UK surges to boot defending champ L’ville

Kentucky Upsets Louisville

 

INDIANAPOLIS – No one will accuse these Kentucky youngsters of being the fastest learners. Not this season. And positively not during most of Friday evening's game against Louisville.

But once again, late within the game with everything on the road, they figured issues out just in time.

Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-forward rating with 39 seconds left and Julius Randle made a pair of clutch free throws to elevate the implausible freshmen of Kentucky to a seventy four-sixty nine victory over their in-state rivals.

The eighth-seeded Wildcats (27-10) led for a grand total of sixty five seconds on this Midwest Regional semifinal. They will play Michigan on Sunday for a visit to the Remaining 4.

"I advised them before the game, you will get punched in the mouth and you are going to taste blood," coach John Calipari said. "You'll be able to fight or you possibly can brace yourself for the next shot. They fought."

Fourth-seeded and defending champion Louisville ends its season at 31-6.

Few expected a run this deep for the Wildcats as this season performed out and their five freshman starters struggled to play a staff game. However they have been learning slowly. They trailed by thirteen midway via the primary half, then by seven with four half minutes left.

Abruptly, issues kicked in.

Really, it was a sophomore, Alex Poythress, who scored 5 factors and blocked a Russ Smith layup try throughout a 7-0 run that tied the sport at 66 with 2:11 left.

"Alex Poythress gained the game for us," Calipari stated. "We were begging him the entire game to start taking part in, and he performed at the right time."

From there, it was the Kentucky freshmen who showed all of the poise in opposition to the defending national champs, who were led by seniors Smith (23 points) and Luke Hancock (19).

Harrison took a move from Randle and noticed up in the nook for the go-forward shot. Each finished with 15 factors, as did yet another freshman starter, Dakari Johnson.

On the following possession, Louisville's Wayne Blackshear got fouled. The seventy one percent profession free throw shooter missed the first. Randle got here down and made two free throws to place Kentucky forward by three. Harrison guarded Smith and forced him to overlook a tricky 3-pointer on the next possession – "His first cease of the game," Calipari quipped.

Just a few seconds later, the Wildcats were chest bumping and Calipari was pumping his fists to a loud stadium that was about two-thirds Kentucky blue, one-third Cardinals red.

Kentucky now has knocked off previously undefeated Wichita State and defending nationwide champion Louisville, and has a gathering with final year's runner-up, Michigan, coming next. Earlier, the Wolverines beat Tennessee seventy three-71.

The newest win for Kentucky was the last word lesson in persistence for a team that, for therefore lengthy, had bother exhibiting any. The Wildcats were touted on T-shirts as the workforce that would go 40-zero and win the nationwide title, then all head off to the NBA.

Two out of three remains to be potential.

"They finally have surrendered and misplaced themselves within the workforce," Calipari stated. "It is just taken a long time."

Louisville coach Rick Pitino, who fell to 11-1 in Candy 16 games, produced a matchup zone that the Wildcats had hassle working by.

The Playing cards took the double-digit lead early, yet went to halftime up solely three regardless of holding Kentucky to 33 percent from the ground.

The difference in Pitino's mind: Louisville went 13-for-23 from the free throw line whereas Kentucky went 22-for-27. And the Wildcats had a 37-29 rebounding edge, which additionally led to eight more second-likelihood factors.

"I informed them we in all probability beat ourselves a little bit bit down the stretch," Pitino mentioned. "But how can any of us complain with the run we've been on?"

Louisville's string of Closing Fours will end at two, and there will likely be a brand new national champion.

Making this win much more impressive for the Wildcats: They played almost all the sport with out Willie Cauley-Stein, an NBA-caliber forward who damage his left ankle early.

"It's not a superb ankle damage, let me simply put it that means," Calipari mentioned.

One other NBA prospect, James Young, fouled out with 5:32 left.

That left it to Harrison, his twin brother, Andrew (14 factors), and Randle, a lottery pick in waiting who was a monster inside. He had 12 rebounds to go along with the 15 points. He has had a double-double in all three match games.

