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US picks 12-man roster for basketball World Cup
NEW YORK (AP) The U.S. has picked the 12 players it believes can defend its world basketball title. The Americans kept Derrick Rose and cut All-Star Damian Lillard and three others early Saturday morning, getting their roster down to the limit for the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. Though team officials had previously said they might carry extra players when they left for Spain on Saturday, and final rosters aren't due until next Friday, the Americans decided there was no need to wait. Kyle Korver, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons also were cut, shortly after the Americans beat Puerto Rico 112-86 in their final home exhibition game. "Since taking over the USA Basketball men's national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we've gone through," USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "I can't stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. "I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent - each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing." The rest of the roster is: Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee. The Americans can still change the roster in event of injury or withdrawal before Friday, a day before the World Cup opener, which is why they originally considered bringing extra players to Spain. "We feel that it's better to go with 12 because that's really difficult on anybody if they're not going to be on the team to travel that far," coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game at Madison Square Garden. Lillard, Drummond, Hayward and DeRozan didn't play in the game, but Krzyzewski stressed afterward the final decisions on the roster hadn't been made - and it turned out two got tickets on the plane. "I'm excited about the 12 players selected and feel we have excellent versatility and the makings of a really good defensive team," Krzyzewski said. Rose came off the bench and scored six points in 14 minutes. He had sat out the previous game and a couple of practices this week after feeling soreness following last Saturday's exhibition opener against Brazil, his first action since missing most of the last two seasons after a pair of knee surgeries. But he proved he was healthy enough to make his second U.S. team, having played for the Americans when they won the former world basketball championship in 2010. "These guys want to play with him. That's part of getting back is to be around a group of peers," Krzyzewski said. Curry scored 20 points, while Harden and Gay had 13 points apiece for the Americans, who will play a final exhibition game in Spain against Slovenia and open the World Cup next Saturday against Finland. The U.S. led 52-47 after Thompson's buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of an entertaining first half before a divided crowd that included plenty of Puerto Rican fans. Knicks All-Star and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony, who is part Puerto Rican, was in the front row along with golfer Rory McIlroy and tennis star Andy Murray. The Americans lost a number of key players this summer but are still good enough to defend their world title with the roster that remains, though they are vulnerable, which Puerto Rico proved by staying right with them for 20 minutes. But they can also turn close games into blowouts in a hurry, which they did by outscoring Puerto Rico 14-2 to open the second half, with some energetic plays from Faried on both ends, to open a 66-49 lead. "The team is looking great," Puerto Rico guard Carlos Arroyo said. "A lot of young guys motivated to represent their country with a lot of pride and honor, and you've got to give respect to that." Puerto Rico's veteran backcourt of Arroyo and J.J. Barea has loads of international and NBA experience, and they didn't wilt under relentless U.S. pressure the way so many other teams do. Former Knicks forward Renaldo Balkman also started for the Puerto Ricans, who play in Group B along with regional rival Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Senegal and the Philippines. Barea scored 16 points and Arroyo had 15. "Not every game is going to be pretty when we get to Spain, so this is a good test for us and a good experience for everybody on the roster," Curry said. --- Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:33:00 +0000
Wiggins: rare No. 1 pick traded before rookie year
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The wait is almost over. The blockbuster trade that will send Kevin Love to team up with LeBron James in Cleveland will be completed on Saturday, making the Cavaliers an instant favorite in the Eastern Conference and turning Andrew Wiggins into something of an anomaly. When Wiggins is moved from the Cavs to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the deal, he will become just the second No. 1 overall draft pick to be traded without playing a game for the team that drafted him since the ABA and NBA merged in 1976. The only other time it happened was in 1993 when the Orlando Magic traded Chris Webber to the Golden State Warriors for a package headlined by Penny Hardaway. The Timberwolves will also get Anthony Bennett, the 2013 No. 1 pick, from Cleveland and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia in the three-team deal. The Sixers will get Miami's 2015 first-round pick from the Cavaliers and guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute from the Timberwolves in the trade, which cannot be announced until Saturday due to a seldom-used NBA rule that prevents draft picks from being traded until 30 days after they sign their rookie contracts. The Webber-Hardaway trade occurred on draft night, allowing both players and both teams involved to leave the venue that night with a clear picture of their respective futures. Wiggins, on the other hand, has endured a much longer, more awkward process. He suited up for the Cavaliers at the Las Vegas summer league even as the rumors of his trade started to swirl. As the summer dragged on, the 19-year-old Canadian who spent one year at the University of Kansas even wore the Cleveland colors in a rookie photo shoot at the start of August. Through it all, he side-stepped questions about where he was headed and steadfastly maintained the rumors didn't bother him. "Anywhere, any team," he said earlier this month when asked about it at a promotional appearance. "I can play anywhere." But Jayhawks coach Bill Self said that he thinks Wiggins has used the Cavaliers' decision to trade him as fuel. "I think he's handled everything great. He's excited," Self said at a basketball camp earlier this month. "I think the whole thing that's been blown out of proportion a bit is that he's been in limbo. He's known since the summer that he'd be traded. It's OK. In some ways he's looking forward to going to Minnesota." The vast majority of top picks since the merger either have never been traded or were shipped out after spending at least four seasons with the team that drafted them. Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2013 who is headed from Cleveland to Minnesota with Wiggins, is unique in his own right in getting traded after just one year with the team that drafted him. He joins Pervis Ellison, who was traded from Sacramento to Washington after his rookie season in 1990, and Webber, who was traded from Golden State to Washington after one year, as the only No. 1s to be dealt that quickly. That speaks to how highly the Cavaliers, and James in particular, think of Love. His versatility, shot-making, outlet passing and rebounding prowess will be a perfect fit for the James-led Cavaliers, just as it was when the two teamed up at the London Olympics with Team USA. Love spent his first six seasons in Minnesota and has yet to make the playoffs. That lack of success caused him to inform management this summer that he intended to opt out of his contract next July and sign with a contender, so the Wolves started to entertain offers. The Cavaliers jumped into the mix right after James decided to return home and shot to the top of the list of suitors when they decided to make Wiggins, a super-athletic, 6-foot-8 forward, available. Now that he is coming to Minnesota with the added motivation of being an outlier is just icing on the cake in the Wolves' eyes. They see two young players with the talent that made them No. 1 picks and the motivation to show the Cavaliers they shouldn't have given up on them this quickly, even if they were getting a three-time All-Star and one of the best offensive players in return. "When all this trade stuff started, I talked to Andrew and Andrew told me, `I hope I get traded,"' Self said. "And I'm like, `No you don't.' And he said, "Coach, I do. It's better for me, knowing my personality and what I need to do, to go somewhere where I'm forced to be something as opposed to going in there where they're going to be patient with me and I'm going to be a piece." --- AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed to this report. Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:10:00 +0000
Angels' Richards recovering following surgery
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards underwent surgery on Friday to repair the torn patellar tendon in his left knee. Richards tweeted a picture of himself on a hospital bed before the surgery, then used social media to announce that the procedure was finished. "I'm out. Surgery went great! Thank you everyone for your support and positive vibes. I will get through this," Richards posted on his Twitter account. Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA this year before getting hurt Wednesday while covering first base during the Angels' 8-3 win over the Boston Red Sox. He is on crutches and may rejoin the club next week in Anaheim. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that Richards' surgery "went as expected." He added that the timetable for Richards' recovery remains six to nine months. Sat, 23 Aug 2014 00:58:00 +0000
Nationals' 10-game win streak ends, Giants romp
