5-foot-8 Raven Fox is the first forward off the bench for Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ During an early season practice, Syracuse’s coaching staff situated players around the court in the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. The team, stocked with new faces, was learning the playbook and Raven Fox didn’t expect what happened next.Fox is listed as a guard on the Orange roster. She considers herself a guard, and it’s the position she’s played for most of her life. Yet coaches positioned the junior as a forward, giving her a look into what her first season at SU would bring.“I kind of knew,” Fox said. “If I have to learn these plays then this is most likely the position that I’m going to be playing during the season.”Players and coaches alike have admitted that the Orange’s frontcourt is its thinnest position group. Aside from freshman starters Amaya Finklea-Guity and Digna Strautmane, there are no true bigs on the team.Enter Fox, a 5-foot-8 junior-college transfer. Averaging 2.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, respectively, Fox’s impact transcends the stat sheet. She’s SU’s backup power forward and center, thrust into the paint and in the middle of the Orange’s 2-3 zone by necessity.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFox will continue to work alongside Finklea-Guity and Strautmane as Syracuse (22-7, 10-6 Atlantic Coast) enters the ACC tournament as the eight seed and squares off against No. 9 seed Virginia Tech, the only unranked team to beat the Orange in the Carrier Dome this season.“I guess I fit that spot because of my body size,” Fox said. “I can bump against those bigger players. At first, it was hard for me to get adjusted to it.”The last time Fox was the tallest player on her team, she was 8 years old and in AAU ball. Harold Fox, her father and then-coach, remembers his daughter trying out every position, learning every possible job on the court. He didn’t know that Fox would end up replacing two 6-foot-plus players as the anchor in the Orange’s rotation.Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorFox spent her first two collegiate seasons at Gulf Coast State after battling eligibility restrictions. At GC, she was a three guard. Now, she’s had to fill in for Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi and Marie-Paule Foppossi, two freshman forwards that are redshirting the 2017-18 campaign.“(Fox) wanted to come in and wanted to help us in any facet that we needed to,” SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. “She’s taking on roles that she probably wouldn’t normally have and she’s doing a good job.”Fox has tried to use her natural “guard quickness” to her advantage. She’s acknowledged that most, if not all, of her opponents have a few inches on her, and her speed can be an equalizer. On the offensive end, Fox tries to “wear out” her defender by flying around the baseline and setting screens. Defensively, Fox attempts to rush in front of her assignment so she can win position under the rim and corral a board.She cited SU’s game against then-No. 17 Duke on Feb. 15, when she realized that her quickness was making a drastic impact. Finklea-Guity spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench, making Fox the Orange’s anchor in crunch time. Fox finished with eight points and three boards, including a late, game-tying shot in the eventual upset win.“She works really hard to do that even if they are two, three times bigger than her,” Finklea-Guity said. “She just works hard regardless. Whenever she gets the layup or the and-1, everybody goes nuts for her because we all see that she’s working.”The Bladensburg, Maryland, native attacks practice knowing that the competition she faces in the Melo Center will mimic her in-game tasks. Working with assistant coach Adeniyi Amadou, Fox is the smallest in the position group of Finklea-Guity (6-foot-4), Strautmane (6-foot-2), Djaldi-Tabdi (6-foot-2) and Foppossi (6-foot-1).Fox singled out one drill, a 2-on-2 rebounding exercise, that she’s used as her measuring stick. Starting on the baseline, a player runs and has to box out their assignment swiftly. For Fox, going against players like Finklea-Guity can be frustrating because of the height disparity and the latter’s quick feet. With each drill, practice and game, Fox is playing catch-up.“It’s great,” point guard Tiana Mangakahia said of Fox’s production. “Sometimes she doesn’t play that much. But when she’s in, every little thing matters to her.”Against the Blue Devils late in the fourth quarter, Fox stood in the paint and made eye contact with Hillsman. He swung his arm forward and motioned Fox to set a screen for Mangakahia. Fox set the pick, and watched as the designed play resulted in an open 3 for Mangakahia, who nailed the game-winner. The same sequence is normally kicked off with a Finklea-Guity screen, but Fox filled in, just as she had all year.“I think it’s just mainly having heart,” Fox said. “Knowing that I am undersized, I just try to play as hard as I can … I think it’s that part, understanding your role … Taking pride in what you do.”— Assistant Sports Editor Billy Heyen contributed reporting for this article. Comments Published on February 28, 2018 at 9:58 pm Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarezlast_img read more

Read More »

Rio 2016 stadium indefinitely closed

first_imgA stadium in Brazil that was due to host athletics at the 2016 Olympics has been closed indefinitely because of structural problems with its roof.The Joao Havelange stadium in Rio de Janeiro was built only six years ago.It was also being used as the main football venue in Rio, while the city’s Maracana stadium is being renovated for next year’s World Cup.It is an embarrassment for Brazil as it prepares for its two huge sporting events, say correspondents.The authorities have also acknowledged delays in work on the Maracana and a funding problem at another stadium, which is set to host the opening match at the World Cup.‘Not acceptable’ Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes told a news conference on Tuesday that he had been told about the structural problems at the stadium – locally referred to as the Engenhao – earlier the same day.“I asked if this represented a risk for spectators and they told me it did, depending on the wind speed and temperature.“On that basis, I immediately decided to close the stadium until we had more details.”He said the situation was “simply not acceptable” for a stadium which opened such a short time ago, and warned that those responsible would be held to account.The stadium opened late and over budget in 2007. It has since been leased to local football club Botafogo.last_img read more

Read More »

“Nyantakyi has no challenger for GFA presidency” – Osei Palmer

first_imgAn Executive Committee member of the Ghana Football Association, Winfred Osei, is calling for support for current boss Kwesi Nyantakyi as he seeks another term at the helm.The electoral process of the GFA began on Monday with the nominations for the presidential position officially opened. So far, only the incumbent, Nyantakyi, has picked up nominations forms.Osei, who doubles as the Black Satellites management head, wants all members to back Nyantakyi for another term in office.“As much as I agree that we have put in place a good succession plan to train other prospective candidates to assume such an office, the incumbent is still interested in continuing with the good work so whoever has any good idea should just support Kwasi Nyantakyi with it rather than to create unnecessary collision,” he told Joy Sports”What we need to do is to mend forces and ensure we all have a united front as football people. If I have such aspirations to contest for the GFA Presidency then it is not now, we all have future aspirations, but not now.”He added that Nyantakyi has no challenger in the race. “So far as I am concerned Kwesi has endeared himself and [has] worked assiduously to put the Ghana Football Association up to this level. Why is the GFA attractive? For people to aspire to be the president of the association, it depends on the good works that he has done.“I’m of the view that we should all support him and make sure he gets another term.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Read More »

Kobe Bryant’s Top 5 Christmas Day performances

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error • RELATED: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant intrigued with LSU’s Ben SimmonsFor now, fire up the chestnuts and pour yourself some egg nog.Here are Bryant’s five most memorable Christmas Day performances:2008: Lakers 92, Boston 83Just six months prior, the Lakers were reeling from their 39-point Game 6 thrashing at the hands of the NBA champion Celtics.Here came Boston again, its Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen boasting a 27-2 record and looking like shoo-ins for another title.Bryant had other ideas. Playing a game-high 43 minutes, Bryant shot 13 of 23 for 27 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists.And less than seven months later, it was Bryant & Co. calling themselves NBA champions.2004: Miami 104, Lakers 102 (OT)Dripping in drama, this marked the return of a vengeful Shaquille O’Neal and his first faceoff against the Lakers since he was traded to Miami.Lakers fans got a load of a slimmed-down and bulked-up Shaq, who stuffed Bryant on his first drive to the rim. And after that, the heat was definitely on.Shaq finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out. Dwyane Wade saved Miami’s hide with a 29-point effort.Yet it was Bryant who had a shot at the end clank off the rim, his 42 points and six assists all for naught.Worth noting: Rounding out the Lakers starting five? Lamar Odom, Chris Mihm, Jumaine Jones and Chucky Atkins.2007: Lakers 122, Phoenix 115This one was fun.Led by Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, Phoenix was loaded and could run.As if further motivation was needed, the Suns ousted the Lakers from the first round of the playoffs the two previous seasons.Bryant and the Lakers were up to the challenge. Buoyed by Andrew Bynum’s career-high 28 points, the Lakers pulled away in the second half upon the shoulders of Bryant.He scored 15 points in the third quarter, capped by a 3-pointer and reverse dunk in the final 33 seconds.Bryant finished with a game-high 38 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists.2009: Cleveland 102, Lakers 87Yes, another loss and a blowout at that.But if there’s anything the NBA loves about its Christmas clashes, it’s intrigue and star power.This one had both. Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James. And the Cavaliers had some center by the last name of O’Neal.Bryant wound up with 35 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, shooting 11 of 33 from the field but 12 of 12 from the line.Yet it was Bryant with the last laugh. He was hoisting the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy in June.2012: Lakers 100, New York 94This is the last time Bryant played Christmas Day.East met West as the Lakers, stacked with Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, came out on top after a rough start to the season.Under new coach Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers defeated the Knicks for their fifth consecutive win to pull even at 14-14.Bryant racked up 34 points to match New York’s Carmelo Anthony. It was the ninth game in a row in which Bryant, who shot 14 of 24 (58.3 percent), scored at least 30. Consider it the gift that keeps on giving.Kobe Bryant will be playing on Christmas Day for the 16th and final time when the Lakers host the Clippers in a 7:30 p.m. showdown.While this is a game between local rivals, the competitiveness is up for debate. The Clippers have beaten the Lakers seven consecutive times and 11 of their past 12, with a margin of victory nearly 20 points.Therefore, the best staredown Friday night might be between Father Time and the NBA’s version of Father Christmas.center_img Despite Bryant missing the past two Christmas contests with injuries, no one has played more games that day. In fact, pick any day on the calendar, and none has featured Kobe Bryant in an NBA uniform more than Dec. 25.On top of that, no one has scored more Christmas Day points than Bryant, who reached 383 in 2012 to surpass Oscar Robertson’s record of 377.In his 20th season, Bryant has had his struggles. But lately, it’s as if the 38-year-old Lakers star has pulled a rabbit out of Santa’s sack.After dropping 31 points on Denver on Tuesday night, Bryant is averaging 20.6 points on 48.2 percent shooting in his past eight games going into Wednesday night’s game against Oklahoma City.So which Kobe Bryant is dropping down the Staples Center chimney Friday? That remains to be seen.last_img read more

Read More »