NCAA

Heinicke, Breitenstein lead AP FCS All-Americans

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Heinicke, Breitenstein lead AP FCS All-Americans

NEW YORK (AP) Taylor Heinicke passed his way through the record books on his way to becoming an All-American.

Heinicke, the record-setting quarterback from Old Dominion, and fellow Payton Award finalists Eric Breitenstein from Wofford and Miguel Maysonet from Stony Brook were selected to The Associated Press FCS All-America team released Wednesday.

Heinicke had the most prolific passing season in the history of what used to be called Division I-AA. The sophomore from Atlanta passed for 5,076 yards, breaking the record set by the late Steve McNair when he was at Alcorn State in 1994. Heinicke finished with 5,546 yards of total offense, second only to McNair's 5,799.

``What Taylor did this year from an individual standpoint is nothing short of incredible,'' ODU coach Bobby Wilder said Wednesday.

``We build our system around our quarterback and what we feel like are his strengths. To run an offense that suits their needs. As (Heinicke) has gotten comfortable in our system, we've become more of a throwing team because of his comfort level.''

The Walter Payton Award goes to the top player in FCS and will be handed out Monday night in Philadelphia.

Heinicke became the starter for ODU's fledgling football program, which just completed its fourth season and will transition to FBS next year, four games into the 2011 season. The Monarchs relied more on the run last year.

``This (past) offseason I really put an emphasis on knowing the whole playbook,'' Heinicke said. ``This year we really bought into the Air Raid-type of offense.''

The Monarchs' fast-paced spread puts a premium on fast decisions and quick, accurate passes. Heinicke also set FCS records for completions (398) and total plays (705). And he ran for 470 yards and 11 touchdowns.

``He understands our philosophy is to find a way to move the chains,'' Wilder said. ``If you need to run the ball, you run it to get a critical first down and those first downs lead to touchdowns. Protect the ball and find a way to move the chains.''

Heinicke did just that in September against New Hampshire when he passed for a Division I record 730 yards in a 64-61 victory. He threw 79 passes in that game without an interception.

Old Dominion finished 11-2, losing last week to Georgia Southern, 49-35, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Breitenstein made his second straight appearance as a first-team All-American. The 230-pound senior fullback ran for 2,035 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Maysonet ran for 1,964 and 21 touchdowns for the Seawolves.

Murray State quarterback Casey Brockman was picked to the second-team. Colgate quarterback Gavin McCarney made the third team.

Eastern Illinois' Erik Lora and Elon's Aaron Mellette, ranked 1-2 in the nation in catches and yards receiving, were the receivers and Harvard's Kyle Juszczyk was the tight end.

A couple of guys who will be playing in this weekend's FCS semifinals highlight the offensive line.

Billy Turner and North Dakota State host Georgia Southern on Friday night and Will Post and Eastern Washington host Sam Houston State on Saturday.

The other linemen were Earl Watford from James Madison, Mike Sellers from The Citadel and Roger Gaines from Tennessee State.

The defense is led by Georgia Southern's 300-pound defensive tackle Brent Russell and Georgetown linebacker Robert McCabe, who leads the nation with 14.45 tackles per game.

Brandon Thurmond of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the nation's leader with 17 1/2 sacks, joined Russell on the line along with Colton Underwood of Illinois State.

Montana State placed two players on the defense. End Caleb Schreibeis leads FCS with eight forced fumbles and linebacker Cody Owens was the Big Sky defensive player of the year.

New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, who was a second-team All-American last year, made the first team this year.

Defensive back Marcus Williams of North Dakota State joined Breitenstein as a two-time All-American and became the only defensive player to repeat this season.

North Dakota State and Montana State were the only teams to place two players on the first team.

The other defensive backs were Darnell Taylor of Sam Houston State, Jaquiski Tartt of Samford and Cooper Taylor of Richmond.

Walter Powell of Murray State was the all-purpose player. He had 1,213 yards receiving and more than 900 yards returning kicks and punts.

Patrick Murray of Fordham was the kicker and Sam Martin of Appalachian State was the punter.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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USA Today Sports

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Following a thrilling 72-71 win over rival Georgetown, Syracuse (7-2) returns to the floor on Dec. 15 and welcomes Old Dominion (7-3) to town. The Orange will play four more non-conference games before starting ACC play on Jan. 5 at Notre Dame.

Old Dominion has won five-straight games entering their game against Syracuse. In the Monarchs' last game, B.J. Stith led the way with 28 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. 

Tip-off is scheduled for noon ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Old Dominion at Syracuse How to Watch

What: Old Dominion Monarchs at Syracuse Orange
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
When: Noon ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Old Dominion at Syracuse Preview

Conference: ACC (Syracuse), C-USA (Old Dominion)
Record: 7-2 (Syracuse), 7-3 (Old Dominion)
Last Game: 72-71 win vs. Georgetown, 12/8 (Syracuse), 79-69 win vs. Fairfield, 12/9 (Old Dominion)
Leading Scorers: Tyus Battle, 18.0 ppg (Syracuse), Ahmad Caver, 18.5 ppg (Old Dominion)
 

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Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

LeBron James and the media circus that comes along with him is coming to Washington, D.C., as the Lakers will face off with the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Drew Gooden played with James for the better part of four seasons in Cleveland from 2004-08, and so he knows exactly what it's like when one of the NBA's greatest players comes to town. 

"It's only real until you actually see it," Gooden said during Thursday's edition of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We used to joke and call ourselves not the Beatles, but the 'Cleatles,' because it was almost like a traveling rock band. And everybody played their part."

Gooden recounted one particular incident during a day off in Detroit in 2006, when he, James and a couple of their teammates went to a shopping mall to buy some watches.

"When we walked into the shopping mall in Detroit, it was like Michael Jackson had entered the shopping mall," Gooden explained. "Kids were running up, grownups were running up, everybody ran into the store we were in. They had to shut it down with mall security, and wouldn't let anybody in."

"The only thing I was thinking of is like, 'How are we gonna get out of here?' Because we came on our own with no security, so we were just thinking of how we were gonna get out of the mall now. And when I saw that star power of LeBron James back in 2006, this was before he won a championship, I couldn't imagine how it is now, and what he's become in today's game."

James' star power has only grown since then, and many have already declared him the greatest basketball player of all-time.

This label in reference to James is nothing new to Drew Gooden: he heard it when they were both teenagers playing AAU baskeball. 

"Calvin Andrews, who was a sports agent of Carmelo Anthony, Calvin Andrews told me when LeBron was 15 years of age, he said, 'You see that guy right there?'" Gooden recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, what about him?'"

"'He's gonna be the best basketball player ever.'"

"So it's no surprise to me, and this is not new to me, it's just I'm more amazed that it actually happened," Gooden concluded. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, he's gonna be the best ever or he has an opportunity of being the best ever.' But I literally heard a man tell me that in Calvin Andrews, and that guy actually becoming one of the best ever, or the best ever." 

For more on LeBron James and the Lakers' upcoming visit to D.C. to take on the Wizards, listen to the full Wizards Talk podcast below.

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