Cubs

ND Notes: Martin, Nix to return for 2013; Daniels nears green light

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ND Notes: Martin, Nix to return for 2013; Daniels nears green light

Updated: 6:00 p.m.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- As Notre Dame prepares for the BCS Championship, the team scored two big wins for next season.

Coach Brian Kelly announced Monday offensive lineman Zack Martin and defensive tackle Louis Nix will return to Notre Dame for their graduate and senior seasons, respectively, answering two pressing questions for the 2013 season.

Martin, a senior captain, has started all 38 of Notre Dame's games since 2010 and was named the team's top offensive lineman in 2012. The 6-foot-4, 304-pound tackle settled on returning early last week, although the decision wasn't necessarily an easy one.

"I wanted to play with Nick, I ultimately want to play for (offensive line coach Harry Hiestand) another year," Martin explained.

Nick is Martin's younger brother, a sophomore who could slide in on the right side of Notre Dame's offensive line in 2013. Potentially getting to play alongside his brother was a key reason for Martin deciding to return for his fifth year.

"I think he's going to have an opportunity to play next year, and I think that a situation like that only comes once in a lifetime," Martin said.

The early projection for Martin's NFL Draft position was a second-round one, so he's certainly forgoing a good opportunity to stay in South Bend.

The same can be said for Nix, who made 45 tackles in his first year as a starter on Notre Dame's defensive line. He was a force up front and often cleared a path to the ball for Manti Te'o, among other Irish linebackers -- a point noted by ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper last week.

But Nix mentioned his desire to earn a degree, not surprising given he's said the academic challenge of Notre Dame was one of the reasons why he committed to the school in the first place.

Additionally, running back Cierre Wood will wait to receive his draft evaluation before making a decision on his future. Wood rushed for 740 yards and four touchdowns in 2012, a drop from his breakout 2011 (1,102 yards, nine touchdowns).

Sick bay

The only player to be updated here is DaVaris Daniels, who coach Brian Kelly said will begin taking contact next week after suffering a broken clavicle Nov. 10 at Boston College. The sophomore receiver looks on track to re-join Notre Dame's receiving corps for the BCS Championship.

That's more than welcome news, given Daniels and quarterback Everett Golson looked to be in sync in the weeks leading up to his injury.

"He looks really good," Kelly said. "He's going to be able to be a key contributor for us."

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Albert Almora Jr. dishes on his role and the Cubs’ unsung hero that keeps things loose behind the scenes

Albert Almora Jr. joins Kelly Crull on the Cubs Talk Podcast to weigh in on a variety of topics, including his budding bromance with rumored Cubs target Manny Machado, his expanded role and how he spends his time off away from the ballpark.

Plus, Almora has a surprise pick for the organization’s unsung hero, stating the Cubs would’ve never won the World Series without this guy.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here:

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: How NBA Draft combine impacted mock drafts

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill discuss the NBA Draft and what happened at the NBA combine that shifted most experts mock drafts.

Kendall also explains why a "promise" to draft a player isn’t guaranteed. He also shares his experience on getting drafted by the Hornets and why he initially felt they were the wrong team for him.

North Carolina "News and Observer" Duke basketball beat writer Jonathan Alexander gives us his opinion on Wendell Carter and the other Duke draft prospects including why he thinks Carter will be a future all-star. Also includes an interview with Carter from the draft combine.

Listen to the full Bulls Talk Podcast right here: