Sports Round-Up July 14

St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, will be adding two new varsity sports to the fold in the next few years. Men’s volleyball and women’s soccer are set to be the school’s newest NCAA Division I programs.

Andy Mueller will serve as the men’s volleyball coach. The program is being established with the help of a $100,000 grant from the MotorMVB Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stimulate the growth of boys’ and men’s volleyball at all levels. The team’s inaugural season will be the spring of 2020.

The women’s soccer team will begin play in the fall of 2019 as a member of the Northeast Conference, becoming the 10th and final member of the conference. The search for the program’s first head coach is ongoing.

The addition of these programs will bring the school’s total varsity sports teams count to 21.

The Toronto Raptors signed former Christ the King H.S., Middle Village, standout hoops product Rawle Alkins as an undrafted free agent after this year’s NBA draft. The six-foot, five-inch swingman had just completed his sophomore season at the University of Arizona, Tucson, averaging 13.1 pts. and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Alkins, a native of Brooklyn, played his first three high school seasons for the Royals. He was selected as a member of the CHSAA ‘AA’ All-League team as a sophomore and junior and was named league MVP during the regular season and post-season in 2014-15. He was a Tablet All-Star in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Royals won the city championship in all three of Alkins’ seasons.

He will play this summer for the Raptors’ Summer League team in Las Vegas with hopes of earning a roster spot for the upcoming season.

Longtime Associated Press national college basketball writer Jim O’Connell died at the age of 64. Affectionately known as “OC,” he covered the NCAA Tournament Final Four from 1979 through 2017.

O’Connell graduated from Bishop Reilly H.S., Fresh Meadows (currently St. Francis Prep) in 1974. He went on to St. John’s University, Jamaica, where he began his career at the AP as a dictationist for baseball games, in which he would phone-in his stories to his editor.

Baseball soon changed to basketball, leading him to a storied writing career that earned him an induction into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2002, the honor of accepting the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award that same year and an enshrinement in the Basketball Old-Timers of America Hall of Fame in 2011.

Catch Jim Mancari’s MLB report during the WEI Network’s Facebook Live broadcast this Monday, July 16, at 5 p.m. The segment’s topics include the MLB All-Star Game and a recap of the first half of the season. Tune in by visiting