Wizards

New coach introduced at Kent State

New coach introduced at Kent State

KENT, Ohio (AP) Paul Haynes is right back where he was a skinny walk-on some 25 years ago.

Now, he's in charge of the program he loves so much, and has been given the task of keeping Kent State moving forward.

It won't be easy.

Haynes was formally announced as the new coach of the Golden Flashes on Tuesday, and immediately displayed a vibrancy equal of his popular predecessor, Darrell Hazell. He's going to need it. Not only did Hazell, who left for Purdue, establish a winning culture here, he led the program to the AP poll as well as a bowl berth.

``When I got into this profession, one of my goals was to be the coach at Kent State,'' said Haynes, who played here as a 168-pound defensive back in 1987-91. He was defensive coordinator at Arkansas this year after seven seasons as an assistant at Ohio State. ``I can't believe it. It's a dream and I haven't landed yet. It's been a whirlwind. The last 48 hours have been crazy.

``But I'm ready.''

Haynes, 43, will step aside so that Hazell, who became coach of the Boilermakers on Dec. 5, can guide the No. 25 Golden Flashes (11-2) to their first bowl game in 40 years. Kent State will meet Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6.

``I probably won't even go to a practice. I don't want to screw it up,'' Haynes joked. ``I respect Coach Hazell and his staff. They need to finish it out. They've done a great job.''

Athletic director Joel Nielsen said Haynes was signed to a 5 1/2-year contract at $375,000 annually. Haynes also was an assistant at Michigan State, Louisville, Northern Iowa, Ferris State and Bowling Green.

Haynes and Hazell share similar football philosophies. Hazell's Golden Flashes found success with a strong running game. Haynes, who served with Hazell on Jim Tressel's staff with the Buckeyes, sees no reason to change.

``They have laid the foundation,'' Haynes said. ``On offense, I believe in running the ball and not turning it over. Defensively, it is stop the run and create turnovers.''

Nielsen interviewed several candidates, but said Haynes was clearly the best choice.

``His leadership quality kept coming out,'' Nielsen said. ``We talked with Coach Tressel and many others. They all said he was ready. We talked to Paul two years ago when we hired Darrell. We thought Darrell was a little more ready then.

``Now, Paul has done the same. He really wanted this job. We're happy to have him.''

Haynes intends to recruit heavily in Ohio, and will place academics on par with winning.

``First, I want to graduate all players with a meaningful degree,'' he said. ``And I want to win. Everybody wants to win. I'm not going to sacrifice integrity to do it.''

Kent State went 8-0 in the Mid-American Conference this season, but lost the league title game to then-No. 21 Northern Illinois, 44-37. One of the season's memorable moments, was an impressive 35-23 road win at then-No. 15 Rutgers on Oct. 27.

``I'm a little nervous addressing everyone today, but maybe when I leave Kent State in 20 or 30 years, I'll be good at this,'' he said. ``I have a lot of Kent State pride. I love it here.''

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Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards take out Sixers to tie season series behind Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter's hot shooting

The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 109-94 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Playoff implications: Later in the season the stakes are raised and the Wizards' win over the Sixers on Sunday night could loom large in just a few weeks.

By beating the Sixers, who had won seven straight entering the matchup, the Wizards tied up the season series with their second win. A loss would have handed Philly the tiebreaker in playoff seeding if the two teams finish with the same record at season's end.

Now that their season series is over and locked even, it will come down to their record against other Eastern Conference teams if they tie. At 22-15 vs. the East, the Wizards currently have the edge on the Sixers, who are 18-14 in that category.

The Wizards dominated the Sixers for much of the night and they did so by once again moving the ball with generosity and precision. They had 35 assists on 43 field goals. The Wizards have had 30 or more assists in five games this season and four have come within the last month.

Those four games have been part of a 9-3 surge for the Wizards since John Wall got injured. With their win against Philly, the Wizards moved to 35-25 on the season and a half-game out of third in the East. The Sixers are among several teams nipping at their heels in an increasingly crowded conference.

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Oubre put on a show: The Wizards led 67-48 at halftime and that was in large part due to Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s impact on both ends of the floor. He had eight points in each of the first two quarters, including four threes, and made several key plays on defense.

Oubre had three blocks to set a career-high by halftime, including one on Robert Covington that bounced off Covington's leg and gave the Wizards possession. He also took a charge on Ben Simmons and flashed a smile for the cameras as he sprinted back down the floor.

Oubre ended the game with 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting. It wasn't long ago that Oubre was in a significant shooting slump.

In his last 11 games before the All-Star break, Oubre was averaging just 9.4 points on 31.2 percent shooting. In three games since the break, Oubre has scored 47 points (15.7/g) while shooting 51.5 percent. It's safe to say he's put those shooting struggles behind him.

Oubre had been making his mark defensively as the Wizards closed the first half on a tear, but Sunday showed how much of a boost he can provide when he's in a rhythm offensively. He completely changed the game and helped the Wizards knock off a team that came to Washington super hot.

Porter wasn't fazed: Otto Porter did something on Sunday that likely has never been accomplished before. He hit not one, not two, not three but four buzzer-beaters all in the first half. Three of them were to beat the shot clock. Then, he hit another one to end the first half:

That shot capped an 8-1 run to end the second quarter for the Wizards and it brought a burst of energy out of the crowd. Porter had 14 points in the second quarter and shot 6-for-6 in the frame. The Wizards outscored the Sixers 37-20 in the second and Porter led the charge.

Porter finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Much like Bradley Beal, who had 24 points in this game, Porter has thrived in this second extended absence for Wall. Both Beal and Porter battle inconsistency as they adapted to being the primary focus of opposing teams back in November when Wall first went down. But this time around, they have answers to everything teams are throwing at them.

Porter's patience at the end of the shot clock on Sunday was an example of that. His confidence seems to be at an all-time high, knowing he has enough tricks to keep his opponents guessing. That was on display with under two minutes to go when he drained a three in Covington's face, turned around to stare at him afterwards and then shook his head as he trotted down the court, as if he were saying that no one can stop him. 

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday before playing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Bucks and Warriors. Tuesday is an 8 p.m. tipoff on TNT. We will have pre- and postgame coverage of Wizards-Bucks on NBC Sports Washington Plus beginning at 7 p.m.

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Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

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Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.