WEDNESDAY, JULY 26 – 10-11 A.M.

SATURDAY, AUG. 5 – 6-7:30 P.M.

SUNDAY, AUG. 6 – 2-3:45 P.M.

SATURDAY, AUG. 5 – 6-7:30 P.M.

SUNDAY, AUG. 6 – 2-3:45 P.M.

TUESDAY, AUG. 8 – 9-10:30 A.M.

THURSDAY, AUG. 10 – 9-10 A.M.

TUESDAY, AUG. 15 – 9-10 A.M.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 16 – 6-8 P.M.

THURSDAY, AUG. 17 – 6-8 P.M.



Major League Baseball

American League

BOSTON RED SOX — Reinstated LHP Joely Rodriguez from the 15-day IL. Optioned RHP Justin Garza to Worcester (IL).

DETROIT TIGERS — Reinstated OF Riley Greene from the 10-day IL and RHP Beau Brieske from the 60-day IL. Designated 2B Jonathan Schoop for assignment. Optioned RHP Alex Faedo to Toledo (IL).

HOUSTON ASTROS — Recalled RHP Joel Kuhnel from Sugar Land (PCL). Optioned RHP Ronel Blanco to Sugar Land.

TAMPA BAY RAYS — Selected the contract of RHP Javy Guerra and activated him. Designated RHP Elvin Rodriguez for assignment. Recalled 2B Jonathan Aranda from Durham (IL).

TORONTO BLUE JAYS — Placed RF George Springer on the paternity list. Recalled CB Nathan Lukes from Buffalo (IL).

National League

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS — Sent RHP Cole Sulser to the Atlantic Coast League (ACL) Diamondbacks on a rehab assignment. Selected the contract of LHP Tyler Gilbert from Reno (PCL). Optioned OF Kyle Lewis to Reno. Transferred RHP Drey Jameson to the 60-day IL from the 15-day IL.

CHICAGO CUBS — Placed SS Dansby Swanson on the 10-day IL, retroactive to July 6, Recalled 2B Miles Mastrobuoni from Iowa (IL).

CINCINNATI REDS — Designated RF Henry Ramos for assignment. Optioned RHP Tony Santillan to Louisville (IL). Selected the contract of RHP Michael Mariot from Louisville.

MIAMI MARLINS — Sent RHP Edward Cabrera to Jupiter (FSL) on a rehab assignment.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS — Sent RHP Jake Cousins to the Atlantic Coast League (ACL) Brewers on a rehab assignment. Recalled RHP Abner Uribe from Nashville (IL). Designated RHP Tyler Miller for assignment. Reinstated RHP Jason Alexander from the 60-day IL and optioned him to Nashville.


National Basketball Association

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS — Acquired C Damian Jones from Utah.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS — Re-signed F Draymond Green.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS — Signed F Maxwell Lewis and G Jalen Hood-Schifino to a rookie scale contract.



Canadian Football

EDMONTON ELKS — Acquired DL Sam Acheampong from Toronto in exchange for a fifth-round CFL 2024 draft pick and negotiation rights to WR Xavier Gipson.


National Hockey League

ARIZONA COYOTES — Signed F Nathan Smith to a one-year, two-way contract.


Major League Soccer

FC CINCINNATI — Signed F Ben Stitz to a short-term agreement.

NEW YORK RED BULLS — Signed M Ibrahim Kasule to a short-term agreement.

National Women’s Soccer League

GOTHAM FC — Released M Nahomi Kawasumi by mutual agreement.




Matt Manning, Jason Foley and Alex Lange threw a combined no-hitter as the Detroit Tigers blanked the visiting Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.

It was the 20th combined no-hitter in major league history, counting the postseason, and the first no-hitter at Detroit’s Comerica Park since Justin Verlander threw a complete-game no-hitter on June 12, 2007. It was also the ninth no-hitter in Tigers franchise history.

Manning (3-1), in his third start since coming off the injured list after a foot injury, pitched the first 6 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five while throwing 91 pitches. Foley got the next four outs and Lange pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.

Kevin Gausman (7-5) gave up two runs and five hits in six innings as the Blue Jays’ winning streak was snapped at four games. Lange struck out the first batter he faced in the ninth, Bo Bichette, on three pitches. Brandon Belt flied out to center before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. grounded out to third to complete the no-hitter.

Reds 8, Brewers 5

Joey Votto drove in three runs and Elly De La Cruz stole home to lead Cincinnati to a key win over host Milwaukee.

After ripping a go-ahead RBI single, De La Cruz stole second and third before his steal of home in the seventh. His heroics helped make a winner out of Lucas Sims (3-1), who logged a hitless 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Willy Adames homered twice for the Brewers, who held an early 4-1 lead. Elvis Peguero (1-2) was tagged with the loss.

Diamondbacks 3, Pirates 2 (10 innings)

Corbin Carroll delivered a walk-off single in the 10th inning to lift Arizona to a win against Pittsburgh in the second game of a three-game series in Phoenix.

Alek Thomas homered for the Diamondbacks, who ended a four-game losing streak in the series opener on Friday night. Kyle Nelson started the bullpen game for Arizona and threw 1 1/3 hitless innings with three strikeouts. Six relievers then combined to hold the Pirates to two runs (one earned) and four hits over the next 8 2/3 innings.

David Bednar (3-1) came back out for the 10th after pitching a scoreless ninth and took the loss. Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead into the home 10th.

Yankees 6, Cubs 3

Giancarlo Stanton belted a pair of homers to help host New York rebound from two of its worst showings of the season with a victory over Chicago.

After following up a 14-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday by getting two singles in Friday’s 3-0 loss to the Cubs, the Yankees avoided their third four-game losing streak this season. Josh Donaldson also homered while Harrison Bader hit a two-run double.

The Cubs lost for the ninth time in 13 games. Former Yankee Mike Tauchman hit a two-run homer.

Orioles 6, Twins 2

Adam Frazier had a two-run single to highlight a six-run second inning as Baltimore topped host Minnesota to extend its winning streak to four games.

Tyler Wells (7-4) picked up the win, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings for the Orioles, who closed to within 2 1/2 games of first-place Tampa Bay in the American League East.

Donovan Solano went 3-for-4 for the Twins. Sonny Gray (4-3), who hadn’t allowed more than three runs in a start all season, suffered the loss, allowing six runs on six hits over six innings.

Cardinals 3, White Sox 0

Miles Mikolas pitched seven shutout innings and Jordan Walker had a solo home run among his two hits to lift visiting St. Louis to a victory against Chicago.

Mikolas (5-5) permitted four hits and fanned six while throwing 71 of his 95 pitches for strikes. He earned his first victory since pitching eight shutout innings against Kansas City on May 30.

Eloy Jimenez, Andrew Vaughn and Oscar Colas had two hits apiece for the White Sox. Righty Touki Toussaint (0-2) kept Chicago afloat, throwing five innings of two-run, five-hit ball with one walk and five strikeouts.

Nationals 8, Rangers 3

Jeimer Candelario hit a three-run homer and Joey Meneses and Alex Call also went deep as host Washington bashed Texas to end a five-game losing streak.

The Nationals, who won for just the second time in their last 17 home games, built an 8-0 lead through three innings and then waited out a 77-minute rain delay before the fourth.

Texas left-hander Andrew Heaney (5-6) was pounded for eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts in three innings. The Rangers, leaders in the American League West, have lost five of their last seven games.

Giants 5, Rockies 3

Michael Conforto and Austin Slater hit two-run home runs, Alex Wood threw five innings of scoreless relief and San Francisco evened its three-game series against visiting Colorado with a win.

Wood (4-3) stalled the Rockies on three singles and one walk in his five innings. He struck out three. Colorado scored single runs against Giants opener Ryan Walker in the first and second innings, the latter producing a 2-2 tie.

Conforto finished with three hits and Blake Sabol had two for the Giants, who are currently on a six-game homestand. C.J. Cron had a pair of singles for the Rockies, who have lost five of their last six games.

Guardians 10, Royals 6

Brothers Josh and Bo Naylor combined for six hits and four RBIs and Gavin Williams earned his first major league victory as Cleveland recorded a season-high 18 hits in a win over visiting Kansas City.

Josh Bell went 3-for-3 with two RBIs for the Guardians, who have won the first three games of the four-game series. Williams (1-1) allowed three runs on eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings in his fourth career start.

Bobby Witt Jr. homered and tripled among his three hits and drove in two runs for the Royals, who lost their sixth straight game.

Red Sox 10, Athletics 3

Jarren Duran went 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs to lead Boston to a win over visiting Oakland.

Triston Casas hit two doubles and scored twice, Christian Arroyo went 3-for-4 and Alex Verdugo added a homer. James Paxton (5-1) allowed six hits across six innings of two-run ball.

Brent Rooker and Manny Pina each hit a solo home run for the Athletics. Austin Pruitt (1-6) served as an opener and took the loss after Paul Blackburn was scratched from his start due to an illness.

Marlins 5, Phillies 3

Jorge Soler homered in the first inning and lofted a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fourth as host Miami broke Philadelphia’s 13-game road winning streak that matched a Phillies record set in 1976.

Phillies star designated hitter Bryce Harper left the game after getting hit by a pitch on his surgically repaired right elbow. He was hit in the third inning by a 90-mph sinker from Braxton Garrett. Harper stayed in the game until he was replaced by a pinch hitter in the fifth. X-rays taken after the game were negative.

Marlins All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez, who did not start to rest sore knees, had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh. He leads the majors with a .388 batting average.


NEW YORK (AP) The Chicago Cubs placed Dansby Swanson on the 10-day injured list Saturday because of a bruised left foot and anticipate it will be a short absence for their All-Star shortstop.

The move is retroactive to Thursday, a day after Swanson left in the seventh inning of Chicago’s 4-3 win at Milwaukee and he is eligible to return July 16 when the Cubs host the Red Sox.

“It is unfortunate to get into this position,” Swanson said before Chicago continued a three-game series with the Yankees “The biggest thing – just from a timing standpoint – I’m getting four days with the break. It was almost, in a way, like a good insurance policy not to lose some retroactive dates.”

In the first year of a seven-year, $177 million contract, Swanson is hitting .258 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs in 83 games. He was selected to his second All-Star team and replaced on the National League roster by Arizona’s Geraldo Perdomo.

To replace Swanson, infielder Miles Mastrobuoni was recalled from Triple-A Iowa. Mastrobuoni is hitting .145 in 29 games this year.


SEATTLE (AP) — The New York Mets’ Kodai Senga, San Francisco’s Alex Cobb, Philadelphia’s Craig Kimbrel and Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes were added to the National League All-Star roster as replacements for pitchers who will be inactive for Tuesday’s game.

Minnesota’s Pablo López joined the American League roster on Saturday and becomes an All-Star along with the player he was traded for last winter, Miami second baseman Luis Arraez.

Atlanta’s Bruce Elder and Spencer Strider won’t pitch in the game, along with the Chicago Cubs’ Marcus Stroman and Milwaukee’s Devin Williams.

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, Houston outfielder Yordan Alvarez, Tampa Bay left-hander Shane McClanahan, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw and Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson were dropped earlier in the week because of injuries and Cleveland closer Emmanuel Clase decided to skip the game because of the imminent birth of a child.

Earlier replacements include Seattle center fielder Julio Rodríguez and right-hander George Kirby, Tampa Bay shortstop Wander Franco, Houston outfielder Kyle Tucker, Los Angeles Angels closer Carlos Estévez, Pittsburgh closer David Bednar and Arizona infielder Geraldo Perdomo.


Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen is set to undergo an internal brace surgery that will end his 2023 season, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Rasmussen has been out with a flexor strain since mid-May, though the club initially hoped he could return this season. The 27-year-old hurler now is not expected return until midway through the 2024 campaign, per Topkin.

The news is yet another blow to a Rays rotation that lost left-hander Shane McClanahan to the injured list at the end of June. Rasmussen will now join left-hander Jeffrey Springs, who underwent Tommy John surgery back in April, in missing the remainder of the 2023 campaign. The Rays are currently leaning on a rotation of Tyler GlasnowTaj BradleyZach Eflin, and Yonny Chirinos as they await McClanahan’s return from the IL. While that’s a solid group who has combined for a 3.99 in 252 1/3 innings this season, it’s hard to deny to that both Rasmussen (2.62 ERA in eight starts) and Springs (0.56 ERA in three starts) would be major upgrades to the current group if healthy.

News that Tampa will be without Rasmussen for the rest of the season comes just three weeks before the August 1 trade deadline. The Rays are the top team in the AL with a 57-34 record even as they’ve not been able to field their five best starters at the same time for a single turn through the rotation all season.  Still, without Rasmussen to help bolster the pitching staff down the stretch and into the playoffs the club’s already-acknowledged need to add pitching in the coming weeks is only intensified.

Of course, the market for starting pitchers is always a competitive one, and GM Peter Bendix previously indicated the club was unlikely to participate in a bidding war for the most highly sought-after hurlers. While it’s possible the recent news on Rasmussen has increased the club’s urgency to make impactful additions, the Rays may still prefer to stick to less sought-after options like Jack Flaherty or Michael Lorenzen rather than pursue top-of-the-market arms like Lucas Giolito.

Looking beyond the 2023 campaign, the Rays are currently set to enter the 2024 campaign without the services of either Rasmussen or Springs. Glasnow, McClanahan, Bradley, Eflin, and Chirinos are all controlled through at least 2024, giving them a plausible Opening Day rotation still under contract, but with minimal depth outside of that group, it would hardly be a surprise if the club pursued additionally starting depth during the coming offseason- that is, unless they add an arm with multiple years of control this summer.


The T-Mobile Home Run Derby, in many ways, has provided as many memories over the last couple of decades as the All-Star Game itself, from Josh Hamilton’s show in Yankee Stadium to Aaron Judge launching balls in Miami to Juan Soto just last year.

There’s little reason we won’t see more of those this year, with one of the most superstar-packed Derbies in recent memory. Sure, the defending champ, Soto, isn’t here. But another two-time champ is, as well as the all-time leader in homers in one Derby, an MVP, a postseason MVP and two of the most exciting young players in the sport. This one is stacked.

Every competitor has a real chance to win this thing; otherwise, they wouldn’t be here. But because I am a professional prognosticator, or at least someone who types many words very fast about baseball hopefully for your amusement and enlightenment, I must make some predictions. So here are your 2023 Home Run Derby Power Rankings. Any of these guys could win. Here’s a semi-educated guess at who might.

1. Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets (No. 2 seed)

First-round opponent: Julio Rodríguez

There may be no human more perfectly designed for the Home Run Derby than Alonso. He obviously has the power: Did you know he’s already fifth on the Mets’ all-time home run list in just his fifth season? (Coming for you, HoJo!) We know he has the consistent Derby swing: He has won this twice already and has actually hit more Derby homers, in total, than anyone in Derby history. But perhaps most important, he has the swagger: Who can forget his pre-Derby dancing? Alonso makes the Derby even more fun than it already is, and I, personally, hope he takes part in it every year the rest of his career — maybe the rest of his life. He’s trying to become the second person ever to win three Derbies (the other is Ken Griffey Jr.) and, all told, he’s the favorite every year he does it.

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B, Blue Jays (No. 6 seed)

First-round opponent: Mookie Betts

In 2019, Vlad Jr. set the all-time record for most home runs in a Derby with 91. (He hit 40 in the second round alone.) One thing Vlad Jr. did not do that year, however, was win: He lost 29-22 in the finals to Alonso. That’s the last Derby Vlad Jr. has taken part in, but he’s back this year, trying to at last win the title that eluded him four years ago. He is trying to make some history of his own as well. If he wins, he and his Hall of Fame father will become the only father-son combo ever to win the Home Run Derby (Vlad Sr. won in 2007 in San Francisco).

3. Julio Rodríguez, OF, Mariners (No. 7 seed)

First-round opponent: Pete Alonso

The last man to win the Home Run Derby in his home stadium was Bryce Harper back in 2018, when the game was held in Washington. (Harper used to play for the Nationals; you may remember this.) The pump is very much primed, then, for Rodríguez, who finished in second place to Soto last year and had two of the five best rounds ever before tiring and ending up with only 18 in the finals. He’s actually already, after just one year, eighth all time in total Home Run Derby homers and will likely be in the top four after this year. And he’ll be doing it in front of a fanbase that adores him. He’d be the favorite in any field without those top two. (Or one without Judge, anyway.)

4. Luis Robert Jr., OF, White Sox (No. 1 seed)

First-round opponent: Adley Rutschman

Robert is finally having the season we all thought he could have if he could just stay healthy: He already has more homers than he did the last two seasons combined. What makes you most excited about Robert in the Derby is not just his power, though it is obviously substantial: It’s the compact nature of his swing, so natural and so repeatable, exactly the sort of swing that resonates in a contest like this one. And for the record: We’d love if if he could give us this incredible look after at least one of his homers.

5. Adolis García, OF, Rangers (No. 4 seed)

First-round opponent: Randy Arozarena

Before the season was even a month old, García was launching three homers in a 5-for-5 game that further announced him as one of the most thrilling power bats in the league. But now he’s a linchpin of one of the best offenses in the game, a team that is in first place and might be the biggest surprise in the entire sport. He also has a quick, but long and sweeping, swing that seems designed for that unique looping arch of the Home Run Derby. He may not hit the most homers. But he may have the most majestic ones.

6. Randy Arozarena, OF, Rays (No. 5 seed)

First-round opponent: Adolis García

One thing we know for sure about Arozarena? He comes up huge in big moments. (To say the least.) The player we were all introduced to during the incredible 2020 postseason — a guy who won an ALCS MVP the year before he won Rookie of the Year — has become almost a grizzled veteran on this Rays team, which currently has the second-best winning percentage in franchise history. (Behind that 2020 team, which obviously played a shortened schedule.) Arozarena may not quite be the Ruthian star he looked like in that postseason, but he has become one of the most exciting players in baseball to watch — a consummate showman, even, as we also saw in the World Baseball Classic. He might not have the raw power of some of the guys on this list, but if he needs one more homer with the clock ticking down … you know he’ll rise to the occasion.

7. Mookie Betts, RF, Dodgers (No. 3 seed)

First-round opponent: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“It’s the last thing I haven’t done,” Betts said, when asked why he — an MVP winner, a World Series champion and a likely Hall of Famer — agreed to take part in his first Home Run Derby. (He also said his wife wanted him to do it. Might have had something to do with it, too.) He doesn’t seem a natural fit for a competition like this, but Betts often doesn’t seem like a natural fit for a lot of the amazing things he does, and he keeps doing them anyway. This feels a little bit like Michael Jordan joining the 3-point contest just to keep himself entertained — he did not do well, to say the least — but even if Betts doesn’t do much better than Jordan did, he’ll be just as much fun to watch.

8. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles (No. 8 seed)

First-round opponent: Luis Robert Jr.

Only one catcher — the Royals’ Salvador Perez — has competed in the Derby in the past five years, and he didn’t make it out of the first round in 2021. Only one catcher, Ivan Rodriguez in 2005, has ever made it to the Finals. And Rustchman only has 11 homers this year. He’s one of the best players in the game and the face of a very young and very exciting Orioles team. It’s going to be excellent to see him on such a big stage like this. But he’s pretty easily the biggest longshot in this competition.



WIMBLEDON, England (AP) The rain returned to Wimbledon on Day 6 of the grass-court tournament, with only one match completed Saturday before play was suspended on all outside courts.

Beatriz Haddad Maia, a 13th-seeded Brazilian who reached the semifinals at this year’s French Open, beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-2 in the third round on No. 3 Court.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova nearly made it in time, leading Natalija Stevanovic 6-3, 4-6 on No. 2 Court when the rain started.

Only Centre Court and No. 1 Court have roofs at the All England Club. Play in those two stadiums is expected to get started as scheduled.

Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz will be first on Centre Court against Nicolas Jarry in the third round. Sixth-seeded Ons Jabeur, who reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals last year, is then scheduled to meet Bianca Andreescu and defending champion Elena Rybakina will face Katie Boulter.

On No. 1 Court, third-seeded Daniil Medvedev will be first against Marton Fucsovics, followed by second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka against Anna Blinkova.



NEW YORK (AP) A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart made the WNBA All-Star draft about picking their current and former teammates.

Wilson took her Las Vegas Aces teammates Chelsea Gray and Jackie Young with her first two picks in the draft Saturday. She drafted Kelsey Plum as her top reserve choice, keeping all four Aces players together for the game that will be played in Las Vegas next Saturday. Wilson’s team will be coached by the Aces’ Becky Hammon.

“I mean, listen, you need to have a great point guard when it comes to games like this and I feel like she is going to be great,” Wilson said of Gray. “She’s going to be dropping dimes everywhere, going to get us in the flow. And that’s what makes a good team great, is a great point guard, so I had to go with Chelsea.”

Stewart took New York’s starting backcourt of Courtney Vandersloot and Sabrina Ionescu with her top two choices in the reserve draft. She made Brittney Griner her overall No. 1 pick in the draft. Griner is making her return to the All-Star Game a year after she was an honorary pick while she was detained in Russia.

“BG is my pick just because the way that she’s continuing to carry herself on and off the court,” Stewart said. “I think we can all say it’s impressive what she’s doing and she’s a dominant presence inside. We need her dunks, we need her energy, we need her everything.”

Both Wilson and Stewart stuck with choosing players that either they played with or went to the same college as much as possible in the draft. Wilson took South Carolina Gamecocks alumni Aliyah Boston and Allisha Gray.

Stewart drafted her former Seattle teammates Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor. The New York Liberty’s star also drafted former UConn teammate Naphessa Collier.

Other players drafted by Wilson included starter Arike Ogunbowale and reserves Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner, Cheyenne Parker and Elena Delle Donne.

Stewart’s team also includes starters Satou Sabally and Nneka Ogwumike and reserves Kelsey Mitchell and Kahleah Copper.



The Atlanta Hawks are trading a package of three players and a draft pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for point guard Patty Mills, ESPN reported Saturday.

Atlanta will save $4.5 million in a deal that sends guard TyTy Washington, center Usman Garuba and forward Rudy Gay plus a second-round pick to Oklahoma City.

Mills, 34, posted 6.2 points and 1.4 assists in 40 games (two starts) for Brooklyn last season. He owns career averages of 9.0 points and 2.3 assists in 860 games (107 starts) with the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Nets.

This is the third trade in the past two weeks involving Mills, who has a $6.8 million expiring contract and could still be moved again, per the report.

Washington, 21, averaged 4.7 points and 1.5 assists in 31 games (two starts) as a rookie with the Houston Rockets in 2022-23.

Garuba, 21, has averaged 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 99 games (three starts) in two seasons with the Rockets.

Gay, 36, has averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 1,120 games (779 starts) over 17 seasons with five teams.


Two of the top picks in the 2023 NBA Draft left their Summer League debuts with injuries Friday night.

Portland guard Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick, and Houston guard Amen Thompson, the No. 4 selection, played well before exiting the Rockets’ 100-99 win against the Trail Blazers in Las Vegas.

Henderson left in the third quarter with an injured right shoulder and did not return. Thompson fell awkwardly in the fourth quarter while attempting to block a shot and departed with an injured left ankle.

“It’s pretty sore,” said Thompson, who also did not return and finished with 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, three steals and four blocks.

Thompson is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday.

Blazers Summer League coach Jonah Herscu did not have an update on Henderson after the game, saying only that the trainers were “just being cautious with it,” per ESPN.

Henderson finished with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Both teams return to action Sunday, with Houston scheduled to face Detroit and Portland taking on San Antonio and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama.


The Golden State Warriors continued their offseason roster retooling, signing free agent forward Dario Saric.

Saric’s agents, Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of Excel Basketball, told ESPN on Saturday morning that Saric’s deal is for one year. Contract terms were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-10 Croatian is entering his seventh NBA season. He did not play in 2020-21 because of an ACL injury.

Saric divided time last season between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns, averaging 6.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 57 games (12 starts).

The No. 12 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Saric has played in 413 games (217 starts) with the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Suns and Thunder. He has averages of 11.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists.

This offseason, the Warriors have added veteran point guard Chris Paul in a trade, sending guard Jordan Poole to the Washington Wizards in exchange. They re-signed forward Draymond Green and declined the option on guard Donte DiVincenzo.


Philadelphia 76ers restricted free agent Paul Reed signed a three-year, $24 million offer sheet with the Utah Jazz on Saturday, multiple outlets reported.

The Sixers have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday to either match the offer for the 24-year-old forward or let him go to the Jazz.

A second-round pick by Philadelphia in 2020, Reed averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 69 games (two starts) in 2022-23.

His agent, Ron Shade of Octagon Basketball, confirmed the details with ESPN and The Athletic. According to reports, the first season on the offer sheet is fully guaranteed, while the following two seasons become guaranteed if Reed’s team reaches the conference semifinals in 2023-24.

That outcome seems more likely for the Sixers, who finished 54-28 and reached the East semifinals in 2022-23. The Jazz missed the playoffs with a 37-45 record.

If Philadelphia matches the offer, the 76ers would exceed the league’s $165 million luxury tax threshold and would incur a $14 million penalty, per ESPN.


In trading Marcus Smart in a three-team deal, acquiring Kristaps Porzingis while the former Defensive Player of the Year takes his talents to Memphis, the Celtics are making a three-pronged gamble.

One element of its wager involves an internal hope and belief from the organization that as Smart, who’s been the heart and soul of the team, unites with Ja Morant on the Grizzlies, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown take even more ownership and step into the leadership void his departure creates.

Maybe Boston’s bet pays off, and they raise Banner 18 to the rafters high above the TD Garden parquet. But when Smart arrived, the franchise was in the early stages of its rebuild after its modern big three, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, led them to a championship.

The Celtics went 25 and 57 the year before the former Oklahoma State Cowboy arrived. But in his nine years in Boston, the team never missed the playoffs.

According to Michael Pina from The Ringer, Smart’s never had a season with a negative net rating, meaning every year of his career, the team outscored their opponent with him on the court.

As Brad Stevens told Smart in a face-to-face conversation the day after the former traded him, “The greatest legacy that you can leave is to be someplace, and it’s better off because you were there.”

Discussing his decision on the heels of the draft, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations got choked up while expressing, “Everybody loved the way that he plays, and how hard he plays, but also his work in the community. We’re all really grateful to have had Marcus in our life for as long as we’ve had.”

Smart, who spent the first nine years of his career in Boston, took tremendous pride in being the longest-tenured player on the team, conveying the following to Inside The Celtics during a wide-ranging interview shortly before getting traded.

“I’ve always played the game of basketball the same way, leaving it all out on the court each and every time I play because you never know when it’s your last time playing. My mom instilled that in me at a young age. It has gotten me this far, so I won’t be changing that now. My teammates feed off my energy. As the longest-tenured Celtic, I feel like it’s my responsibility to continue to play “Celtics basketball.” Continue to get my rehab each and every day, eat healthily and strive for greatness.”

Friday, at his introductory press conference with the Grizzlies in Las Vegas, where the NBA world has converged for Summer League, Smart said, having never been to the East Coast before getting drafted by a franchise residing there, arriving in Boston at 19, it was a “culture shock.”

Having grown into adulthood in his adopted city, the Celtics’ former floor general stated, “Boston is my second home, so it’s been tough, and they’re always going to have a place in my heart. And (with) everything I’ve accomplished, I left everything I had wearing that jersey out on that court.

“And although we didn’t win a championship in the big scheme of things, I don’t consider my time there a failure. I helped rebuild that team at the time, when I came in, and I left it better in that sense, so I’m very ecstatic with my time there.”


LAS VEGAS (AP) Gregg Popovich evidently doesn’t plan to leave the San Antonio Spurs anytime soon.

The NBA’s winningest coach has signed a five-year contract to remain coach and president of the team, the Spurs announced Saturday. There has often been speculation about the 74-year-old Popovich’s future, though after the team landed the chance to draft Victor Wembanyama last month it was presumed that the five-time champion would continue coaching.

And now, it’s official. The Spurs announced the move in a two-sentence release, not detailing any of the terms, without any quotes from Popovich or team personnel.

Popovich took over as coach of the Spurs in December 1996. He’s won 1,366 games – 31 more than Don Nelson, who was the career wins leader before Popovich caught him.

He’s also third in playoff wins with 170, behind only Phil Jackson (229) and Pat Riley (171). And Popovich is one of only five coaches with at least five championships; Jackson won 11, Red Auerbach won nine and Popovich is in a group with Riley and John Kundla as winners of five.

He’ll enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame next month.

“His ability to connect and spend time and bounce between the really detailed development of basketball players and the bigger picture of developing people is just so impressive,” Spurs managing partner Peter J. Holt said in May. “I think no matter what Pop does, he’s going to find a way to do that because that’s in his heart. And I’m excited to see whatever the next phase is in that journey.”

Popovich talked before the Spurs’ last game of this past season about how, during his career, he has been the “beneficiary of serendipity to a max degree” – and that was even before San Antonio won the lottery and the chance to draft Wembanyama, potentially having him follow in the footsteps of David Robinson and Tim Duncan who came to the Spurs as No. 1 picks and became franchise-cornerstone big men.

But with Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili gone, the Spurs haven’t won a playoff series since 2017 and went a combined 121-186 over the last four seasons, basically losing more games in the last four years than they did in the previous eight years combined. Those struggles, along with his age, created speculation that Popovich might opt to retire.

The losing ends now, if Wembanyama has anything to say about it. He’s coming to the NBA with eyes on becoming a superstar, an icon, a champion. And he’s about to become the star of the latest – and perhaps final – phase of Popovich’s career.

“He’s not intimidating yet, but I’m sure he’s going to get intimidating when I see him in real life,” Wembanyama said after the draft.

Popovich, along with all the wins and the five titles, also won an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games that were played in 2021.

“He’s amazing,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who played for Popovich and assisted him with the national team. “The Hall of Fame was just a formality. Everybody knew he would be there. It was just a matter of when.”

The longstanding belief was that Popovich wanted certain people in the Hall before he would allow himself to be under consideration. Duncan and Ginobili had to go in first, and Popovich is part of a class that also includes two other people close to him – former Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Parker.

“In all honesty, I always felt the Hall of Fame is like for Red Holzman, Red Auerbach and Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. … I’ve never felt like I really belonged, to be honest with you,” Popovich said earlier this year. “I’m not trying to be ‘Mr. Humble’ or anything. I’m a Division III guy. I’m not a Hall of Fame guy.”

And the Hall of Fame career in San Antonio will continue for a few more years.


LAS VEGAS (AP) Coming soon: the NBA Cup.

The NBA unveiled the details Saturday of its inaugural in-season tournament, which will have a prize pool of about $18 million and will be capped by a championship game – which won’t count in the standings – in Las Vegas on Dec. 9. It’s an event that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wanted for years, giving teams a trophy to play for during the regular season.

And now, it’s finally reality.

“This is a concept that has been rumbling around the league office for about 15 years,” Silver said. “It’s not a new concept in sports. For those that follow particularly international soccer, it’s a long tradition of having in-season tournaments … so we thought, what a perfect opportunity for a global league like the NBA and it’s a perfect fit for our game.”

The tournament payouts for players on standard contracts will be $500,000 apiece for those on the winning team, $200,000 apiece for those on the runner-up, $100,000 apiece for those on the teams that lose semifinal games and $50,000 for those on the teams that lose in the quarterfinals.

Two-way players on any of those teams are eligible for up to half those amounts, depending on how many games they spend on a roster during the tournament.

“I can see what the aim could be,” said Miami guard Josh Richardson, who follows global soccer closely and understands the parallels Silver makes when comparing it to in-season tournaments that sport has around the world. “It gives you another chance to win something, for real. I think that’s a big part.”

Games will start on Nov. 3, being played mostly on Tuesdays and Fridays in November – except for Nov. 7, when the NBA will play no games to commemorate Election Day. That announcement came Saturday, and will mark the second consecutive year when the NBA has no games on that date with hopes of promoting civic awareness and engagement.

The Final Four will be in Las Vegas.

“This city knows how to host big events,” Silver said.

Teams were assigned to a five-team group. They’ll play one game against each other; the six group winners will make the quarterfinals, as will the best two second-place teams from the groups.

They were chosen as follows:

West Group A – Memphis, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah and Portland.

West Group B – Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans, Dallas and Houston.

West Group C – Sacramento, Golden State, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

East Group A – Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Indiana and Detroit.

