17 Sep
2020

Braun: NCAA Tournament lock for Bo’s squad

first_imgFor you few avid Point-Counterpoint followers, you would know that a couple weeks ago, I predicted that the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team would make the NCAA Tournament.You probably all would have laughed in my face, considering the Badgers couldn’t buy a win at the time. They were in the midst of a six-game losing streak and blew lead after lead.Now, four wins later, including two big home wins over then-No. 23 Illinois and a tough Ohio State squad, I think I can safely say that the Badgers are NCAA Tournament bound. This time, though, I don’t think I would get ridiculed for saying so.Whatever was plaguing the Badgers during their six-game losing streak seems to have gone away. Saturday’s game is a perfect example to show how Wisconsin has put its rough stretch out of its mind.For those who watched the game Saturday, it seemed like the Badgers wouldn’t be able to pull out the victory. I mean, if you saw the way they played two weeks ago, you would just figure that they would find a way to lose the game. They couldn’t beat Iowa or Northwestern, but they would be able to pull out a win over a very talented Ohio State team?Well, I guess the Badgers are back.Before the game on Saturday, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi had the Badgers as one of the last four teams in the Big Dance. Now, with a big win against the Buckeyes on the nation’s center stage, getting to the tournament shouldn’t be much of a problem.UW has two home games and three road matches remaining on its schedule. Although it might be presumptuous to say the Badgers will beat Michigan State or Minnesota on the road, they should be able to win the rest of their home games quite easily.First, Wisconsin heads to Indiana to take on Tom Crean’s joke of a basketball team. The Hoosiers have only beaten one team in the Big Ten, and with the Badgers playing as well as they have of late, a loss at Assembly Hall seems a bit far-fetched.After they face Michigan State, the Badgers come home to play Michigan and Indiana again. If you remember the way Wisconsin’s defense manhandled the Big Ten’s leading scorer in Manny Harris in the teams’ first match this season, a win at the Kohl Center shouldn’t be too far out of reach.That would leave the Badgers at 10-7 in the Big Ten going into their last game of the season (assuming they beat Indiana twice and lose to Michigan State), a tough road game against Minnesota at The Barn.The first time Wisconsin played the Golden Gophers, it blew a 14-point lead, something that reoccurred time after time during the Badgers’ losing streak. Now, though, the Badgers have a swing of confidence that they didn’t have earlier in the season, especially during that streak.With the season winding down, these aren’t the same Badgers that were NIT bound just two weeks ago. They’ve been doing what they’ve had to do to win their last four games.They’ve been able to allow an opponent to shoot over 50 percent from the field and still get a win.Jason Bohannon can shoot 1-for-8 from 3-point range and the Badgers can still pull it out.Trevon Hughes can miss eight of his nine shots, but it won’t really matter throughout the course of the game.Simply put, everything that wasn’t working then is working now.With only five games remaining, it won’t take so much for the Badgers to get a bid. As Bo Ryan put it after the win against Ohio State, “You have to just find a way.”If the Badgers continue to follow that slogan, then getting to the NCAA Tournament won’t be much of a challenge at all.Jonah is a sophomore majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Still don’t think the Badgers will make the NCAA Tournament? Can Bo Ryan make it 11 straight seasons for Wisconsin? Send him your thoughts at jbraun@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

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17 Sep
2020

The wunderkind: 24-year-old White brings in improved class as director of recruiting

