USC set to pay visit to top recruit

first_imgWith the 2011-2012 season still over a month away, the USC men’s basketball coaching staff is scheduled to visit the Las Vegas home of Shabazz Muhammad, ranked No. 1 overall in the ESPNU 100 for the class of 2012, for the second time in a month, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Muhammad attends Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.The left-handed small forward has also expressed an interest in UCLA, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and UNLV, among other top college programs.USC coach Kevin O’Neill and associate head coach Bob Cantu also visited Muhammad and his family on Sept. 9, the first day of the NCAA contact period.Muhammad’s father is former Trojans forward Ron Holmes, who played for USC in the mid-1980s.Muhammad is also scheduled to visit the USC campus on the weekend of Oct. 28 and attend the USC-Stanford football game to be played on Oct. 29. His only other scheduled visit is a trip to Kentucky on Oct. 14 for the the Wildcats’ Big Blue Madness practice-kickoff event, the report said.The Trojans already have two commits for the class of 2012: guard Larry Lewis from Phoenix and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic of Serbia.last_img read more

Swansea move out of drop zone

first_imgThere’s more Cup action tonight.Aston Villa could do with a morale-boosting win over Wycombe at Villa Park, while West Brom are the other Premier League club in action as they must travel to face Briston City.Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich side visit Portsmouth.Those matches are among the 7:45 starts tonight, while there’s also two 8 o’clock kick-offs as Bolton host Eastleigh and Huddersfield visit Reading. It’s after a 1-nil win at home to Watford – with their new head coach Francesco Guidolin watching on from the stands.Captain Ashley Williams got the only goal of the game.Also last night, 10-man Blackburn booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round after a 2-1 win over Newport County in their third round replay.last_img read more

