Sports

Sports In Brief - February 21, 2008

BAY MINETTE, Ala. -- Two weeks after he announced his decision to play football at Alabama on national television, star wide receiver Julio Jones found himself in a new position -- that of a key prosecution witness in a capital murder trial.

Wearing a gray hoodie emblazoned with an Oklahoma logo, Jones testified Tuesday that he witnessed the gunshot murder of a longtime acquaintance who was identified as a drug dealer. The slaying occurred in Baldwin County not far from Foley High School, where Jones became one of the nation's top football recruits.

Jones, 19, said he and his best friend, 18-year-old Lugene Gibbs, watched from across a street as Labarron McDonald, 27, fatally shot Gibbs' uncle, Marlin Lashane Phipps, 33.

• NBA -- Maurice Cheeks and the 76ers agreed to a one-year contract extension, giving the former NBA star through the 2008-09 season to reach the postseason for the first time as Philadelphia's coach.

The Sixers have not reached the playoffs in Cheeks' first two full seasons and they entered Wednesday's game against New York holding the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

• Devin Harris says it could be two more weeks before he makes his debut with New Jersey.

Harris, part of the eight-player trade that sent Jason Kidd to Dallas, will replace Kidd at point guard but a nagging ankle injury still has him sidelined.

Harris' ankle has kept him out the past three weeks.

• Minneapolis police are investigating a nightclub incident involving New Jersey player Richard Jefferson.

Sgt. Jesse Garcia says Jefferson allegedly put his hands on a man's neck until he lost consciousness after the man asked the uninvited player to leave a private party that he was hosting at the posh Graves 601 hotel before dawn on Jan. 27.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Having lost its final appeal, Ohio State will pay former coach Jim O'Brien almost $3 million for wrongfully firing him.

The Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear Ohio State's appeal of the coach's lawsuit against the university, signaling an end to a lengthy court battle.

• NASCAR -- Robby Gordon was docked 100 points and his crew chief was suspended for six races and fined $100,000 as NASCAR penalized 10 teams in its three different national series for infractions found at Daytona International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one of seven drivers penalized for Nationwide Series infractions, and six crew chiefs were suspended. Todd Bodine, winner of the Truck Series race, and two crew chiefs were penalized.

The harshest penalty went to Gordon, who had an unapproved front bumper cover on his No. 7 Dodge during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500. The deduction of points drops him from ninth in the standings to 40th.

• COLLEGE SWIMMING -- Clemson has suspended swimming and diving coach Christopher Ip for using an ineligible swimmer in two meets earlier this season.

Ip will miss the men's and women's Atlantic Coast Conference championship meets the next two weekends, the school announced. Clemson reported the infraction to the ACC and the NCAA.

• MLB -- Roger Clemens has pulled out of an ESPN sports personality weekend at Disney Hollywood Studios. The decision comes a week after Clemens gave testimony to a congressional committee about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.

Clemens says in a statement, "I believe my current participation could be a distraction."

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