Around the Nation (April 6): James Whitford is Ball State's basketball coach

Associated Press Published:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BASKETBALL

Ball State names Whitford new coach

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State has hired James Whitford as its new basketball coach.

He spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Arizona working under Sean Miller. The 41-year-old coach replaces Billy Taylor, who was fired March 14 after six seasons.

Whitford takes over a Ball State team that went 15-15 this season. The school said Saturday the new coach will be introduced Wednesday.

Before coming to Arizona, Whitford spent four seasons on Miller's staff at Xavier, which became a regular in the NCAA Tournament. He also worked for 11 seasons at Miami (Ohio) before joining Miller at Xavier.

Baylor's Griner is AP Player of the Year

NEW ORLEANS -- Brittney Griner of Baylor is The Associated Press' women's college basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Griner is only the third player to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Seimone Augustus of LSU and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee. Maya Moore of Connecticut won it two times in three years.

The 6-foot-8 Griner star received 37 votes Saturday from the 40-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Balloting was done before the NCAA Tournament.

Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford had two votes and Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame the other one.

Griner averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks this season. She shot 61 percent from the field and 71 percent from the foul line.

Brittney Griner open to an NBA tryout

NEW ORLEANS -- Brittney Griner is ready to take Mark Cuban up on his offer to draft her.

She says she'd be open to an NBA tryout after the WNBA season.

The two-time AP Player of the Year said Saturday she first heard of Cuban's comments from friends. She jumped on Twitter to start reading up on what the Mavericks owner said.

The 6-foot-8 Baylor star is well aware of the challenges of competing against NBA players. She mentioned strength and size as two potential issues.

Griner will be the first overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA draft April 15, and she's looking forward to not getting triple-teamed anymore. She also says she's open to playing overseas and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Notre Dame's McGraw is AP Coach of the Year

NEW ORLEANS -- Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw is The Associated Press' women's college basketball Coach of the Year.

McGraw has guided her team to 30 straight victories and has the Fighting Irish back in the Final Four for a third straight season.

She was presented the award Saturday after receiving 24 votes from the 40-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA Tournament.

McGraw also won the award in 2001, becoming only the second coach to win it multiple times. Connecticut's Geno Auriemma is a seven-time winner.

Last year's winner, Baylor's Kim Mulkey, was second with seven votes. California's coach Lindsay Gottlieb was third after guiding the Golden Bears to their first Final Four appearance this season.

Manning giving $500K to Summitt Foundation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife plan to donate $500,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation.

Patrick Wade, the director of the Pat Summitt Foundation, confirmed the Mannings' decision Saturday after it was first reported by CBS Sports.

The commitment by Peyton and Ashley Manning represents the largest gift announcement made to the foundation since it was founded in November 2011 to help fight Alzheimer's disease. Manning, who played at Tennessee from 1994-97, is an honorary co-chair of the foundation's advisory board.

Summitt stepped down as the Tennessee women's basketball coach last April after announcing in 2011 she had early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. She went 1,098-208 and won eight national titles in 38 seasons. Summitt remains on Tennessee's staff as head coach emeritus.

BASEBALL

Dodgers deal Harang to Rockies for Hernandez

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have traded pitcher Aaron Harang to the Colorado Rockies for former All-Star catcher Ramon Hernandez and cash.

General manager Ned Colletti says Saturday's deal gives the Dodgers another backup at catcher behind starter A.J. Ellis.

Hernandez has a career average of .264 with 166 home runs, 751 RBI and 1,335 hits during his 14-year career with Oakland, San Diego, Baltimore, Cincinnati and the Rockies. Colorado, which owed him $3.2 million, designated him for assignment on March 29.

The 36-year-old catcher was an All-Star in 2003 and averaged 118 games behind the plate from 2000-11. Only A.J. Pierzynski has caught more games and more innings than Hernandez, who has caught nearly 12,000 innings during his career.

Harang hadn't appeared in a game for the Dodgers this season. He was 10-10 with a 3.61 ERA in 31 starts last season. The right-hander is 105-104 with a 4.19 ERA in 11 seasons with Oakland, Cincinnati, San Diego and the Dodgers.

1909 Wagner baseball card sells for $2.1M

WEST BERLIN, N.J. -- A 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card has been sold for more than $2.1 million at auction.

The T206 card, originally released by the American Tobacco Co., went for $2,105,770.50 in an online sale, Goldin Auctions said Saturday.

While the company said the price was a record for a baseball card sold at auction, a similar Wagner card in mint condition was purchased for $2.8 million in a private sale in 2007.

GOLF

Park takes three-shot lead in Kraft Nabisco

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Inbee Park opened a three-stroke lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, twice hitting to 21⁄2 feet to set up back-nine birdies in a bogey-free round.

The 24-year-old South Korean shot a 5-under 67 on Saturday to reach 12 under at Mission Hills, putting her in position for her second major title and second victory of the year. She won the 2008 U.S. Women's Open and added her fourth LPGA Tour title in February in Thailand.

Lizette Salas, a stroke behind Park entering the round, had a 69 to remain second.

Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, the tournament winner in 2000 and 2006, was five strokes back at 6 under along with Suzann Pettersen, Angela Stanford, Jessica Korda, Karine Icher and Pornanong Phatlum. Stanford had a 66, the best round of the tournament.

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