On court coaching carousel goes ’round

first_imgSometimes, recruiting can get ugly in collegiate athletics.Such was the case this past fall when highly touted prep star Eric Gordon decided to attend Indiana University after originally committing to Illinois.The move left some puzzled, while others accused Hoosiers head coach Kelvin Sampson of stealing Gordon from the Illini. And Sampson’s hands were tied to making an excuse as he had just left the University of Oklahoma amid recruiting violations.While Sampson says tempers haven’t flared between him and Illinois head coach Bruce Weber, Tuesday night was the first time the two have publicly met when the Hoosiers played the Illini.”There will be party hats and balloons and I think there will be a great welcome for me, don’t you?” Sampson snickered in the Big Ten Teleconference Monday.Weber, on the other hand, declined to comment on anything regarding Sampson, Gordon and the whole situation.No rules were broken when Gordon, a senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, went against his verbal commitment and signed on with the Hoosiers; but looking back, Sampson said, he wishes he had handled things differently.”The first thing I would do is call the coach and let him know that contact has been made with us,” Sampson said. “No excuses. That’s something that I should’ve done, but I know that the [Gordon] family was making contact on both ends, but no excuses. I should’ve picked the phone up and called Bruce.”But now that the so-called fiasco is months behind them, Sampson is simply concerned about his team’s play on the court and believes Weber feels the same way.”Bruce is just like me — we’re more interested in coaching our teams at this point,” Sampson said.Teacher versus petWhile Weber now has his coaching match-up against Sampson out of the way, he will have another much-hyped game when the Illini travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to face Matt Painter’s Boilermakers.The two head coaches’ relationship goes way back, as it was Painter who spent five years under Weber as an assistant at Southern Illinois. Also, Weber helped Painter land his first head-coaching job with the Salukis.Both Gene Keady protégées, Saturday’s game is one Painter said he would just rather not play.”I’d prefer not to play the game, to be honest with you,” Painter said. “[Weber’s] been great to me. He gave me an opportunity as an assistant coach when I was 28 years old and gave me a lot of responsibility as an assistant coach.”Nevertheless, the game will go on, and Painter knows it will be a very important one for both squads hoping to kick-start their respective disappointing Big Ten starts.”As far as the match-up, both of us are struggling a little bit right now,” Painter said. “I think in the next couple games you’re going to see whether Purdue or Illinois is going north or south, and it’s very important that both of us get this win on Saturday.”The second comingPenn State sophomore forward Jamelle Cornley has quietly become the Nittany Lions’ sidekick to preseason Big Ten selection Geary Claxton this season, posting 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.The 2006 Big Ten Freshman of the Year has been playing so well that he has been drawing comparisons to his father.”I remember Jamelle Cornley’s dad (Hank) playing at Illinois State,” Minnesota interim head coach Jim Molinari said. “Basically, they play the same way. Hank was a tremendous competitor and so is Jamelle.”Hank Cornley recorded 1,350 career points for the Redbirds and was an NBA Draft selection by the New Jersey Nets.In just his second year in Happy Valley, Jamelle Cornley is shaping up to be just as good as his father was back in the day.”Jamelle’s played solid,” Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis said. “He’s a competitive guy, and we hope he can continue to do that for the rest of the Big Ten season.”last_img read more

Canada defeats host Iroquois Nationals to win WILC for 4th straight time

first_imgThe Iroquois posed for the photo they didn’t want to take. They were the second group of players to accept medals — not the third, which receives gold.Once each player had the silver medal dangling from his neck, the Iroquois huddled on the field one last time and then saluted the home fans.“With this Iroqouis team, we knew we were going to have our hands full,” Canadian head coach Eddie Comeau said.Though it wasn’t always a guarantee, the Canadians finished the game powerfully and were celebrating another title just a few feet away. Family members flooded the field and wives and children took photos with the champions.When the Canadians took a team photo with the trophy, one player yelled, “Get those 1’s up,” a reference to where his team stands in international indoor lacrosse. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Evans later stood next to the table where the championship trophy was handed out. He held his MVP plaque in his right hand and, as the Onondaga Nation Faithkeeper Oren Lyons gave a speech, two of his children were by his side.His wife, who was holding their third child, was in the middle of a scrum of photographers. The four of them made the five-hour drive on Saturday to see Shawn in the championship game. Wearing red Toms shoes and a Shawn Evans jersey-style T-shirt, his wife looked over at him. The two made eye contact and exchanged a mutual smile.“It was something special,” Evans said of having his family there.The motto of the WILC was “Lacrosse is home,” since an indigenous nation hosted an international sporting event for the first time.As Canada received their gold medals for the fourth time, “I’m coming home,” by Diddy played over the Carrier Dome loudspeakers.While the game might’ve come home, the gold medal stayed home. Comments Angus Goodleaf stood still 5 yards in front of the Iroquois net staring across the field. His right elbow sat on the butt end of his stick, which was firmly planted into the AstroTurf.The Iroquois goalie had just allowed the nail-in-the-coffin goal to Canada’s Shawn Evans, the eventual tournament MVP. Trailing by three goals with three minutes to play, the longed Iroquois comeback seemed as unrealistic as ever after being within one just minutes earlier.“They were just a little bit better,” Iroquois head coach Rick Kilgour said. “… If we could have tied it up, who knows? But I guess that’s what losers always say.”The Canadians’ unbeaten streak at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship continued in the gold medal game with a 12-8 win over the Iroquois Nationals on Sunday in the Carrier Dome. For the fourth straight time since the inception of the WILC, Canada won gold and the Iroquois Nationals took silver.After Lyle Thompson brought the Nationals within just one goal at 8-7 early in the fourth quarter, Canada went on a 4-1 run to ice the game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We knew we had to worry about what’s next and not worry about what just happened,” said Canada’s Curtis Dickson, who scored four goals. “We’ve been great all tournament at bouncing back.”Lyle Thompson and his brother Miles Thompson were limited to just one goal apiece. Kilgour said his team jokes that they’re like the Beatles because they attract so much attention from fans, but they also were the focus of Canada’s defense. They were forced to take shots on the run and had limited time and space to shoot.As Canada pulled away in the fourth quarter, its fans in Section 114 grew louder as the lead continued to increase. They were outnumbered by fans of the Iroquois, the host nation, but the red and white flags flew more and more frequently.Iroquois’ Randy Staats said his team wasn’t deflated as it focused more on just getting the next goal.The problem was that in the fourth quarter, it was Canada scoring the next goal.“Someday, we’re gonna get one more than those guys,” Kilgour said.As the Iroquois waited for the medal ceremony, players stood motionless on the field, many with watery eyes. Lyle Thompson spoke with a team staff member as his chinstrap dangled from the left side of his helmet, which was still on his head. Jeff Shattler stared stonefaced into the crowd and didn’t change his facial expression for several minutes.Logan Reidsma | Photo Editorlast_img read more