Wall ready for added scrutiny
After John Wall wrapped up his audition for Team USA in Las Vegas, the former University of Kentucky star point guard headed to Los Angeles, where he had scheduled a workout and a discussion with his agent, Dan Fegan, about a contract extension with the Washington Wizards.
Wall left the negotiations up to Fegan because he didn't want them to distract him from his making an impression at Team USA mini-camp, which he said was "a bigger goal than my contract or anything like that." But he admitted he was aware of the Wizards' plans to offer him the five-year, $80 million deal, which he felt he had earned through his first three seasons with the rebuilding franchise.
"It's a dream come true if it happens that way and if that's how it goes down," Wall said, "but I really don't know what to expect."
Should Wall and the Wizards agree on the contract, he would join former MVP Derrick Rose and All-Stars Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook as the only NBA point guards with maximum-salaried deals, even though Wall has yet to reach an all-star game, make a playoff appearance or win at least 30 games in any season. But he is prepared for the level of scrutiny that would likely trump anything he has faced as a top high school prospect, a standout college player at UK and the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
"I'm ready for anything," Wall said. "I feel like how I'm working this summer and how I felt last season that I knew what it'd take ... and I'm putting everything into my game. I'm always improving, and I always had challenges growing up, and nothing was ever given to me. I always earned it, so I'm willing to do that."
Wall, 22, offered hints at his potential last season, when he returned from a stress injury in his left knee and finished with career highs of 18.5 points and 44.1 percent field goal shooting.
When asked what people should expect of him in his fourth season, Wall said, "That and even better.
"I'm confident now, and I'm ready to show the world what I'm capable of," Wall said. "This is the most confidence I ever felt. I'm more confident than I've ever been probably in my life. Just knowing what I know. I had a full summer to work on what I needed to. And just moving and growing and maturing as a player."
■ The Indiana Pacers bolstered their front-line depth with the acquisition of Luis Scola from the Phoenix Suns. The Pacers sent forward Gerald Green, center Miles Plumlee and a lottery-protected first-round draft pick to the rebuilding Suns. Scola, a 6-foot-9 forward from Argentina, played his first five NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets before coming to Phoenix a year ago. He averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Harper's U19 squad reaches finals
The United States overcame a slow start and used a 21-0 run to defeat Australia 77-54 in the semifinals of the U19 World Championship in Lithuania. Connecticut star Breanna Stewart had game highs in both points (23) and rebounds (eight) for the Americans.
"Australia is just so good and they have incredible half-court execution," USA Coach Katie Meier said. "We were really struggling to score and we couldn't. Therefore, we had to run back and play half-court defense. The game was not going in our favor at all. As soon as we had an opportunity to throw in a little press and trapping action, which requires scoring, once we were able to start scoring just a little, we were able to get into that."
Linnae Harper, a Chicago native who will be a freshman at Kentucky in the fall, added six points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
"It was a close game and we just came out in the second quarter and brought intensity," Harper said. "We knew that if we kept playing the way we were playing it would be a very close game. The bench and the starting lineup, we all came out and played hard together and stretched the lead."
The United States (8-0) will play France (7-1) in Sunday's finals. France defeated Spain in the other semifinal matchup.
The Americans defeated France 69-63 on Wednesday in the second round of the tournament.
"When we played them, it was really tough," Harper said. "I think the game is going to really be a test for us, but I think we're ready mentally and physically to be able to win the game."
■ Candace Parker scored a record 23 points to lead the West to a 102-98 victory over the East in the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday at Uncasville, Conn.
Mahan gives up Canadian Open lead to be with pregnant wife
Brandt Snedeker was on the seventh tee when he noticed something wasn't quite right. He couldn't find Hunter Mahan's name at the top of the Canadian Open leader board.
"I looked at my caddie, and I go, 'What's going on?'" Snedeker said. "He goes, 'I think Hunter had to leave because (his wife) went into labor.'"
His caddie was right. Mahan, the second-round leader at 13 under, withdrew Saturday to rush home to Dallas for the birth of his first child Saturday, leaving a big opening for Snedeker.
"Hunter was going to be hard to catch because he was playing so good," Snedeker said. "The way he drives the golf ball on this golf course, he was going to play really well on the weekend."
Snedeker had a 9-under 63 at rainy Glen Abbey to take the lead after the third round. He won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February for his fifth PGA Tour victory.
■ Bernhard Langer seized a three-shot lead after the third round of the Senior British Open on Saturday at Southport England, mastering Royal Birkdale with superb links play for a 4-under 66.
Langer shared the overnight lead with American Mark Wiebe but birdied three of his first seven holes to jump in front on his own. David Frost shot his third straight 68 to sit alone in second place, while Wiebe managed only a 70 to drop into third, four shots back.
Langer's only bogey came on the 14th, but he finished with two birdies on 15 and 17 to stay in control.
"That was as good as I can play," said the German veteran, who is bidding for his second Senior British Open title having won at Carnoustie in 2010. "My ball-striking was almost perfect and I played really well, apart from the mistake at the 14th."
3-time winner Kulick loses in Open finals
Former Morehead State standout bowler Kelly Kulick came up short in her bid to win back-to-back women's U.S. Open titles. Liz Johnson of Cheektowaga, N.Y., defeated Kulick 257-195 at Columbus Western Bowl in Ohio. Kulick, from Union, N.J., has won the title three times (2003, 2010 and 2012) and also finished second in 2011.
Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, defeated Jason Belmonte 214-156 for the men's title. He then lost to Johnson in a "Battle of the Sexes" matchup 194-188.
Legends split doubleheader with Power
The Lexington Legends defeated the West Virginia Power 4-2 and followed that up with a 3-1 loss in a doubleheader at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Saturday. Mark Threlkeld knocked in all four of the Legends' run in the opener with an RBI single in the first inning and a bases-loaded double in the third. Bubba Starling had an RBI double in Game 2.
The last word
Arizona Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians, at age 60 in his first full season as an NFL head coach, has 33-year-old Carson Palmer as his quarterback. Arians said Saturday:
"Like I told him, this is a cowboy movie with two old guys. This is our last rodeo in the desert."