National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Ricketts considering selling share of Chicago Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) The owners of the Chicago Cubs could sell minority shares in the team to help finance renovations at century-old Wrigley Field.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green confirmed published reports Thursday that the Ricketts family is considering selling non-controlling shares to pay for a proposed $500 million upgrade of Wrigley and redevelopment of the surrounding area. The Ricketts own 95 percent of the Cubs, with the Tribune Co., which sold the team to the family, owning the rest.

Forbes, in its recent valuation of major league teams, ranked the Cubs as the fourth-most valuable at $1.2 billion. The Ricketts reportedly bought the team for $845 million

Progress on renovating the ballpark has been stymied by opposition by surrounding rooftop owners. They believe changes to Wrigley may block views of the field.

Mets' Murphy, Collins defend paternity leave

NEW YORK (AP) Daniel Murphy is proud he put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins thinks criticism his second baseman received for taking paternity leave this week was unfair.

Murphy made his season debut in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Washington, three days after the birth of son Noah. He called staying in Florida an extra day "the right decision to make" following wife Victoria's cesarean section and said "we felt the best thing for our family was for me to stay."

He learned Sunday that his wife's water broke, then traveled to Florida and missed Monday's 9-7 opening loss to Washington and Wednesday night's 5-1 defeat. He said his son was born at 12:02 p.m. Monday.

Major league rules allow up to three days of paternity leave, and WFAN broadcaster Mike Francesa said on the air Wednesday that Murphy should not have skipped the second game.

"One day I understand. And in the old days they didn't do that," Francesa said. "But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You're a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help."

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason also was critical during his show on WFAN.

"Quite frankly, I would have said C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day, I'm sorry," he said. "This is what makes our money. This is how we're going to live our life. This is going to give my child every opportunity to be a success in life. I'll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I'm a baseball player."

A day later, Collins bristled after learning of the comments.

"If you're accusing Dan Murphy of not wanting to play - this guy played 161 games last year, wore himself out, played through all sorts of discomfort," he said. "You know, the man had his first child. He's allowed to be there. The rules state that he can be there, so he went. There's nothing against it. There's nothing wrong with it. You know, he missed two games. It's not like he's missed 10. You know, when you start attacking Dan Murphy's credibility, you need to look in the mirror a little bit."

Murphy said he received text messages about the criticism. He was applauded before his first at-bat, singled and scored the Mets' first run against the Nationals. Murphy went 1 for 3 but also made a throwing error and a fielding error.

"Pretty good at the plate, not so much in the field," he said. "A little sluggish on defense. It was frustrating."

Minnesota Twins left-hander Brian Duensing also returned Thursday after three days on the paternity leave list, and Tampa Bay put outfielder Sean Rodriguez on the list.

"Little did I know I was going to start a national dialogue," Francesa said on the air Thursday. "I never attacked Daniel Murphy," he added, saying his distinction applied if "you have the wherewithal to maybe afford care that some people may not."

"I think two days is plenty, and get back to work," he said.

Murphy said he was happy to hear about people who backed his choice to spend time with his wife and won.

"I appreciate it, anyone who supports me," he said. "My wife and I, we made a decision, and we were excited about it."

Murphy said his son was named after the Biblical character Noah, not for Mets teammate Noah Syndergaard.

"People are going to say you named him after the monstrosity that throws like 1,000 miles an hour," Murphy said. "We didn't. Noah came from Noah's Ark. Peace and rest is what it means."

Baby Noah kept his parents awake at 3 a.m. Wednesday.

"We had our first panic session. It was dark. She tried to change a diaper, couldn't do it. I came in," he said. "It was just the three of us, 3 o'clock in the morning, all freaking out. He was the only one screaming. I wanted to."

NOTES: Murphy took the roster spot of OF Chris Young, who was put on the 15-day disabled list because of tightness in his right quadriceps.

