Sports briefs: Sept. 18

September 18, 2012 

Basketball

Ex-Cat Harrellson signs deal with defending champ Heat

The defending NBA champion Miami Heat announced Monday that they have signed former University of Kentucky center Josh Harrellson. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Harrellson, who has been looking for NBA work since being released by the Houston Rockets this summer, had fun with the news of becoming LeBron James' teammate, posting on his Twitter account Monday afternoon: "I'm taking my talents to South Beach! Let's go Heat."

Harrellson appeared in 37 games (four starts) for the New York Knicks last season, averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 14.6 minutes. He shot 42.3 percent from the field, including 33.9 percent from three-point range. In his four starts, he averaged 10.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.00 blocks and 30.8 minutes while shooting 46 percent from the field. He scored a career-high 18 points in a 104-84 victory at Charlotte on April 26 and posted a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double at Sacramento on Dec. 31, helping New York win 114-92. He played in five post-season games with New York during its opening-round NBA playoff series against the Heat, totaling 10 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.

Harrellson was traded to the Rockets over the summer.

KABC clinic includes Painter, Prohm, Lane

The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches will hold its annual fall clinic at the Hyatt in downtown Lexington this weekend.

Purdue Coach Matt Painter is among the speakers, along with Boston Celtics assistant Kevin Eastman, Marshall Coach Tom Herrion, Murray State Coach Steve Prohm and Transylvania Coach Brian Lane.

Scott Chalk of the KABC said there will likely be an appearance by UK Coach John Calipari.

For more information, go to www.kentuckybasketballcoaches.org.


NASCAR

Eury Jr. no longer Patrick's crew chief

JR Motorsports parted ways Monday with crew chief Tony Eury Jr., 10 days after his father was ousted as competition director.

Eury Jr. was crew chief for Danica Patrick and is a partial owner of the Nationwide Series team.

"I had hoped he would be here for a long time, but as we've discussed the direction of JR Motorsports moving forward, it was clear our differences in ideas were too vast to overcome," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of four owners of the race team.

Earnhardt Jr. and Eury Jr. are cousins, and Eury Jr. was his crew chief for many years at the Sprint Cup level.

"I love him like a brother, and you'll never hear me say a bad thing about him," Earnhardt said. "I know he'll have much success in anything he does going forward."

JR Motorsports on Sept. 7 released Tony Eury Sr. as competition director after a discussion with him about team performance.

JR Motorsports has won nine Nationwide races, but none since Jamie McMurray's win at Atlanta in 2010.

The team this year fields cars for Patrick and Cole Whitt.

Earnhardt said Monday no decision has been made as to who will crew chief Patrick this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.


Horse racing

Dutrow appeals 10-year ban in New York

Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. asked New York's top court to overturn his 10-year ban by the state Racing and Wagering Board, saying it raises substantial civil rights issues.

In requesting the Court of Appeals in Albany, N.Y., to hear Dutrow's case, attorney Michael Koenig said the judges should decide whether the appearance of bias by racing board Chairman John Sabini cost the trainer his right to a fair proceeding over drug violations. In court papers, he said Sabini had a conflicting role as an officer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, which advocated revoking Dutrow's license.

A midlevel New York court in July court upheld the ban. State lawyers noted that the midlevel court found no evidence of actual bias, urging the top court to reject taking Dutrow's case.

Meanwhile, Dutrow has continued working with his punishment stayed while Koenig pursues the appeal. In August, his colt Willy Beamin won the $150,000 Albany Stakes at Saratoga Race Course for 3-year-olds bred in New York. Three days later, Willy Beamin ran down the leaders in the stretch for a surprising win in the $500,000 King's Bishop.

Koenig said his client initially faced only a 90-day suspension in early 2011, which was immediately appealed, and two weeks later the racing board proposed turning it into a lifetime ban. In the meantime, he said Sabini had received emails from the racing commissioners association, where he was secretary and treasurer, including one noting that the staff of "an influential U.S. senator" said the 90-day suspension seemed like a "light penalty."

Dutrow's 10-year ban is among the board's harshest penalties, second only to the lifetime ban in 2009 of breeder Ernie Paragallo after malnourished horses were found at his Hudson Valley farm.

Dutrow trained Big Brown to Derby and Preakness wins in 2008. He was refused a license to race in Kentucky last year. He was the leading trainer at this year's spring-summer Belmont meet with 27 winners, according to the New York Racing Association.

The decision by the seven-member Court of Appeals whether to hear Dutrow's case is expected in October.


Golf

Love: Medinah will play easier than major

U.S. captain Davis Love III wanted Medinah set up to favor the Americans next week in the Ryder Cup, and he kept to a simple philosophy. The rough is down. The speed of the greens is up.

"It's going to look like a major championship because Medinah is a big old golf course, with big trees and obviously big tents," Love said Monday at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. "It's going to look like a major, but it's going to play probably easier than a major. That benefits our team. We're a long-hitting, freewheeling, fun-to-watch team. And I think it's going to be fun to watch."

Love returned from another scouting trip at Medinah, the course in the Chicago suburbs that has hosted the PGA Championship twice and the U.S. Open three times. He played Sunday with his son Dru, a freshman at Alabama, and Steve Stricker. Keegan Bradley, one of four Ryder Cup rookies for the United States, played Medinah a week ago.

Europe has dominated the Ryder Cup over the last two decades, going home with the gold trophy six out of the last eight times.

The Americans have lost only once at home dating to 1999, in 2004 at Oakland Hills, which was set up like a major with thick rough and narrow fairways. They had eight players among the top 20 in the world, but Europe trounced them, 18½ -9½ .

Love said limited rough and quick greens should benefit the U.S. team, and made it more enjoyable for spectators.

"We've set it up the way we think fans will like it," Love said. "People probably don't believe that, but we set it up so that it's fun to watch. You don't want to see players chipping out and putting for par at the Ryder Cup. You want to see birdies. You want to see excitement. TV is going to like it. We had four players up there in the last week, and they loved it."

Kevin Edwards of Springfield, Tenn., had a hole-in-one at The Golf Club of the Bluegrass on Sunday during the regional qualifier for the United States Blind Golfers Association. Edwards aced the par-3 8th hole with a 4-hybrid.


The last word

New Orleans Saints interim coach Aaron Kromer said his team has shown a lot of promise despite its 0-2 start:

"We're not good enough yet. We've lost two games by eight points so we are that much not good enough. ... We need to be nine points better than we are right now, and that's not asking a lot."

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