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ASK IRA: Nikola Jovic’s place can’t be in Heat’s perimeter rotation – there isn’t room

South Florida Local News - Tue, 11/28/2023 - 04:05

Q: The Miami Heat are ruining Nikola Jovic’s career. He would be starting on many teams by now. He would be allowed to shoot, to have a few stinkers, but to improve and shine, too. Look at what happened with Omer Yurtseven. Miami killed his career, now he needs to prove himself to get paid. – Ivan.

A: I actually enjoy these types of questions that are both asked and answered. This all, of course, was the outgrowth of the interview that Nikola Jovic gave to a Serbian-language outlet that got lost in the translation, and that Nikola has since clarified. Yes, he wants to play. Yes, he likely is miscast as a power player in light of his skill set. But the reality is simple and is this: There is no room at the inn for Nikola in the Heat’s wing rotation, but there could be time eventually in the power mix. When it comes to the wing rotation, he is not playing ahead of Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Duncan Robinson, Josh Richardson and you can even throw Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith in there. So that makes him the ninth option on the wing. But in the power rotation, nothing is a given beyond Bam Adebayo and Kevin Love. So in the injury absence of one of those two, the big-muscle opportunity might be there, particularly with the struggles of Thomas Bryant. Now, is it more fun to push the ball, play in transition, and loft threes than trade elbows? Heck, yeah. But if a perimeter opportunity is what Nikola wants at the moment, then that can be arranged in the G League. He is 20. Remember how it started for Dirk Nowitzki (not that we’re making that comparison)? He initially also was asked to bide his time, and he entered the NBA a year older than Nikola. Heck, Giannis Antetokounmpo only started 23 games as a rookie. It is hard for any player in that situation, but it also is about giving it time. As for your question, there was outside similar sentiment to play Omer Yurtseven, and considerable consternation about Erik Spoelstra’s approach with the Turkish big man. As it is, Big Yurt has appeared in 10 games for an average of 9.1 minutes for the Jazz this season. So it’s not as if spreading his wings elsewhere has set him free. Patience often is hard. Is also often is necessary.

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Q: Nikola Jovic is not a center. I’m looking at the talent and he’s continually used wrong. He’s just an oversized point guard. I’d bet defensively he would cover point guards better than he does wings and centers, too (although just a tad slow footed). He’s a European Magic (I’m not saying he’s on that level) that can shoot, if they groomed him that way. But instead we’re wasting time at center.  – Swann.

A: And who exactly would Nikola Jovic guard if cast in a wing role? The only way that works is if you play Bam Adebayo defensively on the wing and have Nikola defend an opposing big man. And you know what? Then you’re basically playing Nikola at center. Yes, you could go to zone, but that’s not a base defense.

Q: I saw a video of Tyler Herro shooting without any wrappings on his ankle. – T.O.

A: Which is a starting point. But as Erik Spoelstra would say, it’s also a process. The fact that the Heat are home for a week for the first time in over a month means there can be viable practice time. So Tyler Herro is getting close, just not quite there.

Sam Reinhart and Sergei Bobrovsky lead Florida Panthers past Ottawa Senators

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 20:29

OTTAWA, Ontario — Sam Reinhart scored two goals and Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Ottawa Senators 5-0 on Monday night.

Sam Bennett had a goal and an assist for Florida, which had dropped two in a row. Carter Verhaeghe and Eetu Luostarinen also scored, and Aleksander Barkov had three assists.

Bobrovsky’s second shutout of the season and No. 40 for his career helped Matthew Tkachuk get the better of his brother, Ottawa forward Brady Tkachuk.

Ottawa struggled early and never managed to get on equal footing with the Panthers. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 33 shots after missing the last two games with a minor injury.

Trailing 3-0 in the third period, the Senators started to pick up their play, but also let their emotions get the best of them.

Matthew Tkachuk clearly got under the skin of his younger brother Brady’s teammates. Zack MacEwen jumped Matthew Tkachuk and took a five-minute match penalty. Jake Sanderson dropped the gloves against Matthew Tkachuk as well.

