Great effort by the Boston Celtics, but they came up just short to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. UMass' Tony Gaffney was on the end of the bench for the C's as the Lakers rallied late. JTAM has news on various teams as we head into the weekend where lots of alums will be in action.
Dime Magazine has a story on interesting side notes from the NBA Finals with a section on Tony Gaffney. "He is a live body who brings length and athleticism to practice that I think the Celtics like about him," says UMass assistant coach Antwon Jackson. "He will always compete, and will do his best in his role for the team. I also had a chance to talk with Tony when he came to campus during the Orlando series, and he is living the dream. He's a humble kid who is just very grateful for the chance he's been given. He grew up in the Boston area and starred at UMASS, so he grew up rooting for the Celtics. So for him to have the chance to be part of the Celtics organization at all is a dream come true, and for him to be there while they are winning and in the NBA Finals is almost surreal for him."
UMass Hall of Famer and College Football Hall of Famer Dick MacPherson will be honored in South Bend at the College Football Hall of Fame. Here is a story from Syracuse which mentions: MacPherson and the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 will be honored July 16-17 at the Enshrinement Festival in South Bend, Ind. Thousands of college football fans from across the country will pay tribute to the storied careers of 24 of the game's greatest stars and conclude with the grand finale Enshrinement Dinner & Show on July 17.
Just days after Maryland hired Harvard's John Tillman, Penn State announced it will be hiring Jeff Tambroni, who has coached Cornell to the Final Four in three of the last for years. Inside Lacrosse has the story.
No UMass student-athlete birthdays today.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: Three new UMass Auctions are underway including a team autographed ball by the 2009-10 NBA Finalist Boston Celtics.
Don't Miss This: Lots of action for UMass alums in lacrosse in several Major League Lacrosse games this weekend. Watch Boston and Chicago on Sunday on Comcast SportsNet New England at 2 p.m.
Big night for Boston Celtics fans as the C's and UMass' Tony Gaffney go for their 18th NBA Championship tonight in Los Angeles. Some interesting tidbits in JTAM today including an update on the great Doug Clark, who is playing baseball in Korea and UMass' softball stars with the Brakettes. Also some videos of future UMass women's soccer players.
The UMass coaches continued to take in New York Jets minicamp in New Jersey on Wednesday. Head coach Kevin Morris said that Vladimir Ducasse and James Ihedigbo are playing key roles with the green and white. "James is in on different defensive packages and having a big impact on special teams," said Morris. "Vlad is impressing the staff with being so far along with his technique and picking up the schemes. They are practicing Thursday at the new stadium and then breaking until the start of training camp."
The Wall Street Journal has a story on the composition of the Jets roster with the mention of the team taking Ducasse in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The Boston Herald has a story on Patriots coach Bill Belichick and his connection with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. He will serve as the honorary chairperson and speaker at tonight's 1st Annual Friends of Jaclyn Boston Gala at the InterContinental. The Pats coach is close with Northwestern women's lacrosse coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, Jaclyn's adopted team. And Belichick has met Lexie Williams, who was adopted by the UMass women's lacrosse team; daughter Amanda is an assistant coach in Amherst.
The Stratford Star has an update on the Brakettes, who are 9-1 with several UMass players contributing. The Brakettes return to action Friday, June 18 at 6:30 at Frank DeLuca Hall of Fame Field against the Connecticut High School All-Stars in a nine-inning game. Carly Normandin and Jess Serio have been keys to the team's success. Also, the Brakettes are waiting for the return of pitcher Sara Plourde, who had a recent MRI on her hip.
Future UMass lacrosse player James Fahey scored the game-winning goal in the Division 1 Championship last night leading St. John's to a 12-11 win at Harvard Stadium. Read about it on ESPNBoston.com. With Fahey's strike, St. John's Prep (20-2) captured its first lacrosse championship and put an end to the Green Dragons' six-year stranglehold on the state championship. The win also allowed the Eagles to avenge last year's overtime defeat by Duxbury (22-2) on the same stage.
Four UMass players and one assistant coach prepare to play for the New England squad in the USA Field Hockey Women's National Championship in Virginia Beach, Va. Watch the video on the Minutewomen.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: Nine UMass Auctions end on Thursday afternoon. Pick up a basketball jersey or a piece of Jets apparel signed by Vladimir Ducasse.
Don't Miss This: The final game of the NBA season takes place on Thursday as the Celtics and UMass' Tony Gaffney seek their 18th NBA title at the L.A. Lakers. Watch on ABC at 9 p.m., and look for Tony on the bench.