Calipari makes no apologies for recruiting the perfect expertise and taking his probabilities they will depart before they actually arrange shop at Kentucky. That technique helped him convey the eighth national title again house two years ago. Now, Kentucky is a win away from this system's sixteenth trip to the Ultimate Four.

 

US skating champ Abbott falls

Jeremy Abbott takes a big tumble. (Reuters)

Jeremy Abbott takes a big tumble. (Reuters)

The males opened their figure roller skating competition on Thursday within Sochi with the short system and after his performance, united states Jeremy Abbott stood within first place with a score associated with 72. 58. This was amazing given the fact that Abbott required a brutal fall in the middle of his routine and almost did not finish.

On one of his more difficult bouncing passes, Abbott was unable to land it cleanly, dropping his balance and dropping forward before crashing into the boards. He was obviously in a lot of pain.After taking a few seconds to gather himself and choose what to do next, the US champ got back on his skates plus finished his routine to a great applause from the Sochi crowd.

 

"The second I stood upward and the crowd just began screaming, I had to finish, inch Abbott said to NBC after the skate. "In my thoughts I was like 'do we go to the referee? Where do I go? ' I was simply kind of in a big jumble and in a lot of pain. yet I when I heard the particular crowd behind me, I have to finish this for them. I have to do this for them.

 

"Abbott remained within first place for the remainder of the first session but that's going to change when the entire brief program portion is completed. the medal was going to be hard to reach even if he had been perfect so that hope is probably gone. nevertheless, he had a great Olympic instant when he showed the particular dedication to get back on his skates and resume their program while clearly within physical discomfort (in situation you didn't know, dropping onto ice is not a very fun experience). It certainly wasn't the Olympic instant he was looking for, but it nevertheless resonated with a lot of individuals. The Olympics remain excellent.

 

Olympic soul award for Jeremy Abbott. Wow, that took courage and he nailed the rest. this individual put his all in to that choreo. #Sochi2014— Amanda Shank (@team_swan) February thirteen, 2014 Jeremy Abbott… Ya got courage, man. #OlympicTalk— Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting) February 13, 2014

Read The Original Article

Defending Champ Vanessa Selbst Leads 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller After Day 2

By the point registration closed at the start of day 2 of the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Journey $25,000 no-restrict maintain’em high curler there had been 247 entries made, blowing away last 12 months’s record turnout of 204 entrants to determine a brand new high-water mark for this occasion. The occasion function 198 unique entrants and forty nine re-entries. On account of this 21 p.c improve in variety of entries year-over-yr the occasion constructed a huge $6,051,500 prize pool, with nearly $1.3 million going to the eventual champion.

At the end of day 2 solely 14 players remained, with defending champion of this event Vanessa Selbst in the chip lead with 1,633,000. Last year Selbst topped a 204-player field to earn the title and the primary-place prize of $1,424,420. That win can also be notable as a result of it was the score that propelled her into the lead on the feminine all-time match earnings listing.

Greg Merson on day 2Selbst has had an impressive run so far on the 2014 PCA , ending third within the $100,000 tremendous excessive curler for $760,640 after which making a deep run within the $10,300 main event, finally busting in 42nd place. Now she is in a robust place to make a run at defending her title from final 12 months.

Making an attempt to stand in her manner are plenty of prime poker professionals, including 2012 WSOP major event champion Greg Merson (1,112,000), Marvin Rettenmaier (1,014,000), Robert Mizrachi (856,000), Dani Stern (837,000) and 2013 Card Player Participant of the 12 months Daniel Negreanu (723,000).

Solely the top 31 finishers made the money in this event, with the cash bubble bursting late on day two. Kyle Julius was the final participant eliminated outdoors of the money, calling an all-in shove from the button by Vanessa Selbst with the ASpade SuitOkSpade Suit solely to lose to her eightSpade Suit7Club Suit when the board ran out 9Diamond Suit5Spade Suit4Heart Suit7Spade Suit10Diamond Suit. With that the remaining players were guaranteed paydays of not less than $53,260.

