Wizards

Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

ST. LOUIS (AP) Dwayne Evans wanted to honor Rick Majerus with a win less than 24 hours after the former coach's death.

Evans scored 17 points and Jordair Jett added 14 points to lead Saint Louis to a 62-49 victory over Valparaiso on Sunday. Mike McCall Jr. added 10 points for the Billikens (4-3).

Majerus, 64, passed away Saturday at a Los Angeles hospital due to heart failure. The Milwaukee native compiled a 517-216 record over 25 years with Saint Louis, Ball State, Utah and Marquette.

``Coach dedicated his life to basketball,'' Evans said. ``I can't think of a better tribute than to get a win.''

Majerus guided the Billikens to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years last season. The Billikens, who finished 26-8, upset Memphis before losing to Michigan State.

Majerus, who had a history of heart problems, took a leave of absence due to health issues in August. The school announced last month that he would not return.

The team found out about his passing after practice on Saturday.

``It was upsetting, tears were shed,'' forward Cody Ellis said. ``But it brought us together as a team. It helped us regroup. ... We definitely came today to play for him.''

Saint Louis guard Kwamain Mitchell said he learned more than just basketball from Majerus.

``He developed me into a man,'' Mitchell said.

Billikens interim coach Jim Crews said that although Majerus had been in failing health, it was still hard to accept the news.

``He's been a friends' friend to me,'' Crews said. ``He's been a father figure to many of these young guys. It hurts. I love Rick.''

A moment of silence was observed before the game. Following the silence, fans in the near sellout crowd clapped and cheered for 50 seconds before the national anthem was played.

Saint Louis players wore black ribbons on the front of their jerseys. The student cheering section, of which Majerus was a big supporter, donned black shirts. Majerus used to make sure to acknowledge the Slunatics, as they are called, after each home game.

``He always let us know that he appreciated us,'' said senior Marty Kovarik, vice president of the group. ``Before the season, he would take some of us to dinner and tell us just how important he thought we were to the team. It made us feel good - like we were a part of things.''

Majerus, who was extremely popular among fellow coaches, guided Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998. He reached 15 wins 20 times and had 30-plus wins twice.

``He was brilliant,'' said Indiana coach Tom Crean, who along, with Majerus, shared a coaching path that ran through Marquette. ``He was a guy I could call at any time and he would give me ideas.''

Crean said there was a time when Majerus was among the most popular sports figures in Wisconsin.

``He (could) have become mayor of Milwaukee or governor of Wisconsin,'' Crean said. ``He was that well-loved.''

Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said Majerus helped lift the team to national prominence. He was hired on April 30, 2007, and guided the Billikens to a top-20 ranking last season for the first time since 1994-95.

``He put his heart and soul into the program,'' May said. ``What I remember most was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court.''

There was also a moment of silence in honor of Majerus prior to the St. Louis Rams game against San Francisco on Sunday.

Saint Louis used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take the lead for good 25-19.

Ryan Broekhoff, Matt Kenney and Kevin Van Wijk had 10 points each for Valparaiso (5-2).

Quick Links

Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

usatsi_9707712.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Kawhi Leonard, report says

After already making significant changes to their roster, the Wizards may not be done this offseason, as according to a new report by ESPN, they have been in talks with the San Antonio Spurs about a potential trade for superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Read this from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Still, the bidding war among Boston, Philadelphia and the Lakers never materialized. The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Toronto and Washington are among teams who've talked with San Antonio, league sources said.

The Wizards certainly make sense as a Leonard suitor. They are in the East, meaning the Spurs could trade Leonard to them and not have to worry about facing him as often. Plus, they have a solid group of tradeable assets and ones that seem to fit the Spurs model.

Otto Porter is a versatile, young player under team control who plays an unselfish style and would likely embrace playing in a small market. He also has a salary ($26M in 2018-19) that isn't far off from Leonard's ($21M in 2018-19), so the money could be easily matched.

The Wizards also have Tomas Satoransky and Kelly Oubre, Jr., two young and up-and-coming players. Plus, they have draft picks, though ones that are unlikely to convey as lottery selections.

The Spurs have reportedly been more interested in getting players that can help now rather than draft picks to rebuild. That makes sense, as they still won 47 games last year despite Leonard only playing in nine of them due to injury.

The question in any Wizards and Spurs talks would be whether they would want one of Washington's All-Stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would be tough to imagine the Wizards parting with either guy for Leonard, who carries some risk not only because of his quadriceps injury but also because he can opt out of his contract and leave after next season.

Just because the Wizards have talked to the Spurs doesn't mean they are serious contenders for Leonard, but it does show they are serious about improving their roster this summer. If they got Leonard and didn't part with Wall and Beal, that would be some team.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

man-machado-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.

MORE MLB NEWS: