Frank Howard’s evolution sets him up for potential NCAA Tournament impact

first_imgST. LOUIS – Frank Howard knew he probably wasn’t getting in. In seven of Syracuse’s first eight games of the season, the freshman logged single-digit minutes. Michael Gbinije manned the point for almost the entirety of every game and Howard was nearly invisible on the stat sheet, save for a 13-minute outing against Georgetown in which he scored four points.Late in the season, it’s been the mirror opposite. He’s played double-digit minutes in seven of the last eight games, including 18 in the Orange’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament opener. As Syracuse clawed back against Pittsburgh in the second half, Trevor Cooney sat while Howard took his place in the lineup and directed the offense to a comeback that fell just short.“Especially being the point guard, experience is key,” Howard said Thursday. “…I think it’s been great … that type of level toward the end of the year, it kind of builds that momentum going into the Tournament.”Howard has flashed his ability to thread pinpoint passes but also his hesitancy to take his own shot. The latter is something that’s slowly diminished with more experience, and the freshman has accumulated valuable minutes while proving to be a stable option at the point for 10th-seeded SU ahead of its matchup with seventh-seeded Dayton in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64 on Friday at 11:15 a.m. local time.“We knew that, at least I knew that, he had the ability to do what he’s doing now,” freshman Tyler Lydon said. “He’s really developed as a whole.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith Howard manning the point and Gbinije off ball, it’s given the fifth-year senior more opportunity to find his own shot and be on the receiving end of passes that set up open shots rather than vice versa.Early in the season, Gbinije at the point gave Syracuse its best five on the floor without another lineup being anywhere close to as effective. Now, Howard has proven that he can set up Cooney, Gbinije and Malachi Richardson sufficiently enough, while working to find his own shots, that Boeheim trusts him down the stretches of games.Against the Panthers last Wednesday, Howard tried to zone out that he was playing over Gbinije even though it was far from what he was once accustomed to.“At that point, you’ve just got to become a player,” Howard said. “You don’t really think about who’s in, who’s out at that point.”On Thursday, Boeheim was asked about Howard’s development and how effective he can be in the NCAA Tournament. He laughed off the question before saying “some development,” and moving on.The head coach has been critical of the freshman (when missing 10-foot floaters in the lane) and also showered him with praise (when he logged six assists in 14 minutes against Georgia Tech). For the first two-thirds of the season and at spots in the last stretch, the reviews have been mixed.But Howard’s gradual improvement has given Syracuse another option in its thin rotation, and one that’s added a dimension to an offense that can’t afford another comeback falling short.“I kind of got some comfort now so I’m a little bit more aggressive,” Howard said. “I’m trying to soak everything up.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 17, 2016 at 4:16 pm Contact Matt: [email protected] | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

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Kano Pillars Win 2016 DSTV Premier Basketball League

first_imgIn a towering display of skills and experience, Kano Pillars tutored by Sani Ahmed were losing 13-17 after the first quarter but came back to emphatically dominate the second by 27-7 points to lead 40-24 at half-time. Pillars continued their impressive form in the third quarter winning by 22 -19, as the Nigerian Customs, Scott Nnaji who were playing in their first Finals in over a decade, fought back to take the last quarter 10 – 9.However, it was a little too late as Kano Pillars had won the finals with veteran player, Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars, amassing 24 points and nine rebounds while his teammate, AbdulWahab Yahaya scored 13 points and had nine rebounds.  With the victory, Kano Pillars, which has now won its 5th title having being previously crowned champions in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and Nigerian Customs, will represent the country in the African basketball championship.In the third place match, Coach Ogoh Daudu inspired the Rivers Hoopers to defeat Kwara Falcons in a tightly contested game, winning 59-57 points.  In other classification games, Plateau Peaks defeated Nigeria Potters to emerge as fifth and sixth placed teams, respectively, while Gombe Bulls took a 75-50 point win over Oluyole Warriors to take seventh and eight positions.Speaking after the action-packed games, Marketing Manager, DStv Nigeria, Chioma Afe expressed delight over the high standard of play exhibited during the finals.“We are very happy with the passion, dedication and commitment of the players, coaches and administrators of the game during this league season. At DStv, we are excited at the progress basketball is making, which is indicated in the number of fans returning to court. We are fully committed to enhancing the game in Nigeria by introducing innovation and excitement in the coming season,” Afe said.Speaking on Pillars and Customs continental chances, President, Nigeria Basketball Federation Tijani Umar said that “Pillars are back to where they’ve always been over the years. We have had challenges with the teams who represent us on the continent. My expectation is that this year, Kano Pillars will rise and surpass past exploits. They must get creative and better and they must play in the mould of the Kano pillars of old. Customs must regroup, buy better players and put more resources on the table, so that when they go into the tournament, Nigeria can stand tall and at least get to the semi final”.At the end of the games, individual honours went to Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars who was named the Most Valuable Player. He also won the Best 3-point and finals highest scorer award. Romeo Wilfred emerged the highest rebounder while his team, Kwara Falcons went away with the Fair Play trophy.The lively occasion also featured a FIBA 3×3 basketball game with select players from the league for the first time in Nigeria. There was also a musical performance from the award winning Gongo Aso crooner, 9ce who thrilled the audience with a mash-up of his various hits like Street Credibility, No be mistake, while Nigeria’s finest dance crew, Dance Na the Main Thing, DNMT  engaged the energetic cheer leaders in a dance performance at half time.Following its loss to Mark Mentors in last season’s finals, Kano Pillars Basketball club came back from a 4-point deficit against Lagos-based Nigerian Customs after the first quarter to win the 2016 DStv Premier Basketball league finals last Saturday.Kano Pillars defeated Customs 71 – 53 points in the final match up which took place in the indoor hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.In a towering display of skills and experience, Kano Pillars tutored by Sani Ahmed were losing 13-17 after the first quarter but came back to emphatically dominate the second by 27-7 points to lead 40-24 at half-time. Pillars continued their impressive form in the third quarter winning by 22 -19, as the Nigerian Customs, Scott Nnaji who were playing in their first Finals in over a decade, fought back to take the last quarter 10 – 9.However, it was a little too late as Kano Pillars had won the finals with veteran player, Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars, amassing 24 points and nine rebounds while his teammate, AbdulWahab Yahaya scored 13 points and had nine rebounds.  With the victory, Kano Pillars, which has now won its 5th title having being previously crowned champions in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and Nigerian Customs, will represent the country in the African basketball championship.In the third place match, Coach Ogoh Daudu inspired the Rivers Hoopers to defeat Kwara Falcons in a tightly contested game, winning 59-57 points.  In other classification games, Plateau Peaks defeated Nigeria Potters to emerge as fifth and sixth placed teams, respectively, while Gombe Bulls took a 75-50 point win over Oluyole Warriors to take seventh and eight positions.Speaking after the action-packed games, Marketing Manager, DStv Nigeria, Chioma Afe expressed delight over the high standard of play exhibited during the finals.“We are very happy with the passion, dedication and commitment of the players, coaches and administrators of the game during this league season. At DStv, we are excited at the progress basketball is making, which is indicated in the number of fans returning to court. We are fully committed to enhancing the game in Nigeria by introducing innovation and excitement in the coming season,” Afe said.Speaking on Pillars and Customs continental chances, President, Nigeria Basketball Federation Tijani Umar said that “Pillars are back to where they’ve always been over the years. We have had challenges with the teams who represent us on the continent. My expectation is that this year, Kano Pillars will rise and surpass past exploits. They must get creative and better and they must play in the mould of the Kano pillars of old. Customs must regroup, buy better players and put more resources on the table, so that when they go into the tournament, Nigeria can stand tall and at least get to the semi final”.At the end of the games, individual honours went to Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars who was named the Most Valuable Player. He also won the Best 3-point and finals highest scorer award. Romeo Wilfred emerged the highest rebounder while his team, Kwara Falcons went away with the Fair Play trophy.The lively occasion also featured a FIBA 3×3 basketball game with select players from the league for the first time in Nigeria. There was also a musical performance from the award winning Gongo Aso crooner, 9ce who thrilled the audience with a mash-up of his various hits like Street Credibility, No be mistake, while Nigeria’s finest dance crew, Dance Na the Main Thing, DNMT  engaged the energetic cheer leaders in a dance performance at half time.Following its loss to Mark Mentors in last season’s finals, Kano Pillars Basketball club came back from a 4-point deficit against Lagos-based Nigerian Customs after the first quarter to win the 2016 DStv Premier Basketball league finals last Saturday.Kano Pillars defeated Customs 71 – 53 points in the final match up which took place in the indoor hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.In a towering display of skills and experience, Kano Pillars tutored by Sani Ahmed were losing 13-17 after the first quarter but came back to emphatically dominate the second by 27-7 points to lead 40-24 at half-time. Pillars continued their impressive form in the third quarter winning by 22 -19, as the Nigerian Customs, Scott Nnaji who were playing in their first Finals in over a decade, fought back to take the last quarter 10 – 9.However, it was a little too late as Kano Pillars had won the finals with veteran player, Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars, amassing 24 points and nine rebounds while his teammate, AbdulWahab Yahaya scored 13 points and had nine rebounds.  With the victory, Kano Pillars, which has now won its 5th title having being previously crowned champions in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014 and Nigerian Customs, will represent the country in the African basketball championship.In the third place match, Coach Ogoh Daudu inspired the Rivers Hoopers to defeat Kwara Falcons in a tightly contested game, winning 59-57 points.  In other classification games, Plateau Peaks defeated Nigeria Potters to emerge as fifth and sixth placed teams, respectively, while Gombe Bulls took a 75-50 point win over Oluyole Warriors to take seventh and eight positions.Speaking after the action-packed games, Marketing Manager, DStv Nigeria, Chioma Afe expressed delight over the high standard of play exhibited during the finals.“We are very happy with the passion, dedication and commitment of the players, coaches and administrators of the game during this league season. At DStv, we are excited at the progress basketball is making, which is indicated in the number of fans returning to court. We are fully committed to enhancing the game in Nigeria by introducing innovation and excitement in the coming season,” Afe said.Speaking on Pillars and Customs continental chances, President, Nigeria Basketball Federation Tijani Umar said that “Pillars are back to where they’ve always been over the years. We have had challenges with the teams who represent us on the continent. My expectation is that this year, Kano Pillars will rise and surpass past exploits. They must get creative and better and they must play in the mould of the Kano pillars of old. Customs must regroup, buy better players and put more resources on the table, so that when they go into the tournament, Nigeria can stand tall and at least get to the semi final”.At the end of the games, individual honours went to Abubakar Usman of Kano Pillars who was named the Most Valuable Player. He also won the Best 3-point and finals highest scorer award. Romeo Wilfred emerged the highest rebounder while his team, Kwara Falcons went away with the Fair Play trophy.The lively occasion also featured a FIBA 3×3 basketball game with select players from the league for the first time in Nigeria. There was also a musical performance from the award winning Gongo Aso crooner, 9ce who thrilled the audience with a mash-up of his various hits like Street Credibility, No be mistake, while Nigeria’s finest dance crew, Dance Na the Main Thing, DNMT  engaged the energetic cheer leaders in a dance performance at half time.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Following its loss to Mark Mentors in last season’s finals, Kano Pillars Basketball club came back from a 4-point deficit against Lagos-based Nigerian Customs after the first quarter to win the 2016 DStv Premier Basketball league finals last Saturday.Kano Pillars defeated Customs 71 – 53 points in the final match up which took place in the indoor hall of the National Stadium, Lagos.last_img read more

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La Liga confirms plans for inaugural esports competition

first_imgLa Liga, the organising body behind Spain’s two top flights in football, has launched its first esports competition as part of its new ‘It is not football, it’s La Liga’ campaign.With La Liga Esports, the organisation seeks to “bring the institution closer to the millennial generation and engage with this particular sector of the population”, as well as use the opportunity to reach new audiences.It hasn’t yet been announced what exactly La Liga Esports will entail, stating that it has plans to “roll out several ambitious projects which aim to bring together a passion for football and the exciting world of esports.”Long-term the organisation is aiming to make the program an international one, providing they see success in Spain, to satisfy both sports and esports fans collectively.It seems somewhat safe to presume that the competition will feature EA Sports’ FIFA 18, as would be the natural choice given what La Liga is at its core, and its previous work with EA. However, La Liga’s intentions are clear in wanting to move in to multiple esport titles, and FIFA might lose out to one of their players’ personal preference in football game; PES (Pro Evolution Soccer).This news follows Barcelona’s announcement that they will be stepping in to esports, with the La Liga leaders competing in eFootball.Pro’s PES tournaments, with their defender Gerard Pique being the founder and president of eFootball.Pro.La Liga is not the first sporting league to take steps in to esports; only in the last few months we’ve seen the NBA, NFL and MLS take steps towards organising their own esport leagues in their respective titles.Esports Insider says: It’s fantastic to see yet another sporting body appreciate the huge appeal and potential esports has in developing their brand on both a national and global scale. It will certainly be interesting to see how La Liga creates their esport presence – especially with the intention of hosting multiple titles.last_img read more

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