Freshman leaves Oklahoma for NBA
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma star freshman Trae Young is leaving for the NBA after a standout season.
The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists this season, and many projections have him going early in the first round. He posted the reasons for his decision on ESPN early today, saying he was ready to put in the work needed to play in the NBA.
Young ended the regular season as the national leader in both scoring and assists. He closed the season with 28 points and seven assists in Oklahoma’s 83-78 overtime loss to Rhode Island in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bamba leaving for NBA
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas freshman forward Mohamed Bamba is leaving school for the NBA.
Bamba was ranked among the top recruits in the country when he signed with the Longhorns and was considered a likely one-and-done college player. He made his announcement Tuesday.
Bamba is listed as 6-foot-11 with a wingspan of 7-9. He averaged 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds. He also set a Texas season record for blocks with 111 in 30 games as Texas when 19-15 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after missing the tournament last season. His rebounding and blocks led the Big 12.
Bamba was hampered late in the season by a sprained toe on his left foot.
Hardaway to coach at alma mater
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Penny Hardaway is Memphis’ new men’s basketball coach and school officials hope he can rejuvenate the program at his alma mater.
Hardaway is a former NBA player who starred at Memphis in the early 1990s. He replaces Tubby Smith, who was fired Wednesday after two seasons as the Tigers coach. Smith’s tenure with Memphis fell short of expectations on the court and didn’t draw fan interest — a combination that led to decreased attendance and diminishing donations.
Smith went 40-26 but failed to reach the postseason. Attendance this season dropped to its lowest level in 48 years.
The university owes Smith almost $10 million after buying out the final three years of his contract.
Hardaway has no college coaching experience but just led East High in Memphis to a third straight Tennessee Class AAA state title.
Storm forces West Virginia to travel early — again
UNDATED (AP) — For the second straight year, a major winter storm has scrambled West Virginia’s travel plans for the NCAA Tournament.
About 20 hours after arriving back on campus from the West Coast, the Mountaineers left to begin preparations for Friday’s Sweet 16 appearance in Boston against Villanova.
The Mountaineers had returned Monday night from a 2,500-mile trip to San Diego, only to find out a few hours later they’d be leaving a day early for the regional semifinals. The storm was already churning through West Virginia today and was heading toward New England, where up to a foot of snow was expected.
Last March, the Mountaineers left a day early on a bus ahead of a snowstorm rather than risk flight delays to Buffalo, New York.
Turner’s broken wrist should heal without surgery
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers say Justin Turner’s broken left wrist is expected to heal without surgery. Manager Dave Roberts says it’s just a matter of giving it time to heal.
Turner was hurt yesterday when he was hit by a pitch from Oakland’s Kendall Graveman in a spring training game.
Turner hit .322 with 21 homers and 71 RBIs last year and was a first-time All-Star.
He arrived at the Dodgers spring training facility with a cast over his wrist this morning and was scheduled to see a hand specialist for an estimate of the time he could miss.
The Dodgers appear poised to move Logan Forsythe from second base to third in Turner’s absence and have Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley share time at second. Backup catcher Austin Barnes also could see time at second base.
Blue Jays name veteran Happ to start
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — J.A. Happ has been picked to start opening day for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Manager John Gibbons says the 35-year-old left-hander will face the New York Yankees and right-hander Luis Severino on March 29. Happ went 10-11 with a 3.53 ERA in 25 starts last season.
He will face a Yankees lineup that could see Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez hit 2-3-4.
Entering spring training, Marcus Stroman was expected to get the opening day assignment, but he was slowed by right shoulder inflammation. Stroman will start the finale of the four-game series against the Yankees.
Aaron Sanchez will start the second game, followed by Marco Estrada. Jaime Garcia will be the Blue Jays’ fifth starter.
Jaguars tight end Lewis says he’s been released
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis says he has been released after 12 seasons with the team.
Lewis told The Associated Press he got the news from his agent and feels “disrespected” by the timing of the move. It came a week after free agency began.
He says, “I wish they would have done it sooner. I think I deserved a little better than this.”
The Jaguars picked up an option in Lewis’ contract last month that would have paid him $3.5 million in 2018. The Jaguars also released receiver Allen Hurns on Tuesday to save another $7 million in 2018.
The 33-year-old Lewis, a first-round draft pick in 2006, had been the longest-tenured player on the team. Lewis has played in 170 games. His 375 receptions and 4,502 yards receiving both rank third in team history. His 33 receiving touchdowns are second-most in franchise history, trailing only Jimmy Smith (67).
Steelers sign safety Burnett
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers have started their overhaul in the secondary, signing free agent safety Morgan Burnett to a three-year deal.
The deal, announced today is pending Burnett passing a physical. Financial terms were not released.
The 29-year-old Burnett has played all eight seasons of his NFL career in Green Bay, collecting 683 tackles, 44 passes defensed, nine interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries during his time with the Packers. Burnett started 102 games for Green Bay and won a Super Bowl ring in 2011, when the Packers beat Pittsburgh.
The Steelers are revamping their secondary this offseason. The defending AFC North champions cut safeties Mike Mitchell and Rob Golden last week. Pittsburgh also released veteran cornerback William Gay. Burnett’s signing is the second by Pittsburgh during free agency. The Steelers signed inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year deal over the weekend.
Colts sign free agent receiver
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts have signed free agent receiver Ryan Grant.
Grant spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Washington Redskins. In 64 career games, he made 15 starts, caught 84 passes for 985 yards with six touchdowns.
Last year, the 6-foot, 204-pound Grant finished with 45 receptions, 573 yards and four TDs.
He’s the second player Indy has signed in less than 24 hours and the third signing the Colts have made over the past week. Indy had previously added defensive lineman Denico Autry and tight end Eric Ebron.
Grant was a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft. He played in college at Tulane.
Bills agree to re-sign linebacker Humber
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have agreed to re-sign linebacker Ramon Humber to a one-year contract.
Humber returns for a third season in Buffalo after starting a career-high nine games last year. He has nine seasons of NFL experience and signed with Buffalo in 2016 to serve in mostly a special teams role.
Last year, the 30-year-old was credited with 83 tackles, including 12 in a season-opening win over the New York Jets. He also had one sack and forced a fumble while playing about 50 percent of the defensive snaps over 13 games.
Humber’s playing time decreased over the season with 2017 fifth-round draft pick, Matt Milano, taking over the starting job.
Buffalo still has an opening at starting middle linebacker after Preston Brown signed with Cincinnati last weekend.
Putin seeks changes in doping rules
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his country’s diplomats to seek changes to international doping rules in the wake of the nation’s drug scandals.
Putin says the Foreign Ministry should try to alter the key treaty underpinning anti-doping work worldwide. He adds Russian diplomats working with UNESCO should aim to “refine” the existing International Convention against Doping in Sport so that “the rules are fair and absolutely transparent.”
The treaty is the basis for the global drug-testing system led by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which has accused Russia of running a state-sponsored doping program in dozens of sports.
The Russian government says it and its athletes have unfairly been maligned.