first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 11, 2017 at 12:30 am Contact: [email protected] | @jtbloss By the argument’s end, one-half of a man’s white T-shirt was bloodied red. A knife stuck out of a shoulder as he sat waiting for an ambulance. A second man was hurt so badly he could barely limp away.In Detroit’s East English Village neighborhood, a few dozen pairs of eyes saw the altercation, each belonging to the 10-year-old football players practicing across the street. A young Parris Bennett was among them. Detroit made Bennett realize the world is not perfect.“It’s a place where you don’t necessarily want go back and live, but you’re proud you grew up there,” Bennett said. “A lot of trouble can find you even though you try not to (find it). And it always found me. But it made me a lot stronger.”Above Bennett’s bed, on the wall of his apartment just beyond Syracuse’s campus, hangs the street signs from the intersection of Seven Mile and Justine. It’s where he spent his childhood on Detroit’s east side. Since then, Syracuse’s (3-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) senior linebacker has outgrown an introverted shell and matured into one of college football’s most prominent defensive presences. Bennett led SU with 110 tackles last season and currently remains on pace to surpass that total this year. In the second year of head coach Dino Babers’ tenure, he’s been entrusted with more coverage duties than ever before.“I just wanted to be someone they know is there but they don’t have to worry about,” Bennett said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAndy Mendes | Digital Design EditorHis stepfather, Antonio Kimble, laid the foundation. A self-proclaimed “football fanatic,” Kimble introduced a seven-year-old Bennett to the game when he married Bennett’s mother. Kimble “wasn’t trying to be his dad,” Bennett said, but Kimble’s role as his stepson’s football coach created friction. They two interacted normally off the field but constantly clashed on it.“I was always trying to get him to focus,” Kimble said. “Because when you ain’t working, somebody else is working. He didn’t understand that at a young age.”Their conflict peaked when Bennett was 13. While his team ran disciplinary sprints at practice, those who went hard enough got to stop. Bennett, though, became fed up. He jogged. Kimble noticed. So, Kimble drove home angry, leaving Bennett and his carpool buddies on the field. It was the same field from which Bennett watched the stabbing a few years before. Bennett called his biological father for a ride.Kimble didn’t talk to Bennett that night, but gave him a lesson the next morning that, in retrospect, stretched beyond the gridiron. Kimble needed to see more effort. He wanted Bennett to want to be the best. The two still talk about football in person after every Syracuse game, as well as over the phone two or three days after, once Kimble can watch a recording at home.“You don’t put nothing in the bank,” Kimble told him, “you can’t get nothing out the bank.”Courtesy of Antonio KimbleKimble worked two jobs to help pay Bennett’s tuition at the University of Detroit Jesuit School, which Bennett attended from seventh through 12th grade. He was just one piece of a strong support system that helped guide Bennett through those years. Their family moved to the safer westside, just a few blocks from the school, when Bennett was in ninth grade. But threats still loomed.Walking to practice one afternoon, Bennett noticed two men on the corner approach him. One came closer, flashed a gun and demanded his phone. Bennett handed it over. They asked for more, but he lied and said he only had clothes in his backpack. They let him go.“I never thought the feeling I’d have when a gun came to chest would be more anger than fear,” Bennett said. “I felt like they caught me out here basically not aware of my surroundings.”When Bennett got to school, he alerted authorities. His mother came and offered to take him home. He refused. He wanted to practice. That same mentality of letting nothing sidetrack him translated toward the playing field, his teammate and friend Dillon Dixon said.It was Bennett’s team, said head coach Oscar Olejniczak. Jesuit’s football program had not been to the playoffs in more than a decade. In his senior year, Bennett led the Cubs to a district championship.Alexandra Moreo | Photo EditorBennett did whatever he was told, Olejniczak said, playing wide receiver even though he was a natural linebacker. He did not miss a summer practice. When his shoulder sustained nerve damage early in a rivalry game against Catholic Central, he didn’t tell anyone. Bennett missed a tackle, and his coach thought something was wrong, but Bennett denied he was in pain and refused to leave the game.“He wasn’t a real rah-rah guy, but when he spoke, everybody listened,” Olejniczak said.Teammates, coaches and family all say the same thing of Bennett: he’s “quiet.” You wouldn’t know he’s home unless you sought a conversation with him, Kimble said. His roommate of four years at SU, fellow senior linebacker Jonathan Thomas, still doesn’t know Bennett’s favorite color.Ironically, it was a conversation that got the quiet kid from Detroit to Syracuse. Former linebacker Cameron Lynch hosted Bennett on an unofficial visit. They played video games at Lynch’s house. They talked about the program, facilities, coaching changes and how Lynch came close to leaving the school. The relationships, like the one with Lynch, made Bennett confident in letting SU be his only official visit.As a freshman, Bennett logged just four tackles in eight games. Former SU offensive lineman Rob Trudo often blocked Bennett on scout defense and recalled his ability to take a hit and get right back up.“He was a big reason why we got better,” Trudo said. “Us older guys talked about the guys who were going to be players when they got older. Parris was definitely one of those names.”During his breakout junior year, as Bennett started recording double-digit tackles almost every game, he realized something had to change. Gone were the days of just being another outside linebacker. He had to speak up.“I’ve always just wanted to do my job, stay low,” Bennett said. “I’ve never wanted to be the front or face of anything.“But at the same time, doing my job is also helping others do theirs.”Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorAt first it was hard, Bennett said. He learned to answer questions from the underclassmen. Senior middle linebacker Zaire Franklin, Bennett’s best friend, who is the first three-time captain SU has seen since 1945, helped him become more vocal. The difference has been so apparent that, at times, Bennett has even checked Franklin.“Even though people respect me and they’ll listen to me, sometimes it’s like, ‘Ah, well, that’s just Zaire,’” Franklin said. “But when you got a guy like Parris who doesn’t really say too much…when he speaks up it just means that much more.”The linebacking corps of Bennett, Franklin and Thomas comprises the Orange’s top three tacklers. Yet Bennett knows he has six or seven games left with them.“It sucks,” he said.But he also knows NFL scouts have asked SU coaches about him. The league enters his mind every day, although he doesn’t discuss it much with family. Bennett says he just needs a camp invite to land on a 53-man roster.The once-quiet kid from Detroit has overcome a lot to become a star linebacker at Syracuse. And those memories of his city stick with him as much as they define him.“My pride is that I’m from there,” Bennett said. “I’m from the place that made me tough.” Commentslast_img read more

first_imgThe Lakers wanted to see him on the court again, too, albeit with his minutes restricted.Asked where he could help, Walton said “everywhere” without hesitation.The Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the week, but they haven’t gone into tank mode. Walton said he would like to see improved defense and offense from them as they count down to their regular-season finale April 11 against the Clippers.Naturally, Ingram is a central figure in Walton’s plans for the stretch run.“He helps us in every aspect of the game,” said Walton, who turned 38 on Wednesday.In fact, the Lakers were 5-7 with Ingram sidelined, after he was injured during a collision during their victory March 1 at Miami. Overall, they are 33-41 record, the most victories they have had in a season since winning 45 in 2012-13, the last time they made the playoffs.Ingram is averaging 16.2 points, tied with Randle for the team lead.“I got a little rust off tonight,” Ingram said at game’s end. “I was just trying to be aggressive. I’ve got to slow down a little bit. I was anxious to get out there. I was anxious to play with the guys. I feel good physically. I was throwing temper tantrums every time I came out of the game.”Ingram and the Lakers had their moments against the Mavericks.“He looked good,” Walton said. “He really did. It was nice having him out there. I thought his timing was a little off in the first half, but by the second half he was good. He was still good in the first half, but fumbled a couple of balls and missed a couple of rotations.“That will come back the more he plays, but it was nice to have him back on the court.”The Lakers trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, but rallied without the injured Ball for an 82-81 lead going into the fourth. Walton played his starters during crunch time, but Dallas coach Rick Carlisle went with his second unit as the Lakers’ lead grew to as many as 10 points.Brook Lopez scored 22 points for the Lakers, Randle added 20 and Kyle Kuzma had 18.Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 17, Dennis Smith Jr. added 14 and Dirk Nowitzki scored 13. None of the Dallas starters played in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers outscored the Mavericks 21-12 and limited them to only 22.2 percent shooting (4 for 18).“Obviously, it was nice that Brandon was back today because we played him at the point down the stretch, which he’s done for us through this year whenever ‘Zo’ has been hurt,” Walton said, referring to Ball, who sat out 16 games earlier this season with a sprained left knee. PreviousLos Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) heads for the basket past Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) shoots past Dallas Mavericks forward Doug McDermott (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Dallas Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell (11) attempts a shot as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez (11) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Lakers guard Brandon Ingram (14) dunks in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) shoots as Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers guard Brandon Ingram (14) fouls Dallas Mavericks forward/center Dwight Powell (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) fouls Dallas Mavericks guard Kyle Collinsworth (8) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, left, is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Aaron Harrison (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)The Lakers’ Brandon Ingram drives around a pick from teammate Ivica Zubac on his way to the basket during the first half of Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) drives past Dallas Mavericks’ Nerlens Noel (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle shouts during the second half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Lakers in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez (11) blocks a shot by Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (1) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton discusses a foul called against guard Brandon Ingram (14) with referee Jason Phillips during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) heads for the basket past Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) shoots past Dallas Mavericks forward Doug McDermott (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)NextShow Caption1 of 13Los Angeles Lakers guard Alex Caruso (4) shoots past Dallas Mavericks forward Doug McDermott (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The Lakers won 103-93. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)ExpandLOS ANGELES — Brandon Ingram cut toward the basket a little less than a minute into his first game in nearly a month on Wednesday at Staples Center. He accepted a pass from Lakers teammate Julius Randle from the right wing, rose above the rim and dunked.If it could have been that effortless for Ingram and the Lakers from start to finish of their 2017-18 season, then maybe they would be jockeying for playoff position in the regular season’s final games instead of preparing for a month-long vacation starting April 12.Ingram returned to the Lakers’ starting lineup after a 12-game absence because of a groin injury and scored 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes in a 103-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.The Lakers finished the game without Lonzo Ball, who suffered a bruise to the back of his left knee during a third-quarter collision. It wasn’t immediately certain whether the rookie guard would be available to play in Friday’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersCoach Luke Walton said an MRI exam was scheduled for Thursday “just to be safe.”“I just got kneed in the back (of the leg) on a backscreen (by a Dallas player) and, unfortunately, couldn’t finish the game,” Ball said when asked to describe what happened when he was hurt. “I think it’s just a bruise to the back of my leg. It should be OK. It’s like a dead leg.”Walton said before the game he was happy to have Ingram sound again and available to play because then he wouldn’t have to play Ball “45 minutes a game,” a significant exaggeration. Ball averaged 34.4 minutes going into Wednesday.In fact, the easy play would have been to hold out Ingram until the season ended, allowing him a chance to rest, recover and regroup for next season. He joked before making his return that he was “mentally 100 percent,” but wouldn’t give a percentage for his physical well being.Ingram just wanted to play again, even it was for nine meaningless games to end the season.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more