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VOL. 131 | NO. 79 | Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sports Notebook: Woodson Leaving for Butler; Lynch Headed to Jets?

By Don Wade

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The arrival of Tubby Smith to coach the University of Memphis basketball team will not prevent the departure of guard Avery Woodson.

Despite the U of M hiring Tubby Smith as head basketball coach, guard Avery Woodson still decided to transfer to Butler. Woodson’s outside shooting will be missed as he made 43 percent of his 3-point shots last season. 

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The Indianapolis Star reported that Woodson will transfer to Butler; he also considered Virginia Commonwealth.

As a graduate transfer, Woodson will be eligible to play immediately and is expected to be a major contributor to the Bulldogs next season. He averaged 9.6 points as a junior last season at Memphis and made 77 shots from long range while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc.

Also, Smith has hired his first assistant coach at Memphis. Smith, who spent the last three seasons at Texas Tech and led the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time in nine years, has hired Alvin “Pooh” Williamson from his staff there. Smith had strongly hinted at his first press conference in Memphis that Williamson would be joining him.

Williamson, Smith said at that introductory press conference, was his first recruit in 1991 at his first head coaching stop in Tulsa.

“Great player at Tulsa who has a lot of ties all over,” Smith said. “He’s coached at Tulane. He’s coached at Texas A & M. He’s coached at SMU.”

Williamson is expected to serve a key role in recruiting and it will be interesting to see if Memphis can pull some players from Texas. That was expected to happen with former coach Josh Pastner, who had ties to the AAU circuit in Houston, but a pipeline never really materialized.

Just Say No to Golf, Pastner Says
Now head coach at Georgia Tech, Pastner created a stir with recent comments about not having assistants that are golfers. While he later clarified it was nothing against the sport of golf – “I love golf,” he said – he stood by the initial comment that golfing was too time-consuming given the commitment he expects from his coaches.

“None of my assistants can be golfers,” Pastner told CBS Sports. “Won’t fly with me. It’s not as much that it’s golf. It’s that, if you’re going to be here, you’re going to have to work like crazy. We’re rebuilding. It’s going to be a seven-day-a-week job.”

Not a Real Game, Spring Practice
Did you see the big, even staggering, attendance numbers from various college football spring games?

Penn State drew 65,000 and Tennessee 67,027. Nebraska topped 72,000 and Alabama had 76,212 for A-Day, and the Crimson Tide’s spring game got better TV ratings than NHL playoff games.

First-year Georgia coach Kirby Smart, late of Nick Saban’s staff in Tuscaloosa, challenged fans to fill Sanford Stadium and come out 93,000 fans strong. They did it.

And Ohio State took top honors in Columbus with an attendance of 100,189.

Guarantee you no NFL preseason game in Cleveland can match that, not even if Johnny Manziel was brought back to play quarterback for the Browns and their opponent.

Broadway Paxton Lynch?
Between now and the April 28 NFL Draft any number of sources will be providing updated mock drafts only for those to be supplanted by, that’s right, updated mock drafts.

But Don Banks has a particularly interesting updated mock draft on SI.com. For one thing, he has quarterbacks going in the top two spots. The newly relocated Los Angeles (fled St. Louis) Rams made that blockbuster deal with the Tennessee Titans to get the No. 1 pick. Banks believes the Rams will use it on North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, with the Browns taking Cal’s Jared Goff second overall.

Banks, however, allows that it’s possible the Rams could take Goff. And that the Browns might not even choose a quarterback. Banks says he is convinced the Browns favor Goff over Wentz and speculates that if the Rams like Wentz better but make it appear they prefer Goff, they could cut a deal with Cleveland so the Browns can move up to No. 1 to ensure they get Goff and the Rams can get some more assets.

As for the former University of Memphis quarterback and the New York Jets, who holds the 20th overall pick, Banks wrote: “This is the right fit of draft value and need, for the Jets and Lynch to make a marriage of it. Ryan Fitzpatrick gets signed at some point, but he’s still a short-term option.

“Unless the Jets really believe they can entrust the future to Geno Smith – and I don’t think that’s the case – investing in Lynch’s intriguing upside would be a shrewd move. He’ll have the time he needs to develop under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, and the Jets might finally have their long-sought franchise QB.”

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