Nationals

Boise State routs Walla Walla 106-39

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Boise State routs Walla Walla 106-39

BOISE, Idaho (AP) Ryan Watkins had 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Boise State rolled to a 106-39 victory over Walla Walla on Saturday night for its sixth consecutive victory.

Anthony Drmic also scored 22 points, and Jeff Elorriaga and Thomas Bropleh added 14 apiece as the Broncos (12-2) set a school record with a 67-point margin of victory.

Tristan Greenidge scored 13 points for NAIA program Walla Walla (3-20), which shot just 21.6 percent from the field.

Boise State scored the first 18 points with Walla Walla finally getting on the board on a 3-pointer by Ryan Spady with 13:40 left in the first half. The Broncos' lead first reached 40 at 47-7 on a 3-pointer by Drmic with 5:24 left.

The Broncos led 59-20 at halftime and continued to pour it on in the second half. Boise State shot a season-best 62.9 percent from the field.

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Ryan Zimmerman expects to be on the field more this spring; not happy with free agent slog

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USA Today Sports

Ryan Zimmerman expects to be on the field more this spring; not happy with free agent slog

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman set up at first base midway through Sunday morning to take ground balls. It is among the simplistic spring training activities Zimmerman expects to participate in more often this year. Last year, he worked mostly in the cage, on back fields and out of site. It became a thing that didn’t need to be a thing.

Zimmerman played only 85 games because of an oblique injury, cutting off momentum from his All-Star season the year before. He thinks the equation for success now, and even last year, is simple.

“The key for me is to stay on the field,” Zimmerman said Sunday. “Two years ago I did. Last year I didn’t. When I stay on the field, I still feel like I’m a really good player. And that’s the goal. Everything we do in the offseason and during the season is geared toward that.”

Zimmerman used part of this winter to reflect on what may have caused his oblique problem last year. He has repeatedly said he was healthy throughout spring training. His career output in April shows his typical streaky fluctuation. It does not appear tethered to how many spring training games he plays or whether they happen out of sight or in front of fans.

“I don’t think there’s any one thing we did,” Zimmerman said. “But things happen and you learn from them. I think it wouldn’t be very smart not to look back and try and see why something happened. I don’t think anyone can tell you exactly why it happens, but you have to learn from your mistakes and from what happened and use it toward this year. That’s the plan.”

Those plans are less impervious to derailment when younger. Zimmerman averaged 140 games played per year from age 21 to 28, including a run through all 162 when he was 22 years old. He’s averaged just 100 annually since his age-29 season.

This one carries intrigue not usually associated with his steady presence. The Nationals hold an $18 million option on Zimmerman next season. If he repeats 2017, they could pick it up. If he repeats 2018, they will not, then the complicated process of possibly cutting loose an organizational icon would begin. Zimmerman is aware. He wants to return. He’s willing to figure it out. The Nationals also have a strong interest in bringing him back, at this point. Those numbers will be figured out after the season, once Zimmerman entered the now treacherous waters of free agency should his option not be picked up.

Bryce Harper’s nameplate is usually back near Zimmerman’s in the Nationals clubhouse in West Palm Beach. New second baseman Brian Dozier is now in what was Harper’s spot. If you haven’t heard, Harper remains unemployed a day before position players are supposed to report. The process has rankled Zimmerman the same way it has his teammates.

“I don't think it takes a genius to see that something is going on,” Zimmerman said. “I don't know what it is, but there's too many good players out there that aren't on teams and this is an entertainment business. Fans should be able to see the best players in the world play, doesn't matter what team they're on. Him and Manny [Machado] obviously and throw [Craig] Kimbrel in there too, those are three I don't want to say generational but if you look at Kimbrel's numbers, it's pretty dumb what he's done and then Manny and Bryce have obviously done what they've done at the age that they've done it. So now you have guys that are not even old that aren't getting jobs either. We'll see what happens, it’s definitely trending in a bad direction.”

And those teams that are intentionally not trying to be competitive?

