College basketball

Williams, North Carolina players deny wrongdoing

North Carolina coach Roy Williams and players from the 2005 national-championship team deny they were involved with academic wrongdoing alleged by former teammate Rashad McCants.

In an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” McCants — who was the team’s second-leading scorer — said tutors wrote papers for him. He also said he believes Williams knew “100 percent” about players taking no-show classes in a department later linked to fraud in a long-running scandal.

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In a statement Friday, Williams said he “strongly” disagreed with McCants’ comments.

“In no way did I know about or do anything close to what he says and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me,” Hall of Famer Williams said.

After flunking two classes in fall 2004, McCants said he met with Williams, who told him to “buckle down on your academics” and things would work out. The next semester, McCants said, he had grades of “A” in four courses from the formerly named Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) and made the dean’s list despite not attending classes.

McCants said tutors provided him with test answers in some classes, and alleged teammates sometimes carpooled to pick up already-written papers from tutors.

In a joint statement, 16 players from the 2005 team — including Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams, who is from Bremerton — defended Roy Williams and also said, “With conviction, each one of us is proud to say that we attended class and did our own academic work.”


Clowney signs with Texans

Jadeveon Clowney, the first player taken in last month’s draft, signed a four-year, guaranteed contract for $22.272 million with the Houston Texans.

Clowney, a defensive end at South Carolina, will be an outside linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 alignment.


Penguins fire coach Bylsma

The Pittsburgh Penguins fired Dan Bylsma, their all-time winningest coach, and hired Jim Rutherford from the Carolina Hurricanes to replace Ray Shero as general manager. Shero was fired May 16.

Bylsma, 43, has a 252-117-32 career record but failed to produce a bookend to the Stanley Cup title he won in 2009. Bylsma coached the U.S. team that failed to earn a medal at this year’s Sochi Olympics.


Crane leads PGA Tour event

Ben Crane shot a 5-under-par 65 to open a six-stroke lead in the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., before heavy rain forced the suspension of play until Saturday.

Crane had a 12-under 128 total. Carl Pettersson and Jason Bohn were tied for second at 6 under.

Michael Putnam of University Place was tied for 73rd at 1 over and ex-Washington Husky Alex Prugh of Spokane was tied for 87th at 2 over.

Park, Feng are tied for lead

Defending champion Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng shared the lead after two rounds of the LPGA Tour Manulife Financial Classic. They were at 11-under 131 at Grey Silo in Waterloo, Ontario, and Michelle Wie was one shot back.

Former Washington Huskies player Louise Friberg was tied for 46th at 1 under. Those with scores worse than 143 missed the cut, a group that included Jimin Kang (71-74—145), a graduate of King’s High School in Shoreline, and Wendy Ward (70-75—145), who lives outside Edwall.

Auto racing

Hamlin earns Pocono pole

Denny Hamlin turned a track-record lap of 181.415 mph at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., to earn the pole for Sunday’s Pocono 400, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., qualified in 13th and Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw was 27th of 43.


• Vanderbilt beat visiting Stanford 11-6 in the opener of their best-of-three NCAA baseball super regional in Nashville, Tenn.

Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer scored as Sporting Kansas City beat the host Houston Dynamo 2-0 in Major League Soccer.

• In exhibition soccer, Portugal beat Mexico 1-0 before 56,292 in Foxborough, Mass., and host Brazil beat Serbia 1-0 in Sao Paulo. The World Cup starts in Brazil next week.

• France standout Franck Ribery, who has a back injury, was left off the World Cup squad.

• Tulsa won for the first time in six WNBA games this season, beating Phoenix 94-78. In other league games, visiting Indiana defeated Washington 64-61 and Los Angeles won 102-88 at Chicago.

• Olympic ice-dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White are skipping the 2014-15 season. Davis and professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy combined to win ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” season title last month.

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