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November 21, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, November 21st

Nova Romps: In last night’s “Midnight Madness” opener for Temple and Villanova – timed so that Villanova can hit the road to the west coast for games on the way to the Maui Classic – Both Randy Foye and Allan Ray notched 20 points in downing the Owls 73-48. ‘Nova, which only had seven players in uniform because of the phone card scandal from last spring, also had Curtis Sumpter scoring 14 and Mike Nardi with 11 points. David Hawkins led Temple with 16 points, but the Owls as a whole only shot 27 percent from the field. A rowdy sellout crowd was there for the 12:03 a.m. tipoff, and several disruptions occurred, including a bottle being thrown from the Villanova fans, which shattered on the floor and caused a five-minute delay.

Golden Books: Marquette head coach Tom Crean has announced that freshman forward James Matthews has been suspended from the team so that he can focus on his studies. Matthews, who will not be allowed to practice with the team during his suspension, was told by Crean that there were standards for the Marquette program which were non-negotiable. Crean didn’t announce the duration of Matthews’ suspension.

Development at Baylor: A judge who will be hearing the wrongful death suit filed by the father of Patrick Dennehy says he will plan to remove some pictures from his courtroom before the trial. State District Judge Ralph Strother, a law graduate of Baylor, said he would probably remove the photos of Old Main and Pat Neff Hall, two prominent university building. Earlier this month, attorneys representing Baylor were granted their request to have the trial moved from Houston to the home of the university in Waco. Carlton Dotson, the man accused of murdering Dennehy over the summer, has pleaded innocent. He remains in jail without bond. Richard Laminack, the lawyer representing the father, says that the son was killed by someone other than Dotson, but would not say more. The father has said that his son was the target of death threats after he allegedly said that the 21-year-old basketball star was going to expose some improper actions within the program. Baylor officials have acknowledged that illegal tuition payments were made to Dennehy and another player in violation of NCAA rules.

Preseason NIT: In a preseason NIT match-up, Georgia Tech coasted past Hofstra 75-66 to improve to 2-0 in the young season. Marvin Lewis led the way with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting for Georgia Tech. Also in double figures was B.J. Elder with 13 points, Isma’il Muhammad with 12 and Jarrett Jack with 11 points and 11 assists on the night. Wendell Gibson had a near double-double with 19 points and nine assists in the losing effort.

New grading scale: After dismal graduation rates, the NCAA has decided to take a stand. The NCAA is implementing new academic rules to ensure that colleges put the athlete’s education ahead of their extracurricular activities. This is the fourth time that the NCAA is going to crack down on it. The effects will be seen more at the Division I level and will force coaches to recruit not only on talent but ones who are a sure fire bet to graduate. The NCAA is expected to pass a rule giving themselves the power to snag away scholarships and post-season opportunities for schools that fail to comply with the NCAA’s standards of graduation for its athletes. Currently, about 44 percent of the men’s basketball players at the Division I level actually receive degrees. Critics have argued that this is just going to lead to more academic fraud scandals as the coaches will still look to invest on the talent and revenue a player or players will bring to that university.

Chamberlain makes donation: The Wilt Chamberlain estate donated a very extensive amount to the University of Kansas. His foundation donated $650,000 to endow three scholarships as well as a university-based Special Olympics program. Chamberlain spent three years with the Jayhawks between 1956-’58 before starting his legendary NBA career. After leaving KU to join the Harlem Globetrotters in 1958, he returned to Lawrence and arrived with very little fanfare and fueled the notion that he did not want to come back. Then in 1998, he returned for the ceremonious retiring of his jersey. The foundation set aside that $300,000 would go towards men’s basketball scholarships. Another $100,000 would go towards the women’s basketball program and volleyball program combined. Also included in the remaining $250,000 is a scholarship for worthy, needy and disadvantaged students and a clinic for Special Olympics to help develop disabled athletes. Chamberlain spent 14 years in the NBA. He was the league’s Most Valuable Player five times and still is the only player to ever score 100 points in a single game. Upon his retirement, he was the NBA’s career scoring and rebound leader. Chamberlain died at the age of 63 in 1999. The formal annoucement of the donation will be made at halftime of the Kansas-UT-Chattanooga game tonight.

Stokes controls the hair: Former University of Missouri point guard Wesley Stokes is famous not for on-the-floor talent, but for his talent with the brush, or lack there of. Stokes said in a discussion with his coach at his new home at San Diego State, that he will ‘tame’ his hair. Stokes will make his Aztecs debut tonight in San Diego against Long Beach State. After sitting out last season due to the NCAA transfer rules, Stokes is ready to take to the floor and be an immediate impact for head coach Steve Fisher. In two seasons at Missouri, Stokes dished out 214 assists and helped lead the team to the regional finals in 2002. Stokes transfered after that season to San Diego State where he would be closer to his hometown of Long Beach.

Back to normal: After spending most of his freshman year on the sidelines, Indiana’s Bracey Wright says he is ready to go and ready to prove something. This past May, Wright underwent back surgery and is eager to return to the court tonight against North Carolina-Greensboro in the Hoosiers season opener. Before injuring his back, Wright scored in double figures in each of his first 14 games, won the Most Valuable Player award in his first collegiate tournament and became just the third freshman in school history with multiple 30-point games.

Tonight’s menu:

• Holy smokes a full slate of games are lined up for tonight, especially in the top 25. No. 24 Marquette will kick-off their classic, the Blue and Gold Classic, from the Bradley Center in Milwaukee against Savannah State. In another tournament, the Sooner Invitational, Eastern Washington will pay a visit to 14th ranked Oklahoma.

• In other top 25 action, 15th ranked Wisconsin will head east to take on Penn. No. 7 Michigan State Spartans will open their season with a non-conference match-up against Bucknell in East Lansing. No. 5 Kansas will play UT-Chattanooga in Lawrence as part of the Wilt Chamberlain estate donation celebration. No. 10 Kentucky will open up the Rupp Center against Winthrop and the 12th ranked Zags will looking for their first win of the season as they host Idaho

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