Fun Fact of the Day: Only 1.2% of men’s college basketball players get drafted by an NBA team, while more than 75% think that they will get drafted. Time to hit the books.
Must-win, won! The US Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) defeated Guatemala in a World Cup qualifying match last night (4-0). Phew! If the U.S. didn’t win last night, they would have had a slim 10% chance of making it to the World Cup. Now, they’ve edged ahead of Guatemala in the standings but they still have 2 games left in this round. Who still needs to watch out for his job? Yesterday, famed American soccer player Landon Donovan seriously dissed coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s ability to do his job and said he should be fired if America lost the game. It looks like someone at the match agreed, because a plane flew over the stadium with a banner reading #FireKlinsmann. Where won’t you see the U.S. playing? The Olympics in Rio this summer. The U.S. men’s under-23 team lost last night to Colombia, making this the second straight Olympics that the U.S. hasn’t qualified for. Oof.
Spotlight on the NBA Draft
This year, the NCAA changed a rule to allow college b-ball players to withdraw from the NBA draft up to 10 days after the combine. (Psst—the combine is where 65 invited college players complete physical feats and tests so NBA scouts can figure out who they want to pick.)
And that is different—how? Before the change, college players had to make a final decision about whether to enter the NBA draft before the combine, so some kids were signing up before they knew where they stacked up against the competition.
Who does this affect? This rule change doesn’t matter to top draft prospects like Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, but it will help lower-ranked college players decide between: (1) going to the NBA as late draft picks with less $$$; or (2) staying in school to improve their b-ball skills for a better chance in the next year’s draft.
Sign me up for that $$$! Kentucky is taking advantage of the new rule. Coach John Calipari encouraged everyone on his team (including walk-ons) to sign up for the draft and wait to see what happens after the combine.
Seen and Heard
Let’s get our stories straight. Yesterday, the NFL demanded that the NY Times retract their article about the NFL’s 2003 concussion study. What did the article say? The NFL study downplayed the effects of concussions, because it was missing over 100 incidents (or 10% of concussions) from the 5-year period studied. Why is the NFL in a tizzy? The NFL says that the article was defamatory because the study was just preliminary research and was not meant to be comprehensive. Who thinks all this concussion talk is a big waste of time? Earlier this month the NFL finally admitted the connection between football and CTE, but a couple of owners didn’t get the memo, including Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who compared the possible side effects of getting a concussion to taking an aspirin.
Drama Drama Drama. As if things couldn’t get worse for the L.A. Lakers, rookie and rising star D’Angelo Russell has caused some serious tension on the team. A video surfaced of Russell taping a conversation with teammate Nick Young about cheating on his fiancé rapper Iggy Izalea. Young didn’t appear to know he was being taped and now the whole team is icing Russell out, Mean Girls-style.
The old ball game! Opening day is just around the corner, so we’ve started hearing scuttlebutt about starting lineups. So far it looks like the Red Sox will start David Price against the Cleveland Indians, and the New York Mets will start Matt Harvey against the Kansas City Royals, now that Harvey has safely recovered from a bladder infection.
Even better than courtside seats! A little kid shocked Carmelo Anthony by running onto the court and hugging his leg during Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Anthony patted the kid sweetly on the head, while an official ushered him off the court and back to his mom. Next time New Orleans should probably beef up its security…