Celtics

Penn St. report on Sandusky due out Thursday

589690.jpg

Penn St. report on Sandusky due out Thursday

From Comcast SportsNet
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- The team brought in by Penn State to investigate how the university handled molestation accusations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will release its highly anticipated report Thursday, with the school's reputation and future direction hanging in the balance. The university trustees who paid for the probe, led by former FBI agent and federal judge Louis Freeh, will pore through it Thursday to see what it says about university employees, recommendations for policy changes and even their own knowledge about rumors Sandusky had abused children on campus. Penn State alumni, college football fans and the family of Sandusky's former boss Joe Paterno will look to see if it sheds new light on Paterno's actions, particularly after a graduate assistant complained to him in 2001 about Sandusky showering in a team locker room with a boy. School administrators Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, awaiting trial on charges they lied to the Sandusky grand jury and didn't properly report child abuse, will find out whether Freeh's investigators uncovered anything that might help -- or hurt -- their criminal defense. And former Penn State president Graham Spanier, who has not been charged with any crime, could discover whether emails or other records disclose more about his role. Lawyers for the young men who testified against Sandusky, and others planning civil lawsuits, will be reading the report closely for what it might mean regarding litigation. "I'm going to be looking for what we believe will be full and complete disclosure," said Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who represents the young man described as Victim 4 in court records. "It's going to be convenient for the university to release certain information but to hold back on some of the details concerning potential information that could expose them to liability." Andreozzi said he also represents four other young men and is evaluating their potential civil claims related to the Sandusky scandal. In announcing that the report will go online at 9 a.m. Thursday, Freeh took pains to say no one outside his team will get copies beforehand, including the trustees. Investigators will hold a news conference that morning in Philadelphia. That day, trustees will start a two-day meeting in Scranton where they can respond to the report. A spokesman for the trustees said Wednesday the board held an informational conference call Thursday night, hours after Freeh announced the timing of the report's release. David La Torre declined to discuss the call further when asked to confirm an ESPN report the trustees discussed how they would respond to the report. "I think we'll find that this thing revolves so tightly around coach Paterno, and I would hope the Freeh report is much broader than that and addresses the university as a whole -- and how this culture was handled or mishandled correctly -- and comes to some closure on that," trustee Ryan McCombie said Tuesday. "The people who loved Joe Paterno will still love him when this is over," McCombie said. "The people who disliked him may feel they have ammunition to continue to dislike him." Paterno died of cancer in January, but his family issued a statement late Tuesday saying leaks have made them question the fairness of the Freeh group's process. They defended the Hall of Fame coach, saying he did not know Sandusky was a child molester and did not prevent a proper investigation. Sandusky, 68, was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse last month and awaits sentencing. Prosecutors described how Sandusky culled the most vulnerable children from his charity for at-risk youth and used gifts and his access to Penn State facilities to abuse them over a 15-year span. The Paterno family took aim at a February 2001 email by Curley, recently reported by CNN, saying he had a change of heart about reporting the shower incident to authorities after speaking with Paterno. Penn State has disclosed that Freeh's probe turned up emails among top officials that have been given to prosecutors. "When the facts come out, it will be clear that Joe Paterno never gave Tim Curley any instructions to protect Sandusky or limit any investigation of his actions," the Paterno family's statement read. Spanier's lawyers on Tuesday broke a months-long silence to deny suggestions that he participated in a cover-up with the image of Penn State and its powerful and lucrative football program at stake. They said Spanier was never informed that Sandusky may have been abusing children. "At no time in the more than 16 years of his presidency at Penn State was Dr. Spanier told of an incident involving Jerry Sandusky that described child abuse, sexual misconduct or criminality of any kind, and he reiterated that during his interview with Louis Freeh and his colleagues," said attorneys Peter Vaira and Elizabeth Ainslie. Spanier's comments last week to the Freeh group echoed his testimony before a state grand jury that neither Curley nor Schultz informed him of the sexual nature of what graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw. CNN reported an email showed Spanier was "supportive" of a decision by Curley and Schultz not to report the incident. Spanier warned, however, that they might "become vulnerable for not having reported it," CNN said. Spanier's lawyers said the emails were "distorting the public record and creating a false picture." Both Spanier and Paterno were ousted by school trustees a few days after Sandusky's arrest in November. Michael Boni, who represents the young man called Victim 1, who testified against Sandusky, said the Freeh report will "help inform" the direction of civil litigation. "Maybe what's been leaked out is most of it, I have no idea," he said. "I certainly hope not." Tom Kline, an attorney for Victim 5, said he is particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding Sandusky's retirement in 1999, a year after a woman triggered a university police investigation by complaining Sandusky had showered with her son. Sandusky was not charged at the time, but was convicted of charges related to that incident last month. "We already know that Penn State knew enough by February of 2001 to have stopped Sandusky dead in his tracks, which would have prevented the assault on my client six months later," Kline said. Lawyers for Curley and Schultz, meanwhile, are expected to participate in a closed-door conference call on Wednesday afternoon with the attorney general's office and Judge Todd Hoover, who is presiding over their case in Harrisburg. Curley, on leave as athletic director, and Schultz, retired as vice president for business and finance, could learn when they will stand trial. Freeh and his team of lawyers and former law enforcement officials interviewed more than 400 people, asking questions that went beyond Sandusky and the child sex-abuse scandal and into the relationship between football program and the university administration. Freeh said in November that he would not interfere with the state's criminal probe but promised to conduct his review in "a thorough, fair, comprehensive manner, leaving no stone unturned, and without any fear or favor." In January, trustees adopted interim recommendations from Freeh, including changes to policies for programs involving minors, reporting of allegations of abuse; and athletic department security. The NCAA is reviewing how Penn State exerted "institutional control" in relation to the Sandusky matter, and whether university officials complied with policies that pertain to honesty and ethical conduct. The NCAA could open a more formal investigation that may expose Penn State to sanctions.

Celtics' cup has runneth over so far this season

cp-1-spark-celtics-thanksgiving.jpg

Celtics' cup has runneth over so far this season

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are no different than the rest of us. They have a lot to be thankful for.
 
There’s the usual good health, family and friends. But they have a few more things to be thankful for, as well.
 
So as you take a brief time-out today from the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, here’s a look at five things the Celtics are thankful for this season.


 
KYRIE IRVING
 
The Celtics have had some solid players in recent years, but the addition of Kyrie Irving was a game-changer. He provides Boston with an unmistakable superstar who has a proven track record of success on all levels -- he's won an NBA championship and an Olympic Gold medal, and is also a four-time All-Star. Did I mention he’s just 25 years old?


 
AL HORFORD
 
His numbers will never adequately measure the impact Horford has had on the Celtics. The big plus with Horford was him simply agreeing to be a Celtic. For years this franchise has been built on the success of developing draft picks or trading for talented players. But rarely have they had the financial flexibility or, to be frank, the kind of appeal to free agents to go out and acquire a proven All-Star like Al Horford. His arrival has enhanced an already-established winning culture, one that has become a player on the free agency market ever since.


 
DANNY AINGE
 
Other than Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, it’s hard to imagine another front office executive having as good an offseason as Ainge. He rolled the dice to go down two spots in last June’s NBA draft, and wound up with arguably the most NBA-ready player (Jayson Tatum) among those selected in last June’s NBA draft. (Remember, the likely rookie-of-the-year Ben Simmons did not play last year after Philadelphia drafted him with the top overall pick in 2016.) The free-agent pickups of Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin have all had moments where they carried the team to victory. Even second-round picks like Semi Ojeleye and two-way players like Jabari Bird have contributed to wins this season. Fans may not like some of Ainge’s decisions in the moment but he deserves a lot of credit for the team we see today, one that has played at a level few envisioned they'd reach this quickly.


 
BRAD STEVENS
 
And to think, the Big Three (Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford) Boston was planning to build around this season has played less than five minutes together. Stevens has been pushing all the right buttons, putting guys in unexpected positions to succeed with a cast that’s long on talent and well, well short on experience. Boston’s first win of the season came at Philadelphia, a game in which the Celtics played six different rookies. It’s not unusual for teams to use first-year players frequently, but for a team that was built to contend for a championship? That’s highly unusual. The biggest thing is despite the lack of experience on the floor, Stevens hasn’t allowed them to use that as a reason to fail. Instead, Stevens has had them lean heavily on film study and the wisdom of veterans, as well as empowered them to have a “next-man-up” mindset with one goal regardless of what they are tasked with doing: Get it done. No excuses.


