MESA, Ariz. – Phoenix Mercury guard and former Lady Vol Alexis Hornbuckle, along with NBA legend Felipe Lopez and WNBA legend Bridget Pettis, guided students at Roosevelt Elementary School in Mesa, Ariz., through fitness and basketball activities Tuesday during a WNBA FIT clinic, which encourages students to live in an active and healthy lifestyle.
As part of Team Works In Schools, a joint initiative by BBVA Compass and WNBA Cares, the students learned some of the finer points of fitness from the three basketball luminaries and also got some lessons on financial literacy.
“It was great to see the kids out there having fun,” said BBVA Compass Phoenix City President Lynne Herndon. “Seeing the light bulbs go off over their heads when they started to understand what it means to be financially responsible was a gratifying thing, especially since the bank’s top corporate citizenship priority in supporting public education is financial literacy.”
The BBVA Compass Foundation also donated 189 new books directly to students in kindergarten through second grade through the bank’s Reading Counts literacy program. Thirty-one tablet computers and a laptop were donated to the school as well.
“We are proud to take part in a program that shares our commitment to education and provides students with the resources they need to succeed,” said Roosevelt Elementary Principal Darlene Shumway. “After today’s volunteer efforts, our students should have a greater sense of pride in their school and education.”
This marks the third consecutive year that BBVA Compass and WNBA Cares have teamed up for the Team. Works. In Schools initiative. The event marks the 14th hands-on service project since the program’s inception in 2010.
Release online: http://www.utsports.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/121212aaa.html
Eight Ohio Valley Conference football players have been named to the 2012 Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) All-American Team as announced on Wednesday.
That is up from five selections from the OVC a season ago. All eight student-athletes, who represent five different OVC schools, were also selected to the Sports Network All-American Team which was released on Monday.
The selections included three first-team selections, three second-team selections and two third-team selections. The first-team selections were Eastern Illinois redshirt junior wide receiver Erik Lora, Murray State junior wide receiver/return specialist Walter Powell (who was selected as an all-purpose player) and Tennessee State senior offensive lineman Rogers Gaines. The second team selections were Murray State senior quarterback Casey Brockman, Tennessee State sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard and Southeast Missouri senior linebacker Blake Peiffer. The third-team selections were Eastern Kentucky senior offensive lineman Aaron Adams and Tennessee State sophomore defensive back Steven Godbolt III.
Brockman and Peiffer were both repeated Associated Press All-American selections.
Lora, who has been named a first-team All-American by three outlets this season, finished fourth in the Walter Payton Award balloting this year and earned OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors following his record setting season. Lora finished the year with 136 receptions which broke the previous FCS record of 123. He finished with 1,664 yards which is the fourth-highest single season total in FCS history. Along the way Lora set the school record for receptions and receiving yards in a game along with the OVC record for receptions in a game (21). Lora had seven games with double-figure receptions and two more with nine catches as he averaged 11.3 catches per game, the fourth-best single season average in FCS history. Lora opened the year with seven straight 100-yard receiving games, the most by an FCS receiver since 2000. He finished with nine 100-yard receiving games.
Powell, who picked up his second first-team All-American honors of the year, finished the season by ranking second in the FCS in all-purpose yards, averaging 193.0 yards/game. As a punt returner, Powell averaged 15.8 yards per return (fifth nationally), including touchdown returns of 70 and 100 yards (the 100-yard return set an FCS record). He also averaged 26.3 yards on 23 kickoff returns, which ranked 19th nationally. As a receiver, Powell set new school records for receptions and yards as he hauled in 94 catches (second-most in OVC history) for 1,213 yards (fourth-most in OVC history) and 10 touchdowns. He set a school record with six 100-yard receiving performances, and caught at least one touchdown in six of the final seven games. Powell had at least 200 all-purpose yards in six games, including amassing 302 all-purpose yards in the season finale against Southeast Missouri.
Gaines, a left offensive tackle who earned second-team All-American honors from the Sports Network on Monday, was a part of a TSU offensive line that led the OVC in rushing at 175.7 yards/game. The senior did not give up a sack all season and graded out at 93.6 percent.
Brockman, who is appearing on the AP All-American Team for the second-straight season, closed out his career by re-writing the school and OVC record books. He finished the year by going 359-for-517 for 3,729 yards and 28 touchdowns. He set new school records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns, while setting new OVC records for attempts and completions. He tossed for at least 300 yards in seven games, including going over 400 yards four times. He threw at least two touchdown passes in eight of the 11 games. Against UT Martin, Brockman went 45-for-67 for 537 yards and eight touchdowns. He tied the school and conference record for completions, while establishing a new mark for touchdown passes. Brockman now owns the OVC single-game records for completions, yards and touchdowns.
Leonard, in his first season with Tennessee State after transferring from Florida, caught 51 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. The 733 yards were the most by a tight end at the FCS level this year and was the fourth most throughout all four divisions of college football (FBS, FCS, D-II and D-III). He was named a first-team All-American by the Sports Network earlier this week.
Peiffer, who is repeating as an AP second-team All-American, was the OVC Defensive Player of the Year this season after finishing the his senior season ranked 17th nationally in tackles per game (10.64). He recorded a total of 117 (60 solo) to go along with eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup. Peiffer turned in double-digit tackles six times, including a season-high 18 against regional-rival Southern Illinois (Sept. 15). He added another 15 tackles in the Redhawks overtime victory over defending OVC Champion Tennessee Tech and had 14 stops against nationally-ranked Tennessee State. Peiffer wrapped up his career with more than 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons. His 359 career tackles presently rank third all-time at Southeast.
Adams, who was named a second-team Sports Network All-American earlier this week, was a first-team All-OVC performer in both 2011 and 2012. He helped the Colonels rank second in the OVC and 20th nationally in rushing yards per game this season (205.8 yards/game). Adams started every game on the EKU offensive line spanning the last two seasons. As a junior, he played the entire year at right tackle. Adams switched from right to left tackle in the middle of the 2012 campaign due to an injury to Patrick Ford.
Godbolt, who earned second-team Sports Network All-American honors earlier this week, was one of three sophomores on the first and second team defensive units. He picked off six passes in 10 games to finish first nationally in interceptions per game (0.60). He had two separate streaks during the 2012 season of three consecutive games with an interception.
2012 Associated Press All-American Selections From the OVC
WR – Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois (1st Team)
AP – Walter Powell, Murray State (1st)
OL – Rogers Gaines, Tennessee State (1st)
QB – Casey Brockman, Murray State (2nd)
TE – A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State (2nd)
LB – Blake Peiffer, Southeast Missouri (2nd)
OL – Aaron Adams, Eastern Kentucky (3rd)
DB – Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State (3rd)
ATLANTA (Dec. 12, 2012) – Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history, can add one more career achievement award to her trophy case. Summitt, the women’s basketball head coach emeritus at Tennessee, was selected as the 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s College Basketball Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today.
First given in 1999 to Margaret Wade, the Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball Award is presented annually to individuals whose extraordinary efforts have made contributions of outstanding significance and have created a long-lasting positive impact on the game of basketball. The recipients display character, integrity and dignity, and have contributed mightily to the growth, success and viability of basketball. To be eligible, an individual must have been involved with the sport in a capacity related to coaching, broadcasting, college administration or the news media.
Summitt is the only coach in NCAA history with 1,000 victories and holds a career record of 1098–208. She retired in 2012 after spending her entire 38-year career coaching at the University of Tennessee. During her tenure, Summitt led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA Women’s National Championships and 16 SEC Championships, and was named Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year five times (1987, 1989, 1994, 1998, 2004). On May 29, 2012, President Obama presented Summitt with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Directors, Summitt will be recognized at the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Naismith Awards Banquet on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Atlanta. The Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men’s Basketball winner is Lute Olson. He will be honored alongside Summitt.
“If it’s possible to be both proud and humbled at the same time, I am at being named as the winner of the 2013 Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s College Basketball Award,” Summitt said. “Any award associated with the name Naismith is a special award, and I look forward to receiving it in Atlanta next March. I have always enjoyed my association with the Atlanta Tipoff Club and have appreciated all they have done to grow and promote the game of basketball.”
“It’s hard to imagine what women’s college basketball would be today had Pat not been the pioneer that she was,” said Eric Oberman, Atlanta Tipoff Club executive director. “Her contributions, both on and off the court, embody the very meaning of this award and her imprint on the sport will live on forever.”
For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
Past winners of the award include:
||Former Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Women’s Basketball Award Winners
ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club, founded during the 1956-57 season, has presented the Naismith Trophy every year since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.
The Naismith Award has become the most prestigious award in all of college basketball, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and contribution to the game.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In a Winter Meetings week where free agency’s biggest chips didn’t fall and several clubs committed significant dollars to players falling in the middle tier, the Cardinals stayed removed from the headlines and maintained a narrow focus.
The team’s primary objective upon arriving in Nashville was to find left-handed help for the bullpen. Club officials departed on Thursday having achieved that by securing the services of Randy Choate, who was added to the roster last Friday after passing a physical in St. Louis.
“As a group, we talk about remaining disciplined and staying true to our process,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “In this environment, some irrational thinking happens. That’s the problem of these Meetings — sometimes it’s because you get the ping-pong effect. There are 30 teams under one roof, and things escalate rather quickly.”
The Cardinals’ early read on the free-agent market was that the available lefty relievers would be snatched up fairly quickly. Knowing there would be competition in the thin market, the Cardinals were willing to offer Choate a three-year deal.
St. Louis also laid the groundwork for possible upcoming offseason transactions. The team still intends to improve its bench by adding a veteran right-handed bat, though it may take several more weeks for the club to find the right fit. There’s also a strong chance a middle infielder will be added before Spring Training opens in February.
The team will continue to take offers for outfielder/second baseman Skip Schumaker, who has talked to the club about desiring the opportunity to receive regular playing time. With the composition of the Cardinals’ current roster, it doesn’t look like the opportunity will exist in St. Louis.
“What we’re trying to do is really just try to optimize the type of return we might get for him,” Mozeliak said of Schumaker. “If we can get Major League talent, we’ll definitely consider that. If we can’t find that, we will look for someone who can fit into our Minor League system.”
Here’s a recap of the organization’s activity in Nashville:
Deals done: The Cardinals reached a three-year, $7.5 million agreement with Choate last Wednesday and intend to make the signing official last Friday. The Cardinals already have an opening on their 40-man roster, so it will not be necessary to make a corresponding move in order to make the deal official.
St. Louis has also signed a pair of players — corner infielder/outfielder Jamie Romak and outfielder Justin Christian — to Minor League deals. Christian’s agreement includes an invite to participate in Major League camp next spring. Romak, who spent more than half of the 2012 season with the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate, will compete for a Triple-A job. Christian has a strong chance to be a part of the Cardinals’ Triple-A starting outfield next season.
Rule 5 Draft activity: As expected, St. Louis did not make a selection in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. The club also did not lose any of its unprotected players in that round.
In the Triple-A portion of the Draft, the Cards plucked third baseman Matthew Cerda from the Cubs and left-handed pitcher Jay Voss from the Tigers’ organization. The club also lost catcher/first baseman Steven Hill to Oakland in that phase of the Draft. Hill, who appeared in nine games for the Cardinals in 2012, was taken off the team’s 40-man roster last month.
Cerda played 111 games in 2012, the majority of those with Chicago’s Double-A affiliate. He hit .241 and posted an on-base percentage of .374. Cerda, a fourth-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, will compete with Jermaine Curtis for the organization’s Triple-A starting job at third base.
“He’s a good on-base-percentage guy, hits for average and is solid defensively,” said farm director John Vuch, who also noted that he was atop the team’s wish list in that portion of the Draft.
After a breakout season in 2011, Voss underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2012. The Cardinals have read encouraging reports about Voss’ rehab and expect that he’ll be ready to pitch shortly after the start of the season. Voss, a 25-year-old left-hander, will initially pitch out of the bullpen, though the Cardinals haven’t ruled out the possibility of eventually moving him into a starting role.
“Both of these guys have some upside that if it pans out, they could have a future,” Vuch said. “Right now we’ll see them in the Minor Leagues.”
Goals accomplished: In landing Choate, the Cards secured a lefty specialist for the bullpen. The club arrived at the Winter Meetings having set this as the primary goal, knowing that the market for lefty relievers was likely to dry up fast. Choate will join Marc Rzepczynski as a second lefty in the ‘pen and will give the Cards the traditional left-on-left specialist the team lacked in 2012.
Unfinished business: The club’s attention now turns to building its bench, which still could see the addition of a middle infielder and right-handed-hitting veteran this winter. Players fitting both of those roles remain on the team’s radar. The Cardinals may, however, wait a while before addressing their bench needs; by doing so, the club can wait for free agents who are currently seeking starting jobs to lower expectations as Spring Training nears.
The team is also still gauging outside interest in Schumaker, who appears likely to be dealt before the start of Spring Training.
Team’s bottom line: “While we feel good about how the last few days went, there’s still some work to be done. Honestly, we felt like we laid the groundwork to reach some of the things we need to. As we look to the next few weeks until Christmas, I certainly feel like we have a good picture of what’s going on in the landscape.” — Mozeliak
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee running back Chris Johnson has reached another career milestone in an otherwise tough season for the Titans.
Johnson has become just the eighth player in NFL history to run for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first five seasons, topping the plateau in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis. The others in that category are Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Corey Dillon, Eddie George and LaDanian Tomlinson.
“It’s real special to be amongst some elite company like those guys,” Johnson said Tuesday. “Just give God a lot of thanks being able to stay healthy all the first five years I’ve been in the league and to be able to go over a thousand yards each of those years.”
Johnson has missed only one game in his five seasons, and that came in 2008 when the Titans sat him for the regular season finale to protect him for the playoffs in his rookie season.
Reaching 1,000 yards seemed impossible back in September. Johnson ran for 4, 17 and 24 yards in each of his first three games and the Titans were last in the NFL in rushing. Then Johnson broke out with 141 yards, and only Adrian Peterson (1,370) and Doug Martin of Tampa Bay (1,020) have more yards rushing than his 992 since the fourth week of the season.
Now Johnson is averaging 4.7 yards on his 223 carries for 1,037 yards for the season, seventh in the NFL.
“I’m very proud of that because you know in this game of football you have a lot of ups and downs no matter what type of player you are,” Johnson said. “You know you’re going to have good moments and you’re going to have your down moments. It’s all about how you bring it back and how you overcome those down moments.”
With three games left, Johnson easily should top the 1,047 yards he had last season in his worst year as a professional. He had been on pace for his third best season behind only 2009 when he ran for 2,009 yards as the sixth man in NFL history to top 2,000 and in 2010 when he followed that up by running for 1,364 yards.
Then coach Mike Munchak fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer on Nov. 26 and gave the job to quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. The Titans also lost two more starting offensive linemen Dec. 2 in a loss to Houston, leaving left tackle Michael Roos as the only starter from the beginning of training camp.
Johnson ran for 51 yards in the loss to Houston, and he was held to 44 yards on 19 carries in the 27-23 loss at Indianapolis. He topped 1,000 yards for the season on his third carry against the Colts and didn’t have a run longer than 8 yards in the game.
Munchak said Monday the Titans were not as consistent running the ball as they needed to be and also that Johnson cut back way too fast at times.
For Johnson, he said the past two games have been frustrating with all the changes. His next chance to run comes Monday night when the Titans host the New York Jets (6-7), a team Johnson ran for 97 yards against in his last game.
“Really nothing I can do about it. Just continue to work hard in practice and try to get better each week,” Johnson said.