NEW YORK, NY (April 1, 2015) – This week’s Sports Illustrated features Oklahoma City Thunder guard and one-man stat sheet stuffer Russell Westbrook on the national cover and Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wildcats quest for the perfect season on the regional cover. The issue also includes an essay by Asher Price about a chance encounter with Lance Armstrong. Plus, as the national championship approaches, SI’s top writers offer a team-by-team breakdown of the schools headed to this year’s Final Four, a huge favorite, another top seed and a party crasher in green. Also included is a scout’s take on each matchup leading to the championship: who has the edge, and who will meet in Indianapolis for the conclusion of the Big Dance.
Also in the issue, Greg Bishop writes about Garrett Grayson, a traditional pocket-passing quarterback who doesn’t have the speed of RGIII or the athleticism of Colin Kaepernick, but just might be this draft’s Joe Flacco. Finally, in advance of the Masters, the issue excerpts Michael Bamberger’s upcoming book, Men in Green, which features Arnold Palmer speaking on his career, his peers and what he thinks happened to Tiger Woods.
Below is the link to the high res cover
Lee Jenkins: All the Rage
Russell Westbrook knows only one way to play: full force, every time. No one plays harder than Westbrook, and there is a method to his madness. Now, channeling that passion, Westbrook is taking the injury-plagued Thunder by the nape of their neck and carrying them to the playoffs, all while forcing his way into the MVP discussion and racking up statistics not seen since Oscar Robertson owned the court. Though Westbrook doesn’t like to be perceived as angry or out of control, his inextinguishable passion ability to play through a broken cheekbone – while sporting a superhero facemask – have kept the Thunder afloat amidst Kevin Durant’s absence and has them battling for a spot amongst the West’s best.
“I’ve seen others with the same size and physicality, but they don’t have his determination.” – Oscar Robertson on Westbrook
“We’re talking about a guy with the athleticism of LeBron and the drive of Kobe, That’s intimidating enough combination, and then you put that mask on him, he’s something out of a movie.” – An opposing head coach’s take on Westbrook
Greg Bishop: Man of the Moment
Garrett Grayson is unlike any quarterback in this class. For the past two years Grayson has slid under the radar of some of the NFL’s top scouts. Now? Now the Mountain West offensive player of the year is turnig heads, but not for what he is doing, rather for what he isn’t doing. In a position defined by by a pair of potential No. 1 selections Grayson’s distinction is what he doesn’t bring to the table … the spread offense. He may be the antispread prosepect: shifting protections, reading defenses and utitlizing snap counts. As the questions surrounding the spread in the pro’s continue, Grayson just might be the right guy at the right time. Overlooked in high school, underappreciated early on at Colorado State, injured and afflicted with depression, Grayson may now wind up as the third overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft.
“Everyone who could doubt this kid has doubted him, Now he might be the third quarterback picked in the NFL draft. He worked for it. He learned that nothing is free.” – Nate Becksted, Grayson’s high school coach
Michael Bamberger: Arnie Unfiltered
On the 60th anniversary of his first appearance at the Masters, Arnold Palmer candidly refelcts in a new book on his early career, reveals how his epic U.S. Open victroy hurt him and offers some sage advice to Tiger Woods. Palmer goes unfiltered, off-script and in depth as he discusses women, winning and how he went from a working-class kid from a small town in Pennsylvania to the person we now refer to as the King with stories Palmer doesn’t often tell, and ones that certainly do not appear in his autobiography.
“Winning that first U.S. Open was an obsession, the first thing you want to do is win an Open. Then, after you win it, you have to stay aggressive, stay the way you were when you won it. And it’s difficult to do.” – Palmer