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Sports briefs for June 10, 2013

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

MCI to hold spring sports awards night

PITTSFIELD, Maine – Maine Central Institute will hold its spring sports awards night at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Parks Gymnasium. Parents, family and friends are invited to join the school’s spring sports season participants at the event. For more information, contact the MCI athletic office at 487-4461.

Rivers not committed to coaching Celtics

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has still not said publicly whether or not he will return to the team next season.

When the Boston Globe asked if he was still in the process of deciding, Rivers wrote, “I’d rather not say,” via a text message.

Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, has said he expects Rivers to return.

Rivers has three years and $21 million remaining on his contract. In the past, he has considered taking a break from coaching. However, he signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension after the 2010-11 season.

Johnson gets 30 days for probation violation

Chad Johnson was ordered to serve 30 days in jail for violating the terms of his probation in the domestic violence case involving his ex-wife Evelyn Lozada.

Johnson expected to serve no time with a plea deal in the works, but Broward County (Fla.) judge Kathleen McHugh threw out the deal when Johnson jovially slapped his attorney’s rear end during the court session. McHugh didn’t accept Johnson’s apology and said he wasn’t taking the proceedings seriously.

Johnson, 35, said the violation was a result of miscommunication with his probation officer.

Johnson was arrested and pleaded no contest for head-butting Lozada, a reality TV star on “The Basketball Wives,” during an argument in their driveway over Johnson’s fidelity just one month into their marriage. The couple immediately divorced and Johnson was released by the Miami Dolphins.

Cheeks named Pistons’ head coach

Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks has been named the new head coach of the Detroit Pistons, the team announced Monday.

This will be the third NBA head coaching job for Cheeks, who previously was head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers. He has a 284-286 head coaching record in six full seasons and parts of two other seasons.

Cheeks, 56, takes over from Lawrence Frank, who was fired after the Pistons finished with a 29-53 record.

Cheeks spent the past four seasons as a Thunder assistant after being fired as the 76ers head coach 23 games into the 2008-2009 season.

Mark Grace released from jail

Former Major League player and baseball announcer Mark Grace was released from an Arizona jail after serving four months on a DUI conviction, KTAR radio in Phoenix reported Monday.

Grace, 48, was in prison in Phoenix after receiving his second DUI conviction last August.

Last month, Grace told reporters he would not get arrested again.

“If I’m that stinking stupid to do it again, I want you to come punch me right in the mouth,” he said, according to the report.

Grace was fired from his position as an Arizona Diamondbacks announcer, but he remains with the Diamondbacks organization. He will serve as a minor-league hitting instructor.

Grace spent 16 years in the majors.

Oilers name Eakins as new head coach

The Edmonton Oilers appointed Dallas Eakins as the National Hockey League club’s new head coach on Monday, replacing the fired Ralph Krueger.

Eakins, 46, has been the head coach of the minor league American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies since 2009.

As a player, Eakins competed for the Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and Calgary Flames.

The Oilers finished 12th in the Western Conference last season, 10 points out of the final playoff spot. The team has not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006.

Gonchar signs two year deal with Dallas

The Dallas Stars have signed 39-year-old Russian defenseman Sergei Gonchar to a two-year contract at $5 million per season, the National Hockey League team said Monday.

The four-time All-Star spent the last three seasons with the Ottawa Senators and he ranks first in points (775) and assists (558) and second in games played (1,177) among active NHL defensemen.

Originally selected in the first round (14th overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft by Washington, Gonchar has also skated for Boston and Pittsburgh over the course of his 18 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup in 2009 with the Penguins.

Updyke released from jail

Harvey Updyke Jr., the University of Alabama fan who poisoned Auburn’s famed oak trees, was released from jail Monday.

Updyke, 64, plans to leave the state and live with his wife, Elva, in Louisiana, according to his attorney.

Updyke was arrested last September and pleaded guilty to unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility in March while serving jail time. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but had already received credit for 104 of the 180 days.

Prosecutors are seeking $1 million in restitution for the trees, which were removed in April.

Auburn plans to sell parts of the trees as memorabilia.

Merriman rep: Reports of overdose ‘absurd’

A representative of former Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman called reports of a drug overdose “absurd” after he was released from a hospital Monday morning.

Merriman, who was seen partying at a Hollywood night club Sunday night, was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center about 9:30 p.m. and released a few hours later.

Reports surfaced Monday morning that Merriman had overdosed on drugs, but he said he was simply dehydrated.

Merriman contacted TMZ to deny the earlier media reports.

The Los Angeles Times had reported that Merriman overdosed on a combination of drugs and alcohol.

Merriman, 29, retired in March after an eight-year career that included three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2005-07. He played for the San Diego Chargers (2005-10) and Buffalo Bills (2010-12).

Marlins activate Giancarlo Stanton

After missing 36 games on the disabled list, Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton was activated for Monday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Stanton was sidelined April 30 with a grade 2 strain of his right hamstring.

The 23-year-old slugger, who has 96 career home runs, was batting .227 in 75 at-bats before hitting the DL.

Stanton is considered the heart of the Marlins’ lineup, and the offense was flailing without his big bat in the middle of the order. Left fielder Juan Pierre leads the team with a .240 batting average and 25 runs scored.

Bengals CB Jones charged with assault

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was charged with assault stemming from an incident outside of a downtown Cincinnati bar in which he allegedly struck a woman in the face in self-defense.

His agent, Peter Schaffer, said that Jones was approached by two intoxicated women at a bar and wanted to take a picture with him. After he declined one of the women allegedly threw a beer bottle at him. He then reportedly turned around, slapped her in the face.

Jones, who was suspended in 2007 for off-field issues, has been arrested three times since Oct. 2010, but he was cleared of all wrongdoing other than a $250 fine for disorderly conduct outside of a nightclub on July 9, 2011. He has seven other arrests on his record since entering the NFL.

Florida suspends G Wilbekin

University of Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, the school announced Monday via Twitter.

No other details were available.

Wilbekin was instrumental in the Gators’ 29-8 season, averaging 9.1 points and 5.0 assists.

He was also suspended the first three games of last season for an undisclosed reason.

Florida is not expected to have a deep backcourt this season, despite the transfer of Rutgers’ Eli Carter. Also, freshman Kasey Hill is expected to be a standout at point guard.

Kings hire Jent as as an assistant coach

The Sacramento Kings announced Monday that Chris Jent was hired to be part of head coach Michael Malone’s staff.

Jent, 43, was previously an Ohio State assistant coach since 2011. The Buckeyes won 60 games over the past two seasons, including advancing to the Final Four (2012) and regional finals (2013) of the NCAA Tournament.

Jent played professionally for 10 years, including two in the NBA. He was a member of the NBA-champion Houston Rockets in 1994 and the New York Knicks in 1996-97. He has also served as an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers (2003-04) and Orlando Magic (2004-05). He was interim head coach of the Magic for 18 games in 2005.

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