Antigua succeeds Caliparias coach of Dominicans
Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua has been named the head coach of the Dominican National Team. Antigua has spent the past two seasons serving as an assistant to John Calipari for the Dominican team which fell one win shy of advancing to the nation's first Olympic appearance in 2012.
"Any time you can coach and be a participant of a national team, it's very special," Antigua said. "For Coach Calipari and (UK Athletics Director) Mitch Barnhart to allow me to take part in this opportunity means a lot, on a personal level as well as professionally."
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A native of the Dominican Republic, Antigua played for the national team in 1994-95 and 1997-98. "I'm happy for Orlando," Calipari said. "I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish over the past two years, getting this country to the brink of its first-ever Olympic appearance. I'm confident with the experience he has that Orlando will build on the team's success and take it to new heights."
The Dominican Republic plays a pair of exhibition contests against Puerto Rico on Aug. 14 and Aug. 16.
■ Nearly two months after Lawrence Frank was fired, the Detroit Pistons introduced their new coach, Maurice Cheeks. He is the franchise's fourth coach in six seasons — following Frank, John Kuester and Michael Curry. He is the ninth since the 1999-2000 season.
■ Jarekious Bradley, a 6-foot-5 forward from East Mississippi Community College, has committed to Western Kentucky and will be available for the 2013-14 season.
Broncos release ex-starter McGahee
The Denver Broncos released running back Willis McGahee, the team's starter the past two seasons, from their crowded backfield on Thursday.
Second-year pro Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball have been getting most of the work for the Broncos this off-season. "I wish them nothing but the best of luck. They're all good kids," McGahee said.
Hours after releasing McGahee, the Broncos signed Ball, their second-round draft pick. McGahee, 31, is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for the final two months last season and was set to make $2.5 million in 2013.
■ Leave the cooler and backpack at home. The NFL is tightening stadium security starting this pre-season, limiting the size and type of bags fans can bring to the game.
The restrictions are designed to enhance security while speeding up entry into stadiums. With the exception of medically necessary items, only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches will be allowed. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags also will be OK, as will small clear plastic bags about the size of someone's hand.
Ex-Barcelona chief defends Messi
A former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, defended Lionel Messi against allegations of tax fraud on Thursday, a case that experts say could carry a prison sentence for the Argentina forward.
A Spanish state prosecutor filed a fraud complaint on Wednesday alleging that Messi and his father, Jorge, avoided paying $5.3 million in back taxes by illegally using overseas tax havens.
Laporta said that Messi and his family lacked the financial know-how necessary to have set up the network of shell companies. Messi, rated by Forbes as the world's 10th highest-paid athlete, reportedly earned $41.3 million to June this year; with $20.3 coming from his club salary and $21 million in endorsements.
Asheville's three-run 9th beats Legends
Michael Ramirez's two-run double capped a three-run ninth inning as the host Asheville Tourists claimed a 7-6 win over the Lexington Legends Thursday.
The Legends had built a 6-1 lead, helped by a two-run homer by Mark Donato in the first inning and another two-run shot by Cam Gallagher in the third. But Asheville scored single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth to set up the comeback in the ninth.
Andrew Brown (2-0) got the win in relief for Asheville. Clayton Schulz (1-2), who entered in the eighth inning, took the loss.
Stewart mourns ex-teammate Leffler
Tony Stewart remembered Jason Leffler as a friend, teammate and doting father to his 5-year-old son a day after the NASCAR driver was killed in a crash at a dirt track.
"Jason Leffler was a great racer and an even better friend," Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who was once a teammate of Leffler's at Joe Gibbs Racing, said Thursday. "To not have him around to talk about whatever race one of us had just run, or were going to run, will be hard. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, especially his son, Charlie, who Jason loved more than anything."
Police are investigating how Leffler died Wednesday at the Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway, including whether a mechanical failure contributed to the crash. New Jersey state police said Leffler, 37, of Long Beach, Calif., hit the wall and rolled over several times. "He was extricated in a very bad condition," Lt. Stephen Jones said Thursday.
Blackhawks win Stanley Cup opener
Neither the Chicago Blackhawks or the Boston Bruins practiced Thursday. The Stanley Cup finalists needed all the rest they could get after a lengthy thriller in the series opener Wednesday night.
Andrew Shaw's deflection at 12:08 of the third overtime lifted the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory in the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup finals. It ended at the stroke of midnight in Chicago, and both coaches decided to keep the players off the ice Thursday. Game 2 will be played Saturday at the United Center.
TRACK AND FIELD
Bolt in zip shape for 200 in Oslo
Responding to suggestions of a possible decline, Usain Bolt unleashed a blistering 200 meters in his season debut for a track record at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
"I'm not in as bad shape as I thought I was," Bolt said Thursday.
Bolt, whose conditioning was questioned after losing the 100 by 0.01 seconds in Rome last week, finished in 19.79. He is the only one to break 20 seconds this season.
Bolt topped the Bislett record set by Frank Fredericks of Namibia in 1996 by 0.03 seconds.
Earlier, Olympic champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia ran the women's 5,000 in a world-leading 14:26.90. Russia's Yelena Sokolova caused a brief moment of panic in the race when she inadvertently walked back in the runners' path after her long jump. She had to jump again, to get out of their way.
The last word
Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel gave up her quest to swim from Cuba to Florida because of painful jellyfish stings and said that she will not make another attempt. She said she had picked June because the jellyfish danger was supposed to be low. But about 11 hours and 14 miles into her expected 60-hour, 110-mile journey, she found herself in a swarm.
"I had one coming out of my mouth. I was pulling it, this tentacle out of my mouth, but I don't remember this moment. My kayaker told me that I was doing this, 'cause I have no recollection. I'm not coming back. That's it."