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Maryland Announces Hoops Recruiting Class

Posted on 09 November 2011 by WNST Staff

Terps Sign Three for Men’s Basketball

Trio puts Maryland 17th in ESPN.com team rankings

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland signed three players to National Letters-of-Intent on Wednesday, with the additions of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman placing the Terrapins’ class 17th on ESPN.com’s national team ranking.

Allen is a 6-foot-2 guard from Fredericksburg, Va.; Cleare is a 6 -9 center from Houston and Layman is a 6-8 forward from Wrentham, Mass. The quality of the signing class, given the recent arrival of head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff on the Maryland campus, has drawn national attention.

“We’re very pleased with our class for 2012 so far,” said head coach Mark Turgeon, in his first season at Maryland. “We’ve added three quality players with great character who will fit in with our Maryland Basketball family.

“All three are very skilled basketball players who have a great feel for the game. My entire staff and the administration did a fantastic job in helping us secure these kids.”

Cleare and Layman are four-star recruits and part of ESPNU’s Top 100 prospects, according to ESPN.com. Allen is a three-star prospect and has graded at 89 on the same website. Allen was the first recruit to commit to being part of Turgeon’s program.

“I think they’ve gotten some guys who have shown that this staff, from a national perspective, will be very aggressive,” said Dave Telep, a national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. “Turgeon is an astute evaluator of talent. If you look at this class, it’s a total national class. He’s been able to leverage some relationships he already had.

“When evaluating recruiting, and the way the calendar is now, the second year a staff is at a school is usually the better year. If you look at the class they’ve gotten, this is a very good opening effort.”

SETH ALLEN (6-2, 195, SG, Fredericksburg, Va., Fredericksburg Christian School)

Was Coach Mark Turgeon’s first commitment at Maryland… A combination guard who was ranked by ESPN.com as the sixth-best prospect in the state of Virginia… A three-star recruit who graded at 89 from ESPN… Athletic guard with 40-inch vertical leap… Led Fredericksburg Christian to a 31-2 record and conference title as a junior… Averaged 24 points, four assists, 3.5 steals and hit 92 3-pointers as a junior… Had 23 points against Montrose Christian last season… Turned 17 years old in October… Left-handed shooter… Travel team was Hoop Booth… Chose Maryland over Clemson, Old Dominion, VCU, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Turgeon on Allen: “Seth is a very explosive athlete and scorer. He has a great feel for the game, is very good in the pick-and-roll and will be a great defender for us. Seth is a local kid with a great family who will represent Maryland the right way.”

Seth Allen: “I feel like it’s a big relief that I don’t have to go through recruitment anymore and I know I found the right school. Maryland fits me best, so it’s a big relief and I’m really happy that I’ve finally signed. My family was a big part of this and Maryland being so close was important. I wanted my family to be able to see me play. I really like Coach Turgeon and the rest of the coaching staff and I get along with the players. When I went on my official visit the coaches really motivated me; they just want everybody to get better. I think I fit in with the offense and defense so well and I think it’s going to be a good year when I get there.”

Joe Allen, father: “We’re very excited for Seth to sign with the University of Maryland and to have the chance to play at such a prestigious school. The academics, the way they have it set up, we know our son will succeed and graduate. The bigger part of it is that the coaching staff, from [Director of Athletics Kevin] Anderson on down is just absolutely, incredibly family-oriented. Seth comes from a strong family background. We can’t speak enough about the family atmosphere, the way they made us feel comfortable. It’s just a good feeling to know that he’s going into that kind of atmosphere. We’re excited about the outcome and the making of the young man that the staff at Maryland is going to build on.”

Coach Darren Berkley, Fredericksburg Christian School: “Seth is a special player… Every game he did something that amazed our coaching staff. Not only is Seth a great scorer, he has great moves and he is mentally tough. Seth’s teammates love him and want to play on his team. He has great leadership qualities and a magnetic personality that people are attracted to… My expectations are high for Seth. I truly believe he will be successful at Maryland.”

Craig Boothe, Hoop Booth Team: “Seth has by far exceeded the skill level of some of the other players in our program who have gone to Division I. I think his going to Maryland is a great fit from the perspective that he’s a family-oriented kid. Having him close will allow some of our local people to have access. He’s a great kid who was under the radar screen a little… I think this is a match made in heaven.”

SHAQUILLE CLEARE (6-9, 270, C, Houston, Texas, The Village School)

Consensus four-star prospect who is ranked as the sixth-best center in the nation by ESPN.com… Ranked 39th overall among the ESPNU Top 100… Graded at 95 by ESPN’s scouts… Has excellent strength and power which leads to solid rebounding at both ends of the floor… “A big body post with off-the-charts upside,” according to ESPN.com… Travel team was the Houston Defenders… Native of the Bahamas… Chose Maryland over Arizona, Texas, Baylor and Miami.

Turgeon on Cleare: “Shaq will give us a big, physical presence in the paint. He will be a great defender and low-post scorer for us, and for his size, he is a very explosive athlete. He is a great young man who really wanted to be at Maryland and is being very well coached by Don Harvey.”

Shaquille Cleare: “”It’s a strong conference, they have great coaches and they’re good at developing players. When Coach Turgeon left A&M and went to Maryland, it turned out well. It was so shocking to me, it was a big surprise. I think Coach Turgeon will do great things at Maryland.”

Aaron Harrison, Houston Defenders (AAU) Coach: “He’s a little different than most in that now nobody wants to play with their back to the basket. That’s how he plays and he has the best hands that I’ve seen in such a long time. I don’t think there’s a limit to his potential to be honest. If you play him one-on-one, because he’s so big and strong, he puts his body on the defender and scores. Over the summer time, we looked at it and he scored 72 percent of the time we gave him the ball on the box. He’s come a long way. He’s only been in the country for four years and when I first met him he always had good hands and feet, but he’s worked so hard to make himself better. He’s come such a long way.”

