Positive signs: Syracuse officially welcomes 53rd-best recruiting class in country

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Some things have so many explanations that they become hard to explain.The move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three bowl wins in four years. The savvy recruiting pair of 24-year-old Director of Recruiting Operations Eric White and Offensive Coordinator George McDonald. The snowball effect of one verbal commit attracting another, and so on and so forth down the line.They’re all possibilities. And whatever it was, it happened fast.Twelve months ago, Scout.com rated Syracuse’s 2013 recruiting class as the 73rd best in the country. On Wednesday — when a list of 25 players was ironed out by pens and hats in every corner of Eastern United States — Syracuse finished national signing day right outside the top 50, at No. 53.Twenty spots in a calendar year. The kind of leap that pleased Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as he discussed the incoming class Wednesday afternoon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s an exciting time for them,” Shafer said. “They’ve been dreaming since they were little kids to go play football at a prestigious university, and for them to sign and look their parents in the eye and say ‘I did it,’ it’s an endpoint and a start point at the same time.”The only person Shafer didn’t credit for the Orange’s recruiting success was himself, yet he was as entrenched in the process as the rest of the gang.It was a communal effort that grabbed players from as far south as Miami, and west as Chicago. It trended on Twitter on many occasions and will thrust the Orange into next season with a revamped roster.“For the most part we like to break it down by where we need positions to fill,” McDonald said, “and then we go to areas of need next, like areas that really need to be addressed.”But the Orange didn’t just fill needs. It established pipelines and brought in groups of players that will complement each other in play and personality.There’s the Chicago guys, headlined by offensive tackle Denzel Ward and rounded out by cornerback Lamar Dawson, linebacker Colton Moskal and another offensive lineman, Aaron Roberts.There’s the Florida group, strung together by quarterback Alin Edouard and encompassing wide receiver Steve Ishmael, tight end Adley Enoicy and defensive backs Cordell Hudson, Juwan Dowels and Antwan Cordy.There’s a talented pair from Philadelphia, two explosive running backs and a lot of size on the defensive line.“The class is so balanced and so good,” said Jalen Harvey, a defensive tackle who signed to SU on Wednesday. “It’s nice knowing that I’m going to get to go to battle with this group for four years, we’re going to do something big.”But what maybe makes the members of this class even more special than their rankings and 40-yard dash times is that they have already grown close. They recruited each other on Twitter and through texts, planned their official visits on the same weekends and frequently wrote in a group message with White on Facebook.They won’t all be together until they all break camp in August, but the chemistry is already palpable.“We all want everyone to see how great it’s going to be at Syracuse,” Edouard said. “That’s why we’re always talking about it with each other all the time.”The Orange started to shape the 2014 class a week after signing day last year, when No. 73 just wasn’t good enough.Now Feb. 5 — the date circled on the Syracuse football schedule for months — has come and gone, and what’s left is a group of players whose collective potential yields a brighter future in Central New York.“That’s what you do it for. You do it for a bunch of 17-, 18-year-old kids saying they want to go to Syracuse and be a part of something special up here,” McDonald said. “It’s very, very relieving and it makes it all worth it.” Comments Published on February 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesselast_img read more

Notebook: Kiara Lewis’s turnovers more inevitable than problematic

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Overall, the recruiting class is ranked fourth in the nation, and Hillsman said at Jan. 15’s media availability that it’s among the strongest classes he’s ever had.He added that a common thread between the recruits is their versatility, and his long-term goal is to add more depth and positional flexibility.“We have a very exciting class,” Hillsman said, “And moving forward we’ve got to continue to stack those classes together. When you can stack two, three really good classes together, that’s when you have a chance to get back to the Final Four and win a championship.”An easier road aheadSyracuse made it through the gauntlet of seven ranked opponents in 10 games, going 4-6 in that span.For the rest of the regular season, SU only has two more matchups against current AP Top 25 opponents, with a home game against No. 5 Louisville and an away contest at No. 9 North Carolina State.Still, to make it to the NCAA tournament, Syracuse needs to improve its current pace. Charlie Creme’s latest espnW bracketology projected SU to be one of the first four teams out.When a reporter told Hillsman at media availability on Jan. 15 that Cooper said SU might need to win all 10 of its remaining games, SU’s head coach offered a fact-check.“We actually have 15 games left, so her math’s not real good,” Hillsman quipped. “But I just think as we move forward, we gotta take care of the ball, make shots late, continue to close games, because there’s going to be a lot of close games on the schedule. We’ve just got to be able to win those close games.”Two overtime home wins got Syracuse on track, but late-game execution had been shoddy before that. In three of SU’s five losses to ranked teams the Orange held a lead in the final minute.After Jan. 16’s home matchup against a Georgia Tech team that’s won five of its last six games, Syracuse gets the bottom five teams in the standings — Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, Clemson and Pitt — each once and Pitt a second time. Seven of the Orange’s remaining 14 regular season games are in the Carrier Dome, where SU’s 6-1.“Playing in this conference on the road, it’s tough to win on the road,” Hillsman said. “Obviously you can see that with what happens here. When teams come here, we win games.” Comments Published on January 15, 2020 at 10:47 pm Contact Danny: [email protected] | @DannyEmermancenter_img The notes from her dad are coming, and they’re not going to be good.After every game, win or lose, Kiara Lewis watches the full 40 minutes again two to three times and breaks down what she can do better with her dad, Gary. Following SU’s Jan. 5 overtime win over Notre Dame, his takeaways for Lewis included how to improve her reads coming off ball-screens.Lewis hasn’t yet discussed her performance against Miami, last Sunday’s game in which she committed a career-high nine turnovers, a mark she said is “never acceptable.”This is the first season of Lewis’ collegiate career that she’s been the lead guard. Without Tiana Mangakahia, Lewis — an Ohio State transfer — has the ball roughly 90% of the time, she hyperbolically estimates, and initiates almost all of Syracuse’s (8-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) possessions. The transition has been successful, yet not seamless, as Lewis is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game but also 3.9 turnovers, second-most in the ACC.In losses to No. 5 Louisville, Michigan and Miami, Lewis averaged 7.3 turnovers. In SU’s win over No. 13 Florida State, Lewis coughed the ball up just once, reminding the Orange they will only go as far as Lewis takes them.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In the reality of things, we’re all human,” sophomore forward Emily Engstler said. “What she does for this team, and the fact that she does have the ball in her hands all the time, of course there’s going to be turnovers.”The way Syracuse’s spread pick-and-roll offense works, Lewis essentially decides every half-court possession. According to HerHoopsStats, Lewis’s 26.9% usage rate — which denotes the percentage of possessions that end with a Lewis shot, free throw or turnover — is 12th-highest in the ACC.She’s the Orange’s only option to ignite the offense. Engstler is an adept passer, but doesn’t have the necessary ball-handling skills to initiate a high ball-screen. Engstler and Lewis have combined for 58% of Syracuse’s assists but also 45% of its turnovers.Roshan Fernandez | Asst. Digital EditorSenior guard Gabrielle Cooper is much more suited for an off-ball role, where she spaces the floor and occasionally attacks closeouts — as can Digna Strautmane. Freshman guards Teisha Hyman and Taleah Washington have both shown off-the-bounce potential but are still years away from quarterbacking an offense.That leaves Lewis, who knows she’s the most experienced playmaker on the team, and that with greater ball-handling responsibilities comes greater room for error. Her scoring ability keeps SU in games, but when the team around her isn’t playing well, she’ll try to force interior shots or passes. Many of her turnovers come when she’s driving to the basket and gets caught in between several defenders. Sometimes, she makes lazy cross-court passes or loses the handle against pressure defense, but those instances are more rare.Still, Lewis wouldn’t have it any other way.“I’m not complaining about it,” Lewis said. “When it comes down to winning, I think a senior or a redshirt junior like I am should have the ball in her hands.”Reinforcements on the wayThis week, four of Syracuse’s incoming class of recruits were nominated for the 2020 McDonald’s All-American game. Hundreds of players from around the United States get nominated, and 12-player rosters will be announced later this month.Kamilla Cardoso, Khamya McNeal, Priscilla Williams and Faith Blackstone each earned the nod. Cardoso and Williams, fifth and 11th, respectively, on HoopGurlz espnW’s top-100, were also named to the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Girls High School Midseason Team.last_img read more

First Memorial Tournament ”Enisej Hondžo-Kole” will be played on Sunday

first_imgMemorial Tournament ”Enisej Hondžo-Kole” in memory of late handball goalkeeper will be held on Sunday in organisation of HC ”Velež”.The invitations will be sent to all clubs where Hondžo played during his long career, and so clubs ”Turbina” from Jablanica, ”Igman” from Ilidža, and ”Željezničar” from Sarajevo will also participate at the tournament.Matches will be played in hall of ”Midhad Hujdur-Hujka” and they will start at 10 a.m. when ”Velež” will play against ”Turbina” and at 11 a.m. the tournament will be opened. In second semi-finals Željezničar will play against Igman, match for third place will be held at 2.15 p.m., while the final match will play at 3.45 p.m.Enisej Hondžo- Kole was a goalkeeper of HC ”Velež” and he played over 200 matches for the team before his death.last_img read more