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Marqise Lee was a Queen Street Bloods gang member when he was 10

Marqise Lee USCMarqise Lee is one of the top wide receiver prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft, and it’s pretty incredible that he’s made it this far when you consider his background.

Lee caught 29 touchdown passes over three seasons at USC, including a sophomore season where he caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards. The speedy receiver grew up in Inglewood, Calif., and his mother lost custody of him and his siblings when he was five. From there, he moved around different foster homes and even lived in a motel. Without much direction or guidance, he ended up joining a gang at a young age.

“My brothers went down the wrong road as far as gang banging and everything. I followed them for a couple of footsteps but then I had to change,” Lee recalled in a video feature for ESPN’s “Draft Academy.”

According to the “Draft Academy” special on Lee, the former USC receiver joined the Queen Street Bloods gang — based out of the west part of Inglewood — when he was 10. One of his older brothers was actually killed, while the other ended up in jail.

In a story on Grantland, Lee even shared that he had to fight a high school-aged member to get in the gang and he won the fight despite being an elementary school kid. But his brothers prevented him from partaking in most of the gangbanging and he moved away before long, which pretty much ended his gang life.

Lee eventually begged his way into Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., and eventually moved into a home with one of his friends.

So far, Lee has made it. He definitely came a long way and overcame a lot and figured out the proper path to success.

“It’s surreal to me because I never had a dream of going to the NFL. I never watched it. I didn’t even watch football because I never thought I was going to actually make it. And that’s where I’m at now — training for the combine,” Lee told Draft Academy.

Sad Oklahoma City Thunder fans are tough to look at (GIF)

The Oklahoma City Thunder are probably going to beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the opening round of the playoffs, but there will be no sweep. The Grizzlies were able to grind out a tough overtime win to tie the series at 1-1 on Monday night, which has at least two Thunder fans very, very concerned.

You know how some people go to the game just to be seen and act like they are rooting for the home team? This dude and his girl clearly are not two of those people. If those looks of disappointment don’t say “I’d kill for a Thunder championship,” I don’t know what does.

Sad-Thunder-fans

If my wife ever loves me half as much as these two love the Thunder, I’ll feel really special.

GIF via @cjzero

Elvis Andrus will do anything possible to protect on hit and run (GIF)

Don’t you ever accuse Elvis Andrus of not being a team player. And don’t you ever accuse him of missing signs. Because, my goodness, that guy goes all out when the hit and run is on.

Andrus was up in the ninth inning of Monday’s win over the Oakland A’s with nobody out and a man on first. The Rangers had a hit and run on, and the A’s knew it was coming so they did a pitch out. But that didn’t stop Andrus from doing his job of trying to protect his runner by attempting to make contact, so he swung at the pitch. And the pitch was so far out of the zone he literally got airborne for it:

Elvis Andrus swing

Give that man an A for effort on that one. Andrus ended up grounding out on the at-bat, but we’re sure the baseball gods paid attention to his attempt on that play. They’ll make it up to him.

Forearm bash to Eye on Baseball, GIF via Drew Sheppard

Warren Sapp the latest to question Jadeveon Clowney’s work ethic

Jadeveon ClowneyThe debate continues to rage on over whether Jadeveon Clowney is worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. There is no denying Clowney’s athleticism, but there have been plenty of questions about his work ethic. On Monday’s edition of “NFL Total Access,” former NFL players Warren Sapp and Heath Evans ripped Clowney’s decision to decline private workouts with teams before the draft.

“I look at Jadeveon Clowney’s tape and I don’t see a guy that’s playing the game with his hair on fire,” Sapp said. “If it’s my pick, I’m taking Teddy Bridgewater. I believe Teddy Bridgewater is that quarterback who gets it done.”

Bridgewater has tumbled down the draft boards with poor performances during the offseason, but that’s a debate for another day. Sapp and Evans both blasted Clowney for turning down NFL teams who are interested in jumpstarting his career.

“What else is he doing, not waking up?” Sapp said. “The next job you have is rushing the quarterback, young man, getting ready for the NFL. If you wake up every morning and you’re not prepared to go out and do the things you have to be either be an outside linebacker or pass rushing specialist, what else is there?

“You can blow your knee out walking your doggy. So why would you not work out for a team that has twenty million-plus dollars for you?”

Evans was just as harsh.

“There’s just so many little things about this kid that deter you from getting on his side,” he said. “This kid turns down private workouts? He says, ‘Well, I don’t want to get hurt.’ You should be training harder on the day that you’re not at a private workout than how hard they would work you on the private workout.”

Of course, Sapp had to throw in some crap about how he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer who was happy to work out for NFL teams when they wanted him to, but both he and Evans have a point. You can understand Clowney not wanting to risk injury, but he must be working out anyway. Why not get a head start on working with NFL teams?

Charlie Strong: Texas will not be in National Championship Game

Charlie Strong Texas Hook 'em

Charlie Strong has made it no secret that he is looking to change the culture surrounding the Texas football program. The former Louisville coach believes that the success the Longhorns had five years ago has led to complacency and entitlement. Strong is also looking to temper expectations.

“We have everything available, and I don’t know why we can’t be successful,” Strong said Monday, via Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman. “There’s no reason for us not to be. Now, I can’t tell you how soon it’s going to be. Don’t hold me to that. Don’t say, ‘Ooh, coach said next year we’ll be in the national…’ We will not be in the national championship game.”

Texas fans are not going to want to hear that, but it is probably the truth. The Longhorns are coming off an 8-5 season that ended with a loss in the Alamo Bowl. They are a combined 30-21 since losing in the National Championship Game back in 2009.

“A lot of our guys, they feel entitled and they get a little complacent because of where we are,” Strong added. “So then as a coaching staff, that’s what we have to be so conscious of when the guys feel they are a little better than what they are.”

This is all part of Strong’s overall approach. We learned last month that he won’t even allow his players to flash the hook ‘em Horns sign until they earn the right to do so. Strong is clearly concerned about his team getting overconfident. Saying Texas will not be in the National Championship Game is another way for him to knock his players down a peg while also being realistic.

H/T Dallas Morning News

Garrett Richards had wild pitch come right back to him (GIF)

Garrett-Richards-wild-pitchLos Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards threw one of the most bizarre wild pitches you will ever see against the Washington Nationals on Monday night. It looked like he was throwing to one of those pitch-back nets we all used to play catch with as kids when none of our friends were around (was that just me?).

Richards walked Denard Span to begin the fourth inning when he sailed a 3-1 pitch over the catcher and to the backstop. The ball somehow hit the brick wall behind home plate at Nationals Park and came directly back to the righthander. He was almost able to catch it in the air.

Unfortunately, there were no runners on base. I would have loved to see how that would play out if a runner tried to advance.

GIF via SB Nation

Matt Harvey celebrates Tommy John surgery anniversary with middle finger picture

Matt-Harvey-middle-finger

Tuesday marked the sixth month anniversary of New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 25-year-old righthander acknowledged the milestone on Twitter with a somewhat inappropriate picture that he quickly deleted.

We can understand why Harvey thought better of leaving the photo on his Twitter page, but everyone should also be able to understand how a young athlete could feel that way about major reconstructive surgery. Here’s what Harvey’s initial tweet said.

Athletes from New York have done much stranger things from hospital rooms than flipping the bird. At least Harvey didn’t stand up on the window sill and moon traffic that was driving by.

Photo: Twitter/SportsBlogNewYork