Hard work takes Wilcox from tobacco fields to Garden

637286.jpg

Hard work takes Wilcox from tobacco fields to Garden

Chris Wilcox isnt afraid of hard work.

Growing up in Whiteville, North Carolina, it was the only option.

I worked in the fields and did everything, Wilcox told CSNNE.com. Im a country boy. I picked tobacco. We had dogs chasing hogs back. We had everything. You name it, I did it.

The Boston Celtics power forward was raised in a family with a strong work ethic. His mother, Debra Brown, was as a corrections officer and worked in the prisons for nearly 30 years and his father, Raymond Wilcox, recently retired from his job at a federal penitentiary.

I knew how to work for mine, he said. I never wanted something to be given because I always could work for it.

Wilcox began working when he was around 11 years old. Before he was pulling down rebounds, he was hanging tobacco. Before he was protecting the paint, he was protecting himself from animals he encountered in the barns.

I was in the country, so it wasnt even a town, Wilcox said. Tobacco fields and all that all the way around. Everywhere around me, it was all farm land. You could easily get work. The main thing in North Carolina was tobacco. School wouldnt even be in yet if the tobacco wasnt out of the fields, they would push school back.

I picked tobacco. I hung tobacco in the barn. In tobacco fields, a tobacco barn isnt anything but a barn in the middle of the field thats just been sitting there. So when you open the door, you could see anything in there. If you saw a snake you had to kill it, but I never messed around with snakes. Thats when you get the big rats, everything.

In addition to working with tobacco, Wilcox and his friends asked neighbors if they needed their lawns cut or other odd jobs done around their homes and on their land.

We used to have dogs in the neighborhood to chase the pigs back when they get out, he said. Theyd give us five dollars if you bring your dog up there and chase the hogs back into the pen. Im deep down in the country.

One of Wilcoxs earliest jobs involved going around to local schools, helping to barrel old milk, and then pouring it into buckets to feed the pigs. It wasnt glamorous -- and it didnt always smell great -- but it was how he and his friends spent many of their days growing up.

Everybody in the neighborhood, we would work, he said. Anything we could do in the neighborhood, thats what we did.

This season Wilcox is looking to work as hard in Boston as he did back in Whiteville. After suffering a shoulder injury, he is looking to turn around a slow start. He is averaging just 2.4 rebounds per game -- the least since his rookie year -- and a career-low 1.4 points per game off the Celtics bench.

But the big man who learned to drive on his uncles tractor is driven to succeed. He returns to his hometown every summer, remembers where he came from, and tells himself to keep going further.

It showed me what Ive been through and that nothing is ever given to you, Wilcox said. When times get rough, I just look back.

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

HARRISON, N.J. - Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 16th goal of the season in the 55th minute and the New York Red Bulls beat the New England Revolution 1-0 on Sunday.

Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton saved Alex Muyl's shot and Wright-Phillips put back the deflection with a half-volley into the right corner. Wright-Phillips has 61 goals in 100 career MLS games.

The Red Bulls (11-9-7) extended their undefeated streak to nine games and moved into a third-place tie in the East with the Philadelphia Union. The Revolution (6-12-9) are winless in their last six.

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

patriots_jacoby_brissett_082716.jpg

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

FOXBORO – Talked to Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. His session with the media was as efficient and frills-free as his Friday night performance against the Carolina Panthers.

Brissett, the third-rounder From NC State, keeps improving. From 7-for-13 for 63 yards in the first game of the preseason to 9-for-13 for 87 yards Week 2 to a 9-for-9, 85-yard, one touchdown performance against Carolina.

He’s completed all manner of passes – inside, outside, checkdowns, tight windows – and looked preternaturally comfortable doing so.

Maybe I have a little recency bias working, but I don’t recall a drafted quarterback looking as poised and in command in his rookie preseason as Brissett has so far. Jimmy Garoppolo may have had more impressive game-by-game numbers, but Brissett oozes composure that that I don’t think Garoppolo matched.

Encircled by a media horde Sunday, Brissett was pleasant and perfunctory when asked about his performance.

“Definitely it was progress,” he said, adding that he’s, "still learning. I’m sure I’ll be learning until I leave here."

 Even though he was 9-for-9, Brissett said that watching film he could see “things you messed up on and could have done better.”

Asked for an example, Brissett talk about speed. At the line of scrimmage, going through progressions and delivering the ball, Brissett said all of it can improve.

The interesting question the Patriots face now is whether they are prepared to allow Brissett to be the lone backup to the still relatively green Garoppolo. Or does the team need an experienced backup to call on if Jimmy melts down?

Thursday night could be a telling evening for that. With Garoppolo unlikely to play a ton so the team can make sure he’s good to go for the opener, it comes down to who benefits more from reps against the Giants, Tom Brady or Brissett?

It shouldn’t be close. Brissett needs the reps.

Meanwhile, we made mention of Brissett’s relationship with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells after he was drafted and I figured revisiting that on Sunday wouldn’t hurt.

Brissett said he’s circled up with Parcells “here and there” but smiled knowingly and said, “He’s not the head coach here so you kinda need to listen to what your coach here is saying.”

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

red_sox_brock_holt_070416.jpg

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

The Boston Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals without second baseman Dustin Pedroia. 

Brock Holt will be at second base for Pedroia who will miss the game, reportedly attending to a family matter.

Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.11 ERA) will be on the mound for the Sox, facing off against Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.27 ERA).

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Raul Mondesi 2B
---
Yordano Ventura RHP

RED SOX
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP