Cyclones relying on new faces at WR

AP Sports Writer
AMES — Iowa State lost star wide receiver Hakeem Butler to the NFL a year earlier than expected.
Graduate transfer La’Michael Pettway joined the Cyclones in hopes of joining Butler in the pros in 2020.
The 6-foot-3 Pettway led Arkansas in catches a season ago, and he will be counted on to help replace the 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns piled up by Butler last year. For Pettway, it’s an opportunity that he hopes will get him on the radar of NFL scouts — assuming he earns a starting job as expected Iowa State (8-5 in 2018) opens the season Aug. 31 against Northern Iowa.
“He’s strong. He’s fast. He can do a lot of things from the slot and the outside,” sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy said. “We’re excited to have him here.”
No one expects Pettway to become the next Butler, a 6-foot-6 matchup nightmare who averaged 22 yards a catch in 2018. But if Pettway can supplement established starters Deshaunte Jones and Tarique Milton while providing experience and stability for Iowa State’s younger receivers, Purdy should have plenty of options.
“La’Michael brings a ton of experience playing in big games, playing in big situations,” offensive coordinator Tom Manning said. “But also, he brings a humbleness about himself and, really, a maturity about himself.”
Pettway grew up playing football, basketball, baseball and track in tiny Nashville, Arkansas, and despite offers from Alabama and other SEC schools he stayed home with the Razorbacks.
Pettway’s career got off to a slow start. Though he saw time as a true freshman, Pettway had just one catch in 2016 and six in 2017. He had a team-high 30 last year on a bad team.
Arkansas fired Bret Bielema after Pettway’s sophomore season and replaced him with Chad Morris. A rebuild was inevitable, and the Razorbacks struggled to a 2-10 record in 2018 even while Pettway was putting up respectable numbers.
He had 499 yards receiving, and a catch of at least 30 yards in seven different games. But with Arkansas unsettled at quarterback, Pettway sought to use his final year of eligibility at a place with an established signal caller like Purdy, who went 6-1 against Big 12 opponents as a freshman.
Pettway also visited Auburn, Oklahoma State and North Carolina, and he canceled a visit to Oklahoma after committing to the Cyclones.
“I felt like I had a great opportunity,” Pettway said. Butler “was a key part of their offense.”
Pettway said he and Purdy have already made a strong connection on and off the field, with the two running through routes and plays this summer. And though Iowa State won’t try to shoehorn Pettway into the vertical role that Butler manned so successfully, Pettway’s size and speed should put him in position to thrive.
“It always great to have a big body (at receiver), especially on the outside where you can get mismatches and stuff like that,” Purdy said. “Him coming in, with Hakeem gone, I think he’ll do a great job. He’s his own player. He’s not going to try and be Hakeem or anything like that.”

No timetable for Kimbrel’s debut

AP Sports Writer
DES MOINES — Craig Kimbrel said Thursday there is no timetable for when he will join the Cubs and he will listen to his body before his expected promotion to beleaguered Chicago bullpen.
Kimbrel, who reached a three-year, $43 million deal with Chicago earlier this month after helping Boston win the World Series in 2018, joined Triple-A Iowa this week.
Kimbrel made his debut Tuesday, throwing eight pitches and touching 96 mph with his fastball. Kimbrel is set to pitch again Friday and possibly Saturday.
“I ready to do it. I also have to listen to myself, listen to my body,” Kimbrel said. “This isn’t about the next couple of games before the (All-Star) break. It’s about after the break and the postseason.”
The 31-year-old Kimbrel has been one of the best closers in the game since his rookie year in 2011 with Atlanta, piling up 333 saves and a 1.91 ERA over nine major league seasons. He turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from Boston last November after a somewhat shaky performance in the postseason and was without a job for months.
Kimbrel had 42 saves for the Red Sox in 2018, but he also walked 31 batters in just 63 innings. Kimbrel allowed seven earned runs in 10.2 innings in the playoffs.
The market was cold until early May, when teams could sign him without the loss of amateur draft picks or international signing bonus pool allocation. Kimbrel, who was throwing six days a week in Arizona in the offseason, quickly struck a deal with a Cubs team that should be in playoff contention through the life of his contract.
“The ownership, the way they treat the guys. The facilities, the fans and their willingness to win long-term,” Kimbrel said about why he chose the Cubs.
Kimbrel gets $10 million this year — a prorated share of his $16,173,913 listed salary — and $16 million in each of the following two seasons.
Chicago has a $16 million option for 2022 with a $1 million buyout, and the buyout price would increase by $1 million each for 53 or more games finished in 2020 and 2021.
The option would become guaranteed if he has at least 110 games finished in 2021-22 combined, including a minimum 55 in 2021, and he does not have a non-temporary injury.
He has a full no-trade provision this year, and a limited no-trade provision for 2020 in which he must by this Oct. 31 designate eight teams he can’t be dealt to without his consent
The seven-time All Star was not interested in discussing specifics about being out of baseball into well into the season.
“I think right now I’m just focused on getting back out on the field,” Kimbrel said. “The conversations or, political or whatever you want to call it, within the game, I think that’s a different conversation.”