Pat Clatchey, Mount Saint Joseph’s HS (Baltimore) Head Coach: “I had the opportunity to coach Shaquille at the NBA top-100 camp. I found him to be a terrific young man on and off the court. He’s very polite and respectful off the court, engaging personality, and all business when he gets on the court. He has a big body, great hands and good footwork. He’s an interior scorer and a pretty good interior passer. I think the thing he’s going to have to develop at the next level is conditioning and getting used to day-in and day-out playing against strong and athletic bodies. But I think he’s a very good acquisition for Maryland basketball.”

Don Harvey, Village School Head Coach: “He was really, really intrigued by Coach [Gary] Williams. That’s what got it started. When Coach Williams left, Shaq was a little down about that. So we had to get him back up. The next school on his list was [Texas] A&M, and then [Mark] Turgeon ended up going to Maryland, so that made it even more [attractive]. … I think he fell in love with Maryland… (Turgeon) is a guy who you can believe is going to do things the right way. He’s going to build your character and your heart. You feel him when you talk to him. He really, and I mean really, likes Coach Turgeon.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “He’s an anchor recruit. He’ll definitely grow within the program and he’s capable enough and has broad enough shoulders that he’s going to be able to be a main guy for a couple years. What is really impressive is he’s got very good touch. He’s a legitimate offensive player in the lane and is tough. He’ll be able to come into the ACC and know his way around.”

JAKE LAYMAN (6-8, 190, SF, Wrentham, Mass., King Philip Regional HS)

Listed by ESPN.com as the top recruit from the state of Massachusetts… Graded at 94 by the website, which has him 11th nationally among small forwards… Ranked 53rd nationally on ESPNU’s Top 100… Long, athletic player with deceptive quickness… Averaged 24.6 points, 15.6 rebounds, 7.1 blocks as a junior at King Philip Regional… Travel team was Boston Amateur Basketball Club under the guidance of Celtics administrator Leo Papile… Chose Maryland over Syracuse, Louisville, Florida, Notre Dame and Providence

Turgeon on Layman: “Jake is a very skilled and explosive athlete who is improving at a big-time rate. Jake has all three phases in his game with the ability to knock down the 3, shoot the mid-range, plus get all the way to the basket. He is also a tremendous defender with great anticipation. Jake comes from a great family, and we are excited about welcoming into our basketball family.”

Jake Layman: “It’s a dream come true for me to sign with Maryland and I couldn’t be happier. The school, Coach Turgeon and all the other coaches, I love them and I get along with the players really well so that was good. The coaching staff is down to earth and easy to talk to so that made me feel comfortable. I know they’re all tough coaches so I think that will help me grow a lot. I’m very excited about the opportunity to play in the best conference in America and play at the Comcast Center.”

Claire Layman, mother: “For my husband and I and our whole family, when we came for the official visit, with Coach Turgeon, Coach Spinelli and the entire coaching staff, we just had such a feeling that this was the right place for Jake. We felt all along that the ACC was a good fit for Jake’s skill set and I think with the University, over the recruiting period, what became clear to us is how important it was for Jake to be able to play where his family could be part of it too… The basketball was really important to Jake but just the University itself I think has everything Jake wants academically and it just was a really good fit. Maryland has so much to offer and it was really just a perfect fit.”

Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “When Jake hit his stride this summer, you were either there to see it or you weren’t. For those who saw it, he immediately became a priority recruit. What not many people will know is he’s a heck of a defensive player. In one tournament where they kept stats, he certainly led everyone in steals per minute.”

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “Jake has a lot of tools and is just scratching the surface of his potential. He can shoot and score in a lot of ways. He’s also got athleticism and size to go along with his scoring ability. He’s a guy who is going to get better each and every day.”

Leo Papile, Boston Amateur Basketball Club: “He’s a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come… At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he’s totally unique for American basketball. He’s a wing… You put him on the ball and, in our (full-court) defense, he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene.”

Coach Sean McInnis, King Philip Regional HS: “It’s a fantastic time for Jake and his family. They’re really looking forward to being a part of the Maryland family… I think when you look around the country, he’s probably the only kid who’s 6-8 that plays the point… I think what Maryland was looking for was a student-athlete that’s going to come in, defend, and play a couple positions while at the same time playing in transition, utilizing some size at the guard position.”

THE CLASS OVERALL

Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “This class is well-balanced between guys who can help immediately and guys who can be brought along and will make their mark in the ACC. Mark does a good job of evaluating players and a good job of developing them. He’s put together an all-star recruiting staff there. When they’re not out recruiting, they’re thinking about recruiting.”

Some quotes courtesy The Baltimore Sun.

– Terps –

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Bumpy road ahead to new NFL CBA agreement

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Chris Pika

ATLANTA—As word leaked out that the NFL owners had voted 31-0 on their proposal for a settlement of legal issues and the terms of a new CBA last night, rumors that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith had been on the phone during a prolonged (and unplanned) dinner break by the owners seemed to suggest that there was an agreement in principle in place.

As we found out not more than 15 minutes after the NFL’s press conference at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott announcing their vote and going over the particulars of the league’s proposal, the howls of protest via social media by players and leaking of two NFLPA emails from Smith and NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen seemed to suggest that the players were blindsided by the owners.

It should have been clear (but wasn’t at the time) that the men lined up behind Goodell during the press conference — NFL Executive VP of Labor/League Counsel Jeff Pash, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, New York Giants owner John Mara, Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — never once smiled, even wearily, as the months of negotiations were at an end.

They knew what we were finding out. The road to ratification is filled with bumps that could still derail the process. It’s easy (in some respects) to get 32 people to agree to a proposal (the supplemental revenue sharing deal brokered during the day between the owners was a bigger story that got lost in the later events). It’s harder to get 1,900 people to share one vision, especially when there are competing personal interests inside the group.

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Trial balloon floated by NFL owners

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Chris Pika

For several weeks, there have been precious little details on what the NFL owners and players have shared between themselves on a framework of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Even during the “secret” talks between the sides over the last three weeks with U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan as mediator, nothing was revealed.

