Kevin King Jersey

Kevin King has been named the new boys basketball coach at West Forsyth, replacing Howard West, who resigned after one season last month.

King, 48, was an assistant with West this past season for the Titans. He returned to West’s staff after spending five seasons as the head coach at North Surry, where he compiled a record of 88-47 and reached the NCHSAA Class 2-A state championship in 2017. The Titans finished this season 4-20 overall and 2-8 in the Central Piedmont 4-A.

In addition to being a head coach at North Surry, he was the head coach at Wilkes Central from 2003 to 2005 and North Davidson from 2008 to 2012. After leaving North Davidson, he was an assistant coach at East Forsyth for one season with Coach Mike Muse.

“It is something that obviously I’m very excited about,” King said. “West Forsyth is fantastic school. It’s marvelous. Great kids, great community. Every day going to work has been fantastic.”

King was an assistant coach for West at Reynolds and Reagan for a total of 13 years. Included in that were the three straight NCHSAA Class 4-A state championships won by Reynolds from 2000 to 2002.

“We had some great candidates,” Athletics Director Mike Pennington said. “That’s one of the great things about West Forsyth, it’s a very good place to work and we always have good candidates, but we felt Kevin was the best candidate for a variety of reasons. And so we’re excited to see where he’s going to take our basketball program.”

King is the fourth head coach for boys basketball since 2014, when Pennington resigned after seven seasons to become the athletics director.

“I think (King’s) got a very proven track record,” Pennington said. “He took North Surry to the state-championship finals a couple years ago. He’s a Clemmons person, he’s a faculty member (social studies teacher) at our school. He’s got a daughter (Peyton) that graduated from West last year, he’s got another one (Mary-Paige) coming in a year or two. So right now he’d be the poster child for stability.”

King said he was surprised West, 72, resigned. West compiled an 805-388 record in 46 seasons coaching at Tunstall (Va.), Eden Morehead, Reynolds, Reagan, Forsyth Country Day and West Forsyth.

“It was my goal to replace him whenever he decided it was time for him to give it up,” King said. “I didn’t know what kind of timetable he had in his mind. I can’t speak for him, and I wouldn’t, but I don’t think he came in with a certain definite timetable.”

The Titans struggled through much of this past season, but won two of their last three games before losing to Davie County, the conference champion, in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

“We struggled with continuity, as far as everybody buying in,” King said. “From the standpoint of playing hard, no problem. We played as hard that last game against Davie County as anybody could play. I was really amazed at having struggled to win games, how those kids never quit.

“A lot of teams I’ve seen from inside and outside, when they have a year where things aren’t going your way, they fold the tents up and check out. To our credit, we didn’t do that.”

Pennington said that he and Principal Charles McAninch don’t have any immediate goals for the Titans next season.

“We think there’s a young nucleus of a lot of young kids in our program,” Pennington said. “Our JV was good this year. Our freshman team was good this year. They’ve got some work to do, but I think the pieces are in place for us to get back to where we’d like to be and where we think we’re supposed to be relatively quickly.”

JK Scott Jersey

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GREEN BAY – One thing’s for certain about Packers punter JK Scott’s rookie year.

He’s never going to forget it.

From getting drafted in April, to moving to the state he visited regularly in the summer growing up, to adjusting to the bright lights of the NFL, to having his first child along the way. It’s been quite the memorable excursion for the now 23-year-old who hopes to be just getting started on a long and productive pro career.

“Me and my wife were talking about it the other night – we’re so thankful for this year, everything that’s happened,” Scott said as the season wrapped up. “There’s been so much change, but we’ve grown so much and God has taught us so much.”

That includes the ups and the downs that any rookie goes through, and Scott was no different.

He started strong, with a punt of at least 58 yards in each of his first three games, including a 63-yarder in Week 2 vs. Minnesota. He had a punt downed at the 2-yard line in Week 3.

But there was a fade at the finish, with a bad punt late in Chicago in Week 15 leading to a long return and damaging the Packers’ chances for a comeback. He followed it up the next game against the Jets with a couple of punts he’d like back.

In between there was an impressive boot from the back of his own end zone at New England that helped keep the Packers in the game, and a fourth-quarter shank at Los Angeles that gave the Rams favorable field position for their go-ahead scoring drive.

When it was all said and done, the final numbers were a 44.7-yard gross average and 38.8 net on 67 punts, with 19 inside the 20 and nine touchbacks. The last two stats, he’d definitely like a greater gap between them, because those are his biggest opportunities to affect field position in a given game.

Scott will spend the next several months processing it all while resting up and preparing for Year 2. Even compared to being Alabama’s punter through the College Football Playoff, it was a longer season than he was used to – including preseason, the NFL grind is 20 games – which was a learning experience in itself.

“There’s things I did well and things I need to improve on, particularly managing myself through the season and remaining consistent and not letting myself get fatigued,” Scott said. “Just kind of remain in a consistent place. That’s one thing I want to learn and get better in the offseason.”

He suggested his ramp up through 2019 will be a combination of honing some details and finer points while also focusing on the big picture physically.

“Certain situations … going in, inside the 20, directionally, there’s things I can be more consistent at, more efficient at, which would help,” he said. “As far as the overall sustainability through the season, I really need to work hard to get my work capacity up, to get my load capacity up for the season, so my body is going to be feeling good through the season.”

The adjustments will be ongoing, but he’ll still have veteran kicker Mason Crosby to lean on for advice or to have those “specialist” conversations.

Those were a big part of Scott’s first year, too, and seeing Crosby bounce back from the worst game of his 12-year career is worth filing away in the memory banks as well.

Scott will have a new coach on special teams in 2019, and possibly some competition in training camp, which he didn’t have as a rookie. His second season will differ from his first, the only question is to what degree.

In the interim, he’ll certainly enjoy the most extended time he’s had to date with his newborn son, who arrived shortly after the New England game, where the Packers had a standby plane ready to ferry Scott back to Green Bay should he get a call before kickoff.

The contingency plan was much appreciated. Now, it’s on Scott to plan for his own future.

“There’s ways I can improve, ways that I’ve learned and ways that I’ve grown,” he said of his rookie year.

“I’m so thankful. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ll remember it forever. I’ll remember everything.”

Josh Jackson Jersey

Phoenix was determined to leave its fans with a win in its final home game of what has been a very disappointing season.

Josh Jackson and Jamal Crawford combined for 63 points in leading the Suns to a 133-126 overtime win Friday night over New Orleans before a crowd of 16,410 at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“Just whatever it took,” Crawford said. “With it being a trying season, fans need something to hold onto. What better way than in our last home game? You saw the energy after the game, everybody’s still there and it felt good. It was a good win. Whatever it took.”

Phoenix (19-61) will still close out this season with its second-worst record in franchise history even if it wins Sunday at Houston and Tuesday at Dallas, but wasn’t trying to end its home schedule with a loss.

“It was a must-win for us, especially for the last home game,” Suns forward Dragan Bender said. “We wanted to win this game for the fans and give them a little hope.”

Jackson fell one point shy of tying his career high with 35 points while Crawford went for a season-high 28 as Phoenix won without leading scorer Devin Booker, who has been shut down for the rest of season after rolling his left ankle in Wednesday’s loss to Utah.

“We all knew what we needed to do,” Jackson said. “Felt like we had a really good talk before the game on things we needed to do to gets us the win. Rebounding was one. Communication and just playing a full 48 minutes. We knew it was going to be times where they threw a punch and the thing was going to be how we respond to that. I’m really proud of us.”

Phoenix overcame a 15-point, second-half deficit and had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Crawford missed a tough three at the buzzer.

The Suns proceeded to outscore New Orleans, 16-9, in overtime as Jackson accounted for half of Phoenix’s points on 3-of-4 shooting. He went 2-for-2 from 3 with his second one giving Phoenix a 129-121 lead with 1:23 remaining.

“I’ve always heard some of the best shooter say just keep shooting like you’ve been making them all,” said Jackson, who shot 5-of-8 from three for the game. “You can’t worry about any misses just because it’s going to affect your next shot.”

Julius Randle scored a team-high 31 points for New Orleans (32-48) while Ian Clark added 24 with 16 coming in the first quarter.

“Too many mistakes, not playing hard enough so that led to them making a comeback,” said Randle as New Orleans gave up 17 points off its 15 turnovers.

Winning its last two games against New Orleans, both in overtime, to split the season series, 2-2, Phoenix committed a season-low seven turnovers, had 12 steals and tied a season-high for blocks with 11 Friday night.

The 7-footer Bender greatly fueled that final stat with a career-high seven blocks.

“He’s very humble about trying to figure out and realize, he doesn’t know how much 7-1 is 7-1,” said Kokoskov about said Bender, who had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a season-high six assists.

“In Europe or here, it’s the same. So he’s got to use that. Trust his size. Trust his presence, lean into chest. Use his length.”

The Suns also got a career-high performance from Ray Spalding. Making his first career start, the rookie forward posted 21 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes.

“Just doing what the team needed me to do,” Spalding said. “Just contribute in a role and I did the best I could in whatever minutes I was given.

Spalding’s previous career highs were eight points in that wacky overtime win in New Orleans and five rebounds at Sacramento.

“Before the game, I told him to go out and play his game,” Jackson said. “We’re all NBA players. I don’t think if you couldn’t play in this league you would be here. Just come out and play your game. He wasn’t nervous at all.”

Jaire Alexander Jersey

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GREEN BAY – Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander was back home in Charlotte Tuesday to have his No. 10 jersey number retired at Rocky River High School.

Alexander is the first Rocky River alumnus to have his number retired by the football program.

The 5-foot-10, 196-pound cornerback had a distinguished career with the Ravens. He was selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas after registering 30 tackles and four interceptions as a senior, while adding 68 receptions for 1,123 yards (16.5 avg.) and 18 TDs as a wide receiver.

Alexander was ranked as the fifth-best player in the state of North Carolina by Scout.com and No. 22 by Rivals.com when he committed to play at the University of Louisville.

Alexander, who was named to the PFWA’s All-Rookie Team, recorded 66 tackles, 11 passes defensed and an interception in 13 games with 11 starts during his first season with the Packers.

Mike Daniels Jersey

He was the number #162 ranked defensive lineman. His value would have been higher if he had played more games. Based on average fantasy points he was the #121 defensive lineman. We split his 7 games into 3 segments (start, middle, and end). He peaked early in the season. He averaged 3.2 FPs in his first 2 games and 2.3 FP in his final 3 games. He averaged 2.4 FPs, but on any given day his projected ceiling is as high as 5 fantasy points. Mike Daniels (2019 Season Projection: 29 Solo, 15 Ast, 3.6 Sacks, 1.5 PDs) is projected to improve in the upcoming season. His rank based on total projected fantasy points has him as the #90 player at his position.

His season average dropped measurably from last season. His average fantasy points decreased by 37% this season. Mike Daniels only saw the field in 7 games in 2018. In 2017 he averaged 3.8 FP per game. Based on total fantasy production he was the #44 fantasy DL.

Daniels (foot) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Daniels sustained the foot injury Week 11 against the Seahawks and was unable to play against the Vikings. The 29-year-old indicated last week his season could be in jeopardy and that has now come to fruition. The specifics of the injury remain unclear, though Daniels previously said he didn’t suffer a fracture or undergo surgery. Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams and James Looney are the only remaining defensive ends currently on the Packers’ roster.

Daniels did not participate in Monday’s practice due to a lingering quadriceps injury, Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.

Daniels was able to return from the quad injury for a single practice last week, but hasn’t seen the field since. Though the details of Daniels’ injury remain undisclosed, word out of camp is that the starting D-lineman’s issue is considered minor. Despite this, Daniels has missed a significant amount of training camp, and his status warrants continued monitoring. If the 29-year-old is able to return to health, he’ll jump right back into his starting role.

Clay Matthews Jersey

Clay Matthews spent ten seasons in a Packer uniform. He immediately became a fan favorite among the Packer faithful. His long hair and great personality were what fans like about him but his play on the field is what got the fans to fall in love with Clay Matthews. No matter what, he will always be remembered as a member of the green and gold.

Clay Matthews was drafted 26th overall in 2009 by the Green Bay Packers out of USC. Matthews was considered a walk-on at USC but he is an example of why that doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to being great in the NFL.

In his rookie year, he started at linebacker for the Packers. He recorded fifty tackles, ten sacks, three fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown. Clay was considered a top two rookie that year as he was named the NFC defensive player of the year and named to the Pro Bowl with that performance. He was the first Packer rookie to make the Pro Bowl since wide receiver James Lofton in 1978. He had a high grade by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 82.8 which was the highest grade for a rookie at that pick since 2006. This was just the beginning of a long, successful career in Green Bay.

Matthews kept up his outstanding play the following season. He finished the season with 60 tackles, 13.5 sacks (fourth in the league), two forced fumbles, and an interception. In his second year, he was named to the Pro Bowl and to the All-Pro team. He was named the SN-NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFC Defensive player of the year. He finished second as the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Packers earned a trip to 45 Super Bowl to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. He recorded three tackles, a pass deflection and caused a HUGE forced fumble in the fourth quarter against Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall to practically seal the deal as the Packers won their fourth Super Bowl and Clay Matthew’s first in the NFL.

In 2012, Matthews was ranked the second-best outside linebacker in the league behind DeMarcus Ware. With 13 sacks and being named to the All-Pro team for the second time in his career, he has earned that title. That off-season he became the highest paid linebacker in NFL history.

In 2013, he only played 11 games due to a fractured thumb. He re-fractured his right thumb in week 16 against the Carolina Panthers and missed the rest of the season. He still led his team with sacks with seven and a half.

In 2014, he started all 16 games. Despite the slow start, he picked it up and finished the season with 11 sacks. He also started all 16 games in 2015 where he had 66 total tackles, with only six and a half sacks but recorded an interception. He helped lead the Packers to the NFC Divisional round against the Arizona Cardinals but they fell short in overtime.

In 2016, he only played 12 games because of Injury. He had a down year with only recording 24 tackles and five sacks but we would never know what his numbers would look like if he played all 16 games.

In 2017, he played 14 games and had 44 tackles with eight and a half sacks. In a week four game against the Chicago Bears, Matthews became the Packers all-time sacks leader.

2018 was the final year on Matthews’ contract. He had his worst year yet in the NFL as he played all 16 games but had 43 tackles and only three and a half sacks. Some say he would’ve had more if it wasn’t for some questionable calls but clearly that still wasn’t enough for Green Bay to keep him. Before the season, fans came to the realization that he might be on his way out and it didn’t seem real until it finally happened as he signed a two-year deal with Los Angeles Rams. He will go back home and play in the same stadium where he played his entire College career.

Clay Matthews will definitely go down as one of the great Packer’s players in history. Fans all around are sad that Matthews left but they’ll never forget the memories that he brought to the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers Jersey

There may never be a receiver more perfect for Aaron Rodgers than Jordy Nelson, who is retiring from the NFL after 10 seasons with Rodgers in Green Bay and one final season in Oakland.

Rodgers and Nelson developed a deep, unshakable bond. The benefits of that relationship manifested on the field, where Rodgers connected with Nelson for 65 touchdown passes and a ridiculous passer rating of 123.1 – making them one of the most deadly efficient but underrated quarterback-receiver combinations in NFL history.

The two created big play after big play down the field. Nelson used his track star speed to outrun defensive backs and Rodgers never hesitated to uncork the deep ball, especially off of playaction fakes. Nelson caught 106 passes over 20 yards and another 29 over 40 yards while in Green Bay, with 13 touchdown passes from Rodgers over 50 yards and five over 75.

The two were dynamite in the red zone: Rodgers and Nelson connected for 43 touchdowns inside the 20-yard line, more than any other quarterback and receiver combination between 2008-17. Their mind-melt made making plays in the confined spaces of the red zone look easy.

The two were at times unstoppable at the back-shoulder throw and throws along the sideline. Rodgers trusted Nelson implicitly and their symbiotic connection produced special completions. Nelson’s body control near the boundary combined with Rodgers’ anticipation and accuracy re-wrote the book on the back-shoulder throw, a staple play for the pair.

Often, when Nelson was at the top of his game, Rodgers was playing at an MVP level. In 2011, Nelson caught 15 of Rodgers’ 45 touchdown passes as the Packers averaged 35.0 points per game, went 15-1 and Rodgers won MVP. Three years later, Nelson set career highs in catches (98), receiving yards (1,519) and catches over 40 yards (8) and Rodgers won his second MVP.