Stepheson transfers from North Carolina to USC

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

USC’s basketball team added an imposing presence to its front line Monday. Power forward Alex Stepheson, a 6-foot-9 junior transfer who played his first two college seasons at North Carolina, will become a Trojan and seek a waiver to gain immediate eligibility.

Diane Stepheson said her son would try to obtain a waiver because his father suffers from an undisclosed illness that prompted the move to be closer to the family’s Southern California home. NCAA transfer rules typically force transfers to sit out one year.

Stepheson averaged 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds last season for the Tar Heels, who advanced to the Final Four before losing to Kansas. He shot 53.9% from the field and averaged 14.5 minutes per game.


A scholarship for Stepheson became available at USC when reserve guard Angelo Johnson transferred this month.

-- Ben Bolch and Eric Sondheimer



Brady not sure whether

injury will keep him out

Quarterback Tom Brady isn’t sure whether a foot injury will sideline him from the New England Patriots’ third exhibition Friday night after he sat out the first two.

The injury is on the same leg but different from the right ankle injury the quarterback suffered in last season’s AFC championship game against San Diego, the NFL’s reigning most valuable player said in a radio interview Monday.

“Just trying to be smart,” Brady said on WEEI in Boston after skipping the trip to Tampa Bay for Sunday night’s 27-10 loss to the Buccaneers. “The preseason is important, but I think the idea is to be ready for when the regular season kicks off.”

Kyle Orton was selected to be the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback over Rex Grossman.

“To come to a decision like that we’ve taken a lot of things into consideration: Last year, how [Orton] finished the season . . . training camp, preseason games,” Coach Lovie Smith said. “In the end, it comes down to a gut feeling that you have.”

The Cincinnati Bengals are close to signing Chris Henry, four months after they released the wide receiver following his fifth arrest since 2005.


The Bengals suddenly have a need for experienced receivers with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh slowed by injuries. Cincinnati began showing interest in Henry last month when an assault charge stemming from an incident March 31 was dropped, agent Marvin Frazier said.

Eli Manning was in Super Bowl form for the New York Giants as they defeated the Cleveland Browns, 37-34, in an exhibition at East Rutherford, N.J.

Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fully participated in a practice for the first time since his back stiffened 10 days ago and said he will play in the Seattle Seahawks’ next exhibition on Aug. 25 at San Diego.



Clippers re-sign

center Paul Davis

The Clippers re-signed unrestricted free-agent center Paul Davis, giving them three players named Davis on their roster.

He joins Baron Davis and Ricky Davis, two other free-agent additions.

Paul Davis averaged 2.5. points and 2.1 rebounds in 22 games before a right-knee injury ended his season Dec. 21.



Derby winner

Genuine Risk dies

Genuine Risk, one of only three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby, died Monday at age 31 at Newstead Farm in Upperville, Va.


Genuine Risk, who won the Derby in 1980, was the oldest living Derby winner, and the only filly to finish in the top three in each of the Triple Crown races. Ridden by Jacinto Vasquez, she was second to Codex in the Preakness, and second to Temperence Hill at the Belmont Stakes.

“Genuine Risk was an amazing horse with tremendous heart that lived a life befitting a champion,” owners Bertram and Diane Firestone said.



Bryan, Putnam lead

at U.S. Amateur

Wesley Bryan and Andrew Putnam each shot a three-under 67 to take the lead after the opening round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur golf tournament at Pinehurst, N.C.

Danny Lee, who tied for 20th over the weekend in his PGA Tour debut at the Wyndham Championship, shot a one-over 71. The low 64 scores after the second round will advance to match play, and a 36-hole championship match is scheduled for Sunday.

Top-seeded Fernando Verdasco beat Dudi Sela, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the third round of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament at New Haven, Conn. Juan Martin del Potro, who has won four straight times on the ATP Tour, withdrew from the tournament, citing exhaustion. On the women’s side, seventh-seeded Alize Cornet eliminated Nicole Vaidisova, 6-3, 7-6 (8), in a first-round match.