LA Lakers have no regrets drafting D’Angelo Russell over Jahlil Okafor

first_imgAlthough some argue that Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay could develop quicker than Russell, they also are mindful that Denver coach Mike Malone has allowed Mudiay to play through his poor shooting and ball-handling performances more than Lakers coach Byron Scott has afforded Russell. Though Malone has recently sat Mudiay late in games, Mudiay has not lost his starting position, as Russell has. The Russell-Okafor comparisons become more complicated for two reasons beyond their different positions. Despite coming off the bench on Wednesday in Sacramento following a recent knee injury, Okafor has averaged 17.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game on a youthful Sixers team. Meanwhile, Russell has averaged 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists while sharing ballhandling duties with Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and Marcelo Huertas. Accounts suggest Russell has benefitted from being surrounded by a veteran roster. Meanwhile, Okafor sparked unwanted attention last month when camera phones caught him in an altercation with a fan heckling him outside of a Boston nightclub. But those around the league fault the Sixers more for not providing Okafor with security to prevent such an incident from happening.“It’s tough in this day and age where everybody has a camera phone. They pick up on mistakes a lot more than they did in the past,” Bryant said. “It’s important for him to learn those things and stay focused on the game.”Staying focused It’s nearly 2 ½ hours before tipoff, so that means Russell will accomplish three things with Lakers assistant coach Larry Lewis. Russell will run a series of pick-and-roll plays with Lewis so he can finesse his sharp passes into ones that his teammates can always catch. Russell will move around the perimeter and hoist 3-point shots in order to improve his 32.1 percent mark from that area. Then, Russell will post Lewis up inside in hopes that Russel’s increased work in the weight room will allow his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame to absorb more contact against bigger guards. As Russell has fulfilled this routine every day in recent weeks, Lewis hardly minced words on where Russell stands compared to his contemporaries. “He’s ahead of all the guys in his class with his work ethic, the passes he makes and the way he thinks through the game,” Lewis said. “Like any rookie and young athlete, he’s going to make some mistakes. But he’s making mistakes that are teaching him different things to recognize.” Lewis has become Russell’s closest confidant on the Lakers’ coaching staff since the summer, giving him an up-close view on what makes Russell tick. Lewis reported Russell showing zero signs of frustration through his learning curve.Although Russell has admitted publicly his hope for an increased role, Lewis has not heard Russell ever complain about coming off the bench or not closing out fourth quarters. “I don’t really dwell on it,” Russell said. “I just put in the work and go out there with confidence. I know it’s going to work out.”Big pictureBefore the draft, the Lakers soon widened their eyes during Russell’s second workout. He played in three-on-three and two-on-two-on-two scrimmages with UCLA’s Kevon Looney, Syracuse’s Rakeem Christmas, Washington’s Robert Upshaw, Minnesota’s Andre Hollins and St. Bonaventure’s Youssou Ndoye. Then, the Lakers saw first-hand what they had admired about Russell during his lone season at Ohio State. That prompted Scott to tell Kupchak he preferred Russell as the team’s pick. Said Scott: “His court vision was unmatched than anyone I saw in college basketball. He was able to make certain plays with the ball, get his teammates where he needed them to be and make his own shot.”Said Lewis: “I saw his vision, passing and scoring the ball. The type of questions he asked, the way he saw the floor and the way he handled the ball really made a statement that he is different.”That also helped Russell distinguish himself since all the other prospects only completed individual drills.As for Okafor, he showed so much dominance in the post with his 6-foot-11, 270-pound frame that Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen needed ice bags to treat his knees afterwards. Said Scott: “I thought he had a chance to be a player in this league that would play 12-13 years. He had some good skills obviously in the post.”Said Lewis: “He was strong. He’s a nice-sized kid. He was a little unorthodox in the post, in a good way. He could do things differently than the average big man.” Yet, Kupchak dismissed how much workouts influenced the Lakers’ draft choice. Instead, Kupchak said it all centered on Russell’s body of work. Although he declined to compare Russell to any members of his rookie class, Kupchak said he became impressed with Russell’s “feel for the game and his vision.” “Those are two things you really can’t teach,” Kupchak said. “That’s what separates you in this league. I think he’s going to be a very good point guard”How long does it take before Kupchak knows whether an NBA rookie will match his potential? Kupchak sighed. “It depends. Sometimes it takes two or three years. But it looks like D’Angelo is getting better on a good pace right now,” Kupchak said. “It could stop or it could continue. You don’t know. We may know a lot about him by the end of the year.”Until then, Russell said he will relish the scrutiny and pressure. “There’s two ways you go about it; You either listen to it and get involved or you don’t get involved and use it as motivation,” Russell said. “That’s what I do. I use it as motivation.” Moments after he heard his name called, D’Angelo Russell offered a few fist bumps with close family members and friends. Just as Russell pointed his fingers to the sky, Jahlil Okafor clapped his hands while wearing a stoic expression on his face.NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had announced that the Lakers had chosen Russell as their No. 2 draft pick. The selection suggested the Lakers put a higher priority on securing a top point guard (Russell) to adapt to the modern NBA than securing a top center (Okafor) to continue the franchise’s rich lineage of them. It revealed the Lakers’ optimism in securing an elite big man in free agency, even if those plans backfired. And, the Lakers maintain, the move showed they remained intent on acquiring the best player available. When the Lakers (6-27) host the Philadelphia 76ers (3-31) on Friday at Staples Center, the buzz will go beyond whether a win or loss could influence either team’s odds in the NBA Draft lottery in May. It will spark a never-ending debate. Did the Lakers choose their No. 2 pick correctly by selecting Russell? “Absolutely,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told Los Angeles News Group. “We’re very happy. He’s going to be a really good player.” Quote box: “That’s just confidence. I’m always going to feel that way with the work that I put in.” —Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell on why he considers himself the best in his rookie class Varying circumstancesThe Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick sounded just as adamant about his belief that he represents the best player in his rookie class. “That’s just confidence,” Russell told Los Angeles News Group. “I’m always going to feel that way with the work I put in.”The sentiment around the league appears more nuanced. Despite his early success with the New York Knicks, there’s some understanding of the Lakers passing on center Kristaps Porzingis because many projected him as a long-term project. 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Watch: The spectacular catch Rashid Khan takes in BBL will blow your mind!

first_imgAdvertisement 880j4NBA Finals | Brooklyn VsfboWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E91x( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 1wtbjrWould you ever consider trying this?😱2eCan your students do this? 🌚47518Roller skating! Powered by Firework Afghanistan all-rounder Rashid Khan is proving himself as a precocious talent for whichever team he represents. Not just he is brilliant with the ball, his brutal batting down-the-order has also established him as a star in the shortest format of the game. But these days, he seems to be everywhere in the pitch with his sheer athleticism and fantastic field-work; as recently, Khan grabbed the world’s attention with some unbelievable cricket moments in this year’s Big Bash League (BBL).Advertisement On Friday, Rashid Khan was once again the MVP for his side Adelaide Strikers. In their home-game against Brisbane Heat match at the Adelaide Oval, Khan picked up a wicket in his four overs quota while conceding 15 mere runs. But the 21-year-old made a far more sensational contribution of the day, when he dismissed the dangerous Chris Lynn for 26 with a jaw-dropping piece of fielding.Advertisement Lynn was looking to slog Liam O’Connor down the mid-wicket but ended up with a leading edge and Rashid who was inside the circle on the off-side, sprinted off with the ball in his sight, dived full-stretch, and pulled off a stunner.As usual it went viral in no time with Cricket Australia’s official Twitter handle uploaded a video of the catch, and Rashid’s IPL team SunRisers Hyderabad quickly reposted it with the caption: “Rashid Khan can do anything! We repeat, Rashid Khan can do anything!!”Advertisement The Afghanistan leg-spinner has been nothing but brilliant so-far in this edition of the Big Bash League. He is the third-highest wicket-taker of the season with 15 scalps in games while Daniel Sams tops the chart with 17.The Strikers bowled out the Heat for a just 100 runs in 17 overs with Liam O’Connor picking up 3 wickets for 30 runs in his four overs. Chris Lynn (26) and Matt Renshaw (43) were the only two Brisbane players to get into double figures while the hosts easily chased down the target with 10 wickets in-hand.You may also like:Watch: KKR’s new Knight in shining armour Tom Banton smashes 5 consecutive sixes in BBL!Legendary Aussie team of the 90s reuniting for one game to raise funds to combat Aussie bushfire Advertisementlast_img read more