Brady also got in the middle of things and was in the penalty box for cross-checking when Verhaeghe made it 4-0 at 11:59.

With just under seven minutes to play everyone on the ice got in a scrum and it resulted with all 10 players being assessed a game misconduct.

Luostarinen rounded out the scoring with 3:28 remaining.

Reinhart helped Florida get off to a fast start with two power-play goals. He got his first one just 1:28 into the game, and then made it 2-0 with his 15th of the season 5:59 into the second.

The Senators challenged Reinhart’s second goal for being offside, but it remained in place after a lengthy review and Bennett made it 3-0 on the ensuing power play.


Panthers: At Toronto on Tuesday night in the middle game of a three-game trip to eastern Canada.

General Daily Insight for November 28, 2023

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 19:43
General Daily Insight for November 28, 2023

Overstimulation could push us to our current emotional limits. While the frenetic Gemini Moon trines optimistic Venus, we might take on more than we’re equipped to handle. As Luna goes on to square overwhelming Neptune, we may realize we’ve gotten in over our heads. The last thing we need is criticism, but that’s exactly what we’re likely to get when the Moon opposes fussbudget Mercury at 8:03 pm EST. Once people are already upset, fighting probably won’t be productive — backing away is better.


March 21 – April 19

Telling the truth may now be a problem for you — and it’s not necessarily just your problem! As the vulnerable Moon in your communication zone opposes picky Mercury in your dogmatic 9th house, you could possibly be more honest, but feeling unfairly judged and even cross-examined by the other person doesn’t help. Don’t take more than your share of the responsibility for what’s gone wrong between the two of you. If your relationship is worth saving, you’ll have to work it out together.


April 20 – May 20

Comparing yourself with your peers could stress you out at the moment. You may get the idea that you’d fit in better if you pretended to be wealthier than you are. However, while the perceptive Moon in your resource sector gets distracted by shiny Neptune in your social zone, your read of the situation might be off. Potentially, your rivals are exaggerating what they have because they’re afraid they don’t measure up to you! Try to find out the truth before you do anything regrettable.


May 21 – June 20

Someone may presently be acting like they have the right to push you around on the grounds that they’ve claimed the role of “the logical one” in your relationship. Your initial reaction might be to imitate their style so you can fight back on their terms. Don’t forget that both reason and emotion are valid parts of the equation. It probably won’t be easy, but try to stand up for yourself just the way you are — you deserve to be taken seriously too.


June 21 – July 22

Following instructions for a routine task could be harder than it needs to be today. When the sensitive Moon in your anxious 12th house clashes against fuzzy Neptune in your learning zone, you’re in danger of listening through the heavy whir of your own insecurities. If you hear things that weren’t actually said, it’s no surprise that they won’t add up. Even if you think your question is silly, ask for clarification — that’s wiser than going off on the wrong track!


July 23 – August 22

Finding the right emotional boundaries with friends may be difficult at present. When a pal comes to you with a problem, you might thoughtfully try to help as the needy Moon in your social zone reaches out to analytical Mercury in your heart-centered 5th house. Even so, good intentions aren’t guaranteed to end well! Getting too deeply involved in someone else’s drama could leave you holding the bag if things go wrong. Know what you’re willing to sacrifice before you impulsively offer it.


August 23 – September 22

Heated emotions could be running the show in a close relationship of yours today. As the demonstrative Moon in your authority zone conspires with theatrical Neptune in your partnership sector, you may feel like your side of the story doesn’t stand a chance against the other person’s passionate displays. Unfortunately, going to the opposite unhealthy extreme and demanding that everyone stick strictly to logical arguments isn’t likely to help your cause either. Acknowledge that feelings matter — and that includes yours too!


September 23 – October 22

Finding out the definitive truth about an ongoing situation could seem urgent to you — and you might feel like someone else is standing in your way. Keep in mind that blaming them is unlikely to help. The other person simply may not place the same importance you do on pinning down specific details. Don’t mistake different priorities for destructive intentions. If you’re willing to let some things go for the time being, they’ll potentially be able to bring you progress through a circuitous route.


