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    Getting a jump on the trade deadline to add talent to the back of their bullpen, the Washington Nationals picked up right-hander Kelvin Herrera from the Kansas City Royals on Monday for three minor leaguers. The Nationals sent infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins and 17-year-old pitcher Yohanse Morel to Kansas City in the deal announced during Washington's doubleheader against the New York Yankees. Herrera has 14 saves and a 1.05 ERA this season. He's allowed three earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 22 batters and walking two. The 28-year-old is a two-time AL All-Star who helped Kansas City win the 2015 World Series — and is among the last players left from that title team. He is 23-27 with 57 saves and a 2.75 ERA across 442 games in relief over eight seasons in the majors. Herrera joins lefty closer Sean Doolittle and eighth-inning righty Ryan Madson in the back of Washington's bullpen. Brandon Kintzler, the usual seventh-inning man for Washington, went on the disabled list June 10 with a right forearm flexor strain. Instead of waiting to make moves at the July 31 non-waiver deadline, the Nationals opted to strike now. They are the two-time reigning NL East champions but have never won a postseason series. Washington also currently stands in second place in the division, entering Monday 3½ games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Royals, meanwhile, are already way out of contention in the AL Central in last place and 22-49 going into the day. They already shipped Jon Jay to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of minor leaguers earlier in June. This is also the second time in recent years the Royals traded away a high-profile closer, after sending Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs in December 2016. The Nationals avoided parting with any of their highest-regarded prospects. Kansas City said Gutierrez will head to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Perkins will be assigned to Class A Wilmington and Morel will be sent to rookie ball. Gutierrez is a 23-year-old third baseman who was batting .274 with five homers at Double-A Harrisburg in Washington's system. Perkins is a 21-year-old switch-hitter who was a second-round draft pick in 2015. He was hitting .234 at Class A Potomac. Morel is a righty from the Dominican Republic in his first professional season. ___ AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report. ___ More AP Baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • An Australian telecommunications company with streaming rights to the World Cup has allowed the free-to-air SBS network to televise matches for 48 hours while it attempts to resolve a series of disruptions that have plagued the service. Optus Sport bought broadcast rights for most World Cup games from SBS, although all Australian matches and the World Cup final remain on SBS. The technical issues include poor-quality match footage or no vision at all, prompting complaints from those who paid to subscribe to the service. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took the unusual step of contacting Optus chief executive Allen Lew, wanting assurances the problems would be fixed. Optus later agreed to let SBS broadcast a handful of matches that were intended to be exclusive to Optus, buying itself 48 hours to resolve all issues. That run of content will end on Wednesday morning in Australia after Russia plays Egypt. 'There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand ... everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly,' an apologetic Lew said. 'We will use the two days we have ... to robustly test the systems under different loads. We believe by that time we will have the technical issues resolved.
  • Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is planning major changes to his team for the South Americans' next World Cup match. In the team's first training session since a disappointing 1-1 draw against Iceland, Sampaoli tried a different tactical approach Monday, with an eye toward the clash against Croatia on Thursday. He tested a system with three central defenders: Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico. Mercado was replacing Marcos Rojo, who put in a poor performance against Iceland in a line of four defenders. The other notable change in training was that the coach dropped midfielders Lucas Biglia and Angel Di Maria, who also failed to impress in the draw on Saturday. Sampaoli switched Biglia for Marcos Acuna, who was playing on the left wing. Javier Mascherano will remain as a defensive midfielder, while right back Eduardo Salvio was being pushed up as a wingback. 'Yes, we worked with different types of systems, on the wings or in the middle, in a hypothetical line of five,' Mercado said at a news conference. 'Every match needs something, and if it's line of five then we'll do it — if it's a line of four we'll do it. We have a few days left to decide how we will play.' Di María, meanwhile, looks like he will be sacrificed for Cristian Pavon, who impressed Sampaoli in just 20 minutes as a substitute against Iceland. 'I think that Jorge is looking at every position. We'll see what happens and what he decides on the day,' the 22-year-old Pavon said. 'I feel confident and luckily things are going well for me, but I don't know yet if I'll be a starter.' Rojo, Biglia and Di Maria are part of a group of eight players who were part of the Argentina team that finished as runner-ups in 2014 in Brazil. They also were part of the team that lost the Copa America final against Chile in 2015 and the Copa America Centenario in 2016. Sampaoli hasn't repeated the same team in the 12 games that he has been in charge of the national team. The other likely starters for the Croatia match are talisman Lionel Messi, Wilfredo Caballero, Maximiliano Meza and Sergio Aguero, who scored in the first match. 'The team is convinced of what's to come. That's it, we have to look at what we need to correct from the Iceland match, but we can't dwell on it. We have to look forward and win the next match against Croatia.' Croatia is leading Group D after beating Nigeria 2-0. ___ More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
  • Senegal forward Sadio Mane and Poland captain Robert Lewandowski starred for their clubs. Now they'll have a chance to come through for their countries when they meet in the World Cup on Tuesday night. Some players win titles for both, such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Others struggle to lead their national teams to the top, such as Lionel Messi. 'Sadio has something absolutely unique, because he's unpredictable,' Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said Monday through an interpreter. 'Nobody is really able to mark him or to stop him. He's really great. At any point he can make the difference with a dribble, with a pass, whatever.' Now 26, Mane made his professional debut with Metz in 2012, moved to Red Bull Salzburg later that year and to Southampton in 2014. He had the fastest hat trick in Premier League history when he got three goals in a 176-second span against Aston Villa in May 2015, and he transferred to Liverpool in June 2016. Mane became one of the league's top players, scoring 13 Premier League goals in his first season, then getting 10 in the league and 10 more in the Champions League in 2017-18. He has 14 goals in 49 games for Senegal, back in the World Cup for the time since its debut in 2002. Lewandowski, who turns 30 in August, started his professional career with Znicz Pruszkow in 2006, moved to Lech Poznan two years later and to Borussia Dortmund in 2010. After scoring 103 goals in 187 matches for Dortmund, the striker signed with Bayern Munich and has won four straight Bundesliga titles while scoring 106 goals in 126 games — 151 in 195 in all competitions. He can score in a flurry — he had five in a nine-minute span against Wolfsburg in February. For Poland, Lewandowski has 55 goals in 95 international appearances, including a European-leading 16 in 2018 World Cup qualifying, one more than Ronaldo scored for Portugal. 'I believe that scale if the size of talent of Lewandowski is immense, supported by a lot of work,' Poland coach Adam Nawalka said through an interpreter. 'I believe that Robert Lewandowski could set an example to other players how to run a career.' A winner of the first matchup between the nations would have a good chance to advance from a group that includes Colombia and Japan. Under Nawalka, who played for his nation at the 1982 World Cup, Poland has risen from 76th in the FIFA rankings in 2013 to eighth — one shy of the nation's high set last year. Poland finished third in the 1974 World Cup with Grzegorz Lato and in 1982 with Zbigniew Boniek. It was knocked out in the round of 16 in 1986, then didn't qualify until 2002, when it lost its first two games and already was eliminated before beating the U.S. in its group stage finale. The Poles lost their first two games again in 2006 before a meaningless match against Costa Rica and hadn't been back since. Senegal, a former French colony that gained independence in 1960, debuted in the World Cup with a shocking victory: 1-0 over defending champion France in the 2002 opener. The West African nation advanced to the quarterfinals before a 1-0 extra time loss to Turkey. After upsetting France in Seoul, South Korea, on a goal by Papa Bouba Diop, thousands of people danced in the streets of Dakar after the 1:30 a.m. final whistle and President Abdoulaye Wade declared a national holiday. Diop ran to the corner flag after scoring, took off his jersey and put it on the field and formed a circle with teammates to dance around the garb. Before the start of training at Spartak Stadium on Monday, Senegal's players formed a circle, danced and sang. 'The dreams that we had when we are kids that is becoming true,' current captain Cheikhou Kouyate said. 'So we'll have to enjoy and give this joy as well to the Senegalese people.' Cisse captained Senegal's 2002 team. Nawalka played for Poland from 1977-1980. Poland has won only one of its seven previous World Cup openers, 3-2 over Argentina in 1974, and hasn't advanced past the first round since 1986. 'We're ready as we are seated here,' said midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski, who could make his 100th international appearance.
  • Twice wrestled to the ground during the match, England captain Harry Kane finally evaded the Tunisian defense just as time was running out. Kane found an open area of space at the far post and used his head to meet Harry Maguire's flick-on, scoring the winning goal Monday in a 2-1 victory at the World Cup. It was relief for Kane and Gareth Southgate, who leapt into the air in delight as his World Cup debut as a coach got off to a winning start. 'The best teams in the world keep that belief in what they're doing,' Southgate said, 'and in the end they break the opposition down.' England shouldn't have found it so tough in its Group G opener against such opposition. Not after Kane got England off to a perfect start with an 11th-minute tap in. But after Kyle Walker softly conceded a penalty that Ferjani Sassi converted in the 35th, many of the fouls went against England. 'Maybe there was a bit of justice at the end,' Kane said. Finally, Kane showcased on the international stage the predatory instinct in front of goal that has served Tottenham so well. Only two years ago, the striker failed to find the net at the 2016 European Championship, which ended in humiliation with a loss to Iceland in the last 16. The team has been transformed by Southgate since then. For all the placidness and togetherness within the group, Southgate has added persistence and doggedness. 'It shows the work we have put in these last few weeks,' Walker said. 'Togetherness and believing in ourselves.' At the last World Cup, England couldn't even win a game. Low expectations for this year's overhauled team were dispelled early in Russia when Kane reacted quickly to score after John Stones' header was saved. But England struggled to finish it off. When Walker's flailing arm caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, a penalty was awarded and Sassi slotted it in to equalize. England's players later thought they deserved the same verdict when Kane was grappled to the ground twice by Tunisians on either side of the halftime break. Both times, the referee decided against punishing the culprits. Despite it all, Kane remained patient and delivered in the first minute of stoppage time. 'You go until the last second,' Kane said, 'and I'm absolutely buzzing.' NEAR MISSES England seemed destined for a familiar hard-luck story — dominance with little to show for it. Before Kane's opener, Jesse Lingard had a shot saved on the line before setting up Raheem Sterling, who fluffed his chance while staring at an unprotected part of the net. Chances to regain the advantage were squandered. When Dele Alli's header was turned onto the crossbar, Stones messed up the follow-up. Lingard later hit the post after breaking past goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha. 'The pleasing thing was the movement, the pace, the interchange,' Southgate said. 'The control from the back with the ball.' STATISTICS However hard it was to break through, the English attack achieved its most shots on target in the first half at a World Cup since 1966 — the only time the team won the trophy. For Kane, wearing the captain's armband is only making him more prolific. He now has eight goals in six games as captain. INJURY WATCH Tunisia was forced into an early goalkeeping change. Mouez Hassen was caught by Lingard in the fifth minute but remained on the field and even pulled off a fine save — clawing away Stones' header from Ashley Young's corner — before Kane scored. Hassen, though, was forced off in the 15th and replaced by Ben Mustapha. GROUP DYNAMICS England and Belgium are the early front-runners as expected. But while England passed the sterner test, Belgium had the most comfortable start in its 3-0 victory over Panama. England will hope the World Cup newcomers roll over as easily when they meet on Sunday. BUGGING The late priority in the warm-up for England was needing insect repellent. Mosquitoes and little bugs have been swarming across the city, creating an annoyance for players. ___ Rob Harris is at https://twitter.com/RobHarris and https://facebook.com/RobHarrisReports ___ More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
  • A Turkish court has accepted an indictment charging the father of NBA player Enes Kanter with 'membership in a terror group,' the country's official news agency reported Monday. The indictment followed an investigation of Mehmet Kanter, and prosecutors planned to seek his conviction and a prison term of five to 10 years at trial, Anadolu Agency said. It's unclear when the trial in western Tekirdag province would begin. Enes Kanter, who plays for the New York Knicks, is a follower of a U.S.-based Turkish cleric who the government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016. Cleric Fethullah Gulen has denied the allegation, but tens of thousands of people suspected of ties to his network have been arrested or fired. The elder Kanter, a professor, was purged from public service after the coup attempt and detained for five days last summer. Anadolu said the indictment alleges he contacted some 120 suspects with alleged links to Gulen, including dozens who were said to have communicated through an encrypted messaging application. Enes Kanter, a former Oklahoma City Thunder center, has been a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His Turkish passport was canceled last year. Prosecutors charged him in December with insulting the president in a series of tweets. They want to try him in absentia and have him sentenced to more than four years in prison, if he is convicted. 'Keep my family, innocent people in your prayers,' the basketball player tweeted Monday with the hashtag 'DictatorErdogan.' His Twitter account is withheld in Turkey. Under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup, Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 and sacked some 110,000 people alleged to have infiltrated state institutions for Gulen. The government said the crackdown was needed to fight alleged acts of terror.
  • Less than two weeks after lifting the Stanley Cup, Barry Trotz is a free agent and the Washington Capitals are looking for a new coach. Trotz stepped down as Capitals coach on Monday after a contract dispute over salary and term that leaves the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft and free agency fast approaching. General manager Brian MacLellan said the Capitals accepted Trotz's resignation after they were unable to agree on terms on a new contract. Winning the Cup less than two weeks ago triggered a two-year extension for Trotz that would have given him a slight bump in salary to just over $2 million, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce the extension. 'His representative wants to take advantage of Barry's experience and Stanley Cup win and was trying to negotiate a deal that compensates him as one of the better coaches in the league, top four or five coaches,' MacLellan said at a news conference in Arlington, Virginia. 'I think the five-year term is probably a sticking point. You have a coach that's been here four years, you do another five, that's nine years. There's not many coaches that have that lasting ability. It's a long time and it's a lot of money to be committing to a coach.' Toronto's Mike Babcock makes the most at $6.25 million on an eight-year deal after coaching Detroit for 10 seasons, Chicago's Joel Quenneville is next at $6 million entering his ninth full season with the Blackhawks and Montreal's Claude Julien brings in $5 million after coaching Boston for nine-plus seasons. All three have won the Cup like Trotz, including Quenneville three times. If Trotz was paid among the top five, it would have put him in the $4 million-plus range annually — a price the Capitals have not been willing to pay for coaches. 'After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation,' Trotz said. 'When I came to Washington four years ago we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation's capital. We had an incredible run this season culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitement with our fans.' The 55-year-old Trotz went into the season with an uncertain future after ownership and MacLellan declined to talk about a contract extension last summer after back-to-back Presidents' Trophy-winning seasons that ended with second-round exits. 'We were struggling at the time to get over the hump,' MacLellan said. 'We couldn't get out of the second round and Barry hadn't been able to coach out of the second round yet either. I think from the organization's perspective, some changes would've had to be made if we lost in the second round again.' That didn't happen as a relaxed Trotz played a vital role in Washington's first title in franchise history. He survived a rough start to the season and other struggles before he and the team found a stride in the playoffs. As part of the uneasy arrangement, associate coach Todd Reirden — who was not allowed to interview with other teams last summer — remained on staff and was considered the coach-in-waiting. Reirden is now the leading candidate to take over for the defending champions, though MacLellan wants to go through an interview process with the former Pittsburgh assistant first. 'Todd's a good candidate for it,' MacLellan said. 'We're going to start with Todd here, and we've been grooming him to be a head coach whether for us or for someone else. We'll see how the talk goes with him and then we'll make a decision based on that. If it goes well, then we'll pursue Todd, and if it doesn't, we'll open it up a little bit.' After the Capitals accepted his resignation, Trotz will be an intriguing figure on the coaching market. Only the New York Islanders have a current coaching vacancy, though given Trotz's success in Nashville and Washington, other teams might consider making a move to hire him. Trotz has the fifth-most victories in NHL history and has guided a team to the playoffs in 11 of his 19 seasons. He is 762-568-60-134 overall with the Predators and Capitals, and he won 205 of his 328 regular-season games (63 percent) since taking over as Washington's coach in 2014. Trotz had his fingerprints all over this championship, pushing all the right buttons by putting goaltender Braden Holtby back in net early in the first round and making the correct lineup decisions throughout the playoffs. He was also a popular coach with his players, helping playoff hero Devante Smith-Pelly and others find their stride. 'He changed this team with family mentality,' top-line winger Tom Wilson said last week. 'He did a really good job of creating that team atmosphere. You look three or four years back, there was a lot of skill on this team, but there wasn't really that team mentality and you can never take that away from what that did for this locker room.' Despite his contract situation, Trotz appeared relaxed throughout the postseason, even as Washington vanquished playoff nemesis Pittsburgh. After the Capitals trailed in all four series and came back to win the Stanley Cup, Trotz told fans at the victory parade last week: 'We're going to do it again!' Instead, Trotz is looking at the next stop in his career and the Capitals are looking for a new coach. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey ___ Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SWhyno
  • Not since the Cold War days of the 1950s and 1960s has Egypt been as close to Russia as it is now. But could the outcome of a crucial World Cup clash between the two nations damage their relations? Probably not, but as is frequently the case with soccer, Tuesday's game in St. Petersburg — home to most of the 224 victims of a 2015 Russian plane crash over Egypt — might test these ties given how high the stakes are. For Egypt, a draw or a win is crucial to keep alive its hopes of advancing from the group after it lost its opening match 1-0 to Uruguay on Friday. A loss would leave the Egyptians with a mathematical chance of survival. The Russians are in better shape. They thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday and will be looking for maximum points from the Egypt game, which could ensure progression before their final group game against Uruguay on June 25. The Russians, the lowest FIFA ranked team in the 32-nation tournament, will be riding high from being on home territory and will want to prove that their emphatic win over the Saudis wasn't a fluke. The Egyptians, on the other hand, will be striving not to lose two consecutive games in their first World Cup campaign in 28 years and disappoint millions of fans at home. Thousands of Egyptian fans, some flying to St. Petersburg on private jets, are expected to be at the stadium Tuesday rubbing shoulders with Russian fans. But Egypt's social media users and influential talk show anchors are notorious for harming their country's relations with foreign nations, including close allies and major economic benefactors. Their narratives, which sometimes disagree with government policy but often reflect popular sentiment, include abuse and unsubstantiated accusations. Russia itself came close to being targeted when Egyptian officials, impatient to see Russian tourists back, said they were vexed by what they saw as Russia's unexplained delays in lifting a flight ban imposed after the 2015 crash. Moscow lifted the ban in April and says it will later this year end the suspension of flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian Red Sea resort from which the doomed flight took off shortly before it crashed. 'There's no reason for tension because of the historic relations between the two nations, unlike the case if Egypt was going to play the United States, Iran or Saudi Arabia,' said Imad Hussein, editor of the independent Cairo daily Al-Shorouk. 'I think it will all be about football unless the players get into a fight or the referee favors the Russians.' Prominent sports writer Yasser Ayoub predicts the match will be peaceful, citing the absence of a 'declared state of football war' between the two nations. 'There may be incidents of overreactions on the pitch, but nothing more.' So, any sign of unsportsmanlike conduct by the Russians, like a rough tackle, faking injury or diving in the box, would likely be pounced upon and blown out of proportion as has been the case in the past. For example, Egypt was gripped last month by anger and hate speech directed at Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos after Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah was injured in a challenge with him during the Champions League final in Kiev. Salah's shoulder injury meant he was an unused substitute for Egypt in the Uruguay match, but the Egyptian is widely expected to start the match against Russia. Neither Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi nor Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will be at the St. Petersburg Stadium to watch the match. Putin is scheduled to be in Minsk, Belarus, according to his spokesman, Dimitry Peskov. El-Sissi's government just lifted state subsidies for fuel, drinking water and electricity, a move that has deepened discontent among Egyptians but didn't spark street protests. Putin and el-Sissi have developed a personal rapport since Egypt's general-turned-president took office in 2014. That relationship has been the driving force behind the two countries' close ties, which are partially due to Cairo's multibillion dollar purchases of Russian arms, the selection of a Russian company to build Egypt's first nuclear power station and Moscow's desire to expand its foothold in the Middle East. El-Sissi and Putin share a background in intelligence and a near disdain for Western-style democracy, and both concentrate real power in their hands. Security is also high on the agenda of the two men, who show little tolerance for dissent. Egypt's ties with Russia date back to the 1950s and 1960s, when Cairo was a close Soviet ally at the height of the Cold War. A 1955 deal to buy Soviet weapons through Czechoslovakia placed Egypt firmly in the Soviet camp despite Cairo's efforts to remain non-aligned. Moscow later agreed to build a massive hydroelectric dam on the Nile in southern Egypt after the World Bank, reportedly at Washington's behest, declined to finance the project. Egypt changed sides in the 1970s under then President Anwar Sadat, who replaced Moscow with Washington as his country's chief economic and military backer following the signing of a U.S.-sponsored peace treaty with Israel in 1979. ___ Associated Press writers Samy Magdy in Cairo, Sophico Megrelidze in Tbilisi, Georgia, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, contributed to this report. ___ More World Cup coverage at www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
  • A conservative legislator in Russia says he wants to ban 'mockery' of the national soccer team because the players are 'fighting for the honor of our country.' Vitaly Milonov told The Associated Press on Monday that soccer players and their coach should be considered like 'our diplomats, our army,' notably during the World Cup that Russia is currently hosting. The national team — and especially its coach — were the butt of widespread jokes and a popular parody song leading up to the tournament. Milonov is part of a group of Russian lawmakers in the State Duma who drafted a bill imposing a fine of 10,000 rubles ($160) against anyone who criticizes the team. Milonov is best-known as the author of Russia's law against gay 'propaganda' toward minors. 'During the World Cup these people are fighting for the honor of the country,' he said in an interview in his hometown of St. Petersburg four days after Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 to open the World Cup. 'It's the responsibility of the state to defend its representatives from verbal abuse.' 'This is not just about football. This is about our national identity,' he said. Milonov said that the bill is directed exactly against 'very brazen, ugly, fake and dirty' insulting comments regarding the Russian national team, and not casual jokes. While Milonov is from the dominant pro-Kremlin party, it's unclear whether the bill would win enough Duma support to become law. Fans have mixed feelings. 'I think it's harmful to move in such direction. It may finally lead to the situation when it won't be allowed to criticize anyone,' said Alexander Gruzdev, a 44-year-old who works as a manager in St. Petersburg. Teacher Svetlana Rybkina, 37, said 'no matter what, we should support our national team, like the fans of all other nations do.' However, she acknowledged, 'it can be hard to draw the line between the notion of a joke and an insult.' ___ More World Cup coverage at www.apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
  • South Carolina's Frank Martin understood all along he might never get to coach Brian Bowen in a game and is just happy the 6-foot-7 forward whose name is part of the federal corruption case in college basketball had the chance to spend a few months with the Gamecocks. Bowen gave up his college career to turn pro last month when the NCAA informed South Carolina he would miss at least all of next season — his second full year on the bench — because of his alleged involvement in the scandal. 'Am I surprised? No. I'm realistic enough to understand when we took him that this was a possibility,' Martin said. 'Was I disappointed? Yes.' Bowen, from Saginaw, Michigan, transferred to South Carolina following his suspension from Louisville amid the federal probe after news of an alleged payment involving the Cardinals and his father to get him to join that school. Bowen could not play for the Gamecocks until at least the middle of December next season because of NCAA transfer rules. The governing body told the school the penalty for Bowen would at least include the rest of the next year, something Martin knew meant Bowen had little option other than to turn pro. 'The NCAA kind of pigeon-holed him into only one choice,' Martin said. Martin said did not want to dissect the NCAA's decision, saying he accepted it and worked with Bowen and his family on his future. Bowen has since withdrawn from this month's NBA draft. Martin said he'll play in a developmental league or play outside the country to preserve his eligibility for next year's draft. South Carolina brought in Bowen last January despite his involvement with the college corruption scandal. It was not the coaches only ties to the ongoing investigation. One of Martin's former staff members, ex-Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans, was arrested by federal authorities. Documents from the investigation showed former Gamecocks point guard PJ Dozier received $6,115 from the ASM Sports Agency while in school. Martin has said he knew nothing about Dozier or his family dealing with agents and that he has always run a clean program. Bowen has insisted he's had no involvement with Christian Dawkins, the would-be agent who federal prosecutors say brokered and facilitated payments to players during their recruitments in exchange for them hiring him when they turned pro. Martin is grateful for the time he's had with Bowen, who had a 3.5 GPA this semester and was a model teammate who'd spend hours by himself in the gym shooting jumpers. He was also committed to South Carolina's future, the coach said, which he proved after his time at the NBA draft combine last month. Martin said Bowen spent six days working out at the combine and another five after that visiting NBA teams for workouts. When Bowen finally returned to Columbia, he drove to a restaurant where Gamecocks coaches were entertaining a recruit. 'He's a real good kid,' Martin said. The coach also believes he is a future NBA player, though obviously Bowen needs to improve areas of his game. Martin recalled an informal workout with past South Carolina stars including Los Angeles Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell and Dozier, who spent much of this season in the G-League with the Oklahoma City Blue. 'I wasn't sure Brian wasn't the best player on the court when I walked out of there,' Martin said. Bowen also made other South Carolina players better at practices. Martin cited an early January slump — the so-called 'freshman wall' many newcomers hit — by first-year forward Justin Minaya. When Bowen arrived for practices, he was matched up most of the time against the 6-5 Minaya. 'Justin had no choice but to engage in that matchup with Brian because Brian's such a talented kid,' Martin said. As a result, Martin said Minaya recovered his form and was among the Gamecocks most consistent players in February and March. 'I know what I walked into. I knew the situation,' Martin said. 'Do I regret it? Not one bit because of the person he is.' ___ More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25