Lakers’ Luke Walton said team plans to talk to NBA this summer about schedule

first_imgThe Lakers had at least one player, though, who likes the schedule as is.“I like it; only one game on the road,” Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac said. “We get there a day earlier so we have some time to rest. I don’t think that’s a problem.”Taking on the challengeAt the end of practice, Walton asked what Randle thought of Zubac on Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns after he scored 25 points and had 13 rebounds last Friday.“Towns scored two buckets on me, what are you talking about?” Randle said during a shooting session. “He wasn’t cooking on me.”Walton considered Randle’s response “just trash talking.” Moments later, the No. 7 pick in 2014 (Randle) downplayed the significance of matching up against the No. 1 pick in 2015 (Towns) after they played in separate stints at Kentucky and competed against each other in high school.“He’s one of the good young players of the league. It’s always fun to measure up and compete,” said Randle, who averages 13 points on 48.1 percent shooting and 8.7 rebounds per game. “That’s who I should be every night. I need to be more consistent.”Walton plans to feature varying defensive assignments on Towns, who averages 24.6 points on 53.5 percent shooting and 12.1 rebounds per game. Beyond hoping that strategy slows Towns down, Walton figured the varying combinations would help develop his young players.“Anytime guys you grow up playing against, it’s fun to go out there and compete,” Randle said. “I don’t compare my self to anyone. We’re two different players”Injury updateWalton considered it “most likely” rookie Brandon Ingram will sit on Thursday against Minnesota considering he has yet to complete a full practice since missing the past two games with tendinitis in his right knee. On Wednesday, Ingram performed a series of stretches to extend his range of motion and took a few shots. MINNEAPOLIS >> As he reflected on his 10-year NBA career, Lakers coach Luke Walton remembered the so-called Grammy trip in which the Lakers traveled east for about two weeks. The slate of back-to-back games became a staple, too.Never had Walton experienced what his Lakers players are currently enduring. When the Lakers (21-53) visit the Minnesota Timberwolves (29-44) on Thursday at Target Center, it will mark the Lakers’ sixth one-game trip in a Midwestern city.“If we’re doing a one-game trip to Phoenix or Golden State, that’s easy,” Walton said. “But here you’re changing time zones and losing two hours.”The Lakers have traveled twice to Houston, once to San Antonio and once to Oklahoma City. The Lakers will return to San Antonio on April 8. Lakers forwards Julius Randle and Tarik Black as well as guard Jordan Clarkson all acknowledged the difficulty in managing such an itinerary. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“It’s tough travel-wise. It’s kind of hard,” Randle said. “You just deal with it. But what else can you do?”Walton has scheduled practices after the team lands to combat jet leg, though the Lakers have lost all four of those games arguably because of factors beyond traveling issues. Still, Walton said the Lakers will plan to talk with the NBA this summer in hopes to reduce those trips next season.“It comes from a good place,” Walton said. “The NBA is trying to find a way to get less back-to-backs. They are trying to even things out.”The Lakers played 16 back-to-back games after playing 18 in the 2015-16 season, but Walton argued that might not be a good thing.“I’d rather have more back-to-backs,” Walton said. “If there’s a way to do it where there’s a closer city, there’s a lot of different options. Without all the information, I have no idea how to suggest what’s a better way.”last_img read more

