Friday, July 3, 2020


football writers logo small 2019-11-21_08-06-30

Top 20

1 Villanova

2 Virginia

3 Purdue

4 Oklahoma 

5 Duke

6 West Virginia

7 Wichita State

8 Texas Tech

9 Michigan State

10 Kansas

11 Xavier

12 Cincinnati

13 Gonzaga

14 Arizona

15 UNC

16 ASU

17 Auburn

18 Kentucky

19 Seton Hall

20 Clemson

  • Fri, 03 Jul 2020 12:40:27 +0000

    Makur Maker commits to Howard: 'I need to make the HBCU movement real'

    Five-star recruit Makur Maker announced overnight that he's committing to Howard University.

    The news came just hours after the No. 16 player in the 2020 ESPN 100 said he'd be choosing a college next week.

    Maker becomes the highest-ranked recruit to commit to a historically Black college or university (HBCU) in at least 20 years.

    "I need to make the HBCU movement real so that others will follow," Maker tweeted. "I hope I inspire guys like Mikey Williams to join me on this journey. I am committing to Howard U & coach Kenny Blakeney."

    Maker is the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker and G League player Matur Maker. The 6-foot-11 center played for four high schools in the United States and Canada, most recently in Arizona.

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  • Fri, 03 Jul 2020 19:12:35 +0000

    Draymond believes Wiseman would be 'great add' for Warriors

    Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green hasn't seen much of James Wiseman after the latter withdrew from school partway through his suspension from the NCAA.

    The former Memphis big man only suited up in three games during his freshman year, but Green is intrigued by Wiseman's skill set and his potential fit within the Warriors' scheme.

    "I've seen some clips of his workouts and a couple highlights, and he looks to be pretty mobile, a pretty athletic guy," Green said Tuesday on ESPN's "Jalen and Jacoby." "So, with our speed and pace, the way we play, I think he can definitely be a great add, if that was the case."

    Wiseman was suspended for 12 games after the NCAA found that Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway provided Wiseman and his family with $11,500 to help facilitate their move to Memphis from Nashville.

    The 7-foot-1 center was last year's top-ranked high school recruit and impressed during his brief spell in college, averaging 19.7 points, 10.7 boards, and three blocks.

    Golden State posted a league-worst 15-50 record this past season and has a 14% chance to land the No. 1 overall pick. The club has already spoken with multiple draft prospects on Zoom, including Wiseman and LaMelo Ball, according to The Athletic's Anthony Slater.

    Ball and fellow guard Anthony Edwards are among the other names receiving consideration for the top selection, but neither appears to be a clear fit with the Warriors' star-studded backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

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  • Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:58:13 +0000

    Greatest sports movie characters: The top 100 reaches its climax

    theScore is counting down the 100 best fictional characters in sports movie history.

    100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51
    50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

    10. Apollo Creed

    "Rocky" (1975), "Rocky II" (1979), "Rocky III" (1982), and "Rocky IV" (1985)

    Arguably the most charismatic sports figure to ever grace the silver screen, Creed (Carl Weathers) is the perfect opposite to Rocky Balboa's underdog character. The flamboyant, arrogant boxer, who was loosely based on a combination of fighters including Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, embraces his larger-than-life status while drawing heat and remaining likable at the same time.

    9. Randy 'The Ram' Robinson

    "The Wrestler" (2008)

    Darren Aronofsky's dark dive into the independent circuits of professional wrestling was a masterpiece that reached Oscar-worthy success thanks to Mickey Rourke's incredible portrayal of fading grappler Robinson. "The Ram" represents everything that is wrong with fame and fortune when his continued journey toward reliving his glory years ends up costing him more important things in life. Rourke, who actually wrestled in the film, received a Best Actor nomination for his work.

    8. Reggie 'Reg' Dunlop

    "Slap Shot" (1977)

    Silver Screen Collection / Moviepix / Getty

    Already in his 50s when "Slap Shot" was released, Paul Newman's Reg has a bit of a Gordie Howe feel to him as a passionate on-ice leader who's seen and done it all but continues to ply his trade because hockey is truly his first love. As always, that trademark Newman cool is present both during the games and at the local bar.

    Fair warning, however: Some of Reg's banter hasn't aged well.

    7. Crash Davis

    "Bull Durham" (1988)

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    Davis (Kevin Costner) is a veteran catcher who is recruited to teach young hurler "Nuke" LaLoosh how to be a professional while also attempting to break a minor-league home-run record that most people don't know or care about. Davis may be rough around the edges in "Bull Durham," but his adoration for baseball and ability to deliver memorable speeches make him one of the most legendary sports characters in film history.

    6. Happy Gilmore

    "Happy Gilmore" (1996)

    It's the perfect fish-out-of-water story: An impulsive wannabe hockey player takes on the golf world after discovering an uncanny ability to drive the ball hundreds of yards thanks to his graceless slap shot technique. As Happy, Adam Sandler is at his man-child best, yelling, punching, and cursing as he runs roughshod over the stodgy denizens of the pro tour.

    5. Jesus Shuttlesworth

    "He Got Game" (1998)

    Casting a non-actor - then-Milwaukee Bucks star Ray Allen - to play a lead role in a drama carried plenty of risk, but Spike Lee's gambit paid off. Allen does just enough to bring teenage basketball prodigy Jesus Shuttlesworth to life, then wisely clears out of the paint to let Denzel Washington do the heavy lifting.

    With Allen becoming a Hall of Famer, the Jesus Shuttlesworth character has remained in the public consciousness for well over two decades.

    4. 'Steamin' Willie Beamen

    "Any Given Sunday" (1999)

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    Throughout the 1990s, Jamie Foxx was best known for sketch comedy show "In Living Color" and sitcom "The Jamie Foxx Show." Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday," which digs deeper into the seedy underbelly of professional football, helped bridge the gap from Foxx's comedic work to his Best Actor Oscar for "Ray" in 2005.

    Much of Willie Beamen's story holds up today: football's pigeonholing and treatment of Black quarterbacks; acclimatizing to a rapid rise in celebrity status; and balancing on-field and off-field priorities. Beamen feels like an amalgam of many real-life QBs who came before and after - one-of-a-kind personalities and talents like Jim McMahon, Michael Vick, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson.

    3. Shooter McGavin

    "Happy Gilmore" (1996)

    McGavin (Christopher McDonald) is everything you want from a comedic sports movie villain. For one, he sees all competitors as his inferiors - oftentimes making him both a sore loser and sore winner. Shooter also positions himself as a gatekeeper for his sport, sneering at those who upset golf's established hierarchies and traditions.

    That makes him the perfect foil to Sandler's Happy, a blue-collar rube with a penchant for emotional outbursts. Of course, it doesn't take very long for Happy to turn the tables; by the end of "Happy Gilmore," Shooter has completely lost his moral high-ground, allowing Happy to seize victory.

    2. Dottie Hinson

    "A League of Their Own" (1992)

    Runner-up on our list is Hinson (Geena Davis), the dairy farmer-turned-catcher in "A League of Their Own." After joining the All-American Girls Professional Baseball Team while her husband is away at war, Hinson becomes an immediate sensation thanks to her marvelous on-field play and leadership in this sisterhood classic that was preserved as part of the United States National Film Registry in 2012.

    1. Rocky Balboa

    "Rocky" (1975), "Rocky II" (1979), "Rocky III" (1982), "Rocky IV" (1985), "Rocky V" (1990), "Rocky Balboa" (2006), "Creed" (2015), and "Creed II" (2018)

    The greatest underdog in sports film history tops our list, and rightfully so. The iconic "Rocky" franchise has spawned eight films over five decades, and the one constant has been Balboa, a nobody boxer who made the most out of the ultimate opportunity. Just when it seems Rocky is faced with an impossible challenge, the "Italian Stallion" finds a way to overcome the odds. Balboa never quits and has proven over the past 42 years that anything is possible, especially through hard work and perseverance.

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  • Thu, 02 Jul 2020 00:25:48 +0000

    Former 5-star recruit C.J. Walker leaving Oregon

    Oregon forward C.J. Walker is transferring after just one season with the Ducks, he announced Wednesday on social media.

    The former five-star recruit wants to return to his hometown of Sanford, Florida, to be with his family amid the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

    Walker was the top-rated prospect in Oregon's 2019 class and ranked 23rd overall on last year's ESPN 100. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged four points and 2.5 boards in 14.9 minutes per game last season while making seven starts for the Ducks.

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  • Wed, 01 Jul 2020 20:13:04 +0000

    Pitino calls on NCAA to start 2020-21 season in January

    Iona head coach Rick Pitino is calling on the NCAA to push the start of the 2020-21 campaign to January due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Hall of Famer also proposed limiting the regular-season schedule to conference play.

    "Buy some more time for a vaccine and to get things under control," Pitino wrote Wednesday on Twitter. "Although I can't wait to be back on the sidelines, the health of my players and staff is what's really important."

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated last week he was "cautiously optimistic" that some form of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available at the end of the year.

    Several schools began permitting voluntary athletic activities on June 1 for football players and men's and women's basketball players.

    Clemson recently confirmed that 43 of its student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus.

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  • Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:18:01 +0000

    There's no need to pretend sports will save us all right now

    The trials and tribulations of the sporting world over the past few months can be bookended fairly neatly by two incidents. The first helped trigger the shutdown of pro sports, and the second demonstrated the folly of trying to bring them back as we once knew them.

    On March 11, two days after he made a ridiculous show of touching every voice recorder and microphone in his vicinity following a press scrum, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. The NBA suspended its season minutes after Gobert's positive test was announced, and the rest of Western society soon followed suit.

    Three months later, Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player, organized the Adria Tour, a charity exhibition series scheduled to be played in cities across four Balkan countries. In Djokovic's words, the tour was designed "to help both established and up-and-coming tennis players from southeastern Europe to gain access to some competitive tennis while the various tours are on hold due to the COVID-19 situation." While the event was perhaps conceived with what Djokovic called "a pure heart and sincere intentions," it was staged in an alarmingly irresponsible manner.

    The first legs of the exhibition were played in relatively unafflicted Serbia and Croatia, with none of the now-familiar distancing regulations in place: No testing was required of the participants when they arrived, unmasked fans packed stadiums, players hugged and shook hands with each other and the umpires, ball kids handled towels.

    Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

    Off the court, the players played pickup basketball, posed for photographs with tournament staff and fans, and partied with their shirts off at a club in Belgrade. The second half of the tour was canceled after Djokovic, his wife Jelena, his coach Goran Ivanisevic, two trainers, three other players (Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric, and Viktor Troicki), and Troicki's pregnant wife tested positive for COVID-19. Lord knows how many spectators were also exposed to the virus.

    In the wake of their public embarrassments, both Gobert and Djokovic tried to wipe the egg off their faces by encouraging the public to follow the appropriate guidelines and take the pandemic more seriously than they had. In his apologetic statement, Djokovic vaguely committed to "sharing health resources" with Belgrade and Zadar.

    Gobert's antics didn't rise to nearly the level of Djokovic's brazen idiocy (especially given Djokovic's belief in pseudoscience), but it's easy to see the parallels, both in the karmic retribution experienced by those who scoffed in the face of a public health crisis and in the opportunity for those incidents to turn into teaching moments.

    Pro athletes - most of them fit, healthy, young, and rich, with access to the best health care resources their wealth affords them - represent about the least vulnerable population imaginable when it comes to the coronavirus. But this moment isn't just about personal responsibility, it's about social responsibility: a commitment to making sacrifices for the good of everyone around us. Athletes feeling invulnerable is actually a big part of the problem.

    Alex Goodlett / Getty Images

    The Orlando Pride were forced to withdraw from the NWSL Challenge Cup after a slew of players reportedly contracted the virus at a bar. Tom Brady practiced with his new Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates against the advice of the NFL players' union. He responded to the backlash by Instagramming, "Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself" - proof that some people still don't get it, and refuse to even try. As Andy Slavitt, the chief of Medicare and Medicaid at the end of President Barack Obama's second term, succinctly put it: "Science is not our missing ingredient in beating this virus. Empathy is."

    That reality leaves pro sports in a strange place. It's unclear what they have to offer a world in which an airborne illness has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in a matter of months and shows no signs of slowing down.

    As much as anything, this pandemic has forced us to consider to whom and to what we are responsible. With so many elected representatives abdicating their leadership responsibilities, it's been left to the people to make sense of the missteps and misinformation, the disregard for the advice and warnings of the scientific community, and the mandate to Open Up the Economy and Get Back To Work at all costs. Everyone's basically been told to fend for themselves. There's been a dispiriting lack of common cause.

    That's the context in which Djokovic took it upon himself to treat the people of his country to his "philanthropic idea." While he wound up completely undercutting his purpose, and has deservedly shouldered the brunt of the blame, it's worth pointing out that neither the tournament organizers he worked with nor government officials in Serbia or Croatia made any attempt to mitigate the risk. Even after the fact, all the president of the Croatian Tennis Federation could say for himself was: "Some minor mistakes may have been made, but the idea was a good one. In Zadar, we had players for whom we usually have to pay 10 million euros to bring them, it was an opportunity that may never come to us again." Priorities, people.

    We talk a lot about athletes' platforms, and the type of messaging those platforms can and should be used for. But the message people need to be receiving right now is that in spite of what various corporate entities or government officials might have us believe, we're still dealing with a deadly virus that is spreading undetected, ravaging marginalized populations, and may cause lasting damage in even asymptomatic carriers. (Gobert, by the way, says he still hasn't fully recovered his sense of smell.) It's unclear how the return of sports helps convey that message.

    Joe Murphy / NBA / Getty Images

    While Djokovic and his infected peers self-isolate, the NBA is forging ahead with a return to games a month from now in Orlando, even though case counts, hospitalizations, and positive test rates in Florida are exploding, and some Disney World employees began a petition to keep the theme park closed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver suggested that despite the spike of infections in surrounding Orange County, players will be safer inside the NBA’s carefully managed Disney site than they'd be in their home cities.

    That may be true, but if the virus gets in - which seems eminently possible given that Disney staffers won't be staying on site or be subject to coronavirus testing - it will have the potential to spread quickly among a group of people playing a contact sport indoors. And on top of concern for player safety, there should be concern for the potential collateral damage involving non-players inside the bubble. (Consider, for example, the NBA cameraman who had to be placed in a medically induced coma after contracting the virus in March.)

    Just getting league personnel into the bubble virus-free is going to be a huge challenge. Sixteen NBA players slated to travel to Orlando tested positive for the virus last week, including Djokovic's countryman Nikola Jokic, who recently spent time with the tennis star in Serbia. Jokic's Denver Nuggets had to close their practice facility because of a separate spate of infections. The already shorthanded Brooklyn Nets are dealing with their own cluster of cases.

    And all of that is to say nothing of the worldwide marches for racial justice. For a league in which three-quarters of the players are African American, there's a particularly urgent sense of responsibility to be a visible part of the Black Lives Matter movement in its fight to, among other things, dismantle the criminal justice system that is disproportionately killing and incarcerating Black people.

    The National Basketball Players Association announced that "the goal of the season restart in Orlando will be to take collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice," and the NBA and WNBA are reportedly planning to paint "Black Lives Matter" on all the courts the leagues will use at Disney and the IMG Academy. A handful of WNBA stars have opted out of their season in order to focus on furthering the cause.

    Ned Dishman / NBA / Getty Images

    The extent of the players' responsibility to each other has also been a subject of some debate within the union. Athletes' careers are short, and not all of them are multi-millionaires who can withstand a year of missed paychecks. There's a huge incentive for them to not only get paid for the rest of this season but to prevent the league's owners from tearing up the current collective bargaining agreement.

    Some players in the league's middle class have even argued that it's important they get paid specifically because of the systemic racial inequities fueling protests, inequities that have prevented Black people from creating generational wealth. That can't happen without the majority of players, particularly the high-profile ones, being on board.

    "The financial stuff that's coming in is so heavy, and I think everybody has to share in that responsibility," one general manager told The Athletic's Sam Amick in an anonymous survey. "If you don’t at least try and see how this goes … the NBA could be impacted easily in the next five to 10 years in a way that it'd be very similar to what (the media) industry is going through as well. There's just going to be mass layoffs, and it could really change."

    Other sports leagues have run into their own complications with their attempts to resume. MLB and NHL training camps in Florida were shut down following outbreaks. The PGA Tour, which resumed its schedule in mid-June, saw numerous positive tests last week, despite the fact golf is as conducive to physical distancing as any sport. Several MLB (and NBA) players have opted out in order to be with their families.

    It's easy to understand why sports are trying so hard to come back in spite of all the challenges, and why so many people want them to. Apart from being billion-dollar enterprises with a ton of employees, professional sport is one of the closest things we have to a global cultural imperative. Part of the reason sports have become such a gigantic industry is that they've been successfully sold as a social good, perhaps even a social necessity.

    Juan Ocampo / NBA / Getty Images

    That same logic is what's led franchise owners to extort public funds in order to build new stadiums, preying on the illusion that these privately owned businesses actually belong to all of us. Perhaps that's also the logic that made the Los Angeles Lakers, a franchise valued at $4.4 billion, feel entitled to a $4.6-million government loan that was intended as a bailout for struggling small businesses amid the shutdown.

    The message that's been peddled to us is that the return of sports will correlate to a return to some semblance of normalcy and that this correlation is in the public interest; that sports can help spiritually bring people together at a time when it's important that they remain physically apart.

    "We’re coming back because sports matter in our society," Silver told reporters on a conference call last week. "They bring people together when they need it the most."

    Sports are amazing, and plenty of people believe in their unifying power (myself very much included), but it feels awfully disingenuous to paint that as the reason the NBA is trying to return. "You know and I know why we are playing - for the money," another GM told Amick. "If not that, do you really think we would be playing?"

    Which is a perfectly understandable reason to want to play. There's no need to pretend sports are going to save us right now. In March, Silver's decision to halt the season had a domino effect with other sports and the cumulative move may have forced society at large to realize the scope of the problem. Returning to play is a different calculus. Maybe they'll momentarily distract from the natural and man-made forces currently ravaging the globe, for anyone who wants the distraction. But at the end of the day, athletes live in the same world we live in, and they aren't impervious to those forces. If anything, sport's central function right now seems to be serving as a visible example of how profit-driven businesses behave in a global disaster.

    There are, of course, more responsible ways to resume sports than the way Djokovic and the Adria Tour organizers did - as leagues like the Bundesliga, English Premier League, and the Korean Baseball Organization have shown - but that doesn't mean it will do much good for anybody other than the people who will be getting paid (or even much good for some of those who will).

    It may be that pro sports in North America come back and stay back, that those returns result in minimal additional infections, and that a wide spectrum of viewers takes great joy and comfort in the spectacle. But that scenario, should it come to pass, will be less a triumph of sporting institutions and their healing power than an illustration of how a population can be kept safe so long as it has enough resources, will power, and financial incentive.

    One way or another, sports is not our missing ingredient in beating this virus, empathy is. And the former won't amount to anything without the latter.

    Joe Wolfond is a features writer for theScore.

    Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.

  • Sat, 04 Jul 2020 10:59:09 +0000

    Amateur ballers lead the way in Part 7

    theScore is counting down the 100 best fictional characters in sports movie history, with a new post every weekday until July 3.

    100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51
    50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

    40. Neon Boudeaux

    "Blue Chips" (1994)

    OK, Shaq hardly showcased his dramatic range when he played outrageously talented college recruit Neon Boudeaux in "Blue Chips." Still, his placement on this list is largely a testament to the Hall of Famer's tremendous charisma. Plus, it's just a lot of fun to watch a young, still-svelte Diesel dominate his on-screen opponents with alley-oop lobs and drop-step dunks - alongside then-Orlando Magic teammate Penny Hardaway.

    39. Michael 'Squints' Palledorous

    "The Sandlot" (1993)

    In "The Sandlot," Chauncey Leopardi plays bawdy infielder "Squints," a kid whose horror stories about a junkyard dog living next to the team's field are only matched by his ridiculous crush on lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn. We dare you to not think of the character every time you hear the word "squints."

    38. Roy Hobbs

    "The Natural" (1984)

    After Robert Redford's gifted baseball character in "The Natural" barely survives a run-in with a psychotic stranger, he returns to the game he loves many years later as a mysterious, aging rookie for a struggling ballclub. Using his natural talent and the power of a self-crafted bat that was struck by lightning, Hobbs leads the team to success while trying to keep his identity a secret and avoiding the sabotage of corrupt ownership.

    37. Rod Tidwell

    "Jerry Maguire" (1996)

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    Director Cameron Crowe achieved a perfect symbiosis between script, character, and performer with Cuba Gooding Jr.'s larger-than-life NFL receiver, Tidwell. From the famous "Show me the money" catchphrase to the actor's exuberant acceptance speech at the 1997 Oscars, Gooding perfectly captures the essence of an endlessly confident celebrity.

    36. Jimmy Chitwood

    "Hoosiers" (1986)

    Chitwood (Maris Valainis) exudes a cool stoicism that stands in stark contrast to the "aw, shucks" attitude of most of the townspeople in "Hoosiers." His motivations (and emotional baggage) isn't immediately clear, but much like Coach Dale (Gene Hackman) and Shooter (Dennis Hopper), basketball becomes a healing force in his life.

    Ironically, of the eight actors cast to play Hickory High players, Valainis was one of two actors who didn't play high school ball.

    35. Billy Hoyle

    "White Men Can't Jump" (1992)

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    The lasting impact of "White Men Can't Jump" is that every white basketball player with a smidgeon of attitude or flair invariably gets likened to Woody Harrelson's sneakily talented, trash-talking streetballer Hoyle. Strangely enough, the aesthetic trappings - the tie-dye snapback, baggy T-shirt, clunky sneakers - that were ridiculed in the film have come to embody 1990s streetwear culture.

    34. Pedro Cerrano

    "Major League" (1989), "Major League II" (1994), and "Major League: Back to the Minors" (1998)

    Warning: Video contains coarse language

    Cuban slugger Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) had a knack for crushing home runs and striking fear into people as one of the Cleveland Indians' rejects in the "Major League" series. Personal struggles with his ever-changing religious beliefs constantly get in his way until he learns that being yourself is the answer to most problems.

    33. Daniel LaRusso

    "The Karate Kid" (1984), "The Karate Kid Part II" (1986), and "The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

    When LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) moves across the country to unfamiliar surroundings, his life is turned upside down until he meets Mr. Miyagi. The karate instructor becomes a mentor to the fatherless LaRusso, who, despite countless challenges, transforms from a hot-tempered Jersey kid into a responsible, kindhearted man by the end of the trilogy.

    32. Willie Mays Hayes

    "Major League" (1989) and "Major League II" (1994)

    When cocky, self-proclaimed star Hayes (Wesley Snipes) shows up to Indians camp in the first "Major League" film, no one knows who he is. But after impressing during a 40-yard dash while in pajamas, Hayes quickly (pun intended) becomes one of the team's most important players. Snipes, who played the character brilliantly, was replaced in the series' second film by underwhelming substitute Omar Epps.

    31. Maggie Fitzgerald

    "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)

    Hilary Swank trained five hours every day to add 19 pounds of muscle for her role as Fitzgerald. While she sells that physicality well, the character's real substance is revealed in her dialogue with mentors Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) and Scrap (Morgan Freeman).

    "Million Dollar Baby" goes to a place far darker than most underdog sports stories, which only heightens the emotional intensity of Swank's Oscar-winning performance.

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  • Tue, 30 Jun 2020 00:22:21 +0000

    No. 1 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

    Emoni Bates, the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2022, committed to Michigan State, he announced Monday during a broadcast on ESPN.

    "They (Michigan State) get all my respect," Bates said, according to ESPN's Jeff Borzello. "I love how they coach, Coach (Tom) Izzo, I like how they focus on defense more than offense. On and off the court, he has passion. He's just an amazing guy, overall."

    Bates is widely considered one of the most promising high school prospects in recent memory. The 6-foot-9 forward says he'd consider reclassifying if his upcoming season playing for Lincoln High School proves to be "too easy." As a sophomore, Bates led Lincoln to an 18-3 record and a state title while averaging 33.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.3 steals.

    The 16-year-old has impressed scouts with his strong ability to create off the dribble and shoot from long range. He's the first commitment in the 2022 recruiting class for Michigan State, according to 247 Sports' Travis Branham.

    Bates said he doesn't think he'll go pro through the G League's new development program, according to Borzello, unlike fellow No. 1-ranked recruit Jalen Green.

    Based on the NBA's current rules, the earliest Bates could be drafted into the NBA is 2023. However, in recent years, there's been talk of the NBA abolishing its one-and-done rule, which forbids players from entering the league directly out of high school.

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