Duke University was the preseason No. 1 for the second straight season and ninth time overall in the Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll released on Wednesday. The Blue Devils received 33 of 65 first-place votes from a national media panel. No. 2 Michigan State received 13 first-place votes, No. 3 Arizona had 18, and No. 4 Kansas got one. Kentucky rounded out the top five, followed by Villanova, Wichita State, and Florida. Defending national champion North Carolina is No. 9 and Southern California is 10th . . . UMass senior kicker/punter Logan Lauren and Worcester State junior quarterback Noah Brum received the Week 9 Gold Helmets from the New England Football Writers. Lauren converted all three of his field goals, including a winning 36-yarder in overtime of a 30-27 victory over Appalachian State. Brum threw for 364 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-0 win over Mass. Maritime . . . The College Football Playoff says the national championship game will be held in Miami Gardens, Fla., Indianapolis, Inglewood, Calif., and Houston from 2021 through 2024.
76ers’ Okafor wants trade or buyout
Jahlil Okafor confirmed he requested a buyout or trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, ESPN.com reported. Okafor was the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, but he has appeared in just one game this season, playing 22 minutes and finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds against Toronto. The team declined to pick up the fourth-year option on his rookie contract earlier this week . . . The San Antonio Spurs recalled guard Tony Parker from their G-League affiliate. The move comes one week after the veteran point guard started working out with the Austin Spurs as part of his rehab program. Parker is working his way back from a ruptured left quadriceps tendon that he suffered during last spring’s Western Conference semifinals . . . Utah Jazz forward Joe Johnson will miss at least two weeks with a right wrist injury . . . Golden State Warriors great Al Attles was released from the hospital and is much improved, according to his son, Al Attles III. While details of his condition weren’t made public, his son said it wasn’t anything serious, an illness or life-threatening, just that ‘‘he’s dealing with being 80, it’s just wear and tear of being 80.’’
World Cup organizer denies rape allegations
Danny Jordaan, the head organizer of the 2010 World Cup of soccer, denied raping singer and former South African ruling party lawmaker Jennifer Ferguson 24 years ago. Ferguson wrote in a series of online posts that she was raped by Jordaan at a hotel in South Africa in 1993 . . . Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric was suspended pending an investigation by Major League Soccer and the Houston Police Department into his arrest Tuesday on misdemeanor assault charges in a domestic case . . . Carlos Cordeiro is running for US Soccer Federation president after being brought into the governing body by current USSF President Sunil Gulati. Cordeiro is considered a protege of Gulati.
Devils’ Boyle makes season debut
New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle made his season debut against the Vancouver Canucks after fighting chronic myelogenous leukemia, a form of blood and bone marrow cancer. The diagnosis was announced Sept. 19. Boyle, a Hingham native, returned to practice Oct. 23, and targeted the game in Vancouver as his goal to get back in the lineup . . . A Russian gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was disqualified based on evidence from an investigation into a state-backed doping conspiracy. The International Olympic Committee said cross-country skier Alexander Legkov was disqualified from all his events at Sochi. Legkov won an individual gold medal and relay silver. The IOC disciplinary panel did not have a positive doping test from Legkov but used evidence of cover-ups and tampering of sample bottles that was first gathered last year by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. A second cross-country skier who was disqualified and banned, Evgeniy Belov, did not win a medal . . . Tennis star Rafael Nadal assured himself the No. 1 world ranking by beating Hyeon Chung, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round of the Paris Masters . . . US Open champion Sloane Stephens will lead the US against Belarus in the Fed Cup tennis final Nov. 11-12. Joining Stephens will be two-time Grand Slam semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske . . . The World Boxing Council ordered a rematch between Japanese boxer Shinsuke Yamanaka and Luis Nery for the bantamweight title three months after Nery failed a drug test.