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Thursday, June 21, 2018

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Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo reportedly moving up NBA draft boards

Donte DiVincenzo

Donte DiVincenzo breaking out in the national championship game for Villanova against Michigan may have just been the start of things to come.

The Villanova sophomore guard, who scored a career-high 31 points in the championship game, is rising up draft boards. Yahoo Sports’ Jordan Schultz quoted an NBA coach who says DiVincenzo is going to “shock the league.”

DiVincenzo came off the bench for Villanova, which could explain why he flew under the radar somewhat until recently. But he played well enough in the NCAA Tournament and at the scouting combine to turn heads and apparently convince teams he is worthy of a strong draft pick. Now the question is how high will he go on Thursday?

Report: Orioles, Diamondbacks have been in contact about Manny Machado trade

Manny Machado

The Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks have remained in contact about a potential Manny Machado trade, according to a report.

MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported on Tuesday about the trade talks between the teams.

Machado remains a popular subject when it comes to trade talks for good reason. His Orioles have the worst record in the league. Combine that with Machado’s status as an upcoming free agent, and it makes sense for Baltimore to trade him and get a good return while they can.

Arizona leads the NL West and wants to improve its chances as a contender. Bringing in a guy like Machado would give a huge boost to the team, especially on the offensive side. Shortstop Nick Ahmed is batting .227 and third baseman Jake Lamb is hitting just .209 this season.

How much teams would be willing to give up for Machado if he’s just a rental remains to be seen. There was talk that he would consider re-signing with a team that acquires him in a trade, but that would be with a different NL squad.

Luka Doncic will reportedly travel to New York for draft

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic completed what will likely be his final season in Europe by leading Real Madrid to a Euroleague championship on Tuesday, and his next stop will reportedly be the United States.

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Doncic is planning to attend the NBA Draft in New York on Thursday.

Doncic is considered one of the top prospects in the 2018 draft, and there has been talk that multiple teams are considering trading up to have a better shot at selecting him. The star point guard’s combination of size and scoring ability have many NBA scouts excited, and it would be a surprise if he’s still available after the first five picks are made.

Tom Brady seemingly reveals exact age at which he will retire

Tom Brady

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about Tom Brady potentially retiring a lot sooner than he previously said he would, but a very subtle comment he made on social media over the weekend seemed to hint that his plans remain unchanged.

Brady sent many Patriots fans into panic mode when he said in a lengthy interview with Oprah Winfrey that he thinks his career will end “sooner rather than later.” He also admitted that he thinks about life after football now more than ever before, but he wouldn’t put an actual timetable on when he will retire.

“As long as I’m still loving it,” Brady said. “As long as I’m loving the training and the preparation and willing to make the commitment.”

ESPN shared some of Brady’s remarks on Instagram, and the future Hall of Famer commented on the post. The comment, which flew under the radar a bit, was written in Spanish.

That translates to “45,” which is roughly the age Brady has said in the past that he wants to play until.

If Brady forced the Patriots to trade Jimmy Garoppolo and is now planning to retire after another season or two, you can understand why fans in New England would be annoyed. However, he put together an MVP season last year and has still shown no signs of slowing down. He’ll turn 41 in August, so playing until he’s 45 would mean another four or five seasons.

It’s fair to wonder if the supposed tension between Brady and Bill Belichick could make the quarterback change his mind about playing several more seasons, but Brady tried to put that talk to rest recently.

Dodgers’ Enrique Hernandez had funny joke at Cubs’ expense

Kike Hernandez

It’s safe to say that Enrique Hernandez is happy to be back at Wrigley Field.

Hernandez’s Los Angeles Dodgers opened up a three-game series against the Cubs in Chicago this week. Before the first game, Hernandez cracked a funny joke at the Cubs’ expense when he noticed a room labeled “utility” next to the visitors’ dugout. Andy McCullough of the LA Times shared the details.

The reference here is that Hernandez, a utilityman, famously hit three home runs against the Cubs at Wrigley Field during the Dodgers’ series-clinching victory in Game 5 of last year’s NLCS. The outburst was especially remarkable since Hernandez, who had never homered in the postseason to that point, became the first Dodger ever to smash three dingers in a playoff game.

