2020-07-09

Obo shows he's healthy, ready to compete for starting role in Los Angeles

He’s ready.

Linebacker Ogbonnia "Obo" Okoronkwo showed he’s in shape,  ready to compete for starting role -- posting a workout video on social media recently.

“Everybody thinks that we’re these chiseled body-builder types. But a lot of the time a lot of the guys don’t have that traditional body-builder look,” 25-year-old reserve said in April, per USA Today's Rams Wire, after a string of injuries sidelined him.


Okoronkwo, Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2017, began the offseason in hopes of earning a starting position. After being a year removed of concerns of being cut by Los Angeles, who won the Super Bowl in 2019, a contest he missed after being placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in his rookie season.

“When the season picks up then I’ll definitely be back,” Okoronkwo said. “But I just feel good, a lot of energy. My body feels really clean. I feel like energized when I wake up, yeah. I’m loving it.”

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Okoronkwo was drafted in the fifth round with the 160th overall pick by the organization, after being named an All-American honorable mention his senior season at Oklahoma. However, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder has suffered a number of setbacks including a broken foot that sidelined him the entirety of the 2018 season after undergoing surgery. A sore hamstring, last season, limited Okoronkwo to ten games.

“A lot of guys are very skilled, so they don’t have to be super strong or super fast, or they don’t have to look like a superhero to be really good at what they do. They’re intricate and very detailed in their skills. So that’s what makes them so much better than everybody else,” he added in preparation for the upcoming season.

Los Angeles Rams open training camp July 28.


2020-06-30

"They don't need me to win" – Trent Williams on joining 49ers

A relationship between Washington and Trent Williams, Kyle Shanahan helped the All-Pro land in San Francisco.

Williams knew after being traded from Washington Redskins in April, the 49ers didn’t ‘need' him to win after Super Bowl LIV appearance.

"I say this all the time: It was an attractive destination, not just because of Kyle and the quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo), of course, but they don't need me to win, " Williams said.

Mark Tenally/Associated Press
Their relationship dates back to Washington where he served as offensive coordinator between 2010-13. And where Williams earned six Pro Bowl appearances, the relationship later soured after a dispute between him and the club.

“To me, it gives me the chance to come in and not feel like the world is on my shoulders and I have to do everything, I’m just a small piece of the puzzle to a well-tuned machine,” Williams said, per NBC Sports.

It could be argued their offensive line was upgraded after losing Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley in the offseason.

"We just always had a real close relationship,” Williams continued. “Even when he left, when he went to Cleveland and Atlanta, we always kept in touch. We talked about reuniting the day he left his office in Washington and it was spoken into existence."

Shanahan, John Lynch, the 49ers general manager, knew trading for the thirty-one-year-old tackle without an extension in place was an assumed risk.

“We felt like even though we were assuming some risk without the Trent Williams thing being done, that was a risk we were willing to take," Lynch said, via ESPN.com.

"I think the plan was to land him right now and then let the rest kind of work itself out,"  Lynch added.

Last month, the 49ers restructured Williams' contract – prorating a portion of the $12.5M he's due on an expiring five-year, $68M.





2020-06-29

Trae Young to join Rich Paul's Klutch Sports Group

Trae Young announced last week he will switch agencies.

He will leave Octagon Sports to join Klutch Sports Group after his agent Omar Wilkes was named head of basketball operations of the Los Angeles-based agency.

Young, 21, will enter his third season of 3-year, $18.2M rookie contract next season with Atlanta Hawks after being drafted fifth overall by Dallas Mavericks in 2018 National Basketball Association Draft.

Mark Brown / Getty Images
Wilkes’ decision to head basketball ops  founded by agent Rich Paul comes after Paul's decision to expand his agency's  football operations.


In October, the Hawks decided to exercise their third-year option on Young, including options on John Collins, Kevin Huerter.

They have the opportunity to a fourth-year option on Young in 2021-22 season valued at $8.3M, per Spotrac figures.

Klutch has negotiated over $1B in NBA contracts since it’s inception in September 2012.

2020-06-25

Trae Young leaves Octagon Sports agency

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young informed Octagon Sports he will leave the agency effectively immediately, according to Yahoo! Sports Chris Haynes.

The came departure after his agent Omar Wilkes accepted a position at Klutch to run the agency's basketball operations.

Young, an NBA All-star, informed Octagon of his decision on Thursday, and will reportedly begin the process of interviewing agents and will weigh ‘all his options.’

Chris Schwegler/Getty Images
The 21-year-old is entering the final year of 3-year, $18.2M rookie contract next season,  the team exercised their 2020-21 player option in October, they will have an opportunity, again, in 2021-22.

RELATED: Trae Young pledges millions toward Norman sports complex

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, it's believed Young will likely join Wilkes.

The Los Angeles-based Klutch founded by Rich Paul, part of United Talent Agency, represents $814M in contracts in the NBA, including Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Ben Simmons.

Correction: The previous version incorrectly stated the team had an opportunity to exercise their player option next season.


2020-06-24

Buddy Hield tests positive for coronavirus

Sixth man Buddy Hield is among the three Sacramento players that tested positive for the coronavirus, The Athletic's Sam Amick, and Shams Charania first reported on Wednesday.

Jabari Parker confirmed his positive test, “Several days ago I tested positive for COVID-19 and immediately self-isolated in Chicago which is where I remain, ” he said in a statement via KCRA.

Charania later reported an additional player had tested positive – Kings center Alex Len.

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Kings (28-36) are among 22-teams that will compete in Orlando, Fla., to conclude the season in late July after the National Basketball Association Board of Governors approval in early June.

The board approved a sixteen playoff after an eight-game regular season.

On Wednesday, Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martin told Orange County officials, per Yahoo! Sports, it's anticipated that despite a spike in virus cases it’s expected they will play ‘all day long' once the season resumes.

As for the Kings -- despite coach Luke Walton moving the guard to sixth man midseason, Hield has a career-high 32.0 minutes per game, and averaging 19.8 points, shooting .429 percent from the field, per Basketball Reference.

RELATED: Report: Buddy Hield Unhappy With Sixth Man Role

The remainder of the season is slated to return July 30.


Kyler Murray earns more comparison to elite quarterback

The Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson comparisons have existed before the 5-foot-10 quarterback declared to play in National Football League in January 2019.

Murray now has one-year under his belt after starting all 16 games in his rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals, division rival San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York compared Murray to division quarterback Wilson.

Norm Hall/Getty Images
“The Seahawks, the way the regular-season ended last year. Obviously there’s a huge awesome rivalry between us and those guys up north,” York said, via Pro Football Talk.

“Is there a better division from top to bottom in the NFL? You’ve got a young quarterback [Murray] who reminds you a lot of Russ [Wilson] and things he can do to make plays from anywhere on the field.

Murray, Cardinals finished 1-5 (5-10-1) in the ultra-competitive NFC North last season.

2020-06-23

Buddy Hield had one of best seasons in 'one-and-done era'

Basketball U.

A trio of NBA stars with Oklahoma ties were named in the top-15 of ESPN's ‘top 50 individual seasons of the one-and-done era.’

The era includes the likes of Naismith Player of the Year award winners Kevin Durant (Texas, 2007), Anthony Davis (Kentucky, 2012), and JJ Reddick (Duke, 2006).

Associated Press
NBA Insider John Gasaway ranks Buddy Hield’s (2015-16) season the seventh-best in the era known as ‘one-and-done'. Hield would earn Player of the Year honors on the way to the Final Four, shooting over 50 percent beyond the arc, averaging 25.0 points.

Per OUinsider:

"You don’t often see a star shoot percentages close to 90, 50 and 50 on free throws, 2s and 3s, respectively, at hero-ball levels of usage. If that doesn’t convince you, factor in that the guy got a standing ovation on the road at Kansas, for goodness sake. It was off the charts.”

A season removed after being,amed McDonald’s All-American while at Norman North (Norman, Okla.), Trae Young recorded 27.4 points, shooting 35 percent from the field, Young's only season (2017-18) was ranked ninth.

Per OUinsider:

“While the freshman was a prize recruit, he was not top-10 material nor was he especially imposing as a physical specimen. Even so, Kruger saw something and he was exactly correct. Never mind the 25 missed shots in one game, Young was an assist factory who generated made free throws at will.”

Blake Griffin's Naismith award-winning season in 2008-09 ranked 11th, the first overall pick in the 2009 National Basketball Association Draft averaged 65% shooting, 14.4 percentage and 22.7 points.

