Lee Nguyen ends Revolution losing streak with a goal and an assist and also forced an own goal

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Lee Nguyen scored one goal and set another as the New England Revolution beat the Colorado Rapids 3-0 on Wednesday to end an eight-game Major League Soccer losing streak.

New England took its first lead in a match since 24 May when Nguyen’s shot inside the box in the 10th minute deflected off Drew Moor for an own goal. Colorado’s Thomas Piermayr was sent off for his second yellow card in the 74th minute, for a rough challenge just outside the box, and Nguyen’s ensuing free-kick cleared the wall and landed in the upper right corner of the net. Four minutes later, Nguyen sent a pass for Kelyn Rowe to score.

via Nguyen ends Revolution losing streak while Henry gives Red Bulls draw | Football | theguardian.com.

“Welcome to Unity”

Have you ever had a moment when you heard a story so unbelievable you had to know more? On September 25, 2009 I was driving to work when a story came on NPR about a football team in Unity, OR. Note – I had never been a fan of football – until this moment. The team was made up of two American kids and seven exchange students. I wanted to know the rest of the story. Without thinking of the repercussions I called the school in Unity to ask if I could speak with the students regarding a potential film about their story.

I was granted permission to travel to Burnt River High School and a week later I was off to rural Oregon with my friend Anu, the cinematographer and field producer on the film, for what we envisioned to be a week long shoot to make a ten minute film. When we arrived it was clear that the story was far deeper than a short but Anu and I couldn’t afford to quit our teaching jobs to invest an entire year into the filming. That’s when things got creative…

via “Welcome to Unity” Booster Club Canceled by Autonomous Genie — Kickstarter.

5-foot-7 Japanese PG Yuki Togashi to enter NBA D-League draft

Mavs double-down: Sign a forward and fall for 5-foot-7 Japanese PG Togashi « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith

The other half of this dreams-can-come-true Mavs summer is 5-foot-7 Japanese point guard Yuki Togashi. The 20-year-old’s combo of stature, speed, instincts and fearlessness instantly made him a fan favorite over the past week, although not quite to the level of another Mavs Summer League point guard sensation a few years ago, a guy named Jeremy Lin.

Of course Togashi’s size, quick-twitch style and terrific ability to run the pick-and-roll is more similar to yet another great Dallas Summer League find, the diminutive J.J. Barea. Now with Minnesota, the 5-foot-9 Barea developed into a steady, change-of-pace backup point guard for the Mavs and even started in the 2011 NBA Finals.

Togashi’s dream is to play in the NBA and said Friday that he will follow that dream and enter the D-League draft in the fall. His other option is to return to Japan’s pro league and take home a much bigger paycheck.

“I played professionally for a year-and-a-half in Japan. I think I did a good job in Japan,” said Togashi, who took the BJ-league by storm last season and led it in assists. “To improve my skills I think I have to go overseas and play in the D-League.”

The D-League draft has 10 rounds. The early rounds are dominated by players on the edge of being good enough to make an NBA roster. Togashi is projected as a late-round pick so it’s quite possible the Mavs’ D-League team, the Texas Legends, co-owned by Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, will be able to select him.

Togashi idolized Allen Iverson as a kid and says he now watches a lot of Chris Paul. Interestingly, Togashi came to the United States for high school and attended Montrose Christian in Maryland, where a number of NBA players went, including Kevin Durant. When no Division I scholarships came, Togashi took his talents back home and began his professional career.

His agent steered him to Charlie Parker, a longtime assistant coach with the Mavs, who now works for the Legends. Parker has been training Togashi in Dallas for the last six weeks. Parker called his friends with the Mavs and told them they should consider putting the point guard on their summer team.

Obviously a part of his instant popularity here was initially due to his against-all-odds size. When he takes the court, he looks like one of the smaller kids on a youth team at the YMCA swimming in his oversized uniform. Then he gets the ball in his hands and the oohs and ahhs suggest he’s much more than a sideshow attraction.

“It is tough,” Togashi said of his height and 143-pound frame. “But I use my speed to be able to make plays.”

Togashi will return to Japan on Saturday morning and join the national team for practices in preparation for a tournament in Taiwan. If all works out, U.S. basketball fans will get their next look at the little man in the D-League.

via Mavs double-down: Sign a forward and fall for 5-foot-7 Japanese PG Togashi « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog with Sekou Smith.

AUDL: Darren Wu named 2014 Breakout Player

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Darren Wu made a name for himself in the Riptide’s Week 8 matchup against the San Jose Spiders, when the 19-year-old Vancouver native scored 6 goals on 25 catches in Vancouver’s hard fought 25 – 26 loss. He maintained his composure against San Jose’s talent-stacked roster, and his knack for making big plays kept his team close against the best in the West and won Wu fans league wide. ESPN3 announcers Evan Lepler and Chuck Kindred gushed over Wu—the duo had the phrase “unbelievable sky from Darren Wu” on repeat by the end of the game—and noted he came out of nowhere to become arguably the best player on the field.

