Antetokounmpo Goes Big for Bucks

first_imgMADISON, Wis. — Giannis Antetokounmpo can dunk like an explosive wing player. He can handle the ball like a guard. He can provide an instant energy boost like a sixth man off the bench.And for at least the first few weeks of the NBA season, the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo will probably be muscling up against power forwards while the Milwaukee Bucks await Jabari Parker’s return to the lineup.The 20-year-old Antetokounmpo just follows coach Jason Kidd’s lead. A budding star, the third-year forward certainly doesn’t lack in confidence.“I don’t really look in front of me if it’s a point guard, if it’s a big guy. I think I can guard everybody, even the small guys, even the big guys,” he said. “I’m going to do what I do as hard possible.”Effort never seems to be an issue with Antetokounmpo. His highlight-reel dunks and bubbly personality have already made him a fan favorite.He and Parker, also 20, were the faces of the team on billboards this summer when the Bucks unveiled their new-look uniforms.Neither of them will be suited up for the season opener on Oct. 28 against the New York Knicks.Parker isn’t expected to return until mid-November as the Bucks proceed with caution following the forward’s torn ACL in December. Parker is said to be doing well in practice.Antetokounmpo must sit out the opener after being suspended for one game for running over the Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy during Game 6 of last season’s first-round playoff series won by Chicago. When he returns for the Oct. 30 game against Washington, Antetokounmpo seems destined for duty at power forward.“Every game, he’s getting better. He’s trying to figure it out,” forward-center John Henson said.There is no better learning experience for Antetokounmpo than having to match up against Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett. They faced each other on Oct. 20 in a preseason game in Madison, and will meet again on Oct. 23 in a rematch.Garnett, 39, has been in the league since 1995 — the year after Antetokounmpo was born. They boast similar wiry but athletic body types.They made for an entertaining matchup at the Kohl Center, especially with the way Garnett tried to get into Antetokounmpo’s head.“I thought he did well in the mental warfare of the game,” Kidd said of his young star.He made his usual collection of highlight reel plays, too.In the first quarter, Antetokounmpo swooped in for a dunk along the baseline after converting a missed 3, then hustled back on defense for a steal. In the third quarter, he raced back to block Shabazz Muhammad’s layup attempt from behind on a breakaway.“He gave the crowd a little bit of what he can do. A little flair,” Henson said.Antetokounmpo should mostly play small forward, though his multi-faceted game gives Kidd the ability to move him around the floor to account for matchups or foul trouble.Antetokounmpo has dabbled at point guard, a position he played in his native Greece. With quickness to go along with his wingspan, Antetokounmpo could be a matchup nightmare at any position.“He’s 20 year-old and he’s going to play every position for us,” Kidd said. “He’s never complaining. He just goes out there and plays.”(GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Michaelle Jean loses bid to hold onto job as Francophonie secretary general

first_imgYEREVAN, Armenia – Without even her home country supporting her, Michaelle Jean failed in her bid for a second term as secretary general of la Francophonie Friday as members chose Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.Three days after his government withdrew its support for Jean, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted the move was not part of a deal to advance Canada’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2020.“We supported the Rwandan candidate when it was clear that there was a consensus on the part of the African countries, and therefore of la Francophonie,” Trudeau told a news conference as the two-day Francophonie summit closed in the Armenian capital. He praised Jean for her “excellent work” as secretary general.He acknowledged, however, that Canada’s support for Mushikiwabo could prove beneficial at the UN.“We have worked with Africa for a long time, and we continue to work with Africa on many issues, including this request that we have been making for several years for support for the Security Council,” he said. While the Francophonie and UN campaigns coincided, “they are not directly connected,” he added.Mushikiwabo had the backing of France and many African Union countries going into the summit. But in a final attempt to sway the 54 voting members Thursday, Jean warned that rights and democracy shouldn’t take a back seat to partisan ambitions.“Are we ready to accept that international organizations are used for partisan purposes?” Jean asked. “Are we ready to accept that democracy, rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words, that we make them meaningless in the name of realpolitik?”It was a veiled criticism of her only opponent for the job, whose government has been accused of abusing democratic rights and freedom of the press. Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, was elected with nearly 99 per cent of the votes in 2017.Trudeau said he had a “frank and direct” discussion about human rights when he met Kagame at the summit Thursday. He said the countries of la Francophonie have “different levels of democracy and different levels of success in the defence of their citizens’ rights.”Named to the post in 2014, Jean was the first secretary general not to come from Africa since the position was created in 1997.Mushikiwabo hailed the return of an African to the office. She said she does not intend to make major changes to the direction of the organization, but she promised more transparency in Francophonie spending.Jean had been dogged by stories of excessive spending and questionable expenses during her mandate.Mushikiwabo did not name Jean in her acceptance speech, but she said “each bill spent is important” and no expense should be taken lightly.Jean spoke briefly Friday, saying she was happy to have advanced the organization of French-speaking nations on the international stage during her time.After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for a second stint, but she refused to withdraw her candidacy even as support dwindled.In an interview with The Canadian Press Friday, Kagame pushed back against Jean’s criticism of his country. He said Jean came across as bitter and angry, considering a consensus had formed backing Mushikiwabo.“I think it was outright wrong,” Kagame said. “To tell people who’ve made a choice that they are wrong — that it should be her and not everyone else — in that way, I think it displays the problem.”For Universite de Montreal researcher Jocelyn Coulon, the tense battle over the secretary general post should serve as a lesson to the organization.“The process of selection and appointment of the secretary general is in crisis, as demonstrated by the psychodrama the organization was plunged into for a week,” said Coulon, who was an adviser to former global affairs minister Stephane Dion.“It must be reformed to make it more transparent, which will give more credibility to the person elected.”last_img read more