Randolph, Cooper wrapping up careers with Tide

first_imgTUSCALOOSA – An era of Alabama basketball is coming to an end.Back in 2011, Alabama signed a top-10 recruiting class which featured five players who were expected to be the building blocks for the Crimson Tide under Anthony Grant.Three of those players — Trevor Lacey, Nick Jacobs and Moussa Gueye — have since moved on with Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper serving as the two remaining members from the highly-touted group of prospects.The duo, along with former walk-on turned scholarship player Dakota Slaughter, will be honored for Senior Night on Tuesday prior to Alabama’s matchup with Ole Miss. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.“It’s just a great opportunity to play for your home state, to try to represent where you’re from,” Randolph said Monday. “It’s a good feeling to be able to play here. I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve tried to leave as best of a legacy as we could. We (Rodney Cooper and I) decided to come here together. We played AAU ball together. Coaches recruited us and we just felt like it was the best place for us.”Randolph leads Alabama in scoring (14.8 ppg), assists (2.4 apg), steals (1.3) and minutes (35.1 mpg). Entering Tuesday’s contest, the Madison, Ala., native ranks fourth in the SEC in minutes per game, fifth in field goal percentage (.485) sixth in free throw percentage (.800) and 10th in scoring.The Tide’s senior captain became the program’s first ever Academic All-American, earning second-team honors last Thursday. Randolph said it was a goal he set before he signed with Alabama. Grant praised Randolph for the feat.“I think it speaks volumes for what he’s been able to accomplish over his four years, not only as a player, but in the classroom,” Grant said. “I think he’s only gotten better in his time here. He’s certainly been a tremendously valuable asset to our team, for his entire career.”Both Cooper and Randolph have scored over 1,000 points in their careers.Cooper is third on the team with 10.4 ppg and leads the Tide in threes made (40) and threes attempted (102). He also ranks second in 3-point shooting percentage (39.2 percent).“I feel like it’s a blessing to play here,” Cooper said. “Like Levi said, we just want to leave our legacy here. (We want) to place a footprint on this university. It’s just a blessing to have this opportunity.”Slaughter arrived at Alabama from Indiana. He came on an academic scholarship, but decided he wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. Slaughter walked on during his freshman season before eventually earning a scholarship as a junior.“He’s been an integral part of our team, from just what he provides for us on a daily basis,” Grant said. “He has character, leadership and he’s been a tremendous asset to our team.” Alabama vs. Ole Miss WHEN: 6 p.m. TuesdayWHERE: Coleman Coliseum, TuscaloosaRECORDS: Alabama 17-12, 7-9 SEC, Ole Miss 19-10, 10-6 SEC.ON THE AIR: TV — SEC Network. Radio — FM- 95.5.ALABAMA LINEUP: G Retin Obasohan 6-1, Jr., 5.4 ppg., 2.6 rpg; G Levi Randolph, 6-5, Sr., 14.8 ppg., 5.0 rpg.; G Rodney Cooper, 6-6, Sr., 10.4 ppg., 3.8 rpg.; F Riley Norris, 6-7, Fr., 4.9 ppg., 4.2 rpg; C Jimmie Taylor, 6-10, So., 4.8 ppg., 4.7 rpg.OLE MISS: G Stefan Moody, 5-10, Jr., 6.8 ppg., 4.8 rpg; G Jarvis Summers, 6-3, Sr., 12.7 ppg., 1.9 rpg; G Martavious Newby, 6-3, Jr., 3.8 ppg., 5.1 rpg.; F Sebastian Saiz, 6-9, So., 7.6 ppg., 5.4 rpg.; F M.J. Rhett, 6-9, Sr., 6.8 ppg., 4.8 rpg.NOTEWORTHY: Alabama coach Anthony Grant announced Monday that forward Shannon Hale would miss the remainder of the season. Grant said Hale will have foot surgery on Friday. … Tuesday is Senior Night for Alabama. Seniors Levi Randolph, Rodney Cooper and Dakota Slaughter will be honored before the game. … Anthony Grant is coaching in his 200th game at Alabama when the Tide takes on Ole Miss. He owns a record of 116-83 (.583) during his time with the Tide. … Alabama has won six of the last seven meetingslast_img read more

