Raptors’ Boucher sorry for breaking isolation, thinks he has proven he can play in NBA — Toronto Sun

Don’t call Chris Boucher one of those ‘Covidiots.’ Read More

Raptors’ Boucher sorry for breaking isolation, thinks he has proven he can play in NBA — Toronto Sun

Don’t call Chris Boucher one of those ‘Covidiots.’

He has nothing like the idiotic partiers down south who went ahead full-bore on Spring Break, despite the spreading COVID-19 pandemic. Or the Snowbirds who returned to Canada and immediately went shopping like it was business as usual.

Yes, Boucher, a third-year big man with the Toronto Raptors, would be the first to tell you that he shouldn’t have gone to a downtown grocery store on March 12, but he thought in the moment it was OK because he had tested negative for COVID-19.

“What really happened to me was just that for a minute I needed to get stuff for me to survive, really. Like I didn’t have nothing and I didn’t want to trust Uber Eats or anything and all that, especially knowing the way the virus was spreading,” Boucher told English and French-speaking reporters on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon.

“So I got my test and they were saying that I was negative. So now I know that I can’t do nothing to people so I just wanted to get my groceries done. It’s not like I wanted to be seen. Somebody just took a picture, knew where I was. It’s unfortunate,” Boucher said.

Toronto had played the Utah Jazz only days earlier and all the players had been tested and ordered into self-isolation.

“I can’t do nothing, but that’s not something I was trying to do. Nobody wants to get that virus. I don’t want to give it to nobody if I had it. Definitely I should have just stayed home and that’s why I felt like I had to apologize because, even if I knew that I didn’t have it, it’s not acceptable,” said Boucher, who was born in Saint Lucia, but moved to Montreal when he was five and was raised there.

Since completing protocols, Boucher has been following procedures, trying to stay in shape and stave off boredom while also worrying about relatives he can’t go and see since he’s stuck in Toronto.

“Basically, it’s really hard. I don’t have family close, my family is in Montreal, so Toronto is kind of where I had to stay for the whole time, just trying to figure things out. Sometimes it could be something real easy like (toilet paper) or Lysols or stuff to clean the house, stuff like that. That’s when you realize that (you’re not) going outside,” he said.

Boucher commended the Raptors for doing their best to check in on their players.

“With (video), you actually can lift with Jonny (Lee), our strength and conditioning coaches. I have done a lot of that. The team did a good job to make sure that doctors can call us every day to make sure we’re OK. The rest of it is really a lot of figuring out how it will work when we get busy. Because after like two weeks, you’re like, vacation or not, pandemic now, you just want to be doing something,” Boucher said.

Boucher managed to turn some heads during his third NBA season, particularly with his superb work on the offensive glass and his rim protecting skills. He also has not shied away from launching three-pointers, and though he only shot 28% from out there, he’s a good free-throw shooter (80%) and it’s easy to see his long-range accuracy improving.

It was only a few games before the NBA shut down that Boucher went off in Phoenix for 19 points and 15 rebounds, along with 7-for-8 work at the free-throw line. Once he focused on being an energy player and going out and trying to make things happen in limited bursts, Boucher began to emerge as a potential NBA contributor.

Asked by Postmedia what he feels like he has proven this season, Boucher had a quick answer.

“That I can play. Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff that I can get better at, but I think that my technique I was able to show right out of the door and kind of find ways to help the team win,” he said.

“I think that’s what’s most important. That I could be effective in the game. I think I’ve learned that.”

The Raptors initially brought Boucher in before the 2018-19 season as a two-way player. He would go on to win the NBA G League’s MVP and defensive player of the year awards and, in Feb. 2019, his two-way contract was converted to a standard NBA deal. That contract has an option for the Raptors to extend Boucher a qualifying offer for next season for just under $2 million US, but he’s not looking ahead at this point.

“I mean, at the end of the day, we don’t know what’s gonna happen. You (the reporters on the call) and me are both clueless right now, so at this point I’m just trying to focus on health and making sure my family’s good. I stay online just to watch news about the NBA so hopefully we can finish the season and if not, well, I’ll have to think about a lot of stuff.

“I knew this (contract) stuff was coming, so, obviously, it’s gonna be a process, but for me right now that’s not what I’m thinking about. There’s way more important things to be thinking about right now.”

Admiration for health-care workers is personal for FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley — Edmonton Sun

FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley has special admiration for health-care workers who are currently on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

Admiration for health-care workers is personal for FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley — Edmonton Sun

FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley has special admiration for health-care workers who are currently on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Powley spent time at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton when he was young, and his girlfriend is currently a nurse.

“When I was four or five, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome,” Powley said. “Basically what that does is affect your immune system and your central nervous system and basically my body started attacking itself.

“So I was in the Stollery for about a week and a half. I was put into a coma, suffered some temporary paralysis and before I left, I had to learn how to walk again. So I have a very strong appreciation for nurses, health-care workers and everybody right now.”

Powley, 23, is heading into his second season with FC Edmonton. The Canadian Premier League, however, is currently on hold as the country tries to ride out the coronavirus pandemic.

FC Edmonton was to begin its season this Saturday on Vancouver Island against Pacific FC. They were to host Cavalry FC of Calgary at Clarke Field the following week.

Yet, with the number of infected cases continuing to rise in Canada, sports has become secondary as the focus shifts to health.

FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley takes a goal kick in a Canadian Premier League game against Forge FC at Clarke Field on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Supplied / FC Edmonton

Powley is currently in lockdown with the rest of his family trying to prepare the best he can for when the season does get underway, although he does have other things on his mind as well at the moment.

“My girlfriend, she is a nurse and luckily she hasn’t had any cases at her seniors home right now,” Powley said. “But I just have a strong appreciation for nurses and health-care aids and the list goes on and on.

“I keep seeing all this stuff on Twitter where it’s not the athletes or the millionaires and billionaires who are the heroes right now, it’s the frontline health-care workers who are putting their lives on the line every single day right now. I don’t know where we would be without them. Some of the things I hear that they’re doing and just exposing themselves to everything and anything right now, it’s a thankless job and I’m very grateful to them.”

Last season, Powley demonstrated his appreciation for those who treated him at the Stollery by making routine visits to the children’s hospital as a member of FC Edmonton. It was an initiative he suggested as a way to give back to the community.

“Last year we did a couple of trips,” Powley said. “We were asked if we had any ideas of where we can get out in the community and it was my idea to go visit the Stollery and we did that a couple of times and brought some kids out to the games and put some smiles on some faces.

“I know from first-hand experience when you’re there, any excuse to smile for five minutes is a good one.”

Following the lockdown, Powley and FC Edmonton will continue reaching out to the community and making trips to the Stollery.

When the season will eventually kickoff is still up in the air as the CPL is pondering options and looking at different scheduling scenarios once the outbreak has subsided.

FC Edmonton goalkeeper Dylon Powley makes a save as teammate Connor James looks on at practice at Clarke Field on May 9 2019. Shaughn Butts / Postmedia

FC Edmonton was going into the year with plenty of optimism this season having been into their second week of training camp before it was all shut down.

“We signed some really, really good players this year,” Powley said. “All of us came in really excited and eager to get back to work and in the first week and a half that we had training camp, it was looking really, really good. There was just a different feeling this year in the locker room from last year.”

Individually, Powley is looking to have a strong season sharing the goalkeeping duties with fellow local product Connor James.

Powley had a strong second half last season playing six league games and both Canadian Championship games for FC Edmonton.

“I don’t want to say it was a disappointing year for me last year, because I did get into some games, even though I expected more from myself,” Powley said. “I definitely gained a lot of confidence from the games that I played, but I’ve actually gotten more confidence coming into the preseason this year fitter than I was last year.

“That’s what’s given the most confidence is knowing that I’ve taken part of my game to another level, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to showcase some of that this year.”

Despite competing against each other for playing time, Powley and James have an excellent relationship and the two have taken advantage of working with former Canadian international goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld, who was brought on as the goalkeeping coach last season.

“I’ve played on a lot of teams in my life and I think the relationship that Connor, myself and Lars have is probably the healthiest relationship I’ve been in, in terms of soccer,” Powley said. “Last year we were pushing each other day in and day out. We have a good understanding that we’re battling each other, but we have a very professional understanding that it’s the coach’s decision who plays and no matter what we’re going to be there for each other and supporting each other.”

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka senses opportunity for growth in difficult NBA season — Daily News

Rob Pelinka took stock Wednesday of where the Lakers left things when the season suddenly was suspended exactly four weeks earlier, and where they’d like to pick back up whenever it begins again. To him, the unprecedented pause in play, spurred by the coronavirus pandemic that has caused cancellations worldwide, represents an opportunity. At least,…

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka senses opportunity for growth in difficult NBA season — Daily News

IBL keeping options open, even after losing three teams over COVID-19 — Toronto Sun

Jack Dominico does not want his run to end at 52 years. Read More

IBL keeping options open, even after losing three teams over COVID-19 — Toronto Sun

Jack Dominico does not want his run to end at 52 years.

The owner and GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the eight-team Intercounty Baseball League, based in southern Ontario, is hoping against hope that there will be a season in some form this year.

“If you can play in July, then play,” said Dominico, from his Etobicoke home. “You’ve got to stay positive. I want this thing to get resolved but, of course, the most important thing is that everyone stays safe and we all feel better.”

The IBL announced this week that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, a traditional season for the historic independent league is not possible and that three of its teams — the Brantford Red Sox. Kitchener Panthers and six-time reigning champion Barrie Baycats — have already indicated that they will not play this year, no matter what.

“The IBL is still hopeful that the pandemic is brought under control in the coming months and that some sort of modified IBL season is possible,” the league, entering its 102nd year, indicated in a statement. “At this point, the IBL can say (with) confidence that we will not have baseball of any kind before July 1; that the majority of teams, while realizing IBL baseball this summer may seem unlikely, are hopeful of playing a modified season.

“The three teams that bailed were reluctant to bail, but were firm in their decision,” IBL commissioner John Kastner told the Toronto Sun. “The five that want to go (including Dominico’s Leafs), really want to go. They’re really hopeful and they really want to play.”

Kastner said that there will be no games in any shape or form without “the full blessing of the province, medical officers of health and our municipalities. We realize a lot of good things would have to happen for us to have some baseball this year, including the absolute safety of our players, umpires, volunteers and fans.”

Dominco said it wouldn’t take much time to get his team, which plays its home games at Christie Pits, together if the league decides to play.

“The players work out all the time,” he said.

However, even if a modified schedule is drawn up, Kastner said a lot of things would probably change.

“One of the questions was: Are you going to have imports? And the answer is, probably not,” said Kastner, who is also general manager of the Stratford Perth Museum, which includes an exhibit of local boy-made-good Justin Bieber. “Are you going to give out the trophy at the end of the year? Maybe not.

“We’re not going to have a traditional season, but are we going to have a season? I’m still hopeful that we do. But will there be an asterisk next to it, yes, absolutely.”
The commish said that the league’s braintrust will likely meet late in June to decide whether even a modified schedule can go ahead.

“You only have to read the newspaper for five minutes to (know) this might never happen,” he said. “But we felt we had to do something. It’s complete conjecture at this point. We have to understand that quite likely this is all for naught. But it’s a contingency (a modified schedule) that we felt obligated to put together.”

Sources: CP3, Young, LaVine plan on H-O-R-S-E — ESPN

NBA stars Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine are among those expected to compete in a televised H-O-R-S-E competition that will also include WNBA players and NBA alums, sources told ESPN.

Sources: CP3, Young, LaVine plan on H-O-R-S-E —

The NBA and ESPN are finalizing plans to televise a H-O-R-S-E shooting competition, with stars Chris Paul of Oklahoma CityTrae Young of Atlanta and Zach LaVine of Chicago among those expected to participate, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The competition will include a couple of WNBA stars and fairly recent NBA alumni, sources said.

Players would be filmed competing at home locations — on indoor or outdoor courts — and compete shot for shot in the traditional playground game, sources said.

Young, an All-Star selection in his second season, joked with LaVine, a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, on Twitter.Trae Young@TheTraeYoung

ABSOLUTELY NO DUNKING

@ZachLaVine5,986Twitter Ads info and privacy616 people are talking about thisTrae Young✔@TheTraeYoung

Half Court Shots Only https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1247976085649862657 …Adrian Wojnarowski✔@wojespnSources: The NBA and ESPN plan to televise a HORSE competition is nearing completion and among those expected to participate include Chris Paul, Trae Young and Zach LaVine. Competition will also include a couple of WNBA players and recent NBA alumni.3,779Twitter Ads info and privacy417 people are talking about this

LaVine competed in the NBA 2K20 Players Tournament, losing in the first round last week.

