Sports briefs 4/21/04

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Basketball

  • The Philadelphia 76ers hired Jim O'Brien as coach Tuesday, The Associated Press has learned. The former Boston Celtics coach replaces Chris Ford, who was promoted from assistant on an interim basis after Randy Ayers was fired on Feb. 10. A source with the team, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the hiring will be announced at a news conference today.

    College

  • John Thompson III won't have to make a name for himself at Georgetown. "Pops" took care of that long ago. Ready to take on the pressure of living up to the legacy of his Hall of Fame father, Thompson III was hired to coach the Hoyas back to national prominence. Thompson III has been the coach at Princeton since 2000. The elder Thompson coached the Hoyas for 27 years, turning a little-known program into a perennial national powerhouse. The younger Thompson, 38, comes with a successful track record. He led Princeton to a 68-42 record over four seasons, including Ivy League titles and NCAA tournament berths in 2000-01 and 2003-04.

    Colorado center David Harrison will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft, the school confirmed. The 7-foot junior said he is confident that he will be chosen in the first round of the June 24 draft. Harrison leaves Colorado as the school's all-time leading shot blocker. Last season, he led Colorado in scoring (17.1 points per game), rebounding (8.8), blocked shots (85 total) and field-goal percentage (.631).

    Soccer

  • Diego Maradona was in critical condition, breathing with the help of a respirator but showing signs of improvement after heart and blood pressure problems. Maradona, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title in Mexico, was put in intensive care Sunday after watching former team Boca Juniors play. The Suizo-Argentina private clinic said Maradona appeared to be suffering from the heart-related condition known as cardiomyopathy and additional blood pressure problems.

    Tennis

  • Alex Corretja beat two-time defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters. It was the second-seeded Ferrero's second straight loss on clay. He won only three games Saturday in failing to defend his title at the Valencia Open. Other first-round winners on Tuesday included 1998 champion Carlos Moya, former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin and new U.S. Clay Court champion Tommy Haas.

    -- From wire reports

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