OU vet Jones vs. A&M's freshman Heisman at Cotton


OU vet Jones vs. A&M's freshman Heisman at Cotton

IRVING, Texas (AP) Landry Jones is back where he made his Oklahoma debut, and again in the shadow of a Heisman Trophy winner.

Jones took over as the Sooners' quarterback in the first-ever college game at Cowboys Stadium, in the 2009 season opener when he replaced injured Heisman winner Sam Bradford after halftime.

Three seasons later in the same stadium, Jones will make his 50th and last career start. The 12th-ranked Sooners play the Cotton Bowl on Friday night against 10th-ranked Texas A&M and dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman.

Jones has won 39 games while throwing for 16,368 yards and 122 touchdowns. There have been two Big 12 titles and three bowl victories, including the Fiesta Bowl.

``It's crazy, what a great quarterback he is,'' Manziel said. ``He's thrown for more than 3,000 yards every year. Just the things he's done at OU have been amazing. ... I was in high school for two years while he was in college. I'm a big fan. I think he's a great player.''

Manziel, meanwhile, burst on the scene in the Aggies' first SEC season with plenty of highlight plays and big numbers of his own.

The redshirt freshman known as Johnny Football has thrown for 3,419 yards with 24 touchdowns, and run for another 1,181 yards and 19 scores. His 4,600 total yards broke the SEC record, and he's only the fifth player with 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season.

``It's a testament to what kind of player he is, what type of person he is to be able to come in and play as well as he did as a freshman,'' Jones said.

The Cotton Bowl matchup of 10-2 teams and former Big 12 rivals pits the steady veteran against the exciting 20-year-old freshman in only his 13th game but already with college football's highest individual award.

``He knows exactly what he can and can't do and he tries to do those things as well as he can, and certainly his ability to extend and create plays, there's not really a defense for that,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said Tuesday.

Manziel got his chance as the Texas A&M starter after Ryan Tannehill was the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft last April. Aggies linebacker Jonathan Stewart remembers Manziel being erratic at times during spring drills, but saw a huge difference when fall practice got started.

``You could see him starting to try to be a true quarterback and not just a backyard quarterback, just trying to run around and improvise every single play,'' Stewart said. ``And then see him growing and growing all season, and then getting better and better every single week.''

Coach Kevin Sumlin announced Manziel as the starter two weeks before the season opener.

As a redshirt freshman, Jones was expected to back up Bradford, who as a sophomore the previous season won the Heisman Trophy as the Sooners made it to the BCS national championship game.

But Bradford injured his throwing shoulder when he was driven to the turf by a BYU defender in the opener. Jones took over after halftime and, except for two games Bradford played a few weeks later before leaving Oklahoma early for the NFL, has started every game since.

``Landry has had a long and great journey. It started here out of nowhere when Sam Bradford got hurt, and he genuinely could not wait for his opportunity,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ``Through the year he did a great job in tough circumstances with the other guys around him that were hurt. He has grown and developed through the years. ... It has been special. He has been a great QB for us.''

Asked about his confidence going into any game with Jones, Stoops responded, ``We have great confidence in Landry and we recognize what a great quarterback Johnny Manziel is, but we love our quarterback as well.''

As much as the Aggies love Manziel.

Texas A&M, like Oklahoma, enters the Cotton Bowl with a five-game winning streak. That includes a 29-24 win at then top-ranked Alabama, the SEC champion playing in the BCS national title game next week against No. 1 Notre Dame, the last team to beat the Sooners.

``You've got one guy that's been doing it for a long time, then you've got Johnny, who's been doing it for a year. But I'm confident in Johnny because he plays with a motor,'' Aggies receiver Ryan Swope said. ``He's got a lot of confidence on the field. When the light's flick on, it's game time for him. He's been huge for us.''

Just imagine what Manziel might be able to accomplish in 50 starts if he keeps up what he's already doing.

``That will be interesting,'' Swope said with a smile. ``He's got a bright, bright career ahead of him.''

For Jones, the Cotton Bowl is the finale of the career when he holds Sooner records for wins, passing yards, TD passes, pass attempts and completions. His Big 12-record 16,368 yards are nearly twice as many as No. 2 Bradford's 8,403, and he's doubled the attempts and completions of Josh Heupel, now the Sooners' quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.

``It's just been a ride. I'm extremely blessed to have come this far in my career and have a chance to end it where it started,'' Jones said. ``It's starting to hit me knowing that this is my last game, and wanting to go out on a positive note.

``I can still remember the first day and moving into the dorms and getting on campus,'' he said. ``It definitely has flown by.''

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Pelicans' Zion Williamson leaves NBA bubble to attend to 'urgent' family matter

Pelicans' Zion Williamson leaves NBA bubble to attend to 'urgent' family matter

In an unfortunate turn of events, Pelicans star Zion Williamson has left the NBA bubble in Orlando due to an urgent family medical matter, according to the team

Williamson plans to return to the bubble at a later date, though it has not yet been determined. 

"We fully support Zion's decision to leave the NBA campus to be with his family," New Orleans VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin said in a statement. "Out of respect for the Williamson family, we will have no further comment at this time."

This is a completely understandable decision by Williamson to be with his family at an important time. Now, the Pelicans must adjust and move forward possibly in the meantime without arguably their best player. 


New Orleans currently sits 3 1/2  games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and needs to stay within four games of Memphis to force a play-in scenario. It's unclear how much time Williamson will miss,  but it will be a challenge for the Pelicans to stay in playoff contention without him. In the 19 games Williamson played this season, the team went 10-9. 


Locally, the Wizards may benefit from Williamson's absence if it exceeds August 7. Washington plays the Pelicans in their fifth game in the bubble, and if they still have playoff aspirations with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans out, they're going to need every win they can get. 

Williamson will need to quarantine for four days if he tests negative for COVID-19 seven days prior to his return. If not, he will face a 10-day quarantine upon his arrival.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


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Wizards, Mystics to wear jersey patch to honor Wes Unseld for rest of season

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The Washington Wizards will honor Wes Unseld, the greatest player in their franchise history, with a special jersey patch for the rest of the season, the team announced on Thursday.

The jersey patch is the No. 41 in the colors Unseld wore with the Washington Bullets; red, white and blue. It is located just below the right shoulder.


Here is a look:

The Mystics will also wear a patch as they play their 22-game season in the WNBA. The Mystics are joined with the Wizards through Monumental Basketball. Their patch is a black band on the left shoulder.

Unseld passed away on June 2 and the age of 74. He is an NBA Hall of Famer and the only league MVP and Finals MVP in Wizards/Bullets history. Unseld also served as an executive and coach for the franchise. 


The Wizards will play their first game in these uniforms on July 22 when they face the Nuggets in an exhibition. They have three exhibition games before beginning their regular season on July 31 against the Phoenix Suns. 

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.