Bulldogs Blank Panthers In JV Football

first_imgBatesville JV Football team defeated Jennings County last night 36-0.Austin Pohlman led the offense with 2 touchdown passes to Trey Peters as well as had one rushing touchdown.  Tyler Oesterling had a rushing touchdown.  Travis Lecher had an interception return for a touchdown. Jeremiah Lemmel converted two 2-point conversions.  JT Linkel added a two-point conversion.JV team is 1-0 on the season and will host Milan next Monday.  The freshmen team will play at South Decatur next Monday.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Evan Ulrey.last_img

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Kendall brings broom to Sheyenne Speedway, completes Northstar IMCA Mod Tour sweep

first_imgBilly Kendall collected his third $1,000 Northstar IMCA Modified Tour feature win in as many nights Sunday at Sheyenne Speedway. The tour sweep netted him another $1,000 share of the point fund. (Photo courtesy of Sheyenne Speedway)LISBON, N.D. (Aug. 12) – After running third in his Northstar IMCA Modified Tour heat race at Sheyenne Speedway, Billy Kendall didn’t think Sunday would be his night.That wasn’t the case.Kendall drew another front row start, chased and got the lead back from Jarrett Carter, then stayed in front to the end of the 30-lapper at Lisbon. The $1,000 Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying victory was his third in as many nights and was complemented by a $1,000 share of the tour point fund.“It was kind of hard to believe,” admitted Kendall, 19 years old and headed back to the University of North Dakota later this week to start his sophomore year as a mechanical engineering major. “I wasn’t good in my heat race and didn’t think it would be our night, but we turned it around in the feature.”Kendall had won tour features Friday at Princeton Speedway and Saturday at North Central Speedway, both familiar venues. He made the 3-1/2 hour tow on Sunday to race for the first time at Sheyenne.He asked a few questions and fine-tuned his setup before starting outside the front row and leading the first two laps. Carter was scored in first the next six circuits before Kendall got the point back.The feature ended with a long green flag run and Kendall was closing in on the back of the field when the checkers flew, a couple car lengths ahead of Randy Klein.Carter, Tyler Peterson and John Nord completed the top five.Feature results – 1. Billy Kendall; 2. Randy Klein; 3. Jarrett Carter; 4. Tyler Peterson; 5. John Nord; 6. Dylan Goplen; 7. Rob VanMil; 8. Erick Thiesse; 9. Dave Shipley; 10. Rich Pavlicek; 11. Shawn Fletcher; 12. Casey Arneson; 13. Chad Funt; 14. A.J. Viehauser; 15. Greg Friestad; 16. Dwight Wegner; 17. Clint Hatlestad; 18. Ryan Cano; 19. Billie Christ; 20. John Corell; 21. Cody Peterson; 22. Delray Dykstra; 23. Justin Jones; 24. Jesse Skalicky; 25. Lucas Rodin.last_img read more

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IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National Point Standings Through March 23

first_imgIMCA Modifieds – 1. Brian Schultz, Casa Grande, Ariz., 460; 2. Chaz Baca, Mesa, Ariz., and Cody Laney, Torrance, Calif., both 424; 4. Spencer Wilson, Queen Creek, Ariz., 411; 5. John Par­meley, Phoenix, Ariz., 368; 6. William Gould, Calera, Okla., 345; 7. Kelsie Foley, Tucson, Ariz., 343; 8. Scott Sluka, Casa Grande, Ariz., 334; 9. Ethan Dotson, Bakersfield, Calif., 332; 10. Hunter Mar­riott, Brookfield, Mo., 301; 11. Jeremy Thornton, Tucson, Ariz., 300; 12. Matt Guillaume, Has­let, Texas, 288; 13. Marlyn Seidler, Underwood, N.D., 285; 14. Josh McGaha, Abilene, Texas, 282; 15. Tim Ward, Chandler, Ariz., 275; 16. Austin Kuehl, Cave Creek, Ariz., 274; 17. Bryson Curry, Laveen, Ariz., 272; 18. Dean Abbey, Roanoke, Texas, 265; 19. Ryan Roath, Peoria, Ariz., 254; 20. Garth Dushanek, Avondale, Ariz., 243.IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars – 1. Marcus Thomas, Corsicana, Texas, 156; 2. Robert Vetter, Wolfe City, Texas, 134; 3. John Ricketts, Burleson, Texas, 114; 4. Austin Mundie, Dallas, Texas, 108; 5. Josh Hawkins, Whitehouse, Texas, 99; 6. Chip Graham, Lewisville, Texas, 94; 7. D.J. Es­tes Jr., Mansfield, Texas, 87; 8. Johnny Brown, Orange, Texas, 81; 9. Joshua McCord, Bossier City, La., 79; 10. Kyle Jones, Kennedale, Texas, 77; 11. Tyler Russell, Abbott, Texas, 75; 12. Tucker Doughty, Heath, Texas, 74; 13. Chad Wilson, North Richland Hills, Texas, 72; 14. Jeb Sessums, Burleson, Texas, 71; 15. Michelle Melton, Flower Mound, Texas, 70; 16. Jacob Harris, Vidor, Texas, 65; 17. Josh Toho, Hinton, Okla., Bryan Bolden, Quinlan, Texas, and Michael Day, Greenville, Texas, each 60; 20. Andy Shouse, Mustang, Okla., 59.IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars – 1. George Fronsman, Surprise, Ariz., 564; 2. Steve Kihle, Williston, N.D., 420; 3. Cody Center, Mesa, Ariz., 390; 4. Race Fisher, Dove Creek, Colo., 384; 5. Manny Baldiviez, Yuma, Ariz., 366; 6. Aaron Spangler, Dove Creek, Colo., 353; 7. Kirk Martin, Weather­ford, Texas, 346; 8. Tony Hill, Cortez, Colo., 336; 9. Elijah Zevenbergen, Ocheyedan, Iowa, 285; 10. Westin Abbey, Comanche, Texas, 263; 11. Troy Jerovetz, Green Bay, Wis., and April Phillips, Abi­lene, Texas, both 246; 13. Joe Haines, Yuma, Ariz., 243; 14. Thomas Daffern, Brawley, Calif., 237; 15. Jason Rogers, Selden, Kan., 232; 16. Jody York, Lubbock, Texas, 225; 17. Brendon LaBatte, Weyburn, Sask., 212; 18. Damon Hammond, Burleson, Texas, 211; 19. Andrew Alten­burg, Truman, Minn., 204; 20. Tommy Phillips, Abilene, Texas, 197. IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks – 1. Merle Zachrison, Surprise, Ariz., 340; 2. Dean Zachrison, Sur­prise, Ariz., 329; 3. Jim Robinson, Yuma, Ariz., 290; 4. Jason Beshears, Somerton, Ariz., 286; 5. Jay Crowe, Surprise, Ariz., 253; 6. Joe Vlasity, Glendale, Ariz., 219; 7. John Barron, Phoenix, Ariz., 195; 8. Joseph Peterson, Mesa, Ariz., 187; 9. Scott Shaw, Red Deer, Alb., 185; 10. Brent Wofford, Yuma, Ariz., 180; 11. Craig Ebers, Yuma, Ariz., 178; 12. Damian Snyder, Copperas Cove, Texas, 177; 13. David Kendall, Peoria, Ariz., 169; 14. Wesley Warren, Fairfield, Texas, 168; 15. Mike Erwin, Yuma, Ariz., 166; 16. Gerald Spalding Jr., Abilene, Texas, 157; 17. Scott Jeffery, Yuma, Ariz., 152; 18. Joshua Cordova, Somerton, Ariz., 148; 19. Kyle Cardinal, Paradise Valley, Ariz., 140; 20. Ashley Hunt, Yuma, Ariz., 138. Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods – 1. Jason George, Laveen, Ariz., 603; 2. Dennis Gates, Claypool, Ariz., 454; 3. Miles Morris, Yuma, Ariz., 353; 4. Dale Kunz, Buckeye, Ariz., 334; 5. Aus­tin Kiefer, Pahrump, Nev., 332; 6. Kyle Smith, Yuma, Ariz., 329; 7. Chris Toth, Holtville, Calif., 311; 8. Kenny Wyman Jr., Avondale, Ariz., 299; 9. Dale Irby, Buckeye, Ariz., 293; 10. Mark Ma­drid, Phoenix, Ariz., 283; 11. Adolfo Noriega, Yuma, Ariz., 267; 12. Ron Poe, Phoenix, Ariz., 264; 13. Tom Wyman, Laveen, Ariz., 239; 14. Mike Tanner, Smithville, Mo., 236; 15. James Dupre, Yuma, Ariz., 224; 16. David Harrington, Peoria, Ariz., 217; 17. Chris Caldwell, Avondale, Ariz., 211; 18. Corey Clayton, El Centro, Calif., 195; 19. Joe Webb, Yuma, Ariz., 194; 20. Joshua Cor­dova, Somerton, Ariz., 192. Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods – 1. Jeffrey Abbey, Comanche, Texas, 378; 2. James Hanusch, Belton, Texas, 348; 3. James Skinner, Burleson, Texas, 320; 4. Allen Montgomery, White Settlement, Texas, 284; 5. Gabe Tucker, Carbon, Texas, 243; 6. Jake Up­church, Grand Prairie, Texas, 223; 7. Cory Williams, Slaton, Texas, 204; 8. James Guyton, Moody, Texas, 172; 9. Ronnie Bell, Lorena, Texas, 165; 10. Nathan Buchanan, Kemp, Texas, 162; 11. Dustin Robinson, Post, Texas, 161; 12. Taylor Florio, Copperas Cove, Texas, 151; 13. Justin Nabors, Kemp, Texas, Sid Kiphen, Gatesville, Texas, and Jeff Toler, Decatur, Texas, each 145; 16. Don Painter, Austin, Texas, 136; 17. Justin Long, Haslet, Texas, and Justin Shaw, Sweetwa­ter, Texas, both 135; 19. Kamera McDonald, Keller, Texas, and Ronnie Allison, Dallas, Texas, both 133.Mach-1 Sport Compacts – 1. Julia Childs, Weatherford, Texas, 151; 2. Danny Baggerly, Rio Vista, Texas, 146; 3. Dakota Dees, Weatherford, Texas, 136; 4. Mike Jacobs, Weatherford, Texas, 112; 5. Robert Rutledge, Azle, Texas, 103; 6. Carl Boatright, Azle, Texas, 91; 7. Dillon Richards, Beatrice, Neb., 77; 8. Steve Holloway, Azle, Texas, and Jake Newsom, Sioux City, Iowa, both 75; 10. Drake Bohlmeyer, Beatrice, Neb., 69; 11. James Morehead, Cleburne, Texas, 66; 12. Brooke Fluckiger, Columbus, Neb., 65; 13. Kyle Owen, Nebraska City, Neb., 64; 14. David Nor­quest, York, Neb., 62; 15. Bryan Vannausdle, Nebraska City, Neb., 47; 16. Justin Brown, Be­atrice, Neb., 42; 17. Shawn Hein, Beatrice, Neb., 39; 18. Cole Krichau, Lincoln, Neb., Matthew Barnard, Weatherford, Texas, and Dustin Brethouwer, Beatrice, Neb., each 36.last_img read more

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Green denies scuffle claims

first_img Former England goalkeeper Green laughed off reports Caulker was injured in a fight at a west London pub during a QPR Christmas lunch, at which Crystal Palace players were also present. QPR senior management have denied Caulker was involved in an altercation, instead insisting the defender slipped and cut his head. “If you wanted an accurate headline on the story, it would be ‘man falls over’,” Green told BBC Radio Five Live. “I think that in response, the club have said pretty much what happened: he came out, slipped over and banged his head. “But this is the nature of the beast in football. I must have been in a different bar. “It was a Sunday lunch, after we’d had a tough week winning two games out of three, including a big win against Burnley. We didn’t have a game until a week on Monday. “We’ve got people far too old to be going out late at night, with me, Rio Ferdinand and Richard Dunne. “Steven was back out of hospital and we had a laugh about it, and unfortunately it’s made the front page of the paper.” Owner Tony Fernandes hailed QPR’s squad spirit to be able to shrug off the newspaper allegations, though Caulker did require hospital treatment for the cut to his head. Fernandes confirmed the squad were granted the Sunday afternoon gathering following a vital 2-0 home victory over Burnley that lifted Rangers out of the Premier League relegation zone. Robert Green has rejected claims QPR team-mate Steven Caulker suffered his cut head in a pub scuffle on Sunday. “I’m aware of some headlines appearing in tomorrow newspaper (sic). After a great win boys were given permission for a Sunday lunch,” Fernandes tweeted late on Monday evening. “Team is very united and really playing for each other. Steven Caulker slipped over and hurt his head and is fine. Nothing else to report. “Great team spirit. We are one. Best I’ve seen since being chairman. A few sensational headlines but team has done us proud.” QPR manager Harry Redknapp recently said there would be no Christmas party for his squad but QPR spokesman Ian Taylor confirmed the gathering on Sunday had been sanctioned. “Following Saturday’s Premier League win versus Burnley and with no further fixture for nine days the club can confirm players were allowed to have a Sunday lunch together,” Taylor wrote on Twitter. “Steven Caulker was not involved in an altercation. He did suffer a cut to his head, which he received treatment for at hospital before being discharged on the same evening. “The club will be making no further comment.” Press Associationlast_img read more

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Maine Maritime gets back on track, beats Emerson in big North Atlantic Conference match-up

first_img Latest Posts Bio State budget vs. job creation – January 22, 2015 Hancock County Court News Nov. 3 thorugh Dec. 11 – January 22, 2015 Latest posts by admin (see all) House fire in Winter Harbor – October 27, 2014 Boston, MA — Freshman Brian Corain (Berwick) scored three goals and dished out a game high 4 assists leading the Maine Maritime Academy Mariners to a 13-4 victory over Emerson College in a NAC conference men’s lacrosse game Saturday afternoon in Boston.The win sets up a big match on Wednesday between MMA and Johnson State, with the winner securing third place in the conference standings.Chris Keiley (Holliston, MA) led MMA with 4 goals on the afternoon while Garrett Lake (Farmington) and Wade Mondoux (Berwick) each added 2 goals. Keiley, Lake, and Todd Murphy (Middlesex, VT) notched 2 assists apiece.Freshman goalie Daniel Redmond (Westbrook) made 5 saves on 15 Emerson shots, improving to 6-3 on the season. admin This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

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Holt: UW softball needs to lose to improve