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Local Officials Pulling All Stops to Halt JCP&L Project

first_imgHazlet Police Lt. Scott Mura said the room capacity of 660 people was nearly reached. No JCP&L officials attended the meeting, said company spokesperson Ron Morano.“JCP&L is committed to transparency and open communication throughout this process,” he told the Two River Times in an email Wednesday. “Our outreach about the project has included three open house meetings that allowed us to provide information and exchange in productive dialogue with residents in a face-to-face setting.”A letter signed by the mayors opposing the project, addressed to Anthony Hurley, JCP&L vice president of operations, was read aloud by Mayor Aagre. It talked about the mayors’ concerns about “aesthetic degradation” and “unclear demonstration for the need of the project” along with health risks for residents, sinking property values and the impact to historical districts around the proposed area.It also carried the signatures of the mayors of Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Keansburg, Keyport, Matawan, Red Bank and Union Beach.“This is a great sign that we have all 11 towns in the area supporting the five that are directly affected,” Aagre said during the meeting.Handlin, who was a vocal opponent to a similar JCP&L proposition back in 1989, has been regularly attending meetings against the Monmouth County Reliability Project, as it is formally known.During the meeting, she delivered a presentation how Montville, Morris County, fought back a JCP&L proposal. She noted that while the projects are not alike and the outcomes may in fact be different, this area could learn from the process Montville had gone through.Handlin also highlighted more than 30 questions that Residents Against Giant Electric (RAGE) put together for the meeting.RAGE, which started out as a simple Facebook page for residents in the affected areas to speak out, has grown into a much larger entity. Now sporting its own website, StopJCPL.org, the group plans to keep growing.“We’re in the process of incorporating right now and forming a non-profit,” said Steve Lunanuova, who has assumed the role of treasurer for the group. He predicts that in the next week RAGE will be incorporated. However, the route to becoming a non-profit organization takes more time, but Lunanuova says RAGE is looking into an expedited process.RAGE is depending on its supporters to promote their cause. With stations at two tables for the June 28 meeting, the group was selling t-shirts for $15 along with car magnets and lawn signs, both for $5 apiece. By the end of the meeting, the lawn signs were sold out.Beyond that, “there’s a GoFundMe page; people have given straight donations,” Lunanuova said. “The sales today will cover the cost of all the merchandise we purchased, and then some.”RAGE’s following has grown significantly since its inception, which was around Memorial Day weekend, according to Judy Musa, who handles public relations for the anti-JCP&L group. RAGE hosted a meeting on June 22 at the Middletown Public Library, which brought in around 340 residents. “Certainly the vast majority are from Middletown or Red Bank,” Musa said.While RAGE took the reins on the public side, Hazlet Township was the first of the five affected areas to host a special meeting about the MCRP.On June 20, both the Hazlet Township committee and Hazlet Board of Education voted to unanimously pass resolutions expressing concern about the JCP&L proposition, the first municipality to officially do so at that time.Hazlet and Middletown residents look on during an open-forum portion of the special JCP&L related meeting on June 20.In what was an open-forum style meeting, about 150 Hazlet and Middletown residents attended, while roughly 40 or so spoke on the record to the town council. Among the many speakers, the most emotional testimony came from Middletown homeowner Bernice Curto.“We are literally sick over this process,” Curto said, as tears streamed down her face.She referred towards the area of Route 1 in Woodbridge as a comparison to what the Bayshore community would soon look like, and said that “you won’t believe your eyes. These are not meant for residential areas.”Brian Christian, who lives within earshot of the rail line in Hazlet, was skeptical as to why this project is necessary.“I think they should find an alternate route, or build a substation in Red Bank instead of trying to take power from that one (Aberdeen),” said Christian, an electrician of 15 years. “Just like a generator onto the grid that can put out more power instead of dragging it from down the line.”Hazlet Committeewoman Barbara Ronchetti, who spoke out against the MCRP throughout the meeting, brought attention to other potential corridors for the project.“They had their engineers do a study of 17 routes, and they eliminated 16 of them,” she said afterwards. “But we don’t know where the 16 that were eliminated are. We need to get copies of those other ones.”Reached by phone, Morano said,  “They were talking about the site selection process. There were 17 areas that they looked at, that’s what that means,” he said. “Not specific routes for the project; necessarily as ways to do this.”Frances Haies (left) and daughter Sarah next to their information stand outside the Hazlet Township Municipal Building prior to the meeting.He also dispelled the conception that the wires could be placed underground.“There are a number of environmental concerns when undergrounding a line,” said Morano. “You have to literally disrupt the environment seriously to put a line like this underground.” He also noted that this method would cost possibly four to ten times more.Holmdel Township is the next of the affected municipalities to host a special meeting on the MCRP, which will be on July 6 at the Holmdel Township Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. Story and photos by Jay CookHAZLET – At a meeting attended by more than 600 people, leaders of 11 towns declared opposition to a $75 million power line proposal, citing concerns about health risks, aesthetics and property values.Jersey Central Power and Light Company recently announced it wants to install a new 230-kilovolt transmission line beginning in Aberdeen, then traveling through Hazlet, Holmdel, Middletown and ending in Red Bank. It would span about 10 miles along the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line commuter railroad right-of-way. The monopoles would hold the transmission lines and could reach 170 feet in height.“This is a true bipartisan effort to beat the big conglomerate here,” said Aberdeen Mayor Fred Tagliarini at the Tuesday night meeting.The meeting at Hazlet’s recreation center was organized by state Assemblywoman Amy Handlin who announced she is proposing legislation to prohibit transmission lines within 100 feet of any dwelling or building.“This would apply to residential, commercial, public and private property,” she said of the bill, which is modeled off a law in Iowa, considered to be the most restrictive of its kind in the nation.The bill is still in its infant stages as its continues to be drafted. The whole process could take a couple weeks, according to Handlin’s office.A packed house at the James J. Cullen Recreation Center in Hazlet on June 28. To the right, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin speaks with local elected officials.Aside from Tagliarini, in attendance were Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre, Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds and Middletown Committeeman Kevin Settembrino.last_img read more

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Rossland/Trail 1 cruises to Bantam House Hockey Title

first_imgBy The Nelson Daily SportsBoth Nelson teams were shut out of the medals at the West Kootenay Minor Hockey Bantam House Championship during the weekend in Nelson.Nelson 1 and Nelson 2 failed to make it into the medal round after round robin action.Rossland/Trail 1 proved to be too much for the rest of the field as the squad dumped Beaver Valley 6-1 to capture the West Kootenay Minor Hockey Bantam House Championship Sunday at the NDCC Arena.In five games Rossland/Trail 1 out scored the opposition 37-6.Nelson 2 felt the sting of the Rossland/Trail 1 offence after the Silver City squad bounced its regional rivals 10-2 Thursday to open the 10-team tournament.Austin Meehan gave Nelson 1 a 1-0 lead before Rossland/Trail 1 scored the next seven goals. Jacob Timmermans scored the final goal for Nelson 2.Saturday, Nelson 2 saw the West Kootenay Wildcats score the winning goal in the final minute of the game to post a 3-2 victory. Spencer Szabo and Justin Willness scored for Nelson 2.Later in the day, Nelson 1 tried to play spoiler but fell victim to a few late goals as Beaver Valley skated away with a 6-4 victory.Szabo scored twice with Cole Sutherland and Peewee House call up Kyle Hall adding singles.Beaver Valley snapped a 4-4 tie with two goals in the final five minutes of the game to pull out the win.Nelson 1 suffered the same results at their crosstown rivals.Nelson 1 lost 5-3 to Rossland/Trail 2 to open the tournament. Micah May scored twice with Jentry Bojey adding a single for Nelson 2.Grand Forks then stole a 4-3 win Saturday before Nelson 1 routed Castlegar 8-1 to close out the tourney with a 1-2 record.Nathan Moore and Lucas Rangust scored three and two goals, respectively, to lead Nelson 2. Bojey, Liam Sharelove and May also scored for Nelson 1.May scored all three goals during loss by Nelson 1 to Grand [email protected]last_img read more

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South African opera star sings for the queen

first_img22 March 2016The Pretoria-born opera singer, Simphiwe Simon Shibambu, performed a dazzling version of the evocative isiXhosa Click Song in front of Queen Elizabeth II at a Celebration of the Commonwealth service held in London’s Westminster Abbey on 17 March 2016.Priveleged to be at today’s Commonwealth Service. Great performance from @ABRSM scholar Simphiwe Simon Shibambu. pic.twitter.com/8az4PlOKXU— David Roper (@davidroper_pwc) March 14, 2016The Commonwealth service is the UK’s largest multi-faith celebration, and Shibambu, the 28-year-old bass-baritone, was the sole South African representative at the event.His performance of the Click Song, also known as Qongqothwane, the traditional isiXhosa song customarily sung at weddings to bring about good fortune, was a moving experience for the audience, including the queen, who took a moment after the performance to talk to Shibambu.Shibambu has been singing since he was young, and began his love of opera in high school. “Singing opera is not only about your voice; it’s about many other things, like connecting with the music, understanding what the composer wants in the music, acting and putting a lot of effort into your work,” he writes on his website.TUT’s Simphiwe Shibambu, won a 1s & Audience Prize, at the Clonter Opera Competition in England. pic.twitter.com/8VQsneeY4X— Official TUT (@Official_TUT) April 30, 2015Following an undergraduate degree in vocal arts at Tshwane University of Technology, Shibambu moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music for a Master’s in vocal performance and opera. He has won several international competitions along the way.Photo Westminster Abbey https://t.co/ccwfId7i5hQueen attended The Commonwealth Service Westminster Abbey 14 March pic.twitter.com/uxgbgkACcU— Simon Shibambu (@SimonShibambu) March 18, 2016Shibambu is also part of the Young Singers Project for the Salzburg Festival 2016 in Austria, which brings together new and exciting opera singers from around the world to add new life to the opera format.He won first prize in the Amazwi Omzansi Africa national opera singing competition in Durban in 2013; in 2015, he won first prize and the audience choice award at the Clonter Opera singing competition in the UK.He has also featured in several opera productions in London and at home, including key performances in Mozart’s Die Zauberflӧte and Don Giovanni, as well as in Gounod’s Faust.In a review of his latest performance in Handel’s Ariodante this month, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper wrote: “(Shibambu) sang the (part of) King with authority, anguish and a huge, resonant tone.”Handel’s Ariodante from London Handel Festival & Royal College of [email protected] – photo Chris Christodoulou pic.twitter.com/zbt5VQooSG— Simon Shibambu (@SimonShibambu) March 11, 2016Source: SA Peoplelast_img read more

