49ers

Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

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Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

Approaching the season opener Saturday against New England, the Earthquakes are optimistic. Key in on these five players, looking to inject the 'Quakes with energy in 2012.

Forward- Chris Wondolowski
Originally drafted out of Chico State by San Jose in 2005, the former De La Salle High School star returned to the team in 2009. Wondolowski had a breakout 2010 season, leading Major League Soccer in scoring with 18 goals in 28 matches en route to winning the MLS Golden Boot. In 2011, Wondolowski recorded nine game-winning goals, setting an MLS record. San Jose recently resigned Wondolowski to a new contract this February 2012.

Midfielder- Tressor Moreno
The veteran talent made his professional debut in 1999 when he emigrated to Peru and played for the Peruvian Alianza Lima team. During his year with Lima, Moreno played in 40 matches and scored 16 goals. In 2000 Moreno played for Colombia. During the 2005 season he was named one of the best players of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. During this time, Moreno was thought to be one the best foreign players to ever represent Peru. Moreno became a member of the Earthquakes in February 2012.

Winger - Marvin Chavez
Chavez broke out in 2011, starting 30 of 31 games and registering six goals and four assists for FC Dallas. He boosted the Texas club to a fourth-place finish and a place in the playoffs for the second season in a row. Chavez scored a game-winner in CONCACAF Champions League play on Aug. 17 against the Pumas UNAM. His MLS career includes eight goals and six assists, highlighted by a a goal and two assists in the MLS Cup final. Chavez is known as "El Hijo del Viento, (The Son of the Wind) because of speed.

Center defender- Ike Opara
Opara was drafted by San Jose Earthquakes in the first round (third overall) in the 2010 MLS Superdraft after playing five years for San Diego State University. In 19 games, Opara has scored three goals. Opara has a 38.5 SOG accuracy. The San Jose defender was selected by the U.S. to join its under-23 men's National Team Olympic Camp.

Full back- Steven Beitashour
Beitashour was picked 30 overall in the second round of the MLS Superdraft by the San Jose Earthquakes. He scored his first goal in the MLS against Chivas USA on April 24, 2010. Beitashour has played for the MLS for two years, scoring one goal and registering seven assists.

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

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USATSI

Kings look to get healthy with opener just days away

SACRAMENTO - All hands on deck. The Sacramento Kings open the 2017-18 schedule Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets at Golden 1 Center and it looks like they might do so with a full arsenal of players at their disposal.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox returned to practice on Sunday and then participated in the team’s annual Fanfest. If his dance moves are any indication, the 19-year-old’s back is feeling just fine.

Veteran George Hill tweaked his groin Friday against the Golden State Warriors, leaving his availability for opening night in question. Hill, 31, who has a history of groin injuries, was on the court Monday practicing and said he is ready to play.

“Everything is feeling good right now,” Hill said Monday following practice.

The only player who didn’t practice on Monday is rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic, who sprained his right ankle against the Warriors. According to head coach Dave Joerger,  the team is hopeful that the Serbian sharpshooter will return in time for Game 1.

“We’re still shooting for Wednesday for both of them,” Joerger said of Hill and Bogdanovic.

New look Rockets

The Rockets went 55-27 last season under head coach Mike D’Antoni, but that didn’t stop them from going all in during the offseason. With MVP runner-up James Harden already manning the backcourt, Houston added nine-time All-Star Chris Paul as their new starting point guard.

“Leadership, he’s a floor general,” Hill said about Paul. “Anywhere he goes, he’ll make a team better. We know they were already a good team without him, coming in with him is going to be a bigger task.”

It’s a new look roster and the expectations are huge for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game last season and led the league in both 3-point attempts and makes. This season, they also added two strong perimeter defenders in P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

It’s a huge test coming out of the gate for Sacramento. Following the contest against the Rockets, the Kings hit the road for three straight before returning to Golden 1 next Thursday to face DeMarcus Cousins and the New Orleans Pelicans.


Camp notes

With the season just around the corner, the Sacramento Kings made their final roster cuts on Sunday afternoon. David Stockton, Matt Jones and Reggie Hearn were waived, leaving the Kings with 15 rostered players and two two-way players in Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson.

Stockton, Jones and Hearn are all expected to join the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G-League.