first_imgWell, I guess it’s that time again. The Badger Herald sports department is pleased to bring you its obligatory “bash the UW softball team column,” courtesy of yours truly.Two years ago, the Badgers limped to a program-record for losses, with a 15-40 mark. That stunning .231 winning percentage is actually a bit better than UW softball’s inaugural season, where it played .223 ball with a 14-39-1 record.It didn’t seem like Wisconsin could do any worse than that. Winning less than 25 percent of your games is no small feat when you’re a Big Ten school.Surely they couldn’t do any worse, right?Apparently someone shared that sentiment with head coach Chandelle Schulte and the Badgers, who responded with a resounding, “challenge accepted!”My tenure as softball beat writer covered the 2009 season, which astoundingly matched that 15-40 record. I saw every kind of loss: Blowouts at the hands of Northern Iowa; bad-luck wind that pushed every Notre Dame ball out of the park and kept every Wisconsin ball in the air long enough for an outfielder to get under it; UW lost on a play at the plate against Illinois and was screwed over by a bad call in extra innings against Ohio State.The Badgers seemed to find every possible way to lose. It was almost poetic in a way, like variations on the story of Romeo and Juliet: You know they die in the end, it’s just a matter of how.But this year was supposed to be different. UW had big recruits coming in, game-changers. The kind of players you can build around, that would make an immediate impact. The future is bright and all that junk.Nevermind, I guess.It’s not that the players are terrible. A look at the stat sheet seems to indicate improvement. Freshman Molly Spence is hitting .379/.448/.650 with six home runs and 23 RBIs to lead the team. Classmate Shannel Blackshear has four homers and 21 RBIs, while fellow freshman Whitney Massey has a respectable .290/.393/.460 line and two home runs.The Badgers had 12 total home runs last season.Wisconsin is hitting .261 as a team, good for seventh in the Big Ten. Last year’s squad hit a miniscule .214, had just a .282 on-base percentage and actually slugged less than that, at a .275 mark. The Badgers have already scored 141 runs, compared to 114 last season.So why then, at 11-25, is Wisconsin almost no better off than it was at this point last season? Pitching might be the problem.Wisconsin is dead last in the conference in ERA, with a 4.77 team mark. Letty Olivarez’ 3.55 ERA would be decent — if this were baseball. In softball, true aces tend to have ERAs lower than 2.25, with Michigan sending out two of the best in the nation, with Jordan Taylor and Nikki Nemitz owning 1.27 and 1.66 marks, respectively.To put it into perspective, seven Big Ten teams have lower ERAs than UW’s senior pitcher. Fourteen other Big Ten pitchers that regularly start games have lower ERAs than Olivarez, who has given up 80 earned runs along with 80 walks.And Olivarez is the bright spot on the UW pitching staff, which doesn’t bode well for the future. Junior Kristyn Hansen and freshman Meghan McIntosh have ERAs of 7.99 and 7.56 in 16 and 20 appearances respectively.The two are third and second-to-last in the conference in earned run average.But despite better hitting and comparable fielding to last season, Wisconsin is primed for disappointment for the third year in a row. The question is, will it be the same kind of disappointment, namely, 40-loss disappointment?I can only hope so.But the Badgers — who need to go 2-15 the rest of the season to match that now-hallowed mark of futility — sadly, might not make it there. Outside of Big Ten play, UW gets Northern Illinois (18-24), South Dakota (12-25-1) and North Dakota (12-28).Chances are UW at least splits those three series, despite my fervent hopes to the contrary.Now why, why would I root against the Badgers, who have a chance to glean something positive as a team out of this season? I don’t hold any grudges against Schulte or her players, so why would I pray for the trifecta of 40-loss seasons?Sometimes you have to burn down the forest before it can re-grow.I don’t know what it will take to turn this program around. Maybe Wisconsin needs a new coach, maybe it needs new players, maybe it just needs to stop trying. But even if UW finishes the season on its current pace, it will still have just a 16-37 record.That’s improvement, but remember, five games were rained out. This club still looks years from even approaching a .500 season.If the program truly wants to turn itself around there are going to have to be big changes and lots of them. But if Schulte and the Badgers display these miniscule improvements, the illusion of progress might be made, and years from now we’ll look back and realize the program just treaded murky, mediocre water.So root, root, root for the home team — if they don’t lose, it’s a shame. Because maybe it’s one, two, three strikes and you’re out — and the club can get a truly fresh start.Adam is a junior majoring in journalism. What’s really wrong with the softball team, and what will it take to fix it? E-mail him at aholt@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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Kearns expects tough battle in Championship opener

first_imgThe Premier county will face off against the Deise at the end of this month.Tipp football has been hit with the loss of three key members of the panel as Liam Casey, Jason Lonergan and Kevin Fahey have informed manager Liam Kearns that they will be spending the summer months in the United States. The trio won EirGrid Munster U21 medals in 2015 and played in the All-Ireland final defeat to Tyrone last May. If Tipperary beat Waterford in the first round of the championship, they will meet Cork in the provincial semi final.Liam Kearns says the Premier County will have to work hard to book a meeting with the Rebels.last_img

