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John Wooden statue stands vigil outside UCLA arena

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John Wooden statue stands vigil outside UCLA arena

LOS ANGELES (AP) The stern gaze behind black-rimmed glasses, arms crossed, rolled-up program tucked under his arm. John Wooden is now standing vigil outside Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA unveiled an 8-foot bronze statue of the late revered coach on Friday outside its newly renovated arena on the Westwood campus. Wooden's family members, who were consulted by sculptor Blair Buswell, were pleased with how the nearly 400-pound tribute turned out after a few tweaks suggested by Wooden's daughter, Nan.

``The ears weren't quite right,'' she said, noting her father's right earlobe was slightly longer than his left. She also had Buswell smooth out the area under her father's arms and jacket that originally made it look as though the trim coach had a pot belly.

``I just wanted people to look at him and be able to say, `That's John Wooden,''' she said. ``I don't think there's any doubt.''

Hall of Fame basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale, who emceed the ceremony under a searing sun, UCLA chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Dan Guerrero were among many in attendance who knew Wooden and agreed he would be embarrassed by the hoopla.

``He'd probably pooh-pooh this,'' Meyers Drysdale said. ``He was not one to draw attention to himself.''

Nan Wooden said, ``He's probably shaking his head, saying, `I don't deserve this.'''

Greg Wooden said his grandfather ``would have been against it unless his whole team could be out there.''

Other members of the Wooden family, players on the current men's basketball team, the university band and cheerleaders were among the crowd that watched as each of the speakers placed a hand on the yellow cord to yank down the white canvas covering the statue. Wooden stands tall in a jacket and tie, his usual sideline attire.

``He's intense,'' said Buswell, who created the sculpture at his studio in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and had it delivered 800 miles to campus this week.

Current Bruins coach Ben Howland added, ``It really captures Coach.''

Howland said Wooden might have downplayed the honor ``but he also understood how many lives he's touched and what he's meant to everyone here at UCLA.''

Wooden, who died in 2010, led the Bruins to 10 national championships, including seven in a row. The statue resembles Wooden in the final years of his 27-year career, which ended with a 620-147 record in 1975. Wooden was a frequent presence at basketball games in retirement, and he was sought out for his teachings on leadership and teamwork.

His autograph in his familiar unadorned cursive - a signature he gladly gave out countless times at games - is on the base of the statue. A plaque with his name and years as coach includes one of his quotes:

``Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.''

UCLA alum Jim Collins and his wife, Carol, donated the money for the statue. Collins, chairman emeritus of Sizzler International, recalled asking Wooden to serve on the steak restaurant's board of directors because the coach and his wife, Nell, ate at the location near their home most days.

``For nine years he never missed a meeting,'' Collins said.

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The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft pool may push the Redskins into continuing a short-term draft trend that appears to be working out fairly well for them. 

For seven straight years beginning in 2009, the Redskins went along with the conventional wisdom in the draft, taking a player that primarily impacted the passing game or stopping the other team’s passing game, with their top draft picks. 

Their top pick (whether in the first or second round) in every draft from 2008-2014 was at a traditionally high-value position associated with the passing game — wide receiver (Devin Thomas), edge rusher (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy), left tackle (Trent Williams), quarterback (Robert Griffin III), or outside cornerback (David Amerson). 

This was the Redskins going along with the conventional wisdom. Since 2000, 62 percent of first-round NFL draft picks have been players at those positions even though they account for just 32 percent of a team’s starters. 

The Redskins have shifted away for conducting the draft focused on the passing game at the top in two of the last three drafts. The Redskins selected guard Brandon Scherff (No. 5) in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (No. 22) in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In between, they went the old way, selecting wide receiver Josh Doctson (No. 22) in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

This trend is likely to continue due in part to the makeup of the top talent in the draft.

If you’re not looking for a quarterback, the top half of the first round is very light in talented players playing the positions that are most important to the passing game — outside cornerback, edge rusher, left tackle, and wide receiver. Cornerback Denzel Ward is a top-10 player as is edge rusher Bradley Chubb. But that’s about it at those positions and there are no wide receivers or left tackles worthy of consideration in the top 15.

That leaves players like interior defensive linemen Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne and inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds as players who have the potential to be the best available players on the board when the Redskins are on the clock. Traditionally, these players play positions that teams are looking for in the latter stages of the first round at the earliest. 

They could go the non-traditional way for the third time in four years with Vea, Payne, Fitzpatrick, or Smith. In fact, unless Ward slips or they pull off a major surprise it’s likely that they will.

Scherff has worked out well and Allen was getting the job done as a rookie before he got injured so perhaps the way the draft plays out will work out well for Washington.

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John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

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