Mike Sorensen: Embiid or not Embiid, that is the question

Published: Sunday, June 22 2014 8:50 p.m. MDT

Kansas center Joel Embiid (21) pushes off West Virginia forward Devin Williams, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. Embiid scored 11 points in the game. Kansas defeated West Virginia 83-69. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Embiid or not Embiid, that is the question.

The foot injury to Kansas center Joel Embiid has left the teams at the top of Thursday’s NBA draft scrambling, trying to figure how serious his injury is and how much it might affect him long term.

Before the injury, Cleveland looked locked into taking the 7-footer, but after last year’s disaster with Anthony Bennett as the No. 1 pick, the Cavaliers can’t afford to take a risk.

That means Milwaukee, Philadelphia or Orlando should have an opportunity to pick Embiid, thinking he could turn out to be another Hakeem Olajuwon. If none of those teams take a chance on the big center, then it will be up to the Utah Jazz to decide if they want to select him at No. 5. They could get the next Olajuwon or they could get the next Greg Oden.

My guess is that Embiid doesn’t drop to Utah and that Orlando, which also has the No. 11 pick, will take a flyer on the injured star.

That means the Jazz will still have the same presumed players available with a choice between Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle or Marcus Smart. That is unless the aforementioned teams decide to pass on Dante Exum. If that happens, the Jazz would likely snap up the Australian point guard.

WORLD CUP SHOCKER: Local fans can relate to the disappointment of the United States’ 2-2 draw against Portugal Sunday evening when Portugal scored five minutes into second-half stoppage time with a late goal.

Stoppage-time goals have been a recurring theme for Real Salt Lake this year as the team has allowed several late goals that have resulted in draws. The club also gave up a stoppage-time goal last week in a loss to Atlanta in a U.S. Open Cup match.

REAL HERO: Martin Kaymer might have been the big story at the U.S. Open golf tournament with his large victory, but the real hero of the week was a young man named Brad Millard.

You might have missed the story of Millard, who qualified for the Open and was actually driving to the tournament with his caddy when his conscience got the better of him and he disqualified himself from the tournament.

It seems that in the sectional qualifier earlier this month, Millard thought he might have grounded his club in a bunker, which would have been a two-stroke penalty. Nobody but him saw what happened, but Millard had enough integrity that he gave up his dream of playing in the U.S. Open because he wasn’t sure if he’d inadvertently incurred a two-stroke penalty.

You wish there were more people like the 24-year-old Millard in the sports world.

EARLY MEDIA DAY: The BYU football team will hold its media day Monday, perhaps the earliest college football media day in history (last year the Cougars held it on June 26). As an independent, BYU can do whatever it wants, so it holds its media day in June, well ahead of the various conferences, who hold their media days in late July.

I’m OK with that — it gives the Cougars some early publicity, even though most sports fans are concentrating on the World Cup or the upcoming NBA draft. At least the Cougars won’t have distractions from the media until they open camp in early August.

BETTER SCHEDULE: The Utah basketball team released its 2014-15 schedule last week and it’s a huge improvement over last year’s cream-puff slate that included just one road game and only one decent home game (against BYU).

This year the Utes will take on Wichita State at home, Kansas at a neutral site and former Mountain West Conference foes BYU, San Diego State and UNLV on the road. It’s by far the best schedule of the Larry Krystkowiak era and perhaps the best in a decade.

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