Three Michigan high school seniors crack Sports Illustrated’s top 99 prospect list

Jaden Akins, Pierre Brooks and Kobe Bufkin rank among the nation’s top basketball players for the Class of 2021.

That’s according to Sports Illustrated, which has released its SI99. The list consists of the top 99 senior basketball prospects from across the United States, and it included the three Michigan players mentioned above.

All 99 seniors have earned the distinction of being named a Sports Illustrated All-American candidate. Please click here to see all 99 players.

Here’s a closer look at the three Michigan players:

Ypsi Prep Academy vs. Team Sizzle

Ypsi Prep Academy’s Jaden Akins (right) guards a Team Sizzle player during a high school basketball game on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo used with permission from Who’s Next HS, @whosnexths)

*Akins, a 6-foot-3, 160-pound point guard, is a four-star prospect from Farmington who has committed to Michigan State. Akins averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists

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2020 NBA offseason rankings: Lakers, 76ers, Blazers atop list; Wizards take risk; Pistons make confusing moves

The heavily compressed 2020 NBA offseason is not exactly over, as evidenced by Wednesday’s point guard swap. Most teams have made the last of their major transactions, though, and since the preseason starts next Friday, it hardly feels premature to evaluate what’s happened. What follows is a team-by-team review of the significant moves. 

A disclaimer: These rankings are not scientific, and they are not meant to signify simply which teams have set themselves up to win a higher percentage of their games or have a better 2021 championship odds. Contenders and rebuilding teams must be judged by entirely different criteria, and splashy signings typically come with real trade-offs. 

In other words, it’s not particularly useful to compare the Lakers’ offseason to the Thunder’s or even the Hawks’, but this exercise demands that one of them must be deemed superior to the others. 

1. Los Angeles Lakers

  • Last season: 52-19,
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Thielen cleared to return from COVID list, expected to play Sunday

Adam Thielen’s isolation lasted 10 days, as the Vikings receiver was cleared to return Wednesday from the team’s COVID list following a positive test result Nov. 23.

Thielen is expected to practice Wednesday afternoon and play Sunday against the Jaguars, according to coach Mike Zimmer. His 11 touchdown grabs led the NFL entering last weekend, when Thielen missed his first game of the season in the 28-27 win vs. Carolina.

NFL players with asymptomatic cases can return after five days with two negative tests, or after 10 days from the initial positive test. Symptomatic cases require a minimum 10-day quarantine.

The Vikings also promoted long snapper Andrew DePaola from the practice squad, signing the 33-year-old veteran to the active roster. He’ll replace 2019 seventh-round pick Austin Cutting, who was waived Tuesday and could re-sign to the practice squad this afternoon.

Cornerback Tae Hayes, an undrafted free agent in 2019 out

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Your Ultimate Xmas Wish List

It’s said that giving is better than receiving, but the maxim has a flaw: it assumes that the giver and the receiver are never one and the same. We all know that generosity feels good, and there’s sound scientific basis for it: research shows that the act of giving activates the neural networks associated with pleasure – the same ones triggered by food or drugs – in a phenomenon known as the “helper’s high”.But that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself. After all, receiving gifts feels pretty good, too, and no one is more familiar with your taste, habits and predilections than, well, you. Besides, you’ve had a tough few months and, as any good psychologist will attest, work is not its own reward. Self-care doesn’t come naturally to us all, however. So, if you can’t quite find it in you to love yourself, we’d advise cutting out the following

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2 Syracuse women’s basketball players on Wooden Award watch list

Syracuse, N.Y. — The talented backcourt of the Syracuse women’s basketball team had its spotlight turned up even more on Tuesday.

Guards Kiara Lewis and Tiana Mangakahia were both named to the 30-player Wooden Award women’s preseason watch list. That puts them in the running for the Wooden Award All-America Team and Most Outstanding Player Award.

The honor is the latest in a string of accolades for the pair. Both are among the 50 players named to the 2020-21 Naismith Award watch list.

Mangakahia is one of 20 players nominated for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which recognizes the nation’s best point guard in Division I women’s basketball. Lewis was nominated for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which recognizes the nation’s best shooting guard.

The Wooden Award All-America Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2021 John R. Wooden

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The 9 Fitness Technology Gifts To Add to Your List, Stat

As far as I’m concerned, we’re all living in The Jetsons—except, rather than casually owning flying cars, we’re all flying on techy treads, strapping devices that measure our heart rates on our wrists, and taking yoga classes from a magic mirror on the wall. The future is now, folks. So if you have someone on your holiday list who lives the sweat life, we’ve rounded up the best fitness technology buys you can wrap in a bow and feel confident they’ll love.

From smartwatches to wireless earbuds to next-level recovery devices, we’ve rounded up the gifts that just keep on giving—many of which are on sale right now. You can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose, so let’s get shopping, shall we?

Photo: FitbitThe Fitbit Versa 3 arrives packed with cool features. Perhaps most notably, the device records your “active zone minutes” that buzz when you

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UEFA Champions League group standings, schedule, clinch scenarios: List of teams qualified for knockout stage

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With two rounds of fixtures left to be played, the Champions League group stages have reached a pivotal point and the margins for error are ever thinner as clubs battle for a place in the last 16.

So far six of those spots have been taken with Bayern Munich the only team assured of top spot in the group and therefore guaranteed to face a runner-up in the first knockout round. Joining them in the draw will be Manchester City, Chelsea, Sevilla, Barcelona and Juventus.

In half of the groups no team has yet qualified, setting the stage for a thrilling run-in over this week and next. Scroll down for all the scenarios from the eight groups.

Clinching scenarios ahead of Matchday 5

Group A: 

  • Bayern Munich have already won the group
  • Atletico Madrid can qualify for UCL knockout stage with: Win + Salzburg win or draw

Group

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NFL coach hot seat rankings: Adam Gase leads pack of potential firings, Anthony Lynn joins the list

The 2020 NFL regular season is approaching its conclusion and to say it’s been a rollercoaster is a major understatement. Given complications stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, along with a rash of severe injuries to top players around the league, the NFL is dealing with a slew of unprecedented issues as it works feverishly to keep the train on its rails. It has created difficulties for many teams and, as such, their head coaches. But not every coach can use the pandemic to excuse away poor play, especially if they entered the season already teetering on the brink of disaster within their respective franchise — e.g., Doug Marrone with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Adam Gase with the New York Jets. 

With Dan Quinn and Bill O’Brien having already been fired by the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, respectively, weeks ago, followed by Matt Patricia getting the ax two days

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Worst NFL playoff teams in history: 2020 NFC East champion set to join list

In what has been a crazy 2020 season so far, there is one thing that seems imminent with five weeks remaining in the regular season: a team with a non-winning record will host a playoff game. The current front-runner to earn that dubious distinction is the Giants, whose 4-7 record has them at first place in the NFC East. Washington, another 4-7 outfit, is right on their heels, while Philadelphia (3-7-1) and Dallas (3-8) are not too far behind. 

While the winner of the East will surely be an underdog against whoever their first-round opponent will be, previous playoff teams with a losing record have had their share of success. In fact, half of the 12 teams that have made the playoffs with an 8-8 or worse record (excluding the expanded playoff field during the strike-shortened 1982 season) managed to win a playoff game before being ousted from the postseason. 

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