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  • Wiggins is seen as a potential No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the NBA draft (AP)

    When Andrew Wiggins asserts himself, look out — and that goes double for the defender who is ostensibly protecting the rim.

    With fellow likely NBA lottery pick Joel Embiid sidelined for the Big 12 tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks needed something extra from Maple Jordan on Thursday against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. With less than three to go in a nip-tuck tilt, Wiggins called for an alley-oop pass and crushed it over two Cowboys.

    That was part of a 30-point, eight-rebound effort in Kansas' 77-70 win.

    Read More »from Andrew Wiggins completes monster alley-oop in Big 12 tournament
  • Anthony Gale, centre, at the Paralympics in Sochi. (Getty Images)The toughest people at the Paralympics may not actually be the athletes. The latest P&G Paralympic commercial says it perfectly, “The world’s toughest Moms (and Dads) raise the world’s toughest kids.”

    Kathy Ludwig, along with her husband and parents, and Tony and Anna-Lee Gale, along with their two best friends are here to watch their sons, Karl Ludwig and Anthony Gale, compete at their first Paralympic Games as part of the Canadian sledge hockey team. Both families are from Brampton, Ont., and neither family could have imagined that one day they would be travelling across the world to watch their son compete for Canada.

    At these Games the role of Kathy, Anna-Lee, and Tony may be cheering from the sidelines, but there was a time when they had a fundamental role in forging the path these Paralympians took to the world stage.

    When Anna-Lee was pregnant with Anthony the doctors told her and Tony that their baby would be born with severe disabilities. They encouraged her to terminate the

    Read More »from Raising a Paralympian: How two Canadian sledge hockey stars got to Sochi
  • Canadian Milos Raonic defeated Wimbledon champ Andy Murray for the third time in four meetings. (Stephanie Myles/opencourt.ca)

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Milos Raonic kept his head when all around him – that means you, Andy Murray – were losing theirs.

    For the third time in four career meetings, Raonic defeated the reigning Wimbledon champion. This time, he came back from a set down, and a service break in the third set to run away with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory at the BNP Paribas Open that puts him into the quarterfinals.

    As it happens, it was the 20th anniversary of the day Dusan and Vesna Raonic and their three children, including three-year-old Milos, immigrated to Canada.

    “I don't think there are really many matches that I've come back from a break down in the deciding set, or in the second set after being a set down,” said Raonic, whose next opponent will be the quirky, tricky Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.

    Read More »from Milos Raonic upsets Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, moves on to the Indian Wells quarterfinals
  • A bad day at the office, and an early exit from Indian Wells for Canadian Vasek Pospisil. (Stephanie Myles/opencourt.ca)

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – That player out on Stadium 6 playing against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan Sunday certainly looked like Vasek Pospisil.

    He wore Vasek Pospisil’s Asics clothes, played with his Wilson racquet.

    But that’s where the resemblance ended.

    This imposter was like Zombie Vasek, a pale imitation of what the 23-year-old from Vancouver looks like when he’s in full flight on a tennis court.

    The 6-0, 6-2 score was a little misleading; a reasonable facsimile of the real Vasek Pospisil only ambled onto court when the score was already 6-0, 4-1 for his opponent.

    The first thought from his followers was that the disc issue in his back that prevented him from participating in the first-round Davis Cup tie against Japan was acting up.

    Read More »from What’s next for Canadian tennis up-and-comer Vasek Pospisil?
  • The last free-agent pitcher standing, Ervin Santana, signed with the Braves.Call it another swing and a miss for Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays.

    On Wednesday, free-agent pitcher Ervin Santana signed a one-year, $14.1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Santana was one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason and had been targeted by the Blue Jays. Reports as recently as Saturday said Santana was on the cusp of signing with the team.

    Instead the right-hander is heading to Atlanta to help out a playoff contender that has had its starting rotation torn apart by recent injuries. The signing has to sting a bit for Anthopoulos, the Toronto general manager.

    Anthopoulos has said all the right things this offseason about the team and his decision to make very few changes to a team that won just 74 games last season. He is confident the team can rebound simply by staying healthy and having more depth. But there’s an obvious need for starting pitching on this team. Last year the Blue Jays had one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. They ranked 25th in ERA, 28th in quality starts, 25th in WHIP, 22nd in opponent batting average, and surrendered the second most home runs.

    Santana wasn’t going to fix those problems single handedly. He went 9-10 with the Kansas City Royals last year with a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings. He’s an above average, durable pitcher but hardly a perennial All Star. But he certainly would have helped the Blue Jays, especially on a one-year deal, and would have been a tangible upgrade over whoever is destined for the back end of the rotation. The Blue Jays are built to be competitive now but have fallen way behind in the American League East.

    Read More »from Blue Jays miss out on another pitcher, Ervin Santana signs with Braves
  • Canadian Paralympian Brian McKeever overcame a fall to win gold Wednesday.One fall usually ends your hopes of a medal, but not if you're Brian McKeever. The Canadian cross-country skier crashed 200 metres into the one-kilometre final of the men's visually impaired sprint Wednesday when a Russian competitor stepped on his pole, but managed to get back up again, caught up to the pack over the remaining four-fifths of the race with the help of guide Graham Nishikawa, and wound up finishing first, earning his second gold in Sochi and his 12th Paralympic medal overall. Here's video of his incredible race:

    That's just amazing to watch, especially in such a short race where many likely would have been knocked out of contention completely by a fall. McKeever told The Canadian Press that he never considered giving up after the fall, though:

    "It wouldn't be right for me to tell you what I said in my head, but once the cuss words were out, the only thing you can do is get back up and race," said McKeever. "I thought we were clear, but that is normal and it happens in sprinting when you are all fighting and tight. Everyone is going flat out. It is intense and everyone is at their limit. We are just fortunate it happened in the first 200 metres and not at the end so we had time to catch up."

    Read More »from Brian McKeever overcomes fall to win his second gold of these Paralympics in 1km sprint
  • Manitoba's Mike McEwen at last December's Olympic Trials. (CP)

    A little bit of a wrinkle is being thrown in to this week's Grand Slam of Curling event, in Fort McMurray.

    The free guard zone rule grows by a rock per end and it may just be something that catches on, although it'd be unneccesary if the world of curling weren't so blessed with great ice, lively rocks and increasingly expert play. As well, while it should force more rocks into play much of the time, it does nothing to rid the game of its greatest annoyance; the blanked first end.

    The National, with a field of eighteen teams from all over the world, including the reigning Olympic champions (Team Brad Jacobs) as well as the newly crowned Brier champs (Team Kevin Koe), will employ the much talked about five-rock rule and see how it goes.

    It's not the first time the rule has been trotted out, as it was used at The Canadian Open in 2011, much to the consternation of one Mike McEwen, the Manitoba skip who leads his team into this week's event at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre. McEwen,

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling: Five-rock rule comes to The National. Does the game need it or something more?
  • INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The conditions at the BNP Paribas Open Tuesday weren’t exactly what you would hope for as a player when you get to face the world No. 2 and reigning Australian Open champion in a big night match at a big tournament.

    The desert night air cast a chill over a stadium court was empty even with an announced night-session crowd of over 14,000.

    China’s Li Na was visibly uncomfortable with the conditions. But Montreal’s Aleksandra Wozniak couldn’t take advantage.

    On her 11th match point, the top seed in the women’s tournament finally converted a 6-1, 6-4 victory that put her into the quarterfinals.

    “The funny thing is beginning of the game I was feeling tight, nervous, and then I was feeling like. what's going on? Why can't I finish the match?” Li said. “But, how do you say, she never give up so she try to defend every point. Yeah. It's a little bit tedious in the last game.”

    Wozniak, who came in with a WTA Tour ranking of No. 241, leaves with $52,000 in prize money, 120 WTA Tour points and has made up about 60 spots in the rankings.

    Read More »from Aleksandra Wozniak loses to Li Na at Indian Wells, but gets wild card into the Sony Open in Miami
  • (Getty)For Kevin Pangos and his Gonzaga teammates, the West Coast Conference championship at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas was about extending a couple of lengthy streaks.

    Tuesday night's game against Brigham Young was the 17th straight WCC championship game appearance for the Bulldogs. That was just the start notch a win over BYU and they would secure entry into the NCAA tournament for a 16th consecutive year.

    Gonzaga jumped out to a 44-27 halftime lead and while BYU managed to cut the deficit to eight late in the second half, the Zags held on for a 75-64 win and earned their ticket to the Madness.

    Pangos, a native of Holland Landing, Ont., was quiet in the final. He finished with 11 points, all of them coming from the free throw line, as the Bulldogs put the ball in his hands when BYU was forced to foul late in the game to stop the clock.

    A favourite of many Canadian basketball fans thanks to the presence of Pangos and past players like Kamloops' Kelly Olynyk and North Vancouver's Robert Sacre, Gonzaga has become a fixture of March Madness. Their 16 straight NCAA tournament appearances puts the Zags in the same conversation as powerhouse programs, Kansas (24 straight NCAA tournament appearances), Duke (18), and Michigan State (16), and Wisconsin (15).

    Read More »from Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga extend NCAA tournament streak to 16 years after WCC championship game win
  • Canadian Genie Bouchard ran the gamut of emotions during her 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 loss to Simona Halep of Romania. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

    INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The fourth-round match between Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open Monday morning was rife with contrasts and potential storylines, which did not go unnoticed by either of the lead actresses in the drama.

    “Yeah, I just hear about her title wins all the time. She's definitely improved a lot. I think she's a really good, solid player,” Bouchard said in previewing the first-ever encounter between the two.

    After Halep pulled out a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory to move into the quarterfinals, the 22-year-old Romanian said that this particular win was very important to her.

    “She's very aggressive. She hits very strong and her serve, it's really, really good serve. She's moving well. So I think she has a complete game,” Halep said. “She will be a tough player in the future. And also she will be a great player, because is very difficult to play against her. … I am happy that I could win.”

    The sub-text for Bouchard’s comment about the tournament titles goes to the essence of the WTA’s overzealous efforts to oversell Bouchard as the fresh, new, attractive blonde face of the WTA.

    Read More »from Eugenie Bouchard’s Indian Wells run ends with close loss to world No. 7 Simona Halep

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