WASHINGTON (AP) The Washington Nationals' winning streak ended at a team record-tying 10 games Friday night when rookie Joe Panik hit his first major league home run and sent the San Francisco Giants to a 10-3 romp. Panik went 4 for 5 in his first four-hit game, highlighted by his three-run shot to center field. Tim Hudson and four relievers quieted bats of the Nationals, who apparently don't have an inexhaustible supply of comeback wins and last-at-bat heroics. During their success streak, Washington had seven one-run victories, five come-from-behind wins and five walk-offs. Hudson (9-9) allowed one earned run over 5 1-3 innings for his first since win July 19. Javier Lopez, Jean Machi, Sergio Romo and Juan Gutierrez finished the job for the Giants, who have won six of eight. Doug Fister (12-4) threw six innings and uncharacteristically gave up a pair of homers - Nos. 12 and 13 allowed this season. The Nationals' winning run had become suspense baseball theater at its best, always with a happy ending for the team in red and white. The staff ERA over during the streak was 1.82, and there were regular Gatorade baths for the player who inevitably would get the game-ending hit. Manager Matt Williams found himself having to answer to a promise he made to a television network earlier this season about doing his famous Babe Ruth impersonation if his team won 10 in a row. He says he'll do it eventually, but that the middle of a pennant race is not "the proper time." Fister looked set to keep it going. He had a 1-0 lead and appeared in little danger when he retired the first two batters of the fourth. He then induced a chopper up the middle from Pablo Sandoval, but the ball bounced so high that it became an infield hit. That was enough to start the game-turning rally. Michael Morse followed with a single, and Panik put the next pitch just right of the 402-foot mark to give the Giants a 3-1 lead. Jayson Werth's solo homer led off the fourth to cut the Nationals' deficit to one, but Buster Posey matched him in the sixth to make it 4-2. Travis Ishikawa added insurance with a two-run double in the eighth, and the Giants pounded Ross Detwiler for four runs in the ninth. TRAINER'S ROOM Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) was moved from the seven-day disabled list to the 15-day DL. He hasn't played since Aug. 6. Nationals: OF Nate McLouth had surgery on the torn labrum in his right shoulder. "It went fine and it's all put back together," Williams said. The Nationals expect McLouth recover in time for spring training. UP NEXT San Francisco's Tim Lincecum (10-8, 4.48 ERA) faces Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 2.97) on Saturday in the second game of the three-game series. --- Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP Sat, 23 Aug 2014 02:47:00 +0000
AP Source: Machado 'probably' having knee surgery
BALTIMORE (AP) A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will "probably" have season-ending surgery on his injured right knee. The person spoke to the AP on Friday under condition of anonymity because there was no official confirmation of Machado's plans. A decision was expected this weekend. Yahoo! Sports first reported earlier in the day that the 22-year-old All-Star was likely done for the year. The Orioles began the day with a nine-game lead in the AL East, the biggest division margin in the majors. Machado is hitting .278 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs in 82 games. Slugger Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty also have played third base for Baltimore this year. Machado sprained his knee while taking an awkward swing against the New York Yankees on Aug. 11. He crumpled in the batter's box, limped off the field and was on crutches after the game. Last year, Machado missed the final week of the season because of an injury to his other knee. Before their 4-1 loss Friday to the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the Orioles said Machado wouldn't be ready to return when he's eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 27. Last season, Machado was an All-Star, won a Gold Glove and played in every Orioles' game until hurting his left knee. He had surgery and didn't play in a regular-season game this year until May 1. Sat, 23 Aug 2014 01:56:00 +0000
Chiefs OT Stephenson suspended for PEDs violation
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs offensive tackle Donald Stephenson was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the regular season Friday for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy, a massive blow to an already unsteady offensive line. Stephenson remains eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games, including Saturday night's contest against Minnesota. He will miss games against Tennessee, Denver, Miami and New England and be eligible to return to the active roster Sept. 30. The substance was not disclosed. The Chiefs said in a three-sentence statement that they were informed of the positive test on Friday and expressed disappointment in losing Stephenson, but declined further comment. Stephenson said in a statement issued through the NFL Players' Association that he took a medication that requires a therapeutic-use exemption and failed to properly investigate it. "The rules are strict, and without a TUE, the consequence is a four-game suspension," Stephenson said in the statement. "It is not a mistake I will ever make again. I will train extremely hard during my time away from the team and I will be ready to contribute to my team's effort to win a Super Bowl as soon as I return." Stephenson was a fill-in starter last season but was expected to anchor the right side this year, taking over for former No. 1 overall draft pick Eric Fisher as he moved back to left tackle. With perilously little depth, Stephenson's lost could result in plenty of shuffling. Jeff Allen is expected to move from left guard to right tackle, filling in for Stephenson but creating a new hole. Ricky Henry and Jeff Linkenbach, who were fighting for a backup job, are now in a race to replace at Allen at starting left guard for the first four games of the season. "We're rotating people around and we'll keep doing that," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "When we're satisfied with who the five best are we'll roll from there. I don't really care about positions right now. I just care about getting the five best out there." The Chiefs have tried several permutations through their first two preseason games, and none of them has engendered a great deal of confidence. If they haven't been hit with false start and holding penalties, they've struggled to open holes and contain the pass rush. "We don't make any excuses for them," offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "Guys just have to focus in on detail. They get in the heat of the battle and sometimes they get a little fatigued and into the game, but they still have to concentrate and understand how we're snapping the ball, when we're snapping the ball. We need to eliminate those types of penalties, the holding penalties and obviously the sacks and turnovers." The trickle-down of Stephenson's suspension could also impact the number of offensive linemen the Chiefs keep when they go through roster cuts. Teams must trim from 90 players to 75 by Tuesday afternoon, and final cuts to the 53-man roster limit are due Sept. 30. The Chiefs were already without their top wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe, for the season opener after he was suspended by the league for an incident involving marijuana last November. They've also been dealing with a rash of injuries. Inside linebacker Joe Mays sustained a wrist injury that will require surgery and is likely to keep him out for the first few weeks of the regular season, and running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and wide receiver Junior Hemingway have all been dealing with nagging injuries during training camp. --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:39:00 +0000
Manziel fined $12,000 for middle finger flip
CLEVELAND (AP) Johnny Manziel has been slapped on the finger. The NFL fined the Browns rookie quarterback $12,000 on Friday for flipping his middle finger at Washington's sideline, a person familiar with the penalty told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the ruling has not been made public. Manziel said he was reacting to incessant taunting by the Redskins during Monday night's nationally televised game when he made the gesture while running back to Cleveland's huddle. "I had words exchanged with me throughout the entirety of the game, every game, week after week," Manziel said. "I should have been smarter. It was a Monday Night Football game and the cameras were probably solidly on me, and I need to be smarter about that." Manziel has never shied away from other gestures on the field, notably the finger-rubbing "money" sign he made famous while winning the Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M. Manziel expects the trash talk to keep heading his way. "Since my name has grown bigger and people have known who I am, it just continues to go as the games continue to go on," he said following Cleveland's 24-23 loss to the Redskins. "I don't know if there is a single level of severity each game, but I know it's there and it's present every game. I just need to let it slide off my back and go to the next play. "I feel like I did a good job of holding my composure throughout the night and you have a lapse of judgment and slip up." His finger flipping didn't help his chances of winning Cleveland's starting job, which went to veteran Brian Hoyer. Browns coach Mike Pettine felt Manziel should have known better than to react to Washington's insults. He wants his high-profile rookie - and Cleveland's other players - to make mature decisions on and off the field. Pettine said the 21-year-old's behavior factored into the team's decision in naming a starter. "We talk about `Play like a Brown.' We want our guys to act like a Brown," Pettine said. "We want to be a first-class organization. We have hundreds, thousands of kids come to our training camp practices, and look up to our players. That type of behavior is unacceptable. It's something that's part of football that you have to maintain your poise and your composure, especially at that position, and he should know better than anyone that all eyes are on him." --- AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:40:00 +0000
Rodgers has 2 TDs, Packers beat Raiders 31-21
