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Records link California home and Te'o case

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Records link California home and Te'o case

CARSON, Calif. (AP) When Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o ordered two dozen white roses delivered to 21503 Water Street, he says he thought they were headed to the home of his dead girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. In fact, the man implicated as the ringleader of a false-identity hoax and many of his relatives have lived in the single-story, stucco bungalow, according to publicly available records and interviews with neighbors.

Water Street, in a working-class community 13 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, adds another element to the Te'o-Lennay Kekua hoax: the house six doors down, at 21403 Water, belongs to a family named Kekua - an uncommon Hawaiian name but the same one as the fictitious girlfriend at the center of the ruse.

Two members of the real Kekua family told The Associated Press they had never heard of a ``Lennay Kekua.''

The Kekua fabrication came to light Wednesday, when Deadspin.com revealed that the story of Te'o's girlfriend dying from leukemia last September was a fake - because Lennay Kekua never existed.

Deadspin suggested Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was the person responsible for carrying out the hoax. Te'o said Friday he had been contacted by the 22-year-old Tuiasosopo, and that the man had admitted to masterminding the scam. Members of the Kekua family and others in the neighborhood told the AP on Saturday that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo had lived at 21503 Water St. and has visited it since moving out about a year ago.

The AP reviewed a compilation of documents about the property from a variety of sources, such as real estate and bankruptcy records.

In specifying where he had sent the roses, Te'o said Friday in an interview with ESPN that he still didn't know who lives at 21503 Water Street or of any possible connection between the address and the hoax.

But he did say he knew the residents had accepted delivery of the bouquet. ``They sent me a picture of the roses, of them getting it,'' he said. And they also sent a photo of the flowers that Te'o's parents had delivered ``as proof'' that their tribute to the nonexistent girlfriend had been received.

Publicly available records indicate that Tuiasosopo used to live at 21503 Water Street. One neighbor said Saturday that Ronaiah had lived in the house for several years, until about a year ago. Another neighbor said that in her 27 years living on the block there had always been a Tuiasosopo living in 21503, including Ronaiah, his father and an uncle, Navy.

Multiple public records indicate that Navy, who played football for Utah State and the Los Angeles Rams, was a brother of former USC football player Titus Tuiasosopo, Ronaiah's father. A neighbor said Navy had lived at 21503 until his death in 2011.

A Cadillac still registered to Navy Tuiasosopo was parked in the driveway of Titus Tuiasosopo's home in Palmdale, about 90 miles north of Carson, on Saturday. Titus is the pastor of Oasis Christian Church of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, Calif., and Ronaiah is active in the church band, and most recently has been living with his father.

In a joint interview Saturday, Barbara Kekua, 78, said she has lived at 21403 Water Street since it was built about 50 years ago. Her daughter, Kris Kekua, 45, grew up there, and moved back two years ago, across the street to 21406 Water, to be near her mother.

The two Kekua women said they do not know why their name was chosen for the scheme.

Kris recalled that when the story of Lennay Kekua's supposed death made national sports headlines last fall, friends asked if she was related. ``I'm like, `I don't know who that is,''' she said.

Kris said she had grown up with Titus and Navy on the block.

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Associated Press reporter Tami Abdollah and researcher Lynn Dombek contributed to this story.

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Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

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NBC Sports Washington

Wizards go cold late to drop Game 5, as Raptors take 3-2 series lead

The Washington Wizards lost to the Toronto Raptors 108-98 in Game 5 of their first round playoff series on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Ice cold: When the Wizards needed it most, their offense failed them. With John Wall running the show, they can traditionally score with the best of them. But from the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter, they went scoreless for a stretch of three minutes and 49 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Raptors converted turnovers into points to close the game on a 14-5 run. The Wizards shot brick after brick from long range and missed 11 of their last 15 shots. It was a shocking collapse in a game that had been going well for the Wizards.

By beating the Wizards in Game 5, the Raptors took a 3-2 series lead which historically means they have nearly an 83 percent chance of winning the series. Those aren't good odds for the Wizards, who can look at one area of the court to blame.

The Wizards made only five threes on 26 attempts. The Raptors, conversely, went 11-for-25 (44%) from the perimeter. The Wizards' five threes were their fewest in a game since Jan. 12.

DeRozan was a killer: As has been the case this entire series, DeMar DeRozan led the charge for Toronto. The perennial All-Star came out on fire with 20 points in the first half alone.

This time, it wasn't just free throws. He was 4-for-4 at the half, but 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-2 from three. Usually, threes aren't his game.

DeRozan kept it up in the second half to score 32 points on 12-of-24 from the field. That's a pretty efficient night.

Otto looked a bit hurt: Otto Porter, who was held to nine points and four rebounds, didn't appear to be moving very well. He was running around with a limp, which suggests his right lower leg strain is still bothering him.

Head coach Scott Brooks said last week that Porter is 100 percent, but that doesn't seem like the case, unless there was some sort of setback in the time since. Porter, however, is such a smart player and such a good shooter that he can still make the most of his time on the court.

Solid start: The Wizards aren't used to playing well in the first quarter this series. They entered Game 5 with an average deficit of -7.2 points in the first quarter. In this game, however, they led by one point after one.

That was thanks to a buzzer-beater by John Wall (26 points, nine assists, nine rebounds). Ian Mahinmi got the offensive rebound and it set up Wall for a last-second shot. He got to one of his spots and sent it in:

It was just the second time in five games this series that the Wizards have been leading after one. The other time was Game 3, when the Wizards beat the Raptors handily to earn their first win.

Backup PGs: The Raptors again played without point guard Fred VanVleet, their best bench player and a guy who is arguably one of the best backup point guards in basketball. The loss has been evident for the most part, despite his replacement Delon Wright doing a solid job, including with 18 points in Game 5.

On Wednesday, Washington's backup point guard also shined. Despite not playing a single game during the regular season, Ty Lawson continues to make smart plays and create scoring opportunities for others.

He had four assists in this game and made one of the best plays of the night. Check out this move he put on to set up Ian Mahinmi:

And this dude was playing in China like two weeks ago? If he keeps this up, there will be an easy case to make that the Wizards should re-sign him for next season.

Clearly, they want Tomas Satoransky to play more off the ball and the coaching staff hasn't gained full trust in him. Lawson and Satoransky could make a solid reserve backcourt if they have some time to develop some chemistry.

Up next: The Wizards and Raptors are back at it on Friday night in Washington for Game 6. The tipoff time has not been announced, but the game will be aired on NBC Sports Washington.

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.

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