College basketballOhio State star Sullinger declares for NBA Draft
After guiding Ohio State to the Final Four, two-time All-American forward Jared Sullinger figured he might as well see what he could do for an NBA team.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore announced on Wednesday that he is giving up his final two seasons with the Buckeyes to make himself available for the NBA Draft in June. Most projections have him going in the top 10 picks.
"Going to the Final Four with a team that many people said we weren't good enough, weren't strong enough, weren't mentally tough enough, and still being able to get to the Final Four with all the ups and downs we had, I think that was tremendous for this basketball team," Sullinger said, flanked by his parents and Coach Thad Matta. "Once we got to the Final Four, we were trying to win it. But unfortunately, we fell short. I feel at peace with the decision I'm making."
The Buckeyes lost to Kansas 64-62 in the national semifinals Saturday.
Sullinger averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game while shooting 52 percent from the field, 77 percent at the line and 40 percent on three-pointers while leading the Buckeyes to a 31-8 record. He was 63-10 as a starter over two seasons.
"I've always said he's one of the most intellectual players I've ever coached," Matta said. "He came in that way as a freshman. The thing is that people don't know he studies the game. Not only the college game, but the NBA game. He can tell you a lot about a lot of NBA issues. For him, the timing is definitely right."
Sullinger shed 25 pounds for his sophomore season and was much more mobile. Rather than get all of his points with his back to the basket on the block, he frequently popped outside to shoot over defenders. He became one of the Buckeyes' top three-point threats.
Tarkanian expected to leave hospital
Jerry Tarkanian's son said the former UNLV basketball coach is expected to be out of a hospital Friday, more than two weeks after suffering a heart attack. Danny Tarkanian told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his father has been transferred to a rehabilitation center at MountainView Hospital in northwest Las Vegas. Danny Tarkanian says his 81-year-old father wants to go home and is in good spirits while he rebuilds his strength after his long hospital stay. Jerry Tarkanian — who coached the Runnin' Rebels for 19 seasons, winning the NCAA men's basketball title in 1990 — suffered the heart attack March 20.
WKU caravan to stop at Keeneland
Lexington will be one of four stops for "Toppers on Tour," a caravan in which Western Kentucky coaches and athletics department personnel meet and and greet with the public. The Lexington stop is April 21 at Keeneland. Scheduled to appear are WKU interim athletics director Todd Stewart, football coach Willie Taggart, men's basketball coach Ray Harper and women's basketball coach Michelle Clark-Heard, as well as cheerleaders and mascot Big Red.
Player scores 113 in Lebanese game
Basketball's world governing body said Mohammad El Akkari has joined the elite century club after scoring 113 points in a Lebanese league game. The guard led Moutahed to a 173-141 victory over Bejjeh in a Division A league game on Tuesday. The FIBA Web site said El Akkari is the first player to score more than 100 points in an official league game in any of its Asian national federations.
Giants-Jets highlights exhibition schedule
The Super Bowl champion New York Giants will face Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets in Week 2 of the NFL preseason. The league released the full, 65-game exhibition schedule Wednesday, noting that all 12 playoff teams from last season will appear on national TV this pre-season. That includes Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning's Giants, whose game against the visiting Chicago Bears on Aug. 24, at 8 p.m., will be shown on CBS. Manning's older brother Peyton gets his first chance to suit up wearing No. 18 for the Broncos in a Week 1 game, when Denver plays at Chicago sometime from Aug. 9-13. In Week 3, the Colts, who are expected to take quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall choice in the draft, will be at the Washington Redskins, who are expected to take Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III with the second pick.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles agreed Wednesday to a five-year contract with Demetress Bell, hoping the former Buffalo Bills left tackle can fill in for injured All-Pro Jason Peters.
■ Running back LeGarrette Blount, who led Tampa Bay in rushing the past two seasons, and receiver Preston Parker have signed exclusive-rights tender offers from the Buccaneers. The third-year pros will earn about $540,000 next season.
Dominguez cleared to ride after spill
Top jockey Ramon Dominguez has been cleared to resume riding nearly three weeks after separating his collarbone in a spill at Aqueduct Racetrack. Dominguez is expected to ride a few horses Friday and Saturday, including Kentucky Derby hopeful Alpha in the Wood Memorial. He'll also ride the following weekend, with plans to return fulltime beginning April 18. The 35-year-old jockey leads the nation in earnings with close to $4.9 million. He also rides leading Derby contender Hansen, who is scheduled to run in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 14.
Gator pleads no contest to battery Florida tight end A.C. Leonard has been sentenced to six months probation and ordered to pay $628 in court costs after pleading no contest to a charge of misdemeanor domestic battery stemming from an altercation with his live-in girlfriend. Coach Will Muschamp allowed Leonard to return from his suspension and participate in spring practice.
The last word
Kentucky Coach John Calipari, when asked if it's difficult to get young blue-chip talent to jell as a team:
"I'll tell you what's hard — coaching bad players."