Dallas brings Gustafson back on board

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dallas Wings re-signed AP Player of the Year Megan Gustafson on Thursday.
Gustafson was drafted 17th by the Wings, but was one of the final cuts from the roster before the season started.
With injuries depleting Dallas’ roster, the Wings were able to sign the former Iowa star. Skylar Diggins-Smith is still out while recovering from giving birth to her first child. Tayler Hill will undergo knee surgery within the next few days. Glory Johnson will depart for Eurobasket to compete with Montenegro following the Wings’ game against Atlanta on Saturday. Moriah Jefferson is injured and hasn’t played all season.
To make matters worse, rookie Arike Agunbowale was doubtful for the game against Indiana on Thursday night because of an ankle injury sustained in the team’s game at Washington last week.
“We are excited to bring Megan back to the Dallas Wings organization,” team president and CEO Greg Bibb said. “We are currently dealing with a series of roster challenges and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to sign a player of Megan’s character and ability.”
At Iowa, the 6-foot-3 center who played her high school ball in Wisconsin led the nation in scoring for the second straight season, averaging 27.9 points, and became the fourth player to reach 1,000 points in a year. She won The Associated Press women’s college basketball player of the year award.
In three preseason games for Dallas, Gustafson averaged 2.6 points and 3.0 rebounds.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to further pursue my dream of playing in the WNBA,” Gustafson said. “I have learned that nothing in this life is guaranteed, but I will take full advantage of this second opportunity with the Dallas Wings whether it is for one day, one week, or 10 years.”
Gustafson wrote a first-person account Monday for the AP of what it was like to be drafted and then eventually cut by the Wings. A few days after she was cut, Gustafson was offered a spot on the Iowa team that’s playing in The Basketball Tournament.
She landed in Dallas on Thursday and was in uniform, but didn’t play in the Wings’ 76-72 loss to Indiana.
“There was a possibility if we didn’t sign someone we could be down to seven players after Saturday,” Bibb said. “We decided to make that player Megan. As players come back we’ll have decisions to make. I told her on the phone that she has a second chance now and can make it hard for us to make a decision later on.

Beathard making waves

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — While Jimmy Garoppolo recovered from a torn left ACL, his backups took center stage during the 49ers’ minicamp.
The 49ers coaching staff allowed Garoppolo to participate in seven-on-seven passing drills but not 11-on-11 team drills. So backup quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens split time with the starters.
Those two are competing to be the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback behind Garoppolo next season. Of the two, Beathard — a former Iowa Hawkeye — has played particularly well this offseason, said coach Kyle Shanahan.
“C.J. has had a hell of a camp,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “You can’t fully know how much better he has gotten until game time when you know they can tackle him, but C.J. has gotten more and more comfortable, more automatic. He knew the offense right when he got here and now, in his third year, he has a lot more reps than he did last year.”
Beathard started five games in 2018 after Garoppolo tore his ACL against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 23. In five starts, Beathard threw eight touchdown passes, seven interceptions, passed for 1,252 yards, posted a quarterback rating of 81.8 and lost all five games. During his fifth start, an 18-15 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Beathard injured his right wrist and did not play the rest of the season.
The 49ers traded up to take Beathard in the third round of the 2017 draft. Through two seasons in the NFL, he is 1-9 and his passer rating is 74.6.
Beathard said he believes the quarterback competition during minicamp has brought out the best in him. “I really do,” he said. “Anytime you have competition, especially from good players, it makes you better.”
Mullens has responded to the challenge, too.
“The biggest thing is just playing decisive football,” Mullens said. “How quickly can you make your decisions? How quickly can you skip a read to get to the next read because you know it’s going to be open? That’s one thing that helps me play my best. Throughout camp, I’ve just tried to be quick on my decisions, and I think it has helped.”
Mullens signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and became their starting quarterback after Beathard injured his wrist in 2018. Mullens started the final eight games of the season, passing for 2,277 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He posted a quarterback rating of 90.8.
“(Mullens and Beathard) have both proven they can play in this league,” Shanahan said.
“We’re going to have to make a tough decision at the end of preseason to which one we want to give that No. 2 job. You don’t get to compete much during the season. There’s not enough reps. You hope Jimmy stays healthy so it’s irrelevant who’s the No. 2 guy. But the No. 2 guy does get a lot more reps in practice (than the No. 3 guy), so that’s going be very important for them.”
The 49ers expect to keep all three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster for the regular season. So the competition may continue after training camp.
Beathard and Mullens like competing against each other. They even golf together every weekend.
“A little weekly tradition,” Mullens said. “We’re always having fun. Competition is fun.”

Chastain a grinder

AP Sports Writer
NEWTON — Ross Chastain seems like the busiest driver in NASCAR.
Chastain opened the season with 36 consecutive starts across the Cup, Xfinity and Truck series and has logged a staggering 7,501 laps since February, a streak that only came to an end when he sat out last week’s Cup event in Michigan.
It has been a taxing season for the 26-year-old Chastain, who has sponsorship duties to handle for all three of his rides between races. He is not about to say no to anyone as he tries to establish himself in the sport.
“Sunday night, I’m tired. There’s no way around it,” Chastain said. “You prepare. You hydrate. You work out. You eat right.
“You’re a race car driver, so you get through it.”
Chastain, who this month switched from competing for Xfinity points to points in trucks, will run this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Part of the reason he is reluctant to turn down any spots behind a wheel is because he spent years fighting to run in competitive rides.
Chastain broke through as an 18-year-old in The Trucks Series in 2011. He ran a full schedule there in 2012, but finished just 17th. Chastain moved over to the Xfinity series in 2015, and even though he finally took a checkered flag last year, in Las Vegas, Chastain has never finished better than 10th in that series.
Chastain is also in his second season in Cup, where he has one top-10 finish (the Daytona 500 in his native Florida). Chastain has outperformed his pole position in 10 of the 12 races he finished.
The plan this season was for Chastain to compete for an Xfinity title once again. But a rough start there and a hot start in trucks helped lead to a switch in the points pursuit.
“There were a lot of contributing factors. I don’t need to get into all of it, but our hand got forced a little bit,” Chastain said. “But it was just the right move, honestly.”
By switching his championship affiliation, Chastain had to give up all of the points — and his win at Kansas — he had earned in his truck up to that point.
But if Chastain keeps running like he has so far, it likely won’t matter.
Chastain has finished in the top 10 in all nine truck starts, even though he hasn’t finished higher than sixth in qualifying. He would be second in the standings had he chosen to compete for truck points at the start of the season, and a win at Iowa would almost guarantee that Chastain would make the playoff field.
“I can sleep at night with my decision,” Chastain said. “I’m good with it. I’m at peace with it.
Sleep would be good. This week alone, Chastain flew to Cleveland to catch an Indians game with sponsors Tuesday. He then took a red eye flight to Las Vegas on Wednesday and another overnight trip to Iowa.
Chastain had not slept when he met with reporters Friday afternoon. But no complaints.
“I’m a yes man,” Chastain said. “When people give me an opportunity, I tend to jump on it. Because in years’ past, I’ve been asking for anything just to come race.

