Wizards

Santa Clara's Keating helps students attend game

Santa Clara's Keating helps students attend game

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating wanted to do everything he could to ensure a full house at the Leavey Center for Saturday night's game with No. 10 Gonzaga.

With school still out for the holiday break until Monday and on-campus dormitories closed until Sunday, Keating offered $100 hotel reimbursements from his own bank account to those students who live on campus but had nowhere to stay Saturday night.

A dozen students took advantage of the offer sharing four rooms, including freshman Maribel Alcazar. She lives in Gilroy, about an hour away, and doesn't have a car at college. Her parents were unable to drive her to and from school Saturday, then do so again one day later. Her mom noticed Keating's offer on the Internet, and Alcazar jumped on the unique chance by calling the basketball office. She was to stay in a double suite with three other young women.

``I was super surprised,'' said Alcazar, who attends most games as a member of the student spirit group Ruff Riders. ``I originally thought the school would reimburse him. I'm really glad he's so willing to do something like that. The game is sold out and a lot of students were disappointed the dorms wouldn't be open. We're really appreciative he's doing this out of his own pocket.''

Santa Clara, which entered the sold-out game at 12-3, is off to the program's best start since 1997-98.

``We need all their energy,'' Keating said leading up to the game. ``And if any of them read this and any of them want to stay here and can't have a room on campus. I want them to personally call the office and I will reimburse them up to $100 for a hotel room.''

Some upper classmen who did have their own off-campus housing were equally as appreciative of Keating's gesture given it would make the student section that much more effective and loud for a game every school in the West Coast Conference looks forward to on the home schedule - seeing the mighty Zags and trying for an upset.

In fact, junior Ryan Tursi had never heard of anything like this being done at any school, in any sport.

``I thought it was absolutely awesome for Coach Keating to do that,'' Tursi said. ``Here we are at one of the biggest games of the year. It's in the spirit of the school, of being a person with and for others. He represents that. I was blown away. I have never heard of a coach doing it. He's trying to get the students in the stands, and he has always tried to give back to the students.''

Quick Links

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

bobby-portis-reaction-wizards-hornets-usat.jpg
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.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

cobywhite.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

In Tuesday's Wizards Talk podcast Chris Miller sat down with point guard Coby White, a projected lottery pick from the University of Carolina. 

On Monday, the Wizards worked out White and college teammate Nassir Little in the franchise's highest-profile workout this year. Despite being projected higher than No. 9, White was enthusiastic about the opportunity. 

"These mock drafts are cool, but it's not the real deal," explained White. "If I was to slip and Washington were to select me, I'd be in a great place."

White's passion combined with his impressive skill set enabled him to become the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school history. Growing up he followed John Wall, as did every hooper in North Carolina, and he still remembers Wall shredding apart defenses on his legendary high school mixtape. 

"His mixtape was lit," professed White. "The style he played with was uncomparable to anyone else."

What many people don't know about White was that growing up, his dream school was Duke. Once he got to Chapel Hill, however, Roy Williams, his teammates and UNC's winning tradition won him over in a heartbeat. 

"They didn't care how much you had coming in, Coach Williams never promised me playing time," said White. "He just promised me 'I'll be the hardest coach you ever had and I'll try my best to make you the best you can be.'"

At Thursday draft, White's life will be changed forever once he hears his name called and shakes Adam Silver's hand. For Wizards fans, hopefully, that won't happen before the No. 9 pick

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: