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Hundreds support Andy Reid at his son's funeral

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Hundreds support Andy Reid at his son's funeral

From Comcast SportsNet
BROOMALL, Pa. (AP) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Browns President Mike Holmgren and Patriots coach Bill Belichick were among more than 900 people who packed a Mormon church for the funeral service of Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid. Garrett Reid was found dead in his dorm room Sunday morning at Lehigh University, where he was assisting the Eagles strength and conditioning coach during training camp. The 29-year-old recovering drug addict had seemingly turned his life around. Many current and former players, coaches and other league officials traveled from all across the country to pay their respects Tuesday morning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The list included Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Saints interim coach Joe Vitt and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and Browns general manager Tom Heckert. "Andy prides himself on being a rock. All of us in this business have to be like that a little bit," Holmgren said. "But when it comes to something as personal as this, his humanness and who he is comes out, and that's OK. He reacted like every other father would react." Holmgren called Reid, the first coach he hired in Green Bay, the "son I never had." One of Holmgren's four daughters used to babysit Reid's children. He said young Garrett was a "rambunctious guy" with a "great personality." The receiving line was so long that it wrapped around the church and delayed the start of the service for more than an hour. Andy Reid was at the front of the line with his wife Tammy, sons Britt and Spencer and daughters Crosby and Drew Ann. "He was comforting us," said Harbaugh, a former assistant under Reid. "He wrapped me up in a big bear hug, and he told me everything was going to be alright. That's the Andy I know." Buses brought Eagles players and team employees from camp at Lehigh and the NovaCare practice complex in Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Jeremiah Trotter were among Reid's former players in attendance. Some residents in the quaint neighborhood stood outside their homes along the street across from the church with signs offering condolences and security personnel on the grounds wore Eagles caps. Garrett's uncle Bart Winters, husband of Tammy Reid's sister, Cindy Winters, delivered the eulogy. Crosby Reid sang Garrett's favorite hymn: "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." "The one thing I took from the service more than anything was that Garrett was a friend of everybody," Harbaugh said. "The kids at school that were kind of struggling a little bit, he was their friend. The guys that were picked last for the basketball team, he was their friend. He would take everybody under his wing. That's a trait I think he gets from Andy." Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie choked up talking to reporters afterward. "The team loves this man, Andy," Lurie said. "It's hard to explain. As a coach and a human, he is fully involved. He is one of these people that shares his life and his love and his passion for the football team and the extended family, and it is so appreciated by everybody that works for him. It's not something you can see in press conferences, it's not something you can see after a loss or a win, it's just how he is as a person. He is just incredibly respected." Reid missed two days of practice, but plans to coach Thursday night's preseason opener against Pittsburgh. "He wants to get right back in there," Lurie said.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

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USA TODAY

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stock is on the rise; just how high will he climb?

John Calipari's 2017 recruiting class featured five McDonald's All-Americans and Hamidou Diallo, a former five-star recruit who nearly jumped to the NBA the previous year. It also included a lanky 6-foot-6 point guard named Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. And for the first part of the 2017-18 season, the Toronto native who played his final two high school years in Tennessee, appeared to be a nice fit off the bench for Calipari.

But something flipped. Gilgeous-Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup for good on January 9 and never looked back. He played his best basketball beginning in late February to the end of the season, a span of 10 games against eight NCAA Tournament opponents. In those games Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists. He shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from deep and 84 percent from the free throw line, and added 1.4 steals in nearly 38 minutes per game for good measure. He was one of the best players in the country, and on a team with five McDonald's All-Americans, he was Calipari's best freshman.

"I knew with how hard I worked that anything was possible," SGA said at last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. "It was just a matter of time before it started clicking and I started to get it rolling."

That stretch included a 17-point, 10-assist double-double against Ole Miss, a 29-point showing against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, and 27 more points in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against Buffalo. Even in his worst game of the stretch, a 15-point effort against Kansas State in the Tournament, he made up for 2 of 10 shooting by getting to the free throw line 12, converting 11 of them.

It made his decision to make the jump to the NBA an easy one - that, and another loaded Calipari recruiting class incoming. He stands taller than just about any other point guard in the class and might have as good a jump shot as any. He's adept at getting to the rim, averaging 4.7 free throw attempts per game (that number jumped to 5.6 after he became a starter, and 7.5 in those final 10 games of the season. He isn't the quickest guard in the class, but he uses his feet well, is able to find open shooters due to his height and improved on making mistakes on drive-and-kicks as the season went on.

"I think I translate really well to the next level with there being so much more space on the floor and the open court stretched out," he said. "It only benefits me and my ability to get in the lane and make plays."

There's something to be said for him being the next in line of the Calipari point guards. The ever-growing list includes players like Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Murray and DeAaron Fox. It's the NBA's version of Penn State linebackers or Alabama defensive linemen. The success rate is nearly 100 percent when it comes to Calipari's freshmen point guards; even Brandon Knight averaged 18.1 points over a three-year span in the NBA.

"That’s why guys go to Kentucky," Gilgeous-Alexander said. "It prepares them for the next level. Coach (Calipari) does a really good job, especially with point guards, getting them ready for that next level in a short amount of time."

Gilgeous-Alexander didn't test or play in the 5-on-5 scrimmages, but he still came out of Chicago a winner. He measured 6-foot-6 in shoes with a ridiculous 6-foot-11 1/2 wingspan, a full three inches longer than any other point guard at the Combine. He also added, rather uniquely, that he watches of film Kawhi Leonard playing defense. Most players don't mention watching film on different-position players; most players aren't 6-foot-6 point guards.

"(It's) obviously a more versatile league and playing small ball. And with me being able to guard multiple positions, a lot of teams are switching things like the pick and roll off ball screens, so me being able to switch and guard multiple positions can help an organization."

Gilgeous-Alexander's arrow is pointing way up. He appears to be teetering near Lottery pick status, though that could go one way or the other in private team workouts, especially if he's pitted against fellow top point guards like Trae Young and Collin Sexton. But if his rise at Kentucky is any indication, he'll only continue to improve his game, his stock and eventually his draft position.

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

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AP

Danny Farquhar to throw out the first pitch before White Sox game on June 1

In another example of how amazing Danny Farquhar’s recovery has been, the pitcher will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the White Sox game on June 1.

Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage from a ruptured aneurysm during the sixth inning of the team’s April 20 game against the Houston Astros. But his recovery has been astounding, and he was discharged from the hospital on May 7. Farquhar’s neurosurgeon expects him to be able to pitch again in future seasons.

Farquhar has been back to visit his teammates at Guaranteed Rate Field a couple times since leaving the hospital. June 1 will mark his return to a big league mound, even if it’s only for a ceremonial first pitch with his wife and three children. Doctors, nurses and staff from RUSH University Medical Center will be on hand for Farquhar’s pitch on June 1.

The White Sox announced that in celebration of Farquhar’s recovery, they will donate proceeds from all fundraising efforts on June 1 to the Joe Niekro Foundation, an organization committed to supporting patients and families, research, treatment and awareness of brain aneurysms.