At 6-foot-9, Noah Vonleh has strong ball-handling ability for someone of his size. Celtics president Danny Ainge is the among the NBA executives to notice this skill.

"He played center this year in Indiana, but he played on the perimeter in high school," Ainge told the Boston Globe. "He can actually dribble pretty well."

Vonleh says he focused on developing his handle with daily sessions of drills in the basement. He credits his mom for his inspiring his work ethic because he saw her juggling two jobs to provide for the family. That dedication is about to pay off as Vonleh is projected in many mock NBA drafts to be among the first six players selected. Here is more of his story, in his own words:

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Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie tore the ACL in his left knee during a game against Washington on Jan. 12. Six months later, rather than gearing up for his senior season with the Buffaloes, Dinwiddie is expecting to be selected in the NBA draft. Depending on which mock draft you read, Dinwiddie could be a first-round pick.

"Whoever drafts me is going to have to have faith in me not just as a basketball player but as a person," Dinwiddie says. "For them to do that, coming off the injury, that's going to be a very big deal to me, and it's going to make me want to give my heart and soul to that team."

Here is the rest of Dinwiddie's story in his own words:

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Draft Dreams will be a video series telling the stories of basketball prospects as they gear up for the night they expect to be selected by an NBA team. Their preparation includes training sessions, photo shoots, fittings with stylists and more, and Draft Dreams will focus on these behind-the-scenes activities.

Stars featured in the series will include Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, Melvin Ejim of Iowa State and Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh. Here is a preview:

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The women’s Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series kicked off in Fort Worth, Texas, at Possum Kingdom Lake last weekend with some fantastic performances.

If you haven’t heard of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, it’s basically like your regular Olympic high dive -- with a twist. Each diver treks through harsh conditions to get to the diving platform, and instead of walking up to it, divers repel down the cliff to take their jump.

This is the first women’s Red Bull Diving event. The competition had been for men since 2009.

The competition consisted of four women from the United States, one woman from Mexico, one from Germany and another from Brazil.

Texan Rachelle Simpson took first place in the competition with a score of 222.30, but she wasn’t the only Texan that found the podium. Cesilie Carlton took third in the event with a score of 215.55, narrowly trailing second place finisher Anna Bader of Germany, who finished with a score of 218.70.

The second diving competition will take place in Kragero, Norway, on July 12. Other scheduled stops include Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Brazil.

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A functional air conditioning unit wasn't the only thing LeBron James had going for him during Sunday's Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Miami Heat superstar was also the beneficiary of a cleansed mind and body, the result of a few relaxing trips he made after his team's Game 1 loss.

On Saturday night, roughly 48 hours after he had to sit out the closing minutes of the series opener with leg cramps, James showed up alone to a movie theater in the San Antonio area. James, who normally travels with an entourage, was without friends or security when he saw a 5:40 p.m. showing of "Maleficent."



The next morning James and his massage therapist showed up unannounced at an 8 a.m. yoga class at the team's resort.

“Me, and three other people and also a little kid but he didn’t want no parts of it," James said of the class. "So that’s probably the only thing that I did differently today.”

James began practicing yoga during his Cleveland years, and in Miami he's joined Dwyane Wade in private classes.

"Yoga isn't just about the body, it's also about the mind and it's a technique that has really helped me," James told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer in 2009. "You do have to focus because there's some positions that can really hurt you at times if you aren't focused and breathing right."

James did something right in his preparation for Sunday's game, as he exploded for 35 points and 10 rebounds in the Heat's 98-96 victory.

If you're wondering what it looks like when the 6-foot-8, 250 pound James stands on his head, check out this video from his time in Cleveland:

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Softball was dropped from the Olympics after 2008. That exclusion has made Jennie Finch's work as an ambassador of the game even more important at the college level.

"It was devastating, seeing opportunity grow and have it taken away," Finch said of the International Olympic Committee's decision to eliminate the sport.

But Finch said that "in college the game continues to grow and it's a good sign."

Finch, who retired at the top of her game after winning the Women's Softball World Championship in 2010, continues to leave her mark on the sport she loves. She works the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City for ESPN.

Even before they reached the championship round, Florida and Alabama were the teams that Finch identified as being special. Having won the national title with the University of Arizona in 2001, Finch knows the components of a championship team.

Alabama, the 2012 national champion, did not make it back to last year's tournament to defend its title. But Alabama's mix of veteran players, such as Jaclyn Traina, and young competitors poises them for another deep title run this year.

As expansion of the WCWS's fan base continues Finch reminds college athletes of the importance of their education through her advocacy of the Capital One Cup.

Finch serves as an Advisory Board member for the Capital One Cup, an NCAA award given to the top men and women's Division I athletics programs.

The award is based on points earned by schools' top ten finishes in the NCAA championships during the fall, winter and spring. The winning programs will receive the Capital One Cup trophy and a combined $400,000 in student-athlete scholarships at the end of the spring athletic season, according to the Capital One Cup website.

