Arizona LB Wright wins Nagurski award
CHARLOTTE >> Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright won the Bronko Nagurski award on Monday night given to the nation’s top college defensive player.
The 6-foot-1, 246-pound sophomore linebacker had 89 tackles — 27 for a loss — and 14 sacks, helping the 12th-ranked Wildcats earn a spot in the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State. He became the first underclassman to win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honor.
‘Bama’s Cooper, Mizzou’s Ray earn SEC awards
ATLANTA >> Amari Cooper, the nation’s leading receiver, was honored as the Southeastern Conference offensive player of the year Monday by the Associated Press.
Shane Ray of Missouri took the award as the leading defensive player, while Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen was selected as SEC coach of the year. Georgia running back Nick Chubb was voted the top freshman.
Cooper leads the nation with 115 catches and 1,656 yards, and ranks second with 14 receiving touchdowns. Ray led the SEC with 14 sacks.
TCU’s Boykin, Dawson named top Big 12 players
FORT WORTH, Texas >> Trevone Boykin, the quarterback who has also caught touchdown passes and was almost a running back for TCU, was a unanimous pick Monday as the Associated Press Big 12 offensive player of the year.
TCU linebacker Paul Dawson was the top defensive player. Dawson got nine of the 20 votes.
Boykin leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 363 total yards per game. The dual-threat junior has thrown for 3,714 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions, along with 642 yards rushing.
Oklahoma freshman running back Samaje Perine was named the Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year. Baylor freshman linebacker Taylor Young was the top defensive newcomer.
NHL explores expansion team in Las Vegas
Boca raton, Fla. >> NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that the Board of Governors had no objection to billionaire businessman Bill Foley exploring the level of interest in an expansion team coming to Las Vegas.
Bettman explained that the interest from Foley raised questions about the viability of that market being able to support a team, which is why Foley wants to conduct a season-ticket drive and see what kind of numbers are achieved.
There are currently 30 NHL franchises.
Navratilova to coach on Radwanska’s team
Martina Navratilova will be working with Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up and No. 6 in this season’s final WTA rankings.
Both women tweeted Monday about the partnership. They join the recent trend of players hiring former stars as coaches.