Bryant finalist for Hall of Fame

The list of finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame is considerably shorter than usual.

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett – 48 All-Star nods between them – headlined the class of eight finalists announced Friday by the Hall of Fame. Each will still need to collect 18 votes from a 24-person panel before officially becoming Hall of Famers, which is certainly no more than a formality at this point.

In recent years, finalist classes have been around 13 people. But the star power at the top forced the Hall to change its thinking this year, a decision that was made before Bryant died unexpectedly in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26.

Bryant, Duncan, Garnett and 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings are all first-time finalists. The other finalists have all been to this point previously: Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, five-time Division II women’s coach of the year Barbara Stevens of Bentley, and four-time national men’s college coach of the year Eddie Sutton.

This year’s enshrinement class will be announced on April 4.

WVU backup QB to transfer

West Virginia backup quarterback Trey Lowe said he plans to play elsewhere as a graduate transfer this fall.

Lowe, who saw limited action in six games last fall, said he will graduate from West Virginia this summer.

He joins another West Virginia backup quarterback in transferring. Jack Allison has joined Division II West Liberty as a graduate transfer. They played behind Austin Kendall and Jarret Doege in 2019.

MLB raises salaries for minor leaguers

Major League Baseball is raising the minimum salary for minor league players in 2021, according to a memo sent Friday from the commissioner’s office to all 30 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.

Two years after successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB opted to give those players a wage increase between 38% and 72%.

Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised from $290 to $400, and players at Class A will go from $290 to $500. Double-A will jump from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700.

Minor leaguers are paid only during the season and don’t receive wages during the offseason or spring training. That means Triple-A players can earn $14,000 during their five-month season, and short-season players at the lowest levels can make $4,800 during the three-month season.

The raises come as MLB is negotiating with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body of the minors, to replace the Professional Baseball Agreement that expires after the 2020 seasons. MLB proposed cutting 42 of the 160 required affiliated teams, a plan criticized by small-town fans and politicians.

Ravens’ Hurst suspended

Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst has been suspended for the first four games of the 2020 season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancers.

Hurst is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be allowed to return to the active roster until after the team’s fourth game.

Hurst played in all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens last season, with two starts at left tackle.

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