first_imgEric White walks into his office at 8 a.m. — maybe earlier if there’s a staff meeting. He’ll spend his day zipping through schedules, chatting with recruits, scheduling visits and making travel arrangements for Syracuse’s assistant coaches — anything he can do to piece together an elite class for the Orange. And then he’ll finally call it a night around 9 p.m. That is, on the nights that he actually leaves. Because a big office means a big closet and plenty of room for that air mattress that he’s spent more nights sleeping on than he would like to admit.“I’ve slept here quite a bit,” White said with a laugh. “It’s a seven day a week job, but you knew that when you signed up.”Maybe he works too much, but maybe that’s what Syracuse’s resident wunderkind needed to do to reach that status. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt just 24 years old, White is the Orange’s director of recruiting operations and has helped put together one of the program’s top classes in recent memory. On Wednesday, that will become official when at least 20 recruits sign letters of intent on national signing day.The profession is trending toward younger recruiting leaders, but White’s rapid ascension in the field is still rare. He’s far and away the youngest director of recruiting in the Atlantic Coast Conference — no other team in the league lists a recruiting director younger than 30.“It’s kind of unusual, but personally I prefer it,” linebacker verbal commit Zaire Franklin said, “because Eric, like, understands what we’ve been going through.”White graduated from Kansas in the spring of 2012. Three jobs and less than two years later, he’s running the show at SU.“He just left college,” Franklin said. “Eric can relate to us on a level that a lot of these other guys can’t.”At Toledo, he washed windows and mopped floors. At Wisconsin, he got a chance to be more hands-on. At Arkansas, he joined the Razorbacks’ quality control group.He was only in Fayetteville, Ark., for a couple of months, but his brief stint there happened to overlap with George McDonald’s even briefer tenure as Arkansas’ wide receivers coach.“He was there, like, three weeks. Maybe,” White said. “I don’t know if he ever even got a paycheck.”Reunited at Syracuse, the duo has formed a two-headed, Twitter-crazed recruiting monster.Between their subliminal tweets each time Syracuse lands a recruit and directly reaching out to prospects on Facebook, White and McDonald have made social media an art form and the Orange’s most valuable weapon on the recruiting trail.“Sometimes it’s easier just to send a message that only a couple people know what you’re talking about. Sometimes we’re just playing around with each other,” McDonald said. “I like social media, Eric likes it, so we’re just trying to have a little fun.”Right now is a contact period, so coaches can call recruits whenever. During quiet or dead periods, those conversations are limited to one per week. Schools can send as many letters to recruits as they want — tales of mailboxes stuffed with dozens of letters from a single school are popular sports-blog fodder — but they can never text.Facebook messages and direct messages on Twitter, however, are always fair game.“He’s pretty much the master of all that,” wide receiver target Steve Ishmael said.White messages players, then keeps tabs on them throughout the process — even if a recruit verbally commits elsewhere.The ones that do choose Syracuse, though, get maybe their most active Facebook friend. The Orange’s commits share a group chat with White where they talk about anything — not just football.“There will be something like, ‘I’m on a date right now,’ in the group chat,” Franklin said. “If it were someone older, that would be kind of weird, but it’s Eric, so it’s not that big of a deal.”And therein lies the greatest advantage that White gives SU. Recruits view him as a peer rather than a superior.“It was kind of like a friend was recruiting you,” cornerback commit Lamar Dawson said.None of the recruits interviewed for this story said it was strange dealing with someone so young, and said the guardians who accompanied them on visits felt the same way.Not everyone he encountered getting to Syracuse, though, felt the same way. White started at Toledo where he was asked to do little more than scrub floors and windows. When Chris Hauser — the former director of high school relations for the Rockets — took a job as Wisconsin’s on-campus recruiting director, he had to convince Bret Bielema to embrace White, 22 years old at the time, in the office. “He looks at the kid like, ‘How young is this kid?’” Hauser said. “Even when we went to Arkansas, he said, ‘Is Eric the right guy?’”White made an immediate impression on Hauser, though. His work ethic, efficiency and ambition — he wrote a letter to every Division I school looking for a job — meant that he would push to bring White with him everywhere he went. He even let White live in his basement while the two were working for the Badgers.In exchange, White watched the Hausers’ infant daughter when Chris and his wife Whitney wanted a date night. He got up early on Black Friday to buy them a television for Christmas.In the office, his experience with technology and social media lets him do some things Hauser would try to do in “half the time,” Hauser estimated. White even took the initiative to organize UW’s entire library of Hudl scouting videos.When Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas, he decided to bring Hauser with him. Again, Hauser had to convince Bielema to ignore White’s age and let him come to Fayetteville.So when Bielema heard that White would be leaving to become Syracuse’s director of recruiting, he was shocked.“(Bielema) said, ‘What? He got that opportunity?’” Hauser recalls. “‘We can give him more money.’ And I said, ‘No. I think this is what he needs to do and I can’t tell him not to take this opportunity.’”His show at Syracuse isn’t quite Arkansas’ but it is climbing. Instead of being worlds behind Southeastern Conference teams, the Orange’s class is only 21 places behind the 35th-ranked Razorback class.Those are just numbers, of course, but White is a reminder that so is age.“Whether you’re 40 or 21,” McDonald said, “every organization in the country is just trying to get the most talented person.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 4, 2014 at 2:12 am Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2last_img read more

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28 Aug
2020

TECNO supports Michael Essien Game of Hope charity match

first_imgTECNO Ghana, the world’s leading dual sim mobile phone manufacturer is partnering the Michael Essien Foundation’s June 8 Game of Hope Charity Match at the Accra Sports Stadium.At a formal press interaction held at the company’s corporate offices at Odorkor, Accra, officials announced that they are delighted to come aboard the initiative.“Working in partnership with the foundation brings together two entities that believe in the same thing – the youth of today,” Jocelene Buckman, Head of Marketing and Communication, TECNO Ghana said.“Michael Essien, as you all know is a sports icon not just in Africa but in the world at large. As the AU ambassador for sports he represents hard work, determination and resilience.“He is an inspiration to our youth, who can see that it is not just enough to dream, but one must be prepared to work hard to achieve it,” she added.The Game of Hope, Buckman said “is here to inspire the youth in our communities, to give them a future to look forward to. A future full of hope and aspiration, a future where everyone has the opportunity not only to dream but to see that dream become reality. And that is what TECNO is about.” What TECNO seeks to achieve with this partnership, Buckman further noted, is to “empower the young African to experience the smart life”. “Paying attention to the youth is our way of giving back to society.”This is not the first time the two entities are working together. Two years ago, TECNO sponsored the foundation’s charity outreach programme at Awutu Breku, in the Central Region, where Essien hails from.Ms Akosua Puni, a representative of the MEF thanked officials of TECNO Ghana for their support, adding that the foundation is pleased to have them as strategic partners.She lauded them for buying into the MEF’s vision, and also called for greater collaboration between the two, adding that her outfit is ready to go the long haul with TECNO.A successful company, TECNO is headquartered in Hong Kong, with research and development centres in France and Korea, as well as an operations unit in Dubai.last_img read more

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