Review Category : National Sports

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze on NCAA Allegations: ‘I Own It’

Stacy Revere/Getty Images(SANDESTIN, Fla.) — Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze told ESPN he was accepting responsibility for the 28 allegations of misconduct the NCAA made against the school in January.

However, Freeze also said Monday at the SEC spring meetings, that he and his staff did not knowingly broke the rules.

“The first thing I would say is that I own it. That’s part of it when you’re the head coach. You take the good with the bad,” Freeze told ESPN. “But there’s a big difference between making mistakes in recruiting and going out there with the intent to cheat.

“I don’t have any information that anybody on my staff has been involved in any illegal payments to players or offering any inducements to players, and if I did have that information, I would fire them.”

Sixteen of the alleged violations issued by the NCAA were Level I, the most serious. According to ESPN, nine of the 13 alleged violations in football were during Freeze’s time as coach and four were Level 1.

Last week, Ole Miss acknowledged the NCAA allegations by issuing self-imposed penalties including the loss of 11 total scholarships for football starting with one in 2015 and going into 2018. The school also asked the NCAA to delay the school’s hearing before the Committee on Infractions so they could investigate further allegations against Miami Dolphins rookie Laremy Tunsil.

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Thunder Forward Kevin Durant Thinking About Free Agency

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Kevin Durant could soon be a free agent.

The Oklahoma City Thunder forward told ESPN Tuesday that he has started to consider free agency.

According to ESPN, the seven-time All-Star and 2014 MVP said he decided to think about being a free agent after Game 7’s loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals on Monday night.

Durant would become a free agent on July 1 after spending nine years, his entire career so far, with the Thunder.

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Surfing Star and Shark Attack Survivor Bethany Hamilton Impresses in Fiji

David Gregerson/Sport Studio Photos/Getty Images(SUVA, Fiji) — For Bethany Hamilton, the professional surfer who gained national attention after she survived a terrifying shark attack more than a decade ago, participating at the World Surf League’s Fiji Women’s Pro was a dream come true.

“I’ve just been totally dreaming of surfing, competing here in Fiji,” she said recently in a World Surf League interview posted on YouTube. “It’s just been a blast.”

In October 2003, Hamilton was 13 and a rising star in the Hawaiian surfing community of Hanalei when a 1,400-pound tiger shark attacked her as she surfed with friends.

She lost her left arm, just below the shoulder, and nearly died from loss of blood but was back in the water a month later.

In 2004, Hamilton released a biography titled “Soul Surfer” and in 2011, a movie adaptation of the book opened in theaters. In 2009, she earned the silver medal at the Billabong ASP World Junior Pro championships.

This weekend, Hamilton was invited to the surfing competition in Fiji after earning a wild-card spot. She brought along her husband and young son.

“Even after losing my arm,” she said, “I’m still like doing everything I’ve hoped I could do in my future and even more.”

Today, Hamilton reached the semifinals but was eliminated by Johanne Defay. She finished in third place after beating world champion Stephanie Gilmore and top-ranked surfer Tyler Wright.

“I knew once I beat Tyler, I could beat anyone,” she told the World Surf League. “At the end of the day, it’s just getting it together and catching the right waves and just surfing my best.”

Beyond stoked to finish 3rd in the #FijiPro as the wildcard! LOVED competing & looking forward to more adventures!!!

— Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) May 31, 2016

Despite the loss, Hamilton said that she was “stoked” with her performance in the competition and that she hoped her story continued to inspire young girls to keep pursuing their dreams.

“I know I’m like in a unique position to hopefully encourage you girls to make great decisions as they’re growing into women and also to chase their dreams,” she said. “I think I’m just a reminder for the young girls that, ‘Hey, like you can do it if you set your mind to it.'”

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President Obama Honors NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion Villanova Wildcats

White House(WASHINGTON) — President Obama welcomed the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball champions, the Villanova Wildcats, to the White House Tuesday, calling their March Madness performance “as memorable a run and as memorable a championship game as I can remember” and “maybe the best title game of all time.”

“These Wildcats were about more than just one moment or one shot,” Obama said. “They had unbelievable defense. They had great clutch-shooting. A senior class that won more games than any group in Wildcats history. They had a stable of talented players who were as happy hitting the deck for a loose ball as they were cutting down the nets.”

Per usual, the president singled out several star players not only for their achievements on the court, but also for their contributions to the Philadelphia community off the court, including their support for the Special Olympics.

“Their grades ranked in the top 10 percent nationally. That’s worth applauding,” Obama observed. “All five seniors graduated. In fact, ever since the 1970s, the Wildcats have graduated every four-year player, and that’s the kind of record that you really want.”

Obama observed the absence of the “most important” Villanova graduate at the White House, Dr. Jill Biden.

“I think she may be teaching, but her husband Joe wanted me to remind you that he picked ‘Nova to win it all. This is the type of wise counsel that you are looking for from a Vice President,” Obama joked. “Unfortunately, I didn’t follow his counsel and so my bracket was busted.”

The president singled out coach Jay Wright as “the best-dressed man in college basketball” and “the George Clooney of coaches.”

“We celebrate a remarkable team that worked tirelessly to make Coach look good in terms of his job and not just his wardrobe,” Obama said, drawing more laughter. “His tailor and stylist could not make it, but we do have his basketball players here.”

Obama also called out Josh Hart, the Wildcats’ leading scorer, and asked where he went to high school.
“Sidwell Friends,” Hart answered, identifying the private high school the president’s daughter is about to finish.

“My daughter will be graduating from there next week, which makes me cry when I talk about it, so I’m not going to talk about it,” Obama said. “But it was good to see a Sidwell kid do well.”

After recognizing Kris Jenkins, who hit the game winner at the buzzer, Obama butchered the pronunciation of Ryan Arcidiacano, who delivered Villanova’s most crucial assist on the game’s final play.

“Now, I just sped through that in case I didn’t say it right,” he admitted. “Barack Obama is tough, but Arcidiacano, man, that’s a lot of vowels in there so we’re just going to call him Arch.”

Coach Wright praised Obama as “a great leader” and presented him with a No. 44 jersey he said was worn during their competition in Pearl Harbor last December.

“We really want to thank you,” Wright said. “And it says on there, ‘For your great leadership, your service to our country, you’re truly a great role model for our young men.’ We want them to be great leaders like you, and we thank you for everything you do for our country, and we welcome you to the ‘Nova nation with your Villanova jersey.”

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Golden State Warriors top Oklahoma City Thunder, Advance to NBA Finals

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Despite scoring only 42 points in the first half — a first half low for a home game this year — the Golden State Warriors exploded in the second half, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry ended with a game-high 36 points to help his team recover from a 3-1 deficit in the conference finals.

The Warriors will now take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals, beginning on Thursday, June 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Scoreboard Roundup — 5/30/16

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:


N-Y Mets 1, Chi White Sox 0
Houston 8, Arizona 3
Seattle 9, San Diego 3


Texas 9, Cleveland 2
Toronto 4, N-Y Yankees 2
Kansas City 6, Tampa Bay 2
L.A. Angels 5, Detroit 1
Boston 7, Baltimore 2
Oakland 3, Minnesota 2


Washington 4, Philadelphia 3
Pittsburgh 10, Miami 0
Atlanta 5, San Francisco 3
St. Louis 6, Milwaukee 0
Cincinnati 11, Colorado 8
Chi Cubs 2, L.A. Dodgers 0


Golden State 96, Oklahoma City 88


Pittsburgh 3, San Jose 2

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Martin Truex Jr. Sets Record in Coca-Cola 600 Win

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.C.) — Martin Truex Jr. had a record-setting Memorial Day weekend.

He led 392 of 400 laps in the Sprint Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday night to cruise to victory. That’s a record number of laps led for that event.

It was Truex’s first win of the season.

Here are the top 10 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600, held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina:

1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Kurt Busch
7. Matt Kenseth
8. Chase Elliott
9. Joey Logano
10. Ryan Newman

Here’s an updated look at the standings:

1. Kevin Harvick – 457 points.
2. Kurt Busch – 421 points.
3. Jimmie Johnson – 409 points.
4. Kyle Busch – 405 points.
5. Carl Edwards – 404 points.
6. Brad Keselowski – 404 points.
7. Martin Truex Jr. – 381 points.
8. Chase Elliott – 374 points.
9. Joey Logano – 373 points.
10. Matt Kenseth – 347 points.
11. Denny Hamlin – 345 points.
12. Austin Dillon – 344 points.
13. Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 341 points.
14. Jamie McMurray – 318 points.
15. Ryan Blaney – 309 points.
16. Ryan Newman – 309 points.

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Huskies Receiver Isaiah Renfro Quits Football to Get Help

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(PULLMAN, Wash.) — Washington Huskies receiver Isaiah Renfro officially announced that he will take a break from football to care for his depression and anxiety, ESPN reports.

Coach Chris Peterson said that Renfro, a sophomore, didn’t participate in the team’s spring camp because of “personal issues.”

In a lengthy statement on Twitter, Renfro explained that he was undergoing treatment at a hospital “in a special program for people like me, that taught me how to cope with my problems and what to do when I hit my lowest of lows.”

Been debating on posting this but this is me taking steps in the right direction to becoming myself again..

— Isaiah Woods-Renfro (@WaveGodZay) May 29, 2016

Renfro also thanked his doctors and close friends for helping him get “out of a dark place before it was too late.”

Renfro said he would no longer attend the university as a student, according to ESPN.

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Three Soccer Share Secret to Social Media Success

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Soccer stars David Villa, Maurice Edu and Charlie Davies appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning share the secrets to achieving their large social media followings.

Edu has played 46 games for the U.S. National Team, Davies is the leading scorer for the New England Revolution and Villa is Spain’s all-time leading scorer.

All three now play with for Major League Soccer teams and also have huge followings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Edu is known for posting photos of the 400 sneakers in his shoe collection.

“The beauty of Instagram and social media is you get to just be yourself, be authentic,” Edu said on GMA. “Me, I’ve grown up always liking sneakers and so naturally I post sneakers and other fashionable stuff like that.”

Villa has more Twitter followers than NBA star Stephen Curry.

“It’s great for me to meet the fans,” he said of his social media activity.

Davies is a new father known for sharing photos of his twin boys, Rhys Arthur and Dakota Charles, who were born on St. Patrick’s Day this year. The twins have been taken care of at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston ever since but Davies shared today that they are “almost ready to come home.”

The doctosr and nurses at Brigham and Women’s have done a fantastic job of raising our babies since they were premature and getting them to health,” he said.

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Warriors’ Remaining Game 7 Tickets Sell Out in Five Minutes

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Monday night’s Western Conference championship between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors has has the second-highest list prices for NBA Game 7 in the past five years at $960 per ticket, according to ticketing search engine TiqIQ.

ESPN reports that the only other Game 7 to top Monday night’s matchup in Oakland was the NBA Finals Game 7 in 2013 between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. Tickets for that game costed a whopping $1,346 each.

The few remaining tickets for Monday night’s game went on sale by the Warriors Sunday night, with prices between $230 and $2,150. ESPN reports those tickets sold out in less than five minutes.

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