Hall of Fame coach John Thompson has surgery

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr. had intestinal surgery less than two weeks ago, and the school says he is recovering “beautifully.”Georgetown said in a statement Sunday the 74-year-old Hall of Famer who led the Hoyas to the 1984 national title had corrective surgery for a benign twisted intestine.The school adds that Thompson is “unfortunately unable to travel extensively for the next few weeks. Otherwise, he would be in his favorite spot on the sidelines for March Madness.”Thompson, the father of current Georgetown coach John Thompson III, wasn’t at the Big East Tournament this week, an event he has worked for Westwood One as a radio analyst. The Hoyas lost in the semifinals but are considered a sure at-large pick for the NCAA Tournament.Thompson had a 596-239 record in 27 seasons at Georgetown, reaching the NCAA Tournament 20 times. He retired during the 1998-99 season and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2006.last_img read more

Smith: There’s work to do, but USC men’s basketball appears headed in right direction

first_imgCOLUMBIA – Frank Martin isn’t one to play the “what if” game.But, after leading the University of South Carolina men’s basketball team to a 17-16 record — the Gamecocks’ first winning season since 2008-09 — you can’t blame him for at least pointing out the positives of his team’s 2014-15 journey.While doing so, however, there were no celebrations.Martin made it clear there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done before the program reaches the prominence he expects.“I’m ecstatic with our guys,” Martin said. “I’m so happy with our staff. I so happy with our fans. I’m so happy with where our program is.”Martin points out a few facts to back up his point. While conceding his squad did not have enough victories to be part of the NCAA or NIT fields, the resume was there if the team had put one or two more check marks in the win column.“Our resume stood pretty strong versus the resumes of some who did get postseason play,” Martin said. “If you compare numbers, when you take everything into consideration — top 30 strength of schedule in the country, five wins versus the top 50, six wins versus NCAA Tournament teams, winning record.“In an unbalanced conference where everyone doesn’t play the same teams, we played by far the strongest schedule in the SEC.”The Gamecocks managed that without having a player on their roster who has been part of a college team with a winning record.USC struggled to close out games it was in position to win, especially on the road.Martin had other problems. Only one member of his freshman class, point guard Marcus Stroman, played significantly.Shooting guard TeMarcus Blanton missed the season because of a hip injury, and swingman Shamiek Sheppard had knee surgery before the season.Although he played in a few games, Sheppard made little impact. He and sophomore forward Demetrius Henry were suspended late in the season, and it is doubtful as to whether they will be allowed to return to the roster.Sophomore Sindarius Thornwell, considered the team’s top player, competed despite tendinitis in both knees.The team appeared to hit its stride late in the season. It advanced to the third round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the second consecutive year.With the exception of point guard Tyrone Johnson, the key players return and will be joined by Spring Valley High School guard P.J. Dozier, a McDonald’s All-American, and top 100 prospect Chris Silva, a 6-foot-8 forward.Martin remains on the recruiting trail with the hope of adding one or two more players.“There’s two windows I’m not concerned about but we need to address in recruiting,” Martin said. “That’s our overall athleticism and making perimeter shots.“I think the guys on the team, when we refocused and re-engaged to doing the things we needed to do, I think you saw Duane (Notice) starting to shoot the ball better like he did early in the year. I think you saw Sindarius starting to shoot the ball like he did during his freshman year.”Junior Michael Carrera, who at 6-5 remains a player without a position, was as solid as any USC player down the stretch. He became a force on the boards and displayed the ability to make mid-range jumpers. Carrera even made a few 3-point shots, although that is not his forte.Center Laimonus Chatkevicius has a long way to go but was more than serviceable.The program still has work to do. But erasing more than 30 years of mediocrity takes time.With athletics director Ray Tanner’s backing, it appears Martin will get the time needed to resurrect the Gamecocks.While the journey will have more peaks and valleys, Martin seems determined to see it through.That’s a good thing for Carolina basketball as it presents the best option for it to become relevant in both the SEC and on a national stage.Follow Smith on Twitter @willie_t_smith.last_img read more

