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Today's word count: 1,723 (7 minutes).
College basketball's regular signing period began yesterday, and with only a handful of players still undecided, the 2020 recruiting class has begun to take shape, writes Axios' Jeff Tracy.
By the numbers: The chart above specifically captures the 119 four- and five-star recruits, per 247 Sports.
The backdrop: College basketball used to be a place where teenage superstars introduced themselves to the world and first became household names.
What they're saying: Here's Josh's father, Laron Christopher, speaking with The Athletic (subscription):
"I asked every college that we've spoken to, 'OK, you guys have a platform. We have a brand.' I told them, 'We're not going to stay [in college] forever, so we want to know how you're gonna roll this out. How can we use your platform to increase our brand, as well as your brand? Both are important. They're important to you, they're important to us.'"
P.S. ... This recruiting class is chock full of NBA legacies, with Jamal Mashburn Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr., Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Shareef's son), Makur Maker (Thon's brother) and Marcus Bagley (Marvin's brother) all among the top 100.
Where does the money come from in college sports? Depends on the division. While football powerhouses bathe in TV money, the lower divisions rely almost entirely on government and institutional support.
By the numbers: In 2018, Power 5 schools made 34.1% of their revenue from media rights deals, 19.5% from ticket sales and 5% from government and institutional support, per NCAA data.
Division I (Power 5)
Division I (non-Power 5)
Division I (FCS)
Division II (schools with football)
Division III (schools with football)
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33 years ago today, Michael Jordan dropped 61 on the Hawks in the Bulls' penultimate game, nudging him past 3,000 points for the season.
The bottom line: With modern load management strategies, it's hard to envision anyone else breaking the 3,000-point barrier, though Harden's amazing 2018-19 season came close (fell 182 points shy).
🎥 Watch: The entire Bulls vs. Hawks game, which included a game-winning jumper by Dominique Wilkins over MJ with 11 seconds left.
"Clayton Kershaw is waiting for baseball. Will he run out of time?" The latest masterpiece from the great Wright Thompson:
"Every profile ever written about Kershaw includes a list of all the weird stuff that we just accept because he's a ballplayer. If any of our co-workers insisted on, say, taking a sip of water at exactly 6:20, or running on the field at exactly 6:23, or if they got real anxiety if stadium officials changed the time of the national anthem, we'd call human resources to try to get the guy some help.
"I kept reading about this strange and intense ordering of his professional life when something hit me. What do all of those things actually have in common? What is he always trying to control? Do you see it?
"Drinking from a cup of water at the exact same moment. Running onto the field exactly three minutes later. Freaking out over a 90-second delay in 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' Never, ever being late. ... Clayton Kershaw isn't obsessed with control. He's obsessed with time."
Jollyclub is a mix between volleyball and juggling. After catching the "volley club," you're allowed to do one rotation of juggles before passing to a teammate or returning it.
In recent years, players like LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton have opted to play overseas rather than in college before entering the draft.
Answer at the bottom.
Dave M. (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania) writes:
"My parents got off the plane from Alexandria, Egypt, in October 1958. They settled in Central Jersey, where I was born a few years later. They were very Old World, sophisticated and learned, but ... Old World. They liked literature, classical music, poetry — virtually everything that I had no interest in.
"Mom became a high school English teacher, so naturally was more connected to American culture through her students. But my engineer father showed very little interest in or emotion about my world, as was both culturally appropriate for him, and the ethos of the time.
"When I was seven or eight, a family moved in next door with two boys. John, the older boy, was a great athlete and a natural draw to a kid like me who desperately wanted to fit in. He was also a Yankees fan, so I thought to myself, 'that sounds good to me' and from then on, I was a Yankees fan, too.
"One act of engagement/devotion that my father did demonstrate regularly was to take me to Yankees games. We would get on the bus, head into the city and then take two subways to get to the stadium.
"I can still remember the excitement of the subway emerging on the elevated track and Yankee Stadium appearing like a vision. I can also recall my father once sitting though an entire game reading a book on metallurgical engineering.
"He may not have cared about the game, or the Yankees, or sports in general, but he cared about me, and a trip to the ballpark was how he articulated that.
"So sports served two purposes for me: a bridge to the American world and a bridge to my father. Today, in the coronavirus era, that bridge is a little broken, and I'm patiently waiting for it to come back."
✍️ Submit your story: What's your fondest sports memory? Could be anything! Reply to this email letting me know. We'll be telling your stories all month.
Kendall "See you in the app" Baker
Trivia answer: Brandon Jennings