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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CSO Q & A- DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame member Bobby Simmons


                                                      Photo Credit: DePaul Athletics

Welcome to the latest edition of CSO's Q & A, where I chat with athletes and media personalities about life on and off the playing surface.

This week's Q & A focuses on former NBA player and DePaul Athletics Hall of Famer Bobby Simmons.


GG: You have joined basketball greats, such as Mark Aguirre, Ray Meyer and Doug Bruno in the DePaul Athletics Hall of Fame, how does it feel to be among select company?

BS: It shows that the mindset, the focus, the adversity and perseverance— as a kid from Chicago, most might not have access to.  Giving myself the opportunity to be the best basketball player and student-athlete I possibly could be. Being honored as a Hall of Famer is huge.


GG: Tell me about the Bobby Simmons Rising Star Foundation you started with helping out kids from Chicago get scholarships to DePaul?

BS: The Bobby Simmons Rising Star Foundation is a way for me to help implement change with having an opportunity and an endowment fund to grant scholarships at DePaul every year for kids that are non-athletic. On the other end as an athlete, you have more options and for the students who excel in the classroom and never have that opportunity to go to college, I try to open that door, especially to have that opportunity to come to DePaul. I see some of the former students and they tell me thank you and I ask why? And they say that they used the scholarship granted by me in order to continue the college journey. I am thankful because I am able to help.


GG: Speaking of the door being open, you left school early to enter the 2001 NBA Draft. You decided to come back to DePaul for your bachelor’s degree and completed it in 2014. How did you balance coming back to school, given a busy schedule?

BS: I started my businesses while playing and to be honest, returning to school was something that was always on my mind while playing in the NBA. I tried to go back in the off-season and it did not work because some of the classes I needed to take were not available. I knew life in the NBA would end sooner, rather than later and I promised my family I would graduate and as my grandparents got older, it became a no-brainer to finish. I took a chance knowing it was either basketball or life and
there is life after basketball.


GG: In your 11-year NBA career, which player helped mold you into the person you are today?

BS: The guy who drafted me to the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan helped mold me. One of the greatest players of all-time picked me out of anybody, a kid from Chicago. I watched him win six championships with the Bulls and to be with him everyday was a great feeling. I learned so much from watching him play and his conversations and motivation on a day-to-day basis was impactful.


GG: Michael Jordan became a global business conglomerate through his sneaker brand, have you applied any of his techniques to your business ventures?

BS: Well, my first business was a sneaker store called Succezz. I was a Jordan Brand athlete my entire career and sneakers is something I know. If you have the experience and know the business, the logistics of it is easy to learn. By building those connections, that is one the key components to having an opportunity to network and expand. As long as I do that, the business will not fail, especially when you have mentors like Jordan.


GG: You played with Quentin Richardson at DePaul and in the NBA together, how did it feel to be on the journey together in college and in the pros?


BS: One thing about Quentin is that we always challenged each other. On the court, constructive criticism of each other helped mold our games and brought the best out of each other. You can’t forget about Lance Williams either because if we did not to do it, nothing was going to get done. It is a brotherhood and I always stay in contact with them all the time.


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Monday, February 27, 2017

Genotology for Feb, 27, 2017





KEY:

* New entry in the field

> UP

< DOWN



MIDWEST (KANSAS CITY)




SOUTH (MEMPHIS)



EAST (NEW YORK CITY)



WEST (SAN JOSE)


Last Four In:

BYU
Marquette
Syracuse
Providence


First Four Out:

Georgia Tech

Georgia
Wake Forest

TCU



Social Media:
Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

No. 19 DePaul 79, Georgetown 70: January's triple-double leads Blue Demons to a share of the Big East title


                                                         Photo Credit: Geno Green


CHICAGO— Everything came full circle for the No. 19 DePaul Blue Demons (24-6, 16-2 Big East) on senior day as they clinched their fourth straight Big East regular season title with a 79-70 win over the Georgetown Hoyas (17-11, 9-9 Big East) behind Jessica January’s second career triple-double.

The senior went out on a high note in her final game at McGrath-Phillips Arena with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. As Georgetown crept to within five points at the end of the third quarter, January elevated her game to another level with timely plays on both sides of the ball.

"We started off really well and everyone was ready to play and created the adversity ourselves in the third quarter," January said. "We stuck it out and everyone relaxed and took a deep breath and got easy shots."

Amarah Coleman added a team-high 17 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, highlighted by a 10-point first quarter for the Blue Demons.

The win gave the Blue Demons a share of the Big East regular season title with the Creighton Blue Jays and the top seed in next Saturday’s conference tournament in Milwaukee.

Georgetown forward Faith Woodard was in the zone as she finished with a career-high 31 points, on 9-of-18 shooting and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line.




Georgetown’s top two scorers Dionna White (15.3 points per game) and Dorothy Adomako (15.2 PPG) were held to five points, on 2-of-7 from the field as DePaul’s lead expanded to as many as 21 in the first half. White and Adomako finished with a combined 13 points, on 5-of-23.

"(Georgetown) has three players who can score 30 points on any given night in Dionna White, Dorothy Adomako and Faith Woodard," Bruno said. "Any one of those players can go off and that is the key to defending them. The zone was effective on them as we slowed their tempo in the first half."

DePaul raced out to a 17-4 lead, behind Coleman’s seven points, on 3-of-3 shooting as Georgetown could failed the counter initially. The Blue Demons turned seven Hoya turnovers into 11 points on the other end as they led 31-11 after one quarter.

With a sizable 48-34 lead coming out of halftime, DePaul let the gas off the pedal as a 16-point lead shrunk to five on a 13-2 run from Georgetown over a 4:30 stretch, behind Woodard’s stellar play.

Schulte snapped a 3:14 DePaul scoring drought as she split a pair of free throws. DePaul limped into the final quarter with a 63-58 lead on Georgetown.

The Hoyas could not get any closer as the Blue Demons walked off the floor with a nine-point win.

Both teams will play in the quarterfinal round of the Big East women’s tournament on March 5 as the No. 6-seeded Hoyas face the home host and No. 3-seeded Marquette Golden Eagles at 2:30 p.m., while the top-seeded DePaul Blue Demons’ opponent could be Seton Hall, Providence or Xavier.



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Friday, February 24, 2017

Spring in January: DePaul's superstar returned with ease


                                                        Photo Credit: DePaul Athletics


CHICAGO— 58 days ago, Big East preseason Player of the Year Jessica January suffered a right index finger injury in the conference opener at Georgetown on Dec. 29, 2016.

The injury forced January to miss the next 15 games of the Big East slate, but returned in the second to last home game in her DePaul career in a 77-50 win over Villanova on Friday night.

With five-time Big East Player of the Week Brooke Schulte assuming the role as the primary scorer for DePaul in January’s absence, most fans wondered how they would gel and the answer came right away with a combined 30 points, on 12-of-24 shooting.

“To see (Brooke and Jessica) on the court together and to try to find chemistry and synergy between them, that is something I am excited by with all of the possibilities that can be created moving forward," DePaul coach Doug Bruno said.

From the moment she received a standing ovation from the Blue Demon fans in the starting lineup, January felt at home again.

“It was a lot of excitement and nerves— mostly excitement just to get back on the floor after having good practices during the week,” January said.



Few nerves oozed out of her system as from the opening tip on, the swagger returned and it took 1:44 for her first jumper to go down the net.

With any return the normalcy comes rust and it showed at the 3:32 mark of the first quarter as a sharp pass from Amarah Coleman to January on the wing went off her fingertips and out of bounds.

In the stratosphere of a conference game in late February with conference tournament seeding at stake, January erased the memory on the next possession as a Kelly Campbell steal helped set up a layup, which highlighted an 8-2 run DePaul run to close the first quarter as it led Villanova, 20-13.

January’s effort off the ball showed in the early stages of the second quarter as she stood firm in position as she grabbed the offensive rebounds, but took a wicked hit from Villanova’s Megan Quinn as she fell to the ground, which served as her first major test as to how her finger would hold up in terms of tolerance.

With DePaul up 27-20 on Villanova, Any doubts of whether January could shoot with precision on the injured finger were answered with spectacular post moves on defenders at least four inches taller and long-range precision as she scored five straight. January’s presence helped steer a DePaul 14-0 run over a 4:10 stretch, which was missed over the majority of conference play and in its only two losses in Big East play to Marquette.

As the Blue Demons’ lead continued to build into the third quarter, January delivered a precision pass to a cutting Schulte for a layup to go up 47-27 on the Wildcats.

DePaul would not look back as they led by as many as 35 points in the fourth quarter, on its way to a 27-point win.

The rest of the Big East and the NCAA could be in for a surprise come March if January and Schulte can continue to gel in the backcourt.

"(Jessica) can drive, pull up on jumpers, can get to the basket, shoot the three-pointer and is a phenomenal player," Schulte said. I embody my game after her and watching her and getting our chemistry back and working together will be a fun down the stretch."


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Seton Hall looks to continue its recent success at DePaul

                                                    Photo Credit: Asbury Park Press


Momentum can be something special to carry, especially as March Madness looms for the Seton Hall Pirates.

Like last season, Seton Hall is putting together another string of impressive wins in the latter part of Big East play.

With wins against potential NCAA Tournament teams like Creighton and Xavier in the last week, Seton Hall will look to ride the momentum into Allstate Arena on Saturday at DePaul, who squeaked by Georgetown, 67-65 on Feb. 22.

DePaul’s 2-13 record in Big East play can be downplayed given its losses have come to Villanova, St. John’s, Butler and Georgetown, with those coming by less than six points and being within a possession with under a minute to play.

“Anytime you preach certain things, whether it might be, the point is always proven greater and has much more impact when you win a game,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said in Thursday's Big East teleconference.

“We have been close enough on a number of occasions, where we have had those opportunities to finish things off and to win one makes the process become more clearer. We will continue to scratch, claw and fight given it is the dog days of February.”

Despite Isaiah Whitehead’s early entry into the NBA Draft last season, the Pirates have continued to march on with Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington as the one-two-punch, but the straw that stirs the drink is senior Madison Jones.

While Jones’ numbers do not alert All-American status, he serves as the ultimate five-tool player who can do a little bit of everything with 5.6 points per game, 3.5 APG and 2.6 RPG in 27 games this season.

“(Madison) has done a fantastic job of working with these guys on a daily basis to pick their brains on a daily basis and see when they want the ball on the break and not every kid comes in and does that,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He’s really worked hard to help these guys become better players.”

Despite a 3-6 mark in Big East play in the first half, the Pirates have turned the corner with four wins in their last six games.

“I think our offensive players attacking this part of the schedule has been really important,” Willard said.

“I think they understood that they would go through tough stretches at times, especially in the middle of the conference schedule with more home games towards the latter part of the season. It was a chance for us to get some good momentum and have come with a good work ethic. In this conference, you have to take advantage of all of the opportunities given to you.”


Game Information:


Seton Hall (17-10, 7-8 Big East) at DePaul (9-19, 2-13 Big East)

Time: Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV/Online: Fox Sports Networks/Fox Sports Go


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.


No. 20 Saint Mary's 78, Pepperdine 49: Gaels power through as WCC play winds down


                                             Photo Credit: Saint Mary's Athletics


By: Devin Larkins
Twitter @motownape


In a potential trap game, the No. 20 Saint Mary’s Gaels (24-3, 14-2 WCC) faced off against the Pepperdine Waves (9-19, 5-11 WCC) in a West Coast Conference matchup. The Gaels stayed motivated and powered through to a 78-49 win over the Waves in their last road game of the regular season.

The first half started with a three-point barrage. Evan Fitzner of the Gaels was the go-to player, with two long-range shots in the first five minutes of the game. When they were not hitting three-point shots, they were getting the ball in the paint to the forward combination of Calvin Hermanson and Dane Pineau. Ending with 13 and nine points, respectively.

Offense was not the only thing the Gaels did well. Their defense suffocated at moments, as the Waves shot 30 percent from the field in the first half, while also held to 1-of-12 from the three-point line. 

“The (Gaels) are a really good team," Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said. "They will actually make that team go, how they handle the ball screens and make you make a mistake.”

Saint Mary's peaked at getting offensive rebounds, positioning themselves for 11 total in the game. The Waves would be without senior forward Chris Reyes and his eight rebounds per game for the season. 

“They had more guys, more-able bodies," Wilson said. "We (Waves) talk about dealing with adversity. We knew we were going to be out-manned.I tell you what, they (Waves) come to work every day in practice.”

Unexpectedly there was a power outage at the beginning of the second half, which brought the game to a halt for about 15 minutes. 

The Waves defense flipped a switch on defense in the second half. The Waves jumped in passing lanes and created turnovers. “That (power outage) made the game really choppy for a while. I thought it affected the game.” Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said.

Saint Mary's Jock Landale would be a big factor throughout the game— especially in the second half. Londale recorded a double-double, finishing with a game high of 23 points and 14 rebounds. 

“I really wanted to set the tone tonight with a fighting mindset," Landale said. "I think I just got lucky with getting open all the time.”

Lamond Murray who leads the WCC in scoring, was held below his season average of 20.5 points per game, to 17 points, on 7-of-19 from the field, which served as Pepperdine's only bright spot. Senior guard Jeremy Majors shot 3-of-13 on what was an important night for him as he made his 121st career start, tying the school record. 

Both teams end the regular season on Jan. 25, as both teams play at home as the Gaels host the Santa Clara Broncos, while the Waves take on the San Francisco Dons.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Loyola 80, Drake 65: Doyle shines on senior night


                                                     Photo Credit: Geno Green


CHICAGO— On an emotional night for seniors Milton Doyle and Glorind Lisha in their final home game, the Loyola Ramblers (18-12, 8-9 Missouri Valley) avenged an earlier defeat this season as they handled the Drake Bulldogs (7-22, 5-12 Missouri Valley) 80-65.

With the first half being a back and forth affair, Doyle set the tone in the first 1:52 of the second half as he played a role in the first eight Loyola points (five points and an assist), which led to the biggest lead of the game at 48-34 on Drake at the 15:29 mark.

"Milton has become so much stronger from last year because he can take those bumps and be able to finish like in the early going of the second half," Loyola coach Porter Moser said.

The senior highlighted five Loyola players in double figures scoring as he stuffed the stat the sheet with 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 33 minutes.

Aundre Jackson continued his stellar play with a game-high 16 points, while Donte Ingram finished with his fourth double-double of the season (14 points and 11 rebounds).

Two of Ingram’s four double-doubles this season have come at the expense of the Bulldogs.

"Donte can shoot it so well, but I have also tried to talk to him about being an inside-outside guard in terms of mismatches," Moser said.

Loyola more than doubled its points in the paint total on Drake at 48-22.

Moser emphasized ball control as a key to success and for the second straight game, the Ramblers stayed in single digits in the turnover department with seven committed against the Bulldogs.

"We have had some hiccups, but over the long haul, we are at the top of the league with Wichita (State) in the assist to turnover ratio," Moser said. "It gives us those extra possessions, which puts in a better position to play our best."




The first four minutes of the game saw each team trade baskets as the lead changed hands in as many times.

The Bulldogs first three field goals came off long range makes from De'Antae McMurray, Reed Timmer and Billy Wampler.

Drake’s three-point game ceased temporarily as Loyola went on a 7-0 run to take its largest lead at 14-9 with 13:54 left in the first half. Woodward would deliver back-to back triples as the Bulldogs would go back ahead of the Ramblers, 19-18.

Jackson would score the next four, highlighted by a dazzling behind-the-back bounce pass from Ingram in which the junior finished with a layup.

The back and forth shenanigans continued for the remainder of the half as Loyola went into the locker room with a slim 33-32 lead on Drake.

In a nip and tuck affair, Doyle took over in the early portion of the second half as he played a role in the first eight Loyola points.

Doyle’s spark helped Loyola build a lead as big as 14 points, on its way to a 15-point win.

Both teams conclude conference play on Feb. 25 as the Ramblers travel to take on in-state rivals the Southern Illinois Salukis at 7 p.m., while the Bulldogs host the Bradley Braves earlier in the day at 1 p.m.


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