GRIFFIN, IRVING, RUBIO TOP RISING STARS ROSTER: NEW YORK (AP) — All-Star Blake Griffin and rookie guards Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio headline the list of 18 players chosen for the Rising Stars Challenge to be held during All-Star weekend.
In this year's new format, first- and second-year players will be mixed in the game on Friday, Feb. 24 in Orlando. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as general managers and draft players for their teams.
Other second-year players chosen Wednesday were John Wall (Washington), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Landry Fields (New York), Paul George (Indiana), Gordon Hayward (Utah), Greg Monroe (Detroit), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio) and Evan Turner (Philadelphia).
The rookies joining No. 1 pick Irving and Rubio are Kemba Walker (Charlotte), MarShon Brooks (New Jersey), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Markieff Morris (Phoenix), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland) and Derrick Williams (Minnesota).
HORNER EXPECTED TO COMPETE IN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Defending champion Chris Horner and three-time winner Levi Leipheimer are expected to be in the field for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, which will include a 130-mile fourth stage that will make for the race's longest day.
The seventh annual race, scheduled May 13-20, is expected to include about 140 of cycling's top riders.
The roughly 800-mile route, which was announced Wednesday, will begin in Santa Rosa, Calif., and take riders into the rolling hills of Sonoma County.
The fourth stage will take riders from Sonora to Clovis during the race's longest day.
The concluding eighth stage begins on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and finishes in downtown Los Angeles.
Participating teams and individual riders will be announced in the weeks just prior to the race.
AP SOURCE: WINGS VS LEAFS IN 2013 WINTER CLASSIC: ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A person familiar with the NHL's plan says the Detroit Red Wings will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Winter Classic.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league is not expected to announce the lineup until Thursday.
Earlier Wednesday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents authorized the athletics department to seek a contract with the NHL that would allow the league to hold next year's showcase at Michigan Stadium. The NHL has offered to pay up to $3 million for a license to use the iconic college football stadium, according to the recommendation approved by the board.
HOLMES STAYING PUT WITH JETS AFTER CLAUSE KICKS IN: NEW YORK (AP) — It appears Santonio Holmes is sticking around — just as the New York Jets said he would.
By remaining on the roster through the second day of the NFL's waiver period Tuesday, the talented but troublesome wide receiver will get $15.25 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons. A clause in Holmes' contract, signed last offseason, kicked in Wednesday morning.
Holmes' future appeared murky with the Jets after a tumultuous season in which he feuded with quarterback Mark Sanchez and offensive linemen, and was benched during the season finale in Miami for arguing in the huddle.
Still, owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan all insisted that Holmes would remain with the team despite the squabbles.
FABIO CAPELLO QUITS AS ENGLAND COACH: LONDON (AP) — Fabio Capello quit as England coach on Wednesday just four months before the European Championship, after publicly challenging the Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.
The Italian, whose contract was due to expire after Euro 2012, walked out on the job after four years following an hour-long meeting with FA chairman David Bernstein and general secretary Alex Horne at Wembley Stadium.
Bernstein publicly undermined Capello last week by not consulting him before taking the captain's armband from Terry, who is facing a racism trial. Capello criticized the decision on Italian television, insisting it was "absolutely" the wrong decision.
Such a public breach with his employers meant there was no way forward in the job for the Capello.
The former Real Madrid and Juventus coach replaced Steve McClaren in the job after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.
Capello clung onto his job in 2010 despite England's disappointing World Cup campaign. Now England needs a new manager for Euro 2012.
Capello quit hours after Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, who was the favorite to replace Capello, was cleared of tax evasion by a jury.
UCONN TO IMPOSE OWN PENALTIES: HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut has proposed its own penalties for failing to meet academic standards on its men's basketball team, if the NCAA will allow the Huskies to participate in the 2013 championship tournament.
The school currently does not qualify for the tournament based on several years of low academic progress reports, but filed a waiver last month.
That document, obtained this week by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information request, outlines proposed self-imposed penalties that will be instituted if the waiver is granted.
Those include forfeiting the revenue awarded to the Big East for participating in the tournament, reducing the number of regular-season games played in the 2012-13 season from 27 to 23, and barring coach Jim Calhoun from meeting off-campus with prospective recruits during the fall 2012 contact period.
AT LONG LAST, MEMPHIS TIGERS JOIN BIG EAST: At long last, Memphis is part of the Big East.
The Big East says the Tigers officially accepted an invitation to be part of the conference's next incarnation in 2013. Memphis is the seventh school, and fourth from Conference USA, to sign up for future membership in the Big East since December. The Tigers will compete in the Big East in all sports.
Memphis has been trying to upgrade its conference affiliation for years, and the Big East was always the most likely landing spot. The Tigers were snubbed during the Big East's last massive expansion in 2005 and lost a longtime rivalry with Louisville in the process.
Now with the Big East rebuilding again and eventually in need replacements for West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, there was finally room for Memphis.