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#pounditFriday, April 16, 2021

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Richard Jefferson criticizes Arizona for head coach hiring process

Arizona logo

Former Arizona standout Richard Jefferson has no issues with the Wildcats’ ultimate head coach decision. However, he has a lot of problems with the process that went into the hire.

Arizona’s search process was unpopular with many alumni, especially some former players. The school fired Sean Miller on Apr. 7 and took a week to name Gonzaga assistant Jason Lloyd as his replacement. Lloyd was regarded as the immediate favorite and received two interviews before being hired. Around the time of Lloyd’s second interview, Arizona also interviewed alumni Miles Simon, Damon Stoudamire, and Jason Terry.

In his statement, Jefferson said he had a major problem with Lloyd contract rumors coming out as Simon, Stoudamire, and Terry were interviewing for the job, comparing it to the NFL’s Rooney Rule and criticizing the Wildcats for “embarrassing leaks of info.”

“My biggest issue with the process is your contract (true or not) was released on the same day Damon Stoudmire (sic) got interviewed and the day before Jason Terry and Miles Simon were also interviewed. Seems very ‘Rooney Rule’ to me,” Jefferson wrote. “Imagine walking into an interview knowing that terms have already been leaked for someone else not associated with your University or with head coaching experience.”

Jefferson made clear that he personally was not objecting to the fact that a former Arizona player did not get the job. He did, however, seem to think that the candidacies with former Wildcat players came off as courtesy interviews.

One of Jefferson’s former college teammates will have an even bigger issue with the hire than Jefferson does. It’s fair to say Arizona didn’t exactly please its alumni with the process here.

Look: Umpire Jordan Baker in Red Sox-Twins game missed this strikeout call so badly

Ryan Jeffers miss

The umpires in Thursday’s Minnesota Twins-Boston Red Sox game missed a call so badly that Alex Cora got ejected telling them what a lousy job they had done.

The Sox were down 3-0 before rallying in the top of the 8th against Minnesota’s bullpen to tie the game at 3. Boston’s pen got into some trouble in the bottom of the inning and had runners on second and third with only one out. Matt Andriese had a 1-2 count on Ryan Jeffers and got Jeffers to swing at a breaking ball and miss.

There was one problem: home plate umpire Jordan Baker said Jeffers tipped the ball. None of the other umpires corrected him.

Here’s the play:

Goodness, that wasn’t even close:

Cora complained about the call and told the umpires that they botched it. He noted it was their second time missing a call like that; in a previous game of the series, they missed a Red Sox player actually tipping the ball foul. Cora got ejected.

Luckily Andriese was able to finish the strikeout, and the Red Sox escaped the inning without allowing any runs.

Man, that was a badly blown call. Even the umps will recognize it when they see the replays.

Video: Alex Cora ejected for arguing horrible foul tip call

Alex Cora ejection

Alex Cora earned his first ejection of the season on Thursday, and you will understand why the Boston Red Sox manager was so irate when you see the call he was arguing.

With the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Boston reliever Matt Andriese got catcher Ryan Jeffers to swing at a ball in the dirt. For whatever reason, home plate umpire Jordan Baker thought Jeffers got a piece of the ball. Cora was baffled that Baker didn’t ask for help from the first base umpire.

You could hear Baker telling Cora that the call is “100 percent me” and that he doesn’t need to appeal. He’s technically right about that, but he should have asked for help. Even Jeffers knew he didn’t make contact, which is why he began running to first. Just look at how bad this call was:

Andriese got Jeffers to swing and miss at the next pitch as well, so the awful call didn’t end up hurting Boston. That doesn’t make it any less awful. Cora had every right to be furious.

Knicks targeting Lakers guard Dennis Schroder in free agency?

Dennis Schroder

The New York Knicks have a void at point guard that could get even bigger after the season, and Dennis Schroder is one player to keep an eye on as they look to address that need.

Schroder is one of the players the Knicks will consider signing in free agency this summer, SNY’s Ian Begley reports.

New York is already in need of a consistent starting point guard, and Elfrid Payton, Derrick Rose and Frank Ntilikina are all set to become free agents after the season. As Begley notes, the Knicks are expected to have roughly $50 million in salary cap space, so they should be in position to sign a player like Schroder.

Schroder is looking for a hefty contract, which became evident when the Los Angeles Lakers tried to sign him to an extension last month. There were reports that Schroder turned down a four-year offer from the Lakers that was worth more than $80 million. He appeared to play hardball with them in negotiations.

Obviously, Schroder is confident that he can get a deal worth more than $20 million per year in free agency. The 27-year-old probably isn’t wrong about that, as he is averaging 15.4 points per game this season and has been a solid starter for the defending champion Lakers.

We know of at least one top point guard the Knicks were interested in at the trade deadline, so they are obviously planning to address the need. How aggressive they are in their pursuit of Schroder will likely depend upon how head coach Tom Thibodeau views the fit.

Daniel Snyder goes to court against Bruce Allen over negative stories

Daniel Snyder

Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder’s quest to uncover the source of negative reporting against him has taken him to one of the people he once worked most closely with.

As first reported by Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Snyder has filed suit in federal court asking that his attorneys be allowed to search the communications of former Washington president Bruce Allen. Snyder alleged that Allen is one of those being used as a source for negative stories about Snyder, citing the fact that Allen’s name does not come up in the stories despite working closely with Snyder for over a decade.

Snyder also alleged that Allen spoke frequently with the attorney for Washington’s former minority owners while they were suing Snyder over his attempt to block their sale of their shares of the team. Snyder believes that Allen shared extensive conversations with the attorney prior to the stories being published.

Allen was fired in 2019 after long being one of Snyder’s closest confidants. That doesn’t matter here, though, as Snyder is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to discover who he thinks is leaking negative information about him. He’s even gone after the wife of a former employee for the same reason.

Video: Benches clear in first inning of Indians-White Sox game

Adam Eaton Andres Gimenez

The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox played a matinee game on Thursday, and it took no time at all for tempers to flare between the two AL Central rivals.

White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, and outfielder Adam Eaton followed with a base hit to right field. Anderson went first to third on the hit, which resulted in the throw going to third and Eaton trying to take second. Eaton was initially safe when he slid into second, but he was called out after he lost contact with the bag. That’s when the trouble started.

Eaton felt that Cleveland infielder Andres Gimenez shoved him off the bag, which resulted in the out. Eaton jumped up and gave Gimenez a light shove before pleading his case to the umpire. Things escalated from there and both benches cleared, as you can see below:

Gimenez may have nudged Eaton off the bag with his leg, but you can understand why the umpire missed it or chose not to call it. There was no blatant shove, and it looked like Gimenez bumped Eaton off the bag just by coming out of his crouched position.

The MLB season is young, but this is not the first bench-clearing incident we have seen. Fortunately, the two teams were separated quickly.

Michael Jordan will be presenter for Kobe Bryant at Hall of Fame

Michael Jordan

Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame next month, and he will have a very fitting presenter.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday announced the list of presenters for the upcoming inductees, who will be enshrined on May 15. Michael Jordan will do the honors for Kobe and the Bryant family. You can see the full list of presenters below.

Jordan was the obvious choice, and there is little doubt he was honored to accept the invitation. Kobe idolized Jordan and modeled his game after the six-time NBA champion. We were reminded of that when “The Last Dance” aired last year, as Kobe gave Jordan credit for his own five championship rings when he was interviewed for the documentary.

Kobe openly tried to play like Jordan, talk like him, lead like him, and win like him. Even his love letter to basketball was just like Jordan’s. Bryant wanted to help pass down all his knowledge to younger players upon retiring, and that is probably because of everything he took from Jordan.

Bryant’s enshrinement in the Hall of Fame will be emotional for many people. Jordan should make for the perfect presenter.

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez announce they have split

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez denied the rumors last month that they had called off their engagement, but the couple has now officially split.

In a joint statement to TODAY on Thursday, Rodriguez and Lopez announced they are going their separate ways. They said the split is an amicable one and that they will remain friends.

“We have realized we are better as friends and look forward to remaining so. We will continue to work together and support each other on our shared businesses and projects,” the statement read. “We wish the best for each other and one another’s children. Out of respect for them, the only other comment we have to say is thank you to everyone who has sent kind words and support.”

A-Rod also shared what looked like a breakup video on his Instagram story with Coldplay’s “Fix You” playing in the background.

A-Rod and J-Lo responded to the breakup reports a month ago by saying they were “working through some things.” There have since been several hints that their engagement is off, including a photo Lopez posted where she wasn’t wearing an engagement ring. Rodriguez also announced recently that he was buying a stake in the Minnesota Timberwolves, but Lopez’s name was not included. That was noteworthy since the two tried to buy the New York Mets together last year.

We know one controversial former MLB player who predicted the split earlier this year. It turns out he was right.

Peyton Manning to host ‘College Bowl’ quiz show

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning has repeatedly turned down offers from networks to become an NFL analyst, but the legendary quarterback is still landing TV gigs.

The once-popular quiz show “College Bowl” is returning to NBC in June, and Brian Steinberg of Variety reports that Manning is going to host it. Peyton’s brother Cooper will also be involved in some capacity.

After debuting as a radio program in the 1950s, “College Bowl” moved to CBS and then NBC and aired from 1959 to 1970. The show involves teams of three that represent some of the top colleges in the country working together to answer questions on a wide range of topics. Manning’s alma mater, the University of Tennessee, is one of the schools that will be represented. Others include Ole Miss, where Eli Manning went to school, the University of Alabama and Auburn University.

Manning made a funny comment a couple months back about how his face is on TV too much, but he clearly enjoys it. While many expect him to eventually get into broadcasting or perhaps join an NFL team’s front office, it sounds like his focus will be elsewhere for the foreseeable future.

Aldon Smith agrees to deal with Seahawks

Aldon Smith Cowboys

The Seattle Seahawks have had interest in acquiring Aldon Smith since at least last season, and they have finally landed the veteran pass-rusher.

Smith and the Seahawks reached an agreement on a one-year deal Thursday, according to Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Smith, 31, spent the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys. The Seahawks tried to trade for him last year but their offers were turned away.

Prior to last season, Smith was out of the NFL since 2015 due to a host of legal and personal issues. He has, by all indications, kept his head on straight since being reinstated. Smith also made some physical changes that appear to have helped him last year.

Smith had five sacks last season and 50 QB pressures. Signing him should be an inexpensive way for the Seahawks to bolster their front seven.