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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ex-RailHawks update: Fusilier training in Charleston; Coggins and Lemons signed by Charlotte

Posted by on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 11:18 PM

Well, there are only four  players listed on the RailHawks roster who remain from the 2008 edition—assuming that reports of Steven Curfman's exit are accurate. 

But that doesn't mean life doesn't go on for departed players. 

Today, the USL-2 powerhouse Charlotte Eagles announced the signings of Chris Lemons and Jacob Coggins. Lemons, a midfielder, appeared in 21 games for the ’Hawks last year, while forward Coggins scored once in 10 league appearances (but only 208 minutes).

Both players are returning to a program where they achieved great success. Coggins was a two-time USL-2 MVP with the Eagles and won the league scoring title three years out of four. Last Friday, March 27, the Eagles began their preseason schedule with a 3:1 victory over the Cleveland City Stars; Coggins opened the scoring in the fifth minute.

In addition to a three-year stint with the Eagles, we notice that Chris Lemons' career peregrinations include playing in 19 games for Martin Rennie's Cleveland City Stars in 2007 before signing with the RailHawks in 2008.

The Charlotte Eagles announcement is here

And, Triangle Offense contacted Santiago Fusilier, who parted ways with the RailHawks last week. He reports that he's been training these past few days with the Charleston Battery, a team that's the new home of former RailHawks captain Frankie Sanfilippo.

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SWakeSports: Curfman gone from RailHawks

Posted by on Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Midfielder and free-kick specialist Steven Curfman has parted ways with the RailHawks, according to Mike Blake of the N&O's SWakeSports blog. Although Curfman's name is still on the roster as of 7 p.m., Blake's sources assure him that the one-year veteran and Wake Forest grad has been dropped from the squad.

It's not a surprising development in light of Curfman's scarcity on the pitch thus far this preseason and the continuing surplus of players still on trial. However, combined with the departure of Santiago Fusilier, the RailHawks have now cut off nearly all of their hometown links. Only Raleigh native and UNC grad Caleb Norkus remains of the Old North State contingent. 

Curfman, who had a stellar career at Wake Forest, scored two goals in 30 appearances last year.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Tar Heels oust Sooners, advance to Final Four

Posted by on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 4:01 PM

TV/ CBS—It was billed as a clash of the titans between former and present national players of the year Tyler Hansbrough and Blake Griffin, but it was North Carolina's team that proved dominant.

In Sunday's Elite Eight mach-up against Oklahoma, the Tar Heels ran out to an early lead and never looked back, beating the Sooners 72-60 and advancing to their second consecutive Final Four.

Continue reading…

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Liberty's Seth Curry to Duke

Posted by on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 8:05 PM

While Duke fans grimaced at another season with UNC in the Final Four and the Blue Devils sulking in Durham, they might have just gotten some very important news.

Seth Curry, the brother of Cinderella, err ... I mean Davidson, star Stephen Curry and son of NBA legend and Charlotte Hornet standout Dell Curry, decided to transfer to Duke.

Curry accepted a scholarship Sunday and will be eligible to play for the Blue Devils in the 2010-2011 season due to transfer rules.

Curry, a freshman guard for the Liberty Flames, averaged over 20 points this season, including a 35-point performance against VMI Jan. 17.  

If Duke can wrestle any of the magic that Curry's brother musters up night after night for Davidson, the Blue Devils might have just what they need to get back to the Final Four.  

ESPN reported the transfer moments after UNC beat Oklahoma 72-60, unfortunately they claim father Dell Curry played for the Charlotte Bobcats.  

After losing to Villanova, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned talent at point guard and center being an issue for the Blue Devils, who had seven McDonald's All-Americans on the team this season, including three players who play point guard.

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UNC vs. Oklahoma: Four Factor Preview

Posted by on Sun, Mar 29, 2009 at 12:48 AM

North Carolina Guard Wayne Ellington shoots over UNC-Asheville.
  • North Carolina Guard Wayne Ellington shoots over UNC-Asheville.

The North Carolina Tar Heels advanced to the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year Friday by beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs 98-77.  In the Elite Eight the Tar Heels draw a very different team than the Bulldogs, the Oklahoma Sooners.  While Gonzaga was a balanced team Oklahoma plays much more like North Carolina; efficient offense first and defense as needed.   In fact the Oklahoma Sooners have the lowest raw and adjusted defensive efficiencies (points allowed per possession) of any of the remaining eight teams.

The Sooners are as unbalanced across the four factors as they are between offense and defense.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

RailHawks outplay CD Olimpia but lose 1:2

Posted by on Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 10:34 AM

The center-left party: In what looks to be a popular pair, Gardner comes down the flank as Bundu awaits. (photo courtesy of RailHawks)
  • The center-left party: In what looks to be a popular pair, Gardner comes down the flank as Bundu awaits. (photo courtesy of RailHawks)

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—If the March 14 victory over the "major league" New England Revolution was an occasion for a little well-deserved breast-beating, the loss to the definitely major league CD Olimpia was the occasion for—well, first, a dry towel.

A downpour worthy of a Sri Lankan monsoon at times threatened to obscure the action, and the slippery field was more or less responsible for defensive miscues that led to goals for each team. The 1:1 deadlock was broken in the 63rd minute when Jaime Rosales rocketed a very major league free kick that went over and around the RailHawks wall and skidded off the left post into the goal. A minute later, Coach Martin Rennie waved in five fresh players and the game took on a more scrimmage-like rhythm. 

After the game, Rennie was beaming—and not just because he was finally dry.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

UNC vs. Gonzaga: Four Factor Preview

Posted by on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 11:14 AM


Yesterday I previewed a game that displayed two balanced teams. Duke and Villanova were similar in both personnel and in the Four Factors. The ACC's second Sweet Sixteen contest has matching skin-deep similarities. Both Gonzaga and North Carolina have skilled big men, silky smooth shooters and lightening quick point guards.

However, looking past the lineup similarities, the Gonzaga Bulldogs go about winning games in different ways than the Tar Heels do.

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Duke's campaign ends: morning open thread

Posted by on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 7:57 AM

Heil Kyle? (photo by Jeremy M. Lange)
  • Heil Kyle? (photo by Jeremy M. Lange)

Wow. What a dispiriting way for the Blue Devils to end their season, with a 77-54 blowout loss to Villanova that featured their worst shooting performance of the season—even worse than the Clemson game.

Veteran Duke-watchers knew the end was inevitable—the team was simply too dependent on its perimeter offense. To wit: Gerald Henderson shot 1-14 and Jon Scheyer mustered 3-18. Kyle Singler was 5-13.

Ryan Campbell emailed me this morning with an interesting point:

I realized earlier that Duke has fallen at least a round short of their seed expectation in each of the last five tournaments. Even when given a 6 seed a few years ago they didn't even make it to the second round.

What's the outlook for Duke next year? How much does its future depend on Gerald Henderson's pro plans? Will they get the big man they so clearly need? Will Plumlee or Zoubek develop, or is there a recruit coming in?

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

David Price: It's Official

Posted by on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:38 AM

David Price will be in Durham to start the season.

Attention shoppers: Hurry to the DBAP. This special Price demotion will be offered for a very limited time only.

The rest of the Bulls' roster continues to take shape. The Rays also optioned four other players to Durham yesterday: highly regarded shortstop Reid Brignac (who is looking for a breakout season after struggling a bit last year), catcher John Jaso, and a pair of well-known faces in infielder Elliot Johnson and outfielder Justin Ruggiano. Don't be surprised if Ruggiano is quickly recalled to Tampa to help keep B. J. Upton's place warm. Upton is recovering from shoulder surgery and isn't expected to be ready by opening day.

The official Bulls announcement is here.

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Duke vs. Villanova: Four Factor Preview

Posted by on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 7:48 AM

Kyle Singler, seen earlier this year against Duquesne (photo by Jeremy M. Lange)
  • Kyle Singler, seen earlier this year against Duquesne (photo by Jeremy M. Lange)

To say that Duke and Villanova are similar is something of an understatement. It has been noted several places on the internet this week that the two teams have several things in common. For starters they're both guard-oriented teams with NBA-caliber backcourts.

Alongside strong guard play they each have a 6-foot-8 swing man (Kyle Singler/Dante Cumingham) masquerading as a post presence, both who ironically have practically identical rebounding rates.

Beneath the basic skin-deep similarities lie the four factors.

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