Lakers select Lonzo Ball with No. 2 pick in NBA Draft

first_img“Rob & I were able to get our first choice this evening,” Johnson tweeted, his only comment after initially planning to speak to reporters after the draft. “Laker Nation get ready, we are off to a great start. Welcome to the team Lonzo Ball!”Ball may have been the Lakers’ first choice. But the Lakers say he was not their only choice. The Lakers had also worked out Kansas guard/forward Josh Jackson, Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox and Washington guard Markelle Fultz, whom the Philadelphia 76ers selected with the No. 1 pick.“There were a lot of debates going back and forth,” Walton said. “That’s kind of the way it should be. You don’t want everybody agreeing on the same thing. Otherwise, what is the point of even having meetings and brainstorming?”Walton said the Lakers had debates about Jackson and Ball. Walton called Jackson “a monster on the defensive end.” Then, Walton revealed, “we also want the ball moving and we want to play an up tempo game. That’s where Ball is a genius at.”While the Lakers maintained they kept an open mind about each prospect with their draft workouts and interviews, most in NBA circles viewed Ball as the expected and correct choice.The Lakers, and other NBA talent evaluators, have praised Ball’s court vision, but they also see leadership qualities in his temperament, pass-first mentality and scoring that make them believe he can run the team’s offense and help guide a young roster.“As a leader, guys are going to naturally gravitate toward somebody who wants to make them better,” Walton said. “He’s the type of player that when he’s on the floor, all four guys that are out there with him become better instantly. That’s a quality and trait not many people have. The great ones all have it. We hope that by the way he plays, every one else on our team becomes better.”Those evaluations partly explain why the Lakers also felt comfortable trading third-year guard D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The deal was primarily made to shed Timofey Mozgov’s three-year, $48 million contract, acquire a serviceable center (Brook Lopez) and collect another asset (the No. 27 draft pick), but many believe frustration with the pace of Russell’s development and concerns about whether he could adjust to Ball’s arrival made him more expendable.“We can’t talk about any of the trade,” Walton said. “It’s not official yet. All I’ll say is that we love the way Zo plays the game of basketball.”Surely, Ball enters the beginning of his NBA career with his own question marks.Does LaVar’s guarantee about the Lakers’ playoff fortunes put unneeded pressure on his son?“I think it will make it more challenging a little bit. But I think every top draft pick that comes in has a target on his back,” Walton said. “The best players in this league want to set the tone with these young players early to let them know what it’s like here. I know when I was a young player, I had a target on my back from my own teammates because of things my dad said. It ended up working out.”Will LaVar be able to promote the Big Baller Brand without creating a distraction that could undermine the Lakers?“He’s his own man and will do what he does. We’ll do what we do and will get after it here,” Walton said. “We’re not going to change anything. I’m sure he’ll fit into our culture. He’ll help improve our culture with the way he plays, the way he passes, his selfless nature. That’s why we took him.”Although Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6 rebounds and 7.6 assists on 55.1 percent shooting with UCLA, will his unorthodox shot ever become an issue in the NBA? Can Ball overcome any defensive issues well enough to elevate the Lakers’ execution on that end after they struggled to do so in recent seasons?“We got to get him in here first,” Walton said. “I know as a team we need to improve defensively. He’s going to be a big part of that. But until we get him in the gym and have him playing with our guys, three on three and five on five, we’re not saying to start on this already.”Ball will begin to answer those questions when he plays on the Lakers’ Summer League team in July, but true clarity won’t emerge until the 2017-18 season.The Lakers saw Johnson deliver on all of his promise when they drafted him No. 1 nearly 38 years ago. Now, Johnson believes Ball can do the same thing.“It’s crazy. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Ball said on the ESPN telecast. “Learning from him every day, it’s truly a blessing” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersImmediately, Ball’s outspoken father, LaVar, predicted something bold that only pales to when Johnson led the Lakers to an NBA championship his rookie season in 1980.“Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs his first year,” LaVar said on ESPN from the team’s draft headquarters at the Barclays Center in New York. “Come see me when he does. I’ll say I told you so.”Lakers coach Luke Walton did not share the same brashness.“I’m a very optimistic person. But I don’t look that far into the future,” Walton said. “Right now, I’m hoping he leads us to a couple of Summer League victories. We’ll take it from there.”But after suffering through four of the worst seasons in franchise history, several head coaching changes and a front office shakeup, the Lakers hope they took another step toward accelerating their rebuilding process by drafting the player most expected they would.center_img EL SEGUNDO – The choice that seemed inevitable is the one the Lakers made.A point guard from the franchise’s glorious past on Thursday drafted a homegrown teenager he hopes is the point guard who can lead them out of their current struggles and into a bright future.Magic Johnson, who took over as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations in February, selected UCLA’s Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Ball, who earned national attention at Chino Hills High and his one season in Westwood, grew up hoping he would get an opportunity to play for his hometown team and mimic the passing skills of his longtime idol.last_img read more

NBA Finals 2019: Raptors were ‘disrespectful’ to Andre Iguodala, says Stephen Curry

first_img“Over the course of the game, that’s kind of disrespectful to leave Andre Iguodala open like that with the game on the line.”He’s made big shots like that before and he got it done tonight.”ANDRE— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 3, 2019Curry (23 points) and Klay Thompson (25) led the Warriors, although the latter suffered a hamstring injury late in the contest. Warriors star Stephen Curry accused the Raptors of disrespecting Andre Iguodala late in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.Iguodala made a crucial 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining to seal the Warriors’ 109-104 win as they evened the series at 1-1 on Sunday. Klay Thompson injury update: Warriors star (hamstring) ‘questionable’ for Game 3 NBA Finals 2019: Draymond Green, Drake clear air over dinner after heated exchange NBA trade rumors: Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry ‘loves the idea’ of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday backcourt Curry felt the Raptors’ lax approach to Iguodala — a three-time NBA champion and the 2015 Finals MVP — was disrespectful.”The whole fourth quarter they were playing some janky defense just trying to send bodies to me everywhere and our whole roster just took advantage of it,” he told ESPN. Related News Kevon Looney (chest) was also hurt and DeMarcus Cousins stepped up for the Warriors with 11 points and 10 rebounds in almost 28 minutes.”He (Cousins) just did what he does. He played aggressive, he played smart, he got other people involved with passing out of the post, made a couple of big shots and just gave us energy,” Curry said.”We had two guys that were down, he stepped up big time, he’s appreciative of the moment, he’s playing in his first finals and this is the big time for him.”last_img read more

Maurice Hooker, Jose Ramirez feel the same way about their title unification fight

first_imgNEW YORK — Maurice Hooker walked across the seventh floor of The Renaissance Hotel in New York City on Saturday and gave a warm welcome to Jose Ramirez and his trainer Robert Garcia on sight. All three men flashed healthy grins.In a boxing world where negotiations between fighters under two different promotions often get contentious, this world super lightweight title unification bout, scheduled for July 27, came together rather smoothly for Hooker and Ramirez. And for that, the two champions are grateful. Join DAZN and watch Hooker vs. Ramirez on July 27″I was thankful of my promoters — Bob Arum, Top Rank, ESPN — because they know how important of a fighter I am to them,” Ramirez, the WBC titleholder, told Sporting News about his promoters allowing him to fight the Matchroom Boxing/Roc Nation Sports co-promoted Hooker at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, and live on DAZN. “For them to allow me to come to a different network and different promotional company to perform, at the end of the day, they made a big step to allow me to do that.”That was the only way this fight was going to be possible — if I came to his territory and his network. That was the only way the fight of this magnitude was going to take place.”Hooker took Ramirez’s feelings about the unification fight a step further, saying the highly anticipated bout was “easy to make.””Jose wanted to fight me, I wanted to fight him — we wanted to show everybody who’s best at 140 who’s not in the tournament,” Hooker, the WBO champ, offered to SN. “It was easy to make, not that hard.”Adding to their thrill is the fact that both Hooker and Ramirez fully realize what’s bubbling on the other side of the division, with WBA champion Regis Prograis and IBF titleholder Josh Taylor set to unify their titles in the World Boxing Super Series super lightweight final in September. That means the path to declaring an undisputed champion at 140 pounds in 2020 is looking clear as the New York City skyline was on this sunny day.That’s four undefeated champions of 30 and younger on the road to declaring one face, one name as the undisputed ruler. And for that, the present time for the super lightweight division sort of resembles the name of the hotel in which Hooker and Ramirez stood on this spring day — The Renaissance.”It’s very exciting,” Hooker said. “Now we’re going to see who’s the best at 140. The division is hot. We’re young, we’re in our prime, so it’s the best time to fight each other.”Ramirez added similar sentiments moments later.”I’m glad people are going to see who the best is at 140 at this time soon enough,” he said.When asked who they’d like to face if victorious next month, Hooker and Ramirez each cited Prograis, but for slightly different reasons.Hooker, a Dallas native, and Prograis, a Houston transplant from New Orleans, have exchanged trash talk in the past and know a mega fight would settle their budding interstate rivalry and for ultra-high stakes.”If Josh wins, it might be harder to make the fight, but I’m going for Regis just because he’s from the USA,” Hooker said. “I want to fight (Prograis), I want to knock his head off. I’m just going for him.”Ramirez added that he’d also like the opportunity to silence Prograis, whose confidence has been growing.“I’d say Regis Prograis, too, just because he’s really feeling himself with the publicity he’s getting from the tournament,” Ramirez said. “Which is good for him (because) I believe he never had it before in his career.”Of course, that’s looking way ahead of their own fight, which is just more than a month away.Both Hooker and Ramirez are coming off a big 2018, having had a chance to add a quality win to their respective ledgers early this year, as well.The 29-year-old Hooker (26-0, 17 KOs) scored a split-decision over British boxer Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England, to win the WBO strap last June. He then defended the title via a seventh-round TKO of Alex Saucedo in November and scored a unanimous decision victory over Mikkel LesPierre in March.Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Ramirez (24-0, 16 KOs) earned the WBC title with a unanimous decision win over Amir Imam last March before defending the belt via a unanimous decision over Antonio Orozco in September and a majority decision against Jose Zepeda in February.That sets the scene for this impending title-unification bout, with both champions curious to see how this fight plays out July 27.”I’m excited to see how a fighter like Maurice Hooker is going to react to a fighter like myself, who’s an Olympian, who not just has the power and comes forward, but is very defensive as he’s coming forward and uses angles,” said Ramirez, who calls Avenal, Calif., home. “And all that comes from amateur experience.”That amateur experience includes a 2011 bout against the arguable pound-for-pound best Vasyl Lomachenko in a bout that Ramirez nearly won.“Fighters like that allowed me to better myself and learn a lot from,” Ramirez said.To that, Hooker feels like he has had invaluable experience sparring with the likes of welterweight world champions Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., who are also considered by many to be the pound-for-pound best.“I held my own,” Hooker said of those experiences. “They didn’t push me around; I didn’t push them around. It was good sparring. It was better than some of the fights they had.”MORE: Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year Hooker vows to be equipped for Ramirez’s best ring work next month.“It’s going to be an action fight,” Hooker said. “May the best man win. I’m preparing, me and my team. We’ll be ready for anything he brings.”Getting one step closer to being crowned undisputed king at 140 should be all the motivation either fighter needs.last_img read more

Former USA star Wade anticipates super competitive World Cup in China

first_imgDwyane Wade lived highs and lows in his time with the United States national team, an experience that tells him there are no certainties for the Americans less than three months away from the opening tip of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.At the 2008 Olympics, Wade was a leading player in the USA “Redeem Team” that captured the gold medal. He had also played for the Americans at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2006 World Cup in Japan, when the United States finished third. “You learn from every experience. You learn when you win, you learn when you lose. The most important thing is to move on and work hard to win the next one. It was tough to lose in Japan, but we bounced back.”Wade, a three-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat, brought the curtain down on his 16-year NBA career a couple of months ago. He says he’ll be keeping tabs on the World Cup in China, which is the biggest event on the international sports calendar this year.”Oh yes, absolutely,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing some games and seeing the most talented guys in the world competing at international level.” As for finishing third in Japan in his one and only World Cup, Wade said:  “We wanted to win the world title but we failed on our mission. It was disappointing because we knew we had all the tools to win the title, but we had a tough game against Greece that ended our dream.”The Greeks won, 101-95. The Americans claimed a 96-81 triumph over Argentina in the Third-Place Game.“I KNOW EVERYONE IN CHINA CAN’T WAIT FOR THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT AND IS EXCITED TO SEE THEIR FAVORITE PLAYERS AND TEAMS. THE STAGE IS GOING TO BE GREAT; THE TOURNAMENT IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE BEST EVER.”- Wade”We were able to bounce back and win the bronze, but this tournament wasn’t the best we had because we didn’t reach our goal,” Wade said. “But I think that we all learned from it and that it helped us in the following competitions because we won the gold.”We came back two years later at the Olympics (in Beijing) with the mindset of ‘We’re going to win and not have the same performance that we had in Japan.’center_img “It’s going to be a very exciting tournament with some very intense games,” Wade, now 37, said to “China is going to be the center of the basketball world and the teams are going to give everything. Team USA is going to fight to keep their crown after their title in Spain five years ago.”The top three spots are going to be tough to reach for every team. The battle is going to be very, very intense.”“YOU HAVE SO MANY TEAMS BUILDING GREAT ROSTERS, LIKE AUSTRALIA, CANADA AND SERBIA, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT CAN HAVE VERY GOOD RUNS. THE BATTLE FOR THE MEDAL SPOTS IS GOING TO BE VERY INTERESTING.”- WadeWhile he’s confident two-time defending champions USA will boast a terrific squad at the first-ever 32-team World Cup, he also knows other countries will have good reasons to aim high.”In general, the level of competitiveness has grown a lot in recent years. You have so many teams building great rosters, like Australia, Canada and Serbia, for example, that can have very good runs,” he said. “The battle for the medal spots is going to be very interesting. Many teams can reach those last three spots.”Going to China for a national team tournament, which Wade did 11 years ago, is going to be an exciting trip.”When you play at this level, you experience the passion of other countries for basketball and their love for their national team,” he said.”China is going to be such a great host and the tournament is going to be so great.”The fans, the environment, the love for basketball is very good there, and I’m sure that it’s going to be a huge success both on and off the court. I know everyone in China can’t wait for the start of the tournament and is excited to see their favorite players and teams. The stage is going to be great; the tournament is going to be one of the best ever.” read more

NBA free agency news: Khris Middleton will decline option with Bucks, command max deal

first_imgAnother All-Star will be available in free agency as Bucks forward Khris Middleton plans to decline his $13 million player option for next season, his agent told ESPN.This move from Middleton isn’t shocking as he’s expected to re-sign with Milwaukee for five years and near-max money, according to multiple reports. NBA free agency rumors: Lakers, Knicks among 6 teams interested in Bobby Portis Though Milwaukee is fresh off an incredible season  that netted the Bucks the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, the roster could look much different than the one that faced Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals as Middleton, 2017 Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and midseason acquisitions Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic are all free agents. Middleton was named to his first All-Star team last season despite taking a small step back in scoring from last year (18.3 points per game vs. 20.1 in 2017-18) with Mike Budenholzer taking over the Bucks, but he averaged a career-high in rebounds (6.0) and assists (4.3). He remains very efficient at putting the ball in the bucket, as he has shot better than 45 percent from the field, 38 percent from the 3-point line and 87 percent from the free-throw line in his career.A max deal in Milwaukee for Middleton would net him roughly $190 million over five seasons. If he signs elsewhere he’d be eligible for about $140 million over four years. Related Newscenter_img Lakers rumors: Los Angeles eyeing third max contract player, looking to shed salary NBA trade rumors: Celtics have ‘checked in’ with Rockets about potential deal for Clint Capelalast_img read more

Women’s EuroBasket: A gold medal reflects Spain’s golden generation

first_imgIn a typical post-game press conference, Spain Head Coach Lucas Mondelo begins by explaining his strategy for the game that has just ended in a very formulaic manner before opening up to questions. But at the end of the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket final against France he began talking straight from the heart. He said: “I’m not going to talk tactically about anything. “After a long time with this team, it’s incredible how they are able to surprise me as a coach every day. I would like to thank everybody players and staff because I’m able to live this experience as the face of the team in these press conferences, but I’d like to thank everybody. And I would especially like to thank Laia Palau, because she makes every coach she plays for a championship coach.”Palau was sat next to Mondelo, grinning from ear-to-ear, holding back eyes full of joyful tears after her team won a second consecutive EuroBasket for the first time since the Soviet Union in 1991. And history was on the mind of the 39-year-old point guard, who said: “This group has grown up since 2013 and right now they are in the best moment as mature players. They are not old but their careers are amazing already, they know how to be on the court and have this experience.  “One day for sure it cannot be like this because we will be really old, but we are showing that experience is important. If your legs are following you, and your brain is working, I think this group can have at least two more years [of high level basketball], not me, but this group – they can play amazing basketball.”Another player who has been with the squad for a number of is Laura Nicholls, the second-longest tenured Spanish player in this iteration of the team. Holding the EuroBasket trophy with two medals around her neck – one gold, and another made of twine cut down from the hoop – she was also taking a moment to reminisce about the incredible run this Spanish team has put together: “In 2011, when we got eliminated from EuroBasket, we learned that it doesn’t really matter who you are, you have to give your best every second in practice or the game or you will go home. I remember having this feeling of emptiness, and we always took this away to get better as a team.“I think we can see how we have been growing up. On the court we have our own personality, our own way of playing – go hard or go home. I can see how it started changing in 2015 when we started winning several medals in a row. It doesn’t matter who we have in front of us, we don’t see any color or any national team or any players that can be better than us.”It certainly wasn’t going to be France, as the neighbouring nation will be feeling bleu after a lacklustre performance. After letting Marta Xargay get loose for three open threes in the first quarter for Spain, the French were playing from behind, and too few players turned up to play in the second half to get the team back in to the contest. One player that turned up was Bria Hartley. After going 2/4 in the first half, she came out of the locker room with plenty of energy and shot 4/5, including a step-back three-point shot after she had got in rhythm with consecutive scoring plays. She said: “I was just trying to go out there and work as hard as possible and just try to make plays for the team to have a fighting chance. The game didn’t really go the way that we wanted to but I tried to give it my all until the end.” Sadly, it wasn’t enough, and once again it was left to France Head Coach Valerie Garnier to search for positives after a fourth runner-up experience in four straight EuroBasket tournaments. She said: “My team is very young but this is our fourth final in a row and it’s difficult because we would like to finish one EuroBasket with a victory, but it’s like this, we have to continue to work a lot.“It’s a very good experience for our young players. They have improved and they grown in this tournament and we have to prepare for the future.” The future for Spain, however, is hopeful for even greater things. While Palau hinted that she might not be playing in two years time, the team didn’t play with the MVP of the last EuroBasket, Alba Torrens. Before the next EuroBasket, however, is Tokyo 2020. Nicholls said: “I don’t think about Olympics at the moment. We all just deserve to enjoy this, go on holidays, to be with our family and when you bring it home to your family and friends you can start really enjoying it.”last_img read more

Jay Bruce injury update: Phillies outfielder (ribs) placed on injured list

first_imgPhillies outfielder Jay Bruce, who left Tuesday’s win against the Dodgers in the third inning with a rib injury, was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday, the team announced.In a corresponding move, the Phillies recalled outfielder Nick Williams from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. According to The Athletic, Bruce said only that the injury is in his rib cage, and it “sounds like he might need to go on the injured list.”Bruce underwent an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury, but the Phillies offered no details in making their announcement.The Phillies can ill afford to lose yet another outfielder for an extended period. They acquired Bruce last month from the Mariners in a trade to replace Odubel Herrera, who is suspended the rest of the season for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence policy. Andrew McCutchen already has been lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Bruce immediately grabbed his side after a check swing in Tuesday’s game. After manager Gabe Kapler and a trainer checked on him, he was removed from the game.Kapler told reporters afterward that Bruce’s injury was either an intercostal or oblique injury. The intercostal muscles connect the ribs. The oblique muscles make up the so-called “six pack” core muscles that are critical for baseball players in swinging a bat and throwing. Related News MLB trade rumors: Phillies have been ‘in contact with every team that has pitching available’ Losing Bruce takes a power bat out of the Phillies lineup. He has 24 home runs with an .831 OPS this season, including 10 home runs in 33 games with Philadelphia.In contrast, Williams is slashing .173/.221/.259 with one homer and four RBI in 81 at-bats in 50 MLB games this season.If the Phillies look to make a deal for an outfielder before the MLB trade deadline in two weeks, some of the names that are floating as available include Adam Jones (Orioles), Shin-Soo Choo (Rangers), Derek Dietrich (Marlins) and Curtis Granderson (Blue Jays).last_img read more

‘Last Chance U’ Season 4: Catching up with Jason Brown, ICC football and a disastrous 2018 season

first_imgSeason 4 of “Last Chance U” is back. Netflix’s wildly popular look inside the world of junior college football will once again return to Independence, Kan., to focus on Independence Community College.The fourth season focuses on the Pirates’ 2018 campaign, but those hoping to watch ICC continue its upward trajectory under coach Jason Brown will come away disappointed: It was an unmitigated disaster on and off the football field, culminating with Brown’s resignation after the season — and not because of the Pirates’ record. Here’s everything you need to catch up, and what you need to know about what should be a wild fourth season of “Last Chance U” — perhaps the last one we’ll see at Independence Community College.MORE: Where are the stars of Netflix’s ‘Last Chance U’ now?When does “Last Chance U” Season 4 premiere?Season 4 of “Last Chance U” premiered on Friday. The latest installment centers around Brown and the Pirates’ 2018 football season, where the majority of the footage was presumably shot. If you haven’t seen it yet, the trailer hints at the tumultuous nature of their season.What was ICC’s record in 2018?The Pirates finished as the No. 5 team in the junior college ranks in 2017 after a 9-2 season that featured wins over Garden City and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, which finished No. 13 and No. 8, respectively, in the final NJCAA top 20 poll.The Pirates’ 2018 campaign was … less successful. ICC managed to beat Dodge City Community College 38-20 in its opener, but lost eight straight games en route to a 2-8 season. The Pirates’ only other win last year was in the finale, a 21-15 overtime victory against Ellsworth Community College on Nov. 10.Their full results:DateOpponentResultRecordAug. 23at Dodge City Community CollegeW, 38-201-0Sept. 1Hutchinson Community CollegeL, 37-271-1Sept. 15Garden City Community CollegeL, 28-211-2Sept. 22Fort Scott Community CollegeL, 33-01-3Oct. 6at Butler Community CollegeL, 17-141-4Oct. 13at Iowa Western Community CollegeL, 44-211-5Oct. 20Coffeyville Community CollegeL, 21-161-6Oct. 27Iowa Central Community CollegeL, 20-191-7Nov. 3at Highland Community CollegeL, 24-211-8Nov. 10Ellsworth Community CollegeW, 21-15 (OT)2-8Some notable lowlights include a 33-0 drubbing against unranked Fort Scott, a 44-21 loss to Iowa Western — that saw Brown ejected and later suspended (more on that in a minute) — and three straight losses by five points or fewer.Needless to say, it’s unlikely ICC will open the 2019 season anywhere near the top 20.Why did Jason Brown resign at ICC?Brown’s mercurial personality was one of the main draws of “Last Chance U” in Season 3. It ended up costing him both during and after Season 4.As previously mentioned, Brown was ejected from ICC’s game against Iowa Western, for arguing with officials’ rulings. The final straw was when Iowa Western’s Michael Zachary returned an ICC punt for 32 yards. Brown argued Zachary had made a fair catch, eventually resulting in his ejection with 10:37 remaining in the game. Brown later tweeted out an apology for his behavior.It wouldn’t be the last time his temper landed him in hot water.He resigned from his position at ICC in February after redshirt freshman Alexandros Alexiou — who is of German descent — tweeted a text he received from Brown. In said exchange, Brown referred to Alexiou as “u German f—” (it remains unclear what epithet he used) and referred to himself as Alexiou’s “new Hitler.”In an attempt to defend himself, Brown released a statement saying Alexiou used “Hitler” as a nickname, often gave the sieg heil salute and posted a picture of Hitler’s book, “Mein Kampf,” explaining why he used that moniker. Regardless, Brown announced his resignation Feb. 25, saying the Montgomery County (Kan.) Chronicle — which covered the incident — “greatly diminished my ability to successfully do my job.”Brown’s feud with the Chronicle didn’t end there. According to a June report from the Parson (Kan.) Sun, Brown now faces four felony counts of blackmail, four felony counts of identity theft and two misdemeanor counts of criminal false communication for allegedly stealing the identity of a lawyer in an attempt to silence the Chronicle.According to the Sun, Brown is alleged to have impersonated an attorney from California-based Cochran Law Firm in October, ordering a cease-and-desist via a Yahoo! email address after the Chronicle wrote an editorial regarding a fight between ICC and Garden City. He allegedly issued similar correspondence to the Independence (Kan.) Daily Reporter.In less depressing news, Brown also announced the release of his book, titled “Hate Me Now, Love Me Later,” which should offer a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the former ICC coach.What happened to ICC players featured on Season 3 of “Last Chance U”?Malik Henry, QBSeveral players used their showing at Independence to transfer to Div. I schools following the 2017 season. Henry, arguably the most talented player on the team, was not one of them. Despite fulfilling his junior college requirements in 2017, Henry never picked up an offer from a Power 5 school. He returned to ICC in 2018, playing in only two games and completing 19 of 43 passes for 247 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He transferred to Nevada as a walk-on in January and is listed as a junior on the team’s official 2019 roster.Bobby Bruce, LBFan favorite Bobby Bruce ended Season 3 on an ominous note. He was arrested in June 2018 and charged with robbery in connection with an incident the previous May, though prosecutors dropped the charges against Bruce in December. Bruce returned to play for ICC in 2018 but was cut from the team. He reportedly signed with Arena Football team Manatee Neptunes in April.Kingston Davis, RBDavis transferred to UAB in 2018, recording 22 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns in three games that season. He was removed from the team’s roster in November after previously serving a suspension after a student-conduct issue in September. He was arrested in December for the same incident, reportedly facing charges of domestic violence and strangulation.Kerry Buckmaster, OLOne of the sadder stories in Season 3, Buckmaster attended Independence as an attempt to escape a difficult home life. He transferred to Division II West Texas A&M, where he is listed on the team’s 2019 roster.Carlos Thompson, WRThompson, who led ICC with 48 receptions for 544 yards and three touchdowns in 2017, transferred to Division II Missouri Western State. He finished the 2018 season third on the team with 17 receptions and 261 yards receiving. He also returned 10 punts for 183 yards and 14 kickoffs for 240 yards. He decided to forgo his senior season to prepare for a jump to the NFL.Rakeem Boyd, RB Boyd made an instant impact after transferring to Arkansas in 2018. He played in 12 games, starting eight, and finished the season with 734 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 23 passes for 165 yards. He is listed as a junior on Arkansas’ 2019 roster.Emmitt Gooden, DLGooden transferred to Tennessee in 2018, playing in all 12 games and recording one start. He finished the season with 33 tackles and seven tackles for loss (third-most on the team). He is listed as a senior on Tennessee’s 2019 roster.Other notable signings from “Last Chance U” Season 3 playersPlayerPositionCareer ICC statsTransfer destinationCalvin Jackson Jr.WR25 receptions, 381 yards, 4 TDsWashington StateBrandon BeaQB60.9 completion percentage, 353 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTsBoise State (walk-on)Tramonda MooreOLThree games playedOklahoma (later dismissed)DJ WilliamsDB56 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 2 FRUtah StateDelrick AbramsDB60 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 FRColoradoRay BufordDB18 tackles, 2 FFs, 6 PBUsNew Mexico StateJamal ScottRB79 attempts, 363 yards, 7 TDsEastern Illinoislast_img read more

Roger Clemens has ‘no interest’ in running for Congress, he tells GOP lawmaker

first_imgRoger Clemens has reportedly told a Texas congressman he has “no interest” in running for Congress in 2020, despite being mentioned as a possible candidate.ABC News reports that the legendary pitcher sent a message to Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson that he would decline the opportunity to run as a GOP candidate for Texas’ 22nd district in the 2020 election, citing the current “climate in politics.” Olson, who has held the seat since 2009, unexpectedly announced his retirement last month. Astros injury updates: Carlos Correa (back), Aaron Sanchez (pectoral) heading to IL Related News The 57-year-old Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards during his 24 seasons, has donated to Republican causes in the past. He had reportedly been mentioned in recent days in both Texas and Washington as a possible candidate for the GOP-friendly district, although an aide to the National Republican Congressional Committee said that House GOP recruitment officials haven’t “spoken directly to him.””Roger Clemens would be a good candidate, but we don’t need a celebrity baseball player to win it,” the aide told ABC News. “It’s Texas. We have a huge bench down there.”Clemens is the second former Red Sox pitcher in recent days to be mentioned in congressional news. Curt Schilling told the Arizona Republic last week he is “absolutely considering” a bid for Congress in Arizona. President Donald Trump responded with a tweet, “Curt Schilling, a great pitcher and patriot, is considering a run for Congress in Arizona. Terrific!” MLB wrap: Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger for MVP? Don’t forget Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rendon According to the report, Clemens said he was “honored” that Olson “would consider me as a candidate to represent our great State of Texas in the 22 District, I have no interest in doing so.””The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake along with my family considerations.” Chris Archer injury update: Pirates’ right-hander goes on IL with shoulder inflammationlast_img read more