News

Wednesday Sports in Brief

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — RJ Barrett is leaving Duke after one season to enter the NBA draft.

Barrett announced his decision Wednesday in a video posted on social media . He said playing at Duke is a dream but added that "it's also a dream of mine to play in the NBA and have great success there."

School spokesman Mike DeGeorge said Barrett plans to hire an agent but has not yet chosen one.

The AP All-American averaged an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 22.6 points along with 7.6 rebounds while forming half of perhaps the nation's most potent one-two punch along with classmate and roommate Zion Williamson.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas guard Quentin Grimes announced Wednesday that he will enter the NBA draft, skipping his final three seasons after a rocky and inconsistent freshman year with the Jayhawks.

The five-star prospect struggled to live up to expectations, averaging just 8.4 points and 2.5 rebounds. He scored 23 points in his debut against Michigan State, but that wound up being his career high as the Jayhawks finished 26-10 and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-5 Grimes is projected to be a fringe-second round pick.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Casey Alexander has been hired as the 10th coach in Belmont history, succeeding his former coach and boss, Rick Byrd.

Athletic director Scott Corley announced the hiring of Alexander on Wednesday. Alexander will be introduced at a news conference Thursday.

The 46-year-old Alexander played at Belmont and spent 16 years as Byrd's assistant before leaving to become head coach at Stetson for two seasons. He spent the past six seasons coaching down the road from his alma mater at rival Lipscomb, leading the Bisons to their best three seasons as a Division I program and first NCAA Tournament berth.

He went 29-8 this season, winning the ASUN Conference regular-season title, and lost last week in the NIT championship.

PROVO, Utah (AP) — Mark Pope is returning to BYU as the Cougars' new head coach with the task of elevating a program that hasn't earned an NCAA Tournament berth since 2015.

The school announced Wednesday that it was naming Pope to replace Dave Rose, who retired in March after 14 seasons at the helm of the Cougars program. Pope was an assistant under Rose from 2011 to 2015 before leaving to take the top job at Utah Valley.

BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three-time All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a contract for 2020 and '21, a deal that includes an option for 2022 that could become guaranteed.

The 33-year-old has a $14.5 million salary this season a part of a $52 million, six-year deal that included an $18.5 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout.

HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) — Slava Voynov is appealing the suspension imposed by the NHL after it determined he committed acts of domestic violence.

Jonathan Weatherdon, a spokesman for the NHL Players' Association, said Wednesday that the organization had filed an appeal on behalf of Voynov. Players have the right to appeal suspensions to a neutral arbitrator, though a hearing date has not yet been set.

Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Voynov on Tuesday for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs for what the league called unacceptable off-ice conduct. The 29-year-old Russian could have his eligibility restored on July 1, 2020, based on good behavior.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Jackie Young is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft by the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday night.

The Notre Dame guard decided to enter the draft and skip her senior season. She's the second Irish player to be drafted first after entering early joining Jewell Loyd, who had the honor in 2015.

TENNIS

HOUSTON (AP) — Christian Garin upset No. 2 seed Jeremy Chardy to advance to the quarterfinals in one of the longest matches in US Clay history on Wednesday at the US Men's Clay Court Championship.

Garin saved five match points to defeat Chardy 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7) in a match that lasted 3 hours, 5 minutes, the fourth-longest match in US Clay history.

SPORTS MEDICINE

Researchers may be closing in on a way to check athletes while they're alive for signs of a degenerative brain disease that's been linked to frequent head blows. Experimental scans found higher levels of an abnormal protein tied to the disease in a study of former National Football League players who were having mood and thinking problems.

It's the first time a major study has tested these scans for detecting chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is only diagnosed now after death, with brain autopsies.

Doctors are searching for a way to tell when players, veterans or others with concussions or other head injuries are at risk for permanent damage. It's too soon to know if the scans will enable that — so far they only show that these athletes are different as a group; they can't be used to say a particular player does or does not have CTE.

Boston University neuroscientist Robert Stern led the study, published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

SPORTS TELEVISION

The Big 12 has agreed to a deal that gives ESPN the rights to all football championship game through 2024 and makes the league the first Power Five conference to provide exclusive content to ESPN+, the cable giant's online subscription streaming service.

Sports Business Journal Daily first reported ESPN will pay the conference about $40 million more for these new rights from 2019-24 on top of what it pays for existing deals. A person with direct knowledge of the contract confirmed the value to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the network and conference were not speaking publicly about financial terms.

The new agreement calls for Big 12 content on ESPN+ to be branded specifically for the conference, creating a de facto digital conference network.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's Olympic minister resigned Wednesday after making remarks deemed offensive to the people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a gaffe that had questioned his credentials.

Yoshitaka Sakurada said he submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He said he made comments that hurt the feelings those in the disaster-hit areas, and just retracting them would not be enough.

Sakurada, at a party earlier Wednesday for Hinako Takahashi — a ruling lawmaker from Iwate, one of the prefectures severely hit by the disaster — said Takahashi is more important than reconstruction.

Sakurada was in charge of the 2020 Games, whose main theme is to promote reconstruction of the disaster-struck region.

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