The official start of the NCAA Division I men's college basketball season is Saturday, which offers St. John's a chance to begin anew. \nAfter a season riddled by scandal and suspension, one in which the Red Storm fired coach Mike Jarvis in December and went 1-15 in the Big East, the new coach, Norm Roberts, brings subtle and obvious changes. \nThe Red Storm may not have much more talent than the team that went 6-21 last season, but Roberts promises things will be different. He said that his first responsibility was off the court, where he emphasized that his players display courtesy and manners. \n"I think that people understand that we cannot be judged just on wins and losses this season," Roberts said. "I think they understand that it's a process. Let's build a foundation and get it going in the right direction." \nIf Roberts, who was an assistant coach at Kansas last season, is going to return St. John's to national prominence, he is going to have to do it through recruiting. Climbing out of the basement of the Big East is daunting, and it will be especially difficult next season when the conference expands to 16 teams. \nThe league will add Louisville, Cincinnati and Marquette next year and lose two perennially weaker teams, Miami and Virginia Tech. \n"The conference is probably playing at the highest level it's ever played at, or at least close to it," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "It's going to be very difficult for all of us." \nThe Red Storm has six new scholarship players among the 10 scholarship players on its roster. \nThe sophomore point guard Daryll Hill (14.8 points a game last season) is the team's leading returning scorer. Three of the new players are from junior colleges and were signed by Jarvis' staff. The other three newcomers are freshmen signed by Roberts after he was hired in April. \nRoberts has also received oral commitments from three players for next fall's freshman class, including Anthony Mason Jr. of Memphis, the son of the former Knick. Roberts and his staff have worked diligently to make inroads in the city high schools, a critical pipeline for talent that Jarvis failed to exploit. \nWith his first practice Saturday, Roberts will begin working on establishing his system. He will have a good schedule to ease into it, as the Red Storm do not play a 2004 NCAA tournament team until Dec. 30, when North Carolina State visits Madison Square Garden. \nRoberts' team will play an up-tempo high-low offense, and he emphasized they would play loose. "It's a good shot when it leaves your hand," he said. \nRoberts said that the Red Storm would play an aggressive man-to-man defense, though not predicated on pressing and gambling. "One thing I can promise, we will guard, " Roberts said. "We will defend." \nFor the first four weeks of school, Roberts' players played pick-up games to get into shape. After that, he began a 10-day conditioning program of 6 a.m. workouts that the staff nicknamed Code Red. In an effort to teach discipline and build team unity, Roberts made the players run 30-second sprints with 30 seconds of rest in between, 30 times. \nIf a player failed to do so, the rest of the team ran until that player did it. Also, Roberts set a rule that if a player missed a class or a study session, he would add a day to Code Red. Roberts had to extend it only one day. \n"Everyone is getting along better this year, and we're more disciplined," the sophomore Lamont Hamilton said. "If someone misses class, we all get in trouble for it. We're working better as a team, and the chemistry is much better." \nFrom his office window, Roberts can watch the construction of a basketball practice facility that began in August and is scheduled to open next fall. Roberts also asked for and received a strength and conditioning coach as well as nightly meals to make sure the players are eating right. \nThose trappings are a given at most big-time programs.
STANDINGS: The Uni-President Lions’ victory pushed the CTBC Brothers to first place after they won their third straight game, beating the Fubon Guardians 6-3 The big bats of the Uni-President Lions were on fire in the CPBL yesterday as they crushed the Rakuten Monkeys 21-5 in Taoyuan, with outfielder Lin An-ko driving in seven runs on five hits and two homers. The result enabled the CTBC Brothers to take the No. 1 spot after they beat the Fubon Guardians 6-3. It was a highlight reel for the Taiwanese-Argentinian star Lin, who drilled two homers amid a heated home-run race between himself, now on 16 for the season, and Lions teammate Su Chih-chieh, who is on 18. Lin performed outstandingly, collecting five hits at six at-bats to drive
GERMAN LEADER: Liverpool’s 19th English title, one behind Manchester United’s record of 20, owes much to the transformational impact of coach Juergen Klopp Liverpool on Thursday ended a 30-year wait for the English title as they were crowned Premier League champions, triggering jubilant scenes as fans ignored social distancing measures to celebrate uproariously. Juergen Klopp’s men sealed a 19th league title with a record seven games remaining after Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of second-placed Manchester City left the defending champions an unbridgeable 23 points adrift. Liverpool’s first English title since 1989-1990 — delayed by the COVID-19 suspension — earns them their maiden trophy in the Premier League, which was introduced in 1992-1993 and has been won 13 times by their archrivals Manchester United. Klopp was in tears
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Alexis Lafreniere was supposed to walk on stage on Friday night in Montreal as the top pick in the NHL draft. After the COVID-19 pandemic paused the hockey season and postponed that possibility, Lafreniere was supposed to find out Friday night where he would be going when the league held its draft lottery. Instead, he must wait a little bit longer. Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 pick still up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the playoffs — if play resumes. “We all knew