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Newborn develops into promising star for Syracuse after coming from AJ Elite tennis academy

first_imgA.J. James knew he had found something special the moment he first saw Rhiann Newborn play.Part of it was her natural talent, fostered at an early age by her father, Darryl Newborn, and developed through a constant presence at junior tournaments in her hometown of Houston. Part of it was her boldness, like the way she shouted “out” when the ball fell out of bounds, while her opponents would silently raise a finger.James was so impressed with Newborn, then 12 years old, that he introduced himself to her father soon after that first match. The two got along so well that by the time the tournament ended, James had added a budding star to the roster of AJ Elite, a tennis academy for future college prospects that James operated himself. “Since he’s a big guy he scared me a little bit,” Newborn said of that first meeting. “But once I met him he was really nice. He’s so motivated about the sport and wanting to make his players better.”Seven years later, Newborn has become a promising star for Syracuse (2-0) in its first full season under head coach Younes Limam. The sophomore has won both of her singles matches this season and one of two doubles matches with senior partner Amanda Rodgers. She will attempt to continue her success on Saturday against No. 7 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll of this may not have been possible without James, who prides himself on AJ Elite’s track record of getting athletes into college. Over 130 of AJ Elite’s former students have made it to college and about 16 former students are now nationally ranked by the Association of Tennis Professionals, James said.“They like my serious, no-nonsense style,” James said. “I don’t swear at them and I don’t berate them.”Newborn, like many of AJ Elite’s athletes, was homeschooled for high school, which allowed her more time to improve her abilities and reach for a college scholarship. Days were often split between lessons taught by her father and James, with breaks for schoolwork and studying in between.During Newborn’s six years working with James, she won the most tournament matches in the 11-year academy’s history, he said. “In tennis you have to have a healthy arrogance about yourself because if you don’t, you’ll get torn to shreds,” James said. “And that’s something that Rhiann has about herself. I always tell my kids you talk with your racket and that’s what she’s done.”Darryl Newborn said James offered his daughter support throughout the college recruitment process. The academy played a key role in helping Newborn determine which tournaments to enter and how to use those tournaments to improve her talents.AJ Elite also helped her find friends who could double as her competitors, especially in the large group setting of James’ practices.“With the big group it really motivated me to get better,” Newborn said. “They helped me push myself through the times that I was not doing too well.”Over the years, James formed a bond with the Newborns that remains strong two years after Newborn committed to Syracuse as a five-star recruit. James speaks to the Newborn family around once a week, and Darryl Newborn considers James to be a “very big part” of their family. When asked to be James’ best man at his upcoming wedding, Darryl Newborn agreed.“When the kids spend nine to 10 years with someone every day, it almost becomes like a second parent,” Darryl Newborn said. “He’s had to teach her not only how to play tennis, but how to be a human being, too.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 22, 2015 at 12:07 amlast_img read more

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Farr’s great fight comes up just short

first_img4 Mar 2019 Farr’s great fight comes up just short Tags: elite golf, England squads, performance England’s Callum Farr put up a tremendous fight in the final of the Spanish Men’s Amateur Championship before eventually losing on the 35th hole at Las Colinas, Alicante.Farr, who was hoping to keep the trophy in English hands after Billy McKenzie’s 2018 victory, went down 2/1 to Koen Kouwenaar from The Netherlands.It was a remarkable achievement for the 20-year-old England A Squad player who had a nightmare start to the final.The first hole was halved, but then Farr (Northamptonshire County) lost the next five in a row. He managed to get a couple back, but Kouwenaar won 17 and 18 to go in to lunch five ahead.Farr dropped another hole behind on the 21st but won the 23rd and 26th to get back to four down. The next six holes were halved before he could claw back more of the deficit, winning the 33rd and 34th, to trail by two with two to play. However his comeback finished on the 35th.Earlier in the championship Farr had the distinction of knocking out the last Spanish player in the event, defeating Alvaro Mueller-Baumgart 2/1 in the semi-finals.Meanwhile, another A Squad player, Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall), reached the quarter-finals. England Men’s Squad players Ben Jones (Northamptonshire County) and Bailey Gill (Lindrick) made the final 16, losing respectively on the 20th and 18th.Click here for full scoresImage © Leaderboard Photographylast_img read more

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Rice and Smith enter Hall of Fame

