Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Exactly one year ago, Texas A&M. Shortly thereafter Nick Saban Ah, the joys of college football recruiting.
Saban and his Alabama program wasted little time officially reclaiming the throne on Wednesday,, only behind the Aggies' 2022 class and Alabama's 2021 class.
- Alabama's 2023 class includes a record nine five-star players, including EDGE Keon Keeley (No. 3 overall), offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor (No. 5 overall) and safety Caleb Downs (No. 8 overall)
- Of the Crimson Tide's 28-player class, 27 are five- or four-star recruits. The only one who isn't? Conor Talty, the second-ranked kicker in the country.
- Behind Alabama is Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio State.
Not every five-star recruit signed with the Crimson Tide, even though it sometimes seems that way. In fact, another SEC team -- South Carolina --Nyckoles Harbor, and , writes Brandon Huffman.
No recruiting battle was more dramatic, though, than Jaden Rashada's, andat Arizona State. I really enjoyed Kenny Dillingham.
- The Celtics crushed the Nets, .
- Devin Booker is .
- Florida over No. 2 Tennessee, 67-54.
- Rockets rookie Tari Eason posted .
- The Arena Football League is .
And not such a good morning for...
THE CAROLINA PANTHERS AND MATT RHULE
Matt Rhule's tenure with the Panthers, and apparently, things still haven't been smoothed over, even nearly four months after . Last week, Rhule -- who got hired by Nebraska -- , claiming the Panthers are refusing to pay his severance compensation.
Contract terms indicate there's roughly $5 million being disputed,.
- The Panthers plan to argue that . Rhule signed an eight-year, $74-million contract with the Cornhuskers, up from the seven-year, $60-million deal with Carolina.
- "The argument is that Rhule's Nebraska contract has an unreasonable increase of greater than 20 percent when factoring in deferred salary and other benefits," Jonathan writes.
- From Rhule's side of things, his Carolina contract states he's owed $34 million from Feb. 1, 2023 through Jan. 31, 2027. The Nebraska contract pays him $29 million from the Nov. 2022 start date through Dec. 31, 2026. That's where the $5 million difference comes from.
There should be a conclusion in the coming weeks.
What Tom Brady's retirement means for Bucs and everyone else 🏈
Welcome to your first full day of retirement, Tom Brady! In case you somehow missed it,-- this time "for good," he says -- after 23 seasons, seven Super Bowl wins and . His career is truly one-of-one, and it will likely stay that way forever. The winning, the longevity, the records... it's truly overwhelming.
His retirement created shockwaves across the NFL --, and here's -- and the impact of his departure will reach far and wide, especially ahead of what appears to be another hectic quarterback carousel this offseason.
Our Cody Benjamin looked at, especially on one hypothetical destination.
- Benjamin: "The most popularly predicted Brady destination in the event of a move from Tampa, the Raiders made sense solely because of the Josh McDaniels connection... With that scenario evaporated, the Raiders are still primed to part ways with Derek Carr... Jimmy Garoppolo is potentially the next best thing for McDaniels, sharing the Patriots roots, but a Jarrett Stidham return, in conjunction with a rookie addition, is also a logical alternative."
We also have Buccaneers, and Bryan has . Could it be Garoppolo? , says Tyler Sullivan. I have to give major props to our NFL team, which has every single angle covered:, and it's important to note that Brady himself is the biggest winner, as our Bryan DeArdo writes. One big loser, though, is the
- and , plus
- , per report.
Breanna Stewart joins Liberty as a superteam grows in New York 🏀
Breanna Stewart is. And, my goodness, what a talented team the New York Liberty will be.
After being picked No. 1 overall in the 2016 draft Stewart spent the first seven years of her career with the Storm, where she filled up her trophy case:
- Two-time WNBA champion (2018, 2020)
- MVP (2018)
- Commissioner's Cup champion and MVP (2021)
- Two-time Finals MVP
- 2022 scoring champion
- Four-time All-Star
- Five-time All-WNBA
- Four-time All-Defensive team
- Rookie of the Year
Stewart joins 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, acquired from the Sun, and 2022 All-Star Sabrina Ionescu to form one heck of a "Big Three." , writes our Jack Maloney.
- Maloney: "There could be some growing pains as they figure out how to play together, but they're all unselfish players and it's hard to bet against that type of talent. ... Barring any further surprises, the Liberty appear to be on a crash course with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces, who bolstered their squad by agreeing to a deal with Candace Parker. "
Stewart's free agency was, with Kevin Durant even recruiting her to New York. Now that she's there, expect her to continue to be outspoken on some major issues -- including chartered flights -- off the court while dominating on the court. , "the WNBA has officially entered its superteam era."
As LeBron James closes in on scoring title, enjoy the ride 🏀
LeBron James isKareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record. It's no longer a matter of "if," but "when" and "when" is probably next week -- .
Of course, the gray cloud hanging over this is that the Lakers are not very good. Only the Spurs and Rockets are worse in the West. If the season ended today, James would miss the playoffs for a second consecutive year -- something that hasn't happened since his first two years in the league. Injuries, underperformance, bad luck, tension, questionable decisions. You name it, the Lakers have dealt with it.
For a few nights, though, let that subside and, writes our Bill Reiter.
- Reiter: "Will it be enough freedom from angst -- enough joy, and positivity -- to spark a Lakers revival and a run between now and season's end? Maybe. Maybe not. ... But a reminder of a feeling -- of the purple and gold sitting at the center of the basketball universe, of the game's most talked about team again emanating from downtown L.A., of the entire NBA turning its often jaded and jealous eye toward the Lakers -- will surge again, even if temporarily."
What we're watching Thursday 📺
🏀 No. 19 FAU at UAB, 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Grizzlies at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 8 Maryland at No. 6 Iowa, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Clippers at Bucks, 10 p.m. on TNT