Florentino Perez praised Zidane on winning LaLiga Title


first_imgMADRID: Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has hailed his players and coach Zinedine Zidane after they wrapped up the 2019-20LaLiga title.”We really wanted to win this league title and that is what we have done,” Perez told Spanish television network Movistar. “They have all put in enormous performances, especially Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois and Casemiro, while Sergio Ramos is more than a captain. They have all built a brilliant team spirit while Zidane is the architect of this title win as he has put the players to work. We are so pleased.” Earlier, Zidane had stated that he is feeling like the happiest person in the world at the moment. “It’s huge. It’s a constant battle. There are 38 games, and only at the end can you achieve something great like today. I’m extremely thankful to the players, first and foremost, because they’re the ones fighting out on the pitch,” Zidane was quoted as saying at the post-match presser by the club’s official website. “I have my role and I’m with them, but it’s a team effort. This is a huge achievement, it’s incredibly emotional. It’s very tough to win the Spanish league, very tough indeed. “There are people who say that happiness makes no noise, but I’m the happiest person in the world on the inside right now. Many thanks to everyone for the support,” he added. IANS Also Watch: Truck Catches Fire in Nagaon; Locals Suspect Foul Playlast_img read more

Cricket News Ravichandran Ashwin hopes for an interesting duel with Nathan Lyon in Australia Tests


first_imgNew Delhi: The upcoming clash between Australia and India will also be the clash of two of the best spinners in the world in Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon. Both bowlers, who made their Test debuts in 2011, have achieved tremendous success for their sides in the last couple of years. Lyon has produced memorable spells against India, including his 12-wicket haul in Adelaide in 2014/15 which helped Australia to a memorable 48-run win. Speaking after the end of the third day between Cricket Australia XI and India, Ashwin admitted he admires Lyon’s ability and can learn a thing or two in the upcoming four-Test series beginning on December 6 in Adelaide.Read More |KL Rahul finds new ways to get out: Sanjay Bangar“I also watch his videos. We started our Test careers at the same time so obviously mutual admiration is there. He has done well over the last couple years and he is bowling well. The ball is coming out well off his hand. What can I learn? Probably drop the ball at the right spots and probably as the series goes on look forward to a good competition,” Ashwin said.Read More |Ricky Ponting makes bold prediction for Australia vs India TestsAustralia has been plagued by off-field issues ever since the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town. With no Steve Smith and David Warner in the side, the batting is weak and results have not gone their way. India have a chance to break their jinx Down Under but Ashwin brushes off the favorites tag for Virat Kohli’s side.“The whole talk about India starting favourites, even when Australia came to India they were talking us up, and it looks like more of a strategy for us. I personally think you have to go one day at a time. It’s never easy to come over to Australia and win series.  In the Ashes they almost whitewashed England, knocked them over, and so as far as I’m concerned they are starting favourites,” Ashwin said.Prepared for long haulThe offspinner has said the nature of wickets in Australia is pretty flat and it won’t be easy to run through the opposition. The nature of pitches in England and South Africa helped the bowlers a lot but Ashwin admits India have to maintain the intensity every hour and on an everyday basis in order to achieve success.“You don’t turn up to Australia thinking wickets are going to seam or spin around. They are always going to be flat we know that. It’s more about getting your noses ahead in Australia. Every hour, the game can get away from you really fast in the field. We have some quality batsmen who can take the game away from them.  It’s very important to soak together good partnerships as a bowling group then try and knock them over. You won’t blow oppositions away. It might happen once in a while but you have to get your noses ahead and keep it ahead,” Ashwin stated.The Tamil Nadu bowler was happy with his performance with the ball in the warm-up game against Cricket Australia XI as the hosts ended the third day on 356/6, trailing Virat Kohli’s side by two runs. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Ruiz Denies Saudi Arabia Rematch with Anthony Joshua


