Schalke close to Nastasic deal

first_imgSchalke are close to agreeing a deal with Manchester City to sign defender Matija Nastasic, according to the German club’s general manager Horst Heldt. The Serbia international, 21, is out of favour at City under Manuel Pellegrini, having not made a Barclays Premier League appearance this season. Heldt told Germany’s Sport Bild magazine that a deal could be done within days. Press Associationcenter_img He said: “We are negotiating back and forth, that’s how it goes. You get closer and closer and in this case we are no longer far apart from each other. I am optimistic that we will get this done in the coming days.” Heldt added the deal would be “a loan with an option to buy”. Nastasic joined City from Fiorentina in 2012, signed by former boss Roberto Mancini. He made 13 league appearances last season as City won the title, but his only outing this term has been in the Community Shield in August. Schalke are coached by former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo. last_img read more

MBB : Top of the class: No. 1 Syracuse earns high marks for its performance in 1st half of season

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 17, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Scoop Jardine — B+Head coach Jim Boeheim has proclaimed Jardine the leader of this team, and the fifth-year senior has played like a star as of late. In Syracuse’s first seven Big East games, he has averaged 6.4 assists per contest and is fourth in the conference with a 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio.Brandon Triche — B+As was the case last year, Triche has very quietly maintained his role as a key contributor for the Orange. He leads the team in 3-point shooting at 39.2 percent and is third on the team with 10 points per game. The junior has also proved to be SU’s best rebounding guard, and he rarely makes costly mistakes.Kris Joseph — B+AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe senior small forward leads SU in scoring with 13.7 points per game as expected, but Joseph has struggled with his jump shot at times this year. But he’s still on the court more than any other Orange player and has made multiple big plays throughout the season to help SU get to 20-0.Rakeem Christmas — DThe freshman has started every game this year but typically takes a seat on the bench just minutes into the action. Despite the 20 starts, he is 10th on the team in minutes and averages 3.5 points and 3.0 boards per game. Christmas could have a very bright Syracuse future, but he’s at least a year away from becoming a major contributor.Fab Melo — A-Melo has rejuvenated his game to help anchor the Orange this season. He shed upwards of 30 pounds in the offseason, got in shape and cleared his head after last year’s frustrations. The results are startling: He’s more than tripled his points per game average from last season, more than doubled his rebounding average and has become a force defensively.Dion Waiters — A+Superb, superior, stupendous — that’s been Dion Waiters this season for Syracuse. Though he doesn’t start, his 13.1 points per game are second on the team, and he’s been a menace on defense with 46 steals already this year. He’s scored in double figures in 11 of the last 12 games. And he’s making a case for Big East Player of the Year honors.C.J. Fair — B+Fair has been very dependable for Syracuse at power forward. The sophomore averages 25.5 minutes a game — second on the team — and he’s also second in rebounds with 5.2 per contest. He’s been admirable off the bench as freshman starter Rakeem Christmas goes through a learning curve.Baye Keita — CWith Melo’s surge, Keita has taken a backseat this season. He was the more durable, reliable option for the Orange at the center position last year, but he’s clearly the backup in 2011-12. And in that role, Keita has proved sufficient. He averages only 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He doesn’t shoot often, but he’s 20-of-28 from the floor this year.James Southerland — BSoutherland began the season on fire off the bench, scoring in double digits in three of SU’s first four games. He still plays a good chunk of minutes and is usually there to spark the Orange with a 3, but his offensive performance has fluctuated more in Big East play.Michael Carter-Williams — B-If Carter-Williams had a better jump shot, or wasn’t on such a deep team, there’s a chance he would be playing big minutes down the stretch of games. He’s certainly shown an ability to handle the ball, as evidenced by an assist-to-turnover ratio better than 3-to-1.Jim Boeheim — AIt’s very rare that Syracuse has extended its bench as much as it has this season under Boeheim. He has 10 players with starting talent to work with, and he has done a good job of going with the hot hands in clutch moments to get SU to 20-0.Team MVPDion WaitersWaiters has been Syracuse’s best offensive player all year, and he’s doing it in only 22.4 minutes per game. When he has decided to drive to the basket, no one has been able to stop him. When SU needs a big bucket, he delivers. And Waiters also leads the Orange with 2.3 steals per game.Most ImprovedFab MeloThe sophomore center shed 30 pounds in the offseason and has looked nothing like the slow, overmatched freshman SU fans saw a year ago. Melo is significantly quicker and has been a force at times in the middle of the Syracuse 2-3 zone.Best momentDec. 28 vs. Seton HallTo cap off a spectacular half, Fab Melo pinned a dunk attempt by Seton Hall’s Herb Pope against the backboard as the buzzer sounded. It was his eighth block of the first half and by far the most emphatic. Melo finished the game with 12 points, 10 blocks and seven rebounds, setting an SU record for most blocks in a game.Worst momentNov. 17ESPN aired a story in which Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, both former Syracuse ball boys, accused then-associate head coach Bernie Fine of molesting them as children. The story sparked a federal investigation of the shocking sex abuse allegations and thrust the team into a negative spotlight. A third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, came forward, and Fine was ultimately fired by Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor. The investigation by federal authorities is ongoing.Biggest surprise20-0Syracuse was a preseason top-5 team. But it’s still difficult to not be surprised when a team reels off 20 consecutive wins to start the year. Syracuse continues to look dominant, while other top teams, such as Ohio State and North Carolina, have fallen multiple times.Biggest disappointmentRakeem ChristmasThere isn’t a lot to be disappointed about with an undefeated team, but Christmas hasn’t been much of a contributor in limited minutes. The highly touted freshman has started every game, but he often plays single-digit minutes and doesn’t have a great effect on the game.Revised Beat Writer PredictionsZach BrownRegular-season record: 29-2 (16-2 Big East)Big East finish: FirstNCAA Tournament finish: NCAA runner-upThe toughest part of Syracuse’s schedule is still to come, but don’t expect too many slipups by the Orange in a down year for the Big East. The toughest tests will be road trips to Connecticut and Louisville, but if SU can get past those games, it has a legitimate shot at an undefeated regular season. There are only a handful of teams that can match Syracuse’s talent and depth. If the Orange stays healthy, it has a legitimate shot at a national championship.Michael CohenRegular-season record: 29-2 (16-2 Big East)Big East finish: FirstNCAA Tournament finish: NCAA runner-upThis team is loaded, that much is certain. But is this team beatable? Absolutely. A Pittsburgh team without a true power forward, without its starting point guard and without a win in the Big East battled back to test the No. 1 Orange. Ultimately, though, I see Syracuse gliding to a Big East regular-season title with two conference losses. The trip to Louisville on Feb. 13 is scary, and then there’s a visit to Storrs, Conn., for a College Gameday matchup Feb. 25. Come tournament time, Syracuse rolls again. SU returns to the Final Four and the national championship game but is upended by the only team in the country with more talent than the Orange: Kentucky.Mark CooperRegular-season record: 30-1 (17-1 Big East)Big East finish: FirstNCAA Tournament finish: Final FourNo one would be surprised if Syracuse wins the national championship. This might be the deepest, most athletic team SU head coach Jim Boeheim has coached. The Orange is going to continue rolling through this regular season. As long as it keeps its health, Syracuse will be a force in the NCAA Tournament. And imagine the stories told when Syracuse returns to New Orleans for the Final Four, the same place the 2002-03 squad won the school’s only championship. I say Final Four, but once SU gets there, it can definitely win. —Compiled by The Daily Orange Sports stafflast_img read more