But for Riptide fans and observers of Vancouver’s ultimate scene, Wu’s breakout season was hardly unexpected. What was surprising was how quickly Wu picked up the sport (he’s been playing less than a year) and how well his natural athleticism matched ultimate’s demands. Wu didn’t know ultimate existed until he went to his high school team’s tryouts—the first time he caught a disc, he used his now-notorious hops to sky his soon-to-be coach. Wu started playing the sport with a single directive: run fast, catch the disc, and score.

“I was never taught to throw,” he said. “My job was to use my speed to help our team win, or boost morale by making a big play or getting a break from the other team.”

On the Riptide, Wu became a key part of the team’s O-line and the favorite target of Derek Fenton, the AUDL assists leader in 2014. The two connected on 17 goals, and Wu racked up 39 goals altogether. Wu spent much of the season in the AUDL top ten goals scored, in the company of ultimate vets like San Jose’s Beau Kittredge and Chicago’s AJ Nelson. Yet, despite his many highlight-worthy catches and his sudden ascendance in the professional ranks, Wu keeps his focus on what’s next.

“There’s not one great play from this season that I remember because I’m always looking to improve myself,” Wu said. “I want to play the best I can and outrun every player. Making big plays is good, but being able to make that deep cut and burn them deep is better.”

With one of the league’s youngest rosters, Vancouver finished in third place in the tough West division. And with Wu on the O line, they’re only going to get better.

via The AUDL.

Jeremy Lin press conference with Lakers: Lin Excited for New Beginning

Lin Excited for New Beginning

by twong
Lakers.com Contributor

The Lakers had been trying to acquire point guard Jeremy Lin for four years. On Thursday, it became a reality.

“(Jeremy) came to Los Angeles a week ago for his physical and we had a chance to visit in my office,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said. “The first thing I said to him when he sat down in my office was: “The third time is the charm.”

Lin spent the last two years as a member of the Rockets before the Lakers acquiredthe Harvard product, along with a future first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick in exchange for the rights to Sergei Lischchuk. With L.A. having enough cap space, they were able to absorb his salary, while also maintaining cap flexibility for the future as Lin’s contract expires at the end of the season.

”I’m really excited to be a part of this organization and I’m seeing this as a new start, a fresh start,” Lin said.

After going undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, Lin had a strong showing at summer league with the Dallas Mavericks. Kupchak stated the Lakers offered him a contract, but so did the Golden State Warriors.

“We were negotiating with his representatives to bring him to Laker camp,” Kupchak said. “There was guaranteed money involved and it came to a point where it was the same as the Warriors. Jeremy, because of his roots in the Bay Area, chose the Warriors. So we missed out on him four years ago.”

When the Warriors waived Lin on the first day of training camp when the lockout was lifted for the 2011-12 season, the Lakers put in a claim. But based on record, the Houston Rockets were awarded the 6-foot-3 guard. He was, however, waived again before the season started on Christmas Day.

The Knicks then claimed the Harvard product off waivers. Injuries to a number of guards ahead of him on the depth chart opened up an opportunity for Lin, leading to the brief turnaround of a team that had lost 11 of 13 games.

The Beginning

Lin emerged on the NBA scene as a member of the New York Knicks with a 25-point, seven-assist performance off the bench against the then New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, 2012.

Linsanity, as many people soon called it, was born.

Over his next five games – all starts – Lin tallied 136 points, the most by a player since the 1976 ABA-NBA merger. He recorded at least 20 points and seven assists in each of those contests as well, becoming the only player to do so since at least 1970. He guided that Knicks team to seven straight wins, mainly in the absence of Carmelo Anthony.

Perhaps his best game during that stretch came against the Lakers on a Friday night at Madison Square Garden when Lin dropped a career-high 38 points, plus seven assists.

Background
During his senior year of high school, Lin led Palo Alto High to a 32-1 record and an upset of nationally ranked Mater Dei in the state title game.

Despite being named Northern California Division II Player of the Year, Lin did not receive a single athletic scholarship to play basketball at the collegiate level.

He instead attended Harvard University where he was named All-Ivy League Second Team during his sophomore season. The following year, Lin was the only NCAA Division I basketball player who ranked in the top 10 in his conference for points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and three-point field goal percentage.

By the time his career was finished, Lin was the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals.

#IvyLeague
Speaking of the Ivy League …

Since 1979-80, there have been just 13 others players besides Lin hailing from the Ivy League to suit up in the NBA.

The list includes: 
Jerome Allen 
James Blackwell 
Ira Bowman 
Corky Calhoun 
Chris Dudley 
Jeff Foote 
Steve Goodrich 
Butch Graves 
Armond Hill 
Matt Maloney 
Walter Palmer 
Tony Price 
Brian Taylor

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Lin is one of four players who attended Harvard who have played in the NBA. The others are Wyndol Gray (1946-48, Boston Celtics), Saul Mariaschin (1947-48, Boston Celtics) and Ed Smith (1953-54, New York Knicks).

Floor General
Lin excelled in the pick and roll orchestrating Mike D’Antoni’s offense in New York. In particular, he showed a knack for attacking and getting to the rim.

“My brand of basketball is attacking on the go, playmaking, I am a 0-100 player and I like to stay at 100,” Lin said. “I’m learning to have more composure and be more under control, but at the same time, be very aggressive. If you watch a Chris Paul or Tony Parker is they are always attacking but they are always under control.”

In a brief sample size with New York – 35 games – and during his first full season with Houston in 2012-13, Lin attempted nearly 40 percent of his field goals in the restricted area. That figure dipped to 34 percent last season, but his efficiency from the three-point line increased as he shot a career-high 35.8 percent.

In fact, Lin’s efficiency from beyond the arc has gone up each season.

2010-11: 20.0 percent 
2011-12: 32.0 percent 
2012-13: 33.9 percent 
2013-14: 35.8 percent

“I think when I look back on not just this past year, but maybe the past two years, I think I’ve learned and grown a lot as a person and a basketball player,” Lin said.

Purple and Gold Everywhere
According to a 2010 census, Asians make up nearly 14 percent of the population in Los Angeles, but is one of the fastest growing ethnic groups.

And Lin is very well aware of how the fans will react when he suits up for his first game inside STAPLES Center. The unwavering support from the Asian community is something he welcomes.

“I’m no stranger to large Asian populations,” Lin said. “I’ve always said and I will always be grateful for their support, and I know how die-hard the fans can be and how supportive and enthusiastic they can be. That’s one thing I always appreciate is through the ups and the downs is the support of the Asian community.

While Lin was in Asia the last couple weeks, he also realized the magnitude of the Lakers global brand.

“It’s huge,” Lin said. “First, Kobe is an idol in Asia, obviously. Everything was red Rockets when I was first there. I came back, took my physical and everything was yellow. That was one thing I noticed. I was like: ‘Wow, that was fast.’”

A Fresh Start

For the 6-foot-3 guard from Northern California, the Linsanity era has been his defining mark during his brief four-year NBA career.

But he maintains he doesn’t want to recreate that moment, or live in the past. Rather he sees this opportunity with the Lakers to develop and grow into a more complete basketball player.

”My first year in Houston really taught me that,” Lin said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that player. Now, my goal is I’m not trying to be a player from the past. I’m trying to make history again. It’s not so much me trying to be something that happened beforehand. I’m looking to the future and trying to be a much better and bigger player than I was ever before.”

Despite a trying 2013-14 season for the Lakers, Lin is well aware of the expectations for Lakers fans. But playing in New York, in Houston and going through various stops in his career has prepared him. And he wholly embraces what he knows he can do as a player.

“I feel the least amount of pressure on my shoulders now than I ever have,” he said. “One thing I try to do is not let my circumstances dictate the pressure as a player. I don’t think I play well when I do put a lot of pressure on myself from an outside standpoint. I know what I want to accomplish as a player and what the right way to play is and as long as I do that, I can hold my head up high and be proud of myself.”

via Lin Excited for New Beginning | Los Angeles Lakers.

Emmanuel Mudiay gets $1.2 million contract to play one year in China with Yi Jianlian’s team

Class of 2014 star Emmanuel Mudiay has reached an agreement in principle with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the China Basketball Association on a one-year deal that will pay him a total of $1.2 million, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com on Tuesday.

This development, earlier reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, comes a week after Mudiay announced he’s skipping college in favor of a contract overseas that would help alleviate some of his mother’s financial concerns. Clearly, this deal makes that possible.

But multiple sources told CBSSports.com that Mudiay’s actual motivation for bypassing a year in the AAC is rooted in the fact that he was facing eligibility concerns — both amatuerism concerns and eligibility concerns — and that the odds of the 6-foot-5 guard ever being cleared for freshman eligibility were slim, at best, mostly because he spent two years at Prime Prep Academy, which a source told CBSSports.com has never actually had a class accepted by the NCAA for the purposes of initial eligibilty.

Mudiay is projected as a consensus top-10 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Former Texas standout Royal Ivey played for the Southern Tigers last season.

via Emmanuel Mudiay gets $1.2 million contract to play one year in China – CBSSports.com.