Blackhawks

Despite early struggles, Notre Dame sticks with Golson

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Despite early struggles, Notre Dame sticks with Golson

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Everett Golson had to sit on the sidelines and watch as Notre Dame pulled off a thrilling overtime win over Stanford on Saturday. But it wasn't for the reason he was yanked in two previous games.

As time ran down with Notre Dame needing three points to tie in the fourth, Golson was knocked out of the game on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Stanford defensive back Usua Amanam.

"Blow to the head and his vision was blurred," coach Brian Kelly said of Golson's injury. "And he wanted to get back in, and our medical personnel would not clear him."

The long-term diagnosis for Golson isn't clear, although if he suffered a concussion it could keep him on the sidelines for at least the near future. If that's the case, any missed time will come on the heels of what may have been a turning point for the young quarterback's confidence.

"What I was really proud of, and I hope you'll take notice of this, Everett hit a point there where his dauber was down a little bit, his confidence was a bit shaken, and he came back with a great drive and did some really good things," Kelly said. "Whereas, when he had that situation against Michigan, we really had to move in another direction. He fought through that and made a big step today. He made some plays, he helped us win this football game."

At the half, Golson had completed six of 16 passes for 61 yards. More importantly, though, he held on to the ball too long in the end zone on a third-and-16 and was sacked, resulting in a fumble Stanford recovered in Notre Dame's end zone for its only touchdown of the day.

"If I had a chance, I'd take that one back," Kelly said of the play call to have Golson pass. "If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken that one back."

After that fumble, Golson led Notre Dame into field goal range, but didn't get any points out of it when Jordan Cowart's snap sailed high through holder Ben Turk's hands.

"He responded great," Tommy Rees, who entered the game after Golson was hurt in the fourth, said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders, he put it behind him in short-term memory and found a way to keep it in the offense."

It wasn't until late in the third quarter when Golson really took off, though. He capped a 52-yard scoring drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert that tied things up at 10, the first touchdown he's thrown to the All-American tight end since Week 1.

"He was feeling more comfortable with the rush," Kelly said. "Obviously he's learning about a pressure situation where they are just four down, where you have to slide in the pocket. I was really proud of him today. He grew up. I know it wasn't as clean and the numbers, you can analyze them and say well, he didn't play well.

"All I can tell you is that in his growth, he did some things for me as a head coach that allow us to keep progressing with Everett."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen, Lonzo Ball making rookie history as they prepare to face each other

It'd be a stretch to say that any rookie is having a better or more impactful season than Philadelphia's Ben Simmons. The Sixers are 9-7, and Simmons looks like a 10-year veteran with his decision making, athleticism and all-around feel for the game. He's the frontrunner for MVP, but there are two other rookies vying to catch Simmons and win that title. And they'll face each other tomorrow night in Los Angeles.

Lonzo Ball was the second pick in June's NBA Draft, and fellow Pac-12 freshman standout Lauri Markkanen went five picks later to the Bulls, who had traded up as part of the Jimmy Butler trade. Both players were drafted to rebuilding franchises - the Lakers still working out the kinks in the post-Kobe era, and the Bulls beginning their rebuild after dealing Butler - and were expected to make immediate impacts on their franchises.

Ball's was more pronounced, as the Lakers dealt D'Angelo Russell to the Nets on draft night to free up space at the point for their prized No. 2 pick. Markkanen's came more abruptly, as the 20-year-old was thrust into the starting lineup after Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic's fight put Mirotic in the hospital and Portis on paid leave. However they got there, both players have been impressive in their early NBA careers.

Starting with Markkanen, the Bulls knew the 7-foot stretch forward was a perfect build for the modern NBA. He set freshman 3-point and rebounding records that, since 1992, only some guy named Kevin Durant had reached. After a successful summer in Eurobasket he was set for a large role with the Bulls, and he's succeeded in just about every aspect. His 15.6 points per game are third only to Simmons and the other Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, and his 8.1 rebounds are second to Simmons. And his 2.6 made 3-pointers per game are most among rookies, and well past No. 2 on the list (Utah's Donovan Mitchell, 1.9 per game).

In fact, Markkanen would become the only rookie in NBA history to average at least 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 3-pointers per game. The 2.5 3-pointers would break a rookie record currently held by Damian Lillard (2.3 per game). The closest a rookie has ever come to reaching those marks was Stephen Curry, who averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 3-pointers per game as a rookie. Allen Iverson also met the 4/2 threshold, but that's a far cry from Markkanen's 8/2.5 mark. Paul Pierce's rookie season saw him average 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 3-pointers.

But that's not all. If he kept those averages up he would be just the fifth player EVER to accomplish those thresholds. The others are James Harden, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Antonie Walker, who naturally did it twice.

So, yeah, Markkanen is having quite a rookie year.

So, too, is Ball. While he's had some real issues with efficiency, slashing .313/.228/.462 and has committed 2.6 turnovers per game, his counting stats have been outstanding. Ball is averaging 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists, and that puts him in equally impressive company.

Simmons has reached those numbers this season, too, averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists. You may have heard of the other two players, named Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

The two future Hall of Famers averaged these numbers:

Robertson: 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 9.7 assists (missing averaging a triple-double for the season by 20 assists)

Johnson: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists

Ball is also averaging 0.9 blocks, and no other rookie guard has ever accomplished that. It might not always look pretty for Markkanen and Ball as they feel their way out in the NBA, but just remember watching these two that they're in the midst of making history in the new era of the NBA.