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CBK roundup: 8-year-old Michigan State fan dies

The SportsXchange

Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl with cancer who developed a heart-warming bond with Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne, has died.

Her father, Matt Holsworth, said Lacey died late Tuesday at their St. Johns, Mich., home "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms."

Lacey met Payne after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma -- a fetal-nerve cell cancer -- and during a hospital stay two years ago, at which point the two became close and part of each other's lives. She wore a blonde wig because chemotherapy caused her to lose her hair.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Holsworth family today," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. "Princess Lacey has taught us all an incredible lesson about love, strength and toughness. We can all learn from her on how to handle adversity with class and dignity."

---Kansas freshman Joel Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA Draft on Wednesday, the 7-foot center announced at a press conference.

"I just want to thank God first for giving me this opportunity to come to the (United States) and play ball," Embiid said as he sat alongside coach Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse. "I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans -- everyone that's helped me through my journey. After thinking a lot, I've decided to declare for the NBA Draft."

Embiid, the 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, broke the Kansas freshman record for blocked shots with 72 and his 2.6 blocked shots per game finished second in the league. Named to the 2014 All-Big 12 second team, Embiid led Kansas with 8.1 rebounds per game -- also a school freshman record -- and sixth in the Big 12. The Cameroon native averaged 11.2 points per game and his 62.6 field-goal percentage broke yet another KU rookie record.

---One week ago, University of Massachusetts basketball player Derrick Gordon gathered his teammates to tell them he was gay.

Gordon, a starter who averaged 9.4 points per game last season, had come out to his parents only days before. He is the first openly gay Division I men's basketball player.

He drew courage from fellow athletes, including Jason Collins and Michael Sam. Gordon said he first considered coming out after the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
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