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WAMC Sports Report 6/20/23: Victor Wembanyama arrives from France ahead of NBA draft



Victor Wembanyama has arrived in the U.S. for the NBA draft. The plane carrying Wembanyama from France arrived at Newark International Airport outside of New York City on Monday. He's widely expected to be the No. 1 pick on Thursday by the San Antonio Spurs. Some fans knew what flight he was on and when the plane was landing, and many were waiting. Wembanyama cheerfully signed autographs, scrawling his name onto basketballs and Spurs jerseys before making his way into a waiting vehicle.

The Golden State Warriors want to keep Draymond Green, yet the team is prepared for him to formally decline his $27.5 million player option for the final year of his contract next season and become an unrestricted free agent seeking a long-term deal. The Athletic reported that Green would opt out. Green would have to notify the Warriors of his decision by June 30.

Mat Ishbia’s five-month tenure as the new owner of the Phoenix Suns has produced a whirlwind of change. Nobody seems completely safe as the Michigan native continues his quest to deliver Phoenix its first NBA title. The aggressive owner oversaw his latest big move Sunday, when the Suns put together the framework for a trade that would send 12-time All-Star Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and other compensation to the Washington Wizards in exchange for three-time All-Star Bradley Beal. More moves could be on the horizon.

Alabama's Brandon Miller tops The Associated Press' list of top forwards in the upcoming NBA draft. Miller could go as high as No. 2 overall behind presumptive top pick Victor Wembanyama. Miller thrived as an outside shooter with athleticism during his lone season with the Crimson Tide. The list of top forwards includes more one-and-done players in Villanova's Cam Whitmore and Houston's Jarace Walker. Other one-and-dones that could go in the lottery include Central Florida's Taylor Hendricks and Kansas' Gradey Dick. Another intriguing prospect is 18-year-old Bilal Coulibaly, who was Wembanyama's teammate in France.

Francisco Lindor homered and drove in five runs, and Max Scherzer pitched eight fantastic innings for his longest outing with the New York Mets in their 11-1 victory over the skidding Houston Astros. The win was New York’s first over the Astros since Sept. 28, 2014, at Citi Field, snapping a seven-game skid. The Mets had lost eight in a row in Houston since their previous win there in May 2011. Scherzer gave up just four hits and struck out eight to bounce back from consecutive rough starts against the Braves and Yankees. Daniel Vogelbach homered and tied a season high with three RBIs as New York won for only the fourth time in 15 games overall.

Alex Verdugo tripled and drove in four runs, James Paxton pitched 6 1/3 effective innings and the Boston Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 9-3 for their fifth straight win. Triston Casas hit a two-run homer and Jarren Duran added three doubles for Boston, which has outscored opponents 40-14 during the win streak. Paxton (3-1) gave up three hits and a walk while striking out seven. Pablo López (3-4) allowed five runs — four earned — in 5 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which has lost four of five but remains two games ahead of Cleveland in the American League Central despite falling under .500 (36-37) for the second time this season. Twins catcher Christian Vázquez hit a three-run homer against his former team.

Luis Arraez went 5 for 5 again to raise his batting average to .400, and Jorge Soler homered as the streaking Miami Marlins routed the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0. Jon Berti had three hits and Jesús Sánchez doubled twice for the Marlins, who finished with a season-high 19 hits and won their fifth straight. Miami improved to a season-high 11 games over .500 at 42-31. It was the second time in his past three games that Arraez went 5 for 5, following an 0-for-15 slide that dropped his average to .378. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the fourth major leaguer since 1900 to have three five-hit games in a calendar month, joining Hall of Famers George Sisler, Ty Cobb and Dave Winfield.

Mike Yastrzemski splashed a game-ending three-run homer into McCovey Cove in the 10th inning, and the San Francisco Giants rallied past the San Diego Padres 7-4 for their season-best eighth straight victory. Yastrzemski also connected in the sixth, giving him five career multi-homer games and two against San Diego. It was his fourth walk-off homer in the majors and second versus the Padres. Camilo Doval struck out Manny Machado for the first out of the 10th and got through it unscathed for the win.

Elly De La Cruz’s arrival gave fans in Cincinnati a reason to be hopeful about the future. Then the Reds started looking like they might be contenders — right now. It helps that they play in the NL Central, where everyone is one great week away from challenging for the division lead. And after eight straight victories, the Reds are only a half-game behind first-place Milwaukee. Cincinnati finished the week by sweeping a three-game series on the road against defending champion Houston. The Reds haven’t had a winning streak this long since 2012.

The Yankees were off last night, they’ll start a three-game series against the Mariners at 7:05 tonight in the Bronx. The Phillies were also off, they’ll begin a three-game set at 6:40 tonight in Philadelphia.


Diego Cocca was fired as coach of Mexico’s national team, four days after a 3-0 loss to the United States in a CONCACAF Nations League semifinal. The federation said Jaime Lozano will take over the national team. Lozano coached under-23 team to a bronze medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Cocca was hired in February and led El Tri to three wins, a loss and three draws. El Tri had not lost to the U.S. by three goals in 23 years.


Eight-time major champion Tom Watson is the latest to want answers on the PGA Tour’s new business partnership with Saudi backers of LIV Golf. He has sent a letter to PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan asking if the deal was the only way to solve the tour’s financial hardship. The tour has an agreement with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and the European tour to pool businesses in a new for-profit company. One person who has seen the agreement says it contains assurances the tour would keep a controlling voting interest no matter how much money the Saudis invested.

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A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.