17 Sep
2020

Fontan sparks Trojans

first_imgOn the basketball court, USC junior guard Jio Fontan is used to success.At powerhouse St. Anthony High School (N.J.), the Paterson, N.J. native was a three-year letterman. As a sophomore, his team went 24-2 in the regular season before bowing out to eventual New Jersey state champion St. Patrick’s in the round of 16.Fast start · Despite not playing in the Trojans’ early season games, junior guard Jio Fontan has made a strong first impression on teammates while helping USC to a 4-2 record with him in the lineup. Fontan and the Trojans face Oregon and Oregon State in Pac-10 play this weekend. – Tim Tran | Daily Trojan As a junior, the Friars went undefeated in the regular season before again falling again at the hands of St. Patrick’s, who would go on to defend their state title.As a senior co-captain, he helped lead St. Anthony’s to another undefeated regular season, and the Friars finally avenged their losses to St. Patrick’s en-route to a 32-0 season and a state and national championship.Five of his teammates received Division I scholarship offers to school like Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Kansas.While not as heavily recruited, Fontan was still nationally-ranked as a point guard and considered schools such as St. John’s and George Mason, but eventually committed to play across the Hudson River at Fordham University in New York, attempting to turn around the once proud program.Fontan found personal success immediately, leading Fordham in both scoring and assists as a freshman, and earning a spot on the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie team. But the Rams went just 3-25, and Fontan requested to be released from his scholarship. Following a 1-4 start in 2009, the school granted his release.“I wanted to get out of Fordham,” Fontan said. “I was not happy with the situation there. I did not feel comfortable, and I did not like the direction that the program was headed in.”It was a big risk for Fontan, who had no visits planned or transfer offers at the time of his release. He quickly found himself being recruited, however, by several major programs, including Tennessee, Miami and Alabama, but ultimately committed to the Trojans after watching them rout then-No. 9 Tennessee in December 2009.Fontan enrolled at USC in spring 2010, but because of NCAA transfer rules was not eligible to play for a year following his transfer. Nonetheless, he reaped praise from teammates and coaches alike, especially for his court leadership.“He’s going to lift our team up a couple more levels, just by his presence, his ability, his leadership,” said USC coach Kevin O’Neill after Fontan’s transfer. “I’ve been coaching basketball for 30 years, and unless I’m completely out of my mind, he’s going to be the best leader I’ve ever coached.”“The thing about Jio, everything he says, people listen,” said senior guard Marcus Simmons.Since he first took the court as a Trojan, that leadership ability has clearly manifested itself.His debut came against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. where the Jayhawks had won 64 consecutive games.  Although USC ended up losing by two points, Fontan started, played 35 minutes, scored 15 points and was an integral part of the Trojans’ 14-point comeback in the second half.Three days later, he scored 13 points in 30 minutes as the Trojans knocked off then-No. 18 Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn.In just his third game as a Trojan, Fontan led the team in scoring with 21 points in a win over Lehigh. In fact, he has scored double digits and played at least 30 minutes in five of his six games as a Trojan, and USC, as a result, is 4-2 in that span.“If we did not have Jio these last six games, we would be 2-4 or 1-5,” O’Neill said.“He is a commander on the court,” said senior forward Alex Stepheson. “He is able to guide and help the other wing players, especially the younger guys.”Despite the accliam, Fontan is not satisfied. “I am my biggest critic,” he said. “I don’t feel I’ve played a complete game yet.”Fontan, however, not only sees room for improvement in himself, but in the team.“We need to do a better job playing a complete game,” he said. “At times, we take too many plays off and fall asleep on defense or take bad shots on offense. We have not hit our peak yet, and that is a beautiful thing.”But overall, Fontan is quite happy at USC, saying the “best part about USC is the weather,” and that he even texts his dad, Jorge, back in New Jersey to compare it.In fact, Fontan likes it so much he says he wishes his family could relocate with him to Southern California.On the basketball side, Fontan says he is “getting more and more comfortable adjusting,” and O’Neill certainly agrees.“He’s our glue out there,” said the second-year coach. “He leads us.”Before arriving at USC, Fontan said his vision was “to play major minutes right away and help this team as much as possible.”Through six games starting in the Trojans’ backcourt, there remains little doubt he’s done that.last_img read more

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16 Sep
2020

Making waves: New swimming coach Yuri Suguiyama already has championship aspirations

first_imgEvery dominant athletic program begins somewhere — pieces of a puzzle that came together somehow to create a dynasty. What is it that flips the switch? What makes a team turn the corner and become unstoppable?The University of Wisconsin women’s swimming team has never won a single Big Ten championship or NCAA title in school history. While the team has seen many amazing individual careers, they’ve never been able to put the pieces together and become a dominant force in the swim world.Other schools like Stanford, Georgia and Auburn hold five or more NCAA titles in women’s swimming alone. But this season for the women’s swim team may be the turning point we’ve all been waiting for.Former three time Pac-12 championship swim coach from the University of California Yuri Suguiyama has been named the new head coach for Wisconsin. After a mess of new coaching staffs for the past four years, it seems as if Badger Swimming has finally found what it’s been looking for in Suguiyama.Volleyball: Wisconsin comes off win against Illinois, heads to Iowa CityThe kills rained down on the Illinois defenders Wednesday night as Sophomore Dana Rettke went for a career-high 23 kills Read…“At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a staff and made a list of all of the characteristics and qualities of the best athletes we’ve worked with,” Suguiyama said. “Out of all of the most successful teams that I’ve been a part of, there’s been two dominant characteristics: one being trust and the other resilience.”Suguiyama’s positive outlook comes from this list of swimmers who he knew carried these traits — those of champions.UW senior Jess Unicomb has had undeniably one of the best swimming careers at Wisconsin over the past four years. Last year she qualified for three events in the NCAA championships — finishing in the top ten for both the 200 and 100 meter backstroke.Football: Zander Neuville suffers season ending injuryWisconsin Badgers tight end Zander Neuville is likely to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a serious left Read…Unicomb has been a part of countless dominant relay squads in the Big Ten and has even more career awards under her belt. Coming from Australia, she had never thought of traveling to the United States to swim until she was recruited by the Badgers.“We’ve got a really great freshman class,” Unicomb said. “I am excited to leave the team in a better place than when I joined it and I’m jealous of the freshman that they get four years of this coaching staff. They’re awesome.”Eleven freshmen will get that opportunity to work closely with Suguiyama, a group the head coach helped recruit.When asked about her expectations for the future of Badger swimming Unicomb expressed her utmost optimism.“I truly believe this group could win a Big Ten championship and, hopefully, a national one,” Unicomb said. “I have no doubt in my mind that they will reach great things.”Women’s soccer: Wisconsin finishes home stand with draws versus Rutgers, MarylandThe No. 22 University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team (8-2-3, 2-1-3 Big Ten) tied both Rutgers (7-1-4, 3-0-2 Big Ten) Read…For these goals to be met, Wisconsin will rely heavily on their star swimmer, Beata Nelson.Nelson, a junior, has been in the swimming spotlight her entire career. In high school, she was a 12-time state champion and received multiple offers from across the nation.In fact, she never thought she would end up a Badger. But after an unofficial home visit, Nelson was left convinced that Madison was the way to go.With plans for a new pool and facilities at the now under construction Nicholas Recreation Center and a solid team of hardworking individuals she grew up watching, Nelson couldn’t see herself anywhere else.In her freshman year, Nelson was a four-time Big Ten freshman of the week and appeared at both the Big Ten and NCAA championships. By her sophomore season, she qualified for the NCAA championship in three individual events, medaling in two.All eyes had turned on Nelson rapidly, but what did she believe was going to make this program great?“Toughness,” Nelson said. “We are some of the toughest people I’ve ever been around.”Nelson explained that with all the great experiences she has had as a Badger she has no regrets in choosing Wisconsin.Cross Country: Badger men’s, women’s teams impress at Nuttycombe InvitationalThe University of Wisconsin men’s and women’s cross country teams enjoyed successful finishes to Friday’s Nuttycombe Invitational. The event took Read…In just her junior year, Nelson has already raised the expectations for women’s swimming to a completely new level. She has set a high bar with the program but she believes in her freshman class.Though unable to name one single person who will take over the team, Nelson believes that they, along with the new coaching staff, will be exceptional in the years to come.“There is nowhere but up that this program will go,” Nelson said. “This team has the mentality and the work ethic to make anything happen.”Both Nelson and Unicomb have extremely high expectations for not only this season but seasons to come. According to them, all the pieces of the puzzle are there, they just need to be put together. With an exceptional new coaching staff, brand new pool, and solid incoming class of swimmers, what will stop this Badger powerhouse from rising to the top?last_img read more

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28 Aug
2020

FA rejects FIFA World Cup report criticism

first_imgEngland’s Football Association on Thursday rejected claims by world governing body FIFA’s ethics committee that it violated bidding rules in its unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup.In a report released on Thursday, the ethics committee clears Qatar over corruption allegations regarding its successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup and criticises England’s failed attempt to host the 2018 tournament, which was awarded to Russia.The England bid team is accused of having broken rules in its attempts to win the support of former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, who quit his role in 2011 amid bribery allegations.But in a statement published on its website, the FA said: “We do not accept any criticism regarding the integrity of England’s bid or any of the individuals involved.”We conducted a transparent bid and, as the report demonstrates with its reference to the England bid team’s ‘full and valuable cooperation’, willingly complied with the investigation.”We maintain that transparency and cooperation around this entire process from all involved is crucial to its credibility.” The FA added: “We also note that after a lengthy investigatory process and assessment, the report has concluded that the ‘potentially problematic facts and circumstances identified by the report regarding the England 2018 bid were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/22 bidding process as a whole’.”The 42-page report was released by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA’s independent ethics adjudicator, following an extensive investigation into the World Cup bidding process by American lawyer Michael Garcia.It alleges that in an attempt to “curry favour” with Trinidad and Tobago official Warner, who was believed to control a block of FIFA executive votes, the England bid team contravened bidding rules.England 2018 is accused of helping “a person of interest to (Warner) find a part-time job in the UK” and sponsoring a gala dinner for the Caribbean Football Union at a cost of $55,000 (44,100 euros).The report also says that the England bid team provided “substantial assistance” for a Trinidad and Tobago Under-20 training camp that took place in 2009. “The (England) bid team often accommodated Mr Warner’s wishes, in apparent violation of bidding rules and the FIFA code of ethics,” the report said.”England’s response to Mr Warner’s — improper — demands, in at a minimum always seeking to satisfy them in some way, damaged the integrity of the ongoing bidding process. Yet, such damage was again of rather limited extent.”The report was branded a “whitewash” by British MP Damian Collins, who has campaigned for FIFA reform.Collins, from the ruling Conservative party, told Britain’s Press Association: “It is a whitewash as it is an attempt to con people that there has been a full and independent investigation when there has not been.”The result is that allegations of bribery and serious wrongdoing remain unanswered and they are still suppressing the full report. “The points being made about the England bid are just a smokescreen to try to hide these facts.”The FA has previously called for more transparency in the World Cup voting process and accused FIFA of not doing enough to eradicate corruptionlast_img read more

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27 Dec
2019

Law loophole means Donegal slot machines can only pay out 63 cent

first_imgA loophole in the law means that gamblers in Co Donegal playing hundreds of slot machines can only win up to 63 cent.Licenses for almost 600 machines at two amusement arcades were granted at a recent sitting of Buncrana District Court. However, because the licenses are operating under old laws they cannot accept a bet of more than 3c and cannot pay out any more than 63c.The owner of Star Amusements in Buncrana and Blackthorn Amusements in Bridgend, businessman Colm O’Donnell, applied for the licences.While there were no Garda or Fire Officer objections, a solicitor representing the Donegal Association against Gambling Machines objected to the application.Solicitor Ms. Maureen Gallagher said gambling has a profound effect on the local community and they were concerned about how they were being run and they wanted to question the director of the company, Mr. O’Donnell.Solicitor for the arcades, Elizabeth O’Donnell said her client was making the application for gaming machines following resolutions passed by councillors from the Inishowen Municipal District last March.She said all aspects of the application had been complied with and the objectors, while she acknowledged they were entitled to object, were not party to the application.She said Mr. O’Donnell was a well-known businessman, who kept his premises in good condition, had never been disqualified and the Gardaí had no issue with him.Mr O’Donnell said he had been working in the arcade business in Inishowen for more than 40 years and he welcomed recent changes to the legalisation Donegal County Council.He admitted that he currently has gaming machines in situ on his premises in Bridgend and Buncrana but that his machines do not currently pay out cash and operate on a credit basis.Mr. O’Donnell told the court they had been previously operating on an amusement licence but the Revenue Officials visited their premises and told them to get a different licence.“The Revenue audited us, and told us to get gaming licences. They took a few machines away until we got our licence up to date. We’re just following their instructions,” he said.Solicitor Ms. O’Donnell said her client had no gaming licence until last week’s court date but that they were applying to the court ‘at the first opportunity’ to get the new licence, which is now available to them.However, Judge Kelly queried how the businesses were operating for the last 40 years if the law was only changed by Donegal County Council in March.“Why would the court grant a licence to someone who admits to operating for years without one?” Judge Kelly asked.“I’ve been driving past these places for nine years – there is about three in Bridgend alone – and I always wonder what goes on in there. Now I’m being told that up until March they have operating illegally – it seems they are seeking forgiveness rather than permission.”Solicitor Ms.Gallagher, claimed they were operating illegally saying “They were uncontrolled and operating illegally.”However, Ms. O’Donnell argued there was ‘an unofficial amnesty’ and that they were ‘no different’ to any other arcade in the country.She disagreed with the assumption that Star and Blackthorn had been operating illegally, but accepted that they did not have a licence for the machines until now.Judge Kelly asked Mr. O’Donnell how the machines operated and what was the maximum stakes and winnings involved.He said people could put in 10p or 20p or a pound and they could ‘get two back’ However he said if you get ‘five sevens you could win 50 pound’.Ms. Gallagher said the current Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 stated that the maximum stake was 2.5c and the reward was to be no more than 50c.She argued that anyone doing anything different was ‘obviously operating illegally’.Ms. O’Donnell said the law around gaming machines was old and outdated and currently until review by the Government.Mr. O’Donnell said the Bill was currently before the Seanad and due to be updated. He said they are lobbying to have the Bill amended and the regulations changed.Judge Kelly said this Bill will take some time to come in and currently they are constrained by the act as it stands.He granted the licences to Mr. O’Donnell, for a period of 12 months, with the condition that any stake should not be more than 3c and no one should win more than 63c.Law loophole means Donegal slot machines can only pay out 63 cent was last modified: June 7th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:buncranaColm O’Donnellcourtgaming machinesInishowenlawpayoutlast_img read more

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