WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Three Wisconsin youngsters to be in finals of "Punt, Pass and Kick"
Three Wisconsin youngsters will compete tomorrow in the National Finals of the NFL's "Punt, Pass, and Kick" contest.
Marco Damiani of Cambridge, Curtis Flannick of Menomonee Falls, and Jenna Curtis of Webster are representing the Green Bay Packers. All three were winners in their respective age groups at the Packers' competition, that was held December 8th in the Don Hutson Center across from Lambeau Field. They'll be among 40 youngsters from throughout the country taking part in the National Finals in Denver. They're all 6-to-15-years-old. The winners will be announced after the third quarter of Sunday's AFC Divisional playoff game in Denver. CBS will televise the ceremony.
The Milwaukee Bucks will try to end a three-game losing streak tonight when they host the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks are the only NBA team without at least 10 victories this season. They're 7-27, after dropping 11-of-their-last-13. The Bucks are 3-13 in front of their home fans -- and tonight is expected to be like an extra road game, due to the thousands of Chicago fans who plan to be there. The Bulls will go for a four-game winning streak. Former Marquette star Jimmy Butler scored 13 for Chicago on Tuesday night, in a 92-87 win over Phoenix. Bulls' power forward Carlos Boozer could return this evening, after being out with a sore right knee. Bucks' power forward Ersan Ilyasova injured a hand in Tuesday's Milwaukee home loss to Golden State. He's questionable for tonight. The Bulls and Bucks have split a pair of games this season. Chicago has won 11-of-its-last-14 against Milwaukee.
Point guard Brandon Knight is developing into a true leader for the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee is 7-27 going into a home contest tonight against Chicago. Still, the 22-year-old Knight is a bright spot. Bucks' coach Larry Drew says Knight is progressing very well, after he and forward Khris Middleton were traded from Detroit last summer for Brandon Jennings. Knight leads Milwaukee with just over 15 points a game. He also averages four rebounds and four-and-a-half assists, while shooting just over 41-percent. More importantly, Drew says he likes the aggressive way Knight gets to the basket when the rest of the team stays back and shoots jumpers. Drew also says he's happy that Knight plays solid defense. Knight says he realizes that the Bucks' big men are in the developmental stage -- and they'll be stronger threats inside. For now, Knight says he enjoys handling the ball from all parts of the floor. He scored a career-high 37 on New Year's Eve against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The Bucks have had their share of injuries this season, and Knight's had his share. He injured a hamstring in the Bucks' season opener last October -- and it took much of November before he could fully free up his movement. Knight makes just under three-million dollars this season. He'll get three-and-three-quarter million next year, the final year of his rookie contract.
In Wisconsin college basketball, Maranatha Baptist is the only school playing today. The Crusaders of Watertown are playing in a women's January tournament at Circleville Ohio. Maranatha lost 67-37 to Ohio Christian last night, and they'll take on Kentucky Christian this afternoon. The Crusader women are 5-8 as an independent. Meanwhile, the Maranatha Baptist men play at Crossroads College in Rochester Minnesota tonight. The Crusaders are 2-8, after a 16-point loss at Martin Luther in New Ulm, Minnesota.
The NFL will not fine the Green Bay Packers or left tackle David Bakhtiari, after he broke the league's concussion protocol last Sunday in the playoffs. Bahktiari was checked out for a concussion suffered in a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter -- and instead of going to the locker room to be examined, he returned to the field to block on an extra point. Two league doctors found quote, "no fault" in how the Packers' medical staff conducted itself. The Packers have not commented. Green Bay ended its season last Sunday, after losing to San Francisco at home in the Wild Card round.
Green Bay quarterbacks' coach Ben McAdoo is reportedly one of at least four candidates for the New York Giants' offensive coordinator. Media reports say McAdoo will be interviewed this weekend for the job given up by the retiring Kevin Gilbride. Fired Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is also in the running, along with former Houston quarterbacks Karl Dorrell and former Tennessee offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. McAdoo was interviewed earlier this week by the Cleveland Browns for their head coaching vacancy. Reports say McAdoo could also be a candidate for several other coordinators' openings.
An NFL official said two players violated the league's protocol for concussions during last weekend's Wild Card games. However, the Associated Press said league doctors Hunt Batjer and Richard Ellenbogen found no fault in how the teams' medical staffs conducted themselves. The doctors did not name the players. But after last Sunday's Green Bay loss to San Francisco, both the Packers and the league said they would investigate the return of Packers' tackle David Bahktiari to the game. He suffered a concussion near the end of a touchdown drive -- and he then return to the game for the extra point. The other player is reportedly New Orleans corner Keenan Lewis. He stayed on the sideline after his concussion, but did not return to the field after his injury.
UW-Milwaukee men's soccer coach Kris Kelderman is taking part in the Major League Soccer scouting combine. He's one of just four college coaches at the event, which began today and runs through Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Kelderman is part of a coaching staff that's testing candidates for the MLS Draft, which takes place next Thursday. They're also working with the draft candidates on their skills. Kelderman is credited with turning around a Milwaukee team that only won a third-of-its-games for five years before his arrival two years ago. Since then, the Panthers have gone 23-11-4. Last fall, Milwaukee went 15-3-2, with an NCAA tournament bid.