Adam LaRoche hopeful of re-signing with Nationals, but talking to “a few other teams”

Adam LaRoche hopeful of re-signing with Nationals, but talking to “a few other teams”

Nothing much has changed in negotiations between Adam LaRoche and the Nationals. While LaRoche wants a three-year deal, the Nationals aren’t willing to budge beyond two guaranteed years. With no resolution in sight, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post checked in with LaRoche yesterday for an update. “We’re talking to a few other teams,” LaRoche…

Report: Maryland's matchup set in 2016 Barclays Center Classic

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Report: Maryland's matchup set in 2016 Barclays Center Classic

After news was reported last fall that Maryland would take place in the 2016 Barclays Center Classic alongside Boston College, Kansas State, and Richmond, we now reportedly have matchups.

According to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com, Maryland will face Richmond and Boston College will face Kansas State in the event's first round. 

Richmond finished the 2015-16 season with an overall record of 16-16. Two of the team's top three scorers from last season are set to return next season.

Capitals release 2016 preseason schedule

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Capitals release 2016 preseason schedule

With or without their World Cup of Hockey representatives, the Capitals will begin their seven-game 2016 preseason schedule on Sept. 26 at Verizon Center, the team announced today.

The Caps’ preseason will begin five days later than last year’s seven-game schedule, which also featured four different NHL teams. This year the Caps will face the Hurricanes, Blues and Islanders twice each and the Canadiens once from Sept. 26 through Oct. 9.

Last year, the Caps’ preseason went from Sept. 21 through Oct. 4.

RELATED: BURNING OFFSEASON QUESTIONS FACING THE CAPITALS

With the World Cup of Hockey taking place in Toronto from Sept. 17 through Oct. 1, the Capitals likely will spend two weeks of training camp and one week of their preseason without head coach Barry Trotz, as well as Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov (Team Russia), Braden Holtby (Team Canada), Nicklas Backstrom (Team Sweden), and T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Matt Niskanen (Team USA).

The Capitals will open their preseason schedule against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sept. 26 at Verizon Center, then travel to Montreal on Sept. 27 and Bridgeport, Conn., to face the Islanders on Oct. 1.

They return home to face the Blues on Oct. 3, then travel to Kansas City to face the Blues again on Oct. 5 and to Raleigh on Oct. 7 to play the Hurricanes.

The Caps will close out their preseason schedule at home against the Islanders on Oct. 9.

Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said he will give his World Cup participants ample rest heading into the regular season and their availability for preseason games will be determined by how long their respective teams play in the World Cup tournament.

 The Capitals were 5-0-2 in the preseason in 2015-16 and carried that momentum into the regular season, where they won their second Presidents’ Trophy in seven years.

The full preseason broadcast schedule and the complete 2016-17 NHL regular season schedule will be released at a later date.

— vs. Carolina, Mon., Sept. 26  — Verizon Center — 7 p.m.  

— @ Montreal, Tues., Sept. 27 — Bell Centre — 7:30 p.m.

— @ NY Islanders, Sat., Oct. 1 — Webster Bank Arena (Bridgeport, Conn.) — 7 p.m.

— vs. St. Louis, Mon., Oct. 3 — Verizon Center — 7 p.m.

— @ St. Louis, Wed., Oct. 5 — Sprint Center (Kansas City, Mo.) — 6 p.m.

— @ Carolina, Fri., Oct. 7  — PNC Arena — 7 p.m.

— vs. NY Islanders, Sun., Oct. 9 — Verizon Center — 5 p.m.

3 challenges Melo Trimble faces by returning to Maryland

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3 challenges Melo Trimble faces by returning to Maryland

Melo Trimble, by many estimations, made the "right" decision by returning to Maryland for his junior season.

Of course, there could be any number of unforeseen circumstances in the future that could change that opinion, but given the current set of conditions, he returns to a team that could legitimately make the NCAA tournament with another year to prove to NBA scouts that he can play at the next level.

But there are still challenges ahead for Trimble. Here are three of them. 

RELATED: TRIMBLE SAVED FROM UNFAIR, INEVITABLE CRITICISM

1) Less on-paper talent than the 2015-16 team

Mark Turgeon made two enormous, late-signing period splashes last year by landing five-star center Diamond Stone, then Rasheed Sulaimon from Duke as a graduate transfer. That helped to solidify a starting five that already included Trimble, then-senior Jake Layman, and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter, Jr.

The Terrapins had arguably the most purely talented starting five in the country. The attention on a given night was off of Trimble in a way because on any given night any one of those five players could carry the offensive load. It will be on Trimble during his junior season.

The starting five likely projects something like this (with some variation, depending on how Turgeon wants to utilize his guard and wing depth): PG: Melo Trimble | SG: Dion Wiley | SF: Jared Nickens | PF: L.G. Gill | C: Damonte Dodd.

Freshman guard Anthony Cowan will assuredly be in the mix, but that still pins most all of the offensive pressure on Trimble. Can he thrive when he is the focal point of the defense's game plan? 

Wiley, Nickens, and Gill hitting their shots would help. But who becomes the reliable pick-and-roll options like Carter and Stone were last season?

 RELATED: MARYLAND ADDS 4-STAR LATE IN SPRING PERIOD

2) The foul problem

Throughout the 2015-16 season, Turgeon mentioned whenever he could the fact that Trimble was getting to the rim at the same rate that he was his freshman season, but not getting foul calls at the same rate. That meant the same wear and tear on his body, but without the benefit of an efficient scoring line to go with it. 

Turgeon would never publicly, explicitly pin it on the referees, but look at the difference between Trimble's average field goal attempts as a sophomore during Big Ten play (4.4) and during the NCAA tournament (10.6). That cannot all be accounted for by saying he got to the basket more often in the tournament. 

Because Trimble hits at such a high rate from the free-throw line (86.8 percent), he becomes lethal in the pick-and-roll because he can hit shots if the defense goes under a screen, pass to an open man if they hedge out, or drive past and draw a foul if they go over. 

No fouls in the lane? Less effective pick-and-roll for a player who feasts in that set. What indicates that something will change when he is a junior?

RELATED: HOW TURGEON CELEBRATED THE NEWS

3) The looming 2017 NBA Draft

By returning to Maryland, Trimble buys himself time and gives himself an opportunity to show what he can do during his junior season in hopes that he returns to a form closer to what we saw in 2014-15 or early 2015-16. 

That will all build up likely to the 2017 NBA Draft, assuming Trimble enters. He has questions that he now has to answer and some things that will be real concerns.

He will be 22 years old at the time of next year's draft. Only three players projected to be taken in the first round of this year's draft, according to DraftExpress.com's current mock, will be 22 years of age or older on draft night -- Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, and Providence's Kris Dunn.

Player of the Year finalist. Player of the Year finalist. Projected lottery pick back in 2015 who decided to stay anyway.

That's tough company to break into for Trimble and it speaks to the type of junior season he would have to have to get into the first round. 

And the foundation of his overall game won't be changing. His length will still be subpar, compared to his peers, at next year's Combine. It's unlikely that his max vertical will improve by much, which means he'll have to answer those questions another way -- simply by playing basketball. 

Master the pick-and-roll. Shoot a high percentage from three. Get back to the line at a high rate. That should be the formula for Trimble.