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ESPN Releases Week 11 Power Rankings After Upset-Heavy Saturday

first_imgESPN week 11 power rankings after upset weekend.espn week 11 power rankings lee corso alabama mascot headInstagram/alecmorris_11This past Saturday, both Clemson and Alabama notched huge in-conference victories, taking control of their respective leagues. Appropriately, ESPN now has the Tigers and the Tide ranked 1-2 in its weekly Power Rankings. Ohio State, which beat Minnesota in a lackluster affair, drops a spot to No. 3. Baylor stayed at No. 4 after handling Kansas State Thursday night.Some other big movers? Notre Dame rose five spots to No. 5 after downing Pitt. Oklahoma State, after surprising TCU, is up six spots to No. 6. And Iowa, after a win over Indiana, is now all the way up to No. 7.Here’s the entire list, via ESPN. Do they have it right?1. Clemson2. Alabama3. Ohio State4. Baylor5. Notre Dame6. Oklahoma State7. Iowa8. Stanford9. LSU10. Oklahoma11. Florida12. Utah13. TCU14. Michigan State15. Michigan16. Houston17. Florida State18. North Carolina19. Temple20. UCLA21. Navy22. Northwestern23. Mississippi State24. Wisconsin25. MemphisYou can view last week’s list here.last_img read more

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Manitoba to issue apology to Pimicikamak for harms caused by hydro system

first_imgTim FontaineAPTN National NewsWINNIPEG – Manitoba’s premier will travel to a Cree community and personally deliver a letter of apology for harms caused by the province’s hydro system, according to a press release from Chief Catherine Merrick.In the release, Chief Merrick also says the months-long occupation of the Jenpeg Generating Station will end. People from her community had taken over the grounds of the dam in Sept., angry over what they say are decades of abuses and broken promises by Manitoba Hydro, the Crown utility responsible for the dam and the province.Now an agreement has been reached to begin talks that the Pimicikamak hope will “reset the relationship between the parties.” Those talks will include environmental clean up from damages caused by the dam – which was completed in 1979 – and profit sharing.A mediator, retired Supreme Court Justice Frank Iaccobucci, has already been appointed to oversee the process.No date was given for the premier’s apologetic visit to Pimicikamak territory and APTN received no response from our request for clarification from his [email protected]last_img read more

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Dollarama reports 1335M Q4 profit comparable store sales growth slows

first_imgMONTREAL — Dollarama Inc. says it earned $133.5 million in its latest quarter, up from $130.1 million a year ago.The retailer says the profit amounted to 41 cents per diluted share for the company’s third quarter, up from 38 cents per share in the same quarter last year.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 42 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 28 totalled $864.3 million, up from $810.6 million, while comparable store sales grew 3.1 per cent compared with growth of 4.6 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.The comparable store sales growth was due to a 4.0 per cent increase in average transaction size, partially offset by a 0.9 per cent drop in the number of transactions.Dollarama says the rate of comparable store sales growth in the most recent quarter reflected its decision to strategically limit price increases in recent quarters. The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:DOL)last_img read more

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Trump administration proposing major rollback of water rules

first_imgWASHINGTON — The Trump administration is poised to withdraw federal protections for countless waterways and wetlands across the country. Tuesday’s scheduled announcement at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters would make good on President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to relax some landmark water protections.Environmental groups say the proposal would have a sweeping impact on how the country safeguards the nation’s waterways and drinking water. President Bob Irvin of the American Rivers environmental non-profit calls the proposed changes a “Christmas gift to polluters.”White House talking points obtained by The Associated Press say the administration will propose withdrawing large categories of wetlands and waterways from oversight by the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Supporters of a rollback say the protections are an obstacle to farmers and businesspeople.Ellen Knickmeyer, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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