Former Iggy Winner. I used to be somebody special
- Aug 15, 2011
World Egg Day is celebrated every year on the second Friday in October and was first celebrated in 1996. Since then, people around the world have continued to celebrate eggs as an excellent, affordable source of high quality protein and their vital role in feeding people around the world.
Every day, egg farmers across the globe join together in their commitment to provide high-quality eggs to help feed the world’s hungry. Here at home, America’s egg farmers continue to balance their operations with firm commitments to the people they feed, the animals they care for and the environment we all share.
Syracuse Basketball: Will Tyus Battle reach immortality in year three? (itlh.com; Weisleder)
Tyus Battle, Syracuse Basketball’s prodigiously polished scorer who has been eulogized ahead of his junior year, may end up making it his finest.
When the 35th-best hooper in the country, Tyus Battle, pulled up to join the Syracuse basketball team in 2016, there were immediate and long-term expectations for the 6-foot-6 New Jersey native to exceed ordinariness before his tenure in central New York came to a close.
Battle, the fourth scoring option for a Syracuse team that failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2017, averaged 11 points on less than nine shots per game in year one.
Despite his mainstream scoring output, it was his clutch genes that made the departures of Tyler Lydon, John Gillon, and Andrew White in the summer of 2017 somewhat feasible for Orange fans. His 21 and 23-point outbursts in winning efforts against Boston College and No. 9 Virginia kept Syracuse’s NCAA Tournament aspirations alive until the waning moments of Selection Sunday.
Ahead of the 2017-18 season, the Orange were primed to flop following three key departures, and for the second-straight year, reach the NIT. In the eyes of adversity, Battle wasn’t in the mood to see Syracuse preach mediocrity for the second-straight season, but rather stun the nation as they did in 2016.
Year two saw plenty of drastic improvements and newfound opportunities for the sophomore leader.
Battle averaged nine more points per game, good for the third-most in the ACC (behind Marvin Bagley III and Jerome Robinson). 29 points on the road against both Georgetown and Boston College and 37 points at No. 23 Florida State are just three of the many instances in which Battle rose to and exceeded the call of duty as a sophomore.
2018 College Basketball Team Preview: #19 Syracuse Orange (defpen.com; Esquivel)
Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange are coming off an extremely up-and-down season. This seems to be the trend for the Orange as of recent years. This season, however, seems to be one that will feature far more ‘ups’ than ‘downs’ for Boeheim.
Syracuse finished 23-14 (8-10) last season with one of the worst offenses in the country- especially amongst the “power-6” conferences. Their points per game ranked 317th in the nation, FG% at 318th, and 3-point% at 328th nationwide.
The outlook for the Orange begins with their defense. This unit ranked 10th in opponents’ PPG and 5th in opponents’ FG%. That’s right, Boeheim’s 2-3 zone is still thriving and shows no signs of weakening. Syracuse is a squad with exceptional length and athleticism, allowing them to swallow up ground for closeouts at a ferocious rate.
- Tyus Battle
- Oshae Brissett
- Franklin Howard
- Paschal Chukwu
These are the 9 largest arenas in college basketball | NCAA.com (ncaa.com; Sequin)
Syracuse's basketball arena is the biggest by a landslide, coming in first place with 34,616 seats. The huge space makes more sense once you know that the Orange football and lacrosse teams also play there — and the capacity is increased to 49,262 for those games. Syracuse fans have a new reason to get excited about the massive arena that originally opened in 1980 — renovations coming in the next few years include a new roof, scoreboard and air conditioning.
2. Rupp Arena, Kentucky | 23,000 seats
Fixer says he made cash payment in college hoops scheme (PS; AP)
A government witness at a college basketball corruption trial testified Thursday that he made a secret $40,000 payment to the inner circle of a North Carolina State recruit through an assistant coach at the school.
