Karolis Kundrotas builds off Lithuanian upbringing as Elon freshman

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Elon administration charged head basketball coach Matt Matheny to go find overseas players. He had already established relationships in different countries when he was an assistant at Davidson. But now in charge, he was tasked with finding international athletes for his own program.He found Karolis Kundrotas at a prep school in London that has served as a basketball hotbed of talent. But London is not where Kundrotas found his love for basketball. It’s from a basketball-obsessed city in Lithuania that has developed numerous NBA talents.“Karolis fits perfectly into what we look for in recruiting at Elon,” Matheny said, “He’s someone that is coachable, that is tough and that is willing to work.”The 6-foot, 11-inch freshman Kundrotas, who was born and raised in Kaunus will come to the Carrier Dome on Saturday at 7 p.m. to face Syracuse (2-0) as a part of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Though he’s scored just five points in 15 minutes this season for Elon (2-1), Kundrotas’ past stops shaped the promising player.Kundrotas moved to England with his mother in 2006 and played at the Barking Abbey Basketball Academy. The academy’s professionalism helped prepare him to play Division I.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter failing to bring in European recruits in past years, Mattheny successfully reeled in Kundrotas.“The coaches there are really sharp,” Kundrotas said of the Academy. “The closest program that I’ve been to that matched American standards.”The Barking Abbey program, which head coach Lloyd Gardner called the British version of an American“prep school,” is linked to a normal British state high school and is regarded as one of the top basketball programs in the UK for developing young players.The Abbey program previously sent fellow Lithuanian Paulius Satkus one year earlier to James Madison and Kundrotas followed a similar path.Program director Matt Clark said that every Lithuanian player comes with solid fundamentals and a 3-point shot, which Clark called a “signature” of all European big men.“Lithuanians grow up with basketball,” Clark said. “It’s their national sport. A large number of their heroes are basketball players.”Kundrotas’ hometown in Lithuania, Kaunus, is a goldmine for basketball stars, producing several NBA players including Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Donatas Motiejūnas Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis and Linas Kleiza.“Being from the same place,” the freshman said, “they’re people that I look up to. I idolize them.”While many young athletes in Lithuania look up to players like Ilgauskus and Montiejunas, Kundrotas said that his hero was another Lithuanian basketball star.Šarūnas “Šaras” Jasikevičius was another product of Kaunus, Lithuania and played point guard in the United States for Maryland. Jasikevičius played a majority of his career overseas, but had a brief stint with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA.“He was the man in my eyes,” Kundrotas said, “with Zydrunas of course, he’s also legend.”Kundrotas hasn’t come close to the level that his heroes have reached yet, but Matheny thinks highly of his future.Matheny believes that despite Kundrotas coming more game-ready than the coaching staff anticipated, he still has a lot to work on and to learn before he can play big minutes for the Phoenix.Both are excited for the opportunity to play at Syracuse. It’s a chance for Kundrotas to play in the type of venue his countrymen became accustomed to.“I can’t believe the opportunity I’ve got from where I come from,” Kundrotas said, “I can’t wait.” Comments Published on November 20, 2015 at 12:02 pm Contact Jack: jfupton@syr.edulast_img read more

Hoornstra: Hall of Fame voting has become a feedback loop

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone We all write things in private that we would never share publicly, like a child secretly passing a folded-up note in class. Baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot is, for some voters, a secret folded-up note. We always discover the note eventually, but we don’t always learn who wrote it. In fact, we learn every year that the authors of some notes want to keep their identities hidden.Of the 397 BBWAA members who returned a ballot this year, all but one checked the box next to Derek Jeter’s name. The dissident has so far remained anonymous. To some fans, the Jeter-less ballot spoke louder than the other 396.Omitting Jeter was hardly a criminal act, let alone an affront to baseball tradition. Only Mariano Rivera has been listed on more than 99.7 percent of all Hall of Fame ballots since the first group was inducted in 1936. And there have been less sensible ballot omissions in history. Joe DiMaggio needed four tries to become a Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra two. Thirty-six voters left Jackie Robinson off their ballot in 1972.Cooperstown has received many taboo ballots and will receive many more in the years to come. The BBWAA has called for total transparency, for an end to secret ballots. Yet the Hall of Fame continues to allow anonymity to the voters who request it. This “private option,” if you will, always leads to interesting results. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings center_img The ballots that fascinate me most are not those that omit Jeter, Robinson, Berra or DiMaggio. I’m more interested in ballots with checkmarks next to names such as Adam Dunn, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, and Raul Ibañez. It’s a slightly more consequential version of the “Remember Some Guys” bit.Dunn, Penny, Putz and Ibañez each received a single, anonymous vote this year.Ibañez, a left fielder for the Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Yankees and Angels from 1996-2014, never led his league in a major hitting category. He made one All-Star team.Putz was a closer for 4-1/2 of his 11 full major-league seasons. He retired with 189 career saves, one All-Star Game appearance, and no black ink on his resume.Penny had his best years with the Dodgers, leading the NL in wins in 2006. He won 121 games before retiring with the Marlins in 2014, 14 years after his debut. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Dunn broke in with the Reds in 2000 and bounced around to the Diamondbacks, Nationals, White Sox and A’s during a 14-year career. He was a curious player by the standards of his day, combining a high on-base percentage with lots of home runs and even more strikeouts. (Dunn led his league in K’s four times.) By contemporary standards, however, his skill set is downright common.Add it up, and these four players have six All-Star Game appearances among them. None won an MVP award, or a Cy Young, or was named Rookie of the Year. In 59 combined seasons, the quartet has garnered fewer accolades than Justin Verlander.If social media wasn’t made for disseminating information, it was made for backlash. Tuesday turned Baseball Twitter into one big comment section for the Jeter-less ballot. The commentary overshadowed the usual vitriol reserved for the one-vote down-ballot darlings du jour. It’s not by coincidence that the Ibañez/Dunn/Penny/Putz voters haven’t outed themselves. They don’t need to read the comments section to know what’s coming. Who would voluntarily raise their hand and direct faux outrage toward him or herself?Related Articles I know of at least two voters in the past decade who were ensnared by the trap of giving sincere votes to a player who was named on no other public ballots. (In each case, their player was named on one private ballot.) Since the anonymous voters couldn’t serve as a lightning rod for public criticism, guess who did? Those two voters haven’t cast a public ballot since.The BBWAA has pushed for transparency. Although I am a BBWAA member, I am two years short of receiving my first Hall of Fame ballot. There’s time for my perspective on this to evolve. In lieu of any first-hand experience, I can offer an observation: Hall of Fame voting has become a feedback loop.There’s a reason the social media era gave birth to the first unanimous ballot. It’s the same reason the ballots missing Jeter, and those including Ibañez, Dunn, Penny and Putz, remain anonymous. The power of the secret ballot lies in the diversity of thought it promotes.You can turn to the politics section of this newspaper and see the same phenomenon play out on its pages. When it comes to Hall of Fame voting, ostracizing the dissidents seems less consequential. Then as now, however, the three dozen voters who stiffed Jackie Robinson have some explaining to do.last_img read more

The official Sumner Newscow ‘everything there is to do this weekend’ calendar.

first_img Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comment (1) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. 0 Vote up Vote down guest · 227 weeks ago This is great! Thank you. Report Reply 0 replies · active 227 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Sumner Newscow report — Here is the “everything you need to do this weekend in Sumner County that we have” calendar. Get, busy Sumner Newscow readers!Friday, April 1Wellington Downtown Art Walk – April 1, 5 to 7 p.m. – Barbara Jons, Barefoot Jerry’s, The Gold Corner, The Getting Place.Wellington Hight School – Baseball Taco Fundraiser – 5 to 7 p.m.Michelle’s Encore Dance Studio’s Adult Hip Hop Class – 8 – 9:30 p.m.Wellington Regent Theater – Miracles from Heaven, 7 p.m. See details here.Saturday, April 2Oxford Citywide Garage Sale – All day! See list of garage sales in list below.New and Vintage Spring Market – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.Big Brothers – Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake – 10 a.m.and 12 p.m. Still taking teams for bowlers and teams! For questions, e-mail: DClark@kansasbigs.orgWellington Wal-Mart Garden Center Grand Opening – Saturday and Sunday. Watch for ad on Sumner Newscow for the detail on Saturday morning. Junior Humane Society meeting – Pearly Gait Ranch, 2 – 4 p.m. Click here for details.Wellington Recreation Center Spring Fling dance – 6th to 8th grade. 8 to 10 p.m. Click here for more information.If you don’t see your weekend event, place in the comment section below!Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more