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New York Cosmos Sign Forward Haji Wright

The New York Cosmos announced on Monday that the club has signed U.S. youth international star Haji Wright. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“I’m excited about joining the Cosmos,” said Wright. “The team plays with an attacking mindset that fits my style and I think it’s the perfect environment for the next stage of my development.

“Getting the chance to train with and learn from world-class players such as Raúl and Marcos Senna is any player’s dream.”

Wright, 17, is a Los Angeles, Calif. native who has been part of the U.S. youth national team program since being called into the U-14s in 2012. In 2014, he tallied 18 goals and seven assists in 22 matches for the U.S. U-17 team.

He was also a key part of the U.S. U-17 team that qualified from the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 championships for this summer’s U-17 World Cup in Chile.

“Haji is a very exciting prospect,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese. “He has some special attacking qualities and can play as a striker or on the wing and gives us some more options in the final third.”

For more information on the New York Cosmos fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.nycosmos.com

 

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New York Mets Acquire LHP Alex Torres from the San Diego Padres

The New York Mets announced on Monday the club has acquired lefthanded pitcher Alex Torres from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league righthanded pitcher Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later.

Torres, 27, went 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA (20 earned runs/54.0 innings) in 70 games with San Diego in 2014. He held righties to a .209 (23-110) batting average, the sixth-lowest mark among NL lefthanded relievers. Lefties hit .256 (23-90) against him last year.

The 5-10, 185-pounder stranded 39 of 44 inherited runners, tied for the fourth-best rate in the majors last season.

As a rookie in 2013, Torres went 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA (11 earned runs/58.0 innings) in 39 games with Tampa Bay. He made his major league debut the previous season with the Ray, appearing in four games. The Padres acquired the lefthander on January 22, 2014 as part of a seven-player trade.

Torres is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA (two earned runs/8.0 innings) in eight spring games with San Diego this year.

The native of Valencia, Venezuela is 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA (34 earned runs/120.0 innings) and 122 strikeouts in 113 major league games with the Rays and Padres.

Mazzoni, 25, went 7-2 with a 4.68 ERA (40 earned runs/77.0 innings) in 14 starts for four different minor league teams last year.

For more information on the New York Mets fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=nym

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VIDEOS: Interviews from New York Lizards Practice on 3/29

Paul Rabil. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Paul Rabil. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

The 2015 New York Lizards Season is quickly approaching and there is a ton of hype and excitement that surrounds the squad. After a 2014 that saw the team find their playoff form this year’s edition looks to go beyond and hopefully even capture a championship.

Fans that attend Shuart Stadium for one of the home games happening this year can find lots of familiar faces in JoJo Marasco, Rob Pannell, Tommy Palasek  and Ned Crotty who have been three leaders for the team on the offensive side of the ball.

Returning keeper Drew Adams will once again man the pipes for New York. Adams  had a sensational 2014 campaign where he made 154 total saves, while also won a Silver Medal with Team USA in the FIL World Lacrosse Championship.

Defender Joe Fletcher will have his first full season with the Lizards, having played in 11 games in the 2014 season. Fletcher was Two-time Warrior Defensive Player of the Week (weeks 4 and 14) and also tallied his first goal on August 1.

Greg ‘The Beast’ Gurenlian will return to take the face-offs for New York, after winning the Major League Lacrosse  FOGO Player of the Year.

There will also be some new faces to the New York Lizards as Paul Rabil, who once played for the Boston Cannons will now be wearing the green and white in 2015.

1495 Sports was able to attend a New York Lizards  training session on 3/29 and is proud to bring the following videos:

Interview with Ned Crotty:

Interview with Major League Lacrosse player and Wagner Head Coach Matt Poskay who is currently practicing with the Lizards:

The Lizards will have their home opener on April 12 against the Ohio Machine at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University.

For more information on the New York Lizards fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.nylizards.com

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St. John’s and Steve Lavin Mutually Agree to Part Ways

Steve Lavin seen in a team huddle. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Steve Lavin seen in a team huddle. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

St. John’s Director of Athletics Chris Monasch announced Friday that Steve Lavin and the University have mutually agreed to part ways after five seasons leading the men’s basketball program. A national search for his successor is underway.

“Coach Lavin returned high expectations to our men’s basketball program and represented St. John’s in a positive way,” said Monasch. “We appreciate his commitment to the program and to our student-athletes over the past five years. Our student-athletes represented the University well, especially our five-member senior class who excelled on the court, inside the classroom and within the community.”

“I enjoyed celebrating our student-athletes’ accomplishments in my first year at St. John’s,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, St. John’s University. “We look forward to building on this foundation as we strive to continue the tradition of success that the St. John’s basketball program has achieved for more than 100 years.”

Lavin was named the 19th head men’s basketball coach in program history on March 30, 2010. St. John’s went 21-12 in 2014-15 to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 9 seed in the South Region. It was the 85th winning season in program history, while the 21-wins matched the most victories of The Lavin Era. The Red Storm’s season concluded with a 76-64 setback to eighth-seeded San Diego State on March 20 in Charlotte.

Lavin mentored two BIG EAST Rookies of the Year, two Most Improved Players, a Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year over his five years of service at St. John’s. The four-year members of St. John’s nationally ranked 2011 recruiting class – D’Angelo Harrison (2,178), Phil Greene IV (1,243), Sir’Dominic Pointer (1,078) – each scored more than 1,000 points in their careers and are on schedule to earn their degrees in May with fellow seniors Jamal Branch and Khadim Ndiaye.

“In life change is inevitable, so I take the long view. I’m grateful for my time teaching at St. John’s University,” said Lavin. “I will take with me the lasting friendships forged during my tenure as Head Coach. I’m proud of our results both on and off the court – in particular our memorable runs to the NCAA tournament in 2011 and 2015. Most importantly, I take pride in our performance in the classroom having graduated our student athletes who will represent the institution in a first class manner.”

One of the storied program’s in men’s collegiate basketball, St. John’s is the eighth all-time winningest program in NCAA Division I with 1,795 wins and 956 losses. The school’s .652 winning percentage is top-10 in NCAA history and the 28 NCAA Tournament appearances are in the top-25. St. John’s has made 28 appearances in the NIT winning five championships. Helms Foundation national champions following the 1910-11 season, St. John’s appeared in NCAA Final Fours in 1952 and 1985. The program boasts 11 consensus All-Americans, 58 NBA Draft picks and 50 players who have scored 1,000 career points or more.

For more information on the St John’s Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.redstormsports.com

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Hofstra MBB: Green And Tanksley Named To NABC All-District Teams

Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Juan’ya Green and Ameen Tanksley. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Hofstra University junior guard Juan’ya Green was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 10 First Team and junior forward Ameen Tanksley picked up second team accolades, it was announced on Friday morning.

These honors come on the heels of the duo leading the Pride to a 20-win campaign in 2014-15 and a postseason berth in the College Basketball Invitational.

Previously, Green was named to the Colonial Athletic Association first team and the CAA Championship All-Tournament team. Tanksley was a second team All-CAA selection.

Green’s first season in a Hofstra uniform after transferring from Niagara was strong in every facet of the game. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native led Hofstra in scoring, assists and steals, while ranking third on the squad in rebounding. He averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Currently ranked sixth nationally in free throws made with 203, Green remarkably scored in double figures in all 34 games this season including a season-high 26 points at Charleston. His assists per game average ranks ninth nationally and he was the CAA Player of the Week on December 29. Green led Hofstra with eight double-doubles and also had the program’s first-ever triple-double this season with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against LIU Brooklyn on December 28, 2014, at the Barclays Center. It was the first-ever triple-double, NBA or NCAA, at the home of the Brooklyn Nets.
The 203 free throws made ranks as the second-most made in a season in Hofstra history and his 220 assists are the third-most in a single season in program history.

Joining Green on the all-district teams is Tanksley, who also joined the Pride from Niagara this season. The Pride’s second-leading scorer, he averaged 16.2 points per outing and his influence can be felt in other areas as well.

Tanksley has had an outstanding season from beyond the arc as he was second on Pride in three-point field goal percentage at 39%, while also ranking second on the team with 74 made three-pointers. He was also among the team’s leader in rebounding, averaging 5.5 per outing, and was tied for first on the squad with 1.4 steals per contest.

Tanksley’s 74 three-pointers this season ranks ninth in program history and his ability to shoot the ball allowed him to pour in at least 30 points on a pair of occasions, including a career-best 32 versus LIU Brooklyn. Tanksley ranked second on the team with three double-doubles this season.

For more information on the Hofstra Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.gohofstra.com

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New York Liberty Announce Additions to Basketball Staff

The New York Liberty announced on Thursday that the team has named  Herb Williams and Katie Smith assistant coaches, and Teresa Weatherspoon director of player development. Per team policy, terms of the deals will not be disclosed.

“In her first season, Katie showed that she has the leadership and communication skills required to be an excellent coach, and I expect her to contribute even more this year,” said Liberty Head Coach Bill Laimbeer. “Herb will have instant credibility with our players, and his extensive bench experience will be invaluable to our team. When he told me that he would be interested in the job, it was a no brainer to bring him on our staff.”

“As a player, T-Spoon was legendary for her work ethic and constant dedication to improvement,” said Kristin Bernert, Senior Vice President of Business and Basketball Operations, New York Liberty.  “She will lead our efforts in making our players the best they can be both on and off of the court, with a primary focus on skill development this season”

Williams returns to Madison Square Garden after spending 13 seasons as a coach for the New York Knicks (2001-2014), which marked the longest tenure of any on-the-bench assistant coach in franchise history. He first joined the Knicks’ staff as an assistant on Dec. 29, 2001, and on two occasions, took the helm as the head coach. The Ohio State alum played in the NBA for 18 seasons with the Pacers, Mavericks, Knicks, and Raptors, averaging 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 1,102 career games. Williams was a member of the Knicks’ 1994 and 1999 Eastern Conference Championship teams and became the oldest Knick to ever appear in a game (41 years, four months, nine days) during Game Five of the 1999 NBA Finals against San Antonio. On Feb. 20, 2012, he proudly accepted the distinguished Dick McGuire Knickerbocker Legacy Award.

Smith returns to the Liberty for her second season as an assistant coach. A 14-year WNBA veteran, Smith played on four different teams (Detroit, Minnesota, Washington, Seattle) before spending her final season with the Liberty. Appearing in 448 career games, Smith averaged 13.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Smith is the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball, having notched over 7,000 points in both her American Basketball League and WNBA career. The Ohio State graduate holds the distinction of being the first female Buckeye athlete to have her number retired and is an Olympic gold medalist, winning gold three times with Team USA in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

A Liberty legend, Weatherspoon joined the team in the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997, leading the Liberty to the first-ever WNBA Finals. That same year, she became the league’s first winner of the Defensive Player of the Year Award, winning again the following year. Following seven seasons with the Liberty, Weatherspoon signed with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004, retiring at the end of the season.

During her time in the league, Weatherspoon started 220 straight games and led the Liberty to four WNBA  Finals appearances in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002. Weatherspoon began her coaching career as the head coach of the Westchester Phantoms of the American Basketball Association in 2007. In 2008, she joined the coaching staff of the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech, where she was the head coach from 2009-2013. Weatherspoon was elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

The New York Liberty will tip off the 2015 regular season on Fri., June 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden, hosting the Atlanta Dream. Season ticket packages are available by calling 212-465-6073 or by visiting NYLiberty.com.

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St. John’s WBB to Face Villanova in WNIT Round of 16

Amber Thompson. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Amber Thompson. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Following wins over Army and Fordham in the first two rounds of the WNIT, the Red Storm will face a familiar opponent in the Round of 16, traveling to The City of Brotherly Love for a tilt with BIG EAST foe Villanova at The Pavilion on Thursday.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network, available on FOXSportsGO.com and the FOX Sports GO app on mobile and tablet.

RED STORM QUICK HITS

  • This season marks the Red Storm’s third trip to the WNIT Round of 16 in just four tries, as St. John’s advanced this far in 2008 and 2009.  A win against the Wildcats would punch the Red Storm’s ticket to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history.  Following the team’s win over Fordham, the Red Storm is now 7-3 all-time in WNIT contests.
  • When she takes the floor against the Wildcats, senior forward Amber Thompson will etch her name even more prominently in the St. John’s record book.  Already the school’s career and single-season rebounding leader, Thompson will play in her 133rd career contest for the Red Storm, giving her sole possession of first place on the career games-played list.  Previously, classmates CoCo Hart and Sky Lindsay (2007-11) were tied for first with 132 career games played.
  • Following an outstanding performance against Fordham on Sunday with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Aliyyah Handford bumped her season-long point total to 647.  That effort moved her into second place on the school’s all-time single-season scoring list, passing Cozette Ballentine (626 points in 1990-91).  Handford also passed Ballentine for the highest single-season point total registered by a junior, giving the Newark native the St. John’s single-season scoring record for both the sophomore (567) and junior classes.  Handford is still 58 points away from the top spot overall, as Debbie Beckford compiled 705 points during her senior campaign in 1982-83.  In addition to her single-season accolades, Handford also moved into seventh place on the St. John’s career scoring chart, ending the game with 1,506 career points to pass Monique McClean (1,502; 2005-09).  The junior guard is also just nine points shy of tying Da’Shena Stevens (1,515; 2008-12) for sixth and 30 points behind Kia Wright (1,536; 2004-08) in fifth.  On Wednesday morning, it was announced that Handford was named WBCA All-Region for the second-straight season.

SCOUTING VILLANOVA

  • Following a 12-6 finish in the conference, the Villanova Wildcats claimed third place in the final BIG EAST Regular Season standings, advancing to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament before falling to the eventual champs, DePaul.
  • The Wildcats are led by junior guard Caroline Coyer, who averages a team-best 13.4 points and 4.5 assists per game.  She also possesses a BIG EAST best assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6.
  • Villlanova leads the nation in a pair of categories: fewest turnovers per game (8.5) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.79).
  • The Wildcats also lead the BIG EAST and rank sixth in the nation in three-point field goals per game, averaging 9.2 made triples per contest.

 ST JOHN’S VS. VILLANOVA – THE SERIES

  • BIG EAST foes with a series history dating back to 1981, St. John’s and Villanova have played on 57 occasions all-time with the Wildcats holding a 32-25 advantage.
  • The two squads split during the regular season, with each team picking up a victory on its home court.  The Wildcats shot the lights out at The Pavilion en route to an 81-69 win on Jan. 25, converting on 61 percent of their tries from the floor.  Just about a month later at Carnesecca Arena, Aliyyah Handford scored a game-high 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting, leading the Red Storm to a 56-51 victory.
  • Dating back to 2010, the Red Storm has won seven of the last eight contests played between the two teams.

For more information on the St John’s Women’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.redstormsports.com

 

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