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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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Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Mystics' Kristi Toliver named WNBA All-Star reserve for a second straight year

Washington Mystics guard Kristi Toliver is a WNBA All-Star once again. 

Toliver was named an All-Star reserve on Monday as selected by the league's coaches. She joins Elena Delle Donne, who was named a captain of one of the two teams, and head coach Mike Thibault as representatives from the Mystics. 

This selection gives Toliver, 5-7, the third honor of her career and the second with Washington. Last year en route to the franchise's first WNBA Finals appearance Toliver was named an All-Star. She also got the nod in 2013 when she played with the Los Angeles Sparks. 

Through 15 games, Toliver is averaging 12.1 points and is second in the league with 5.7 assists per game, which is also on pace for a career-high.

She is shooting at a career-best .497 clip and is looking as explosive as ever at 32-years-old. With her and Delle Donne, the Mystics are 9-6 and second in the Eastern Conference.

In the offseason, Toliver is also an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards. Often she worked on the player development side of the staff and closely with Bradley Beal. 

Delle Donne will have the first choice of selection in the All-Star game draft. As a reserve, Toliver cannot be selected until after the starters are chosen. 

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Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Report: Brandon Scherff and Redskins 'far apart' on contract negotiations

Besides the quarterback competition between Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, one of the biggest storylines from Redskins training camp will be whether the team and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff can agree on a contract extension before the start of the 2019 season.

On Monday, a report came out from 106.7 The Fan's Erin Hawksworth that Scherff has been offered multiple contract extensions from the Redskins, but "the two sides are far apart."

Scherff is entering the 2019 season on the last year of his rookie deal and set to be an unrestricted free agent at season's end. 

The fifth-year guard will make a base salary of $12.5 million in 2019 after the Redskins picked up his fifth-year option a year ago as part of his rookie deal.

Should Scherff hit the open market, he will be a hot commodity. 

He may not receive a contract as big as Cowboys' guard Zack Martin did, but expect him to command close to top-market money. Martin received a six-year, $84 million deal in 2018 with $40 million guaranteed. A contract extension for Scherff could look something like the five-year, $66.5 million deal Jaguars' guard Andrew Norwell signed in 2018. 

Besides tackle Trent Williams, Scherff is without a doubt the most important piece to the Redskins offensive line. With Williams currently holding out, Scherff's presence on the offensive line is even more important.

Scherff missed eight games a season ago with a torn pectoral muscle, and his absence was very visible.

One thing is for certain: if the Redskins are not willing to pay Scherff top-market money, barring something unexpected, he will certainly get it somewhere else. And no Redskins fan wants that.

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