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Need a one-stop shop to catch up on the top sports stories big and small? Time Out For Sports airs Mondays on WFAE's "All Things Considered" and has what you need to know about everything from Charlotte-area high school football highlights to the latest updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Hornets commit to new coach and Cam Newton says he’s still an NFL starter

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The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to terms on a contract with Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson to become their next head coach and The Charlotte Observer’s Langston Wertz Jr. told WFAE’s Gwendolyn Glenn in this week’s installment of Time Out for Sports that NBA insiders are applauding the hire.

“Just from talking to NBA people and reading responses from other NBA people, I do think they got it right,” Wertz said. “So, I think he is the right guy for this right time. He's the 12th coach in Hornets history. You talked about him being a former head coach of Brooklyn. He also played overseas for more than a decade. So, I think he sees the game the way the players see the game, particularly as a point guard. He may see it the way LaMelo Ball does, but the job is tough.”

And, if Hornets fans are envious of what the Golden State Warriors have done this season, in particular player development and team defense, then Atkinson might be what they’ve been hoping for.

“Well, those are two of his strengths,” Wertz explained. “You know, you look at Golden State, look at how they develop talent out there, particularly Jordan Poole, who's, you know, borderline all-star now, but are developing players. The strength of his defense, defensive vacuum, and the strength of his Golden State obviously is really good defensively. So, I think he'll improve on that.”

Cam Newton also made some waves last week when he appeared on a podcast announcing that he believes that he is still a starting NFL quarterback. Wertz agreed.

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“He's right,” Wertz said. “He is, you know, one of the best 32 quarterbacks in America, which would, you know, make him a starter in the NFL. I think he's probably top 20. But, you know, when you bring Cam in, you're bringing in his large personality. He even talked about on the podcast. Nobody would say he's a bad teammate. I think that's correct. I think he's a leader of the guys like him. But it does create a little tension in the quarterback room because your fan base is going to say play, can't play, can't play Cam.

"And if I'm Sam Darnold, that's going to make me extremely uncomfortable and maybe make me struggle a little bit. So, I get where there might be some reticence to bring Cam into a situation, but I still believe he can be the Carolina Panthers starting quarterback. If he comes in and preseason, learns the offense is playing behind a better offensive line, has all the weapons that he needs.”

You can listen to the full Time Out for Sports conversation above. Here’s a quick look at what else Glenn and Wertz covered this week.

  • Charlotte FC Players may not have been happy about the previous coach’s tactical style.
  • One of the region’s best high school football recruits in recent memory has been suspended for his senior season.
  • Find out why some of golf's biggest names won't be in Charlotte for the Presidents Cup in September.
Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.