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December 16, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, December 16th

Kentucky On Top: The Kentucky Wildcats are the fourth No. 1 team in today’s new Hoopville Top 25 poll, replacing last week’s No. 1 Florida Gators, who suffered two defeats at the hands of Louisville and Maryland. Maryland joins the Top 25 for the first time this season, replacing Michigan State, whose four losses (against Top 10 teams) were just too many for voters to justify being in the poll. Other tumblers include Florida, who dropped to No. 14, and Missouri, who lost to Gonzaga and fell to No. 13. Big movers include No. 7 Georgia Tech, up from 11, No. 9 Stanford, up from 12th, and No. 11 Gonzaga up from 16th.

Columbus State Update: Columbus State University has canceled its games indefinitely after team captain Jed Bedford collapsed and died Sunday during practice. Bedford, 21, suffered a massive heart attack, and was pronounced dead an hour after he collapsed. Preliminary indications are that Bedford’s heart had enlarged up to three times normal size before the attack, but it was uncertain if the enlargement was hereditary. Bedford was named Columbus State’s male athlete of the year as a sophomore in 2002, and was voted All-Peach Belt, MVP of the Peach Belt tournament, and was averaging 22 points per game. The funeral will be this weekend in Leesburg, Georgia.

Bullet Found: Colorado sophomore forward Chris Copeland was treated and released from Boulder Community Hospital Sunday morning after sustaining a gunshot wound at a party off-campus Saturday night. Copeland, who was attending a party held by Buffalo football player Alex Ligon with several other CU student athletes, was hit in the left armpit by a ricochet of one of 15 shots fired as uninvited non-students were being escorted away from the party. CU spokesperson Pauline Hale stated that, “Arrest warrants have been issued for two suspects not associated with CU-Boulder. According to preliminary reports, no CU-Boulder athlete is suspected of wrongdoing in the incident.” Doctors initially missed the bullet on first examination, and hope to remove the bullet, still lodged in Copeland, without endangering him. Colorado head coach Ricardo Patton has indicated that Copeland is up an about, but will be held from Friday’s game against Tennessee State pending clearance from training staff. Boulder Police have stated that two Denver men, Jamar Anthony Johnson, 18, and Jonathan Lamar Martin, 19, were being sought, and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Reinstated: Kansas senior forward Jeff Graves has had his suspension lifted by head coach Bill Self, but his status for the Jayhawks’ upcoming game against UC-Santa Barbara is in question. Self, who suspended Graves for repeated violations of team rules, namely being late or skipping practices, visited with Graves and his family over the weekend. Graves is still in the doghouse, however, and even though he will travel to Reno for the Jayhawks’ participation in the Dodge Wolf Pack Holiday Classic, he might not see any PT.

Reinstated 2: Cleveland State senior guard Modibo Niakate was reinstated to the Vikings team, but will not be playing this season. Niakate, who was dismissed in September for violating team rules, will be redshirted for the remainder of this season, and will have one year of eligibility remaining for the 2004-05 season. Niakate averaged 12 points last season after transferring to Cleveland State from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College.

New Wildcat?: Arizona is close to inking Serbian 6-9 forward Ivan Radenovic. Radenovic attended this weekend’s Wildcat game against Marquette, and though the school is prohibited from commenting on potential signees, Radenovic could have instant eligibility as a foreign national, once declared eligible by the NCAA clearinghouse. Radenovic is a friend of Phoenix Suns rookie Zarko Cabarkapa, who indicated that Radenovic is a good shooter with a good inside game. Radenovic could be on the squad as early as Saturday, as Arizona’s fall semester ends Friday.

More Clemons: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that a recruiting war for former Missouri guard, convicted felon, and lightning rod Ricky Clemons is about to break out between member institutions of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) – a D-II conference comprised mainly of historically black colleges. In prison tapes recorded during Clemons’ incarceration this summer, four schools are mentioned as recruiting Clemons, and two are discussed in detail. Virginia Union, Virginia State were mentioned the most in the tapes, along with Elizabeth City State, and Shaw University. While there is no restriction for recruiting an athlete in prison, it can’t be viewed as a positive practice by students and alumni. Clemons is about to complete his fall semester at Missouri after being dismissed from the Mizzou squad in July. The tapes have also fueled allegations of possible NCAA rules violations at Missouri, including allegations of player payments and academic misconduct.

Last Night’s Action: No. 23 Marquette, coming off a loss to Arizona, squeaked by Canisius 68-65, all without scoring in the final three minutes. Canisius was led by Kevin Downey, who had 19 points, while the Golden Eagles were led by Travis Diener’s 14 points. Meanwhile, No. 21 Pittsburgh also eeked out a close one against NAIA power Georgetown (Kentucky), winning 79-74 in the tip off of the Pittsburgh Invitational. Pittsburgh will further destroy its RPI by facing Chicago State next. In other ranked action, No. 9 Stanford downed Florida International 77-50, and No. 15 Wake Forest upended SMU 78-66.

Buckeye Transfer: Ohio State head coach Jim O’Brien has announced that sophomore forward Charles Bass has decided to leave the Buckeyes and transfer in search of more playing time. Bass has not announced a potential destination for his services. Bass played in 17 games – 15 last season – and tallied 9 points and 20 rebounds in those 17 games. Bass is a graduate of Crete-Monee High School in University Park, Illinois.

Marquette Transfer: Marquette University announced yesterday that freshman forward James Matthews has left the Golden Eagle program. Matthews, a hot prospect out of Denby High School in Detroit, was suspended to focus on academics this semester. Matthews had been academically ineligible on his high school squad his senior year, but had been projected as a possible starter on Tom Crean’s team.

Washington Transfer: Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar has announced that sophomore center Ben Devoe is leaving the Huskies after exams this week in search of more playing time. Devoe, who scored two points in his only game action of the season against UC-Riverside, walked-on to the Husky team two seasons ago and redshirted as a freshmen for the 2002-03 season. He is from Olympia, Washington.

NC State Transfer: NC State head coach Herb Sendek announced that sophomore guard Dominick Mejia will be leaving the Wolfpack, for – wait for it – more playing time. Mejia, who averaged only 3 minutes of PT in four games this season, saw a decreased from his six minutes he played last season. Mejia has not announced a destination school, and will stay at NC State through the end of exams this week. Mejia was recruited out of Eastern Regional High School (Voorhees, New Jersey), where he was first-team all state his senior season, averaging 23 points per game. Mejia is the 10th player to leave the Wolfpack program in the past four years, including Josh Powell’s departure for the NBA Draft.

Tonight’s Menu:

• A light fare tonight as no ranked teams are in action. However, formerly ranked Michigan State hosts USF. The Spartans, reeling from the nation’s toughest schedule, are 3-4 with losses to No. 1 Kentucky, No. 4 Duke, No. 6 Kansas, and No. 8 Oklahoma. Match that with USF attempting to stop its first four game losing streak in four seasons, and something’s got to give. Spartan head coach Tom Izzo needs to turn around his worst start since 1995 before the tough Big Ten Conference schedule starts.

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