first_imgby Barry WilnerAssociated Press Writer CANTON, Ohio (AP)—Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith can stop the chase now.Linked as the NFL’s leading receiver and rusher, two of the greatest players football has seen, entered the Hall of Fame Aug. 7. Both admitted their destinies are fulfilled.“This is finally it,” Rice said. “There are no more routes to run, no more touchdowns to score, no more records to set. That young boy from Mississippi has finally stopped running. Looking as fit as any current All-Pro, Rice admits he made one major mistake during that unparalleled career. “My single regret about my career is I never took the time to enjoy it,” he said. “I was always working.“I was afraid to fail. The fear of failure is the engine that has driven me my entire life. The reason they never caught me from behind is because I ran scared. People always are surprised how insecure I was. The doubts, the struggles, is who I am. I wonder if I would have been as successful without them.”Rice was successful from Day 1 in the NFL, rising from the obscurity of Mississippi Valley State to win three Super Bowls and change the game forever. He was humbled by the conclusion Saturday night.“I can honestly say this is the greatest team I have ever belonged to,” Rice said.Smith began choking up during a one-minute standing ovation as he stepped to the microphone as the final inductee. He immediately praised Walter Payton, the man he surpassed as rushing king, and recognized the two other Hall of Fame members of the Cowboys’ Triplets, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.And he broke down when saluting his former fullback, Daryl Johnston. “You took care of me as if you were taking care of your little brother,” Smith said through wet eyes.Smith rushed for 18,355 yards, with 164 touchdowns, 11 seasons with 1,000 or more yards on the ground, and 78 games with 100 yards rushing. Smith made the hall in his first year of eligibility and won three Super Bowls, taking MVP honors in the 1994 game.“When I go into the hall today, I am not going in alone,” Smith said. “I am carrying my grandfather, I’m carrying my father and I’m carrying my son along with me because I bear all their names. Now I can say to my dad and my son, EJ, our name will be forever enshrined in the history of football.”While Rice and Smith were immediate selections for the hall, LeBeau finally was inducted after a 32-year wait.“Man, this really is a great day to be alive,” said LeBeau, elected by the senior committee.LeBeau was chosen for his 14-year career as a cornerback with the Detroit Lions, in which he had 62 interceptions, still eighth overall. He’s best known as an assistant coach, the mastermind of the zone blitz. Currently the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, LeBeau singled out his players who sat in a corner of Fawcett Stadium.“I am being inducted as a player and believe me that makes me most proud,” said LeBeau, at 73 the oldest coordinator in the NFL. “I did that for 14 years. but for the last 38 years I have been a football coach.“They are here,” he added, pointing to the Steelers, who he helped win two Super Bowls in the last five seasons. “That’s just about the highest compliment ever paid to me in my life.“I wouldn’t want to be here without you: offense, defense and special teams.”The players stood in applause and fans in the crowd whirled Terrible Towels in tribute.He was immediately followed on the stage by Randle, who as an undrafted defensive tackle with the Vikings and Seahawks accumulated 137½ sacks in 14 seasons, most for anyone at that position.Randle made six straight All-Pro teams (1993-98) and was chosen for seven Pro Bowls. He had a league-high 15½ sacks in 1997. “I am so humbled by this incredible honor which I never thought was possible. I’m a small-town kid whose dream came true.”Grimm was called the “Head Hog” by former Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel. From 1981-91, Grimm led the Hogs and helped the Redskins win three Super Bowls. He is the first member of that memorable line to make the hall.“It’s a privilege to play in the NFL,” said Grimm, now the assistant head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. “ It’s an honor to be selected here in Canton.He called the Hogs “a group of guys that grew together, worked together, rose families together” and said he would have their names embroidered on the inside of his gold Hall of Fame jacket.Jackson, one of the most versatile linebackers in league history, is the first New Orleans Saints player to be enshrined. Jackson made six Pro Bowls with a combination of strong run defense and a tenacity that led to 128 sacks. He helped turn New Orleans from ’Aints to a division winner for the first time (1991), and finished his career with the 49ers, winning a Super Bowl in January 1995.“I think I deserve to be up here,” Jackson said. “Football always has been my life. I see that in these guys up here (onstage), how they carried themselves. They set the standard.”Little was a star running back for the Denver Broncos from 1967-75 despite being the only offensive threat on the team. He had to wait nearly three decades since becoming eligible before getting elected. One of football’s most dynamic runners during his career, Little also was a dangerous punt and kickoff returner. In a relatively short career, he had 12,157 all-purpose yards and scored 54 touchdowns. “There are no words to describe the joy of experiencing this chapter, the highest honor…everything else pales.”In a powerful induction speech, he also encouraged people to say “Yes I can” throughout their lives and noted he had “given the best I’ve got.” CLASS OF 2010—The 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. From left: Emmitt Smith, Dick LeBeau, Russ Grimm, John Randle, Rickey Jackson, Jerry Rice and Floyd Little after enshrinement ceremonies at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio Aug. 7. LEGENDARY DUO—Jerry Rice, left, and Emmitt Smith share a moment after being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 6.  On Aug. 7, they were inducted together in Canton, Ohio. “Let me stand here and catch my breath.”An hour later, Smith tried to hold back his tears as he reflected on his unequaled career.“Most people only dream,” Smith said. “I not only had my childhood dream, I did everything I could to fulfill it.“You know what, I am now the all-time leading rusher. ‘Wow. What an honor.”Rice was the man who took away everyone’s breath during an incredible 20 years and was one of seven NFL greats to enter the shrine as the Class of 2010. It is one of the strongest groups ever inducted, also including John Randle, Dick LeBeau, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm and Floyd Little.Rice holds every important pass-catching record as the game breaker in the West Coast offense for the San Francisco 49ers. In becoming the top target in the pro game’s most dangerous scheme, he established marks that might never be broken.Rice caught 1,549 passes, more than 400 beyond anyone else. He gained 22,895 yards, more than 7,600 ahead of second place. He scored 208 touchdowns, easily shattering the previous record. He made 10 All-Pro teams, was chosen for 13 Pro Bowls, and made receptions in an almost-unimaginable 274 consecutive games.Yet, he says, at 47, “I still believe in my heart I could play today.”last_img read more

