Warriors

Big East school will replace Maryland in ACC

952221.jpg

Big East school will replace Maryland in ACC

From Comcast SportsNetAtlantic Coast Conference leaders got the school they wanted. Louisville was relieved to find a home amid the latest wave of realignment.The ACC announced Wednesday that its presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland, which will join the Big Ten in 2014.Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was concerned the Cardinals would be left behind in a constantly shifting landscape."You always worry about that, there's no question about it -- especially when you're sitting in our chairs," Jurich said in a teleconference. "But I think when you look at what we've done and the body of work, I think it was very well worth it to wait because we were able to get what we wanted."We feel it's the best fit for this university."Louisville was a candidate to join the Big 12 last year before that league took West Virginia, though Maryland's unexpected announcement last week created a new opportunity for both the school and the ACC.But it wasn't a lock for the Cardinals.A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before the vote to add Louisville during a conference call Wednesday morning. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the ACC hasn't released details of the expansion discussionsThe Cardinals will bring a tradition-rich men's basketball program, a solid football program and a college-focused market to the ACC."When you look at Louisville, you see a university and an athletic program that has all the arrows pointed up -- a tremendous uptick there, tremendous energy," ACC Commissioner John Swofford said. "It's always an overall fit in every respect and I think that's what we found."Louisville is the fourth school in 15 months and seventh in the past decade to leave the Big East for the ACC. Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their move in September 2011 and will join the league next year, while Notre Dame said two months ago that it would eventually join in all conference sports except football.Most of Notre Dame's non-football sports have competed in the Big East since 1995."We had incredible success in that conference," Jurich said of the Big East. "But when it began to deteriorate, we felt that all our options were pulled away from us and we had to look and we were forced to look."To see a lot of your peers moving around you and leaving nobody to schedule, it was very, very difficult for us to see and a very once-proud conference I think was in a very difficult position."Politicians around Kentucky cheered the move.Louisville mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement calling the ACC's decision "a fantastic development for the university, the city and the state." U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement the move was a credit to Jurich's leadership of the athletic department.It's unclear exactly when Louisville will join the ACC. Swofford said that would have to be worked out between the school and the Big East. He also said the league is comfortable staying at 14 full members with the addition of Louisville.The Big East has a 27-month notification period for any member that wants to leave. The Big East has shown a willingness to negotiate, as it did with Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who paid 7.5 million each to get out early when the exit fee was 5 million.The Big East has since increased that fee to 10 million.This latest rapid-fire round of realignment was set off last week by the Big Ten's additions of Maryland and Rutgers, which will join that conference in 2014.On Tuesday, the Big East added Tulane for all sports and East Carolina for football only, also beginning in 2014.In a statement, Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco wished Louisville well and said the league's additions are important for its future."We are committed to a vibrant and dynamic future for the Big East Conference," Aresco said.Louisville's addition will add some extra juice to what's already one of the nation's premier conferences for men's basketball.Louisville, currently ranked No. 5, brings a program that has won two national championships and reached its ninth Final Four last season. In addition, Rick Pitino will give the league another marquee coaching name alongside Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina's Roy Williams and soon Jim Boeheim of Syracuse.The school's football program is a win away from earning a BCS berth. Charlie Strong's Cardinals travel to Rutgers on Thursday night for a game in which they could clinch the Big East's BCS bid.The ACC's decision to add Louisville is a blow for Connecticut, which had been looking for a landing spot since Pittsburgh and Syracuse announced their Big East exits. UConn President Susan Herbst had indicated that an invitation to join that ACC is something the school would welcome."We will be athletically successful, regardless of our conference, because of our successes in NCAA competition," Herbst said in a statement. "... I realize this is a difficult day, but when we focus on research, discovery, and student success, we'll never go wrong."

Ex-Cavs player claims LeBron wasn't responsible for Warriors tombstone cookies

Ex-Cavs player claims LeBron wasn't responsible for Warriors tombstone cookies

Months after the Cavs overcame a 3-1 series deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to stun the 73-win Warriors, images surfaced from a Halloween party hosted by LeBron James.

In the images, cookies in the shape of tombstones with the names of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could be seen on a plate. The date "2015-16" was written on the cookies, apparently signifying the year the Warriors stars "died."

It was the height of the bitterness between the two teams that have met in three straight NBA Finals. The Cavs didn't care much for the Warriors.

But now, more than a year later, one of the players that was at the party to trying to take the blame off LeBron.

"I was at the Halloween party. Usually, [LeBron's] trolls are funny, but that was not from him, that was from the catering company. That’s why he doesn’t speak of it because the catering company put that together. If you think that LeBron James throws a party and does everything from the cookies to the decorations, then you’re kind of insane, that he has a season to prepare for and he’s party planning as well," former Cavs forward Dahntay Jones said Friday on The Russillo Show on ESPN. "But that was the company that they hired. It just happened to be funny at that point in time."

Jones, who is currently unsigned, has played one game for the Cavs each of the last two regular seasons. He did play in the first six games of the 2015-16 NBA Finals and averaged 1.3 points per game.

Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game

kingsfollow2.jpg
USATSI

Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game

SACRAMENTO -- Faced with demotion, you have two options, sulk or come out swinging. Willie Cauley-Stein chose option two Friday evening at Golden 1 Center.

After starting all 14 games to begin the season, Cauley-Stein found himself relegated to the second unit against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 7-footer looked energized by the move and made one play after another as the Kings came away with the 86-82 victory.

“I felt free - period,” Cauley-Stein said following the win. “Both offensively, defensively. I’m quarterbacking on defense. I’m getting to make plays on offense. I just feel liberated. I feel like it’s unlocking.”

The third-year big began the 2017-18 campaign with back-to-back double-doubles, but hadn’t notched double-figures in rebounds since. Over his previous eight games, the Kings’ starting center was averaging just 4.3 boards per game.

Against Portland, Cauley-Stein played sparkling defense, hit 9-of-17 from the floor for a team-high 22 points and hit the glass for 10 boards. He skied above the Blazers bigs for a rebound with 3.4 seconds remaining and his second free throw attempt sealed the win for a Kings team in desperate need of a win.

“Willie’s a hell of a player, obviously,” veteran big Kosta Koufos said. “He’s really athletic, he’s a special talent.”

Koufos and Cauley-Stein made a devastating defensive duo for Sacramento. Both bigs showed on the high pick-and-roll and avoided fouling the Blazers high-powered guards.

“That’s a crazy defensive lineup right there, me and Kosta play really well together,” Cauley-Stein said. “I’ve been waiting for that lineup since we started.”

Damian Lillard scored 29 points, but he shot just 9-of-25 from the field and 5-for-14 from long range. C.J. McCollum knocked down 8-of-15 from the floor, but he missed all four of his 3-point attempts as Sacramento closed out and pressured the shooter all night long.

Cauley-Stein wasn’t the only starter to find himself on the bench to start the game. Dave Joerger turned to a dual point guard backcourt, using De’Aaron Fox and George Hill side-by-side, while bringing rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic in with the second unit.

Playing off the ball for long stretches, Hill responded to the move with 14 points and five assists in 27 minutes. Fox had a quiet offensive night, but his defense on both Lillard and McCollum was inspired.

“We can both attack and he’s a great shooter so that really helps me,” Fox said of Hill. “He’s a mentor on the court. It’s a lot easier to play with him then to watch him play.”

Sacramento held Portland to just 37 percent shooting overall and 28 percent from behind the arc. They pressured the Blazers in the backcourt and slowed the game to screeching halt.

With the win, the Kings snapped their three-game losing streak and improved to 4-11 on the season. They jumped a plane for Portland following the game where they’ll face the same Trail Blazer team Saturday in a rare back-to-back against the same team.

The Kings likely be without the services of shooting guard Buddy Hield, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle. Hield limped into the locker room on crutches following the victory and the initial indications point to him missing the rematch.