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. -- Kansas freshman Joel Embiid is entering the NBA draft after a breakthrough season that ended with a stress fracture in his back that kept the 7-footer out of the NCAA tournament. Embiid had been mulling whether to return for his sophomore season for weeks. He said during a news conference Wednesday at Allen Fieldhouse that he reached his decision Sunday. "I just want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans, my mentor, everybody that has helped me through my journey," said Embiid, who was accompanied by coach Bill Self. Embiid, who some believe could go first overall, said he discussed his decision with Self, his family and the Timberwolves Luc Mbah a Moute, a fellow Cameroonian who discovered Embiid at one of his camps and helped bring him to the U.S. when he was in high school. "Hakeem Olajuwon called me and I talked to him a little bit. I talked to Luc, my mentor. I talked to Nicolas Batum from the Portland Trail Blazers," Embiid said. "They didnt tell me what to do, they just gave me the advantages and disadvantages." Embiid, who grew up playing soccer and volleyball, only decided to pursue basketball a few years ago. He started to blossom as a senior at The Rock School and ultimately chose to attend Kansas, where he arrived with less fanfare than fellow freshmen Andrew Wiggins and Wayne Selden. In many ways, Embiid out-performed both of them, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds while blocking 72 shots and earning Big 12 defensive player of the year honours. "I dont think anybody could say Jo was making a poor decision by entering the draft," Self said. "Under almost all circumstances this would be the obvious choice to make. The thing with Jo, what he was weighing was hes still so young in the sport." Still young, period. And that youthful exuberance endeared him to Kansas fans. "I really love this place. The fans are crazy, just watching them before every game," he said. "For me, it means a lot that they showed me nothing but love. Ill miss this place." Embiid hurt his back while landing awkwardly during a game late in the season, and missed the Jayhawks final two regular-season games and the Big 12 tournament. He also missed a victory over Eastern Kentucky and a season-ending loss to Stanford in the NCAA tournament, after which he said that he would have been able to play had Kansas advanced to the second weekend. "My back is fine," Embiid said Wednesday. "Im close to being 100 per cent." Even though he is still raw, many projects have Embiid joining Wiggins in going among the first three picks in the June draft. Embiids natural athleticism, court savvy and an ability to hit mid-range jumpers have made scouts salivate all season. "I think its going to be hard. I think Jos in for a fight. But I think its going to be a fun fight," Self said. "The jump from college to the NBA is not quite as easy as what a lot of people portray it to be. Just because youre drafted high doesnt mean youre necessarily ready to play. Jos goal obviously is not only to be drafted high but be a big-time player." Self has already signed two five-star prospects for next season in Kelly Oubre, a talented swingman who should help fill Wiggins shoes, and Cliff Alexander, a 6-foot-8 forward from Chicago and the Naismith high school player of the year. The question now is whether another five-star prospect, Myles Turner, will join them in Lawrence. The 6-11 centre from Euless, Texas, is expected to pick among Kansas, Duke and several other schools, but has said he was waiting on Embiids decision before choosing his school. Alexander tweeted at Turner to sign with Kansas shortly after Embiids announcement. Either way, the newcomers will join a team that returns three starters who helped Kansas win its 10th straight Big 12 title and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. "Andrew was easy, because we knew before Andrew got here what the situation more than likely was going to be. Jo, it wasnt quite that," Self said. "What makes it tough is preparing when you dont know that youre going to lose. Weve got good enough players in our program, weve said that all along. Our expectation, our goals wont vary at all." Dwight Howard Jersey
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. Chris Heisey connected for his first grand slam and Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in a career high-tying four runs as Cincinnati took advantage of Tampa Bays depleted pitching staff for a 12-4 victory on Sunday. MONTREAL -- A stunning climb in the world rankings and taking a set off the best female tennis player on the planet was reward enough for Eugenie Bouchards hard work in 2013. Now the native of Westmount, Que., is shooting for silverware. "I want to win a title (in 2014), thats for sure," said Bouchard, who surged to No. 32 in the WTA rankings this year from 144th. "Ill be happy with any title but the bigger the tournament is the better it will be. And my ultimate objective is a Grand Slam." Besides her lofty rise in the WTA standings, Bouchard defeated Ana Ivanovic -- then ranked world No. 12 -- in the second round of Wimbledon, forced Serena Williams to three sets in Cincinnati and was named WTA Newcomer of the Year. These accomplishments have earned Bouchard, who turns 20 in February, the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as The Canadian Press female athlete of 2013. Bouchard received 45 per cent of ballots cast, finishing well ahead of snowboarder Dominique Maltais and speedskater Christine Nesbitt, who each had 11 per cent. "Its special," Bouchard said of the award, which is determined through balloting among sports editors and broadcasters across the country. "It just shows how much hard work Ive put in this year that Ive had good results. It makes me more proud of my year." Bouchard said her first full year on the tour allowed her to appreciate the differences from the junior circuit, where she starred in 2012 while winning the Wimbledon junior championship. "I feel like Ive had a lot of good experiences this year that will help me in the future," she said. "I got to play a lot of big matches on centre courts at Grand Slams like at the French Open and Wimbledon." Fellow tennis player Milos Raonic was voted The Canadian Press male athlete of the year on Thursday. Canadas team of the year will be revealed Saturday. A number of womens tennis players have won the Canadian Press honour over the years. Aleksandra Wozniak was the last to do so, taking the honour in 2009. Helen Kelesi and Carling Bassett are also former winners. Praise poured in for Bouchard from those who selected her for the Rosenfeld Award, originally awarded in 1933 and named foor the Olympic champion and all-round athlete who was voted Canadas top female athlete for the first half of the 20th century. Penny Hardaway Jersey
. "Eugenie Bouchard is a name I think were going to be hearing a lot of in the future," said Montreal Gazette sports editor Stu Cowan. "Shes only going to get better and seems to have the game -- and the strength -- to make it into the top 10. Her name could be at the top of this list for years to come. A real breakout year from her." Pierre Champoux, news director at Radio-Canada.ca, suggested there doesnt seem to be much that can stop her from continuing her dramatic rise in the rankings. "How far will she go?" Champoux said. "Eugenie Bouchard opened the eyes of all Canadians with her dazzling progress among the best tennis players in the world." The expectations are high, but Bouchard says shes not going to let that get to her. "I put enough pressure on myself, so Im just going to focus on that and not worry about what other people think because thats out of my control," she said. "I really just want to focus on my tennis and, if I play well, if I perform well, then the results will come." Moses Woldu, sports director at Newcap TV (CKSA, CITL) in Lloydminster, Alta., put it succinctly for why he selected Bouchard. "Moving 100 spots in the tennis world rankings speaks for itself." Maltais, of Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, Que., enjoyed a stellar year of her own, winning the overall World Cup snowboard cross title and a world silver medal. That was enough for Bob Addison, sports anchor for Vancouver radio station CKNW. "Tough choice, but Maltais takes it as the overall World Cup champ," he said. Others who received votes included heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton, paralympic swimmer Valerie GrandMaison, gymnast Rosie MacLennan, snowboarder Maelle Ricker, mixed martial artist Alexis Davis, freestyle skier Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, snowboarder Spencer OBrien and bobsledder Kaillie Humphries. Bouchard becomes the fourth tennis player to win the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award. Carling Bassett took it in 1983 and 1985, Helen Kelesi in 1989 and 1990 and Aleksandra Wozniak in 2009. Wholesale Hoodies NFL Shirts Outlet Jerseys NFL Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys Free Shipping Wholesale Jerseys Cheap Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys
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