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Liberty Selects Louisville Guard Asia Durr 2nd Overall In WNBA Draft

The New York Liberty selected University of Louisville guard Asia Durr (2nd overall) in the first round of the 2019 WNBA Draft. New York also picked Chinese forward Han Xu (14th overall) in the 2nd Round and University of Utah forward Megan Huff (26th overall) in the 3rd Round.

Durr, a 5-10 guard, helped lead the Cardinals to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore, the Final Four as a junior and the Elite Eight this past season as a senior. She is the second all-time leading scorer in Louisville’s history. During her senior season, the two-time ACC player of the year averaged 21.2 ppg on 44 percent shooting.

The Douglasville, Georgia native scored 2,485 points during her collegiate career. She averaged 17.8 ppg, racked up 307 assists and shot 38.5 percent from the outside, making 374 total 3-pointers.

“Tonight was a big night for the New York Liberty,” said Liberty General Manager, Jonathan Kolb. “We added high character and high caliber players that will contribute both on the court and within our culture. In the first round we added a guard in Asia Durr that is as pure a scorer as they come.  She loves this game and we envision her exciting Liberty fans for years to come.

“Han Xu is a player we have had our eyes on for a while,” Kolb added. “She has incredibly quick feet for a player her size and has a versatile skillset we believe will continue to develop. Megan Huff is a can-do do player that will compete night in and night out.”

Xu, the Liberty’s second round pick is a 6-9 center who began her first Women’s Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) season with the Xinjiang Tianshan Magic Deer in 2018, averaging 15.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 2.1 bpg.

The 19-year old is the first Chinese player drafted to the WNBA since 1997.

The Liberty’s final pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft, Megan Huff is a 6-3 forward from the University of Utah. She is a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection and ranks in the top-10 all-time at Utah in single-game and single-season scoring. Huff also became a 1,000-point scorer in just two seasons.

A transfer from Hawaii, Huff finished two seasons on-court for Utah tying for second in career rpg (8.8) and tied for 3rd in career ppg (17.2).

“We got better tonight,” said Liberty Coach Katie Smith.  “Going into the draft, we knew that we had a couple of needs and we appreciate what Durr brings to the table. She can score the basketball and she’s a playmaker.

“In the second round, it was important to us to choose a productive center who is a hard worker and we got that with Han,” Smith added. “Huff is so versatile and can spread the floor. All in all, we filled some holes that we have and it’s going to be a competitive training camp.”

The 2019 New York Liberty regular season tips off on Friday, May 24, when the team hosts the Indiana Fever at Westchester County Center.

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com or call (914) 908-5980.

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

https://liberty.wnba.com/

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John Griffin III Named Saint Joseph’s Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach

John Griffin III will be joining the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball program as an assistant coach, it was announced by new head coach Billy Lange.

Griffin comes to SJU after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Bucknell University. During his time on the bench, the Bison made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament (2017, 2018), captured the 2017 Patriot League title and compiled a 58-14 record in conference play.

He started his collegiate coaching career on the staff at Rider University, working as the director of operations until he was promoted to assistant coach, serving for two seasons from 2013 to 2015. Griffin was the Indiana Pacers’ video coordinator during the 2010-11 season, in between a three-year professional playing career in Europe.

His ties to Saint Joseph’s are lengthy as his father, John, was Saint Joseph’s head basketball coach from 1990 to 1995.

“John is a natural fit for our program. The son of former coach John Griffin, he understands the passion of Saint Joseph’s basketball. I have known John since his playing career at St. Joe’s Prep and Bucknell and have developed a strong connection with him over the past six years as we discussed his professional and career aspirations,” said Lange. “He brings great energy to the court, a diverse skill set and the desire to help young student-athletes chase their dreams. We welcome John and his family home to Hawk Hill.”

Griffin had an outstanding playing career at Bucknell being part of two NCAA Tournament teams, including the Bison squad which upset Kansas in the 2005 First Round. He averaged 13.1 points and earned All-Patriot League First Team honors as a senior. A 2008 graduate, he scored 1,084 career points and still ranks third on Bucknell’s list for career three-point field goals made (220).

“Saint Joseph’s has always been important to my family and I welcome the chance to be a part of the proud basketball tradition. Billy and I have developed a relationship over the past few years and I’m excited for the chance to now work with him on the court,” said Griffin. “I’m grateful to everyone at Bucknell who allowed me to grow as a coach but am excited about the opportunity to be back in Philadelphia and the Big 5.”

Lange was named Saint Joseph’s head coach on March 28, bringing more than 23 years of coaching experience to the Hawks.

For more information on Saint Joseph’s fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://sjuhawks.com/

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Sky Blue FC Reveals Official 2019 Roster

Entering into the first week of the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League regular season, Sky Blue FC has announced its official roster for the season opener on April 13 against the Washington Spirit.

The club’s first official league match will be played on April 13 against the Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex and the home opener will take place on Saturday, April 20, at 6 p.m. ET against the Houston Dash at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers. Tickets can be purchased by visiting skybluefc.com/tickets.

2019 Sky Blue FC Roster:

Rostered Players (20 of 22 spots filled):

GOALKEEPERS (2): Didi Haracic, Kailen Sheridan (FED-CAN)
DEFENDERS (6): Caprice Dydasco, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Amandine Pierre-Louis (INTL-CAN), Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski
MIDFIELDERS (9): Imani Dorsey, Gabi (INTl-BRA), Naho Kawasumi (INTL-JAP), Sarah Killion, Julie James, Carli Lloyd (FED-USA), Paige Monaghan, Raquel Rodriguez (INTL-CRC), Madison Tiernan
FORWARDS (3): Jen Hoy, Savannah McCaskill, McKenzie Meehan

Federations Players (FED): 2
International Players (INTL): 4

Key:
FED – 2019 Federation Player
INTL – International Player

For more information on Sky Blue FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

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HSS Becomes First-Ever Jersey Patch Partner Of The New York Liberty

The New York Liberty and Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) today announced a long-term partnership that makes the top-ranked hospital the Liberty’s first-ever jersey patch sponsor. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health, HSS performs more than 32,000 surgical procedures annually. The hospital has also been ranked No. 1 for orthopedics for nine consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report (2018-2019) and has been among the top-ranked hospitals for both orthopedics and rheumatology for 27 consecutive years.

“The Liberty are proud to expand our long-standing partnership with HSS to include a visual representation of their commitment to women athletes,” said Keia Clarke, Liberty COO. “HSS doctors treat our players, attend our games and support our youth initiatives, so this collaboration makes sense on many levels.”

HSS is a proven leader in the women’s sports landscape. In 1997, the Hospital opened the HSS Women’s Sports Medicine Center (WSMC) the same year that the WNBA began play. The HSS WSMC, the first of its kind in the U.S., provides collaborative care for female athletes.

“As the official hospital of the Liberty for over a decade, we are excited to now be their most visible partner,” said Emil A. Calcano, vice president & chief of Global Sports Marketing and Business Development at HSS. “We are committed to providing world-class care for athletes of all ages and abilities and look forward to continuing to amplify the HSS brand in New York and WNBA cities across the country.”

Beginning with the 2019 season, HSS’ logo will be prominently placed on the upper left shoulder of all editions of the New York Liberty jerseys, which will debut on Thursday, May 9 when the Liberty hosts the Chinese National Team at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com or call (914) 908-5980.

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

https://liberty.wnba.com/

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Sky Blue FC Signs Brazilian Midfielder Gabi

Sky Blue FC has signed Brazilian midfielder Francisca Gabriela Morais da Rocha, more commonly known as Gabi, ahead of the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League season, pending receipt of her International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa. Per team and league policies, terms of the contract were not announced.

