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30-year-old LeBron James is in his twelfth NBA season. This winter, he sat for multiple weeks of action, resting his increasingly human body; James missed 13 games in 2014-15, the most of his career. He hasn’t been a consistently fearsome defender for years, and has developed a very noticeable on/off switch in general.
None of that matters at this time of year. LeBron is still the best in the game, and he is proving it as loudly as anybody can in his latest run at an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Without Kevin Love or a healthy Kyrie Irving, James has simply ratcheted his own game up to a level so high that everyone around him can’t help but take his lead and thrive.
Role players like Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova are all perfecting their bit pieces around LeBron. That’s probably not a coincidence: From Mario Chalmers to Donyell Marshall, there’s a long lineage of secondary characters who have been emboldened to do surprising things next to the King.
For all the guffawing about James’ bickering and passive-aggressive power plays with David Blatt, he and the Cavs’ head coach clearly have a relationship that functions well enough to produce wins. Cleveland hasn’t missed a beat despite tough health breaks to two of their best players, embodying a next-man-up ethos unwincingly. Blatt deserves a lot of credit for that, but James is who the roster truly takes their cues from.
Building something new is exactly what James came back home to do. Few doubted he could do it — especially with Irving and Love set to be next to him — but probably even fewer thought he could bring Cleveland back to prominence so swiftly, and through this much bad injury luck. The throne appears to be on lockdown this spring.
— John Wilmes
Seahawks fans really want to keep Russell Wilson in Seattle.
One fan has even gone as far as to create a GoFundMe account to raise $5 million in order to pay for an LLC to sponsor Wilson. The craziest part about this is that people are actually donating to it. It's like let's help the rich get richer. The account has raised $1,311 in 13 days, which isn't bad.
If it turns out that Wilson doesn't take the money, it will be donated to the Seattle Children's Hospital.
Either way it's going to a good cause as far as Seahawks fans are concerned.
Some of the world's greatest athletes weren't just one-sport players; instead, they excelled in two (and sometimes in several). Of course, some athletes probably should have stuck with their main sport. Here's a look at the top 30 two-sport athletes of all time, ranked in order of their second best sport.
1. Jim Thorpe, track (Best sport: football)
One the all-time great athletes, Thorpe is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, and has been immortalized via the Jim Thorpe Award — given annually to the top defensive back in college football. But Thorpe was also a gold medalist in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.
2. Jim Brown, lacrosse (Best sport: football)
Arguably the greatest running back in history, Brown is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. The 6’2”, 230-pounder is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and is considered by many to be the best athlete to ever play the sport.
3. Bob Hayes, football (Best sport: track)
“Bullet Bob” Hayes won the fastest man in the world, winning gold medals in the 100 meters and 4x100 meters at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Hayes then strapped on a helmet for the Dallas Cowboys, winning Super Bowl VI and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
4. Bo Jackson, baseball (Best sport: football)
Only Bo knows what might have been. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner was a Pro Bowl running back for the L.A. Raiders and an All-Star outfielder for the Kansas City Royals — hitting 32 HRs and 105 RBIs in just 135 games in 1989 — before a hip injury derailed the out-of-this-world athlete.
5. Charlie Ward, football (Best sport: basketball)
Sure, Ward played 11 seasons in the NBA — starting at point guard for the New York Knicks’ Eastern Conference champs in 1999. But most know him as a Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback at Florida State in 1993.
6. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, track (Best sport: golf)
A 10-time LPGA major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mildred Ella — better known as “Babe” — won gold medals in the 80-meter hurdles and javelin throw as well as a silver medal in the high jump at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics.
7. Duke Kahanamoku, surfing (Best sport: swimming)
The Big Kahuna won three Olympic medals in the 100-meter freestyle — taking gold at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and 1920 Antwerp Olympics, and silver at the 1924 Paris Olympics — as well as a gold (1920) and silver (1912) in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. But Mr. Hawaii was also the “Father of Surfing,” popularizing the longboard en route to becoming a member of the Surfing, Swimming and U.S. Olympic Halls of Fame.
8. Deion Sanders, baseball (Best sport: football)
A member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, Prime Time is considered the greatest cornerback in NFL history. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Sanders also played with the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series and played parts of nine lightning-fast seasons in MLB.
9. Gene Conley, basketball (Best sport: baseball)
A four-time MLB All-Star and 1957 World Series champion with the Milwaukee Braves, the 6’8”, 225-pound Conley also won three NBA championships with the Boston Celtics — becoming the only athlete in history to win world titles in two of the big four pro leagues.
10. Danny Ainge, baseball (Best sport: basketball)
The Wooden Award winner at BYU, Ainge won two NBA championships with the Celtics and was an All-Star in 1988. He also had a cup of coffee with the Toronto Blue Jays, playing three seasons from 1979-81.
11. Brian Jordan, football (Best sport: baseball)
A one-time MLB All-Star who played in the bigs for 15 years, Jordan played three seasons (1989-91) as a safety in the NFL before making his debut in The Show in 1992.
12. Jackie Robinson, track (Best sport: baseball)
The 1949 NL MVP and 1955 World Series champ is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a civil rights pioneer. But he was also the 1940 NCAA Men’s Outdoor Long Jump champion at UCLA.
13. Jonathan Ogden, shot put (Best sport: football)
The 6’9”, 345-pound Ogden was the 1996 NCAA Men’s Indoor Shot Put champion at UCLA, before becoming an 11-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl XXXV champion left tackle with the Baltimore Ravens.
14. Jeff Samardzija, football (Best sport: baseball)
The Shark was an All-American and Biletnikoff Award finalist, finishing his Notre Dame football career as the Irish’s all-time leading receiver prior to becoming a right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.
15. Darin Erstad, football (Best sport: baseball)
The 1995 Golden Spikes Award winner was also the starting punter on Nebraska’s 1994 national championship football team before going on to play 14 seasons in MLB.
16. Joe Mauer, football (Best sport: baseball)
Before Mauer was the 2009 AL MVP and three-time batting champion for the Minnesota Twins, the 6’5” athlete with a cannon for a right arm was USA Today’s High School Player of the Year as a quarterback.
17. Dave Winfield, basketball (Best sport: baseball)
A 22-year MLB veteran and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Winfield played college basketball at the University of Minnesota — where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to the 1972 Big Ten title.
