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No. 21 USC rebounds for 38-17 win over Arizona St.

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No. 21 USC rebounds for 38-17 win over Arizona St.

LOS ANGELES (AP) Marqise Lee caught 10 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown, Curtis McNeal rushed for 163 yards and two more scores, and No. 21 Southern California bounced back from consecutive losses with a 38-17 victory over skidding Arizona State on Saturday.

Matt Barkley threw for 222 yards and three TDs while becoming the leading passer in conference history for the Trojans (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12), who overcame a slow start and five turnovers to snap their two-game skid. USC hasn't lost three straight since 2001, former coach Pete Carroll's first season.

Taylor Kelly passed for 174 yards and Alden Darby returned an interception 70 yards for a touchdown for the Sun Devils (5-5, 3-4), who lost their fourth straight. Arizona State managed just 250 total yards and scored all of their points off USC's turnovers, getting shut out in the final 27 minutes.

Although Todd Graham has replaced Dennis Erickson on the sideline, Arizona State is in much the same late-season spiral as last year, when the Sun Devils dropped five straight.

USC yielded a school-record 730 yards to No. 2 Oregon in a 62-51 loss last Saturday and endured a midweek distraction when a student manager was fired for underinflating footballs on the Ducks' sideline. The Trojans badly needed a boost of confidence before finishing the regular season against No. 17 UCLA and No. 4 Notre Dame.

After scoring 24 consecutive points in the second half to blow past Arizona State, the Trojans are fully inflated again - and what's more, the FBS' most-penalized team was flagged just four times for 30 yards.

Lee caught an 80-yard TD pass and rushed for 66 yards during the seventh 10-catch day of his spectacular sophomore season - and he even lined up at safety briefly in another do-it-all performance for the Trojans, who thrived on offense with little help from two key players. All-American receiver Robert Woods had two catches for minus-3 yards, while leading rusher Silas Redd watched the game in uniform from the sideline.

McNeal and Xavier Grimble also caught TD passes from Barkley, who needed just 14 yards to pass Carson Palmer's USC and Pac-12 record of 11,818 yards passing, and he picked it up on his second pass of the day. The four-year starter already holds the USC records for touchdown passes, completions and total offense along with several single-game superlatives.

The Trojans' earliest home kickoff since 1998 didn't appear to suit them. Lee fumbled at the end of the 17-yard catch on USC's first play, and Kelly hit Chris Coyle for a 34-yard score moments later.

USC didn't get moving on offense until late in the first quarter when Barkley hit Lee in stride down a seam for an 80-yard TD - but after Arizona State's Rashad Ross fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Barkley threw an interception at the Arizona State 2.

Barkley's second interception was the most costly. After an apparent touchdown pass to Woods was wiped out by pass interference, Darby lunged to pick off the risky screen pass by Barkley, somehow gathered himself without falling and ran 70 yards for a score.

The Coliseum fell uncomfortably silent, except for a few scattered boos that only grew when the Trojans punted moments later. Yet USC gathered itself late in the half and marched 79 yards on a 13-play drive capped by Barkley's sharp TD pass to Grimble 35 seconds before halftime.

Barkley's first pass after halftime also was intercepted, but only on a spectacular play by backup linebacker Carl Bradford, who deflected Barkley's pass and dived to snag it. Arizona State kicked a field goal to go up 17-14, but the Trojans answered with a lengthy drive capped by McNeal's go-ahead TD on third down - the first rushing TD of the season by the veteran tailback.

McNeal then caught a 22-yard TD pass from Barkley late in the quarter, slaloming through the Arizona State defense. Lee turned a broken end-around play into a 38-yard gain in the fourth quarter with his usual speed and grace, setting up Andre Heidari's field goal with 5:08 to play.

Leonard Williams and Lamar Dawson had interceptions in the final minutes for USC, and McNeal made a 27-yard TD run with 38 seconds to play.

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Wizards GM reset: Blazers' Neil Olshey, Warriors exec potential targets?

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Wizards GM reset: Blazers' Neil Olshey, Warriors exec potential targets?

The Washington Wizards remain without a President of Basketball Operations since firing Ernie Grunfeld April 2. While several candidates met with owner Ted Leonsis, including Denver’s Tim Connelly, the pursuit continues though largely in silence.

The vibe coming out of the organization is that of patience even with the fan base growing restless as the June 20 NBA Draft looms and prospect workouts starting a week or so out.

There have been no reports of candidate interviews since Washington met over the weekend with Connelly. Speculation and logic have the Wizards considering candidates beyond the previously reported group already brought in for interviews.

We can connect some dots and land on one executive whose team is still in the playoffs: Golden State assistant general manager Larry Harris.

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations, the architect behind the Portland squad that reached the 2019 Western Conference Finals.

Before we explain both scenarios, one more thought on Connelly specifically the pursuit and big swing.

While Connelly wasn’t the first candidate meeting, it’s clear the Wizards waited for him. The 54-win Nuggets were eliminated from the second round of the playoffs May 12. Connelly flew to Washington for a meeting with Wizards owner Ted Leonsis five days later.

The Baltimore native sincerely weighed a contract offer from the Wizards before choosing to remain in Denver, sources told NBC Sports Washington.

The Wizards previously interviewed former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, Thunder assistant general manager Troy Weaver and Wizards interim front office leader Tommy Sheppard.

While all three are considered credible candidates, none is an active GM or team president. None represents a big swing, the kind Leonsis hinted he would pursue in his first comments after dismissing Grunfeld.

“One thing I will say: I think this is the best job in sports,” Leonsis said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any issues in attracting really, really great people.”

Olshey, 54, began running Portland’s front office in June of 2012. Over the next 12 months, he drafted guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and hired head coach Terry Stotts. The quartet created the culture that fueled the current streak of six consecutive playoff appearances.

The 53-win Blazers advanced to the franchise’s first WCF appearance since 2000 before losing the series to Golden State 4-0.

It's uncertain the level of pursuit for Olshey from Washington, but the Wizards could face another uphill climb trying to lure the proven executive considering the similar contractual and team success. 

The general interest in Olshey began several weeks back, but the Wizards had yet to ask the Blazers for permission to interview Olshey as of Wednesday according to a source. Portland's season ended Monday with the Game 4 loss to Golden State. 

Olshey agreed to an extension in 2017 that carries his contract through the 2020-21 season. Sources believe he is open to considering other options including Washington after seven years with the Blazers.

Reporting from Portland has the franchise likely to be sold following the 2018 passing of team owner Paul Allen. 

Lillard received All-NBA honors Thursday and with it a supermax extension for four-years, $191 million dollars. If offered and signed, the contract would put constraints on Portland's salary cap structure.

As for Harris, the former Bucks GM joined the Warriors in 2008 as an assistant coach before eventually moving into the front office. He was named assistant GM in 2016.

ESPN reported Harris interviewed for the Pelicans opening in April before the NBA Playoffs began.

Note the familiar names. Gersson Rosas, who subsequently became the Timberwolves President, also interviewed with the Wizards.

The connection with the Wizards and Pelicans is Mike Forde, an outside consultant who helped both teams during their respective searches.

It’s no leap imagining Forde pushing the Wizards to meet with an executive who just spent the past five years in the NBA Finals (The Bucks never finished above .500 in five seasons with Harris, however). Waiting could mean until after Game 4 of the NBA Finals (June 7). Going the full seven games means June 16.

Another front office headliner still in the postseason is Toronto’s Masai Ujiri. NBC Sports Washington previously reported Ujiri showed interest in Washington. Expectations of high salary demands and compensation from the Raptors for their President of Basketball Operations stunted any serious movement, according to a source.

For now, Sheppard runs the show. He led the Wizards’ contingent at last week’s NBA Combine in Chicago. As for Ferry or Weaver, as of Wednesday it was considered unlikely either heard from Washington since the organization ramped up the pursuit of Connelly or learned of the Denver executive's decision, according to sources familiar with the situation.

 For now, all anyone on the outside can do is wait patiently just like the organization and see which name bubbles up next.

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.

The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.

“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”

Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.

“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”

Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.

The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.

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