Nankivil thrives on right mentality

first_imgSenior forward Keaton Nankivil has been a steady source of points for UW, averaging 11.7 ppg in conference play on .488 shooting.[/media-credit]Fans have always wanted big things from Keaton Nankivil.The senior forward for the Wisconsin men’s basketball team has the size, standing 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, the mobility and the perimeter marksmanship.As a native of Madison and a former prep star at Madison Memorial High School, he’s even got the background too.But over the course of his first two years as a starter for the Badgers, consistency issues arose for Nankivil, now in his third and final year in the cardinal and red’s starting five.Many people saw big scoring potential in Nankivil, but during the 2009-10 season, his shots from the field soared (.493 percent) while his three-point shooting slipped (.316).But this year, it would take quite a picky fan to have qualms with Nankivil’s play.He’s improved in nearly every statistical category. His dead-eye shooting clip (.508 from the field, .479 from the arc) has forced opponents and fans alike to recognize him as one of the most reliable shooters in the conference and the nation.Through 28 games, he’s already registered nine more blocks than he did in 33 regular season games last year. His free throw shooting has increased about 12 percentage points to .862 and he averages just under 10 points per game.How did he manage the improvement? For a guy who studies kinesiology, it didn’t have much to do with the body’s mechanics. To Nankivil, it was all about his mentality.“He’s playing at a pretty confident level,” assistant coach Gary Close said. “For the most part I think one of the reasons he’s such a good shooter is because he’s a pretty even-keeled type of person so he doesn’t get real excited when he makes a bunch or get real disappointed when he misses, but he’s worked real hard on his shot.”2010-11 hasn’t necessarily been a dream season for Nankivil though. Shooting the ball well is a difficult thing for anyone to maintain every single day, but over a recent three-game stretch, a dip in Nankivil’s shooting began to emerge.Against Iowa, Ohio State and Purdue, the senior collectively hit nine of 41 shots and just four of 20 three-pointers.Nankivil, confident yet ever so humble, reminded himself before the third game against Purdue that trends only come in threes.But after another frustrating game against the Boilermakers, Nankivil slowly admitted to himself that he was, indeed, slipping into the doldrums. But his honesty with himself still didn’t cause his poise to burst.When Penn State visited the Kohl Center on Feb. 20, something clicked. Nankivil hit three treys in the game’s first six minutes. He suffered a minor ankle injury on the third bucket, but he still finished the game by going 8-9 from the field and 5-5 from the arc, good for 22 points.“It’s always nice [to hit that first three],” Nankivil said. “Right when I was willing to admit that it was starting to become a trend, finally something got me off that track.”But with Nankivil, he never quite leaves the track, never derails. His confidence may bend, but it doesn’t break.“He’s got a good ability to move on to the next play and that’s the way that this game’s got to be played, because it’s so fast you can’t dwell too long or one mistake’s going to compound into three or four,” Close said.“His ability to move on and his ability to stay even-keeled is a big part of why he plays so consistently well.”A principal example of that notion came against UW-Green Bay in mid-December. About a minute and a half into the contest, Nankivil received the ball at the top of the key but had it stolen from him by forward Daniel Turner.As Turner raced down the court for the go-ahead layup, Nankivil chased him down and returned the favor, swatting the ball away as it headed toward the rim.To Nankivil, it’s not a matter of diagnosing yourself with a “short-term memory” – pretending the mistake never happened. He acknowledges the occurrence and takes it from there.“I think it’s usually better to think ‘I gotta make the next [shot]’,” he said. “Always try to move forward.”Nankivil, who enjoys tutoring students at Madison West High School when he can, always likes to be straightforward about his success and give credit where credit is due.If you asked him why his three-point shooting percentage has improved so much, he’d tell you it’s from his confidence and his teammates, specifically senior forward Jon Leuer and junior point guard Jordan Taylor, who demand extra attention from opponents.And if you try to call Nankivil, Leuer and Taylor “the big three,” he’ll try to correct you.“It is ‘the big two’,” Nankivil said. “They work so hard for every shot. I’m a beneficiary of those two working hard 90 percent of the time that I score.”But his teammates know how hard he works too.“He just goes about his business and doesn’t let anything faze him,” Leuer said. “There’s not a better teammate, or just a better person out there. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and when he’s on the court he’s a warrior and he’s fun to have on your side.”last_img read more

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Tyson Fury beats Deontay Wilder in world title fight in Las Vegas

first_img Source: BBC Tyson Fury produced the most destructive performance of his boxing life to end Deontay Wilder’s five-year reign as WBC heavyweight world champion in seven thrilling rounds of their Las Vegas rematch.The Briton, 31, pummelled his rival in a way few could have imagined following their 2018 draw, flooring him in the third and fifth rounds while constantly backing up the most-feared puncher in the division in a way no-one has done before.A jab and right hand – the combination with which Wilder has wiped men out repeatedly – sent the American down in the third, stunning the MGM Grand Arena.Wilder, making his 11th defence, fell again before the round was out – this time a slip – and looked ragged under the pressure, before a right and left hand to the body sent the 34-year-old down in the fifth.Fury delivered everything he had promised, transitioning from his hit-and-move style to overpower, outwork and bully his previously undefeated rival until the towel came in during the seventh round.This was more than a world title win, it was a statement – and as Fury was held aloft by his corner after victory was sealed, the days of depression, weight gain and despair that cost him the belts he claimed in 2015 seemed a lifetime away.Britons treated to a masterclassThousands of British fans who had descended on Vegas saw their hero take an age to arrive at the ring on a throne, sporting a golden crown. It was the only time Fury moved slowly all night.He hit pads in the ring as Wilder made his ring walk – just as he did 15 months earlier in Los Angeles – and his start was rapid, a flurry of hooks prompting chants of “there’s only one Tyson Fury” from the crowd.Actors Michael J Fox and Jason Statham, as well as Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes, watched as Fury raised his hand at the end of the opening three-minute round and things began to feel markedly different to their first meeting.He simply did not take a backward step, forcing Wilder to the ropes and ensuring the champion had no say in the pace of proceedings. And in the third round, those who had paid the kind of ticket prices that made this the highest gate ever in Nevada, rose to their feet at the sight of Wilder floored for only the second time in his career.A right hand behind Wilder’s ear – the same shot with which the American had floored Fury nine rounds into their first fight – did the damage. Wilder then fell again as Fury bulldozed him. At the bell, the pair glared at one another and Wilder knew he was in a place no fighter wants to be. The Britons sitting ringside did not want to be anywhere else.Was the weight Fury had gained making the difference? Was it the new training set-up? Whatever it was worked to perfection. He was putting on a boxing clinic and a right-left combination to the body dropped the stunned Wilder once more in the fifth.Fury was docked a point for punching on the break but he did not seem to care or blink at the punishment, instead continuing to feint and twitch to set shots up before unloading on a man who had started a slight favourite. He led 59-52 59-52 and 58-53 on the cards when the towel came in.Fight week had seen repeated debate over where this meeting ranked in the pecking order of the greatest nights of heavyweight action, but little consensus. What we can say with certainty is that this was a masterclass.last_img read more

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