October 11, 2012

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI

AP Basketball Writer

 

Minnesota Lynx star Seimone Augustus didn't hide her displeasure with police in suburban Minneapolis earlier this week when she took to Twitter to criticize what she felt was an unfair traffic stop.

After talking with the police chief for Roseville, Augustus said Wednesday that she is ready to move on and focus on preparing for the WNBA Finals.

“We had a great conversation on the phone and went over the incident,” Augustus said after practice. “It’s just something that happens. It’s a mishap that happened. Both parties were angry about what happened and it's a move on. We’re settled and we’re moving on from here.”

Augustus was pulled over on Monday October 8 near the Rosedale Shopping Center for having an air freshener hanging from her mirror. That violates a state statute. Augustus, who is black and was driving a car with license plates from her home state of Louisiana, appeared upset because she thought it was a case of racial profiling.

A Roseville police spokesman says the stop had nothing to do with race and added that Augustus was only issued a warning.

“She had a conversation with the chief in the late afternoon hours about the event, with Seimone giving her side and chief explaining why we do what we do,” Roseville Lt. Loren Rosand said. “Seimone learned why we do what we do and chief also gleaned some info from her that we’re going to pass on to the department.”

The Lynx are going for their second straight WNBA title, with Game 1 scheduled for Sunday night against either Indiana or Connecticut. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said she supported her leading scorer speaking out when she thought she was wronged.

“It shines light on a bigger problem, which is racial profiling,” Reeve said.

Rosand said the department takes allegations of racial profiling “very seriously.”

“It wasn’t racially motivated,” he said. “There was a violation of a state statute. We stopped the vehicle, spoke with the driver, explained the situation and issued a warning.”

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October 11, 2012

Associated Press

 

UCLA guard Tyler Lamb has undergone arthroscopic left knee surgery.

The school said in a statement that Lamb’s recent surgery was a success, and he’s expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks.

The school had announced the surgery plans on Sunday October 7, but didn’t explain how Lamb got injured.

The junior from Santa Ana, Calif., averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists playing in all 33 games last season, and played in all three of UCLA’s games on its August tour of China.

He missed a month after having a similar procedure on the same knee in July 2010, the summer before his freshman year.

The Bruins open the season on Nov. 9, hosting Indiana State at a renovated Pauley Pavilion.

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October 11, 2012

By NOAH TRISTER (AP Sports Writer) The Associated Press 

 

For about three weeks, Michigan fans wondered whether Trey Burke was going to turn pro.

If he did, the Wolverines would enter this season with a major hole to fill. If Burke stayed, Michigan would be among the favorites for the Big Ten title - and possibly an extended NCAA tournament run.

There didn't seem to be any middle ground.

Burke decided to put off the NBA and remain with the Wolverines, and sure enough, his team enters the season with high expectations. With Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jordan Morgan also back - and a highly touted recruiting class arriving - Michigan looks ready to contend for another conference crown after sharing the title last season.

''I'm pumped,'' Burke said. ''I'm really excited. The level of talent we have, I'm excited to see how far we can go.''

When Burke arrived last season, the Wolverines were trying to replace another star point guard after Darius Morris left for the NBA. Michigan didn't miss a beat. Burke was Michigan's scoring leader and provided an additional threat from 3-point range.

He looked comfortable in coach John Beilein's offense from the start, and his quickness made him a candidate to turn pro after only one season in college.

But after weighing his options, Burke announced he was staying - and suddenly the Wolverines looked like they could be loaded for this coming season.

''It was a hectic process, but I've been settled for a couple months now,'' Burke said at Michigan's media day on October 10. ''We're ready for practice to start.''

Michigan finished tied for first in the Big Ten, and although the Wolverines need to replace Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Evan Smotrycz from last season's team, there's talk they could be even better now.

Burke says he worked on strengthening his lower body in the offseason. He's now listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds.

''I haven't put on that much weight,'' Burke said. ''I probably put on about two or three pounds, but I definitely can feel the difference.''

Burke averaged over 36 minutes a game last season, which indicates how hard he would have been to replace. He's indispensable in Beilein's system, which has been perimeter oriented over the years and involves plenty of 3-point attempts.

''He's involved in so many ball screens, and he's got the ball so much,'' Beilein said. ''The point guard has to be in a similar kind of shape I guess to a middle linebacker ... a running back who's running it 40 times a game.''

