Nationals

Bonnies enjoying afterglow of last year's success

Bonnies enjoying afterglow of last year's success

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) St. Bonaventure men's basketball coach Mark Schmidt isn't making any promises, and women's coach Jim Crowley has lowered his expectations. So don't hold your breath anticipating any immediate encores in Olean.

Reproducing a once-in-a-lifetime magical March - when both Bonnies men's and women's basketball teams earned NCAA tournament berths - might be asking for a little much two years in a row.

``Yeah right,'' Crowley said, starting to laugh. ``Hopefully, we get a little leeway.''

As for Schmidt, he has but one regret when fondly recalling last season.

If only someone had the foresight to have laid a bet on both teams winding up in the tournament, a first at St. Bonaventure.

``If we put a $1,000 on that, then we wouldn't have budget problems,'' Schmidt said, chuckling. ``That line was probably a million to one.''

Try a billion to one, Crowley said, before adding: ``It was quite a story.''

And it's a story that still resonates months later, even as the cores of both teams have changed dramatically.

Forward Andrew Nicholson is now in the midst of opening his NBA career in Orlando, after the Magic drafted him with the 19th pick. And the women's team is moving on after losing its two stars, Megan Van Tatenhove and Jessica Jenkins, to graduation.

What remains, however, is the afterglow of success that continues to shine on this tiny Atlantic 10 Conference school tucked in the shadow of the Allegany Hills of New York's southern tier.

``I think what we did last year made all Bonaventure alums proud of their school,'' Schmidt said. ``It energized us. It's been a tremendous thing. If one person came up to me and cried, 100 people came up to me and cried.''

They were tears of joy, and a long time in coming for the men's team in particular.

Schmidt restored a proud basketball tradition at a school that produced Hall of Famer Bob Lanier. In his fifth season, he proved it's possible to build a winner at St. Bonaventure, and transform a program that had been reeling from a player-eligibility scandal in 2003 that eventually led to NCAA sanctions.

In going 20-12, the Bonnies won their first A10 tournament championship to secure their sixth NCAA tournament berth, and first since 2000.

``A lot of people didn't think that Bonaventure could come back to the days prior to the scandal,'' Schmidt said. ``So it's very satisfying, gratifying.''

Looking ahead, Schmidt faces the challenge of replacing Nicholson's dominant presence, and the 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and near two blocked shots per game he averaged last year.

``Is it going to be difficult? Absolutely,'' he said. ``But we're going to put our best foot forward. And I can say that when teams play us, they're going to know they're in for a battle.''

The Bonnies, who open hosting Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 9, return three starters, including senior forward Demitrius Conger who averaged 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds last year.

The Bonnies women had no tradition to speak of in producing 16 losing seasons in their first 20 years as a Division I program. They've since enjoyed six straight winning seasons, topped by last year when they (31-4) set a team record for wins, earned their first NCAA berth, and reached the tournament's third round before unraveling in a 79-35 loss to Notre Dame.

Aside from losing Van Tatenhove and Jenkins, the Bonnies were dealt another blow last month when forward Chelsea Bowker sustained a season-ending ankle injury. That puts further pressure on a team that features six freshmen.

``It's the biggest challenge we've had over the last few years,'' Crowley said. ``The only way you get invested is through time. The only way you get better at what we do is through repetition. Half our team has neither.''

Entering his 13th season, Crowley is taking a more patient approach as the team prepares to open its year hosting Binghamton on Nov. 10. He can appreciate the challenges the newcomers face adjusting to their first year at college, while also burdened by the expectations of what happened last season.

``I'm pretty honest with it, we're not going to the Sweet 16 this year,'' Crowley said. ``We're not gonna. Miracles happen, but we're just not ready.''

That doesn't mean the Bonnies, men or women, are starting from scratch.

Athletic director Steve Watson is confident last year's success established stable foundations for both programs.

``I don't think anybody feels like we're starting over,'' Watson said. ``It kind of gives us credibility. ... We've proven it in basketball. We've proven it in our other sports. And the future looks bright.''

As a reminder of what's possible, on a table in his office, Watson keeps a copy of a commemorative yearbook, titled ``Legacy Defined,'' the school produced to honor both teams.

``If there's ever been a bad day, you can always pick that thing up and think back to last season,'' Watson said. ``Yeah, it definitely puts a smile on your face.

``Because it really was an amazing run.''

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All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

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USA Today Sports

All-Star Game Weather: Storms causing traffic havoc, could force delay, postponement

There is inclement weather in the forecast for Tuesday evening both before and during the 2018 All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.

The rain could, theoretically, force the game to be delayed or even postponed, but the forecast shows the skies clearing up as first pitch nears.

Bad weather and MLB All-Star Games share a history in Washington.

The last time Washington hosted the MLB All-Star Game, in 1969, a bad rainstorm forced the game to be postponed from Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon.

Even if the weather does let up and the game is able to start on time, there are sure to be problems with D.C.'s already-dense traffic. Roads are flooding and with more people on them than usual, getting to the game will surely be an issue.

All-Star Game Forecast

The worst of the weather seems to have already happened on Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the evening forecast calls for a slight chance of precipitation, with mostly cloudy skies and, naturally, a lot of humidity.

The issue, if there is any, would likely be with the All-Star Game getting started on time. That said, there's obviously still the chance for delays during the game.

Luckily, a full postponement seems unlikely at this point.

All-Star Game Traffic

There's hardly a worse place to drive in the United States during rush hour than in, around or through Washington. With the All-Star Game in town, there are already significantly more cars on the road than there usually are. Add rain and flooded roads into that equation and things get extra messy.

The George Washington Parkway, a main thoroughfare in the area, has already flooded.

One road in Alexandria, Virginia, is flooded and has cars scattered about.

Public transportation would seem to be the way to go, but even the Capitol South Metro Station in Southeast D.C. is flooding.


A brief history of weather and the All-Star Game

The first and only time the MLB All-Star Game was ever postponed because of rain was in 1969, the last time Washington was the host.

Three other times, the game has either been shortened or delayed because of rain, most recently in 1990 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. That game was delayed for over an hour but was still played.

All signs point to the game being played Tuesday night, but Nationals Park has definitely felt the wrath of this storm already.

On the bright side, if it's light enough when the game starts, there will probably be a rainbow somewhere in-view from the stadium, which should make for some pretty cool pictures for those in attendance.

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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