N.C. Central's senior offensive tackle Gabriel Manns is going bowling.
The 6-6, 320-pounder will be participating in a pair of post-season all-star games, the East Coast Bowl on Saturday in Petersburg, Va., and the inaugural Russell Athletic HBCU Senior Bowl on Dec. 19 in Montgomery, Ala.
The East Coast Bowl, to be played at noon at Cameron Field, will features Division I-FCS, II, III and NAIA draft-eligible seniors from nearby states.
The HBCU bowl, Dec. 19 at the Cramton Bowl, will pit teams representing the representing the SWAC/SIAC (West) and the MEAC/CIAA (East) regions.
Fortunately, it's Thanksgiving and we have an abundance of things to be grateful for---because, sadly, everyone's favorite Bull, Jon Weber, is no longer a Durham ballplayer. In fact, he will be playing against the Taureaux in 2010. Weber has signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees, who are sure to install him as the starting left fielder for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The contract includes a spring-training invitation with its nominal opportunity to make the big-league club.
And all along we thought it was another left fielder property of the Rays, Carl Crawford, that the Yankees coveted.
Weber is a classic gamer who led the International League in doubles in 2009, placed in the top ten in several prominent hitting stat categories, was a superb clutch hitter, and was perhaps the Bulls' MVP. He is an 11-year veteran of the minors who has never played a day in the major leagues, and he's unlikely to break through in the Bronx, where the corner outfield positions are sure to be spoken for by multimillionaires like Johnny Damon. On the other hand, Damon is currently unsigned, Melky Cabrera has probably reached his ceiling and it's lower than predicted, and Nick Swisher is the subject of trade rumors lately. You don't think...?
Never mind. Pass the turkey.
Duke will put its No. 10 ranking in women's basketball on the line outside the country tonight.
The Blue Devils (3-1) will take on Western Kentucky (3-0) in the first round of the Caribbean Challenge at 6 p.m. at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico.
The Hilltoppers gave the visiting Blue Devils a tough go last season, with Duke finally surviving 59-56.
Bridgette Mitchell (pictured) is leading Duke with 4.0 offensive rebounds per game.
Duke will play Marquette on Friday at 6:30 in its other game in the Challenge. It is Duke's second appearance in the Cancun event; the Blue Devils went 2-0 in 2006.
Here's a link to Mike Potter's post-game article.
SMITH CENTER/CHAPEL HILL UNC comes home from its first road trip of the women's basketball season with its perfect record still intact.
And today Sylvia Hatchell's fourth-ranked club moves back into its regular Big South-oriented early-season schedule. The Tar Heels will be heavy favorites.
UNC is 3-0 and today's opponent, Presbyterian College, is 0-5. The Blue Hose, the second Big South opponent of the five the Tar Heels will play, are in the third of the five seasons of transition from NCAA Division II. Things go pretty much as expected as the Tar Heels roll 92-37.
WECT of Wilmington, N.C., reports that despite flickers of optimism that a buyer could be found for the troubled USL-2 Wilmington Hammerheads, those hopes appear to be dashed and the USL is proceeding with the 2010 season without this North Carolina market.
This brings the number of teams apparently playing in the USL-2 next season to eight, a figure that reflects last week's announcements that the Charleston Battery would self-relegate to the lower division, and that Tampa and Crystal Palace Baltimore would jump from the USL to the upstart, revived North American Soccer League.
The disappearance of the Hammerheads is a loss for the USL-2, certainly, but it's also a loss for North Carolina soccer fans. Wilmington is a solid small market with an excellent stadium, and a healthy intra-state rivalry emerged last season between the then-USL-1 Carolina RailHawks and the Hammerheads. Jamie Watson, last year's USL-2 player of the year, played in the Port City for a season, scoring 12 goals in 16 appearances. He's now under a two-year contract to the Austin Aztex of the USL-1, which currently consists of either five or six teams (Austin, Rochester, Puerto Rico, Portland, the expansion FC New York and, perhaps, Cleveland).
According to WECT, David Irving, the highly regarded coach of the Wilmington Hammerheads for the past 12 seasons, is now free to seek other employment.
UNC tries to keep its perfect women's basketball record intact today at 1 p.m. when Presbyterian visits the Smith Center.
The Tar Heels (3-0) are ranked No. 4 nationally, while Presbyterian (0-5) is in the third season of its five-year transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.
Today's meeting will be the first between the teams.
Junior guard Cetera DeGraffenreid (pictured) is the leading scorer for the Tar Heels, who have won 80 of their last 81 non-conference games at home.
WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke won't have a possible bowl bid on the line when the Blue Devils host Wake Forest in the season finale for both football teams on Saturday.
So this time, it's going to be all about Senior Day.
Duke (5-6, 3-4 ACC) can finish its first non-losing season in 15 years with a win over the Deacons (4-7, 2-5), but a couple of losing streaks will have to disappear.
Wake has won nine straight in the series, while the Blue Devils have lost three straight games.
"I didn't want this to be the damn last press conference in football this year, but it is," Cutcliffe said, deadpan, at his weekly press luncheon at the Brooks Football Building, at which he gave all the attending media small boxes of baked goods as parting gifts. "Well, Happy Thanksgiving. ...
"Our seniors are pretty special people and this is about those nine guys (running back Re'quan Boyette, safety Catron Gainey, offensive tackle Jarrod Holt, quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase, defensive end Ayanga Okpokowuruk, linebacker Vincent Ray, defensive tackle Kinney Rucker and cornerback Leon Wright.
It's a bit of a relief to take a break from the Sturm und Drang of the North American soccer second division to simply note a bit of interesting RailHawks player news: Caleb Patterson (sometimes called Caleb Patterson Sewell), the sparkling young goalkeeper who split time with Eric Reed last year, was left unprotected by Red Bull New York for possible drafting by the expansion Philadelphia Union.
The way it works: Each existing MLS team is allowed to protect 11 players, and the Union can select a total of 10 players, with no more than one selected from any team.
Patterson joins fellow RBNY keeper Danny Cepero on the list, as the club decided to protect Bouna Coundoul. There's some interesting company on the list: The Galaxy's Josh Saunders, for example, just days after his excellent emergency substitution for Donovan Ricketts in the MLS championship. (Patterson may be on the MLS expansion list, but he's also spending some time in Cary; he was present to pose for this Nov. 11 photograph of retired France international Lilian Thuram during his visit to WakeMed Soccer Park. Patterson is at the far right.)
Other notables on the MLS list: Mexican superstar Cuauhtémoc Blanco; U.S. internationals Frankie Hedjuk, Ricardo Clark, Tony Sanneh, Clint Mathis and Bobby Convey; as well as one-time Duke star Michael Videira.
CHAPEL HILL/SMITH CENTER — After suffering its first defeat of the season last weekend in disastrous fashion to Syracuse, North Carolina’s return game was a home affair against outmanned Gardner-Web.
While mismatches such as these typically don’t excite the fanbase — indeed, crowd turnout and volume have been subpar so far this season — there was more anxiety evident in the stands after the debacle against the Orange.
But Carolina was able to operate its transition game the best it has all season, leading to an easy victory in which several struggling players were able to play more loosely and, thus, more effectively.