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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 3:13 pm 

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The elevator stopped at the 16th floor of the swanky hotel Jimmy Garoppolo Youth Jersey , and after a few nervous steps down the hallway a soon-to-be professional athlete was ready to face perhaps the most unpredictable part of the NBA draft process.

The interview.

Down in the lobby, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers chatted with familiar faces and pretended not to notice random fans taking selfies with them in the background. Agents held court with other agents, Clippers coach Doc Rivers talked with some journalists and a couple dozen people were outside with their phones ready to snap pictures of whoever was walking in next.

But upstairs, high above the bustle and din of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the real action was happening.

There were probably about 300 interviews conducted over two days in the Windy City during the draft combine. Those chats – more than perhaps the basketball that was played that week – give teams their best insight into a prospect and help decision-makers determine which players will merit multi-million-dollar investments at Thursday’s NBA draft. The Associated Press was granted access to one of the sessions.

The 25-minute meeting was held in a room that had its usual furniture – bed, television, dressers – cleared out for two couches and a table with eight chairs.

”Relax, man,” the coach said to the player, an early entry candidate, as he sat down. ”We’re just trying to get to know you.”

Water was offered, and the chat began.

A couple of people were taking handwritten notes, the focus clear by the fact that no one is checking their phones, and the interview was more of a conversation than an interrogation. There was an order to things Cheap Mike Hughes Jersey , with five team staffers asking the bulk of the questions, each getting roughly the same amount of time to play their respective role.

”What would your family tell us about you?”

”How many cellphones do you have?”

”Is this just about money?”

They asked the player what he thought of his teammates in college, how he deals with teammates that he doesn’t like, how he reacts to criticism. One of the interviewers has turned his chair around, another has his feet up on an unused chair and there were even a couple moments of laughter. Almost out of nowhere, there was a very specific question about a block-charge call the player was involved in during a game this past season, and how he reacted to a referee about the call not going his way.

The player slid down in his chair a little bit.

”How’d you even know about that?” he asked, sheepishly.

The time flies by, the interview wraps and the player was due in a few minutes one floor down for another of his seven meetings scheduled throughout the day. Everyone stands, handshakes happen all around, and just like that, it was over. The notebooks close, and the player is walked to the door by the coach who pats him on the back twice while saying ”you did great.”

The kid stepped into the hall, the door closed Cheap Breeland Speaks Jersey , and that was it.

Every team does interviews differently, but for the most part the setup was the same – cleared-out hotel room, about 30 minutes per session, somewhere between five to 10 people in the room to greet the player. By nightfall and the end of the day’s meetings, everyone is exhausted. Michael Porter Jr., the Missouri player who will be a lottery pick, couldn’t even remember how many teams he met with on Day 1.

”It’s all on my phone,” he said, as he started running down the list.

There have been some famous, or infamous, stories of how draft combine interviews have gone in recent years.

Many NFL hopefuls have said they’ve been asked about their sexuality; Jeff Ireland, when he was the general manager of the Miami Dolphins, made headlines in 2010 for asking Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been asking players for a couple of years if they speed up or slow down at yellow lights – it’s a question seeking insight not into their traffic habits, but their ability to make split-second decisions.

The Detroit Pistons brought a virtual reality setup into their interviews this year Vontaze Burfict Bengals Jersey , much to the delight of players and something that will likely be copied for years to come given how much of a hit it was. The draft hopefuls were presented with about 12 scenarios when they had the VR headsets on, and were told to assess what to do in the various situations.

And the Portland Trail Blazers went deep into psyches, with a sports performance psychologist asking players a series of questions to determine their personality traits.

”So accurate,” said Brian Bowen, who eventually removed himself from draft consideration but will still seek a pro career since the NCAA isn’t granting the former Louisville recruit eligibility at South Carolina for the 2018-19 season. ”It was crazy.”

Kevin Huerter, who is leaving Maryland after two seasons and could get selected as early as the middle of the first round, said some teams – San Antonio and Golden State in particular – were more in-depth than some other clubs were with him during the combine interviews.

”Pick one moment in time that describes your personality,” Huerter said he was asked during the Warriors meeting. ”I thought that was a really good question.”

While one player said he was asked to participate in a staring contest, truly bizarre tales seemed nonexistent.

”I don’t let it get there,” Miami’s Bruce Brown Jr. said. ”That’s just my personality, to bring everybody Jon Lester won his fifth straight start, Javier Baez backed him with three hits and two runs, and the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on Wednesday.

Lester (9-2) gave up five hits over seven innings. Baez had two doubles, a triple and a steal. He also made some solid plays at shortstop and second base.

Kyle Schwarber hit his 14th homer Cheap Jaire Alexander Jersey , and Kris Bryant added two hits and an RBI. And the Cubs handed Ross Stripling his first loss since April 30, taking two of three in a rematch of the past two NL Championship Series.

Lester walked three and struck out one batter. Anthony Bass worked the final two innings to finish the six-hitter.

Stripling (6-2) had won six straight starts. The right-hander went six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out seven without a walk.

YANKEES 7, MARINERS 5

NEW YORK (AP) – Giancarlo Stanton lined a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and New York erased a five-run deficit to beat Seattle.

Gary Sanchez tied the score with a two-run homer against Alex Colome in the eighth, and the Yankees went on to complete their largest comeback victory of the season.

Didi Gregorius singled with two outs in the ninth and Stanton hammered an 0-2 breaking ball from reliever Ryan Cook (1-1). The drive traveled a projected 453 feet to left-center for Stanton’s first walk-off homer with the Yankees – his previous one came in April 2014 for the Marlins (also vs. Seattle).

New York is a season-high 27 games above .500 with the majors’ best record at 49-22.

Aroldis Chapman (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win.

The Mariners have lost three straight for the first time since April 17-19 against the World Series champion Astros.

ASTROS 5, RAYS 1

HOUSTON (AP) – Jose Altuve homered twice, including the last of three straight by the Astros in the sixth inning, to lift Houston over Tampa Bay.

The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when George Springer’s 15th homer made it 2-1. Two pitches later Alex Bregman sent an 87 mph slider from Rays starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-3) into the seats in left field for his 11th home run.

But the Astros weren’t done yet, as Altuve put one on the train tracks atop left field for the second time on Wednesday night to push the lead to 4-1. It was the first time the Astros hit three home runs in a row since May 2, 2008, when Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against Milwaukee.

It was a welcome display of power for a team that managed just five singles in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night that snapped Houston’s 12-game winning streak. The win made the Astros the first team to reach 50 victories this season.

Houston starter Charlie Morton (9-1) allowed just two hits and one unearned run in six innings.

TWINS 4, RED SOX 1

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler homered to back an effective start by Lance Lynn as Minnesota beat Boston.

Grossman led off the bottom of the first with a home run and Kepler added a two-run shot off David Price (8-5). Brian Dozier added a pair of doubles to help the Twins win for the fourth time in five games.

Lynn (5-5) again struggled with command Dante Pettis Youth Jersey , issuing five walks, but he gave up just one unearned run and three hits in five innings.

Four relievers combined for four scoreless innings, with Fernando Rodney securing his 16th save in 19 chances.

PHILLIES 4, CARDINALS 3

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Odubel Herrera hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the seventh inning, Cesar Hernandez had a two-run shot and Philadelphia beat St. Louis.

Herrera ripped a 91 mph slider from Sam Tuivailala (1-3) off the scoreboard on the facing of the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Herrera has a homer in four straight games.

Yadier Molina hit a pair of homers for the Cardinals off Phillies starter Jake Arrieta.

Edubray Ramos (2-0) got five outs and Adam Morgan retired the last two batters with the tying run on second for his first career save. The Phillies took two of three to win a series against the Cardinals for the first time since August 2014.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha left in the fourth with a left oblique strain.

INDIANS 12, WHITE SOX 0

CLEVELAND (AP) – Corey Kluber became the first pitcher with 11 wins this season and Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis hit three-run homers in Cleveland’s victory over Chicago.

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Kluber (11-3) allowed only a second-inning single past third base by Omar Narvaez and a third-inning walk to Charlie Tilson in seven dominant innings. The right-hander struck out seven and retired the last 14 batters before giving way to George Kontos to begin the eighth. Josh Tomlin surrendered a double to Jose Abreu in the ninth before completing the combined two-hitter.

Kluber now has one more victory than Washington’s Max Scherzer and the Yankees’ Luis Severino.

Ramirez put the Indians ahead 3-0 in the first with his team-high 22nd home run off starter Reynaldo Lopez (2-5). He also extended his on-base streak to a career-high 28 games, scored three times and stole a base.

Kipnis’ three-run shot and Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run double were part of a six-run sixth against Bruce Rondon that pushed the lead to 11-0.

ATHLETICS 12, PADRES 4

SAN DIEGO (AP) – Light-hitting Franklin Barreto connected for a 424-foot, three-run home run, one of five long balls Oakland hit in routing San Diego.

Josh Phegley, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie also went deep for Oakland.

The A’s hit seven homers in sweeping the two-game series. Stephen Piscotty tied Tuesd.


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