Notable eliminations within the cash embody Faraz Jaka (15th – $89,560), Philipp Gruissem (sixteenth – $80,480), Chris Klodnicki (17th – $eighty,480), Oliveier Busquet (twenty first – $65,260), Ana Marquez (twenty second – $sixty five,260) and PCA $a hundred,000 tremendous excessive roller champion Fabian Quoss (26th – $fifty nine,300).

Here is a have a look at the chip counts for the 14 remaining gamers:

Rank Player Chip Depend
1 Vanessa Selbst 1,633,000
2 Joao Vieira 1,604,000
3 Myro Garcia 1,181,000
4 Greg Merson 1,112,000
5 Jacob Carl Schindler 1,109,000
6 Marvin Rettenmaier 1,014,000
7 Rob Mizrachi 856,000
8 Dani Stern 837,000
9 Daniel Negreanu 723,000
10 Mustapha Kanit 705,000
eleven Aleksandr Denisov 626,000
12 Dan Smith 434,000
13 Ole Schemion 357,000
14 Paul Newey 162,000

Read The Original Article

Cruz Vacates 135-Pound Title After Groin Tear; New Champ Barao Faces Faber at UFC 169

 

 


DominickCruz

isn’t getting any luckier.

The reigning UFC bantamweight champion has suffered a groin tear and willnot be capable to defend his title against interim a hundred thirty five-pound kingRenanBarao at UFC169. Consequently, Cruz will vacate the belt and Barao willbecome the promotion’s official bantamweight champion. TheBrazilian will now defend the strap in opposition to Urijah Faberin the new UFC 169 most important event.

UFC President Dana White announced the news Monday on SportsCenter.UFC 169 takes place on the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., onFeb. 1 and likewise features a featherweight title showdown pittingJoseAldo in opposition to RicardoLamas.

Cruz has not competed since Oct. 1, 2011, when he took a five-roundverdict over DemetriousJohnson in a 135-pound title bout at UFC Dwell 6. A torn ACL,two separate surgical procedures and a prolonged rehabilitation process keptthe Alliance MMA product on the shelf for the following two-plus years.White did not give a timetable for Cruz’s return from his latestsetback.

Faber, meanwhile, has been on a tear since dropping a decision toBarao in an interim title tilt at UFC 149. “The California Kid”went four-0 in 2013, besting IvanMenjivar, ScottJorgensen, IuriAlcantara and MichaelMcDonald. The former World Excessive Cagefighting featherweighttitlist has misplaced his final five title bouts.

Barao efficiently defended the interim crown twice final 12 months,submitting McDonald at UFC on Gas TV 7 earlier than scoring asecond-round technical knockout in opposition to EddieWineland at UFC one hundred sixty five. The 26-year-old Nova Uniao standout isunbeaten in his last 32 skilled appearances, including eightfights under the Zuffa banner.

Read The Original Article

Report: Former UFC Champ Tito Ortiz Arrested on Suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles

Former UFC gentle heavyweight champion

Tito Ortiz

wasarrested early Monday morning on suspicion of driving under theinfluence after crashing his car in Los Angeles.

Native outlet KTLA first reported the information, citing a press release from theCalifornia Highway Patrol. Ortiz was taken into custody at four a.m.after his automotive crashed on the 405 Freeway near Sepulveda and SantaMonica boulevards, based on the discharge.

The release said that Ortiz was driving a 2012 Porsche Panameraand had two passengers within the car. No one was injured in thecrash.

In keeping with a report from MMAJunkie.com, Ortiz had a blood alcohol stage of 0.12. Thelegal limit in California is zero.08. MMA Junkie additionally reported thatOrtiz posted a $15,000 bond at a Los Angeles police substation,the place he was launched this morning.

Ortiz, 38, was anticipated to headline BellatorMMA’s inaugural pay-per-view event towards QuintonJackson on Nov. 2, however a neck harm forced Ortiz to withdrawfrom the bout. It stays unclear if Ortiz will return to competefor the promotion. The former “Huntington Beach Unhealthy Boy” lastfought at UFC 148, the place he misplaced a unanimous decision to ForrestGriffin and briefly retired after the bout. He was inductedinto the UFC’s Hall of Fame that same weekend.

Read The Original Article

post

KSW 25 Update: Light Heavyweight Champ Jan Blachowicz Scratched Due to Injury

JanBlachowicz is off KSW 25. | PiotrPedziszewski/Sherdog.com

 

A mere five days after it was announced, the

KSW25

co-essential event has been altered due to injury.

KSW light heavyweight champion JanBlachowicz has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming titlefight at the promotion’s final event of 2013, in response to a pressrelease issued Tuesday by the Polish promotion.

Blachowicz was originally slated to face former Bellator talentVirgilZwicker, who now awaits a replacement opponent. “Rezdog” willnot have to wait lengthy, however, as KSW revealed within the announcementthat Zwicker will receive a new foe someday this week.

KSW 25 takes place Dec. 7 at Centennial Corridor in Wroclaw, Poland,and is headlined by a middleweight showdown between MamedKhalidov and RyutaSakurai.

Blachowicz was final seen in March, when he efficiently defendedhis belt against former UFC talent GoranReljic. The Pole has won 5 straight fights, with the soleloss in his last 15 outings coming in March of 2011, when he wasunable to proceed towards RameauThierry Sokoudjou resulting from a badly bruised left thigh.

Read The Original Article

post

Arrests made in death of national champ boxer (The Associated Press)

arrests,death,national,champ,boxer,associated,press

PHOENIX (AP) – Phoenix police have made two arrests in connection with the beating loss of life of a 17-12 months-old nationwide champion boxer.

Police say Alexis Urbina was found unconscious and covered in blood in his household’s south Phoenix home in September. He died of his injures two days later.

There was no obvious sign of forced entry into the house, however Urbina’s family told police a few of his boxing memorabilia was lacking.

Sgt. Trent Crump confirms 22-yr-old Robert Chavez and 23-12 months-outdated Joseph Corrales have been arrested Friday evening. Both have been booked on fees of murder, housebreaking and trafficking in stolen property.

It wasn’t immediately clear Saturday if that they had attorneys.

Urbina gained the 141-pound Youth Men’s Division on the USA Boxing Nationwide Championships in April at Spokane, Wash. His household says he had Olympic aspirations.

Read The Original Article

post

Series of injuries costing ex-Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine momentum and potential big fights

Tarec Saffiedine hasn’t fought since defeating Nate Marquardt on Jan. 12 (Getty Pictures)

Tarec Saffiedine had built lots of momentum following his dominant victory over Nate Marquardt on Jan. 12, when he used a

sequence of brutal leg kicks to defeat Marquardt and win the Strikeforce welterweight title

.

It was the final bout in Strikeforce history and Saffiedine was heading into the UFC in an excellent position.

But nearly eight months since that win, Saffiedine hasn’t fought once more and has no concept when he will. Saffiedine had to pull out of a planned July 27 bout with Robbie Lawler with an damage. Last month, UFC president Dana White informed Fox Sports he was planning to pit Saffiedine with Matt Brown, who had received impressively over Mike Pyle at Fox Sports 1 on Aug. 17 in Boston, in a match in December.

That combat, though, has primarily passed by the wayside as a result of nobody knows when Saffiedine goes to have the ability to train again. His efficiency in opposition to Marquardt proved he deserves a high opponent, but all the high UFC welterweights who aren’t injured are going to be booked earlier than for much longer for fights before the end of the year. Saffiedine has an uncertain return date, and that can depart him in a difficult spot.

Matt Brown celebrates a formidable win over Mike Pyle on Aug. 17 (Getty)

Saffiedine stated he had hoped to fulfill both Brown or ex-interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, or any prime 10 welterweight. However now could be when the UFC goes to start booking the top-of-the-yr matches and which will depart Saffiedine on the surface trying in.

“I’m shooting to come again end of this year, beginning of subsequent yr,” Saffiedine advised Cagewriter. “The thing is, I will not know for a few weeks from my physician when I’ll have the inexperienced light to come again and prepare. I am unable to prepare right now because of the injuries.”

Saffiedine said he has two injuries, which he declined to divulge. One, he mentioned he had when he fought Marquardt, and another he received while coaching for Lawler.

The uncertainty has put him in a very unhealthy place. The welterweight title will be decided on Nov. sixteen, when Georges St-Pierre defends in opposition to No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in Las Vegas. The UFC want to have a prime contender’s combat sometime this 12 months so that there’s an obvious title challenger ready to meet the St-Pierre-Hendricks winner someday subsequent year.

If that happens, although, it seems to be prefer it won’t be Saffiedine.

“Clearly, not being able to practice and to fight is, for me as a fighter and an athlete, definitely frustrating,” Saffiedine said. “Especially for me, I’m someone who really, actually enjoys coaching. Even when I don’t have a fight, I’m all the time at the fitness center trying to get higher and study new abilities.

“It is fairly irritating for me, however I am not sitting on the couch all day eating pizza. I can not try this. I’m trying to stay in shape and live a wholesome lifestyle as best as I can.”

He can solely sit and wait and hope to be cleared bodily soon and that when he is, it’s not too late.

Otherwise, regardless of the spectacular way he opened 2013, it could wind up being a misplaced 12 months for him.

post

Featherweight champ Abner Mares survived on the streets in order to thrive in the ring

Abner Mares, right, connects with a right hand against Daniel Ponce de Leon in Mares’ victory in May. (Getty I …

Toughness manifests itself in very different ways. Athletes are viewed as tough when they play through injuries. Fighters are considered tough when they take blows and keep moving forward.

[wp_admanager_pro_display_adzone id=”26″]

Abner Mares, the classy WBC featherweight champion, is tough in that regard.

But Mares showed his toughness long before the world knew his name. Mares, 27, is now one of the world’s most popular boxers, and will defend his belt against power-punching Jhonny Gonzalez on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., in the main event of a Showtime-televised card.

Long before he earned fame and some fortune, he survived by eating out of trash cans, living on his own in a foreign country at 15, sleeping on floors and fending for himself.

Mares was born in Mexico into abject poverty, but even when his family emigrated to the U.S. when he was seven, their lot in life was not much better. Mares was still living in poor conditions and didn’t have the casual suburban upbringing.

He showed a skill for boxing at an early age and so when he turned 15, the former gang member was sent by his parents by himself to live in Mexico so he could pursue a spot on the Mexican Olympic boxing team.

He represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, but the day-to-day grind was hard.

“I am the person I am now because of everything I went through as a child,” the friendly and affable Mares says. “All that, eating out of trash cans, being in a gang, sleeping on the floor because I had nothing, living on my own at 15, that made me who I am. I grew up fast. I had a different life, but it’s all good.

“I’m here today because of all of those experiences. I became a man because of what I’ve been through in my life.”

When he first returned to Mexico at 15, he was desperately lonely. He phoned his mother every day, pleading to be allowed to return home.

But his parents believed making the Olympic team would be best for his future and made him stay. Eventually, Mares adapted.

And he’s been doing that ever since. He’s become successful as a fighter not only because of his sheer toughness, but also because of his ability to adapt in the ring.

He’s faced sluggers, boxers, southpaws and every style imaginable, and has rung up a 26-0-1 mark with 14 knockouts.

He’s beaten some of the better lighter weight fighters of his time – he’s bested elite opponents such as Anselmo Moreno, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Vic Darchinyan and Joseph Agbeko – and he’s never shied away from a challenge.

Mares said he’s better because of the elite opponents he’s faced. When you’re facing championship-caliber opposition every time out, it’s either figure out how to survive or get content with being an also-ran.

Mares is no also-ran. He learned how to survive and flourish.

“I’ve fought nothing but the best, and I can’t begin to tell you how much that has helped me,” he said. “Everyone I’ve fought I’ve learned from and taken something from them. It’s helped me to progress.”