18. Kenny Lofton, basketball (Best sport: baseball)
A six-time All-Star, five-time stolen base champ and four-time Gold Glove center fielder, Lofton’s first love was basketball. He played point guard for the University of Arizona, making the Final Four in 1988.
19. Tony Gwynn, basketball (Best sport: baseball)
A first-ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star and eight-time batting champ with a career .338 batting average and 3,141 hits. But Gwynn was also a solid point guard, setting San Diego State records for assists in a season and career.
20. Marion Jones, basketball (Best sport: track)
Once a golden girl, Jones’ reputation has since been tarnished by PED use and jail time. Before the fall, Jones won three gold and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics after a standout hoops career at the University of North Carolina — where she was a member of the 1994 NCAA champion Tar Heels.
21. Antonio Gates, basketball (Best sport: football)
Led Kent State to its first MAC championship and a trip to the Elite Eight in the 2002 NCAA Tournament before becoming an eight-time Pro Bowl tight end for the San Diego Chargers.
22. Jimmy Graham, basketball (Best sport: football)
Played four years of basketball at the University of Miami but just one season of football at The U. No big deal, the 6’6”, 260-pound power forward has evolved into one of the NFL’s best tight ends.
23. Tony Gonzalez, basketball (Best sport: football)
Gonzalez round-balled at Cal-Berkeley before becoming a 14-time Pro Bowl tight end with 1,325 catches, 15,127 yards and 111 TDs for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.
24. Julius Peppers, basketball (Best sport: football)
The pass-rusher was a glass-crasher at University of North Carolina, where he came off the bench for the Tar Heels’ 2000 Final Four squad.
25. Walter Ray Williams Jr., horseshoes (Best sport: bowling)
The seven-time PBA Player of the Year also owns six Men’s World Horseshoe Pitching titles.
26. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, football (Best sport: wrestling)
The WWF wrestler was a member of the University of Miami’s 1991 national championship team, where he played with future NFL stars like Warren Sapp.
27. Ed “Too Tall” Jones, boxing (Best sport: football)
A three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman and Super Bowl XII champion, the 6’9” Jones had a scary 88-inch reach as a boxer — going 6–0 with five KOs in 1979.
28. Herschel Walker, mixed martial arts / bobsled (Best sport: football)
Known for always being in peak condition, Walker started his MMA career as a 48-year-old. The fifth-degree Taekwondo black belt is 2–0 with two TKOs on punches. Years before that he participated in the two-man bobsled competition at the 1992 Winter Olympics, finishing seventh. Oh yeah, Walker, who played several years in the NFL, also won the 1982 Heisman Trophy at Georgia and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
29. Scott Burrell, baseball (Best sport: basketball)
The only athlete selected in the first round of two of the big four sports’ drafts — Burrell went No. 20 overall to the Charlotte Hornets in the 1993 NBA Draft and No. 26 overall to the Seattle Mariners in the 1989 MLB Draft.
30. Michael Jordan, baseball (Best sport: basketball)
His Airness is undeniably the greatest basketball player of all-time and arguably the greatest athlete ever. However, in 127 games playing for the Chicago White Sox’s Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons, Air Jordan hit just .202 with three HRs, 51 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.
What is it with nicknames and baseball? In high school I played with Doggie, Bird, Soup, Clone, Rooster, T and White Legs. Nicknames and baseball players just seem to go together like bat and ball. For as long as young boys and men have been batting baseballs around, they have given each other descriptive nicknames for facial features, deformed body parts, the way they played the game, hair color and, the most popular, shortening their surnames. In fact, some players with nicknames were given nicknames for their nicknames.
Here are the 50 best—and often very politically incorrect—nicknames in baseball history.
50. Don Mossi
Ears (also The Sphinx)
Perhaps you had to see Mossi to really appreciate the name. In Ball Four, Jim Bouton said Mossi “looked like a cab going down the street with its doors open.”
49. Ernie Lombardi
Not to allow Mossi and his ears steal all the thunder, the catcher who was also known as the world’s slowest human had a beak of monumental proportions. But the catcher hit his way into the Hall of Fame.
48. Nick Cullop
Cullop spent 23 years in the minors, hit 420 home runs and had 2,670 hits, both minor league records when he retired.
47. Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown
Known more commonly as Three Finger Brown than by Mordecai, Brown capitalized on losing most of his index finger in a childhood farming accident. Apparently that helped him throw a devastating curveball described by Ty Cobb as the toughest in baseball.
46. Don Zimmer
Despite the success for the Red Sox in the late 1970s, Zim is blamed for the team’s collapse in 1978, ultimately losing a playoff game at Fenway Park (commonly known as the Bucky Dent game). Because of this, lefthander Bill Lee, with whom Zimmer often sparred, gave him the name Gerbil.
45. Bill Lee
And speaking of Lee, it wasn’t as though he was a mental giant himself. The lefthander’s outrageous, often irreverent personality and his fearless rhetoric earned him the name Spaceman, allegedly, from John Kennedy (the Red Sox utility infielder, not the former President). Just being left-handed in Boston was probably enough.
44. Jim Grant
Grant, who became one of the most successful African-American pitchers in the 1960s, credits Leeroy Irby for the nickname. Seems Irby thought Grant was from Mississippi and others were happy to make the name stick.
43. Jim Hunter
Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finely often seemed more interested in flashy P.R. than winning baseball games. Evidently, this nickname was a product of the PR-conscious Finley more than any angling the Hall of Fame pitcher might have done in his home state of North Carolina.
42. Randy Johnson
Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. Former Expos teammate — yes, Johnson was originally a member of the Expos — Tim Raines once collided with him during batting practice, looked up at the 6’10” hurler and proclaimed, “You’re a big unit.”
41. Mark Fidrych
The affable righthander enjoyed talking to the baseball while on the mound and manicuring the mound on his hands and knees between innings. But it was because of his resemblance to Big Bird of Sesame Street fame that Fidrych was given his name.
40. Marc Rzepczynski
Some surnames scream for nicknames, like Yastrzemski with Yaz, and Mazeroski with Maz. But there are few names that could earn more points in the famous word game than this lefthander’s.
39. Doug Gwosdz
Ancestors of the former catcher of the San Diego Padres must have misspelled this name somewhere down the line. But as astute teammates surmised, his jersey resembled those charts hanging on walls in optometrists’ offices.
