NCAA

Emotional Smith likely nearing end with Arkansas

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Emotional Smith likely nearing end with Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) John L. Smith figures to leave Arkansas riding the same overflowing emotion that carried him back to the state.

The likely farewell tour for the interim coach began in earnest Monday, with Smith left fighting back tears while discussing his coaching future, the Razorbacks' season-finale against LSU, and the difficult season that has left Arkansas (4-7, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) outside of the bowl picture for the first time since 2008.

Smith, who was hired in April to replace the fired Bobby Petrino, is hoping to keep coaching after this season - wherever that might be.

The former Michigan State and Louisville coach also acknowledged the possibility that he won't be back with the Razorbacks, a likely scenario as athletic director Jeff Long continues his search for a permanent coach.

``Boy, I'd sure like to go out with a win,'' Smith said of Friday's game with the No. 8 Tigers (9-2, 5-2).

Smith was lauded by Arkansas' players for his personable ways when he took over for Petrino, and he was nearly overcome with emotion several times Monday.

The 64-year-old Smith, who is dealing with his personal $40.7 million bankruptcy case and the death of his younger brother during the losing season, said he hasn't talked directly with Long about his future. Long said last month that Smith was still a candidate for the full-time job, adding that it would be apparent at the end of the season whether Smith was his choice.

``It has not worked like I would have liked to come back and give them, so I'm a little bit regretful in the fact I would have like to give them more wins, if you can give that,'' Smith said. ``But you try to give what you can and do all you can and prepare them the best you can. And hopefully we've been a positive, positive influence on their lives. That's the best you can do, I guess.''

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson was in the room for Monday's news conference, waiting his turn to speak, and he watched as Smith's eyes filled with tears. Wilson said the heightened emotions and reflection were the result of the Razorbacks' latest loss, a 45-14 setback to Mississippi State that ended any hopes of a fourth straight bowl game.

``I think it's emotional for all of us,'' Wilson said.

The senior also admitted the last six months ``have been tough,'' but he praised Smith for helping keep the team together.

``He's always got a smile,'' Wilson said. ``Whether he's feeling it deep down in there or not, it's the way he expresses himself. And, you know, it touches everybody.''

The Razorbacks were 21-5 the last two seasons under Petrino and had hopes of competing for SEC and national championships this season. Those hopes, however, crashed in the wake of Petrino's April 1 motorcycle accident - an accident that led to revelations of Petrino's extramarital affair, and that he had hired his mistress to work in the athletic department.

Smith, who had been an Arkansas assistant under Petrino the last three seasons, was signed to a 10-month contract by Long after a brief stint as head coach at his alma mater, Weber State. Smith said he expects to be ``over-emotional'' this week, both before, during and after Friday's game.

``I'm very thankful for this,'' Smith said. ``I'm thankful for having the opportunity to come back. I'm thankful that these guys thought enough of me to say, to say `that's a guy we'd like back.'''

Smith did his best to hold his emotions in check while answering his final question on Monday. He was asked about fans' support for Friday's game, and his answer quickly turned into an outpouring of thankfulness - and apologies - before quickly leaving the stage to conceal his tears.

``We're sorry again we couldn't have maybe done more,'' Smith said. ``... Our fans have been the best place I've ever been. If I get one bad email, I get 100 good ones, in saying thank you. So, please come and say thanks to those players.''

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

A bombshell article published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thaamel of YAHOO Sports details potential NCAA violations involving more than 20 schools and 25 players.

Among some of the biggest names and programs in college basketball includes former Maryland Terrapin, Diamond Stone.

According to documents and bank records that are part of an FBI investigation, Stone received $14,303 while a freshman at Maryland, a clear violation of NCAA rules. 

Former NBA agent, Andy Miller and his former associate, Christian Dawkins of ASM Sports were dishing out the incentives. Included were cash advances, entertainment expenses and travel expenses for high school and college prospects.

Other player's included in the documents include Dennis Smith who played at North Carolina State, Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall, DeMatha star Markelle Fultz who played at Washington and Edrice Adebayo who went on to play at Kentucky. 

Player's and their families from Duke, Michigan State, USC, North Carolina, Texas and Alabama are also included.

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season before declaring for the NBA draft. He was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Stone did end up signing with a different agency.

While this is still under investigation, large consequences for the NCAA can be expected.

The NCAA released this statement following the news. 

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!