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SMU's Brown, Tulsa's Manning in rare matchup

SMU's Brown, Tulsa's Manning in rare matchup

DALLAS (AP) Now that he's back in the college game, Larry Brown is looking for the next Danny Manning. Meantime, he's not very excited about coaching against the real thing.

When Manning and Tulsa visit SMU on Sunday night, it will be just the second time the most outstanding player from an NCAA championship team opposes his coach on the sideline.

Thinking back to the moment when Kansas won that title in 1988, Brown can hardly bear the notion of trying to beat maybe his favorite player in a 40-year career.

``It's going to be a special moment seeing him on the other bench coaching,'' Brown said. ``But I don't enjoy that opportunity because if we lose, I don't take losses very well and if we win, I'm not going to be happy about him being on the losing side. I admire the heck out of him.''

The 72-year-old Brown, a Naismith Hall of Famer who is the only coach to win NBA and NCAA titles, is coaching in college for the first time since the Kansas championship, and says he will ``go to high school games and look for kids just like'' Manning.

Their bond is pretty rare because Brown also coached Manning's dad, and Manning passed up a chance to be the first pick in the NBA draft in part because he wanted to win a national championship. He ended up doing it, and turns out he was just delaying the inevitable because the Los Angeles Clippers made him the top pick in 1988. Manning and Brown were later paired again for two years with the Clippers.

Manning, the eighth-leading scorer in NCAA history, says he remembers all those days fondly. Brown thinks maybe there's some revisionist history in play.

``I think he thought I was a jerk when I was a college coach and maybe I took it up a notch as a pro coach,'' Brown said. ``He thought it was like groundhog day and maybe wasn't too excited about it.''

It couldn't have been that bad. Manning called his old coach into his office last spring because he wanted to know what Brown thought about his decision to pursue a head coaching job after nine years on the staff at Kansas. Plus, Brown spent a lot of time around the KU program, especially in the 16 months between getting fired by the Charlotte Bobcats and hired at SMU.

``He had a huge impact on my life on and off the court,'' Manning said. ``A lot of the things he taught us when we were in school are still things that hold true today for me just in terms of you always want your team to go out and play hard together, be unselfish with their thoughts and their actions.''

Brown has seen Manning around basketball almost as long as he's been a head coach, going back to when Ed Manning's young son would show up at practice for the Carolina Cougars of the ABA in the early 1970s. For years, Brown figured Manning would be a coach. He just thought it would be in the NBA, where Manning had a 15-year playing career.

``I know when he was winding down at the end of his career, every coach that had him told me he mentored the young players,'' Brown said. ``It was like having another coach on the bench.''

From a practical standpoint, both first-year coaches are trying to win their Conference USA opener and go where they went together in 1988. Brown has a little more building to do.

SMU (10-5) hasn't been to the NCAA tournament in 20 years and last won a tournament game the same year Brown and Manning took the title. Tulsa (8-6) went to the regional finals 12 years ago under Manning's former boss at Kansas, Bill Self, but has just two tournament wins since and hasn't been to the NCAAs in 10 years.

``I think it's kind of cool that we're playing each other the first (conference) game,'' said Manning, who was with the Jayhawks when they won the 2006 title. ``Being at new programs and our first conference game ... I'm looking forward to it.''

For the record, the former player won the only other meeting of title-winning coach vs. Final Four standout. It was 1950, when Howie Dallmar and Penn beat Everett Dean-led Stanford 59-58. Eight years earlier, the Cardinal won the title with Dean on the bench and Dallmar on the court.

``There will be a lot of hugs before the game, but once the game starts the competitor in all of us will come out,'' Manning said. ``Once that game is over again, we'll go back to the hugs and love.''

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NBA Rumors: Lakers reportedly waive DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Rumors: Lakers reportedly waive DeMarcus Cousins

After signing Markieff Morris to a contract following the former Wizard's buy out from the Pistons, the Lakers reportedly waived center DeMarcus Cousins to open a roster spot. 

Health has been a major issue over the last two years for Cousins. He hasn't played a game this year thanks to a torn ACL he suffered before the season, and he missed all but 30 games last year due to an Achilles injury he suffered with the Pelicans midway through the 2017-18 season. 

Before injuries robbed Cousins of the majority of his prime, he was arguably the best big man in the game. Prior to his Achilles injury in New Orleans, he was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 47% percent from the floor and 35.4% from three on 6.1 attempts per game. 

For the Wizards, Cousins could represent another low risk, high reward big man acquisition that the Lakers couldn't find any use for. Washington acquired both Thomas Bryant and Moe Wagner from LA for practically nothing and both have played well after their relocation to D.C. 

Also, John Wall played with Cousins at the University of Kentucky and both have mentioned a desire to play together again at some point. Neither player is expected to return from injury this season, so they could both go on an NBA revenge tour together alongside Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura. 

In the meantime, we'll have to wait and see what Cousins decides to do. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Cousins won't officially be waived until Sunday. The team who claims him will be able to offer him up to $4.2 million in salary this summer. 

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Three things to look for during the Orioles first spring training game Saturday

Three things to look for during the Orioles first spring training game Saturday

Baseball isn’t quite in full swing yet. But it’s close enough. 

The Orioles will open up their spring slate of games on Saturday against the Braves in North Port, Fla. It’s both the first game of spring training for both teams. 

The game can be listened to on Orioles.com or on the MLB At-Bat app. 

So here are three things to pay attention to during the first game of the spring: 

1. The starting pitching

The pitching was, to be frank, atrocious last season for the Orioles. 2020 doesn’t figure to showcase a large jump, either. 

Baltimore will start Chandler Shepherd against the Braves, a pitcher who started three games last season in Baltimore. He allowed 23 hits and 14 earned runs in 19 innings pitched and posted a 6.63 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Ty Blach will pitch in relief of Shepherd. Blach pitched in five games last season for the Orioles and threw 20 ⅓ innings with an ERA 11.32. 

While neither will likely make the Opening Day roster, it’ll give an interesting look at what could be in store for the rest of spring training in Sarasota. 

2. How much the prospects play

For most major league clubs, there’s not much to get excited about for the first few games of spring training. The Orioles, though, are in a bit of a unique circumstance. 

In the second year of a rebuild, the Orioles are placing their future in the hands of younger prospects, meaning there’s always a chance for a few players to stand out in the first weeks of camp. 

While the lineups aren’t known yet, both for Saturday’s game and for the immediate future, getting a glimpse at some of the younger prospects like Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, Gunnar Henderson, and DL Hall is what fans have been clamoring for. 

3. The return of baseball

It’s not the return of baseball in the truest sense of the phrase.  

The Orioles aren’t going to play their top of the line prospects, or their major league club. But the first game of the spring means that baseball, officially, is back for Baltimore. 

Even though the 2020 season almost assuredly won’t be one that resembles any kind of contention, the Orioles hitting the field once again is always an exciting time.

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