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National Western Stock Show ends with smaller crowds amid pandemic

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National Western Stock Show ends with smaller crowds amid pandemic

More than a hundred thousand people stayed away from the National Western Stock Show this year when the 16-day event returned to Denver as the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 swept through the state.

About 586,000 people visited the 116th National Western Stock Show, which ended Sunday. That’s down about 18% from pre-pandemic attendance, spokeswoman Karen Woods said in a news release.

Last year’s show was canceled because of the pandemic. The stock show in 2020 drew about 708,000 attendees, and the event saw just over 700,000 people attend the two years before that.

The annual attraction in north Denver includes livestock auctions, horse shows and rodeos, as well as hundreds of booths at an indoor trade show. The show saw its highest-ever attendance during its 100th anniversary in 2006, when about 726,000 people visited.

“Today we are grateful to have hosted this epic event,” National Western president and CEO Paul Andrews said in a statement Sunday. “We are blown away by the support and outreach from the nearly 600,000 guests who came back to celebrate the western lifestyle that is so important to so many.”

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After Magic win NBA draft lottery, could former Minnehaha Academy teammates Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren reunite in Orlando?

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The Magic contingent, from left to right, Cole DeVos, Joel Glass, Alex Martins, Jamahl Mosley, Jeff Weltman and John Hammond, are all smiles after winning the No. 1 pick Tuesday night in Chicago (Khobi Price)

Chet Holmgren sat in a packed Minnehaha Academy gym 13 months ago and announced his commitment to Gonzaga. That was where his good friend and longtime teammate Jalen Suggs had just wrapped his freshman year of college. Yet Holmgren knew the two players would not be teammates in Spokane, Wash.

Because hours later, Suggs announced his decision to turn pro.

“As much as I’ve enjoyed playing with him in the past and want to in the future, he has a really big opportunity in front of him, and I don’t think I would let him turn that down,” Holmgren said. “I’d love to play with him again, but maybe that ends up being in the NBA in a couple years. Who knows? That’s the plan.”

And, after Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery results, that plan could soon become reality.

Orlando selected Suggs with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 draft. On Tuesday, the ping pong balls bounced the Magic’s way, giving Orlando the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft.

After a standout freshman season at Gonzaga, Holmgren is considered perhaps the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall. Orlando could reunite the Minnehaha Academy teammates.

The Magic contingent, from left to right, Cole DeVos, Joel Glass, Alex Martins, Jamahl Mosley, Jeff Weltman and John Hammond, are all smiles after winning the No. 1 pick Tuesday night in Chicago (Khobi Price)

Holmgren and Suggs are good friends who have played together since they were in middle school. They competed together not only for the Redhawks, but for their Grassroots Sizzle AAU team.

They paired together for three Minnesota high school state titles, and could soon be chasing similar success at the NBA level, with Suggs again tossing alley oops up to the 7-foot center.

The ball is in the Magic’s court.

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Luck not on Knicks’ side – again – as they fail to move up in NBA draft lottery, will pick 11th

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Luck not on Knicks’ side – again – as they fail to move up in NBA draft lottery, will pick 11th

Lottery luck still alludes the Knicks.

The franchise will pick 11th, the spot they were slotted before Tuesday’s draft lottery drawing, failing to move up for a depressing 18th consecutive time in the lottery. It’s a streak that started after the Knicks won the Patrick Ewing sweepstakes in 1985.

The Orlando Magic won the lottery. The Knicks entered the drawing with a 9.4% chance of cracking the top-4.

The 2022 draft class is considered top heavy with four top prospects – Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Duke’s Paolo Banchero and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey – now out of Leon Rose’s range. At No. 11, the Knicks’ options are difficult to predict five weeks before the draft (although we take a stab below). They could also trade the pick and have been linked to Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, who would cost Rose’s entire asset chest to get out of Utah.

The Knicks were represented at the lottery dais by team executive William Wesley, AKA ‘Worldwide Wes,’ who took a front-and-center role in Chicago after a career out of the spotlight as a backroom operator.

Developing a mythical status as a power broker and even referenced in songs by Drake and Jay-Z, Wesley has never spoken publicly on camera. Whether intended or not, Wesley’s presence served as a reminder (or introduction) of his connection to the Knicks, even though people around the league doubt the 57-year-old carries much sway with today’s players.

Wesley, whose official role is Executive Vice President, nodded in approval when NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announced the Knicks at No. 11.

Wesley’s rise as a networker spanned relationships with Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and the 2004 champion Detroit Pistons, but that was many years ago – before Wesley’s falling out with LeBron James over a decade ago — and he has yet to transfer his connections into a star arriving at MSG.

In the secret and enclosed drawing room Tuesday, where the Ping Pong balls were pulled, the Knicks were represented by executive Brock Aller, the team’s number cruncher and asset manager.

It wasn’t a lucky combination. Tuesday represented the 11th time the Knicks stayed in their lottery slot. They’ve fallen back 10 times.

The Knicks’ participation in the lottery Tuesday, a year after they climbed to the fourth seed in the East, was the result of a disappointing campaign stoked by the regression of Julius Randle.

They fell to 11th in the East with a 37-45 record, one spot of out of the play-in tournament, but the progression of the youngsters, especially RJ Barrett, provided hope about the direction.

The draft has thus far been the highlight of Leon Rose’s tenure. They’ve used first-round picks on Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes.

FOUR PLAYERS THE KNICKS COULD DRAFT AT NO. 11

Jaden Duren

SCHOOL: Memphis

AGE: 18

HEIGHT: 6-10

STATS LAST SEASON: 11.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks

With Mitchell Robinson entering unrestricted free agency and Nerlens Noel proving unreliable, the Knicks could use another rim-protecting presence to develop alongside Jericho Sims. Duren is young with the upside of an premier athlete. He just can’t shoot.

Dyson Daniels

LAST TEAM: G-League Ignite

AGE: 19

HEIGHT: 6-6

STATS LAST SEASON: 11.3 points, 4.4 assists, 25.5% shooting

Projected as a two-guard in the NBA, Daniels draft position will rely heavily on the pre-draft process and workouts. He’s a well-rounded player with a high IQ but those shooting numbers were unimpressive last season in the G League.

Bennedict Mathurin

COLLEGE: Arizona

AGE: 20

HEIGHT: 6-6

STATS LAST SEASON: 17.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 36.9% shooting

A scorer and strong shooter who can create for himself off the dribble, which the Knicks are missing in their backcourt. He’ll run with the athletic second unit but requires improvement defensively.

Johnny Davis

COLLEGE: Wisconsin

AGE: 20

HEIGHT: 6-5

STATS LAST SEASON: 20 points, 8.1 rebounds, 30.9% 3-point shooting

Another off-ball guard option who is a two-way threat and would be a Tom Thibodeau favorite because of his defensive intensity. The negatives are Davis’ athleticism and sporadic outside shot. But he’ll figure out ways to score.

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Ramsey County attorney: Officers justified in fatal shooting of armed Mounds View carjacking suspect

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Ramsey County attorney: Officers justified in fatal shooting of armed Mounds View carjacking suspect

Police officers who shot and killed an armed carjacking suspect inside a Mounds View liquor store in November were justified in using deadly force, the Ramsey County attorney’s office announced Tuesday.

An investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found that 21-year-old Noah Douglas Kelley was pointing a handgun at police when two officers fatally shot him at Merwin Liquors on the evening of Nov. 28, 2021.

No criminal charges will be filed against Officer John Thomas of the New Brighton Police Department or Sgt. Michael Hanson of the Mounds View Police Department, both of whom fired their weapons during the incident.

Police were pursuing Kelley after he carjacked a man in an SUV outside an Aldi grocery store at Mounds View Boulevard and Long Lake Road, forcing the driver at gunpoint to take him across a parking lot to the liquor store where he was shot.

Kelley, who lived nearby, left his apartment on foot that evening after an argument with his fiancee, the BCA report said. He was intoxicated after spending the day drinking and smoking marijuana. A toxicology report found his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.191 — more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Kelley walked to the Aldi, where he encountered the driver of the SUV, who was waiting in the vehicle with his 3-year-old son while his wife and another child were inside shopping.

After forcing his way into the SUV, Kelley pointed his pistol at the man’s son and ordered the man to drive him to Merwin Liquors, which is in the same strip mall as the Aldi, the BCA report said.

Once outside the liquor store, Kelley exited the vehicle and the man in the SUV drove back to Aldi and called police.

Meanwhile, Kelley fired two shots through the liquor store’s front door, forced his way inside and assaulted its lone employee, who was eventually able to leave the store and call 911.

Police arrived about 7:10 p.m. and were told Kelley was still inside and armed with a handgun. When four officers entered the store and announced themselves, they were confronted by Kelley, who was holding the gun with both hands and pointing it at the officers, according to the BCA report.

After Kelley did not comply with commands to drop the gun, Hanson and Thomas shot him, the report said.

The officers provided first aid until paramedics arrived, but a gunshot wound to Kelley’s neck was fatal, according to a report by the Hennepin County medical examiner.

A .380-caliber pistol was found next to Kelley’s body.

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