Dan Wetzel

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

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 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 3 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 6 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 7 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 7 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 8 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.

    ____________________

    There were myriad problems here.

    ____________________

     

  • Will Aaron Hernandez's fiancée testify against him?

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 10 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.

    ____________________

    ____________________

    ____________________

  • Painted pellet gun offered up as defense of Aaron Hernandez

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    It was Aaron Hernandez's defense team that introduced a Taiwanese-made soft pellet gun as evidence in the murder trial of the former New England Patriots star.

    And it was that gun – or at least its oddly paint-altered barrel end – that served as an example of the defense's creativity, aggressiveness … and apparent desperation in this case.

    The pellet gun carries some of the same unique physical characteristics of a Glock 21 Generation 3, .45-caliber automatic pistol. That's the weapon prosecution expert witnesses have identified as being used to murder Odin Lloyd on the night of June 17, 2013, behind a North Attleboro, Mass., industrial park and as the object being held by Hernandez minutes later in surveillance video inside his nearby home.

    There's a reason the witness at the center of this issue, Glock Inc. regional sales director and former small town police chief Kyle Aspinwall, spent nearly eight hours on the witness stand across the last two days, answering detailed questions from prosecutors and defense attorneys alike.

    "Yes," Aspinwall agreed.

     

  • Expert: Aaron Hernandez had a gun in his hand after Lloyd murder

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    They are prosecution exhibits 317 A, B, F, G, H, L and T, photos of individual frames from security video inside Aaron Hernandez's home; grainy still shots that could doom the defense of the former New England Patriot in the 2013 murder of his friend, Odin Lloyd.

    They are the non-smoking gun, if you will.

    Police never found the murder weapon, a Glock 21 Generation 3, linked to the shooting death of Lloyd. His body was found with six bullet wounds in a field behind an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleboro, Mass., home. Five casings were discovered on the scene. A sixth was found inside a Nissan Altima that Hernandez rented and is seen on videotape driving that night.

    The still photos from around 3:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013, just minutes after the prosecution's painstakingly constructed timeline says that Lloyd was killed, show Hernandez in the foyer of his home, about to head down to his man cave in the basement, holding a black object that stands starkly against his white shirt.

    "In my opinion, the firearm shown in the video still is a Glock pistol," Kyle Aspinwall, a district sales manager and product representative from Glock, testified.

     

  • Patriots' AFC East rivals make biggest moves, all refusing to kiss the rings

    Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    Long ago, the New England Patriots dubbed them "hat and T-shirt games," where victory means something tangible was won, namely an AFC East division title. It was thus commemorated with a ballcap or celebratory article of garish clothing.

    The name serves not so much as a moment of joy but as a stop and smell the roses reminder. New England has won the AFC East 12 of the past 14 seasons, and if you hang around long enough, veterans say, it becomes routine, expected, just part of the process toward a far greater goal. (You get a hat or shirt for winning the AFC title and Super Bowl, too, but those accomplishments are not lost on anyone).

    It's Super Bowl or bust in New England, but winning a division crown in the NFL should never be taken for granted. Or that's the theory. So here's a hat. Take a T-shirt. Soak it in … for a moment. Or something like that.

    As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are around expecting anything other than the Patriots to finish first is at-risk prognostication.

    New England hasn't.

    And there is always this: Matt Cassel, Ryan Tannehill and Geno Smith, the possible starting quarterbacks for the Bills, Dolphins and Jets respectively.