K-Heart Sports – 01/19/23

K-HEART SPORTS – 01/19/23 – 0700
MINOT, ND – Bismarck Century remains atop both Class A Basketball Polls. The polls are voted on by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
North Dakota Class A Boys Basketball Poll
        (First Place Votes)    Record    Points    Last Week
1. Bismarck Century (21)    9-0           105           1
2. Mandan                          10-0            84           2
3. Minot High                       9-2             56           3
4. Fargo Davies                 10-2             48           4
5. Grand Forks Red River   7-3             15           5
Others receiving votes: Bismarck Legacy (6-4), Fargo North (6-3)
North Dakota Class A Girls Basketball Poll
                (First Place Votes)    Record    Points    Last Week
1. Bismarck Century (18)            8-2          102           1
2. Grand Forks Red River (3)    11-0            87           2
3. Fargo Davies                         10-1            53           5
4. Minot High                               8-3            48           4
5. Bismarck Legacy                     7-2            12           3
Others receiving votes: Bismarck High (8-2), West Fargo (8-3)
MINOT, ND – Boys basketball is on the air tonight as Velva travels to Garrison. The Troopers are 7-2 on the season, while the Aggies are 8-2. Pregame is set for a little before 7 pm tonight on 106.9 K-Heart, khrt.com, and through the Live 365 app.
MINOT, N.D. (MSU) – Once again, the NSIC’s coach favor the Minot State baseball team to be a league title contender as the Beavers were picked fourth in the preseason poll released Wednesday. Minot State, which finished fourth last spring in the regular season and NSIC Tournament, shared the No. 4 spot with in-state rival the University of Mary as each program received 128 points in the voting by the league’s coaches. Individually, senior catcher Matt Malone and senior right-handed pitcher Dominick Parkhurst were tabbed as the Player and Pitcher to Watch for the Beavers as Malone hit .294 with 2 home runs and 30- RBIs last spring, and Parkhurst was 5-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 46 strikeouts on the mound for Minot State.
Minnesota State, which won the NSIC Tournament title, was a slim pick to win the league ahead of regular-season champion Augustana. The Mavericks had 188 points and eight first-place votes and the Vikings had 185 points and five first-place votes. St. Cloud State was picked third with 174 points and the other two first-place votes. Minot State and Mary shared fourth with 128 points and were closely followed by Winona State in sixth with 126 points. Minnesota Duluth was picked seventh with 113 points, Sioux Falls was eighth with 108 points, Minnesota Crookston was ninth with 98 points, Wayne State was 10th with 97 points, Concordia, St. Paul and Northern State tied for 11th with 66 points each, Upper Iowa was picked 13th with 41 points, Southwest Minnesota State was picked 14th with 40 points, and Bemidji State was picked 15th with 17 points.
St. Cloud State senior infielder and pitcher Sam Riola was voted as the Preseason NSIC Player of the Year, while Augustana senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Jares was voted the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Riola was the 2022 NSIC Player of the Year, a First-Team All-American, and he set an NSIC single-season record with 22 home runs. Jares was a First Team All-NSIC pitcher who was 8-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 109 strikeouts.
The Minot State’s baseball team opens the 2023 season on the road playing a pair of games at Rogers State in Oklahoma starting Feb. 7.
DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray hit a go-ahead floater with 55.9 seconds remaining, Nikola Jokic broke Denver’s record for assists on the way to his 14th triple-double of the season, and the Nuggets rallied for a 122-118 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Behind Murray and Jokic, the Nuggets won their 15th straight at home. Jokic finished with 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as he navigated foul trouble. The two-time reigning NBA MVP passed Alex English for the most assists in team history. Jaden McDaniels led seven Minnesota players in double figures with 18 points. Kyle Anderson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wolves. Naz Reid had 17 points as he started with Rudy Gobert sidelined by a sore groin. Austin Rivers (bruised knee) was inactive for Minnesota.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Right-hander Chris Paddack and the Minnesota Twins finalized a $12,525,000, three-year contract on Wednesday, an agreement that allows the pitcher to earn an additional $2.5 million in the deal’s final season. Paddack, recovering from Tommy John surgery, agreed Friday to a $2.4 million, one-year contract. The new superseding deal calls for salaries of $2.5 million this year, $2,525,000 in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025. In 2025, he could earn $500,000 each for 140 and 150 innings, and $750,000 apiece for 160 and 170. He also gets a hotel suite on road trips in 2025.
Paddack, 27, had Tommy John surgery for the second time on May 18, after making just five starts for the Twins following his arrival in a trade with San Diego on April 7. Recovery typically takes at least a year. Paddack is 21-21 with a 4.20 ERA in 65 starts and one relief appearance for Minnesota and the Padres, striking out 330 and walking 67 in 330 1/3 innings. He will provide rotation depth once he’s back, behind Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober and Tyler Mahle. Maeda is also returning from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2022 season. Paddack would get $100,000 for World Series MVP or winning a Cy Young Award, $75,000 for second in Cy Young voting, $50,000 for third and $25,000 for fourth through sixth. He would get $50,000 for League Championship Series MVP, and $25,000 for Gold Glove or All-Star election or selection.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Kevin O’Connell enjoyed a strong debut as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, with a record-setting wide receiver, a productive offense and a division title. “The feeling that we were all in this together pulling in the same direction and with a goal that is of the highest proportions, it’s special for me,” O’Connell said. “My ability to thrive in my role, I feel even better about that today than I did on day one.” His second season will bring a new set of challenges, starting with a resurrection of the defense. O’Connell said Wednesday he has not yet finalized the coaching staff for 2023, with the fate of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell in question. “That is an ongoing process that is continuing as we speak and will continue throughout the rest of this week,” O’Connell said. “I think it’s important to do, and I think after the success we had this year and coming up short of where we ultimately wanted to get to. I think it’s the right thing to do and I’ll make sure I go through that thorough process in doing so.”
The Vikings managed to win 13 games while ranking second-worst in yards allowed in the NFL and fourth-worst in points allowed during the regular season. Their 31-24 loss at home to the New York Giants was the last straw for a defense that was out of sorts from the start in coverage, rush and communication. The Giants averaged 80 yards on five scoring drives, four that went for touchdowns on a career-altering day for quarterback Daniel Jones in his playoff debut. “We talk a lot about that word development in this building. So with that, you feel a responsibility to make sure all of our schemes are evolving and changing and improving year in and year out,” O’Connell said. “That will be no different every year that I’m the coach here.”
The transition from previous head coach Mike Zimmer’s 4-3 base scheme with a preference for man-to-man pass coverage and steady blitzing ultimately did not go smoothly. Donatell’s system is a 3-4 alignment, but with the proliferation of three-wide receiver formations around the league the Vikings were only in their base package on about 25% of the snaps. But their nickel defense was continually vulnerable and passive in their zone coverages underneath the two high safeties. “I feel like some of our guys really handled that with ease,” O’Connell said. “With some of our guys, it was a work in progress, finding their premier role, and how they can thrive. Ultimately, that’s on us as coaches — and me as the head football coach to make sure I look long and hard at that.”
General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah shared a table with O’Connell for a season-ending news conference, still dealing with the sting of the end of such an exhilarating season three days after they were eliminated by the Giants. Adofo-Mensah and his front office will face a salary-cap puzzle as tricky as any team in the league this offseason, likely forcing the departure of some important veteran players. That happens everywhere, but the moves the Vikings have to make might eat away at the team’s leadership and chemistry more than usual. “We’ve got to consider those things, also, in addition to the production on the field,” Adofo-Mensah said. “But really, at the end of the day, we’re trying to meet a talent threshold, a way of playing, a vision for this team that’s a championship standard.”
There’s no mystery about whether Kirk Cousins will return as the quarterback this time, with the eight fourth-quarter comeback wins he directed. With a salary cap hit of $36.25 million for next season, Cousins will likely be in line for another short-term extension that would help create more space for signing other players in 2023. “There’s not so much learning that needs to take place of the base way of doing things,” O’Connell said. “Now we tweak. Now we can adapt, evolve and continue to allow him to feel as comfortable as possible with what we’re asking him to do, and I think that’s where real growth can come.”
An extension for All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson is also on the offseason list, a contract that is sure to break a market record for his position. The Vikings and Jefferson’s agent have had “initial dialogue,” Adofo-Mensah said. “I wouldn’t use the word challenge,” Adofo-Mensah said. “You’ve got a special player, a special person. Those aren’t problems. Or at least those are champagne problems. So we’ll start there.”

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