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) With a stable of running backs now complementing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers offense could be as potent as ever this season. Rodgers threw for two touchdowns, Eddie Lacy rumbled for a 1-yard score on the Packers' opening drive and prized free agent acquisition Julius Peppers recorded his first sack of the preseason in the Packers' 31-21 victory Friday night over the Oakland Raiders. The game was stopped for several minutes in the second quarter after Raiders linebacker Sio Moore was taken off the field with a neck injury. He gave a thumb-up sign while the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Moore was taken to a hospital. The Raiders also lost two other defensive starters to head injuries in cornerback Tarell Brown and linebacker Nick Roach. A first-team defense that allowed three touchdown drives in four possessions in the first two preseason games had its ups and down against Rodgers, who finished 9 of 20 for 139 yards playing into the second quarter. Matt Schaub played into the third, finishing 13 of 27 for 110 yards for Oakland. Backup Matt McGloin threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns to Brice Butler, from 19 and 28 yards. McGloin finished 10 of 17 for 118 yards. Lacy just played in the first series, but the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year had the Raiders on their heels. He finished with six rushes for 36 yards and the touchdown. Backup running back DuJuan Harris added 56 yards on 12 carries, and added 42 yards on two catches. A Raiders defense that allowed an average of 89.5 yards over the first weeks allowed 78 in the first half. The game inched along slowly by the middle of the third quarter with the Packers up by three scores and backups competing littering both lineups. The Raiders' only touchdown came on their second series of the first half after a handful of missed tackles helped Maurice Jones-Drew dart 40 yards for a score to tie it at 7. The Packers first-team defense, getting its more extensive playing time of the preseason, held Oakland scoreless from there. Besides the sack, Peppers also stood up Raiders running back Darren McFadden in traffic for a short gain around the left end. It was just the kind of big-play production coach Mike McCarthy was hoping to get from Peppers when the Packers signed the former Chicago Bear as a free agent. Green Bay did lose defensive lineman B.J. Raji to an arm injury. He remained on the sideline for much of the game with a black sleeve on his arm. The Raiders again struggled to produce under Schaub, who was signed as a free agent from the Houston Texans. Oakland had four straight three-and-outs at one point in the first half, then turned the ball over at the Packers 26 late in the second quarter after Schaub fumbled on a sack by Nick Perry. Schaub's best chance for a touchdown pass came in the third quarter, but backpedaling fullback Marcel Reese bobbled one pass away in the end zone before Jones' scoring grab was overturned. Both Jones and safety Charles Woodson got ovations when the former Packers were shown on the video boards. Jones, though, no longer has Rodgers throwing him the ball. The 2011 NFL MVP's completion rate would have been higher if not for a handful of drops. He connected on touchdowns to tight end Andrew Quarless and receiver Jordy Nelson. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL --- Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:38:00 +0000
Seahawks use big first half to rout Bears 34-6
SEATTLE (AP) Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, helping the Seattle Seahawks rout the Chicago Bears 34-6 on Friday night. Already with a defense expected to be among the best in the NFL again, Wilson and the Seahawks can only hope the offensive efficiency of the past two weeks continues into the regular season. Seattle scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, and Steven Hauschka hit a 59-yard field goal - what would be a franchise record in the regular season - on the final play of the first half. It was the ninth straight possession Seattle had scored with Wilson on the field. Jay Cutler played the first half for Chicago and was 12 of 20 for 157 yards and an interception. Sat, 23 Aug 2014 05:13:00 +0000
Smith, Vick toss TDs in Jets' 35-24 loss to Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Geno Smith and Michael Vick each threw touchdown passes with the New York Jets' starting offense, and the defense mostly shut down Eli Manning before the Giants' backups rallied for a 35-24 preseason victory Friday night. Smith was 9 of 14 for 137 yards, including a 1-yard scoring toss to rookie Jace Amaro. Vick replaced Smith to start the second half, and after a rough first series in which he was sacked and lost a fumble, he led an 11-play, 76-yard drive capped by a go-ahead 3-yard TD to Eric Decker. Vick finished 4 of 5 for 34 yards in his two series for the Jets (2-1). Manning, still adjusting to new coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense, struggled most of the way but hit Rueben Randle for a 15-yard touchdown with 5 seconds left before halftime. Manning was 12 of 21 for 139 yards for the Giants (4-0). --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:02:00 +0000
New, longer grass laid at 49ers' Levi's Stadium
