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|Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:04:27 am Post subject:
|Collin Sexton isn’t asking for much.
All the point guard wants out of Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclays Center is to be picked by a good team. Then Jamaal Williams Jersey , he wants a long and injury-free career. Playoff and championship runs would be an obvious – and desired – bonus.
”And to just be happy,” Sexton said Wednesday. ”Because that’s the main thing. Be happy with what you’re doing because now it’s a job. It’s something that’s going to feed your family. You have to take it seriously.”
This is a 19-year-old speaking.
Opting for the fast lane, Sexton declared for the draft after his freshman season at Alabama, a program that hasn’t had a player drafted in the last decade. He’s only the second Crimson Tide freshman to do so, the first since the one-and-done rule was installed in 2006.
That year was enough.
”It was amazing,” Sexton said. ”I learned a whole lot – good, bad, everything. I feel like just being there and being around the group of guys I was with, I connected pretty well and had a good season.”
Sexton helped the Crimson Tide reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years. He then scored 25 points in a victory over Virginia Tech to send Alabama to the second round, a feat it had not accomplished in 12 years.
The Southeastern Conference named Sexton SEC Co-Freshman of the Year – with Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, who is also in the draft – and The Associated Press awarded him Newcomer of the Year. Sexton finished second in the conference with 19.2 points per game, adding 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. He had 29 double-digit scoring games – 16 were 20 or more points, three were 30-plus points.
”A guy who plays extremely hard, he’s an overall great competitor,” said Oklahoma’s Trae Young Anthony Castonzo Jersey , the draft’s other top point guard prospect. ”Whenever you’re a competitor like me, you like playing against people like that.”
The Young Bull – a nickname Sexton plans to keep in the NBA – grew up fast.
”Well, you have to,” he said. ”Because you have to leave.”
But he hasn’t had to say goodbye. Not yet.
Alabama coach Avery Johnson has been keeping up with Sexton and will be at draft. Johnson, a former NBA champion and coach, taught Sexton everything he could as a player and as an adult. He keeps reminding the young star to embrace this opportunity, soak it all in because it only happens once.
”Also, off the court, he just told me to always respect people,” Sexton said. ”You never know what they can do for you, and you never know who’s watching.”
Good advice, considering all the eyes on him this week.
Sexton’s eyes are wide, too. The excitement he feels is obvious. A smile sneaks on his face every time he talks about Thursday’s festivities. It’s a relief knowing all his hard work has paid off, and there’s an eagerness to get back out there.
Since Alabama’s season ended, Sexton has been working on his individual game. He’s already fast but thinks he can be faster. He went back and watched film to figure out where he can improve – and has done so.
Next time he’s on the court?
”It’ll be a big surprise Jerry Hughes Jersey ,” Sexton said.
There’s that excitement.
A year ago, Sexton was fresh out of high school – his days at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia, he said `feel like forever ago’ – and had just moved into his dorm at Alabama, where he watched the 2017 draft. Pick after pick, he enjoyed players’ reactions. They were so genuine; that has always been his favorite part.
”I just envisioned myself doing it one day,” Sexton said.
That day is here. It’s his turn to experience that life-changing moment and, as he said, just be happy.
It’ll be both a dream come true and a job for the future.
”You grow up wanting to do this,” Sexton said. ”Everybody knows what’s going to come with it.”
Blake Bortles’ first postseason victory came with a hefty dose of criticism, maybe even more than ever before.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback handled it as well as he did Buffalo’s pass rush.
”It’ll probably never stop,” Bortles said Wednesday. ”There’s people that think LeBron James sucks, so if that happens, I’m sure there will be a lot of people that always think I suck.”
The latest insults came from Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard and retired NFL quarterback Chris Simms.
Byard told the Tennessean this week he wants to make New England’s Tom Brady looks like Bortles. Byard intercepted two of Bortles’ passes in the regular-season finale in Nashville.
”This is a playoff game, so I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/micah-hyde-jersey ,” Byard said. ”You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like Blake Bortles if I can and try to catch a couple picks. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game.”
Simms told The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Tuesday that Bortles is 70th in his NFL quarterback rankings, below backups Chad Henne (Jacksonville), T.J. Yates (Houston) and Nathan Peterman (Buffalo).
Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli called into the show to defend Bortles, saying it’s ”the most ignorant, asinine statement I’ve ever heard.”
None of it seemed to bother Bortles, who has been sullied all season .
Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey told a Nashville radio station last week that ”as long as Bortles is back there, if the ballgame is in his hands, he’s going to choke.”
Bortles also has been publicly ripped by Houston defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Seattle safety Earl Thomas and Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the past two months.
”Players or peers talking about you is a little new,” Bortles said last week.
Bortles’ performance against the Bills was far from his best.
He completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. He never settled into a rhythm, and with the game tied in the second half, he stopped throwing and starting scrambling. He finished with 88 yards on the ground, becoming the first quarterback since Atlanta’s Michael Vick in 2004 to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing.
”There’s two different ways to look at it,” Bortles said. ”You kind of look at the numbers and look at the game and say Dorance Armstrong Jr. Jersey , `You played terrible.’ Or you look at it and say, `Things weren’t going right here and you found a way to win and be efficient and move the ball and do different things.’ I think that’s how I feel about it. We didn’t have our A-game. I missed a couple throws. Things weren’t going well.
”But you know scrambling around and doing some different things, and guys making some plays, we found a way to score one more time than they did. That’s all you’ve got to do.”
The Jaguars (11-6) won the wild-card game 10-3, with the lone touchdown coming on Bortles’ 1-yard pass on a fourth-and-goal play, and advanced to play at second-seeded Pittsburgh (13-3) on Sunday.
Jacksonville beat the Steelers 30-9 in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Bortles threw just one pass in the second half as the Jags dominated thanks to five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and a season-high 231 yards rushing.
Bortles completed 8 of 14 passes for 95 yards, with an interception.
”Hopefully we can throw less,” Bortles said. ”That would be awesome. Leonard goes off again and those guys up front play as well they did last time and we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all. That was something that happened last time, but you never know. … It could be another one of those games or it could be you go up there and throw it 50 times.”
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