NCAA

Arizona State clamps down on Hartford to win 71-63

Arizona State clamps down on Hartford to win 71-63

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Jahii Carson had 20 points and six assists, Eric Jacobsen added 16 points, and Arizona State used a dominating defensive stretch in the second half to beat Hartford 71-63 Wednesday night.

Arizona State (7-1) traded baskets with the Hawks from a hot-shooting first half until picking up the pressure midway through the second.

Contesting shots and snatching steals, the Sun Devils held Hartford to one field goal for more than 11 minutes and to 9-of-31 shooting in the second half.

Carrick Felix added 11 points and 11 rebounds for Arizona State, which shot 56 percent to overcome an 11 for 23 night from the free-throw line.

Hartford (4-4) kept up with the Sun Devils in the first half, but faded in the second under their pressure and size.

Nate Sikma had 26 points, but Hawks leading scorer Mark Nwakamma missed all eight of his shots.

Maryland coach Mike Locksley: Locker room valuable lesson for race relations

Maryland coach Mike Locksley: Locker room valuable lesson for race relations

Over the last month, America has been having a long-overdue conversation about race, justice and equality in our society. At NBC Sports Washington, we wanted to further the dialogue by providing a forum for DMV-area sports figures who are thought leaders on these important issues.

NBC Sports Washington is launching the first part of an ongoing video series entitled Race in America this week. Natasha Cloud, Mike Locksley, and Ian Mahinmi joined Chis Miller for the first of these roundtable discussions to share their experiences, thoughts and how they’re using their platforms in this fight. To watch the full interview, click here.

The story has been told time and again of how coaches, particularly of young men and women, often become something similar to a parent of their players. With all the time spent around their teams, teaching, mentoring and educating their players, good coaches leave a lasting impression. And in turn, those players also mean a great deal to their coaches.

It was through this lens that Maryland football head coach Mike Locksley viewed the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer. With a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, and after persistently telling the officer he couldn’t breathe, Floyd cried out for his mother moments before losing consciousness. 

Locksley, also a Black man, could easily have seen himself as Floyd in that moment. But as someone who, in addition to the players on his team, has kids of his own and knows what it’s like to have lost a child, Locksley said he went into parent mode watching the video.

“I go into dad mode. I go into parent mode,” Locksley said on the Wednesday debut of NBC Sports Washington’s Race in America: A Candid Conversation. “To watch the video, I could easily see it be any one of my kids, any one of my players. Having lost a son two years ago to gun violence, obviously not at the hands of the police, but it doesn’t get easier.”

RACE IN AMERICA: WATCH THE FULL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION HERE

In 2017, when Locksley was a coach at the University of Alabama, his son, Meiko, was shot and killed at 25 years old in Columbia, Md.

“No parent should ever have to bury their child, and for me, it really, really -- being a part of that fraternity of parents that had to bury kids -- to see George in his death, to hear him call out, those things bring out the inner papa bear in me,” said Locksley, who has three other children. “And for all of our players, my own personal kids, my community, it was a tough pill to swallow, to watch the way it played out.”

Locksley joined Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi in the discussion with NBC Sports Washington host Chris Miller. The conversation was focused around racial injustices in America and how different figures in sports are using their platforms for change. 

Locksley said he’s using the moment to educate himself so that he can come up with programming to teach his players, who he wants to protect like his own. Respect between people was something he pointed to as a potential starting point.

“How ironic it is that he’s taking a knee on his neck. And you think about the game of football that I’m involved with, with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee,” Locksley said. “And the thing I talk to our players about was, you know the one word that comes to mind when you think of all the brutality that we face as Black men at the hands of police officers is, it’s respect. I grew up in the Police Boys and Girls club in D.C., and so my interaction with officer Willie Morton who ran the club I was a part of ... my wife is a former police officer in Montgomery County. So, not all cops are bad people, and not all Black people are thugs or criminals.”

Locksley said over the last several weeks, while protests have been taking place across the country, the Terrapins football team has had some really strong conversations within itself, and he thought it was important to take a step back and listen to what his players had to say. It’s been a moment of learning for coaches and players, but it’s also allowed the team to develop a unified voice. Locksley said if the world was more similar to a locker room, it would be in a much better place.

“If the world was part of one team, meaning we’re all the same, we’re all humans, we all deserve respect, we all deserve the right to be safe at the hands of police officers, just think how much better all this would be,” Locksley said. “And so my platform is to be able to educate my players and my family that what happened to George ... guy didn't show a lot of respect for him as a person, Black or white. And when you respect someone, you don’t treat them that way. We gotta get to where everybody has a mutual respect, whether you’re on one side of the aisle of politics or the other, you have to have respect for the person and their opinions. And you may not agree, agree to disagree, but as we know in our locker rooms, there’s a lot of agrees to disagree, but we all are fighting for the same cause and the same family, which takes away all the other things that usually come into play.”

To watch the full roundtable discussion with Mike Locksley, Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud and Washington Wizards star Ian Mahinmi, click here.

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Cutting preseason games won’t hurt or help Dwayne Haskins - here’s why

Cutting preseason games won’t hurt or help Dwayne Haskins - here’s why

The NFL intends to cut the preseason by two games this year, meaning the Redskins will play just two exhibition contests instead of four.

For many players, particularly undrafted guys or fringe roster candidates, losing preseason games is a big deal.

For Dwayne Haskins, it’s not.

The reality is starting quarterbacks don’t play much in the preseason, especially in the first and last weeks of the preseason. Well, those are the exact games the NFL cut out of the August schedule.

In the first preseason game, Haskins likely would have played the first series. Maybe two series. Maybe.

In the fourth preseason game, Haskins wouldn’t have played. Undrafted rookie QB Steven Montez likely would have started that game and gotten the chance to play all four quarters, fully showcasing his skills for coaches to make a decision about if should get a practice squad spot.

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Each coach handles preseason differently, but a normal plan for Haskins would be to start and play the first quarter of the second preseason game and start and play the first half of the third preseason game. That can still happen.

In fact, the Redskins could give Haskins more snaps in either the second or third preseason game to make up for the lost action in the first preseason game.

Whatever the amount of preseason work Ron Rivera wanted to give Haskins, he can still get it.

What will be interesting is how much work Kyle Allen gets. Washington traded for Allen this offseason, and the former Panthers quarterback already knows new offensive coordinator Scott Turner’s offense from their time in Carolina.

If Haskins underwhelms in training camp and there is an actual QB battle, maybe the lack of preseason games could become an issue. That scenario seems unlikely though.

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Training camp will be vital for Haskins as he hasn’t had any organized practices with the new Redskins coaching staff. He needs that work and he needs to impress the new coaches. Coronavirus canceled nearly the entire NFL offseason.

But training camp is very different than preseason action. For Haskins, this training camp is about installing the offensive gameplan and figuring out the new scheme. Preseason games are usually haphazard without full rosters on the field and lots of penalties. The attempt is to simulate regular season football, but regular-season football just cannot be simulated. 

The reality is if the Redskins had their full preseason schedule, Haskins would probably play about three quarters in four games.

Now, there are only two preseason games, but still plenty of time to get three quarters of action.

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