Hunt resumes for spurned Cowboys

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OKLAHOMA CITY --- Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder opened the second phase of his search for the Cowboys' next basketball coach Friday after Bill Self decided to stay with national champion Kansas instead of returning to his alma mater.

Holder said he put forth his best effort to lure Self back to Stillwater, and now will look for another candidate who fits a similar mold.

"I think he's a leader of men as well as a basketball coach. I'm looking for somebody like that," Holder said Friday.

Holder said he appreciated the opportunity to interview Self and felt "he was more impressive than I thought he would be."

In his first high-profile coaching search since taking over as athletic director, Holder said he felt he owed it to Self and to Oklahoma State fans to pursue the former Cowboys player and assistant.

"He's really the only OSU graduate in the coaching profession that's achieved at his level," Holder said.

FLORIDA: Forward Jonathan Mitchell has decided to transfer, becoming the second player to leave the team this week.

Sophomore center Marreese Speights entered the NBA Draft on Tuesday, although he did not hire an agent and left open the possibility of returning to school for his junior season.

Mitchell, a sophomore from Mount Vernon, N.Y., averaged 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 35 games last season.

The 6-foot-7 Mitchell has not decided where he will transfer.

MASSACHUSETTS: Travis Ford has a new deal to stay at Massa-chusetts, turning down an offer to be head basketball coach at Providence College.

UMass athletic director John McCutcheon would not discuss terms of the new deal.

Ford is 62-35 in three years at UMass, 25-11 this past season. He led the Minutemen to appearances in the NIT the past two seasons, losing the championship to Ohio State 92-85 last week.

Ford said he met with Provi-dence athletic director Bob Driscoll at the NCAA Final Four and again in Providence on Wednesday.

He told the Daily Hampshire Gazette he decided Thursday afternoon to remain at UMass.

MARQUETTE: Guard Dominic James had good news at the team's awards banquet: He'll be back for his senior season rather than making an early entry in the NBA Draft.

James' fellow guard, Jerel McNeal , also has been considering an early entry in the draft, but there was no announcement from him.

McNeal received the team's most valuable player award.

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