The UMass baseball team will have a chance to be a part of history in 2011. FIU infielder Garrett Wittels, who owns a 56-game hitting streak, will open next season against UMass with a three-game series at FIU on Feb. 18-20. Wittles needs two hits to tie Robin Ventura's mark of a 58-game hitting streak. The Minutemen will have a chance to put an end to the streak down in Miami. JTAM also has updates on alums Steve Baylark, who has a new pro football deal and hoopster James Life.
As mentioned above, the UMass baseball team will have a chance to be a part of history as the Minutemen will be the first team that FIU faces in 2011. The Miami Herald has a story on Garrett Wittles, who ended 2010 with a 56-game hitting streak. He will have the chance to tie Robin Ventura's 58-game college record in the second game of a three-game series and break it in the third game as UMass plays at FIU on Feb. 18-20, 2011.
Nick Serino is headed to the Gulf Coast Nationals after signing with the Washington Nationals. Check out this video of his season highlights.
Alum Matt Torra was a hard-luck loser for the Reno Aces last night, falling 4-1 to Sacramento. Torra (3-5) worked 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits in the losing effort. He walked one and struck out three.
The News-Press in Florida has a feature on former UMass 3-point shooter James Life. The grandson of Puerto Rican natives, hopes to take the next step in his basketball journey over the next two weeks while trying out for the national team in Puerto Rico, where he has native status despite being born in New York City. Life is still dreaming of an NBA career, which you can read about in this story.
The Celtics and Tony Gaffney fell last night to the L.A. Lakers, 89-67 at Staples Center. It will all come down to Game 7 on Thursday night for the NBA Championship with the series deadlocked at 3-3.
UMass' second all-time leading rusher Steve Baylark has a new gig. He is playing in the UFL for the Sacramento Mountain Lions. The former Arizona Cardinal and Denver Bronco is in minicamp with the Lions taking snaps from Daunte Culpepper and playing for Dennis Green. The season starts in September with preseason games and the regular-season gets underway in October.
The New York Post has a reference to Vladimir Ducasse in an update on the New York Jets minicamp. Ducasse worked with the second team on Tuesday.
Former UMass volunteer assistant coach Brian Kingsbury has been named the head coach at Castleton State in Vermont. He has been an assistant coach at Castleton for the last two years and Prior to Castleton, Kingsbury spent the 2008 season as a volunteer assistant coach at UMass, guiding the Minutemen to a .502 face-off winning percentage.
Midway through the month of June and plenty of news on the UMass front. The Pond Club had a great Golf Tournament on Monday. Happy Birthday to runner Andrew McCann (pictured) and baseball pitchers Joe Popielarczyk and Aaron Zaleznik on Tuesday. JTAM has some scoop on UMass football coaches gaining some knowledge at an NFL team's minicamp.
A group of UMass coaches have been down in New Jersey spending time at the New York Jets minicamp where former Minutemen All-Americans Vladimir Ducasse and James Ihedigbo are in action with the green and white. Offensive coordinator Brian Picucci has been at the Jets complex each of the last two weeks. Also gaining some professional development with the Jets are defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski, defensive line coach Steve Tirrell, running backs coach Guido Falbo, defensive backs coach Dyran Peake and assistant linebackers coach Damian Mincey. Head coach Kevin Morris will be down with the Jets on Tuesday.
With the start of Jets minicamp, ESPN New York mentions Ducasse
as part of a positional battle for starting at left guard. Here's what it says: "Rookie Vladimir Ducasse, a second-round pick, has been working with the starters since he arrived. He is running ahead of second-year backup Matt Slauson at left guard. Ducasse has improved his grasp of the offense over the past two weeks, according to teammates, and it appears to be his job to lose."
The Springfield Republican has a story on the event held on Sunday night where Derek Kellogg was the keynote speaker at an event held in honor of the late George "Big Will" Williams. On Sunday, the first recipient of a new annual award, "The Mug," went to Derek Kellogg, one of thousands of Big Will's disciples.
The Washington Post has a feature on new Maryland assistant basketball coach Bino Ranson, who has several connections to UMass and the A-10. Mentioned in the story is that Ranson coached UMass No. 3 all-time leading scorer Ricky Harris and prior to coming to Maryland was on the staff at Xavier.
Nick Serino, who was drafted in the 37th round by the Washington Nationals, signed with the team on Monday. The Washington Post has the story.
The blog Snakepit, which covers the Arizona Diamondbacks, has a mention of UMass product Matt Torra as a possible future member of the D-Backs.
UMass goalkeeper Chris Piekos is playing summer league soccer with defending league champion D-Y Celtic. The team opened the 2010 Cape Cod Amateur Soccer League with a 3-0 victory over the Brewster Ice. His shutout is mentioned in the Cape Cod Times.
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Don't Miss This: UMass alum Matt Torra pitches for the Triple-A Reno Aces tonight vs. Sacramento.
Happy Flag Day! Busy weekend for UMass alums in various sports ranging from baseball to basketball to lacrosse and soccer. Today in Just Take A Minute we will take a look at former Minuteman hoopster in the Italian Serie A Championship series -- Jeff Viggano with Armani Jeans Milano. JTAM also has the scoop on Therese Smith, who scored for the New England Mutiny in the WPSL on Sunday night. The UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament takes place on Monday at the Orchards in South Hadley.
2007 alum Jeff Viggano has been a key to Armani Jeans Milano as his team has advanced to the championship series in Italy's Serie A. Game 1 of the series took place on Sunday and Armani lost 100-80 to Montepaschi. During the regular-season Armani went 17-11 to finish in third place. They beat Pepsi Caserta 65-59 in Game 5 to reach the finals. Viggano is averaging 5.2 points per game in Italy. Among his teammates are fellow A-10 alums Mike Hall and Chris Monroe from George Washington.
Tony Gaffney continues to be one of the biggest cheerleaders for his Boston Celtics. Check out this feature on ESPN.com as Henry Abbot visited Gaffney's home in the Boston suburbs where Gaffney has several Celtics pieces of history.
The Celtics took a commanding 3-2 lead in the NBA Finals with a 92-86 win in their final game at TD Garden in Boston. UMass' Tony Gaffney was on the bench and was seen heading to timeouts several times on the right.
ESPN.com also has a story on UMass' greatest player of all-time -- Julius Erving, who has been at the NBA Finals. Check out this story on ESPN.com. Included among his answers is a connection to UMass: "I have a lot of memories coming to Boston, most of them are good surprisingly. One thing I will always remember is coming to the Boston Garden and seeing a red 6 they use to hang up in the balcony. The Sixers wore red, but UMass' colors were maroon and I always used to notice it, once I realized it was the UMass people. They'd always try to get my attention since they would say "Look here, look here we love you" so it wasn't always hostile. There was always a little fanbase for me."
Lots of UMass alums in action in Major League Lacrosse games this weekend. Here's a look at the former Garber Gorillas.
The Chicago Machine dropped a tough 13-12 overtime decision to the Long Island Lizards at John Fallon Field in Albany. Chicago played three UMass alums including 2010 draft pick Diogo Godoi, who made his pro debut with a groundball on defense. 2003 grad Kevin Leveille had two goals and three assists for five points. Brett Garber '07, played for Chicago but didn't have any points after last weekend's game-winning two-point goal. Chris Fiore didn't play for the Lizards.
Jack Reid and his Boston Cannons beat the Denver Outlaws, 17-12 at Harvard Stadium. Reid had an assist and two groundballs. Draft pick Jim Connolly didn't play for Boston.
Therese Smith in action with the New England Mutiny on Sunday night.
The New England Mutiny topped the Seacost United 2-0 last night. Read a recap in the Springfield Republican as UMass' Therese Smith scored the game's first goal and a game-winner in the eighth minute. "Thesese Smith played very well," Coach Lauren Molinaro said. "She was very composed on the goal she scored."
Chad Paronto picked up his first save of the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Saturday in a 1-0 win over Louisville.
The Eagle-Tribune has a story with a mention of a future UMass baseball player. Ex-Central Catholic star Tim Wheeler left the URI baseball program voluntarily in the fall. He transferred to UMass, where he redshirted this spring. Wheeler did himself proud in the classroom with a 3.325 GPA.
The Bristol Press in Connecticut has a mention of local Sara Plourde. She had a standout season at UMass in her sophomore year and Breanne Gleason ended her career at the University of New Haven receiving both Daktronics Division II All-America Second Team and NFCA All-America Third Team honors.
Check This Out On UMassAthletics.com: Ever wonder if you could find the career statistics of a UMass basketball player? Well we have then online now, visit the page with the career stats for all UMass basketball players since 1950.
Don't Miss This: Monday brings us the UMass Hockey Pond Club Golf Tournament at The Orchards in South Hadley.