WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 -- In Sports from United Press International
Georgetown basketball guard to transferIt was reported Tuesday that rising junior guard Demetrius Hunter, who was expected a critical cog next winter for Georgetown, has decided to leave the university and transfer to another program.
According to ESPN.com, the 6-2 shooting guard with good long-distance range, who would have given the Hoyas a potent backcourt tandem with rising senior Kevin Braswell at the point, wants to be closer to his hometown of Las Vegas, Nev., where he has a daughter who is nearly two years-old.
The website report said sources indicated that a representative for Hunter has made contact with the staffs at both Oregon, which does not have a basketball scholarship available, and Oklahoma, which does. The report also said other schools who might be interested in Hunter include Wyoming, San Diego State, and BYU, where his former AAU coach, John Wardenburg, is on the staff.
Last season, Hunter was third in scoring and second in assists for Georgetown, with averages of 9.2 points and 2.2 per game, helping the Hoyas compile a surprising 25-8 overall record. They reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Washington, D.C.-area rival Maryland in the semifinals of the West Regional.
His transfer is a severe blow to a team that many experts thought would challenge for the Big East title next season. It also means the Hoyas will now be without four players from last season's squad.
Forwards Lee Scruggs and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje and guard Anthony Perry departed via graduation this spring.
Cowboys release Tony BanksVeteran NFL quarterback Tony Banks, who was signed in the offseason, Tuesday was turned loose by the Dallas Cowboys.
Banks, who was supposed to be the heir apparent to the retired Troy Aikman, was listed on the team's depth chart as its starting quarterback at the beginning of training camp.
The team did not immediately confirm Banks' release, but he was noticeably angry as he left the Cowboys' training site.
The Cowboys have been looking for a quarterback to replace the injury-plagued Aikman, who was released over the winter and later announced his retirement. With Banks out of the picture, second-round draft choice Quincy Carter appears to be the No. 1 signal-caller, backed up by second-year players Anthony Wright and Clint Stoerner.
Carter, who was a surprise pick in the draft after leaving the University of Georgia a year earlier, quickly gained favor with the coaching staff after completing 9-of-16 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' first preseason game against Oakland.
Banks played for Baltimore last season and was benched late in the year when the Ravens made their Super Bowl run. He agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Cowboys for the veteran minimum of $500,000, a bargain for NFL starting quarterbacks.
In two preseason games, Banks led the Cowboys to just 99 total yards. He went 6-for-14 for a paltry 54 yards in two games.
Banks has started 61 games during his five-year NFL career in St. Louis and Baltimore. The Ravens were 5-3 in their first eight games last season, but Banks was woefully ineffective and the team turned to Trent Dilfer after the Ravens went five consecutive games without a touchdown. Dilfer subsequently led the Ravens to the Super Bowl title.
In 11 games last season, Banks completed 54.7 percent of his passes for 1,578 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Banks was chosen by St. Louis in the second round of the 1996 draft out of Michigan State. He has 61 TD passes and 58 career interceptions. His best season was 1999, when he threw 17 TD passes with just eight interceptions for the Ravens.
North Carolina punter to transfer Sophomore Blake Ferguson, who was competing to be the No. 1 punter this fall at the University of North Carolina, has abruptly left the team and the school and will transfer.
Ferguson was in head-to-head competition with junior walk-on John Lafferty and showed up on Sunday for a team picture and autograph session with the fans. But after that session, he and his father, Roy, requested and were given a meeting with new Tar Heels' Coach John Bunting.
Apparently, according to various media reports, it was then that Ferguson told the coach he was leaving the school, a decision that Bunting said left him in shock, even though Bunting admitted he was looking for overall improvement after a 2000 campaign in which Ferguson averaged 36.9 yards on 40 punts.
"We hoped that Blake could improve his ball-handling skills. Apparently, he objected to that," Bunting told the Raleigh News and Observer. "No. 2, he felt like he should be the starter every day instead of having our backup punter also get opportunities to work with the first snapper. ... Apparently, he objected to that. And lastly, he said he wanted to go home."
Ironically, the Tar Heels open the 2001 season against defending national champion Oklahoma. In that contest, Ferguson would have been punting against his older brother, Jeff, senior and an All-America candidate. The Ferguson brothers are from Broken Arrow, Okla.
Brewers place pitcher on disabled list Milwaukee Brewers rookie righthander Ben Sheets, who has lost five of his last six starts, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff.
The move is retroactive to August 6, one day after Sheets was pounded for 10 runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start, a 12-8 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
The winning pitcher in the gold medal game at the Sydney Olympics, Sheets went 4-0 in June to improve his record to 10-4. But he is 0-5 since June 29. In his last six starts, Sheets has allowed 34 earned runs and 45 hits in 35 2/3 innings. For the season, He is 10-9 with a 4.79 ERA in 21 starts, allowing 137 hits over 129 2/3 innings. He has surrendered 19 homers while walking 45 and striking out 84.
To take Sheets' roster spot, the Brewers recalled righthander Brandon Kolb from Class AAA Indianapolis of the International League. Kolb posted a 15.88 ERA in six games out of the bullpen for the Brewers earlier in the season. He was 2-4 with a 4.09 ERA and 14 saves in 36 appearances at Indianapolis.
Woods confesses to 2001 letdown Two-time defending champion Tiger Woods feels he's "certainly one of the favorites" to win this week's PGA Championship, but he admits that he hasn't been playing as well as he was going into the 1999 and 2000 tournaments.
"I haven't quite played as well for an entire tournament," Woods said at a Tuesday media conference. "I've played better this year in spurts. "I've hit the ball better in the middle part of the year than I did last year at the same time," he added." But I haven't played as well in the summer, obviously as I did last year."
Last year's PGA Championship was the third consecutive major golf title for Woods, who last won the U.S. Open and British Open in 2000. He made it four straight major victories this April when he won the Masters, but he failed to defend his titles at the U.S. and British Opens.
Woods insists that not having won the last two majors has not diminished his desire to win this week.
"When you are preparing, getting ready for a major championship, there is already enough on your mind," he said. "I tried to eliminate as much as I possibly could from the historical ramifications of winning a major championship last year, third in a row. I just tried to go out there and just play. Obviously, any time you get a chance to win any of the major championships, it's special. I think the PGA being the last major (of the year) puts a little more importance on the fact that this is our last chance. There are some big tournaments after this, but this is the last of the majors."
Phillies activate Dennis Cook The first-place Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday filled an open roster spot by activating veteran lefthander Dennis Cook from the 15-day disabled list.
Cook takes the place of fellow lefty Rheal Cormier, who went on the 15-day DL Sunday with tendinitis in his pitching elbow.
Cook has made just one appearance for Philadelphia since he was acquired July 28 from the New York Mets with righthander Turk Wendell. He was placed on the DL two days later to deal with personal problems. In 44 games this season, he is 1-1 with no saves and a 4.21 ERA.
Vikings get Lindsay from Browns The Minnesota Vikings, who are looking for help along the offensive line, acquired veteran guard Everett Lindsay on Tuesday from the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed 2002 draft pick.
It is a reunion for Lindsay, who was taken by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 1993 draft. The 6-4, 302-pounder was traded to Baltimore in 1999, then signed with Cleveland as a free agent before last season. Lindsay, 30, has experience at guard and tackle. A starter at guard for much of last year, Lindsay was competing for a job at the same position with the Browns in training camp.
Minnesota suffered a blow to its offensive line on August 1 when Pro Bowl right tackle Korey Stringer died due to complications from heat stroke.
Lindros to Rangers reported The New York Daily News reported Tuesday that the Philadelphia Flyers have agreed conditionally to send oft-injured center Eric Lindros to the New York Rangers. In return for the restricted free agent, the Flyers will receive forward Jan Hlavac, defenseman Kim Johnsson and forward Pavel Brendl.
The deal is contingent upon Lindros agreeing to a contract with the Rangers. He already has nixed at least one deal by refusing to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. The report also said the Rangers would receive a first-round draft pick if Lindros suffered a career-ending concussion in the first quarter of his first year with New York.
A report by the New York Times said the Flyers and Rangers were close to a deal that could be announced as early as Wednesday.
Lindros, a former Hart Trophy winner, sat out last season after rejecting an $8.5 million qualifying offer from the Flyers. He has endured a stormy relationship with Flyers General Manager Bob Clarke and the two sides have been unable to work out an arrangement to send him elsewhere.
Earlier this year, Clarke abandoned attempts to deal his former captain to the Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the few teams for which Lindros has said he would play. Clarke has said he does not care if the Toronto-area native ever plays again.
