Minnesota coach Clem Haskins, whose school is making its first Final Four appearance, took his players to Indianapolis on Tuesday, two days ahead of the other teams involved in Saturday night’s semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona, North Carolina and Kentucky arrived Thursday afternoon.
“Back in Minneapolis, we had people outside the dorm, bands outside the dorm, everybody patting them on the back,” Haskins said. “We’re excited to be in the Final Four, but to compete with a great team like Kentucky, you have to be focused or you’re in big-time trouble.
“That’s why we got out of town, to get back to the basics and concentrate on playing basketball.”
Arizona coach Lute Olson said he can understand why Haskins arrived early.
“People think it’s crazy because of the hoopla (in Indianapolis),” Olson said. “But that way, we have them under our control 24 hours a day.”
Coaches request symposium
The National Association of Basketball Coaches said at their news conference in Indianapolis that they want to have a symposium with the NCAA, the NBA and high school coaches to discuss the number of college players turning pro before their eligibility ends.
Coaches are upset that three high school players the past two years skipped college to enter the NBA draft.
Wolters, Auriemma honored
Kara Wolters and Geno Auriemma, key figures in their team’s 33-1 season, combined for a Connecticut sweep of The Associated Press’ top individual awards in women’s college basketball.
Wolters was voted the national player of the year, and Auriemma, was honored as coach of the year.
Point-shaving report called ‘garbage’
A Los Angeles Times report that two Fresno State basketball players shaved points for jewelry and cash was called “trumped-up garbage” by one player’s attorney.
The Times, citing unnamed sources, reported that members of a Southern California bookmaking ring “received word that Fresno State basketball players were fixing games at the behest of friendly gamblers.”
Although the report did not identify any players, a federal investigation is focusing on guards Dominick Young and Chris Herren, according to the Times and The Fresno Bee.
Young’s attorney, Michael Idiart, said the firm’s investigation has found nothing to support any allegations against either player.
“I find it a little bit incredulous that someone would say they now have more than a rumor, when what you’re doing is you’re quoting an anonymous, illegal bookie, and that bookie is saying he or she has a reliable source,” Idiart said. “Is that a reliable source? I think this is nothing more than trumped-up garbage.”
Utah State gave Larry Eustachy a seven-year contract extension, keeping him under agreement at the school until 2004. Eustachy, who coached Idaho from 1991-93, is 73-45 in four seasons at Utah State. His contract was set to expire in 1998. … Tic Price, 41, of New Orleans accepted the job as men’s basketball coach at Memphis. … Illinois State coach Kevin Stallings said he has turned down the job at the University of Tennessee.
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