Norfolk State’s Anthony Evans earned a raise.The most talked-about story of 2012 March Madness was historically black Norfolk State University, a 15th seed, knocking off No. 2-seed Missouri, 86-84 in the first round of the tournament. The Spartans from Norfolk, Virginia were on the minds of all college basketball fans around the country.This week, the school rewarded the orchestrator of the MEAC champions. Coach Anthony Evans received a thre-year contract extension will take him through the 2016-17 season, according to NSU athletic director Marty Miller.Evans led the Spartans to a school-record 26 wins, the MEAC Tournament championship and the huge NCAA Tournament win, the first in Norfolk State history.Evans, who is 78-82 record in his five seasons at Norfolk State, also received a $50,000 raise to $175,000. His contract was to expire after the 2013-14 season.After beating Mizzou, NSU lost, 84-50, to Florida in the next round.
OSU then-sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) goes up for a shot during a game against Northwestern on Jan. 28 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photoOhio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell is already one of the best players in women’s college basketball. But even she has room to grow.OSU coach Kevin McGuff pushed Mitchell to enroll in a leadership course this semester. Assuming a leadership role is new to the Cincinnati, Ohio, native.“I’m not one of those people that likes to tell people what to do, but coach McGuff has put me in that role,” Mitchell said. “I think that class has helped me become more vocal. I’m a little bit more outgoing.”Mitchell said she now has made it her goal to become more of a leader for the Buckeyes. McGuff has already seen improvements.“She’s talking more, she’s more engaged,” McGuff said. “She’s obviously a great kid, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around, and she’s a fierce competitor. But she’s also got a really good feel for the game, and I think that you see her sharing that more with her teammates.”Out of Princeton High School near Cincinnati, Mitchell was a consensus five-star prospect and was considered by some as the No. 1 overall prospect in her class. She was the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio and was a finalist for the Naismith Girls’ High School Player of the Year award.Mitchell immediately found success at OSU. She was the unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year after becoming the first-ever freshman to lead the country in scoring at 24.9 points per game. Her 873 total points on the year set a school and Big Ten record, and she set NCAA records for most three-pointers in a season (127) and most consecutive games with a three-pointer (35).The guard didn’t slow down in her sophomore season. She broke her own school record for points in a season with 889 and scored the most points in a single game in OSU history with a 48-point performance against Michigan State on Feb. 27. She was a consensus All-American and finalist for several national awards, including Naismith Player of the Year.Mitchell now sits at 1,762 career points. She’s on pace to chase down former OSU forward Jantel Lavender (2,818 points) for the all-time school scoring record. With 253 made three-point field goals, Mitchell needs just 18 to surpass former guard Caity Matter for the OSU record.Mitchell’s accomplishments in her two years at OSU have led McGuff to believe that she is the best player he has ever coached.“She’s really special,” McGuff said. “She can really, really play and we’re really fortunate to have her here.”OSU junior guard Alexa Hart also believes Mitchell is a fantastic teammate, and has incredible basketball ability. For Hart, it’s the dedication that Mitchell brings to the game that puts her above the rest.“She comes in the gym when no one else is in the gym and just works hard,” Hart said. “She comes in any time of the day, whenever she can, and works out.”Mitchell is on her way to becoming one of best guards ever to come out of Ohio State, but that’s not something she thinks about too much.“I’m not really into that. I just come to the court, play and go to school,” Mitchell said. “There are so many great players that came through Ohio State, so to even be a part of that conversation is something that I’m really, really grateful for.”
Senior libero Valeria Leon goes through her service routine during a match against Nebraska at St. John Arena on Oct. 14. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Assistant News DirectorNearly 15 years ago, 7-year-old Valeria León and her older sister, Karina, were on their way to volleyball practice in their hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico. León’s grandfather took them to practice, as he did every day. León started to develop a passion for the sport of volleyball, and she began to sleep with her volleyball at night. She had no idea she’d be holding a place in Ohio State history just a handful of years later.Last week, senior libero León grabbed the title for most career digs in the women’s volleyball program during a match against Michigan State, but her journey to the top hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it’s been her against the world in many cases.León’s love for volleyball continued into high school at Colegio Sagrado Corazón De Jesús, where she was recruited by OSU coach Geoff Carlston. He said she stood out to him for a lot of reasons, but it was her determination that won him over.“She made hard stuff look easy and easy stuff look easy, but really I gravitated to her competitive aura and how she played the game,” he said. Coming to the United States for college wasn’t León’s first choice, but she said her mother wholeheartedly believed in her talent as a player and encouraged her to give it a try. “My mom used to tell me, ‘Just try it and if you don’t like it, I’ll be the first one to buy you a ticket to come back,’” León said. On her official visit to OSU, she immediately committed. She said she was blown away by the campus’ atmosphere. “I had other options, but I felt like Ohio State – it was the perfect one for me,” she said. At the time, León spoke little English, being a native Spanish speaker back in her Puerto Rican home. Everything was different in this new environment – communicating, learning and even some aspects of the game she had come to love were different. “I was dealing with so many outside things, like the language,” she said. “I had to go to tutoring for like eight hours every day because I couldn’t do the homework by myself.”Her team remembers it well. Being homesick while at college is one thing, but being homesick when your home is in another country is another. “She missed her family a lot. She missed home a lot. We all did, but it was different – she was in a completely new environment,” said senior middle blocker Kylie Randall. The team tried to support León in any way it could. Teammates walked her to classes, ordered food for her and took care of her like a sister, even though she had only been part of the OSU volleyball family for a short time.León could have given up and went back home where things were more familiar and comfortable, but she said when she finally decided to stick with it, she was thinking about more than just herself. “I had people behind me. They were excited and believed in me every single day, so I thought not giving up would make them proud,” she said. “People like my parents and my grandpa – he would go and drive me every single day to practice, and he never asked me for anything in return.”León also had her Buckeye family to rely on. Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe said she, Randall and fellow freshman Maggie Heim spent nearly every weekend with León during that first year, and they were able to bond outside of St. John Arena. Through the constant support of those close to her, León stayed with the program, and with time, she developed into one of the team’s strongest assets and a powerful leader. “She made it a point to make sure her voice was heard, even if she couldn’t say what she wanted to say,” Sandbothe said. Carlston said that, from a coach’s perspective, León is what holds the rest of his team together. “She does the maintenance. (She’s) the glue,” he said. “She does a lot of things for us.” León’s journey soared to a new level on Oct. 22 of this year when she broke the 12-year-standing record for most career digs in OSU women’s volleyball history with 1,586, a record set by National Player of Year Stacey Gordon. She said to see herself come this far is something she would never have dreamed of. “When you sign here and come here, you never think about stuff like that (breaking records),” she said. “Those are maybe goals or dreams someone has, but it won’t actually happen.” Grabbing the title was even more sweet for León because her family in Puerto Rico was able to see her do it. “What really hits me the most is that in that game (against Michigan State), my family was together back home watching. Bringing my family together is something really special for me,” she said. León’s mom and dad are able to come to the U.S. three or four times a year to watch her play. When they can’t, they watch her games online along with the rest of her extended family – which, she said, could be up to 25 people at one time. León isn’t the only Buckeye receiving international support. Freshman outside hitter Bia Franklin hails from Rio de Janeiro. León said she shares a special connection with Franklin because when she looks at her, she is able to see herself three years ago. “I love talking to her and telling her my story because, for me, it’s really important that she stays here and doesn’t give up,” León said. León’s team said that she is an inspiration to everyone she touches, and her journey has transformed her into not only a stronger volleyball player, but a stronger individual. Sandbothe said, “Seeing her accomplish these kinds of things … makes me trust in the journey and trust in the process and know that if you have people in your corner, you really can do anything.”León said she wants to see other players learn from her story. Carlston attributes that quality to her selfless and humble personality.“For me, it’s really important once I leave, I want (the underclassmen) to know how Buckeye volleyball does it,” León said. When her days donning the Buckeyes’ libero jersey are over, León hopes to keep playing the game she loves – but closer to those who inspired her to push through tough times. “One of the reasons why I want to play professional is my other family members who haven’t gotten the opportunity to watch me play,” she said. “They can watch me play (in Ponce), especially like my grandpa, he means the world to me.” There’s one thing Sandbothe said she has taken away from knowing León, and it’s the belief in achieving the seemingly impossible.“Someone who can have so many things against them and just being in really low points where you didn’t know if you could see the light or when it was going to get better, and she never gave up,” she said.
Arsene Wenger admitted that Arsenal’s second leg against CSKA Moscow in their Europa League clash proved to be a very nervy encounter with two late goals saving them from a tricky endThe Gunners arrived for their second leg of the quarter-finals against CSKA with a comfortable 4-1 lead from the first leg last week. But after a sloppy start in Moscow, the hosts were deservedly in the lead with both Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin taking advantage of Petr Cech’s mistakes to spark fears of a possible comeback.However it was not to be with Danny Welbeck giving Arsenal a crucial away goal in the 75th minute, in what was their first shot on target. Aaron Ramsey then added a second to seal a 2-2 draw and, critically, a 6-3 aggregate win for Wenger’s side.After the match, Wenger conceded that it proved to be a rather nervous experience for him with the Frenchman crediting the first leg result for the victory.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.“You could see when you have a big difference after the first game it is difficult to turn up with the same urgency than if the difference is very small and that played a part in the first half,” said the Frenchman, according to Sky Sports.“I felt in the two games they played well, especially tonight they made my heart beat much quicker than I expected it to be.“We played against a good team. I knew that after the first game and they showed that again tonight, they gave us many problems.”Joining Arsenal are Atletico Madrid, RB Salzburg and Marseille, for Friday’s draw for the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes Jose Mourinho’s old tricks won’t work this time around for Manchester UnitedThe Portuguese coach’s defensive tactics in the past at Anfield have secured United goalless draws in their last two visits.But Redknapp feels that Liverpool may just be too strong for United this time around for those kinds of tricks to work.“I am expecting Manchester United to try and do a number on Liverpool like they have done over the last couple of years,” Redknapp told Sky Sports.“They have done very well in those games, staying compact, not leaving any space in behind and making it uncomfortable – even unwatchable at times.“But I’ve just got a feeling that those tactics are not going to work this weekend. I think Liverpool have too much energy and speed for this United side. I think it’s inevitable that Liverpool will wear them down.Pochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“The worry is that I don’t know if they have any other way of playing in these games. Jose doesn’t play the Manchester United way. He never has.“They are not going to do what Everton did at Anfield where they went and kept the ball and played on the front foot. I don’t think that’s how Mourinho will set up his team.“You can see a situation where he will play Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic in midfield and look to stop Liverpool.“But that was the midfield that played against Manchester City and look what happened there. They were outclassed.”The Liverpool-United match will begin at 17:00 (CET) at Anfield today.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has vowed to fix the defensive problems in his team after their 3-1 home defeat to Brighton in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.The Cherries have now conceded 15 goals in four games including the latest against the Seagulls from Anthony Knockaert, Yves Bissoume and Florin Andone who all found the net.Marc Pugh grabbed the hosts solitary strike in the tie which only proved scant consolation as the Cherries slumped out of this year’s cup.“These games always swing on small moments, and the chance that came our way that we missed just before the goal was key,” Howe disclosed to Sky Sports.Eddie Howe pleased with attacking poise, but feels Wilson was too honest Stuart Heath – August 25, 2019 A.F.C Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe felt as though his striker Callum Wilson was too honest against Manchester City and may have won a penalty,…“We haven’t maximised our chances, and we’ve been easy to score against recently, and that must change.“We’ll go away on the training ground and try to put that right now.”Up next for Howe’s men is a trip to Merseyside to face Everton.
Sporting director Michael Zorc is adamant that Jadon Sancho will be at Borussia Dortmund next year, despite the growing interest from rival clubsThe 18-year-old winger’s stunning rise to stardom since completing an £8m transfer from Manchester City to Dortmund in 2017 has earned him plenty of suitors.Sancho is a regular member of the BVB squad leading the Bundesliga this season and his exploits in Germany saw him being handed a call-up to the England national team.But Dortmund, who have an unfortunate history for selling their star players to rivals, have no intention of letting Sancho go right now.“Jadon knew it would be an unusual step to move here but it has been totally the right one. Courageous, too,” Zorc told ESPN.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“He’s an outstanding talent and a big part of our future. We are convinced that we are the best option for him to keep developing.“He’s not finished yet. Not by a long stretch. And he will certainly play with us next year, come what may.”Sancho has managed seven goals and 10 assists in 24 appearances across all competitions this season for Dortmund.The teenage star is contracted at Signal Iduna Park until June 2022.