first_imgRuiz stunned Joshua – who was a 1-25 favourite with bookmakers – at New York’s Madison Square Garden on 1 June.In doing so, he walked away with the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, becoming Mexico’s first world champion in the division.Joshua, 29, took up his right to a rematch and promoter Hearn has repeatedly pointed to Ruiz being signed to fight as a result of the fact a rematch clause was part of the first fight’s contract.Hearn has said Joshua’s team contractually only need to let Ruiz “know the time, date and venue” and says the champion could face legal proceedings if the fight does not happen.Organisers in Saudi Arabia have put forward a reported fee of $40m (£33m) to host the event but there has been criticism of taking a fight of such magnitude there given the country’s human rights record.Human rights organisation Amnesty International has said the move provides “opportunity for the Saudi authorities to try to ‘sportswash’ their severely tarnished image”.Ruiz is again a bookmakers’ underdog for the repeat fixture but since his shock seventh-round stoppage win has stated Joshua is “not good at boxing”.Asked on Wednesday about facing Joshua again, he said: “I think he will want to run a little longer, move, but he is too big, he has many muscles and it will be very difficult for him.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Insists on fight taking place in New YorkUnified world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr has said that he has not signed to fight Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia and hopes their rematch is in New York.A 7 December rematch in Saudi Arabia was announced on Friday and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told a a news conference on Monday it was signed.Ruiz did not speak or post about the bout on social media until Wednesday.The 29-year-old told ESPN in Mexico: “I have not signed anything yet, we are negotiating everything.”Asked about a Saudi Arabia contest he said: “They want to do it there but we have to see where we negotiate with my team. I would like it in New York again.”last_img read more

Men’s basketball goes on the road to face Cal


first_imgThe USC Trojans    (9-12, 1-8 Pac-12) look to end their six-game losing streak as they head on the road to face the California Golden Bears (13-9, 3-6). The Trojans beat Cal earlier in the season,    72-57 at the Galen Center, but USC has lost 8 of their last 9 games.USC is coming off a blowout loss to the Utah Runnin’ Utes    (17-4, 7-2) last Sunday at home, 67-39. The Trojans were led in that game by freshman forward Malik Martin who scored 11 points for USC.In the worst loss of the season, the Trojans continued their poor shooting with only 26.5 percent; the loss was the largest margin of defeat that the Trojans have seen so far this season. The Trojans only scored 12 points in the first half and could never get back into the game.USC head coach Andy Enfield gave credit to Utah for their stellar performance in the first half.“Give Utah credit for playing well early,” Enfield said. “This was one of those halves of basketball where you shake your head and say, ‘Wow, we didn’t see this coming.’”In Cal’s most recent contest, they beat the Washington State Cougars (10-11, 4-5)                                   90-88. The Bears had two record performances in the game in Washington when they witnessed junior guard Tyrone Wallace enter the 1,000-point club and senior forward David Kravish break the school’s all-time block record. Cal will look at these two difference-makers to avoid a season sweep at the hands of USC.Cal will also lean on sophomore guard Jordan Mathews who is leading the team in scoring with an average of 18.2 points per game, in Cal’s nine league games.In the most recent game between these two California teams, the Trojans were led to victory by sophomore forward Nikola Jovanovic who scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds in USC’s only conference win of the season. Redshirt sophomore guard Katin Reinhardt added 16 points for the Trojans in one of his signature shooting performances while sophomore guard Julian Jacobs added 17 points in the win. Wallace led the way for the Bears in the loss with 21 points of his own.Jovanovic leads the Trojans in scoring with 13.2 points per game, and Reinhardt is not too far behind with an average of 11.9 points per game.Reinhardt has found his stroke as of late and is shooting 44.2 percent from behind the arc in his last six games.USC will look for freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin to break out of his recent slump and help contribute to a win up north.In USC’s most recent loss to Utah, McLaughlin was scoreless on 0-7 shooting and he also had zero assists. Despite his struggles, McLaughlin is still third on the team in scoring with 11.6 points per game.McLaughlin is having an impressive freshman season, outside of shooting, and he leads his team in assists and steals with 88 and 28 respectively.The other freshmen for the Trojans have also struggled as of late, especially in scoring. Guard Elijah Stewart was scoreless against Utah and forward Malik Marquetti only scored 2 points in 21 minutes. Even though the bench has not been very productive scoring the ball, Enfield praised their effort after the loss to Utah.“I’m proud of our bench coming in and increasing our energy,” Enfield said. “We need the whole team to play like that.”When the Trojans tip off on Thursday night, they will be playing in a stadium that has not been kind to them recently. USC is 2-6 in its last 8 visits to Haas Pavilion where the Bears are 8-6 this season.USC has not fared well on the road all season; they post a 2-6 road record on the year. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. and will be aired on Fox Sports 1.last_img read more

Covington a natural born leader


first_imgCovington plays just 15.1 minutes per game for the Badgers, but coaches and teammates know how valuable she is to UW’s success.[/media-credit]When a player has served as a captain in two of her three years of play, it becomes clear that the player is a respected team leader.Such is the case with Wisconsin women’s basketball forward Anya Covington, who has seen extra playing time recently in the absence of senior Tara Steinbauer. Although not usually the first name in the box score, Covington, who has acted as a captain during both her sophomore and junior years, is the epitome of a leader both on and off the hardwood.“She’s always been a leader, she’s a natural born leader,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “She is really living the life of a leader … confident, mature. You think about people that have grown into maturation, she’s had it. She’s coming into her own as a basketball player, but as a human being, she’s special.”Although Covington has certainly made an impact on the court, her achievements off the court are equally impressive. A member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Student-Athletes Equally Supporting others and a representative on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee, it comes as no surprise that the junior has been voted a captain by her teammates two of her first three years.It is difficult to find a better example of a well-rounded and active student-athlete than Covington, but the Edwardsville, Ill. native has always felt comfortable in the spotlight.“I just have a heart for student-athletes and our issues that we’re going through, and just furthering our opportunities,” Covington said. “I’ve been doing it since middle school, and all these committees and boards and stuff, so it’s just natural to do it now.”Covington manages to handle all these activities not as a player who rides the bench, but rather one who serves a key role for the Badgers. Appearing in every game this season, the forward has been the third and often used post option behind seniors Lin Zastrow and Steinbauer all year.However, since Steinbauer suffered a career-ending ACL tear in the closing weeks of the season, Covington has started Wisconsin’s last two games. Forced to fill Steinbauer’s tremendous presence on the court during the most important weeks of the season, Covington’s play in the Big Ten Tournament could play a crucial role in the team’s success. “Anya’s done a really good job stepping in, and we really need her to step in big time now,” Stone said. “We’re planning on playing four games in four days, and her ability to step in and help out and stay fresh and stay out of foul trouble is going to be huge for us.”A physical player who known for her strong presence in the paint, Covington’s ability to collect rebounds may be the most valuable aspect of her game. Co-leading the Badgers in rebounds in a tough loss of Ohio State Sunday, the junior averages just under four rebounds per game in only 15.1 minutes per contest.With three career double-doubles, including one this season, Covington has proved that she has the ability on both sides of the glass to be a reliable post player. Earning valuable experience in her first two years, coaches and players insist that there is no better player to step in for Steinbauer at this crucial point in the season.“She’s been here for the last three years ready to play,” senior guard Emily Neal said. “…It was really sad for Tara, but it’s a great opportunity for Anya to come in, and she was definitely ready for it.”The junior forward could probably serve a starting role for other Big Ten teams, but UW’s depth and talent at the forward positions have kept Covington coming off the bench. Averaging 4.1 points per game this season and 5.1 points per game last season, Covington’s scoring has been restrained by her playing time.Shooting nearly 50 percent from the field over her career, the junior doesn’t look at herself as a backup to Zastrow and Steinbauer. In a way that exudes the team-first approach of the Badgers, Covington sees herself as working together with the senior standouts rather than acting as a backup to them.“I was told my freshman year I had to come here and pay my dues, so I mean that’s basically what’s going on,” Covington said. “It’s [Zastrow and Steinbauer’s] senior year, one of them goes down, I just step in. I don’t look at it as playing under their shadow. We’ve been playing together for the past three years, and it’s been fun.”Wisconsin’s three leading scorers this year in Zastrow, Steinbauer and Alyssa Karel are all seniors, but there is no question who will primarily fill the void left by those players. Equipped with the character and confidence that every coach looks in their players, no word seems to better describe Covington than “leader.”“It’s going to be tough next year with Lin and Tara both gone, but at the same time [Covington] has shown that she’s ready to step up,” Neal said.last_img read more

Should sports mix with politics?


first_imgOn Wednesday, ESPN fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling after he shared a meme on Facebook supporting a controversial North Carolina law that forces transgender people to use the bathrooms corresponding to their birth genders. On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver publicly stated he would take the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte if the same law wasn’t changed.There are people who say sports don’t matter because they are, on the surface, silly games played with balls and sticks and baskets. Those who don’t follow sports have no clue who Curt Schilling is, much less care about what he has to say.But the truth is that sports are bigger than just games — they consist of multi-billion dollar leagues and millionaire athletes and coaches. And like any other multi-billion industry, these leagues have a sizeable footprint in society, and their star players have a voice much larger than that of the average Joe.It’s why ESPN fired Schilling and why North Carolina should take Silver’s threat very seriously. For better or for worse, this is the impact that sports can have on society.Schilling, an all-time great pitcher-turned-analyst, was just daring ESPN to fire him. Last year, the network suspended him for a month after sharing a Twitter post that compared Muslims to Nazis. In March, he went on a radio show and said that Hillary Clinton “should be buried under a jail somewhere.”While Schilling crossed the line numerous times, ESPN is firing him on the grounds of his opinions — which he is certainly entitled to — rather than him not fulfilling his actual duty as a baseball analyst. An average Joe working as a truck driver would probably not be fired for doing what Schilling did, but as a public figure and television personality, it was too big of an embarrassment for ESPN.To be clear: The North Carolina law is awful and a clear attempt to discriminate against transgender people. But Schilling has a right to engage in the debate without losing his job.Additionally, I think such a law should be changed for a different reason than the NBA threatening to pull the All-Star Game. The NBA is absolutely doing the right thing by taking a stance on a controversial issue. But in turn, if North Carolina changes the law, it will be because its politicians don’t want to lose out on the millions of dollars that holding an All-Star Game would bring into the state, not because they genuinely believe the law is wrong.It’s happened before. Just last month, Georgia governor Nathan Deal vetoed an anti-gay rights bill after the NFL warned that the passing of the law could cost Atlanta a Super Bowl in the future. Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill two years ago based on a similar threat — the NFL threatening to pull the Super Bowl in 2015 from Phoenix. Last year, while the Final Four was being held in Indianapolis, Indiana immediately issued amendments to another religious liberty bill after NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke out against it. In the 1990s, the NFL also almost single-handedly forced Arizona to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by actually rescinding a Super Bowl from the state. Not until the voters approved the holiday did the league bring the game back to Arizona in 1996.Losing out on All-Star Games, Super Bowls or Final Fours should not be the main catalysts for social change. Sure, the results should be applauded, but the reasons behind them are based more on money than morality — and I’m afraid what’s happening in North Carolina is heading toward the same path.Ultimately, all of this shows that the power of sports stretches well off the playing field and into politics, and that creates ambiguity. Schilling has shown no indication that he is anything but a bigoted moron, but should his political opinions be held against him by his now ex-employer? The North Carolina law should be repealed, but does it sit right that it might only happen because a basketball game won’t be played there?I guess we’ll have to take what we can get. Obviously, it would be ideal if governors stopped signing discriminatory laws and former athletes refrained from supporting them, but until that day comes, we are — at least partially — reliant on sports figures such as ESPN and NBA commissioners to police society, for better or for worse.Eric He is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column,  “Grinding Gears,” runs Fridays.last_img read more

Trojan athletes receive end-of-season awards


first_imgAs the dust settles on USC sports for the 2017-2018 year, student-athletes and coaches were selected for awards in their respective fields.Caryl Smith GilbertCaryl Smith Gilbert was named the Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Smith Gilbert, who just concluded her fifth season at USC, led the Trojans to their first Pac-12 Championship in over 20 years and their first outdoor title since 2001, edging out second-place Georgia, which won the men’s championship, and third-place Stanford. The Pac-12 Coach of the Year’s players won eight of the 21 events at the NCAA championship as well as setting numerous USC records throughout the year.Quincy WattsQuincy Watts was awarded the Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Watts, who is in his fifth season on staff, is regarded as a Trojan legend himself, consistently ranked in the top 10 in the 400m during his time at USC. He also won a gold medal in the 1993 world championships. He was recognized this year for his work with Men’s Track Athlete of the Year Michael Norman, as well as for helping the team finish fourth at the NCAA championships.Kerrigan MillerSophomore Kerrigan Miller was named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America third team. (Daily Trojan file photo).While the men’s and women’s track and field team stacked awards at the end of their season, the women’s lacrosse team also had a player recognized for her on-field performance. Kerrigan Miller, a sophomore from New York was named to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association All-America third team this year. After being heralded as the nation’s No. 1 recruit for the 2016-2017 class, Miller has lived up to lofty expectations thus far in her first two seasons. After leading the Trojans with 31 turnovers forced and a selection on the IWLCA All-West/Midwest Region Second Team in her first season, Miller improved by making the region’s First Team, and forced 40 turnovers, good for most on USC and in the Pac-12 Conference. Michael NormanMichael Norman, who just concluded his sophomore season, was named Men’s Track Athlete of the Year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. After an injury freshman year that hampered his performance, the former National Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year exploded in his second season with USC. Like   Watts once did, Norman specialized in the 400m and with a time of 43.61 seconds. He now holds the collegiate record that was previously held by Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley. Norman was also a part of another record, this time in the 400m relay, where he teamed up with senior Ricky Morgan Jr., junior Rai Benjamin and freshman Zach Shinnick to post a blazing 2:59:00. Norman has since decided to forgo his eligibility and turn pro, although he will remain at USC to finish his undergraduate degree. Norman is also a semifinalist for the Bowerman, an honor awarded to the nation’s most outstanding track and field athlete. Along with fellow semifinalist Benjamin, Norman will look to become the first USC student-athlete to win the award.last_img read more

Klose: Africa will win World Cup with more slots


first_imgLegendary Germany striker legend Miroslav Klose says an African country will win the FIFA World Cup if the continent has more slots like their European counterparts.Africa are allocated five out of the 32 slots while World Cup power houses Europe and South America have 13 and five slots respectively.While five countries from Europe have won the World Cup  (England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain) three from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay) have tasted glory on football’s biggest stage.The farthest African teams have been at the World Cup is the quarter-final  (Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana).Co-host of the 2002 World Cup South Korea is the only Asian country that has gotten to the semi-final.And according to Klose, the 2014 World Cup who is also the tournament’s all time leading goalscorer, posited that the five slots allocated to Africa limits the continent’s chances of winning it.“There is no way Africa can win the World cup, unless FIFA brings balance to the number of teams that qualifies to the World cup,” the former Bayern Munich striker said, as cited by Soccer Scenes Africa.“For now it is advantage to Europe and South America. The slot for African teams is very bad. Only five teams in a world cup that has almost 13 European teams. If Black lives really matter, we should show it by actions in every institution not only by kneeling down.“We need to balance everything, no one must be considered superior than the other. Despite all the talent they have, but it would be absolutely impossible to go all the way to reach the World cup final with only five teams in the tournament, meanwhile other continents have more than five,” he added.last_img read more

