Wakeup Call: Is there a bearded closer in the Red Sox' future?

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Wakeup Call: Is there a bearded closer in the Red Sox' future?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, December 4.

BASEBALL
Is there a bearded closer in our future? CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly says newly minted free agent Brian Wilson, a New Hampshire native, "would love to join his boyhood-favorite Boston Red Sox."

Many in Red Sox Nation -- still spooked by the name -- will be relieved to know the A's are going hard after Stephen Drew. (CSN Bay Area)

From the How Are Our Old Friends Doing? department: The Giants are trying to retain Marco Scutaro. (CSN Bay Area)

Ditto the White Sox with Kevin Youkilis, though Youk's agent has them -- and all his other suitors -- cooling their heels. (CSN Chicago)

Ruben Amaro Jr. is wondering where all the outfielders have gone. (CSN Philly)

Well, this one -- Angel Pagan -- is heading back to San Francisco. (AP)

Hey, Ruben: Your old pal Shane Victorino is still out there. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

As someone -- Gordon Edes, perhaps? -- pointed out on Twitter yesterday, the string of formerfuture Red Sox managers in the ESPN Sunday Night booth comes to an end as John Kruk takes the chair last held by Bobby Valentine and Terry Francona. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Jim Calhoun reveals for the first time that he had surgery in May to remove a cancerous growth from his lungs, but says he's fine now. (AP)

On their other side of campus, the UConn women continue to roll. (AP)

For the first time in 61 polls, Kentucky is unranked in the AP Top 25. (AP)

The University of Utah will honor the late Rick Majerus by hanging a replica of one of his sweaters from the rafters. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Ladies and gentlemen, your Heisman finalists: Johnny Manziel, Manti Te'o and Colin Klein. (AP)

I bet the Orange Bowl folks are just thrilled that Northern Illinois is giving free tickets to all its students in the hopes of luring them to Miami for the Jan. 1 matchup against Florida State. (AP)

Whatever you do, don't ask ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit about that . . . although he's actually more irritated that the Northern Illinoises of the world are in the BCS. (CSN Chicago)

The Old Ball Coach will be at South Carolina through 2017. (AP)

GOLF
It's the last time players can earn Tour cards at Q-school, and nostalgia is reigning. (AP)

Count Tom Watson among those who think golf isn't an Olympic sport. (AP)

HOCKEY
All Steve Burton-sparked optimism to the contrary, the fate of the NHL season may hinge on the proposal the players are expected to hand to the owners on Wednesday. (CSN Washington)

Alex Ovechkin -- the latest to learn the age-old "grass is always greener" lesson -- now says he doesn't want to stay in Moscow after all, and that his "soul" is with the Capitals. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
And here LeBron James thought taking his talents to South Beach would preclude him from ever winning something like the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award. (AP)

Nuggets coach George Karl says he's been hit hard by the death of his friend, Rick Majerus. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
RGIII and the Redskins show the Giants there's going to be a race in the NFC East, after all. (CSN Washington)

And that certainly has London Fletcher excited. (CSN Washington)

Dan Snyder speaks for many. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Texans will enter the big time when they hit Foxboro Monday night, but they might be a little short-handed when they get here. (CSN Houston)

Act in haste, repent in leisure: Andy Reid now thinks he fired the wrong guy. (CSN Philly)

Let's hope he -- or his 2013 successor -- doesn't have the same feeling about his quarterback decision. (CSN Philly)

Speaking of quarterback decisions, Tim Tebow -- whose broken ribs caused him to miss his shot to get on the field Sunday when the Jets mercifully pulled the plug, at least for a day, on the Mark Sanchez fiasco -- says he's feeling better. Hint hint, Rex: He'd like to play this week in his hometown of Jacksonville. (Pro Football Talk)

And continuing to speak of quarterback decisions, Colin Kaepernick is still the starter in San Francisco. (AP)

Apparently, Terrell Suggs doesn't intend to let a little thing like a torn triceps muscle keep him off the field. (CSN Baltimore)

Lose one game to Charlie Batch and the sky falls. (CSN Baltimore)

Right, Ed Reed? (CSN Baltimore)

Things are pretty bad in Arizona, where Darnell Dockett took the role of Roberto Alomar Jr. to Kerry Rhodes' John Hirschbeck during the free-falling Cardinals' eighth straight loss. (Pro Football Talk)

Jake Long may have played his final game for the Dolphins. (AP)

The family of Kasandra Perkins, the woman murdered by Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher before he killed himself, is asking for prayers for the Belcher family as well as their own. (Pro Football Talk)

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

WALTHAM, Mass. – It was the first official day of Jaylen Brown’s NBA education.

So like most youngsters on the first day of school, he wanted to make a favorable impression.

Showing up three-plus hours early? Yup. That’ll help. But punctuality will only take you so far.

As eager as he is to play, Brown is well aware that much of what he’ll be doing the first few days will be centered around learning.

“It’s a lot of stuff I have to learn,” Brown admitted in an interview with CSNNE.com. “We have a lot of experience on the floor. I want to be a sponge to these older guys as long as I am here. And keep adapting, keep growing every day in practice and get better.”

Having a steady thirst for improvement is an essential for any player coming into the NBA, but especially for a 19-year-old like Brown.

Avery Bradley was the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft and like Brown, he was just 19 years old coming into the league.

When I asked him what he wishes he knew as a rookie that he eventually learned over time, Bradley was succinct with his answer.

“Confidence,” he told CSNNE.com. “Just having more confidence. I wish I had more confidence in myself.”

Of course if you recall, Bradley spent his rookie season coming off the bench behind Ray Allen, one of the best shooting guards of his era who will someday wind up in the Naismith Hall of Fame.

There were others Bradley had to outperform just to get a shot at playing behind Ray Allen.

“There was Ray Allen, and Delonte West and Von Wafer,” said Bradley who added, “I was behind everybody and then we got Nate Robinson too.”

While the depth chart isn’t quite that deep for Brown, there’s no question he will have to hold his own and probably outplay a couple bodies in order to get a steady diet of playing time as a rookie.

“I love challenges,” Brown said. “This game is a beautiful game. I have a lot of people to compete and challenge me every day.  It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to coming out on top.”

Celtics forward/center Amir Johnson was 18 years old when the Detroit Pistons selected him straight out of high school in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft.

Johnson said he has been impressed with what he has seen from Brown the past couple of weeks during pick-up games and workouts.

And while it helps to have veterans around, Brown’s growth in this league will ultimately come down to how much he’s willing to listen and learn.

“If you’re a teen that wants to work and listen, sit back and be quiet,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I was that teen willing to listen and learn, willing to do whatever anybody told me to do. I listened to my veterans and my coaches, come in the gym early and stay late. I had a lot of help to get where I’m at today.”

That said, Brown will still have his naysayers who will focus on his youth, inexperience along with Boston’s depth as reasons for him to not do much early on his career.

Bradley knows a thing or two about that.

In Bradley’s second year with the Celtics he was in the starting lineup ahead of Allen which was one of many roles Bradley has been able to play surprisingly better than anticipated.

Bradley recalls how opposing players often think he is either shorter or doesn’t have as long a wingspan as they would expect.

“That plays to my advantage,” he said. “Everybody thinks I’m short or I’m not long. People are going to say the same thing about Jaylen. A lot of people think he can’t do this, can’t do that. That’s the part about this game I love; you can surprise people and that’s what I think he’s going to do.”