The Sports Inquirer

…premier site for news and notes in the world of sports

Backdoor Cut: Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford pregame presser 2.8.16 — February 8, 2016

Backdoor Cut: Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford pregame presser 2.8.16

By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor

The Sports Inquirer attended the pregame presser of Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford before his team’s home contest against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 8. Topics included the Hawks’ seeking a win after dropping a road contest to the Magic the previous afternoon and entering the upcoming All-Star break with victories.

Backdoor Cut: #OrlandoMagic head coach Scott Skiles pregame presser 2.8.16 —

Backdoor Cut: #OrlandoMagic head coach Scott Skiles pregame presser 2.8.16

By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor

The Sports Inquirer attended the pregame presser of Orlando Magic head coach Scott Skiles before his team’s road contest against the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 8. Topics included thoughts on Orlando’s home win over Atlanta the previous afternoon, Nikola Vucevic’s game-winning shot, the improved play of Aaron Gordon and the firing of Derek Fisher as head coach of the New York Knicks.

Backdoor Cut: #AtlantaHawks Mike Budenholzer pregame presser 2.8.16 —
Atlanta Falcons named Joel Collier Director of Pro Personnel; release Moore and DUrant —

Atlanta Falcons named Joel Collier Director of Pro Personnel; release Moore and DUrant

atlanta falconsRelease from the Atlanta Falcons:

The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have named Joel Collier Director of Pro Personnel.

“After a thorough and comprehensive search, I am pleased to have Joel Collier join us as our director of pro personnel,” General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “He brings an extensive personnel background to our department, and he will provide strong leadership to our pro scouting group.”

Collier brings more than 20 years of NFL experience to Atlanta.  He joins the Falcons after spending five seasons as the assistant general manager for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-13. Before moving to the front office with the Chiefs, Collier served as the New England Patriots secondary coach from 2006-07.

The Falcons also announced that they have released linebacker Justin Durant and safety William Moore.

“We want to thank both of these guys for their commitment and work ethic,” Head Coach Dan Quinn said. “They battled through injuries to give everything they had for their teammates this season and I will always be appreciative of that.”

Durant, 6-1, 230 pounds, was originally selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round (48th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Hampton. He was signed by the Falcons as a free agent during the 2015 offseason after playing with the Jaguars, Detroit Lions, and Dallas Cowboys. Durant played in 13 games with 12 starts last season and totaled 82 tackles (57 solo) with three tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and three passes defensed.

Moore, 6-0, 221 pounds, was selected by the Falcons in the second round (55th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons in Atlanta, playing in 76 games with 72 starts and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2012. Moore amassed 481 tackles (319 solo) with 16 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 38 passes defensed.

 

DRAKE NAMED TO TOP 50 “WATCH LIST” FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR —

DRAKE NAMED TO TOP 50 “WATCH LIST” FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ivie Drake
Georgia State catcher Ivie Drake
Photo credit: Georgia State Athletics / Jeff Hurndon

Release from Georgia State Athletics:

Ivie Drake, a sophomore on the Georgia State softball team, was named to the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 “Watch List”. Drake is one of only 10 sophomores on the list and one of three representatives of the Sun Belt.

“This is a great honor for both Ivie as an individual player and Georgia State University and our softball program,” head coach Roger Kincaid said. “She is a great student-athlete and always represents our team in a positive way. This is great publicity for Panther Softball.”

As a freshman in 2015, The Carlton, Ga. native was NFCA All-America second-team, NFCA Finalist for Freshman of the Year, NFCA All-Region, Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, All-Sun Belt first-team, Sun Belt All-Tournament, and won three SBC Player of the Week awards. She hit .462 with 22 HR, 16 2B, 67 RBI and a .918 slugging %, while breaking the GSU single-season records for batting average, hits, RBI, runs scored, HR and slugging %.

The Top 25 Finalists for the 2016 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 13. While an athlete does not have to be on the “Watch List” to be considered for the Top 25, the eventual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will come from the Top 25 Finalists. The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 11 and the Top 3 announcedMay 25. The 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed May 31.

Teegan Van Gunst Named to All-ACC Academic Team —

Teegan Van Gunst Named to All-ACC Academic Team

Teegan Van Gunst
Georgia Tech outside hitter Teegan Van Gunst
Photo credit: Georgia Tech Athletics

Release from the ACC:

 Georgia Tech junior outside hitter Teegan Van Gunst was named to the 2015 All-ACC Academic volleyball team, as announced Thursday by the league office. The honor marks the second of her career. 

A native of Fayetteville, Ga., Van Gunst maintains a 3.97 GPA in mechanical engineering. She was named to the 2014 All-ACC Academic Team and was twice named to the ACC Honor Roll. This season Van Gunst was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 team and chosen as a CoSIDA Academic All-American.

This season, Van Gunst became the first Yellow Jacket to earn All-ACC first-team, AVCA All-Region and AVCA All-America honorable mention honors since Monique Mead in 2012. Van Gunst led the league in kills (471) and kills per set (3.92) at the end of the regular season. Her 471 kills are the most by a Yellow Jacket since Mead put down 459 in 2012.

 

Van Gunst started all 120 sets this season and scored 20 double-doubles. She tallied 25 matches with 10+ kills, and 23 matches with 10+ digs.