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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

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All-Big East PG Reunited With Former UVa Coach at Miami

Charlie Moore, an All-Big East point guard at DePaul, is no stranger to one of the coaches he will be joining at Miami.

One of the Hurricanes' assistants, Bill Courtney, previously was on the coaching staff at DePaul, where he worked for Dave Leitao. Courtney earlier had been an assistant to Leitao at Virginia.

Moore, named Mr. Basketball in Illinois as a senior in high school, had stints at California and Kansas early in his college career.

A spot opened for Moore when the Hurricanes' Chris Lykes transferred to Arkansas. An ankle injury limited Lykes to two games last season. He scored 1,256 points in just over three years for the Hurricanes.

Drafting

In an ESPN.com projection of candidates for the NBA Draft on July 29, Virginia shooting guard Trey Murphy is rated 42nd. Murphy has not said for sure that he has eliminated an additional year at UVa.

The only ACC underclassmen ranked ahead of him are Duke's Jalen Johnson at No. 7, Florida State's Scottie Barnes at No. 10 and North Carolina's DayRon Sharpe at No. 33.

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A Story Of Hiking, Determination And Giving Others Hope...

Nothing could have been more breathtaking than the view of Sharp Top and Round Top on a recent April morning.

It was worth a stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where a story was unfolding that easily could have been missed.

Willing to share her tale was Elizabeth Pearch, a 56-year-old grandmother from Eagle River, Alaska who was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

She had taken a break to adjust her equipment at the Taylor Mountain overlook, where the elevation on the east side is 2,340 feet, high enough to view the Peaks of Otter to the east in nearby Bedford County.

Her trek had started in the fall, when she flew across the country from Alaska to Raleigh, N.C., where her daughter, Josie, lives.

Josie subsequently joined her mom and they hope to arrive in Waynesboro in the near future.

After that, mom Elizabeth has plans to hike the remainder of the way to Maine.

"Southern Virginia is no joke," said Elizabeth, whose voice was muffled by Taylor Mountain's whirling wind during an impromptu interview. "There are a lot of 4,000-[foot] peaks there. It's kind of nice being in central Virginia."

She had started out in March at Massie Gap in Grayson County.

"When I first started out, I was lucky to go four miles a day," continued Pearch, who says she was 100 pounds overweight when she started her journey and subsequently has lost 20 pounds. "Now, I can do between eight and 11 miles [a day]. I'm really progressing well."

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FCS Playoffs Have Put Joy Into Trying Times For Stinespring

The prolonged Football Championship Subdivision playoffs have put some joy into some trying times for Bryan Stinespring, the assistant head coach for Delaware, which visits South Dakota State with hopes of moving on to the FCS title game.

Stinespring is in his first year at Delaware after coaching stints at Virginia Tech, James Madison and Old Dominion, where the hiring of new head coaches and staffs left him looking for a job.

He landed at Delaware, whose head coach, Danny Rocco, had been an assistant at Virginia when Stinespring was at Virginia Tech. While Stinespring coached offense and Rocco coached defense, they were also recruiting rivals.

There were some coaches on Rocco's staff whom Stinespring knew, including former Virginia Tech player Chris Cosh, who put in a good word in Stinespring's behalf.

Stinespring was gone for the next seven months due to COVID-19 but it also gave him the opportunity to return to Clifton Forge and spend time with his mother, who had Alzheimer's and eventually passed away.

"My brother and I took care of my mother and allowed her to stay at home, mostly because of my brother's efforts," he said. "We were able to do some things that, in another year, I wouldn't have been able to do. So, I'm actually thankful for that part of it.

"We were looking for silver linings a little bit and that, for me personally, was one. It's truly a devastating disease for everyone really."

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College Notebook: Virginia Schools Linked To NDSU

At some point, the paths of former Virginia Tech quarterback Quincy Patterson and would-be Virginia cornerback Josh "Hollywood" Hayes will cross if they haven't already.