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers re-sodded the field at Levi's Stadium from goal line to goal line and sideline to sideline with longer grass Friday and they expect no problems for Sunday's preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Two high school games that had been scheduled for next Friday night in the $1.2 billion venue will instead be played in October or early November, giving the field plenty of time to be prepared for a Sept. 6 soccer match between Chile and Mexico. "We're refitting, regrouping, retooling and the new field is going in," coach Jim Harbaugh said of the field. "What more can I say about it? We can count on our organization to always do things at the highest level. It's that simple. ... I'm sure the field is going to be good and playable. I think I've done well talking about grass." 49ers Chief Operating Officer Al Guido said the team, league officials and other experts and consultants are working to solve the issue and determine why the initial sod laid in April failed to hold up at least well into the regular season as was expected. There had been plans to re-sod at some point this season when it was deemed necessary. "What we knew is the sod wasn't going to hold up for an NFL game. Obviously we didn't want to do it this early," Guido said. "It's unfortunate. In the circles of the NFL world, this wasn't big news. It's big in the fact we never planned to take it up this early." Soil samples have been sent to a lab for evaluation. The new grass is 1 1/2 inches thick - and artificial turf wasn't considered. "We feel very comfortable we can maintain great grass in this climate," Guido said. "This field will be perfect Sunday." A workout that was open to the public Wednesday was cut short about an hour in and moved to the regular practice fields after players slipped. Guido said the team decided to re-sod the field and placed calls to the NFL and the Chargers. After Sunday's game, the sod will be lifted and studied again to determine whether to keep the current grass or re-sod it again immediately. "We're getting very close to the final solution," Guido said. "This will not be the longer-term solution." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:44:00 +0000
Green-Beckham to sit at OU after NCAA decision
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Dorial Green-Beckham will not be allowed to play for Oklahoma this season after the NCAA denied the school's request for a waiver that would have made the talented receiver eligible to play immediately. "The University of Oklahoma has learned that the waiver request it entered on behalf of Dorial Green-Beckham has been denied by the NCAA," the university said in a statement released Friday night. "The University accepts that decision and will continue to provide the appropriate assistance to Dorial, just as it does with other students in helping him grow personally from the many opportunities available to him at OU." Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma after being dismissed by Missouri in April after several run-ins with the law during his two years at the school. NCAA rules require players to sit out a season when they transfer from one FBS school to another, but Oklahoma requested a waiver to allow Green-Beckham to play this season on the grounds he was "run-off" the team at Missouri. Green-Beckham is a former five-star recruit from Springfield, Missouri, who was developing into one of the top receivers in the country last year as a sophomore. He caught 59 passes for 883 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. But his time at Missouri also was filled with off-field troubles. Green-Beckham was charged in October 2012 with marijuana possession, and later pleaded guilty to trespassing. He also was arrested along with two other men in January in his hometown of Springfield when police found a pound of marijuana in their car. No criminal charges have been filed in that case against Green-Beckham. The last incident was an investigation into a suspected burglary, though Green-Beckham was neither arrested nor charged. A woman accused Green-Beckham of forcing his way into her apartment and pushing her down a few stairs. Oklahoma has been criticized by some for adding the troubled star, but athletic director Joe Castiglione told The Associated Press earlier this month that the school did extensive interviews and research before making the decision. "Those that knew him on a day-to-day basis spoke highly of him and his character, even acknowledging some of the judgment errors that he might have made," Castiglione said. "We had to review far beyond the hearsay, far beyond the limited amount of information that might have come out about some of those cases." Green-Beckham could have transferred out of FBS and played immediately, but Sooners coaches decided to bring him to Norman and take a shot at getting him eligible. "In his particular case, we felt he was deserving of the chance, assuming he would accept the conditions of his enrollment and participation as a student athlete here," Castiglione said. "He's been embracing them from the day he's stepped on campus. He's been very, very appreciative of this opportunity to be a part of the university and wants to make the most out of it and change people's