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Ewing headlines NCAA Hall of Fame induction

Ewing headlines NCAA Hall of Fame induction

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) When Patrick Ewing rekindles the memories of his four years at Georgetown, there's a contented smile on his face.

``I felt like I came into college a boy and left a man,'' said Ewing, the headliner in the 2012 National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction class. ``Coach (John) Thompson and all the people at Georgetown did an outstanding job of helping me, not only as a basketball player but also as a human being.''

Ewing's stellar college career came during an era of celebrated centers. From 1983 through 1985, the No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft were centers Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ewing. Sampson and Olajuwon didn't come away with NCAA titles, but Ewing did in 1984 when Georgetown defeated Houston 84-75 in the championship game. It was the highlight of a four-year span in which the 7-foot Ewing led his team to three NCAA championship games and a 121-23 record.

``I was fortunate to be able to go to three of them and blessed to have won one,'' Ewing said. ``I treasure every victory that we had.''

The Sunday induction ceremony also honored players Earl ``The Pearl'' Monroe, Phil Ford, Clyde Lovellette, Kenny Sailors and Willis Reed; coaches Joe B. Hall and Dave Robbins and contributors Jim Host and Joe Dean Sr.

Ewing went on to a 15-year pro career with the New York Knicks, but Georgetown and Thompson have always remained close to his heart.

``The main reason I chose to go to Georgetown was coach Thompson,'' Ewing said. ``He played the center position. And also, he was a man that I could aspire to be like.''

Ewing was a dominating defender in college and his shot-blocking and intimidation often overshadowed his offense. As he matured in the pros, he became one of the great jump-shooting centers of all time.

``I've always been able to shoot,'' Ewing said. ``I worked on my shooting tirelessly as a young player. But it was just that coach Thompson told me `son, get the ball inside and work from the inside out.'''

Monroe also became a Knick, but traveled a much different path from Ewing to get there. With his trademark spin move, Monroe averaged 41.5 points per game as a senior for Division II Winston-Salem.

Monroe hopes his induction can serve as an inspiration for small college players who are far removed from the Division I spotlight.

``There are lots of fine basketball players who aren't in Division I,'' Monroe said. ``There's only room for five guys on the court. There are some really fine players in Division II, Division III, NAIA. Maybe that point will be reinforced with me being here, representing a small school.''

Reed, who wasn't able to attend Sunday's ceremony, had an outstanding college career at Grambling before gaining fame with the Knicks. He led Grambling to three conference titles and three national championship tournaments, including a national title in 1961.

Lovellette was part of the tradition-rich Kansas program, playing for Hall of Fame coach Phog Allen. In 1952, he led the nation with a 28.6 point average while Kansas earned a national title. He remains the only Division I player to have accomplished that dual feat.

Sailors, 91, was credited with revolutionizing the modern day jump shot. He led Wyoming to the 1943 NCAA title.

``I've been asked by quite a few people if I'm happy to be here. When you're (going on) 92 years of age, you're happy to be anywhere,'' Sailors said, drawing a round of laughter.

Ford, a three-time All-American point guard who ran coach Dean Smith's Four Corners offense at North Carolina, was unable to attend the induction ceremony. As a senior, Ford won the Wooden Award and was the consensus national Player of the Year.

Hall embraced the pressure associated with following the legendary Adolph Rupp as head coach at Kentucky. He guided the Wildcats for 13 years, captured eight Southeastern Conference titles and and won a national championship in 1978 when forward Jack Givens exploded for 42 points in the finale against Duke.

Hall recalls the Blue Devils playing a zone in which the guards came way out to contest outside shooters while the big men stayed back near the baseline. That left a gap in which Givens flashed to the free-throw line area for a series of uncontested short jumpers.

``As soon as we saw how they were playing their zone, we didn't do anything except feed Jack Givens,'' Hall said. ``He was a great mid-range shooter.''

Robbins went 713-194 in 30 years at Virginia Union and won three Division II national titles. He sent fierce rebounders Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace to the NBA. Host was honored for his work in the marketing of college basketball while Dean helped popularize college basketball largely as a television analyst. He was known for referring to a sweet shot that swished through as ``string music.''

1.23.19: Rick Horrow sits down with Stadium CEO Jason Coyle

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USA TODAY Sports

1.23.19: Rick Horrow sits down with Stadium CEO Jason Coyle

By Rick Horrow

Podcast editor: Tanner Simkins

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST HERE

  • In its eighth consecutive installment, The POWER 100 , Horrow Sports Ventures’ proprietary annual ranking of the most powerful athletes in sports, uses a complex statistical model to accurately compare performance and influence through on-field (50%) and off-field (50%) attributes. Athletes are then ranked based on POWER to find the TOP 100. Among interesting results: Serena Williams is not ranked for the first time ever. Her performance slowed after taking some time to start a family, and some controversial moments may have hurt her brand. Expect a strong bounce back once she’s back on schedule. Tom Brady (14), in the cusp of playing in yet another Super Bowl, has hit his highest ranking in recent memory, a nearly 54 place increase since last year. And the stellar play of NBA’er Giannis Antetokounmpo continued on the court and has paid dividends off the court as well, as he placed 8th. Top endorsement earners were Roger Federer (12) taking home $58 million in off court sponsorships and LeBron James (10) with $56 million. The highest place rookie from any sport is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who finished 20th in the rankings and came within minutes of reaching the Super Bowl on Sunday.
  • More brands are “tangling with political and social issues in their advertising campaigns.” However, most Americans “would rather they don’t try the same thing during the Super Bowl,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Viewers are “likely to get what they want.” The WSJ poll shows two-thirds of consumers “call the Super Bowl an inappropriate place for advertisers to make political statements.” Baby boomers in the poll “disapproved of political Super Bowl advertisements more, at 77%, than younger cohorts such as millennials (55%) and Generation Z (43%).” Only 35% of Generation Z respondents “called political Super Bowl ads ‘very’ or 'somewhat’ appropriate.” The Super Bowl has “featured political ads before, most notably” in Super Bowl LI, which “took place soon after President Trump’s inauguration.” A year later, Super Bowl LII was “less overtly political, but still included” a Coca-Cola ad promoting unity, a T-Mobile USA Inc. diversity theme, and a Dodge Ram Trucks spot using audio of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech in an ad that promoted public service. Marketers have not "shown any inclination to charge into hard-core politics or social controversies” during Super Bowl LIII. However, with the country as divided as it is, themes imploring diversity, unity, and inclusion will no doubt make their way into the February 3 broadcast.
  • Golf also got some encouraging news this week from the market research firm NPD Group, which reported that the golf market “has not only recuperated but experienced a significant uptick in sales” in the past 12 months, resulting in an 8% year-over-year increase up to $2.6 billion. “The macro environment for golf has been in a turbulent state, fueled by Golfsmith’s bankruptcy, major brands cutting back on their golf business, and courses closing. But today, we’re starting to see normalization in the market as those deep holes are now being filled,” said Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor of the NPD Group. The industry saw increases across every product category. Clubs, which make up 50% of the category, grew by 7%, while equipment accessories such as balls (6% increase), gloves (7% increase), accessories (21% increase), and training aids (13%) also made positive strides in 2018. Callaway, Titleist, and Wilson were the fastest-growing brands among the top-10, joining TaylorMade and PING as the other two members of the top-5. With Baby Boomers retiring every day, great opportunity exists to introduce thousands of new retirees to golf. Combine that with a good economy, Tiger’s resurgence, and thrilling up and comers in the game and you have the makings of a stable industry.

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D.J. Swearinger slams Jay Gruden, says Redskins 'will never win big'

D.J. Swearinger slams Jay Gruden, says Redskins 'will never win big'

Almost a month after his release, former Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger voiced some highly critical comments of Washington head coach Jay Gruden on his Instagram page. 

"That coach y’all have will never win big cause it ain it him to coach discipline," Swearinger wrote in a comment on his page. 

The backstory here needs telling.

While Swearinger was playing at a high level for Washington in 2018, he was clashing with the coaching staff.

Swearinger was released before the Redskins final game of the 2018 season after the safety made damning comments about defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Swearinger alleged that he watched more film than the defensive coaches and questioned the team's scheme in a critical moment of the Week 16 loss against the Titans. 

This was not the first time Swearinger had gone public with complaints about coaching. It happened multiple times in 2018 and also in 2017. 

After an ugly December loss against the Giants that caused Swearinger to criticize the team, Gruden publicly admonished his safety. Privately, the coach made clear that the behavior would not again be tolerated. Then, the Titans game happened, Swearinger blasted Mansuky. The safety was released a few days later.

Below are Swearinger's full comments from his Instagram page that came in a reply to a Redskins fan saying he missed him on the team:

Y’all will never win big bro. I’ve seen championship swagger from a coach BA he a OG. That coach y’all have will never win big cause it ain it him to coach discipline..it ain in him to chew somebody out in practice cause they lacking..when u say I’m a cancer for wanting to practice harder or wanting to get coached harder just to win then winning prolly not for you or you don’t understand that hard work pays off. Mediocre work get you beat! Remember This winners are born but champions are made. A strong leader of men make others around him better. Spread Peace Love And Elevation In everything you do lil brudda! Be Easy!!

Nobody would question Swearinger's effort in practice or workouts. He's a hard worker.

For the season, he logged four interceptions and three forced fumbles to go with a sack and 53 tackles in 15 games. Pro Football Focus ranked Swearinger the 13th best safety in the NFL and he had been named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

Obviously, Swearinger was not released because of his play. The coaching staff just felt they could no longer tolerate his public criticism, and some on the staff had felt that way for a long time. 

It should be noted too that for a talented player, Swearinger has bounced around a lot.

The Texans released him two years after drafting him in 2013, despite having two more years on his rookie contract. Tampa signed him, and released him after seven games. Things worked out in Swearinger's next stop with the Cardinals, where he played for part of 2015 and the full 2016 season before signing with the Redskins as a free agent in 2017.

The Redskins cut Swearinger despite having another year on his contract for a modest $4.5 million price tag. Arizona claimed him on waivers. 

One bizarre note in all this: The actual photo Swearinger posted to go along with this comment had nothing to do with the Redskins. It was a picture of Swearinger with Larry Fitzgerald, with the safety congratulating the receiver for his recent announcement that he would return for the 2019 season. 

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