In Brief: Purdue climbs back to No. 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Purdue is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Alabama is right behind the Boilermakers.
Purdue (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) returned to the top spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, moving up two spots after Temple knocked off No. 1 Houston over the weekend. The Boilermakers received 39 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel after a volatile week where just two teams kept the same spot from a week ago.
Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEC) climbed two spots to No. 2, picking up 23 first-place votes for its highest ranking since reaching No. 1 in 2002-03. Houston, Tennessee and Kansas State round out the top five.
PANTHERS TALK WITH PAYTON
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers interviewed Sean Payton for their coaching vacancy on Monday.
Panthers owner David Tepper has also interviewed Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, former Detroit Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and Steve Wilks, who was the team’s interim head coach this season, for the job.
The 59-year-old Payton is drawing plenty of interest from NFL teams with head coaching openings, including the Denver Broncos.
Payton did not coach this past season, but the New Orleans Saints still hold his rights. It’s unclear what type of draft pick compensation it would take from the Panthers to lure Payton from their division rivals.
LAKERS TRADE FOR POWER FORWARD
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers acquired former lottery pick Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and a package of second-round draft picks.
Hachimura and the Wizards did not agree on a rookie extension before the season started, which prompted speculation that the Japanese power forward wouldn’t be in their long-term plans.
And it makes sense for the Lakers to be seeking help. At 22-25, they’re in 12th place in the Western Conference, but entered Monday just two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 6 spot and four games back of the New Orleans Pelicans for No. 4 in the West — with LeBron James averaging nearly 30 points per game and a belief that Anthony Davis will be back from injury sooner than later.
The 6-foot-8 Hachimura figures to provide the Lakers with wing defense and 3-point shooting ability, two clear needs for a team fighting to stay afloat during Davis’ latest lengthy injury absence.