“Gabi is a very versatile player with great technique, which makes her attacking qualities so much more dangerous,” Head Coach Denise Reddy said. “She is a player that is on the cusp of breaking onto the Brazilian national team and I see her being a huge asset for us this year.”

Gabi joins Sky Blue from Brazilian club EC Iranduba da Amazônia of the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol Feminino – Série A1. While there she made five appearances during the 2018 season.

Prior to that Gabi spent two seasons with SC Braga of the Campeonato Nacional Feminino, the highest women’s professional league in Portugal. During her stay here she scored six goals in just 11 appearances.

In 2016 Gabi made 10 appearances and scored one goal for the Brazilian club Corinthians, helping her team lift the Copa do Brasil trophy for the first time in the organization’s history.

In addition, from 2015 to 2016 Gabi scored four goals in 11 appearances for Centro Olímpico.

Gabi began her professional career with Caucaia where she scored one goal in four appearances.

At the national level Gabi has competed with Brazil’s U-20 team, making three appearances. She was part of the squad that competed in the 2014 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. On November 25, 2017 Gabi made her debut for the full team, coming on as a substitute in the 72 minute in the 4-0 victory over Chile. Since then she has received several call ups for the Seleção, including their World Cup residency training earlier this year.

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

https://skybluefc.com/

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Former amateur star Eric Kelly overcomes adversity, inspires tomorrow’s champions

Four-time National amateur boxing champion Eric Kelly has overcome the challenges that destroyed his potentially lucrative professional boxing career to become an inspirational figure for countless youth today.

One of the best United States amateur boxers of all-time, he finished with a remarkable 104-14 record, including numerous medals and awards, culminating with him being named alternate for the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia.

“My first time going for a national championship,” Kelly remembered, “I won it, back in 1997. Leading up to that moment, I hadn’t fought or done anything in a few years, but I had this itch to be somebody. Deep down I knew that I belonged amongst the best in the world. Winning that series of tournaments, which landed me a #1 ranking in the county, let me know there was nothing that I couldn’t do, and I won several tournaments after that. Be it educational goals, personal insecurities, and professional mishaps, the fact that I could get in the ring to fight in front of hundreds and thousands of people was enough. How can I be discouraged or afraid to achieve greatness, when I’d already built the title of champion? Everything else didn’t come easy, but I knew that it was achievable, and well within my grasp.”

Born in Titusville, Florida, Kelly moved as a child with his father to the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, and his father encouraged him to box. Eric trained at the New Bed-Stuy Boxing Venter and later at the famed Gleason’s Gym, winning his first national title at the age of 16.

In 2001, Kelly was the No. 1 ranked middleweight in the U.S., but he lost in the championship final of the USA Boxing Championships to an unranked Andre Ward, who went on to capture a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

“I wasn’t surprised that Andre won a gold medal and retired as an undefeated, two-division world champion as a professional,” Kelly said. “Andre’s focus has always been next level. He was a killer in the ring. When he beat me for the national championship, that’s when I knew that he was going to be a real star, because leading to facing me in the finals, he beat two guys that I’d previously beaten, and they were tough cookies.”

Kelly’s life dramatically changed while training at the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC), where Kelly was trained by Al Mitchell, on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. During a brawl in a barroom, he suffered nerve damage to his left eyelid, after being struck in the face with a pool cue.

“It taught me how to be a man,” Kelly spoke about his live-changing incident. “Honestly, I wish that I was as good to the program as the program was to me. During my time as a USOEC Bad Boy, I was able to win a couple of national championships and experience success inside of the ring, but outside of the ring I was battling life. I was going through a lot of personal issues with family, etc., which ultimately effected my career, as I was having huge disciplinary issues. I was constantly in trouble at USOEC, which twice got me removed from the program as a student-athlete. I was dishonest, violent and a terror. I was broken! Selfishly, I wanted others to feel my pain. There’s an old saying that misery loves company; I was miserable and lost everything – my scholarship, ranking as a boxer and my place on Team USA. I wasn’t allowed to fight in the USA Nationals. I was broken and wandering baseless. I still miss being the champ. I know that my potential was never fulfilled, not even half. Everything I’m doing now is solely for my five children because I need and will take great care of them! This is far deeper than my boxing career. It is their lives at stake, and this is one championship that I will win.”

