Olympic hero Maddie Rooney on inspiring young athletes, meeting celebrities: ‘It hasn’t hit me yet’

A month ago, meeting Ellen and getting a standing ovation at an NHL outdoor game weren’t on her mind, either. Now they’re the new normal for Maddie Rooney. So are the fans who ask for selfies with her, the pro athletes who laud her achievements and the young players who tell her she has become their inspiration — even if Rooney still can’t fathom it.

“I don’t see myself as that yet. It hasn’t hit me, really,” she says. “But it would be awesome if I could be as nice to someone as the older players were to me when I was younger.”

But you are an inspiration. But you beat Canada. You won gold.

Bridges’ defense isn’t just centered around creating events. He has quick feet and can change directions well with his hips, allowing him to mirror a ball-handler. He also fights through screens off the ball while possessing the length to still contest shots if he gets briefly caught on them. He understands rotations and communication as well, a product of playing in a Villanova system that takes plenty of chances and requires help rotations with regularity.

If nothing else, Bridges should earn a rotation spot on an NBA team as a multi-positional defender. His path to being a starter hinges on his jump shot.

Whie Walton said he expects Ball will travel with the Lakers on an upcoming five-game, 11-day road trip beginning Friday against the Bulls, he doesn’t want to rush the rookie guard back into action.

“Whether he plays or not [on the trip], that all depends on the knee,” Walton said. “We are not going to rush him back from a sore knee. Once that gets better, we will get him back on the court.”

Tyler Ennis has made six starts at the point this year in Ball’s absence. Backup Alex Caruso had nine points, eight assists and four rebounds in the win against the Knicks, but Walton seemed to be leaning against giving him a start.

“He’d be an option” but “I don’t think I’ll try it,” Walton said (via Lakers beat writer Ryan Ward.

Ball is averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 assists, 7.1 rebounds in his rookie campaign.packers_156