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BC-Sports Showcase Digest

February 8, 2019

A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.

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As with all our operations, we welcome and want your feedback. If you have thoughts or questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia, deputy sports editor for presentation and storytelling, at 215-446-6632 or at ogarcia@ap.org.

All times are Eastern.

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FRIDAY, Feb. 8

BKC—EMPTYING THE BENCH

TEMPE, Ariz. _ The players at the end of the bench watch the score running up and the clock winding down, wondering when it will be their turn to finally get a chance to play. Most of the time, it doesn’t happen until the final minute _ even when a game has long been out of reach. The reasons vary, from coaches fearing a big comeback to wanting their teams to finish off a full 40-minute game. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. SENT: 700 words, photos.

CAR--NASCAR-STARTING OVER

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. _ Chad Knaus got his first big break at Hendrick Motorsports when he was picked to build a team from scratch around a rookie driver who had done very little to prove he belonged at NASCAR’s top level. The pairing with Jimmie Johnson led to a record-tying seven championships and cemented the No. 48 team as the very best in the sport. But the Knaus and Johnson relationship could be fragile despite their 17-year friendship and the strain of underperforming last year took its toll on both driver and crew chief. So Knaus was given a new project and moved to the No. 24 team to lead a rebuild while developing second-year driver William Byron. The winningest crew chief in the garage is essentially starting over. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 900 words, photos.

MONDAY, Feb. 11

BBO--RED STOCKINGS-150TH

The 2019 Cincinnati Reds will play games in 15 sets of throwback uniforms _ including navy blue and a “Palm Beach” style _ during a season-long celebration of the 1869 Red Stockings who pioneered professional baseball. Historians credit the team that barnstormed from coast-to-coast, beating all opponents, in post-Civil War America with elevating baseball into the nation’s sport. The Red Stockings introduced new levels of training, preparation and strategy _ and flashiness. By Dan Sewell. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.

TUESDAY, Feb. 12

BKC--UNDERSIZED SCORERS

BUIES CREEK, N.C. _ Campbell’s Chris Clemons is leading the country in scoring and moving up the Division I career scoring list to headline a crop of big-time undersized scorers in college basketball. The list includes No. 10 Marquette’s Markus Howard and No. 15 Purdue’s Carsen Edwards. The 5-foot-9 Clemons is averaging 29 points for the little-known Fighting Camels as a senior and is on pace to become the highest-scoring player shorter than 6 feet in Division I history. By Aaron Beard. UPCOMING: 950 words and photos.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13

BKC--MURRAY STATE-MORANT’S RISE

Ja Morant is trying to stay grounded following his meteoric rise to the bright lights of college basketball’s national stage. While high-flying dunks have turned the Murray State sophomore point guard into a social media sensation, his floor leadership along with that vertical leap might make him an NBA draft lottery pick. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 1 a.m. Wednesday.

BKN—ALL-STAR—SHOOTING THE STEPBACK

James Harden has relied on it to become the NBA’s most unstoppable scorer. Luka Doncic has ridden it to stardom on both sides of the Atlantic. So how come more players aren’t using the step-back 3-pointer? Well, it’s fundamentally flawed, sometimes doesn’t even look legal, and even Stephen Curry says it’s tough to make. So it’s unclear whether the shot is a luxury for some, or will become a necessity for all in today’s 3-point happy game. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 5 a.m. Wednesday.

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Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia@ap.org.

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