SPORTS

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: UCFSports.com publisher Brandon Helwig talks about state of UCF men’s hoops program

UCF Sports publisher Brandon Helwig joined the show Saturday to talk about the UCF men’s basketball team overcoming NCAA sanctions, the program’s upcoming recruiting class, the dwindling crowds at games the past couple seasons, the impact A.J. Rompza had on the fanbase, and upcoming home games against Cincinnati and Temple.

( – Click here to listen to Brandon Helwig talk state of UCF men’s basketball – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Ernie Banks passes, changes in MLB, Klay Thompson sets record, Orlando Magic struggle, legacy of Mike Krzyzewski, potential strike in MLS

Cliff Bell of CRB Entertainment and Open Mike producer Mike Venditti joined the show Saturday morning to talk about a number of different topics in the world of baseball, basketball and soccer.

Check the links below to listen in on the conversations.

– We got things started by paying our respects to “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks before talking about the proposed pitching changes Major League Baseball plans to experiment with at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this coming year.

– We then talked about the NBA record-setting night put together by Klay Thompson during a 37-point third quarter outburst and how the Orlando Magic continue to struggle against the worst teams in the league. Shout out to Brian for calling into the show to share his thoughts on the Magic.

– The show finished up with a rundown of the top pro and college basketball games scheduled over the next few days, talk about legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski chasing his 1,000th win and about how a potential strike in Major League Soccer could impact the start of Orlando City Soccer Club’s professional debut.

Orlando City Soccer Club coach hopes “common sense prevails” in MLS collective bargaining talks

SANFORD, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club’s Adrian Heath awoke this morning to the start of his 37th preseason as both a player and coach as his expansion Lions opened camp for their inaugural Major League Soccer campaign.

With plenty of work to get down during a crucial acclimation process for close to 30 players who are coming together for the first time, Heath is taking an optimistic approach toward the uncertainly that hangs over the start of the MLS season.

While the excitement surrounding the club has been rampant throughout Central Florida, there’s fear that a delay to the start of the 2015 season is a real possibility.

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Carnahan Coverage: Kasey Rakauskas scores hat trick for Lake Brantley in upset of West Orange

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Kasey Rakauskas netted a hat trick for the fifth time this season to help keep the postseason run alive for the girls soccer team at Lake Brantley High School.

The three most recent goals for the senior came at the most opportune time as the Patriots (13-8-2) went on the road Thursday for a Class 5A region quarterfinal and won 3-0 over West Orange (13-3-4), the No. 3 team in the Orlando Sentinel Super Six rankings.

Rakauskas also scored three goals in a game this season against Seminole (Oct. 28), Lake Howell (Nov. 14), Hagerty (Jan. 13) and Lake Mary (Jan. 14).

“She’s a star, she knows how to play and she reads the game so well,” Lake Brantley coach JC Garzon said.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with Orlando Solar Bears President/CEO Jason Siegel

The Orlando Solar Bears play host to the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic at Amway Center on Wednesday as the local team matches up against the best minor league players from throughout the rest of the East Coast Hockey League.

Solar Bears president/CEO Jason Siegel joined the show Saturday morning to talk about this week’s all-star festivities, the three different types of hockey fans in Orlando, their affliction with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and how local kids have gravitated toward the sport over the past three years.

( – Click here to listen to interview with Jason Siegel of the Orlando Solar Bears – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Orlando Magic, Doc & Austin Rivers, Jameer Nelson, Orlando City Soccer Club, Cardale Jones, Pacquiao-Mayweather

The Orlando Magic beat a team with a winning record for just the fifth time this season when they knocked off Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. On Saturday’s show we talked about where the Magic currently stand while also touching on the recent L.A. reunion of Doc and Austin Rivers, who won two state basketball titles at Winter Park High School. Speaking of reunions, former Magic player Jameer Nelson has been making the rounds as of late in a bit of an unusual way as he’s now with his third team this season.

( – Click here to listen to more on Orlando Magic, Doc & Austin and Jameer Nelson – )

The Orlando City Soccer Club made it’s first-ever MLS SuperDraft selection Thursday when the Lions selected Connecticut forward Cyle Larin while UCF forward Romario Williams was taken third overall by the Montreal Impact. We opened the final segment of the show Saturday talking about Major League Soccer before touching on the decision of quarterback Cardale Jones to return to Ohio State. We also shared some thoughts on boxers Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally meeting in the ring.

( – Click here for more about MLS SuperDraft, Cardale Jones & Mayweather-Pacquiao – )

Carnahan Coverage: Linebacker Withney Simon still awaiting first scholarship offer

ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s done all that’s been asked of him yet Orlando Jones High School’s Withney Simon, the No. 2-rated linebacker in Central Florida, is unsure of his football future.

I caught up with Simon following the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl earlier this month at the Florida Citrus Bowl and asked him about his college options. He said that although he’s got the grades to qualify for football at the next level, he’s a bit surprised at how little interest he’s garnered from college programs.

( – Click here to read J.C.’s feature on Withney Simon for Orlando Sentinel – )

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Future looking bright for Urban Meyer and Ohio State Buckeyes

It’s not exactly a rags to riches story, but what Ohio State’s football team accomplished down the stretch this season is worthy of its “us against the world” tagline.

Hailing from the under-appreciated Big 10, the Buckeyes not only navigated the negative perceptions of its conference affiliation unbuttered, but did so after being embarrassed at home against Virginia Tech in their second game of the year.

