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Jennings, 18, to go pro in Europe

July 09, 2008|Lance Pugmire; Dan Arritt; Eric Stephens; | From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Brandon Jennings has decided to become the first standout prep basketball player to forgo the NCAA's "one and done" requirement in favor of being paid for a year as a pro in Europe.

Jennings, a point guard, announced Tuesday he will pursue a contract in one of Europe's professional basketball leagues, where he expects to earn "certainly, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," in both a playing contract and shoe and other endorsement deals, Jennings' attorney, Jeffrey Valle of Los Angeles, said Tuesday night.

Jennings, 18, under NBA rules must be 19 and a year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft. Instead, Valle said, "he has skills, and wants to be compensated for them now while being challenged."

Longtime former shoe representative Sonny Vaccaro will serve as an advisor to Jennings, Valle said, and Europe's "major leagues" have already expressed interest.

Jennings played at Compton Dominguez High before moving to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia during the last two seasons. A McDonald's All-American, he was ranked by many experts as the nation's top prep point guard.


USC basketball recruit DeMar DeRozan of Compton has yet to be declared academically eligible to enroll in fall classes, but the high-scoring forward said he has every intention of playing for the Trojans later this year.

DeRozan said he completed the ACT college entrance exam June 28, and is expecting his score to arrive by the end of this week or next week, resulting in freshman season eligibility.

"As of now, I've done everything I can to be eligible," DeRozan said in a telephone interview. "I'm good. Everything will be fine on my end."

-- Lance Pugmire


The death of DeShawn Newton, the Los Angeles Murphy freshman boys' basketball player who collapsed April 26 during an off-season tournament near Dallas, was classified as a status asthmaticus, a severe asthma attack that often causes respiratory failure, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

-- Dan Arritt


Ducks sign Morrison to one-year contract

The Ducks are hoping their search for a center to anchor their second scoring line ended when they agreed to terms with Brendan Morrison on a one-year contract worth $2.75 million.

Morrison, who will be 33 next month, spent the last eight seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and had his most productive years there under current Ducks General Manager Brian Burke, including a 71-point season in 2002-03.

The 10-year veteran figures to slide into the No. 2 center spot behind Ryan Getzlaf, which the Ducks haven't been able to adequately fill. Veteran Doug Weight failed in that role and Ryan Carter is seen as someone not quite ready to handle that duty full-time.

"From our perspective, this fills a void in our lineup that has existed since we moved Andy McDonald," Burke said.

The 5-foot-11 center is rehabbing from knee surgery performed in April after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in a collision with Colorado's Ruslan Salei, a former Ducks defenseman, on March 26.

Morrison, who had nine goals and 25 points last season, also missed 38 games because of wrist surgery. Before that, he had appeared in 542 consecutive games.

The signing of Morrison puts the Ducks about $500,000 over the $56.7-million salary cap, although they can be over it by as much as 10% over the summer. Burke is said to be actively shopping defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who is owed $5.75 million this season.

-- Eric Stephens


Seven-time All-Star Mark Recchi signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, part of a massive roster overhaul for a team with new owners and a new coach after finishing with the worst record in the NHL.


The Ottawa Senators signed defenseman Jason Smith to a two-year, $5.2-million contract. The 14-year NHL veteran was an unrestricted free agent. He was captain of the Philadelphia Flyers last season and was captain of the Edmonton Oilers the five previous seasons.


Vick files for bankruptcy protection

Imprisoned quarterback Michael Vick filed for bankruptcy protection while serving time for federal dogfighting charges, saying he owes between $10 million and $50 million to creditors.


A deal could be reached within days to sell a majority interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers to the chairman of a Pittsburgh-based investment firm, taking control of the NFL franchise away from the Rooney family.

The shares would be sold to Stanley Druckenmiller, chairman of Duquesne Capital management, making him principal owner of the team.


Martin Truex's bid to make the Chase for the Championship took a hit when NASCAR penalized his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team 150 points for bringing an illegal car to Daytona.

The 150-point penalty drops Truex from 14th in the standings to 18th. The top 12 drivers make the Chase, and Truex has only eight races to get back into contention.


Chris Hine, the second Harry Ornest Family Foundation honoree in sportswriting at The Times, is currently in the middle of his 10-week internship. Hine will be a senior at the University of Notre Dame in the fall. The annual internship, awarded to a student in Notre Dame's Gallivan program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy, is named for the late Beverly Hills sports entrepreneur, who at one time owned the St. Louis Blues and was vice chairman of Hollywood Park at the time of his death.


Argentine defender Eduardo Dominguez has agreed to terms with the Galaxy, and will join the team once he has obtained a visa and international transfer clearance.

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