Never having the opportunity to follow his dream to become world champion may have affected his life, but it has not broken him and has led him to post-boxing success as a father, entertainer, and entrepreneur.

“I look at fighters on TV who are experiencing great success, some I beat, some beat me, but I was always competitive,” Kelly remarked. “It’s tough to watch others live your deal, when you know you were right there. Guys like Andre Ward, Jeff Lacy and Jermain Taylor are guys I’ve punched in the face, and they punched me. The thing is, they took it to the next level and lived my dream, and I was forced to live from afar. Watching those guys also motivated me to achieve professional success as a businessman and entrepreneur. I showed that I can handle the tabloids in more ways than one. Damn near 20 years later, I’m still doing it, and you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

“Eric is actually one of the primary inspirations for my involvement in the USA Boxing Alumni Association,” said Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. “He has continuously demonstrated his character, resolve, and ambition as a father, boxer, trainer, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He’s one of the most honest people in boxing and his passion is contagious. The Alumni Association is proud to call him one of our own and we look forward to working with him to help the sport grow.”

USA Boxing Alumni Association

Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, –boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans — The Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing’s future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.

The USA Boxing Alumni Association is open to anyone who has a love for boxing and would like to stay connected with amateur boxing. Members are granted access to a wide variety of special events hosted by the Alumni Association, including its annual USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception.

To join the Alumni Association, simply register at alumni@usaboxing.org for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.

Today, the 38-year-old Kelly is a successful celebrity/athlete trainer, sports correspondent, viral video sensation, and brand ambassador. He’s also giving back as a coach for kids at his gym, SouthBox Gym, in the Bronx section of New York City.

“It’s deeper than coaching,” Kelly explained. “I am grateful to be in position to be able to give back like I do. I am blessed to own a gym where I can provide resources to those who need it and offer a facility where they can go to achieve their goals. I do a lot of work with youth from the Explorers program through the 40th precinct in the Bronx. I also own a pizza shot, Nobody’s Pizza, just two blocks from my gym. After workouts, I order pizzas for the kids and everything is free of charge. I call the program, PIzzaBox. I also speak to students at several high schools and universities across the United States.”

Instead of brooding about others living his dreams in pro boxing, Eric Kelly has moved forward into an incredibly career as an entrepreneur and, more significant, an invaluable father and role model who has been there and done that in just about every respect.

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Teresa Weatherspoon To Be Inducted Into Naismith Memorial Hall Of Fame

 New York Liberty director of player and franchise development Teresa Weatherspoon will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced by the organization on Saturday.

Weatherspoon will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the group’s enshrinement weekend on September 5-7, 2019 in Springfield, Mass.

She is joined in the class by Bill Fitch, Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma and Paul Westphal.

A Liberty legend and Ring of Honor member, Weatherspoon joined the New York Liberty in the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997 after being selected 10th overall in the WNBA Elite Draft. A four-time All-Star, she helped lead New York to four WNBA Finals appearances (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).

Named one of the Top-20 best and most influential players in WNBA history in 2016, she was also the first player in the league to post 1,000 points and 1,000 assists for her career. Weatherspoon is a five-time WNBA All-Star (1999-2003) and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998).

Internationally, Weatherspoon is a six-time Italian League All-Star (1989-1994), two-time Russian League champion (1995,1996) and an Olympic gold medalist (1988).

Weatherspoon played collegiately for Louisiana Tech University (1984-1988) where she was named to the Kodak All-America Team twice (1987, 1988). In 1988, she led the team to an NCAA Championship and was named the recipient of the Wade Trophy. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

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

https://liberty.wnba.com/