By Dialogo June 19, 2009 Bogotá, June 17 (EFE).- An official source informed today that the Colombian and Peruvian Air Forces will perform a joint exercise from June 30 to July 4 on the border of both countries on how to secure the area from drug trafficking flights. According to a press release from the Colombian presidency, this exercise ,called “Percol II,” is the continuation of the one initiated in 2006, which allowed to develop common aeronautical language and proceedings to improve and strengthen control of the air space on the border. Today the officers of both Andean countries gathered in Bogotá develop the coordination of activities in the border cities of Leticia (Colombia) and Iquitos (Peru). The exercise operation will consist of simulating the intercept of planes suspected of carrying drugs and weapons. Such simulations will be carried out through the exchange of mock information from command and control centres of both nations. Moreover, plans will be developed to effectively combat the illegal flights by utilizing existing infrastructure in Peru and Colombia.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has indicated that financial institutions (including credit unions) under $10 billion in assets have stepped up and collectively have around $60 billion (about a third) of the second-round Paycheck Protection Program funds under their management.To best serve the interest of their small-business members and themselves, credit unions that took on these loans must work to ensure that these debts are forgiven and not rolled over into low-yielding two-year loans that may need to be refinanced to be repaid.Without a doubt, careful recordkeeping will be critical to justify forgiveness. There will be lots of borrowers reaching out for help, and providing clarification will be a very challenging component of the servicing responsibilities for these loans. (Some companies are offering assistance with this process, such as—but certainly not limited to—Jack Henry, Abrigo and Capiform.)In addition to processing the forgiveness and rollover loan components of PPP, credit unions also need to be developing their game plans for the likely significant rise in the levels of nonperformance in their consumer and business loan portfolios. Add these concerns to declining net interest margins caused by the unprecedented low interest rate environment and the decline in transaction-based fee income coming from the pandemic-driven slowdown in the economy, and we have a perfect storm scenario. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
By: Eryn Spangler, Press Assistant August 26, 2016 Allentown Morning Call: Gov. Tom Wolf seeks more charter school oversight“Making good on a campaign promise to put tighter oversight controls on taxpayer-funded charter schools, Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday established a four-person unit within the state Department of Education to oversee the nontraditional public institutions.”Philadelphia Inquirer: Pa. seeks better results, oversight with new charter school division“Wolf’s office said the new division would assist charter schools in setting goals for student achievement, increasing parent and community involvement, and ensuring academic and financial responsibility.”WHYY Newsworks: Pa. department of education enhancing oversight of charter schools“The division will take a specific interest in the health of the cyber charter sector – schools which are authorized at the state level and, overall, have a track record of poor performance.”Beaver County Times: Gov. Wolf announces new state division for charter school oversight“The Division of Charter Schools will help heighten accountability by overseeing fiscal and education programming reviews for charters and scrutinizing the reauthorization process for cyber charters, which the Department of Education administers.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Governor Wolf Announces Establishment of New Charter School Division (Round-up) SHARE TWEET Round-Up, Schools That Teach, The Blog Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the establishment of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Division of Charter Schools as an effort to improve quality and accountability of charter schools across the commonwealth. The office will assist charter school educators and leaders in setting goals to advance student achievement, increase parent and community involvement, and ensure academic and financial responsibility.“Charter schools play an important role in our education system, but that role must be accompanied by sufficient oversight,” Governor Wolf said. “Establishing this new division within the Department of Education will allow us to maximize our resources to not only ensure charters are being properly supported, but that they are being held accountable to taxpayers.”Take a look at the coverage below:
Radio NZ / UMR 30 Mar 2016The research company, UMR, polled 1750 people between January and February. Of those polled, 72 percent said they would support a medical marijuana regime, with 13 percent opposed and 15 percent not sure. Support was spread evenly across all demographics, including age, gender, and even political party support, with only a slight dip to 65 percent among National voters.UMR executive director Stephen Mills said it was unusual for a poll question to deliver such a decisive result. “I would guess that people would just see it as an utter no-brainer, that if people were in considerable pain or worse and marijuana can provide some relief then they should be allowed to use it. I think it’s just a straight, sympathetic human response to the situation.” (NOTE THE COMPLETE LACK OF INDEPENDENCE)Mr Mills said respondents’ views on legalising marijuana for personal recreational use were evenly split.http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/300254/most-nzers-support-medical-marijuana-pollhttp://publicaddress.net/hardnews/umr-medpot-and-the-public/
Western RaceSaver Sprint Series Champion Blake Robertson. (Photo by Tom Macht, www.photofinishphotos.com)VISALIA, Calif. – Blake Robertson came as close to IMCA EMI RaceSaver Sprint Car perfection as you can get in 2016.Robertson won 14 of his 15 Western RaceSaver Sprint Series starts this season, scooping up Allstar Performance California State honors in addition to the tour title.“We’ve never had a season like this,” he acknowledged. “When we needed luck it fell our way. The stars were getting in line at the Sprint Nationals before we ran out of time, but we had a very blessed season.”Robertson racked up all those wins at Thunderbowl Speedway, Bakersfield Speedway, Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairground and Santa Maria Raceway.The one race he didn’t win was the second of the season, when he tangled with a lapped car while running second at Kings and ended in 11th.The hands-on owner of BR Motorsports, a mail order parts supplier of parts for Sprint Cars and Midgets, and King Racing Products, which manufactures those parts, Robertson is from Visalia and began racing Sprint Cars more than 20 years ago.Always a fan and a regular at the track to cheer on his customers, he returned to the sport as a driver last season after a seven-year absence.He was runner-up in the Sprint Nationals main event and third in the Jake Ita Memorial Race of Champions at Eagle Raceway in September.“I don’t have a favorite. I like going to different tracks,” he said. “I really liked the banking at Eagle. You can be fast on the bottom and you can be fast on the top.”Starts: 15Wins: 14Additional Top Fives: 0HIS CREW: Father Brock, father-in-law Kyle Hartman, wife Kasey and children Kameron, Sara, Brock and Ally. HIS SPONSORS: Keller Auto Center of Hanford; and BR Motorsports and King Racing Products, both of Visalia.
Leicester have completed the signing of Demarai Gray from Birmingham for an undisclosed fee. Press Association The 19-year-old told Leicester’s official website, lcfc.com: ”It’s been my dream to play in the Premier League since I started playing football so I’m very happy to join the club. “It’s a great club. The facilities are great and for a player like me it’s an ideal place for me to improve. Meeting all the staff here, it seems like a nice family place, so I think that’s perfect for me. “You can see how well the team has been doing this year and I watch a lot of football so I can see that the way Leicester City play suits my style. “I only hear good things about Leicester and I’m looking forward to starting.” During the summer transfer window Leicester triggered a release clause in Gray’s contract but the winger decided to remain at Birmingham. Now though, an offer thought to be around £3.75million has led to Gray leaving St Andrew’s. Gray was left out of the Birmingham squad for their Sky Bet Championship fixture at home to Brentford on Saturday and underwent a medical prior to Leicester’s game against Bournemouth, who were also interested in the England Under-20 international and had several bids for him turned down in the summer. He will train with his new team-mates for the first time on Tuesday and could go straight into the Leicester squad for their FA Cup third-round tie against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The January transfer window only opened on Saturday but Leicester – second in the Barclays Premier League, two points behind leaders Arsenal – have moved quickly to follow up their summer interest in the highly-rated 19-year-old. Gray has put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year contract at the King Power Stadium.
London: Former Australian Ricky Ponting has compared England pacer Jofra Archer’s brutish spell at Lord’s on Day 4 of the second Ashes Test to the one that he faced during the famous 2005 series.The series, widely rated as one of the greatest in the longest format of the game, started off with a searing spell from England’s Steve Harmison in which he hit Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer before hitting Ricky Ponting which left him with a bloodied cheeck.“That was a really fiery morning and last night brought back a few memories of what it was like,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.“I remember when I got hit, I think ‘Vaughny’ (England captain Michael Vaughan) said to his players, ‘no-one go and say a word to him and check if he’s OK’. Which was fine by me, because my eyes were going a bit as it was, so I reckon I would have told them to get away in no uncertain terms anyway!”On Saturday, Steve Smith defied the England bowlers once again but he was stopped from scoring a third consecutive century in the series by debutant Archer, who regularly hit speeds north of 90mph on Day 4.Archer first hit Smith on the forearm before send a hurling a bouncer flush on the prolific run scorer’s neck while he was on 80. It forced Smith to retire hurt and the Australians were visibly shaken by that, considering the similarity to the blow that the late Phillip Hughes received which eventually led to his death in 2014. But Smith was good enough to walk off and resumed his innings as soon as the next wicket fell.Ponting said that Smith won’t be afraid the next time he comes out, considering that fact that he managed to push his total to 92 on Day 4 and that he is an experienced Test batsman.“I don’t think it’ll be a series-defining spell,” Ponting told cricket.com.au. “He’s made 92 again. I know he’d made 70 or so before he copped that first knock … and I wouldn’t be surprised if they do attack him a bit more now.“But the one thing I like is that Archer didn’t get Smith out. Smithy got through it without losing his wicket. Assuming everything is OK with that blow in the neck, he’ll front up and do it all again in the second innings. (Smith coming back onto the ground) might seem incredibly courageous to the average person sitting back and watching it, but that’s just what you’re expected to do. That’s part of the job of being a Test batsman.“He won’t have any fear because it’s just what you do every day. You face bowlers in the nets every day and you get hit every now and then. But certainly nothing changes in your mindset.”Langer had spoken about Smith’s reluctance to wear a stem guard attachment to his helmet which would have softened the impact and Ponting said that he understands that. IANS Also Read: Ricky Ponting Backs Australia to go with Unchanged XIAlso Watch: Sutarkandi Land Port Scam: Former DC of Karimganj sent for two police remand
The Latest: Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence considered opting out Last week the school announced that 25 athletes had tested positive over the previous three weeks as they began returning to campus for voluntary workouts, with nine in mandatory isolation. The school said all cases involved no or mild symptoms. No teams had to pause workouts due to testing results.___The LPGA Tour will have another major without spectators.The ANA Inspiration announced that it will not have fans Sept. 10-13 at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. The major is typically the first of the year in early spring, but was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.The LPGA’s first major is in two weeks: The Women’s British Open at Royal Troon will not have spectators. The International Cricket Council released figures Friday showing it had 1.65 billion video views on its Facebook channel in the first half of 2020, saying it “topped the rankings in terms of video consumption among leading sports bodies” on the social media platform.Cricket was shuttered globally from late March until last month, when host England beat West Indies 2-1 in a three-test series that was played inside bio-secure venues in Southampton and Manchester.The ICC, citing statistics from the CrowdTangle analytics tool, said daily video consumption on its Facebook page increased from 3 million minutes viewed to 15 million minutes per day during the lockdown.“At a time when COVID-19 has severely impacted live sports, the ICC’s channels have gone from strength to strength,” the ICC said in a statement.Cricket hit some highs in terms of viewership over the 12 months to June, including the 1.1 billion views for the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia in February and March. —A former Louisville men’s soccer player says on social media neither he nor roommates planned a party last Saturday that “escalated quickly” and resulted in 29 people testing positive for COVID-19.Cameron Wheeler, one of three players dismissed Thursday with three others suspended for their involvement, says on Twitter he invited another student-athlete who tested negative to “hang out with us” at an off-campus house. Several uninvited student-athletes followed before members of multiple teams came in, Wheeler added.“This made it more difficult to try to get the situation under control,” he said.The redshirt sophomore midfielder also disputed the program’s allegation in a statement that he had disciplinary problems. Wheeler acknowledged receiving a bad grade in a class that improved after he repeated it. He also left the hotel on a road trip to walk around campus with teammates but noted there was no team rule against it at the time. He accepted a short suspension. The league is made up of 13 schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.___Northwestern returned to the football field for the first time since a false positive for COVID-19 led to 37 players being quarantined and workouts being paused.Coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the start of camp the Wildcats still are “batting a thousand” after a player who tested for the virus last week did not have it after all.“I think it showed us that our plan and our execution of our plan has been flawless,” he said. Fans and employees at Ford Field would be required to wear face coverings. Designated gates and entry times would be assigned to fans.The team says the ability to host fans at a reduced capacity depends on local and state approval.___What did cricket fans do when there was no live games to watch during lockdown in the coronavirus pandemic?Watched replays. Lots of replays. ___The Pioneer League will not play a fall football schedule, a decision that likely means there will be no FCS playoffs this season.The 11-team Pioneer League spans from the Midwest to the West Coast. The conference said in a statement the challenges related to team travel, meeting state, local and institutional health requirements and COVID-19 mitigation strategies led to the decision. The Pioneer League said it would consider playing a football season at another point in the school year if feasible.The NCAA this week announced it would not conduct championship events in sports where at least 50% percent of the participating schools do not play a fall regular season. Unless Pioneer League schools pursue a football season as independents, the number of FCS schools that have canceled fall football is 68 out of 127.The Big Sky was also expected to announce soon whether it will play in the fall. The rules, which also apply to volleyball and soccer, were recommended by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.The league expects the task force to release another report by Aug. 31.___The Detroit Lions are preparing to host fans at all eight regular-season home games, although it’s uncertain how many will be allowed to attend.The NFL club said Friday season-ticket holders can opt out of purchasing tickets for the 2020 season if they want. The team also is offering various incentives for fans who defer payments to the 2021 season instead of asking for refunds. Darlington was the first track to host NASCAR racing last May with two races in a three-day period after missing more than two months due to COVID-19. The Sept. 6 race will be the first of NASCAR’s 10-event playoffs and mark Darlington’s first-ever season with three NASCAR Cup Series races.___The NCAA Division II South Atlantic Conference is postponing its fall sports schedule until the spring of 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.The league said its impacted sports are men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball. The conference’s President’s Council announced the decision Friday. The group had previously chosen to delay fall competition until Sept. 26, but said that due to the continuing threat of the virus, it was imperative for the health of athletes, coaches, fans and campus communities to delay things even further. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he considered opting out of this season when he was unsure what college football would look like going forward amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fitzgerald was at dinner July 31 when he learned about the positive result and that contact tracing protocols were being enacted. The decision to put workouts on hold was made after team physician Jeff Mjaanes consulted with Northwestern University Health Services doctors. Fitzgerald said they learned Wednesday afternoon after more tests that no one had the virus. He also said workouts this week would have been lighter anyway. They could have resumed Thursday, but Fitzgerald opted to wait until the start of camp.“Really proud of our guys with the choices they’re making,” he said. “It’s not a four-hour problem that they’re in the building; it’s the other 20 hours that I think’s a challenge for every college football player and every college student.”____North Carolina defensive backs D.J. Ford, Javon Terry and Bryce Watts have opted out of playing this season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Louisville on Wednesday paused workouts for men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball following the outbreak. Wheeler said he reported what happened to the athletic department but was unable to convince anyone they didn’t intend for it to happen—Darlington Raceway has gotten state approval to have fans in the stands when it runs NASCAR’s Southern 500 next month. The state Commerce Department gave the track “Too Tough To Tame” an exemption to have up to 8,000 fans in the stands, according to an agency spokesman. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster last week said he was limiting venues to 250 people or 50% of capacity, whichever was less, due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Venues such as Darlington that get exemptions must require wearing masks or face coverings as a condition of entry. With the Big Sky’s postponement and the Pioneer Football League’s decision to not have a conference season earlier in the day, more than 70 of the 127 FCS schools have said they will not play in the fall.The Big Sky, traditionally one of the strongest FCS conferences with Montana, Eastern Washington and Montana State, said it will attempt to play an eight-game conference schedule in the spring.—Maryland senior quarterback Josh Jackson has opted out of the upcoming football season, leaving the Terrapins with very little depth and experience at the pivotal position.Jackson is the most prominent of six Maryland players who have decided not to play in 2020 for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, coach Michael Locksley said during a teleconference Friday. But Lawrence said Friday once he understood he’d play an 11-game season with a chance for an Atlantic Coast Conference and national championships, he decided to play his junior season. Lawrence is considered a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy and a likely No. 1 overall pick in the next NFL draft should he leave college early. Lawrence said he’s completely committed to this season. Lawrence was 25-0 as a starter until he and Clemson fell to LSU in the national title game last January. Lawrence, the 6-foot-6 junior, had perhaps his poorest performance in college in the 42-25 loss to LSU. He joked how after his freshman year when he led Clemson to a championship he heard how amazing he was and since the LSU defeat, he heard how much work he has to do improve. Lawrence said he’s confident in Clemson’s ability to keep himself and his teammates safe this season.— August 7, 2020 Jackson played in 10 games last year for Maryland after transferring from Virginia Tech. He went 98 for 207 for 1,274 yards and 12 touchdowns with six interceptions.His backup was Tyrrell Pigrome, who transferred to Western Kentucky during the offseason.—Two more top-10 women — Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens — will miss the U.S. Open, joining No. 1 Ash Barty in skipping the Grand Slam tennis tournament during the coronavirus pandemic.The fifth-ranked Svitolina, a semifinalist at Flushing Meadows a year ago, said on social media she doesn’t feel comfortable traveling. Conference USA is leaving open the option for its schools to play a full 12-game football schedule. The league’s board of directors said Friday that the initial conference schedule, with each team playing eight C-USA games, will remain intact. The first conference game is Sept. 12. League schools will also be allowed to play up to four non-conference games at their discretion. C-USA’s championship game remains scheduled for Dec. 5, though league officials said there was flexibility for moving to a later date if that weekend is needed to potentially reschedule any regular-season games. The board approved return to play safety measures for fall sports and adopted NCAA protocol with required testing standards for C-USA schools and the requirement that opponents operate by the same standards. Team spokesman Jeremy Sharpe announced in a video call with reporters after Friday’s practice. Ford is a redshirt senior who started seven games last year, while Terry appeared in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman. Watts is a junior who sat out last year after transferring from Virginia Tech.The team had previously announced that offensive lineman Triston Miller would not play due to “family reasons,” though it did not elaborate further.___The Big Sky Conference postponed its football season to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic and called for the FCS playoffs to be moved to the second semester as well.The Big Sky’s decision all but officially ends any chance of the FCS playoffs, which are an NCAA-sponsored event unlike the College Football Playoff which crowns a champion at the highest level of Division I, being held in the fall. Earlier in the week, the NCAA announced each of its three divisions would determine whether national championship events should be held in fall sports. The NCAA said if more than 50% of schools that compete in a sport did not compete in a regular season, the championship would be canceled. The decision was not a surprise. In men’s golf, the PGA Championship this week in San Francisco and the U.S. Open next month in New York will be without spectator. The question now is which tournament will be the first with fans.___The Milwaukee Brewers have canceled their 2021 Brewers On Deck event, an annual January showcase that allows thousands of fans to meet current and former players and coaches in a convention hall. The Brewers said that the decision was made with “the health and safety of the community in mind.”“It’s impossible to know at this time what restrictions may be in place that would require a different footprint or format for Brewers On Deck in January,” Brewers president of business operations Rick Schlesinger said in a statement. “It takes many months of lead time for our staff to plan and execute the event, and with so many uncertainties we unfortunately have to make this decision now.” Online traffic from India helped. The final between Australia and India, which attracted a crowd of more than 86,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, set a single-day record for women’s tournament with 64.9 million views on the ICC Facebook page.