UK lands QB commit for ’16 class

first_imgKentucky has landed a quarterback in its 2016 recruiting class.Gunnar Hoak, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound quarterback from Dublin, Ohio, announced via his Twitter account Sunday that he has committed to Kentucky, becoming the 16th public commit to date in the Wildcats’ 2016 class.“It’s just a great situation,” Hoak told 247Sports. “With them only having two quarterbacks on the roster and they didn’t take a guy in the 2015 class.”As a junior, Hoak reportedly threw for more than 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2014.He is a three-star prospect and the nation’s No. 55 overall quarterback in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, which combine the various recruiting networks.Coach: Kentucky got a steal in 2016 QB commitTruly blessed to say I have verbally committed to The University of Kentucky #SEC#BBN#ALLIN pic.twitter.com/U68seAB1w4— Gunnar Hoak (@GunnarHoak12) April 19, 2015[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMo7EtzXHLY&w=560&h=315%5DFour Downs | Wrapping UK football’s big springlast_img read more

Rebels get stomped by Alabama in series finale

first_imgOXFORD – Mike Bianco grinned, then answered the question in a deeply sarcastic tone.“Yes,” he said after his team swept Alabama in Saturday’s doubleheader. “This is it. We turned a corner.”Ole Miss’ coach has been asked the question dozens of times this season – after winning two in a row against Vanderbilt, after taking a series from Florida: Have you finally turned a corner? Bianco knows his team better than to really say yes.Sunday proved why. The Rebels (23-22, 10-11 SEC) came out flat, getting stomped 13-4 in the series finale against Alabama (23-20, 8-13) at Swayze Field as the season-long struggle to find consistency – and a steady game three starter – continues.Bianco said he’ll look into other options to start next Sunday’s game at Missouri after freshman Will Stokes was yanked just two outs into the first inning.“He just never got out of the gates,” Bianco said. “He just wasn’t ready to go. It’s unfortunate.”The right hander hit the first batter he faced, allowed the next to single and the third to double to bring home the game’s first run with no outs in the inning.Stokes got Alabama’s Cody Henry to ground into the first out, but his dribbler plated another run. Crimson Tide right fielder Casey Hughston broke open the inning two pitches later, blasting a two-run home run to deep right field.“To every team, that (first inning) would deflate you,” said Jacob Waguespack, who relieved Stokes in the first. “We just have to be better.”Waguespack settled things down for a while, working a scoreless second and third before allowing a run in the fourth. He gave up four hits in three innings of relief.The Rebels also clawed back briefly offensively.Austin Knight brought Ole Miss within two of Alabama’s lead in the second with a two-run homer. The senior catcher hit his first career home run in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.Knight paced the Rebels offensively, going 3-for-3.“He looks terrific,” Bianco said. “We’re starting to swing it better throughout the lineup, certainly Austin is one of those guys.”After Alabama scored on a sacrifice fly in the fourth, J.B. Woodman got the Rebels back within two after lifting a solo shot to right field.But the Crimson Tide buried the Rebels behind a six-run, six-hit seventh inning to stretch their lead from 6-3 to 12-3.“We ran out of juice on the mound,” Bianco said.Contact Riley Blevins at rblevins@jackson.gannett.com. Follow @Riley_Blevins on Twitter.last_img read more

