Thursday, July 8, 2004

Magic sign No.1 draft pick Howard


The Enquirer and wire reports

Top NBA draft pick Dwight Howard signed a three-year contract with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

Howard, an 18-year-old forward who played at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy last season, was the first of eight high school players taken in the first 19 picks of the draft.

Three of the last four No. 1 picks have been players jumping directly from preps to pros.

In other Magic news Wednesday, Orlando general manager John Weisbrod reportedly received written death threats at his home about trading two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady.

Florida Today reported Weisbrod received two such threats since mid-June and was forced to check into a hotel under an alias for two nights last week.

PACERS: Indiana signed first-round draft pick David Harrison.

Harrison, a 7-foot, 285-pound center, was the last player picked in the first round of the draft. He signed a three-year deal worth about $2.2 million, with a rookie season salary of $696,300.

RAPTORS: Free agent point guard Rafer Alston signed a six-year contract worth up to $30 million with Toronto.

Alston played for the Miami Heat last season, averaging 10.2 points and 4.5 assists, while shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range.

WARRIORS: Golden State signed first-round draft pick Andris Biedrins. Biedrins, a 6-11 forward from Latvia, was the 11th overall pick in last month's draft.

BRYANT UPDATE: The media asked the Colorado Supreme Court to clear the way for publication of closed-door hearing details in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case, saying fair trial and privacy rights do not trump the First Amendment.

The court fight involves transcripts from a two-day hearing that were accidentally e-mailed by a court reporter to seven news organizations.

COLLEGE CHANGES? The National Association of Basketball Coaches introduced a sweeping new recruiting model that includes recommending the NCAA grant college players a fifth year of eligibility and coaches more access to their players in the offseason.

The NABC discussed the proposal at its annual summer meeting and will submit a revised edition to the NCAA late this week or early next week.

The most significant changes include granting players five years of eligibility, allowing coaches to talk to players outside the traditional player-coach environment and eliminating official visits to high school juniors in favor of increased phone calls.


FREEDOM: Outfielder J.D. Foust and designated hitter Jake Ford will represent the Florence Freedom July 14 in the Frontier League All-Star game as the East meets West at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Mo.


PATRIOTS: New England released cornerback Otis Smith, less than three months after re-signing the 14-year veteran.


INDIANA WOMEN'S OPEN: Danah Ford of Indianapolis shot a final-round even-par 72 Wednesday to win the Indiana Women's Open by four strokes at The Legends of Indiana Golf Course.


AVALANCHE: Joel Quenneville has been hired to coach the Colorado Avalanche, replacing Tony Granato, who will become his assistant.

BLUE JACKETS: Columbus re-signed center Mark Hartigan and signed forward Mattias Trattnig. Trattnig became the second Austrian to sign.

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