The 26-year-old has been noticeably less successful since, hitting .220 in 63 games so far this year. However, priceless wisecracks like this help illustrate why Hernandez is truly a national treasure.

Report: Mo Bamba refusing to work out for Grizzlies

Mo Bamba will not be swayed by barbecue and Graceland.

In an appearance Tuesday on 92.9 FM ESPN’s “The J&J Show,” NBA draft expert Jonathan Givony reported that the top big man prospect is refusing to work out for the Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the No. 4 overall pick. Givony went on to add that Bamba is even refusing to share his medicals with the Grizzlies and has openly told them that he does not want to be in Memphis.

The seven-footer Bamba is widely projected as a high-to-mid-lottery pick, so he could very easily be an option for Memphis at No. 4. However, the small-market Grizzlies went a putrid 22-60 last season and already have veteran Marc Gasol occupying the center spot.

Some indications are that Memphis might not even keep the pick. Regardless though, Bamba clearly wants to position himself to land in a better situation.

Clayton Kershaw to make rehab start in minors before returning

Clayton Kershaw

Clay Kershaw has pitched in only one game since the start of May as he rehabs from a back injury, but it sounds like the left-hander is finally on the verge of making his return.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Kershaw is going to make a start with the team’s Triple-A affiliate on Saturday before rejoining the rotation next week if all goes well.

Roberts had said Monday that the plan for Kershaw was either to make a minor league rehab start of jump straight to pitching for the Dodgers this weekend, but it appears the team has decided to play it safe.

The Dodgers have battled their way back to above .500 on the year and are just two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Things should continue to trend upward when Kershaw returns.

Report: Mavs considering trading up in draft for Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

The Dallas Mavericks have reportedly locked in on one player in this week’s NBA Draft, but they may need to get further up the board than No. 5 if they want to be assured he will be available.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavs have “targeted” European star point guard Luka Doncic and are contemplating trading up to draft him.

“Dallas at five, they’re asking themselves can we stay at five and get Luka Doncic, or do we have to move up to get the player?” Wojnarowski said Monday night. “That is the guy they have targeted, the Mavericks.”

Woj added that the teams picking in the top three or four — the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies — have started fielding more calls about trades with the draft set to take place on Thursday. Arizona star DeAndre Ayton seems like a lock to go to Phoenix at No. 1, but there has been talk that Doncic could go as high as No. 2. The Mavs have to decide if they are willing to put together a package to move up that far or if they like any other players enough to risk missing out on Doncic.

We have already heard talk of another team potentially trading up for Doncic, so teams in the top few spots may be able to start a bidding war.

Fans loved Senegal’s celebrations after World Cup win

Senegal may stand virtually no chance of winning the World Cup this year, but they can confidently say they are better than every team in the field in at least one category — celebrations.

Following their 2-1 upset win over Poland on Tuesday, players from Senegal broke out an awesome choreographed dance.

If you’re wondering where they get that enthusiasm from, you can probably start by looking at Senegal manager Aliou Cisse:

The passion was matched in the stands, as well. Poland’s fans vastly outnumbered Senegal’s, but the latter group managed to bring the noise and the gift of awesome music.

Judging by the way fans reacted to the heart Senegal’s players and their fans showed, it’s safe to assume they’ll have a few more supporters for their match against Japan on Sunday.

World Cup on pace for most own goals in tournament history

The opening round of the World Cup has been loaded with upsets and own goals, and the latter have been so frequent that we may be well on our way to seeing a new tournament record.

On Tuesday, Senegal pulled off a victory over Poland thanks in part to a Polish own goal early in the match.

While that own goal was more of a deflection rather than a mistake from a defender, it was already the fourth of the World Cup, which is tied for the third-most in a single tournament. The record is six, and there’s still a very long way to go.

Even if the record of six own goals falls, it seems highly unlikely that any will be more heartbreaking than the one Morocco gave up in its loss to Iran. In reality, the own goals and upsets probably go hand-in-hand. Strange things need to happen in order for so many underdogs to come out on top, and that’s exactly what we have seen in the World Cup thus far.

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