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports No. 7 Bertens wrote on Instagram that one of her concerns is the need to be quarantined upon returning to Europe after the U.S. Open, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 13.___Duke coach David Cutcliffe says long snapper Ben Wyatt and offensive tackle Jacob Rimmer have opted out of playing this season because of concerns about the coronavirus.Cutcliffe spoke after Friday’s first preseason practice, saying Wyatt and Rimmer “just weren’t comfortable with playing.” He said both would remain on scholarship as they work toward earning their degrees this spring.Wyatt is a fifth-year senior who appeared in all 38 games over the past three seasons for the Blue Devils. Rimmer is a redshirt junior who saw action in three career games. Senior John Taylor is set to replace Wyatt. ___The Southeastern Conference will require football players and others in direct contact with the program to be tested at least twice weekly during the season.The league on Friday released its initial COVID-19 requirements for fall sports, including football. In football, the testing will typically come six days and three days before competition.Coaches, staff and other personnel will be required to wear face coverings on the sidelines at sporting events this fall.The initial guidelines include testing requirements, procedures for infections and contact tracing and protocols for quarantine and isolation. Associated Press
Wisconsin head coach Lisa Stone was impressed with Jade Davis\’s cool in the waning minutes against MSU.[/media-credit]Entering Sunday’s game against Michigan State, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team had not earned a “statement” victory during the Big Ten season.Despite beating then-No. 6 Baylor and in-state rival Marquette, the Badgers still lacked in the category of statement wins as they struggled in conference play.After beating the Spartans, Wisconsin finally got the win it needed.“(We) knocked off the frontrunner in the conference,” UW head coach Lisa Stone said. “To finish the game the way we did … We’re very proud of our kids for their resilience defensively (and we) got some things going offensively.”With the 54-51 win over Michigan State, Wisconsin improved to 6-11 in conference play to stay ahead of Penn State in seventh place.With such a significant win, the team’s confidence continues to build. The Badgers have played a number of close games this season, especially against the top teams in the conference, but they often have come up short in the final moments.To earn a victory over the Spartans — who dropped into a tie for second place with the loss — shows the team what they already believed: they can be competitive with any team.“We’ve proven it the entire season,” Stone said. “Going on the road right now, we’ve just got to keep that momentum going … and carry over the confidence that (we) can play with the elite in the league.”Davis shines in final moments of victoryAs time wound down in the Badgers’ victory Sunday, freshman guard Jade Davis found herself at the free-throw line with a pair of shots and Wisconsin leading 51-50.Prior to the game, Davis had not shot a free throw in a game since hitting 2-of-2 in the Badgers’ trip to Penn State on Jan. 22. Unfazed, Davis calmly hit both shots, improving her season total to 14-of-15 from the charity stripe.The free throws gave UW a three-point lead, which it held for the win after surviving three attempts from beyond the arc by Michigan State in the last 24 seconds of the game.For Wisconsin, Davis is essential to the team in the fact that she provides depth off the bench and added size when she is on the floor.“We like to pride ourselves in that we have some depth,” Stone said. “Jade gives us some size in the guard spot defensively (and she) can rebound for us.”Davis had a career-high 11 points Sunday while tying a personal-best with two 3-pointers in front of a season-high 14,657 fans at the Kohl Center.For the rest of the Badgers, the play of Davis added to the excitement of winning in front of a large crowd as they rallied around the 5-foot-9-inch freshman.“The kids were very excited; they were really happy for Jade,” Stone said. “It’s a neat locker room when you see that people are happy for the success of others, and that demonstrates what our team is all about. We’re not about any one person.”Stone sees season as successWith just one game remaining on the regular season schedule for Wisconsin, Stone looked back at the season Monday, reflecting on her team’s accomplishments.Though the team has gone 6-10 in Big Ten play after winning ten consecutive non-conference games, Stone believes the season has been a good one for her young squad.Stone seemed especially pleased with the way her team has handled the dismissal of former teammate Mariah Dunham over the last three weeks.“It’s been a very, very, very successful season,” Stone said. “From our non-conference to our conference play, we’re in every game … and this team has not wavered, they have kept their thoughts and their confidence and their belief in their locker room. It’s been very, very rewarding in many ways because this team stuck together through a lot of stuff.”
Facebook Twitter Google+ He’s not fast, but quick. Not strong, but aggressive. Teammates rave about this freshman’s pass-first nature, and he’s crucial to his team’s lockdown zone defense.“He’s a good player,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “He handles the ball. He looks for people. He’s scoring now.”But he’s not Tyler Ennis. And he doesn’t play for Syracuse.Miami’s 18-year-old Belgian import Manu Lecomte has surged onto the Atlantic Coast Conference scene with a strong three-game stretch that coincides with his return to the starting lineup. In the Hurricanes’ near upset of the No. 2 Orange on Jan. 4, he showcased flashes of that talent with a pair of smooth floaters in the lane.But since, he’s averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 assists in a recent three-game span, including a 16-point outburst in a 56-42 Miami (Fla.) win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. And he brings that increased confidence into the Hurricanes’ rematch with Syracuse on Saturday at 1 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“When I play against other freshman, I just want to prove I’m better,” Lecomte said. “… I know (Ennis is) a great point guard.”But for all the praise Ennis gets as a mature freshman, Lecomte brings similar poise and experience. He played professionally in Belgium and captained the under-20 national team at just 17-years-old last summer.His 5-foot-11, 159-pound frame and youthful facial features are deceptive and his decision-making is reflective of that — especially late in games.”I’ve honestly learned to trust in him and know that he’s going to make the right decisions,” senior guard Rion Brown said. “As he was telling me earlier today, he’s been getting me a lot of buckets lately. So I can’t complain.”At the start, though, ACC-style basketball was an adjustment for Lecomte. He was accustomed to slower, half-court sets and craftier, more finesse-driven players. He was very passive, Brown said, and seemed like he didn’t know what to expect at times.Probably because he didn’t. Lecomte said the only American basketball he watched was on YouTube, primarily Duke and North Carolina highlights. He never watched ESPN and even when he did get to see the Tar Heels firsthand earlier this season, their signature fast break offense — even off a made basket — shocked him.“That was crazy,” Lecomte said.But with each game he grows more comfortable. After Lecomte lost the starting spot six games into the season — he stumbled through a two-game stretch in which he shot 2-for-12 for only five points and recorded five turnovers to two assists — he bounced back in conference play.He continues to speed his game up and it’s been enough to earn his starting spot back for the Hurricanes.Brown said he sees Lecomte’s aggression improve every day in practice, and compared his late-game composure to that of Shane Larkin, who led Miami to the Sweet 16 last season and now plays for the Dallas Mavericks. Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga joked that the freshman now has more trouble figuring out how to handle the media than run the offense.“He’s gotten his feet wet,” Larranaga said. “He’s pretty much indoctrinated into the college game.”Lecomte said he’s excited for a second chance to match up with Ennis. And this time he’s starting.The Hurricanes gave the Orange a scare in its first conference game, and an improved Lecomte could put Miami over the edge.Said Lecomte: “I know I’m a freshman. I’m pretty young. I’m only 18. But like Coach said, ‘It don’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, you’ve got to play your game.”’ Comments Published on January 23, 2014 at 12:15 am Contact Stephen: firstname.lastname@example.org | @Stephen_Bailey1