Per OUinsider:

“Griffin recorded one of the most concentrated outbursts of domination the Big 12 has ever seen when he posted a 40-23 double-double (on 16-of-22 shooting) against Texas Tech in a mere 31 minutes.”

Zion Williams' single-season in 2019 at Duke was the top-ranked season.

Keliani Ricketts, teammates speak out after team tweet

Former All-American pitcher Keliani Ricketts apologized on Monday night following a tweet by Scrap Yard Dawgs, an independent fastpitch softball team.

“Mortified, sick,” Ricketts tweeted on Monday night following the team tweeting, “Hey @realDonaldTrump Pro Fastpitch being played live @ussssaspacecoast @usssapride Everyone respecting the FLAG!”

Sarah Phipps / The Oklahoman

Ricketts, Scrap Yard Dawgs opened a seven-game stand against USSAA Pride Monday in USSSA World Fast Pitch Championship at Space Coast Stadium located in Melbourne, Fla.

Aubree Watson, a Ricketts teammate,  alleges team general manager Connie May sent the tweet, “Tonight we were misrepresented by Connie May who acted on behalf of @ScrapYardFP I’m appalled by the insentivity & will not represent Scrap Yard ever again.”

RELATED: Kyler Murray: I plan to stand for what's right

Ricketts concluded her tweet, “HEARTBROKEN 4 my teammates & especially the black players on the field with us tonight. I do NOT stand for what @ScrapYardFP tweeted out & represent. We were blindsided by that stance tweeted out during the game. All lives do NOT matter until #BlackLivesMatter”


Paige Lowary, a former pitcher at Oklahoma, echoed her statement via Twitter, “making a political statement on behalf of your whole team without their knowledge isn’t the move.”



The Pride defeated the Dawgs, 4-0.



2020-06-22

Cavalli, Prater sign MLB contracts

Defending World Series Champions Washington Nationals have agreed in principal with Cade Cavalli, the 22nd overall pick in Major League Baseball Draft, the club announced on Friday.

Cavalli a 21-year-old left handed pitcher maintained ‘perspective' through the process, “I was grateful to even have my name called. You’ve got to keep a really good perspective, ” Cavalli said, per Federal Baseball.

Bryan Terry/ The Oklahoman
“There’s mock drafts where they put you in — wherever, they said I slid, or whatever, but I know I ended up in the right place, the right organization, and I know it’s in God’s hands, I’m going to be around great people, great organization, I can’t be happier.”

The financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Although, at 22nd overall his slot value is $3.02M.

Cardinals sign Prater

Levi Prater joined Cavalli in finalizing agreements with clubs, the 21-year-old pitcher selected 93rd overall inked a slot value of $625k contract, including $575k bonus, per St. Louis Dispatch.

Oklahoma baseball coach Skip Johnson praised the 21-year-old right handed pitcher, “I think he’s better than a lot of the guys who went ahead of him. I think the St. Louis Cardinals stole a guy. He’s that good. I relieve that. If I had to win a game on my career, I would want him to pitch in it, ” Johnson said, per The Dispatch.

Philadelphia coaches impressed by Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts growth at a ‘mental standpoint' is impressing Philadelphia coaching staff.

After investing a second-round pick in quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Alabama turned Oklahoma quarterback has been impressing the Eagles coaching staff.

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

“[His] growth as a mental standpoint from the beginning of the offseason to now has been very good and his ability to recall plays and recite plays, and one thing (quarterbacks coach) Press Taylor has done is put him into a huddle situation where he’s calling plays and being able to spit that back to him, ” Pederson said, per AL.com.

As a graduate transfer, Hurts racked up 32 touchdowns, 3851 passing yards at a 69.7 competition percentage in Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley's dynamic offense, he added another 1298 yards and 20 on the ground last season.

“With young quarterbacks, you always have an idea or an understanding of where they are not only at the beginning of your offseason but at the end,” Pederson said.

At Oklahoma, Riley steadily improved Hurts’ output,  regarded as a fourth-to-fifth round prospect last November. He improved his completion percentage by 6.9% from his freshman season, Hurts’ quarterback rating as a senior jumped 51.9% compared his first season at Alabama, according Sports Reference figures.

“And now it’s just a matter of once we get him on the grass, he’s got to do it for real and go from there. But I’ve been really impressed with his progress this spring.”

Hurts, Eagles are expected to open training camp late July.