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Saturday Sports: Caitlin Clark's last game, college basketball injuries, NFL scouting


** And now it's time for sports.


SIMON: College hoops' Caitlin Clark going pro. Should celebrating fans just, you know, like, stay in their seats? And top NFL prospects show their stuff. ESPN's Michele Steele joins us. Michele, thanks so much for being with us.

MICHELE STEELE: Thanks, Scott. Great to be here.

SIMON: Caitlin Clark, Iowa Hawkeyes, says she's going to forgo her final year of eligibility in college. She's going to declare for the WNBA draft - plays her final college home game tomorrow against Ohio State - not that I can afford to go.

STEELE: (Laughter).

SIMON: It's a poignant day, isn't it?

STEELE: Yeah. I mean, this is the talk of Iowa City, Scott. And she's a household name, so it's a big national story. If you want to see her final regular season home game in Iowa, you are going to have to shell out here. I just checked this morning. The get-in price is $417. That's going to be the most expensive price ever for a women's game in college or the pros. And here's why - you might see history. She's the top scorer in women's basketball.

SIMON: Yeah.

STEELE: She holds a single season record for threes. And she's only 18 points away from Pistol Pete Maravich's all-time NCAA scoring mark.

SIMON: Yeah.

STEELE: But if you can't get into the game tomorrow night, you won't have to drive too far - at least Iowa fans won't have to - to see her in the WNBA, likely going to the Indiana Fever next season as they hold the top pick in the draft.

SIMON: Ah. I have to ask you about another college basketball controversy. Injuries are piling up because of court storming.


SIMON: Caitlin Clark, in fact, collided with an Ohio State fan. Kyle Filipowski of Duke got hurt - wave of fans rushed out of the court in celebration. I mean, what do we need, baby seats for fans? Just strap them in. Would...

STEELE: Yeah. Yeah, seatbelts...

SIMON: Do you think court storming...

STEELE: ...Maybe.

SIMON: Do you think court storming will be over?

STEELE: You know, no. A lot of people feel court storming is just part of the game. But you're right, a lot of these players are getting - not a lot, but a few prominent players are getting injured. And some real big-time college coaches are calling for bans on court storming, including Duke's...

SIMON: Yeah.

STEELE: ...Jon Scheyer and Bill Self from Kansas as well. You know, Bill Self says he tries to prep his players if fans might run onto the court by having them, you know, hover near the sideline at the end of games. There's one athletic director here, Alabama's Greg Byrd. Scott, he thinks teams should have to forfeit the game if their fans storm the court.


STEELE: I really don't see that happening. But clearly having a plan in place is something that more schools and conferences are going to be preparing for as we wind down the regular season here in college.

SIMON: NFL Scouting Combine is underway. The best players are going to spend the weekend being poked, prodded, measured, interviewed by NFL teams. The Chicago Bears have the first pick. And, boy, they really need it (laughter).

STEELE: I'd say - they haven't had a franchise quarterback since Sid Luckman, Scott. And it's been - I'm doing the math quickly - I think 90 years.

SIMON: Well, some of us hold a torch for, you know, Jim McMahon. But I know what you mean. Yeah, he was a lot of fun. So you think Caleb Williams, the Heisman winner?

STEELE: Well, he was the big headliner at the Combine this week, for sure - reporters jostling to get a question with him. He's a quarterback from USC, and the consensus here is that the Bears are going to pick Caleb Williams with that No. 1 overall pick and trade their current starter, Justin Fields. He told ESPN, Scott, that he'd be very excited about playing in Chicago and that he loves deep-dish pizza.

SIMON: Well, I...

STEELE: That's a direct quote.

SIMON: He's playing to the home team there...

STEELE: Big time.

SIMON: ...Chicago dogs too. However, let's say 46-year-olds showed some promise too, didn't they?

STEELE: (Laughter) Yeah. There's not many things that you can ding Tom Brady about, but he actually beat his 40-yard dash time. He was very slow with the Combine in the year 2000. And he beat that time this week.

SIMON: All right.

STEELE: Good for him.

SIMON: Thanks very much, Michele Steele of ESPN. Talk to you soon.


(SOUNDBITE OF KEV BROWN SONG, "ALBANY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.