National Sports Briefs
RALEIGH ó N.C. State center J.J. Hickson has signed with an agent, and will remain in the 2008 NBA Draft and will not be returning to N.C. State. The NBA Draft will be held June 26.
“Getting to the NBA has always been a dream of mine,” said Hickson.
“After going through several workouts with NBA teams, J.J. received very positive feedback and feels this is a great opportunity for him to be drafted,” said Pack coach Sidney Lowe. “He had a great season with us last year, and he will always be a part of our Wolfpack family. We are very happy for him.”
Hickson was an unanimous selection to the ACC All-Freshman team and honorable mention All ACC. Hickson led the Pack in scoring (14.8 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg) and blocked shots (1.52 bpg).
HALLE, Germany ó Roger Federer just wanted to survive a couple of rounds at the Gerry Weber Open after his painful French Open loss to Rafael Nadal.
The top-ranked Swiss did much more, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s final for his 10th grass title. That matches Pete Sampras’ Open era record of 10 grass-court titles and takes his unbeaten streak on grass to 59 matches.
To further boost his confidence, Federer sailed through the Wimbledon warmup tournament without dropping a set or his serve.
“I’m really excited; I think that’s the first time in my career I won a title” without losing serve, Federer said. “That was very special ó and I’m very proud to keep my streak going.”
Federer, who raised his record to 10-0 in grass finals, won Halle for the fifth time.
– LONDON ó Rafael Nadal claimed his first career grass-court title Sunday, defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the Queen’s Club final to become the first Spaniard to win on grass in 36 years.
It was the French Open champion’s third win in the last three tournaments over the second-seeded Djokovic, following semifinal victories in Hamburg and at Roland Garros.
Nadal is also the first player to win at Roland Garros and Queen’s Club in the same year since Ilie Nastase in 1973.
“This week was amazing for me,” Nadal said.
CARSON, Calif. ó The United States couldn’t wait to get started in its qualifying run for the 2010 World Cup.
Clint Dempsey scored 53 seconds in to set the tone, Brian Ching added two goals and the United States cruised to a record-setting 8-0 rout of Barbados.
CLEVELAND ó LeBron James will be the only Cleveland Cavaliers player going to China this summer.
The Cavaliers have declined permission for center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to play for Lithuania in the Olympics.
Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry said Ilgauskas is a higher-risk player because of his injury history. The 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas was plagued by foot injuries early in his career and the Cavs are concerned about his lower back.
OTTAWA ó Craig Hartsburg is the new coach of the Ottawa Senators, who were swept out of the playoffs in the first round this spring ó a year after reaching the Stanley Cup finals.
Hartsburg, who previously coached Anaheim and Chicago, took over from Senators general manager Bryan Murray, who finished the season behind the Ottawa bench after coach John Paddock was fired in late February.
JACKSONVILLE, W.Va. ó The Florida Highway Patrol says former Marshall football standout Johnathan Goddard has died in a motorcycle accident in northern Florida.
Goddard was the Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year in 2004, when he led the nation with 16 sacks and 28 tackles for loss.