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Magic, MJ and more: 5 great NBA Finals finishes

first_imgHOLD THE POSE, MICHAEL: Jordan scripted the perfect ending to his Bulls’ career with a jumper, holding the pose as the ball fell through the net to give Chicago an 87-86 lead over the Utah Jazz with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 1998 finals. Did Jordan get away with pushing off on Bryon Russell, as the beaten defender would always maintain? Maybe. But when you’re a six-time NBA Finals MVP, you might get away with a bit more. “What a finish!” coach Phil Jackson screamed as he hugged Jordan after the buzzer. Sure was. by Brian MahoneyMIAMI (AP) — Tony Parker’s shot to clinch Game 1 wasn’t pretty, but it quickly took its place among some of the great NBA Finals finishes.From Michael Jordan’s last basket with Chicago to Magic Johnson’s baby hook in Boston, some of the game’s biggest stars have saved their best for last.Parker’s banked-in bucket and Jordan’s finals farewell both came with the same time on the clock — 5.2 seconds. Here’s a look at some of the memorable moments in the NBA’s championship round. PARKER’S KITCHEN SINK SHOT: With the Spurs clinging to a two-point lead late in Game 1 against the Heat on Thursday, Parker needed every trick in his bag to pull off his remarkable shot-clock beater. He zipped past Chris Bosh and eluded a swipe from Dwyane Wade before running into LeBron James near the baseline. After losing the handle, Parker regained control of the ball, only to slip as he tried to turn the corner on James. He fell to his knee, but didn’t panic even as the shot clock ticked toward zero. Parker stood back up, leaned under James and released the shot a split-second before the buzzer sounded. James even got a hand on it, but the ball banked high off the glass, hit the rim twice and fell through. “Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession,” James said. PUT IT IN DIRK’S (INJURED) HAND: Down 1-0 and losing big late in Game 2 of the 2011 finals against Miami, the Dallas Mavericks made a big fourth-quarter rally behind Dirk Nowitzki, who was playing with a torn tendon on the middle finger of his left hand. Nowitzki ignored the pain to score the Mavs’ final nine points, making his last two baskets with that injured hand, including the go-ahead lefty layup with 3.6 seconds left in a 95-93 victory. Dallas would win the series in six games, with Nowitzki the finals MVP. MAGIC HOOKS THE LAKERS A VICTORY: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the sky hook, but it was teammate Magic Johnson’s baby hook with 2 seconds left that gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead in the 1987 finals over the rival Boston Celtics. With the Lakers trailing by one, Johnson drove to his right into the paint, lofting a hook shot over Kevin McHale as Robert Parish and Larry Bird tried to help contest for a 107-106 lead. The Lakers couldn’t relax until Bird missed at the buzzer, and they would eventually close out their longtime rivals at home in Game 6. WHOA, NELLIE!: OK, there was more than a minute left, but Don Nelson’s shot was about as crazy as Parker’s. With the Celtics protecting a one-point lead over the Lakers in Game 7 of the 1969 finals, the ball was batted away from John Havlicek and went right to Nelson at the foul line. He quickly fired a jumper that hit the back of the rim, bounced straight up in the air, and eventually fell to put the Celtics up 105-102 with 1:15 to go. Boston hung on for a 108-106 victory, its last of 11 titles in 13 years with Bill Russell. San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker (9) makes the final shot of the game against the Miami Heat during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game, Thursday, June 6, 2013 in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)last_img read more

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At the Finish Line: Pens, Deacon Jones, LeBron

first_imgPenguins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) goes up and over Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) as they battle for the puck during the second overtime period in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs in Boston, June 5. The Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in 2OT on a Patrice Bergeron goal. That set off a celebration in Boston — the first for the Bruins at home after they won the first two games of the series in Pittsburgh 3-0 and 6-1. It is the first time all season that Pittsburgh has lost three consecutive games. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)by Bill Neal• The passing of the now late great Deacon Jones is not only the loss of a true and original legend, but an innovator as well.  Not only did he create the vicious and brutal head slap, but he also named what we now know as “the Sack.”• When MLB brings the hammer down on A-Rod and the other alleged offenders, they will still be about 100 short of all PED’s offenders.• Elgin Baylor, Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins, Julius “Dr. J.” Irving, Michael Jordan, Kobe “Black Momba” Bryant and now LeBron “King James” James.  The greatest of all time…will come again!• Hearts certainly go out to the family of Monica Murphy, the mother of five killed in a car accident by former NBA star Mookie Blaylock in Clayton County Georgia.  So far, tests indicate that Blaylock had no drugs or alcohol in his system and apparently suffered a seizure of some sort and it may be just a tragic accident.• I don’t know much about hockey. In fact, I don’t know anything about hockey. However, I do know this: no team has ever come back from 0-3 to win the Eastern Conference Title!last_img read more

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