Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Aug. 16

Here is the Cronkite News lineup for Friday,  Aug. 16. If you have questions on news stories from the Phoenix bureau, please contact Executive Editor Christina Leonard at 602-361-5893 or christina.leonard@asu.edu, while questions about stories from our Washington bureau should go to Steve Crane at 202-684-2398 or steve.crane@asu.edu. Sports story questions can be directed to Paola Boivin at paola.boivin@asu.edu. Clients who want to use Cronkite videos can find clean versions, and scripts, for download at these Dropbox links for stories from June and from July and from August. Stories promised for today, along with photos and links to multimedia elements, will move on our client site at cronkitenews.jmc.asu.edu/clients. Continue reading “Cronkite News Digest for Friday, Aug. 16”

27 seasons and counting: Despite competition for sports entertainment dollar, Arizona Rattlers endure

  • Slug: Sports-Rattlers Role,1300
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By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Despite a sports market with little elbow room, limited media coverage and obstacles including a canceled season, the Arizona Rattlers have stiff-armed adversity and remain a player in the Arizona sports scene.

Proof? They just completed their 27th season.

Among the Valley’s professional teams, that’s longer than Major League Baseball’s Diamondbacks, the NHL’s Coyotes, the WNBA’s Mercury and the USL Championship’s Phoenix Rising. Only the NFL’s Cardinals and the NBA’s Suns have stronger footholds. Continue reading “27 seasons and counting: Despite competition for sports entertainment dollar, Arizona Rattlers endure”

NCAA Basketball Academy stops at GCU, gives top high school players a taste of college expectations

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By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – In an attempt to address issues surrounding summer basketball that sparked the involvement of the federal government, the NCAA Basketball Academy made its four-region debut recently.

One of the sites was Grand Canyon University.

The camp, also held at Illinois, Connecticut and Houston, was designed to give top high school basketball players an idea of life at the college level. The message was sent not only through drills and competition but through life skills sessions including social media education and eligibility rules. Continue reading “NCAA Basketball Academy stops at GCU, gives top high school players a taste of college expectations”

Marvin Lewis hopes to ease ‘amigo’ Herm Edwards’ transition to second season as ASU coach

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Marvin Lewis. 715 words
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By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Marvin Lewis had options. Rejoining his old friend Herm Edwards felt like the best one.

With Arizona State’s opener just weeks away, Lewis, the longtime Bengals coach, said joining the ASU staff in the offseason had a lot to do with the goals he shared with Edwards.

“I had a few opportunities, but I thought this worked the best with my relationship with Herman and his vision,” Lewis said. “It was important for me to come over and talk with what his vision was and then come back and speak with coaches. I wanted them to feel comfortable that I wasn’t here looking over their shoulder all the time.” Continue reading “Marvin Lewis hopes to ease ‘amigo’ Herm Edwards’ transition to second season as ASU coach”

From dance studios to ASU to possibly the Olympics, breakdancing surges in popularity

  • Slug: Sports-Breakdancing Popularity Olympics. 1,800 words
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By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

MESA – Speakers sit in each corner, resting atop a wooden floor covered in nicks and dings from years past. Conrad Rodriguez uses his left hand to push himself into the air, his perfect landing defined by a spin on his head. 

The room isn’t just another cluttered space, it’s a canvas for a dancer’s art. On this day the artist is a 25-year-old showcasing the impossible. 

Rodriguez is a “b-boy.” Commonly known as breakdancers, they prefer to be called “breakers.”  And it isn’t just a hobby for Rodriguez. He’s trying to book a 2024 ticket to Paris where he hopes to battle for an Olympic medal.  Continue reading “From dance studios to ASU to possibly the Olympics, breakdancing surges in popularity”

Who will start? ASU football searches for clarity at the quarterback position

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Quarterbacks, 912 words
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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Few positions in college sports garner more attention, criticism and praise than a university’s starting quarterback. Typically the face of the team and invariably the program, the demands anointed to a team’s starting quarterback can be taxing.

With a void at the position following the departure of three-year starter Manny Wilkins, coach Herm Edwards and the rest of the ASU coaching staff have a tall task ahead of them as they look to identify not only the talent but the mental toughness necessary to succeed at the sport’s most high-profile position. With less than a month until the Sun Devils kick off their 2019 season, the pressure to name a starter only intensifies.

“Who can lead the team,” Edwards said when asked what quality will help clarify the quarterback position. “We have some very good candidates there, a lot of youth and not a lot of experience. The last time I checked, the only way to get experience is to play. Someone’s going to have to go play, and whoever we determine that to be we’re going to throw him out there and he’ll have to play.” Continue reading “Who will start? ASU football searches for clarity at the quarterback position”

New Coyotes owner Meruelo seeks financial sustainability, larger Hispanic fan base

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By Staff
Cronkite News

GLENDALE – The new majority owner of the Arizona Coyotes said he is determined to keep the team in Arizona but also wants to expand the team’s fan base to reflect the state’s diversity.

Alex Meruelo, the first Hispanic majority owner in NHL history, met the media for the first time Thursday after purchasing controlling interest in the team from Andrew Barroway.

Meruelo is the son of accountants who left Cuba following the Cuban Revolution. He went on to find success in banking, real estate and media. While in high school in Southern California, he took over the tuxedo-rental business next to his parents’ bridal shop, saved money and bought land in Riverside that he would later sell to Walmart, he told the Los Angeles Times, which made him a millionaire in his early 20s. Continue reading “New Coyotes owner Meruelo seeks financial sustainability, larger Hispanic fan base”

Devils and the deep Red Sea: Gonzalez, Foster hope to leave mark with Cardinals

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By Sebastian Emanuel
Cronkite News

GLENDALE – Change often brings opportunity. Two former Arizona State players hope to benefit from the transformation of the Arizona Cardinals.

The team has been in the spotlight this offseason with the hiring of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the drafting of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, first overall. Discussion has been less about the NFL’s worst record (3-13) in 2018 and more about the team’s potential in 2019.

Kicker Zane Gonzalez and running back D.J. Foster have good feelings about the new regime. Continue reading “Devils and the deep Red Sea: Gonzalez, Foster hope to leave mark with Cardinals”

A big deal: As trade deadline nears, Diamondbacks ship Greinke, acquire Leake

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By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Zack Greinke’s Wednesday start ended early thanks to rain that flooded Yankee Stadium. His Diamondbacks’ tenure also quickly came to a conclusion after he stepped away from the mound in the Bronx.

Multiple sources reported a little after Major League Baseball’s trade deadline that the Houston Astros had acquired the 35-year-old right-handed pitcher. It seemed for a few minutes that the Diamondbacks were going to stay quiet as the clock reached 1 p.m. local time. Instead, the move of the former CY Young Award winner became the blockbuster deal of the deadline.

The news was soon confirmed by the team, which also acquired right-hander and former Arizona State standout Mike Leake from the Seattle Mariners and Zac Gallen, a top pitching prospect from the Miami Marlins. The tentative plan, Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen said, is to include both pitchers in the back end of the rotation.  Continue reading “A big deal: As trade deadline nears, Diamondbacks ship Greinke, acquire Leake”

Pigskin and eggs? ASU football reacts to possibility of 9 a.m. kickoffs

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Early Kickoffs, 700 words
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By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Chase Lucas peered at his iPhone, his eyes skimming the news, and was taken aback by what he read.

“I saw that on Twitter, and I don’t know, I kind of questioned that like, ‘Woah, that’s a bit early,’” the Arizona State cornerback said.

The redshirt junior was reacting to a suggestion by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. During the recent Pac-12 Football Media Day in Los Angeles, Scott revealed the conference has started groundwork talks about some conference games having kickoff at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.  Continue reading “Pigskin and eggs? ASU football reacts to possibility of 9 a.m. kickoffs”

Diana Taurasi’s back injury tests her patience, serves as reminder of WNBA pay disparity

  • Slug: Sports-Mercury Taurasi Injury, 1,000 words
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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – In a storied 15-year career that includes WNBA championships, Olympic gold medals and a number of individual accolades, few firsts remain for Diana Taurasi to accomplish. Yet as she works to make her way back from a debilitating injury that has kept her off the court for most of this season, Taurasi is learning to add yet another weapon to her ever-growing arsenal.

Patience.

“As a competitor you want to play, and if you see any glimpse of feeling good you just want to attack it,” said Taurasi on her recovery from a back injury that has sidelined her for all but one game of the 2019 season. “I may have been guilty of that a little bit early on, but now it’s more about being patient, pacing myself, taking myself out of drills when I really don’t want to. Continue reading “Diana Taurasi’s back injury tests her patience, serves as reminder of WNBA pay disparity”

Phoenix Mercury rookie Sophie Cunningham enters 2nd half of season on high note

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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Ask people about Phoenix Mercury rookie Sophie Cunningham and the same handful of words pop up.

Competitor. Tough. Winner.

Then watch the 6-foot-1 guard, and it is quickly evident that the words fit. With her trademark rolled-up shorts, ponytail pulled taught and smile seemingly etched permanently on her face, it’s easy to see why Cunningham has quickly developed into a favorite of fans and coaches. Continue reading “Phoenix Mercury rookie Sophie Cunningham enters 2nd half of season on high note”

Phoenix Rising’s Dumbuya warming up to life in the desert

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By Owain Evans
Cronkite News

TEMPE – The monsoon storm that blew through the Valley earlier this week was a welcome sight for at least one Phoenix Rising player.

“The heat’s been getting to me lately,” said Mustapha Dumbuya, who joined the Rising over the winter after playing a few seasons with Partick Thistle in Scotland’s top-flight and living in the cool, wet climate of Glasgow, Scotland.

“I’ve been crying out for a bit of rain.”

With rain comes lightning, and Dumbuya provides more than his fair share of that in the full-back position for the Rising, with speed that assistant coach Peter Ramage claimed is enough to “catch pigeons.”

Continue reading “Phoenix Rising’s Dumbuya warming up to life in the desert”

‘Madhouse on McDowell’ will serve as temporary home of Phoenix Mercury

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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

PHOENIX — Professional basketball returned to its roots near the heart of Phoenix Wednesday when the Phoenix Mercury announced that they will play their home games during the 2020 season at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum as Talking Stick Resort Arena undergoes a $230-million renovation.

Dubbed the “Madhouse on McDowell” by longtime Phoenix Suns broadcaster Al McCoy, the Coliseum’s unique shape and rich history make it a fixture of the Arizona sports landscape. Seating approximately 14,000 for basketball, it served as the home of the Suns for 24 seasons and was known for its intimacy — and acoustics.

Continue reading “‘Madhouse on McDowell’ will serve as temporary home of Phoenix Mercury”

The ‘trip of a lifetime’ to China awaits Arizona State’s hockey program

  • Slug: Sports-ASU Hockey China,670
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By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Arizona State’s hockey team is trading one wonder of the world this summer for another.

Before the Sun Devils begin their fourth NCAA Division I season, they’ll depart the Grand Canyon State on a journey that will take them to the very foot of the Great Wall of China.

Coach Greg Powers and the Sun Devils depart July 29 on the program’s first international trip. The Sun Devils are headed to Beijing, China where the team will take part in the Renaissance Cup, a five-team tournament that includes Beijing’s Kunlun Red Star of the Kontinental Hockey League and three teams from Russia’s Supreme Hockey League.

Continue reading “The ‘trip of a lifetime’ to China awaits Arizona State’s hockey program”

As ASU golfers takes center stage, Sun Devils continues preparations for NCAA championships

  • Slug: Sports-ASU NCAA Championships. 1,200 words
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By Brady Vernon
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – As five former Arizona State golfers compete on an international stage at the British Open, their alma mater is preparing for its own big event.

ASU will host the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I golf championships at Grayhawk Golf Club for the next three years, a competition that has helped shape the success of the sport’s best. Just six weeks after winning the NCAA individual title with Oklahoma State, for example, Matthew Wolff won the 3M Open in Minnesota on July 7.

The Sun Devils have a rich history of golf that is playing out in Northern Ireland. Jon Rahm was one of the early leaders Thursday at the British Open. Other former ASU golfers in the elite field  include Paul Casey, Chez Reavie, Chan Kim, and, of course, Phil Mickelson, who won the event in 2013. Continue reading “As ASU golfers takes center stage, Sun Devils continues preparations for NCAA championships”

Phoenix Rising chasing history as Dollar Beer Night returns

  • Slug: Sports-Rising Chasing Streak. 720 words
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By Owain Evans
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Sometimes, a win can be worth more than just a win.

“It’s very important to be remembered,” Phoenix Rising captain Solomon Asante said. “To make history is very important. So we are making everything possible like you saw today at training. We are doing everything possible for tomorrow’s win so that our name will be written in the record book and then people will remember us.”

Rising has won nine straight matches, one short of FC Cincinnati’s league record of 10 set last season. They can tie that record at Friday’s Dollar Beer Night when they host Austin Bold. Continue reading “Phoenix Rising chasing history as Dollar Beer Night returns”

‘It’s been a good summer’: Phoenix Suns regroup as season approaches

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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

PHOENIX – Despite orchestrating an offseason that has garnered widespread criticism, the Phoenix Suns continue to exude confidence when describing their long-term trajectory. As the franchise looks to secure its first winning record in six seasons, Phoenix’s front office assured onlookers that the moves they’ve made this summer will provide both immediate and long-term success.

“It’s been a good summer for us,” said Suns general manager James Jones during a press conference held Tuesday to address their decisions in both free agency and the draft, as well as formally finalize the contract of forward Kelly Oubre Jr. Continue reading “‘It’s been a good summer’: Phoenix Suns regroup as season approaches”

Versatility key for newest Rising player, Liverpool import Corey Whelan

  • Slug: Sports-Rising Liverpool Whelan. 648 words
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By Owain Evans
Cronkite News

TEMPE – Liverpool product Corey Whelan may be a new player for Phoenix Rising, but he’s expected to solve a problem that’s been there for a while for coach Rick Schantz.

“From the beginning, we’ve always wanted to have four center backs, mostly for training and competition,” Schantz said. “It took a little while, but Corey was a guy that we identified over a long period of time and we knew that once the window closed in the winter, we’d have to wait until summer. When this one opened up, he was ready to come.”

The 21-year-old, who spent his entire loan period with Crewe Alexandra of Sky Bet  League Two last season, playing on the right rather than in the middle, brings positional flexibility with him. Of his eight starts with Liverpool’s U-23 team, half of them came from a more central position, while also appearing at left back against Germany and Kosovo for the Irish under 21s. Continue reading “Versatility key for newest Rising player, Liverpool import Corey Whelan”

Brandon Clarke lights up NBA Summer League, takes home MVP award

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By Jacob Rosenfarb
Cronkite News

LAS VEGAS – In a league populated by can’t-miss prospects, Brandon Clarke was someone talent evaluators seemingly skipped over time after time. Despite putting up impressive numbers throughout his college career, Clarke’s lack of eye-popping intangibles limited his opportunities. Yet now, as he wraps up an impressive NBA Summer League that included both a championship and MVP trophy, Clarke’s NBA future looks bright.

“Playing here is something I’ve been working towards forever, so for it to be here now it’s a really great story,” said Clarke, who was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m just really looking forward to getting more of these moments.”

To refer to Clarke as lightly recruited coming out of high school might be overselling it. The 2015 graduate of Desert Vista High School had exactly one offer upon graduation, from San Jose State, following a stellar senior season in which he led the Thunder to the state championship game.

Continue reading “Brandon Clarke lights up NBA Summer League, takes home MVP award”