Duke wins in R.J. Barrett’s debut, Rams hold their own

Mississauga — There was the lady of a certain age wearing Duke Blue Devils tights with her elegant black heels. There was the concession stand selling Duke gear — $32 T-shirts anyone? – that was lined up well before the opening tip.

There was a Blue Devils travelling party that required three busses for 14 players and a small army of support staff to get them from their waterfront hotel to the sold-out Paramount Fine Food Centre and a large army of Duke fans waiting for them when they arrived.

There was a legend, Mike Krzyzewski, on the bench, presiding over a roster full of projected lottery picks, including local hero, scoring machine R.J. Barrett and freshman running mate Zion Williamson, the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder who – inexplicably – can fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

There was no one wearing Ryerson Rams tights with their heels – just guessing.

And the Rams came in one bus and their fans – well, it was hard to find them amid the Dukies in the crowd. And while Ryerson head coach Roy Rana has a world championship gold medal to his name, the next NBA player he coaches at the downtown Toronto school will be the first.

But after the anthems and the hype and the player introductions it was still 94-feet and two baskets and the Rams acquitted themselves quite well against Duke, projected as a top contender for the national championship next March.

Duke won 86-67, though not as easily as the score suggested in the first installment of their first-ever Canadian Tour which continues Friday night against University of Toronto and Sunday in Montreal against McGill.

The Rams led after the first quarter and were still on Duke’s heels midway through the second quarter before Duke opened up some …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Utah football’s return men look to continue tradition of excellence

SALT LAKE CITY — What traits make for a great return man?

According to Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah, who doubles as the co-special teams coordinator — his focus is the return units, both for punts and kickoffs — there are many.

Fearlessness is one. Spatial awareness. The ability to get vertical quickly. A touch of crazy doesn’t hurt and neither does irrational confidence.

“A good returner is absolutely fearless,” said Shah. “He will run into the fire. When everyone else would wave for a fair catch, he’s running into the fire.

“You need good spatial awareness. Good returners get vertical quickly. Those are some of the things I have seen that consistently make a returner special.”

Watch Britain Covey make some magic with this punt return. Utah scored on the next play. pic.twitter.com/5WPJafwWB1

— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 25, 2015

Of all of the traits that are important for a returner to possess, none, according to Shah, is more important than the ability to make the first man miss.

“Great returners can always make the first defender miss,” said Shah. “All the time. All the time. I’ve coached some good ones, and every one of them has been the same. They believe the first guy will never get them and they make him miss.”

Shah would know. Since joining the Utes in 2012, he has witnessed greatness first hand on more than one occasion.

“I’ve coached a couple of good kids,” Shah said. “I’ve coached some All-American caliber players, All Pac-12 kids.”

To his point, in 2012 Utah wide receiver Reggie Dunn became the first Ute designated a First Team All Pac-12 player as a returner.

“Great returners can always make the first defender miss.”

Utah cornerbacks coach and co-special teams coordinator Sharreiff Shah

Dunn was electric that year as a kick returner, returning ten kickoffs for …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Acuna hit by Urena’s first pitch; Braves, Marlins brawl

ATLANTA — Ronald Acuna Jr.’s streak of leadoff homers in three straight games ended when the Marlins’ Jose Urena hit him with his first pitch, triggering a melee that led to benches and bullpens for Atlanta and Miami emptying twice.

Urena and Braves manager Brian Snitker were ejected. Snitker had angry words for the pitcher as he led the first exodus from Atlanta’s dugout toward the mound.

Urena’s fastball hit Acuna’s left elbow, leaving Acuna in obvious pain. Trainer George Poulis hovered over Acuna, who sat on the ground near the batter’s box while players swarmed near the mound.

Order appeared to be restored until Acuna walked near the mound on his path to first base, took off a protective wrap and tossed it toward the mound. That led to players again spilling out of both dugouts and bullpens. No punches were thrown.

Acuna remained in the game to run the bases but left the game in the top of the second, walking off the field after taking his position in left field. There was no immediate word on his possible injury.

Eileser Hernandez replaced Urena.

…read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Acuna hit by Urena’s first pitch; Braves, Marlins brawl

ATLANTA — Ronald Acuna Jr.’s streak of leadoff homers in three straight games ended when the Marlins’ Jose Urena hit him with his first pitch, triggering a melee that led to benches and bullpens for Atlanta and Miami emptying twice.

Urena and Braves manager Brian Snitker were ejected. Snitker had angry words for the pitcher as he led the first exodus from Atlanta’s dugout toward the mound.

Urena’s fastball hit Acuna’s left elbow, leaving Acuna in obvious pain. Trainer George Poulis hovered over Acuna, who sat on the ground near the batter’s box while players swarmed near the mound.

Order appeared to be restored until Acuna walked near the mound on his path to first base, took off a protective wrap and tossed it toward the mound. That led to players again spilling out of both dugouts and bullpens. No punches were thrown.

Acuna remained in the game to run the bases but left the game in the top of the second, walking off the field after taking his position in left field. There was no immediate word on his possible injury.

Eileser Hernandez replaced Urena.

…read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca