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News Nuggets, 01.21.04

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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Lawhorn named league's best, ECU picked for upper division


01.20.04: Tigers' 2004 football slate includes journey to Greenville... .. Even Hawaii's mascot draws fire for loutish antics... .. Five C-USA, Carolinas juggernauts gang up in AP Top 10... .. More...
01.19.04: Ref dies during Wesleyan-Shenandoah game... .. Louisville assistant nabbed for DUI... .. Memphis adds three years to Calipari pact... .. C-USA basketball standings & scoreboard... .. More...
01.18.04: Auburn CEO resigns over secretive plot to change coaches... .. Nutt demands on-air apology from 'goofball' Alberts... .. Drunken fan cuffed after beheading mascot... .. More...
01.17.04: Pitino absent as Louisville makes quick turnaround... .. Southern Miss staggers No. 21 Marquette in Green Bay... .. Kentucky fan gets 27-year exile for web recruiting operation... .. More...
01.16.04: Houston, Hawaii kiss and make up... .. Southern Miss in danger at 'home' in Green Bay... .. Basketball rules changes delayed... .. More...
01.15.04: Punishment in the works for Hawaii Bowl brawlers... .. ECU-U of L tickets: Get 'em while you can... .. Bearcats dispel doubts, rip non-cream puff... .. More...
01.14.04: 'Meet the Baseball Pirates' feast on deck... .. Coach with ECU ties takes over at Citadel... .. USF AD Selmon sidelined by health issue... .. NCAA reverses field on Argentine transfer... .. More...
01.13.04: Charlotte guard honored for 'Demonizing' ECU, DePaul... .. Brindise, McFarland hirings become official... .. Minter hooks up with old boss Holtz... .. AP basketball poll... .. More...
01.12.04: NCAA considers sanctions for academic dawdlers... .. UAB's Finley among candidates for Senior CLASS Award... .. C-USA basketball standings, scores & schedule... .. More...
01.11.04: Punishment looming for Hawaii Bowl brawl... .. Saban assistant takes over UCF defense... .. Hundreds bitten by bogus Sugar Bowl tickets... .. Redick one shot away from new record... .. More...
01.10.04: Las Vegas Bowl ponders overthrow of Liberty Bowl arrangement... .. Clemson duo plans to play for pay... .. Bulldogs' Croon picks up a 'Beamer'... .. Amputee expected to see action in Shrine game... .. More...

East Carolina slugger Darryl Lawhorn is the preseason pick as Conference USA baseball player of the year, but the Pirates are expected to finish behind four other teams in the league race, according to a vote by the league's 12 coaches.

Coming off of its sixth consecutive NCAA appearance and armed with 17 returning lettermen, Tulane has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2004 coaches poll.

Top individual honors were shared by Lawhorn, a junior infielder/outfielder who hit 33 home runs in his first two collegiate seasons, and Clayton Jerome of Texas Christian, who was selected to repeat as Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.

Defending regular season and tournament champion Southern Miss was chosen to finish second in the league, followed by Houston, South Florida and ECU.

TCU was chosen sixth, Louisville seventh and Charlotte eighth in the poll. Rounding out the preseason poll are Cincinnati, Memphis, UAB and Saint Louis.

Predicted Order of Finish (First place votes in parentheses)

1. Tulane (7)
2. Southern Miss (3)
3. Houston (2)
4. South Florida
5. East Carolina
6. Texas Christain
7. Louisville
8. Charlotte
9. Cincinnati
10. Memphis
11. UAB
12. Saint Louis

Darryl Lawhorn, East Carolina (Junior, Outfielder)

Clayton Jerome, TCU (Senior, Righthander)

P J.R. Crowel So. Tulane
P Clayton Jerome Sr. TCU
P Garrett Mock Jr. Houston
RP Austin Tubb Sr. Southern Miss
C Devin Ivany Jr. USF
IF Jeff Baisley Jr. USF
IF Jarrett Hoffpauir Jr. Southern Miss
IF Myron Leslie Sr. USF
IF Tommy Manzella Jr. Tulane
OF Brian Bogusevic So. Tulane
OF Mark Jurich Sr. Louisville
OF Darryl Lawhorn Jr. East Carolina
DH/UT Brad Willcutt Jr. Southern Miss

Diener goes down in Marquette loss to 49ers

CHARLOTTE — Top Marquette scorer Travis Diener was taken off the court on a stretcher with an apparent neck injury in the second half of Charlotte's 84-76 victory Tuesday night.

Charlotte athletic director Judy Rose said Diener had movement in his arms and legs, but was complaining of tenderness in his neck and back. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI and a CAT scan at University Hospital.

The junior guard was injured when Charlotte's Calvin Clemmons went for a fake and came down hard on top of Diener on the left wing with 13:03 left. Diener's neck appeared to snap back before he fell hard to the floor.

He stayed on the floor for more than eight minutes, but was moving his legs throughout. The medical crew decided to strap Diener into a stretcher and immobilize his neck. The Charlotte fans cheered him before he was wheeled off the court and sent to a local hospital.

Diener, a native of Fond du Lac, Wis., came into the game averaging 17.5 points and 6.3 assists.

Pitino assistant pleads guilty to DUI

LOUISVILLE — Louisville assistant Kevin Willard pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence of alcohol, but he will remain on coach Rick Pitino's staff.

Willard, pulled over by Louisville police early Sunday morning, failed two sobriety tests and had a blood-alcohol level of .146, police said. Kentucky's legal limit for DUI is .08.

Pitino said Willard was disciplined internally, but declined to be more specific.

"I've already dealt with it," Pitino said Tuesday. "It is unfortunate. There is a silver lining in every cloud, and the silver lining in this cloud is that a tremendous error in judgment was made, but nobody got hurt. That doesn't diminish the severity of what he did. Kevin knows he made a big mistake. He's extremely remorseful."

The fifth-ranked Cardinals (13-1) host sixth-ranked Cincinnati (13-0) on Wednesday.

Willard did not appear in court Tuesday. His attorney, Bart Adams, entered his plea.

The assistant coach will pay a $200 fine, plus court costs, lose his driver's license for 30 days and undergo alcohol counseling, said Bill Patteson, a spokesman for the Jefferson County attorney's office. It was Willard's first DUI offense.

Willard is the son of Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard, who was Pitino's assistant for two seasons with the New York Knicks and for one season at Kentucky.

Kevin Willard worked as an assistant for Pitino with the Boston Celtics from 1997-2001 and followed Pitino to Louisville in April 2001.

"Even though he is like a son to me, he has been seriously reprimanded," Pitino said. "A lot of consequences are going to be paid for this, but it's a lesson for everybody."

Foes feasting on depleted South Florida

South Florida, which began the season with only ten scholarship players, has seen its roster shrink further in recent weeks and the repercussions are beginning to show up on the scoreboard.

UAB laid an 86-47 whipping on the Bulls Tuesday night in Birmingham. The shellacking dropped USF's record to 6-8 (0-3 Conference USA) and comes on the heels of a 70-52 loss at Saint Louis on Saturday and an 85-40 humiliation at home to Louisville on Jan 10.

The school announced last week that Jimmy Baxter had left the program due to personal reasons. The senior forward/guard from St. Petersburg, No. 9 on USF's career three-point list, started 10 of 12 games and averaged 9.8 points and 3.8 rebounds-per-game.

Baxter's exit put further stress on a thin Bulls roster that also recently lost shooting guard Marlyn Bryant to injury. Bryant tore an ACL for the second time in a year and is likely out for the season.

East Carolina, which suffered a key loss of its own when senior linchpin Gabriel Mikulas broke his arm, plays at South Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 3, and hosts the Bulls on Saturday, Feb. 28.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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