Sports briefs: Dec. 25

December 24, 2013 

College Football

Seminoles' Winston named AP Player of the Year

Jameis Winston was named The Associated Press national player of the year, adding to his cadre of postseason accolades. He's this year's Heisman Trophy winner, the Walter Camp national player of the year, the Davey O'Brien quarterback of the year and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.

Seminole football fans should send a thank-you note to Florida State's baseball program.

If not for coach Mike Martin Sr. and one of his assistants, Mike Martin Jr., Winston — a two-sport athlete — might not be preparing to lead the No. 1-ranked Seminoles against No. 2 Auburn in the BCS championship game Jan. 6 with the opportunity to bring a third national title to the Florida State campus.

When Winston won the Heisman, he thanked the usual cast of family, coaches and teammates. Then there was the thanks to "Eleven" and "Meat." Most of the country ignored the peculiar names, but Winston wouldn't have attended Florida State without the warm relationship between football coach Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State baseball coaching staff. "Eleven" — otherwise known as baseball coach Martin Sr., who has led the program for 34 years, and "Meat" — Martin Jr.

Martin Jr. was on a recruiting trip to watch Winston during his junior year of high school when he called to let Fisher know. Fisher actually had tape of Winston on his desk at the time and decided to put it in. About 30 minutes later, Fisher called Martin Jr. back and said, "Don't let him get away."

Winston hit a game-winning home run that day.

"Jimbo Fisher deserves the credit for giving the young man the opportunity to display his talents in another sport," Martin Sr. said.

Pierre Desir, a defensive back from Lindenwood University in Missouri, was selected from more than 5,000 athletes from 500 schools for the inaugural Cliff Harris Award. The award is named the Dallas safety who helped lead the Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances. The award honors the top defensive player from Division II, Division III and NAIA schools.

Desir, a three-time All-American, finished his career ranked first in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics history in passes defended. His 25 career interceptions are the second most in conference history and rank him in the top 10 in Division II history.

■ Army has hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its 37th football coach. Monken spent the past four seasons at Georgia Southern after learning the triple-option offense under Paul Johnson during stints with the Middies and Georgia Tech. He posted a 38-16 record at Georgia Southern and helped guide the program's transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision from the Football Championship Subdivision. Monken will be officially introduced Monday at a news conference. He replaces Rich Ellerson, who was fired last week after his fifth straight loss to Navy.

■ Southern Illinois defensive coordinator Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert has been named head football coach at the University of North Dakota. Schweigert is returning to Grand Forks after a decade away from the program. He was the defensive coordinator that helped UND win the 2001 NCAA Division II national title. The Zeeland native replaces Chris Mussman, who was fired after six seasons.


NBA

Grizzlies sign Stephen Curry's brother

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard Seth Curry, who had been playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Developmental League, the team announced Tuesday.

The 6-1 guard averaged 21.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.58 steals on .439 shooting in 37.3 minutes in 12 games for Santa Cruz this season.

Curry, 23, is the younger brother of Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. They are the sons of ex-NBA player Dell Curry, who made at least 40 percent from three-point range in nine of his 16 NBA seasons. Seth Curry was not drafted this year after his senior season at Duke, during which he ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring at 17.5 points per game.

■ Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce has been fined $15,000 for his flagrant foul on George Hill of the Pacers. Pierce was ejected in the third quarter of Indiana's 103-86 win Monday. Hill stole a bad pass and was going in for a layup, and Pierce hustled back and appeared to be trying to wrap him up. But his arm ended up going around Hill's neck for a clothesline tackle. Referees ruled it a flagrant 2 after review, an automatic ejection. The NBA said Tuesday that Pierce made "excessive and unnecessary contact."

■ The Pelicans defeated the Kings 113-97 late Monday in Tyreke Evans' first trip back to Sacramento as an opposing player. Evans had a season-high 25 points and added 12 assists in the win. Anthony Davis had 21 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans in a career-high 42 minutes. DeMarcus Cousins had his 15th double-double of the season with team highs of 24 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

Miles Plumlee had 17 points and 20 rebounds, and Eric Bledsoe also had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to go along with seven assists in the Suns' 117-90 win over the Lakers late Monday. Jodie Meeks had 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals for Los Angeles.


College Basketball

Broncos buck Gamecocks in Hawaii

Anthony Drmic scored 30 points to lead Boise State to an 80-54 win over South Carolina in Monday's semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu.

Mikey Thompson added 10 points for Boise State (10-2), which will play No. 14 Iowa State (10-0) in Wednesday's championship.

Brenton Williams led the Gamecocks (3-6) with 14 points and Duane Notice added 13.

Drmic scored 21 points in the first half and looked to be on pace to match his career high of 34.

The Broncos built a double-digit lead just nine minutes into the game. Boise State scored from all directions, driving into the lane for layups and hitting three-pointers. Boise State forced 11 first-half turnovers and converted that into 12 points.

The Broncos outscored the Gamecocks 16-9 to start the second half and led 59-35 with 11 minutes left. Back-to-back three-pointers from Jeff Elorriaga gave Boise State its largest lead of the game at 67-37 with nine minutes remaining. With its football team playing in Tuesday's Honolulu Bowl, Boise State had a vocal contingent of about 75 fans and cheerleaders at the game.

Sylvia Hatchell is fighting to return to her North Carolina women's basketball program as quickly as possible.

The recently inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach has been receiving treatment for leukemia since October. She's holding out hope of recovering from chemotherapy treatments in time to return to the sidelines with her 10th-ranked Tar Heels for the conference tournament. In an interview with The Associated Press, Hatchell said her motivation was to "get back out there" with her players.

Hatchell, 61, was able to attend Saturday's win against High Point, the first time she watched her Tar Heels play in person this year. She returns to the hospital Friday for her next five-day round of chemotherapy.


The last word

Nostalgia crept over Candlestick Park like summer fog Monday as the 49ers played what quite possibly was the final game at a stadium that few ever loved. San Francisco's 34-24 victory clinched a playoff berth. The 49ers (11-4) currently would start the postseason on the road, with only a slim chance of playing at home in the conference championship game. Another victory Sunday, coupled with a loss by the Seattle Seahawks, would hand the 49ers the division title and give Candlestick at least one January encore. Dwight Clark, the former 49ers receiver who hauled in "The Catch" in 1982 to send San Francisco to its first Super Bowl, expressed his feelings about a stadium often referred to as "The Stick":

"It was a dump. But it was our dump."

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