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3 UCLA players face punishment at home after China incident

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting have been allowed to return home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal. Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were on a plane back to Los Angeles that was due to land late Tuesday afternoon after a 12-hour flight from Shanghai. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter "has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities." The players were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai as part of the Pac-12 China game. The rest of the UCLA team returned home last Saturday. A person with knowledge of the Pac-12's decision said any discipline involving the trio would be up to UCLA. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference doesn't plan any sanctions. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the school is weighing its options. "I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law," he said in a statement. "In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared." There was no immediate word on the trio's status for the team's home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas. The school said the three players, along with coach Steve Alford and athletic director Dan Guerrero, will make their first public comments about the matter at a campus news conference Wednesday, but won't take questions. Scott thanked President Donald Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called "the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China." He indicated that UCLA made "significant efforts" on behalf of its athletes. It wasn't clear under what terms the players were freed to return to the U.S. "We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university," Scott said. Trump said Tuesday he had a long conversation about the three players' status with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Ball, Hill and Riley were expected to have an immediate impact as part of UCLA's highly touted recruiting class. Instead, they are being talked about solely for their actions off the court. Ball, a guard whose brother Lonzo is a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaged 33.8 points as a high school senior. The elder Ball played one season in Westwood and left early for the NBA draft. The Balls' outspoken father, LaVar, was in China at the time of the incident. He spent some time promoting the family's Big Baller Brand of athletic shoes with his youngest son, LaMelo, while his middle son was detained. Forwards Hill and Riley, both four-star recruits, figure to bolster 7-foot senior Thomas Welsh in the frontcourt. The Bruins traveled to China as part of the Pac-12's global initiative that seeks to popularize the league's athletic programs and universities overseas. The China Game is in its third year, and while the scandal was developing the league announced that California and Yale will play in next year's edition. The game is sponsored by Alibaba Group, the Chinese commerce giant that both UCLA and Georgia Tech visited before the shoplifting incident occurred......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 15th, 2017

3 UCLA players face punishment at home after China incident

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting have been allowed to return home, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the international scandal. Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were on a plane back to Los Angeles that was due to land late Tuesday afternoon after a 12-hour flight from Shanghai. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the matter "has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities." The players were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai as part of the Pac-12 China game. The rest of the UCLA team returned home last Saturday. A person with knowledge of the Pac-12's decision said any discipline involving the trio would be up to UCLA. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference doesn't plan any sanctions. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the school is weighing its options. "I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law," he said in a statement. "In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared." There was no immediate word on the trio's status for the team's home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas. The school said the three players, along with coach Steve Alford and athletic director Dan Guerrero, will make their first public comments about the matter at a campus news conference Wednesday, but won't take questions. Scott thanked President Donald Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called "the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China." He indicated that UCLA made "significant efforts" on behalf of its athletes. It wasn't clear under what terms the players were freed to return to the U.S. "We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university," Scott said. Trump said Tuesday he had a long conversation about the three players' status with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Ball, Hill and Riley were expected to have an immediate impact as part of UCLA's highly touted recruiting class. Instead, they are being talked about solely for their actions off the court. Ball, a guard whose brother Lonzo is a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaged 33.8 points as a high school senior. The elder Ball played one season in Westwood and left early for the NBA draft. The Balls' outspoken father, LaVar, was in China at the time of the incident. He spent some time promoting the family's Big Baller Brand of athletic shoes with his youngest son, LaMelo, while his middle son was detained. Forwards Hill and Riley, both four-star recruits, figure to bolster 7-foot senior Thomas Welsh in the frontcourt. The Bruins traveled to China as part of the Pac-12's global initiative that seeks to popularize the league's athletic programs and universities overseas. The China Game is in its third year, and while the scandal was developing the league announced that California and Yale will play in next year's edition. The game is sponsored by Alibaba Group, the Chinese commerce giant that both UCLA and Georgia Tech visited before the shoplifting incident occurred......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

LaVar Ball pulls LiAngelo from UCLA to focus on NBA Draft

  LaVar Ball said on Monday he will withdraw his son LiAngelo from the college basketball program at UCLA in protest at his suspension for shoplifting in China. LiAngelo was one of three UCLA players arrested in China earlier this month and later released after the intervention of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He was later suspended indefinitely by UCLA over what became an international incident and led to a war of words been LaVar and President Donald Trump. LaVar, however, told ESPN on Monday he was withdrawing his son from UCLA. "We are exploring other options with Gelo," LaVar told ESPN. "He's out of there." "I'm not sitting back and waiting. "He wasn't ...Keep on reading: LaVar Ball pulls LiAngelo from UCLA to focus on NBA Draft.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 5th, 2017

LaVar Ball questions Trump s role in son s release

WASHINGTON (AP) — Outspoken basketball dad LaVar Ball questioned the extent of President Donald Trump's involvement in securing his son's release from the custody of Chinese authorities during a combative 20-minute CNN interview on Monday night. The president, in tweets Sunday, said he should have left LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in jail because LaVar Ball "is unaccepting of what I did for his son" and "very ungrateful!" LaVar Ball has refused to thank Trump. LaVar Ball didn't back down during the CNN interview, telling host Chris Cuomo that Trump has more important things to do than ask for his gratitude. "That's on your mind, that a father didn't say 'Thank you'? And you're the head of the U.S.? Come on," Ball said. "There's a lot of other things that's going on. Let him do his political affairs and let me handle my son, and let's just stay in our lane." Ball suggested that he and Chinese president Xi Jinping had more to do with securing his son's release than the president. "Did (Trump) help the boys get out? I don't know. If I was going to thank somebody, I probably would thank President Xi. He's in China. He's the president of China," Ball said, later adding: "I helped my son get out of China. I had some people that had boots on the ground that knew the situation." Ball also pushed back against Trump's suggestion that shoplifting "is a very big deal in China." "It wasn't a big deal because being raised in South Central LA, I've seen harsher things. I've seen 16, 17-year-old kids that have had to go to jail for life, that were my friends," Ball said. "He wasn't physical. He returned it. He fessed up to it." LiAngelo and fellow UCLA freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley have been suspended indefinitely. They were arrested and questioned about stealing from high-end stores next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins stayed before leaving for Shanghai to play Georgia Tech. All three apologized for their actions and thanked Trump for his role in securing their release, which occurred while the president was traveling in Asia. The trio isn't allowed to suit up, be on the bench for home games or travel with the team. Without them, No. 23 UCLA lost to Creighton on Monday night in the Hall of Fame Classic. LaVar Ball is attempting to build an empire around the basketball skills of his three sons — Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo, LiAngelo and prep prospect LaMelo — and his own bombastic personality. He started an apparel company, Big Baller Brand, with shoes that retail for $500 or more, and he got in several plugs for his products during the CNN interview......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 21st, 2017

LiAngelo Ball, 2 other UCLA players arrested in China arrive in U.S.

LOS ANGELES, United States – Three American college basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting are back home in Los Angeles after US President Donald Trump intervened on their behalf. UCLA freshmen players LiAngelo Ball – the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball – and teammates ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

Alford to sit 3 players reportedly involved in shoplifting

BEIJING — UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford will sit the three players reportedly involved in a shoplifting incident in China for Saturday's game against Ge.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 9th, 2017

Giroud s overhead kick gives Arsenal 1-0 win at Red Star

The Associated Press - Olivier Giroud scored late in the second half for Arsenal to maintain its perfect Europa League campaign with a 1-0 win over 10-man Red Star Belgrade on Thursday. Five minutes after Milan Rodic was sent off for a second yellow card, Giroud struck with an overhead kick five minutes before the final whistle after Theo Walcott headed the ball to him. "It was a great combination before the goal as well and he finished well," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. Arsenal opened a five-point lead in Group H with nine points. Red Star and BATE Borisov, which beat visiting Cologne 1-0, are on four. Cologne is bottom without a point. Elsewhere, Lazio rallied to take three points at Nice with a 3-1 win in Group K, and Real Sociedad thrashed Macedonia's Vardar 6-0 in Group L with Willian Jose scoring four goals. Milan was held 0-0 at home by Greek team AEK in Group D, and Everton's campaign suffered another blow after a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in Group E. Arsenal rested nine front-line players who were in the lineup for the English Premier League's match against Watford on Saturday, which Arsenal lost 2-1. But goalkeeper Petr Cech was in the goal as captain and made his presence felt, making several perfect saves. "It's important to have a good goalkeeper in this kind of game, too," Wenger said. "They were dangerous and Petr Cech kept us in the game." Mathieu Debuchy returned to the squad after a year due to injuries. With several young players, including Reiss Nelson, Joseph Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Gunners didn't look dangerous until Giroud's goal. "I believe you win when you can, you do not decide when," Wenger said. "What's remarkable is the spirit we have shown. They defended very well, but the goal is a consequence of us wanting to play through them." Richmond Boakye headed the ball onto the crossbar in the biggest chance for Red Star. LAZIO LEADS Boosted by a 2-1 victory over Juventus in Serie A, Lazio took the sole lead in Group K after rallying to a 3-1 away win at Nice in a matchup of two teams that won their previous two games. The fans didn't have to wait long for goals. Mario Balotelli headed home for the hosts four minutes into the game from Wesley Sneijder's cross, but Felipe Caicedo equalized for the hosts just a minute later. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored his first goal for Lazio in the 65th before adding his second a minute from time. Lazio stays perfect atop the group with nine points from three wins. Nice is second, three points back. Zulte Waregem and Vitesse drew 1-1 and have a point each in the group. REAL ON FIRE Willian Jose scored two goals in each half for Real Sociedad on the way to thrashing Macedonia's Vardar 6-0. Mikel Oyarzabal gave the Spaniards a first-half lead. The Brazilian striker then took charge before he was substituted on the hour. Alberto de la Bella added the final goal at the last minute. Despite the victory, Real is second in Group L with six points, trailing leader Zenit St. Petersburg by three after the Russians beat Rosenborg 3-1 to stay perfect. Rosenborg has three points and Vardar remains bottom after three defeats. EVERTON'S MISERY Everton is 16th in the 20-team English Premier League and is still without a win in three Europa League group matches this season. Nabil Fekir converted a penalty kick six minutes into the match for Lyon after Mason Holgate downed Marcal in the area. Players of both teams briefly clashed after a hard push from Everton captain Ashley Williams on Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes. Everton could face punishment from UEFA after a fan holding a child appeared to aim a punch at a Lyon player during the second-half melee at Goodison Park which continued off the pitch and in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End. Just minutes later, Williams seemed to come to Everton's rescue with a 69th-minute header. But Lyon needed just six minutes to answer with Bertrand Traore restoring the advantage to 2-1. Under-pressure Everton manager Ronald Koeman has something to think about before league games against Arsenal and Leicester sandwich a League Cup match with Chelsea. Italian side Atalanta leads Group E with seven points after a 3-1 win over Apollon Limassol. Lyon trails by two points in second. Apollon has two points and Everton remains last with one point. NO CHEERS IN BALKANS Partizan Belgrade played without its fans at Skenderbeu in Albania on Thursday with the reverse situation— no Skenderbeu supporters — scheduled to happen in Serbia. Both teams agreed on that measure at UEFA's request to not "create a hot situation." The Group B game ended in a 0-0 draw......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2017

NFL seeks quick action to get Elliott suspension reinstated

em>By Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press /em> The NFL filed an emergency motion in federal appeals court Friday, hoping to get a swift ruling on its request to overrule a judge who blocked a six-game suspension for star Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott in a domestic violence case in Ohio. The league filed its request with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, even though a federal judge in Texas hasn’t ruled on a request to put the injunction on hold while an appeal is pursued. The emergency motion asks the court to rule on the request to suspend U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant’s injunction as early as Tuesday, the start of the practice week before the Cowboys’ third game of the season against Arizona. If the ruling isn’t made by Tuesday, the NFL is asking for a decision by Sept. 26, the start of practice before Dallas’ Week 4 home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Elliott had already been cleared to play in a 19-3 win over the New York Giants in the season opener before Mazzant granted his request for an injunction. Last year’s NFL rushing leader will play Sunday at Denver under Mazzant’s ruling. The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations last summer in Ohio with his girlfriend at the time. The NFL players’ union sued on Elliott’s behalf. In its emergency motion, the NFL reiterated previous arguments that Elliott’s attorneys sued prematurely because arbitrator Harold Henderson had yet to rule on the running back’s appeal of the suspension. The appeal was denied the same day as arguments over the request for an injunction from Mazzant in Sherman, Texas, about 65 miles north of Dallas. The NFL ultimately wants to get the case moved from Texas to the Southern District of New York. That was the venue for the league’s successful appeal after a federal judge had overturned New England quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in the “Deflategate” case. The NFL contends Mazzant’s ruling was an unnecessary interference in the league’s labor deal with the players. “Put differently, the six-game suspension approved by the arbitrator will ultimately stand, and no one’s interests are served by delaying that discipline based on a misguided order by a district court that lacked jurisdiction,” the NFL wrote in its motion. Mazzant’s ruling took aim at Henderson and the NFL , saying decisions not to allow Goodell and Tiffany Thompson, the ex-girlfriend, to testify at the appeal were among several factors unfair to Elliott. The NFL has maintained that it followed all procedures for discipline in the collective bargaining agreement. Three years ago, the NFL stiffened its domestic violence policy with the six-game standard and more investigative power. The changes came after the league was sharply criticized for its handling of a domestic incident involving former Baltimore running back Ray Rice. According to the letter Elliott received informing him of the suspension last month, the NFL believed he used “physical force” three times in a span of five days in a Columbus, Ohio, apartment last July resulting in injuries to Thompson’s face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, hips and knees. Prosecutors in Columbus decided about a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, but the NFL kept the investigation open. The league said its conclusions were based on photographs, text messages and other electronic evidence. Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards as a rookie to help the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC at 13-3. He had 104 yards in the opener against the Giants. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

MVP name drops Ravena brothers, Ricci, and Pogoy for 2023 Gilas team

With the Philippines being the main host of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the search is on for the next wave of Gilas Pilipinas stars. Because let's face it, the current core of the team might be too old to play six years from now and their last stand, realistically, is going to be the 2019 FIBA World Cup and/or the 2020 Olympics. That's why the national team is fighting hard to make the 2019 tournament in China. But still, it's never too early to plan for the future and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas President Manny V. Pangilinan, in his speech Thursday celebrating the country's win to take the hosting rights of the 2023 World Cup, name-dropped a handful of players that might make up the core of Gilas during that time. MVP mentions Kiefer, Thirdy, Ricci, and RR Pogoy as possible Gilas Pilipinas players for 2023. Then again, he also said that he's no coach #PlayLouderIn2023 | @abscbnsports — Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) December 14, 2017 All players mentioned will be in that 26-32 year-old range or basically the peak years of a young basketball player. National team head coach Chot Reyes, adding to the statements of his boss, says that that's the most logical way to go about the 2023 lineup. However, he's not taking out players who are younger still. "As we develop the players, we develop as well the conditions to make the team at its strongest in 2023. Who they are, we still have to sit down -- coach Jong is there and the rest of the national team coaches -- and identify players," Reyes said. "Pero like MVP said, its most likely players who are between 26 and 32 years old in 2023. We're not discounting an exception of 22-, 23-year-olds, of course, pero most probably its within that [range]," he added. More importantly though, Reyes mentioned the need for the national team to make the program as early as now. Continuity and unity is key he says. "It's going to be a difficult task but we have to seek the assistance of all the stakeholders in basketball," he said. "Not only the PBA, but the commercial leagues -- even the UAAP and the college leagues. We will need to plan a calendar now pa lang and not wait until 2021 or 2022 to put that calendar together. Dapat ngayon pa lang may plano na tayo," Reyes added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

BLOGTABLE: Who is the greatest Laker of all-time?

NBA.com blogtable Kobe Bryant will join the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when the Lakers retire his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys on Monday (next Tuesday, PHL time). This barstool debate will likely go on forever, but who do you think is the greatest Laker of all time? * * * David Aldridge: Not trying to split hairs, but are we talking guys who played for the Lakers at any point in their careers, or someone who was a Laker Lifer? If the former, I'd have to take Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is on my NBA Mount Rushmore. But he did play his first six seasons in Milwaukee, during which time he was Rookie of the Year, Finals MVP and won three of his six league MVP awards, before playing his last 14 years in L.A. If the latter, I have to take Magic Johnson over Jerry West. The ledger: five NBA titles -- the first as a rookie, which included Magic's seminal 42-point/15-rebound/seven-assist effort in the deciding Game 6 of the 1980 Finals in Philly, playing center for an injured Kareem. Three Finals MVP awards. Three league MVP awards. The best nickname ever. Steve Aschburner: Bully for Kobe Bryant, though the retiring of two jersey numbers for one guy is silly, excessive and so coddling as to seem fit for a millennial. Pick one, c’mon! Especially since the greatest Laker of all time remains Earvin (Magic) Johnson. I’m not counting rings or toting stats for a visceral, subjective verdict such as this. I’m simply of a certain age that got to see Magic in all his glory on the court. And feel and hear the added buzz, home or away, when he and his Showtime pals were in the building. Chamberlain happens to be my favorite Laker of all time, and I can come up with hard criteria why most of them fall short -- not any (Baylor) or enough (West) rings, splitting time with other franchises (Wilt, Kareem). But it’s really not about that in my view. It’s about the way Magic revived Abdul-Jabbar’s career, it’s about the way he and Larry Bird revived the NBA and most of all, it’s about the smile that invited everybody in. Shaun Powell: A quick "no" to Wilt and Kareem; both spent part of their careers elsewhere, although admittedly Kareem had massive seasons with the Lakers. But these "who's greater" arguments must be conducted in context. I never saw Elgin play, or West, and that's punishment for being born too late. Therefore, the vote is Magic over Kobe, partly because of what Magic did for the league. But there's no wrong answer here, is there? John Schuhmann: In regard to being the best player on championship teams, transforming the culture, being a leader, and making the players around him better, it's Magic Johnson. But Jerry West makes a strong case when you consider his work as the team's general manager and the architect of championship teams beyond his years as a player. Sekou Smith: I've always been partial to Magic Johnson. And there is nothing that Kobe or anyone else has done to change my mind. As far as impact, accomplishments, transcendent greatness and lasting legacy in Los Angeles and beyond, I'd think it would be hard to argue for anyone above Magic. Granted, I realize your opinion rests largely on what generation you are a part of and how you weight the titles won, and in what era, for each player. But without Magic's arrival and the "Showtime" Lakers era, the history of the franchise is so dramatically different that Kobe and anyone else who came after Magic would not have had a standard to chase. West, Wilt and Kareem all worked wonders in purple and gold, but no one had the impact in that Lakers uniform that Magic did. And I don't care how many times Magic claims that Kobe is the greatest Laker of them all!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

NFL suspends Rob Gronkowski 1 game for late hit to head

By Jimmy Golen, Associated Press The NFL suspended New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski one game on Monday for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White. What the hell are you doing, Gronk? pic.twitter.com/mZTgJA62eU — Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) December 3, 2017 White was lying face down on the sideline after intercepting a pass in Buffalo on Sunday when Gronkowski body-slammed him, driving his forearm into White’s back and head. Gronkowski was called for unnecessary roughness, but not kicked out of the game. “Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury,” NFL vice president Jon Runyan said in a letter to Gronkowski. “The competition committee has clearly expressed its goal of ‘eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.’ Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday.” Gronkowski will appeal the punishment, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press. White entered the concussion protocol, Bills coach Sean McDermott said. Bill Belichick apologizes to Sean McDermott for the Gronk hit that gave Tre' White a concussion. Called it bull%^&*. pic.twitter.com/qfkBB9bgid — Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) December 3, 2017 After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared to apologize to his Buffalo counterpart. Gronkowski also apologized, saying he let his frustration get the better of him. “I’m not in the business of that,” he told reporters after the game, which New England won 23-3. “There was a lot of frustration. I just want to apologize to Tre’Davious White. I don’t believe in taking shots like that.” Barring a successful appeal, Gronkowski will miss New England’s game against Miami next Monday night. Gronkowski has been one of the most productive tight ends in NFL annals despite an injury history that has allowed him to play all 16 games just twice in his first seven seasons. This year, he has caught 55 passes for 849 yards and seven touchdowns. At 6'6" and 265 pounds, he is bigger than the players trying to cover him, and he has increasingly complained that officials ignore interference by defenders because his size can make it seem inconsequential. Gronkowski caught nine passes for 147 yards against Buffalo on Sunday. On the play that resulted in the interception, he felt he was pushed and held. “I just don’t understand why there wasn’t a flag,” he said. “There was a couple of times in the game they’re calling me for the craziest stuff ever. It’s like crazy. Like, what am I supposed to do? And then they don’t call that? It was just frustration.” ___ AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed to this story from Buffalo, New York......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 5th, 2017

LaVar Ball to pull out son LiAngelo Ball from UCLA

MANILA, Philippines – LaVar Ball said on Monday, December 4, he will withdraw his son LiAngelo from the college basketball program at UCLA in protest at his suspension for shoplifting in China. LiAngelo was one of 3 UCLA players arrested in China earlier this month and later released after the intervention of Chinese President Xi Jinping . He was later suspended ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 5th, 2017

Promising signs from Bulls young guns

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com In time, Zach LaVine’s return, development and eventual career arc will determine to a large extent how successful the Bulls’ Draft Night trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota was. For now, and until LaVine suits up this season and beyond, his value to Chicago is strictly to be determined. The two-time NBA Slam Dunk champ is back in the practice gym in his recovery from left knee (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery. Playing 1-on-1 with teammates, working out with the G-League Windy City Bulls in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and improving his timing and his conditioning, LaVine is penciled in to make his season debut before the end of 2017. Meanwhile, though, the Bulls have two other pieces to show from the Butler deal: stretch-four forward Lauri Markkanen and point guard Kris Dunn. Both have offered glimpses of what they can do and how they might fit into the team’s long-term vision that someday won’t prioritize losing. Markkanen, the lanky Finn by way of the University of Arizona, is averaging 13.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and in 30 minutes. He’s putting up 7.2 three-point shots per game and hitting 31.7 percent. His 140 attempts from the arc ranked 14th in the NBA – more than Bradley Beal (126), more than Carmelo Anthony (125) – and Markkanen’s 48 makes are the most by any player in his first 20 games. Dunn, whose disappointing 2016-17 rookie season with Minnesota essentially has gotten a reset, was at 12 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 4.2 apg after having 19 points, five rebounds and five assists in Thursday night's (Friday, PHL time) loss at Denver. The 23-year-old from Providence is shooting 43.2 percent on three-pointers (43.2 percent)  and his steal percentage of 3.8 – an estimate of the percent of opponents’ possessions ending in Dunn steals – ranked No. 1 in the NBA. Their trajectories have been somewhat different so far in 2017-18: Markkanen has been consistent while fighting through a flu bug and some road weariness, while Dunn has played his best most recently. But they’ve both contributed in ways that, aside from the Bulls’ relentless losing, suggests brighter days and in time a positive verdict on that headline-grabbing, bit-spitting trade. Markkanen: Stays cool, likes cold, shoots hot It’s fair to say that the Bulls, when they acquired Markkanen as the No. 7 selection in the Draft last June, got a sleeper. No, literally. That’s about all the 20-year-old native of Vantaa, Finland was able to do after a hectic spring leading up to the draft followed by a tortuous summer at the Las Vegas Summer League and a key role for his home country’s national team in the FIBA Eurobasket 2017 tournament. Markkanen’s single season at Arizona not only acclimated him to the American game, it earned him all-American status and a taste of the NCAA tournament before the Wildcats lost to Xavier. In the Euro competition, he averaged 19.5 points and 5.7 rebounds before heading to Chicago for an early jump on training camp. “When he came over here, he was exhausted,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “The week before training camp was completely lost time – he needed to recharge his batteries. So, we really didn’t know what we had. He was still tired when we started camp. We didn’t throw him out there for all the drills, just as part of the process in getting his body back. “But then every time he stepped on the floor, he showed a little more.” First Markkanen demonstrated he would crack the rotation. Then – when forwards Nikola Mirotic (facial injuries) and Bobby Portis (suspension for the punch that caused them) rendered themselves unavailable two days before the season opener – Markkanen was thrust into the starting lineup. Butterflies? Rookie mistakes? Not so much. Markkanen looked almost unflappable in averaging 17.2 points and 9.3 rebounds through his first six appearances, with a high of 25 points at Miami and double-doubles against San Antonio and Atlanta. “We had to adjust our offense,” Hoiberg said, “and put in some new things to try to get him the ball in different spots on the floor, because of his versatility to score.” Justin Holiday was one of the teammates who learned quickly to get the ball more often to the tall blond guy. “He’s playing consistent, and that’s a very mature thing to do in this league,” Holiday said. “What’s maybe surprising is his confidence in shooting the ball. He’s not afraid to shoot it.” Said Markkanen, whose father Pekka lettered at Kansas before returning home to play professionally: “I’m expecting big things from myself. I think that’s what motivates me every day. Whatever I do, I’m not satisfied. So, I try to set higher goals every time I step on the court. Try to do things better. “It’s going to get harder, I know that. I’m trying to face it like any other job. Just go at it positively, fight through it, put the work in, and I think it will work itself out.” At 20 games and counting, Markkanen will soon blow by the 37 he played in college, and the workload probably has something to do with his recent production; in his five most recent games before Thursday (Friday, PHL time), he shot 25.4 percent, including 11-of-39 from the arc. He says he has adjusted from one game to the next – “I don’t want to give my scouting report, but I try to