perceptions of him and do it in a very positive way. He's committed to making that a reality." No. 4 Oklahoma has a loaded team, but one of its few questionable spots is receiver, where the Sooners are short on proven talent. Green-Beckham had made quite an impression while practicing with the team. "He's doing good and he's learning so much," receivers coach Jay Norvell said last week. "He's very, very good at certain things and certain things are really new to him. He's learning quickly and he's a really good player. Good players just adjust and learn the new terminology, and he kind of handles it like a real veteran guy." Now the question is whether he'll ever play for the Sooners. The 6-foot-6 Green-Beckham has two years of college eligibility left, but he could also enter next year's NFL draft. Sat, 23 Aug 2014 03:56:00 +0000
Angels' Richards out for season with knee injury
BOSTON (AP) The Los Angeles Angels are going to be without Garrett Richards for a playoff run. One of the AL West leader's top starters sustained a serious knee injury, tearing his left patellar tendon Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox Richards was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA this year. It's a serious blow to the Angels, who also lost starter Tyler Skaggs to Tommy John surgery earlier this season. "You're going to be thinking of Garrett once every fifth day when he was out there," manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "You might not be able to replace that, but it doesn't mean that we're not going to be able to reach our goal as a cumulative pitching staff." General manager Jerry Dipoto said "we'll be open" about finding a deal to replace Richards in the rotation. Richards crumbled to the ground covering first base on a potential 3-6-1 doubles play against Boston. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and was flown to Los Angeles on Thursday morning, where he had an MRI. The Angels tweeted Richards will have surgery on Friday. The rehabilitation time should be six to nine months. The Angels selected the contract of left-hander Wade LeBlanc, who pitched briefly for the New York Yankees earlier this season, from Triple-A Salt Lake. Richards was placed on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster. Fri, 22 Aug 2014 03:37:00 +0000
Manziel, Browns agree he's not ready to start
BEREA, Ohio (AP) On one knee and far from the action, quarterback Johnny Manziel leaned on his orange helmet and watched. This is his new position. As Browns starter Brian Hoyer worked with Cleveland's first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills Thursday, Manziel, for now relegated to the second string, observed from the side. He took mental notes as he waited for his turn. This rookie has been no sensation. He's not ready to start. Meet Johnny Backup. Failing to make any magic happen in his first two NFL preseason games and unable to close the gap enough to beat out Hoyer, Manziel will begin the season as Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback, matching his uniform number. It's not a major surprise given he's had to learn a complex offense and he entered training camp behind Hoyer. But Manziel's inability to leap-frog Hoyer, a journeyman who has made four career starts and is coming off knee surgery, shows the jump from college to pros is gargantuan - even for Johnny Football. "Obviously I didn't want this to be the outcome," Manziel said. "But at the same time, I didn't necessarily feel I was ready, I felt like there were steps that I needed to take, and I need to take, to get better." Manziel has shown flashes, just not enough. Still, the Browns have seen promise in him, and Manziel's immense fan base now has members inside Cleveland's locker room. "We got arguably the best No. 2 in the NFL," said wide receiver Nate Burleson. "I'm a Johnny Football fan. Not only was I a fan before he got here, but now he's family because we play for the same team. I'll always be in his corner." Manziel has improved in recent weeks. He's got a much better grasp on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's playbook and its tongue-twisting verbiage; some plays contain 17 words. He's made better decisions with the ball, and he's won over some skeptical teammates with a solid work ethic and humble attitude. Trouble is, Manziel may have damaged his chances to win the starting job before camp with his well-documented partying. The photos of Manziel chugging champagne while floating on an inflatable swan, talking into a phone made of money, and rolling a dollar bill in a bathroom brought him unwanted attention. The Browns were privately concerned about Manziel's behavior and warned him about it. He obliged, but had two recent missteps: being late for a team meeting and flipping his middle finger at the Redskins' sideline Monday night on national TV. The gesture, relatively harmless compared to other things than go on during a game, may have reinforced the belief of coach Mike Pettine and his staff that Manziel wasn't prepared mentally or physically to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7. Sitting and waiting is nothing new for Manziel. He was so far behind when he got to Texas A&M that