The White House is standing behind Federal Reserve Board of Governors pick Stephen Moore despite his past comments about women.
According to CNN, Economic Council director Larry Kudlow spoke with reporters Wednesday and conveyed the Trump administration’s belief that Moore is still a solid choice to serve on the fed.
“We continue to back Stephen Moore, continue to back him. He’s in the process of being vetted by the FBI and so forth, and if he gets through that, we will nominate him formally and then he’ll go to the Senate Banking Committee and they’ll vet him also,” Kudlow said.
Moore was found to have made remarks about women that questioned their ability to work as men’s college basketball referees or beer vendors at games, and also said female athletes do “inferior work” to men.
Moore pushed back and said the comments were a joke.
“This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor,” he told CNN.
On Wednesday, Kudlow acknowledged Moore’s explanation.
“He says it was a spoof. That’s what he’s told me — I do buy it,” Kudlow said. “I know him; he’s kind of a great sense of humor, wiseass kind of guy, what can I tell ya? I don’t think it’s germane. I don’t think he was making a statement. I think he was making a spoof. Our support is still there, still there.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: Apr 5, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson accepts the Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year award during a press conference for the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
April 13, 2019
Zion Williamson’s freshman season at Duke didn’t end with a national championship, but he’s won just about everything else he’s been up for.
The likely No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA draft on Friday added to his postseason hardware haul with the John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation’s top player.
The honor comes on the heels of Williams winning the AP and Naismith player of the year awards. He also earned first-team All-America honors from numerous outlets.
Williamson, 18, is the third freshman to win the Wooden Award, joining Kevin Durant (Texas, 2007) and Anthony Davis (Kentucky, 2012).
Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game with the Blue Devils, throwing down highlight-reel dunks seemingly every game, many of them ending up as viral sensations.
The Blue Devils went 32-6 this past season but lost to Michigan State in the regional final round of the NCAA Tournament.
During the awards show on ESPN on Friday night, Williamson drew laughter from the crowd when he replied, “Umm, who knows” when asked if he would join fellow Duke freshmen RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish in declaring for the draft.
Also during Friday’s show, the national position player of the year awards were announced:
–Bob Cousy Award (point guard): Ja Morant, Murray State
–Jerry West Award (best shooting guard): Barrett
–Julius Erving Award (small forward): Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
–Karl Malone Award (power forward): Williamson
–Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (center): Ethan Happ, Wisconsin
On the women’s side, Oregon junior Sabrina Ionescu picked up the Wooden Award.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: Lawyer Michael Avenatti in New York, New York, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
April 11, 2019
By Jonathan Allen
(Reuters) – Michael Avenatti, the high-profile lawyer known for his battles with U.S. President Donald Trump, was charged with 36 counts of fraud, tax evasion and other financial crimes in an indictment made public by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles on Thursday.
The indictment came about three weeks after Avenatti, who gained national fame for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her litigation against Trump, was arrested in New York on two separate criminal complaints filed by federal prosecutors in New York and California.
The indictment means the grand jury has found the California prosecutors have probable cause to pursue their charges.
Avenatti, 48, has said he planned to fight all the charges and plead not guilty.
“I look forward to the entire truth being known as opposed to a one-sided version meant to sideline me,” Avenatti, who is free on a $300,000 bond, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for California’s Central District have charged Avenatti with 10 counts of wire fraud, accusing him of misusing more than $12 million he received on behalf of clients following settlements and other negotiations.
“Money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in the form of payments designed to string along victims so as to prevent Mr. Avenatti’s financial house of cards from collapsing,” Nicola Hanna, the U.S. attorney for California’s Central District, said at a news conference on Thursday.
Avenatti became a prominent critic of Trump and a frequent guest on cable television news while representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She filed a lawsuit against the president over a nondisclosure agreement that in the weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election kept her from discussing her claims that they had an extramarital affair 10 years earlier.
Prosecutors say Avenatti misled clients and misused their funds to pay personal and legal expenses, to finance a coffee shop business he also ran and to pay for his share of a Honda private jet, according to the indictment. Federal authorities seized the jet on Wednesday, prosecutors said.
The indictment also accuses Avenatti of various tax crimes. He is accused of failing to file personal tax returns since 2010, and to pay $3.2 million in payroll taxes on his coffee business, even though he witheld some portion of this money from employee paychecks.
They also say he defrauded a Mississippi bank of $4.1 million in loans by submitting false tax returns for 2011 to 2013 that inflated his income.
Avenatti faces up to 333 years in federal prison if convicted on the California charges, prosecutors said. Federal sentencing guidelines typically call for defendants to serve less than the maximum time.
The New York prosecutors have separately accused Avenatti of trying to blackmail athletic wear maker Nike Inc for more than $20 million.
They said Avenatti and a co-conspirator, who they did not name, met with Nike’s attorneys on March 19 and told them they represented a former college basketball coach with information about Nike’s involvement in a scheme to bribe high school basketball players.
They threatened to go public unless Nike hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation for $15 million to $25 million, and paid an additional $1.5 million to the client, according to prosecutors. Avenatti also offered to accept a $22.5 million payment for his silence, prosecutors said.
The alleged co-conspirator is prominent Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity. Geragos, who has not been charged with a crime, has declined to comment on the case.
Daniels replaced Avenatti as her lawyer last month, and has said she was “saddened but not shocked” by his arrest.
Avenatti also involved himself in the investigation of sexual abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly by giving the Chicago state’s attorney’s office what he said was a tape of the performer having sex with an underage girl.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen, Brendan Pierson, Gina Cherelus, Gabriella Borter and Daniel Wallis; editing by Frank McGurty, Jonathan Oatis)
FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; Kansas City, MO, United States; Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington (25) shoots over Auburn Tigers forward Horace Spencer (0) during the first half in the championship game of the midwest regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
April 9, 2019
Kentucky standout sophomore PJ Washington declared for the NBA draft on Tuesday and will hire an agent, the school announced.
“This place has been my home for two years and it’s hard for me to put in words how much I’ve grown in my time at Kentucky. The staff challenged me from day one to become the best version of myself and to work hard to become one of the best players in college basketball. I feel like I’ve done that,” Washington said in a statement posted on the Wildcats’ website.
The 6-foot-8 forward ends his career with 932 points, 476 rebounds, 120 assists and 74 blocks. He led the Wildcats in scoring (15.2) and rebounding (7.5) in the 2018-19 season. He also posted nine double-doubles and shot 52.2 percent from the floor, including 42.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Washington earned first-team All-SEC and third-team All-America honors. He is projected to be a mid-first-round pick by ESPN.
–Two-time SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams said he is entering the NBA draft but will remain open to returning to school for his senior season.
“My whole thing is I want to go into the process with an open mind and understand what I need to improve on and what I need to get better at, while also understanding I have to make the most informed decision possible,” said Williams, who has until May 29 to make up his mind. “If it is the right time, then it is the right time.”
The 6-foot-7 Williams averaged 18.8 points and 7.5 rebounds this season while earning first-team All-America honors.
–Michigan forward Ignas Brazdeikis, the 2018-19 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, told ESPN he will hire an agent and enter the draft.
“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be an NBA player — not just an NBA player, but an NBA All-Star,” said the 6-foot-7 Canadian, who averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 boards in 37 starts with the Wolverines.
–Israel’s Yovel Zoosman has submitted paperwork to the league office to become eligible for the draft, according to ESPN.
Ranked No. 58 in the ESPN Top 100, the 20-year-old wing player was named MVP of the FIBA U20 European Championship last July after leading the Israeli national team to the championship in Germany.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO – Mar 24, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes reacts to play in the first half against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
April 9, 2019
The UCLA men’s basketball program was unable to land yet another highly regarded candidate for its vacant head coaching position when Tennessee’s Rick Barnes elected Monday to remain with the Volunteers.
Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer released a statement during Monday night’s NCAA men’s championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech, saying Barnes decided to stay in Knoxville.
“One of the nation’s most tradition-rich college basketball programs identified what we here at Tennessee already knew — that Rick Barnes is one the game’s elite coaches and a program-changer,” Fulmer’s statement read, in part. “I’m thrilled that he will remain a part of our Tennessee Athletics family.”
The Volunteers were 31-6 under Barnes this season, reaching a No. 1 ranking and advancing to the South Regional semifinals, where they were defeated 99-94 by Purdue. Barnes was selected the Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday.
UCLA also had interest in Texas Christian’s Jamie Dixon, but the school elected to pursue other options last week after reportedly electing to not pay the $8 million buyout of his contract. It is unclear if UCLA will resume its pursuit of Dixon.
The Bruins’ program is in need of a head coach after Steve Alford was fired on New Year’s Eve. The Bruins started 7-6 under Alford and finished with a 17-16 record, with Murry Bartow taking over on an interim basis. UCLA did not advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four years.
Other reported coaching candidates of interest to UCLA include Mick Cronin of Cincinnati, Randy Bennett of Saint Mary’s, and former Bruins point guard Earl Watson, who was fired as head coach of the Phoenix Suns three games into the 2017-18 season.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: Mar 28, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) shoots the ball during practice for the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
April 7, 2019
Duke forward Zion Williamson continued his collection of accolades on Sunday when he won the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy as the top college basketball in the country, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced during a press conference in Minneapolis.
Williamson is the third freshman to win the honor, joining Kevin Durant of Texas in 2007 and Anthony Davis of Kentucky in 2012.
The other three finalists were Gonzaga junior forward Rui Hachimura, Tennessee junior forward Grant Williams and Murray State sophomore point guard Ja Morant.
Williamson won the Oscar Robertson Trophy and Associated Press Player of the Year honors on Friday. He also was the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.
Williamson is the eighth Duke player to win the prestigious award.
“I want to thank the Citizen Naismith Trophy committee for selecting me as the Player of the Year. It is truly an honor to receive this and join such an elite list of former Blue Devils to have also won the award,” Williamson said in a statement. “There were so many great players who could have won this award this year. I can’t thank my teammates, coaches and family enough for helping me. This is a team award, and it’s an honor for me to accept this on behalf of my brothers.”
Williamson led Duke to a 32-6 record. The Blue Devils advanced to the Elite Eight, where they lost to Michigan State.
“Zion is absolutely deserving of this year’s Citizen Naismith Trophy. He handled himself with such class and humility this season, especially given what he accomplished, both individually and with his team,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “Zion is a great representative of the game and is a pleasure to coach.
“Duke has a long history of Naismith winners, and Zion certainly belongs in that elite company.”
Duke’s most recent Naismith winner was JJ Redick in 2006. The other Blue Devils to earn the honor are Jason Williams (2002), Shane Battier (2001), Elton Brand (1999), Christian Laettner (1992), Danny Ferry (1989) and Johnny Dawkins (1986).
Williamson is expected to declare for the NBA draft and is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick.
–Field Level Media
Apr 6, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans in the semifinals of the 2019 men’s Final Four at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
April 7, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS — A first-time college basketball national champion will emerge when Texas Tech and Virginia square off Monday in the NCAA Tournament national championship game.
For two teams unfamiliar with this stage, the idea of cutting down the nets at U.S. Bank Stadium is becoming more than a dreamscape.
“Why not us?” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “We’ve got good players. We’ve got a great university. We play in arguably the best league in the country. We won the Big 12 regular-season title. We’re a good team. We’ve got good players. Yeah, I think we deserve to be here, as do a lot of other teams. You’ve got to get fortunate, but we did. I’m looking forward to coaching these guys on Monday night.”
Texas Tech (31-6) is attempting to become the first team since UConn in 1999 to run that table in its first Final Four appearance. The Red Raiders smothered Michigan State 61-51 in Saturday’s national semifinal.
Virginia (34-3) was in the 1984 Final Four but Saturday’s dramatic last-second escape against Auburn provided the long-awaited return trip. It’s also the culmination of a redemption tour that began last March 16, when the No. 1-seeded Cavaliers were on the wrong side of history: a 74-54 loss to No. 16 seed UMBC.
“It’s a great story. It is,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.
“After the UMBC game, we sat in the holding area after that loss, and I said, we’re not going to put up Isaiah (Wilkins) or Devon (Hall), our two seniors. Ty (Jerome) and Kyle (Guy), we’re going to be up there, and that’s going to be one of the hardest things, facing that press conference, but it starts now. It’s going to mark something,” Bennett said. “I said, we’re going to get through this, but you guys need to be up there with me, and we need to go through this, and we need to go through next year together. We need each other. I knew it was going to be such an important time in our lives no matter how it played out. … And now to sit with them here brings great joy to my heart, it really does.”
Guy played hero for Virginia on Saturday, making a 3-pointer in the corner, and after Auburn’s Jared Harper missed one of two free throws, Jerome got the ball to Guy in the opposite corner for a game-winning try. A foul was called on Samir Doughty in the act of shooting, and Guy hit all three at the foul line to seal the game with 0.6 seconds on the clock.
“I’ve been pinching myself the whole time I’ve been in Minneapolis because it doesn’t really feel real,” Guy said Saturday. “But I’m just so happy right now, so proud of — (Jerome) played freakin’ phenomenal. 21, 9, and 6 (points, rebounds and assists) — he carried us through this game.”
Texas Tech advanced to the Elite Eight in 2018 and lost to eventual national champion Villanova. With four new starters, including graduate transfer Matt Mooney at point guard and 6-10 Tariq Owens, the Red Raiders are on the verge of claiming their own trophy.
That’s in great part a credit to Mooney, who tied a season high with 22 points and delivered big shots while Big 12 Player of the Year Jarrett Culver dealt with foul trouble. Mooney, from the far northwest Chicago suburb of Wauconda, is on his third college — he spent his freshman year at Air Force and then attended South Dakota.
“I can’t explain it, man. It’s been a heck of a journey,” Mooney said. “A lot of people have helped me get to this point, have helped me along the way. You know, this is — I’m living the dream right now. I’m so grateful I got another opportunity.”
If there’s a common denominator between the title contenders, defense is the calling card. Virginia and Texas Tech rank in the top three in defensive efficiency.
Duke beat Texas Tech 69-58 on Dec. 20. The Blue Devils also handed Virginia two of its three losses — 72-70 on Jan. 19 at Duke, and 81-71 in the rematch Feb. 9.
Blue Devils freshman Zion Williamson faced both teams this season and while he refused to pick a team to win the Final Four, he offered a first-hand breakdown of each team.
“The thing about Virginia was how they could control the pace of the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them frustrated. So they control the game very well,” Williamson said.
And what about the Red Raiders?
“Texas Tech, their defense, I mean, they took like nine, 10 charges against us … their defense was probably the best I played against,” Williamson said.
–By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: University of South Alabama Jaguars head coach John Pelphrey (R) disagrees with an official on a call in his team’s game against the University of Florida Gators in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament in Jacksonville, Florida March 16, 2006. REUTERS/Mark Wallheiser/File Photo
April 6, 2019
Tennessee Tech announced Saturday that it has hired John Pelphrey as its basketball coach.
Pelphrey served on Alabama’s coaching staff for the past three seasons. He was a former head coach at South Alabama (2002-07) and Arkansas (2007-11).
“It’s an honor and privilege to be at Tennessee Tech,” Pelphrey said in a school news release. “My family and I, and our staff, were looking for a place where we could go and learn, lead and take on challenges in college basketball. We’re very appreciative of (athletic director) Mark Wilson and his pursuit of us. We have complete confidence and trust in him.
“We love the alignment between him and President (Phil) Oldham and their vision for basketball at Tennessee Tech moving into the future, and we are very, very excited to be a part of that. We understand that there’s a lot of work to do, but we’re going to embrace that.”
Pelphrey, 50, replaces Steve Payne, who compiled a 118-134 in eight seasons. The Golden Eagles were just 8-23 this past season.
Pelphrey went 80-67 at South Alabama and made the NCAA Tournament in 2006 as his club finished 24-7. He went 20-12 the following season before departing for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks went 23-12 and made the NCAA Tournament in his first season (2007-08). But the team had losing campaigns the following two seasons and he went 69-59 in four seasons before being fired in March 2011.
Pelphrey played college basketball at Kentucky and averaged 11.0 points in 114 games (89 starts) over four seasons (1988-92).
–Field Level Media
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) grabs a rebound against Michigan State Spartans forward Nick Ward (44) and forward Kenny Goins (25) during the first half in the championship game of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
April 5, 2019
MINNEAPOLIS – Duke freshman Zion Williamson won the Oscar Robertson Trophy, presented to the 2018-19 U.S. Basketball Writers Association player of the year.
Williamson is the eighth Blue Devil to win the trophy and the third freshman (Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, Texas’ Kevin Durant) to claim the honor.
Robertson presented Williamson the bronze trophy, which portrays Robertson’s likeness, Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium in a press conference with Joe Mitch of the USBWA. Williamson was also presented with the AP national player of the year in another ceremony after receiving 59 of a possible 64 first-place votes.
“There are so many other great players across the country that could have won this award,” Williamson said. “This award, I see it as a team award. Without them I wouldn’t be here. I would really like to thank my mom for pushing me after every practice, every game.”
Robertson said Williamson’s footwork caught his attention watching him play this season.
Williamson, who was also a unanimous selection to the 2019 college basketball All-America team on Tuesday, averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.
“Talking to Zion in the back, I congratulated him for having such a great year,” Robertson said. “But your best basketball is all in front of you. It’s just exciting for me to sit beside you. You are so humble about the award and this is great. … I hope you go to the right team. You’re going to be a tremendous star in the NBA.”
Williamson is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He laughed off suggestions that he wouldn’t play for certain NBA teams after an April 1 report from ESPN hinted he wouldn’t play for the Knicks.
Williamson said he plans to enjoy college and will discuss his next step with his family.
Williamson is the seventh Duke player to win AP player of the year honors. He is the third freshman to claim the AP award, with Davis and Durant again being the other two.
–Field Level Media