Hale: ‘Don’t put a ton of stock’ in Pelicans’ preseason start

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NEW ORLEANS – The countdown to the NBA regular season is on.

Though the Pelicans have played a pair of preseason games, Fox Sports reporter Jen Hale said Tuesday that the NBA preseason schedule doesn’t have much of a reflection on the 82-game regular season.

“I know the Pelicans are (winless),” Hale – the sideline reporter for Pelicans broadcasts on Fox Sports New Orleans – said at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, “but I don’t put a ton of stock in the preseason.”

Besides the duo of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, Hale has an eye on two other players – one a newcomer, one effectively a newcomer – in the preseason.

“Frank Jackson, who missed all of last season, has been really aggressive,” she said. “Also, the addition of Julius Randle is huge. He’s been playing at multiple positions but he’s also been a leader in the locker room.”

Elfrid Payton was expected to be the Pelicans’ backup point guard, but when Rajon Rondo signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, it thrust the local product into a more prominent position.

“The loss of Rondo is going to be harder to recover from than the loss of Boogie Cousins,” Hale said. “Hopefully, Elfrid can develop into that leader and into that starting position.”

Hale also covers the NFL for Fox Sports as a sideline reporter on Sunday afternoons. She has been impressed with the Saints’ bounce-back from a Week 1 home loss to win three consecutive games.

“They really seemed to have turned things around,” Hale said.

Hale noted how running back Mark Ingram met his teammates at the airport two minutes after his suspension was up at midnight Monday.

“He and Alvin (Kamara) were the last two there talking,” Hale said. “You like to see that bond, that friendship.”

A pair of second-year players besides Kamara are getting attention around the league, Hale said.

“Ryan Ramczyk has developed unbelievably,” she said. “Taysom Hill … is just everywhere. I’m really excited to see what he can do.”

Hale provided a personal moment during her speech Tuesday. Earlier this year, Hale revealed health issues she has had over the last two years.

“I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy,” Hale said. “The left side of my heart had stretched out and wasn’t pumping enough blood to my body. By the time I got diagnosed, my heart was down to 16 percent function.”

Hale had three male family members, including her father, die from heart disease.

“Please be good to your body and listen to your body,” she said. “I am so blessed that God let me have my life back. Any time I have a moment with folks, I encourage them to take their life seriously.”

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Lenny Vangilder


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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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