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December 6, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Saturday, December 6th

UMass to retire Skinner jersey: Former University of Massachusetts basketball star Al Skinner will be honored at halftime of the UMass and Rhode Island game on Feb. 18 to retire his No. 30 jersey. “I am very honored and happy to be receiving this recognition, but this is not just an individual award,” Skinner said in a statement. “I share this with my teammates. I am glad that our accomplishments have been able to withstand the test of time. I realize this is the highest honor that the University of Massachusetts can bestow upon a student-athlete. I again truly appreciate the recognition. A three-year letterwinner, Skinner led the team in rebounding from 1971-1974 with 749 rebounds. He set a school record for highest career field goal percentage (.557) and held the single season mark of .620. Skinner was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1982 as he scored 1,235 points.

Snowden cleared: Guard Derrick Snowden of Villanova received good news on Friday as he got the O.K. to return to play. Snowden has been sidelined with a torn left ACL since August 27th. He was originally scheduled to return to the line-up sometime in February. “From a medical standpoint, Derrick has done better than anyone could have anticipated,” team doctor Rob Good told the Associated Press. “He has been very dedicated to his therapy. I’ve given him the OK to start playing again and we’ll see how he does. But his return will not be immediate. Snowden will first have to serve a three-game suspension for the improper use of a university phone code, a penalty that has been carried over from last season.

UConn forward gets clearance: Much-hyped freshman forward Charlie Villanueva will make his debut tonight against Army after receiving clearance to play from the NCAA. Connecticut had held the 6-foot-11 230 pound Villanueva from a pair of exhibition games and the first six games due to a possible violation for workouts in front of NBA scouts in the off-season. He entered the NBA draft before withdrawing just before the June 19 deadline. Although he never hired an agent, questions came up as to how he paid for expenses during the workout period. He originally verbally committed to Illinois before Bill Self left for the Kansas job.

A Pilgrim redshirt: University of Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins announced that freshman Mike Pilgrim will be redshirted for the upcoming season. Pilgrim, a former Purcell Marian High School star, has been sidelined with a stress fracture in his right foot since late October. As of right now, there is no set timeline for Pilgrim’s return to practice. “He’s too far behind (for this season),” Huggins told the Cincinnati Post. “There’s no possible way he can catch-up.” Pilgrim was not anticipated to get extensive playing time as they Bearcats are already good in depth at their swing position. Huggins also decided to redshirt freshman center Asrangue Souleymane for the season.

Knight rips fans: Texas Tech head coach Bobby Knight ripped fans and school administration of SMU during his weekly radio show on The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310) on Thursday. He was upset of comments the fans made towards the Texas Tech bench in the SMU and Texas Tech game on Monday night. Knight says that is the worst encounter he has ever had in his 37 years of coaching. “This was just garbage, filthy garbage,” Knight said. “If that’s what SMU produces, then they really ought to be proud of it.” Knight held up the game briefly during the first half as he wanted to address the problems he and his players were having with the hecklers. Tech did lose the game 62-59. “An administration at SMU, if there is one, ought to be embarrassed to have people sit in their arena like those people did,” Knight told the station. “I’m used to being harassed, and rarely have I ever done anything about it,” Knight added. “But I’ve never heard such garbage come out of the stands before as I did the SMU stands. I thought today about writing a letter to the president of SMU, but I’m not sure that wouldn’t do any good. That must happen at every game, and he must condone that kind of thing.” SMU athletic director Jim Copeland said “That’s just life on the road.”

Snowed out: The ECU and Seton Hall match-up was postponed due to the snow storm that has crashed onto the east coast. No make-up date has been announced and both schools are in the process of discussing alternate dates. Also postponed was the matchup between Fairfield and Manhattan in Riverdale, New York.

Tonight’s Menu

&#8226 The Wooden Classic will feature some of the premier teams in the country as No. 9 Kentucky will play UCLA tonight. It is the 10th anniversary of the classic. The inaugural game featured the same two illustrious programs. The other game on-tap features top-ranked Kansas and 17th-ranked Stanford.

&#8226 The BB&T Classic from the nation’s capital will feature a top-25 team in Gonzaga. Fresh off their win against Washington, the Zags now travel across the continent to take on Maryland, who is fresh off their upset over Wisconsin. The “undercard” is West Virginia facing George Washington.

&#8226 The Big Five Classic at the Palestra in Philadelphia features No. 11 St. Joseph’s against Penn. Other games include Temple against Drexel and Villanova against LaSalle.

&#8226 Other Top 25 teams in action are No. 8 Michigan State, who will be looking to rebound after the romp by Duke, as they will host 13th-ranked Oklahoma. No. 5 Arizona will be at Saint Louis, No. 7 Duke will host St. John’s, No.2 Missouri will play at Indiana and No. 19 Wake Forest will host Richmond. In addition No. 4 Connecticut, No. 15 Georgia Tech, No. 21 Notre Dame and No. 22 Pittsburgh will all be in action.

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