East Group B – Milwaukee, New York, Miami, Washington and Charlotte.

East Group C – Boston, Brooklyn, Toronto, Chicago and Orlando.

“I’m excited about this midseason tournament,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “I think it’s going to add an element of energy and excitement for the players and coaches and the fans. I think it’s a great idea.”

Joe Dumars, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations and a Hall of Famer as a player, said he thinks players will like the idea – even if it takes some time.

“Everybody’s not going to buy in right away,” Dumars said. “That can’t be the goal, that everybody’s going to buy in from Day 1. These things take time. And I think as time goes on you can build this up and people can really get into it.”

Tournament games, except for the championship game, will all count in the standings – much in the same way that the WNBA runs its Commissioner’s Cup event.

It’s been known for some time that teams will be getting only an 80-game schedule when the 2023-24 slate is released by the NBA in the coming weeks.

Games 81 and 82 will be added in December; this is where things get tricky.

Teams that don’t make the knockout stage will be assigned two games against other non-knockout qualifiers, and those will be the missing two games on their schedules.

For the eight teams that make the knockout stage, the quarterfinal game becomes the 81st game added to their schedule. Quarterfinal losers – two from the East, two from the West – will play each other, and that’ll be the 82nd game on their schedules. Semifinalists – again, two from the East, two from the West – will play, and that game becomes the 82nd game on their schedules.

That means the championship game will be one of 83 games on the schedule for the last two teams standing. And since the season is 82 games, that game won’t count in the standings, nor will the stats count for anything. They’ll be playing for money and the trophy.


LAS VEGAS (AP) Chet Holmgren has taken another positive step on his surgically repaired right foot.

Holmgren had 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 91-80 in their NBA Summer League opener.

The No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft missed the 2022-23 season after sustaining a Lisfranc injury in his right foot last summer. The 7-foot-1 Holmgren returned when the Thunder played three games in the Salt Lake City Summer League before heading to Las Vegas, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocks Monday in a victory over Utah.

The Thunder surprisingly just missed the playoffs without him and have plenty of young talent. They added to it with the addition of No. 10 pick Cason Wallace, a guard from Kentucky who made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points against the team that drafted him and traded his rights to Oklahoma City.

Holmgren was 5 for 10 from the field in 30 minutes and blocked two shots.

Jaden Hardy scored 24 points for the Mavericks. Center Dereck Lively II, the No. 12 pick who was swapped in the trade for Wallace, had four points and five rebounds.

The eight-game schedule Saturday began with Miami, which is hoping to be watching some players who will be teaming with Damian Lillard next season, beating Boston 99-88. Lillard has told the Portland Trail Blazers he wants to be traded and the All-Star’s preference is to be dealt to the Eastern Conference champions.

Play in Las Vegas began Friday with an eventful opening night, featuring No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama’s debut with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston’s buzzer-beating victory over Portland a game in which No. 3 pick Scoot Henderson of the Trail Blazers and No. 4 pick Amen Thompson of Houston left with injuries.


Orlando Robinson Jr. scored 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and grabbed 11 rebounds for Miami.

Dru Smith added 16 points and seven assists for the Heat (1-0). Nikola Jovic, a first-round pick by Miami in the 2022 draft, had 14 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. Drew Peterson hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points and Jamal Cain scored 10.

Jordan Walsh hit four 3s and led Boston (0-1) with 18 points and Jay Scrubb scored 17. J.D. Davison added 14 points and 11 assists, Justin Bean had 13 points and Justin Champagnie grabbed 11 rebounds to go with seven points.

76ERS 110, KNICKS 100

Jaden Springer led seven Philadelphia players in double figures with 23 points and Javonte Smart added 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

DJ Steward and Ricky Council IV added 14 points apiece and Terquavion Smith and Filip Petrusev each scored 13 for the 76ers (1-0). Smith also had five assists, three steals and three blocks. Greg Brown III scored 11 points.

DaQuan Jeffries led New York (0-1) with 20 points. Michael Foster Jr. and Jaylen Martin each added 12.


Jalen Duren had 17 points and eight rebounds, while James Wiseman added 16 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks for Detroit.

Jaden Ivey shot just 5 of 19 from the field but finished with 14 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists for the Pistons (1-0). Rookie Ausar Thompson had seven points, on 1-of-4 shooting, with nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal.

Kevon Harris scored 21 points for Orlando (0-1) and No. 6 pick Anthony Black added 17 points, on 7-of-10 shooting, with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Caleb Houstan added 12 points.


Kenneth Lofton Jr. scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, 2 of 3 from behind the arc, and Jake LaRavia added 15 points for Memphis.

Jacob Gilyard went 4 of 4 from the field, including three 3-pointers, and finished with 11 points and eight assists for the Grizzlies (1-0).

Javon Freeman-Liberty led Chicago (1-1) with 24 points, including four 3s, and five assists. Dalen Terry scored 17 points on 5-of-21 shooting, Nate Darling added 10 points and Adama Sanogo grabbed 12 rebounds to go with his eight points.


Bennedict Mathurin scored 27 points and Isaiah Jackson shot 10 of 12 from the field and had 21 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks to lead Indiana.

Andrew Nembhard had 14 points and eight assists for the Pacers (1-0) and No. 8 pick Jarace Walker added eight points on just 3-of-13 shooting, but finished with 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks.

Johnny Davis led Washington (0-1) with 17 points and Patrick Baldwin Jr. scored 13. Xavier Cooks and Ryan Rollins each added 11 points. Bilal Coulibaly, who was selected No. 7 overall in last month’s draft and turns 19 later this month, scored nine points on 4-of-13 shooting.


MarJon Beauchamp scored 20 points and Tyler Cook scored 14 on 7-of-8 shooting to lead Milwaukee.

Tacko Fall had 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Milwaukee (2-0) and Chris Livingston also scored 10 points. Andre Jackson Jr. had 11 rebounds to go with six points.

Toumani Camara led Phoenix (0-1) with 20 points and eight rebounds and undrafted rookie Trey Jemison had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Jordan Goodwin, who left the game in the third quarter due to left knee soreness and did not return, scored 12 points.


Keyonte George, the No. 16 overall selection in last month’s draft, had 33 points and 10 rebounds, while Ochai Agbaji had 21 points and nine rebounds to lead Utah (1-0).

George made 12 of 24 from the field, including six 3-pointers, and Agbaji added five assists and two blocks. Micah Potter scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Johnny Juzang scored 13 points.

Xavier Moon hit six 3-pointers and led Los Angeles (0-1) with 26 points. Jason Preston had 15 points and 10 assists and Moussa Diabate scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Kobe Brown finished with 11 points and nine rebounds and Jordan Miller scored 12 points.



(AP) — Bob Huggins says he never resigned as West Virginia’s basketball coach following a drunken-driving arrest and wants his job back, according to a letter from his attorney to the university.

Huggins’ Cleveland-based attorney, David A. Campbell, wrote to the university Friday that Huggins “never signed a resignation letter and never communicated a resignation to anyone at WVU,” according to the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday.

The letter threatens a lawsuit if Huggins isn’t reinstated. Huggins’ demands were first reported by West Virginia network MetroNews.

Huggins was charged with driving under the influence in Pittsburgh on June 16. A breath test determined Huggins’ blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit. His resignation was announced by the university the following night. A week later, assistant coach Josh Eilert was promoted to interim head coach for the 2023-24 season.

Campbell’s letter said the university announced Huggins’ resignation “based on a text message from Coach Huggins’ wife” to Steve Uryasz, West Virginia’s deputy athletic director.

The university responded to Campbell in a letter Saturday that read, in part: “We are frankly confused by the allegations within the letter.”

WVU said Huggins met with his players and members of the basketball staff on June 17 “to announce that he would no longer be coaching the team.” It said Huggins “clearly” communicated his resignation and retirement in writing and that “both parties have reasonably relied on that resignation and retirement notification in a number of ways since then.”

The university provided The AP with a copy of a notice sent by Huggins’ wife, June, that same day. It read: “Please accept this correspondence as my formal notice of resignation as WVU Head Basketball Coach and as notice of my retirement from West Virginia University, effective immediately.”

The notice was sent from an email address associated with June Huggins, with a signature indicating it was sent via iPhone. It was sent to Uryasz’s email address and did not appear to be a text message, as Campbell claimed.

West Virginia athletic director Wren Baker responded an hour later by writing, “We accept your resignation and wish you the best in retirement. We appreciate your many years of dedication to WVU.”

Less than an hour after that, the university released two statements. One announced Huggins’ resignation.

The other was titled “A Message from Bob Huggins to the WVU Community” and began, “Today, I have submitted a letter to President Gordon Gee and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker informing them of my resignation and intention to retire as head men’s basketball coach at West Virginia University effective immediately.”

The resignation was announced a month after the university gave Huggins a three-game suspension for using an anti-gay slur while also denigrating Catholics during a radio interview.

Several of Huggins’ players have already entered the transfer portal, and some have found new teams.

Campbell said Huggins’ contract required the coach to send a notice in writing by registered or certified mail to the athletic director and university general counsel.

Despite the threat of a lawsuit, Campbell’s letter said Huggins “does not desire litigation. Rather, he is simply looking for the correction of a clear breach of his employment agreement with WVU.”

The 69-year-old Huggins was the third-winningest coach all-time in Division I with 935 victories, trailing only Mike Krzyzewski of Duke (1,202) and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (1,015), both of whom are retired.

Unlike the others, Huggins did not win a national title. He took Cincinnati to the Final Four in 1992 and West Virginia in 2010. Huggins entered the Basketball Hall of Fame last September. In 41 seasons, his teams went to 25 NCAA Tournaments and finished ranked in the AP top 10 seven times. The Mountaineers made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances under Huggins.


2022 Record: 8-5 overall, 5-4 in Big Ten
Head Coach: Bret Bielema, 3rd year: 13-12, 15th year overall: 110-70

It does work.

Tremendous defense, own the turnover margin, control the clock, run effectively, more great defense – it all still works in the modern day of college football. Wisconsin built a 30-year brand on doing that and did just fine. Illinois head coach Bret Bielema was a big part of it all as the former Badger head man.

Now Wisconsin isn’t even going to be Wisconsin anymore. All of that did wonders for the program for a long, long time, but there was a hard ceiling it hasn’t been able to break though – hence the pivot to Luke Fickell and this novel idea of the forward pass.

For a program like Illinois that hasn’t been able to come up with a lick of consistent success through a slew of coaches, a lot of interesting ideas, and the occasional big season that always turned out to be nothing more than a false hope, out-Wisconsining, Wisconsin should work. Slower and steadier might actually win this race.

Illinois shocked the world under Ron Turner in 2001 with a 10-2 season, and then it went right back to losing six seasons in a row. Ron Zook shocked the world by breaking that run with a trip to the Rose Bowl in the 2007 campaign. Illinois followed that up with two losing seasons, 12 losing campaigns in 14 years, and then Bielema made it all jell in 2022 with one of the top 15 winningest seasons in over 130 years of Illinois football.

And this time for the program, it seems more sustainable.

Illinois hasn’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 2010-2011 – winning seven games each season, and needing bowl wins to get there. It hasn’t enjoyed back-to-back winning regular seasons since the early 1990s, and hasn’t won eight games or more in back-to-back seasons since 1989-1990 under John Mackovic.

And, by the way, that was only the second time the program had done that – the other being 1902-1903 – meaning Bielema has a shot at making a little bit of history if 2022 can carry over to 2023.

But this is a test. It all worked great last year, but there are a whole lot of moving parts. Four very, very good players were drafted – Devon Witherspoon went to Seattle with the fifth overall pick, and two other great defensive backs were selected along with heart-and-soul RB Chase Brown – defensive coordinator Ryan Walters is now the head coach at Purdue, and from starting quarterback to the offensive line to that secondary that was so fantastic, it’s not going to be easy.

But if the coaching is right, and if the systems are sound, and if the attitude is there – NEVER a problem with a Bielema-coached team – this can all work again.

And with the young talent about to rise up, the pieces in place, and a schedule that’s extremely generous, it will.

The offense had an odd time on third downs considering how good the running game was, and overall the attack was the seventh-best in the conference, but it was brutally effective. Illinois averaged 378 yards and 24 points per game, but it didn’t have to put up big numbers.

It had to own the clock, keep the turnovers to a minimum, and maintain total control. The O had the ball around 33 minutes a game, there were a Big Ten low five interceptions, and the line managed to grind and grind some more. But …

There was no downfield passing whatsoever. That was partly by design to not risk it any biscuits, and partly because the offense couldn’t do it. Tommy DeVito was a solid veteran quarterback, but Illinois is more than fine going forward. Luke Altmyer was a star recruit for Ole Miss, but he couldn’t break through with Matt Corral in place in 2021 and USC transfer Jaxson Dart brought in last year.

DeVito ran for six touchdowns and could take off once in a while, but Altmyer moves better and should do a stronger job of pushing the ball down the field a bit. There are other options – Ball State transfer John Paddock threw for over 2,700 yards with 18 touchdowns last year – but Altmyer has the potential to be the main guy for the next three years, and …

The receiving corps is in place to take more chances. Brian Hightower took off for Cal, but counting TE Tip Reiman and taking out the running backs, four of the top five pass catchers are back led by Isaiah Williams – somehow still a junior despite seemingly joining the program under the Mike White regime – who led the team with 82 grabs but with five scores. He only averaged 8.7 yards per catch, though. The depth is young but extremely promising.

Chase Brown never received enough national love and attention. He was able to grind out 328 carries for over 1,600 yards and ten touchdowns, and now he’s a Cincinnati Bengal. Now it’s Reggie Love’s turn after finishing second on the team with 317 yards and two scores. He’s not alone with 235-pound Josh McCray and 6-4, 240-pound Jordan Anderson about to slam away. But …

The offensive line has to be there, and that might take a little bit. The Illini front five was good last year, and it’ll be fine this season, but it’s working in a few new parts. However, the left side of OT Julian Pearl and OG Isaiah Adams is at an All-Big Ten level, the all-sophomore right side will be good with a little bit of seasoning, and in the middle is 6-2, 280-pound Josh Kreutz whose dad – former Chicago Bear, Olin – knows a wee bit about what it takes to be a tough guy center.

The defense was a killer. Give former head coach Lovie Smith a whole lot of credit for bringing most of the talent in, and Bret Bielema and his staff took things to a whole other level. The Illini were No. 1 in the nation in takeaways, No. 1 in interceptions, No. 3 in total defense, and – the entire point of the whole defense thing – No. 1 in scoring D allowing just 12.8 points per game. With Ryan Walters off being the Purdue head coach, it’s up to 34-year-old Aaron Henry to go from coaching the secondary to handling the whole defense, and …

Henry’s first job is to figure out the the secondary that lost a ton of all-star NFL-caliber talent. Safeties Sydney Brown, Kendall Smith and Jartavius Martin along with corner Devon Witherspoon combined for 17 interceptions last season – they’re all done. The new guys are young, but good starting with the corner tandem of Tyler Strain and Tahveon Nicholson. The safeties aren’t exactly inexperienced, but along with Louisville transfer Nicario Harper, the 2s on the depth chart have to replace some very big 1s.

The linebacking corps loses leading tackler Isaac Darkangelo, but Tarique Barnes is back at one inside spot after coming up with 46 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. He’ll be one of the team’s leading tacklers, the outside combination of Seth Coleman and Gabe Jacas can move, and the two-deep can all hit in the 3-4 system. The pass rush will come from the outside, but …

The stars of the D are on the line with one of the best front threes in the Big Ten. 6-2, 295-pound Jer’Zhan Newton is an NFL end who led the way with 5.5 sacks with 13 tackles for loss and 60 stops. He’s a gamewrecker who’s always moving, 6-5, 305-pound Keith Randolph made 53 tackles and 13 tackles for loss, and in the middle is 6-2, 320-pound TeRah Edwards along with 6-2, 315-pound Ohio transfer Denzel Daxon to gum up the works.



The rich just get richer in the Big Ten, as Ohio State added its 18th overall commit of its 2024 football recruiting class and 13th four-star commit this past week in Miles Lockhart.

Lockhart hails from Chandler, Arizona, and is the Buckeyes’ second four-star commit of the 2024 class alongside Bryce West. Ohio State currently has the second-overall ranked 2024 recruiting class in the country behind only defending national champion Georgia, according to 247 Sports.

