Power forward Leonard Washington is academically ineligible for the first semester, USC basketball Coach Kevin O’Neill confirmed, robbing the Trojans of another player from last season’s NCAA tournament team.
Washington, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds last season despite a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for a month. His freshman season involved some turmoil; he was ejected from a game for punching Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin.
Washington had difficulties before enrolling at USC. He committed to USC as a senior at Lake Charles (La.) Marion High in 2007 but did not meet entrance requirements. He spent a year at Compton Thurgood Marshall School and enrolled at USC in the fall of 2008.
The USC program has undergone an upheaval since the Trojans lost to Michigan State in the second round of the 2009 NCAA tournament. Guard Daniel Hackett, forward Taj Gibson and forward DeMar DeRozan all turned pro. And Tim Floyd resigned as coach in June. The Trojans also had three recruits ask out of their letters of intent, and lost two who had verbally committed.
-- Chris Foster
Smith, Van Gundy receive extensions
The Orlando Magic has extended the contracts of General Manager Otis Smith and Coach Stan Van Gundy, a person familiar with the negotiations said.
The person says the team picked up options that extend Van Gundy through the 2010-11 season and Smith through 2011-12. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals have not been officially announced.
The Orlando Sentinel first reported the extensions Monday.
The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Jackson said he still would like to be traded and is fed up with all the losing.
“What I said is how I feel, point blank. That’s not going to change,” Jackson said during media day, where the team’s captain opened by calling the throng of reporters waiting for him “vultures.”
He’s unhappy with Golden State’s decline since reaching the second round of the 2007 playoffs to end a 13-year postseason drought.
Jackson said he regrets nothing in his career, speaking specifically about going into the stands with then-Indiana teammate Ron Artest during an ugly brawl with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
“I don’t have a regret about anything I’ve done. I don’t have a regret about going in the stands with Ron Artest,” Jackson said.
“I say what I want to say when I feel like it, regardless of what the consequence is. That’s just always been me.”
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West does not want to discuss his recent arrest on gun possession charges but says he has resumed taking medication for bipolar disorder.
West was arrested in Maryland on Sept. 17 near his home after police found he was carrying two concealed handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case after they pulled West over on a traffic violation. He was booked on two misdemeanors.
The lead negotiator for the locked-out NBA referees removed himself from the talks in hopes of resolving a dispute that threatens to have replacements on the court this week.
Lamell McMorris released a statement saying the negotiations with the NBA would be handled by general counsel Brian Lam and the executive board of the National Basketball Referees Assn.
The contract between the league and its officials expired Sept. 1 and they have been unable to reach a new deal.
The NBA held referees training camp with replacements over the weekend, and those officials could be on the court when exhibition play begins Thursday with Denver’s game at Utah.
Querrey injures forearm in accident
Sam Querrey, the on-the-rise tennis player from Thousand Oaks who won the L.A. Open this summer and who is ranked No. 25 in the world, accidentally sliced open his right forearm Monday in Thailand.
John Tobias, president of the tennis division for Blue Entertainment Sports Television, who represents Querrey, said Querrey sat on a glass table in the locker room at the site of this week’s ATP tournament in Bangkok.
“He was just bending over to tie his shoes,” Tobias said, “and the table shattered. A piece of glass slashed his right forearm.”
Tobias said Querrey underwent surgery to close the wound but that no ligaments were damaged.
“He’ll most likely be shut down for the rest of the season,” Tobias said, “but this is an injury that will heal. He was lucky.”
-- Diane Pucin