Sports News for New Jersey Thu, 05 Mar 2015 11:57:06 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb 300 Words Or Less: Bozella, Seton Hall Women Reaching New Heights New_Headshot_opt_copy_copy_copy_copyBY JOEY WAHLER

After winning a preseason transfer battle with Alabama, the Seton Hall women’s basketball team has won the Big East’s regular season war – for the first time ever.

“My most special moment,” coach Tony Bozzella told

The Pirates are ranked 23rd and 25th nationally by the coaches and AP respectively, their first time ever in both polls. Bozzella made the NCAA Tournament coaching LIU-Brooklyn and the MAAC Final leading Iona, but the Hall is his alma mater, Class of 1989.

“Our university is special to me,” Bozella said.

The Pirates are the Big East Tournament’s top seed at DePaul, playing Sunday. They’re 26-4, one win from the school’s victory mark, and 15-3 in the Big East. They had a school record 12-game winning streak, and were at 17-1 Walsh Gym.

After national media outcry, including from Keith Olbermann, guard Daisha Simmons was granted immediate eligibility after transferring from Alabama, which first tried blocking her from playing this season.

Professional Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:29:25 +0000
Eagles Shocker: 5 Reasons LeSean McCoy Traded by Chip Kelly mccoy_optBY BOB HOLT

Things can change quickly in the NFL. The man who led the league in rushing yardage in 2013 looks to be gone from the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

Philadelphia Eagles fan favorite LeSean McCoy has rushed for more yards than any other NFL running back over the past five years, and is the team’s all-time leader in rushing.

But McCoy is headed to Buffalo next week. According to, the Pro Bowl running back will be going to the Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The move opens up $8.55 million in salary cap space for the Eagles.

McCoy was set to earn $10.5 million for 2015. He has said he wouldn’t take a pay cut, and the team never came to him about negotiating a new contract.

Professional Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:36:38 +0000
300 Words Or Less: A Bizarro World Sports Day New_Headshot_opt_copy_copy_copyBY JOEY WAHLER

Like Bizarro World on Seinfeld, nothing on Friday’s local sports landscape was as it appeared.

In Newark, during the Bruins 3-2 overtime win over the Devils, the OT winner came from Ryan Spooner, his first NHL goal in his 35th game, played over three seasons. New Jersey’s Jordin Tootoo, no relation to teammate Tuomo Ruutu, had scored making it 2-2 in the third period.

So Tootoo made it 2-2, to no avail.

On Long Island, with the Islanders leading the Flames 1-0 in the third period, it appeared Cal Clutterbuck’s empty-net goal making it 2-0 with 42 seconds left iced it for the Isles. That is, until Calgary’s Josh Jooris scored with 20 seconds remaining, giving Clutterbuck a rare empty net game winner.

So Clutterbuck’s apparent clutter bucks the system.

In Harlem, there was the 50th CUNY men’s basketball final. CUNY stands for City University of New York, consisting of all public colleges. Makes sense, no? They include City College of New York, also called CCNY, where the title game was played.

Professional Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:35:18 +0000
New Hoops Event Draws On New Jersey Ties For Success TheTournament_optBY JERRY MILANI

If you are former hoops player, or someone who dreamed of running your own team and actually making money outside of fantasy sports, take note. There is a basketball tournament this summer where anyone can build a real team, enter for free, win six games and walk away with a million dollars. Welcome to The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take all five on five event that this week announced a partnership with ESPN, and one whose August finals will be in the area, maybe with some Jersey ties as well.

The event is the brainchild of Boston entrepreneur Jon Mugar, who saw an opportunity for the ultimate high level pickup game that can provide not just bragging rights, but dollars and exposure for talent that may not be NBA-quality but very close. The event was hatched last year in Philadelphia and Boston and this week announced a doubling of the winner-take-all prize money to $1 million and a partnership with ESPN that will have the finals live in early August.

“The door is wide open for anyone out there to create a team and play for it,” said Mugar in the release Monday. “Last year we were able to prove the concept of a high stakes, democratic tournament, with an exceptionally skilled collection of players and an entertaining event. Our agreement with ESPN, along with our market expansion, further validates that we are on the track to grow even beyond what we had hoped for in year two.”

Professional Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:23:26 +0000
300 Words Or Less: St. John’s To Pointer: “To Sir, With Love” New_Headshot_opt_copy_copyBY JOEY WAHLER

Is anyone in college basketball playing better than St. John’s forward Sir Dominic Pointer?

“He’s unorthodox and extraterrestrial,” said Red Storm coach Steve Lavin, after his senior-laden team toughed out a 58-57 win Monday over Xavier at Madison Square Garden, their fifth victory in six games. Pointer electrified the Garden with 19 points, 9 rebounds, six blocks and four steals.

Few real big men are averaging 17.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks over their last 11 games, like Pointer. Forced to play power forward, the senior’s numbers belie his 6-foot-6, 192-pound frame.

Since starting Big East play 1-4, during Pointer’s 11-game outburst the Johnnies are 7-4. At 19-9, 8-7 in the Big East, they appear headed for the NCAA Tournament, the first in four years for Pointer’s class.

In the 1967 movie classic, To Sir, With Love, Sidney Poitier plays Mark Thackary, a new high school teacher in a poor England neighborhood, who stubbornly changes the lives of his rebellious class of seniors by year’s end. Gradually, Thackeray earns respect of his kids, who call him “Sir.”

Professional Fri, 27 Feb 2015 04:20:14 +0000
Let's Talk Baseball: As Weather Warms, The Thunder Bring the Promotions 165436852_opt_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copy_copyBY JOE FAVORITO

For all its family fun and promise, minor league baseball is not an easy way to make a living. Of the now seven minor league teams in and around New Jersey, only two have MLB affiliations that help with the bottom line on the baseball operations side. The other five Independent League teams have a little more freedom of ownership, but have to run not just a sports business, but a baseball business as well, and with the competition of casual spending high and the interest amongst millennials in spending 2-3 hours at a ballpark more than once a summer dwindling, the idyllic opportunity of owning and running a minor league team becomes more challenging every year.

For its challenges, there is still a huge upside for those looking to innovate and enjoy a lifestyle which is about family fun and sports business. One team that has always been on or near the top of the heap in innovation and fun has been The Trenton Thunder. The Thunder, playing on the banks of the Delaware at what is now  ARM & HAMMER Park have a longstanding relationship as the AA affiliate of the Yankees, a cachet which has brought them a nice spillover marketing platform for years. However in addition to those ties, the Thunder have built a solid business of their own, which is again reflected in the wide ranging ways they will induce fans to turn out from far and wide this summer. They recently released their first round of promotional dates, which are again a treasure trove of fun for fans whose interest may be more on activity and less on baseball.

Professional Fri, 27 Feb 2015 02:02:19 +0000
5 Reasons Our Devin McCourty Worth Stealing From New England Patriots mccourty_optBY BOB HOLT

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots gave Stephen Gostkowski their franchise tag this week, locking up the kicker’s services for the 2015 season. That might present fresh opportunities for one of our own.

Safety Devin McCourty, who attended Saint Joseph Regional High School in Montvale along with Rutgers University, might go on the open market next week.

The Boston Globe reports that McCourty and cornerback Darrelle Revis are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next week. Some people believe that the Patriots will lose at least one member from the NFL’s top 2014 secondary.

Those fears are with good reason. A franchise tag for a safety will be $9.6 million for this year. According to The Boston Globe, McCourty made $3.92 million for 2014. McCourty will be only 28 in August, and was ranked as the NFL’s eighth-best safety out of 87 by ProFootballFocus for 2014.

He is also said to be a great influence in a team’s locker room. And the Boston Herald mentions Denver, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and even the New York Jets as teams that might be interested in McCourty. He is likely to receive a significant raise with a long-term agreement. The top NFL safeties are averaging about $8 to $10 million a season right now.

Professional Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:17:03 +0000
300 Words or Less: Mets Talk of Believing as Tug McGraw Memories Take Center Stage New_Headshot_opt_copyBY JOEY WAHLER

Did Jenrry Mejia really say it?

“We Gotta Believe.”

The Met reliever’s words opening spring training come 42 years after closer Tug McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe!” became the inspirational cry that led an injury plagued, last place Mets team in August to an unlikely World Series trip.

Indeed, a year later McGraw was the central figure in my first game attended as a kid at Shea Stadium, Sept. 1, 1974. Injuries to the starting rotation forced McGraw to start, and all he did was throw a five-hit shutout, beating the Braves 3-0.

Pitch count? What pitch count?

The rambunctious lefty, a screwballer on the mound and a lovable screwball off it, was a starter early in his career, famously becoming the first Met ever to beat Sandy Koufax in 1965. After two Met World Series trips, winning in 1969, McGraw was traded to the Phillies following the 1975 season.

Professional Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:11:14 +0000
MLS Soccer: Crooks Helps Bring New York City Football Club To The Airwaves nycfc_optBY JOE FAVORITO

In less than a month’s time, the New York area will have not one, but two Major League Soccer clubs, as New York City Football Club will make its MLS debut and join the Red Bulls for their debut season. Adding in the Cosmos in the NASL and Sky Blue in NWSL it makes for a great deal of crowding on the pro soccer side this spring and summer, but NYCFC has a little different cache from the others. Owned by the Yankees and Manchester City Football Club, they will play their first few seasons (or more if they don’t get a stadium built) at Yankee Stadium, creating one of the more unique home venues for any soccer club in MLS. They will also have another unique differentiator, with their games not only being carried locally on the YES Network, but on WFAN Radio as well, the first time in at least 30 years that professional soccer will have a radio home in the area.

Professional Fri, 20 Feb 2015 03:21:18 +0000
Bloomfield, Caldwell Men, Women Prepare For CACC Hoops Playoffs With Season-Ending Shootouts Bloomfield_vs_Caldwell_optBY JERRY MILANI

Bloomfield College has a new athletics nickname for 2014-15, the Bears, and its rival 5.1 miles up Bloomfield Avenue is now known as Caldwell University, the College achieving its new status last summer. But the success of both schools in basketball remains constant.

Area Division II basketball fans got a taste of the rivalry -- and a preview of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference playoffs, at Caldwell's Newman Center on Tuesday as the local foes squared off with playoff positioning -- and home tournament games -- on the line. This time, it was Caldwell coming up with a pair of wins, its women earning the No. 1 seed in the CAAC North by virtue of a double-overtime, 87-82 win, while the Cougars men withstood a furious Bears rally to triumph, 81-72.

Both of Bloomfield's teams were NCAA tournament participants last year, the women earning the spot with a CACC championship cemented in a tournament finals victory at the Newman Center against Caldwell, and the men garnering an at-large berth after three league titles.

Professional Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:59:00 +0000