Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Leuer becomes third UW player to be drafted by BucksWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Bucks put the focus today on the two draft choices they made last night. Tennessee freshman forward Tobias Harris and Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer did not get much attention, after general manager John Hammond pulled off a three-team swap late yesterday involving three high-profile veterans.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Bucks put the focus today on the two draft choices they made last night. Tennessee freshman forward Tobias Harris and Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer did not get much attention, after general manager John Hammond pulled off a three-team swap late yesterday involving three high-profile veterans.
The 18-year-old Harris left Tennessee after his freshman year, and was the youngest player in the NBA Draft. He averaged 15 points and seven rebounds in 34 games for the Volunteers in his only season. Bucks GM John Hammond said both Harris and Leuer – who was taken in the second round with the 40th pick – have strong work ethics and high character. And both could help Milwaukee solve its shooting problems from a year ago, when their 43-percent figure was the lowest since the team joined the league in 1969. Leuer averaged 18 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin in his senior year. He said the Bucks are a great organization, and would be a good team to play for. The Badgers are pleased, too. Leuer is only the third Wisconsin player in the last seven years to be drafted. He’s the fifth Badger to be chosen by the Bucks, and the first since Rashard Griffith in 1995. Bucks’ shooters John Salmons and Corey Maggette were traded last night, and Milwaukee picked up veteran shooting guard Stephen Jackson.
Milwaukee Bucks’ GM John Hammond said shooting guard John Salmons was not traded because of his drop-off in production last season. In fact, Hammond said he had no plans to revamp the Bucks’ roster until a couple days ago – when the opportunities came along that resulted in the Bucks’ three-team trade on Draft Night. Milwaukee picked up veteran shooting guard Stephen Jackson, guard Shaun Livingston, and first-round draft pick Tobias Harris from Charlotte, and backup point guard Beno Udrih from Sacramento. Harris, the youngest player drafted at age 18, was scheduled to appear at a mid-day news conference at the Bradley Center. The Bucks traded Salmons to Sacramento, where he played from 2006-through-’09. And they dealt Corey Maggette and 10th-overall draft pick Jimmer Fredette to Charlotte. Milwaukee also drafted Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer in last night’s second round. The Bucks acquired Salmons a year-and-a-half ago from Chicago – and he led Milwaukee to the playoffs in 2010. But Salmons’ scoring average fell to about 14-points-a-game this past season, when the Bucks missed the post-season. Hammond said it was not good for the Bucks to lose Salmons, but the team received a lot of good talent in return. And they’ll save some money in the final years’ of the players’ contracts. Stephen Jackson has two years left on his current contract, and will make just over nine-million-dollars next year.
Two current University of Wisconsin men’s hockey players are among those eligible to be taken tonight, when the NHL Entry Draft begins in Saint Paul. Sophomore forward Michael Mersch is projected to go in the second-or-third rounds. Sophomore defenseman Frankie Simonelli is projected to be taken in rounds four-through-six. Incoming freshman center Joseph Labate is projected as a second-or-third rounder. New Badger freshmen Brendan Woods and Waupaca native Brad Navin are also mentioned as draft possibilities by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. Mersch, from suburban Chicago, had eight goals and 19 points in 41 games for the Badgers last season – and he had three game-winning goals. Simonelli was a reserve on the blue line, with a pair of goals and 11 points in 39 games in his Wisconsin rookie season. The NHL Draft runs through tomorrow.
Former Milwaukee Admirals’ coach Claude Noel was named today as the first coach of the newly-relocated National Hockey League team in Winnipeg. That city used to have NHL hockey – and it’s getting it back after the Atlanta Trashers decided to move recently. The 55-year-old Noel spent last season coaching Manitoba in the American Hockey League. He spent four seasons at the helm of the Milwaukee Admirals – and his team won the AHL’s Calder Cup championship in 2004. Noel earlier spent three years as an assistant in Milwaukee, and he left the team for good in 2007 and spent four years as an assistant with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. He was an acting coach for Columbus early last year, after Ken Hitchcock was fired. Noel went 10-8-6 with the Blue Jackets.
A Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl ring will be auctioned off this summer, to help settle a tax dispute that’s gone on for 28 years. U.S. Marshals have seized Fuzzy Thurston’s ring from Super Bowl II – and it will be sold on August fourth at the National Sports Collectors’ Convention in suburban Chicago. The 77-year-old Thurston owes one-point-seven million dollars in back taxes – although his attorney claims it’s not actually that much. He played for Green Bay from 1959-67, and he still lives in northeast Wisconsin at Waupaca. Thurston’s helmet from 1960 will also be auctioned off, along with two football signed Vince Lombardi and the other members of the team from the Packers’ Glory Years. A court order also called for the sale of Thurston’s ring from Super Bowl I, four other championship rings, and a host of other memorabilia. But authorities apparently could not locate those items. The Super Bowl-Two ring is expected to bring in $20,000, but auctioneers expect a much higher price. Other Green Bay rings from the first two Super Bowls have gone for $30,000 to $73,000 dollars.
Everybody’s back to even, as the Class-“A” Midwest League opens the second-half of its season tonight. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host Quad Cities without two of its top pitching prospects. The Rattlers’ parent club, the Brewers, promoted starters Tyler Thornburg and Austin Ross to upper-Class-“A” Brevard County yesterday. Other teams also used the All-Star break to evaluate personnel and possibly make changes. Beloit will open at home against Cedar Rapids. First-half West Division champion Burlington is on the road at Clinton. First-half East champ Bowling Green hosts Dayton. Kane County plays at Peoria. Lake County is at Fort Wayne. Lansing hosts Great Lakes. And West Michigan travels to South Bend.
Eau Claire still leads the Northwoods League South Division by a half-game over Madison. Both teams kept their positions with victories last night. Eau Claire topped Waterloo at home 2-1, and Madison won at La Crosse 3-2. Both those series continue tonight. The Wisconsin Woodchucks will try to make it two straight at Green Bay, after a 10-7 ‘Chucks victory. Wisconsin Rapids is at Battle Creek again, on the heels of a 3-2 Rapids win. One game has already been played today in the North Division of the Northwoods. Saint Cloud won at Thunder Bay, 5-2 in 10 innings. Tonight, Duluth hosts Rochester in a double-header, after they were rained out last evening. Mankato plays at Alexandria. And Willmar hosts Brainerd. Mankato enters the weekend with a one-game lead in the North over Brainerd.