There weren't many weaknesses in Burke's game in 2011-12, and with another year of experience he might look even more comfortable when he takes the court this season.

The Wolverines may have a slightly different look. Freshman Mitch McGary gives Michigan another option inside, and the team as a whole may be able to do more damage in transition now.

''Last year, we weren't really as athletic as we are this year,'' Burke said. ''I think we're going to be a half-court team, but I think we're going to be able to get out and run more.''

Burke is impressive in transition, and Hardaway can also get out on the break. At 6-foot-8, forward Jordan Morgan runs very well for a big man.

Burke's return gives the Wolverines all sorts of options, and if he can build on his impressive freshman season, Michigan could have its best team in quite some time. Now a savvy sophomore, Burke has been working hard to prepare - and his teammates have noticed.

''Just being a smarter player,'' Morgan said. ''I know he's definitely put a focus on just trying to find his teammates, and I think just having a deeper understanding of the offense.''

 

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 October 11, 2012

Associated Press

 

Football may be in Usain Bolt's future.

The Olympic great says he might try his hand at the global game once he retires from track.

Bolt says, “I always wanted to try to play soccer. Maybe at the end of my career. It would be something that I would love to try. I watch it on TV and see these guys play. I play it all the time with my friends.”

Two days after saying he would like to defend his 100 and 200 meter titles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 26-year-old Bolt says he may still branch out to other events.

Bolt says, “I could always try the 400 meters - which I don’t want to do.”

 

 

 

AP Photo/Kyodo News

Usain Bolt, left, gestures on his arrival at Narita international airport in Narita, near Tokyo Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012.

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October 04, 2012

By BRIAN MAHONEY Associated Press

 

Stop the flop.

The NBA will penalize floppers this season, fining players for repeated violations of an act a league official said Wednesday has “no place in our game.”

Those exaggerated falls to the floor may fool the referees and fans during the game, but officials at league headquarters plan to take a look for themselves afterward.

Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.

“Flops have no place in our game —they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the competition committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should — after a warning — be given an automatic penalty.”

Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he hopes it has an impact on the game.

“I like the rule,” he said. “Shameless flopping, that’s a chump move. We’re familiar with it. Vlade (Divac) kind of pioneered it in that playoff series against Shaq, and it kind of worked for him.”

Players cautioned that it would be difficult to completely eliminate flopping, but welcomed the attempt to try.

“It’s good. Guys can't be flopping and get away with it anymore,” Oklahoma City guard James Harden said. “It was bound to happen at some point. Obviously, the league got fed up with it and they put it in. I’m happy they did.”

The NBA said flopping will be defined as “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.”

“The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact,” the league said.

Commissioner David Stern has long sought to end flopping, believing it tricks the referees. But the league determined it would be too difficult for refs to make the call on the floor, preferring instead to leave it to league office reviews.

Jackson’s department already reviews flagrant foul penalties to determine if they should be upgraded or downgraded.

“I’m all on board for it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think it needs to be addressed. I think the steps they're taking right now, I think will benefit the game. I do. It remains to be seen if it truly has an impact. But I think it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s not good for the game; nobody likes the flop. A majority of coaches don’t like the flop, particularly if you’re trying to build a solid defense.”

Rasheed Wallace raged against it for years, picking up quite of a few of his 308 technical fouls for arguing that he was called for a foul because a player flopped. After ending a two-year retirement to join the New York Knicks, he said certain unnamed players were going to be in trouble and agreed penalties needed to be enforced.

“Hey, you all thought I was crazy for saying it over the last so-and-so years. I ain’t even gonna get into it, but yes,” he said. “They needed to bend on that.”

The blame for the rise in flopping is often aimed at the international players, such as Divac, who came to the NBA after growing up watching soccer, where falling down in hopes of drawing a foul is part of the game. Denver's Danilo Gallinari, an Italian, believes that's unfair.

“I don’t know why everybody just talks about European flopping,” he said. “I don’t know where this thing comes from. We flop as much as other players all around the world flop. I don't know why everybody keeps saying that Europeans are soft or Europeans flops. I don't know.”

Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao is a renowned flopper, once one of the targets of Wallace’s wrath. But he said he's a changed man now.

“I’m not flopping anymore,” he said Monday with a smile. “I used to flop a little bit.”

The league said it will announce a separate set of flopping penalties for the playoffs at a later date.

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