Iowa's Garza enters draft, keeps college eligibility for now
UNDATED (AP) — Iowa’s Luka Garza and Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr. head the latest cluster of college basketball players who are testing their potential value in the upcoming NBA draft.
Garza has announced he’ll enter the draft process without an agent so he can maintain his college eligibility. The All-America center was runner-up to Dayton’s Obi Toppin (OH’-bee TAH’-pihn) for Associated Press national player of the year after becoming the first Big Ten player in 26 years to average at least 26 points per game in conference play.
Garza scored a school-record 740 points this season, breaking the program’s 50-year old record.
Carey Jr. is entering the NBA draft after being named the ACC’s player of the year and newcomer of the year by The Associated Press. He had been considered a likely one-and-done prospect and projected first-round pick.
Carey averaged team highs of 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while shooting 57.7% as a physical inside presence.
Creighton guard Ty-Shon Alexander declared for the draft with the option to return to school for his final season of eligibility. Alexander was named to the All-Big East first team after leading the Bluejays with 16.9 points per game. He said Friday he would go through the evaluation process by league executives to determine if he should stay in the June 25 draft or withdrawal by the May 29 deadline.
Josh Green is the latest Arizona freshman to declare for the draft, joining Nico Mannion and Zeke Nnaji in leaving early. The Australian-born Green is projected to be a first-round pick after averaging 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists during his lone season with the Wildcats. The athletic, 6-foot-6 guard grew up in Sydney before his family moved to Phoenix.
Nationals report 1 positive test, not a player
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says a non-playing team employee tested positive for the coronavirus and is “on the road to getting better.”
Rizzo says no players for the reigning World Series champions have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point and so no one has been tested. He said the team’s medical staff checks in each day with every player and staff member.
Rizzo said the ailing employee was at the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and now is home after his quarantine ended. Rizzo said the employee is fever-free and symptom-free.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The chief executive of the Tokyo Games says he can’t guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year because the coronavirus continues to spread in Japan. The country issued an emergency declaration this week to battle the virus. Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto says “I don’t think anyone would be able to say if it is going to be possible to get it under control by next July or not. We certainly are not in a position to give you a clear answer." The Olympics were postponed last month with a new opening set for July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24.
— The U.S. Olympic swimming trials have been rescheduled for June 13-20, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska. The trials were initially scheduled for June 21-28 and are the sole qualifier for U.S. Olympic team, with the top two finishers in each event earning a trip to Tokyo. The original 15-session, eight-day schedule will remain for the rescheduled trials.
— Florida State offensive lineman Andrew Boselli says he and his famous father are both recovering from COVID-19. The son of former NFL lineman Tony Boselli writes on Florida State’s athletic department website that he dealt with the worst of the virus for about three days. The Seminoles lineman wrote he "spent days feeling miserable” and his healthy 47-year-old father with no underlying health conditions “spent three days in the intensive care unit.” Tony Boselli is now back home.
— The XFL has suspended operations and laid off its employees. Employees were told of the layoffs Friday during an in-house conference call. The upstart league backed by WWE canceled the remainder of its season last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but promised to be back in 2021. The moves have left the league's future in doubt. The XFL has eight franchises and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule.
— Blake Snell, Juan Soto and Bo Bichette are among the baseball stars switching over to PlayStation with America's pastime on hold. One player from each of the 30 major league teams has signed on to play a round-robin regular season on the MLB The Show video game with the real season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Snell, a Cy Young Award winner with Tampa Bay, will face Cincinnati reliever Amir Garrett in the opener Friday night. That matchup will air on Snell's Twitch feed, and other games will be streamed via Twitch and YouTube with MLB Network host Robert Flores providing commentary.
— New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (SOO’-ban) and the NHL are bringing something new to television Saturday for fans dealing with the isolation and hardships caused by the coronavirus outbreak. It's NHL Hat Trick Trivia. Subban is the host of the weekly 30-minute show in which contestants will answer up to three hockey trivia questions for prizes, the top one being two tickets to any game next season. Everything is filmed remotely with Subban hosting the show from his living room in Los Angeles, in the house he shares with fiancee and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn. Contestants are filmed at their homes and there is a guest player every week.
— Basketball’s Sabrina Ionescu, soccer’s Carli Lloyd and swimming’s Katie Ledecky are among the athletes who will help young girls and women stay mentally and physically fit during the coronavirus pandemic. The Women’s Sports Foundation and Yahoo Sports are launching #WeKeepPlaying, a live-stream event on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. They’ll join tennis great Billie Jean King and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking questions from young athletes and providing tips on resilience and training. Sports broadcaster Cari Champion will moderate the hour discussion, streamed on YahooSports.com.
— The defending soccer champions in Belarus have started putting mannequins in the stands as fans stay away from stadiums because of the coronavirus. Dynamo Brest has been selling “virtual tickets” to games. Those give foreign fans the right to have a mannequin with a cut-out photo attached. It comes as fans at many clubs have said they will boycott games because the virus makes going to the stadium too risky. Keeping sports arenas open has been part of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s unconventional approach to the coronavirus. He has said there is no need to close workplaces and public events.
Report: Brees to join NBC after playing career ends
UNDATED (AP) — The New York Post is reporting that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (breez) will join NBC after he retires.
The 41-year old Brees will be going into his 20th NFL season this year and is signed through 2021. He is expected to begin as an analyst on Notre Dame games and in the studio for “Football Night in America” before eventually moving into the “Sunday Night Football” booth.
In other NFL news:
— Former University of Georgia standout running back Todd Gurley has formally agreed to a one-year contract with the Falcons, pending a physical. The framework of the deal was agreed to on March 20, less than 24 hours after Gurley was released by the Rams, and finalized this week. He was one of the NFL's top running backs with the Rams and says he has no doubt he can still meet that standard.
— The Cowboys have signed cornerback Saivion Smith, adding the former XFL player about the same time the spring league announced it was suspending operations. Smith played for Houston, which was the only undefeated team in the XFL when the league stopped playing last month after five games because of the new coronavirus outbreak. Smith led Alabama with three interceptions in his only season in 2018.
LA Kings sign MacDermid to 2-year contract extension
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Defenseman Kurtis MacDermid has agreed to a two-year, $1.75 million contract extension through the 2021-22 season with the Los Angeles Kings.
MacDermid has become a regular on the blue line for the Kings this season, getting three goals and five assists in a career-high 45 games. He has scored 13 points with 115 penalty minutes during parts of three seasons with Los Angeles.
Ex-Blackhawks blueliner Stapleton dies
TORONTO (AP) — Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Pat Stapleton has died at 79.
The three-time Second Team All-Star was on Canada’s Summit Series squad in 1972 and is alleged to have claimed the puck from Paul Henderson’s series-winning goal over the Soviet Union. He played eight seasons with the Blackhawks from 1956-66 to 1972-73, helping them to Stanley Cup final appearances in 1971 and 1973.
Ex-NHL, WHA forward Webster dies
UNDATED (AP) — Former NHL and WHA player and head coach Tom Webster has died at 71, according to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Webster’s playing career took off once he jumped to the WHA, where he had 220 goals and 425 points in 352 games over six seasons with the New England and Hartford Whalers from 1972-78. He later went on to coach the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings.