EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 29, 2013

Sports in a Minute

By David Willis
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Palleschi honored

Haverhill’s Tom Palleschi certainly made an impressive opening statement in college basketball this winter.

The Tufts freshman was named the D3hoops.com Rookie of the Year for the Northeast Region recently. Last month, he also took home NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors.

Palleschi, a former Phillips Academy star, averaged 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Jumbos. He also led the team with 45 blocks, and started 18 of 26 games.

Leathersich debuts

Former UMass Lowell pitcher — and All-Name team Hall of Famer — Jack Leathersich of Beverly appeared in his first major league spring training game last week. He pitched an inning for the New York Mets, allowing a hit and walking two, but escaping without a run.

The former fifth round pick, the highest in UMass Lowell history, has become a fan favorite. After striking out 113 batters in 72 innings last season split between low and high Single-A, Leathersich has fans excited, Former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, now a special assistant with New York, even hinted the 22-year-old could be in the majors at some point this season.

Double duty

Methuen’s Georges Niang closed out Notre Dame basketball’s season with a run-away victory in the NCAA tourney last Friday. But there is no rest for weary Fighting Irish sophomore guard/ace pitcher Pat Connaughton.

Just four days after the hoops team was ousted, Connaughton was on the mound for the Irish, pitching two shutout innings in a victory over Kent State. All those 3-pointers must have kept his arm warm, since the former St. John’s Prep star did not allow a hit.

Dantley doing fine

With all the stories of former professional athletes facing financial disaster after their careers are over, there is reason for concern when you hear that NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is now working as a crossing guard. It’s a job that nets him just $14,685 a year.

But worry not for the NBA’s greatest 6-foot-5 post player.

According to a story on deadspin.com, the famously-frugal Dantley is doing it just to get out of his ($1.1 million) house, and so he doesn’t have to pay for health insurance. Washington, D.C., has some of the most generous benefits in the country for part-time workers.

Tough task

UMass Lowell may be the top seed in the Northeast bracket of the NCAA Hockey Tourney, which starts today, but the River Hawks can’t match their opponent’s resume.

No. 4 seed Wisconsin own six Division 1 hockey national titles, and has advanced to the “Frozen Four” 12 times. UMass Lowell has never been to the Frozen Four and all three national titles (1979, 1981-82) were in Division 2.

ULowell hadn’t won a Hockey East title until this winter, so this year already has been ground-breaking for the squad.

Lester in rare air

John Lester will start his third straight Opening Day for the Red Sox. The last Sox pitcher to start three straight openers? Legend Pedro Martinez from 1998-2004.