For more on the commitment of Lockhart, check out the full story on our sister site Buckeyes Now.


The vaunted Iowa defense has added another weapon to its ranks with the commitment of the three-star cornerback from Florida, Rashad Godfrey Jr.

Godfrey Jr. is the Hawkeyes’ 18th commit of the 2024 recruiting class, which ranks 31st-overall in the country according to both 247 Sports and the On3 Industry Team Recruiting Rankings.

For more on the commitment of Godfrey Jr., check out the full story on our sister site Inside the Hawkeyes.


On July 7, Northwestern University placed football head coach Pat Fitzgerald on a two-week suspension based on an anonymous claim of hazing last November that launched a full investigation by the school in January.

The investigation revealed that “the complainant’s claims were largely supported by evidence gathered during the investigation, including separate and consistent first-person accounts,” per the investigation summary.

Those involved in the investigation were unable to prove that the coaching staff was aware of the incidents, but according to a story from the Daily Northwestern, “there had been significant opportunities [for coaches] to discover and report the hazing conduct.”

“I was very disappointed when I heard about the allegations of hazing on our football teams,” Fitzgerald said in a Friday statement. “We hold out student-athletes and our program to the highest standards; we will continue to work to exceed those standards moving forward.”

But according to a follow-up story, Fitzgerald displayed more awareness of the hazing incidents than he let on — and those incidents were far more troubling than originally thought. A former Northwestern football player, who asked to remain anonymous, revealed this to The Daily:

He alleges that much of the team’s hazing centered around a practice dubbed “running,” which was used to punish team members, primarily freshman, for mistakes made on the field and in practice.

If a player was selected for “running,” the player who spoke to The Daily said, they would be restrained by a group of 8-10 upperclassmen dressed in various “Purge-like” masks, who would then begin “dry-humping” the victim in a dark locker room.

“It’s a shocking experience as a freshman to see your fellow freshman teammates get ran, but then you see everybody bystanding in the locker room,” the player said. “It’s just a really abrasive and barbaric culture that has permeated throughout that program for years on end now.”

The Daily obtained images of whiteboards labeled “Runsgiving” and “Shrek’s List,” containing a list of names indicating players that the player said needed to be “ran.”

The Daily talked to a second former player, who corroborated these allegation.

According to the [first] former player, team members allegedly identified players for “running” by clapping their hands above their heads around that player. The practice, the player said, was known within the team as “the Shrek clap.”

The Daily obtained a video of a player clapping his hands during a game, which the anonymous player said was the same motion taken to signify “running.”

According to the player who spoke with The Daily, Fitzgerald repeatedly made the signal during practices when players, specifically freshmen, made a mistake.

The player believes some players interpreted Fitzgerald making these signals as knowingly “encouraging” the hazing to continue.

“Everyone would just be looking at each other and be like ‘bro, Fitz knows about this,’ because you wouldn’t take that action otherwise,” the player said. “Everyone joins in, because he’s the head coach.”

According to the allegations, players were also forced to “participate in what he called a naked center-quarterback exchange, wherein a freshman quarterback was forced to take an under-center snap from a freshman center, while both players were naked.” One player who refused to take part was told that if he didn’t, other players would “run him,” and that there was no other option. Players were also told to take part in a hazing practice called a “Gatorade Shake Challenge,” in which they were forced to drink as many Gatorade shakes as possible in a 10-minute period. The player who spoke to The Daily said that he had seen this happen on two separate occasions, and that those who took part threw up during and after the “challenges.” The player said that one of his friends took part and was sick for several days after,

Northwestern’s hazing policy forbids any action taken “to produce mental, physical, or emotional discomfort; servitude; degradation; embarrassment; harassment; or ridicule for the purpose of initiation into, affiliation with, or admission to, or as a condition for continued membership in a group, team, or other organization, regardless of an individual’s willingness to participate.”

That Fitzgerald was suspended for just two weeks on the basis of a widespread and firmly-established structure of hazing is unacceptable. To whatever degree he knew or did not know about each individual incident, and encouraged or did not encourage his players to take part, he’s in charge of the culture in the facility. Either he was part of the problem, he refused to be part of the solution, or he was blissfully unaware of what was going on.

No matter the truth, there’s no way to an acceptable answer. That hazing has become so widespread on Fitzgerald’s watch is especially galling, as he has long been a stringent and vocal opponent of the kinds of unions for college athletes that might help to maintain proper standards.

In 2014, when a group of Northwestern players, led by former quarterback Kain Colter, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to unionize, Fitzgerald did all he could do to stop it.

“I believe it’s in their best interests to vote no,” Fitzgerald said in April 2014, per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg. “With the research that I’ve done, I’m going to stick to the facts and I’m going to do everything in my power to educate our guys. Our university is going to do that. We’ll give them all the resources they need to get the facts.

“Right now, we have great protocols in place, and we haven’t been forced to do that by any third party. I know our guys trust me. I’ve been pretty clear with my support.”

That kind of paternal insistence, encouraging “student-athletes” (as the NCAA would forever like them to be known) can be a slippery slope, where the players believe that they’re treated as well as they can be because they know no other option at the collegiate level, and those in charge hold all the cards.

Clearly, the protocols in place that Fitzgerald called “great” back then are not so great now.

Whether Fitzgerald is successful on the field or not — he has a 110-101 record over 17 seasons, and the Wildcats finished with a 1-11 record in 2022 — is no longer the point. Northwestern can and should do better when it comes to the CEO of its football program not because of the Xs and Os, but because Fitzgerald appears to have either lost control of the ship, or — and far worse — he is supplying tacit encouragement of these outdated and vile tactics.

It could be time to make a much bigger change than a two-week suspension would indicate. Fitzgerald, who currently enjoys a 10-year, $57 million contract that carries him through the 2030 season, probably shouldn’t be able to see that deal through.


The Cardinals have begun the first stages of their latest rebuild project with the arrivals of GM Monti Ossenfort and coach Jonathan Gannon.

There’s a sense of hope for the organization with new decision-makers, but patience will be required in 2023 with the Cardinals having glaring holes across the roster and possibly not having franchise quarterback Kyler Murray for the start of the season due to the ACL tear he sustained in December.

Murray might not be around, but the offense is in better shape than the defense. The Cardinals still have wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and tight end Zach Ertz, who’s recovering from a torn ACL. They also might have building blocks with other young wide receivers and on the offensive line, especially at tackle.

Gannon, however, will have his hands full with a defense that lacks talent. The unit could take another hit if the team honors safety Budda Baker’s trade request.

Baker, a two-time first-team All-Pro, has seen plenty of losing the past six seasons in Arizona and probably won’t see wins this year if he sticks around.

Results will be hard to find in 2023, but the Cardinals might be more focused on the ’24 draft, as they already have an extra first-round pick after a draft-day trade with the Texans in April.

Biggest gamble this offseason: Not adding competition for Colt McCoy

Let’s pretend the Cardinals don’t have plans to tank for Caleb Williams this season—at least not at the start of the season. They took a huge risk by not adding another quality free-agent quarterback to compete with McCoy during training camp, knowing that Murray likely won’t be available for the start of the season. Arizona appeared content with McCoy, as the team watched Baker Mayfield, Taylor Heinicke, Jacoby Brissett and many other available quarterbacks sign elsewhere during free agency. McCoy, who’s entering his 14th NFL season, suffered a concussion and a neck injury last year and missed the final three games of the 2022 season with Murray sidelined. Backup quarterbacks Clayton Tune and David Blough will probably be needed this season.

Toughest stretch of the season: Weeks 1 to 5

The Cardinals open the season with a five-game gantlet, starting against the Commanders on the road, followed by home games against the Giants and Cowboys, a matchup in San Francisco and at home against Cincinnati. With four games against playoff teams from last season and a tough Week 1 road battle in Washington, the Cardinals might be staring at an 0–5 record, which might make them truly tank for the rest of the season. But Arizona does have a winnable Week 6 game against the rebuilding Rams in Los Angeles.

Breakout player to watch: WR Greg Dortch

Dortch made the most of his opportunity last season while filling in for DeAndre Hopkins, who was suspended the first six games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He might not be in the mix for a permanent starting role after the team released Hopkins. Dortch, who had 52 receptions for 467 yards and two touchdowns last season, will probably have to prove himself again to a new coaching staff, but it might not take long for the versatile slot receiver and special teams returner. Look for Dortch to continue making downfield plays for Arizona in 2023.

Position of strength: Offensive tackle

The Cardinals created a unique situation after drafting Paris Johnson Jr. with the No. 6 pick in April’s draft. Johnson was viewed by many as the best tackle prospect, but he might start the season at guard because the Cardinals already have quality bookend tackles in D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum. While most teams struggle to find two reliable tackles, the Cardinals have a good problem at the position.

Position of weakness: Defensive line

The Cardinals might have the worst defensive front in the league with a lack of playmakers at edge rusher and interior defensive line. Arizona could be flirting with the idea of moving Zaven Collins, a 2021 first-round pick, from inside linebacker to helping on the outside. Perhaps the team gets an immediate impact from edge rusher BJ Ojulari, this year’s second-round pick. But the Cardinals might not have answers at interior defensive line after neglecting the position this offseason.

X-factor: LB Isaiah Simmons

It’s now or never for Simmons, the 2020 first-round pick who had his fifth-year option declined. Perhaps Simmons finds consistency during a contract season while also looking to impress the new coaching staff and front office. Simmons has flashed at times as a Swiss Army knife, and his versatility would be welcomed with various holes on the defense. Gannon, the former defensive coordinator of the Eagles, might be the right coach to help Simmons reach his potential.

Sleeper fantasy pick: Rondale Moore

Moore is small at 5’7″, 180 pounds, and it can be challenging for such receivers to make an impact. Still, the release of Hopkins opens a ton of opportunities for Brown and Moore. Moore might not be a weekly fantasy starter, but he can be a useful matchup-based flex option.

Over/under: With Hopkins out of the picture, Brown should step into the WR1 role for a team that will likely be playing from behind often. He’ll probably get half a season with his college QB, Kyler Murray. When his futures come out, consider taking the over.

Predicted final record: 3–14, fourth in NFC West


11. Vita Vea, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

You’re about to see a lot of linemen with absolutely astonishing speed and agility for their size, and we might as well start with Vea. The Buccaneers’ defense was problematic overall in the 2022 season, ranking 13th in DVOA and 25th in Weighted DVOA (which skews to the end of the season), but it was a lot better when Vea was in there. The Bucs had a better pressure rate, sack rate, blown block pressure rate, blown block sack rate, and yards after contact average when Vea was on the field.

The 6-foot-4, 347-pound Vea had eight sacks, seven quarterback hits, 23 quarterback hurries, and 19 stops in just 14 games last season, and one must pay particular attention to the ways in which Vea was able to just demolish double-teams. Yes, size is part of the equation here, but Vea stands above the pack, and requires extra attention, because he brings a fearsome blend of leverage and technique to those double-teams. When you and your buddy on the offensive line are responsible for No. 50, it’s going to be a long day for both of you.

10. Christian Wilkins, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins selected Wilkins out of Clemson with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 draft, and after a couple seasons of decent production, Wilkins started to reward that high pick with some seriously great tape. Last season, he had seven sacks, three quarterback hits, 23 quarterback hurries, and a league-high 48 run stops. 12 of Wilkins’ 16 tackles for loss came in the run game, and that’s where we’ll begin when discussing his excellence.

Wilkins has a great eye for shooting and creating gaps and accelerating into the backfield, whether it’s in a base front or he was working in Miami’s high-rate blitz packages. Here against the Chargers in Week 14, he worked right guard Zion Johnson, the 17th overall pick in the 2022 draft, from outside to inside shoulder at a speed that had the rookie wandering what just happened, and had running back Austin Ekeler losing a yard. This is how you want to exploit the one-on-one matchups you get in five-man fronts.

Wilkins brings a serious love of collision to his pass-rushing palette — here against the Patriots in Week 17, he started out by working right guard Cole Strange from outside to inside, and he then knocked center David Andrews right out of his gap on the way to Mac Jones.

If you want lateral quickness in your ideal IDL, Wilkins has all of that. On this sack of Cleveland’s Jacoby Brissett in Week 10, Wilkins started out in a 1-tech alignment with center Ethan Pocic, engaged Pocic from left to right, and they jumped all the way around right guard Hjalte Froholdt on the stunt with Jaelan Phillips. When guys this bog (6-foot-4, 310) move this fast, it’s bad news for quarterbacks.

9. Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers

Another year, another amazing season for Heyward, who is quietly building himself a Hall of Fame resume. With six Pro Bowl nominations and three All-Pro nods, Heyward has reached a precipitous altitude, and he shows no signs of slowing down at age 34. In 2022, with an injured T.J. Watt and not a ton of juice around him in the interior defensive line (Larry Ogunjobi excepted), Heyward did what he does — he totaled 12 sacks (his most in a season since 2017), 10 quarterback hits, 36 quarterback hurries, and 43 stops.

Gap versatility has always been a staple of Heyward’s brilliance — outside of Aaron Donald, no base interior defensive lineman in his era has been better at wrecking stuff from every possible alignment. On this Week 12 pressure of Colts quarterback Matt Ryan, Heyward started off head over left tackle Bernhard Raimann, and then pulled off a long stunt with the aforementioned Mr. Ogunjobi in which Heyward got to right guard Will Fries’ outside shoulder. Not bad for an older gentleman!

Of course, Heyward has always liked to mix it up inside — last season, only Quinnen Williams of the Jets (22) had more total pressures from the 2-tech and 2-i alignments (over the guard and to the guard’s inside shoulder) than Heyward’s 21. For Bengals left guard Cordell Volson in Week 11, that meant taking Heyward’s furious bull-rush charge from the snap, and losing on the sack of Joe Burrow.

And as a run defender, Heyward is more than adept at creating chaos from the line of scrimmage, and through the pocket. Josh Jacobs of the Raiders, the NFL’s most productive back in 2022, would certainly agree.

8. Javon Hargrave, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers’ defensive line was already pretty terrifying before the team added Hargrave in free agency with a four-year, $81 million contract including $40 million guaranteed. This followed Hargrave’s fourth season with the Eagles, which was his best to date. The 2016 third-round pick of the Steelers totaled 12 sacks, six quarterback hits, 48 quarterback hurries, and 36 stops for Philly last season, and he should be able to slip into his new line seamlessly.

One of the first things that stands out about the 6-foot-2, 305-pound Hargrave is that he plays like a much bigger man — his ability to get under a blocker’s pads and main leverage through the rep is top-shelf. Texans rookie left guard Kenyon Green, the 15th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, got a serious introduction to the league from Mr. Hargrave on this Week 9 sack of Davis Mills.

Hargrave’s speed to and through the pocket also makes him a serious issue for every offensive lineman unfortunate enough to face him. He brings lateral agility in bunches, and 49ers left guard Aaron Banks is probably happy he won’t have to deal with Hargrave dashing past his outside shoulder in this fashion anymore — unless we’re talking about practice.

Hargrave is also a danger to others as a run defender, as he showed on this three-yard loss by Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco in Super Bowl LVII. Here, he walled center Creed Humphrey off, and followed Pacheco all the way outside.

7. Quinnen Williams, New York Jets

Speaking of Qionnen Williams, the Jets’ 2-tech monster has next on our list, and for good reason. Last season, the 2019 third overall pick out of Alabama had by far his most productive season to date, with 13 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, 25 quarterback hurries, and 32 stops.

Not that Williams can only get things done from guard level (he wouldn’t be on this list were that the case), but as he had six sacks, nine quarterback hits, and eight quarterback hurries from those alignments, it’s a good place to begin. On this Week 14 sack of Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Williams engaged left guard Rodger Saffold with a bull-rush, and then swiped him aside as if Saffold was an innocent bystander.

Guards has a rotten time with Williams last season no matter where he started on the line — here against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Week 6, he had left tackle Jon Runyan (literally) turned around to the point where Runyan was left trying to block Williams with his butt. That strategy worked no better than using one’s hands and leverage.

And while Williams’ game is more about pursuit to the depth of the pocket than waiting around to stop the run, he’s quite adept at blasting through blockers to limit enemy ground games. Here against the Vikings in Week 13, Williams started the rep carrying center Garrett Bradbury with his left hand, and finished it tackling running back Alexander Mattison with his right. Williams is all about efficiency.

6. Daron Payne, Washington Commanders

The football franchise in the nation’s capital has long been known for its great defensive line, and there’s certainly enough draft capital thrown at it. The Redskins/Football Team/Commanders currently have FOUR first-round picks on that line between Payne, Jonathan Allen, Montez Sweat, and Chase Young. Payne isn’t the biggest name on that list, but he might very well be the best. And he’s the only one who has made our positional lists this year, so there’s that. Last season, the 13th overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Alabama logged 12 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 27 quarterback hurries, and 44 stops.

In Payne’s case, it’s the combination of grown-man strength, speed and acceleration to the quarterback, and a full palette of moves that gets him going. On this sack of Kirk Cousins in Week 9, Payne started out on the outside shoulder of right guard Ed Ingram, worked inside with his hands, arm-overed Ingram into oblivion, and closed more quickly to Mr. Cousins than Mr. Cousins had a right to expect. The disrespectful throw of Mr. Cousins to the ground was the denouement.

On this end/tackle stunt with Casey Toohill out of a jet front against the Bears in Week 6, it was about scheme to a degree… but it was mostly about Payne shooting outside, engaging right tackle Larry Borom with a bull-rush, and waiting for Justin Fields to amble right into his kitchen.

Payne is a great run-stopper, and you also want to be mindful of throwing anything dinky in his region. Back to that Vikings game, where Nick Mullens tried a quick dump-off to T.J. Hockenson… and Payne dropped the tight end for a three-yard loss.

5. DeForest Buckner, Indianapolis Colts

If it seems odd that Buckner has made just two Pro Bowls (2018, 2021) and  just one All-Pro nod in his career, that’s because it is. Among interior defensive linemen since Buckner’s rookie season of 2016, per Pro Football Reference, only Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox have more total pressures than Buckner’s 161, and only Donald has more sacks than Buckner’s 47. And Buckner’s far from a one-trick pony — last season, he had 33 run stops, third-most among interior defensive linemen, to go along with his nine sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and 34 quarterback hurries.

At 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, Buckner is somehow ideally built to disrupt from any gap. He got two sacks against the Chargers in Week 16 by first throwing left guard Matt Feller aside on the way to Justin Herbert…

…and then bulling right guard Zion Johnson right into a Shark Week scenario for young Mr. Herbert.

Against the Patriots in Week 9, Buckner spun out of a double-team from a nose shade alignment, and wound up with Mac Jones in his hip pocket.

And about all those run stops… here’s Buckner getting skinny through the gap against the Patriots, and dropping Rhamondre Stevenson for a two-yard loss. If it’s possible for a former seventh overall pick with a four-year, $84 million contract to be underrated, Buckner does indeed qualify.

4. Jeffery Simmons, Tennessee Titans

The Titans took Simmons with the 19th overall pick in the 2019 draft, and that was still considered a steal based on his talent coming out of Mississippi State. He tore his ACL as h was preparing for the draft, which made him wait until the seventh game of his rookie season to get on the field. Ever since then, Simmons has taken it out on every offense the Titans have faced.

The 2022 season was another superlative one for Simmons, who signed a four-year, $94 million contract extension in April, 2023. He racked up eight sacks, seven quarterback hits, 38 quarterback hurries, and 27 stops. He did this despite ankle issues that he worked with through most of the season.

At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, Simmons has the “country strength” of a man 20-30 pounds heavier, and as he proved on this sack of the Giants’ Daniel Jones in Week 1, you’d better throw more than a perfunctory double-team at him if you want that to work.

In Week 8, Texans center Scott Quessenberry discovered just how unpleasant it can be when Simmons lines up as a 1-tech tackle, fires into the gap, and takes half a man with him on the way to the quarterback — in this case, Davis Mills.

And here, in Week 18, Jaguars running back Travis Etienne experienced the unpleasant feeling of Simmons jumping from center Luke Fortner’s right shoulder to his left with alarming speed, dumping Etienne for no gain. There was a lot of that feeling going around last season.

3. Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Is Aaron Donald the best defensive player of his era? There’s little doubt about that. Is Aaron Donald the greatest defensive player of all time? From a peak value perspective, he has a pretty strong case. From a career value perspective, we can but wait and see. One of the most consistently dominant disruptors football has ever seen, Donald worked through a 2022 season that was really his first in the NFL limited by injury. He missed the last seven games of the season due to an ankle issue, and while he’s said that there are no plans for retirement, that “R” word has been rearing its head of late in his case.

Still, with just 615 snaps last season — by far the fewest he’s had in a campaign in his NFL career — Donald still put up five sacks, seven quarterback hits, 28 quarterback hits, and 33 stops. Not quite the level of work we’ve come to expect — Donald has four seasons in which he’s totaled over 100 pressures, which is just preposterous for an interior defensive lineman who commands double-teams as the default mechanism — but not in any way a situation where you’re thinking, “Yeah — he was great, but he’s done.” At age 32, Donald has as much left in the tank as most guys could ever hope to sport at their absolute peak.

Donald has every move in the book, but one of his most effective over time is the double-hand jolt, where he’ll just punch the crap out of a poor blocker, and slip right by him for the win. Bills right guard Ryan Bates found that out in Week 1.

If there’s an underrated part of Donald’s game through the years, it’s his mastery of opposing tackles off the edge. Donald lined up outside the tackles on 33% of his snaps in 2022, and I’m firmly convinced that were he out there full-time, he’d put up 15 sacks and 80 pressures with no problem. Unusual for a 6-foot-1, 280-pound man, but Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith would probably agree.

Donald is just as on point as a run defender; on this four-yard loss suffered by Saints running back David Johnson in Week 11, he showed that wherever you think you’re going, Donald is already halfway there, moving all the way through your backfield.

2. Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants

The Giants selected Lawrence with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Clemson, and while he was fairly productive in his first three NFL seasons, 2022 saw the fourth-year man go all the way off the hook — to the point where he was rewarded with a four-year, $90 million contract extension in May. It was well-deserved, as Lawrence was as good as any interior defensive lineman in the league last season. He totaled nine sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 35 quarterback hurries, and 42 stops during a breakout season in which his tape overwhelmed his metrics.

One thing we know for sure — nobody was more destructive to opposing quarterbacks last season as a nose tackle. From the 0-tech and 1-tech alignments (head over the center and to the center’s shoulders), Lawrence racked up 47 total pressures. Vita Vea of the Buccaneers ranked second… with 18. Here, against the Commanders in Week 13, Lawrence started off in a 1-tech look, widened his path to right guard Wes Schweitzer, and then shot past center Tyler Larsen, who was late to the party. The sack of Taylor Heinicke was inevitable.

Not that Lawrence is limited to those nose tackle alignments — against the Packers in Week 5, he was lined up on right guard Royce Newman’s outside shoulder, and just trucked him right into Aaron Rodgers. Not sure what Newman was supposed to do to counter Lawrence’s furious rush, but this wasn’t it.

No surprise that Lawrence is also a real problem if you’re trying to run the ball in his area. Against the Vikings in Week 16, he gave center Austin Schlottmann a wicked snatch move, pulling him in, then throwing him aside, and then dropping Dalvin Cook for a two-yard loss.

As amazing as Lawrence was, there was one interior defensive lineman above him in our eyes last season, and it’s a guy who needs more praise as one of the best of his era.

1. Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs

Selected with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Mississippi State, Jones started to make a real impact in his rookie season with two sacks and 43 total pressures. But he was yet to reveal the full depth and breadth of his talents. He had 16 sacks and 79 total pressures in 2018, which was then the first bright light went off, and in the 2019 season, which ended with the Chiefs’ first Super Bowl win in half a century, Jones amassed nine sacks and 64 total pressures… and he should have been the MVP of that Super Bowl.

Jones has been a force multiplier in Steve Spagnuolo’s defenses ever since, but the 2022 season saw him raise the bar to an even higher degree. Jones bagged his second Super Bowl ring in a season that saw him total 17 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, 63 quarterback hurries, and 35 stops. Nobody in the NFL who was throwing their weight at opposing blockers from the inside was better than Jones last year.

And while Jones was great from every gap, he was specifically amazing when aligned in a 3-tech role, to the guard’s outside shoulder. This is the “rock star” alignment for interior pass-rushers, and you need a combination of speed off the snap, explosiveness through gaps, and fearsome strength to re-direct blockers. Last season, Jones totaled 42 pressures from 3-tech alignments — Tennessee’s Jeffery Simmons ranked second with 30.

In this AFC Championship game sack of Joe Burrow, Jones was aligned to right guard Max Scharping’s outside shoulder. Scharping got the swipe move at the snap so that Jones could get to the pocket, and it was all over from there.

Jones also got three of his sacks going up against centers, and on this Russell Wilson takedown in Week 17, you can see why. Off the snap, he knifed past center Graham Glasgow before Glasgow knew what was happening, and it was all over.

Jones was all about stopping the run last season, as well — he had five tackles for loss in the run game, and on this takedown of Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker in Week 16, he made his way to the backfield past left guard Danien Lewis as Lewis climbed to the second level, and left tackle Charles Cross had Jones. Or maybe be didn’t, as Jones was on his way to blow up the play before Cross could do anything about it.

If you’re not already regarding Jones as one of the best defensive players of his generation, it’s time to update your priors. What we do know is that he’s our best interior defensive lineman coming into the 2023 NFL season.


Jonathan Allen, Washington Commanders

Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles

Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers

Calais Campbell, Atlanta Falcons

Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers

D.J. Reader, Cincinnati Bengals

Teair Tart, Tennessee Titans

Dalvin Tomlinson, Cleveland Browns



SILVIS, Ill. (AP) Brendon Todd scrambled for par on the par-4 18th to take a one-stroke lead Saturday in the John Deere Classic, holing a 12-foot putt after drawing an awkward stance near a fairway bunker.

Todd had a 5-under 66 in breezy conditions to reach 16-under 197 at TPC Deere Run. The three-time PGA Tour winner drove close to the left fairway bunker on 18, forcing him to hit with his left foot in grass and his right foot well below in the sand. He advanced it 65 yards to set up a 105-yard wedge.

“Kept me bogey-free and kept me in the lead,” Todd said. “You always want to be the guy being chased.”

Todd eagled the par-5 second, holing a 25-footer, and birdied Nos. 13, 15 and 16. The 37-year-old former Georgia player, the only tour winner in the top five on the leaderboard, won the 2014 Byron Nelson and added victories in consecutive starts in November 2019 in Bermuda and Mexico.

“It’s just head down and make birdies,” Todd said. “It’s going to be hard to run away and hide here, but that’s the goal. Anybody who is within three shots of the lead is looking to go as low as they can. So. there’s certainly going to be no defense for me tomorrow. It’s going to be the same stuff.”

Alex Smalley (62), Denny McCarthy (66) and Adam Schenk (67) were tied for second.

“I feel like a veteran here,” Smalley said. “I’ve only had two years on tour, and this is my third year at this event, so it’s one of the few events where I feel like I know the course decently well. I feel comfortable here. I like the atmosphere of this tournament.”

McCarthy eagled the par-4 14th, hitting a 342-drive onto the green and making a 30-foot putt, then rebounded from a bogey on 16 with a birdie on 17.

“It was pretty gusty,” McCarthy said. “Hit a lot of really good shots early on, actually, and just didn’t really convert on some of the close-in putts, but then made a couple bombs to make up for it.”

Peter Kuest (65) was 14 under. He will become eligible for special temporary membership for the tour by completing the tournament.

Second-round leader Cameron Young (71) was 13 under with first-round leader Jonas Blixt (65), Chris Kirk (66), defending champion J.T. Poston (65), Lucas Glover (66), Kevin Roy (68), Mark Hubbard (67) and William Mouw (68).

After birdieing Nos. 16 and 17, Young hit his 165-yard approach on 18 left into the water and closed with a double bogey. He has six runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour without a victory – tied with Colin Montgomerie and Briny Baird for the most in the past 40 years.

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson, form nearby Iowa and a past John Deere champion, was tied for 39th at 8 under after a 67. He made the cut Friday on the number.



PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) The U.S. Women’s Open went prime-time from Pebble Beach.

So did Nasa Hataoka.

In gusts that topped 20 mph, Hataoka managed to play bogey-free Saturday with a 6-under 66 for the lowest score all week at Pebble Beach, giving her a one-shot lead over Allisen Corpuz going into the final round of the biggest event in women’s golf.

At stake for Hataoka is a chance to wipe away two playoff losses in the majors, most recently two years ago in the U.S. Women’s Open up the California coast at Olympic Club.

“It could be just happenstance, perhaps good luck,” Hataoka said about another shot at a Women’s Open in California.

There wasn’t much luck involved on a day so tough at Pebble Beach that only 10 players broke par and the 24-year-old Hataoka was the only one to break 70. Her score was nearly nine shots better than the field average.

She will play in the final group with Corpuz, the Hawaii native who stayed at USC an extra year to get her MBA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Corpuz stayed atop the leaderboard for most of the day until her second shot on the par-5 18th into the wind caught a plugged lie in the bunker, forcing her to chop out to the fairway. Her bogey gave her a 71.

Corpuz has never won on the LPGA Tour, and now she’s in the final group of the Women’s Open with $2 million going to the winner. This isn’t exactly what she imagined as a kid.

“I had putts to win the U.S. Open, like little tap-ins, but I don’t think I ever really thought I’d be in this position,” Corpuz said. “Just really, really grateful to be here, and yeah, hope that tomorrow goes well.”

Hataoka was at 7-under 209. She won a major on the Japan LPGA as a 17-year-old amateur, and now tries to become the third player to win an LPGA major.

Bailey Tardy, the LPGA rookie who had a two-shot lead at the start of the way, began to fall back as she turned into the wind and then lost her way on the 15th hole when she hit a clunky chip that ran through the green, chipped too strong coming back and made double bogey.

Tardy shot 75 and was three shots behind at 4-under 212, along with Hyo Joo Kim (73). Jiyai Shin (70) and Hae Ran Ryu (73) were five behind. No one else was under par.

“Disappointed in some of my shots today, but overall, I’m still in contention,” Tardy said. “I was leading the U.S. Open after two days. I think there was a little bit of nerves involved today.”

Hataoka, six shots behind at the start of the round, began her move with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 10th hole. Turning back into the homeward holes into the wind, she holed a 15-foot putt for birdie on the 13th and drew her loudest cheer when her 40-foot chip from behind the 16th green broke hard to the right and dropped for birdie.

Corpuz chipped in for birdie on the par-3 fifth, hit a beauty into the 10th for another birdie and kept in front with a wedge that checked up just short of a back pin on the par-5 14th.

So many others did well just to hold their ground, and left themselves far behind.

Rose Zhang, the crowd favorite at Pebble Beach from her sterling amateur career at Stanford and winning her first LPGA event as a pro, had a chance to get to 3 under for the round until missing a 4-foot birdie putt on the seventh hole.

She didn’t make a birdie the rest of the way. She settled for a 72 and was among those eight shots behind.

Leona Maguire, who had a 40 on the scorable front nine on Friday, struggled again with a pair of double bogeys and went out in 39. She left one shot in a bunker on the par-5 sixth, and flew the green and a bunker with a flop shot that went bad on the eighth.

But she was even par the rest of the way for a 75.

Irish amateur Aine Donegan had the toughest time. She was playing her best golf of the week and making an early run with three birdies through seven holes and a perfect drive on the eighth, short of the 60-foot cliff with a harsh left-to-right wind.

And then she sailed a hybrid into the hazard area well right and below the green. She headed back to the drop zone and did it again. It added to a 9, effectively ending her chances.

“Probably one of the worst shots I’ve hit all year,” Donegan said. “And followed it up with the exact same thing.”

Her caddie told her to consider a front nine of seven pars and two bogeys – that was the same score as three birdies and a quintuple bogey – and that helped calm her down.

“I couldn’t keep crying about it,” Donegan said. It was anything but that for an Irish player whose smile and attitude have brightened Pebble Beach as much as the sunshine that finally arrived.

Hataoka hopes she can learn from her experiences in playoff losses at majors, particularly the one at Olympic.

“I still have this very last day to look forward to, and although circumstances may be different, I think some of the elements are still the same as they were versus two years ago,” Hataoka said. “In other words, I have to go on all of those 18 holes, discuss with my caddie and work out what’s the best for me, and enjoy my day tomorrow.”



HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) John Hunter Nemechek passed Justin Haley at the start of overtime and held off Daniel Hemric to win the NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night for his third victory of the season.

Haley, who led 80 laps, was in a position to lead a parade of Kaulig Racing drivers in overtime but had no help on the restart while Nemechek made his move on the outside to take his first lead of the race.

“Early on in the race if you would have told me we would win the race, I definitely would have told you that wasn’t the case,” Nemechek said after a long burnou t to celebrate.

Nemechek started second but didn’t seem to have the best car until the very end.

“We just had to keep making our car better all night,” Nemechek said. “… We were able to execute on the restart.”

Hemric was second and his Kaulig Racing teammate, Haley, was fourth. Yet another Kaulig racer, pole-sitter Chandler Smith, began the overtime in second but finished 20th, apparently running out of gas.

Haley said he also was hampered by fuel concerns.

“Leading all those laps and running wide open, we were just short on fuel,” Haley said, adding “I probably couldn’t be as aggressive as I wanted to be the last 20 laps. … I thought obviously we had it won but things don’t work out sometime.”

Cole Custer, who won last week in Chicago, finished third and described the overtime as “just chaos.”

“We’re all kind of wondering if we’re close on fuel or not,” Custer said. “We’re just hoping nobody runs out of gas but half the field did.”

Austin Hill, looking for his fourth win of the season and his third consecutive win in Atlanta, was fourth when his hopes for a late surge ended with his spin with three laps to go. Hill wasn’t touched but lost control of his Chevrolet when trying to make a move on Daniel Hemric.

The resulting caution set up the overtime, and Haley was unable to hold the lead.

Hill started at the back following a transmission change.

Hill didn’t remain near last place very long. By the 38th lap of the first stage, Hill already had moved up to fifth. He finished second in stage 2.

Hill won the Atlanta Xfinity race in March and also last summer’s race at the track. He was second in Atlanta’s first 2022 race.

There were eight cautions. In Atlanta’s March race, 12 cars were knocked out by 11 cautions, a track record for an Xfinity race.

Riley Herbst passed Josh Berry with a late surge win win the first stage, his first career stage win.

Sheldon Creed won the second stage, just ahead of Hill, his Richard Childress Racing teammate.

Early in the third stage, Creed and Ryan Sieg, who led part of the second stage in his search for his first career win, were involved in a crash that knocked both cars out of the race. Herbst also had to go to his garage for the night following the wreck.


The Xfinity Series moves to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon next Saturday. —




INDIANAPOLIS – The Memphis Redbirds put up three runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a come-from-behind victory against the Indianapolis Indians on Friday night at Victory Field, 8-7.

Following a sixth-inning tiebreaking home run by Aaron Shackelford, the Indians (40-45, 7-4) held onto a one-run lead until the top of the ninth inning. A leadoff double by Juan Yepez set up the tying runner in scoring position, and he later came around to score on an RBI single by Kramer Robertson against Juan Minaya (L, 0-1). Nick Raposo lined a two-run single into left field to score the game-winning run.

A line-drive triple into the right-field corner by Liover Peguero got the Indians offense started in the second, scoring Ryan Vilade and Canaan Smith-Njigba after a single and walk to begin the inning. Three pitches later, Shackelford drove in Peguero on a sacrifice fly. With two outs and Grant Koch on first base, Chris Owings then sent a fly ball just over the right-field wall to cap Indy’s five-run frame.

The Redbirds (42-44, 3-8) wasted no time chipping away at their deficit, scoring three runs in the third on RBI singles by Richie Palacios and Juniel Querecuto. A Taylor Motter monster home run in the fifth and Raposo single in the sixth knotted the game at 5-5 before Shackelford’s home run gave Indy the lead.

James Naile (W, 5-1) entered in relief of Memphis starter Thomas Parsons and tossed 2.0 shutout innings while the Redbirds took the lead. Jake Walsh (S, 4) surrendered one run in the ninth but stranded the game-tying run at first base.

Miguel Andújar led the Indians offense with three hits and extended his hitting streak to 10 games dating back to June 29.

Indianapolis will look to clinch a series victory against Memphis tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 PM ET. Taking the hill for the Indians will be LHP Cam Alldred (5-1, 4.07) against LHP Matthew Liberatore (4-1, 3.13).



The Pacers’ 2023 Summer League debut was certainly eventful. Indiana built up a 22-point halftime lead, gave it all up, but then came back to pick up a 91-83 win over Washington on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Indiana’s returning players all were highly productive in the victory.

Second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin led all scorers with 27 points, going 9-for-21 from the field, 3-for-10 from 3-point range, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line, while also pulling down five rebounds.

Third-year big man Isaiah Jackson had a double-double in the first half and finished with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting, 14 rebounds, and three blocks.

And second-year point guard Andrew Nembhard was as solid as ever, tallying 14 points and eight assists.

“I think it’s a credit to the guys that we have on this team,” Pacers Summer League head coach Jannero Pargo said after the victory. “I think Andrew’s a great leader. Benn is doing a great job of just galvanizing the troops, being talkative, being vocal. Isaiah Jackson’s doing the same. Those guys have been around the Pacers organization for a little bit, so they know how we do things, how we run things and everybody else is just following suit.”

Rookie forward Jarace Walker, the eighth overall pick in last month’s draft, went just 3-for-13 from the field in his professional debut, but still contributed in a variety of ways. The 6-8, 240-pound 19-year-old finished with eight points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and three blocks.

“I feel like I got more comfortable as the game went on,” Walker said after his first game. “I didn’t shoot the ball well, but I feel like I defended pretty well, rebounded pretty well, got a couple assists, found my teammates. I’m just ready to get one under my belt. Felt good out there.”

Jackson scored the first five points of Saturday’s game, then Nembhard tallied Indiana’s next six as the Pacers jumped out to an early lead.

Nembhard also dished out four assists in the opening frame and second-year wing Kendall Brown made a nice impact off the bench with six points and two blocks in the first quarter to help propel the Pacers to a 23-19 lead after one.

Indiana opened the ensuing frame with a 7-0 run to stretch its lead to double digits. The Blue & Gold were locked in defensively in the second quarter, holding the Wizards to just four points over the first 7:41 of the period, allowing the Pacers to push their lead to 44-23.

Walker got his first five professional points in the quarter. Mathurin added eight in the frame, including a late pull-up three that pushed the lead to 22 (51-29) entering the intermission.

The Wizards mounted a charge in the third quarter. Washington opened the second half with nine unanswered points and continued to whittle away at Indiana’s lead throughout the quarter.

Washington wound up putting together a 30-7 extended run that culminated with Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s 3-pointer that cut the Pacers’ lead to 60-59 with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter.

Rookie guard Isaiah Wong hit one of two free throws for Indiana with 21.6 seconds left in the quarter. Then on the other end, Walker rose up for a massive block on Quenton Jackson, springing a fastbreak with ended with a three-point play by Brown.

Two Jackson free throws made it a 64-61 game entering the fourth quarter.

The Wizards took the lead on three separate occasions in the opening minutes of the final frame. Nembhard eventually put Indiana back in front with a floater off the glass with 6:02 remaining in the game. Jackson’s tip dunk and a Nembhard jumper capped a 6-0 Pacers run and the Blue & Gold held on down the stretch.

The Wizards got back within one after two Jackson free throws made it 82-81 with 1:44 remaining, but Mathurin answered with a driving layup on the other end. On the next possession, Walker rebounded a Wizards miss and led the break, throwing a bounce pass to Jackson for a slam that effectively sealed the victory.

A number of current Pacers players, coaches, and front office staff were in Las Vegas to watch the team’s young players. Returning veterans Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, and Jordan Nwora all were at the game, as well as new additions Bruce Brown and Obi Toppin.

After leading the young Pacers to victory, Mathurin expressed excitement about the Pacers’ offseason moves.

“Adding Bruce Brown and the rookies and Obi Toppin, it’s going to be ridiculous,” Mathurin said. “Hopefully we have a better season. I think we’re due to have a better season. And having those guys on the fastbreak with Ty is going to be amazing.”


INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, July 8, 2023) – Staying at home for the second match of a four-game homestand, Indy Eleven played against FC Tulsa in the first of two meetings between the teams this season. A fifth-minute goal by Moses Dyer would prove to be the difference as Tulsa went on to earn three points on the road.

In the fifth minute, a deflected pass found its way to Moses Dyer, who delivered a shot that dribbled past Yannik Oettl and into the back of the net.

Indy Eleven put together a flurry of chances, including a ricocheted shot attempt in the 26th minute from Sebastian Guenzatti that bounced off the right post, and in the 45th minute, a Younes Boudadi ball sent in for Jack Blake, who fired a shot that was blocked by a defender before a second chance was sent over the net.

Despite dominating the possession battle (66%-34%) and outshooting Tulsa 11-4, Indy trailed 1-0 heading into halftime.

In the 54th minute, Blake fired a shot from outside the box that was saved by Michael Nelson and found another chance in the 74th minute when his shot from outside the box sailed just wide of the net.

Indy had chances from Guenzatti, Douglas Martinez and Solomon Asante, but could not find the equalizer to close the match.

For the match, Indy commanded the possession battle (67%-33%) and registered a season-high 20 shots to outshoot Tulsa 20-6, but were unable to get over the hump. Tulsa improved to 4-7-7 in the USL Championship standings, while Indy fell to 5-7-5.

Next up, the Boys in Blue stay at home to host Charleston Battery for a 7:00 p.m. ET kickoff Wednesday. Single-game tickets for all home games at IUPUI Carroll Stadium and specially-priced group tickets and an increased portfolio of hospitality options are available for purchase now via indyeleven.com/tickets or by calling 317-685-1100 during regular business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.).

USL Championship Regular Season

Indy Eleven 0:1 FC Tulsa

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Michael. A Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium –  Indianapolis, Ind.

2023 USL Championship Records

Indy Eleven: 5W-7L-5D (-1), 20 pts; 7th in Eastern Conference

FC Tulsa: 4W-7L-7D (-7), 19 pts; 9th in Eastern Conference

Scoring Summary

TUL – Moses Dyer (unassisted) 5’

Discipline Summary

TUL – Ruxi (caution) 20’

IND – Macauley King (caution) 36’

TUL – Tommy McCabe (caution) 37’

IND – Adrian Diz Pe (caution) 47’ 

IND – Aodhan Quinn (caution) 83’

TUL- Eric Bird (caution) 90′

Indy Eleven line-up (4-3-3): Yannik Oettl, Younes Boudadi (Robby Dambrot 68’), Mechack Jerome (Roberto Molina 75’), Adrian Diz Pe, Macauley King, Aodhan Quinn, Cam Lindley (Stefano Pinho 68’), Jack Blake (Sebastian Velasquez 75’), Harrison Robledo (Solomon Asante 68’), Douglas Martinez, Sebastian Guenzatti (captain)

Indy Subs: Tim Trilk, Diego Sanchez

FC Tulsa line-up (3-4-3) : Michael Nelson, Eric Bird, Ruxi, Rashid Tetteh, Justin Malou, Collin Fernandez (Worth, Blaine Ferri (Armour 65’) , Tommy McCabe, Milo Yosef (Bernal 90+3’), Moses Dyer (Epps 65’) , Phillip Goodrum

Tulsa Subs: Siad Haji, Christopher Pearson, Austin Wormell, Nathan Worth



Indiana Fever vs Dallas Wings

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Gainbridge Fieldhouse | 4 p.m. ET

Broadcast Information

Bally Sports Indiana

Pat Boylan (play-by-play), Bria Goss (analyst)

The Indiana Fever (5-13) return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday at 4 p.m. after a two-game road trip to take on the Dallas Wings. The two teams met in Indianapolis for a preseason game back on May 13 with the Fever winning, 90-83. Sunday will be the first of three matchups between the Fever and Wings in the regular season.

Last time out for Indiana was a 96-88 loss against the Washington Mystics at Entertainment and Sports Arena on Friday. Indiana was led in scoring by Lexie Hull for the first time this season as she recorded a career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Hull also pulled down six rebounds and dished out three assists. Indiana shot a season- best 55.0 percent (33-of-60) from the court with the additional help of NaLyssa Smith, who recorded 19 points, Kelsey Mitchell’s 18 points and Aliyah Boston’s 12 points. Erica Wheeler distributed seven of Indiana’s 24 assists, which tied the team’s season-high for assists in a single game.

This year’s All-Star starter Boston as a part of Team Wilson will take the Gainbridge Fieldhouse floor for the first time since being recognized as the WNBA Rookie of the Month in June, which was her second consecutive Rookie of the Month nod. In 11 games during June, Boston averaged 15.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest, and recorded career-highs in: scoring (25 points), rebounds (14), assists (6), blocks (4) and steals (3). Boston has consistently led the league in field goal percentage, shooting 62.1 percent (105-169) from the floor through the first 18 games of her career. This year’s No. 1 overall draft pick also continues to lead all 2023 rookies in scoring (14.8 ppg), rebounding (8.4 rpg), blocked shots (1.4 bpg) and minutes played (30.6 mpg) per game.

In addition, Indiana will have another All-Star take the floor in Las Vegas later this week as Mitchell was named to her first WNBA All-Star Game as a reserve and will be a part of Team Stewart. The sixth-year guard enters Sunday’s matchup averaging 17.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest.

On the opposing side, the Wings (9-9) bring along two of their own WNBA All-Star starters in Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally. Ogunbowale will join Boston on Team Wilson and currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring averaging 21.4 points per game, while also averaging 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Sabally follows her in the scoring column as she is averaging 18.1 points per game and is ranked fourth in the WNBA in rebounding averaging 9.6 rebounds per contest. The Wings rank first in rebounding in the WNBA, averaging 39.4 rebounds per game, while Indiana follows behind in fourth averaging 35.4 rebounds per game.

Dallas comes to Indiana after a win against the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night. Natasha Howard made two free throws with less than one second to play and the Wings handed the Aces just its second loss, pulling out an 80-78 win. Getting the ball with 14.2 seconds remaining, the Wings grabbed three offensive rebounds after Sabally missed the initial shot from the right wing. Teaira McCowan had the first two rebounds but Wilson blocked her first shot and McCowan missed the second, but Howard was there for the rebound and was fouled with 0.4 on the clock.

Probable Starters

Indiana Fever (5-12)

Indiana Fever (5-13)

Guard – Kelsey Mitchell (17.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.9 apg)

Guard – Erica Wheeler (8.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 5.2 apg)

Guard – Lexie Hull (5.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.2 spg)

Forward – NaLyssa Smith (15.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.4 apg)

Center – Aliyah Boston (14.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg)

Dallas Wings (9-9)

Guard – Crystal Dangerfield (9.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.0 apg)

Guard – Arike Ogunbowale (21.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.4 apg)

Forward – Satou Sabally (18.1 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.5 apg)

Forward – Natasha Howard (17.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg)

Center – Teaira McCowan (9.9 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.0 apg)



Originally posted on FanNation Hoosiers Now

Indiana football reached a bowl game in back-to-back seasons under coach Tom Allen in 2019 and 2020, but have failed to hit that same mark in the past two seasons, faltering to 2-10 and 4-8 records.

In the upcoming 2023 college football season, the Hoosiers are currently projected to go 3-9, standing as favorites against Indiana State, Akron and Rutgers.

In order for Allen and the Hoosiers to turn things around and play in that coveted 13th game in 2023, here are the three games where they need to pull an upset.

Michigan State

Of the nine games Indiana is predicted to lose, this one seems the most flimsy.

Michigan State’s 2022 season under coach Mel Tucker wasn’t much better than the Hoosiers’, as the Spartans stumbled to a 5-7 record behind inconsistent quarterback play, a porous defense and a very noticeable lack of Kenneth Walker III, who carried the team during its 11-2 season in 2021.

Simply put, this is a game the Indiana football team is capable of winning because they just did it not too long ago, escaping from East Lansing with a 39-31 win in double-overtime and completing a 17-point, second-half comeback.

For a Hoosiers’ squad that has only won six games in two calendar years, confidence and knowing that they can beat a team goes along way, and that’s exactly what they have in Michigan State, who they beat in the penultimate game of the season to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Michigan State will be breaking in a new quarterback next year following the transfer of two-year starter to Payton Thorne, with Noah Kim and Katin Houser being the most likely candidates to replace him.

The Hoosiers return two talented players in the secondary in Noah Pierre and Josh Sanguinetti, and the two veteran defensive backs should be capable of disrupting a first-year starter at quarterback making their first start in Memorial Stadium.

Indiana once again plays Michigan State in the second-to-last game of the regular season, with this one being the Senior Day showdown in Bloomington on Nov. 18.

Armed with the motivation of sending seniors out on the right note, and the desire to retain the the Old Brass Spittoon for another year, IU has a great opportunity to upset a Michigan State team that really isn’t all that much better than them in 2023.


From the Spitoon to the Old Oaken Bucket, rivalry trophy games might just be the key for Indiana in 2023.

The Boilermakers are coming off one of their most successful runs in recent memory, finishing the 2021 season with a 9-4 record, then winning the Big Ten West in 2022 for the first time in program history.

However, 2023 is poised to be a regrouping year for Purdue football. Head coach Jeff Brohm departed for his alma mater in Louisville following the Big Ten championship game last year, and former Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters is entering his first year as a head coach in West Lafayette.

Purdue also lose quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who was selected in fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders after four years with the Boilermakers. O’Connell left as the program’s sixth all-time leading passer with 9,219 career passing yards.

There is optimism for Purdue’s 2023 season with the return of walk-on turned breakout star running back Devin Mockobee, who rushed for 968 yards last season on just 195 total carries, averaging out to a blistering 5.0 yards per attempt. 

Still, Purdue already skated by with a number of close wins in 2022 and was in serious trouble in Bloomington during last year’s game before Dexter Williams II went down with a right knee injury in the first quarter as Indiana led 7-3.

Indiana will be on the road when facing Purdue at season’s end in 2023, but this is a Boilermakers team that should be taking a major step back this year, and one Indiana should be eager to beat in the final game of the season if it means securing bowl eligibility.


Once again, it’s a road game Indiana will need to win, and once again, it’s a late-season matchup, as the Hoosiers will make the road trip down to Urbana-Champaign on Nov. 11.

Indiana won last year’s season-opening match in Bloomington, 23-20, sparked by a game-winning drive from quarterback Connor Bazelak and assisted by a controversial officiating decision that robbed Illinois of a touchdown in the first half.

Illinois went on to have a much more successful season than Indiana, finishing 8-5 and climbing as high as No. 14 in the polls. However, Bret Bielema’s team will be in need of major replacements in 2023.

Illinois lost the backbone of its sterling defense with the departures of defensive backs Devon Witherspoon and Sydney Brown, who were selected with the No. 5 and No. 66 overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, respectively.

Additionally, the Illini backfield will have new faces, as quarterback Tommy DeVito and running back Chase Brown have also migrated to the NFL.

Illinois is going to be a team relying on many unproven talents in 2023, and already was defeated by Indiana last year due in large part to its lack of firepower on the offensive side of the ball.

The Hoosiers should have the edge in experience, and similar to their matchup with Michigan State, they’ll have the crucial confidence they need to pull the upset having already beaten the Fighting Illini the year prior.


INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index



TAMPA BAY5735.62034 – 1523 – 2017 – 1014 – 39 – 73 – 7L 7
BALTIMORE5335.602226 – 1827 – 1716 – 1117 – 710 – 75 – 5W 4
NY YANKEES4941.544728 – 2221 – 1913 – 178 – 814 – 85 – 5W 1
TORONTO4941.544723 – 1826 – 237 – 2015 – 611 – 86 – 4L 1
BOSTON4743.522925 – 2222 – 2116 – 1111 – 89 – 67 – 3W 4
CLEVELAND4544.50624 – 2121 – 237 – 813 – 1213 – 66 – 4W 3
MINNESOTA4545.5000.526 – 2119 – 2412 – 1618 – 125 – 45 – 5L 2
DETROIT3949.4435.520 – 2419 – 253 – 1515 – 117 – 95 – 5W 1
CHI WHITE SOX3853.418821 – 2417 – 296 – 1615 – 119 – 144 – 6L 1
KANSAS CITY2565.27820.513 – 3112 – 344 – 107 – 224 – 113 – 7L 6
TEXAS5238.57827 – 1825 – 2011 – 1111 – 516 – 113 – 7L 1
HOUSTON5040.556225 – 2125 – 195 – 58 – 1117 – 97 – 3W 1
SEATTLE4444.500724 – 2020 – 247 – 117 – 614 – 116 – 4L 1
LA ANGELS4546.4957.523 – 2022 – 268 – 911 – 815 – 121 – 9L 5
OAKLAND2566.27527.512 – 3213 – 345 – 177 – 84 – 234 – 6L 3
ATLANTA6028.68230 – 1530 – 1322 – 68 – 110 – 79 – 1W 3
MIAMI5239.5719.529 – 1823 – 2112 – 1611 – 69 – 105 – 5W 1
PHILADELPHIA4840.5451222 – 1626 – 249 – 149 – 411 – 127 – 3L 1
NY METS4247.47218.520 – 1922 – 2813 – 135 – 1414 – 106 – 4L 1
WASHINGTON3554.39325.514 – 3221 – 229 – 165 – 99 – 134 – 6W 1
CINCINNATI5040.55623 – 2127 – 1912 – 1112 – 139 – 68 – 2W 1
MILWAUKEE4842.533225 – 2123 – 216 – 116 – 98 – 156 – 4L 1
CHI CUBS4147.466821 – 2220 – 256 – 1312 – 119 – 84 – 6L 1
PITTSBURGH4049.4499.522 – 2118 – 285 – 511 – 1513 – 113 – 7L 4
ST. LOUIS3752.41612.517 – 2520 – 275 – 811 – 147 – 134 – 6W 1
ARIZONA5238.57826 – 2326 – 1511 – 1410 – 417 – 114 – 6W 2
LA DODGERS5138.5730.529 – 1622 – 229 – 615 – 1214 – 117 – 3W 4
SAN FRANCISCO4841.5393.525 – 2223 – 1910 – 913 – 714 – 103 – 7W 1
SAN DIEGO4247.4729.524 – 2318 – 2411 – 107 – 1312 – 135 – 5W 1
COLORADO3456.3781820 – 2414 – 3211 – 148 – 106 – 183 – 7L 1


1937      Joe DiMaggio hits for the first of his two career cycles as he hits two home runs, a triple, double, and single, helping the Yankees maul the Senators, 16-2. The ‘Yankee Clipper’ will accomplish this feat again in 1948.

1940      At Sportsman’s Park, five National League hurlers combine to throw the first shutout in All-Star history. Paul Derringer, Bucky Walters, Whit Wyatt, Larry French, and Carl Hubbell three-hit the junior circuit, 4-0, with Max West’s three-run homer providing most of the offense.

1946      At Boston’s Fenway Park, hometown favorite Ted Williams hits two homers and two singles, collecting five RBIs in the American League’s 12-0 rout of the Senior Circuit in the most lopsided game in All-Star history. The first-place Red Sox placed eight players on the Midsummer Classic roster, which includes starters Dom DiMaggio (cf), Johnny Pesky (ss), and Bobby Doerr (2b), in addition to Williams, who plays the entire game in left field.

1953      At Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium, Phillies reliever Bob Miller replaces Robin Roberts, ending the starter’s consecutive complete-game streak at 28. The future Hall of Famer (1976) had finished every game he started since beating the Cardinals last season on August 28.

1956      After Commissioner Ford Frick shares his belief that hurlers lack support in the MVP voting, the BBWAA, by a narrow margin of 14-12, votes to establish the Cy Young Award to honor the major leagues’ most outstanding pitcher. The first recipient of the Cy Young Award will be Dodger Don Newcombe, ironically the winner of the Most Valuable Player Award.

1958      On Capitol Hill, Casey Stengel and Mickey Mantle appear in front of a Senate subcommittee investigating baseball’s antitrust exemption. After ‘the Old Perfessor’ gives 45 minutes of rambling and confusing testimony, Sen. Estes Kefauver laughs when he asks ‘the Mick’ to respond to his inquiry about the issue, and the slugger answers, “My views are just about the same as Casey’s.”

1963      The Indians host their third Midsummer Classic in front of a disappointing crowd of 44,160 fans at Cleveland Stadium. The Junior Circuit’s 5-3 loss to the National League does not feature any players from the Tribe.

1964      Frank Thomas, pinch-hitting for Roy McMillan, strokes a two-out, two-run homer off Curt Simmons, giving the Mets a 4–3 victory over the Cardinals at Shea Stadium. The round-tripper comes in the outfielder’s first at-bat in five weeks due to being sidelined by a glandular infection.

1966      During a contest between the Cardinals and Astros on a hot and humid evening at Busch Stadium, Harry Caray does the game’s play-by-play in just his underwear and socks. Surprised by a photographer taking a photo of him, the veteran broadcaster adjusts the boxers’ waistband as the camera clicks.

1968      In the first All-Star Game played indoors, American Leaguers are held to just three hits in the Astrodome, with the National League winning the first Midsummer Classic to end with a score of 1-0. The contest’s lone tally comes in the bottom of the first frame when Willie Mays, who had been picked off but stayed on the bases due to Luis Tiant’s throwing error, scores an unearned run when Willie McCovey hits into a double-play.

1969      Tom Seaver’s near-perfect game, immortalized as “The Imperfect Game,” is broken up when Cubs rookie outfielder Jim Qualls, a lifetime .223 hitter, singles into center field. The 24-year-old right-hander, who tosses five one-hitters for the Mets, will finally get his no-no in 1978 against St. Louis pitching for the Reds.

1970      Coming off the bench at Tiger Stadium against his former team, Dalton Jones hits an upper-deck grand slam ‘single’ against the Red Sox. The pinch-hitter passes teammate Don Wert between first and second, resulting in the hit becoming a three-RBI single instead of a round-tripper.

1971      In the longest shutout in American League history, the A’s beat the Angels, 1-0, when Angel Mangual plates Curt Blefary with a two-out single in the bottom of the 20th inning. Oakland’s 21-year-old southpaw Vida Blue fans 17 batters in the first eleven innings of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum contest.

1971      Royals’ Freddie Patek completes the cycle with a two-run ninth-inning homer off Minnesota starter Jim Perry. The 5’5″ Kansas City shortstop’s round-tripper breaks a 3-3 deadlock in Kansas City’s eventual 6-3 victory over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium.

1972      Striking out three Red Sox batters in the second inning en route to a 16 K complete game performance against Boston, Nolan Ryan becomes the third pitcher in baseball history to have struck out the side on nine pitches twice during his career. The Angels fireballer, who first did it with the Mets in 1968, joins Lefty Grove (twice in 1938) and Sandy Koufax (1962 and 1964) as the other hurlers who have accomplished the feat.

1973      Interrupting Board Chairman M. Donald Grant’s pep talk during a team meeting, Mets reliever Tug McGraw shouts out the words, “Ya Gotta Believe,” which will become the rallying cry for the club climbing out of the cellar en route to the NL pennant. Although New York beats Houston, 2-1, in 12 innings, their closer’s words of encouragement will not immediately light a fire under the team, as they will continue to struggle until the middle of August.

1976      Astros’ hurler Larry Dierker no-hits the Expos, 6-0, striking out eight of the 30 batters he faces in the Astrodome contest. The future team broadcaster and manager had previously thrown two one-hitters.

1976      Longtime Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey dies of leukemia at New England Baptist Hospital. The Fenway Park center field flag is lowered to half-mast to pay tribute to the 73-year-old philanthropist the Boston Herald called “‘baseball’s best friend,” a legacy questioned due to allegations of racism during his four-plus decades in Boston.

1986      Braves outfielder Dale Murphy’s consecutive-game streak ends at 740 games when he sits on the bench in the team’s 7-3 victory over the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. The 30-year-old five-time All-Star hadn’t missed a game since September of 1981.

1987      The Twins win their eighth consecutive game when they blank the A’s at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 7-0. The eventual World Champions will not win another game until July 22, dropping their next nine decisions, a dubious feat the streaky team also accomplished in April.

1988      Giants second baseman Chris Speier hits a seventh-inning triple to complete the cycle in the 21-2 rout of the Cardinals at Candlestick Park. The 21 runs crossing the plate establish a San Francisco record.

1988      Nolan Ryan, notching his 100th victory as an Astro, becomes only the second hurler to win a hundred games with a team in each league when Houston beats New York, 6-3. The 41-year-old right-hander, who also won 134 games for the Angels, joins Cy Young, who reached the plateau with the Cleveland Spiders (NL) and the Boston Pilgrims (AL), a team known as the Red Sox starting in 1908.

1990      As a result of a dream of being devoured by spiders, Glenallen Hill suffers cuts and bruises when he falls through a glass table, attempting to flee his eight-legged demons in a semiconscious state. The 25-year-old sophomore Blue Jays outfielder will now be known affectionately as ‘Spiderman’ to his teammates during his 13-year tenure in the major leagues.

1991      Cal Ripken’s three-run homer helps the AL defeat the Nationals, 4-2, giving the Junior Circuit its fourth consecutive All-Star win. Tony La Russa becomes the first manager with three straight Midsummer Classic victories.

1996      Mike Piazza, named the All-Star Game’s MVP, hits a moon shot into the upper deck at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. The Dodger backstop also strokes an RBI double, helping the National League beat the AL, 6-0.

1998      The owners elect Bud Selig, the acting commissioner for nearly the last six years, as baseball’s ninth commissioner. The Brewer owner plans to place the Milwaukee franchise in trust to avoid any conflict of interest.

2001      Luis Gonzalez, the first Diamondback player to participate in the Home Run Debry, wins the All-Star long ball contest at Seattle’s Safeco Field. The Arizona outfielder, who will hit 57 home runs this season, almost double the amount he will compile in any other year, defeats 2000 Derby Champ Sammy Sosa in the final round, 6-2.

2002      Despite chants of ‘Let them play!’ from the sellout crowd of 41,871 at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig declares the 73rd All-Star Game a 7-7 tie after 11 innings. No player is selected to receive the first Ted Williams Most Valuable Player award, an honor named for the late Red Sox legend who died five days ago.

2005      After 11 years, Coors Field finally has a 1-0 game as the Rockies escape a bases-full ninth inning to edge the Padres. The span of 847 regular-season games is the longest time ever needed for any big-league ballpark to host a contest with baseball’s lowest possible score.

2005      Mike Sweeney’s 5-for-5 performance helps him tie a franchise record, collecting eight consecutive hits. With knocks in his last three at-bats yesterday, the Royals designated hitter’s streak includes three doubles and five singles.

2005      On the first pitch of his only big league plate appearance, 24-year-old Adam Greenberg, entering the game as a ninth-inning pinch-hitter for the Cubs, is struck in the head by a 92-mph fastball thrown by Marlin hurler Valerio de Los Santos. The Guilford High School (CT) standout, the first player in the state’s history named to four all-state teams, sustains a concussion and experiences positional vertigo due to the beaning.

2009      Washington completes a game suspended at Nationals Park on May 5th with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning and the score knotted at 10, playing as the home team on the road with an 11-10 walk-off victory over the Astros when the frame continues at Minute Maid Park. Joel Hanrahan, traded to Pittsburgh in the interim, is credited with the win even though he is wearing a Pirates uniform.

2011      The Dayton Dragons have a sellout for their 815th straight home game, surpassing the record for a North American professional sports team, previously held by the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. The Cincinnati Reds affiliate in the Midwest League has sold out for every game it has played at Fifth Third Field since its move from Rockford in 2000.

2011      With a third-inning home run off Tampa Bay southpaw David Price, Derek Jeter becomes the 28th player and the first in a Yankee uniform to collect his 3000th hit. The ‘Captain’ enjoys a five-hit day in the Bronx, including an infield single in the eighth inning that drives in the winning run in the team’s 5-4 victory.

2013      Boston’s David Ortiz ties Harold Baines for the most hits by a designated hitter with his eighth-inning single off Seattle’s Charlie Furbush, giving him 1,688 career hits as a DH. ‘Big Papi,’ before the record-tying at-bat, had already collected a home run and a pair of doubles in the Red Sox’ 11-8 victory at Safeco Field.

