Monday, April 30, 2012

Stillman wins SIAC title at Ozark's Eagle Stadium

OZARK, Alabama - On Saturday night, Stillman baseball coach Donny Crawford had planned to pitch someone other than Josh Cagle in Sunday’s Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship game.

Problem is, he had to break the news to Cagle – who had pitched a complete game on Thursday in Stillman’s first-round 3-2 victory over Benedict at Eagle Stadium.

“He kind of looked at me and said, ‘I want the ball,’” Crawford said.

So Crawford gave it to him. Again. And the left-hander gutted out a 7-2 victory over Paine College that extended the Tigers’ SIAC winning streak to 39 games and captured their fifth conference tournament title in the last six years.

“I had to find a way to get outs,” said Cagle (8-4), who gave up eight hits, while walking two and striking out three. “I didn’t have my best stuff today. I just had to battle through it and fight. … I did the same thing last year.”



2012 SIAC Baseball All-Tournament Team

Corbin Williams, Albany State University
Eddie Mathis, Albany State University
Brett Bullard, Claflin University
Justin Bartley, Miles College
Darren Stokes, Paine College
Zachary Drummond, Paine College
Tyler Padgett, Paine College
Tyler Vails, Stillman College
Kameron McCreless, Stillman College
Dion Bryant, Stillman College

Tournament MVP: Josh Cagle, Stillman College

Most Outstanding Coach: Donny Crawford, Stillman College

Third Place: Albany State University

Runner-Up: Paine College

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Southern University Jaguars roll, 14-4; streak now at 12

JACKSON, Mississippi — Quintavious Drains struck out the first three Southern batters he faced Saturday at Braddy Field. Soon enough, however, the Jaguars got to him. And soon enough, Drains faltered against a hot Southern team that keeps hitting and winning.

The Jaguars erupted for five runs in the fifth inning off of Drains, turning a close game into a 14-4 wipeout to secure their 12th consecutive victory.

“Drains did very well to start off the game,” SU coach Roger Cador said. “Then we were able to really start chipping away, chipping away. Our guys were so focused.” It certainly seemed that way. On a sunny spring afternoon, Southern piled up 19 hits and got home runs from Taylor Roy, B.J. Rowry and Cameron McGriff.

Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band & Dancing Dolls


2012 NFL HBCU Free Agent Signees

BALTIMORE, Maryland - NFL head coaches and general managers are reeling in the desired number of undrafted players so that they will have 90 players in offseason camp.  In the race for talent, it makes you wonder why HBCU players only route to the NFL is through free agency contracts.

Only one player was drafted (Baltimore Ravens) from an HBCU program -- Christian Thompson, Safety, South Carolina State University.

Here are the free agency signees from HBCU institutions based on Tweets from the athletes, their universities and their agents:

Alabama A&M University Maroon and White Marching Band

1. Brian Tymes, WR, Florida A&M, San Francisco 49'ers
2. Ryan Davis, LB, Bethune-Cookman, Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Jean Fanor, Safety, Bethune-Cookman, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Nicholas Cooper, RB, Winston-Salem State, Green Bay Packers
5. Donovan Robinson, LB, Jackson State , New York Jets
6. Donovan Richard, LB, South Carolina State, Jacksonville Jaguars
7. Micah Pellerin, Cornerback, Hampton U., Indianapolis Colts
8. Adrian Hamilton, DE, Prairie View A&M, Dallas Cowboys
9. Lamont Bryant, TE, Morgan State, Baltimore Ravens
10. Rico Council, LB, Tennessee State, Atlanta Falcons
11. Casey Therriault, QB, Jackson State, Atlanta Falcons
12. Demario Pippen, RB, Tuskegee, Denver Broncos
13. LaQuinton "Smoke" Evans,WR, Southern U., Tennessee Titans
14. Mario Louis, WR, Grambling State, Houston Texans
15. Marquette King, P, Fort Valley State, Oakland Raiders
16. James Dekle, G, Prairie View A&M, Arizona Cardinals
17. Kevin Elliott, WR, Florida A&M, Jacksonville Jaguars
18. Delano Johnson, DE/LB, Bowie State, Houston Texans
19. Jared Green, WR, Southern U., Carolina Panthers
20. Paul Cox, WR, Mississippi Valley, San Diego Chargers
21. Dominique Ellis, DB, South Carolina State, Kansas City Chiefs

Updated 3:58 p.m. EDT, 4/29/12.

Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South Marching Band, "All I Do Is Win," DJ Khaled.


Undrafted B-CU's Davis Quickly Signed By Jaguars; Fanor To KC

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- Ryan Davis' disappointment of going undrafted lasted about ten minutes. No sooner than the 2012 NFL finished, Davis was fielding several free agent offers before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday night.

"It was unfortunate that I didn't get drafted, but I'm happy with the way things worked out," Davis said from his home in Tampa. "I'm looking forward to going to Jacksonville and contribute."

The signing capped off a frenzied day of phone calls and an emotional gauntlet for the 2011 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Defensive Player Of The Year.

It appeared that Davis may be going as early as the fifth round, but that faded. Several teams called him throughout the day and indicated interest as well.

