Originally created 04/07/01


Shane Battier, who led Duke to the NCAA championship, capped an outstanding college career Friday, winning the 25th John R. Wooden Award as the male player of the year.

Battier, a 6-foot-8 forward from Birmingham, Mich., was previously honored as The Associated Press player of the year and Naismith Award winner, and was chosen the outstanding player in the Final Four for his efforts in victories over Maryland and Arizona.

Battier, who averaged 20.0 points and 7.2 rebounds, was one of five finalists for the Wooden Award, presented at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The others were Duke's Jason Williams, Notre Dame's Troy Murphy, Stanford's Casey Jacobsen and North Carolina's Joseph Forte.

Atlanta can keep the 2002 Final Four, the NCAA said Friday, about two months after Georgia reduced the size of the Confederate emblem on its state flag.

Georgia state officials and civil rights leaders had asked the NCAA to move the Final Four if Georgia did not change its flag.

The National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Black Coaches Association and the Student Basketball Council also joined in the effort.

The Georgia state legislature passed a measure that changed the flag design and Gov. Roy Barnes signed the bill Jan. 31.

The NCAA Executive Committee still has to decide whether Atlanta will remain as the host city for the men's South Regional in 2004, the men's Final Four in 2007, and the women's Final Four in 2003.


Lenape High School (N.J.) has fired boys basketball coach Adrian Matthew, who was arrested March 17 and charged with smoking marijuana with four students.

Matthew, 29, was suspended with pay after the arrest. He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of ecstasy pills and enticing a minor.

Police said he and four Lenape students used the drugs before a basketball playoff game against Cherry Hill East on Feb. 28. Lenape had a 16-10 season record and won a first-round state playoff game before losing to Cherry Hill East 47-43.

Matthew was also a health and physical education teacher at Lenape.


It will be the final home meet for Lissy Smith and the rest of the Alabama seniors, but the Crimson Tide gymnasts have other things on their minds entering the NCAA Central Regional tonight.

Alabama, ranked third in the nation, is trying to secure its 19th straight trip to the NCAA championships, scheduled for April 19-21 in Athens, Ga. The top two teams from each regional advance.

The Central Regional also includes No. 9 Arizona State, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 20 Kent State, No. 21 Ohio State and No. 26 Kentucky.

Arizona State, which defeated Alabama last year in Tempe, has been to 16 NCAA Championships. Kentucky came within a tenth of a point of beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa this season.

The Tide will be trying to rebound from a second-place finish to Georgia at the Southeastern Conference championships.


NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol warned that the Athens, Greece Olympic venue construction must be speeded up or the facilities will not be ready for test events ahead of the 2004 Summer Games.

Coming after a meeting with Premier Costas Simitis, it was the second such recommendation by Ebersol during a visit to review Athens's Olympic preparations. NBC owns the U.S. TV rights to the summer and winter games through 2008.

Ebersol talked about 40 minutes with Simitis, who stepped out of a parliamentary debate to meet the NBC chief and 2004 president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

On Thursday, Ebersol warned organizers could not afford any more delays - especially in the area of Olympic accommodations.


Baylor University lifted the suspensions of two baseball players charged with shooting, skinning and beheading a stray cat.

Pitcher Derek Brehm and reserve outfielder Clint Bowers were suspended from the team March 22. They were charged March 9 with animal cruelty after the head of a skinned cat was discovered in Bowers' vehicle.

The players apologized in a statement released by Baylor.

The cat was named Queso by employees at a Waco restaurant.


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