Whicker: Yasiel Puig goes from outcast to centerpiece in Dodgers’ room


first_img NLCS Game 2: Dodgers vs. Cubs, game time, TV info and starting pitchers PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, middle, celebrates the Dodgers’ 5-2 win with third baseman Justin Turner, left, and first baseman Cody Bellinger after Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig watches his solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, right, watches his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 heads for first base and his fall heads out of the park for a homer in the 7th inning. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 rounds first after his 7th ining homer. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates his home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig looks to the sky as he trots toward home plate after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Puig also had an RBI double in a 5-2 victory. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 is congratulated by Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal #9 after his 7th inning homer. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig sticks out his tongue after hitting a home run against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 hits a homer in the 7th inning. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig celebrates as he watches the flight of his RBI double in the fifth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Puig added a solo home run two innings later to help his team to a 5-2 victory over the Cubs. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig celebrates as he tracks the flight of his RBI double during the fifth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Puig added a home run in the seventh inning of a 5-2 victory. (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)The crowd cheers in the 5th inning as Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 hits a run scoring double. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 celebrates as he runs toward 1st base after hitting a run scoring double in the 5th inning. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig #66 stands on 2nd base after hitting a run scoring double in the 5th inning. The Dodgers hosted the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the National League Championship series at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles, CA 10/14/2017 (Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig reacts after hitting a RBI double in the fifth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig cheers on his team in the seventh inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, middle, celebrates the Dodgers’ 5-2 win with third baseman Justin Turner, left, and first baseman Cody Bellinger after Game 1 of baseball’s National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig watches his solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)NextShow Caption1 of 21Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig watches his solo home run in the sixth inning of a National League Championship Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)ExpandLOS ANGELES — There was a time, not so long ago, that many of his Dodger teammates wished Yasiel Puig was working in a different room.That has happened. Most of them are gone. He is still here.He is not missing cutoff men. He is not acting out (as much). He is on time (somewhat more often).In 2013 Puig played a harlequin version of right field as the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs, 9-0, in St. Louis. The clubhouse consensus was that their Wild Horse, who had done an impressive cannonball into the major leagues that summer and was selling shelves of jerseys every week at Dodger Stadium, needed to either grow up or get out. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Back injury forces Dodgers to leave Corey Seager off roster for NLCS Now Puig is 26 and only three of those teammates (Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and Kenley Jansen) are still Dodgers. On Saturday night at Wrigley Field, only one position player, Justin Turner, was on the lineup card for both this game and Game 6 in Wrigley Field last year.Puig is 26. He can become a free agent after next season, but right now he is part of the furniture. He is not a team leader, but he has become a good follower.And, right now, he is a much better baseball player than you realize, if you get charmed by the tongue-flashing and the crotch-chopping and the bat-flipping.He was at his best in Game 1, drilling a hollow-point double for the Dodgers’ first run and then lofting a home run for L.A.’s fourth, in the 5-2 win over Chicago. Typically, he flipped his bat for the double and he wasn’t sure on the homer.“When I hit the homer I thought it was going,” Puig said, “but later I see the left fielder say ‘I got it,’ and I started running. I think the wind helped me a little bit tonight.” Charlie Culberson rises to the occasion in Dodgers’ Game 1 victory Then he blew into the microphone. Home runs and sound effects. That’s full service.Puig does his postgame interviews, at least the ones on the podium, in English now, at least when he is asked questions in English. That is something Fernando Valenzuela and Vladimir Guerrero never did.Latino players have quietly smoldered over the fact that they are expected to conduct media responsibilities in English, when their slightest foible can be either misinterpreted or mocked or both. When Japanese and Korean players make it to the major leagues, their interpreters are there as a matter of course.So this is not a small thing. Puig is working at being a professional. He is an active manager of his Wild Horse Foundation. He was not going to misbehave his way out of the big leagues, although Dave Roberts and the front office sent him to Oklahoma City last summer and demonstrated to him, and to others, that the Dodgers could win without him. Roberts also benched him last month when Puig’s clock started malfunctioning again.The light might have shone brightest on Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger this year, but Puig provided the Dodgers with 28 home runs. That is a career high and so are his RBI (74) and slugging percentage. Puig walks in 11.2 percent of his plate appearances, almost double his rate of last year, which is perhaps a byproduct of his eighth spot in the batting order most of the season.“He’s really made exponential strides,” Roberts said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”Puig was asked if he was having more fun than ever. “No, when I was five years old I played better,” he said.That was just Horseplay. Puig knows where he was and where he is now.“I try to do the best I can in this game,” he said. “I’m coming here and preparing more now than at any other time with this team. My teammates helped me a lot, and so did the manager and the coaches. I’m so proud of myself and I want to keep going.“I grew up a little bit more, and I go to home plate having fun, because I know if I hit nothing, do nothing in the game, my teammates are going to have my back.”Puig had a .740 OPS last year with only 45 RBI in 368 plate appearances. This year his OPS is .833.  Because of that he is now one of the most underpaid outfielders around, with a $6.5 million check this year and $7.5 million next year, after which he can become a much-desired free agent.So there’s a difference. Nobody wants Puig to leave the room anymore. Not when the party is getting started. Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor help Dodgers take NLCS opener Related Articles Miller: Yasiel Puig delivers for Dodgers in an emotional Game 1 triumph Dodgers World Series schedule, game times, TV listings last_img read more

Germany Looks to a New Generation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup


first_imgFIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Groups are IN! The #WorldGotGame! #FIBAWC starts on August 31 2019!A post shared by FIBA Basketball World Cup (@fibawc) on Mar 16, 2019 at 5:00am PDTAfter they discovered their fate in the official draw, matching up with France, the Dominican Republic and Jordan, there has been little to stop optimism from growing within the camp like wild fire. Whilst France will provide formidable opposition, Germany will go to China confident of qualifying from the group. Their strong showing in qualification will only build on their confidence. A new generation of German basketball are heading to China, for the FIBA Basketball World Cup of 2019 and it is time for them to find new heroes on international basketball’s biggest stage. https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/bf/fa/dennis-schroeder-germany-fiba_1l7nm76p5iad91ukycu5p7r8gv.jpg?t=-1683115495&w=500&quality=80 Legendary forward Dirk Notwitzki recently stated that he was ‘super excited’ by the potential of the current roster at the disposal of head coach Henrik Rödl. High-profile talent such as Dennis Schröder and Maxi Kleber are players that he feels confident handing the baton to, as he slowly creeps out of the back door of basketball with little fanfare. However, as is often the case with qualification, Germany have an all-for-one, sustained team effort with star cameos to thank for their place in the tournament.It was fairly smooth sailing in the first round, as the Germans swept through a Group G that included Serbia, Georgia and Austria, without losing a game. The second round began in in September of 2018 and it presented more of a challenge to the team in Group L. Germany finished the round 3-3, as the competition intensified and difficulty of opposition heightened. As well as slipping up against Israel in Tel Aviv, Germany lost both of their games against a strong Greece side who topped the group as the teams forged an interesting rivalry that is worth monitoring, should they meet in the latter stages of the main competition. Momentum could be an issue, as Germany began to falter when qualification was virtually secured. At the close of qualification, they sit at 9-3 overall and finished second in their group, having scored 1017 points through both rounds – more than any other European outfit. View this post on Instagram With Nowitzki retired from the national team since 2016, Germany’s most recognised figure is Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Dennis Schröder, who showed exactly why his name holds so much weight during the four games in which he featured. When available, Schröder was the team’s unequivocal focal point; the 25-year-old had the highest usage rate among all European players in qualification (37.9) and only one other player scored more total points than him for Germany, despite his small four-game sample size. He averaged 23.5 points, while handing out an impressive 7.5 assists per game and was active on the defensive end. It is expected that he will feature heavily as a leader when the World Cup begins in August and his performances in these games justify this.In September, during the clinching overtime win against Israel, Schröder set a new assists record for the European Qualifiers, dishing out a total of 13, while scoring 30 points. “I think we can be a pretty tough team to beat,” he said just month after. “We will go to China with ambitions and we aren’t afraid of trying to have a good run next summer at the FIBA World Cup. We are not going to China for fun.”It’s also worth noting that in an effort to demonstrate his skill and adaptability even further, Schröder took his game to streets, when he graced the 3×3 court in Hamburg during downtime from the NBA season, as part of the 2018 ING 3×3 German Championship.The German team’s highest total scorer throughout the campaign was 30-year-old Besiktas forward Robin Benzing, who featured in eight games, logging 146 points at an average rate of 18.3 per game and 49% efficiency. Interestingly, in two of the team’s three losses, Benzing and his significant scoring punch were absent from the team sheet. When the team were missing Schröder, he was a huge component of the team’s success. Back in November, he articulated the challenges that present themselves when a team attempt to build consistency, while maintaining a certain level of quality through qualifying:“It’s not easy to get new guys in the national team who weren’t there last summer all together on the same page and to get good games against good teams,” Benzing told basketball.de. “Every team in Europe and in the world is playing good basketball; there is no easy opponent anymore.”