Anthony Davis, LeBron James each get what they need from Lakers pairing

first_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers EL SEGUNDO — On Sunday afternoon, Anthony Davis and LeBron James found themselves in the rare position of being at odds.They were shooting 3-pointers from the near corner, opponents in the daily ritual of shooting contests after Lakers practice. As each shot left his fingertips, James screamed – at one point shouting to everyone in the gym: “I’m (expletive) locked in!”At its core, it was all in fun. Davis couldn’t help but laugh, even when he missed a follow-up 3-pointer. The Lakers’ headlining duo can often be found in one another’s company these days, and there are usually plenty of smiles to go around – whether it is filming “Space Jam 2” together; or the reported Italian dinner when James offered (ceremonially) his number to Davis; or in the locker room, where the two are just one empty stall apart by themselves on the far wall.This is not just a bromance: This is a partnership. This is the pairing that LeBron James asked for last winter, publicly sounding the notice that he would like a 6-foot-10 partner in the fold. This is the situation that Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, warned 29 other teams throughout the league that his client wanted – that he’d be hard-pressed to sign an extension anywhere else. When asked how he thought James and Davis were bonding, Danny Green – who has won championships at North Carolina, San Antonio and Toronto in his basketball career – brought up, unprompted, Davis’ ability to rise to James’ level as a key factor of the team. That kind of accountability at the top, he suggested, could trickle down to the rest of the roster.“His leadership of challenging LeBron – that’s gonna be huge,” Green said. “I’m interested to see where it goes, where it takes us. I know it’s gonna take us to good places because of how well they challenge each other.”Davis has gained the teammate to help carry the load that he’s always wanted – a superstar who has won before, who he expects to help lead him down the path in turn. James gained the co-star he wanted, but it might just be the accountability partner he needed.It’s something everyone will be watching closely – the Lakers most of all.“The on-the-court chemistry has looked great at times and still has a way to go at times,” Vogel said Monday after the team’s final full practice before Tuesday’s regular-season opener against the Clippers. “That’s to be expected with two players of that magnitude playing with each other for the first time. It’ll be a work in progress throughout the year but hopefully we hit the ground running tomorrow night.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIf the chemistry turns out as hoped between the stars, the big winner will be the Lakers, who have leveraged their future on their two stars meshing. Every team paints a rosy picture in the preseason – but so far, signs have pointed to James and Davis’ joint venture having legs.“We’re always learning each other,” Davis said. “The more and more we get a chance to play alongside each other, the better we’re gonna be.”In forcing a trade from New Orleans, Davis passed up an opportunity at an estimated $240 million supermax contract that would have made him one of the most handsomely paid players in NBA history. But Davis has said before that he would choose winning over money – something backed up by those who have known him for years.John Calipari, who coached Davis’ Kentucky squad to the 2012 NCAA title, recalls how the one-and-done star couldn’t score a bucket in the first half against Kansas. With their best player locked up on offense, the locker room was stewing before Davis piped up.“He starts telling the team, ‘I can’t make baskets. I can’t make any basket. I’m gonna help you guys make shots,’” Calipari recounted. “Ended up being 1 for 10, but led us in assists, rebounds and blocked shots. Winning really means everything to him. I swear there will never be another Anthony Davis.”center_img The subtext of the anecdote, however, is that Davis thrived for a Kentucky roster that produced five other NBA draft picks (although almost all have since been drummed out of the league). Even though he was the leader of the team, during the Wildcats’ most important game of the season, he needed help – Doron Lamb’s 22 points, Marquis Teague’s 14, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s 11. Davis still did enough (16 rebounds, six blocked shots, five assists) on the court to be the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, but he still needed a cast around him when he was 1 for 10.He lacked that in New Orleans, which couldn’t build on its momentum after finally winning a playoff series in 2018. In the games leading up to his trade demand in January, the Pelicans had a hard enough time winning when Davis had a big game and fell apart when their start couldn’t deliver. New Orleans was 18-15 when Davis scored 25 or more points, and just 4-10 when he scored fewer or was unable to play.James will be by far Davis’ most accomplished teammate so far. Some sense of burden seemed lifted last Wednesday, when Davis was largely the second fiddle to James in a 126-93 preseason shakedown of Golden State.“I was joking with LeBron earlier – I said it’s the first time in a while where I can have five or six points, whatever it was, at halftime and we’re up 30,” he said. “It feels good knowing that you don’t have to do much, everybody has a role and when you have guys all over the board who can score the basketball, you don’t need to do everything every possession.Then, Davis added the most telling line of all: “It feels good to be able to just, you know, fit in.”That’s something James can understand from his own career: Back in 2010, when Davis was a 17-year-old teenager at one of James’ camps, James left his native Ohio and the Cavaliers to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami seeking more help to win a then-elusive NBA title.When presented with the parallels, James bristled. He compared the scrutiny of the Heat’s Big Three to scorching weather, as he was castigated by hometown fans and NBA observers alike for wanting to team up with other stars. James’ own legacy has changed the times of the league, which now routinely sees its best players get together – James said of Davis’ circumstances: “It’s a very nice 68 (degrees). Fan on medium. L.A. weather. It’s perfect.”However, James will acknowledge his pairing with Davis is like his Heat team in one way.“Just for us to be able to challenge each other, that’s one thing that’s for sure the same. Me challenging D-Wade, D-Wade challenging me, Chris Bosh, and then me challenging A.D., A.D. challenging me. That is definitely the same.”In this factor alone, this season is very different from the last. Within the Lakers’ locker room, virtually no one had the footing to keep James accountable on the court. Coach Luke Walton battled job insecurity nearly from the opening tip, and James’ teammates on the roster ranged from young, unestablished players who were meant to be learning from him to veterans who didn’t rise to his stature.There were times when that strain leaked through, particularly on a host of defensive clips last season when James didn’t stick to his assignment, or in the poor body language that led to frustration among the team in February as the Lakers were dropping out of the playoff race.In the nearly 80 minutes James was on the court during four preseason games, the Lakers had a 91.5 defensive rating, and showed an attentiveness that only came in spurts last season. While acknowledging that he’s seen clips of James’ defensive lapses, Avery Bradley said that’s not the James he’s seen in practice or the preseason.“LeBron is the leader on both ends of the floor for our team, and I feel like he helps put us in great spots,” Bradley said. “He’s gonna make our defense that much stronger this year with his talk on the defensive end.”It’s expected that under a coach like Frank Vogel, who boasts a track record of elite defenses in Indiana, the team would show more intensity on that end of the floor. But James, Davis and their Lakers teammates have all talked about the importance of Davis’ ability to challenge James and call him out when needed as a catalyzing factor.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more