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2024 NBA Draft Expands to Two-Day Spectacle: Second Round Set for Day After First Round

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Ken Blaze, USA TODAY Sports

In a groundbreaking move, the NBA has announced that the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft will transition from a single-night event to a two-day extravaganza. The first round is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26, followed by the second round on Thursday, June 27. Both rounds will kick off at 8 p.m. ET on their respective days.

With this expansion, the second round will not only have its dedicated night but will also relocate to ESPN’s Seaport District Studios in New York. Meanwhile, the first round will maintain its venue at the Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn, New York. The draft will continue to be broadcasted by ESPN, with the first round airing on ABC, ESPN, and the ESPN App, while the second round will be exclusively on ESPN and the ESPN App.

NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars explained that moving the second round to a separate night serves to provide teams with more time for selections and potential trades. The extended timeframe for the second round will see teams’ decision-making period increase from two minutes to four minutes.

Dumars emphasized, “Based on feedback about the NBA Draft format from basketball executives around the league and my own experience in draft rooms, we believe that teams will benefit from being able to regroup between rounds and having additional time to make decisions during the second round. Two nights of primetime coverage will also enhance the viewing experience for our fans and further showcase the draftees.”

Also Read  Jackson State University Welcomes First Female Kicker in NCAA Division I at an HBCU

This innovative approach aims to streamline the draft process, offering teams greater strategic flexibility and providing fans with an extended and immersive viewing experience. The decision to expand the draft comes after last year’s draft, which lasted nearly five hours and concluded around 12:45 a.m. ET, featuring notable moments such as Victor Wembanyama being selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the San Antonio Spurs.

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Green Bay Packers Make Surprise Move, Tap Boston College’s Jeff Hafley as New Defensive Coordinator

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Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have made a surprising move by appointing Jeff Hafley, the head coach of Boston College, as their new defensive coordinator, as announced on Wednesday night by Packers coach Matt LaFleur.

Hafley, who brings a wealth of experience coaching defensive backs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers, has spent the last five seasons in college football. His most recent stint was a four-year tenure with Boston College. Before that, he served as co-coordinator at Ohio State for one year.

This unexpected hiring decision caught many off guard, as no media outlet had reported on LaFleur interviewing Hafley. The prevailing expectation was that the Packers’ coach was targeting an NFL assistant coach, former head coach, or coordinator for the position.

Hafley steps in to replace Joe Barry, who was dismissed after the Packers’ playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Despite not having previously worked together, there is a connection between LaFleur and Hafley. Hafley served as the defensive backs coach in San Francisco under former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who is a close friend of LaFleur and currently the head coach of the New York Jets. Saleh’s insights likely played a role in LaFleur’s decision.

Hafley’s time in San Francisco also overlapped with Mike LaFleur’s tenure as an assistant coach and involved interactions with Packers college scouting director Matt Malaspina. These connections may have influenced LaFleur’s confidence in Hafley’s abilities.

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Reports suggest that Hafley’s position at Boston College was uncertain, and the Packers may have to negotiate a buyout from his existing contract. Despite his success in leading Boston College to a 6-6 record and a victory in the Fenway Bowl, concerns about the team’s performance and upcoming challenges, such as losing key players to graduation, may have influenced Hafley’s decision to move to the NFL.

Among the candidates interviewed by LaFleur were notable names like former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, Buffalo Bills inside linebackers coach Bobby Babich, Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Aden Durde, Denver Broncos defensive backs coach Christian Parker, and Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, along with inside linebackers coach Zach Orr.

Hafley’s diverse experience under various defensive coordinators, including former Packers coordinator Mike Pettine, adds an interesting dimension to the Packers’ defensive coaching staff.

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Jackson State University Welcomes First Female Kicker in NCAA Division I at an HBCU

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Charles A. Smith/JSU Chief Photographer

In a historic moment for college football, Jackson State University proudly introduces Leilani Armenta as the first female kicker in NCAA Division I at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Armenta, a Mexican American woman, made her mark during the team’s home game against Bethune-Cookman University on September 23, 2023, at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi.

Armenta expressed her initial nervousness stepping onto the field but focused on the game at hand. She reflected on the historical significance of her accomplishment, recognizing the positive impact it had on numerous people.

Armenta’s journey has been even more remarkable considering she is recovering from ACL surgery performed last year, kicking throughout the season with the support of a brace. Despite the physical challenge, her 25-yard kick-off in the late stages of the game played a pivotal role in Jackson State’s 22-16 victory over Bethune-Cookman University.

The freshman communications major, who chose Jackson State University for its strong program in her field, spoke of her passion for football cultivated since high school. During her high school days in Ventura, California, Armenta, also a soccer player, drew attention to her talent as a kicker. Despite tearing her ACL in her senior year while playing soccer, doctors gave her the green light to pursue football, a decision that shaped her journey.

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Joseph Goyeneche, Armenta’s high school football head coach, praised her skills, noting that she was the best freshman kicker they had and performed exceptionally in both extra points and field goals.

In her high school career, Armenta achieved a success rate of 98 out of 105 extra points and a perfect 5 for 5 in-field goals, with her longest kick covering 30 yards.

Armenta, now making a 46-yard kick in practice, is working with coaches to enhance her leg strength and kicking distance. Although she has yet to attempt a field goal this season, her former coach believes she will be ready when the time comes.

T.C. Taylor, the head football coach at Jackson State University, emphasized Armenta’s vital role on the team and the warm reception she received from fans and teammates. Her arrival addressed a significant need for the team, with the coach expressing gratitude for her impact.

Leilani Armenta’s journey aligns with other female athletes who have made history in college football. Notable instances include Katie Hnida scoring in an NCAA Division I game in 2003 and Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller becoming the first woman to score in a Power Five college game in 2020. Haley Van Voorhis recently broke new ground as the first female football player to appear in an NCAA football game outside of the kicker position.

Also Read  Green Bay Packers Make Surprise Move, Tap Boston College's Jeff Hafley as New Defensive Coordinator

Despite facing critics who question her place on the team, Armenta remains undeterred, viewing her ACL injury as a blessing that fueled her determination. Coach Taylor described her as a competitor and expressed his desire for her increased involvement in games as she continues to regain strength.

Armenta focused on the present, has set her sights on sticking with college football, expressing love for kicking. While welcoming any professional opportunities that may arise, she remains dedicated to honing her skills and contributing to her team’s success.

“If it happens, I would love it. If anyone wants to pick me up, I’m more than happy to do it. That would be awesome,” Armenta said, looking toward a future that holds the promise of further accomplishments in her football journey.

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Kim Ng, MLB’s Pioneer Female General Manager, Parts Ways with Miami Marlins for the Upcoming Season

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Rob Tringali/MLB Photos/Getty Images

In a significant development, the Miami Marlins announced on Monday that Kim Ng, the groundbreaking figure who made history as the first woman to be hired as a general manager in Major League Baseball, will not be returning to the team for the upcoming season after a three-season tenure.

Marlins chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman released a statement noting that although the team exercised its option for Ng to return for the 2024 season, she declined the opportunity.

“We thank Kim for her contributions during her time with our organization and wish her and her family well,” read the statement.

Ng’s historic appointment in November 2020 marked a groundbreaking moment in MLB, as she became the first woman to hold the role of general manager in the league’s history. Moreover, Ng is believed to be the first woman appointed as a general manager to lead a men’s sports team in any North American major league.

Having accumulated 30 years of experience in MLB, including stints with powerhouse teams like the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ng had previously interviewed for other GM roles at least five times before landing the position with the Marlins.

Upon joining the Marlins, Ng faced significant challenges, including the team’s struggles, loss of key players, low attendance, and a constrained budget. Despite these obstacles, the team under Ng’s leadership made it to the playoffs this year, reaching the National League Wild Card Series but ultimately falling to the Philadelphia Phillies. This marked the fourth playoff appearance in franchise history.

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Sherman acknowledged Ng’s departure, stating, “We will immediately begin a thorough and extensive search for new leadership as we plan to continue to invest in the Marlins organization both on and off the field.”

He added, “We are committed to our fans and the South Florida community and look to build off the momentum of the great progress of this year.”

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