October 23 – November 21

A hidden agenda could make giving hazardous now. While the dependent Moon in your 8th House of Sharing harmonizes with idealistic Venus in your spiritual 12th house, you may have convinced yourself that your generosity toward someone less fortunate is strictly for their own good. Who put you on this planet to unilaterally decide what’s best for them, though? If offering a hand up rather than a handout feels threatening to you, you need to check your motives before you go any further.


November 22 – December 21

You may currently feel sorry for someone else, whether or not they asked you to. While the tender Moon in your 7th House of the Other opposes rational Mercury in your sign, you might need a little help to see yourself as capable and in control. Fixating on another person who appears to be worse off could provide the ego boost you crave. They’re possibly more like you than you want to admit — and that’s probably not the end of the world.


December 22 – January 19

Your quiet and practical approach could currently help you sort through a confusing situation. While the inquisitive Moon in your detail-oriented 6th house runs into trouble with foggy Neptune in your communication sector, you’d likely prefer to have more specific information available, but you can still do a good job accepting that you don’t always get everything you want. In the meantime, follow any tangent that grabs your curiosity, no matter how odd it seems — that’s potentially your intuition talking!


January 20 – February 18

Pleasure is likely to come with plenty of intellectual stimulation now. As the impressionable Moon in your joyful 5th house aligns with fortunate Venus in your 9th House of Expansion, you’re positioned to have a good time that involves learning or seeing something unique. Bringing friends can enhance your experience, but you might also meet interesting people once you reach your destination. Try to release your desire to stick to a budget — that probably won’t happen! Accept that sometimes a splurge is worth it.


February 19 – March 20

You may be ashamed of your own present desire to get out of the fast lane. When the nurturing Moon in your cozy 4th house conflicts with logical Mercury in your ambition sector, you might feel guilty about taking even a brief break from your hot pursuit of your goals. Perhaps rest seems like something you can’t rationally justify. Regardless of what you decide to do, try to avoid blaming anyone else for your own internal conflict. Some problems are just part of life!

Hurricanes starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke enters transfer portal

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 18:11

The Miami Hurricanes will need a new starting quarterback in 2024.

Incumbent starter Tyler Van Dyke is entering the transfer portal, a source told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, ending a UM career that spawned high expectations and low moments.

“I want to thank the University of Miami, my teammates, coaching staff, and everyone associated with the university who have made this chapter in my life truly special and invaluable,” Van Dyke wrote in a post on social media. “I have created lifelong friendships and memories, which I will always cherish. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities and experiences that have shaped me during my time here.

“After conversations with my family. I have decided to enter the transfer portal. I am looking forward to the next chapter and what my future holds.”

Van Dyke spent four seasons with Miami, becoming the starter in 2021 after D’Eriq King suffered a season-ending injury. Then a redshirt freshman, Van Dyke dazzled Miami fans and had a breakout season, earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors and winning five of his last six games. He threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns with just six interceptions.

He entered the 2022 season with high expectations, but a poor start and a shoulder injury limited Van Dyke to five full games. After struggling at the start of Miami’s loss to Middle Tennessee State, Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal benched Van Dyke for the rest of the game in favor of Jake Garcia.

Van Dyke returned as the starter in Miami’s next game, but he suffered another shoulder injury later in the season against Duke, missed three full games and played in only part of UM’s games against Pittsburgh and FSU. He ended the season with 1,835 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.

After reportedly considering transferring after the season, Van Dyke returned to Miami to play under new offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. He started out this season on a hot streak but could not keep that form going in ACC play. After suffering a leg injury against North Carolina and throwing 10 interceptions in four games, freshman Emory Williams took Van Dyke’s place against FSU.

Williams suffered a season-ending injury against the Seminoles, so Van Dyke returned to the starting lineup for the Hurricanes’ final two games. He played well to end the year and closed out the season with 2,703 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Van Dyke ends his Miami career with 7,469 passing yards, 54 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He ranks sixth in program history in passing yards and fourth in touchdowns.

Van Dyke’s departure leaves two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: sophomore Jacurri Brown and freshman Emory Williams. Brown did not play during Miami’s regular season after getting into eight games as a freshman. Williams played in five games this season before suffering his arm injury.


— Tyler Van Dyke (@Tyler_Van_Dyke) November 28, 2023

Dolphins reportedly expected to sign veteran edge rusher, Deerfield Beach native Jason Pierre-Paul

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 17:56

The Miami Dolphins were expected to add a pass rusher after Jaelan Phillips’ season-ending Achilles tear.

It appears that addition will come in the form of veteran Jason Pierre-Paul, a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time Super Bowl champion and South Florida native.

Pierre-Paul, currently a member of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, is reportedly expected to sign with the Dolphins’ active roster, according to NFL Network on Monday night. He later posted, in part, on Instagram: “I’M COMING HOME,” with a dolphin emoji.

Pierre-Paul, who turns 35 on Jan. 1, has 94 1/2 career sacks in 180 NFL games played. He has 3 1/2 postseason sacks, including two in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2020 run to the Super Bowl. He also won a title with the 2011 New York Giants.

As a member of the Saints’ practice squad, Pierre-Paul was elevated to the active roster this past weekend to play in New Orleans’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He had two tackles.

The experienced edge defender is a Deerfield Beach High grad. He made a national name for himself collegiately with University of South Florida in Tampa. Pierre-Paul was the No. 15 pick of the 2010 draft for the Giants, with which he spent his first eight NFL seasons and was a first-team All-Pro in 2011.

Phillips’ injury occurred in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins’ Friday win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. The third-year outside linebacker out of University of Miami is a key loss to Miami’s defense as he had 6 1/2 sacks in eight games in 2023.

The Dolphins still have Pro Bowl edge rusher Bradley Chubb on the opposite side. Andrew Van Ginkel is expected to start in Phillips’ place, and Emmanuel Ogbah is also in line to see an uptick in defensive snaps. Pierre-Paul could provide depth and a sporadic pass-rush attempt for the Dolphins, who also have second-year outside linebacker Cameron Goode, but he is largely a special teams contributor.

Pierre-Paul famously had his index finger and the top half of his middle finger on his right hand amputated after an accident lighting fireworks July 4, 2015. He plays football with a club on the injured hand.

Miami has not yet announced the placement of Phillips on injured reserve or the signing of Pierre-Paul — or any other corresponding move — since the injury.

This story will be updated.

Sandy Hook families offer to settle Alex Jones’ $1.5 billion legal debt for a minimum of $85 million

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 17:49

By DAVE COLLINS (Associated Press)

Sandy Hook families who won nearly $1.5 billion in legal judgments against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for calling the 2012 Connecticut school shooting a hoax have offered to settle that debt for only pennies on the dollar — at least $85 million over 10 years.

The offer was made in Jones’ personal bankruptcy case in Houston last week. In a legal filing, lawyers for the families said they believed the proposal was a viable way to help resolve the bankruptcy reorganization cases of both Jones and his company, Free Speech Systems.

But in the sharply worded document, the attorneys continued to accuse the Infowars host of failing to curb his personal spending and “extravagant lifestyle,” failing to preserve the value of his holdings, refusing to sell assets and failing to produce certain financial documents.

“Jones has failed in every way to serve as the fiduciary mandated by the Bankruptcy Code in exchange for the breathing spell he has enjoyed for almost a year. His time is up,” lawyers for the Sandy Hook families wrote.

The families’ lawyers offered Jones two options: either liquidate his estate and give the proceeds to creditors, or pay them at least $8.5 million a year for 10 years — plus 50% of any income over $9 million per year.

During a court hearing in Houston, Jones’ personal bankruptcy lawyer, Vickie Driver, suggested Monday that the $85 million, 10-year settlement offer was too high and unrealistic for Jones to pay.

“There are no financials that will ever show that Mr. Jones ever made that … in 10 years,” she said.

In a new bankruptcy plan filed on Nov. 18, Free Speech Systems said it could afford to pay creditors about $4 million a year, down from an estimate earlier this year of $7 million to $10 million annually. The company said it expected to make about $19.2 million next year from selling the dietary supplements, clothing and other merchandise Jones promotes on his shows, while operating expenses including salaries would total about $14.3 million.

Personally, Jones listed about $13 million in total assets in his most recent financial statements filed with the bankruptcy court, including about $856,000 in various bank accounts.

Under the bankruptcy case orders, Jones had been receiving a salary of $20,000 every two weeks, or $520,000 a year. But this month, a court-appointed restructuring officer upped Jones’ pay to about $57,700 biweekly, or $1.5 million a year, saying he has been “grossly” underpaid for how vital he is to the media company.

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez on Monday rejected the $1.5 million salary, saying the pay raise didn’t appear to have been made properly under bankruptcy laws and a hearing needed to be held.

If Jones doesn’t accept the families’ offer, Lopez would determine how much he would pay the families and other creditors.

After 20 children and six educators were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, Jones repeatedly said on his show that the shooting never happened and was staged in an effort to tighten gun laws.

Relatives, of many but not all, of the Sandy Hook victims sued Jones in Connecticut and Texas, winning nearly $1.5 billion in judgments against him. In October, Lopez ruled that Jones could not use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying more than $1.1 billon of that debt.

Relatives of the school shooting victims testified at the trials about being harassed and threatened by Jones’ believers, who sent threats and even confronted the grieving families in person, accusing them of being “crisis actors” whose children never existed.

Jones is appealing the judgments, saying he didn’t get fair trials and his speech was protected by the First Amendment.

Two long-time Hurricanes enter the transfer portal

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 17:35

After Jahfari Harvey entered the transfer portal Monday morning, two more long-time Miami Hurricanes are also departing the program.

Running back Don Chaney Jr. and linebacker Corey Flagg Jr. both entered the portal. Both players announced their decisions to transfer on social media.

Flagg, a Houston native, played four seasons with the Hurricanes, appearing in 43 games and starting 23. He racked up 179 career tackles with 24.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

This season, Flagg started two games and played in 12. He had 48 tackles with seven tackles for loss. An excellent run-stopper, Flagg had an 81.5 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus, which was third-best on the team. He had a 70.7 defensive grade.

I have entered my name into the transfer portal.

Thank you Miami!#FlaggMentality

— COREY FLAGG JR. (@CoreyFlaggJr) November 27, 2023

Chaney, a Miami native who was a highly touted prospect coming out of Miami’s Belen Jesuit Prep, had his UM career limited by injuries. He rushed for 322 yards and three touchdowns on 68 carries as a freshman.

Chaney suffered an ACL tear in his second season that limited him to just two games in 2021, and another injury kept him out of all but one game in 2022. Finally healthy for much of the 2023 season, he rushed for 478 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games, making his first two career starts. He had an 80.3 offensive grade and a 78.7 running grade from Pro Football Focus.

Chaney ends his UM career with 852 yards and six touchdowns on 175 carries.

I have entered my name into the transfer portal.

Thank you Miami! pic.twitter.com/a4p8YZJdLu

— Donald Chaney JR (@Donchaney1_fpa) November 28, 2023

Billy Napier parts ways with defensive assistants Corey Raymond, Sean Spencer after Gators’ 5-7 season

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 17:10

GAINESVILLE — Florida parted ways with secondary coach Corey Raymond and defensive line coach Sean Spencer as head coach Billy Napier overhauls his staff after a 5-7 season, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.

Napier, who is 11-14 after two seasons at UF, began the process with a much-needed defensive makeover during what’s expected to be a busy offseason of changes.

The Gators closed on a five-game skid as the defense yielded an average of 38.2 points, despite a solid showing during a 24-15 season-ending loss to unbeaten Florida State on Saturday in the Swamp.

Florida finished with 8 pass breakups and holding Seminoles backup quarterback Tate Rodemaker to 134 passing yards. But the performance was an outlier for a pass defense ranked ninth in the SEC under Raymond.

Corey Raymond, assistant football coach at the University of Florida, coaches players during practice at the Sanders Football Practice Field on the UF campus in Gainesville on Thursday, March 17, 2022. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

Raymond, who earned $725,000, was charged with overseeing the entire secondary last winter after he shared duties the previous season with Patrick Toney, who left for the NFL in  February. In addition to coordinating the defense, Toney coached safeties while Raymond worked with cornerbacks on a defense where breakdowns in the secondary were legion.

The Gators allowed opponents to convert 49.71% on third down, ranking 129th nationally among 131 teams, and gave up more plays of 10 yards or longer than all but Arkansas among 14 SEC teams.

Napier hired Raymond to much fanfare shortly after the Gators’ new head coach arrived in December 2021. Raymond had been among the nation’s top secondary coaches at LSU since 2012, luring future stars Jamal Adams, Derek Stingley, Eli Ricks and Kristian Fulton to Baton Rouge.

But the 54-year-old’s track record of success did not carry over with the Gators.  Florida’s pass defense ranked 11th in the SEC in 2022 and ninth in 2023. Florida  managed just 3 interceptions this past season, 4 fewer than any team in the league.

Meanwhile, the 52-year-old Spencer served as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.

Known as “Coach Chaos,” the high-energy coach arrived after two seasons leading the New York Giants’ defensive line following a six-year stint on James Franklin’s staff at Penn State.

The Gators’ run defense finished 12th in the SEC in 2022 and 11th this past season.

Corey Raymond, assistant football coach at the University of Florida, coaches players during practice at the Sanders Football Practice Field on the UF campus in Gainesville on Thursday, March 17, 2022. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

In UF’s season finale, the Seminoles rushed for 147 yards, not including sacks, and three touchdowns by Trey Benson.

Raymond’s recruiting, not his coaching, was his major selling point. The 2023 class featured six 4-star prospects at defensive back.

A number had roles as true freshmen, led by starting safety Jordan Castell of West Orange. First-year freshman defensive backs accounted for 1,759 snaps and 15 starts.

The 2024 class features 5-star safety Xavier Filsaime of Texas, one of three DBs committed to UF.

Spencer, who earned $1 million this past season, helped the Gators land some top defensive-line prospects in 2023, including Kelby Collins and TJ Searcy.

The 2024 class includes Daytona Beach Mainland star L.J. McCray, the top player in the Orlando Sentinel’s Super 60.

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

‘Mr. Big Stuff’ singer Jean Knight dies at 80

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 17:05

By SARA CLINE (Associated Press)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Jean Knight, a New Orleans-born soul singer known for her 1971 hit “Mr. Big Stuff,” has died at 80.

Family, friends, fans and veterans of the music world mourned the loss of the Grammy-nominated singer who was considered a musical powerhouse and an integral part of New Orleans’ cultural legacy.

Knight died Wednesday of natural causes in Tampa, Florida, where she was living, said family representative Mona Giamanco. She confirmed the death to The Associated Press on Monday afternoon.

“Jean Knight’s legacy is not just a musical one; it is a testament to the enduring love between an artist, her hometown and the fans who adored her,” the singer’s family said in a statement.

Knight got her start by singing in her cousin’s New Orleans bar shortly after graduating from high school. In the early ’70s she recorded “Mr. Big Stuff” — a sassy and soulful chart-topping anthem that became known for the infectious refrain of “Who do you think you are?”

The song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 pop chart, earning Knight a Grammy nomination for best female R&B vocal performance in 1972. The Stax Museum of American Soul Music said in a news release that Knight was Stax Records’ top-selling female artist.

Following the success of “Mr. Big Stuff,” Knight went on to record several more albums — including ones that featured songs “(Don’t Mess With) My Toot Toot” and “Bill” — and formed her own label, Comstar.

Reginald Toussaint was an engineer for one of Knight’s albums and even helped mix a song that his father — musical legend Allen Toussaint — wrote for it. Reginald Toussaint went on to become friends with Knight, whom he described as a “wonderful woman.”

“She was genuinely a nice person with a gentle spirit … whenever I saw her she was always smiling,” said Toussaint, the executive director of production for the New Orleans Jazz Fest and Essence Music Festival.

Knight spent years touring and performing locally, both on large festival stages and in more intimate French Quarter venues.

In addition to her soulful, sassy and joyful performances, among family and friends she was known as a mother and grandmother who loved cooking Creole dishes and celebrating Mardi Gras.

Information about her funeral arrangements was not immediately available.

Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel clears the air with his side of the viral story of how he met his wife

South Florida Local News - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 16:00

MIAMI GARDENS — The story of how Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel met his wife, Katie, as told on the Amazon Prime Video broadcast by legendary commentator Al Michaels, went viral over the weekend.

But McDaniel felt the story was tweaked slightly once he got wind of Michaels’ version that aired during the Dolphins’ 34-13 win Friday against the New York Jets.

“I would say the skeleton of the story is correct,” McDaniel started Monday when asked about the story getting out there, “but there’s a couple important caveats.”

Before we get into the revised version, let’s recap what Michaels said on the broadcast, as he was telling the story likely off of something McDaniel told him in a production meeting.

Michaels sets the stage with McDaniel the running backs coach of the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League in 2010. The team went out to a nightclub to celebrate a win over Omaha.

“One of the running backs that he coaches is dancing with a girl, and Mike says, ‘Listen, you’re not dancing with her anymore, or you’re not playing with his team next year. So the guy says, ‘What can I do?

“So then McDaniel starts dancing with her. That’s the beginning of the story. … Four years later, they’re married. Katie, that’s how he met her: ‘Hey, you. Get off. I’m dancing with her.’ ”

Social media loved the story, but McDaniel didn’t love the image it left.

“I feel like I was painted out to kind of be a D-bag, and it wasn’t like that at all,” McDaniel said Monday.

He got his chance to tell his side Monday of the interaction between him and the player in question, Steve Baylark.

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“First of all, the perceived threat I made was (an) over-the-top a joke, considering both he and I knew that, as the running backs coach, I had no ability to say if he was there or not,” McDaniel said. “It was more in gest. And then second of all — my wife was telling me people were talking about me stealing people’s girls — the dude had met her for 45 seconds.

“It was a light-hearted, very unique scenario. It was a special place in our memories. … We were celebrating as a team, and it was something that I think Steve Baylark, the player that was dancing with her, was well aware when I made that joke in gest that it was more important to me than it was to him. And I’m pretty sure I was right. I have a family now. Good decision.”

Incidentally, McDaniel’s stint in Sacramento not only connected him with his future wife — it also then led him back into NFL coaching circles. And at the site he and his Dolphins (8-3) are visiting this Sunday.

The next season, McDaniel, who was an offensive assistant with the Houston Texans from 2006 to 2008 and an intern with his hometown Denver Broncos in 2005, was hired by Washington, first as an offensive assistant in 2011 and 2012 and then promoted to wide receivers coach in 2013. The Dolphins visit FedEx Field and the Commanders on Sunday.

“There was a lot less command in Washington when I was there,” McDaniel joked of the franchise’s name change, as one of several differences from his time there.

“I think it’s a different owner, different coaches. It’s pretty much different. I’m not sure who’s still there from when I was there. But I do remember a very, very passionate fan base. I didn’t realize the total scope of history and how big of a region call themselves Washington Commander fans. That was an interesting part.”

McDaniel, although never crossing paths professionally with Commanders coach Ron Rivera, who is on the hot seat for Washington (4-8), does have one link to him from his past.

“Coach Ron, as he called it, was the first person that, when I was trying to get a GA job coming out of college, I was writing letters all over the country,” McDaniel said, “and he was one of the first people to actually respond to a letter to try to get me a job. “He didn’t give me a job, but I have a lot of respect for him.”

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