Nationals

Auburn turns to freshman QB Jonathan Wallace

Auburn turns to freshman QB Jonathan Wallace

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn is making another quarterback switch in hopes of reviving one of the nation's worst offenses.

Coach Gene Chizik said Tuesday that freshman Jonathan Wallace will start Saturday against New Mexico State. He replaces Clint Moseley, who sustained a left ankle injury last weekend against Texas A&M and wasn't expected to practice Tuesday.

The dual-threat Wallace might have earned the opportunity, anyway. He had been used in a Wildcat quarterback role before relieving former starter Kiehl Frazier in that game after Moseley's injury but had success in running more of the offense. Chizik calls him ``very mature beyond his years'' and said he spent all of Monday's off day in the film room preparing.

``It was really neat on the sideline to watch as he made a couple of drives happen and go down the field,'' Chizik said. ``It sparked some energy and some passion into our bench on both sides of the ball.

``One of the things that our team does have for Jonathan is a very high level of respect for the way he prepares and the way he goes about his business. That's not just in the classroom and what they know he puts in extra, but the way he works on the field. ``

Wallace passed for 122 yards and two touchdowns and ran 13 times for 71 yards against the Aggies to provide a bright spot for the Tigers (1-7).

``I hate to use the word surprised because that makes you think I didn't think he could do it,'' Chizik said. ``I thought he was extremely poised under pressure. I thought he made some throws under pressure that were really, really good. Just handling some of the calls out there that he's definitely had (practice repetitions) at but not near as many reps as a starter would, I thought it was very impressive. What's more impressive about him is - and we'll see more now that he's the starter - but he doesn't get rattled. He's just a very poised young man, beyond his years, in terms of what we've seen up to this point.''

Frazier has been dealing with arm problems, but Chizik said he could play if needed. Wide receiver Ricardo Louis could also be an emergency quarterback since he ran a few plays in the Wildcat role.

Auburn offered a scholarship to Wallace, from nearby Phenix City, late in the recruiting process when he appeared headed to Central Florida. Fellow freshman Zeke Pike was dismissed from the team after going through spring practice.

Chizik and teammates quickly praised Wallace for his maturity and leadership in preseason camp. Now, he's trying to hold onto the starting job for the final four games.

``Ultimately it's a blessing, that's the way I look at it,'' Wallace said. ``It's a tremendous blessing. Coming in I always told my parents and friends that no matter where I go God is going to take care of me and He's done that so far.''

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

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USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.

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