NCAA

No. 13 Florida St.-Georgia Tech meet for ACC title

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No. 13 Florida St.-Georgia Tech meet for ACC title

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Florida State has no option but to stop the option - if the Seminoles want to win their 13th ACC title.

Jimbo Fisher said Friday the key to the Seminoles winning another Atlantic Coast Conference championship and clinching an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl is shutting down Georgia Tech's triple option offense.

The 13th-ranked Seminoles (10-2, 7-1 ACC) are two-touchdown favorites over unranked Georgia Tech in Saturday night's matchup. Still, Fisher knows defending the Yellow Jackets' deceiving offense can be a monumental task if you're not properly prepared.

The Yellow Jackets (6-6, 5-3) averaged 40 points per game during ACC play and their running game ranks third-best in the nation, averaging 323.3 yards per game.

Fisher said his staff has devised a good game plan to stop it.

But he's quick to point out it's difficult to simulate the speed of Georgia Tech's offense because it's so unorthodox.

``It's hard to simulate,'' Fisher said during a press conference Friday in Charlotte. ``It's one thing to do it in practice when you have your assignments, but we have to get used to the speed of it and how well they execute it. So it will be a huge challenge for us, no doubt.''

Whatever happens, both teams could be heading for a bowl game.

The NCAA on Thursday granted Georgia Tech a waiver to ensure it would be bowl eligible even it loses and drops to 6-7 on the season.

The Yellow Jackets hope they don't need the waiver. Whether they do or not, could depend on the Seminoles' defense.

Florida State ranks fourth in the nation against the run, allowing just 85.08 yards per game and a mere 2.7 yards per carry.

But the Seminoles' task could be a little more difficult without defensive end Tank Carradine, their leading tackler, who'll miss the final two games of the season with a torn knee ligament. He led Florida State with 80 tackles and was second on the team with 11 sacks.

Even without Carradine, Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson said Florida State has the best defensive line his team has faced this season. They are led by Bjoern Warner, the ACC defensive player of the year.

``They're huge, and they've got a lot of them,'' Johnson said of Florida State's defensive line rotation. ``So they roll them and they play a lot of guys. It's going to be a huge challenge. ... Georgia is awfully good at linebacker and safety, and so is Florida State, but Florida State is really good on the defensive front.''

Georgia Tech's leading rusher Orwin Smith did not play last week and Johnson said he's doubtful for Saturday night, which could put more pressure on quarterback Tevin Washington. Washington has only thrown for seven touchdowns this season, but he leads the Yellow Jackets with 18 rushing TDs.

Florida State and Georgia Tech have spent the week trying to forget about last Saturday.

Both teams suffered losses to in-state rivals.

Florida State's loss was particularly painful as the let a fourth quarter lead slip away and lost to in-state rival and fourth-ranked Florida 37-26. But Fisher believes his team has bounced back with a good week of practice.

``I think it hurt them, but I think they're ready to flush it because they understand what they have to accomplish and that's win a conference championship and still have a phenomenal year,'' Fisher said. ``I look forward to them doing that. I expect them to do it.''

Georgia Tech was blown out by No. 3 Georgia 42-10 Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets' defense has had its problems all season and Johnson said he's concerned about his special teams, which has given up a number of big plays.

He said that has forced his offense to ``outscore our opponents.''

Florida State comes in with some high-powered weapons, including quarterback EJ Manuel, the third-most accurate passer in ACC history.

Fisher said Manuel is the team's unquestioned leader and the sets the standard for his team.

When he got hit in the jaw and fumbled last Saturday against Florida and briefly causing him to leave the game, Florida State's momentum slipped away - and so did their tenuous fourth quarter lead.

``You take the mentality of your quarterback,'' Fisher said. ``Other positions are great, but when that quarterback is tough and he's a competitor and he represents the right thing it sets the tone across the board. You can influence the other guys. And to me that's what a great player does. His effect on the other players, as people, students and as athletes is as much as I've been around. And to me that makes him a great player.''

Johnson compares Manuel to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.

``He can hurt you not only throwing the ball, but he's athletic, can pull it down and run with it, and he gives them a lot of flexibility to do a lot of things,'' Johnson said.

For Manuel, this game is about some personal redemption after turning it over four times in the loss to the Gators last Saturday.

Manuel said he spent Sunday hanging out with his parents on campus and they helped cheer him up and get him focused for challenge ahead.

``You don't want to lose to your in-state rival,'' Manuel said. ``It's tough, but we understand that we have a huge game, basically an even bigger game this week coming up versus Georgia Tech being our conference championship. We have to be ready. We can't allow that game to linger on.''

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

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Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

With a luxury tax bill of approximately $19 million on the way, the Washington Wizards gave themselves some salary relief on Monday by trading veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards attached a future second round pick and cash to the deal and in exchange received a future second round pick of their own, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news.

Though Meeks, 31, was due to make $3.45 million this season, his departure saves the Wizards about $7 million because of projected tax penalties. That's a lot of savings in a deal that got rid of a player who had become expendable.

Meeks had fallen out of favor with the Wizards for a variety of reasons. He was due to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the season due to performance-enhancing drugs. The ban was announced the day before their first round playoff series against the Raptors was set to begin in April.

Meeks also underperformed last season in the first year of his contract with the Wizards and requested a trade in February. This summer, Meeks exercised his player option to remain with the team.

The Wizards were not likely to count on Meeks much at all this season because they traded for Austin Rivers in June to add depth at the shooting guard position. Meeks' role was made clear by the fact he did not appear in any of the Wizards' four preseason games against NBA opponents.

Meeks' tenure in Washington was a significant disappointment. The Wizards signed him last summer in hopes he could shore up the shooting guard spot on their bench. 

Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff. The Wizards opted to rely more heavily on starter Bradley Beal, who logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season.

Now, they are moving on.

Meeks leaving the organization should have little effect on the Wizards, though it does leave them with a hole on their roster that needs to be filled. They currently have 13 players, one below the league minimum. The Wizards now have 14 days to add a 14th player.

They could sign a free agent, convert one of their players on two-way contracts (Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae) or make a trade. The Meeks deal gives them a $3.45 million trade exception.

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