Rising to the occasion · Junior forward Kristen Simon was named to the All-Pac-12 Team after leading USC in scoring and rebounding this year – Jo Danielle Esteban | Daily TrojanThree Trojans garnered All-Pac-12 honors on Tuesday as the women’s basketball team continued preparations for its conference tournament, which begins on Thursday with a game against Cal.Junior forward Kristen Simon was named to the All-Pac-12 Team, while senior guard Courtney Jaco was an honorable mention for the All-Pac-12 and All-Defensive teams. Freshman guard Minyon Moore rounded out the trio, earning a spot on the All-Freshman Team.Simon is USC’s leading scorer and rebounder this season, and her spot on the All-Pac-12 Team is the first all-conference honor of her career. Simon was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Dec. 5, and she has notched 10 double-doubles so far this campaign, leading the Trojans in scoring in 10 games and pacing the team in rebounds on 19 occasions. Simon also won Most Valuable Player at the Great Alaska Shootout in November, as she led the Trojans to victories over Missouri State and Portland.Senior captain Jaco nabbed her second consecutive All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention this year (the All-Defensive Honorable Mention was the first of her career). The guard provides plenty of offense for the Trojans as the No. 2 all-time 3-point scorer in program history, and four more baskets from beyond the arc will tie her career high of 72 3-point makes in one season. But Jaco was also honored for her defense this year (she averages over a steal per game) and for her role as a workhorse, as she leads USC in minutes played.Moore is the youngest member of the trio of all-conference Trojans, and she has already made her mark at USC. Moore was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week twice this season — most recently last week — and was the first player in program history to be selected as the USBWA National Freshman of the Week. Her 15 assists against Sacramento State in December was the second-highest single-game tally in USC history, and Moore leads her team in both steals (2.0) and assists (4.0) per game.With this trio of stars in their lineup, the Trojans will now look to make a Cinderella run in the Pac-12 Tournament. Nine-seed USC will hope to edge Cal in the first round before upsetting top-seeded Oregon State in the quarterfinals. The Trojans’ tournament opener against the Bears tips off in Seattle at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Arsenal‘s efforts to streamline and improve their operations has extended to an internal investigation into whether they overpaid for £72m club-record signing Nicolas Pepe.Sources have told ESPN the deal has been re-examined as part of the wider recruitment overhaul which led to the departures of a host of scouts including Francis Cagigao, Brian McDermott and Brian Clark as well as several more senior employees based throughout Europe.Pepe ended his debut season in England with eight goals and 10 assists across all competitions; a satisfactory return despite some inconsistent form. There is said to be no sense of regret at signing the 25-year-old but many people within the game were surprised at the size of the fee Arsenal paid to Lille, especially coming from a club where finances are notoriously tight. The Gunners paid £20m up front but have committed a further £52m over the next five years, the first instalment of which is due this summer. The depth of that commitment has led to a review of the scouting reports and negotiating process which led to such a big deal being sanctioned.Pepe attracted interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs after impressing in Ligue 1 but sources have told ESPN that individuals working for other clubs who became involved in preliminary talks with Lille were taken aback by the amount Arsenal eventually paid.Technical director Edu joined the club three weeks before Pepe signed for Arsenal — he held up Pepe’s shirt with the winger at his unveiling — but the bulk of the work on the deal had already been done. Former head coach Unai Emery has previously stated he preferred to sign Wilfried Zaha but Crystal Palace wanted the majority of a similar fee up front and Arsenal opted for Pepe instead.Edu has led a drive to overhaul Arsenal’s recruitment at all levels — Ty Gooden, Arsenal’s leading scout in France, has also been released — in the belief that a global network is less important than data-driven analysis and forging relationships with key agents.With COVID-19 a contributing factor to 55 non-playing staff redundancies and further pressure on a modest summer transfer budget, Edu is determined to make every penny count. Source: ESPN
Former Vitesse Arnhem owner Merab Jordania is planning to buy the Dutch club again so he can end their relationship with Chelsea.UEFA rules dictate two clubs with a shared owner cannot enter the same European competition and Vitesse have slumped from challenging for the title to fourth in the table. Only the two top in the Eredivisie qualify for the Champions League.Jordania, Completesportsnigeria.com understands, lost control of the club to Vitesse owner Alexander Chigirinsky at the start of this season and was then banned from attending their matches for three years after allegedly sending threats to chief executive Joost de Wit.Chigirinsky is friends with Roman Abramovich whom Super Eagles midfielder John Mikel Obi is said to be dating his niece.Chelsea have sent a number of their youth players there in recent years to get first team football, though another Super Eagles player; defeder Kenneth Omeruo was on loan at another Dutch side, ADO Den Haag before making a return to the English last pre-season and subsequently earned a loan move to Middlesbrough.Chigirinsky is now putting a consortium together to take control again and said: “Will I actually return? There are always discussions. If I find an opportunity to return, I will certainly not let it pass.” Omeruo may be deemed not ready to assert himself in the first team plans of Jose Mourinho for next season and would have been a likely candidate for another season on loan-this team at the Dutch club where there seems to be no way of any such plans.Chelsea players numbering up to 12, according to several sources in England, are facing the axe of the Portuguese tactician who is set to make adjustments to his squad next term as UEFA bares it’s tooth with the enforcement of the Financial Fair Play Rule looming. John Mikel Obi has been touted as likely to call time on his eight-year association with the Blues .
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has missed Pittsburgh’s last three games with an injury, but his side job is apparently earning him plenty of money.Smith-Schuster is a Pro Bowl receiver, but he’s also made a name for himself in the gaming community. He consistently joins other streamers on games such as Fortnite, most notably when he teamed up with Ninja and Drake, helping to break all sorts of viewing records on the streaming platform Twitch. As Twitch continues to grow in popularity, other companies have started joining the platform. That includes the NFL, which has partnered with Amazon (Twitch’s parent company) to stream “Thursday Night Football” games on the platform. This started in Week 4 and lasts through Week 15.In Week 14, Smith-Schuster joined popular streamer TimTheTatman to watch the Cowboys and Bears play. A few days later he was playing Fortnite with streamer THump and revealed he earned $100,000 simply for participating in the “Thursday Night Football” stream.NFL POWER RANKINGS:Packers, Chiefs, Bears, Titans jump; Patriots, Texans drop for Week 15“I did a stream yesterday, with TimTheTatMan, or like two days ago, we watched the Cowboys game and I got paid 100k for that,” Smith-Schuster said.His playing partner THump seemed surprised by Smith-Schuster’s admission, telling the receiver he probably shouldn’t have said that out loud. “Oh, I don’t know if you’re supposed to say that but it’s all good, it’s all good,” THump said. Smith-Schuster was talking about his payment because THump said he was surprised the receiver didn’t have more endorsements. There’s just one more Twitch stream of Thursday Night Football this season, and that’s the Week 15 matchup between the Jets and Ravens. Streamers AngryJoe, runitup and TimTheTatman will be teaming up with the platform to help promote it once again.
MISSING MARCH MADNESS: Playing out the full schedule, scores for 2020 NCAA TournamentThe Sweet 16 was good to the No. 1 seeds — all four advanced — and three of the No. 3 seeds moved on to the Elite Eight. No spoilers in the intro about how the Elite Eight games played out in the polls, though — read on to find out what the Final Four looks like:Midwest: No. 1 Kansas over No. 3 Michigan StateMISSING MARCH MADNESS OPENING WEEKEND RECAPDay 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4Your vote: Kansas wins, 61.8 percent to 38.2 percentThoughts: Michigan State, a 3-seed, had rolled through the tournament with No. 1 seed-like voting results. But that train stalled at the station in Lawrence, apparently. Kansas had 15 Final Four appearances heading into the 2019-20 college hoops season, and you voters just punched their ticket for a 16th (albeit a fictional one). If Sparty wasn’t able to get Kansas big man Udoka Azubuike in foul trouble — he had at least three fouls in 13 games this year — that would have been a big problem, because he rarely misses in the paint. And Azubuike did a pretty good job staying away from whistles late in the season: He only had more than two fouls in one of his last four regular-season games.East: No. 1 Dayton over No. 2 Florida StateYour vote: Dayton wins, 61.1 to 38.9Thoughts: Want to know why Dayton is so very good? Yes, they have Obi Toppin, and he’s kind of amazing, but he’s not the only skilled offensive player on the team. Look at the individual offensive ratings on the squad: For quick background on the stat (created by Dean Oliver and used at numerous sites, including KenPom.com): “Anything over 110 is good, and 120 is excellent for a player that is the workhorse on his team.”Well, Dayton has six players averaging at least 22 minutes a game, and three of them have offensive ratings above 120 — Toppin (122.4), Jalen Crutcher (121.5) and Ibi Watson (120.5). Two more are over 110 — Trey Landers (119.7) and Ryan Mikesell (114.4). How do you beat a team like Florida State, with an elite defensive squad? With a lineup like that, that’s how.MISSING MARCH MADNESS SWEET 16 RECAPDay 1 | Day 2West: No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 3 MarylandYour vote: Gonzaga wins, 67.5 to 32.5 The actual NCAA Tournament has been canceled, but Sporting News is still offering the chance to pick upsets and virtually watch your favorite teams advance, round-by-round to the Final Four.The opening weekend results — thanks to your votes — produced a handful of double-digit seeds winning their opening-round games, but all of those Cinderella dreams died in the second round. We didn’t have a single team higher than a 5-seed advance to the Sweet 16 (I’m a little bit disappointed in you people for your lack of belief in the magic of March). Thoughts: Remember what we just said about Dayton and offensive rating? Check out the Zags: Four regulars over 120, another three at 114 or better. They’re just so damn deep and talented. There’s never a possession you can take off defending that group. Maryland’s good, but Gonzaga’s better. I fully agree with the result here.South: No. 3 Kentucky over No. 1 BaylorYour vote: Kentucky wins, 54.9 to 45.1Thoughts: Unlike Kentucky’s ballot-box-stuffing Sweet 16 results, the vote totals for this game were very similar to the vote totals for the other Elite Eight games. So it’s not just the Kentucky superfans who picked the Cats to advance here. Maybe it’s a belief in Kentucky, or maybe it’s just a wariness about Baylor, a club that lost three of its last five games and needed overtime at home to beat a Texas Tech team squarely on the bubble — not exactly an impressive closing stretch. I figured Baylor would be the first No. 1 seed voted out, but I kind of thought it would happen before the Elite Eight.