srijeda, 30.03.2011.

Jon Morris gets his due, call

A little before 1 o’clock Friday afternoon, Jon Morris’ phone rang. When he picked up, the voice on the other end belonged to Patriots [team stats] owner Robert Kraft.

On three previous occasions at this same time of year, the former Patriots great was hoping to hear from Kraft. But the call never came to his Blufton, S.C., home. After three failed attempts at having fans vote him into the Patriots Hall of Fame, Morris figured it just wasn’t meant to be.

But there was just something not quite right about having the best center in team history — and one symbolic of the oft-overlooked players who laid the foundation — not in its shrine. As it looked, Morris, who played during the AFL days in the late 1960s and early ’70s, realistically didn’t have the best chance of getting voted in by the fans when pitted against the modern players.

On Friday, over some fried clams at the Red Wing diner, the Patriots Hall of Fame’s newly formed senior selection committee needed little debate before voting Morris in, although there was a news embargo on the announcement until today.

“To get this phone call now, I’m just overwhelmed by it all,” Morris said, moments after speaking with Kraft. “It’s so exciting for me, and it comes when you least expect it, which makes it even better.”

Having lost out already to Sam “Bam” Cunningham, Jim Nance, and Ben Coates in the first three elections, and with Drew Bledsoe up for nomination for the first time this year, Morris thought he truly had no shot. And with a parade of more recent icons to follow (Troy Brown [stats], eligible in 2012, Tedy Bruschi [stats], Rodney Harrison [stats] and Willie McGinest in 2013, Ty Law in 2014), Morris didn’t believe his name would ever again be nominated down the road.

With legends like Morris in mind, the Patriots formed that new senior committee to consider early-era players for induction. The 10-member panel, which will meet every five years, will conduct its vote based on three candidates who had previously been selected as finalists and been retired at least 25 years.

Morris, a six-time AFL All-Star and Pro Bowl center, came away the winner this time. He will be inducted along with another 2011 entrant after the fans do their voting in a month-long balloting beginning April 15.

“(Morris) was never going to get in from the fan voting,” a committee member acknowledged to his fellow panelists on Friday. “No one is going to vote for a center who played 50 years ago.”

A separate nomination committee also met to select the three 2011 first-time nominees. Bledsoe is a sure bet to be on the ballot. Curtis Martin, Joe Andruzzi and Corey Dillon [stats] would be three other first-year eligible players.

Morris, who turns 69 next month, played 11 seasons with the Patriots. He had been advocating for a veterans committee like the one that was formed, so naturally he was pleased to hear that it had come to fruition.

“People like me had no chance, especially with the Super Bowl teams now starting to become eligible,” Morris said. “I told a couple of guys not to even nominate me, because it was tough to go through it again. But this was painless.”

The Patriots are the only team that allows fans the opportunity to vote on the members for its Hall of Fame.

“Anybody that’s played any kind of sport, whether it’s college or professional, wants to be the best that they can be,” Morris said. “This says you were. That’s just a confirmation, an underlying thing that says, ‘Yeah, I did accomplish something’ and it makes me feel great. I was fortunate enough to be selected to the athletic hall of fame at both my high school and my college. So now my pro team finishes that circle, and I’m as proud as I can be of it.”

According to Patriots media relations chief Stacey James, the committee was pleased with the process.

“We just wanted to make sure there was some mechanism in place to make sure those guys were not forgotten. This was the best way to protect against guys being lost in the process,” James said of the new committee. “We want to make sure we are recognizing and honoring the greatest players in franchise history and that no one gets overlooked in the process.”

- 04:04 -

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srijeda, 23.03.2011.

Spurs' Duncan out indefinitely with sprained ankle

Duncan, a two-time league most valuable player and 13-times All-Star, had an MRI on Tuesday that the team said showed no signs of structural damage.

The 34-year-old forward will not travel with the Spurs on their three-game road trip that ends on Sunday in Memphis and will receive daily treatment.

"We will have a better idea of what the timeline is probably in the next 48 hours but he won't travel on the trip," Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford told reporters.

Duncan suffered the injury early in San Antonio's win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday when he landed awkwardly on his left foot and collapsed to the court. He left the game and did not return.

The Spurs have a NBA-best 57-13 record with the help of the post presence of Duncan who is averaging 13.3 points and nine rebounds per game.

Duncan, who has won four NBA title with San Antonio, has played in all but one of his team's games this season, and an extended absence could be a major blow with the playoffs approaching next month.

- 02:26 -

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srijeda, 16.03.2011.

Lakers rally for 10th win in 11 games

By the time Kobe Bryant talked himself into a little confidence in his swollen ankle in the second half, Andrew Bynum and the Los Angeles Lakers' reserves had already taken care of Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

Pau Gasol scored 23 points, Bryant added 16 while playing on a sprained left ankle, and the Lakers roared away in the second half for their 10th win in 11 games, 97-84 Monday night.

Bynum had 10 points, a career high-tying 18 rebounds and four blocks while hounding Howard into nine turnovers - four more than the entire Lakers squad - in another eye-catching low-post game for the Lakers' young center.

It all added up to a rather easy night of work for Bryant, who decided to play despite seriously rolling his ankle during the third quarter of Saturday's win at Dallas.

''It was more mental,'' said Bryant, who went 7 for 19 and missed eight shots in the first half. ''It affected my bounce a little bit just because of the trust factor, just trusting it in the first half. Then at halftime, I just gave it a little pep talk.''

Bryant can afford to be cautious while his Lakers are on their most impressive streak of the season. Thanks to the Los Angeles reserves' decisive rally early in the fourth quarter, Bryant had to play just 30 minutes.

Lamar Odom scored 16 points as the two-time defending champions opened a seven-game homestand with another win over an elite team after an early season filled with flops against the NBA's best. The Lakers (48-20) also drew virtually even with the Dallas Mavericks (47-19) for second place in the Western Conference standings.

''We want to win every game on this home stretch here,'' Bynum said. ''(Howard) is a great player who's going to get his numbers, but we started scoring, too.''

Derek Fisher scored 15 points for the Lakers, who have the next three days off before lowly Minnesota visits on Friday. Los Angeles already had beaten San Antonio, Dallas, Atlanta (twice) and Oklahoma City since the break before this stirring second-half effort against the talented Magic, who appear entrenched in fourth place in the East.

Howard had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic, who couldn't get rolling offensively in the second half of this 2009 NBA finals rematch. The Lakers all remembered last month's meeting in Orlando, when Howard dominated with 31 points and 13 rebounds while barely missing a shot.

''I just think they came out and played better in the second half, especially with their post defense,'' Howard said. ''They squared everybody in the paint and they forced me to make plays out to my teammates. They made it tough for me to score. We've just got to learn how to play through it.''

The Magic led throughout the first half, but the Lakers pushed ahead early in the third quarter. They didn't pull away until a lineup stacked with reserves made an 18-5 run spanning the final two quarters, running Orlando's starters off the court.

Los Angeles went ahead 85-69 on Odom's 3-pointer with 7:14 to play, and the Magic never got closer than 11 points after that.

''We had a good second half,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ''Got our offense running a little bit, got some steals and some easy baskets. (Bynum) did an adequate job on Howard, and he did a great job on the boards. ... I think Orlando faded a little bit. They were tired after that back-to-back.''

Ryan Anderson and Jameer Nelson scored 13 points apiece for the Magic. Coach Stan Van Gundy left his starters in the blowout until the final buzzer of Orlando's fourth stop on a five-game road trip ending in Milwaukee.

''We didn't play with as much energy in the second half,'' Van Gundy said. ''A good part of that is their defense. Give them credit, but we didn't move the ball the way that we should have. Bottom line is the game comes down to turnovers and rebounding.''

Bynum's improved play has been a major reason for Los Angeles' surge after the All-Star break. The 23-year-old with creaky knees still isn't in perfect health after missing the start of the season, but he soundly outplayed Howard early.

Bynum got more cheers than Bryant when both left the game in the final minutes.

''He's consistently performing this way, so we expect it from him,'' Bryant said. ''This is how he should play, and this is how he's going to play.''

NOTES: Van Gundy said the Magic miss the energy and presence of Matt Barnes, who signed with the Lakers last summer after one season with Orlando. The journeyman forward had five points and three rebounds in 17 minutes against the Magic in his fifth game back from a 26-game absence for surgery on cartilage in his right knee. ... Orlando G J.J. Redick missed his third straight game with a lower abdominal strain. ... Fans near courtside included Robert Downey Jr., Tom Arnold and Vanessa Hudgens.

- 02:23 -

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četvrtak, 10.03.2011.

'MLB 11 The Show' Now Available Exclusively for PS3, PSP

Sony announced today the North American launch of MLB 11 The Show, available exclusively for PS3, PSP, and PS2. This year's edition features a ton of new features that are sure to excite fans both new and old.
Leading off on the new features set for PS3 is the addition of stereoscopic 3D functionality in all gameplay modes, as well as PlayStation Move motion controller support making its debut in the Home Run Derby mode.

Next up is the newly added Pure Analog Control System which includes analog controls for hitting, pitching, and throwing. Pure Hitting allows you to stride and swing using the Right Analog Stick, Pure Pitching functionality incorporates a new Pitch Meter when setting strength and location, and Pure Throwing can be used to make defensive throws by simply pointing the Right Analog Stick in the direction of the base, also allowing for fake throws to keep runners honest.

MLB 11 The Show also offers a new Co-op Mode, which allows up to four-player offline or online cooperative play where gamers can split duties covering either the infield or outfield, while also switching off at the plate or choosing the specific batters they'd like ton control. Users can play 1 vs. 2, 2 vs. 2, or 2 vs. CPU. Also adding to the competitive fire is MLB 11 The Show's Challenge of the Week-a quick, fast paced 2-3 minute, 1-player, online experience, with leader boards and prizes awarded in three tiers.
The fifth generation of Road to The Show returns in version 5.0 bringing a new interactive slider set to the Create Player process, new training modes triggered by the Player Performance Evaluator that awards training points depending on your approach at the plate (or to batters faced), Minor League- substitution logic improvements, advancement system improvements that now compare your stats versus your competition in the organization, and the new No Assist Fielding option to make the fielding experience even more realistic.
MLB 11 The Show also includes a customizable camera editor, stadium specific broadcast camera angles for all 30 MLB teams, new weather elements in the form of rain and dynamic cloud coverage, stadium specific jumbotrons, and firework displays.
MLB 11 The Show for PSP utilizes core gameplay features found in the PS3 version, while the PS2 version includes the exclusive Player Creator.
Lastly is the addition of former Los Angeles Dodger first baseman Eric Karros to the broadcast booth, joining Matt Vasgersian and Dave Campbell.

- 03:50 -

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srijeda, 02.03.2011.

Men’s soccer reaches out to community

With the Texas Wesleyan men's soccer team under a new coaching staff, the team is starting to reach out to the surrounding community.
Head coach Tyler Powell said the team is working hard in practice each week, and providing community service for Polytechnic Heights.
"Part of the project is to take pictures and write an outline about what they did and why," Powell said.
In April, the team is also going to volunteer its time by helping at the Dallas Cup, the largest international youth soccer tournament in the country.

Specific events the team will participate in are the Fort Worth Special Olympics and Veterans Paraplegic game in April.
Powell said the team is asking Wesleyan students to also get involved.
"We are currently collecting sportswear for a local church that is housing refugees from Burma, Thailand, South Africa and East Asia," Powell said.
Sportswear items include old running shoes, cleats, shorts, shirts and warm-ups.
Powell said the Rams will continue to contribute to the community in numerous areas and are dedicated to helping out not only local areas, but also countries around the world.
"To me, it brings the team closer together as we help people in need," Kyle Fritz, junior forward, said. "It also, in my opinion, gives the team a place among the community."
Marcus Harris, junior, said he believes the projects will lead to people becoming more involved with Wesleyan and assist in spreading the name of the university.
"I think that the community service will show the community that we are not just a school of Rosedale, but a school that wants to get the community support in all we do," Harris said.
Anyone wanting to make donations can drop them off in Powell's office, room 212 in the Sid Richardson Center.

- 02:51 -

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