No shortcut for Iowan Nurse

AP Basketball Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. — Whenever Toronto coach Nick Nurse needed inspiration this season, he merely needed to look at his office wall.
Hanging there is a big photo, a finish-line shot of the 2015 Travers Stakes at historic Saratoga Race Course. There are two horses in the frame; one is Triple Crown winner and overwhelming favorite American Pharoah, the other is Keen Ice — who wasn’t getting much attention from bettors and had never won on such a big stage.
Keen Ice ran a perfect race that day, and knocked off the champion.
“I just really like the picture,” Nurse said.
Yes, and there’s symmetry now. His Raptors ran a perfect race — and knocked off the two-time NBA champions.
Nurse, a 51-year-old basketball journeyman who has been a coach for 13 different teams in four countries over the last 30 years, is now the coach of the best team in the world. Unknown no more and someone who never will be anonymous again, Nurse guided the Raptors to their first NBA championship in a six-game defeat of the Golden State Warriors.
“I think you can’t do very good work if you don’t love what you’re doing,” Nurse said after the Raptors dethroned the Warriors on Thursday night. “I just, I don’t know, I never really got discouraged. I didn’t really care at the level I was coaching at, I was just trying to learn and get better. That’s it.”
Clearly, he learned. And he got better.
Toronto defeated Orlando, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Golden State in these playoffs. That means Nurse, 0-0 as an NBA coach before this season, got his team past ones coached by Steve Clifford, Brett Brown, Mike Budenholzer and Steve Kerr. That foursome is about the toughest draw a first-year coach in the league could get in his maiden postseason voyage.
“He’s one of the hardest-working coaches I’ve seen,” Raptors assistant Jamaal Magloire said during Toronto’s victory celebration after the title-clinching win. “When it comes to this team’s success, he deserves every bit of it.”
Nurse played at Northern Iowa, started his coaching career there as an assistant and wound up becoming a head coach at Grand View University when he was just 23. He coached in Belgium and Britain. He won a pair of British Basketball League titles as a coach, in Birmingham in 1996 and London in 2000, then got a couple titles in what is now called the G League.
The second G League crown got him noticed. He was at Rio Grande Valley, guided them to a title in 2013 and that’s when the Raptors called and wanted to talk to him about offense. They ended up hiring him as an assistant.
“I remember the day well,” Nurse said. “Good day.”
And there’s some symmetry to it as well. Nurse’s last G League team at Rio Grande Valley won the title series over Santa Cruz — ironically, the Warriors’ affiliate.
“Oh, man, I’m happy for him,” Raptors guard Danny Green said.
Nurse is quirky, in a way that shows he’s secure doing his own thing.
He often arrived for pregame media sessions wearing a black Nike cap bearing his initials. He carries his guitar on road trips. He will be remembered for throwing a box-and-one defense at Warriors guard Stephen Curry during the NBA Finals, a scheme that probably had never been previously used by anyone in the title series.
He has paid his dues.
The G League, the BBL, the United States Basketball League, the Belgian League, NCAA Division I basketball, NAIA basketball, and now the NBA. Nurse has done the laundry. He’s done the driving. He did some of those jobs for almost no money at all, maybe a couple hundred dollars or so a week.
And now he’s the ninth coach to win a title in his first NBA season. Coaching nomads everywhere have a new hero now.
“I would hope it inspires some people that are in those situations to keep working,” Nurse said. “I always say that all those jobs meant the world to me at the time, right, winning with Birmingham in ‘96, winning with Rio Grande Valley, whatever year that was. And those games and jobs meant the world to me.”
His world is much different now.
For someone who has never chased attention, it’ll be unavoidable when the Raptors defend their NBA title next season.
“Nick has been unbelievable,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “He’s kind of been the captain of the ship, and he’s weathered the storms, and he’s kept us even-keeled, and he’s made some unusual adjustments and experimented with things. And some things worked and some things didn’t, but he was trying. He tried everything and you’ve got to give that guy a lot of credit in his first year to win a NBA championship.”

Active offseason for Hawkeyes

AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery’s tradition of quiet offseasons was shattered this spring.
It does not mean the Hawkeyes are in trouble next season.
Iowa (23-12, second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19) lost star Tyler Cook to the NBA draft, Isaiah Moss as a surprise graduate transfer to Kansas and program anchor Jordan Bohannon to a hip injury that has left his status for his senior year in serious doubt.
For good measure, Joe Wieskamp gave Hawkeyes fans a mild scare by going through the draft process before deciding to return for his sophomore season.
Bohannon has already set the school record with 264 3-pointers. He ranked third on the team in scoring (11.6 points per game) and led the Big Ten in free throw accuracy in conference games despite hurting his hip early last season. There remains no timetable for the return of Bohannon, the program’s unquestioned leader with Cook gone.
“It’s going to take a long time,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Tuesday. “His focus right now is on one thing, and that’s getting better. You can’t be worried about when he’s coming back.”
If Bohannon is forced to redshirt, the Hawkeyes will proceed with sophomore backup Connor McCaffery and incoming freshman Joe Toussiant. Valparaiso grad transfer guard Bakari Evelyn should also be in the mix, although McCaffery isn’t yet authorized to speak about Evelyn because his signing with the Hawkeyes has yet to become official.
“Versatility is what we’re looking for there. We’ve got some flexibility,” McCaffery said. “We’ve got a lot of options there.”
While Iowa will have plenty of new faces in 2019-20 — especially in the backcourt — it might not be in for a rebuild if those new players can reach their potential quickly.
McCaffery said his son, Patrick McCaffery, will likely play as a true freshman. The 6-foot-8 McCaffery, a two-time first-team all-state pick for Iowa City West High, could help Iowa compensate for the loss of Moss and Nicholas Baer on the perimeter — provided he puts on enough weight this offseason to be able to handle Big Ten play.
Shooting guard CJ Fredrick, a former Kentucky state player of the year who redshirted last season, will also eat up some of the minutes the sharp-shooting Moss left behind. Fredrick shot nearly 50 percent on 3s as a senior in high school, and Iowa will be looking for guards who can hit from beyond the arc with Bohannon out.
The Hawkeyes look much more settled up front.
They planned for Cook’s departure in part by redshirting 6-foot-11 Jack Nunge, who averaged 5.7 points a game with 25 blocks as a freshman in 2017-18. He should team up with center Luka Garza, an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick, and key reserve Cordell Pemsl to form one of the deeper post units in the Big Ten.
Wieskamp, the state of Iowa’s all-time leading scorer in his classification, averaged 11.1 points and shot 42.4 percent on 3s last year for a team with plenty of other options offensively. But many of those guys are gone, and Wieskamp knows he won’t be able to afford to be content in a supporting role any longer.
“I’m not the most vocal guy. I kind of keep to myself,” Wieskamp said. “I’m really going to have to expand myself, become more of a vocal leader.”

Gustafson going with the flow

For The Associated Press
IOWA CITY — When I say that I have probably spent more time in the past couple of months flying in an airplane than on ground, I’m not kidding. When I also say that my life lately could be classified as a crazy roller coaster, I am telling you the truth. I have gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. I have experienced some of the happiest moments during my 22 years of life to one of the hardest moments in the matter of a couple of weeks. Let me give you some of my perspective so you can understand where I am coming from. But first, I highly suggest you buckle your seat belts and keep your hands and any other limbs inside the cart at all times for your own safety — hang on tight and I’ll see you after the ride!
April 10th, 2019. This date can be classified as one of the most exciting days of my life. WNBA Draft Day. I was lucky enough to be one of the women selected to attend the draft in person. Each of us got our hair and makeup done beforehand and once we arrived, there was an Orange carpet with cameras and reporters everywhere — it honestly felt like we were at the Emmys! I talked about this experience more in my draft diaries, but I can honestly say that this small town girl was finally living out her dreams of becoming a professional basketball player.
Directly after getting drafted to the Dallas Wings, I flew out to Los Angeles for the John Wooden Award Show. That was incredible to be surrounded by some of the most famous names that basketball has ever heard of — Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl Malone, Anne Meyers, just to name a few! I then flew back to Iowa for exactly one day so I could attend our team’s annual basketball banquet. It felt so good to see everyone again and celebrate a wonderful season.
I was able to spend the last two weeks of April finishing up all of my classes and training hard to get ready for training camp in Dallas. I said my last goodbyes to all of my teammates, coaches, and friends because it was finally time to spread my wings as a WNBA player. All of the hard work, all of the hours I spent in the gym, were paying off as I boarded yet another plane (I should really start applying for frequent flyers honestly) and headed to Dallas. I hit the ground running as all of us rookies had medical examinations and optional workouts before training camp started officially on May 5.
Training camp was probably as you could imagine it to be — long days spent on the court in a new gigantic state that was extremely hot even in May, with many car rides to practices spent listening to Lil Naz’s new hit “Old Town Road”. Training camp was about three weeks long, and each of those days were spent in various gyms throughout UT-Arlington’s campus. In the arena, at the rec center, in an old practice gym. This was during time of college graduations and so many days our playing arena was unavailable. As rookies we had to be there extra early for treatments before the vets got there so we would all have enough time to prepare for pre-practice. That’s right, you heard me correctly: pre-practice. This usually consisted of running through the offense and emphasizing new things that were implemented from the previous day. It was actually super helpful having this time as a rookie, because trust me, if I could describe training camp in two words I would describe it as this — information overload!
Most days our practices went through lunch and so by the time we got to eat food it was about 3:30 or 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Us rookies went everywhere together and so we would go eat and then head back to our hotel/home and take naps until dinner at like 9 p.m. Directly after dinner we were usually so exhausted that we would go directly to sleep so we could get up early the next day and repeat. This probably sounds not very fun, but honestly it was a dream for this basketball-obsessed person. Was it nerve-wracking? Sure, I had butterflies in my stomach almost every day. Was it hard adjusting? Definitely! There were good days and bad but I eventually found myself getting more and more comfortable each day. But at the end of the day, I was living out my ultimate goal of becoming a WNBA basketball player. Knowing this, was it completely devastating getting the dreaded phone call less than 24 hours before final rosters were announced? Absolutely.
The phone call came at 8:05 p.m. Yes, I even remember the exact time. I was in the mall with a couple of other rookies because we needed to find some casual clothes for the next morning when we would travel to Atlanta for the season-opener. I was in Express when I looked at my phone and saw Dallas’ Director of Ops name pop up. My stomach dropped and I knew what was about to occur. A couple of weeks prior to this I was with one of the other rookies when she got cut and so I knew what the process looked like. I was told to meet with the team president and head coach in the hotel lobby at 8:30 p.m. Getting that call felt like I had just sprinted into a giant brick wall. I gave one look to the other rookies and they knew what had happened.
Not five seconds later, one of the other rookies with me received the same call. As hard as it was for both of us, I am glad I had someone else to go through this with. To be honest, during my meeting I believe I was still in shock and so I didn’t have much emotion. The meeting went as well as it could have, and pretty soon afterward I found myself in my hotel calling and texting all of my people. My parents, sister, Iowa coaches, teammates, and friends. That was hard. Really hard. Later that night, my flight was booked back to my small hometown, and before I knew it I was boarding a plane yet again.
Being back where it all started was surreal, to be completely honest. I wasn’t expecting to be in my hometown for months and now here I was heartbroken over the fact that I wasn’t putting on a WNBA jersey anymore. I avoided social media and the only people I saw were my parents and sister for most of my time home. I wanted to give myself time to process everything, and that’s exactly what I did. I couldn’t even look at a basketball for two whole days.
That probably doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but for me it was a bit crazy considering I couldn’t even remember the last time I went that long without touching a basketball. The morning after I got back home, I went for an emotional jog on the beach. When I say emotional, I mean it. I finally let myself feel for the first time since getting that phone call. I was sad. I was angry. I was frustrated. All those emotions poured out of me as I blasted music on my earphones. Add in a windy 50 degree day and I had unintentionally successfully created a dramatic movie scene (looking back I can kind of laugh at myself, I have always been a bit on the emotional side!). I was talking to God, asking Him why this was happening and what was next. While I sat on the beach taking it all in, I got a text not two minutes later about joining the Iowa United team to play in The Basketball Tournament. In that moment, I knew that God had answered me. This was my next step. And so with a smile on my face I jogged back to my car, talked with the GM of the team on the phone, and headed back home.
Looking back, I don’t think I would change a thing. As hard as it was to go through that, I believe that everything happens for a reason and my struggle is no different. Do I wish I was still playing in the WNBA? Every day. And if the opportunity presents itself again before the summer is up, I’m going to take it. But for now? I am currently back in Iowa City training as hard as I possibly can so that I am completely ready for my next step. I started writing a faith blog , something that I have wanted to do for months now, and I recently started trying new things such as boxing — which by the way is a GREAT way to release any kind of emotions pent up inside!
I will also have more flying in my near future — I will be heading to LA again for the Honda Woman of the Year Award Show at the end of June, and in the fall I will fly overseas to play my first season as a professional basketball player (also update: this girl has officially signed up for some frequent flyers)! Going through this insane roller coaster the past couple of months has made me resilient, persistent and a better person and player than I was before. I have found my footing again, my smile is back and better than ever, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this summer holds!

Sutherland prevails in playoff

AP Sports Writer
DES MOINES — This time, Kevin Sutherland only needed two extra holes to finish off Scott Parel.
Two months after beating Parel in Mississippi on the seventh playoff hole, Sutherland birdied the second extra hole Sunday at Wakonda Club to win the Principal Charity Classic in the third-largest comeback in PGA Tour Champions history.
Sutherland overcame an eight-shot deficit in the final round, making eight back-nine birdies in a course-record 10-under 62 to match Parel at 17-under 199.
“Leading wasn’t in my consideration. But I knew if I shot a great round of golf, you never know,” Sutherland said. “It just worked out well for me.”
Parel closed with a 70. They broke the tournament record of 15 under set by Scott McCarron three years ago.
Parel bogeyed the par-5 15th and missed a 10-foot birdie try on No. 18 in regulation. They each parred the first playoff hole, but Sutherland sunk a 10-footer after Parel left about a 12-footer short in a replay on the par-4 18th hole.
“I’m very disappointed. I should have never been in a playoff to begin with,” Parel said.
The 54-year-old Sutherland won for the third time on the 50-and-over tour after winning once on the PGA Tour. He’s the only player to shoot 59 on the tour, accomplishing the feat in the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Parel stormed to a five-shot lead after two rounds, shooting 15-under to tie the 19-year-old tournament’s record-low score through just 36 holes. Still, he said after Saturday’s round that he’d need to stay aggressive because someone would shoot “7- or 9-under par.”
Parel was prophetic.
Not surprisingly, that player turned out to be Sutherland — who also has a 60 on his senior circuit resume.
Parel started slow, even picking up his first bogey of the tournament by missing a putt on the par-4 second hole by about an inch. But Parel then nailed a 30-footer for birdie on No. 8, and a 12-footer on 12 pushed his lead to four shots.
Sutherland rallied with six straight birdies, and Parel’s round went sideways after he put his tee shot on 15 into high grass that swallowed him up when he tried to play his way back onto the fairway.
Parel was able to chip to within a few feet of the hole to save a bogey. But Sutherland, who hadn’t birdied Nos. 17 or 18 in either the first or second rounds, did so on both on Sunday to pull into a tie with Parel.
“Sometimes when you’re rolling like that you get hungry. The birdies come easy,” Sutherland said.
Parel and Sutherland were nearly joined by Jerry Kelly. He left a 65-yard approach a foot right on No. 18 and finished a stroke back after a 66. David Toms was fourth after 13 under after a 68.

Parel ties course record at Wakonda

AP Sports Writer
DES MOINES — Scott Parel matched the course record with a 9-under 63 on Friday to take a two-shot lead in the PGA Tour Champions’ Principal Charity Classic.
Parel tied the Wakonda Club mark set by Billy Andrade in 2016.
Chris DiMarco shot 65, Andrade was at 66, and Darren Clarke and David Toms topped the group at 67.
Money leader Scott McCarron, the winner in Des Moines three years ago, had a 70. Ken Tanigawa, the Senior PGA Championship winner last week by a shot over McCarron, opened with a 72.
Tom Lehman had a 71. He won in Iowa last year after thunderstorms washed out the final round.
The 54-year-old Parel, who played five times with just one made cut on the PGA Tour after not turning pro until he was 31, played a bogey-free round that included five birdies on the back nine.
Parel might be one of the more unheralded players on the 50-and-over tour despite finishing third in the standings in 2018. Parel, a two-time winner on the senior tour, also has a pair of second-place finishes so far in 2019.
“I’m just fortunate enough that they allow a few guys that show that they can play when they’re over 50 to be able to play,” Parel said. “I’ve got no problem with nobody knowing who I am. As long as I play good golf, that’s all I care about.”
DiMarco, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who is perhaps best known for losing a playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2005 Masters, closed with six birdies in seven holes to cap the best round of his fledgling senior career.
DiMarco, who missed the cut at Senior PGA Championship with a ghastly plus-22 in just two rounds, drilled a 60-foot putt on the par-3 17th hole and put his approach within 5 feet on No. 18.
DiMarco had shot at least 72 or higher in 15 consecutive rounds prior to Friday’s breakthrough — which came during his first round at Wakonda.
“It’s been a struggle this year,” DiMarco said. “Any kind of confidence breeds confidence. And to go out and, for me, to shoot 65 — I knew it’s been in there. It’s just hiding deep down.”
Andrade closed with four consecutive birdies to put himself in contention. McCarron had a wild opening round, putting up seven birdies to compensate for five bogeys — including back-to-backs twice.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, playing in his first tournament on American soil in 11 years, shot a 4-over 76. Chamblee, who missed the cut at last year’s Senior Open Championship at St. Andrews, had 25 top-10 finishes and a win on the PGA Tour.