38. Johnny Dickshot
First of all, that is his real name. And secondly, he referred to himself as the “ugliest man in baseball.” So, we have no qualms about Dickshot making the list.
37. Luke Appling
Old Aches and Pains
Dubbed by teammates, it’s unclear whether the name was given in jest. But it is clear that Appling didn’t mind complaining about the physical demands of the job all the way to the Hall of Fame.
36. Roger Bresnahan
The Duke of Tralee
Nothing really unusual about this name; after all many players were named in honor of their hometowns. Earl Averill was the Duke of Snohomish after his hometown in Washington. But, Bresnahan was from Toledo. For some reason he enjoyed telling folks he was born in Tralee, Ireland.
35. Bob Feller
Taking the American League by storm as a teenager led to this nickname as well as The Heater from Van Meter (Iowa).
34. Edward Charles Ford
The Chairman of the Board
Well known as Whitey because of hair color, the lefty dominated the American League for 16 seasons as a member of the Yankees. As a tribute to his calm, cool demeanor in tough situations, he became known as the Chairman of the Board.
33. Leon Allen Goslin
Several sources agree on how Goslin acquired his name. Evidently, he waved his arms as he chased fly balls, had a long neck, and was not the most graceful player.
32. Willie Mays
Say Hey Kid
There is no definitive agreement on how Mays acquired this classic name.
31. Mickey Mantle
The Commerce Comet
Mantle, a star athlete from Commerce, Oklahoma, was offered a football scholarship by the University of Oklahoma, but wisely chose baseball.
30. Joe Medwick
Ducky-Wucky (also Muscles)
According to Baseball-Reference.com, fans called Medwick Ducky-Wucky more than merely Ducky, presumably because of his gait, or perhaps the way he swam. Teammates, seemingly out of self-preservation, never called him Ducky-Wucky, but chose instead the name, Muscles.
29. Brooks Robinson
If you ever saw Brooksie do his work around the hot corner, you would quickly understand the moniker. Teammate Lee May once quipped, “Very nice (play)...where do they plug Mr. Hoover in?”
28. Aloysius Harry Simmons
With an exaggerated stride toward third base. Bucketfoot Al bashed major league pitching at a .334 clip on his way to the Hall of Fame.
27. Lynn Nolan Ryan
No one readily admits giving him the name, but any hitter who stood in the box against Ryan is keenly aware of what the name means.
26. Darrell Evans
One look at the famous puppet and a glance at the power-hitting lefty, and you’ll know why.
25. Dennis Boyd
Born in Mississippi (where beer may be referred to as oil), the colorful righthander carried the nickname on to the major leagues.
24. Johnny Lee Odom
Reportedly, a classmate in grade school thought Odom’s face looked like the moon. Really?
23. Frank Thomas
Given to Thomas by White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson. Thomas put the big hurt on American League pitching for 19 years.
22. Garry Maddox
Minister of Defense
If you watched Maddox patrol center field for the Phillies in the 1970s, you immediately get the name.
21. Mike Hargrove
Human Rain Delay
And you think Nomar Garciaparra invented the step-out-of-the-box-and-adjust-your-batting-gloves routine. Nope. Seasons changed between pitches when he was at bat.
20. Daniel Joseph Staub
Le Grand Orange
Known as Rusty by the Texans while with the Colt .45s, he became Le Grand Orange in Montreal as a member of the original Expos.
19. Jimmy Wynn
His small stature and powerful bat led to this moniker.
18. Steve Balboni
Presumably, Balboni was given the name because of his propensity to hit home runs. It may also be noted that a double meaning could be bye-bye, as in “He gone” back to the dugout because of his propensity to strike out.
17. Joakim Soria
A two-time All-Star when he was the Royals' closer, Soria has since undergone Tommy John surgery and returned to ninth-inning duties with the Rangers. Besides switching uniforms, Soria also would appreciate not being known by his nickname, as its association with the violence in his native country hits a little too close to home.
16. Frank Howard
The Capital Punisher
While playing in the nation’s capital, Howard punished AL pitching for 237 home runs in seven seasons, twice leading the league with 44, and finishing second in 1969 with 48.
15. Carl Pavano
After signing a four-year, $38 million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2005 season, Pavano made just nine starts in four seasons, going 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA.
14. Lawrence Peter Berra
Evidently when Berra sat with arms and legs crossed a friend suggested he looked like a Hindu yogi. Now the term Yogi is associated with malaprops more than Hindu.
13. Mariano Rivera
Good night batters.
12. Rickey Henderson
Man of Steal
One look at his stats and you understand this one: 1,406 career steals and a record 130 in 1982.
11. Shane Victorino
The Flyin’ Hawaiian
Victorino plays the game with endless energy and spunk, but his heritage rules the day.
10. Vince Coleman
Vincent Van Go
A true artist of the stolen base.
9. Ken Reitz
Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon marveled at how the St. Louis third baseman could pick up everything.
8. Pablo Sandoval
Kung Fu Panda
The loveable Giant Panda.
7. Fred McGriff
One of ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman’s nicknames that actually stuck. Thanks McGruff, the cartoon Crime Dog.
6. Kenny Rogers
“Every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser. The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”
5. Jose Bautista
Bautista was terrific as Joey Bats in “The Hitman” on YouTube. He’s been even better as himself for the Blue Jays.
4. Harry Davis
Poor Davis lost his job as Detroit first baseman to some kid name Hank Greenberg in 1933.
3. Ron Cey
Playing for Tommy Lasorda in the minor leagues must have had its pros and cons. Having your manager dub you Penguin because of your awkward running style would probably fall on the con side.
2. William Ellsworth Hoy
As if anyone needed reminding, here’s a clear indicator of just how far political correctness has come in 100 years. William Ellsworth Hoy lost his hearing and ability to speak as a result of childhood meningitis. At only 5’4”, he was difficult to strike out and was the first player to hit a grand slam in the American League. He died in 1961, just five months shy of his 100th birthday.
1. George Herman Ruth
Babe (also the Bambino, Sultan of Swat, The King of Sting, The Colossus of Clout)
Babe was the only major leaguer large enough for five larger than life nicknames.
LeBron James is a many of many talents.
The Cavaliers star talked with Rachel Nichols and we got to know more about him than we ever could've imagined. Maybe James has a future as a actor.
"I always wanted to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," James said. "And then when I got older, the Bad Boys movies, I was like, 'I would love to do an action movie.' Either be, like, a cop or something, or be, like, Batman. Hopefully I can do some more things. Maybe, we'll see."
LeBron James talks basketball, Batman and Bed Bath & Beyond as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals.Posted by Rachel Nichols on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Recruiting is the backbone of any college football program. Every coaching staff spends hours evaluating tape and discussing programs, but recruiting is still an inexact science.
And thanks to Miami, we have a pretty good look at what goes on inside the war room at programs while discussing the top prospects.
In this video released by the school, the coaching staff is discussing whether or not to offer a prospect that plays safety.
There’s some interesting discussion about what it takes to play the position, whether or not elite speed is needed and some of the ins and outs about what Miami looks for in terms of talent.
Check out this awesome video going inside the Canes recruiting war room:
Everyone is "all in" for Cleveland.
The Cavaliers won Game 1 on the road against the Hawks and Urban Meyer defintely took notice. The Ohio State coach took to Twitter to show off his custom made Cavs-Buckeyes jersey.
The Buckeyes also installed a huge video monitor in their practice facility and look what is on the screen. LeBron James hugging Cardale Jones after Ohio State won the big game. The championship game is on repeat, but what a coincidence that it would be James' image when the photo was snapped.
Added a big screen video board in the indoor facility. Doing it up big - Buckeye style! pic.twitter.com/rtRKcr2Lxq— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) May 22, 2015
Will the Buckeyes-Meyer luck rub off on the Cavaliers?
Belief is a tricky thing. You want to take someone's word for something, but there's a nagging feeling they could be wrong. We've all been there.
According to Boston Herald writer Ron Borges, Bill Belichick never believed Tom Brady's Deflategate story. If that's true, he's certainly not alone.
"Belichick never believed his story, from what I was told," Borges said. "Because they all know. Why do you think all those retired quarterbacks, the Troy Aikmans of the world — Troy Aikman is about as nice a guy as I've ever met in football — nobody's backed [Brady]. Nobody, not a single guy. Why do you think that is? Because they hate Brady? No. Because they're not stupid. They know nothing's done with those balls that the quarterback doesn't want done."
Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre actually did come to the aid of Brady, saying what he did wasn't cheating. Having your own coach not believe your story is different. The relationship between a quarterback and head coach needs to be the smoothest of perhaps any other on the team.
Only time will tell if this story plays a part in the already tangled web of Deflategate.
The Big Ten is known for possessing some of the nation’s top defenses, but this conference isn’t short on offensive talent for 2015. The Big Ten has three potential first-round picks at quarterback in next year’s draft. Cardale Jones is expected to start over Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett at Ohio State, while Michigan State’s Connor Cook is back for his third year under center, and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg should improve under second-year coach James Franklin. Additionally, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is a Heisman frontrunner, and Corey Clement should be a capable replacement for Melvin Gordon at running back.
To help pick the top offensive triplets in each of the Power 5 leagues, we devised a simple formula. We ranked the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers and assigned a 14 to the No. 1 player, with the point total decreasing to just one point to the No. 14 ranked player at each position. Only one player from each team was ranked per position.
Ranking the Big Ten’s Offensive Triplets for 2015
1. Ohio State
Total Points: 40
QB: Cardale Jones (1)
RB: Ezekiel Elliott (1)
WR: Michael Thomas (3)
Regardless of who starts under center for coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have one of the nation’s best trios. Jones is penciled in as the starter at quarterback after guiding Ohio State to a 3-0 record and a national championship in his short tenure under center. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 696 yards over the final three games of last year, and Thomas led all Ohio State receivers with 54 catches in 2014.
Related: Urban Meyer Ranks No. 1 Among Big Ten Coaches for 2015
2. Penn State
Total Points: 35
QB: Christian Hackenberg (3)
RB: Akeel Lynch (5)
WR: DaeSean Hamilton (2)
Ranking Penn State at No. 2 in Big Ten triplets largely depends on how far the offensive line develops during the offseason. The Nittany Lions struggled up front in 2014 and prevented the offense from taking off in coach James Franklin’s first year. Improvement is expected up front, which should allow quarterback Christian Hackenberg to rebound after an up and down 2014 campaign. Akeel Lynch rushed for at least 75 yards in three out of his last four outings, while Hamilton – only a sophomore – is among the Big Ten’s top receivers.
Related: QB Christian Hackenberg Ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten QB Ranks for 2015
Total Points: 29
QB: Tommy Armstrong (5)
RB: Terrell Newby (7)
WR: De’Mornay Pierson-El (4)
Adapting to new coach Mike Riley’s pro-style offense will be the biggest challenge for the Cornhuskers in 2015. However, the pieces are in place for Nebraska to rank among the Big Ten’s best offenses. Armstrong threw for 2,695 yards and 22 scores last season and has one of the top receiving corps in the Big Ten with Jordan Westerkamp and all-around threat De’Mornay Pierson-El. Terrell Newby and Imani Cross will replace Ameer Abdullah’s production at running back.
Related: Where Does Mike Riley Rank Among Big Ten Coaches?
Total Points: 29
QB: Joel Stave (9)
RB: Corey Clement (2)
WR: Alex Erickson (5)
Don’t expect much in the way of change for Wisconsin’s offense under new coach Paul Chryst. The former offensive coordinator for the Badgers is back in Madison after a three-year stint as Pittsburgh’s coach. Corey Clement should be a capable replacement for running back Melvin Gordon. However, question marks remain about quarterback Joel Stave and the options at receiver beyond Alex Erickson.
Related: Wisconsin's Corey Clement Ranks as the No. 2 Big Ten RB for 2015
Total Points: 28
QB: Wes Lunt (4)
RB: Josh Ferguson (6)
WR: Geronimo Allison (7)
The Fighting Illini have plenty of offensive firepower in place, and this trio could rank higher if receiver Mike Dudek wasn’t lost for an indefinite period of time with a torn ACL. Lunt was off to a good start last season before a leg injury limited him to just eight games. Ferguson has rushed for 700 yards in back-to-back years and has 100 receptions in that span.
