Brian Chin | Daily TrojanAs confetti rained down on the Trojans after January’s Rose Bowl Game, no one thought placekicking would be an issue for USC in 2017. After all, Matt Boermeester had just written himself into Trojan lore, splitting the uprights from 46 yards out as time expired to win the Granddaddy of Them All, and he looked to repeat the feat next year — this time in the national championship game. Then Boermeester was expelled from the University due to a student conduct issue, and the Trojans suddenly found themselves on the hunt for a national title without a reliable kicker. Head coach Clay Helton gave redshirt freshman Michael Brown the first shot at the job during fall camp, but the scholarship kicker couldn’t beat out a freshman walk-on from Mater Dei High School. Just before USC’s season opener against Western Michigan, Helton announced Chase McGrath had won the gig. Two weeks later, McGrath ran onto the field against Texas and knocked through his first two career field goals: one to tie the score as time expired and one to win the game in double-overtime as the Trojans beat the Longhorns 27-24.“[McGrath] doesn’t play like a freshman,” Helton said following the victory. “What an unbelievable job.” It was already an incredibly unlikely sequence of events, but Saturday’s ending was even more remarkable given the start of the day, when McGrath attempted his first career college field goal in the second quarter of a scoreless game. He left it short and wide left. It was a 46-yarder — a tough assignment for a debut attempt — but McGrath brushed off the weight of the moment.“[The first kick] was a really good learning experience,” he said. “I kind of rushed it a little bit, but once I slowed down and really found my rhythm, it was good.”The freshman’s unflappability took many by surprise, but it proved to be a valuable asset down the line as McGrath was called on to save the Trojans not long after his disappointing first kick. The Longhorns led by 3 points with two seconds left on the clock, and McGrath was tasked with knocking through a 31-yard attempt. With everything on the line and an earlier miss on his mind, the walk-on still managed to keep a cool head. “[Nerves] didn’t kick in that much,” McGrath said. “I treat every kick the same.”It’s hard to believe, but the results backed up the attitude. Somehow, McGrath was able to step up yet again with a chance to win the game in overtime and nail a 43-yard kick. Texas head coach Tom Herman even called timeout before the attempt to let McGrath’s nervousness build on the sideline. It didn’t matter. “I kind of think it’s funny because it gives me more time to lock in,” McGrath said.Indeed, he came out of the timeout and improved vastly on his first boot of the game — this one had plenty of distance and snuck inside the right upright — and the Trojans mobbed their kicker as confetti shot into the sky and covered the grass. The Los Angeles haze seemed like the ghosts of the Rose Bowl, swirling around the Coliseum floodlights.It remains to be seen if McGrath will carry over his impressive performance through the rest of the season. As the year goes on, he may have to kick in windier and much colder conditions, and he has yet to kick outside the friendly confines of his home stadium, and with the high expectations facing USC, the freshman will undoubtedly see more opportunities to be the hero — or the goat.But after all the uncertainty that surrounded USC’s kicking game leading into this fall, it appears the Trojans have found their man. Following the game, Helton was asked if he had a scholarship available to offer McGrath. The head coach chuckled.“I need to find one,” he said.
While Rafa Nadal’s conqueror, Lucas Pouille takes on his fellow Frenchman, Gael Monfils.Last night, second seed Andy Murray eased into the last-8 with a straight sets victory over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. First up, women’s second seed Angelique Kerber faces seventh seed Roberta Vinci of Italy. While Caroline Wozniacki goes up against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia. Men’s top seed Novak Djokovic continues the defence of his title against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Black Maidens will enter the Bayil Stadium in Baku on Wednesday aware that only a win can keep their hopes of a second round berth at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Azerbaijan 2012.Ghana’s U-17 women’s team face newcomers, Uruguay in Group D after either side lost their opening game.For the Black Maidens, who are making their third-time appearance at the competition, they cannot afford to lose, having overcome the heartache of their a 2-1 defeat to Germany on Sunday.Mas-ud Didi Dramani’s side can change their destiny at the competition, a belief held by Ellen Coleman, one of the competition’s veterans and who is making her third appearance following her debut in 2008.“It [defeat to Germany] was our first game and we promise that we’re going to win our next game and get out of the group,” she said.“We have a lot of belief in our team and in our ability. Though we couldn’t get the win in our first game, we need to keep our chins up and believe we can beat Uruguay and China. If we can get out of the group, I think we can make the semis or even the final here.”
The first three picks of the NBA Draft are pretty much set in stone, but things could get interesting with the fourth overall pick. The Lakers technically hold the pick, but they’ve agreed to trade the draft rights to the Pelicans as a result of the Anthony Davis deal. But New Orleans is reportedly shopping the pick around, which would lead to a confusing trade inception. If the Pelicans do make a deal, ESPN’s NBA analyst Jalen Rose predicts the Bulls will be involved. Sometimes @jalenrose makes a mistake and says things into microphones he shouldn’t. Then I put them on the internet because that’s what friends do: pic.twitter.com/gOLx53xRMw— Jacoby (@djacoby) June 20, 2019MORE: Full first round 2019 NBA Mock Draft What Rose reported isn’t quite as interesting as how he reported it. The social copy promoting the video says “sometimes [Rose] makes a mistake and says things into microphones he shouldn’t.” And in the video, Rose wonders aloud if he’s even allowed to say what he does.”I guess I’m gonna say this,” Rose said. “I was about to look at my phone and see if I was able to say this or not.”Here’s Rose’s proposal:Pelicans get: 7th pick, Zach LaVineBulls get: 4th pick, Lonzo BallThis isn’t the first time LaVine’s name has been tied to the Pelicans. ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested the deal in a recent podcast appearance, although he made sure to point out there was no reporting behind it.One clarification: Beck and I had a spitballing session on who the Lakers/Pels might be able to get for 4th pick. I mentioned a bunch of potential targets, including Zach LaVine. That was just me speculating, not reporting. Worded it inelegantly, apologies for that. https://t.co/cxcbe1Pd01— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 13, 2019Ball’s name was also tied to the Bulls before the Lakers deal. There was speculation from some saying the Bulls were trying to get in on the Davis deal. Essentially the talk was the Bulls would receive what they ended up getting in Rose’s proposal. Would it make sense for the Pelicans and Bulls to make this trade?This trade is a good idea for the Bulls. They get to move up in the draft and take on a player still on his rookie contract in Ball. LaVine currently has an average salary of $19,500,000 until 2022 when he becomes a free agent. Ball, meanwhile, has an average salary of $7,489,280 until 2021. The deal doesn’t make a ton of sense for New Orleans, unless the Pelicans truly view LaVine as a much better option than Ball. LaVine is the better player, but is it worth taking on the extra salary and moving down three spots in the draft? It depends on how much the Pelicans really like LaVine.Rose seems to think some version of this deal could go down on draft night.