Mo'ne Davis

Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

1 Comment

The biggest story of this summer’s Little League World Series has been 13-year old Mo’ne Davis, a young woman who has pitched impressively in both the regionals and the LLWS for the Taney Dragons out of Philadelphia. Davis’ ability has resulted in improved television ratings for the Little League World Series and more people talking about the games than in years past. Yet even with her recent achievements, Davis’ long-term goal is to play for one of the most successful programs in women’s college basketball.

According to the Hartford Courant, Davis hopes to play college basketball at UConn for Geno Auriemma.

“I want to go to UConn and be the point guard on the basketball team. That’s like my dream and then go into the WNBA,” Davis told ESPN last week. “That’s for Geno. Geno has to know.”

Auriemma knows. A Philadelphia guy at his core, he reached out to Davis earlier this week, a phone call that left the girl speechless.

“It was really fun,” Davis said Tuesday of her conversation with Auriemma. “I was actually very shocked and surprised. He told me he was watching the games. That I should keep it up. And that I needed to get a couple of hits.”

Davis’ stated desire resulted in Auriemma giving her a phone call, which is permissible per NCAA rules due to the fact that she’s yet to reach the grade (ninth) that the NCAA uses to define a “recruitable prospect.” The two also share a connection to the Philadelphia area, with Auriemma and his family emigrating to Norristown, Pennsylvania (which is some six miles northwest of Philadelphia) from their native Italy when he was seven years old.

Davis’ latest appearance on the mound came Wednesday night, as she pitched just 2 1/3 innings in Taney’s 8-1 loss to Mountain Ridge LL (Las Vegas). Davis was removed from the game just before reaching the 50-pitch limit, meaning that she would be available to pitch in Saturday’s United States Championship game should Taney beat Jackie Robinson West LL (Chicago) on Thursday.

Per Little League rules a pitcher throwing between 36 and 50 pitches requires two calendar days of rest before they can reappear on the mound.

While the focus clearly remains on the task at hand for Davis and her teammates, her clear long-term ambition lies in another sport. Like past stars of the Little League World Series (Chris Drury, Sean Burroughs, etc.) it will be interesting to see what Mo’ne Davis can accomplish in the years to come.

h/t CBS Sports

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
Leave a comment

The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
Leave a comment

With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.