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Dupree leaving UM; Vasquez ponders pros

col. hoops

Reserve center Braxton Dupree left the Maryland program Wednesday, and star point guard Greivis Vasquez is still entertaining the possibility of turning professional. Vasquez, who would be a senior next season, has indicated that he would test the NBA waters and enter the draft but has left the door open for returning to Maryland, implying he does not have an agent. Comcast SportsNet reported that Vasquez has received approval from Terrapins coach Gary Williams to test the draft and Vasquez is not interested in playing overseas. Last season, Vasquez averaged 17.5 points, 5.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds and was named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference. Dupree, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who played at Calvert Hall, received his release and intends to transfer, Maryland announced. Dupree averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds last season while appearing in 25 games, including six starts. Dupree could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear where or whether he would resume his basketball career. BILL ORDINE

Big Ten/ACC Challenge: : Maryland will play at Indiana on Dec. 1 as part of the 11th annual Challenge. The Terps will be making their first trip to Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Maryland is 7-3 in Challenge games and has won four straight. Michigan State will play at North Carolina on Dec. 1 in a rematch of this month's NCAA title game, won by the Tar Heels, 89-72.

Wizards confirm Saunders is new coach


Flip Saunders officially has the job on the Washington Wizards' bench, complete with a four-year, $18 million contract. The Wizards said Saunders will be their new coach. Saunders and the team reached an oral agreement more than a week ago, and the coach, 54, signed the deal Tuesday night. Saunders will be formally introduced at a news conference Thursday. Saunders succeeds interim coach Ed Tapscott, who finished the season when Eddie Jordan was fired after a 1-10 start. Long-term injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood doomed the season from the start. Tapscott went 18-53. Saunders is 587-396 over 13 NBA seasons, 10 with the Minnesota Timberwolves and three with the Detroit Pistons.

Magic 96, 76ers 87: : Rookie Courtney Lee had 24 points and Orlando blew an 18-point lead before beating visiting Philadelphia to even the first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

Heat 108, Hawks 93: : Dwyane Wade scored 33 points as Miami defeated host Atlanta and tied the series at one game each.

Rookie of the Year: : Derrick Rose, who led his hometown Bulls to the playoffs, won the honor in a runaway. The guard received 111 first-place votes from a national media panel; runner-up O.J. Mayo of the Grizzlies received five first-place votes.

Rockets: : Center Dikembe Mutombo said his 18-year career is finished after a left knee injury knocked him out of the team's 107-103 playoff loss late Tuesday to the host Trail Blazers that evened the series at one game apiece.

Et cetera: : Kobe Bryant scored 26 points as the host Lakers won, 119-109, over the Jazz late Tuesday, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the series. ... Davidson star guard Stephen Curry will announce Thursday whether he will return for his senior season or enter the NBA draft.

Phelps to try new freestyle technique

et cetera

Michael Phelps is following up his record performance at the Beijing Olympics by changing some of the swimming technique that carried him to eight gold medals. As the Baltimore resident shifts to focusing on shorter races, he hopes the new freestyle technique will increase his sprinting speed. "You'll all have to see. I'm not saying anything until we unveil it," Phelps said in New York when asked how he has tweaked the stroke. "It's a significant change." Phelps will reveal the new technique when he returns to competition at the Charlotte (N.C.) UltraSwim on May 14-17 in North Carolina, his first meet since Beijing. He plans to swim four events, including the 100- and 200-meter free and the 100 butterfly.

Polo: : Twenty-one prized horses that mysteriously died before one of the sport's top championships were given a supplement that likely caused their deaths, the leader of the Venezuelan-owned team told an Argentine newspaper. Juan Martin Nero, of Lechuza Polo, told the newspaper La Nacion that the horses were given a supplement known as Biodyl, which contains a combination of vitamin B12, a form of selenium called sodium selenite and other minerals. Florida authorities have started an investigation to determine whether the deaths were intentional or accidental.

Baseball: : The Rangers put right-hander Kris Benson, an ex-Oriole, on the 15-day disabled list with elbow tendinitis. Scott Feldman will start in Benson's place Saturday against the Orioles. Benson is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA. ... Tigers outfielder-designated hitter Marcus Thames was placed on the DL and is expected to be sidelined for more than a month because of a strained ribcage muscle.

NFL: : Former Bears defensive lineman William "The Refrigerator" Perry remained hospitalized at Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Center, where spokeswoman Melissa Summer said he is in serious condition. Perry, 46, was hospitalized to deal with complications from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a chronic inflammation disorder of the peripheral nerves. ... New executive director DeMaurice Smith has been working for the NFL Players Association without a contract for six weeks while a deal is being negotiated, the Associated Press reported. ... Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was pulled over Wednesday and found with crack cocaine and marijuana in his car, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Smith faces multiple drug charges.

College lacrosse: : Eric Ososki scored his second goal of the game with 1:59 left in overtime to lift visiting Mount St. Mary's over VMI, 8-7. Brett Leonard (four goals) scored for the Keydets (2-11, 1-6 Metro Atlantic) with 1:48 remaining to force overtime. The Mount improved to 4-8, 4-3.

NASCAR: : Richard Childress Racing will swap the crews for slumping drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears after this weekend's Aaron's 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Tennis: : Rafael Nadal, who had a first-round bye, began his bid for a fifth straight title at the ATP Barcelona Open by beating Frederico Gil, 6-2, 6-2, in the second round.

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