BYU men's volleyball: Bonds established among seniors key season's success – Deseret News


Adam Fondren, Deseret News

BYU assistant head coach Luka Slabe goes over game plan at the Marriott Center in Provo on Monday, April 30, 2018.

PROVO — A lot of teams claim a bond among teammates that is special, but in the case of this year’s BYU men’s volleyball team, the claims seem to check out — particularly among the team’s relatively small, but strong senior class.

Gathering for interviews at the Marriott Center for a final practice session before leaving for Los Angeles to compete in the NCAA Tournament, senior Price Jarman reflected on the bonds he’s formed with teammates, and particularly with fellow senior Leo Durkin.

The two Las Vegas natives have been close since playing on the same club teams since they were both 15, and both will close out their careers together this weekend.

“We met trying out for the same club team and we’ve literally been on the same team ever since,” Jarman said. “Minus the two years (serving) our (LDS Church) missions it’s been 10 straight years playing together.”

Durkin recalls Jarman taking to the court in those first tryouts as a “big, goofy 6-foot-4 guy who just hit puberty, and who was taller than everyone,” as opposed to himself, who was just 5-foot-8 at the time. Jarman has since stretched himself into a 6-9 middle blocker, while Durkin stands 6-4 and has manned the primary setter position for the past three years.

Both have contributed heavily throughout their careers, but perhaps an equal impact has come via their leadership.

Case in point: Jarman, who was sidelined for about a month late in the regular season with a hand injury.

“We don’t ever travel injured guys,” said BYU coach Shawn Olmstead. “We never have, but we just know the value of Price, and the leadership, and the example he is. The guys feed off that, so it was important to keep him engaged and around the team.”

Team participation requires a lot of time spent among teammates, with some of those same teammates growing wary of one another’s presence, at times. But in BYU’s case, the friendships — particularly the friendships among Durkin, Price and fellow senior Brenden Sander — has remained strong, and has even caused Durkin to get in a little trouble at home, at times.

“It makes my wife angry sometimes because she’ll shoot me a text, ‘Hey, are you coming home yet?’ and I’ll still be in the locker room, just chatting with the guys,” Durkin said. “When you’ve played a lot of volleyball together, and some of the matches we’ve been in — the road trips — you just can’t help but have that kind of brotherhood.”

Being so close can benefit play on the court, as teammates become familiar with one another, which helps everyone play more in sync.

“It’s a lot of trust,” Durkin said. “You can get in some weird situations and with that trust, you just keep working together to get through it.”

The situation the Cougars are in isn’t unique, as they’ve reached the NCAA championship match in both of the last two seasons. The goal going out is obviously to get over that hump and take home BYU’s first volleyball national championship since 2004.

“Rejection can breed a lot of obsession,” Durkin said. “The losses we’ve had have definitely contributed more to the nature of our volleyball team, and Price, (Sander) and I have (worked) just for the desire we have and to get back (there) again. So I think it’s played a huge part — the losses.”

Regardless of what happens this weekend, with BYU scheduled to play the winner of UCLA vs. Harvard on Thursday in the semifinal round, Olmstead will remember this year’s senior class as a special one.

“Those seniors have been a major part of the two previous seasons, so their dedication … to this team … it’s manifested itself throughout the season,” Olmstead said. “… They’re a great group, and as coaches, we’re having a blast with these guys. I know coaches say that all the time, but we’ve really enjoyed being around this group, and these guys want to accomplish a little bit more.”

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney



US sanctions hit world chess body as UBS shuts down account – Financial Times


A search by Fide, the world chess federation, for a bank willing to take it on as a client has left the global body in financial chaos as a power struggle rages at its top.

UBS, with which Fide previously banked, terminated its relationship with the organisation at the weekend because of the presence on a US sanctions list of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the chess body’s maverick president and a Russian politician close to Vladimir Putin.

UBS had warned of its likely move in February, and last week, Adrian Siegel, Fide’s treasurer, wrote to presidents and treasurers at all 189 national chess federations asking them not to send funds to the parent body while a replacement for UBS was sought.

A letter sent on Friday by Nigel Freeman, executive director at Fide, to Mr Ilyumzhinov and seen by the Financial Times explains that talks have been held with four other Swiss banks over the past fortnight, but none was willing to take on Fide as a client while Mr Ilyumzhinov remained as president.

Mr Freeman also named 18 banks in Geneva and Lausanne which refused to even meet Fide executives, while talks with Alfa-Bank in Romania and National Bank of Georgia came to nothing.

Referring to Mr Ilyumzhinov, the letter concludes: “I do not think you can be serious suggesting a US bank, whilst you, as president of Fide, are still on the US Treasury sanctions list.”

Mr Ilyumzhinov was hit with sanctions in 2015 “for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the government of Syria”.

He has been president of Fide since 1995, but has resisted repeated calls from his boardroom colleagues for his resignation despite the body’s mounting financial difficulties.

Fide chief Kirsan Ilyumzhinov drew controversy after flying to Tripoli to play chess with Muammer Gaddafi in 2011 as a Nato bombing campaign was under way © AP

Fide was sent a letter by UBS headed “Termination of business relationship no. 0243-00342087” on February 20, warning that the account would be closed on April 30.

The bank had resisted requests from the chess body to extend the closure deadline to October, when fresh Fide presidential elections are due.

Mr Freeman declined to comment further on Monday.

In March, a statement from Fide said that Mr Ilyumzhinov had stepped down, but he immediately denied this, claiming that he was the victim of a US plot. Then, in early April, 16 Fide board members issued a press release calling on Mr Ilyumzhinov to resign with immediate effect.

Mr Ilyumzhinov was elected the first president of Kalmykia, an autonomous southern region in the Russian Federation, in 1993, spending 17 years in the post.

He is acknowledged to have invested substantial sums in chess, unifying the world championship and seeing the number of people playing grow manyfold.

In Kalmykia, he made chess a compulsory school subject and built a special village, called Chess City, to host international tournaments.

He first drew international attention in the late 1990s, claiming in a TV interview that he had been abducted by aliens and visited another planet.

He has also drawn controversy, sparking protests when he tried to schedule the 1996 match between Gata Kamsky and Anatoly Karpov in Baghdad and flying to Tripoli to play chess with Muammer Gaddafi in 2011, just as a Nato bombing campaign was under way.

Mr Ilyumzhinov has vowed to stand for re-election in October, but Fide’s deputy president, Georgios Makropoulos of Greece, has also announced his candidacy.

A test of Mr Ilyumzhinov’s support will come on May 9 when he is due to seek endorsement from the Russian Chess Federation, which has strongly backed him in the past.

Meanwhile, the world chess championship is due to be held in London in November, sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cyber security firm whose software British government departments have been banned from using.



March Madness Sends Nevada Sports Betting Handle Past $500 … – Legal Sports Report


Nevada sports betting March Madness

Nevada sportsbooks surged past their March record for total amount wagered on sports betting, thanks in part to record wagering on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, aka March Madness.

Monthly figures released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show casinos took nearly $522 million in March sports wagers. That figure represents a major jump from $475 million in handle last March, which also set a record at the time.

It was not a record for total handle, but it’s the first time that the total amount wagered surpassed half a billion in a month in which there was no NFL or college football wagering. The fall months routinely eclipse that figure.

March Madness drives the action for sportsbooks

As usual, basketball fueled the March numbers in Nevada. Handle reached a new historical high for the month at about $437 million. The books took in more than $429 million in the same month last year.

The board’s accounting does not break out college and pro basketball separately, but March Madness clearly is the impetus. Las Vegas casino owners tout the first weekend of the tournament as their biggest sports event of the year. Five years ago, March basketball handle sat at more than $324 million — 35 percent less than this year.

While the books enjoyed a sizable basketball win north of $38 million, they fell short of the $41.3 million held last March.

Football brings down the overall win for casinos

The overall hold for Nevada sportsbooks came in at about $34.2 million. That’s roughly $2.8 million ahead of last March.

Football futures tickets come home to roost in March and books lost more than $11 million, much of it on the Philadelphia Eagles. They still cut their football loss from more than $13 million in March both of the past two years.

Baseball’s early start helps the March total as well

About $16.2 million came in on baseball in March. That’s thanks largely to the Major League Baseball season opening March 29, putting three days of regular-season action in the month. Last year, baseball drove around $4.9 million in handle for March.

“Other” sports — including hockey — generated nearly $53 million in March revenue for the books. That figure checked in at $36.6 million last year.

It’s perhaps an indication of the local popularity of the impressive Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season. The Knights are currently in the Western Conference semifinals.



Romeo Langford decision: Mr. Basketball picks IU – Indianapolis Star


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New Albany’s Romeo Langford chooses Indiana University.
Clark Wade/IndyStar

Romeo Langford is staying in his home state.

The New Albany basketball star made the much-anticipated announcement Monday night in his high school gym – the site of so many magical moments over four seasons – that he would attend Indiana next season. It is a major recruiting victory for second-year coach Archie Miller, even if the 6-5 Langford stays for only one season in Bloomington.

The making of Romeo Langford: A quietly-crafted superstar

Romeo Langford of New Albany earns IndyStar Indiana Mr. Basketball

Langford, named IndyStar Mr. Basketball on Sunday, is the biggest in-state recruiting victory for Indiana since then-coach Tom Crean corralled commitments from Washington’s Cody Zeller and Park Tudor’s Yogi Ferrell in a two-week period in the fall of 2010. Zeller and Ferrell were part of a core group that led IU to a 29-win season in 2012-13.

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Insider Zach Osterman and columnist Gregg Doyel discuss Romeo Langford’s decision to play for Indiana University.
Clark Wade/IndyStar

Langford, ranked as the No. 6 player in the country in the 2018 class by 247sports, will immediately be an impact player for the Hoosiers. The New Albany star scored 3,002 career points at New Albany to rank No. 4 in state history. As a senior, Langford averaged 35.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field.

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New Albany’s Romeo Langford is a highly-touted recruit being pursued by IU and others.
Dakota Crawford

He is the crown jewel of a class that is already heavy on in-state talent with McCutcheon point guard Robert Phinisee and South Bend Riley forward Damezi Anderson. The class, which was ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten Conference by 247sports before Langford’s commitment, also includes 6-7 Jerome Hunter of Pickerington, Ohio, and 6-8 Pennsylvania forward Jake Forrester. All four are ranked in the top-150 on the 247sports composite with Hunter the highest at No. 54.

This story will be updated.

Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6644.

More pressure: Fans have greater expectations for Archie Miller  

The scene: Reaction from the announcement

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