North of Manhattan on Thursday, Mike Woodson offered a candid assessment of both his team and himself. "This year has been, for me, it's been kind of a disaster from a coaching standpoint in trying to get players to compete and play at a high level," Woodson said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show." ... Some Knicks players privately have grown tired of Woodson questioning the team's effort after losses, sources told ESPNNewYork.com. Two league sources said some players expressed their frustration with Woodson to Knicks management after a loss to Brooklyn on Jan. 20. Woodson said Thursday that he remains focused on helping the Knicks make a playoff push in the final 33 games of the regular season. (ESPN New York) Comment
Matt Ryan may have slipped from his 2012 form, but he did endure some extenuating circumstances. Injuries decimated his receiving corps. The Atlanta Falcons' offensive line ranked in the NFL's bottom third, according to both Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. Excuses aside, Ryan couldn't pull his team out of a season-long tailspin as other members of the NFL's quarterback royalty have done. Recently retired tight end Tony Gonzalez acknowledged as much in an interview with ESPN The Magazinethis close. He'll get there, but he has some learning to do." Elite quarterbacks are the best players on their team's roster. That's not the case with the Falcons. (NFL.com) Comment
Bigtime college football recruiting can be a harsh place, but it is not devoid of uplifting news. One of the better feel good stories of the 2014 recruiting cycle involved a player who will likely never play a down of college football. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, Elisha Shaw was a highly recruited defensive tackle out of Tucker, Ga. He had multiple scholarship offers with Alabama considered to be his favorite. But Shaw suffered a neck injury that ended his senior season, and recently learned that it's unlikely he'll ever be medically cleared to play. Most schools backed off of Shaw once getting word of his medical status, but the Crimson Tide is awarding Shaw a medical hardship scholarship. This exemption allows Alabama to pay his tuition without him counting against the Tide's 85-player scholarship limit. (Ledger-Enquirer) Comment
Sweden's Niklas Mattsson finishes his first run during men's snowboard slopestyle qualifying Thursday at the Sochi Olympics. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
SI's Richard Deitsch and Brian Cazeneuve look at some of the most compelling U.S. athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics.