Mathies' strength at next level will be versatility, Figgs says
A'dia Mathies hadn't been thinking about the WNBA until her Kentucky career began winding down. After the Los Angeles Sparks took her with the 10th overall pick in Monday's draft, she won't have long to get herself ready for the upcoming season. Right after graduation on May 5 she'll head west for the opening of training camp. Los Angeles begins the regular season May 26 against Seattle.
"When you're younger, you always write down, 'I want to go to the WNBA,' but when you get older you kind of forget about it," Mathies said Tuesday of her thought process. "At least, I did. ... I'm just glad I got selected, and I'm ready to work."
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Projected as an early second-round choice by some draft sites, Mathies grew anxious late in the first round before excitement took over when her name was announced.
"Once they got up into (picks) seven, eight, nine, my heart starting beating fast on every single pick they was calling," she said. "I'm just excited to get picked by L.A. ... When you think about the WNBA, you automatically think of the Sparks."
Now comes the next phase of raising her game to get minutes on a Sparks roster boasting a strong, deep backcourt in all-WNBA second-teamer Kristi Toliver, Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding.
Kentucky assistant athletics director Ukari Figgs said that's just a matter of Mathies continuing to show her versatility.
"I think A'dia's going to be somebody that can come in and do a little bit of everything," said Figgs, who helped the Sparks win the 2001 championship during a five-year WNBA career. "That's what makes her special. Playing professional basketball, you have to be pretty versatile to make an 11-player roster.
"She can back up the point guard, she shoots well enough to play the 2 guard position and defensively she can guard an array of guards on the perimeter. She puts herself in a good position to be able do a little bit of everything."
It will be a whirlwind for sure, but Mathies is confident of following through on her dream.
"I think I can definitely help (the Sparks), especially playing for UK and the way we play up-tempo," she said. "I think I can be a great asset to the team and really help them out a lot. ...
"Right now, I'm on cloud nine."
Wall would consider less-than-max deal
The Washington Wizards' season will end Wednesday in Chicago and former University of Kentucky star John Wall will head into the off-season looking to negotiate a new contract.
Wall is eligible to sign a five-year contract worth roughly $78 million, which wouldn't kick in until the start of the 2014-15 season. He told The Washington Post earlier this week that he would consider taking less if the team could surround him with quality talent to field a contender.
"You want to get all you can, make your money and that's what I'm going to do, make as much as I can," said Wall, the 2010 No. 1 overall pick, who is averaging a career-high 18.4 points and has led the team to a 24-24 record since returning from a knee injury. "But I also want to make sure that everything with my teammates is getting better, that my team is getting better. If it's me making the money I'm making and we're still losing, it's not fun. You get paid, but you're paid to lose. I want to get paid to win, paid more for being in the playoffs. I just love the game and want to win. That's the main thing."
Coach Randy Wittman told The Post that the Wizards will need greater depth going forward. "What we went through with injuries and certain guys out, we struggled to win games. We have to fortify more our bench. You can't do anything about injuries. You hope for the best but you want to always maybe stay afloat through injuries."
The Wizards were only able to have Wall, Bradley Beal and Nene for 22 games, and that trio led the team to a 10-2 record at home and a 5-5 record on the road.
Wall would like to see the Wizards add a forward who can stretch the defense with his shot. Wall would also like to see the team acquire a scorer/go-to guy off the bench.
"I feel like we got all of the other pieces," Wall said.
■ The San Antonio Spurs signed veteran forward Tracy McGrady, adding depth and experience as the playoffs arrive.
The 33-year-old McGrady is a seven-time NBA All-Star drafted ninth overall in 1997. In 938 career NBA games, McGrady has averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.21 steals. In 44 playoff games, he has averaged 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.16 steals.
He has played for Toronto, Orlando, Houston, the New York Knicks, Detroit and Atlanta in his career. He most recently played for Qingdao of the Chinese Basketball League, averaging 25 points and 7.2 rebounds in 29 games.
GolfTicket process announced for 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla
Ticket information was announced Tuesday for fans planning to attend the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
Fans should register before Aug. 12 to get in line for the public ticket sale, which runs from Aug. 12-Sept. 20, 2013. The earlier that fans register, the better positioned they will be to purchase the most popular tickets. To help create additional purchasing options, PGA officials announced the introduction of daily grounds tickets, which allows spectators to choose a single day of play instead of purchasing a full, weeklong pass.
Oregon proposed two-year probation
The University of Oregon acknowledged major NCAA violations in connection with football recruiting and proposed a self-imposed two-year probation with the loss of one scholarship in each of the next three years, according to documents released by the school.
Oregon and the NCAA have failed to come to an agreement on the matter and the case is expected to go before the infractions committee at some point this year.
The NCAA began looking into possible violations following reports about payments Oregon made to recruiting services, including a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles and Houston-based Complete Scouting Services in 2010. Lyles had a connection with an Oregon recruit.
The NCAA will not comment on the ongoing investigations.
■ Former Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm will continue his career in the Canadian Football League. "I just signed my contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats! I can't wait to get the season started," Brohm, 27, tweeted Tuesday.
Brohm was chosen in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers in 2008 but was released before the 2009 season. He played three games for the Buffalo Bills in 2009 and 2010 but has been out of the NFL since. He spent time in 2011 and 2012 in the United Football League with the Las Vegas Locomotives.
■ Mitch Delfino singled in Matt Duffy in the third inning to give Augusta a 2-1 lead and the GreenJackets held on from there for a victory against the Lexington Legends on Tuesday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The Legends' lone run came on a sacrifice fly by Raul Mondesi.
The last word
President Barack Obama honored NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski at the White House on Tuesday for winning the 2012 Sprint Cup championship for the first time. After the president's remarks, he and Keselowski checked out the Miller Lite Ford Fusion racing car, which was parked on the White House driveway. Obama said:
"Brad offered to let me drive it around the South Lawn, but Secret Service once again said no."