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Jim Boeheim helped Carmelo Anthony off the fence about Rio

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Carmelo Anthony is set to appear in his fourth straight Olympics, the first U.S. men’s basketball player to do so. It might not have happened were it not for Jim Boeheim.

The U.S. assistant coach, who was Anthony’s college coach during his one championship season at Syracuse, reached out to his former player after this past NBA season ended. Boeheim wanted to see if Anthony was in for Rio.

“He was squarely on the fence,” Boeheim said Wednesday. “I told him how he’d be good for our team. We knew LeBron [and others] weren’t going to come. It would be great for our team to have you.”

LeBron James had appeared by Anthony’s side at the 2004, ’08 and ’12 Olympics, but withdrew after another long season that carried him into the NBA Finals. Anthony’s New York Knicks missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

“I told him: Look, you’ve had two, three bad years, let’s have a good experience playing basketball,” Boeheim said. “That’s what this is. It’s not easy, but it’s a good test and will be good for him.”

“He had actually had some great points,” Anthony said. “I already knew what he was saying, but it was exciting and motivating coming from somebody like that. Did it have any effect on my decision? Maybe. I had to really think about some of the things he was talking about.”

Boeheim’s pitch helped ease the other concerns Anthony had – the same concerns everyone had about going to Rio.

“Who’s going to be on the team and the same worries everyone else has,” Anthony said. “I watch the news, what you write about Brazil — the economy, the viruses. Those things definitely came into play about my decision.”

MORE: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony lead Olympic roster

Boglarka Kapas, world champion swimmer, tests positive for coronavirus

Boglarka Kapas
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Boglarka Kapas, the Hungarian swimmer and world 200m butterfly champion, said she tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I don’t have any symptoms yet, and that’s why it’s important for you to know that even if you feel healthy you can spread the virus,” was posted on her social media. “Please be careful, stay at home and stay healthy.”

Nine total members of the Hungarian national team — including swimmers and staff — have tested positive, according to the federation.

Kapas said her first test was negative but a second test showed she had the virus. She was staying in quarantine at home for two weeks.

Kapas, 26, won the 200m fly at last summer’s world championships by passing Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot in the last 25 meters. She clocked 2:06.78 to prevail by .17 of a second.

Kapas also took bronze in the Rio Olympic 800m freestyle won by Katie Ledecky.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NHL players: Marie-Philip Poulin is world’s best female hockey player

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The U.S. may have the world’s best women’s hockey team, but NHL players believe Canadian Marie-Philip Poulin is the world’s best player.

Poulin received the most votes out of 496 responses in the 2019-20 NHLPA Player Poll, conducted before the season was suspended. The tally:

Poulin: 39.92%
Hilary Knight (USA): 36.29%
Kendall Coyne Schofield (USA): 15.52%
Emily Pfalzer Matheson (USA): 1.41%
Other: 6.85%

Last year, Knight received the highest percentage of votes from 203 NHL players (27.59), edging Poulin (24.14) with Amanda Kessel third (12.81) and Coyne Schofield and Pfalzer Matheson each receiving 5.91 percent.

Why were Poulin and Knight swapped this year? Perhaps Poulin’s Canadian team winning the debut of the NHL All-Star Skills Competition women’s 3-on-3 game on Jan. 24, even though Knight scored and Poulin did not.

Poulin, now 29, scored both goals in the 2010 Olympic final and the game-tying and -winning goals in the 2014 Olympic final. Even before her Olympic debut at age 18, the daughter of Quebec hospital workers was dubbed “the female Sidney Crosby.”

Knight, 30, led last April’s world championship tournament with seven goals as the U.S. won a fifth straight title. Poulin played 4 minutes, 44 seconds, total at the tournament, missing time with a knee injury.

This spring’s tournament, which was to start Tuesday, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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