We have officially reached our favorite day of the week: Friday!
As usual, we hope everyone is doing well, staying safe, and thinking optimistically. I know I may sound like a broken record, but we will get through this and come back stronger than ever – I believe it!
Let’s cap another crazy week with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime’ – again, be well, stay safe, and have a nice weekend, everyone.
Noontime’s Headlines for Friday, March 27th, 2020
Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of the Major League Baseball season But due to no games being played by the coronavirus (COVID-19), NBC Sports did a simulation of the 2020 season on “MLB The Show 20” video game, which saw the Boston Red Sox finish their campaign with just 79 wins.
If there is no baseball this season due to the coronavirus, then Mookie Betts will be a free agent, not a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Additionally, the Sox would lose a few members of this year’s team, including Jackie Bradley Jr., Kevin Pillar, and Collin McHugh to free agency.
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge seems to be staying busy during this unusual time, but also admitted in an interview with the Boston Herald that he doesn’t “feel really scared” about the coronavirus.
I hope you are excited about the weekend as I am – I know it will be a great one.
Tomorrow will be chilly, but then the mild-winter/early spring weather returns on Sunday and then Monday will feel like a beach day (wahoo!).
Let’s kick-off the final day of the workweek with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime.’
The Boston Bruins squeaked out a 2-1 win last night over the Florida Panthers – they needed a second-period goal to eventually force overtime. Torey Krug netted the game-winner while finishing with one goal and one assist. Patrice Bergeron tied the game in the second period.
With the win, the Bruins earned an additional two points and are now in complete command of the Atlantic Division. They have won 43 games and will look to continue their momentum tomorrow evening when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.
Following their one-goal victory last night over the Panthers, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy made a funny joke about Krug. Apparently, he referred to the defensemen as “hammer hands there.” That is pretty funny, right?
Crew Ainge and the Babson College men’s basketball team are back in the NCAA D-III Tournament this afternoon – the Beavers will tip-off against Ithaca College at 5 p.m.
Speaking of the Celtics, they will be at home this evening against the Utah Jazz. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
According to former Celtics forward (and center) KendrickPerkins, he believes Boston’s best chance to contend for a title (and be a real threat in the Eastern Conference) is by locking-up the second seed. “If Boston gets the second seed, they’re going to the Eastern Conference Finals and they’re going to the (NBA) Finals,” Perkins said, via Nick Friar of WEEI.com.
As of this morning, the Celtics trail the Toronto Raptors by one-and-a-half games for the second spot. But I think Perkins is right – we need the second position to have a chance at contending for an NBA championship in June (fingers crossed!).
Finally, it sounds like the San Francisco 49ers could be a possible landing spot for Tom Brady, but the same could be said for our beloved New England Patriots.
Happy Friday, everyone – we made it to the end of the work week!
Sure, it is cloudy outside our window, but luckily the snow (and slush) has disappeared. It’s going to be a rainy morning before it gets quite chilly this weekend, but next week should be a bit warmer – something to think about.
Anywho, have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and enjoy time with family and friends!
The Boston Sports Scoreboard
The Boston Bruins will enjoy another off day before hosting the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow afternoon at the TD Garden. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The Boston Celtics return to the hardwood this evening to host the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. Boston will not feature any new players in their line-up as they did not make a trade yesterday at the NBA Trade Deadline.
The Noontime Headlines (and Links)
Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said they could not find a trade yesterday prior to the deadline. (Boston Globe)
A “We want Tacko!” chant broke out last week when the Celtics were playing the Golden State Warriors. (Boston.com)
The XFL begins this weekend and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones is the face of the league. (ESPN.com)
The XFL hopes to capture the attention of football fans during the end of winter and early spring. (NPR.org)
Jake DeBrusk apparently trolled Charlie McAvoy after he scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday. (NESN.com)
Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred gave a hint about how the league will discipline the Boston Red Sox for sign-stealing. (NBC Sports)
VIDEO OF THE DAY: We didn’t share any links about Tom Brady and where he will be playing next season – the mystery continues – but apparently Colin Cowherd seems to know where the six-time Super Bowl champion will be playing next fall.
Lawson arrives in Boston, Massachusetts after a successful assistant coaching stint last winter with the Endicott College men’s basketball team. He helped coach Kevin Bettencourt and the Gulls to a 19-9 record, as well as a return trip to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship against Nichols College.
No stranger to New England basketball, Lawson played at Lexington High School before continuing his career at nearby Bentley University where he guided the Falcons to an impressive 101-27 record in four years, which included a number one and two national rankings, along with an NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2007) and an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance (2005).
Since graduating Bentley, Lawson has enjoyed a great deal of success in the basketball world, working for numerous programs at all three levels in the college world, while assisting the Boston Celtics during their 2008 NBA Championship run.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Lawson to discuss his excitement for the upcoming season with the Emmanuel men’s basketball team.
What interested you in becoming the program’s third head coach? And just to confirm, this is your first-time head coaching position, right?
When the job opened up, I was very excited to apply. Being from the Boston area, I knew a little bit about the history of Emmanuel’s academics and how it is has really exploded as an institution within the last decade. To me, it represented a college with great leadership and continuity. Combined with a tremendous location in the city of Boston – we are next to Fenway Park – I felt it could be a great opportunity for student-athletes academically, athletically and socially. Also, it certainly has always been a goal of mine throughout my coaching career to run my own program.
What did you know prior to accepting to the head coaching position about the Emmanuel men’s basketball program?
I knew the program was relatively new since the college went co-ed in 2001. The athletic administration structure and support was very evident and crucial for me (throughout the interview process). Also, the program enjoyed success in the early-to-mid 2000s, winning between 17-to-20 games each season. As I prepared for my interviews, I saw the roster was filled with some talented and young student-athletes, which will be returning this upcoming season. Throughout the interview process I also gained a lot of valuable information about the character of our returning players that are eager to be successful.
You were an integral part of Endicott College’s run to the CCC Championship last winter, so what were some things you learned from that experience, whih will help you in your new role with the Saints?
I got to work alongside three excellent coaches and close friends in Kevin Bettencourt, Luke Richards and Lance Greene. I have known all three coaches for quite some time – I grew up and played basketball with Kevin, competing on the same AAU team since seventh grade. All three coaches helped me gain an understanding of the D3 landscape, including what it takes to coach at this level to recruiting. I had only coached in Division 1 and 2 levels, so last year’s experience was really instrumental in gaining an understanding of D3 basketball, but also how to be successful at this level, too. The group of players I had a chance to coach at Endicott was a really special group that made my experience at Endicott a lot of fun.
It sounds cliche, but looking back to both your playing career (at Bentley) and other stops, both in college and with the Boston Celtics, who have been some of the coaches and people that have molded you into the coach you are today?
Like most coaches, I’ve been molded by every coach that I have played and worked for, beginning with my high school coach at Lexington, Bob Farias. Coach Farias had a legendary hall of fame career – he was the best motivator and developer of confidence that I have ever experienced.
Certainly the biggest influence has been my father, Jay Lawson. It is indescribable how much of an impact he has made on my coaching career, specifically in teaching and leading players.
I was fortunate to work for Jim Ferry for seven seasons – he is the former head coach at Duquesne, LIU Brooklyn, Adelphi and Plymouth State. The various opportunities he provided helped me become the coach I am today.
Jack Perri, who I worked with at LIU-Brooklyn – he would eventually become the team’s head coach and lead them to the NCAA Tournament. Jack was one of my assistant coaches when I played at Bentley and is someone I consider a true mentor.
I also spent a great season learning under Steve Evans at LeMoyne College. Steve had a lot of success at LeMoyne from a recruiting and coaching – he is one of the best teachers of the zone defense.
Finally, my season with the Boston Celtics was about as great first basketball coaching experience. Learning and watching from guys like Doc Rivers, Tom Thibodeau, Danny Ainge, Mike Longabardi and Ryan McDonough, as well as the players really helped shape my daily work ethic and approach.
Speaking of the Celtics, you were a member of the team’s 17th championship run, so how much do you think about that experience and being able to celebrate a title with a group that certainly seemed to buy-in from the get-go?
I was very fortunate to be a part of the Celtics organization during their 17th championship season. To say it was an unbelievable experience would probably be an understatement. One of the biggest things I took away from the experience was how important an unselfish mentality and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of the team is to a program’s success. Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen only cared about winning. They became totally invested in the team’s success right from the start when the team began its season training in Italy. And they had a great veteran bench presence combined with some young talent, as well. They also had a high level coaching staff and management team, but it all just came together at the right time and at the right point in their careers. It was really special.
Are you a Celtics fan or root for another team?
Yes, absolutely. I grew up here and have always been a Celtics fan.
What does a new coach need to do to get prepared for a new season with a new program? How will you use the next few weeks and months to make sure the team will be ready to go come mid-October?
Obviously there are a million things you need to accomplish when you take over a new program, but my focus this summer is all about building relationships, beginning with the current players in our program. Additionally, I look forward to meeting and building relationships on campus with other coaches, administrators, faculty and staff, too. I’m currently working on hiring the rest of our coaching staff for the upcoming season, while building and fostering recruiting relationships, as well. I am also working on completing and finalizing our game and practice schedule, while establishing our program’s identity.
Talk about building relationships with your players – how important is to begin those relationships now?
It’s huge (and) has definitely been a primary focus for me the last two weeks. I have been able to meet with about half the team in-person, while conversing multiple times by phone or text with others. We need to build that mutual trust and respect on both sides, and then we can get on the court.
What is your all-time favorite basketball (or sports) movie?
“Above the Rim” is definitely my favorite. I like others, as well, including “Blue Chips,” “Hoop Dreams” and more. “Above The Rim” was ahead of its time with Kyle Lee Watson, Tommy Shepard, Birdie, and a lot of great actors and characters.
Finally, when you were growing up, who was a player or two that you idled? What did you like about their game?
Like most people my age, I was a big Michael Jordan guy growing up. Also, Larry Bird, too. I loved their skill packages and competitiveness, as well as Bird’s passing ability, too.