Truth & Rumors: March 23, 2007

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The most talked-about candidates to replace Tubby Smith at Kentucky are expected to be Florida coach Billy Donovan and Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie. Gillispie is an avid fan of horse racing. That will probably fuel the speculation that he may be interested in the job. It is less likely that Donovan, a former assistant at Kentucky, will be interested. -- New York Times

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart could go a number of different ways if Billy Donovan isn't interested. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo would be a popular choice. -- Louisville Courier-Journal

Duke women's basketball coach Gail Goestenkors is the leading candidate to replace Hall of Fame Texas coach Jody Conradt, according to two sources close to the Longhorns' basketball program. -- Dallas Morning News

All the talk about whether he plans to leave Texas after one season for the NBA is becoming stressful for Kevin Durant, a close friend said Thursday. -- Houston Chronicle

Multiple sources said DePaul assistant coach Gary DeCesare, an Iona grad, Villanova assistant Ed Pinckney, and Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tom Green had joined the list of Iona assistant Nick Macarchuk, Jr., Providence assistant Steve DeMeio and St. John's assistant Fred Quartlebaum as those interested in the Iona job. -- New York Post

Kelvin Sampson said Thursday he has encouraged D.J. White to explore his NBA options this spring. Sampson said it's the right thing to do. -- Indianapolis Star

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said based on information Duke has gathered, it is time for Josh McRoberts to move on to the NBA. Though McRoberts was Duke's best low-post scoring option, that part of his game wasn't as polished as his ball-handling, passing and defensive skills. That's why McRoberts isn't projected as a top-five pick, though he's expected to be selected in the first round. -- Charlotte Observer

Michigan, Tennessee and Oklahoma became the latest college football powers to vie for the services of Buford (Ga.) High defensive tackle Omar Hunter. All three schools have offered scholarships within the last few days, giving Hunter "at least 30 to 40" offers to date. Florida, which offered earlier this spring, will get the chance to make a personal impression next weekend. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gary Clark, a 6-3 shooting guard from Monteverde (Fla.) Academy, has agreed to play at Wake Forest next season, the Observer has learned. He reportedly also considered Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Connecticut. -- Charlotte Observer

Tyler Westphal, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound defensive end from Menasha High School, has become the first player to give an oral commitment for UW's 2008 freshman class. Westphal, one of the top prospects in the state, originally gave a non-binding commitment to play for Virginia. He changed his mind and committed to UW after visiting last weekend. -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Houston prep football standout Richard Cagle is the first 2008 commitment for Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive lineman notified the Commodore coaching staff following an unofficial visit last week that he'll sign in February. Cagle said the Vanderbilt coaching staff indicated he would likely play tackle or guard. -- The Tennessean

Pitt's new punter, Dave Brytus, can kick a football off the 80-foot-high roof of the South Side indoor facility, and he can kick some serious booty. He has a career ambition to become an NFL punter or an Ultimate Fighting Championship star. He has a black belt, a 2002 Western Pennsylvania Golden Gloves trophy and a winning record in mixed-martial arts fighting. -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette