Wakeup Call: Honoring two sets of victims

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Wakeup Call: Honoring two sets of victims

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, December 27:

BASEBALL
Jerry Reinsdorf gets gushy -- or as gushy as he ever gets -- as he says goodbye to A.J. Pierzynski. (CSN Chicago)

There was a time when the Yankees, in need of outfield help, signed the Reggie Jacksons and Dave Winfields. Now they're signing the Matt Diazes. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Jason Grilli will replace Joel Hanrahan as the Pirates' closer. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
A heart condition forces Creighton senior backup guard Josh Jones to retire. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Virginia Tech -- which experienced a mass shooting in 2007 -- will honorboth the Sandy Hook victims and its own with special decals on its helmets during the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday. (AP)

Underdogs usually go all humble ("It's an honor to be on the same field with insert opponent here and we're certainly going to try our darndest") or all Rodney Harrison ("NOBODY thought we could do it!!"). As it prepares for the BCS championship game against Alabama, Notre Dame is choosing the former. (CSN Chicago)

We have a new Little Caesars Pizza Bowl champion, and it's Central Michigan. (AP)

HOCKEY
So are we, Lou. So are we. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

In the meantime, the game of chicken continues. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Sounds like the Coyotes are actually hoping the season gets canceled. (Pro Hockey Talk)

A skate to the neck is "nothing serious"? Jiri Hudler must be wondering what his Czech team considers "serious". (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Quite the holiday season for the Bobcats: They haven't won a game since two days after Thanksgiving, with last night's loss to the Heat making it 14 in a row. (AP)

It could be worse. They could be the Wizards. (CSN Washington)

The Hornets' long nightmare, however, is over. (AP)

After that arduous climb back to .500, the Lakers slip back down the slope. (AP)

Hack-A-Dwight takes on a whole new meaning. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Knicks ditch those ghastly orange-on-orange monstrosities they wore Christmas Day and get back to their winning ways. (AP)

A taste of summer: Weather postpones the Bulls and Pacers. (CSN Chicago)

It sounds kind of ominous -- Rudy Gay missing the Grizzlies' game against the Sixers for "personal reasons" (Pro Basketball Talk) -- but the Memphis Commercial Appeal subsequently reported that Gay was unable to fly in because of weather problems across the country. I guess that's personal . . .

PRO FOOTBALL
Tim Tebow insists he never told Rex Ryan he would refuse to play in the wildcat formation last week, and is offended that anyone would think he's a diva or a quitter. But he says he can see how Ryan could have concluded that after a conversation they had a week ago. Then, after watching Jeremy Kerley run the wildcat for two days in practice, he went and told Ryan he'd do anything he was asked. Then Ryan didn't use him anyway. Man, this TebowJets thing just couldn't have gone more smoothly, could it? (AP)

The old Colts -- the Bill PolianTony DungyPeyton Manning Colts -- are one of the main reasons most fantasy leagues end in Week 16; they would consistently sit out most of their regulars as the season wound down. But these are the new Colts, and they're playing to win Sunday . . . much to the delight of the Patriots, who need their opponent, the Texans, to lose. (AP)

As are the Ravens, though, theoretically, they still have something to play for: They could get the No. 3 seed if they win and the Patriots lose. (CSN Baltimore)

Michael Vick says he's not looking at Sunday's start against the Giants as an audition for the other 31 NFL teams . . . though that's what it is. (CSN Philly)

Nor is Andy Reid looking at Sunday's game against the Giants as the final afternoon of his Eagles coaching career . . . though that's what it (probably) is. (CSN Philly)

Or maybe not. (CSN Philly)

Old friend Brian Hoyer is going to make his first NFL start Sunday. (AP)

Here are some of the more blatant Pro Bowl snubs. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Tom Brady's BFF, Richard Sherman, was one of them, but he's got bigger fish to fry than worrying about missing a trip to Hawaii: He's planning to sue the NFL if he gets suspended for PED use. (Pro Football Talk)

Ben Roethlisberger says the Steelers' failures this season are on him. (AP)

The Cowboys' Josh Brent has been formally indicted on one count of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate Jerry Brown. (AP)

Tatum 'can't wait' for new challenge with Celtics

Tatum 'can't wait' for new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON – While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder … we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.