Sports briefs 5/4/05

Wednesday, May 4, 2005


* Chicago guard Ben Gordon won the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award on Tuesday, the first rookie to win the award.

Gordon, the third overall pick in the draft out of Connecticut, averaged 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just over 24 minutes this season. He came off the bench in 79 of 82 games this season and helped the Bulls make their first playoff appearance since 1998, when Michael Jordan led them to their sixth title.

Their first-round series with the Washington Wizards is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Chicago.

He received 88 of 125 first-place votes and 513 points from a panel of media members. Boston guard Ricky Davis was second with 257 points, and Denver guard Earl Boykins was third with 155.


* Former Missouri basketball player Jeffrey Ferguson has been charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with a weekend confrontation on a parking lot, presumably involving a BB gun.

Police said Ferguson, 23, was arrested about 2 a.m. Saturday after he reportedly brandished a weapon outside an apartment complex after residents complained that someone had taken their parking spot.

Ferguson, free on bond, is charged with two counts of third-degree assault, each carrying a possible 15-day jail term, assistant Boone County prosecutor Steven Berry said Tuesday.

Ferguson, who announced last month that he was leaving the Tigers' basketball team but remains on scholarship until the end of the semester, sat out most of last season as a junior with a knee injury.

Over his career at Missouri, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds.


* Doug Palazzari, a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member who played with the St. Louis Blues during the 1970s, has resigned as executive director of USA Hockey nine months before the Turin Olympics.

Palazzari said Monday he "lost the confidence of some of the members of our executive committee." He came to the organization in 1991 and has spent the last six years as executive director.


* David Beckham is still the richest soccer player in the world, according to a study published Tuesday by France Football magazine.

The Real Madrid midfielder, who just turned 30, earns the same annual salary as teammates Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane -- $8.26 million. But his commercial endorsements and image rights increase his earnings to $37.4 million.

Chelsea's Jose Mourinho is the richest coach, making $9.7 million in salary and bonuses, the magazine said.

Ronaldo is second behind Beckham with a total yearly income estimated at $25.3 million, followed by Zidane at $16.8 million.


* Rafael Nadal overtook Roger Federer for most wins on the tour this season with a 6-0, 6-2 victory Tuesday over Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the first round of the Rome Masters.

The 18-year-old Spaniard is 36-6 this year. The top-ranked Federer, who pulled out of the Rome tournament with an injury to both feet, is 35-2.

Earlier, Australian Open champion Marat Safin and French Open runner-up Guillermo Coria each needed three sets to win opening matches. Safin, seeded second, rallied past Jiri Novak 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-1. Coria, seeded ninth, used just one service break to edge Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-4.

French Open winner Gaston Gaudio, seeded third, beat Slovakia's Karol Beck 6-4, 6-3. Eighth-seeded David Nalbandian, last year's Rome runner-up, was beaten by France's Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, and Julien Benneteau eliminated 13th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-1, 6-0.

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