After the seventh round concluded, the free agent flurry began and every phone number associated with Davis was inundated before he reached an agreement with Jacksonville, a decision he described as "the best fit."

"I went through happy, sad, mad, nervous ... all of that," Davis admitted. "But now it's over. I have a home right now and I can get back to what I love. All the paper work is done and all the workouts are done."

Davis will join former B-CU standout Rashean Mathis on the Jaguars' roster.Davis will be considered a "top tier free agent," giving him the same considerations as a draft pick.

Also on Saturday, Jean Fanor signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I’m trying to soak it all in,” said the former B-CU defensive back. “I’m humbled and grateful to be in this position. I’m going to keep my head down and keep grinding.”

Fanor, who had an impressive performance at B-CU’s Pro Day, said the Chiefs appreciate his work ethic.

“They liked that I play the game fast and play the game hard,” Fanor said. “They want to give me an opportunity to play at the next level.”

Several former Wildcats have gone on to NFL success via the free agent route. Eric Weems, now with the Chicago Bears, went undrafted but signed with the Atlanta and earned a Pro Bowl berth as a special teams player. NFL Hall of Famer Larry Little was first signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins.

Several former Wildcats have gone on to NFL success via the free agent route. Eric Weems, now with the Chicago Bears, went undrafted but signed with the Atlanta and earned a Pro Bowl berth as a special teams player. NFL Hall of Famer Larry Little was first signed as a free agent by the San Diego Chargers before being traded to the Miami Dolphins.


Xavier sweeps NAIA unaffiliated group championships

NORCROSS, Georgia — Xavier University of Louisiana's men's tennis team defeated Cumberland 5-0 Saturday to win an NAIA unaffiliated group tournament for the second straight year. Xavier also won the women's championship by upsetting defending champion Martin Methodist 5-2.

XU's men set a school record with their seventh consecutive conference/group tournament championship.

Both the Gold Rush (17-7), ranked eighth, and the unranked Gold Nuggets (7-21) earned automatic bids to the NAIA National Championships at Mobile, Ala., next month. The Rush qualified for the fourth straight year, and the Nuggets qualified for the sixth time in eight seasons.

Cumberland's 16th-ranked men (17-2) and Martin Methodist's 17th-ranked women (11-4) await possible at-large bids to nationals. Tournament pairings will be announced May 8.

Loic Didavi clinched Xavier's men's title with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Na'im Azhar at No. 1 singles. Seniors Steffen Giles-Osborn and Sean Richarson defeated Devin Crotzer and Na'im Azhar 8-6 at No. 2 doubles, and both XU seniors finished unbeaten in four years of conference and group tournaments. Giles-Osborn is 15-0, and Richardson is 12-0.

Xavier also got doubles victories from Didavi and Zach Taylor and Viktor Svoboda and Corey Huggins. Taylor gave the Rush a 4-0 advantage when he beat Evan Sanna 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles.

"Our men came out on a mission to play well and not let up on anyone," XU coach Alan Green said. "We have to keep that attitude going in the national tournament."

Amber Brown beat Maria Charrys 6-3, 6-1 at No. 3 singles to clinch for the Nuggets. Charrys clinched a 5-4 victory against XU on March 9 by beating Brown in three sets.

"I just wanted to go out there and get revenge for last time," Brown said. "I told myself that I wasn't going to lose to her. I knew that I needed to win for my team to get to nationals."

It was the second time Saturday that the Nuggets lost the first two doubles matches, then won five in a row. Kourtney Howell and Nicole DeLoach beat Charrys and Jeanna Stanford 8-5 at No. 2 doubles, then Amanda Materre, Howell and Jordyn Goody won in singles to set up Brown's clinching victory."

"I could not be prouder of the Nuggets," Green said. "We may not have the prettiest overall record, but we're definitely one of the top 24 teams."

In the semifinals the XU men beat Bethel (Tenn.) 5-0, and the women overcame a 2-0 deficit to win 5-2 against Milligan, which eliminated the Nuggets in the 2011 semifinals.

Xavier's seven teams combined for nine conference/group championships in 2011-12, and all seven teams qualified for national tournaments. The nine titles and seven tourney bids are XU records for one academic year.

NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.

First Round — Friday, April 27
#8 Milligan 5, #9 Bluefield 0

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#4 Bethel (Tenn.) 5, #5 Tennessee Wesleyan 3
#6 SCAD Atlanta 5, #3 Martin Methodist 2
#1 Xavier 6, Milligan 0
#2 Cumberland 5, #7 Reinhardt 0

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
#1 Xavier 5, #4 Bethel (Tenn.) 0
#2 Cumberland 5, #6 SCAD Atlanta 0

Championship — Saturday, April 28
#1 Xavier 5, #2 Cumberland 0

NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.

First Round — Friday, April 27
#7 Bethel 6, #10 Reinhardt 3
#8 Columbia (S.C.) 5, #9 Bluefield 0

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#3 Milligan 5, #6 Tennessee Wesleyan 0
#5 Cumberland 6, #4 SCAD Atlanta 0
#1 Martin Methodist 6, #8 Columbia (S.C.) 0
#2 Xavier 5, #7 Bethel (Tenn.) 0

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
#1 Martin Methodist 5, #5 Cumberland 0
#2 Xavier 5, #3 Milligan 2

Championship — Saturday, April 28
#2 Xavier 5, #1 Martin Methodist 2

Results: Men Women

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

McNeill, Watkins are top athletes at ECSU

ELIZABETH CITY, North Carolina - There was a buzz in the room when football coach Waverly Tillar announced the team’s offensive MVP during the annual Elizabeth City State Sports Banquet on Thursday. The buzz was not about who won, but who did not.

Record-setting junior running back and reigning Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year Daronte McNeill was passed over for senior quarterback Creven Powell. But McNeill had bigger awards in his future,

To cap the evening, McNeill and bowler Shanice Watkins were named ECSU’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year. “I was a little surprised to win this award,” McNeill said. “This will definitely make me work harder for the next season.”

McNeill, who has set 14 combined school and CIAA records in his three seasons at ECSU, was not deterred when he did not get Offensive MVP.


WSSU's Cooper lands free-agent deal with Green Bay Packers

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - Running back Nic Cooper of Winston-Salem State has signed a free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Cooper, who went undrafted after leaving WSSU with one season of eligibility left, is from Clinton and is 6-feet and 240 pounds. He rushed for 3,430 yards in his career at WSSU, the fourth-best mark in school history.

“I’m excited,” Cooper said by telephone on Sunday morning. Cooper got the call from the Packers on Saturday night after the conclusion of the three-day long NFL Draft. “I’ll leave for Green Bay on May 10th and be ready for rookie camp and to get acclimated to everything,” Cooper said. “I have to admit I didn’t sleep much (Saturday night) and I’m still kind of coming to terms with all of this.”


SCSU's Thompson Selected In Fourth Round By Baltimore Ravens; Only HBCU Player Selected in 2012 NFL Draft

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina — South Carolina State All-MEAC safety Christian Thompson has been selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2012 National Football League draft.

The Ravens selected Thompson with the 130th pick overall.Thompson is the first Bulldog selected as high in the NFL draft since 1997 when the San Diego Chargers chose Raleigh Roundtree with the 109th pick overall in the fourth round. The 6-1, 211 pound Florida native was pegged by many pre-NFL draft websites as one of the top 10 safeties in the country.

Thompson saw action in 34 games during his three-year career for the Bulldogs. A 2011 first-team All-MEAC selection was the only player invited to the NFL combine since Arther Love in 1999 picked by the New England Patriots. He finished third on the team in tackles with 66 and second with 2 INTS, helping the Bulldogs to two MEAC titles in 2009, and 2010.

As a junior, played strong safety with a career-high 6 sacks while recording 46 tackles (one for loss) as a starter. 2009: One of the top reserves in the SC State secondary after transferring from Auburn…Played in eleven of the team's twelve contests and finished ninth on the squad in total tackles with 29, including six for losses and one sack. 2008: Played 10 games on special teams for Auburn, making one solo tackle, as a true freshman.

In the 2012 combine he finished as the # 6 Free Safety in the draft out of 71 running a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and a vertical jump of 31 ½.


NOTE:  Unfortunately, Christian Thompson becomes the poster man for HBCU football for 2012, as no other player from the MEAC, SWAC, CIAA, SIAC or GCAC was selected in the seven round NFL draft.  A total of 253 players were selected -- all the more reason that HBCU players should always make their No. 1 priority, earning their college degree(s) versus chasing a pipe dream of NFL riches. 

Sure,  a few will sign free agency contracts in the coming days and weeks -- with few, if any making it to the active roster on opening day.  Long shots at best, many of these players would have been better served if they had put as much emphasis on their academics as they did on football.  Although success is not guaranteed with a college degree, I like the odds better than those of making it to the NFL, NBA, NHL, NSL, MLB, etc.  I'm not trying to kill any one's dream, but you have to deal with the realities of life.  Without an education, you might as well be ...


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Both Xavier teams advance at NAIA group tournament

NORCROSS, Georgia — Xavier University of Louisiana's men defeated Milligan 6-0, and the XU women beat Bethel (Tenn.) 5-0 Friday in the quarterfinals of an NAIA unaffiliated group tennis tournament.

The Gold Rush (15-7) — seeded first in the tournament, the defending champion and ranked eighth nationally — will play fourth-seeded Bethel in the semifinals. The Gold Nuggets (5-21), seeded second, will play third-seeded Milligan. Both duals will start at 8:30 a.m. EDT Saturday.

Zach Taylor, Viktor Svoboda and Steffen Giles-Osborn won singles and doubles matches for the Rush. Svoboda clinched with a 6-0, 6-1 victory against Wesley Rice at No. 3 singles. Kourtney Howell and Amber Brown won in singles and doubles for the Nuggets, and Howell clinched with a 6-0, 6-1 decision against Dasha Klyuyenko at No. 1 singles.

Svoboda clinched a Gold Rush dual for a team-leading fourth time this season.

Giles-Osborn and Sean Richardson, seniors and fourth-year team members, both remained unbeaten in conference/group tournaments. Giles-Osborn and Richardson defeated Wesley Rice and Sebastian Jonsson 8-2 at No. 2 doubles, and Giles-Osborn beat Mickey Brown 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4 singles. Richardson's No. 6 singles match against Wade Tugman was not played.

