Sports Briefs 10-26-12

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NEW YORK -- David Stern took the NBA around the globe in nearly three decades as commissioner, turning what was a second-rate league into a projected $5-billion-a-year industry.

Now, confident a worthy successor is in place with a labor deal that will ensure the game's continued growth, Stern is ready to stay home.

Stern will retire as commissioner Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years to the day after taking charge of the league, ending one of the most successful and impactful careers in sports history. He will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver.

"I don't know what else to say other than to recite what I told the owners yesterday in executive session," Stern said Thursday during a press conference after the board of governors meetings. "I told them that it's been a great run, it will continue for another 15 months, that the league is in, I think, terrific condition."

Stern is the one who got it there, turning a league with little-to-no TV presence -- the NBA Finals were on tape delay in the early 1980s -- into one that's televised live in 215 countries and is pro sports' leader in digital and social media.

• Basketball

Graduation rate: More men's basketball players are taking advantage of the biggest shot of their life and earning a college diploma. The latest results from the NCAA's annual Graduation Success Rate showed a record 74 percent of Division I basketball players from the 2005-06 freshmen class left school with a degree, a 6-percentage point increase over the one-year measurement from the class of 2004-05.

The overall four-year graduation rate, covering freshman classes from 2002-03 through 2005-06, was 80 percent, matching last year's record high. Using that measure, men's basketball and FBS players both came in at 68 percent, with both sports showing modest gains (1-percentage point increase in FBS and 2 percentage points in basketball).

Option picked up: The 76ers have picked up a contract option on Evan Turner that will keep him in Philadelphia through the 2013-14 season. The third-year swingman. Turner averaged 9.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in his second year and is expected to start at small forward this season following the departure of Andre Iguodala.

The former second overall pick has had a hard time breaking into the starting five behind Iguodala. That changed in August when the 76ers sent Iguodala to Denver in a four-team deal that landed them center Andrew Bynum.

• Elsewhere

Medals stolen: Two British Olympians appealed Thursday for help in recovering a pair of bronze medals that were snatched from a London nightclub, while police reported an arrest in the case.

Rower Alex Partridge and field hockey player Hannah Macleod issued public appeals for the return of the medals, which they earned during the 2012 London Olympics. The thefts reportedly occurred at the Mahiki nightclub, where the athletes went following a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in honor of Britain's Olympic team.

Quarterback issues: Maryland quarterback Devin Burns is out for the season with a foot injury. Burns becomes the third Terrapins quarterback to experience a season-ending injury. C.J. Brown tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in August and was replaced by Perry Hills, who tore the ACL in his left knee last Saturday in a loss to North Carolina State. Burns took over for Hills and ran for a touchdown. Now, however, the sophomore is out for the year with an injury to the middle of his foot.

That leaves true freshman Caleb Rowe to start this Saturday against Boston College.

Woods three back: It was hot, humid and his putts were lipping out. Tiger Woods felt as if he'd been run over halfway through his first round in Malaysia since winning the 1999 World Cup on the same course.

The 14-time major winner rallied, making five birdies on the back nine Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left him three strokes behind leader Troy Matteson in the CIMB Classic. Matteson had eight birdies in his 63 to take a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus.

Jones makes team: Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones has made the U.S. bobsled team, three weeks after trying the sport for the first time. Jones is one of six women selected as push athletes for the team, a group that also includes Olympic sprinting gold medalist Tianna Madison. The team was announced in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Thursday.

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