He’ll have to survive Gonzalez’s vaunted power. Gonzalez has 46 knockouts among his 54 wins and is one of the hardest hitters in the lower weight divisions.

Mares’ toughness didn’t escape the notice of Gonzalez, who isn’t expecting to run over him with a power attack.

“With Mares, you know he’s a good fighter and he knows what he’s doing in that ring, so it’s important to have a plan and execute it, because he’s very good,” Gonzalez said. “I believe in my power, but I can’t go just for knockouts because he knows how to [deal with] that. I have to follow my plan.”

Mares’ plan – surviving a desperately poor childhood and living alone at an extraordinarily young age – shouldn’t be a blueprint for others.

But his willingness to adapt and to not make excuses should.

Despite all of his disadvantages, Abner Mares has become one of the most complete fighters in the world and is an idol to thousands of Mexican and Mexican-American fans. His story resonates with them, because so many of them have been in his situation.

You have to be tough to take a punch, but taking one isn’t the only way of proving toughness.

A 15-year-old Abner Mares proved that.

post

Five Denver Broncos starters, including Champ Bailey and Wes Welker, suffer injuries vs. Seattle

Broncos coach John Fox (USA Immediately Sports Pictures)

The Denver Broncos have gone from one of some severe favorites in the AFC to a team simply hoping to catch a break.

[wp_admanager_pro_display_adzone id=”20″]

The pending Von Miller suspension, which nonetheless must be appealed, was the primary major blow. Unless you wish to return to the offseason fiasco that led to Elvis Dumervil changing into a free agent.

Since then the accidents have been coming at a fast pace since, and against Seattle, five starters left the sport with injuries, although most often it seems they sat as a precaution.

Defensive lineman Derek Wolfe left on an ambulance with a scary neck harm, though he made the flight dwelling. Two of the group’s veteran stars, cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and receiver Wes Welker (ankle), left the sport with injuries. So did beginning right guard Louis Vasquez (knee) and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley (wrist). Oh, and the Broncos’ starters have been down 33-7 at halftime to the Seahawks.

Other than that, it will need to have been a pretty enjoyable journey.

Of the new accidents, Bailey’s appears to be the most concerning. Reporters in the Broncos locker room said Bailey was walking with crutches, with a boot on his left foot. That’s not a fantastic search for a 35-year-outdated cornerback. USA Immediately’s Lindsay Jones reported that a MRI showed no tears, but there’s no timetable for his return.

The different accidents do not seem serious, but having some veterans banged up a bit in August just adds to the dangerous news for the Broncos. Offensive linemen Ryan Clady, J.D. Walton and Dan Koppen, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen are among the veterans who’ve missed significant time during coaching camp. Koppen is out for the season. And with the new wave of accidents, keep in mind that the Broncos play their first regular-season game three days before a lot of the NFL kicks off. They play Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 5. That is less time for hurting players to heal.

There have been different dangerous signs against Seattle, other than the accidents. The special teams had been mostly terrible. Every of the crew’s high two running backs made massive mistakes: Montee Ball missed a block on Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner that obtained Peyton Manning planted in the turf, and Ronnie Hillman fumbled a ball simply earlier than crossing the goal line that the Seahawks returned for a landing.

Preseason results aren’t going to vary that the Broncos have an amazing passing offense and are still the runaway favorites within the AFC West. But no group will be happier to see August end..

post

What’s next for UFC champ Chris Weidman?

(Twitter) After shocking the world by beating Anderson Silva at UFC 162, Chris Weidman’s first task was getting his new accessory through security at the airport. They can be sticklers about not wearing a belt through the metal detectors. After getting the belt home, what is next for Weidman?

A layoff: He had surgery in winter, then started preparing for the fight with Silva. He wouldn’t likely mind taking a little time to relax and enjoy his accomplishment.

A middleweight contender: Since losing to Silva, Vitor Belfort has four straight wins at middleweight. (His loss to Jon Jones was at light heavyweight.) He’s already had two highlight reel knockouts in 2013, and is begging for a title shot on Twitter. Michael Bisping, one of the fighters who was knocked out by Belfort, is also throwing his name in the hat.

A rematch with Silva: Even before their bout, UFC president Dana White said Weidman and Silva would rematch if Weidman won. He didn’t change that stance after the fight.

“Anderson Silva has gone undefeated since 2006 and has beat everybody and held the title,” White said after Saturday night’s fights. “He deserves the rematch. I mean, Chris Weidman said that before he even fought him. Vitor is just going to have to wait.

This fight is so likely that White already has a date in mind. He is considering it for UFC 168 on Dec. 28. Right now, a bout between UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate is scheduled for that card.

Security guard takes foul ball off his helmet, recovers like a champ (Video)

One day after the NCAA announced Florida Worldwide shall be ineligible for the 2013-14 postseason resulting from poor Academic Progress Charge scores, former coach Isiah Thomas defended himself against accusations he is at fault.

Thomas penned a Huffington Submit weblog entry through which he emphasized that he repeatedly stressed the importance of education to his gamers throughout his three-year tenure at FIU from 2009 to 2012. He also famous that some of FIU's APR issues stem from the transfer of seven scholarship gamers in protest of his firing last 12 months.

"This had the largest effect on FIU's APR, not grades but retention," Thomas wrote. "The truth is, many of the students who wanted to switch had been instructed that they would not be given their releases because it could affect FIU's APR. Seven scholarship college students left in anger with out getting a launch, thus plummeting the APR score.

"That's the clarification of FIU's APR and current NCAA ban from put up-season play, however it is not an examination of my report with the school's gamers. Of the 21 players I labored with, I'm very proud to say that 19 of these younger men graduated."

Thomas' blog post comes sooner or later after Garcia appeared to pin the blame on him with a thinly veiled statement defending present coach Anthony Evans and Thomas' successor, Richard Pitino. Mentioned Garcia, "It’s essential to understand that the student-athletes and coaches who are serving this postseason ban had no part within the actions which led to the punishment."

That statement is definitely true, but there's also some advantage to Thomas' point as well.

FIU's APR scores throughout the first two years of Thomas' tenure were 910 and 909, simply above the NCAA's minimal commonplace at the time of 900 although effectively below the current threshold of 930. As Thomas noted, the rating only plummeted to 858 after the 2011-12 season when a bevy of gamers transferred or turned pro unexpectedly out of anger over the firing of Thomas.

Though Thomas' dismissal was actually justifiable considering he went 26-sixty five and did not win greater than 11 video games in any single season, athletic director Pete Garcia did a poor job assuaging Thomas' former gamers issues.

At FIU's end-of-the-yr banquet in the basketball group's honor, gamers protested the firing of Thomas by getting up from their desk, walking in a single-file line in entrance of the rostrum and exiting the constructing en masse. Former guard Tanner Wozniak instructed Yahoo! Sports activities last year that players favored Thomas as a result of he at all times was willing to offer recommendation, all the time emphasised academics and even checked in with all his players after his firing to ensure they had been handling the upheaval.

"He was an incredible coach, a mentor and a father figure to us," Wozniak mentioned. "He didn't have a profitable file, however you can't build a program in three years."

The backside line is that Thomas is probably right he isn't absolutely responsible right here. Granted his three-12 months tenure was disastrous on the floor and that Richard Pitino instantly turned around the program in one season, nevertheless it's not fair to make Thomas the lone scapegoat for FIU's 2013-14 postseason ban.

In reality, if anyone deserves to share the blame with Thomas, it is Garcia, who was all too fast to go the buck on Wednesday.

It was Garcia who made the ailing-fated resolution to hire Thomas in 2009, even going so far as to boast that his new coach would "take the basketball program to the highest stage." It was Garcia who one way or the other stood by Thomas in 2010 when the coach tried to take a consulting job with the New York Knicks while nonetheless working at FIU. And it was Garcia who could not persuade Thomas' players to stay with this system after his firing last yr long sufficient to even discover out who the new coach would be.