Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Draft and Recruitment (Sports)

What We Learned From Week 10 in the N.F.L.

What We Learned From Week 10 in the N.F.L.

Sports
The N.F.L. draft generates months of needless hype around the selection of college athletes into the pros, turning observers into pseudo-general managers by spring.Last April, no quarterback prospect seemed to draw the ire of draft followers more than Alabama’s Mac Jones.His numbers in 2020 were immaculate: He threw 41 touchdowns to only four picks, went 13-0 and won a national title. Yet there was no singular physical trait that signaled what his N.F.L. impact could be. No highlight-reel athleticism. No transcendent improvisation. No throw-it-over-them-thar-mountains arm. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Jones had a Dad Bod, not Trey Lance’s upside, Justin Field’s toughness or Trevor Lawrence’s golden locks.Jones dropped into the Patriots’ hands at No. 15 in the 2021 draft, becoming the last quar...

St. John Bosco and Mater Dei Look a Lot Like Division I Programs

Sports
When Mater Dei began bringing in more players from farther afield — from Moreno Valley to the northeast, Temecula to the southeast and Los Angeles to the west — Rollinson arranged for vans that school employees living near those areas could drive to and from the campus each day. As many as a dozen players ride in the vans.Josh Hunter, a senior safety from Temecula, 70 miles from the school, said the van was a significant factor in his choosing Mater Dei over St. John Bosco, which was even farther away. “There’s some bad days, for sure, where you’re tired and your best friend from the neighborhood can walk to school,” said Hunter, who is the son of the former Atlanta Braves first baseman Brian Hunter and is considering playing both baseball and football at San Diego State. “But my goal was ...

His N.B.A. Dream Was Right There. Then He Couldn’t Move His Legs.

Sports
On June 20, 2019, Kris Wilkes awoke in an Airbnb near downtown Indianapolis. He was happy. Next to him was the woman he was falling in love with. Scattered throughout the rest of the rooms of the rented house were friends and family members who had supported him throughout his budding basketball career. It was the morning of the N.B.A. draft, and Wilkes was on the cusp of achieving a childhood dream.Just a few miles up the road at North Central High School, Wilkes had become a coveted basketball recruit. He got his first scholarship offer, from Indiana, when he was in eighth grade. He ultimately committed to U.C.L.A., where he became known for his high-flying, rim-rattling dunks. He made the Pac-12 all-freshman team, and after his sophomore season, he was projected to be selected in the N....

Red Sox and Astros ALCS Matchup Provides a ‘Moment of Pride’ for Puerto Rico

Sports
HOUSTON — During a lull in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Friday, as umpires sorted out a play, Houston Astros catcher Martín Maldonado walked back to his position behind the plate. Waiting there for his turn to bat, Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez smacked Maldonado on the chest and threw his arm around him.Although they are rivals seeking a berth in the World Series, they are close friends. But so are several others on the Astros and Red Sox. The connection: Maldonado, 35, and Vázquez, 31, are from Puerto Rico, whose population of over three million people is well represented in this matchup.The manager of the Red Sox is Alex Cora, a native of Caguas, P.R. The stars in a 5-4 win by Houston in Game 1 were also Puerto Rican: Astros shortsto...
Nets Rookie Day’Ron Sharpe Goes Apartment Shopping.

Nets Rookie Day’Ron Sharpe Goes Apartment Shopping.

Sports
Day’Ron Sharpe ducked his head under the doorway instinctively and scanned his eyes across the apartment. Its shape was a straight line running perpendicular to him with two bedrooms and a bathroom to his left; another bedroom and bathroom to his right; and a kitchen, living room and balcony opening up in bright light from big windows before him.In that moment, it didn’t matter that this brand-new building in Downtown Brooklyn was still coated in dust. It didn’t matter that he’d just taken an elevator that had insulation on the walls and plywood on the floor. It didn’t even matter that the construction crew had left behind a ladder and soda bottles in the living room, or that the fire alarm was shrieking a low-battery warning every 60 seconds. All that mattered was this: He could imagine h...
NFL Bull Market Benefits T.J. Watt and Other Pass Rushers

NFL Bull Market Benefits T.J. Watt and Other Pass Rushers

Sports
If an N.F.L. team does not possess a quarterback of Tom Brady’s or Patrick Mahomes’s caliber, one of the best ways to remain competitive is to load up on pass rushers so its defense can sack opponents into submission. On the other hand, if a team is fortunate enough to employ an elite quarterback, its best chance to win the Super Bowl is to juice up its pass rush to neutralize his counterpart.Viewed from that perspective, the N.F.L. is not so much a quarterback-driven league as a quarterback disruption league, with teams caught in an ever-escalating arms race to generate as much pass pressure as possible.Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers illustrated how valuable sack specialists have become by signing T.J. Watt to a four-year contract extension with a reported $80 million guaranteed. Only...
The Pitchers Who Know How Kumar Rocker Feels

The Pitchers Who Know How Kumar Rocker Feels

Sports
On Aug. 1, Carter Stewart, a starting pitcher for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, saw history repeating itself 7,071 miles away in Queens.As the hours dwindled before the signing deadline for players selected in Major League Baseball’s 2021 draft, Kumar Rocker, the Mets’ first-round pick, remained unsigned. It was reported that the team had concerns about Rocker’s arm health after a physical at Citi Field. Stewart, who had a similar experience in 2018, felt a tinge of sadness as another player was forced to defend his health against a team that held all the power.“I’d like to know more information about what they saw,” Stewart said. “It was very odd, seeing a guy like him not sign, because of how dominant he has been his entire career. I’d love to...
MLB Draft: Rickey Henderson and JJ Guinn Are Still Close After 45 Years

MLB Draft: Rickey Henderson and JJ Guinn Are Still Close After 45 Years

Sports
J.J. Guinn was born in 1937 in Jefferson, Texas, but spent his childhood in South Berkeley. He had positive interactions with the local police growing up, and after studying criminology at Santa Rosa Junior College, he was hired by the Berkeley Police Department in 1969 as a foot patrol officer in south and west Berkeley. The department had a program that was meant to strengthen the relationship between the community and the Police Department. As a Berkeley local, Guinn seemed like a perfect fit.From Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Guinn would walk some of Berkeley’s most crime-ridden streets looking to connect with the residents he was charged with protecting. Few of them had seen a Black police officer.“Most people think these kids on the street are dumb, but they’re not,” Guinn...
Mike Schmidt Is the Greatest Draft Pick Ever

Mike Schmidt Is the Greatest Draft Pick Ever

Sports
A Scout Who Could Keep a SecretTony Lucadello was the kind of scout Hollywood turned into a punchline. He would have fit well in the early scenes of “Moneyball,” where graying scouts talk about “the good face” and the sound of the ball off the bat. He worked without a radar gun or stopwatch and believed in homespun theories — dubious but unimpeachable — that 87 percent of baseball was played below the waist and that no player with glasses should be signed.Born in 1912, with a couple of years as a Class D infielder in the 1930s, Lucadello was 5-foot-7, if that. “When you say Dr. Fauci, that’s who Tony Lucadello reminds me of today,” Schmidt said of Lucadello, who had a dapper style: a coat and a tie, a fedora, and an ever-shifting perch at games.Lucadello would watch from the outfield or th...
Mike Krzyzewski’s Finish at Duke Comes on His Terms

Mike Krzyzewski’s Finish at Duke Comes on His Terms

Sports
He also changed how he recruited. Krzyzewski once bristled at schools whose players left early for the N.B.A., and refused to allow players who did not graduate to have their jersey numbers hung in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium. In 2015, he won his last championship with three one-and-done freshmen.Over the years, Duke also began to look less squeaky clean — embracing the role of college basketball’s heel, and also occasionally drawing scrutiny over how a player (Lance Thomas) could afford $100,000 worth of jewelry, how jobs were procured for players’ parents (Chris Duhon and Carlos Boozer) or how court testimony suggested a star player’s family (Zion Williamson) was being plied with money.Krzyzewski said on Thursday that what changed most was he began to listen more, which helped ...