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Sports Briefs June 8, 2010

| June 8, 2010 9:00 PM

Baseball

The Washington Nationals selected junior college slugger Bryce Harper with the No. 1 overall pick in the baseball draft Monday night.

Harper, a 17-year-old with prodigious power from the College of Southern Nevada, is one of the most-hyped players in draft history because of his eye-popping talent at the plate.

A year after taking similarly hyped right-hander Stephen Strasburg, the Nationals got him a potential batterymate, although Harper was announced as an outfielder at the draft site at MLB Network studios by commissioner Bud Selig.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Harper surpassed former big league pitcher Alex Fernandez, who went fourth overall to the Chicago White Sox in 1990, as the highest-drafted JUCO player.

He hit .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs in his first college season after skipping his final two years of high school and getting his GED.

Harper was the subject of a Sports Illustrated cover story while still in high school, and has reportedly hit balls over 550 feet. A hitter has not garnered that much national attention since possibly Florida State's J.D. Drew, who went No. 2 overall to Philadelphia in 1997 but didn't sign a contract.

With the second overall pick, Pittsburgh selected hard-throwing Texas high school right-hander Jameson Taillon. Baltimore went next and picked smooth-fielding Florida high school shortstop Manny Machado.

See entire first round in Scoreboard.

Basketball

Tom Izzo has another suitor.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in replacing fired coach Mike Brown with Izzo.

"There is not a contract offer on the table," Hollis said in a telephone interview. "Last week, there was talk that Chicago and New Jersey were interested. If I was anywhere but at Michigan State, I would be interested in Tom, too, because he's the best coach in college basketball."

The News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, reported Sunday the Cavaliers have made an offer to Izzo, citing an unidentified league source.

• Monty Williams has been hired to coach the New Orleans Hornets and will be introduced at a press conference today.

The 38-year-old Williams, who played at Notre Dame and then for several NBA teams spanning nine seasons, has been an assistant under Portland coach Nate McMillan since 2005.

Softball

Megan Langenfeld hit a game-ending homer in the eighth inning to give UCLA a 6-5 victory over Arizona (52-13) in the opener of the Women's College World Series finals in Oklahoma City.

Langenfeld, a finalist for national player of the year, homered twice and drove in three runs. Monica Harrison had a two-run double for the fifth-seeded Bruins (49-11).

Major champions Tom Lehman, Davis Love III and Ben Curtis all made the field for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Two youngsters who beat all three a day earlier at the Memorial Tournament - Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler - did not.

Others qualifying included Stuart Appleby, Bo Van Pelt and Aaron Baddeley.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo failed in his bid to qualify, after withdrawing from a 36-hole sectional qualifier at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas.

Hockey

Manitoba coach Scott Arniel has been hired for the same job with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Arniel was 181-105-10-19 in four seasons with Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

- The Associated Press

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