The Capital One Cup is especially great for female athletes because it recognizes the women's program, Finch said.

Reiterating the importance of the $400,000 scholarship and collegiate athlete's education, Finch said, "College education is first and foremost, anything after that is icing on the cake."

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Simona Halep's impressive, straight-sets victory over Sloane Stephens at the French Open was just the latest big win in the 22-year-old Romanian's meteoric rise the past year.

Halep was named the WTA's Most Improved Player for 2013 when she won the first six singles titles of her career. The 5-foot-6 Halep's calling card is her athleticism and scrappiness, two traits that she has been able to exploit thanks in part to surgery she had five years ago to reduce the size of her breasts.

Feeling uncomfortable with her breasts and also experiencing back pain, Halep had undergone a procedure that took her from a 34DD to a 34C bra size. The difference, she says, has been instrumental in helping her climb more than 450 places in the world rankings to No. 4.

"My ability to react quickly was worse and my breasts made me uncomfortable," Halep told reporters at the time of her operation. "It's the weight that troubles me. My ability to react quickly, my breasts make me uncomfortable when I play."


Halep's quarterfinal berth in Paris is the furthest she has advanced at the French Open, and it ties her best career performance at a Grand Slam. Earlier this year she advanced to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Some experts believe Halep's surgery, and her openness about it, sparked a trend among young female athletes. According to Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank statistics, more than 100,000 women had breast reduction surgeries in 2012, with some of the procedures aimed at alleviating pain during sports.

"I think she really caused a breakthrough, where all of a sudden this was not a taboo topic," Megan Greenwell, senior editor at ESPN magazine, told ABC News of Halep's surgery. "When you see people at the highest levels talking openly about these things, that opens the floodgates for other people to discuss it as a real issue."

For Halep, the decision was a relatively easy one. She says she would have done the same thing had she not been a tennis standout.

"I didn't like them in my everyday life, either," she said. "I would have gone for surgery even if I hadn't been a sportswoman.”

Halep faces 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.

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With both Venus and Serena Williams making early exits from the French Open, Americans looking for a rooting interest may want to turn to 18-year-old phenom Taylor Townsend.

After a three-set victory over 20th seeded Alize Cornet of France on Wednesday, Townsend became the youngest American to advance to the third round since 2003 when Ashley Harkleroad did it as an 18-year-old.

On paper, this appears to be just another step in Townsend's rapid upward trajectory. She won the 2012 Australian Open junior tournament and was a finalist at the 2013 Wimbledon junior tournament. In 2012 she was rated the top-ranked junior girl in the world.

But Townsend has also overcome an issue that most highly rated tennis players never have to confront -- her weight. In fact, United States Tennis Association officials became so concerned with her fitness that they refused to enter her in the 2012 junior U.S. Open. At the time Townsend was 5-foot-6 and weighed 170 pounds.

"... [the organization's] concern is her long-term health, number one, and her long-term development as a player," Patrick McEnroe, the general manager of the USTA's development program, said at the time.

Townsend paid for her own entry fee into the tournament and reached the quarterfinals. Shortly after the tournament, Townsend stopped working with her USTA coaches and hired Zina Garrison, a former Wimbledon finalist.

According to Garrison, Townsend's adversity has made her a stronger player.

“I think she couldn’t have asked for a better script,” Garrison told the New York Times of the weight controversy. “It’s made her tougher. She’s very good now at taking that negative and turning it into a positive. You can’t help but grow up in that situation.”

Townsend's unconventional serve-and-volley game has proved challenging for opponents to decipher, and her gritty style have earned her lots of fans.



For some teenagers, such a public ordeal over their weight would break them. But for Townsend, it did just the opposite.

“The biggest thing was just getting her to understand that she’s fine,” Garrison said. “Everybody doesn’t have the same shape of our bodies. She’s very clear on that now. I challenge over half of these girls out here to do some of the stuff that she does."

Townsend will face Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round.

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Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews has a voracious appetite for training, and he doesn't mince words about how his father helped develop this work ethic. Andrews knows his dad puts his life on the line serving in the military overseas, and that inspires to make the most of every opportunity to improve his football skills. "I never complain about the work I gotta do," he says.

The work has paid dividends. Andrews set the NCAA record for most all-purpose yards in a two-season span with 5,770. His versatility as a runner, receiver and returner should help his NFL draft prospects. Andrews is projected to be a mid-round pick.

Here is more on his dad's influence and his football journey, in his own words:

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Bradley Roby's cornerback skills have earned him two All-Big Ten selections and second team All-American recognition during his time at Ohio State. Those accolades are among the reasons why he is projected to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

Roby's resume has the added attraction of being an ace on special teams. In 2013, he blocked two punts. In 2012, he scored two touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble recovery on a punt play.

Perhaps this sort of adaptability is to be expected from Roby, who lived in three different Southern states while growing up before opting to go to Ohio State. He wasn't used to the snow and cold, but for Roby, that's all just part of his progression to the NFL. Here's more of his story, in his own words:

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