 
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
 
Boston has spent most of this season atop the NBA standings, fueled in large part by a 15-game winning streak -- the longest of the Brad Stevens era and the fifth-longest ever by a Celtics team. But within that winning streak, there have been some noticeable areas of concern (i.e., bench scoring) that have made games more challenging. And that's what makes these Celtics so scary to the rest of the league. If they’re beating teams consistently now, how much better will they be when the offense catches up or, at a minimum, gains some ground on what has been an impressive stretch of play defensively? That’s why as good as this first full month of the season has been, there's reason to believe they’ll only get better. The Celtiheircs have seen  share of adversity. They've played without their All-Stars. They have fought back from double-digit deficits to emerge victorious. This is a young squad, but battle-tested already. Because of all that, they have a certain level of confidence that regardless of the situation, regardless of the score, they feel they will find a pathway to success. And that, Celtics Nation, is something to be thankful for.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Blakely's takeaways: Moving on without the streak

Blakely's takeaways: Moving on without the streak

The streak is over! The streak is over!

We now return the Boston Celtics to their regularly scheduled pursuit of success without the growing pressure that comes with a historically relevant winning streak.

The 104-98 loss at Miami on Wednesday night brought an end to what had been one of the more unlikely winning streaks we’ve seen in the NBA for quite some time.

Boston reeled off 16 straight wins, many of which were the come-from-a-double-digit-deficit variety. In the end, the Celtics’ winning streak ranks as the fourth-longest in this storied franchise’s history.

“I told you, we’re not as good as the 16-game win streak,” Stevens said following the loss. “But we do have a lot of resolve.”

That resolve will surely be challenged with the Celtics taking Thanksgiving off, only to return and play three games in the next four nights beginning with Orlando on Friday, followed by a road game at Indiana on Saturday and a home date against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

Here are five takeaways from the Boston Celtics’ 16-game winning streak.

KYRIE FOR MVP?

When the Boston Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving during the offseason, there was a sense that his presence would be a plus in some capacity, at some point. But few envisioned Irving would not only have a relatively seamless fit with the Celtics, but deliver in such a way that would catapult them to the top of the NBA standings and in doing so, establish him as one of the early front-runners for the league’s MVP award. This season, Irving is averaging a team-best 22.5 points and 5.2 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field but most important, the Celtics (16-3) have the best record in the NBA.

WANTED: BENCH SCORER

If you are a fan of good defenders, you probably love the Boston Celtics’ second unit. Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are both ball-hawking defenders who can make some miserable times for opponents when they are on top of their game. Daniel Theis provides great energy on the glass and defensively. But the second unit needs a jolt offensively. Because as good as they can defend collectively, the Celtics have to have at least one starter on the floor most of the time because the bench doesn’t have an adequate collector of buckets that they can rely on consistently. Marcus Morris looks like an ideal choice for that role, but the left knee soreness that kept him out for eight games seems to be flaring up from time to time. Whether they address this with a trade or possibly with a player bought out, the lack of a second-unit scorer is very much an issue for this team.

BROWN EMERGES AS TWO-WAY TALENT

The plan was for Jaylen Brown to be an elite, shut-down defender this season. He has shown himself to be a good defender this season, but what has really made him stand out is the growth in his game offensively. The second-year wing has scored 20-plus points in three of Boston’s last four games. Doing that along with continuing to play good defense has him looking like one of the NBA’s promising young two-way talents.

TATUM’S GROWTH A SILVER LINING IN HAYWARD INJURY

You never want to see the Boston Celtics or any team for that matter, lose a player for the season let alone one who meant as much as Gordon Hayward to the Celtics. But if there is a silver lining in his ankle injury which is expected to keep him out all season, it is the opportunity it created for Jayson Tatum. The 19-year-old has been arguably the best player from last June’s draft class, playing major minutes with a major role for the team with the best record in the NBA. The opportunity to play around 30 minutes a game would not have been there for Tatum if Hayward didn’t get hurt. The challenge for Tatum going forward is to stay consistent, because now that teams have seen him for almost a quarter of the season, you can expect they will make some adjustments in how they defend him as well as try to attack him when he’s defending.

WE TALKIN’ ABOUT PRACTICE

During Boston’s 16 game winning streak, the Celtics played the last eight games in 16 nights. That’s a game every other night for more than two weeks. In that time, there’s little to no time for practice which has been a factor in Boston not being quite as sharp in the last few games, as they were at the start of the streak. After Thanksgiving, Boston plays three games in four nights with a pair of days off to follow before they return to action. There’s a very good chance that the Celtics will use one of those two days to practice, something this team desperately needs to clean up some of the minor mistakes that were big problems in their loss to the Heat on Wednesday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE