Teen son of Ray Sherman killed at home
GREEN BAY, Wis., May 19 (UPI) -- A police investigation is underway after a 14-year-old boy was shot to death Sunday at the home of Green Bay Assistant Coach Ray Sherman.
It was revealed Monday afternoon that the victim was Ray Sherman, Jr. According to a police report, the wound appeared to be self-inflicted. No foul play was suspected in the shooting, but an investigation is continuing.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported in Monday's editions that the boy was killed shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, according to Lt. Rick Dekker, a police department spokesman. Dekker told the paper that the address of the incident was that of Sherman.
On Sunday, Dekker declined to say if the shooting was a homicide, suicide, or accidental. People at the house Sunday called it accidental.
The younger Sherman died of a gunshot wound to the head after finding the weapon that killed him in the garage of the house.
A .38-caliber handgun was found near the body of the victim.
At a news conference Monday, Green Bay Coach and General Manager Mike Sherman confirmed the tragic news.
"This obviously is a very grievous time for all of us," said Mike Sherman, "but most certainly for Ray and Yvette Sherman, their two beautiful daughters, Erica and Alana, their entire family and many, many friends. Ray Jr. was an engaging young man who affected those he met in a very positive way. I ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Shermans as they attend to their needs as a family. I appeal to everyone to offer prayers as this family begins the process of dealing with their loss."
"Every death is treated as suspicious until we rule otherwise," Dekker told the paper in a phone interview Sunday night.
A team spokesman told the paper Sunday night he was unaware of the shooting.
Another officer told WBAY-TV that one person was found dead in the residence and others at the home were asked to leave while police investigated.
Sherman, a Fresno State graduate and 17-year NFL assistant, has been the Packers' wide receivers coach the last four years.
An NFL assistant coach for 15 seasons, Ray Sherman joined the Packers staff in February 2000. He also has coached for Minnesota, Pittsburgh, the New York Jets, San Francisco, Atlanta, and the Houston Oilers.
Game One for Spurs, Mavericks
SAN ANTONIO, May 19 (UPI) -- San Antonio and Dallas, the two winningest teams in the NBA this season, square off Monday night in Game One of the Western Conference finals.
The Spurs and Mavericks each won 60 games this season, and finished tied for the best record in the league. San Antonio earned the top seed in the West after posting a better conference record than Dallas, which was seeded third, behind Pacific Division winner Sacramento.
Heading into Game One, the Spurs would seem to have the advantage after disposing the three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the conference semifinals. San Antonio ended that series in convincing fashion with a 110-82 rout Thursday night, and was clearly the better team, despite being an underdog in most circles.
San Antonio, which won the NBA championship in 1999, is in the conference finals for the third time in five years.
The Mavericks needed seven games for the second straight series before slipping by the Kings, also the favorite among most analysts. Dallas secured its first trip to the conference finals since 1988 with a 112-99 victory over the Kings on Saturday night.
"We want to go into this series with the same mindset we had the previous two series -- that we can win it," said Dallas guard Michael Finley. "It's going to be a little tougher, being that we don't have home-court advantage, but it's still possible. If we come out and play defense with the same intensity, the series is very winnable for us."
Tim Duncan, who poured in 37 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in Game Six against the Lakers, should provide the Mavericks, who are weak on the interior, all kinds of problems in this series.
Nick Van Exel, coming off a one of the best series in NBA history for a reserve in which he averaged 25.2 points, is one of the keys for Dallas.
If Van Exel gets off the way he did against Sacramento, and given the size of the Spurs' point guards, he should, the Mavericks definitely can stay in games and perhaps steal one at the end.
Meanwhile, in Game One of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday, Jason Kidd hit a fadeaway with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift New Jersey past the Detroit Pistons, 76-74.
The defending conference champion Nets look to take a commanding lead over the top-seeded Pistons when the series resumes Tuesday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Wade leaves East Tennessee State
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn., May 19 (UPI) -- East Tennessee State leading scorer Tiras Wade, who went on a leave of absence last season to deal with personal issues, is leaving the program.
"After having multiple discussions with Tiras, it became clear to me that it was in the best interest of both parties to allow Tiras a chance at a fresh start," said new Coach Murray Bartow, who was hired last month.
"In the end, my priority is to do what's best for ETSU basketball. I believe this will be the best decision for Tiras and our program here at ETSU."
A junior guard, Ward averaged 16.3 points in 18 games, including 17 starts, last season. He also was third on the team in rebounding at 5.6 per contest.
Knee surgery for Battie
BOSTON, May 19 (UPI) -- Veteran backup center Tony Battie of the Boston Celtics has had successful surgery on his right knee.
A report by the Boston Globe said the procedure was done at New England Hospital on May 15 and was performed by Dr. Arnold Scheller.
The report said Battie's recovery would take 4-6 weeks, and that he had been hampered by knee problems throughout the season. The Globe also said he needed to take time off after back-to-back games, and could not complete stretches of four games in five nights.
"Something does have to get done when the season's over with because it doesn't look like it's going to get better on rehab alone," the Globe quoted Battie as saying after Boston was swept in four games by New Jersey in the semifinal rounds of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
In 67 games this season, Battie averaged 7.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest. He was the fifth overall pick in the 1997 draft, when he was No. 1 by the Denver Nuggets.
In 378 career games with the Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Celtics, Battie has averaged 7.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
Stringer family settles with doctor
MINNEAPOLIS, May 19 (UPI) -- The family of Korey Stringer, a Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle who died in training camp in 2001, has reached an out-of-court settlement.
The amount of the settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against the team's doctor was undisclosed.
Stringer's widow, Kelci, filed the lawsuit against the team and Dr. David Knowles of the Mankato (Minn.) Clinic after her husband's death, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Kelci Stringer alleged that her husband was a victim of poor medical treatment on the two days prior to his death from heat stroke on Aug. 1, 2001.
He became ill after a practice session two days before he died. Knowles had coordinated the Vikings' medical care during that training camp.
The suit against Knowles was settled Monday morning, according to a statement by Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson.
The statement said the suit was resolved to the "mutual satisfaction" of both sides, but Kelci Stringer's attorney, James Gould, said the case is not yet over, as the fight against the team continues.
Larson threw out the claims against the team last month, but his ruling is being appealed.
"The settling of the claims with Knowles and the clinic in no way changes our emphasis on our appeal against the Vikings," Gould told the newspaper. "Obviously, we felt it was appropriate to settle this with Knowles and the clinic, you know, pretty much because they were the only ones who were kept in the case by the judge."
A trial on the lawsuit against Knowles had been set to begin on June 9.
Sheffield NL Player of the Week
NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- Atlanta Braves outfielder Gary Sheffield, a driving force behind baseball's hottest team, on Monday was named National League Player of the Week.
Sheffield helped the Braves to a 6-1 record for the week as he batted .461 (12-for-26) with two homers and 12 RBI. He also compiled a .769 slugging percentage and .515 on-base percentage.
Sparked by Sheffield, who leads the major leagues with a .361 batting average, the Braves have won 27 of their last 32 games and own baseball's best record at 31-13. Sheffield also leads the NL in slugging percentage (.653) and is second in on-base percentage (.446).
Piazza likely out for lengthy period
NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- It appears veteran catcher Mike Piazza of the New York Mets will be out for an extended period.
Piazza went down Friday with a serious groin injury, and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. He suffered a groin tear while trying to avoid an inside pitch by San Francisco righthander Jason Schmidt.
He went down in a heap, and had to be helped off the field and into the clubhouse. His status will be determined after an MRI sometime on Monday.
The New York Post already has reported that Piazza will miss at least one month, and other reports say he will be out as much as eight weeks.
"It just popped," Piazza said. "It started to spasm and I had trouble breathing for about an hour or so. It was really frightening. After I went down, I initially figured I would take some time and come right back, but I wasn't coming back and I started to get concerned. It just got progressively worse. I couldn't even undress myself. They had to cut my pants off. They had to give me some significant pain killers, and it wasn't until about two hours later where I was able to function. It feels like the worst injury I ever had."
At the time of the injury, Piazza, who has been hampered by a series of nagging hurts all season, was batting .338 with seven home runs and 15 RBI, and was eight short of tying the record of Carlton Fisk for most home runs by a catcher.
He also missed three games after having a mole removed from his abdomen on May 5.
Piazza, 34, was supposed to start getting oriented to playing first base in the absence of Mo Vaughn, who also is on the DL and out indefinitely because of arthritis and bone spurs in his left knee.
The injury-plagued Mets also have pitchers David Cone, Scott Strickland, Grant Roberts, and John Franco, outfielder Jeromy Burnitz, and shortstop Rey Sanchez on the DL.
Spiezio named AL Player of the Week
NEW YORK, May 19 (UPI) -- Anaheim first baseman Scott Spiezio, who helped take series from Boston and New York Yankees, on Monday was named American League Player of the Week.
Spiezio led the major leagues with a 1.048 slugging percentage and a .577 on-base percentage as the Angels went 4-2 on their six-game road trip. He batted .476 (10-for-21) with four runs scored, 22 total bases, four doubles, a triple, two homers and seven RBI on the trip.
Spiezio matched a career best with two homers and collected a career-high five RBI in Tuesday's 10-3 win at Yankee Stadium. He was 4-for-4 the following night in a 5-3 win, tying a career high for hits in a game.
White Sox name new hitting coach
CHICAGO, May 19 (UPI) -- After firing hitting coach Gary Ward on Sunday, the Chicago White Sox wasted little time, naming Greg Walker as their new hitting coach.
Walker, former White Sox first baseman, is in his second season as hitting coach for Triple-A Charlotte of the International League. The Knights are leading the International League with a .285 batting average and 42 home runs.
Walker, 43, spent parts of nine seasons with the White Sox, He had a career .260 batting average with 113 home runs and 444 RBI. He assisted the White Sox with Fantasy Camps and the Instructional League in 2000 before getting his first full-time coaching job at Charlotte.
Ward was fired following the team's 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The loss completed a sweep for Minnesota, and left the White Sox with a 6-10 mark in May.
Chicago is batting just .249 and has scored only 173 runs, ranking 23rd and 25th, respectively, among baseball's 30 teams in both categories.
The White Sox are just 20-23 this season, and trail first-place Minnesota by five games.
Ward, who was in his second full season as hitting coach, is the father of Los Angeles Dodgers reserve outfielder Daryle Ward. The elder Ward played 12 years in the major leagues, and was a career .276 hitter with 130 homers and 597 RBI in 1,287 games.
Devils look to close out Senators
OTTAWA, May 19 (UPI) -- New Jersey looks to close out a third straight series in five games Monday night and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in four years.
Game Five against the Ottawa Senators will be played at the Corel Centre.
The second-seeded Devils eliminated Boston and Tampa Bay with relative ease in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and are on the verge of doing the same to the top-seeded Senators.
Ottawa, which had the best record in the NHL in the regular season, and is in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, had allowed two goals or less in an NHL playoff-record 11 straight games before the Devils evened the series with a 4-1 victory in Game Two.
The Devils followed with a typical strong defensive performance as Martin Brodeur turned away 24 shots for his 17th career playoff shutout, and Sergei Brylin scored his first goal of the playoffs for a 1-0 home win last Thursday.
After that game, Ottawa defenseman Wade Redden said, "Saturday is certainly do-or-die for us."
While New Jersey never has lost a series after holding a three games to one lead, Ottawa never has advanced after losing two of the first three games in a series.
"Our backs are up against the wall," said Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips. "Now we're down to having to play three Game Sevens. Certainly, we can come back, but right now we have to win Game Five at home."
If Ottawa wins Monday, the teams return to New Jersey for Game Six on Wednesday. If the Devils are victorious, they will meet Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Mighty Ducks completed a sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference finals Friday night with a 2-1 win.
Thanks largely to the outstanding play of goaltender Jean-Sebaastien Giguere, Anaheim became the first team to sweep the conference finals since 1992. Acquired from Calgary for a second-round draft pick nearly two years ago, Giguere stopped 122 of 123 shots in a series that featured only 10 goals.
Bethel transfering to N.C. State
RALEIGH, N.C., May 19 (UPI) -- Point guard Tony Bethel, who played for Georgetown last season, has decided to transfer to North Carolina State.
The 6-2, 170-pound native of Fort Washington, Md., started all 34 games for the Hoyas in the 2002-03 campaign. Georgetown went 19-15 last season, losing the title game of the National Invitation Tournament to Big East rival St. John's.
Bethel's father, Darnell, told the Washington Post that both he and his son were comfortable with the school and its coach, Herb Sendek.
"We were impressed," Darnell Bethel told the paper. "They have a great program, a great plan for incorporating Tony into their scheme. Raleigh's a great city, and they are in the ACC. You can't beat that. We're very happy."
Bethel was granted his release from Georgetown on May 9. He averaged 10.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per contest last season, and started 52 of 58 games in his two-year career at Georgetown.
He did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving Georgetown, but was excited about his playing future.
"I just felt like it was the best move for me to make," Bethel told the paper.
He will sit out the 2003-04 season to meet NCAA transfer rules, but will have two years of eligibility remaining.
N.C. State was the only school he visited, and when he becomes eligible, he will be reunited with former high school teammate Levi Watkins. The two played together at Rockville (Md.) Montrose Christian.
Georgia Tech names new women's coach
ATLANTA, May 19 (UPI) -- Georgia Tech on Monday named MaChelle Joseph as its new women's basketball coach.
She received a four-year contract with a base salary of $120,000.
The Yellow Jackets' top assistant the last two seasons is replacing Agnus Berenato, who became coach at Pittsburgh after 15 seasons at Georgia Tech.
"MaChelle has proven herself to be an outstanding coach and recruiter in her 11 years as an assistant coach, and in particular in her two years at Georgia Tech," said Athletic Director Dave Braine. "It's no coincidence that her two years here have been two of the best seasons we've had. She clearly understands what it takes to be successful at Georgia Tech, both on and off the court."
Joseph, 33, will have plenty of talent on hand to work with at Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets return four starters from last season's team that posted a 20-11 record and reached the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history.