Sports briefs: Aug. 9

August 9, 2013 

Recruiting

Son of former UK player decommits from Indiana

Highly touted class of 2014 shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. decommitted from Indiana on Thursday, his father told the Herald-Leader. Blackmon — the son of former University of Kentucky basketball player James Blackmon — committed to the Hoosiers before his freshman season in 2010. His father said he wanted to be sure that the original decision was the correct one.

"I think he just wanted to make sure that Indiana was the place for him," Blackmon Sr. told the Herald-Leader. "The only way that you can be 100 percent sure about that is to take a look at something else."

ESPN ranks Blackmon Jr. as the No. 25 overall player in the class of 2014. The 6-foot-2 prospect is considered one of the best shooters in high school basketball.

Blackmon Sr. said no other college coaches had been in contact with him during the three years that his son was committed to Indiana, and the family didn't back off the pledge because of interest in any one particular school. "There's no established list," he said.

The father also said that he spoke with Indiana Coach Tom Crean before the news went public Thursday.

"I love Coach Crean. I love his style of play," Blackmon Sr. said. "He's a stand-up guy. Indiana didn't do anything wrong. I talked to Coach Crean and they're going to still recruit us. And we'll see what happens."

Blackmon Sr. played for Kentucky from 1983-1987, scoring 866 points during his four-year career as a Wildcat. He was a McDonald's All-American from Indiana before signing with Joe B. Hall.

UK has already offered two shooting guards from the class of 2014 — Rashad Vaughn and Devin Booker.

Three UK recruits update school lists

Three class of 2014 prospects on the UK basketball program's radar have updated their lists of colleges.

Huntington Prep (W.Va.) forward Angel Delgado has a top five of Kentucky, Florida State, Virginia, Seton Hall and Fordham, according to AAU coach Dana Dingle. The coach also told the Herald-Leader that Louisville is still recruiting the 6-foot-8 forward from the Dominican Republic. Dingle is a former high school teammate of UK assistant Orlando Antigua and played for John Calipari at UMass.

Texas center Myles Turner said Wednesday night that his final eight schools are UK, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Arizona, Ohio State, Texas and Oklahoma State. Turner is considered a top-10 overall recruit in the class.

Neither Delgado nor Turner have received an offer from UK.

Also on Wednesday, Boston native Abdul Malik Abu said that he had narrowed his list to UConn, Florida, N.C. State and Providence. Abu never received an offer from Kentucky.


Golf

St. Xavier senior sixth at Big 'I'

St. Xavier senior Brendon Doyle improved his lot Thursday to finish tied for sixth in the Big "I" National Championship in Pinehurst, N.C. Doyle turned in a 1-under 71 for the final day, ten strokes behind tournament champion Sam Stevens of Kansas. Matthew Mahle, a graduate of Lexington Catholic, was only three shots out of the lead at the end of the second found but fell to a tie for 11th by the final round. In the girls' division, Madison Thomas, an incoming junior at Shelby County, finished tied for 28th at 7-over par.


College football

Missing former QB died from pneumonia

A former college football star who disappeared in the Michigan wilderness during a fishing trip died of pneumonia caused by inhaling his vomit, after he became disoriented possibly because of a painkiller combined with having a degenerative brain disease, according to a report released Thursday.

The updated autopsy said 30-year-old Cullen Finnerty's anxiety and paranoia in the woods the night of May 26 may have been exacerbated by an elevated level of oxycodone along with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease that has been found in a number of ex-football players.

Finnerty's brain was studied at Boston University, which cautioned that it was highly unlikely the disease — which was moderate — alone led to his death.

"CTE possibly affected his judgment, insight and behavior, but there are other factors, including the use of medications prescribed by his doctor, that most likely contributed to the circumstances surrounding his death," the school's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy said in a statement.


Racing

Stakes races on new Fox network

Horse racing will have a presence on Fox Sports' new television network, with major stakes races broadcast starting in 2014. A multiyear agreement between Fox Sports and The Jockey Club announced Thursday calls for up to 10 telecasts a year on Fox Sports 1, with each show including two top stakes races featuring the leading horses in North America. The network launches Aug. 17.

 The Breeders' Cup is restoring the original name of its top race for fillies and mares to Distaff after five years of running it as the Ladies' Classic. The $2 million race caps the first day of thoroughbred racing's richest event. It will be run as the last of five Breeders' Cup races on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said Thursday that the name change was the result of feedback from fans.


Speedskating

U.S. team turns to crowd funding

U.S. Speedskating is turning to crowd funding to raise money for free daily lunches for its athletes, with a goal of netting $50,000 for the new program. The most successful U.S. sport in Winter Olympics history has been hampered by budget woes in recent years.

U.S. Speedskating said Thursday that it is partnering with Utah-based RallyMe, an online fundraising company. The "Feed the Speed" campaign launching on Monday involves a 45-day drive to raise money for free healthy lunches for speedskaters in the national training program.


Mercury fire head coach

The Phoenix Mercury fired coach and general manager Corey Gaines on Thursday after a five-year run that included a WNBA title but a disappointing 2013 season.

Phoenix went into this season with high expectations after adding No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner to a roster that featured star players Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Candice Dupree.

Phoenix won eight of nine games after a slow start to the season, but has lost seven of nine to fall 71/2 games behind Minnesota in the Western Conference at 10-11.


The last word

Driver Juan Pablo Montoya is confident of his chances of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

"The only thing we need to do at The Glen to have a chance of winning is not screw up."

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