Puck bounces Crunch’s way

The Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, March 17, 2008

Maybe Zenon Konopka scored the game-wining overtime goal Sunday afternoon. Maybe he didn’t. Even he wasn’t quite sure.

Truth is, he couldn’t care less. Sure, it gave him a hat-trick for the night but the only points Konopka cared about were the two that the Crunch get for the win.

“I really don’t know who it hit to be honest with you,” said Konopka of the pass from Derick Brassard that was ricocheted into the net. “I went to the net with the defensemen. To be honest, it hit one of us and went in the net and it really doesn’t matter who it hit. When the bottom line is we won. We just needed to make sure we got two points out of this.”

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J-D uses finishing touch

The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, March 3, 2008

Going into the fourth quarter with the score tied at 35, sixth-seeded New Hartford was looking at the chance of an improbably upset over No. 1 seed Jamesville- DeWitt on Sunday night.

The Spartans had been a nagging thorn in the side of J-D for the first three quarters. But the Red Rams had one thing its opposition didn’t: the finishing touch.

Plus they had junior Alshwan Hymes. Hymes hit a 3-pointer from the left side of the arc to open up the fourth quarter and then seconds later stole the inbounds pass underneath the basket to put J-D up by five.

“We knew we needed a big shot, and it’s like everybody on our team can hit a big shot and I was just in the right place ath the right time,” said Hymes, who scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. “I hit the shots and we just knew from there that if we keep the energy ups and the keep pushing they wouldn’t be able to manage us going at them as hard as we can with the momentum.”

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New leaders emerge for Villanova

Rivals.com, Big East Media Day, New York City, October 29, 2007

At big East Media Day, sophomore guard Scottie Reynolds walked over to the Villanova booth just a little bit later than everybody else. As he approached his seat, junior forward Dante Cunningham reached up and touched the knot of Reynolds tie. Reynolds quickly tightened it up and sat down.

The gesture was minute, but significant to the kind of leadershp the Villanova men’s basketball team is looking forward to in teh 2007-2008 season.

After losing Curtis Sumpter, Mike Nardi and Will Sheridan to graduation, leaving no seniors on the team and five incoming freshman, the Wildcats will look towards Cunningham and fellow junior Shane Clark as well as Reynolds to provide leadership for this year’s young squad.

“We have, for the last three years, benefited from some great leadership and now those guys have that challenge,” said head coach Jay Wright. “That’s really what it is. Everybody’s got good players, but the best teams have guys at crunch time, on the roads, that step up as leaders.

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Coach Jay Wright discusses this year’s freshman class

Rivals.com, Big East Media Day, New York City, October 24, 2007

When nearly fifty percent of your team is freshman, the question becomes not how much they will play, but how fast can they get on the court.

That is the question Villanova Coach Jay Wright has to answer in the next two weeks before the season starts. With five freshmen coming onto the squad, the key to Villanova’s success will be how quickly the new players can become accustomed to the collegiate level.

“I hope they [Fisher, Grant, and Stokes} get a lot of time,” Wright said of the freshmen. “That means they’re ready. They are talented and we need depth believe it or not. They are the guys that if they got themselves ready, they could make the biggest difference.

That difference may come by way of depth. The more young, unproven freshmen a team has, the more competition there will be for multiple positions. As Wright said, it might not be the ideal depth, but it still provides a lot of players and situations to consider.

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Pitt looks for different options in 07-08

Rivals.com, Big East Media Day, New York City, October 24, 2007

The University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team will have one hole to fill the upcoming 2007-2008 season. Problem is, it’s a rather big hole.

The Panthers enter the season without the anchor of last year’s squad, seven-foot center Aaron Gray. Gray led the team in points per game (13.9), blocks (92) and rebounds per game (9.2).

“You lose a guy like Aaron and there is always a question of how you are going to replace him. But every year we replace guys,” said senior small forward Mike Cook.

Pitt will attempt to fill the hole with multiple players including junior Cassin Diggs and Tyrell Biggs, as well as freshman DeJuan Blair, who will take turns at the five-man position.

“We will have to do it with quantity too rather than just one guy,” said head coach Jamie Dixon. “I think that will be the difference. We’ve got a Austin Wallace and a Gary McGhee as a possibility as well. It’s going to be more by-committee thing than we’ve ever done before.

 

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