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VOL. 131 | NO. 159 | Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lilly King Performs Like an American Hero; A-Rod More Like a Russian Drug Cheat

By Don Wade

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The NFL would not like Lilly King. Major League Baseball also would be uncomfortable with the U.S. Olympic gold-medal-winning swimmer.

Lilly King, 19, won the gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke for Team USA in the Olympics in Rio. Both before and after her victory she was an outspoken critic of doping.

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

King, 19, not only defeated Russia’s Yulia Efimova in the 100-meter breaststroke in Rio, she took on doping – Efimova was banned twice and reinstated just before the Olympic Games – and then noted after her victory that she won “clean.”

Earlier, after Efimova had won a semifinal race, King wagged her finger at her and sounded off on swimming’s PED problem and said of Efimova, “I’m just not a fan.”

King, after winning gold, told NBC Sports: “I hope I did (make a statement) that we can still compete clean and do well at the Olympic Games – and that’s how it should be.”

Of course here at home, everyone looks the other way despite the knowledge that PED use is rampant in the NFL and almost a requirement for linemen. And as the MLB tries to restore its image, it has plenty of national writers who carry the water to try and reposition players such as Barry Bonds, now a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, and the soon-to-retire Alex Rodriguez, as all-time greats and who just strayed for a moment and should advance to the Hall of Fame.

In a word: shameful. And in another word: predictable.

A-Rod especially has a lot in common with Yulia Efimova and nothing in common with Olympic champion Lilly King. Worth remembering as baseball spins his so-called legacy.


While the Grizzlies’ starting lineup seems likely to include the Core Four and free agent signee and sharpshooter Chandler Parsons, there could be good competition for roster spots in camp and that competition is made more interesting by the signing of a former Tiger and a previous Grizzlies first-round draft pick.

Start with former University of Memphis fan favorite D.J. Stephens, who was a highlight machine for his dunks and blocks, but never has wowed with his finesse or shooting. Stephens played in the NBA Development League last season, including an 11-game stint with the Grizz’s Iowa Energy where he averaged 16.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.55 steals and 1.27 blocks in 34.3 minutes.

The question, of course, is can Stephens – at just 6-foot-5 and 188 pounds – translate enough of that production to the NBA to stick on a roster? His Memphis connections won’t hurt his cause. If he can prove to be a productive practice player and adjust to the Memphis-Iowa shuttle, he might hang around. He played for the Grizzlies’ summer league team and showed enough to get a shot in camp.

Meantime, guard/forward Wayne Selden Jr., who went undrafted this year after a three-year career with the Kansas Jayhawks, gets an opportunity after averaging 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 39.2 percent from 3-point range in his junior season. He is 6-5 and 230 pounds and if he proves versatile, he could get a good look. He earned Second-Team All-Big 12 honors.

Guard Tony Wroten is also back. Originally drafted by Memphis 25th overall in 2012, the Grizzlies claimed him off waivers a few weeks ago only to release him and re-sign him. In 145 NBA games with the Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers over four seasons, he has averaged 11.1 points, 3.0 assists and shot 23.1 percent from behind the arc. His scoring average is a bit inflated from playing a lot of minutes on talent-short teams in Philly. But he does offer experience behind Mike Conley if rookie Wade Baldwin IV proves not ready for even a small role.

Tony Williams, who is 6-7 and 218 pounds, averaged 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.11 steals as a junior at Indiana University last season. He was not taken in the NBA Draft. He was a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection.


The University of Memphis men’s basketball team released its non-conference schedule game by game on Twitter on Monday, Aug. 8. Fans hoping for a lot of high-profile opponents coming to FedExForum in Tubby Smith’s first season as head coach had to be disappointed.

None of the opponents coming to Memphis made the NCAA Tournament last season. The schedule starts with a Nov. 14 home game vs. the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (RPI 335) and concludes with a Dec. 30 game vs. South Carolina, which made the NIT.

There are NCAA Tournament teams on the non-conference schedule, but the games are either away or played at a neutral site. The Tigers also will travel to Oxford to play Ole Miss on Dec. 3.

For the full schedule, go to www.gotigersgo.com. And check back at www.memphisdailynews.com on Wednesday for a story on Tubby Smith speaking about the Tigers’ schedule.

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