“I think that we played really good in qualification. It was not easy for us but also for other teams.” The most impactful mainstay for the German side was Ismet Akpinar, who – along with Karsten Tadda and Bastian Doreth – donned the uniform for all twelve games, averaging 7.2 points per game and 37.1% from beyond the arc. The play of the promising 23-year-old guard buoyed the team consistently as the roster rotated around him throughout both rounds.One of the more romantic stories over the course of qualification is the performance and growth of 27-year-old forward Maxi Kleber, who reaped the rewards from the international platform to showcase what he can do at a high level, while earning himself a call up to the NBA. After going undrafted back in 2014, Kleber excelled for teams such as Bayern Munich in Germany and when he featured in the qualifiers, he continued that form during a period that aligned with his breakout for the Dallas Mavericks, where he has become a solid contributor. As the team battled for their place in the World Cup, he contributed with 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 11 points per contest. He impressed particularly when combining with Schröder, when the duo shared the court like they did in a tough battle against a strong Serbian side.A potential x-factor for this German side could be Johannes Thiemann – an immensely athletic forward who brought a great deal of energy to the front court in the ten games that he played. In just 14.2 minutes per game, he logged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, from 57% field goal percentage. Some teams boast players that can create a spark from the bench with highlight plays that galvanise his teammates; Thiemann does exactly this for Germany, as he proved when he completed a contested baseline dunk against Greece in 2018 that caused a few ripples in the online basketball community. While the team will be delighted by the positive displays shown from the personnel that have contributed so far, they will be ever more enthused by the potential to bolster the squad even further with players like Boston Celtics big Daniel Theis and small forward Paul Zipser. After spending most of his career representing various German teams, a 26-year-old Theis was picked up – seemingly out of nowhere – by Boston General Manager Danny Ainge to strengthen the NBA team’s frontcourt and has served the team effectively, which his national side hope will be the case for them too. He did not play a minute in in either qualifying round, but it would be safe to predict that he could play a part in the summer. Former Chicago Bulls forward Zipser played a single game in qualification and put up 15 points in only 16 minutes. Unfortunately however, he missed some key games due to a foot injury. It is expected that he will likely feature for the team going forward, offering skills and experience at the highest level when healthy.“Right now, I feel pretty good,” Zipser told FIBA last month, making his intentions clear. “Every week of practice and games, I feel better and more comfortable on the court. I’m happy. My foot’s happy right now. I missed playing for the national team a lot. I just wanted to get back with the team, with the coaches and enjoy my time on the court, get as many minutes as possible”Another potential development to look out for is the possible inclusion of physical centre Moritz Wagner and 19-year-old forward Isaac Bonga. As a by-product of a depleted Los Angeles Lakers roster, the developing Wagner – a Berlin native – has found an opportunity to start for the team on a few occasions and has recently become somewhat of a bright spot for them when called upon. Wagner did not take part in any qualification games, but has won gold with the German Under-18 FIBA Europe Championship in 2014 and led the team in scoring through the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. Similarly, Bonga has featured heavily in youth competition for the national side and has joined Wagner in trying to establish himself in Los Angeles, going back and forth from the G-League. In qualification, he was awarded only a handful of minutes of playing time.  Unlike many of the successful World Cup teams since the tournament’s formation, Germany don’t have a team of seasoned veterans with fully-defined roles, but they certainly have the talent. A strong showing would be seen as progress for this side but they have enough weapons to make some noise if they find their form early on. Success in this tournament and qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 would be major steps for the team.As Nowitzki told BIG magazine, “If everybody is healthy, then the DBB (German Basketball Federation) has assembled a great young group. It’s been fun observing the positive development”. There is a growing feeling of belief amongst this German side that on their day, they can compete with any other top-tier team in the world. Dirk is arguably the greatest European basketball player to lace them up and his crowning achievement for the national side was a bronze medal at the 2002 tournament. He is not alone in hoping that the group being ushered in to represent his country through this generational shift can surpass his triumphs.The fondly-remembered Nowitzki legacy is now complete and a new one may be underway, with Schröder & co ready to take the mantle.last_img read more