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Kambi closes in on ATG deal as Sweden prepares for reform

first_imgShare StumbleUpon Kambi takes control of Churchill Downs BetAmerica sportsbook August 28, 2020 Related Articles LeoVegas hits back at Swedish regulations despite Q2 successes August 13, 2020 Kambi has announced it is close to finalising a deal with Swedish horse racing operator AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) for the provision of its premium sports betting services.As part of the newly formed partnership, ATG will enhance its offering with the integration of Kambi’s renowned sportsbook product. The group has outlined that internal product testing will commence  imminently.The deal comes in anticipation of Sweden publishing its much anticipated revamped national gambling policy, in which it will open a new licensing window for online gambling/betting operators.The deal comes of the back off Kambi reporting a strong performance for Q1 2018, reflecting on the results at the time Chief Executive Kristian Nylén commented:“Kambi kicked off the year in positive fashion with Q1 2018 delivering double-digit revenue growth, a strategic investment in a virtual sports company and the signing of a new customer. “In addition, since the end of the quarter, we added another operator to the Kambi network, stretching our run of new customer wins to an impressive 10 consecutive quarters.”“In March, we signed our 16th customer in Casumo. As an innovative and gamification-led operator, Casumo sought a sportsbook solution which could give them the ability to create a betting product true to their brand. The Kambi platform is unique in that it promotes operator innovation so Casumo is seen as a good fit for us and I’m delighted to have them join the Kambi network.He added: “Meanwhile, last week we signed a multi-channel deal with Stanleybet Romania, one of the most recognised and respected sports betting brands in the regulated Romanian market. This is a significant deal for Kambi with Stanleybet Romania initially migrating its online players to the Kambi platform ahead of installing Kambi’s full suite of retail products across its 300-plus retail stores. To sign two vastly different customers with very different requirements highlights the Kambi Sportsbook’s ability to satisfy a wide spectrum of operators and player segments.“Finally, in February we made a strategic investment into virtual sports developer and supplier Virtus Sports. We believe this deal will strengthen the Kambi offering through the addition of a virtual sports product growing in popularity.” Kambi takes full control of LeoVegas sportsbook portfolio August 26, 2020 Share Submitlast_img read more

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Giants’ Larry Baer suspended after video surfaces of him knocking wife out of chair

first_img“At my direction, the Department of Investigations conducted an investigation into the March 1, 2019 video-recorded incident involving Larry Baer,” commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in a statement. “I also personally met with Mr. Baer.  Based on my review of the results of the investigation, I have concluded that Mr. Baer’s conduct was unacceptable under MLB policies and warrants discipline.  In determining the appropriate level of discipline, I find that Mr. Baer should be held to a higher standard because as a leader he is expected to be a role model for others in his organization and community.  Based on my conversation with Mr. Baer, it is clear that he regrets what transpired and takes responsibility for his conduct.”In the incident in question, Baer was caught on a video submitted to TMZ in an argument with his wife over a cell phone. Related News Giants president and CEO Larry Baer has been suspended without pay by MLB after a video surfaced of him knocking his wife out of a chair during a public altercation.MLB announced Tuesday it has banned Baer from operating in any capacity with the Giants until July 1. Giants CEO Larry Baer taking ‘personal time’ away from team after domestic incident Baer went to take the phone away from his wife and knocked her to the ground in the process. The San Francisco DA has said the Giants CEO will not face criminal charges for the incident.The Giants released a statement following MLB’s announcement on Tuesday.”We thank Commissioner Rob Manfred and the staff at Major League Baseball for their timely and careful review and assessment of the matter involving Giants CEO Larry Baer,” the statement read. “We share the Commissioner’s concern and disappointment in Mr. Baer’s conduct as it does not represent the values of the Giants organization.”We also want to thank the fans, partners and members of the community who have taken the time to reach out to us and express their perspectives on the matter. We very much value and respect the sentiments.”The Commissioner has imposed what we believe to be appropriate disciplinary measures and we will work with Major League Baseball and Mr. Baer to ensure that all aspects of the disciplinary program are completed. Mr. Baer has apologized for his unacceptable behavior and has recommitted himself to undergo the necessary counseling program to ensure that this never happens again.”center_img Giants CEO Larry Baer won’t face criminal charges over altercation with wife, DA says Baer released a statement as well.”I respect and accept the Commissioner’s decision and appreciate the fair and thorough process undertaken by MLB and the Giants. I made a serious mistake that I sincerely regret and I am truly sorry for my actions. My unacceptable behavior well short of what must be demanded of every person, particularly someone in my position and role in the community.”I will now immediately begin the significant work ahead of me to listen and learn from my mistakes and to seek professional advice. I am committed to doing what it takes to earn the trust and respect of the many people impacted by my actions.”last_img read more

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Pitt’s Johnson ready to return from knee injury

first_imgPittsburgh forward Durand Johnson talks about his recovery from an injury that cut last season short for him during the school’s annual media day for the upcoming NCAA college basketball season on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)PITTSBURGH (AP) – Durand Johnson was ready to make the leap from erratic role player to budding star last winter when it disappeared with one awkward step.Racing down the floor on the break against Wake Forest on Jan. 11, the livewire Pittsburgh forward thought about pulling up for a wide-open 3-pointer when he decided a layup would be the more responsible thing to do. He slashed into the lane only to have Wake Forest’s Devin Thomas bump him as he neared the basket.It wasn’t until Johnson got to the free throw line that he felt the twinge in his right knee. He stayed on the floor long enough to make both free throws before walking off the court and into the training room. An MRI revealed a torn ACL and a shredded meniscus, putting an abrupt end to his breakout sophomore season.Stunned doesn’t begin to describe it.“I’m thinking I’m fine,’” Johnson said. “I was devastated. I’m thinking, ‘this is my life, what am I going to do? Am I going to play again?’”Less than nine months later, the knee is fine. So is Johnson. He was cleared for contact two weeks ago, though a balky ankle will keep him briefly sidelined when the Panthers open practice this weekend. While the setback is frustrating, Johnson understand it could be worse.Most athletes who rehab their ACLs need anywhere from nine months to a year to recover, if not more. Not Johnson, who is already back dunking and playing with the kind of frenetic energy that made him one of the best sixth-men in the ACC before getting hurt.“God works in mysterious ways,” Johnson said. “I’m blessed to go back and just show out.”It’s what Johnson does best. He arrived at Pittsburgh as an athletic but raw spot up shooter who never met a 3-pointer he didn’t like to take. Tasked by Dixon to become a more well-rounded player, the light started to come on for the 6-foot-6 Johnson last winter. He scored in double figures eight times in 16 games, including a career-high 17 in a rout of Maryland five days before he was injured.Dixon always expected Johnson to score. It’s the way Johnson went about it last year that made the difference. Rather than stand behind the 3-point arc and wait for the ball, he began creating off the dribble and using screens to get open. And when he wasn’t open, instead of shooting anyway – a habit that dogged him as a freshman – he would look for someone else.The player who had 16 assists in 369 minutes during the 2012-13 season had 23 against only 14 turnovers in 317 minutes at the time he was hurt, a development that wasn’t lost on his coach.“His assist-to-turnover numbers were good,” Dixon said. “He didn’t know what that phrase meant when he got here.”Johnson does now. Call it a part of the maturation process that every Pitt player needs to go through if they want to see the floor regularly. In a way, watching helped his evolution continue. He studied teammate Lamar Patterson while the versatile forward became one of the best players in the ACC.Already one of the team’s emotional leaders, Johnson spent part of his rehab giving pep talks during halftime, a way for Dixon to make sure Johnson stayed involved as the Panthers went 26-10 while falling to Florida in the third round of the NCAA tournament.Johnson doesn’t plan to be a bystander this March. If the Panthers want to reach the second weekend of the tournament for the first time since 2009, they can’t afford to have him in street clothes. His reach and boundless energy makes him one of Pitt’s better perimeter defenders, and his fearlessness gives the Panthers a dynamic option to take some of the pressure off senior guard Cam Wright – who is out 10 weeks with a foot injury – and sophomore forward Michael Young.Dixon cautioned Johnson isn’t quite where he left off in January. It’s likely he will work Johnson in slowly to make sure the knee is stable. Johnson figures he’s at “86 percent.” He’s so confident in his knee’s health he doesn’t even wear a brace, just a compression sleeve that is as much a fashion statement as a protective device.Pressed on when he’ll find the other 14 percent, Johnson just laughs. He’s been chasing that 14 percent for years. It’s part of his drive.“I can play now but you can always be better,” he said. “I’m playing. I’m not thinking about the knee. It’s a great feeling.”last_img read more

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