“I try and win everyday, I think that's kind of the point of sports,” Zimmerman said with a half-laugh. “That's kind of what the whole basis of professional sports is to try and win. When you have teams actively saying we'll go into this free agent market in win-now mode, I don't know that you should have to state that it's win-now mode, but I guess that's where we're at. I think that's troubling obviously. There's a lot of stock being put into the draft and prospects and young kids that are supposedly going to turn organizations around. There's a lot of legit big-league players that have done it for a long time and you know exactly what you’re going to get and you could build a pretty good team with those guys. But if you just want to make as much money as you possibly can, that's their right too I guess.”

Zimmerman’s thoughts are in line with what players have said all spring. Max Scherzer and Sean Doolittle are key Washington voices who expressed their displeasure and concern last week. Zimmerman’s turn came Sunday.

Monday will bring another round of ground balls. The rest of spring is expected to deliver 50 at-bats -- the number Zimmerman keys on -- and more time on his feet compared to last year. Hope for a full season is up after that.

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Bradley Beal's childhood idol Dwyane Wade thinks he's the next great shooting guard

Bradley Beal's childhood idol Dwyane Wade thinks he's the next great shooting guard

CHARLOTTE -- The 2019 NBA All-Star Game will be the final one for Dwyane Wade, who is months away from riding off into the prismatic Miami sunset as one of the greatest players in the league’s history. He will go down as one of the best shooting guards of all-time, ranked somewhere behind Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

With Wade gearing up for his exit, the logical question is who is next? Who will carry on the legacy of great shooting guards?

When Wade entered the league in 2003, Bryant was the top two in the game. When Bryant debuted in 1996, Jordan was just a few years from calling it a career.

The answer to who’s next after Wade may have shared the stage at Bojangles Coliseum on Saturday at All-Star media day, but deciding who is complicated. The best choices either aren’t seen solely as shooting guards, or they haven’t accomplished enough to be considered the heir apparent.

James Harden certainly comes to mind first. The 2017-18 NBA MVP is clearly on his way to all-time greatness. But he plays more point guard than Wade, Jordan or Bryant ever did.

After Harden, there is a group of twos that should be in the mix. Klay Thompson of the Warriors is establishing a Hall of Fame career. Victor Oladipo was All-NBA and All-Defense last season. And Devin Booker of the Suns is just scratching the surface of his potential.

Then, there’s Bradley Beal of the Wizards. Beal wears No. 3 in part because he idolized Wade growing up. He is now a two-time All-Star and has some similarities to Wade in his game and his athletic build.

Wade was asked about the next generation of great shooting guards at media day and made an interesting point. He believes we will all know in due time who will take the mantle because that’s how the game has played out for generations.

“You don’t pass the torch, guys take the torch. Like, Kobe didn’t pass the torch to me. Ray Allen didn’t pass the torch to me,” Wade said.

“I’m not passing no torch to James or to Brad, they’re taking the torch. Them guys are unbelievable players.”

Beal, 25, is having a season that compares statistically to some of Wade’s NBA prime. Beal is averaging 25.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

From age 23 through 30, Wade put up 26.2 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game. Wade, though, had some years mixed in that are on a level Beal has yet to reach. He averaged 27 points or more three times, six assists or more six times and regularly averaged more than a steal and a block per game.

That’s not to mention Wade’s playoff numbers and the fact he won three NBA titles. Beal said it himself at media day, that he has “a long way to go.”

But Beal is on the short-list of best shooting guards in today’s game. And maybe he can be the one, or one of the players to someday inspire a new generation.

Wade, 37, has been around long enough to see the cycle of NBA history play out and knows guys like Beal, Harden, Oladipo, Thompson and Booker have a responsibility to follow the same lead others set for him.

“There is a bar that is set when you come in [to the league] and you try to reach that bar and hopefully get over it and set another standard and set another bar,” Wade said.

“Those guys do the same thing, they jump over it. That’s how our game continues to get great and continues to get better, so no passing no torch. They’re taking it.”

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