2013      Alex Rios ties a franchise and the American League single-game mark when he collects his sixth hit, a ninth-inning single in the White Sox’ 11-4 victory over Detroit at Comerica Park. The Chicago right fielder, the first player to get four hits off Justin Verlander in one game, goes 6-for-6 at the plate with a triple and five singles.

2022      The Mets retire No. 17 in tribute to their former first baseman Keith Hernandez, the franchise’s first captain who batted .297 and won six straight Gold Gloves during his seven years with the club (1983-89). The spark plug of the team’s 1986 World Championship and longtime SNY color analyst joins players Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Jerry Koosman, and managers Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges to earn the honor.




There was nothing conventional about Hoyt Wilhelm’s path to the Hall of Fame.

He spent most of his big league career coming out of the bullpen, becoming the first reliever ever enshrined. He didn’t make his major league debut until he was 29 years old, then pitched until he was nearly 50. And his arsenal featured not overpowering fastballs or knee-bending curveballs, but instead relied almost exclusively on a darting, unpredictable knuckleball.

“I got to messing with the (knuckleball) in high school,” Wilhelm said. “I started to see that the ball was doing something. I figured it was my only ticket to the big leagues, ’cause I couldn’t throw hard, and I knew if I was going to play ball, I’d have to make it some other way.”

Wilhelm’s big league career nearly ended before it began. While serving in the Army during World War II, shrapnel from a German artillery blast struck Wilhelm in the back and right hand. He received the Purple Heart for his actions, and he would pitch his entire career with that piece of metal still lodged in his back.

Wilhelm spent seven seasons in the minors before getting to the big leagues with the New York Giants in 1952. He’d been a starter throughout his minor league career, but Giants manager Leo Durocher moved him to the bullpen. As a rookie, Wilhelm went 15-3 with a league-high 71 appearances and an NL-low 2.43 ERA.

After helping the Giants win the 1954 World Series title, Wilhelm bounced to the Cardinals, Indians and then the Orioles. In Baltimore, manager Paul Richards gave Wilhelm the chance to be a starter again. In just his third start, Wilhelm threw a no-hitter against the Yankees on Sept. 20, striking out eight. He remained in the Orioles rotation in 1959 and won the AL’s ERA title with a 2.19 mark before moving back to the bullpen the following season.

Richards helped increase Wilhelm’s success by devising a larger catcher’s mitt that was 41 inches in circumference – later reduced to 38 by rule – for Wilhelm’s receivers to use, cutting down the passed balls that plagued him and so many other knuckleballers.

Wilhelm settled in as the premier relief pitcher in an era dominated by pitching. From 1964-68 with the Chicago White Sox, Wilhelm went 41-33 with 99 saves and a 1.92 ERA in 361 games – all coming after his 40th birthday. While some marveled at Wilhelm’s longevity – he was the big league’s oldest player from 1966 through the end of his career in 1972 – he himself was quite pragmatic about it. He took care of himself, and he recognized that the knuckleball wasn’t as taxing on his arm as conventional pitches would be.

“He had the best knuckleball you’d ever want to see,” Brooks Robinson said. “He knew where it was going when he threw it, but when he got two strikes on you, he’d break out one that even he didn’t know where it was going.”

An eight-time All-Star, Wilhelm finished his career with a record of 143-122, 228 saves and a 2.52 ERA in 1,070 games.

Wilhelm was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985. He passed away on Aug. 23, 2002.


July 12, 1993, was a hot night in Baltimore and Camden Yards, packed to the gills with fans looking to catch a Home Run Derby ball, felt even hotter.

The Rangers’ Juan Gonzalez and the Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr. had blasted their way to seven home runs a piece — beating out heavyweights like Albert Belle, Cecil Fielder and Barry Bonds. Now, the two would face off in a playoff, the first playoff in Derby history, to see who was the best power hitter in the game.

But before they went head-to-head, there was a short break in the action.

17-year-old Mark Pallack and his friend, Jim Gates, saw the pause in play as an opportunity to get out of the heat of the right-field bleachers and take a walk down Eutaw Street — the little road that goes in between the back of the bleachers and the stadium’s warehouses. Maybe they could get some separation from the suffocating crowds; take in some of those cool breezes drifting off the harbor.

“I said to my buddy, I was like, ‘Let’s go get some air for a few minutes,'” Pallack told me in a phone call.

But that “short break,” proved to be much shorter than expected.

All of a sudden, a loud gasp went up from the fans around them and a ball sailed through the sky — rocketing off the brick warehouse. Pallack quickly sprang into action.

“I just lunged, just jumped on it,” he remembered. “My back was on the asphalt, on the concrete, and I was just cradling it in my chest. It was crazy. There was at least 30 or 40 people who jumped on me.”

Pallack didn’t know it in the moment, but he had just snatched up a souvenir from a home run that would be replayed for the next three decades. One of the coolest highlights involving one of the coolest athletes of all time.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s 465-foot dinger off Camden Yards’ B&O warehouse.

Eventually, security cleared out the dogpile. Pallack had some scrapes and bruises but nothing worse for the wear.

“We were just laughing,” Pallack said. “I had the ball in one hand and was high-fiving [Bill] with the other hand. I was disheveled, but in a state of euphoria.”

Through crowd murmurs and stadium PA announcements, Pallack soon learned that this was (and still is) the only home run ball to ever reach the warehouse on the fly. Realizing the significance of the hit, an Orioles PR person approached Pallack and offered to bring him to meet Griffey after the contest. (Griffey ended up losing to Gonzalez in the tiebreaker, but the warehouse homer was the only thing anybody was talking about).

So, once Gonzalez was crowned the champ and the on-field festivities were over, Pallack and Gates were ushered down from outskirts of Camden Yards to teenage-baseball-fan-heaven. A place where baseball’s biggest stars and celebrities — in town for the Midsummer Classic — congregated together.

The All-Star clubhouse.

“As you can imagine, a 17-year-old kid. Baseball is my thing,” Pallack said. “All of a sudden Bill Clinton is walking by me, Michael Jordan, Kirby Puckett walking out of the shower — I’m just like, ‘Where am I right now?'”

But instead of focusing on the players, the media had descended on Pallack — the kid who somehow snagged the now famous warehouse home-run ball. Along with signing a bat for Michael Jordan that weekend, Griffey came over to sign the ball for Pallack.

“He took a couple minutes to come over and sign and stuff,” Pallack told me. “He said, ‘That’s a pretty cool catch.'”

Pallack and Gates, of course, wanted to tell all their friends about their incredible night. Fortunately, a friend was having a house party on the outskirts of the city, back near where Pallack lived. The two looked at each other, smiled and knew this would be the perfect place to make their big announcement.

Pallack showed up to the front door with the ball in a little plastic sandwich bag, displaying it for anybody who wanted to see. A rubber band held the top closed. All the partygoers, of course, had watched the Derby and seen the Griffey homer. They were shocked to find out that their friend Mark was the guy who picked it up. In fact, that’s exactly what he kept saying to people while holding up the ball and telling the story: “I’m the guy!”

“I was obviously the most popular kid at the party,” Pallack laughed. “We were all just jumping up and down.”

The next day, Pallack couldn’t wait to show the ball to a good friend, Tiffany, down the street from his house. She couldn’t believe he had gotten the ball, either. Years later, the two would get married — although Pallack doesn’t seem to think his getting the ball that night and showing it to her played a major factor in her saying yes.


July 9, 1932 – Boston Braves/Redskins/ Washington Redskins franchise is granted by the NFL. A group headed by George Preston Marshall that included Vincent Bendix, Jay O’Brien and Dorland Doyle were given the remnants of the defunct Newark Tornadoes that folded at the end of the 1930 season.

July 9, 1933 – The Frankford Yellow Jackets are sold and renamed the Eagles as the franchise is moved to Philadelphia.

July 9, 2018 – Billionaire David Tepper purchases ownership of the Carolina Panthers for an NFL record $2.275 Billion. Tepper was quoted as saying, “I am thrilled to begin this new era of Carolina Panthers football and am humbled by the overwhelming excitement and support for the team.” The new owner is the founder and CEO of global hedgefund Appaloosa Management and had a net worth of over $11 billion. He had just recently relinquished his minority stake of 5% in the Pittsburgh Steelers by selling it so as to be clear to invest in the Panthers. Tepper promised to keep the Panthers in Charlotte, the city they started in in 1993.


July 9, 1874 – Brookeville, Maryland – George Brooke the great fullback of Swarthmore College from 1889 to 1892 and later Penn from 1893 to 1895 entered the world. Yes this youngster played college football for seven seasons in an era where there were no rules to prevent it. The NFF records that George was a two-time All-America selection. Brooke was described by Caspar Whitney as, “A very hard man to stop. He strikes the line with almost irresistible force.” The records of the Swarthmore squad with Brooke in the lineup was 21-14 and for the Quakers of Penn their win/loss record stood at 38-3 with George. The National Football Foundation selected George Brooke for entrance into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.

July 9, 1892 – Bloomfield, Indiana – Elmer Oliphant was a halfback that played for both Purdue, as a walk-on, and Army. Elmer Oliphant, according to the UPI in an article in the Indianapolis Star had the nickname of “Catchy.” Elmer won an unprecedented 7 letters while at Purdue and then added 17 more as a cadet at West Point!    The standout athlete played basketball, baseball and track in addition to football and even tried his hand at boxing. In fact he is the first person ever to have won letters in four different sports for the Army. His gridiron exploits were great even before he played in the college ranks. Catchy once scored 60 points in one high school game in a 128-0 romp as his Linton High squad dispatched rival Sullivan High School in football! Oliphant went to Purdue and set a scoring record there too when he put up 43 points on the scoreboard against Rose Poly in a 1912 tilt that set a Boilermaker record in the 91-0 triumph. Elmer ended up with 135 career points at Purdue and added 300 more while with Army and he was named to the All-America team twice. Elmer Oliphant received the great honor of being selected for inclusion into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1955. Elmer stayed in the Army for four more years and after his discharge he played one season professionally with the Buffalo All-Americans and then coached two seasons at Union College in New York.

July 9, 1912 – Talia, Lebanon – The famous LSU halfback from 1933 through the 1935 season, Abe Mickal was born. This player performed so many amazing plays in extreme situations that he was dubbed as “the Miracle.” The National Football Foundation’s bio on Abe tells how most of his wondrous plays were done passing the football. In that era it was not a passer friendly ball like today, but it had a much wider girth and was fondly called the “melon ball”, not friendly to the forward pass much at all. Miracle Mickal though developed a style that became very effective in tossing this big leather egg down the field. The NFF tells us that in 1933 Abe managed touchdown heaves of 48 and 57 yards. His 27-yard TD aerial that year provided a 7-7 tie with rival Vanderbilt. As a junior in 1934, Mickal and fellow Hall of Famer Gaynell Tinsley combined for one of Southern football’s greatest aerial duos, each capturing All-America mention. When the two connected on a last-ditch 65-yard TD pass to tie Southern Methodist, 14-14, they set a record for the longest scoring pass ever in the South. The record stood for several years. The Fighting Tigers finished 7-2-2 for that 1934 campaign. All told, in 32 games at LSU, Mickal played an important role leading the Tigers to a 23-4-5 record. Abe Mickal was a halfback from LSU that was selected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1967. 

July 9, 1918  – Adel, Iowa – Nile Kinnick, the Iowa starting halfback from 1937 to 1939 arrived into the world. This great athlete was full of surprises and never ceased to amaze sports fans. According to the National Football Foundation website Nile was the Outstanding Male Athlete for 1939, despite the amazing season that baseball legend Joe DiMaggio had that same year. Kinnick was the picture of football brilliance that season, leading Iowa to a 6-1-1 record while running, passing, or kicking for 107 of the Hawkeyes’ 130 points. Nile led the nation in kickoff return yardage of 377 yards and was second in interceptions with eight. Nile Kinnick won the Heisman Trophy in 1939 as a consensus All-American halfback as he also claimed the rights to the Maxwell, and Walter Camp trophies too. Mr. Kinnick was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. The Hawkeyes renamed their stadium after the star back in 1972 to Kinnick Stadium. He suffered an untimely death serving his country during World War II.  

July 9, 1947 – San Francisco, California – O. J. Simpson the legendary Southern California running Back of the seasons of 1967 and 1968. O.J. Simpson Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back that played for the Buffalo Bills. Simpson held the NFL single season rushing record of 2003 yards until Eric Dickerson broke that record a few decades later. Known as “the Juice” he played college ball at USC. According to the National Football Foundation, in 1968, O.J. carried the ball 355 times for 1709 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading USC to a 9-0-1 regular season record, equaling or bettering a long list of USC records. Again, he was named to scores of All-America first teams and was granted 21 awards, including Rose Bowl MVP, the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award. After winning the Heisman Trophy in 1968 the College Football Hall of Fame inducted them into their museum in 1983’s class. Juice went into broadcasting and even acting after his NFL career was over, that is until he infamously was tried and convicted for the murder of his estranged wife and her friend. 



Position: Quarterback/Running Back
Years: 1967-1969
Place of Birth: Midland, MI
Date of Birth: Oct 11, 1947
Jersey Number: 11
Height: 6-0
Weight: 208
High School: Boulder, CO (Boulder HS)

Younger brother of Hall of Fame safety Dick Anderson, Bobby Anderson was a local kid who made good. Raised in Boulder, he idolized Buffalo players as a child, went on to stardom at Boulder High School and then stayed in town to play at the University of Colorado. While Dick was staring in the Colorado defensive secondary, Bobby was in control of the Buff offense as the team’s quarterback as a sophomore and junior. Not a classic drop-back passer, Anderson was one of the game’s great running quarterbacks. In 1967 he led the team in both rushing and passing. He repeated the feat his junior season. That season he ran or passed the ball on 405 of the team’s 726 offensive snaps. The 1967 team went 9-2 and placed second in the Big Eight. Anderson scored two times as Colorado beat Miami in the Bluebonnet Bowl. With the team facing injuries in the backfield, Anderson was moved to running back for the third game of his 1969 senior season. The team rebounded from a loss the previous week to thrash Indiana. Colorado placed third in the conference and went to the Liberty Bowl where Anderson rushed for a bowl record 254 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over Alabama. That season he gained consensus All-America status. After CU, Anderson continued playing in Colorado, this time with the Denver Broncos. The first round draft pick played four years with Denver before completing his career with New England and Washington. He has continued to be a Buff fan as he is a long-time broadcaster on the CU Football Network.


3 – 6 – 31 – 36 – 24

July 9, 1914 – The Boston Red Sox purchased the contract of future Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth’s from minor league team of the Baltimore Orioles. Ruth had been trained as a child at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boy by a man there known as Brother Matthias according to BabeRuth.com. George Herman Ruth Jr.’s skills at the game became so refined that the Brothers at St. Mary’s invited the owner of the Orioles, Jack Dunn out to their campus to watch him play. Dunn was so impressed that he became the legal guardian of the 19 year-old and signed him on with the Orioles. So it would be a Baltimore to Boston and eventually the Yankees wearing Number 3 and Braves for the Great Bambino in his baseball career.

July 9, 1932 – Ben Chapman, wearing Number 6 for the New York Yankees hit 2 inside-the-park Home Runs, in just one game tying the record. In total he hit three home runs in the second game of a doubleheader with Detroit at Yankee Stadium. Two were  the inside-the-park, and the other was a smash over the wall as the Yankees won, 14 – 9.  Chapman ended his playing days in 1945 with 15 IPH for his career. To put that into perspective, Edd Roush hit 29 IPH, including four in the Federal League in 1914-15, over a career that ran to 1931. Kiki Cuyler had the best season mark for a player in that period with eight in 1925. Rabbit Maranville hit 22 in a very long career that finally wound up in 1935 according to SABR.org.

July 9, 1948 – Number 31, Satchel Paige, at the age of 42, debuted in the majors pitching 2 scoreless innings for the Cleveland Indians in St. Louis against the Browns.

July 9, 1953 – The Philadelphia Phillies Robin Roberts, Number 36 ended his pitching streak of 28 consecutive complete games

July 9, 1968 – Wilt Chamberlain, Number 13 became the first reigning NBA MVP to be traded the next season when he moves from Philadelphia 76’ers to the Los Angeles Lakers.

July 9, 1968 – At the 39th MLB All Star Game, Astrodome, Houston, it was the National League outlasting the American League, 1-0. The game’s MVP was none other than centerfielder Willie Mays, wearing Number 24 of the Giants.


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