That changed today as ESPN.com’s Chris Mortenson reported on what the NFL owners are proposing as their potential two-day meeting heads to a one-day conclusion in Chicago before talks between the owners and players resume later this week.

The quick outline, based on Mortenson’s report:

  • Players receive 48 percent of all revenue
  • Owners will not take $1 billion cost credit off the top as in past CBA
  • Owners will get some credits for stadium construction
  • Rookie wage scale will be included, but adjustments are still being made
  • Teams must spend between 90-93 percent of salary cap
  • The proposed 18-game regular-season schedule is negotiable, not mandated
  • New 16-game Thursday night TV package in 2012 to be revenue driver
  • Retired players to get increased health and pension funding

Also, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, when an agreement is reached, those unsigned players who have been in free-agent limbo with four, five and six years of service will be unrestricted free agents, and the franchise tag will still be in existence.

A good deal tends to be where both sides give a little and leave not getting everything. If this is the eventual framework, the players take a lesser percentage of all revenues (below 50 percent), owners can’t take as much off the top as they wanted and teams have to spend more of the cap.

This is the key trial balloon, as whoever leaked the info to Mortenson had to have done so with some blessing of league higher-ups. Now we wait for the players’ reaction and the negotiations to restart soon.

There is a long way to go — and a lot can still go wrong — but this is the first real hope of a resumption of NFL football since the owners locked out the players in mid-March after talks broke down.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Turgeon Formally Announces Maryland Staff

Posted on 20 May 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Terps’ Sports Information Department…

TURGEON ANNOUNCES COACHING STAFF

Spinelli, Hill join Ranson as assistant coaches

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Head men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon announced Friday that Scott Spinelli, Dalonte Hill and Bino Ranson will be the assistant coaches on his new Terrapin staff. In addition, Dustin Clark has been hired as the director of basketball operations.

“I feel good about the talent of the assistant coaches we have assembled,” said Turgeon. “They all have their own unique abilities as coaches that, as a group, will make us complete. They all have been successful recruiting this part of the country and will be a big part of the resurgence of Maryland Basketball.”

Spinelli will join Turgeon for the sixth straight season, having worked with him during each of Turgeon’s four years at Texas A&M and for one season at Wichita State. He was the Aggies’ associate head coach and helped direct the program to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Hill, a native of Washington, D.C., will join the Terrapins’ staff after six seasons at Kansas State. Long noted for his recruiting ties to the D.C. area, Hill helped a resurgence in the Wildcat basketball program that had Kansas State hit the 20-win plateau for a school-record five straight years.

Ranson will be retained as an assistant after he spent last season on the staff of retired coach Gary Williams. A native of Baltimore, Ranson has strong recruiting ties in that area and aided in the recent recruitment and retention of shooting guard Nick Faust.

Clark has been an athletics assistant for three years and, last year, moved into the role as team administrator on Turgeon’s staff with the Aggies. A graduate of Texas A&M, he has played an important role in recruiting and in the recent success of the Aggies’ basketball program.

Bios on the new staff members follow:

SCOTT SPINELLI

Hometown: Leominster, Mass.

Education: Boston University ‘89

Following five seasons on various staffs for head coach Mark Turgeon, Scott Spinelli comes to College Park to be part of the coaching staff at the University of Maryland.

“Scott is a bulldog recruiter with tremendous connection up and down the east coast,” said Turgeon. “He is also an excellent coach with a tremendous basketball mind.”

Spinelli sent four seasons with Turgeon as the associate head coach at Texas A&M, and was in the same position with Turgeon at Wichita State in 2006-07.

Prior to that, he was an assistant at Nebraska for three seasons, when he helped land two nationally-ranked recruiting classes. He was the Cornhuskers’ associate head coach in 2005-06. All-Big 12 center Aleks Maric was among the players he signed at Nebraska.

From 2001-03, Spinelli was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola-Chicago. He helped the Ramblers to 32 wins over two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03) — the program’s most in a two-year span since the mid-1980s — including a berth in the championship game of the 2002 Horizon League Tournament.

Spinelli recruited and developed Paul McMillan, a junior-college transfer who won the Horizon League’s Newcomer of the Year Award in 2003. His first recruiting class for the Ramblers also included Terrance Whiters, who was ranked among the top 70 overall prospects in the country and among the top 20 point guards by ESPN.com.

Spinelli has been recognized by several media outlets as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches. Before joining the Ramblers, Spinelli spent one year as a scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, evaluating players in the Big East and Atlantic 10 conferences, along with high school players from the Northeast.

Spinelli served as an assistant coach for Cincinnati of the International Basketball League (IBL) in 1999-2000, helping the Stuff to an Eastern Conference regular-season championship.

Prior to his work in the IBL, Spinelli spent two years as associate head coach (1997-99) at American University in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for two nationally-recognized recruiting classes. Spinelli’s first collegiate coaching stop came at Wyoming in 1996-97.

He began his coaching career on the prep level in 1990 at the Milford Academy, where he spent three seasons as head coach. In 1993, Spinelli started the basketball program at The Winchendon School in Winchendon, Mass., where he produced several Division I players. The school remains one of the top prep school programs in the Northeast.

The Leominster, Mass., native earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University in 1989. As a student-athlete, Spinelli initially walked on with the Terriers before earning a scholarship as a point guard under Mike Jarvis, who went on to a successful stint as head coach at St. John’s.

Spinelli and his wife, Lynn, have three children: Gianna, Gabriel and Joseph.

SPINELLI CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Associate Head Coach, Wichita State
2005-06 – Associate Head Coach, Nebraska
2003-05 – Assistant Coach, Nebraska
2001-03 – Assistant Coach, Loyola-Chicago
2000-01 – Scout, Philadelphia 76ers
1999-00 – Assistant Coach, Cincinnati Stuff
1997-99 – Associate Head Coach, American University
1996-97 – Assistant Coach, Wyoming
1993-96 – Head Coach, Winchendon (Mass.) School
1990-93 – Head Coach, Milford (N.Y.) Academy

DALONTE HILL

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Education: Charlotte ‘01

Noted as one of the top coaches and recruiters nationally, Dalonte Hill is coming home to the Washington, D.C., area to join the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon.

“It was great to be able to bring Dalonte home,” said Turgeon. “He is a terrific recruiter and will be a great addition to our staff. His relationships on the east coast will be huge for the growth of our program.”

A native of Washington, D.C., Hill was hired as an assistant coach at Kansas State by former head coach Bob Huggins in April 2006 after three seasons at Charlotte.  He was elevated to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator just over a year later upon the promotion of Frank Martin to head coach.

Hill played a significant role in helping to revitalize the K-State program, which has tallied five consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.  With his help, the Wildcats have posted 118 wins the past five seasons, including 50 in Big 12 play, and have advanced to the postseason in an unprecedented five straight seasons, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

The 118 wins are the most in school history in a five-year span, shattering the previous mark of 107 wins set from 1957-62, while the 50 conference victories are the most since the squad posted 56 from 1971-76.  K-State is one of four Big 12 schools (along with Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M) in that span to total five 20-win seasons, while the Wildcats and Jayhawks are the only teams to finish in the top-4 in the Big 12 and receive a bye at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in each of the past five seasons.

Hill has also played a major role in helping Kansas State land some of the country’s best recruiting classes, including the nation’s top-rated class by Scout.com and Rivals.com in 2006, which included No. 1 recruit Michael Beasley and No. 6 recruit Bill Walker.  In 2008, he helped the Wildcats pull down their second top-20 class in the past three seasons, including their fourth McDonald’s All-American (and second in last four seasons) in Wally Judge.  The four-man class was rated 17th by Scout/ESPN.com and 18th by Rivals.com.

Hill spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Charlotte under Bobby Lutz.  He helped guide his alma mater to a 61-30 (.760) overall record and three consecutive postseason appearances from 2003-06, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament (2004, 2005).  He also helped the 49ers to a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular-season title as well as runner-up finishes in C-USA in 2004-05 and the Atlantic 10 in 2005-06.

During his tenure at Charlotte, Hill helped coach two All-Americans, one C-USA Player of the Year and seven all-conference players. Two 49ers earned All-America distinction as Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers were named to SI.com’s third team and honorable mention lists in 2005.  Withers was also named to Basketball Times’ All-America third team in 2004.  A two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year, Basden was selected as the 2005 Conference USA Player of the Year as well as the national Defensive Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com.

Prior to joining the college ranks, Hill served two years as the head coach of the AAU’s DC Assault.

A three-year letterman at Charlotte from 1997-2000, Hill played on three postseason squads for the 49ers under head coaches Melvin Watkins and Bobby Lutz.  As a true freshman in 1997-98, he averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games with one start for the 49ers in helping the squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 20-11 record.  As a sophomore, the 49ers captured the 1999 Conference USA Tournament title and once again advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round with a 23-11 record.  During the 1999-2000 season, he averaged 6.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 23 games with 11 starts in helping Charlotte earn a Postseason NIT bid with a 17-16 record.

Hill transferred to Bowie State for his senior season where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in helping the Bulldogs to a 19-9 record.  He returned to Charlotte following the season to complete his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001.

Hill and his wife, Tish, have three daughters: Danae, Dakotah and Daeja.

HILL CAREER

2007-11 – Associate Head Coach, Kansas State
2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Kansas State
2003-06 – Assistant Coach, Charlotte
2001-03 – Head Coach D.C. Assault (AAU)

ORLANDO “BINO” RANSON

Hometown: Baltimore, Md.

Education: Southern New Hampshire ‘99

Orlando “Bino” Ranson was hired as an assistant coach at Maryland in the summer of 2010, and the halls of Comcast Center immediately lit up with energy. He has been retained on the staff by new head coach Mark Turgeon.

“Bino is a young man I have known for a long time, and I have watched him grow as a coach,” said Turgeon. “He is a grinder when it comes to recruiting and he has many connections all over the east coast.”

Ranson has strong ties to the Baltimore-Washington area, having coached for two seasons at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore. He came to Maryland after one season as an assistant at Xavier, during which the Musketeers went 26-9 and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. In his lone season on the staff of Maryland head coach Gary Williams in 2010-11, the Terrapins went 19-14.

Ranson said he’s followed the Maryland program for a long time and is familiar with its national reputation and rich history. He spent two years as an administrative assistant at Loyola University on the staff of long-time Maryland assistant Jimmy Patsos.

Prior to Xavier, Ranson was an assistant coach at James Madison for one season, helping the Dukes to a 21-15 mark, the most wins by JMU in a season since 1992-93. The Dukes advanced in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the first time since 2003 and their berth in the College Insiders.com Tournament marked their first postseason appearance since 1994.

Ranson also worked for Matt Brady at Marist University for three seasons. The Red Foxes were 62-33 in those three seasons and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season in 2007. That season, Marist won at Oklahoma State in the Postseason NIT.

Considered an outstanding recruiter, he helped bring in excellent classes at James Madison, Marist and Xavier. Ranson helped land Jay Gavin at Marist, who went on to become the MAAC Rookie of the Year.

Ranson coached at St. Frances Academy for two seasons before joining the Loyola staff. He handled St. Frances’ junior-varsity program, directing the 2003-04 team to a 24-5 record, titles in the MIAA and the Baltimore Catholic League. He also founded Team Baltimore, one of the top AAU programs in the Northeast.

Among the players Ranson worked with at the AAU level are Sean Mosley and Juan Dixon of Maryland, Ricky Harris of Massachusetts, Jermaine Dixon of Pittsburgh and Donte Greene of Syracuse.

A 1999 graduate of Southern New Hampshire with a B.S. in sports management, Ranson completed his collegiate career as one of the top players in the history of the school. He ranked seventh in career scoring (1,899 points), fifth in assists (598) and fourth in 3-point field goals (226) after lettering for four seasons. He was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in January 2007.

Ranson and his wife, Shannon, have two sons: Orlando and Bradshaw.

RANSON CAREER

2010-11 – Assistant Coach, Maryland
2009-10 – Assistant Coach, Xavier
2008-09 – Assistant Coach, James Madison
2004-05 to 2006-07 – Assistant Coach, Marist
2003-04 & 2004-05 – Administrative Assistant, Loyola, Md.
2001-02 to 2002-03 – Coach, St. Francis Academy

DUSTIN CLARK

Hometown: Waxahachie, Texas

Education: Texas A&M ‘07

Dustin Clark comes to the Maryland men’s basketball program as the director of basketball operations on the staff of head coach Mark Turgeon. In that role, Clark will be in charge of the administrative duties in the men’s basketball office, including scheduling, operations and travel.

“Dustin is one of the bright young coaches in this business,” said Turgeon. “He has tremendous passion for his job and will build great relationships with our current players. His understanding and experience of how I want the office and program to run is big in our transition.”

Clark spent five seasons with the Texas A&M basketball program. After serving as an athletics assistant for three years, he was the team administrator in the 2010-11 season. During his five seasons, the Aggies won 124 games, produced three NBA draft picks and had Turgeon earn back-to-back Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

His duties included on-campus recruiting, coordination of recruiting correspondence, academic quality control and student-athlete affairs. Clark was the director of the Mark Turgeon Basketball Camp, as well as a coordinator for the Texas A&M Elite and Junior Elite camps. He has played a key role in helping the Aggies land multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes.

In 2008, the Aggies won the Preseason NIT and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they lost in the closing seconds to top-seeded UCLA. A&M closed the next regular season on a six-game winning streak and again reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In 2010, Texas A&M reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament despite playing the second-toughest schedule in the nation. A year ago, the Aggies exploded to a 16-1 start, the best at the school in 91 years and earned its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.

A native of Waxahachie, Texas, Clark received his degree from Texas A&M in 2007. Clark graduated from Avalon High School, where he was a four-year letterman in both basketball and baseball.

CLARK CAREER

2010-11 – Team Administrator, Texas A&M
2007-10 – Athletic Assistant, Texas A&M
2006-07 – Student Assistant, Texas A&M

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Early Reports Wrong as Sean Miller Now Staying at Arizona

Posted on 07 May 2011 by WNST Staff

After a wild Saturday of reports (including an initial report from ESPN 980-WTEM-in Washington, DC) saying University of Arizona head coach Sean Miller was set to replace Gary Williams as basketball coach at the University of Maryland, things got even wilder after midnight.

A late night Twitter update from U of A Athletic Director Greg Byrne said the following…

“Breaking news: Internet speculation wrong. Sean Miller is staying at Arizona as our hoops coach.”

An ensuing press release from Byrne confirmed the Tweet.

“Sean and I have had many positive conversations and have been working on a revised contract for some time” said Byrne in the release. “I’m pleased to confirm that we have agreed to an amendment to Sean’s contract that we hope will keep him in Tucson for many years to come.”

This appears to mean that a western trip from Terrapins Athletic Director and Baltimore Ravens owner/Terps booster Steve Bisciotti is for naught, and the school will be forced to consider other candidates.

Multiple reports have suggested Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon has already removed his name from consideration. Other rumored candidates include Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey, Villanova’s Jay Wright, VCU’s Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Brey is closer to agreeing on a contract extension with the Fighting Irish. CSN Philadelphia reported Saturday that Wright will not be leaving Villanova.

Anderson and Bisciotti reportedly traveled to Las Vegas Saturday to meet with Miller at a Nike Coaches Clinic. Anderson’s visit was originally reported by FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, Bisciotti’s inclusion was originally reported by Comcast SportsNet’s Chick Hernandez.

Bisciotti’s involvement in the school’s coaching search came just 24 hours after he told WNST.net’s Glenn Clark decisively “no” when asked if he would be involved in the process. Clark interviewed Bisciotti at Williams’ retirement press conference in College Park Friday.

Miller appeared to be the frontrunner for the job, as the Ellwood City, Pennsylvania native was reported to be interested in returning to the East Coast. It is not immediately known why he made the decision to stay with the Wildcats.

Follow @WNST on Twitter for more details as they emerge.

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Where NFL-NFLPA labor fight stands (April 24)

Posted on 25 April 2011 by Chris Pika

We are on the brink of the first potential leverage either side in the NFL labor fight has had since the lockout by the owners was announced March 11 as Judge Susan Nelson of the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis is reportedly ready to rule on the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to lift the lockout as part of the Brady v. NFL lawsuit.

However, the victor in Judge Nelson’s ruling will have a short-lived time to celebrate as there will be an immediate appeal on the injunction ruling by the losing side. That means the real leverage for one side won’t be decided until the appeal is heard in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

To revisit the issues behind Brady v. NFL, National Football Post’s Andrew Brandt, who is also reporting on the labor fight for ESPN.com did a primer on March 18 for NFP.

Brandt did an update on April 20 which touched on the mediation brokered by Judge Nelson in advance of her decision and where the situation may be headed in the coming weeks.

Another pressure point will come May 12 when Judge David Doty will hold a hearing to decide damages in the TV lockout-funding case brought by the players against the owners. A major award to the players of money that the owners expected to have as a “war chest” in the lockout could also shift leverage. Doty ruled against the owners in the suit in early March.

Late last week, there were reports that some NFL players were interested in having a seat at the mediation table in Minneapolis. The NFLPA, through its’ NFLLockout.com web site, made an email public from an unspecified law firm looking for 70 potential clients to intervene in the mediation, which broke off April 20.

Meawhile, unlike the previous mediation talks in Washington with George Cohen of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, where details were leaked almost daily, the mediation under Judge Arthur Boylan was done under a gag order which carried real legal issues if it was violated. The mediation talks under Judge Boylan were suspended on April 20 to resume May 16.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t news from the NFL in past two weeks. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held several conference calls with season-ticket holders of the Dolphins, Chargers, Giants and 49ers to go over the league’s positions on the labor issues.

The NFL also released its’ 2011 regular-season schedule. And ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter found that the league built in some safeguards to have a complete schedule even if the first three weeks are not played as planned.

In short, the league has asked Indianapolis to hold hotel rooms for another week to play Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 12 if needed. The league would also take away one of the two weeks between the conference championship games, so teams would have to head to Indy the day after winning their respective conference titles for Super Bowl week. Also, every Week 3 game has been safeguarded as the teams off in a particular bye week match up to their Week 3 opponent.

So, according to ESPN, the season could start as late as October 2 (Week 4) and a full 16-game schedule could be played.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Breunig Officially Signs LOI With Maryland Hoops

Posted on 13 April 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Maryland Sports Information Department…

Breunig signs with Maryland

Becomes third member of 2011 recruiting class

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Martin Breunig, a 6-foot-9 forward from St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play men’s basketball at the University of Maryland, head coach Gary Williams announced Wednesday.

Breunig, who is originally from Leverkusen, Germany, attended the academy located in Delafield, Wis., and averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Lancers. He played for the post-graduate team at St. John’s Northwestern, but will still have four years of eligibility remaining at Maryland.

He joins Nick Faust (6-6, SG, Baltimore City College HS) and Sterling Gibbs (6-1, PG, Seton Hall Prep) as members of the Terrapins’ recruiting class of 2011.

MARTIN BREUNIG (6-9, forward, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, Leverkusen, Germany)

Averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game for St. John’s Northwestern post-graduate team…. Graded at 87 by ESPN.com… Listed as three-star prospect by Rivals.com… Solid fundamental player who is good within the team concept… Mobile big man with good physical tools… Solid mid-range jumper… Chose Maryland over Virginia, Saint Louis and USF.

Williams on Breunig: “We are very happy to have Martin join our basketball program. His basketball background is very impressive as he grew up playing in Germany and spent this past season at a great program in St. John’s Northwester Military Academy. On the court, Martin is a versatile forward who can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. His work ethic and character are also things that will bring great value to our team and we are excited about his future.”

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Towson Officially Introduces Skerry as Coach

Posted on 05 April 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official release, courtesy of the Tigers’ Sports Information Department…

Pat Skerry Named as Tigers’ Head Coach

TOWSON, Md. – University of Pittsburgh assistant coach Pat Skerry has been named as the head men’s basketball coach at Towson University, Director of Athletics Mike Waddell and President Robert L. Caret announced today.

“This is an exciting time for Towson University,” Waddell said. “We welcome Pat, his wife Kristen, and their sons Ryan and Owen to the Tiger Family and the Baltimore community.

“Pat is a coach that brings with him a wealth of experience as a former head coach and assistant coach, having worked with great mentors throughout his career,” Waddell added. “He is recognized nationally as a top recruiter and his contacts will open doors to recruits up and down the talent-rich East Coast. We look forward to seeing his physical and tough brand of basketball at Towson.”

A 19-year coaching veteran, Skerry has spent time building his resume of success at nine different schools: Pittsburgh 2010-11, Providence 2008-10, Rhode Island 2005-08, College of Charleston 2003-05, William & Mary 2000-03, Northeastern 1998-2000, Curry College (Mass.) 1996-98, Stonehill College (Mass.) 1995-96 and his alma mater, Tufts 1992-95.

Last season, Skerry helped Pittsburgh to the BIG EAST Conference regular season championship with an overall mark of 28-6. During his tenure at Pitt, he once again helped refill the talent pool for the Panthers as they added one of the Top 15 recruiting classes in the country according to ESPN.com, including two of the Top 60 incoming players.

“I want to thank Mike Waddell, President Caret and the entire search committee for all of the time and effort they put in during this process,” said Skerry. “It is the energy they displayed during the search and the commitment from the University that will show through as we develop our championship mentality. When Tiger Arena opens in just two short years, it will be a night of celebration for everyone in Baltimore.

“Our Tigers will represent Towson with class and dignity and show an unparalleled work ethic both on and off the court,” Skerry added. “Playing in the nation’s top non-BCS conference, we will need to work hard and play with TU toughness, both key characteristics I have learned from all the coaches I worked with during my career.”

Skerry has spent his last three years recruiting and coaching in the BIG EAST, working the two years prior to Pitt at Providence under Keno Davis.

In 2008-09, Providence advanced to the NIT with a 19-14 overall record and 10-8 Big East mark. Skerry assisted with the Friars’ 2009 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 35 in the nation by Hoop Scoop.

Before his jump to Providence, Skerry spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island working for Jim Baron. During his time at URI, Skerry gained national recognition and was named one of the top assistant coaches in the country in 2007 by Hoop Scoop. In 2008, Fox Sports.com went on to name Skerry the top mid-major assistant in the nation.

His recruiting classes at Rhode Island also captured the nation’s attention as his 2006 class was rated No. 24 in the nation by Hoop Scoop along with a No. 61 ranking for the Rams’ 2007 group.

Skerry served as an assistant for two seasons at the College of Charleston under current Marshall Coach Tom Herrion. While at Charleston, the Cougars posted a combined 38-19 record.

In addition, Skerry has a great understanding of the Colonial Athletic Association as he spent five years in the league with William & Mary (2000-03) and Northeastern University (1998-2000).

In 1996, Skerry became the second-youngest head coach in the nation at the age of 26 when he was selected to guide the Curry basketball program. During his two-year stop with the Colonels, he led Curry to its first winning season in five years.

He also spent one year as an assistant at Stonehill and three seasons as an assistant at Tufts where he helped guide the Jumbos to two ECAC Tournaments along with the school’s first NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1995.

A native of Medford, Mass., Skerry played collegiately at Tufts from 1989-92 where he was a two-time team captain and garnered All-New England honors. As a point guard, he recorded a school record 650 assists during his career – a mark that still ranks as the 17th best in NCAA Division III history. His 198 assists in 1990-91 is a Tufts single-season record. He also is fifth on the school’s career steals list with 95.

Skerry earned both of his collegiate degrees from Tufts, earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992 and his master’s degree in education in 1995.

Skerry and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Ryan and Owen.


The Pat Skerry File


Birthdate: January 21, 1970

Hometown: Medford, Mass.

Education: Bachelor of Science–Psychology, Tufts University, 1992; Master’s degree–Education, Tufts University, 1995

Family: Wife, Kristen; two sons, Ryan and Owen

Coaching Career:

Years Title School
2010-11 Assistant Coach University of Pittsburgh
2008-10 Assistant Coach Providence College
2005-08 Assistant Coach University of Rhode Island
2003-05 Assistant Coach College of Charleston
2000-03 Assistant Coach College of William & Mary
1998-2000 Assistant Coach Northeastern University
1996-98 Head Coach Curry College (Mass.)
1995-96 Assistant Coach Stonehill College (Mass.)
1992-95 Assistant Coach Tufts University

Playing Career:
Earned All-New England honors and was a two-year team captain at Tufts … set school record with 650 career assists which still ranks as the 17th best total in NCAA Division III … his 6.8 career assists per game average still ranks 10th in NCAA Division III Record Book.


What They Are Saying About Pat Skerry


Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, University of Pittsburgh
“I’ve had numerous conversations with Towson Athletic Director Mike Waddell regarding Pat Skerry and the job at Towson. During our conversations over the last few weeks, I’ve expressed how valuable Pat has been for our program and how good of a coach he’s going to be. We have been extremely fortunate to have Pat on our coaching staff for the past year. With his talent, work ethic, experience and background, Pat was a valuable addition to our staff. He is well-rounded as a coach and has assisted us in a variety of ways including recruiting, scouting and player development. In his one short year at Pitt, he made a tremendous impact. We are happy and excited for Pat and his family and we are sure that he will do a great job at Towson.”

Tom Herrion, Head Coach, Marshall University
“I am thrilled for Pat and the wonderful opportunity he has been given at Towson. I commend Mike (Waddell) and the entire Towson community on an excellent hire. There is no doubt he will infuse new life into the basketball program. I am confident he will represent Towson in a first-class manner as its head coach.”

Jim Baron, Head Coach, University of Rhode Island
“Pat is an outstanding individual and one of the hardest workers I have ever coached with. He did an outstanding job for us, both recruiting and developing players. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Jeff Goodman, College Basketball Reporter, FOXSports.com
“I have known Pat for a long time and I am not sure you will find a more tireless worker. He has proven himself as an elite recruiter. He is a terrific leader and knows how to deal with today’s players. This is a great hire for Towson. Pat is going to raise the level of their talent pool.”

Keno Davis, Former Head Coach, Providence College
“Pat Skerry is one of the hardest working coaches in the country and I wish him all the best. I expect to see a great deal of success for Towson.”

Waddell joined Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hear that chat in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net. Skerry will join Forrester at 8:05 Wednesday.

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Soccer ??? Nobody Cares – The Sequel …..

Posted on 28 June 2009 by Rex Snider

I’ve been spending the past few days fending off some playful jabs regarding my thoughts on soccer and its prominence – or lack thereof – in the American sports culture. To be crystal clear about the subject, my references are specific to the pro game, and not youth/recreational soccer leagues.

My blog, titled “Soccer ??? Nobody Cares …..” was also based on my opinions and observations of the pro game and all things related to a professional sports league; marketing, sponsorship, merchandising, tickets sales and overall revenues. And, I’d add the overall “fan experience.”

Let me start by making a few clarifying statements, as I want to ensure I’m not sending a misconstrued or turbid message …..

As a proud American, I always support the U.S teams during international competition. It doesn’t matter if the game is soccer, baseball or checkers ….. it’s always heartwarming to see a red, white and blue uniform on the winning end.

Don’t get me wrong, patriotism is not directly tied to simply backing our nation’s sports teams against foreign competition. Patriots? They’re not kicking soccer balls or running basepaths – they’re American men and women enduring the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and inhaling sand, in Iraq.

But, there is a patriotic feel to seeing U.S. teams win. Even if I didn’t watch Thursday’s game, I was glad to hear the U.S. soccer team advanced to the finals of the Confederations Cup.

I’ve also tried to be clear about my ignorance and lack of insight, as it relates to soccer. I’ve written about my shortcomings in knowledge about the sport, numerous times. My interest in soccer is very challenged. And, that’s being diplomatic.

Different strokes for different folks …..

But, in recognizing my own lack of knowledge, I’ve tried to be representative of the fan or observer who exists on that bubble OR edge of becoming a fan. That said, I will offer conclusions that the novice probably sees. These same conclusions are riddled with holes when dissected by a devout insider of the game.

I think this is exactly what’s represented in Drew Forrester’s blog, “Soccer Not Such A Dirt Word After All.” Drew’s knowledge of soccer is so vast, it could probably spill over the decks of a cruise ship. Conversely, my knowledge of the game would probably fit in one of those life-rings thrown overboard.

I trust his opinions and years of experience, and I learned the depth of SOME of my misconceptions, in reading his blog.

But, these “misconceptions” belong to all of us, in one way or another. On occasion, I’ve heard Drew and Nestor talk about NASCAR. In analyzing the rules and protocol, they’ve mirrored some of the same transgressions I’ve made in my analysis of soccer.

I know them – and they’re humble enough to probably admit it.

The same applies to Glenn Clark’s view of baseball and the intimacies of the Major League product. But, to his credit, Glenn is very honest about his disinterest in the game. Glenn and I rarely see “eye to eye” on anything, but I’ve always respected his blunt honesty.

While my views of soccer are skewed, I’m the guy the sport needs ….. if it’s gonna grow in popularity. They need today’s non-believer to become a believer. Thus, my opinions – right or wrong – should be valued, from a business sense.

The same theory would exist with Drew, Nestor and anyone else who’s not really a fan of NASCAR. While NASCAR is immensely popular with American viewers, there is room for improvement. And, guys like Drew and Nestor are uncharted territory for NASCAR Nation.

Our opinions matter, even if we’re not exactly correct in our reasoning.

So, when I say “People Don’t Care” about soccer as a professional brand of sports entertainment, I’m making a generalization that I feel. In retrospect, there was a better way to wrap up my feelings, in a half-dozen words. That’s the unfortunate side to getting the TITLE to a blog wrong.

And, that rests squarely on my shoulders.

Candidly, I still feel the same way. I question whether the American audience really cares about the professional product of soccer. My plea regards the viewing public, collectively – of course, there are PEOPLE who care about soccer and it’s daily existence.

But, is that group representative of the common sports fan? Probably, not.

Since Thursday, soccer loyalists have been touting the legitimacy of the U.S. team, along with conveying the magnitude of its win over Spain. Indeed, soccer gained some popularity in the short term. But, I was skeptical.

In fact, on Friday, I sat in Nestor’s chair on the set of “Limited Access” and made this bold prediction – the NASCAR race, in Loudon, New Hampshire, would be a bigger story than the U.S./Brazil soccer game. I was confident of it.

Was I right ???

Well, let’s examine it. The biggest sports-media machine IN THE WORLD televised the U.S. vs. Brazil game. Yes, ESPN (aka – The Worldwide Leader) ensured American fans saw the game and it was constantly updated on ESPN.com

As we all know, ESPN.com is the most visited sports website on the internet. While WNST.net is dedicated to a specific community, and outlining the daily observances of Baltimore sports, ESPN.com is more far reaching.

They usually capture the biggest highlights on a national scale, with some international flavored stories peppered between the common stuff, right? The U.S. soccer team earned coverage on ESPN.com and they received it.

Yet, just a couple hours after the U.S. soccer team lost to Brazil, they were no longer the highlight story on the ESPN website. Easy come, easy go, I suppose. Indeed, two hours after the soccer game – the BIGGEST soccer game of the year, America’s (and the world’s) biggest sports website was graced with a NASCAR driver.

And, he’s not just any ordinary driver or competitor …..

ESPN.com featured Joey Logano, NASCAR’s rookie phenom. On Sunday, Joey Logano claimed his place in NASCAR history – at 19 years, he becomes the youngest driver to win a race in NASCAR’s premier series.

ESPN thought it was a big story and relevant enough to bump anything else. And, pardon the pun; they didn’t have a “horse in the race.” ESPN didn’t televise the NASCAR race – they showed the soccer game.

ESPN didn’t owe Home Depot (Logano’s sponsor) any favors. Or, maybe they did. And, if so, that’s the price for doing business. ESPN didn’t owe Joe Gibbs (owner of Logano’s team) any favors. Or, once again, maybe they did. And, once again, that’s the price for doing business.

Regardless, just a couple hours after Brazil’s victory, the soccer game became a “side” story. Yep, the result and recap were listed on the side column of the webpage. I don’t mean to split hairs, but this is a problem …..

While I’ll agree NASCAR is not a big draw in the Baltimore area, its prominence and appeal cannot be denied across the American sports landscape. It gets exposure and that’s an invaluable reality.

A typical NASCAR driver cannot carry the lunch of a typical soccer player, when it comes to athletic ability. And, guess what? It doesn’t matter. Not in America and not to the very media entities that provide exposure for sport.

The athletic abilities and sheer talents of pro competitors brokers on the edge of IRRELEVANT in this society. Can you entertain the public? Will they pay to see you? Will they support your merchandising efforts? Can you sell?

Maybe, Rod Tidwell was right. Maybe, it’s all about the money.

I’ve got news for you ….. Rod Tidwell was right. It is all about the money.

How else do explain a bunch of souped-up cars running around in circles and outdrawing, out-earning and outselling every pro sports league, except the NFL? NASCAR has the 2nd highest TV share (per average event) and rights contract, in the American market.

Who saw this coming, 15 years ago …..

If they can do it, I’d like to think anybody can do it. You’ve just gotta market it the right way. And, this has been the real root of my concern with pro soccer.

Admittedly, this is a question for Drew Forrester. And, I’m gonna get the chance to ask him, in person. Drew has been quite kind in inviting me to join him during the Comcast Morning show, on Monday.

No, he didn’t invite me to debate soccer OR to rub my nose in my own mistakes. Drew has invited me to help promote WNST’s upcoming charity endeavor, “Curing Cancer ….. One Call At A Time,” a benefit for Harbor Hospital’s HarborView Cancer Center.

I’m grateful for his generosity. Thanks, Drew.

But, I’m still gonna ask him, does ANYBODY really care about soccer ……

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Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina Making Arrests In Phelps Case

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Alex Thomas

The most famous bong hit in the history of weed continues to fuel the ego of Sheriff Leon Lott, the moron who apparently has nothing better to do with his time than to harass college students. This despite the fact that the Richland County Sheriff’s Office website lists several unsolved homicides.

Attorney Joseph McCulloch, a defense lawyer who represents a student who was arrested on marijuana possession charges, says that police have questioned his client in an attempt to gather evidence to press charges against Michael Phelps.

McColloch told ESPN.com: “”Our clients answered questions but I don’t know that their information would be helpful to law enforcement. It seems to me that Richland County has a host of its own crime problems much more serious than a kid featured in a photograph with a bong in his hand.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

A representative from the Sheriff’s office said that they would not release any information about the case in the middle of an investigation.

It just blows my mind that a Sheriff’s office would take it this far and that the local government hasn’t stepped in to say: “stop wasting tax payers money with this crap. You have several unsolved homicides to worry about. Why don’t you solve them and then we’ll worry about a college party, OK Dopey?”

To this date, eight arrests have been made in this case. Yup, eight.

Well thank God they’re making these arrests. I’m not sure how well I could sleep at night knowing that eight pothead college students were buying Cheetos at a 7-11 somewhere. Keep those dangerous criminals off the streets!

Give me a break. As a Sheriff, Leon Lott’s job is to protect and serve. Instead of doing his job, he’s trying to make a name for himself. It’s like he’s trying out for the Fraternal Order of Police’s version of American Idol.

Obviously, what Phelps did was wrong…but this is taking it too far.

I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear about Bong Water Gate…

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