The NBA suspended play on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there is no expectation that the league can resume play anytime soon.

Current NBA isolation protocols governing players prohibit them from competing together in the same location.

NBA star Antetokounmpo donates masks to Greek city — G9IJA.com

Greek basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers donated 10,000 surgical masks to the Athens suburb of Zografou on Wednesday to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. “The municipality of Zografou wants to express its great gratitude to the Antetokounmpo family for offering 10,000 masks to the residents of the city as a measure of protection […]

NBA star Antetokounmpo donates masks to Greek city — G9IJA.com

Is Klay Thompson a Hall of Famer? — The Sports Wave

Klay Thompson is the other half of the dynamic duo known as the Splash Brothers. He’s a five-time All-Star, two-time All-Pro, and a crucial part of three Warriors Championships. With a lethal stroke, he can put up points quickly and has shown that countless times. Holding the record for the most points in a quarter […]

Is Klay Thompson a Hall of Famer? — The Sports Wave

CCM Hockey steps up in fight against coronavirus — Toronto Sun

CCM Hockey is skating into the fray in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

CCM Hockey steps up in fight against coronavirus — Toronto Sun

CCM Hockey is skating into the fray in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hockey equipment manufacturing company announced on Wednesday it will donate 500,000 surgical masks to health-care workers on the front line in the battle with the coronavirus.

“By teaming up with our roster of CCM athletes, we will be able to play a role in the collaborative effort to get past this crisis,” CEO of CCM Hockey Rick Bradshaw said in a release.

“We focused on the best use of our network and our resources to have the quickest impact. Sourcing greatly needed equipment through our established supply chain partners in Asia is the most efficient way for us to support and keep our real heroes safe.”CCM Hockey@CCMHockey

Coming together to protect the real heroes. We’re proud to join our NHL and Pro Women players in donating 500,000 surgical masks to protect healthcare workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

Full details: https://ccmhockey.com/en/covid-19  #ALLOUT

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View image on Twitter

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Based in Montreal, CCM Hockey is in the process of getting protective equipment from its business partners that normally has a hand in the production of hockey equipment. CCM will arrange for transport of the masks and is in discussions with government authorities to ensure the masks are distributed to health-care workers in Canada as early as the week of April 27.

There’s a substantial list of NHL and professional women players who are contributing to the donation, including Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Brianna Decker, Melodie Daoust and Kendall Coyne Schofield.

“It troubles them to feel helpless as they witness the devastating effects of this pandemic,” Blackshaw said. “Hockey is about commitment to a higher goal as well as to one another … these player qualities and beliefs will (help) allow us to emerge stronger from this challenge.”

The pledge by CCM Hockey comes after other sports equipment companies including Nike, Bauer and New Balance announced they would be making donations or manufacturing medical equipment to help the fight against the coronavirus.

South Korean baseball league hopeful of salvaging full season despite coronavirus pandemic

http://yna.kr/Ahttp://yna.kr/AEN20200407007700315EN20200407007700315

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) — With each passing day, the South Korean baseball league is growing hopeful that it can still play a full, 144-game season, despite the wrench thrown by the coronavirus outbreak earlier in the year.

The 2020 regular season for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) would have begun on March 28 under normal circumstances. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the KBO, much as all other South Korean sports organizations, to put its season on hold.

The Kia Tigers play their intrasquad game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on April 7, 2020. (Yonhap)
Chris Flexen (L) and Kim Kang-ryul of the Doosan Bears pitch in the bullpen at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 7, 2020. (Yonhap)
Ryu Dae-hwan (C), secretary general of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), chairs an executive committee meeting with club general managers at the KBO headquarters in Seoul on April 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

The Kia Tigers play their intrasquad game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, on April 7, 2020. (Yonhap)

Even as volleyball and basketball seasons were being canceled, and the football league wasn’t even discussing a new kickoff date, the KBO, almost defiantly, kept its sights set on a late April or an early May start. As long as the season begins in the first week of May, league officials said, there will be enough of a window to salvage a 144-game season.

What once seemed like a highly unlikely scenario has become an almost feasible proposition this week, as the number of new virus cases stayed below 50 for two consecutive days.

That has fed optimism around the league.

“The recent downward trend has obviously impacted our discussions,” said KBO’s secretary general Ryu Dae-hwan, following an executive committee meeting with club general managers. “As long as we can start the season in early May, we’ll be able to finish everything by the end of November.”

The latest conclusion to a KBO season came in 2018, when the SK Wyverns knocked off the Doosan Bears in Game 6 of the best-of-seven Korean Series on Nov. 12. That season included an 18-day, midseason break to accommodate the Asian Games in Indonesia, with the national team being represented by KBO stars.

This year’s original schedule also included an 18-day layoff for the Tokyo Olympics from July to August. But the Olympic Games have since been postponed to next year, giving the KBO some leeway. The KBO has already canceled All-Star festivities, and Ryu reiterated on Tuesday that an early May start will necessitate double headers and games on Mondays, normally a designated off day in the KBO.

The recent drop in COVID-19 cases also keeps the KBO on course to begin the preseason on April 21. To prevent the spread of the virus, teams are only allowed to play intrasquad games at their own stadiums, with no traveling allowed. But if the preseason begins on time, the league’s 10 clubs will be able to play one another, albeit with limited traveling. The league will schedule games so that only teams that are close to each other will be playing and visiting teams will be able to return to their home cities the same day.

Trying not to sound too giddy in this public health crisis, Ryu said the KBO’s plan will only hinge upon how well the virus is contained in the coming days.

“We’re seeing fewer than 50 cases, but we feel that the number will have to be far lower than that,” Ryu said. “There are a lot of factors we have to consider. Government guidelines are important, too.”

Even if the KBO gets its wishes and begins the regular season in early May, at least some of the early contests will be played behind closed doors, Ryu said.

One possibility is for the teams to start playing without fans and then to gradually increase the number of spectators. For instance, a team whose home stadium sits 20,000 could first sell only 10 percent of the seats and make sure those 2,000 fans are spread apart across the ballpark. And then the team could increase that number to 20 or 30 percent of the seats, depending on how well the virus is contained by then.

And to ensure the safety of players and others involved in crowdless games, the KBO came up with its own set of guidelines.

Players and coaches will be “strongly recommended” to wear masks in all areas of the stadium, except for the dugouts and the field. Umpires and official scorers will be required to wear masks at all times during games, and their travel from one stadium to another will be kept to a minimum.

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Warriors keeping options open with top-5 NBA draft pick: ‘The best player is not obvious’ — Daily Republic

By Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News Sometimes Warriors head coach Steve Kerr laughs when he reads articles grading selections of past NBA drafts. “It’s a tough position to be in to have to write about these guys and grade teams when nobody really knows but, after the fact, it’s sort of hilarious,” Kerr said. “Pascal Siakam […]

Warriors keeping options open with top-5 NBA draft pick: ‘The best player is not obvious’ — Daily Republic
“It’s a tough position to be in to have to write about these guys and grade teams when nobody really knows but, after the fact, it’s sort of hilarious,” Kerr said. “Pascal Siakam going 27th and people complaining about the Raptors not knowing what they were doing, because so-and-so was available. Are you nuts? If you did that re-draft, he’d be top-five.”
The NBA draft lottery is scheduled for May 19, and the Warriors are poised to select no later than fifth. However, they know the best player in the draft could end up being selected much later. With that in mind, the Warriors are taking a deep look at prospects, going beyond the players most often discussed at the top of the draft.
As Kerr, general manager Bob Myers and the rest of the Warriors’ front office spend the hiatus watching film and scouting prospects, their final draft board for their first-round pick is expected to be whittled down to about 15 players by draft night.

more….
Warriors keeping options open with top-5 NBA draft pick: ‘The best player is not obvious’ — Daily Republic

Illini freshman Cockburn declares for the NBA Draft — MyStateline.com

(WTVO/WQRF) — It would appear that freshman sensation Kofi Cockburn has played his last basketball game for the Fighting Illini. Cockburn announced on Instagram Tuesday that he is declaring for the NBA Draft. Cockburn was a major force behind the Fighting Illini’s rise to a 21-10 record this season and a fourth place finish in […]

Illini freshman Cockburn declares for the NBA Draft — MyStateline.com