Giles-Osborn is 13-0 and Richardson 10-0 in conference/group tournaments.

For just the third time this season, all three of the Gold Nuggets' doubles teams played and won. And for the first time in more than two years, the Nuggets' top two doubles teams both won 8-0. Howell and Nicole DeLoach's shutout against Michella Douglas and Krysani Boyd at No. 2 was their seventh victory in their past 10 matches. That's the best extended stretch of any Nuggets double team during a spring semester in which they've won 21-of-78 matches.

Both XU semifinal matchups will be rematches of 2011, when the Rush defeated Bethel 6-0 and Milligan beat the Nuggets 5-0.

Championship duals will be played Saturday afternoon — no sooner than noon EDT — with the winners receiving automatic bids to the NAIA National Championships at Mobile, Ala., on May 15-19.

Results: Men Women

NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.
All times Eastern

First Round — Friday, April 27
#8 Milligan 5, #9 Bluefield 0

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#4 Bethel (Tenn.) 5, #5 Tennessee Wesleyan 3
#6 SCAD Atlanta 5, #3 Martin Methodist 2
#1 Xavier 6, Milligan 0
#2 Cumberland 5, #7 Reinhardt 0

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
#1 Xavier vs. #4 Bethel (Tenn.), 8:30 a.m.
#2 Cumberland vs. #6 SCAD Atlanta, 8:30 a.m.

Championship — Saturday, April 28
Semifinal winners meet at noon

NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.
All times Eastern

First Round — Friday, April 27
#7 Bethel 6, #10 Reinhardt 3
#8 Columbia (S.C.) 5, #9 Bluefield 0

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#3 Milligan 5, #6 Tennessee Wesleyan 0
#5 Cumberland 6, #4 SCAD Atlanta 0
#1 Martin Methodist 6, #8 Columbia (S.C.) 0
#2 Xavier 5, #7 Bethel (Tenn.) 0

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
#1 Martin Methodist vs. #5 Cumberland, 8:30 a.m.
#2 Xavier vs. #3 Milligan, 8:30 a.m.

Championship — Saturday, April 28
Semifinal winners meet at noon

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

TSU Tigers to Host Morehead State on Senior Weekend

NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- This weekend marks the final Ohio Valley Conference home series for the season. Tennessee State will host Morehead State for a three game series beginning with a double header on Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Tiger Field. A single game at 1:00 p.m. is on tap for Sunday with celebrations to honor the senior class prior to the contest.

The 2012 TSU senior class consists of Susie Burke, Brittany Davis, Kelly Troglin, and Kara Murr. Burke and Troglin have been Tigers for four seasons, while junior college transfer Davis has spent two seasons in blue. Murr has spent four years at Tennessee State, but was unable to play in her final season due to a career ending injury.

The Tigers look to improve on their 11-35 overall record and 3-21 OVC mark. The Eagles are just ahead of TSU in the conference standings at 5-17, 12-32.

Jennifer Givens enters weekend play at the top of several categories for the Tigers. The junior centerfielder has 43 hits, .293 average and 31 stolen bases. Tedra Alford is second with a .287 batting average, but is tops with 24 runs scored, nine doubles and two home runs. Alford shares the lead with two triples with Devin Amar, who leads the team with 16 RBI.

In the circle, freshman Shea Morris is holding opponents to a .268 batting average while compiling an 8-21 record. Morris has fanned 165 batters in 175.1 innings of work and holds a 3.47 ERA.

Game Coverage: Follow all the action via LiveBlog on Feel free to join in the conversation for all games this weekend. Coverage will begin at 12:30 p.m..

Morehead State (12-32, 5-17)
2011 Record: 19-36
Conference: Ohio Valley
2011 Finish: 10-19
Series Record: 9-53
Last Time Played: 2011, Lost 3-11
Last Win: 2010, 10-4

The Eagles come in hitting .270 as a team and are led by Amber Riddle (.348), Adrena Anderson (.318), and Stephanie Etter (.305). Riddle has ten dingers on the season and 33 RBI, while Anderson leads on the base paths with 13 steals in 16 attempts. Etter is the leading run scorer, crossing the plate 29 times.

Katie Pfost has been the workhorse for the circle throwing 122.2 innings and compiling a 4-13 record. Pfost has a 3.02 ERA and 88 strikeouts opposed to 50 walks. Jamie Whitcomb leads the Eagles with a 5-6 record despite a 5.02 ERA.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Banks brings back good feelings at SU

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- Modern jazz played in the background, bouncing off the glass walls and high ceiling of the atrium. Old-timers poked around their house salads, sharing stories and laughs. Eventually, an entire group of smiling alumni set down their tea glasses and steamed green beans, all too happy to watch this moment unfold.

One by one, members of the Southern University men’s basketball team walked to the front of the room, where they greeted coach Roman Banks and his overachieving staff. Together, they had led the Jaguars to an improbable 13-win turnaround this season, giving students, alumni and fans the kind of warm feeling that’s been long overdue at Southern.

Friday night, at a lavish postseason banquet in downtown Baton Rouge, each player received a large, thick, Columbia blue blanket, trimmed in gold and personally monogrammed — their reward for a job well done. Wait, wait, wait. A blanket?

What, no jacket? No cheesy plaque? What in the name of Carl Stewart was this all about?


Rogers, Gibson sign with Gold Rush for 2012-13 season

NEW ORLEANS — Xavier Rogers of Denton, Texas, and John Gibson of Marietta, Ga., have signed men's basketball scholarships with Xavier University of Louisiana. The Gold Rush have signed three for the 2012-13 academic year.

Rogers, a 6-foot-2 guard, will have two seasons of eligibility at Xavier after transferring from NCAA Division I member Grambling State University. Rogers averaged 8.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 25 games with the Tigers in 2011-12. He made 39 3-pointers — six against Alabama State on March 1, five against Texas Tech on Dec. 18 — and was Grambling's second-leading scorer for the season. Rogers averaged 2.3 points in 13 games for Lee College, a two-year school in Baytown, Texas, as a freshman in 2010-11.

Rogers was a three-year varsity starter for Lake Dallas High School of Corinth, Texas, and was first-team all-district his final two seasons. As a senior he made the Denton Record-Chronicle All-Area third-team after averaging 11.4 points and making 52 3-pointers.

Gibson, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 9.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocked shots as a senior in 2011-12 — his first season as a varsity starter — at Walton High School. His single-game highs included 19 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks.

"John is an extremely hard-working kid," Walton coach Joseph Goydish said. "He is dedicated to constantly improving his game. He is a great teammate and a great student."

Gibson will major in business management at Xavier, and Rogers will be a pre-pharmacy major.

Guard RJ Daniels of New Orleans signed with the Gold Rush in November. Daniels helped St. Augustine finish second in the Class 4A state playoffs this year.

Xavier was 23-9 this past season, shared the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season championship, qualified for the second straight year for the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I National Championship and ranked 24th in the postseason coaches poll.

2012-13 Xavier men's basketball signees
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr.* Hometown High School (College)
RJ Daniels G 6-4 190 Fr. New Orleans, La. St. Augustine
John Gibson F 6-7 195 Fr. Marietta, Ga. Walton
Xavier Rogers G 6-2 175 Jr. Denton, Texas Lake Dallas (Grambling)

* athletic classification at Xavier in fall of 2012

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Five Home Games Headline CAU 2012 Football Schedule

ATLANTA, Georgia - An even split in the 10-game slate with five home and five away games including two non-conference, four Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) East Divisional and for the first time in two years, no football classics highlight the 2012 CAU football schedule released today by CAU Athletic Director Dr. Tamica Smith-Jones. Last season, the Panthers finished with a 2-8 overall record.

“We are pleased with this year’s schedule and we believe it is a favorable one with one more home game than we had last season,” said third year head coach Daryl McNeill. “We have a solid group of recruits who we feel will make an immediate impact especially on the offensive line.”

CAU opens its season at home against the Tigers of West Alabama Sept. 1, which marks the first meeting between the two institutions. The next two games on the road begin with Lane College Sept. 8, before Clark Atlanta’s first divisional game against Fort Valley State Sept. 15. With Concordia University (9/22) and AUC Rival Morehouse College (9/29) at Panther Stadium wrapping up the last two home games in September, CAU alternates home and away games for the remainder of the season.

After a non-divisional match-up at Miles College Oct. 6, the Panthers will battle in two consecutive East divisional games which includes CAU homecoming against Benedict College (10/13) and a road game at Albany State Oct. 20.

In the last home game, the Panthers will host Tuskegee University Oct. 26, for senior night before wrapping up the regular season on the road against Stillman College Nov. 3, for the second consecutive year.

“This is a schedule that we feel will give us strong support from Panther Nation,” added Smith-Jones.

The winners of the East and West divisions will play for the 2012 SIAC championship title on Nov. 10 in Atlanta, Georgia.


9/8 at Lane College
9/15 at Fort Valley State University**
10/6 at Miles College
10/13 BENEDICT COLLEGE** (Homecoming)
10/20 at Albany State University**
11/3 at Stillman College

Home games in BOLD CAPS are played at Panther Stadium.
**Denotes SIAC East Division Games

COURTESY Dana Harvey, Director of Sports Information, Clark Atlanta University

XU Nuggets sign two more, including another from Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS — Two more high school seniors — Brion Flowers of Lafayette, La., and Vashni Balleste of Rock Tavern, N.Y. — have signed women's tennis scholarships with Xavier University of Louisiana. The Gold Nuggets have signed four for the 2012-13 academic year.

Flowers, who attends St. Thomas More High School, is a  four-star prospect ranked fourth in Louisiana, 21st in the Gulf States region and 141st nationally. She has won 71 percent of nearly 400 USTA matches during the past five seasons.

As a sophomore at St. Thomas More in 2010, Flowers was the Division I-Class 5A state singles champion.  She reached the singles semifinals as a freshman in 2009 to help STM win the girls state team championship.
Balleste won 11 consecutive singles matches this past fall for Washingtonville High School. She won the American Tennis Association girls 18 doubles title with Floridian Nia Rose this past August. Balleste's highest girls 18 singles ranking in the USTA Eastern Section is 124th.

Former pro and NCAA doubles champion Katrina Adams has coached Balleste for the past year.

Both signees are honor roll students. Flowers will be a pre-medical major at Xavier, and Balleste will major in mass communications.

Previously announced signees were Simone-Alyse Ewell of Detroit and Alexandria Locure of New Orleans. Xavier will have three from Louisiana on the 2012-13 women's roster, including Jordyn Goody of Lake Charles, a freshman on the team this season.

Xavier competes in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Coach Alan Green's Gold Nuggets qualified for the NAIA National Championship five of the previous seven seasons and won first-round dual matches at nationals all five times.

2012-13 Xavier women's tennis signees
Name Ht. Yr.* Hometown High School
Vashni Balleste 5-4 Fr. Rock Tavern, N.Y. Washingtonville
Simone-Alyse Ewell 5-5 Fr. Detroit, Mich. The Roeper School
Brion Flowers 5-6 Fr. Lafayette, La. St. Thomas More
Alexandria Locure 5-4 Fr. New Orleans, La. John Curtis Christian

* athletic classification at Xavier in fall of 2012


By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Listen to Roman Banks on Inside SU System

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - Listen to an exclusive audio replay of Southern University head men's basketball coach Roman Banks on Inside SU System hosted by Robyn Merrick.

Banks led the Jaguars to a 17-14 record and a second place finish in the SWAC on his way to being named the 2012 LSWA Coach of the Year.

Inside the Southern University System airs Sundays at 6 p.m. on KQXL 106.5 FM in Baton Rouge and on the web at


Alabama A&M Assistant Ben Blacknall Has Passed Away

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - The Alabama A&M family was saddened today when they learn that defensive line coach Benjamin Blacknall passed away.

Coach Blacknall had been a part of the Bulldog football coaching staff for six seasons and served as the recruiting coordinator. Blacknall spent four seasons as the head coach at Delaware State from 2000-2003.

He was no stranger to head coach Anthony Jones. Jones and Blacknall have shared numerous other coaching destinations. Blacknall’s coaching stops include North Carolina A&T (1972-76), South Carolina State (1977-78; 1989-98), Wichita State (1979-83), Howard (1984-88), and Morehouse (1999).

While the head coach at Delaware State, he led the Hornets to a 20-25 record before leaving coaching for the business world.  In 2000, he was named MEAC Coach of the Year.

“My condolences go out to his family, the team and the coaching staff,” said head coach Anthony Jones. “I lost a good friend today and the university lost a good man. His services at the university were greatly appreciated. He will be missed.”


Alabama A&M: Football assistant Blacknall found dead

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Alabama A&M football coach Anthony Jones got more than he ever imagined when he decided to go to college football at Wichita State. Not only did he get a quality education, but he met a quality friend in Shockers assistant coach Ben Blacknall.

In fact, Jones and Blacknall became best friends and that relationship spanned more than three decades.

Unfortunately, that relationship ended Wednesday when Blacknall, a long-time diabetic, passed away due to a diabetic coma.

"I lost a good friend, the university lost a good coach and the world lost a good man," Jones said. "He's going to be missed."


Blue-collar Piston Ben Wallace plays hard till end

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — He's among Detroit's sports icons, a group with different backgrounds, motivations and triumphs. But for Ben Wallace — the most unlikely of a collection that includes Stevie Y, Isiah and Barry — he's cut more in the mold of Joe Louis or Thomas Hearns.

As he prepares to suit up tonight for what might be his final NBA game, it's almost as if Wallace is looking for another fight. What other reason could there be for a three-hour workout with a handful of hours left in his career?  "We still have one game left," he said.

Wallace will sit down with Pistons management and his family and won't rush himself to make a decision: retire or return for his 17th season. It's at this precise moment where Wallace reveals his biggest battle: with himself, admitting he has lost that cerebral tussle before.

He has conquered essentially every challenge he has encountered, but the prospect of walking away from basketball has Wallace grappling with his life away from the game that defined him.


Ben Wallace, #6 Detroit Pistons, Virginia Union University (1994-96), Cuyahoga Community College (Ohio)(1992-94), Central High School  (Hayneville, Alabama).

As season's end nears, Pistons' Ben Wallace is still at work and isn't sure he will punch his time card for the last time

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan - He spots a Pistons pocket calendar on the table and, for a moment, gives it his full attention. His team's schedule is burned in his memory, but it looks different on paper -- those red-and-blue colored squares counting down the remaining home and away games of the season.

"Not many left," Ben Wallace says.

He knows what he has said in the past, including statements he reiterated two months ago: On Feb. 13, the day after the 37-year-old Pistons veteran tied Avery Johnson for most games by an undrafted player (since the 1976-77 NBA-ABA merger), Wallace told reporters that this season, his 16th, would definitely be his last.

But now here it is, a recent Monday -- the afternoon after a night game in Chicago -- and Wallace is sitting in an empty room at the Pistons' practice facility smiling as he wipes streams of sweat from his face and neck with a towel. He talks about how he couldn't get to Auburn Hills fast enough that morning to work on his game and be with the guys.


SIAC baseball tournament gets underway today in Ozark

OZARK, Alabama - Stillman College enters the eight-team Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball tournament as No. 1 seed in the West after finishing with a 21-0 record in the SIAC, 24-16 overall.

The tournament will be played in Ozark, Alabama at historic Eagle Stadium. The Tigers will face Benedict College, the No. 4 seed in the East, in the first round today at 3 p.m.

Claflin is the No. 1 seed in the East. The Panthers play Tuskegee, the No. 4 seed in the West, today at 9 a.m.

Other first-round games today include Miles vs. Albany State at noon and Paine vs. Kentucky State at 6 p.m.

It’s understandable the setting of Eagle Stadium in Ozark would feel like home for Stillman College coach Donny Crawford.

Crawford grew up in Rehobeth, where he was a standout athlete for the Rebels in the early 1970s. He later played two years of baseball at Wallace College in Dothan before finishing his athletic career at Southern Mississippi.

Among his early coaching stops was a two-year stint at Cottonwood as the head baseball coach, and he also coached three years at L.B. Wallace junior college in Andalusia.

While Crawford has called Tuscaloosa home for a number of years now, the close ties with the Wiregrass helped Crawford believe Eagle Stadium would be the perfect setting for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference baseball tournament.


Rush seeded first, Nuggets second for NAIA qualifiers

NEW ORLEANS — The tennis teams of Xavier University of Louisiana are seeded first in the men's division and second in the women's division of an NAIA unaffiliated group qualifying tournament.

The dual-match event — to be played at Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, on Friday and Saturday — is for schools from the Gulf Coast Athletic, TranSouth Athletic and Appalachian Athletic conferences, which do not field sufficient teams to compete for automatic berths to next month's NAIA National Championships. Also competing will be independent SCAD Atlanta, the host school. The men's and women's champions of the unaffiliated group tournament will receive automatic berths to nationals.

The Gold Rush (14-7) are one of three NAIA-ranked men's teams in the qualifier. Xavier is eighth — matching the Gold Rush's highest rank ever — Cumberland (15-1) is 16th and Martin Methodist (7-5) is 19th. Xavier beat Martin Methodist 5-2 in last year's unaffiliated group final.

Martin Methodist (8-3), ranked 17th, is the only top-25 women's team in the event. Xavier (4-21) and Milligan (10-7) received votes in the most recent national poll, with the Gold Nuggets ranking 26th. The XU women lost 5-0 to Milligan in the semifinals a year ago.

Both XU teams will have first-round byes and play in the quarterfinals at 12:30 p.m. EDT Friday. The Gold Rush will play eighth-seeded Milligan or ninth-seeded Bluefield, and the Gold Nuggets will play seventh-seeded Bethel (Tenn.) or 10th-seeded Reinhardt. Semifinals and championship matches will be played Saturday.

The XU men seek their fourth consecutive berth in the national tournament. The Gold Nuggets, who did not qualify a year ago, seek their fourth berth in five years and their sixth in eight seasons.

Xavier has six singles players and one doubles team on the national list of the Campbell's-Intercollegiate Tennis Association NAIA rankings of April 16. In men's singles Loic Didavi is eighth, Zach Taylor 19th, Viktor Svoboda 41st and Steffen Giles-Osborn 47th. In women's singles Kourtney Howell is 27th and Amanda Materre 38th. Didavi and Taylor are No. 4 in men's doubles.

In the ITA NAIA South rankings, Didavi is fourth, Taylor ninth, Svoboda 14th and Giles-Osborn 16th in men's singles. Howell is 12th and Materre 16th in women's singles. In men's doubles Didavi and Taylor are second, and Giles-Osborn and Sean Richardson are ninth.

NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.
All times Eastern

First Round — Friday, April 27
#8 Milligan vs. #9 Bluefield, 8 a.m.

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#4 Bethel vs. #5 Tennessee Wesleyan, 10 a.m.
#3 Martin Methodist vs. #6 SCAD Atlanta, 10 a.m.
#1 Xavier vs. Milligan-Bluefield winner, 12:30 p.m.
#2 Cumberland vs. #7 Reinhardt, 12:30 p.m.

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
Xavier-Milligan-Bluefield winner vs Bethel-Tennessee Wesleyan winner, 8:30 a.m.
Cumberland-Reinhardt winner vs. Martin Methodist-SCAD Atlanta winner, 8:30 a.m.

Championship — Saturday, April 28
Semifinal winners meet at noon
NAIA Unaffiliated Group Tournament
Racquet Club of the South, Norcross, Ga.
All times Eastern

First Round — Friday, April 27
#7 Bethel vs. #10 Reinhardt, 8 a.m.
#8 Columbia (S.C.) vs. #9 Bluefield, 8 a.m.

Quarterfinals — Friday, April 27
#3 Milligan vs. #6 Tennessee Wesleyan, 10 a.m.
#4 SCAD Atlanta vs. #5 Cumberland, 10 a.m.
#1 Martin Methodist vs. Columbia-Bluefield winner, 12:30 p.m.
#2 Xavier vs. Bethel-Reinhardt winner, 12:30 p.m.

Semifinals — Saturday, April 28
Martin Methodist-Columbia-Bluefield winner vs. SCAD Atlanta-Cumberland winner, 8:30 a.m.
Xavier-Bethel-Reinhardt winner vs. Milligan-Tennessee Wesleyan winner, 8:30 a.m.

Championship — Saturday, April 28
Semifinal winners meet at noon

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director

WSSU, Shaw women to play in NCAA tennis tourney

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina - The Winston-Salem State women's tennis team will play at California (Pa.) in the first round of the NCAA Division II women's tennis tournament on Saturday.

WSSU, the No. 8 seed in the Atlantic Regional, will be making its second consecutive NCAA appearance. WSSU is coming off a loss to Shaw in the CIAA championship last Saturday. Shaw, the fourth seed in the Atlantic Region, will take on fifth-seeded West Virginia State on Saturday.

The California-WSSU winner will play the Shaw-West Virginia State winner Sunday for the regional title. The winner of that matchup will advance to the national tournament to be held in Louisville, Kentucky.


Tennessee State hosts 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Golf Championship

NASHVILLE, Tennessee - The Tennessee State University men's golf team will serve as host to the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Golf Championship from April 26-28 at the GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tennessee.

The 54-hole, three day tournament will consist of three rounds with round one set to begin on Wednesday, April 26. The third and final round is slated for Saturday (4/28) and will close with the team trophy presentation.

Designed by PGA Tour pro Mark McCumber, GreyStone is a public course that has hosted numerous high profile events. It has served as home of the 2002 PGA Tour First Round Qualifying, Men's and Women's Tennessee State Opens 1999 through 2003, the 2000 PGA Tour First Round Qualifying and the Monday Qualifying for the BellSouth Senior PGA Tour event.

This marks the third year in a row that GreyStone, a par-72, 6,858-yard layout, has hosted the OVC Men's Championship.

Sharing the field with Tennessee State will include: Eastern Illinois, Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech, Jacksonville State, UT Martin, Murray State.

Jacksonville State claimed the team title last year with a 561 after inclement weather shortened the tournament to just two rounds. JSU won by 18 shots ahead of second-place finisher UT Martin. It was the Gamecocks third overall championship.

Andres Schonbaum (Jacksonville State), Johan Eriksson (Eastern Kentucky) and Matthew Wallace (Jacksonville State) won the individual title last year carding a 139 with a one-shot lead over the fourth place fininisher.

TSU will look to improve from their seventh place finish at last year's championship. The team is coming off an idle week after hosting the TSU Big Blue Intercollegiate. The Tigers finished the tournament in eighth place while Cameron Scitern returned from his injury to place 10th.

Although injury has limited him to 14 rounds this season, Scitern leads the Tigers, finishing in the top 20 on four occasions in five tournaments played this year. He has finished in the top ten four times which includes four finishes in the top five. He currently holds a team best 72.1 stroke average.

Ryan Pierson is second on the team with an 74.0 stroke average while registering three finishes in the top 20 and three in the top ten this season. James Stepp follows with a stroke average of 75.5 finishing in the top 20 twice in eight events played.

Andrew Warner (76.1), Tyler Hendrickson (76.2), Dallas Hill (77.3), Codie Welborn (79.2) and Matthew Campbell (82.3) round out the team averages with the Tigers currently shooting a combined 299.8 team average.

Practice round will begin on Wednesday before the opening round starts on Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

The annual awards banquets will be held following Thursday's first-round play honoring the All-OVC first-team and second-team members as well as All-Newcomer Team and Freshman of the Year.

The champion of the tournament will represent the OVC in NCAA Regional Play.

Hole-by-hole live results from each day of the championship can be accessed through links at


California juco standout is Gold Nuggets' second signee

NEW ORLEANS — Andraquay Quinnine of Elk Grove, California, has signed a women's basketball scholarship with Xavier University of Louisiana. She averaged 13.9 points per game and made 108 3-pointers during the past two seasons.
 Quinnine, a 5-foot-9 guard, is the Gold Nuggets' second signee for 2012-13. Guard Whitney Gathright of New Orleans signed a week ago.

Quinnine averaged 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 29 games for Consumes River College of Sacramento, Calif., this past season and was a California Community College Athletic Association second-team selection in the northern half of the state. Quinnine scored 40 points, including six 3-pointers and 10-of-11 free throws, in the Hawks' 72-64 victory at Diablo Valley on Feb. 7.

As a freshman at Consumnes River in 2010-11, Quinnine averaged 13.3 points in 26 games. In two seasons at the junior college she made 35.8 percent of her 3-pointers (108-of-302) and 80.7 percent of her free throws (130-of-161).

Quinnine is a 2010 graduate of Franklin High School in Elk Grove and helped the Wildcats reach the semifinals of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I section playoffs each of her final two seasons.

Quinnine will be a junior on the Nuggets' roster next season.

Xavier was 26-9 in 2011-12, won Gulf Coast Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships and, for the second consecutive year, reached the second round of the NAIA Division I National Championship. The GCAC Tournament title was the Nuggets' third in a row.

note:    name pronounced ON-druh-kway KWY-nine

By Ed Cassiere, Sports Information Director