Mizzou Links, 5-8-14: The NFL Draft is finally here

Bill Carter

Michael Sam wins the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, the SEC Softball Tournament begins for Mizzou, and the NFL Draft is finally ... FINALLY here.

1. Such a big honor

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Michael Sam wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Post-Dispatch: Sam to receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award

2. Draft day(s)

KC Star: Missouri could have bumper crop in this year’s NFL Draft

Missouri has four players — defensive end Kony Ealy, cornerback E.J. Gaines, offensive lineman Justin Britt and wide receiver L’Damian Washington — who are near locks to hear their names called.

Reigning SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam, a defensive end who is the first openly gay draft prospect in NFL history, and linebacker Andrew Wilson, a Raymore-Peculiar graduate, are also good bets to get drafted. [...]

"That’s going to be one of the most fun things about watching the draft," Washington said. "I won’t be sitting around just to hear my own name called. There are seven or eight teammates that also have the possibility of getting drafted. You’re just as excited for them as you are yourself. That makes the whole process a bit smoother."

Kony
The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Draft Hopeful Q&A: DE Kony Ealy

Max
The Trib: MU's Copeland transforms self in hopes of finding NFL 'patch of grass' as fullback
KC Star: Missouri fullback Max Copeland confident he will get chance in the NFL, drafted or not
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou's Copeland reinvents himself for NFL

3. #stubble

The Trib: Q&A: ESPN analyst Smith looks at MU's SEC tourney chances

There were so many questions this year about how Missouri would respond without Chelsea Thomas. How do you see Tori Finucane stacking up to what Missouri was getting from Thomas?

Smith: I think, myself included, we're like, 'Oh, you graduated a kid like Chelsea Thomas, you're in trouble.' Those players come around once in a while. Then all of a sudden, bam, you see a kid like Tori come in, and you're like, 'Whoa, impressive.' And that's with both their freshman pitchers, for that matter.

I think Tori has fared a little bit better than Casey Stangel just because of her demeanor on the mound. She's a little bit more stoic. To really throw well at that level, you've got to be immune to the highs and to the lows. And she doesn't really get herself in trouble. She works from ahead, and that's one of the keys. It's impressive that Coach Ehren Earleywine has been able to basically replace a Chelsea Thomas.

The Trib: MU softball set for SEC Tournament
The Missourian: Tori Finucane's competitiveness leads Missouri softball into SEC Tournament

4. Bring on Lloyd Noble

MUtigers.com: SEC/Big 12 Challenge Sets Stage For 210th Mizzou, Oklahoma Meeting
The Trib (Courtside View): Missouri will visit Oklahoma in SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Post-Dispatch: Mizzou draws Oklahoma in SEC/Big 12 Challenge
KC Star: K-State, Mizzou get new foes in SEC/Big 12 Challenge

5. Still funny the next day

The Trib (Behind the Stripes): Pinkel on renewal of MU-KU rivalry: 'There's some pouting going on still'

6. Other pro sports

Basketball
DraftExpress: Jordan Clarkson Updated Scouting Report

Baseball
MUtigers.com: Tigers in the Pros

7. WHATNOT

Meet Kim
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Basketball To Host Student, Faculty Breakfast Friday

Baseball
MUtigers.com: Tigers Hit the Road For SEC Series at No. 11 South Carolina

Gymnastics
MUtigers.com: Blog: Henderson Continues Rehab After 2014 Injury

Track & Field
MUtigers.com: Senior Spotlight: Jon Hughes

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