By the end of the season Ohio State was forced to turn to the third quarterback on their roster in the conference title game against Wisconsin, a game in which they needed to win in order to be considered for the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff. The same story played out in the semifinals against Alabama, and finally in the National Championship against Oregon.

( – Click here to watch every touchdown scored Monday between Ohio State and Oregon – )

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Why Jameis Winston has no choice but to leave Florida State for NFL

Were you surprised to hear of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston deciding to enter the NFL Draft later this spring? After winning a Heisman Trophy and national championship with the Seminoles it seems Winston is ready to leave his off-the-field troubles behind in Tallahassee to embark on an NFL career as a likely top pick in this year’s upcoming draft.

( – Click here to listen to J.C. and Chris discuss Jameis Winston leaving for NFL – )

Also during the segment was discussion about college football transfers, the Orlando City Soccer Club’s schedule for their first season in MLS, and a good laugh about the starting the lineups of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.

 

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Talking baseball & football hall of fames

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio each were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week despite the arrogance of the very people that have covered the sport over the years. The Pro Football Hall of Fame also announced the 15 finalists for its Class of 2015, which will be finalized on Jan. 31.

( – Click to listen to J.C. and Chris talk about baseball & football halls of fame – )

Hannah Plybon emerges from small town to captain of University of Akron women’s hoops team

(The following story is an alternate version of what will appear in the Jan. 9, 2014 edition of OrrViews in Orrville, Ohio)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Hannah Plybon to showcase the kind of impact she could have at the highest level of college basketball.

Hannah Plybon (left) earned as spot on the All-MAC Freshman Team a year ago.

Hannah Plybon (left) earned as spot on the All-MAC Freshman Team a year ago.

On the heels of successful runs in three different sports during her senior year at Orrville High School in Ohio, Plybon made an immediate impression on coaches and teammates upon her arrival at the University of Akron.

Plybon worked her way into the starting lineup as a freshman before her rookie season ever got underway, on a team featuring six seniors that had returned from a 23-win campaign.

Plybon has since blossomed into a leader at Akron, on a squad that opened the 2014-15 season by winning its first 10 games.

She’s now less than a year removed from being named to the All-MAC Freshman Team after starting 32 of 33 games for the Lady Zips, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament and won the Mid-American Conference for the first time in school history.

Not bad for someone hailing from small-town America, where the pride of being hometown to former college coach Bobby Knight and a jelly manufacturer is offset by two decades worth of factories closing shop and families relocating elsewhere.

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NFL Playoffs 2015: Previewing The Wild Card Weekend

The regular season is in the books and the National Football League’s Wild Card weekend will be here before we know it. Or in other words, before we can fully recover from our New Year’s festivities.

The New England Patriots (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) finished the regular season by claiming the top spots in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks (12-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-4) hold those same positions in the NFC.

On Saturday it’s Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh followed by Cincinnati at Indianapolis and Detroit at Dallas on Sunday in matchups that’ll advance winners to the divisional round.

Below is a breakdown of the wild card games this weekend. My predictions are included at the conclusion of each summary.

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Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders talks top teams and players in NBA

Basketball Insiders senior NBA editor Alex Kennedy returned to the show Saturday to share his thoughts on recent struggles in the 4th quarter for the Orlando Magic and to talk about the top teams and MVP candidates so far this season as we enter the new year.

( – Click here to listen to J.C.’s interview with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders – )

Carnahan Chronicles Radio: Interview with UCFSports.com publisher Brandon Helwig

The UCF Knights football team capped its regular season with a miracle in the closing seconds on the road against East Carolina, when Justin Holman connected with Breshad Perriman on the game’s final play to help wrap up a share of the American Athletic Conference title for the second year in a row.

UCFSports.com publisher Brandon Helwig was there to see it all play out firsthand and he’ll be in St. Petersburg on Friday when the Knights take on North Carolina State of the Atlantic Coast Conference in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl.

On Saturday Helwig joined the show to talk about UCF’s big win at ECU, to preview the upcoming bowl game, and touch on how much longer he thinks head coach George O’Leary might continue coaching and whether the Knights have a realistic chance at improving its conference affiliation in the near future.

( – Click here for J.C.’s interview with Brandon Helwig of UCFSports.com – )

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Carnahan Coverage: Central Florida All-Star Game & Orange County Senior Bowl video highlights

Florida’s high school football season came to an end this past weekend. While the remaining handful of teams were prepping for championship matchups at the Florida Citrus Bowl, plenty of other kids were playing in their final prep game as part of local all-star teams.

I shot video of both the Central Florida All-Star Game and Orange County Senior Bowl last week for the Orlando Sentinel. View the results at the links below.

The West broke a five-year losing streak in the 16th Central Florida All-Star Game at Lake Brantley High School on Thursday, winning 28-17.  (Orlando) East River High School’s Tanner Hearn and (Orlando) Boone High School’s Logan Smith each threw for two touchdowns. Smith’s high school teammate Adam Anderson caught two TDs in the first half and was named West Player of the Game.

( – Click here to see J.C.’s highlights of Central Florida All-Star Game – )

In the 21st edition of the Orange County Senior Bowl on Wednesday at West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Gunner Ballant threw for two scores on his home field and (Apopka) Wekiva High School’s Jarvis Scott scored twice to help the West beat the East 36-20.

( – Click here to see J.C.’s highlights of Orange County Senior Game – )