ham, before scoring against Olympiakos on Tuesday night.There has been much debate over Alli’s form, after the England international suffered a year blighted by persistent hamstring injuries.But Mourinho has sought to instantly put Alli at the centre of his plans, placing his trust in a player that three seasons ago scored 22 goals.With Hugo Lloris still out injured, Harry Kane has been wearing the captain’s armband.And his new manager has instantly made an effort to get his star man onside.Kane is desperate to win trophies at Spurs, and Mourinho has given him assurances that he is the man to give him the platform to do so.”Believe in me and we’ll become winners,” the Portuguese declared on his first day.The Special One is also aiming to make key figures like Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen buy into what the club are doing again – with new contracts for the experienced pair not out of the question.6 Toby Alderweireld could now perform a stunning contract U-turnCredit: AFP or licensorsMEDIA MANAGEMENTMourinho’s press conferences in his latter time with Manchester United had become increasingly dour and in some cases, downright bizarre.It was against Tottenham, ironically, that he stormed out of a press conference waving three fingers at stunned reporters – demanding respect despite his side’s embarrassing 3-0 home defeat to Spurs.The 56-year-old has clearly mellowed in his 11 months out of management, however, and has been a charming, positive influence with journalists so far.From his Alli or Alli’s brother quip mentioned above, his joke about Sky being devastated to lose him and how he wanted to invite a smart ballboy into the dressing room to celebrate with the team – the Special One has had people hanging on his every word.The positivity radiated by Mourinho has offered a stark contrast to the often bizarre press conferences given by Pochettino.He often talked about potentially leaving, as well as his baffling cow and train analogy before a Champions League clash with Inter Milan last season.Mourinho’s change of attitude has made a refreshing change.6 Mourinho has charmed everyone in his press conferencesCredit: PA:Press AssociationHands on approachPochettino had become a surly figure on the training ground.This eroded into the fatherly relationship he had previously shared with the players.The Athletic even claimed that players had gotten used to saying: “Don’t look at the boss,” in case they caught his eye and got in trouble.He had stopped taking most training sessions, instead preferring to watch on monitors.The players noticed this lack of engagement on the training ground, and it’s hard to imagine it didn’t seep into their own application.Mourinho, on the other hand, has impressed them with his hands on approach to sessions.His positivity and jokes, coupled with the new voices on his coaching staff, has energised the players.6 Pochettino had become an increasingly grumpy figure around Hotspur WayCredit: AFP or licensorsStreetwiseAt their best under Pochettino, Spurs had developed a nasty side.It bubbled over most famously in the stormy 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in May 2016.But, having forever been tarnished by a reputation of having a soft underbelly, Tottenham were finally showing that they would not be pushed around.This soft underbelly, however, has crept back in this season.6LATEST TOTTENHAM NEWSHARRY ALL FOUR ITKane admits Spurs must win EIGHT games to rise into Champions League spotGossipALL GONE PETE TONGVertonghen wanted by host of Italian clubs as long Spurs spell nears endBELOW PARRSpurs suffer blow with Parrott to miss Prem restart after appendix operationPicturedSHIRT STORMNew Spurs 2020/21 home top leaked but angry fans slam silver design as ‘awful”STEP BY STEP’Jose fears for players’ welfare during restart as stars begin ‘pre-season’KAN’T HAVE THATVictor Osimhen keen on Spurs move but only if they sell Kane this summerYOU KAN DO ITKlinsmann quit Spurs to win trophies but says Kane’s better off stayingTURBULENT PAIRINGDrogba and Mido had mid-flight brawl after stewardess prank went wrongGossipSPURRED ONTottenham table contract offer for Bayern Munich’s teenage starlet Taylor BoothExclusivePASS THE TESTEngland’s NRL-based stars urge bosses to make room for a Test this yearHaving given up 2-0 leads in away games at Arsenal and Olympiakos – as well as collapsing in late stages of the humiliating 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich, Spurs had become weak and predictable.Having clearly given detailed instructions to everyone including the ball boys, Mourinho has shown that he will leave no stone unturned in making sure that Tottenham are as strong as possible.With his insistence on ball boys being switched on and alert to the tempo and pattern of the game, the Special One has illustrated the standards that he will demand, for his new club to become successful. Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho praises ball boy at Champions League clash against Olympiakoslast_img read more