add something new and figure out what they’re going to throw at me,” he said. He even drew praise from the great LeBron James after hitting four three-pointers in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Cavaliers. Markkanen hasn’t been fooled by Chicago’s relatively balmy late-autumn weather and has to be one of the few NBA players to welcome winter’s chill (“I’m actually looking forward to snow”). He isn’t flinching from the Bulls’ task at hand, either, which looks longer and more laborious with each lopsided defeat. “I understand this part of a process,” said Markkanen, who would appear to be on his way to the Rising Stars Challenge game at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. “We’ve got a young group. We’re having tough times. ... It’s about sticking together and having everyone know that. We can’t afford to not trust or not be a good teammate.” Dunn: Pushing a personal reset button Dunn’s young career was looking a little snakebit. He suffered a concussion in the first game he played for Minnesota in the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League. This time, he had to leave the Bulls’ Vegas entry early to attend to family matters. Then the point guard got hurt in a preseason game against Milwaukee Oct. 7 (Oct. 8, PHL time), winding up with an “open dislocation” of his left index finger. All those setbacks cost Dunn valuable learning time, as far as running first the Wolves’ and then the Bulls’ attacks. He never fully recovered from it last season, sputtering through a rookie season that fell far short of his and others’ expectations. His fellow Class of 2016 draftees had voted him the most likely to snag the Rookie of the Year award, but it went instead to Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, who’d been chosen in the second round 31 spots after Dunn. This time, Dunn was out of action until Chicago’s fifth regular season game. And the delay showed in his performances: 9.8 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 38.6 percent shooting in his first eight games. One Bulls insider said Dunn “had a lot going on in his head” from last season’s failures, even as he tried to get traction in Chicago. Said Holiday, 28, who went undrafted and bounced through five organizations in barely three years from 2013 to 2016: “When you’re young, man, everybody’s pushing. Who knows what was going on his head? He might have been trying to be perfect. Sometimes it takes time. It’s a big role. “But he has the confidence to do it, where last year maybe he didn’t have as much confidence. All you can really do is go out and play hard, and if it works out, it works out.” Over Dunn’s past seven games before Thursday (Friday, PHL time), he was a more effective, more efficient player: 13.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, while averaging 2.1 steals and 27.7 minutes. He had made 9-of-15 three-pointers, compared to 6-of-21 to start the season. Already in the five weeks he’s been active, he has played about 30 percent of the total minutes he got in 78 appearances for Minnesota’s Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls have been 3.6 points better when he’s been on the floor, too. That’s not enough to tip outcomes, but keep in mind the Wolves were 2.6 points worse a year ago with Dunn in the game. He played probably his best NBA game Tuesday against Phoenix, scoring 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting with eight assists, four rebounds and four steals. If not for a couple of egregious turnovers among his four, he might have agreed with Hoiberg’s “terrific” assessment. That performance came 48 hours after Dunn had scored two points and missed all six of his field-goal attempts against Miami. Hoiberg sought him out and demanded that the second-year guard play more aggressively, and Dunn proved his coach right. “He called me out,” Dunn said. “When a coach calls you out, you try to play as hard as you can. I had to get through my mind, ‘Go out and play the way I used to play. With that aggression. On defense, on offense. Try to stay down in errors as much as I can and get everybody involved.’ “I want to be an elite point guard one day and I understand, the best point guards don’t make those killer turnovers. If I want to reach my goal, I have to get better each and every day in practice, watch film and, y’know, think a little smarter when you’re playing.” Some have suggested Boston’s Marcus Smart as a legitimate comparison for Dunn, given their defensive aptitudes and challenges both face when shooting from range. Dunn is a huge fan of Smart, but believes he can be a full-service, top-notch playmaker. Mostly, he finally looks comfortable with this reset to his NBA experience. “Individually for me, it is a reset,” Dunn said. “I say this is my first year because I didn’t get too many minutes and I didn’t play the right position in Minnesota. I was a two, a three, sometimes a one. But this is my first year of [regularly] playing the point guard. As a team, we don’t have Jimmy, we don’t have [Rajon] Rondo, we don’t have Dwyane Wade, so we’re all trying to figure it out. Everybody is trying to step up and come together as a unit.” With LaVine’s debut now weeks rather than months away, the Bulls – and their skeptical fans – will be able to more fully judge the yield from that Butler trade. Two out of three so far are giving glimmers of hope. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 1st, 2017

Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 20th, 2017

Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

  WASHINGTON --- President Donald Trump said he should have left in jail the three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China.   Trump's remark came after the father of player LiAngelo Ball minimized his involvement in winning the players' release in comments to ESPN.   In a tweet on Sunday, Trump said: "Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!"   On Friday, LaVar Ball told ESPN: "Who?", when asked about Trump's involvement in the matter. "Wha...Keep on reading: Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 20th, 2017

Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 20th, 2017

Trump urges 3 UCLA players to thank China leader for release

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged three suspended UCLA basketball players on Thursday (Friday in Manila) to thank China's president for their freedom.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 17th, 2017

3 UCLA basketball players suspended after theft in China

LOS ANGELES — Three UCLA basketball players detained for shoplifting at three high-end stores in China publicly apologized Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) bef.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 16th, 2017

The Pistons are 10-3, and might be the surprise of the NBA

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The Detroit Pistons are heading on the road for a few days, so maybe someone will see them play. They’ve certainly been worth watching. Detroit’s 10-3 start, good for No. 2 in the Eastern Conference standings, is one of the biggest good surprises in the NBA through the season’s first month. The Pistons already have a road win at Golden State, swept a five-game homestand — possibly to the delight of all those unoccupied red seats at Little Caesars Arena, more on that in a moment — and are off to their best start in 12 years. “I know that we’re playing as a team right now,” Detroit’s Luke Kennard said. “We’re really locked in. We’re really playing together and we play hard. When you have a team that does that together, you win.” Now comes the test. Starting Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), the Pistons play five of their next six games on the road — visiting Milwaukee, Indiana and Minnesota before returning home to face Cleveland, then heading right back out for a trip to Oklahoma City and Boston. After topping Miami to finish off a 5-0 homestand Sunday (Monday, PHL time), Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy made no effort to hide how pleased he is right now. “We did a great job here, and now you just move on to the next challenge,” Van Gundy said. “Now 9-of-11 on the road, the next three games on the road against teams you beat at home so you know they want back at you. The challenges just keep mounting, but you put wins in the bank.” Maybe at some point, there will be fans in the seats. The brand-new Detroit arena has a listed capacity for basketball at 20,491, which was the announced crowd for opening night. In seven games since, the Pistons have announced crowds between 13,709 and 17,683 — and those numbers may be generous, given how empty the building looks on television. Officially, Detroit sold 76 percent of its tickets in those seven games. ___ GIANNIS WATCH Technically, no foreign player has ever won an NBA scoring title. Dominique Wilkins has one and he was born in Paris, but only because his father was in the U.S. Air Force. Giannis Antetokounmpo may change that in a few months. And if not this season, then probably soon enough. The Milwaukee star who hails from Greece went into this week averaging just over 31 points per game and leading the league in that department. He was the Most Improved Player last season and don’t be surprised if he gets more votes for that trophy this season — along with MVP ballots as well. “He plays now to destroy you,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters last week before Antetokounmpo scored 28 in Milwaukee’s road win over San Antonio. “In the beginning he was pretty darn good and he would do this and he would do that. But now he knows he can do it to you every time. He’s for real.” Antetokounmpo turns 23 on Dec. 6. The only other players in the last 50 years with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists before celebrating their 23rd birthdays — Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady, and future Hall of Famer LeBron James. ___ ANNIVERSARIES A couple of significant milestone dates are nearing. Sunday (Monday, PHL time) marks the 13th anniversary since the so-called “Malice at The Palace,” the infamous brawl involving Indiana and Detroit after Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) went into the stands after a fan hit him with a drink. The aftermath included nine players being suspended, and security in NBA arenas has been different ever since. And Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) is the 16th anniversary of the first call-up from what is now called the NBA G League — the Denver Nuggets brought eventual NBA champion Chris Andersen up from the Fayetteville Patriots, a move that paved the way for hundreds of players to truly view the development league as a springboard to the NBA. ___ THE WEEK AHEAD Some games to keep an eye on over the coming days: — Philadelphia at L.A. Lakers, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time): Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball, a matchup of future NBA assist leaders. — Golden State at Boston, Thursday (Friday, PHL time): An NBA Finals preview? The road team has won five straight in this series. — Oklahoma City at San Antonio, Friday (Saturday, PHL time): Russell Westbrook has triple-doubles in his last two games vs. the Spurs. — Houston at Memphis, Saturday (Sunday, PHL time): The Rockets’ wide-open offense goes up against the Grizzlies’ airtight defense. — Washington at Toronto, Sunday: John Wall vs. Kyle Lowry might get overlooked on an NFL Sunday, but shouldn’t. ___ STAT LINE OF THE WEEK Paul George, Oklahoma City: His 37-point, eight-rebound, five-assist game against Dallas on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) wasn’t even his best game of the week (he had 42, 9 and 7 two nights earlier against the Clippers). But the Sunday (Monday, PHL time) game gets the nod since it came on Russell Westbrook’s birthday and when asked what he got his teammate, George said “I got him 37.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017

US selects 12-man roster for basketball qualifying games

NEW YORK (AP) — Tournament MVP Jameel Warney and three other players who helped the U.S. win the AmeriCup gold medal will suit up for the Americans in their first two Basketball World Cup qualifying games. The Americans will play Puerto Rico on Nov. 23 in Orlando, Florida, a game moved from Puerto Rico because of hurricane damage. The U.S. will host Mexico three nights later in Greensboro, North Carolina. The U.S. is relying on G League players, with NBA players unavailable for the windows during the season. Besides Warney, who plays for the Texas Legends, Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns) and Xavier Munford (Wisconsin Herd) played for Jeff Van Gundy when the Americans went 5-0 and won AmeriCup gold in September. The rest of Van Gundy's roster chosen Tuesday for this month's games: Amile Jefferson and Elijah Millsap (Iowa Wolves); Markel Brown (Oklahoma City Blue); Jarell Eddie (Windy City Bulls); Kennedy Meeks (Raptors 905); Donald Sloan (Texas Legends); Travis Wear (South Bay Lakers), and Semaj Christon, who is a free agent. Under FIBA's new qualifying system, teams will play home-and-away games against opponents in their region to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in China. That tournament will then qualify seven teams for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 15th, 2017