Total Points: 23
QB: Connor Cook (2)
RB: Madre London (12)
WR: Aaron Burbridge (8)
If the Spartans had proven No. 1 starters at running back and receiver, they would rank much higher on this list. Madre London is listed at running back here, but Delton Williams, LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes will be in the mix for carries. Connor Cook is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and the senior needs Aaron Burbridge and DeAnthony Arnett to step up in 2015.
Total Points: 22
QB: Nate Sudfeld (6)
RB: Jordan Howard (4)
WR: J-Shun Harris (13)
Kevin Wilson’s specialty is offense, and the Hoosiers should take a step forward on the stat sheet after quarterback Nate Sudfeld missed a chunk of 2014 due to a shoulder injury. Sudfeld was ready to join the ranks of the Big Ten’s best at quarterback in 2013, throwing for 2,523 yards and 21 scores. Howard rushed for 1,587 yards at UAB last year and is expected to be the top replacement for Tevin Coleman. Harris is the team’s top returning receiver from 2014 – 18 catches for 168 yards.
Total Points: 22
QB: Chris Laviano (13)
RB: Paul James (9)
WR: Leonte Carroo (1)
The Scarlet Knights have some intriguing offensive weapons in place for the 2015 season. But can new coordinator Ben McDaniels settle on a quarterback? Chris Laviano exited spring with a slight edge on Hayden Rettig for the No. 1 spot. James gets the nod at running back, but sophomores Josh Martin and Robert Hicks are two names to remember. Carroo averaged 19.2 yards per catch in Big Ten games last year.
Total Points: 21
QB: Jake Rudock (7)
RB: Ty Isaac (8)
WR: Amara Darboh (9)
There’s little doubt Jim Harbaugh will generate some improvement out of Michigan’s offense in 2015. And if the pieces fall into place, the Wolverines should climb this list during the year. Jake Rudock is eligible immediately after transferring from Iowa and is expected to start over Shane Morris. Ty Isaac and Derrick Green are expected to share carries in the backfield. Amara Darboh will replace Devin Funchess as the No. 1 target in the passing attack.
Related: Jim Harbaugh is the No. 1 Coaching Hire for 2015
Total Points: 19
QB: C.J. Beathard (10)
RB: Jordan Canzeri (10)
WR: Tevaun Smith (6)
C.J. Beathard has replaced Jake Rudock as Iowa’s starting quarterback, and the Hawkeyes hope the Tennessee native helps the offense stretch the field more in 2015. Jordan Canzeri headlines a solid stable of running backs, while Tevaun Smith averaged a healthy 13.9 yards per reception in 2014.
Total Points: 19
QB: Matt Alviti (12)
RB: Justin Jackson (3)
WR: Christian Jones (11)
Justin Jackson had a breakout year for the Wildcats in 2014, leading the team with 1,187 yards and 10 rushing scores. Jackson remains the top back for Northwestern and will be among the Big Ten’s best in 2015. The Wildcats will spend fall practice sorting out their quarterback situation, as three candidates – Clayton Thorson, Matt Alviti and Zack Oliver – are vying for the No. 1 spot. Christian Jones is coming off a torn ACL and missed all of 2014.
Total Points: 12
QB: Mitch Leidner (8)
RB: Rodrick Williams (11)
WR: K.J. Maye (14)
Minnesota’s formula for success won’t change with a power rushing attack on offense. David Cobb will be missed, but Rodrick Williams and Rodney Smith should provide plenty of production. The bigger question mark on the Golden Gopher offense is a passing attack that managed only 147.3 yards in Big Ten games last year.
Related: Minnesota's Jerry Kill Ranks No. 5 Among Big Ten Coaches for 2015
Total Points: 9
QB: Caleb Rowe (11)
RB: Brandon Ross (13)
WR: Juwann Winfree (12)
There’s a lot of uncertainty for Maryland on both sides of the ball in 2015. A new defensive scheme is the team’s biggest concern, but the Terrapins have to replace quarterback C.J. Brown and dynamic receiver Stefon Diggs. Rowe is recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to return at full strength by this fall. More production is needed from the running backs, while Winfree headlines a receiving corps that lost four out of its top five targets from 2014.
Total Points: 7
QB: Austin Appleby (14)
RB: Keyante Green (14)
WR: Danny Anthrop (10)
Finding the right quarterback in coach Darrell Hazell’s biggest priority this offseason. Is Appleby the starter? Or should redshirt freshman David Blough or Danny Etling take the first snap? The concerns on offense extend to the running back spot, but there’s promise with Green and Markell Jones in 2015. Anthrop averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season and could be among the Big Ten’s top receivers. However, he’s also recovering from a torn ACL.
Without further ado, here are the players that achieved top honors for the 2014-15 season:
All-NBA, first team
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
All-NBA, second team
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
All-NBA, third team
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
The most notable snubs here are Kawhi Leonard and John Wall.
This list of 15 also has one major mystery. Pau Gasol had a terrific season in terms of comebacks, but to say he was one of the five best bigs in the game? That’s a bit generous.
The biggest surprise here is Cousins’ inclusion—not that he doesn’t belong. An elite, singular talent, he’s been overdue for this kind of recognition for a while. It just comes as unexpected that the media, long his enemy, gave it to him with the votes needed.
Here’s the defensive version of things:
All-Defense, first team
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
All-Defense, second team
John Wall, Washington Wizards
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Buls
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors
Tony Allen’s “First team, All-Defense” chant proved, of course, to be prophetic here. It’s hard to pick too many bones with this collection, though; 10 is a small number for how many great defenders there are in this league, and there will always be a bushel of them left out of the party.
— John Wilmes
Julian Edelman isn't taking it easy after winning the Super Bowl.
The Patriots receiver uploaded a training video, with a soundtrack by Childish Gambino, and shows fans he's only going to get better from here. Weight-lifting, cardio, and catching passes in the sand are all a part of the routine it takes to be great.
Edelman clearly doesn't have time to hear about Deflategate. He's too busy preparing for next year.
Don’t buy it.
Don’t buy what Bill Hancock is selling. Don’t buy what the conference commissioners are selling.
Certainly, don’t buy what Nick Saban is selling.
The Alabama Crimson Tide head coach has built up more than enough equity during his amazing career to have intelligent and respected opinions about his game.
But his latest comments about the College Football Playoff ruining the bowl system — what he claims he “fears the most” — couldn’t be further from reality.
What he “fears the most?” Really?
Not Gus Malzahn, not Ezekiel Elliott, not spread offenses, not his glaring weakness at quarterback.
But the BBVA Compass Bowl?
According to Saban, attention being removed from the Taxslayer Bowl is what keeps him up at night.
First, that’s more than difficult to believe. Second, it’s blatantly false.
Arkansas athletic director and chairman of the College Football Playoff Jeff Long couldn’t agree more.
"Well, I think sometimes coaches, particularly those at the highest level, I'm not sure how aware they are of what's really going on out there in the real world,” Long told Arkansas radio show Sports Talk with Bo.
The “real world” Long is referring to is television ratings and bowl expansion.
More people are watching bowl games than ever before. Remove the record-smashing playoff bowls from the equation — which lured roughly 90 million combined viewers for three games — and the average viewership for the remaining 36 bowls sits at over four million viewers per game (4,001,016 to be exact).
The lowest viewership in the 2013-14 bowl season — the last of the BCS Era — was the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which drew a paltry 332,000 viewers for the UNLV-North Texas showdown.
The lowest rated bowl game during the first Playoff season was the Camellia Bowl between South Alabama and Bowling Green, which drew more than three times the number of viewers at 1,110,000 sets of eyeballs.
Needless to say, fans are flocking to their televisions to watch the bowls like never before.
And how could the health of the bowl system be in question when the number of games continues to rise?
There were a record 39 bowls last year and not only is the system not suffering, but there is a chance that three more games will be added this fall.
That means 82 teams will play in a postseason game this season. It sounds like the bowl system is healthier than it’s ever been. Hell, bowl games are even being played outside of the country now.
Additionally, the College Football Playoff has increased the entire college football pie. With surging interest in the regular season and subsequent postseason tournament, the Playoff is elevating the entire sport to a new level of interest. Money is pouring into the sport from every angle at unprecedented rates.
Which, in turn, elevates interest and support for all 10 conferences, all 128 teams and all 42 bowl games.
Attendance numbers at bowl games are a concern but that isn’t anything that the entire sports world isn’t dealing with as well. Overall attendance numbers for big time college football were at record lows in 2014 and attendance at sporting events as a whole are reaching concerning benchmarks.
The in-home experience is more enjoyable and significantly more affordable than taking a family of four to the game — much less flying them to El Paso for a neutral field exhibition game.
That isn’t a bowl game problem, that’s a sports industry problem.
Generally speaking, head football coaches say things for a reason. What was Saban’s motivation behind these patently untrue and unfounded comments?
Maybe he’s just upset the entire world destroyed his team for losing to Ohio State on the biggest stage and no one cared nearly as much that Auburn lost to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
6. Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets
Had you told any close NBA follower that the Rockets got past the Los Angeles Clippers in the playoffs, without Beverley, a month ago… they wouldn’t have believed you. The 37-year-old Jason Terry did a shockingly good job slowing Chris Paul down during Houston’s historical comeback series win, and the Rockets are now in the Western Conference finals. Without Beverley’s maniacal defensive pressure to apply to MVP Steph Curry, though, things could end quickly for Houston. Terry is bound to show his age soon, and when the Rockets have to switch wingmen onto Steph, it should open up the offense for his passing genius.
5. John Wall, Washington Wizards
John Wall is one of the best players in the NBA, and he missed three games of a playoff series. After he fell on his hand in Game 1 (a dominant, 18-point, 13-assist performance from him, in which he led the Wizards to a 104-98 victory) he then missed the next three contests with a wrist injury. Paul Pierce’s heroics were enough to propel the Wiz to one more win—and nearly to two—but Wall’s absence was ultimately the weakness that Atlanta capitalized on. Wall came back in Game 6 and played another great game, but the Hawks had already taken control while he was gone.
4. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Love’s separated shoulder hasn’t had a terrible impact on the Cavaliers—not yet, anyway. They’ve been lucky enough with one big, generous baseline reality: They play in the Eastern Conference. Even without Love, LeBron James and Co. have had enough to get within three games of the Finals. An emboldened Tristan Thompson, conveniently enough, has filled in for Love and done a lot of tough tasks that Cleveland arguably needs more than their missing All-Star’s shooting and playmaking. Thompson has been a voracious rebounder and a relentless defender, looking like just about the best custodian James has ever had. The smart money, however, is on Cleveland missing Love’s modern versatility dearly if they land in the Finals.
3. Wes Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers were in rare air for much of the season. Their offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency were both consistently in the league’s top ten, putting them in company with only two other squads who could claim that status: the Warriors and the Hawks. That had a ton to do with Matthews, their best defender and the NBA’s overall leader in made three-pointers at the time of his injury. Without Wes against the Memphis Grizzlies, point guard Damian Lillard struggled as Mike Conley, Courtney Lee and Tony Allen took turns wearing him out. And without Matthews playing defense, Portland’s perimeter stronghold was downright porous.
2. Thabo Sefolosha and DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks
The severity of Carroll’s injury is yet unknown. His MRI concluded that no structural damage has been done to the knee he landed awkwardly on in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, but we don’t know how effective he can be on a quick turnaround. The thing is, he needs to be extremely effective, as he has the hardest job on the Hawks’ roster for this matchup—and potentially the hardest job in the entire sport—in guarding LeBron. Without Sefolosha either, who’s out for the year with a broken fibula, Atlanta is suddenly looking almost optionless in the face of the King’s warpath toward a fifth straight Finals appearance.
1. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder
The most important injuries in the playoffs are to men who didn’t play a minute in them. In fact, they don't even work for an organization that made the field. But the Thunder’s absence from this bracket has to be the biggest, most bothersome “what’s missing” feeling that’s making this spring feel somehow incomplete. When healthy, this is probably the most talented squad in the league. Now the franchise is undergoing a bit of change, with Billy Donovan hired as their new head coach in place of the outgoing Scott Brooks. Perhaps Donovan can manage the roster’s bodies well enough to help us avoid this sad lacking, a year from now.
— John Wilmes
Don't bite the hand that feeds you but once that hand stops, it's a different story.
Former Patriots corner is speaking out about Deflategate and it isn't pretty. Revis, now with the Jets, told New York Daily News his truth about Tom Brady and the issues surrounding the Patriots.
"Everybody's blowing it up because it is Tom Brady," Revis said. "But if (the NFL) feels he did the crime or he did something and they want to penalize them, then that's that. (The Patriots) have a history of doing stuff. You can't hide that ... Tom was there when they did that stuff in the past."
Revis continued saying that he comment on whether or not Brady is a cheater, but his background shouldn't have an effect on his punishment. The Patriots quarterback shouldn't receive an appeal just because of his image.
"If Tom gets caught with a DUI it's a DUI," Revis said. "If they are saying that he did what he's done, then the suspension is the suspension."
Revis also mentions that this isn't the first go-round with the Patriots and discipline.
"New England's been doing stuff in the past and getting in trouble," Revis said. "When stuff repeatedly happens, then that's it. I don't know what else to tell you. Stuff repeatedly happened through the years. You got SpyGate, you got this and that and everything else."
The Jets vs. Patriots games will be one to mark down on your calendars.
The fourth Super Bowl victory was supposed to be the one that put the controversies behind the New England Patriots. For eight long years since the tide turned against them after 2007's Spygate, the Patriots and their fans were subjected to the incredibly simplified "they haven't won anything since Spygate," which summed up a popular general feeling that New England could no longer win the big one without the cheating.
Yes, the Patriots won more games, division and conference titles than anyone else in the time, and came within two miracle plays by the Giants of having two more Super Bowl wins, but apparently not winning a Super Bowl since Week 1 of 2007 was hard proof that the Patriots were no longer good because they couldn't videotape opponent's defensive signals from a disallowed area.
With a fourth ring, it was hoped that things would finally come full circle for the Pats. That the haters would realize that, despite the overblown controversies and cheating accusations, the Patriots' place in history was cemented and perhaps, could be respected.
But as if on cue, Deflategate dropped just hours after the AFC Championship Game, and once again the pundits are out to discredit everything the Pats have accomplished, throwing around asterisks and cheater accusations, only fueled further by false media leaks from the NFL and a far-from-convincing investigation.
After a few months to bask in the glory of their fourth Super Bowl title, the release of the Wells Report, and its corresponding punishments from the NFL, have set the Patriots right back to where they were after Spygate — a lightning rod for criticism and "hot takes."
So what will the long-term effects of Deflategate be on the Patriots as Tom Brady enters the final three years of his current contract? There's little question that Brady and Bill Belichick are in their final act together, one way or another.
Will Deflategate prove to be the impetus for another scorched earth campaign, reminiscent of what the 2007 Patriots did after Spygate? Or will it be the straw that breaks New England's back?
The difference with Spygate was that it happened in-season, with the accomplishments of many of the dynasty veterans still on the roster being called into question. There was little doubt how players like Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and others would react in the weeks immediately following, as the "us against the world" card was never easier to play for a team that was already fueled on proving doubters wrong, even when it was clearly one of the best teams in the NFL.
But what about now? Yes, Deflategate is all anyone can talk about on all forms of NFL media right now, in the dead of the offseason. Will that still be the case four months from now? Will the Patriots' hate fire still burn as hot then?
And how much will new players like Jabaal Sheard and Scott Chandler, or rookies like Malcom Brown, really feel they need to prove the haters and doubters wrong? There are certainly enough Patriot veterans, led by Brady, to play with an extra chip on their shoulder. But can we really expect it to be a rallying call for the team months from now?
The Patriots' new and unproven secondary should be focused on what it is doing rather than trying to send messages to anyone.
Perhaps Deflategate will be the true beginning of the end for this Patriots dynasty. There are already rumors of dissension among owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady, and with Kraft abandoning his appeal of the NFL's punishment, what kind of message does that send to Brady as he prepares his own appeal?
Brady's suspension could be reduced, but it's still very likely that Jimmy Garoppolo, a promising second-year quarterback will get at least a start or two. No one needs to tell Brady what can happen when a veteran quarterback has to miss a couple games. He's seen firsthand that getting your starting job back is never a guarantee, especially under Belichick.
In the past, New England has been able to put aside all the outside "noise" and focus on playing football. That might be their greatest strength under Belichick, as there always seems to be some kind of distraction coming from outside the walls of Gillette Stadium, whether it was the unexpected release of a veteran player or an unexpected loss in the early part of the season.
It comes back to Brady and Belichick, as it always has the past 15 years. Never before has Brady's integrity been called into question, and if he needed some added motivation to wreak havoc even after securing his fourth Super Bowl ring, he certainly has it. But in football there are no guarantees.
The Patriots' dynasty has been an unprecedented ride of wins and controversies, and responding to this final black mark just might be the biggest test yet. But if there's one thing we know about Belichick and Brady, they'll go down swinging and it will be front page news one way or another.
Trends take time to develop and there is no arguing that over the last 20 years schools such as Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State have rightfully earned the moniker Wide Receiver University. But trends change over time and it looks as though recent history is showing there is a new player vying for the title, West Virginia University.
Over the last three NFL drafts (2013-15) West Virginia is the only school to have four wide receivers drafted. The Mountaineers are also the only team to have at least two wide receivers go in the first round, Kevin White in 2015 and Tavon Austin in '13.
Since 2013 there are three schools who have had three wide receivers taken in the past three drafts — USC, Oklahoma, and LSU. Of these four schools with at least three wideouts drafted since 2013 only WVU and USC have three players that went in the first three rounds. USC had Nelson Agholor drafted in the first round in 2015, Marqise Lee in the second round in 2014, and Robert Woods in the second round in 2013. Along with White and Austin, WVU had Stedman Bailey hear his named called in the third round of the 2013 draft.
Many will try to make the correlation between successful wide receivers and quarterbacks. However, in recent history that is simply not the case. Of the four schools listed above each have had only one quarterback drafted since 2013. The only school to have multiple wide receivers and multiple quarterbacks drafted in that time frame is Florida State with two each — Jameis Winston and EJ Manuel at quarterback and Kelvin Benjamin and Rashad Greene at wide receiver. Whether or not Clint Trickett would have been drafted had he remained healthy is up for debate, but his early-season stats in 2014 were leading him to receive a shot somewhere at the next level. Whether that would have been being drafted or signed as a free agent unfortunately will never be known.
It is no secret that Dana Holgorsen has a history of developing wide receivers for the NFL. However the string of wide receivers that have come out of WVU in the last three years show a new growing trend in Morgantown, one that has never been seen. The Mountaineers have had a total of 10 wide receivers taken in the NFL draft since 1990, two of those were quarterbacks at WVU — Darren Studstill and Rasheed Marshall. Of the remaining eight wide receivers drafted, four have come in the last three years.
While WVU is a long way from catching the likes of Miami, Ohio State, and Florida State, schools that boast dozens of drafted wide receivers since 1990, there is no doubt that this continued trend will eventually garner a changing of the guard and a new school vying for the title WR U.
— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.
Spring practice is over for all 128 college football teams, which means it’s a long wait until the teams officially hit the field once again in the fall.
But there’s no shortage of college football news, as oddsmaker Bovada has released its updated national championship odds for 2015.
And it should be no surprise the Buckeyes open as the favorite at 7/2 odds.
A look through the odds shows some intriguing numbers, as Auburn – potentially a co-favorite in the SEC West with Alabama – is 12/1, while the Crimson Tide is a 7/1 favorite.
Other teams with favorable odds? How about Baylor at 20/1 or Georgia at 25/1?
College Football's Post-Spring National Title Odds
|Team||National Title Odds|
Stephen Curry is being unfairly ridiculed for bringing his daughter to the press conference after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
The NBA is in one way or another showing the MVP that the league is behind him. They put together a video of Curry and little Riley with scenes of him talking about being a father. It's also the league's subtle way of saying "shut up, media." We're all glad they did it.
Classy move by the NBA.
College football fans are the best.
Take this guy for example. Aaron Taylor has been mowing his lawn like this for the past year waiting for Google Maps to update. The epitome of dedication. The Vols fan mowed the Tennessee logo in his lawn to show everyone where his loyalty lies.
His place is the real Rocky Top.
Opportunities like this don’t come around too often. The Los Angeles Lakers, perhaps the most storied franchise in all of sports, are usually riding high in the championship picture. Winners of 16 titles and 31 NBA Finals appearances, they’re pretty unseasoned with where they are now: the draft lottery.
The last time L.A. had a top-five selection? 1982. That’s when they scooped up James Worthy, who went on to be an integral part of the most famous iteration of the team, next to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
It should come as no surprise that this year’s crop of draft prospects—and their agents—understand the rarity of this occasion. The money, notoriety and probably even the winning potential is far greater with the Lakers than it is with any other 2015 lottery team. Bad as they were this past season, the allure of playing for the purple-and-gold is massive.
Becoming a Lakers star, even when they’re terrible, means global appeal. Just ask Nick Young. Plus, things in the competition department can turn on a dime for them because of their ability to attract elite talent on the free agency market.
That might be why Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are both making gestures that aren’t hard to read as meaning “I’d rather be the No. 2 overall pick, not the No. 1, and play for the Lakers instead of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Exhibit #1 is this tweet sent out shortly after the draft order was determined, by never-wrong league insider Adrian Wojnarowski, of Yahoo! Sports:
If Karl-Anthony Towns is determined to get to Lakers, it'll be interesting to see how agreeable his camp will be to meeting with Minnesota.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 20, 2015
Woj is not a speculator, or much of an opinionist. If he posts something like that, it’s likely a sort of subtle message being delivered through complex, trusted channels of the NBA power network.
Okafor, for his part, said this to Sports Ilustrated after the lottery: “I don't know that I should go No. 1… I don't care. I just want to go to the right environment for me and the right team. I think the hype about No. 1 is more for the fans.”
This could all be an incorrect reading of the tea leaves. But if clues like these continue to drop, don’t be surprised if you see this story expand quite a bit.
— John Wilmes
Russell Wilson is making a cameo in the new "Entourage" movie, and now the cast is making an appearance on his field.
The Seahawks quarterback gave the "Entourage" cast a lesson in ball handling as they tried to catch tennis balls one-handed. Not an easy thing to do.
Athleticism is truly a gift.
Adoree’ Jackson quite literally jumped, feet first, into what should be a memorable 2015 season for the USC sophomore defensive back.
His long jump of 25 feet, 3.5 inches in the Pac-12 Track & Field Championship on May 16 garnered Jackson a conference championship, and the opportunity to win the national title next month.
It’s not the only award Jackson plans to pursue this year, either.
“That’s one of the things I expect out of myself,” Jackson said following USC’s spring game on April 11, referring to the Heisman Trophy.
Jackson already started a nice collection of trophies in 2014, winning Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and earning Freshmen All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America. But the Heisman is at a whole other level, beyond even his Pac-12 long jump title.
Despite primarily playing cornerback, Jackson has designs he describes as “serious talk and fun at the same time” on winning college football’s most prestigious, individual honor.
Winning the Heisman as a two-sport star would put Jackson in exclusive company with such notable names as Bo Jackson, Jameis Winston and USC’s first Heisman winner, Mike Garrett.
Doing so as a defensive player first and foremost would land Jackson in a club that includes just one member: 1997 Heisman winner Charles Woodson, a player USC head coach Steve Sarkisian directly compared Jackson to in December.
Like Woodson, Jackson’s road map to New York City and the Heisman presentation is drawn on the ability to excel in all three phases.
Sarkisian played Jackson at wide receiver and returner, in addition to the then-freshman’s duties as the Trojans’ shut-down cornerback. Jackson came through with three touchdowns on offense and two on special teams — one of each coming in USC’s Holiday Bowl defeat of Nebraska.
It takes a talented player to stand out in all three phases, but talent can only go so far.
“Better than his talent is what he brings every day,” Sarkisian said following the bowl game. “As a true freshman, you think about… what he's doing in the return game, on defense, [and] we have him on offense. It's hard.”
Just as hard is juggling track & field with football, which Jackson did throughout USC’s 15-date spring practice slate. Much like his transition from cornerback to wide receiver, however, Jackson flowed smoothly from long-jumping into the sand pit, to running down teammate Steven Mitchell in the Trojans' spring game.
J.J. Watt is not human. There have been many instances that prove that very theory.
The Texans star has given us another reason to continue thinking the way we do. Watt tweeted a picture of the bruise he received during a game against the Bills and wow, just wow.
Throwback to when this happened in the 1st half of the Bills game... pic.twitter.com/2Jspelyjnw— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) May 21, 2015
Knowing Watt he probably just shrugged it off as nothing.