Testifying in federal court in Manhattan, self-described recruitment facilitator Thomas "T.J." Gassnola told a jury he delivered the money in cash to the coach, Orlando Early, on a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2015. He said the coach told him he was going to give it to a personal trainer for highly-touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as a way to get it to Smith's family.
Business manager Christian Dawkins, former amateur coach Merl Code and former Adidas executive James Gatto have pleaded not guilty to defrauding various colleges by concealing the use of under-the-table payments of up to $100,000 from Adidas in exchange for commitments to programs that were seen as a path to big NBA paydays. Their lawyers haven't disputed payments were arranged in violation of NCAA rules, but they argue the schools never suffered any harm.
Gassnola, 46, a former Adidas consultant who has pleaded guilty, continued to drop some notable names in basketball during his second day on the witness stand.
He said that while working under the direction of Gatto, he paid out $15,000 in cash in 2015 to try to lure DeAndre Ayton to an Adidas school only to see him sign with Nike-sponsored Arizona. Ayton attended Arizona for his freshman season before being drafted No. 1 in the NBA by the Phoenix Suns.
He also testified about meeting with the mother of McDonald's All-American Billy Preston in a hotel room in 2016 to bring him to Kansas for $90,000, warning her off of other recruiters who were less discrete about the money.
"If the payments weren't well concealed," he explained to the jury, "Kansas would lose their eligibility, people would lose jobs, and Kansas could have sanctions laid on them from the NCAA."
Mark Zeigler: College basketball's dirty laundry being aired, but will NCAA clean it? (fltimes.com; Zeigler)
The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Courthouse in the Southern District of New York is located on Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan.
Inside the wood-paneled courtroom of Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the first of three trials is underway that will expose what one federal official called "the dark underbelly of college basketball." Already, there has been explosive testimony about payments to the families of top prospects —by sneaker companies, by pro agents, by AAU clubs, by high school coaches, by college coaches —in direct violation of the NCAA's sacred amateurism rules.
"This," U.S. Attorney Eli Mark told the jury, "is what corruption in college basketball looks like."
But if you really want to take the sport's pulse, if you really want to know whether the ripples from the boulder dropped in the pond are reaching the shore, if you really want to gauge the level of fear coursing through athletic departments across the country, the best place to start is not Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.
It's Tucson, Ariz.
The case in New York has already ensnared longtime Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson, whose nickname now holds dual meaning after being "booked" last year on an array of bribery, fraud and corruption charges. His trial is expected to begin in the spring, with assistants from other prominent programs indicted following a massive FBI probe using wire taps and confidential informants.
And who knows what secrets Book might spill, especially since, as his wife recently told Stadium, he feels abandoned by his former employer —"just thrown out with the trash."
ACC Roundup - Another Wake Defection, An Interesting Clemson Pickup (duekbasketballreport.com; King)
Aside from the Adidas trial news, there was some other ACC news worthy of note this week.
First of all, Wake Forest lost another player as Melo Eggleston opted to bail on the Deacs on Wednesday. Coach Danny Manning had this to say: “Across the board, my mindset is, if you don’t want to be here, then fine, don’t be here. And that was the decision that he made.”
Seems kind of cold but okay. It’s his program, at least for now.
He’s the seventh player to leave Manning’s program with eligibility since February leaving the Deacs with just three experienced players back: Brandon Childress, Chaundee Brown and Olivier Sarr. That’s really tough in the ACC.
Wake’s players seem confident nonetheless so we’ll see.
This could be a major challenge for, well, every ACC team: the conference may schedule games really, really early next year. Conference games in early November? TV uber alles.
One of the teams that really bears watching is Virginia Tech. Buzz Williams has turned his program into a formidable presence. It’s not at the level of Duke, UNC or Virginia, but it has moved into the second tier and can certainly beat anyone at home and most teams on the road. They’re legit.
Finally, Clemson got a commitment. It wouldn’t normally be that big of a deal but this is interesting.
Al-Amir Dawes is a 6-2 combo guard. So far no big deal.
But atypically for Clemson he attends the Patrick School. Formerly known as St. Patrick’s, located in Elizabeth New Jersey, the school has a huge basketball history. Among it’s alum: Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Samuel Dalembert, Al Harrington, Dexter Strickland and DeAndre’ Bembry.
Virginia Basketball returns a lot of experience for next season (streakuingthelawn.com; Neckel)
Despite its finish, the 2017-18 campaign was a special season for Virginia Cavaliersbasketball. The Hoos went 31-3 and were ranked #1 in the country. Records were set, not just for Virginia, but within the ACC as a whole. Heading into the 2018-2019 season, the Hoos still stand to be in good shape as they look to defend their ACC title and make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia only loses Devon Hall, Nigel Johnson, and Isaiah Wilkins to graduation and no players transferred out or went to the NBA. This means that the Hoos return 66.7% of the points from last season, as well as 62.1% of minutes.
These figures stack up well compared to the rest of the ACC. Looking at the chart below, only Syracuse, VT and BC return more points than UVA. Of those three, Syracuse and BC finished in the bottom half of the conference, while Virginia Tech finished a strong 10-8 and, of course, was one of just three teams to beat Virginia last year.
Paul Woody: Virginia Tech's Robinson wears No. 5, gives 1st-class effort (roanoke.com; Woody)
To everyone in the Virginia Tech basketball program, Justin Robinson is known simply as “5,” his uniform number.
“Five, if I may call him that,” a question began Thursday during the Hokies’ media day.
“You can,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “He wears a necklace now [with the No. 5], it’s all kind of stuff. He’ll have a tattoo, probably, before it’s over.”
“Five,” aka Robinson, has been instrumental in the improvement of Virginia Tech basketball. The year before he arrived, the Hokies suffered through an 11-22 season, 2-16 in the ACC. Since his arrival from St. James School in Hagerstown, Md., Virginia Tech is 63-38 overall, 30-24 in the ACC, has an NIT appearance and consecutive NCAA appearances.
“I think his growth as a player parallels the growth of our program,” Williams said.
And then, without consulting a stat sheet, Williams said, “He’s played 101 games, started 85, averaged over 10½ points throughout his career. He’s played 28.4 minutes (per game) in his career. He was second in the best league in the country in assists last year. Shot 40 percent from 3. All that is really, really hard to do.”
Michigan coach John Beilein has a simple message to all of college basketball's cheaters: 'Get the heck out of the game' (cbssports.com; Parrish)
Thursday's conversations at Big Ten media day were mostly centered on basketball -- among them discussions about Michigan State being picked to repeat as league champs despite losing two lottery picks, about Carsen Edwards going from a sub-100 prospect to arguably the best guard in the country, about Minnesota having the roster necessary for a nice bounce-back season, so and so forth.
But there was still a federal trial rooted in corruption within the sport taking place 800 miles east at literally the same time the conference's 14 coaches were taking questions from various media members. So it was always going to come up. And, I thought, Michigan's John Beilein had the most direct message for the men who are either already engulfed in scandal or soon will be.
"If you're not going to follow these rules, get the heck out of the game," Beilein said during an interview I conducted with him for CBS Sports HQinside the Lambert B Room here at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. "We'll survive."
Fake affairs, Charger-driving great grandmas, $300K expense accounts: Inside a routine day at hoops trial (yahoo.com; Wetzel)
The most absurd moment of a most absurd day at the federal fraud case featuring one of college basketball’s most absurd characters had to be the following … well, actually, there are many contenders.
Maybe it was when Billy Preston wrecked his Dodge Charger on the campus of the University of Kansas. The fact a top incoming basketball recruit was driving such a car caused concern with the KU compliance office, which investigated who owned the vehicle.
Text messages later revealed Preston’s mother Nicole Player bragging about buying the car for her son, but, for whatever reason (and you can probably guess), the car was, according to statements by defense attorney Mike Schachter, registered with “Nicole Player’s recently deceased grandmother” who lived in Florida.
Wait, a great grandmother who drove a Dodge Charger? That’s one cool great grandmother.
“The University of Kansas was satisfied with that,” Schachter said.
Actually, maybe that wasn’t the craziest moment. It was what came next. That’s when in the process of looking into the car, KU discovered a wire transfer to Player that came from a man named T.J. Gassnola. Player lived in Euless, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Gassnola hailed from Ludlow, Massachusetts, a little town a couple hours west of Boston.
There appeared to be no good reason for this exchange – and there wasn’t, at least by NCAA standards. Gassnola, a member of Adidas’ so-called “Black Ops” group and AAU team owner, detailed from the witness stand how he had plied Player with $89,000 over the course of nearly a year, including a $30,000 cash payout in a New York hotel room and another $20,000 brick delivered while in Las Vegas.
At trial looking into college basketball corruption, witness alleges $60K payment by Maryland booster to 5-star recruit's guardian (baltimoresun.com; Markus)
A former Adidas consultant who was called as a government witness at a New York trial looking into college basketball corruption testified in court Thursday that a Maryland booster paid the guardian of former five-star prospect Silvio De Sousa $60,000 and requested it was paid back for De Sousa to get out of his possible commitment to the Terps and attend Kansas, according to Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel.
The consultant turned government witness, T.J. Gassnola, has been linked to several former high-profile recruits, including former Arizona star DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. Fenny Falmagne, who has been the guardian for both De Sousa, currently a sophomore at Kansas, and current Maryland player Bruno Fernando, has denied he has received any payments.
North Carolina's Sterling Manley smiles during the team's NCAA college basketball media day in Chapel Hill
Carolina notebook: Big men fueled by last season, Johnson finally pain-free, Black's unique skillset (greensboro.com; Wilkerson-New)
The biggest question facing North Carolina right now is the same one that the Tar Heels have been looking to solve for the past year.
II’d like somebody to definitely establish that they’re the big guy that’s going to get the most time on the floor,” Carolina coach Roy Williams said at the team's media day today. “I’d really like somebody to step up and say, ‘I’m the best and show it every day.’”
Of the Tar Heels’ four true post players, two likely candidates — Garrison Brooks and Sterling Manley — are competing for top billing. Whether Williams starts a traditional center is a question in itself, as he hinted at the possibility that he could again play small, with Luke Maye in the fifth spot.
Brooks, who averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds last season, and Manley, who chipped in 5.4 points and 3.6 rebounds, are looking to make that decision by finding the consistency that eluded them last season.
That put the post duo to work in the weight room this summer, where Williams praised them for their efforts.
“I just wanted to work; I just want to get better,” Brooks said. “We didn’t want to be the same as last year, (when) people considered we couldn’t score it that well, so we just got better.”
40 years behind a bar: What Pancho Stivers has seen at Shifty's in Syracuse (PS; Cazentre)
Next time you see John "Pancho" Stivers at Shifty's Bar & Grill, you can buy him a beer instead of buying one from him.
Stivers recently retired from his job as a bartender at Shifty's. He started that gig back in 1978.
That makes 40 years behind the well worn bar at that classic Syracuse neighborhood joint at 1401 Burnet Ave.
The stolen name behind Shifty's Bar and Grill: What's in a Name?
Although Shifty's Bar and Grill has changed hands four times since 1969, the new owners never wanted to the change the name.
The owners changed. "I outlasted most of them" he says.
Clothing fashions and hairstyles changed. "You should have seen my afro," he says.
The kitchen and restrooms changed. "Yeah, that old men's room was small, real small," he says.
Drinks changed. "I served a lot of Harvey Wallbangers back in the day," he says. "Kept that bottle of Galliano right behind the bar."
What didn't change over the years: The tin ceiling. Open Mic Night. Games of pool. The customers. "You get people in here from every income level, every age group, every education level," Stivers says. "Always been that way."
And for 40 years, you could count on John "Pancho" Stivers behind the bar.