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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 21.
  • By JOHN PYE

    MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams is one win away from a record 23rd Grand Slam title after setting up an all-Williams final at the Australian Open. The only person standing in her way is her older sister, Venus.

    No. 2-ranked Serena Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, overwhelmed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes in the second of women’s semifinals on Thursday after Venus Williams beat fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.

    “She’s my toughest opponent — nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has,” Serena Williams said. “I just feel like no matter what happens, we’ve won.

    “She’s been through a lot, I’ve been through a lot. To see her do so well it’s great. I look forward to it. A Williams is going to win this tournament.”

    HILLSIDE, N.J. — Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Nick Richards loved competing in soccer, volleyball and track and field.

    He never thought much about the McDonald’s All-American Game until he landed on Long Island in the summer of 2013 ago to pursue his dreams in the game of basketball.

    “I knew what [the McDonald’s Game] was, I just didn’t think that I would get selected for it,” Richards said Wednesday in the gym at The Patrick School.

    Now playing in just his fourth year of organized basketball, the 6-foot-11 Richards proudly slipped on the McDonald’s All-American jersey in front of his mother, his coaches, his teammates and his schoolmates during a ceremony on the stage in the gym.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns, last season’s unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year, and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, who has won both NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month awards this season, highlight the list of 20 players selected by the league’s assistant coaches to play in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 during NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans.

    For the third consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the U.S. against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world.  The game will be televised live by TNT at 9 p.m. ET and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime.  In addition, ESPN Radio will broadcast the event from Smoothie King Center, with audio also available on the ESPN app.  BBVA Compass, the Official Bank of the NBA, maintains its role as title partner for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

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