the Aggies redshirted him as a freshman. It wasn't long, though, before he was the big man on campus and quickly the biggest name in college football, a one-man scrambling highlights machine. Manziel, who has completed 14 of 27 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, said nothing has surprised him so far. "It's exactly what I thought it would be," he said. "I knew it would be a big step, a big learning process. If people would have seen me my first year at A&M they would've said no way this kid could get to where I'm at today. People don't understand that my first year-and-a-half at A&M I was terrible. "I just continued to try and get better, learn the playbook, got more comfortable around everybody, around the coaches with the system, and then good things happened for me." Pettine said there won't be a "leash" on Hoyer, who will get an opportunity to take the job and run with it. But the Browns' difficult early schedule - they'll host New Orleans and Baltimore after facing the Steelers - could make things interesting if they're 0-3 or 1-2 at the bye week. Manziel isn't the first prominent rookie to take a back seat in Year 1. He'll find his path, and knowing Manziel, it won't be a straight one. "You don't have to come in from your first day of your rookie season and play right away," he said. "There's no exact guideline to how this process works with young quarterbacks. For me, I need to continue to do what I need to do to get better as a football player, get smarter and learn more, control what I can control and everything will work out fine for me." NOTES: Pettine plans to play his starters most of the first half against St. Louis on Saturday. Pettine is also leaning toward his starters playing in the exhibition finale against Chicago. ... Pettine said WR Josh Gordon's pending NFL suspension has weighed on the Pro Bowler. "He wants to get on with it and move forward," Pettine said. "Just being in limbo for so long, it can be draining." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:17:00 +0000
Lynx's Moore wins WNBA MVP award
Maya Moore put up incredible numbers all season for Minnesota. Now she's got her first WNBA MVP award. Moore earned the league's most valuable player on Thursday, hours before the Lynx opened their Western Conference semifinals playoff series with the San Antonio Stars. "It's a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that I've put in," said Moore in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night. "I think of all the people who have helped me in my journey as a basketball player. They should be recognized with this award. It means so much to have the respect of the people who watch the game and love the game." Moore led the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 23.9 points. She set a WNBA record by scoring at least 30 points 12 times, including in four straight games. The scoring mark was the third-highest average in league history, trailing only Phoenix's Diana Taurasi's 25.3 points in 2006 and 24.1 points in 2008. Accepting the trophy roughly 90 minutes before the Lynx faced the Stars, Moore's only lament was the timing, having to talk individual honors, while trying to focus on the team goal of repeating as WNBA champs. "It's definitely awkward for me," Moore said. "I kind of jump back to Big East competition where right before the Big East tournament, awards were being handed out and it was funny, awkward timing trying to keep your mind focused on something. This is such an awesome moment that I do want to put some thought into how to best celebrate this, but it makes me think of all the help that I have." Moore received 35 of the 38 first place votes, surpassing Taurasi and Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry. Los Angeles' Candace Parker was fourth and Phoenix's Brittney Griner finished fifth. "When she was a senior in college, Geno (Auriemma) described Maya to be similar to a shark, where if you punch her in the face, she goes away. I'm really proud to say that you can't punch Maya in the face anymore," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She's going to make you pay. She's going to take the hit, she's going to get the layup. So that's been the evolution of Maya." The MVP award is the latest accolade for Moore, who won two national championships at Connecticut and was instrumental in the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak. She also won gold medals in the 2010 world championship and 2012 London Olympics. The WNBA's top draft pick in 2011, Moore finished second in voting last season before earning the finals MVP honor. "Maya is the Michael Jordan of this league," Tulsa Shock coach Fred Williams said after Moore had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists against his team in July. Moore grew up idolizing Jordan and represents his Nike brand. "When I think of Michael Jordan, I think of course of a winner, someone who is a great leader," Moore said. "He was super competitive, had a tireless work ethic. He was also great teammate who made the players around him better. It's a great compliment." --- Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:09:00 +0000
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