Five-run sixth sends Tide softball’s season to brink

first_imgAlabama infielder Marisa Runyon strikes out with the bases loaded during Friday’s NCAA Super Regional softball game against Oklahoma on Friday in Tuscaloosa.Alabama infielder Marisa Runyon strikes out with the bases loaded during Friday’s NCAA Super Regional softball game against Oklahoma on Friday in Tuscaloosa.TUSCALOOSA – Alexis Osorio was her normal lights-out self through the first five innings Friday afternoon.Then, as night fell over Rhoads Stadium and the stadium lights came on, Oklahoma’s bats came alive just in time.Sooners senior slugger Lauren Chamberlain, the NCAA’s all-time home-run leader, added to her career total with a two-run bomb in the top of the sixth to spark a five-run frame and Oklahoma rallied for a 5-2 victory Friday night in the first game of the Tuscaloosa Super Regional.“She did a good job of holding herself up for sure, and she held her composure,” Chamberlain said of Osorio. “But I think it’s just knowing the game, and the later it gets, it gets tougher for a pitcher.”In all, Osorio surrendered five earned runs on four hits in the sixth for her worst single inning of her rookie season. It’s the most Osorio has given up in an inning since allowing four in the fourth inning of an 11-5 loss to Texas A&M on March 29. Osorio also gave up four in the third inning against Stanford early in the season.“You’ve got to stop the bleeding, because five runs is a big inning to me, and usually the team that has a big inning is going to end up winning,” Crimson Tide coach Patrick Murphy said. “You can’t give up five to a good team like that.”It was Osorio’s first loss since a 3-2 defeat April 23 against Tennessee.“She’ll come back bigger and better tomorrow (today),” Murphy said.If Alabama (45-13) is going to make its third straight Women’s College World Series, it must win Game 2, scheduled for 4 p.m. today, and then take the winner-take-all Game 3, tentatively set for 7 p.m. later today.“We were starting to run out of outs, and you could feel that, but we were really trying to catch the code on Osorio,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “I felt like I was at the College World Series, without question, (with) this atmosphere and intensity. It was fun though.”Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time the Tide will face this sort of situation, having lost to Stanford 5-2 in the first game of the 2011 Super Regional before winning both Friday games, 10-0 and 1-0.“We told them exactly what happened (against Stanford) and the next day we came out with a big crowd, everybody was behind us, we stayed out all day long, and we won two games” Murphy said. “It was an awesome day. And that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow. We’re going to stay out here as long as we need to and win two games.”Unflappable throughout much of her freshman season, Osorio had a no-hitter going into the sixth after mowing through Oklahoma’s lineup the first two times up.But that third round did her in.Following a pinch-hit single by leadoff hitter Callie Parsons for the Sooners’ first hit of the night, Chamberlain turned on a 2-0 pitch and sent it screaming over the left-field wall to tie the game at 2-2.“She had me the first two, and I was just thinking, ‘She’s got to be getting tired at some point,’” Chamberlain said, “and I tried to lay off the balls, but I knew too that she was going to come and bring me my pitch.”The Sooners (49-7) kept coming as slugger Shelby Pendley walked on five pitches, and Erin Miller reached on a bunt single before the first out on a sacrifice bunt moved both in scoring position.Osorio’s counterpart in the circle, Oklahoma freshman ace Paige Parker, helped her own cause with an RBI sacrifice to center for the 3-2 lead.After surrendering a pair of doubles to the first three Alabama batters, including an RBI double by Jadyn Spencer in the bottom of the first, and a solo home run to Haylie McCleney in the third, Parker settled down.“We wanted to jump out on them early, and it was good we showed a sense of urgency in the first inning,” McCleney said. “(But) we should have done more in the early innings and not waited until the seventh to get something going.”Parker earned the win by allowing just a single walk between the fourth and sixth innings before Alabama fought back in the bottom of the seventh.Following a leadoff single from Tide senior Danielle Richard, Alabama loaded the bases with a two-out walk to McCleney on four pitches and a hit-by-pitch for Spencer.But even with leading home-run hitter Marisa Runyon up to bat, representing the potential game-winning run, Parker battled through a nine-pitch at bat before catching Runyon swinging to end the threat, and the game.“Most of the time she’s going to come through, and she battled, and it was just a good fight at the end,” Murphy said of Runyon. “I wish we would have done that the last three innings instead of just the last inning.” No. 6 seed Alabama (45-13) vs. No. 11 seed Oklahoma (49-7) WHEN: 4 p.m. today, and then at 7 p.m. if necessaryWHERE: Rhoads Stadium, TuscaloosaON THE AIR: TV — (Game 2) ESPN; (Game 3 if necessary) ESPN2NOTEWORTHY: A third inning solo homer by Haylie McCleney, made her the first Tide player since Amanda Locke in 2012 to hit a home run in four straight games. All five of McCleney’s hits so far in the NCAA Tournament have been home runs. … Oklahoma senior infielder Lauren Chamberlain broke the NCAA career home run record this season on April 30 with her 91st career homer against North Texas. This breaks Stacey Nuveman’s long-standing record of 90, which was set 13 years ago. Chamberlain had a two-run homer against Alabama on Friday to increase her total of 21 on the season. … Oklahoma freshman Paige Parker is a top three finalist for freshman of the year and leads the pitching staff with a 28-5 record.Go Mobile, Montgomery! Download our apps herelast_img read more

Ole Miss’ Jones among strongest players in country, says NFL.com

first_imgD.J. Jones warms up before the Grove BowlD.J. Jones warms up before the Grove BowlOXFORD – D.J. Jones hasn’t played a single snap at Ole Miss – or in any Division-I football game, for that matter – but that didn’t stop him from being tabbed as one of the strongest players in the nation. Ole Miss’ defensive tackle was listed as the 14th strongest player in college football by NFL.com. NFL.com writer Chase Goodbread’s reasoning for Jones making the cut despite no game experience was his 440 pound bench press max and his 650-pound squat. Jones also claims a 330-pound clean max. It’s impressive, for sure, but even more so when considering Jones has only spent a few months in a SEC-level strength and conditioning program. The 6-foot, 330-pounder signed with Ole Miss last December out of East Mississippi Community College, and he’s been impressing in more than just the weight room since he arrived in Oxford. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze sang Jones’ praises throughout spring practice, lauding the big-bodied tackle for his rare combination of size, strength and athleticism. “That’s one athletic dude,” Freeze told The Clarion-Ledger during spring. “He’s very, very quick twitched. He’ll help us get better.”You can see NFL.com’s complete list here, which has Baylor defensive lineman Andrew Billings listed as the strongest player in the nation. Contact Riley Blevins at rblevins@jackson.gannett.com. Follow @Riley_Blevins on Twitter.last_img read more

Tony Stewart gave Justin Wilson’s family his private plane

first_img. @TonyStewart words can’t describe how thankful the @IndyCar community is for your generosity in helping JWs family. #RacingFamily thanks u— Beccy Hunter-Reay (@BeccyGordon) August 24, 2015 IndyCar driver Justin Wilson died on Monday after a piece of debris struck him during the race at Pocono Raceway. It was a tragic loss that sent shock waves through the racing community, and there’s since been an outpouring of support to Wilson’s family in the aftermath.One of those reaching out was NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. Stewart donated his private jet to Wilson’s family so they could fly to Lehigh Valley Health Network Cedar Crest Hospital and be with James as he lay in critical condition.Stewart’s act only came to light when IndyCar racer Graham Rahal tweeted about it: .@TonyStewart, we (INDYCAR family) can’t thank u enough for donating your plane for JWs family. #racingfamily— Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan) August 24, 2015center_img .@TonyStewart, you’re a hell of a man for donating your plane for JWs family. Hats off to you, you’re a very generous human being! 👍🏻— Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal) August 24, 2015last_img read more

George Rogers honored with a bronze statue outside Williams-Brice

first_imgThe statue of Heisman Trophy winner and former Gamecock running back George Rogers is unveiled on the front corner of Springs Brooks Plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium before the home opener against the Kentucky Wildcats in Columbia on Saturday, September 12, 2015.The statue of Heisman Trophy winner and former Gamecock running back George Rogers is unveiled on the front corner of Springs Brooks Plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium before the home opener against the Kentucky Wildcats in Columbia on Saturday, September 12, 2015.COLUMBIA — Countless dignitaries, teammates and friends saluted George Rogers prior to Saturday’s Southeastern Conference game against Kentucky.Because, after years of discussion, a project that was a passion of many became reality when a statue of the Gamecocks only Heisman Trophy winner was unveiled.“Welcome to the Springs Brooks Plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium, new home of George Rogers,” USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner said as he opened the ceremony.Many were thanked during the ceremony that took place on the northwest side of the stadium.The most succinct of all those who addressed the crowd, however, was Rogers who thanked his teammates, coaches, those who contributed to the project and his family.“I didn’t know the impact this place would have on me when I chose to come to school here,” Rogers said. “But one thing I can say for sure, I left Duluth (Georgia) to become a Gamecock and I remain one to this day.”Sep 12, 2015; Columbia, SC, USA; George Rogers sits on the bench next to the statue erected in his honor in the newly built Springs Brooks Plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY SportsSep 12, 2015; Columbia, SC, USA; George Rogers sits on the bench next to the statue erected in his honor in the newly built Springs Brooks Plaza at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY SportsThe statue, which is close to life size, has Rogers standing in his number 38 jersey. Connected to it is a bench with which the USC great sat on following the ceremony as he appeared to be reflecting on everything that happened.“I want to take the privilege of looking George Rogers eyeball to eyeball and say thank you,” said Garry Harper, the Gamecocks starting quarterback when Rogers was in the backfield. “Not many guys have done what you’ve done. When you won the Heisman Trophy you brought your offensive linemen with you to New York for that celebration.“I may have been the quarterback, but you were the leader. We love you.”Members of the family of Rogers coach, Jim Carlen, were in attendance.The statue has four plaques on it, one with the text of his football career, the second contains his records, the third the 1980 USC football team roster and the fourth a list of the donors to the project.The statue was unveiled on the same day the Springs Brooks Plaza was opened to the public for the first time.“It’s a really big honor for me,” Rogers said following the program. “This means a lot that the university would do this.“What means even more is the fact that some many of my teammates came back to celebrate with me because, if had not been for them, none of this would have happened.”last_img read more

Families of missing Panama-registered cargo ship make appeal to PCG

first_imgSIGN UP TO DAILY NEWSLETTERCLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP The families of the 36 Filipino seafarers onboard a missing Panama-registered cargo ship have sought the help of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in searching for their loved ones.DEEP SEA RESCUE — The Japanese Coast Guard rescues a Filipino crewman off Amami Oshima Island, about 120 km northwest of the sea, after a cargo ship reportedly with 43 people on board sank in the East China Sea during a typhoon. (AFP / 10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said the families asked him to engage the local coast guard and ask them to go to Japan and assist in the search and rescue operations.READ MORE: 38 Filipino crew missing as cargo ship sinks in Japan; Pinoy sailor rescuedThe labor chief has been in regular communication with the next of kin of the missing seafarers since the unfortunate incident. Bello said he relayed the appeal of the families to PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia, but was told that it would be logistically difficult. “I had a long discussion with Admiral Ursabia regarding the possibility of sending our coast guard to help in the rescue, he was candid about it, logistically, it will be difficult. Also, we are not familiar with the environment and the conditions there,” he said in an online forum. “With that, we agreed that whatever information they got from the Japanese Coast Guard he will relate to me which in turn I will relate to the family of the seafarers,” added Bello. According to the labor chief, so far there are no positive developments. Gulf Livestock, which sank off the coast of Japan earlier this month, was carrying cattles and 43 crew members, including 39 Filipino nationals. Three Filipino crewmen were later found, one dead and two survivors. The remains of the lone deceased Filipino crewman is set to arrive in the country Thursday (Sept 17). As for the two survivors, they are set to arrive in the country Saturday.READ MORE: Remains of Pinoy seaman due to arrive last_img read more