Patterson is transferring from Tech to North Dakota State in Fargo, and Hayes is transferring to UVa from North Dakota State. Patterson is joining a Football Championship Subdivision team and Hayes is joining an FBS program, but in this case, there isn't a huge difference in level of play

North Dakota State won five straight FCS national championships from 2011 through 2015 and has 16 titles spread over a variety of college football levels.

"This isn't the last experience we've had with someone leaving or coming," North Dakota State coach Matt Entz told Inforum, the newspaper that services Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota.

Entz met with Hayes earlier this week, according to Inforum, and accepted Hayes' plans to return to his home in the Lakeland, Fla., area, where he has a daughter, according to an Entz interview with KVRR TV.

"He sees other guys in our league opting out right now and getting offers from power five ]schools]," Entz said. "I’ll tell you what, I think Josh is the best corner in the league, so you take it for what it’s worth."

On the flip side, Entz will be getting a quarterback with an FBS background in Patterson, who played in 10 games over two seasons at Virginia Tech. Patterson was rated the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback in the country when he signed with the Hokies in 2018.

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Mark Byington Impresses At Roanoke Valley Sports Club

A long-awaited appearance by Mark Byington before the Roanoke Valley Sports Club lived up to all expectations at the Salem Civic Center earlier this week.

In his second season as the James Madison men's basketball coach, Byington directed the Dukes to a 13-7 finish, including an 8-2 record in the Colonial Athletic Association, after which he was named CAA coach of the year.

The original agreement was for Byington to speak to the sports club last year, but a COVID-19 breakout put that meeting on hold. In the end, it probably was better to have him speak in 2021, when he was a finalist for mid-major national coach of the year.

Byington spoke to a crowd Monday night that included two honorees designated as local "legends," Paul Bernard and Charlie Morgan. Bernard coached basketball at William Byrd High School and Charlie Morgan at Salem.

Many of Byington's former coaches and players were there, including Richard Morgan, one of the most decorated players to come through the valley. Morgan and his brother Charlie sat with the Byington family.

It was not the first time Byington had spoken to the sports club. As a young graduate assistant at UVa, he was dispatched to Salem by then-head coach Pete Gillen. When he got to the sports club, he learned that he would be sharing the podium with legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer.

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Former Coach Dave Odom Not A Fan Of The Transfer Portal

In his 22 seasons as a college basketball head coach and another eight years as assistant at Virginia during its 1980's successes, Dave Odom has a wealth of knowledge that is hard to surpass.

He doesn't force his opinions on anybody, although he doesn't find the current climate particularly healthy.

Take the transfer portal, a list of players who are marketing themselves -- or have been advised to market themselves -- for another school.

"I am violently in opposition to the idea because I think it breeds and teaches our young people that being disloyal and unappreciative is acceptable," said Odom, a former Wake Forest head coach who makes his home in Winston-Salem, NC

"I do not believe that we, as adults who have trod the path, need to be teaching that lesson. Coaches who say we need to be more lenient in what these kids want -- whether it's one time or two or whatever it turns out to be -- they fear they'll be shut out recruiting-wise."

In the past week, Virginia lost two of its underclassmen to ACC rivals -- guard Casey Morsell to North Carolina State and forward Justin McKoy to North Carolina.

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Virginia Gets 6-7 Power Forward Who Averaged 18.3 PPG

For a Virginia men's basketball team whose top two scorers in 2020-2021 were senior frontcourt players, there was promising news Monday with the addition of a high-scoring transfer.

Headed to Charlottesville is 6-foot-7, 235-pound power forward Jayden Gardner, who averaged 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds last season for East Carolina.

Gardner, who came out of Heritage High School in Wake Forest, N.C., joined the UVa program two days after the Cavaliers landed Armaan Franklin, a double-figure scoring shooting guard at Indiana this past season as a sophomore.

Gardner was recruited this spring by N.C. State, Miami, LSU and Arkansas, according to various sites. He has two years of remaining eligibility.

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Casey Morsell Heading To North Carolina State

Casey Morsell, a top Virginia men's basketball recruit in 2019, is headed to North Carolina State after entering the NCAA transfer portal.

Morsell, a four-star recruit coming out of St. John's in Washington, D.C., played in 23 games for UVa this past season but averaged only 4.4 points, with three starts.

He shot 39.6 percent from the field and was 10-of-38 on 3-pointers.

Word of Morsell's destination came one day after Indiana guard Armaan Franklin's decision was announced, saying he was transferring to UVa.

Morsell's decision to transfer had been known for several weeks.

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Indiana Guard Armaan Franklin Joins UVa Backcourt

The Virginia men's basketball program took a step toward fortifying its backcourt Thursday when University of Indiana guard Armaan Franklin confirmed that he is transferring to UVa.

Franklin started 20 games for the Hoosiers, averaging 11.4 points while shooting 42.4 percent on 3-pointers.

His commitment to UVa followed the dismissal of Indiana coach Archie Miller, whose team went 12-14 this past season. Indiana's choice of Mike Woodson as Miller's successor apparently did not affect Franklin's decision.

Franklin, a product of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, had offers from Ohio State and Purdue, as well as Clemson and Louisville, as he was coming out of high school.

Franklin led the Indiana team in assists this year with 68 in 21 games and shot 42.9 percent overall.

Virginia's only returning double-figure scorer, with 11.6 points per game, is 6-9 Trey Murphy III, who was 52-of-120 from behind the arc. It is not for certain that he will pass up a final season of eligibility and turn pro after beginning his career at Rice.

UVa guards Casey Morsell and Jabri Abdur-Rahim earlier had entered the NCAA transfer portal, along with forward Justin McKoy.

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Mark Byington To Speak At Roanoke Sports Club April 19

First-year James Madison men's basketball coach Mark Byington, who was scheduled to speak to the Roanoke Sports Club prior to the season, will take advantage of the recent loosening of COVID restrictions on social gatherings, and make his first appearance before the group April 19 at the Salem Civic Center.

The Dukes finished 13-7 this past season under Byington, who took over for Louis Rowe, who was not retained after JMU went 9-20 in 2019-2020 and posted a 43-85 record over four sub-.500 seasons.

Matt Lewis, a 6-5 senior from Bishop O'Connell, had a team-high 19.7 points per game this past season and was first on the team in assists, as well as second in rebounds per game and steals.

After a 3-4 start, JMU won 10 of its next 11 games. Byington, the state player of the year when he was a senior at Salem High School, previously had gone 131-97 as the head coach at Georgia Southern before accepting the job at JMU.

Recruiting

Gonzaga, which was on the brink of an NCAA championship after going undefeated in its first 29 games, received a late March commitment from the nation's top-rated point guard for 2021-22, 6-5 Hunter Sallis from Omaha, Nebraska.

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The Transfer Portal: UVa Needs To Take As Much As It Gives

More than four months have passed since Virginia opened the 2020-21 men's basketball season in "Bubbleville" at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The Cavaliers used 17 players that November day in an 89-54 rout of Towson.

Although it wasn't in the post-game notes, that might be the all-time, one-game UVa high for participation.

The group included 13 scholarship players, which is the Division I basketball limit, and four walk-ons.

Most were underclassmen and it appeared that Virginia was set with the addition of a recruiting class that was ranked No. 19 in the country by rivals.com.

That was then and this is now. In a matter of days, top 2019 signee Casey Morsell and top 2020 signee Jamir Abdur-Rahim entered the transfer portal, as did a second 2019 signee, Justin McKoy.

Of the eight players who logged more than 200 minutes or more, leading scorer Sam Hauser has applied for the NBA Draft and 7-footer Jay Huff is headed in that direction.

Who's left?

Honorable mention All-ACC performer Kihei Clark should be back for a fourth year in 2021-2022, but who else is there?

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Doug Doughty

Doug Doughty

He's the dean of the UVA beat, and creator of College Notebook, which has entertained fans for 45 years. Meet Doug Doughty

Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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