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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Brewers reach agreement with 16-year-old Dominican Republic prospect

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The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly reached a super-sized contract agreement with a 16-year-old third base prospect from the Dominican Republic. Scouting Baseball and Sports-Reel-Boston are both reporting that Yirver Gilbert Lara agreed to a signing bonus of three-point-two million dollars. The Journal Sentinel says the reported amount is the largest by far that Milwaukee has given to an international prospect. Gilbert Lara is reportedly heading to the Brewers' spring complex in Arizona for a physical -- but the Brewers cannot comment until the deal is official. That won't happen for a while, since the international signing period does officially begin until July 2nd. Last year, Milwaukee paid 800-thousand-dollars each to sign Dominican players Nicolas Pierre and Franly Mallen. The Brewers have been working to increase their profile in the Latin American region. In 2011, they re-opened a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

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The U-W Green Bay men's basketball team will try to hang onto sole possession of first place in the Horizon League tonight, when it plays at Youngstown State. The Phoenix are 9-and-2 in league play, one game ahead of 8-and-3 Cleveland State which hosts Illinois-Chicago this evening. Green Bay faces a Youngstown State team that's 4-and-6 in the conference and 13-and-12 overall. The two teams played on January 4th in Green Bay, when the Phoenix shot 67-percent in the second half and pulled away with a 16-point win. G-B is 19-and-5 overall -- and they're 5-and-2 away from the Resch Center this season. Guard Keifer Sykes and center Alec Brown both average over 20-points in each of their road contests. Green Bay is coming off a 10-point loss to U-W Milwaukee last Saturday. Also tonight, the Wisconsin men host Minnesota. The U-W Parkside men-and-women play at Drury.

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Point guard Brandon Knight is clearly the best Milwaukee Bucks' player not to be chosen for this weekend's N-B-A All-Star events. The 22-year-old Knight has two of Milwaukee's three-highest individual scoring performances this season -- 37 points against Los Angeles Lakers, and 36 against New York. Knight also has the season's highest assist total with 14 in a game at Charlotte in December. He also had 14 rebounds against Cleveland in December. Bucks' coach Larry Drew says Knight gives 110-percent effort every time he steps on the floor -- and he's done a good job of making his teammates a little better with his ball-handling, and making good decisions in transition. Drew says he'll keep pushing Knight to be even better. He was traded to Milwaukee last July, in the deal that sent Brandon Jennings to the Pistons. Knight has scored 20-or-more points in five of his last six contests. The Bucks went on their N-B-A All-Star break after losing at home last night to New Orleans. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will be in the Rising Stars' game and the Skills Challenge during the All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

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Wisconsin teams will play in two men's basketball games tonight in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Madison Edgewood is at Benedictine. And Concordia-Wisconsin plays at Aurora. Another N-A-C-C school, Wisconsin Lutheran, hosts independent Maranatha Baptist of Watertown. First-place Marian is off tonight. In women's basketball, Mount Mary will host Finlandia in Milwaukee.

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Olympians who win their events on Saturday will get something extra in their gold medals -- tiny chunks of a meteorite that fell in Russia. Saturday is the first anniversary of a meteorite crash that inured 16-hundred people caused 33-million dollars of damage in the area of Chelyabinsk. Four Wisconsin athletes will have a chance to take one of those special gold medals home. Alyson Dudek of Hales Corners will compete in the 15-hundred-meter short track speed-skating event on Saturday, and Matt Antoine of Prairie du Chien will be in the finals of men's skeleton if he advances tomorrow. Also, Shani Davis and Brian Hansen -- who train in Milwaukee -- could get a meteorite-laden medal if one of them wins the 15-hundred meter long-track skating event. Hansen said he knows quite a bit about the meteorite crash, because he once competed in Chelyabinsk. He said there are only about 40 speed-skating rinks in the world, and the meteorite struck one of them. Davis had a lighter response when told about meteorite chunks in Saturday's golds. He said quote, "Good luck trying to get that one through customs."

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For the second time in eight months, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is shoving aside criticism from members of the Hall-of-Fame Petty racing family. Last week, Richard Petty said the Wisconsin-born Patrick would only win a NASCAR race if she was the only driver in it. At NASCAR's Media Day today, Patrick said the criticism really doesn't matter -- and she would not seek out the legendary Petty to talk about it. Patrick, who was born in Beloit and raised in nearby Roscoe Illinois, said she doesn't mind such opinions. She said the fact that people have different perspectives is what makes life interesting. Patrick talked about subject at Daytona International Speedway, where the 500 will kick off the NASCAR Sprint Cup season later this month. Patrick won the pole position in last year's 500 -- but otherwise, she had a dismal rookie season in NASCAR's top series. Last June, Richard Petty's son Kyle said Patrick is someone who can drive fast, but cannot pull off the intricacies of racing. At that time, Patrick said she didn't care what her critics say.

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