Veteran coach Majerus hired by Saint Louis

Saint Louis hired Rick Majerus as its basketball coach Friday.

Majerus, an analyst for ESPN the last three years, has a career record of 422-147 with 15 postseason appearances.

The school and Majerus, 59, had been negotiating for several days, beginning not long after Brad Soderberg was fired after failing to lead the school to the NCAA Tournament in any of his five seasons.

Majerus accepted the Southern California job in December 2004, only to change his mind three days later. He had cited health reasons when he retired as Utah’s coach in January 2004.

Also: Two Big 12 Conference stars — Kansas sophomore guard Brandon Rush and Oklahoma State junior guard JamesOn Curry — said they will enter the NBA Draft but not hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning to school.

Rush averaged 13.8 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, and Curry averaged 17.3 points and 3.7 assists.

Also declaring for the draft were New Orleans junior guard Bo McCalebb and USC junior guard Gabe Pruitt. Both said they would not hire an agent.

Jeffrey Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan, plans to attend Illinois next year and play basketball as a walk-on. Jordan, a 6-foot-2-inch guard at Loyola Academy prep school in Wilmette, Ill., said he chose Illinois over Valparaiso.

Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest won’t face animal cruelty charges for allegedly failing to feed his dog, the Placer County (Calif.) district attorney’s office said. Animal services officers seized a Great Dane from Artest’s mansion in February after weeks of complaints from neighbors that the dog appeared to be starving inside a gated area.

Golden State’s Stephen Jackson was fined $50,000 by the NBA for his conduct after being ejected late in the Warriors’ Game 2 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. MISCELLANEOUS

Coleman, 19, wins pole for Busch Series race

Brad Coleman gave Joe Gibbs Racing its fifth consecutive Busch Series pole at a restrictor-plate track for today’s race at Talladega, Ala.

Coleman, 19, turned a lap of 184.299 mph to edge veterans Dave Blaney (184.062) and Jason Leffler (183.935) for the top spot in the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Superspeedway. The pole was the first of Coleman’s NASCAR career.

Las Vegas native Kyle Busch was 12th at 182.930.

Also: Las Vegan Rod Fuller raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. He was clocked in 4.506 seconds at 326.71 mph.

Mike Ashley (4.704, 331.04 in Funny Car), Greg Anderson (6.627, 208.30 in Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (6.988, 187.26 in Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their divisions.

Rafael Nadal extended his unbeaten run on clay to 70 matches and advanced to the semifinals of the Open Seat Godo in Barcelona, Spain, by beating Italy’s Potito Starace, 6-2, 7-5.

Albert Montanes of Spain upset top-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 7-6 (5), 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the Grand Prix Hassan II at Casablanca, Morocco.

Chicago Rush coach Mike Hohensee was in stable condition after being struck by a car while walking through a grocery store parking lot in Streamwood, Ill., the Arena Football League team said.

All-around champion Courtney Kupets scored 9.90 points or better in three of four events to lead Georgia to its third straight NCAA women’s gymnastics title at Salt Lake City. Georgia finished with 197.850 points to runner-up Utah’s 197.250.

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