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Cubit relishes reclamation project at Illinois

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Cubit relishes reclamation project at Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Bill Cubit says he enjoys a reclamation project, and has made much of his career as a football coach out of them.

``I enjoy seeing kids who maybe have not been successful and giving them a plan and all the sudden they're successful,'' the new Illinois offensive coordinator said Wednesday, two days after being hired. ``That's kind of been my whole career.''

The former Western Michigan head coach takes over an offense at Illinois where not much went right last season. The Illini were 2-10 (0-8 in the Big Ten), lost their last eight games and scored 16.7 points a game, last in the conference.

Cubit said he has met with some of his players, including his quarterbacks. His message? You don't want to live through that again.

``Hey look, you went through that last year, it's gone, it's over, but you know, you never want to go back,'' he said. ``So how do you go to the next level? You've got to give every ounce of your energy.''

Cubit is still figuring out what kind of offense he'll run but expects to be more balanced than the generally pass-heavy teams he had at Western Michigan. He sees promise in Illinois' running backs, who include Donovonn Young and Josh Ferguson. They combined for 883 yards on 206 carries last season.

Cubit also likes the no-huddle offense he used with the Broncos, something Illinois fans often saw under former coach Ron Zook. It could be summer before Cubit chooses a starting quarterback between Nathan Scheelhaase and Reilly O'Toole. Both started games last fall.

Illinois coach Tim Beckman hired Cubit to take over the offensive after co-coordinator Chris Beatty was fired. Billy Gonzales, who shared the coordinator duties, will coach wide receivers.

The Broncos fired Cubit after they finished 4-8 last season.

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Follow David Mercer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidmercerap

Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

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NBC Sports Washington

Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that highlighted the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and the FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we provided some spots around Nationals Park and Camden Yards too. 

With summer 2019 halfway over, now is the time to highlight some go-to spots for pizza in and around the district.

Here are, in no particular order, some of the top pizzerias in and around Washington, D.C.

Etto, 1541 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005

  • Logan Circle
  • With veggies specials and pizza alike, the leisurely atmosphere at Etto provides a needed respite from the hustle of D.C.
  • Check out the roasted cauliflower pizza, or the seasonal zucchini and squash blossoms pie, two non-traditional menu options

 

Wiseguy Pizza, 300 Massachusetts Ave NW, Ste 1, Washington, DC 20001

  • Near the Judiciary Square Metro stop.
  • Wiseguy owner Tony Erol perfected a New York-style pizza without making it chock-full of grease, ensuring a crispy slice. 
  • Between the expected Buffalo chicken pizza and the unexpected paneer tikka pie, Wiseguy's menu appeals to many palates. 

 

Menomale Pizza Napoletana, 2711 12th St. NE, Washington, DC 20018

  • Between the Rhode Island Ave and Brookland Metro stops.
  • Neapolitan pizzas are Menomale's specialty, but with stellar crust the pizzeria also produces delicious calzones and sandwiches.
  • Take a look at the menu, which houses all the tasty carb-loaded food, plus a surprising range of craft beers. 

 

2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria, 3715 Macomb St. NW, Washington DC 20016

  • Near Washington National Cathedral
  • 2 Amys' wood-fired pizzas and family-friendly setting combine for an authentic atmosphere.
  • The menu offers some less-known pies, like the Etna 2.0, which in part features fried eggplant. 

 

All-Purpose Riverfront, 79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • Navy Yard, across from Nationals Park
  • With All-Purpose, chef Mike Friedman revamps classic Italian-American flavors, like his garlic knots coated with a fonduta reminiscent of alfredo. 
  • Head to happy hour on weekdays from 4-7 p.m. for drink and food specials, like the Little Caesar or the Crispy Chicken Wings. 

 

Ghibellina, 1610 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

  • Logan Circle
  • Does $10 pizza happy hour sound appealing? Then head to Ghibellina from 3-6:30 p.m. (or 4-6:30 pm. Monday's).
  • Between pizzas, specialty cocktails and other Italian cuisine, the restaurant and its authentic atmosphere is sure to please. 

 

OUTSIDE OF D.C.

Pupatella, 5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

  • On the outskirts of Downtown Arlington
  • After growing from a food cart in Ballston, Virginia, Pupatella has grown to a reputable source for classic pizza pies. 
  • Check out the red or white pies, which include the Mimosa and Buffala Bianza pizzas. 

 

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878

  • Out past Rockville, Maryland
  • While a bit of a trek from inside the district, the variety of pizzas including the Smoky Meatball is sure to make the trip worthwhile. 

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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