Dan Wetzel

  • Can Notre Dame beat Kentucky? Keep dreaming

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports Commentary 16 hrs ago

    CLEVELAND – Supposedly, West Virginia was going to rise up from some Appalachian hell mouth and unleash this full-court press that would leave mighty Kentucky bruised, befuddled and maybe even beaten. Or, that's what a lot of analysts said, or hoped, or wished, or something.

    The press. Did you know Bob Huggins is 8-2 against John Calipari? The press. Did we mention the press?

    They sounded so convincing that the West Virginia players started to believe them.

    "Tomorrow they're going to be 36-1," WVU's Daxter Miles Jr. predicted.

    Well, tomorrow came and Kentucky is 37-0. West Virginia is finding a country road to take them home after a 78-39 beatdown, and, really, the Mountaineers did nothing to cause shame. Even poor Daxter, who is guilty of nothing more than believing in himself.

    It's just that West Virginia wasn't beating Kentucky Thursday, Friday, tomorrow … maybe ever. If the teams played 10 times, Kentucky would win 14 of them. The Mountaineers were a team that maximized itself to get to the Sweet 16.

  • Aaron Hernandez's fate may be sealed Friday with the testimony of his fiancée

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 22 hrs ago

    It's been more than two weeks since Shayanna Jenkins has been seen at the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, her high school boyfriend turned NFL star turned father of her 2-year-old daughter turned accused murderer, three times over.

    Bristol County (Mass.) prosecutors have piled up evidence that the former New England Patriots star murdered Odin Lloyd in 2013, from putting Hernandez in the same car as Lloyd the night he was killed to detailing a bullet casing found in the rental car Hernandez was driving. The one thing missing? The murder weapon.

    That's where Jenkins comes in. Or could come in.

    Jenkins' absence from court has only increased speculation on what, if anything, she'll say when called.

    Friday, we may find out. The Associated Press, citing anonymous sources, reports Jenkins will be called to the stand Friday at Fall River Justice Center. The 25-year-old is potentially the prosecution's star witness and may provide the trial's most explosive moments yet.

    (UPDATE: Shayanna Jenkins took the stand Friday morning. Stay tuned to Yahoo Sports for updates on her testimony.)

    If Jenkins identifies it as such, then this case is all but over.

  • NCAA's response to Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' law is perfect

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says the "Religious Freedom" bill he signed into law Thursday isn't about turning back the clock to old-time bigotry where you could refuse service to blacks at restaurants, set up drinking fountains for whites only or post a job opening alongside a sign with NINA painted on it – No Irish Need Apply.

    The NCAA and its president, Mark Emmert, responded with what most clear-minded people believe: that this law is about the state of Indiana protecting discrimination, effectively allowing businesses to deny service to gays and lesbians based on religious beliefs. As such, Emmert, whose organization is hosting the Final Four next weekend in Indianapolis where the NCAA is also headquartered, went far enough to threaten future events in the state and potentially moving their offices out of downtown Indianapolis.

    "The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement issued immediately after Pence signed the law. "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.

  • Perfect but not the best? Why UK's John Calipari was not named National Coach of the Year

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The United States Basketball Writers Association named Virginia's Tony Bennett the National Coach of the Year on Monday.

    This is some lousy timing because Virginia was somewhat-handily eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Michigan State on Sunday. The award isn't supposed to be about one game, even one in the NCAA tournament, but it begs a few simple questions:

    What about John Calipari, you know, the coach of the 36-0 Kentucky Wildcats, odds-on favorite to win the national title and complete the first perfect season in nearly 40 years?

    Individual honors always feel like some kind of nod to history. Kentucky hasn't made it yet – next up: West Virginia in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. However, if the Wildcats win out, can we really have a 40-0 national title team and not have its coach be the Coach of the Year?

    Then there are procedural issues, such as why vote before the NCAA tournament is over, not to mention what exactly are the criteria for voting in the first place?

    First off, Tony Bennett did a terrific job this season. The Cavaliers finished 30-4 and won the ACC regular-season title. So, congratulations.

    This isn't about him or the work he put in.

    Calipari did not.

  • Rams' L.A. power play allows NFL to maintain its top leveraging weapon

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The NFL franchise that has proven most valuable to the league and its owners over the past two decades is the one that hasn't existed in Los Angeles.

    It was after the 1994 season when the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland respectively, leaving the nation's second biggest media market without a team of its own. Since then franchises have leveraged that gaping hole in California to get their local governments to subsidize construction of new stadiums, renovation of existing ones or innumerable other concessions on taxes and services provided.

    Nothing scared the tax money out of some poor Rust Belt mayor or image-obsessed Sun Belt city council than an NFL owner trotting out a few awe-inspiring renderings of a proposed stadium in some obscure L.A. suburb.

    The Rams and the Raiders, in fact, are even back, talking about a return to their old stomping grounds. The San Diego Chargers are talking big also.

    That's why the Rams going to Inglewood has always been exponentially more likely than the Chargers and the Raiders getting a shared stadium, funding source still unknown, down Interstate 405 in Carson.

    Does that last sentence make sense to you?

    It will to NFL owners.

  • Witness: I don't like Aaron Hernandez's 'arrogance'

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – Kasey Arma was the 100th witness called thus far by the prosecution in the murder trial of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.

    Ostensibly, the 27-year-old woman was brought here to claim that Hernandez seemed "agitated" when they interacted at a Boston nightclub in the early morning hours of June 15, 2013 – two days before Odin Lloyd was killed.

    The Commonwealth has suggested that Hernandez was upset with Lloyd that night at Rumor nightclub and has claimed that as a motive for the shooting. That concept is still tenuous, and Arma's opinion on the mental state of a man she had briefly met in a loud club really didn't add much to it.

    More likely, Arma's main purpose was to testify about Hernandez hitting on her, dancing with her and even propositioning her, another attempt to portray him to his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, as someone who doesn't reciprocate loyalty.

    As such, she will be compelled to testify or face contempt of court charges and likely be jailed by Bristol County (Mass.) Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh.

    She could potentially seal Hernandez's fate.

    "I don't like his arrogance," Arma testified.

  • Aaron Hernandez's defense bristles over recorded jailhouse phone calls

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – Aaron Hernandez understood that anything and everything he said into the phone at the Bristol County (Mass.) House of Corrections would be recorded, reprinted and potentially used against him.

    "Hey, [watch] what you say," he told his aunt, Tanya Singleton. "The phone is recorded."

    "I know, I know, I know," she said back.

    So the select transcripts of 23 conversations Hernandez had with Singleton, live-in girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins and others, including Mike Pouncey, a former Florida Gator teammate and current Miami Dolphin, were controlled, careful and mostly innocuous.

    Some of them, though, are rather telling. And if nothing else, the prosecution may have wanted them admitted into evidence just to get them made public and potentially drive a wedge into the Hernandez camp, of which any defection could seal the murder case against the former New England Patriots star.

    Hernandez is on trial here at Bristol County Superior Court for the June 17, 2013, murder of Odin Lloyd, a friend found shot to death in an undeveloped industrial area near Hernandez's North Attleboro, Mass., home. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

     

  • Aaron Hernandez's innocence rests on jury believing amazing coincidences

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    NORTH ATTLEBORO, Mass. – There are two wholesome white rocking chairs on the front porch of the dream home here that Aaron Hernandez owns but no longer lives in.

    One chair is sized for an adult, the other for a child. As a cold, heavy wind swept through on Wednesday afternoon, the chairs rocked quickly, as if a couple of ghosts were sitting in them, pushing them back and forth.

    Two is all that's needed now in the house where Hernandez's fiancée Shayanna Jenkins and the couple's 2-year-old daughter reside, what with dad off in jail.

    It's a heck of a place Hernandez bought back in 2012, dropping $1.3 million on its 7,100 square feet, five bedrooms, six baths and of course the pool guarded by thick woods out back. All of it sits in the upscale Westwood Heights subdivision, seemingly far from whatever old life and old dangers Hernandez should have been leaving behind in Bristol, Conn.

    An ADT Security sign sits ironically in a front flowerbed, an effort to scare off any criminals before they  think of invading this slice of upscale, three-car-garage, cul-de-sac America.

    And it happened all the way out here?

    This is the legal peril Hernandez is in.

  • Aaron Hernandez's best defense may be his own erratic behavior

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – The prosecution put a college kid on the stand here Tuesday. Kwami Nicholas is a history and political science major at Bridgewater State, 30 miles south of Boston. He pays some bills with a part-time job at a movie theater.

    Nicholas seems like a nice guy, an Antiguan immigrant trying to tackle life with a bright, easy smile. He managed to become a star witness in the Commonwealth's murder case against former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez for two reasons:

    1. Back in June of 2013, just after turning 21, Nicholas was inside a Boston nightclub at the same time as Hernandez and Odin Lloyd, the latter of whom he was acquainted with through mutual friends.

    2. The prosecution appears desperate to establish some kind of motive for why Hernandez would, about 48 hours later, kill Lloyd, as it alleges.

    This is the part of the case with which the Commonwealth has struggled. A mountain of evidence has established the who, the what, the where, the when and the how. But not so much the why, probably because trying to explain why Aaron Hernandez does anything is virtually impossible.

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    There were myriad problems here.

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  • Will Aaron Hernandez's fiancée testify against him?

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    FALL RIVER, Mass. – She is 25, pretty, petite and the young mother of a toddler. Her friends call her Shay. She was listed as "Boss Lady" in the cell phone of Aaron Hernandez, her high school boyfriend turned NFL star turned father of her 2-year-old daughter turned accused murderer, three times over.

    Now, as the prosecution's witness list gets whittled down, Shayanna Jenkins is the most closely watched figure in the trial of whether Hernandez murdered his friend, Odin Lloyd, in the early morning hours of June 17, 2013.

    Will she be called to testify? And if so, will she accept an immunity deal and possibly seal the case against the former New England Patriot or instead remain silent, stand in contempt of court and likely be jailed?

    The couple wasn't officially engaged when prosecutors allege Hernandez, at the very least, "orchestrated" the killing of Lloyd in a field behind an industrial park near their North Attleboro, Mass., dream home.

    Now she sports a giant rock on her left hand.

    During opening statements, she hugged Hernandez's mother and had Hernandez's brother put her arm around her.

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