Sampson introduced as Houston's basketball coach

HOUSTON (AP) Houston introduced Kelvin Sampson as their men's basketball coach on Thursday, confident that he can bring the once-proud program back to prominence and undeterred by his past improprieties with the NCAA.

Sampson committed numerous NCAA violations regarding impermissible calls to recruits at both Oklahoma and Indiana, resulting in a five-year show cause order from the NCAA in 2008 which effectively barred him from coaching in college. That order expired last year.

On Thursday, Sampson vowed that NCAA compliance will be his staff's highest priority and didn't shy away from his checkered past when he was introduced as the successor to James Dickey, who resigned last month citing family issues.

"Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, while I don't agree with all the conclusions that the NCAA made, I respect their decision and respect the NCAA as an institution," Sampson said in his opening comments.

Though Sampson touched on his past troubles on Thursday, he wasn't exactly thrilled at repeated questions about his NCAA violations.

"I'm excited about the future," he said. "That stuff is in the past - all of it."

He takes over a program with a rich history that has fallen on tough times in the last two decades. The Cougars have made 19 NCAA tournaments, but just one of those appearances has come since 1992 and they finished 17-16 this season. These Cougars are far removed from the Phi Slama Jama teams starring Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes and Clyde Drexler in the 1980s which made five Final Four trips, including three in a row from 1982-84.

Sampson, who has been an assistant with the Houston Rockets since 2011, coached Oklahoma from 1994-2006 and Indiana from 2006-08. He made 11 NCAA tournaments during his tenure at Oklahoma, reaching the round of 16 in 1999, the Final Four in 2002 and the round of eight in 2003.

The 58-year-old Sampson has a 500-270 in 25 seasons as a head coach with stops at Washington State and Montana Tech in addition to Oklahoma and Indiana. His success on the court is undeniable; the problems came from what happened off the court.

Athletic director Mack Rhoades said they fully vetted Sampson and have no concerns about him because of his checkered past with the NCAA.

"Not after we sat down and talked and did all the research we did and we got to know him," Rhoades said. "He was completely honest, candid, transparent, remorseful. (He) knew that he'd made mistakes and we've got great, great comfort with Kelvin Sampson being our head coach."

He believes that Sampson can help get the program back to where it once was.

"It was one of those cases where it was just a perfect match," Rhoades said. "We hit it off and I think he believes in what we're trying to get done at this university."

Sampson was an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks before joining the Rockets and some thought he'd never coach in college again after the show cause order.

"I didn't know if I wanted to coach in college again," he said. "I don't think the question should be did I expect to, it's rather if I wanted to our not? I enjoyed every minute of the six years I spent in the NBA."

Sampson is popular with players and fellow coaches alike and Rockets' All-Star James Harden and point guard Pat Beverley were on campus Thursday for his introduction at Houston.

"To see him going back to what he loves in a head coaching job is amazing," Harden said. "He's a great coach, tremendous head coach and I'm glad he has another opportunity at it."

Warren's father: NBA decision could come Tuesday

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State's T.J. Warren will take a little longer to decide whether he'll enter the NBA draft as a sophomore.

Warren's father said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press that the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year could be ready to announce his plans Tuesday. Former Wolfpack player Tony Warren says he wants his son to take his time and "be 100 percent sure," though he expects the 6-foot-8 forward could be a top-20 pick.

Warren averaged 24.9 points and shot 52.5 percent to become the third player to lead the conference in scoring and shooting percentage in the same year. Warren was named a second-team All-American earlier this week.

Marshall, McDermott take home AP yearly awards

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall is growing accustomed to being center stage at the Final Four. He just wishes his team was with him this time around.

After leading the Shockers to the national semifinals a year ago, Marshall deftly guided them through a perfect regular season, earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. While they were done in by Kentucky in the third round, by then the votes had already been tabulated.

Marshall was the runaway winner of the AP coach of the year award.

He accepted his hardware during a news conference Thursday at AT&T Stadium, where the Wildcats will play Wisconsin and UConn will meet Florida in the national semifinals Saturday night.

"I'm truly honored," Marshall said. "It's amazing what our young guys and our program were able to accomplish this year, with the tremendous win streak and the run they took us all on. I've been coaching for a long time, but when you have a group like this, they make it really special."

Speaking of special, Creighton star Doug McDermott was a near-unanimous pick as the AP player of the year after a senior season that left him the fifth-leading scorer in Division I history.

McDermott received all but one vote from the 65-member panel that votes for the Top 25. Russ Smith of Louisville received the only dissenting vote.

"This is a huge honor," said McDermott, who was joined at the news conference by his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott, along with his mother and sister.

"It's been a heck of a ride," McDermott said. "It has been a great four years."

The award ceremony was also a reunion for Marshall and McDermott, who became familiar with each other when Wichita State and Creighton tussled for Missouri Valley supremacy.

But when the Bluejays skipped to the Big East, it cleared the way for Marshall's Shockers to romp through a weakened league and have one of the finest seasons in Division I history.

Wichita State won its first 35 games, a record for a men's major college program, and became the first team to enter the NCAA tournament with a perfect record since UNLV in 1991. With his motto of "play angry," the Shockers embodied the intense nature of their blue-collar coach, who came up through tiny schools such as Randolph-Macon to reach the pinnacle of his sport.

Along the way, the Shockers captured their first Missouri Valley tournament title since 1987 and landed forward Cleanthony Early and point guard Fred VanVleet on the AP's All-America teams.

"I tell you what, they made it easy to coach," Marshall told AP. "You enjoy going to work every single day. Even with the loss to Kentucky, they never wavered. They wanted to be a special group, and they wanted to do things that have never been done."

That loss to the Wildcats still stings, though. The heavyweights from the SEC were given a No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament, meaning Wichita State had to face them in the opening weekend, and the two teams waged a thrilling game that came down to VanVleet's missed shot at the buzzer.

"Ultimately, some point down the road, we'll look back on this season, and look back fondly," Marshall said, "but at this point, gosh, I wish we were still playing."

Marshall received 44 votes for coach of the year. Tony Bennett of Virginia got 13, followed by Florida's Billy Donovan with six and Michigan's John Beilein and SMU's Larry Brown with one each.

There wasn't nearly as much indecision in voting for McDermott, who led the Bluejays to a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. And while their season ended in a loss to Baylor, it was only a blip on an otherwise remarkable career that left his proud pop feeling nostalgic.

"It's hard to believe on a lot of levels," Greg McDermott told AP. "As his father, I still see him as a little scrawny kid in a lot of ways."

One that blossomed into a dynamic, 6-foot-8 forward who led the nation in scoring at nearly 27 points per game and finished with a staggering 3,150 for his career.

Earlier this year, he was voted a first-team All-American, the first player since Patrick Ewing and Wayman Tisdale in 1985 to earn the nod three straight years.

"I knew Doug was going to be player of the year much sooner than I thought I could be coach of the year," Marshall said. "He can certainly play on any level and he proved that this year."

Ralph Wilson's widow takes team control

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Mary Wilson is taking over as the Buffalo Bills' controlling owner after the death last week of her husband, Ralph Wilson.

Ralph Wilson was the founder and only owner of the franchise. He died March 25 at the age of 95.

The team says "A process will be established at an appropriate time for the sale of the franchise. "

The Bills also announced that CEO Russ Brandon, general manager Doug Whaley and coach Doug Marrone will remain in charge of football operations under the new ownership.

Ralph Wilson founded the Bills when the American Football League began play in 1960 and was a major factor in the merger of the AFL and NFL that was completed in 1970.

He long expressed no desire to leave the team to his family, and this announcement is the first step in what's likely a lengthy path to new ownership.

The team said in a statement: "This process will ensure that the club complies and is faithful to NFL rules and to its obligations to New York State and Erie County. We plan to have detailed discussions with the NFL, the state and county, and others as we determine the timing and structure of any sales process."

A 20-member committee called the New Stadium Working Group recently met to discuss whether the Bills should build a new stadium, or whether Ralph Wilson Stadium should be renovated.

The current stadium lease expires in 2022. The Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2019 under terms of a 10-year lease agreement they reached with state and county governments in December 2012. The deal features a $400 million penalty the Bills would have to pay in the event a court ruled in favor of the team breaking the lease and relocating.

In 2020, however, the Bills have a one-time opportunity to opt out of the lease for about $28 million.

UNC's McAdoo to enter NBA draft as a junior

North Carolina junior James Michael McAdoo felt he had put off going to the NBA long enough.

The 6-foot-9 forward had flirted with entering the draft after each of his first two seasons before announcing Thursday that he would make the jump this time around.

In a statement from the school, McAdoo said he planned to complete coursework to earn his history degree.

"I just feel I am ready to play at the next level and excited about that challenge," McAdoo said. "I had chances to go after my freshman and sophomore years but was more excited about coming back to school then. Right now I am excited about fulfilling my dream to play in the NBA and do what I have to do to take that next step."

The Norfolk, Va., native averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Tar Heels, helping them go on a 12-game winning streak in Atlantic Coast Conference play before falling to Iowa State in the third round of the NCAA tournament. He was a second-team all-ACC pick as a sophomore and junior.

"I am extremely happy for James Michael, but at the same time I am sad for me because I won't get a chance to coach that youngster again," coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "He's a wonderful kid who has been a very dependable player and one of the top players in the ACC the past two seasons. ... We support him 100 percent in his decision, wish him nothing but the best in his professional career and understand that it is truly important to him and his family that he complete his degree work."

McAdoo - a relative of program great Bob McAdoo - improved gradually each year yet never became a dominant player. He was at his best attacking defenders off the dribble or hitting a face-up jumper, yet he struggled at the foul line (55 percent over the last two seasons) and often seemed more content blending in with his teammates than seizing a lead role.

He started his career behind eventual NBA first-round picks Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller on a preseason No. 1 team. When Henson suffered a wrist injury during the ACC tournament, McAdoo thrived in a bigger role for a team that reached a regional final.

After passing on the draft, McAdoo averaged 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 45 percent as a sophomore, then returned to mirror those numbers in his final season.

The Tar Heels (24-10) lose McAdoo and fifth-year senior Leslie McDonald as starters, but return all-ACC performer Marcus Paige and add three McDonald's All-Americans in point guard Joel Berry, and wings Justin Jackson and Theo Pinson - who was named an Associated Press all-state pick for North Carolina on Wednesday.

Nats' Zimmermann scratched for flu-like symptoms

NEW YORK (AP) Washington Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was scratched from his scheduled start against the New York Mets on Thursday because of flu-like symptoms.

Tanner Roark took over as the starting pitcher for the finale of the opening three-game series. He had been slated to start Washington's home opener Friday against the Atlanta Braves.

Nationals manager Matt Williams said Zimmermann was being sent back to Washington ahead of the team and being given fluids. He said the pitcher, who went 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA last year, was feeling fine Wednesday but took ill after the game.

"He's running a fever. He was up all night throwing up," Williams said. "Evidently he's feeling pretty under the weather."

Roark, a 27-year-old right-hander, was 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA in five starts and nine relief appearances as a rookie last year, striking out 40 and walking 11 in 53 2-3 innings. He was informed of the change in plans during a phone call Thursday morning from pitching coach Steve McCatty.

Williams hopes Taylor Jordan is ready to pitch Friday on short rest. While his last exhibition appearance was March 24, he threw a simulated outing this week and would be starting on short rest.

Washington's second option would be a series of relievers.

"If he's not ready to go tomorrow, then that's going to have to be our option," Williams said.

NOTES: RHP Doug Fister, sidelined by a strained muscle on the right side of his upper back, was scheduled to play catch. Fister can be activated April 7.

Timberwolves F Dante Cunningham arrested

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham has been arrested on allegations of domestic assault.

Police say Cunningham was booked into Hennepin County Jail on Thursday morning. Charges have not been filed, but Cunningham is being held without bail. Police say the woman making the allegations did not require medical treatment.

The Timberwolves say they are in the process of gathering more information. They say the "organization takes the matter very seriously and does not condone the type of behavior that is associated with this situation."

The team was scheduled to leave for Miami on Thursday afternoon. The Wolves say Cunning will not be traveling with them.

The 26-year-old Cunningham is averaging 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds off the bench for the Wolves this season.

Jets' Evander Kane sued over alleged assault

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane is being sued in British Columbia over an alleged assault in Vancouver last summer.

Vancouver resident Lev Makievsky says he was downtown and returning home from work Aug. 10, 2013, when he was assaulted by Kane. The player is from Vancouver.

Makievsky says he sustained a concussion and has "permanent physical disability." He's seeking unspecified damages.

A statement of claim was filed on Makievsky's behalf last week. There is no statement of defense.

The Jets had no comment.

PSG beats Chelsea 3-1; Madrid tops Dortmund 3-0

PARIS -- With first-leg victories, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are in good position to reach the Champions League semifinals.

PSG took advantage of Chelsea's sloppy defending in a 3-1 win Wednesday night as substitute Javier Pastore scored a brilliant late goal on a solo run. Madrid won 3-0 at home against Borussia Dortmund as Cristiano Ronaldo got his record-tying 14th goal of this season's competition.

Ezequiel Lavezzi put the hosts ahead in the fourth minute following a poor headed clearance by Chelsea captain John Terry. Eden Hazard's penalty kick tied the score in the 27th after Thiago Silva pulled down Oscar, but PSG went back in front in the 61st when Lavezzi's free kick from a flank ricocheted off David Luiz's shin and into the net.

"When the games are tight and when you make the defensive mistakes, you are in trouble," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho he said. "We couldn't transform these half-chances into goals. and on top of that we made defensive mistakes, the kind of individual defensive mistakes, and we paid the price."

Pastore scored in injury time, gathering the ball on a wing, cutting inside, maneuvering through the penalty area and beating goalkeeper Petr Cech with a low shot.

"It's not a goal, it's a joke," said Mourinho, who also criticized his forwards. "It's difficult for us to score goals. I'm not happy with my strikers' performances and I have to try things."

PSG has not reached the semifinals since 1995. Paris star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic limped off in the 68th with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

"He wanted to carry on but it wasn't sensible," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "He will probably be out for a while."

Chelsea and PSG fans fought in a city center street about two hours before kickoff. The conflict involved around 100 people from each side, indicating that it was most likely prearranged, PSG security director Jean-Philippe d'Halliville told The Associated Press.

In Madrid, Ronaldo scored his 45th goal overall this season in the 57th minute, then left in the 80th with what appeared to be a leg injury. Playing in his 100th Champions League game, Ronaldo scored when he took a pass from Luka Modric and rounded goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. Ronaldo matched the Champion Clubs' Cup/Champions League mark shared by AC Milan's Jose Altafini (1962-63) and Barcelona's Lionel Messi (2011-12).

"Ronaldo has a problem with his knee, but at this moment I'm not worried about it," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Seeking its fourth straight semifinal appearance and record 10th title in Europe's top club competition, Real built its lead on goals by Gareth Bale in the third minute and Isco in the 27th.

Dortmund was missing suspended forward Robert Lewandowski and five injured regulars. It fielded just four of the players from last year's 4-1 win over Real in the first leg of the semifinals.

"The goals we gave up tonight were not because of this," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "It was too easy. ... We made some mistakes and we were punished."

The second legs of the home-and-home, total-goals series are next Tuesday. In matches played earlier this week, Barcelona was held to a 1-1 tie by visiting Atletico Madrid, and defending champion Bayern Munich tied 1-1 at Manchester United.

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