Larry Brown brings SMU to Long Island

Larry Brown brings SMU to Long Island

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) Larry Brown gets to ``go back'' more than most people. When your Hall of Fame career includes a record nine NBA jobs as well as stints at two of most prominent college programs in the nation, there are a lot of places to see old friends.

There's only one hometown, though, and Brown had his SMU team in his for a game on Long Island.

``It's kind of neat,'' Brown said Saturday morning at the Mustangs' shootaround for that afternoon's game at Hofstra. ``I played high school football here on this campus. I've been here my whole life. I loved living on Long Island and loved being from Long Beach.''

Long Beach was one of the towns that sustained devastating losses when Superstorm Sandy struck Long Island last month. It's expected the community may not be back normal in terms of its economy until the middle of 2013.

Brown is Long Beach's most famous sports product but he is second banana on the overall list behind filmmaker-comedian Billy Crystal.

``I spoke to Billy two days ago when he was in New York. He's got a film coming out,'' Brown said. ``Billy talked about if there was anything we can do to help. I think Billy has people trying to figure out a way to raise money.''

Brown, who has a summer residence on the East End of Long Island, said he received calls from people about Long Beach as the storm hit.

``Living in Dallas you don't realize how devastating it was,'' he said.

To ease the tenor of the conversation Brown was asked about his days as a football player.

``I was great,'' he said with his trademark deadpan. ``They ask me `Did I have a leather helmet?' Yeah. I remember I had a facemask, and I thought facemasks were for when the coaches pulled you around.''

Things have changed in the coaching world since then. Things are changing around SMU's new conference at a pace that's hard to keep up with.

SMU, a member of Conference USA, will begin play in the Big East next season.

``I don't know what conferences are like anymore until I pick up the paper,'' Brown said. ``I don't know what's going on. I'm really concerned about kids. Our school is a difficult school academically. It is a challenge for anybody. Now we go to Providence, Seton Hall, Villanova, St. John's, Georgetown. That's very difficult for a kid. I don't even know where it's going.''

Brown knows where it started, though. He was close with Dave Gavitt, the man who founded the Big East and led it to the top of the college basketball world within a decade of existence.

``To me it's sad,'' Brown said of the Big East losing so many of the schools that made it a powerhouse so quickly. ``I was with Dave Gavitt with the 1980 Olympic team that didn't get to go. I know the pride he had in putting that league together. Even though you still have great schools with great tradition. I don't know. I can't get a handle on what's going on. It's a lot of money and most comes from football but it seems to me you have to worry about kids going to class, to have a chance at being successful. It's tough.

``We will have played seven games in 14 days after today,'' Brown said, ``then we go to finals. It's not easy for these kids with their schedules, study halls, tutors, all the responsibility they have. I hope people don't forget about them.''

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Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

Possible playoff opponents for the Capitals are starting to come into focus

With their 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, the Capitals' playoff future is starting to come into focus. Washington has only one game remaining and can finish in either third or fourth in the round robin standings. That limits the number of possible playoff opponents for the Caps when the games really start to matter.

First, before talking about who the Caps may play, it is important to remember why. Under the NHL's regular format, a normal year would see teams advance in a bracket, meaning each team knows going in they will be playing the winner of a specific matchup if they advance. This year, the NHL is going back to its old format of re-seeding after each round. This makes determining matchups a bit harder to figure out.

Here's what we know. The Caps are going to finish in the bottom half of the round robin meaning they will play one of the highest two seeded teams coming out of the qualifying round. The Carolina Hurricanes swept their qualifying round series against the New York Rangers. As the No. 6 seed coming in, Carolina is going to be one of the top two qualifying round teams.


Washington's final seed will be determined by Sunday's game against the Boston Bruins. A win in regulation, overtime or a shootout will mean the Caps are No. 3, while a loss in any fashion will bump them down to No. 4.

The simplest scenario for Washington is that If the Pittsburgh Penguins rally to win their series against the Montreal Canadiens, the Caps are guaranteed to play either Pittsburgh or Carolina as the No. 5 and 6 seeds, respectively. It gets a little trickier if the Penguins lose. If that happens, the Hurricanes become the top qualifying team and will play No. 4. The top team behind them then becomes No. 6 which, as of now, could be the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs or the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So a rematch with the Hurricanes is a definite possibility for the Caps, as is a matchup with the rival Penguins.


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Max and Erica Scherzer announce ‘Nats for Masks’ initiative

Max and Erica Scherzer announce ‘Nats for Masks’ initiative

Max Scherzer and his wife, Erica, have announced the formation of a new organization called 'Nats for Masks' that will help provide masks to underprivileged and at-risk populations in DMV area.

As part of the initiative, the Scherzers will auction off some of their personal collection of memorabilia to support COVID-19 relief efforts in the DMV. Some of the auction items available included autographed game-used jerseys, caps, and even Max’s 2019 All-Star Game nameplate.

Giving back to the community is nothing new to the Scherzer family. As animal lovers, back in 2017 during the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Scherzer’s rallied to cover adoption fees for all animals at the Washington-based Humane Rescue Alliance in order to make space for animals brought in from Houston.

Erica is also on the Board of Directors of the Humane Rescue Alliance, and Max has also contributed in the past in a PSA to raise awareness for the shelter.

As if we needed another reason to adore the Scherzer family and what they do for our community, just add this to the list.


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