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Choosing basketball over football was tough for Jalen Suggs

Choosing basketball over football was tough for Jalen Suggs

Jalen Suggs was the first athlete in Minnesota history to be named Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball in the same year, so choosing one sport to pursue in college was difficult.He made the right choice.The 6-foot-5 guard is expected to be a top-five pick in the NBA draft following a stellar freshman season at Gonzaga. Suggs averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists and hit one of the most memorable shots in Final Four history, a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against UCLA that sent Gonzaga into the national championship game. The Zags lost to Baylor in the title game.“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Suggs said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “Had many conversations with my dad, with some close family, close friends, coaches, and ultimately, just time to myself in making the best decision for myself, for my family, for my future.”Suggs played quarterback and defensive back at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, leading the private Christian school to a state championship as a junior. He said he received scholarship offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, Georgia and Alabama.“He definitely would’ve been a Power Five quarterback,” Minnehaha football coach Chris Goodwin said. “I know he really deliberated about it and that surprised some people because he’s so elite in basketball. I think he made the right decision.”Gonzaga hasn’t had a football team since 1941, so there were no temptations for Suggs going to a basketball powerhouse.“I had no distractions,” he said. “I didn’t have to walk past the football facility and have it looking at me every day because I know that if I did, I would have taken that left or right into the stadium and I would have gone in and done something with the football team. But I wouldn’t take anything back. My experience at Gonzaga was second to none. It was amazing and I enjoyed it.”Suggs often looks like a quarterback on the basketball court. He displays his passing skills with precision accuracy, finding open lanes and delivering the ball.“I think the biggest thing that crossed over was his vision and awareness,” Goodwin said. “He knew where all the wide receivers were. He could see them even when he’s scrambling and that was his great ability. He’s so elusive. No one can catch him. He’d run around and you’d think he’s going to make a nice run and then he’d stop and hit a guy 20 yards away. It was jaw-dropping stuff. He made plays I’d never seen before.”Suggs wasn’t running to the sideline to avoid hits, either. Plus, he was so physical at safety that Goodwin said he is considering posting a highlight tape of his greatest hits before the NBA draft.“One of the things that’s underrated about him is he’s a very disciplined football player,” Goodwin said. “He’s not a prima donna quarterback. He loves to hit. He has some big hits knocking guys out. He was a true dual-threat and he was not afraid to run right over guys.”Suggs developed his toughness playing with older kids as a youngster. He recalls taking two crushing hits as a second-grader playing against sixth-graders.“I remember vividly one under-center, play action,” he said. “I’m sitting back there ready to pass and one of the hardest hitters, one of the biggest dudes in our league came off the blindside and killed me. And I remember laying on the ground crying. They came and picked me up, brought me off the field.”The other shot came from one of his good friends“He had promised me he wouldn’t run me over,” Suggs said. “He said he would either stiff-arm me or run me out of bounds. But he mistook me for one of my teammates and he ran me all the way over. I remember laying flat on my back. I couldn’t feel my left arm. But yeah, I’ve always played up.”Suggs won’t have to worry about blindside blitzes or bone-crushing tackles on the basketball court.The Pistons have the No. 1 pick in the draft followed by the Rockets, Cavaliers, Raptors and Magic. The consensus opinion has been that the No. 1 pick will be either a one-and-done college player — Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham, Southern California center Evan Mosley or Suggs — or someone from the G-League development program like guard Jalen Green or forward Jonathan Kuminga.“Just trying to stay humble and stay focused on getting better every day right now,” Suggs said. “I’m not looking too far ahead or being caught up in the future. Trying to control what I can control and enjoying the whole process and taking it all in.”While Suggs is heading to the NBA, his high school teammate Chet Holmgren is following his footsteps to Gonzaga. Holmgren, a 7-foot-1 center with guard skills, was the nation’s top recruit. He’s already been projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft.Suggs surprised Holmgren last month with the news that he was chosen the 2020-21 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.“It was special being able to be a part of that moment with him,” Suggs said. “It was great just because we’ve been so close. That’s my little big brother and I know he’s worked so hard to be in the position he’s in right now. I couldn’t be more proud.”————More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Manny Machado hits 2 homers, Padres rout Phillies 11-1

Manny Machado hits 2 homers, Padres rout Phillies 11-1

Manny Machado drove in five runs with a pair of homers and the San Diego Padres beat the Philadelphia Phillies 11-1By ROB MAADDI AP Sports WriterJuly 4, 2021, 10:07 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articlePHILADELPHIA — Manny Machado made the most of two swings in a ballpark that could have been his home.Machado drove in five runs with a pair of homers, and the San Diego Padres routed the Philadelphia Phillies 11-1 on Sunday.The Padres stopped a three-game losing streak with their 50th win of the season.Machado hit a two-run shot in the first and a three-run homer in the third before walking his next three times up, including two intentional.“It’s definitely a great ballpark to hit,” Machado said. “I’ve hit a few out of here before. I guess it’s an East thing, these fences here. It reminds a lot of Baltimore.”The Phillies pursued Machado and Bryce Harper in free agency after the 2018 season. After Machado signed a $300 million, 10-year deal with San Diego in February 2019, the Phillies gave Harper a $330 million, 13-year deal.“I’m blessed to be in San Diego where there’s no more rain,” Machado said. “There’s a lot of sunshine and great fans and great people. I’m grateful to be where I’m at right now and looking forward to what the future brings.”Padres left-hander Blake Snell tossed four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and four walks in his first start since June 22. Snell had been on the injury list after feeling the effects of food poisoning. The 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner with Tampa Bay has only pitched six innings twice in 16 starts.“I’m just getting my strength back and starting to feel like myself again,” Snell said. “The last couple days have been frustrating. It’s great to be able to go out there and pitch again.”Austin Adams (3-2) tossed a scoreless fifth to earn the win, and the Padres used four more relievers over the last four innings.Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez (3-3) surrendered five runs and nine hits in six innings.Machado put San Diego ahead 2-0 in the first. After Fernando Tatis Jr. lined a double, Machado blasted one into the bushes behind the center-field wall.Velasquez allowed a single to Snell leading off the third but Tommy Pham grounded into a double play. Velasquez then walked Tatis and Jake Cronenworth before Machado sent a drive out to left-center for a 5-0 lead.“Manny was really dialed in and after that he didn’t get anything to hit the rest of the day,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “He’s gone dead center twice and left-center. He’s seeing the ball really well.”J.T. Realmuto’s opposite-field homer to right off Craig Stammen made it 5-1 in the sixth.Demoted Phillies closer Héctor Neris couldn’t get out of the ninth after he struck out the first two batters. Eric Hosmer cleared the bases with a three-run double, and Profar followed with a single to tie his career high with four hits.After Webster Rivas hit a three-run homer to make it 11-1, backup catcher Andrew Knapp entered and retired pinch-hitter Wil Myers on a grounder.“He was close to having a great inning and I’m sure he’s frustrated,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Neris. “Now we start from scratch again.”MANNY OR BRYCEMachado is batting .268 with 63 homers and 189 RBIs for the Padres. He finished third in NL MVP voting last year.Harper is batting .263 with 62 homers and 173 RBIs for the Phillies.TRAINER’S ROOMPadres: Snell was eligible to come off the injured list before his 10 days were up because of baseball’s rules this season regarding COVID-19. RHP Mason Thompson was optioned to Triple-A El Paso to make room for Snell.Phillies: LF Andrew McCutchen left with two outs in the top of the ninth after fielding Hosmer’s double. There was no immediate word on his injury.UP NEXTPadres: RHP Joe Musgrove (5-6, 2.63 ERA) takes the mound Monday against Washington for the start of a four-game series.Phillies: LHP Matt Moore (0-1, 5.79 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Velasquez tosses 2-hitter over 7, Phillies beat Marlins 4-3

Velasquez tosses 2-hitter over 7, Phillies beat Marlins 4-3

Vince Velasquez tossed a two-hitter over seven innings, Rhys Hoskins hit a solo homer and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday nightBy ROB MAADDI AP Sports WriterJune 30, 2021, 3:33 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articlePHILADELPHIA — Vince Velasquez tossed a two-hitter over seven innings, Rhys Hoskins hit a solo homer and the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 4-3 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night.Velasquez (3-2) allowed singles to Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jon Berti, struck out seven and retired the last 13 batters he faced.“That’s the best performance Vinny gave us all year and we really needed it,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.A beleaguered bullpen that has blown 21 save chances this season, including seven in the previous six games, barely closed it out.Connor Brogdon and José Alvarado walked the bases loaded in the eighth and a run scored on Alvarado’s wild pitch. Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer off Alvarado in the ninth before the hard-throwing lefty settled down and got the final three outs.“The free baserunners hurt us more than base hits and that’s what has to be taken care of,” Girardi said.Marlins rookie lefty Trevor Rogers (7-5) gave up two runs on two hits, striking out nine in 5 2/3 innings.His control issues in the first inning led to Philadelphia’s first run. Rogers hit Jean Segura with a pitch and walked Bryce Harper. Andrew McCutchen’s broken-bat RBI single was the only hit Rogers surrendered until Hoskins blasted his 17th homer to left-center in the sixth.Pinch-hitter Odúbel Herrera drove an RBI double to right-center off Anthony Bender in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch, extending Philadelphia’s lead to 4-0.Bender’s streak of no earned runs allowed to begin his major league career ended at 22 innings.“I thought he was good coming into the game and just lost it there with his command as the pitch count went on there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Bender.The rookie right-hander’s streak was the fifth-best to start a career in major league history.“I wasn’t making my pitches,” Bender said.Velasquez got help defensively in the third from Harper, who made a leaping catch a couple steps in front of the right-field fence to rob Starling Marte of a game-tying extra-base hit.Velasquez, who began the season in the bullpen, lowered his ERA to 4.22 with his start allowing two runs or less in five or more innings.LOOKING TO 2022The Phillies optioned right-hander Spencer Howard to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to work on building up to throw 100 pitches. Howard, the team’s top pitching prospect, was 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA in nine appearances, including five starts.DONE DEALThe Marlins acquired infielder Joe Panik and right-hander Andrew McInvale from Toronto for outfielder Corey Dickerson, right-hander Adam Cimber and cash. Right-hander Jordan Holloway was recalled from Jackonsville and the contract of left-hander Steven Okert was selected from the Triple-A team.TRAINER’S ROOMMarlins: RHP Cody Poteet was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained knee. … RHP Sixto Sánchez is continuing to throw from 120 feet during his rehab. Sanchez has right shoulder inflammation.Phillies: 2B Jean Segura was activated from the injury list.UP NEXTRHP Aaron Nola (5-4, 3.97 ERA) takes the mound for the Phillies on Wednesday night. The Marlins are expected to start Holloway (1-2, 2.55).———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Castro's 2-run single in 9th rallies Nats past Phils 13-12

Castro's 2-run single in 9th rallies Nats past Phils 13-12

PHILADELPHIA — A slugfest came down to a 34-year-old pitcher trying to shut down the middle of the order for his first career save.No problem for Paolo Espino.Starlin Castro hit a go-ahead, two-run single off closer Hector Neris in the ninth inning, Espino got the final three outs and the Washington Nationals rallied three times to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 13-12 Wednesday.It was the first game in major league history that featured a grand slam and three-run homer for each team.“Boom,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “There’s no way to sum it up.”Josh Bell answered Andrew McCutchen’s slam with one of his own as the Nationals overcame deficits of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-11.Kyle Schwarber hit Washington’s three-run homer and Travis Jankowski had one for Philadelphia. Bryce Harper also connected for the Phillies.Both clubs let their bats do the talking after Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called Phillies manager Joe Girardi a “con artist” for asking umpires to check Max Scherzer for illegal substances during Tuesday night’s game.Phillies President Dave Dombrowski defended his manager, saying Rizzo’s comment was “totally improper.”Girardi’s biggest issue this time was trying to find a pitcher to hold any lead.Meanwhile, Martinez had already used seven pitchers by the time he handed it over to Espino for his 30th career appearance. The Panama native retired Rhys Hoskins and Harper on two pitches. After J.T. Realmuto reached on an error, Brad Miller lined out.“Espino is pretty much our secret weapon,” Martinez said. “He’s the one guy I know will go out there and pump strikes.”Espino has 21 strikeouts and only three walks in 28 2/3 innings.“I’ve been blessed my entire career with good command,” Espino said. “I throw strikes, attack hitters. That’s what I try to do.”After Ronald Torreyes gave the Phillies a 12-11 lead in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single, Neris allowed consecutive singles to Bell and Josh Harrison to start the ninth and Alex Avila’s sacrifice moved the runners.Castro then lined a single to center to put Washington ahead to stay as Neris (1-4) blew his fifth save in 15 tries.“I was ready for the fastball and I hit it the other way,” Castro said.Tanner Rainey (1-2) got the last two outs in the eighth.The Phillies jumped on Nationals starter Erick Fedde, who had thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings before Jankowski crushed his first homer since Sept. 26, 2018, in the second.But Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez, who retired the first 10 batters before Trea Turner lined a double with one out in the fourth, couldn’t get past the fifth.The Nationals scored five off Velasquez and Archie Bradley in the fifth and six more off Sam Coonrod and David Hale in the sixth..Schwarber, who struck out his first two at-bats, smashed an 0-1 pitch off Bradley the opposite way for his 19th homer and 10th in 12 games.Coonrod walked the bases loaded and struck out two batters before giving way to Hale. Trea Turner hit a two-run single to cut it to 9-7. After Juan Soto walked to load the bases again, Bell blasted one the opposite way to left-center for an 11-9 lead.“We had leads and we gave them away by issuing so many bases on balls and you can’t do that,” Girardi said. “We have to be better.”WEAR ITJankowski was 3 for 4 with a walk, falling a triple short of the cycle. The long-haired lefty circled the bases in the second and put on the Phillies straw hat worn in the dugout by players who hit homers.NOBODY ONAll 10 of Harper’s homers have been solo shots, tying the team record for most home runs with nobody on base to start the season. Fred Luderus previously did it in 1914. Felipe Alou’s 17 solo homers to start the season in 1966 is a major league record.STARTING TIMENationals: Fedde gave up five runs and six hits in four innings.Phillies: Velasquez yielded four runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings.TRAINER’S ROOMPhillies: McCutchen wasn’t in the starting lineup because of knee soreness but entered as a pinch-hitter in the fifth.UP NEXTNationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-7, 4.54 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series at Miami on Thursday night.Phillies: After a day off, RHP Aaron Nola (5-4, 4.22) pitches the opener of a doubleheader at the New York Mets on Friday. LHP Matt Moore (0-1, 7.36) is expected to start the second game.———More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports