League will crack down on flopping this season
Floppers beware: The league is coming for you, and your money, this season.
The NBA season begins on Tuesday with three games — Washington at Cleveland, Boston at Miami and Dallas at the Los Angeles Lakers — and for the first time, the players will face the possibility of stiff punishment for trying to trick the referees into a foul that wasn't warranted. Commissioner David Stern issued an edict that he hopes will make flopping go the way of the four-corner offense and the short shorts.
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The tactic has been prevalent for years as players looked for any edge they could get to swing the outcome in their favor. At full speed and with bodies everywhere, determining which players were flopping and which were making good basketball plays in the blink of an eye proved to be incredibly difficult for referees.
The league is trying to give them some help.
Officials will monitor games and review plays that could have included an egregious flop after the game is over. Everyone gets one warning, but after that, the bills start piling up. The second offense will cost a player $5,000, a third will go to $10,000. Four flops and it's $15,000 and a fifth will be a whopping $30,000.
"I hope that they give the offensive floppers the same amount of time and dedication that they're going to to the defensive floppers," said Heat forward Shane Battier, who has been accused of flopping ever since his days at Duke. "Because flopping's a problem. Flopping is a silent killer. It really is a silent killer. It'll be interesting to see how they administer that."
The system will likely evolve as the season goes on, and players will adjust. But it will take some time.
"It'll mess up a lot of people's games," Kings big man and former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins said. "Maybe some of these All-Stars won't be All-Stars after that."
It certainly is a label that applies to some of the game's biggest stars, including a few on the Heat as they marched to the championship last season.
"I don't know how they're going to gauge what's a flop and what's not a flop," LeBron James said. "Sometimes it's obvious, but it doesn't change my approach, honestly. I think it'll be good in the paint, though. When you're posting guys up and guys know they're smaller than you, they just take one bump and they already know before you even touch them the next time that they're going to automatically fall."
■ The Mavericks waived guard Delonte West after suspending him twice in less than two weeks for conduct detrimental to the team. The move Monday created a roster spot for center Eddy Curry, who was picked up last week and could end up starting in the opener against the Lakers because of an injury to Chris Kaman.
Roberson removes UK from list
Highly regarded basketball recruit Tyler Roberson of Union, N.J., cut his list to three schools, and Kentucky is no longer under consideration, according to ZagsBlog. Roberson, a class of 2013 prospect ranked No. 26 overall by ESPN, was scheduled to make an official visit to UK this weekend. That trip won't happen. Instead, Roberson has narrowed his choices to Kansas, Syracuse and Villanova, the latter of which he visited over the weekend.
"I won't be taking my visit to Kentucky and will most likely be making my final decision on where I'll be playing collegiate ball within the next few weeks," he wrote in a journal for ZagsBlog. Rutgers and SMU were the other two schools cut.
Roberson's high school coach, Dave Boff, told the Herald-Leader earlier this month that distance could play a part in the star recruit's final decision.
The Cats, who have five commitments for the class of 2013, are still recruiting top-10 prospects Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon.
McIlroy wins exhibition with Woods
Rory McIlroy outdueled Tiger Woods in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf's two biggest names. McIlroy shot a 5-under 67 to beat Woods by one stroke in an 18-hole match between the two top-ranked golfers at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China on Monday. The event, dubbed "Duel at Jinsha Lake," marked the first time the two golfers had played head-to-head without other competitors. It probably won't be the last. Woods said he'd relish the chance to take on McIlroy more often to create a rivalry at the top of the game similar to the one between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in tennis.
Women's golfers 10th at Alamo tourney
The Kentucky women's golf team shot 13 over par in the second round of the Alamo Invitational on Monday and are in 10th place heading into the final day of the tournament in San Antonio. Freshman Cylia Damerau had the low round for the Cats with a 2-over 74. Kentucky trails leader Oklahoma by 30 shots. Oklahoma has an 8-stroke lead over second-place Texas A&M. Sarah Beth Davis of A&M is at 7 under and leads the tournament by two shots over Louisville's Emily Haas, Oklahoma's Taylor Schmidt and East Carolina's Nico Engstroem Skaug. Heather Lott of UK is tied for 24th at 2 over.
Georgia Tech AD takes Clemson job
Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich was hired to take over Clemson for retiring AD Terry Don Phillips. Radakovich spent six years with the Yellow Jackets. He has also been an athletic administrator at South Carolina and LSU. "I always said it would take a special opportunity for me to leave Georgia Tech," said Radakovich, 54. While at Georgia Tech, he oversaw 51 teams that advanced to either NCAA team tournament play or bowl games. That includes six sports — football, baseball, women's basketball, softball, women's tennis and golf — that have made the post-season every year he has been in Atlanta. Georgia Tech said senior associate AD Paul Griffin will head the department until the school finds a replacement.
Doctors to discuss football safety
American and international doctors will discuss the safest ages to play tackle football at the Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport this week. More than 100 medical experts from around the world, including leading U.S. doctors Stanley Herring and Robert Cantu, will take part Thursday and Friday in Zurich. Herring, the director of sports spine and orthopedic health at University of Washington Medicine, was a leader in getting a law passed in 40 states establishing a ground-breaking, return-to-play protocol: that following a concussion, only a health care professional, not a coach, parent or athlete, may clear an athlete to return to play.
The last word
San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito coined the phrase "Kung Fu Panda" for teammate Pablo Sandoval in 2008 after the animated film released in theaters that June. Sandoval was named World Series MVP after the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers on Sunday night. Said Zito:
"The Panda has special powers. I watched that movie and thought, he's a guy that if you see him, you may not think he's so athletic, and then all of sudden, you're like, wow! This guy is one of the better players in baseball."