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February 6, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, February 6th

St. John’s players falsely accused: Three St. John’s basketball players have been suspended from the team, just hours after a woman told police she was raped in a hotel by the men she met in a strip club. The school said leading scorer Elijah Ingram, a sophomore, and seniors Abraham Keita and Grady Reynolds were taken off the team. “Although no charges have been filed by the police, based on the facts we have confirmed, the University has immediately suspended three players from the team for violation of team rules and behavior inconsistent with St. John’s mission and values,” the school said in a statement. The players were not available for comment. According to police, several players went to a club after a 71-51 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. The woman told police she met the players around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, then went with them to a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, where she told police she was raped. Police did not identify the players accused but said they were interviewed and then released.

Later on last night, the team expelled one player and permanently suspended two others, hours after a woman was arrested for falsely claiming she was raped by several players she met at a strip club. After the woman was charged, the school announced it had expelled senior Grady Reynolds, who was arrested before last season on charges he pushed a female student against a wall. University athletics spokesman Dominic Scianna said the school also permanently suspended Ingram and Keita, pending expulsion hearings. Two other players, freshman Lamont Hamilton and senior Mohammed Diakite, were also suspended, and another player, freshman Tyler Jones, would be disciplined, the school said. St. John’s officials did not describe how the players violated team rules. Sherri Ann Urbanek-Bach, 38, of Astoria, N.Y., was charged late last night with falsifying reports, attempted extortion and prostitution, hours after she claimed she was raped in a hotel by players she met in a strip club following the Red Storm’s loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Pittsburgh police said. A telephone listing under Urbanek-Bach’s name in New York was disconnected and she could not immediately be reached for comment.

Wisconsin’s Wade released: Wisconsin guard Maurice “Boo” Wade was released from jail Thursday on a signature bond a day after his arrest on charges he choked a 19-year-old woman. Dane County Court Commissioner Todd Meurer ordered Wade to have no contact with the woman as a condition of his release. Wade, yet to be formally charged, has already been suspended indefinitely by the Badgers. He was held in the Dane County Jail overnight on felony battery charges and missed Wisconsin’s 80-66 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night. Madison police said Wednesday that the woman said Wade attacked her in the bathroom of an off-campus house. She said Wade choked her twice and then tried to strangle her with his arm. She was treated at a hospital and later released. Wade is averaging 7.0 points, 2.6 assists and 32.1 minutes in 17 games this season for Big Ten-leading Wisconsin (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten).

More on Bobby Knight: Texas Tech University chancellor David Smith said he was complimenting Bobby Knight when the coach came “charging up behind me furious with fists clenched,” during a public confrontation at an upscale grocery store on Monday. A memo written by Smith was obtained by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which posted it on the newspaper’s Web site Thursday night. The newspaper also obtained a letter athletic director Gerald Myers wrote asking that Knight not be suspended, and a draft of a letter Myers wrote to Knight reprimanding him and informing him of a three-day suspension. Knight was reprimanded Tuesday, but not suspended, after getting into a verbal spat with Smith. In the memo, Smith wrote that he initiated a conversation with Knight in the store to compliment the coach. “I expressed the same sentiment that I did with Gerald Myers that despite some tough losses I especially wanted to commend him on how he handled the last few weeks and in particular the student section at the University of Texas game,” Smith wrote in the memo. “His demeanor and habitus changed drastically. With a red face his response was curt and angry as he responded, ‘I always handle things well, and have always handled things well.’” After a win against Baylor on Tuesday night, Knight admitted he could have avoided a confrontation by simply walking away. In his version of the spat, Knight said Smith followed him to the side of the salad bar and said, “You’ve got issues. What are they?” “Right then is where I think I was at fault,” Knight said. “I should have shook my head, walked away, done a lot of other things, and I didn’t. I went on to tell him what one of those issues was and then it got back and forth a little bit. “But the one thing there was, that I absolutely did not instigate anything.” Smith wrote that it became clear to him that Knight was still angry at the chancellor for the way he handled Knight’s suspension of Nick Valdez and Andre Emmett last season. He said that Knight followed him into the store’s parking lot and accused Smith of calling him a “liar” after the suspensions.

Montanta State-Billings player gets boot: Montana State-Billings forward Trae Fortier has been suspended indefinitely, according to university officials. Yellowjackets’ coach Craig Carse says Fortier was disciplined for conduct that was “detrimental to the team.” Officials would not be specific, but said the conduct did not involve any violations of NCAA or university rules. Carse said Wednesday the infraction was a team issue that will be handled internally. Fortier, a transfer from Antelope Junior College in California, leads the Pacific West Conference in scoring and rebounding with averages of 23.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He is also ranked in the top 10 for seven other statistical categories.

Game officials reprimanded: The Mountain West Conference has reprimanded one of the officials who called last month’s Brigham Young-New Mexico game, which the Lobos won after BYU guard Mark Bigelow was assessed a technical foul in the closing seconds of the nationally televised game. The conference announced Thursday the official, whom the league would not name, “inadvertently” blew his whistle after BYU tied the game at 63 on a Kevin Woodberry’s tip-in with four seconds left in the Jan. 26 game. Bigelow, who had fouled out of the game, at that point ran onto the court and was called for the technical. Bigelow later said he thought he had heard a whistle before he went onto the court. The MWC reviewed several tapes of the game’s closing seconds and said Thursday it found that a whistle indeed had been blown by one of the officials. The technical on Bigelow gave the Lobos two free throws and possession of the ball. Guard Troy DeVries missed both free throws, but New Mexico won the game 65-63 on a lay-up by Danny Granger on the Lobos’ ensuing possession. The official who blew the whistle won’t be allowed to call his next two scheduled conference games and also will not be allowed to call any games in the conference tournament next month. The three officials at the game were Dick Cartmell, Lonnie Dixon and Bob Staffen. A conference spokesman said New Mexico’s win would stand.

Oklahoma players get successful surgery: University of Oklahoma forward Kevin Bookout underwent successful surgery Thursday on his sprained right shoulder. Bookout, a pre-season Wooden Award candidate, ended his season two weeks ago after deciding to have the surgery. He injured the shoulder during a practice in October and had been hampered all season. The two-hour surgery was performed in Oklahoma City by team physicians Brock Schnebel and Don McGinnis. The reconstruction is supposed to alleviate instability in the shoulder joint.
Rehabilitation is expected to take at least three months. The 6-foot-8, 265-pound Bookout had been averaging 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Bookout, an All-American in the shot put as a freshman, will red-shirt for the spring track and field season. He will have two seasons of basketball eligibility remaining and three in track and field.

Tonight’s menu

&#8226 Friday night is a light night as usual in college basketball. But some of the action tonight has some historical significance to it – Columbia at Yale. Yale head coach James Jones will match up with younger brother Joe, the head coach of Columbia. It will mark the first
match-up of brothers in the Ivy League since 1928. James and Joe are just the second pair of brothers to simultaneously coach in the Ivy League, with the previous one being Harvard’s Ed Wachter and his brother Leonard at Dartmouth from 1924-1928.

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