Nursing grad seizes football opportunity I Men’s basketball plays in inaugural CBI championship
Men’s basketball plays in inaugural CBI championship
The men’s basketball team is approaching the goal coach JIM LES ’86 set for the program. With a run to the championship series of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational (CBI), the Braves won a postseason game for the third consecutive season, a feat done only once previously in program history. They also won 21 games for the third consecutive season, which was last done from 1959 to 1962. “From three years ago, when we went to the Sweet 16, our goal was consistent excellence, to be a competitive team year in and year out,” Les said. “We’re starting to establish the consistency of excellence, which is sometimes tougher than getting to the Sweet 16 the first time.”
The CBI is a 16-team tournament created by The Gazelle Group in Princeton, N.J. Its intentions were to provide a meaningful opportunity for teams deserving of a postseason, but left out of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and the NCAA tournament. It is a single-elimination tournament until the final, which is a unique best-of-three series. Tulsa defeated Bradley in three games, with the home team winning each game, to win the tourney.
While it may not have the allure or history of the NCAA tournament or the NIT, the Braves took advantage of the opportunity presented by the CBI. After a season of playing many games without at least one starter, Bradley was at full strength for the tournament run. “Our guys were excited,” Les said, “particularly our seniors, who had a chance to put on the jersey one more time and play. And our younger guys gained experience with a chance to play in a hostile environment at Virginia, against Cincinnati and at Tulsa, twice.”
JEREMY CROUCH ’08 was named to the all-MVC first team. DANIEL RUFFIN ’08, who became the second player in Missouri Valley Conference history to amass 1,200 points and 600 assists in a career behind ANTHONY MANUEL ’89, was selected to the league’s honorable mention team. THERRON WILSON ’10 was picked for the all-newcomer team with SAM MANISCALCO ’11, who was also selected to the all-freshman team.
Men’s Basketball Championship Game History
Sports Illustrated writer Deford tells tales
Legendary sportswriter Frank Deford, best known for his work in Sports Illustrated, spoke April 2 at Bradley as part of the Department of Communication’s Robison Lecture Series.
A six-time winner of U.S. Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers, contributor to HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” commentator on National Public Radio and author of 15 books, Deford spoke to a near-capacity crowd of about 300 at Neumiller Hall. His 45-minute lecture, entitled “A Half Century (well, almost) in Sports Journalism,” focused on sports being a common ground for society. Deford shared tales from his writing career, ranging from bathroom breaks with Alabama football coach Bear Bryant to a wrestling bear. “Sports is one thing that unites us all,” the gangly 6-foot-4 Deford said. “And for all its abuses and excesses, it’s truly a unifying element. And no, it’s not unworthy to be one of its troubadours.”
The program concluded with a 15-minute question-and-answer session, followed by a book signing and reception. The Robison Lecture Series was established by the late Mary Leslie Robison, a journalism professor at Bradley from 1957 to 1969.
Baseball coach Dewey Kalmer, who last season became the 36th collegiate coach to record 1,000 wins, is retiring after 29 years as the winningest coach in Bradley Athletics history. Although the Braves were eliminated from the 2008 MVC tournament, Kalmer ranks 34th on the Division 1 all-time wins list. His record is 1,032-914-5 in 40 seasons.
Women’s basketball player SKYE JOHNSON ’09 was named MVC Defensive Player of the Year. … DAN BREWER ’09 was named to the baseball all-MVC first team. … WHITNEY COX ’08 earned first-team all-MVC honors by placing third at the MVC women’s golf championship in April, and two-time all-MVC golfer RIKKI SOBEL ’08 received the Watonga Award. … KATIE NOWAK ’09 placed second in the 1,500-meter run (4:31.84) at the MVC women’s track & field championships. … The BU men’s and women’s cross country teams were both named all-academic teams by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Teams must compete and score at the NCAA Regional and earn a cumulative team GPA of at least 3.0 to qualify. … The men’s golf, soccer, women’s tennis and volleyball teams have received Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA in honor of their Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores. These teams have posted multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports.
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