Lindros has not played since Game Seven of the 2000 Eastern Conference finals, when he sustained the sixth concussion of his eight-year career. In eight seasons with the Flyers, he had 290 goals and 369 assists and was a six-time All-Star.
Mickelson hopes to end "major" drought Phil Mickelson, seeking his first major title, Mickelson is one of the favorites to at least challenge Tiger Woods and the rest of the field at this week's PGA Championship.
One of the reasons is his talent, which has allowed the lefthander to keep the world's No. 2 ranking for the past year and win seven events in that span.
"I've been playing well," Mickelson said Tuesday at the Atlanta Athletic Club. "I'd like to think that I have a good shot at it, yes."
Mickelson is winless in 37 major starts. But he has won 19 times in his 10-plus years on tour and has accumulated more than $17 million in earnings.
"I feel that the way I've played over the past 10 years and the tournaments that I have done well in tend to show the style of player that I am," said Mickelson, who has 12 top-10 finishes in majors. "A win in one tournament or not winning a tournament really isn't going to change that perception."
Mickelson's money total is second all-time to Woods. But his win total is first among those never to have claimed a major and with David Duval winning the British Open last month, Mickelson has the term "best player never to have won a major" to himself. It's one he's not too uncomfortable with.
Bears sign TE John Davis Looking for help at tight end, the Chicago Bears on Tuesday signed veteran John Davis to a two-year contract.
Davis, 28, was a backup with Minnesota in 2000 and caught 17 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. He spent his first four seasons as a reserve with Tampa Bay.
Chicago was in the market for a tight end after Kaseem Sinceno, expected to be the club's starter this season, suffered a fractured left ankle in Saturday's exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans. Sinceno, 25, underwent surgery Monday. He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending his season. The 6-4, 255-pound Sinceno caught 23 passes for 206 yards in 11 games last season, his first with the Bears. He spent his first two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and caught three passes for 42 yards.
The loss of Sinceno is a big one for the Bears, who were 10th in the NFC in offense last year and are using the exhibition season to determine starters at several key positions.
Thrashers sign top draft choice Ilya Kovalchuk, the first Russian player selected first overall in the history of the NHL draft, Tuesday agreed to a contract with the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Kovalchuk will get a three-year deal worth $1.13 million per season, the maximum salary allowed for a 2001 pick per the league rookie cap. There is no cap on incentive bonuses and the left wing is expected to receive more than either of the team's two previous first-round picks.
Center Patrik Stefan, taken first overall in 1999, received $7.5 million in incentives and left wing Dany Heatley, the second overall choice in 2000, got $7.4 million.
After rejecting a number of trade offers, Atlanta staked a portion of its future by taking Kovalchuk to open the June draft. Described as a "franchise-type player" by General Manager Don Waddell, he will report to the team's rookie evaluation camp in Traverse City, Mich., from Sept. 4-9.
Penguins sign three The Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday landed a pair of unrestricted free agents, agreeing to deals with goaltender Rob Tallas and defenseman Peter Ratchuk. The Penguins also agreed to a deal with defenseman Brooks Orpik, their first-round pick in the 2000 draft.
No terms of any of the three contracts were disclosed.
Tallas, 28, played in 12 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season and was 2-7-0 with a 3.65 goals against average. He also has played for Boston and is 28-42-10 with a 2.91 goals against average in 99 career NHL games.
Ratchuk, 23, was scoreless in eight games for the Florida Panthers last season. He spent most of the season at Louisville of the American Hockey League, where he had five goals and 13 assists in 64 games.
Orpik, 20, played three years at Boston College and had 20 assists last season to help the Eagles win the national championship for the first since 1949.
Kings sign Aaron Miller The Los Angeles Kings Tuesday agreed to a two-year contract with restricted free agent defenseman Aaron Miller.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the Kings said they had accepted a ruling from an NHL arbitrator. The hearing was held last Friday in Toronto.
Miller was acquired Feb. 21 in a multi-player deal with the Colorado Avalanche. He had no goals and five assists in 13 regular season games for the Kings. The 30-year-old Miller had one assist in 13 postseason games and has been invited to participate in the United States Olympic orientation camp from Sept. 4-7.
Miller had four goals and nine assists in 56 games for the Avalanche last season before being traded.