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Inside College Basketball

March 17, 2003
March 17, 2003

Table of Contents
March 17, 2003

Inside Soccer

Inside College Basketball

March Sadness
Turmoil surrounding Georgia and coach Jim Harrick were
among the lowlights in a week filled with scandal

This is an article from the March 17, 2003 issue Original Layout

Jim Harrick is a proven winner, but controversy has followed him
like a shadow. In 1996, a year and a half after winning a
national title with UCLA, Harrick was fired by the Bruins for
falsifying an expense report. He landed at Rhode Island, where he
built his program around troubled star Lamar Odom and, if
allegations made by his former secretary are true, he committed
various NCAA violations. He then bolted in 1999 for Georgia,
where on Monday he was suspended with pay as the university
investigated charges of academic fraud and allegations by former
Bulldogs guard Tony Cole. Cole claimed that Harrick, with the
help of his son Jim Jr., had arranged to wire him $300 to pay a
phone bill and bought him a television. Cole also received an A
in a course he says he never attended.

In addition to suspending Harrick (and putting his son on paid
leave), the school pulled the No. 21 Bulldogs (19-8) out of the
SEC and NCAA tournaments. "This is, I imagine, as bad as it
gets," said Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley after he
announced the decision with school president Michael Adams. The
decision to pull out of postseason play came after Dooley
declared two players, Chris Daniels and Rashad Wright,
academically ineligible and charged them with unethical conduct.
The players had taken the same class as Cole--Coaching Principles
and Strategies in Basketball, taught by Jim Jr. There were 31
students in the class, including the three basketball players and
seven other athletes. According to Dooley, Harrick's players all
received A's.

The turmoil in Athens comes at a tough time for college
basketball, as talk of bubble teams and Cinderellas has given way
to a mass of scandals. Besides Georgia's problems:

--Fresno State, the first-place team in the Western Athletic
Conference, banned itself from the NCAA tournament after a report
of academic fraud under coach Jerry Tarkanian in 2000 (though
Tarkanian hasn't been implicated).

--St. Bonaventure's players voted not to play their final two
games after the Atlantic 10 barred the Bonnies from competing in
the conference tournament and made them forfeit six wins for
playing with an ineligible player. That player, Jamil Terrell,
was admitted at St. Bonaventure even though school president
Robert Wickenheiser and coach Jan van Breda Kolff reportedly knew
that Terrell shouldn't have been eligible to play. (The scandal
cost Wickenheiser his job; he resigned on Sunday, and van Breda
Kolff and athletic director Gothard Lane were put on
administrative leave.)

--Villanova suspended 12 players for between three and eight games
after they admitted to coach Jay Wright that they had made
long-distance phone calls using the access code of an athletic
department employee.

Most troubling, though, were the allegations surrounding Harrick.
Harrick tried to save his job by calling Cole "a vindictive young
man" and making dubious claims about his coaching past--in an ESPN
interview Harrick said he had graduated eight of eight players at
Rhode Island, when in fact only one of the nine players he
recruited has graduated and Odom bolted for the NBA. Harrick also
said he had never heard about a sexual harassment lawsuit filed
against Rhode Island last April by Christine King, Harrick's
former secretary at Rhode Island, a claim Rams athletic director
Ron Petro later disputed.

In her lawsuit, which Rhode Island settled by paying her $45,000,
King claimed that Harrick had touched her improperly, and she
enumerated several NCAA violations allegedly committed by him,
including that he tried to change grades for Luther Clay and
Odom; led players to boosters who would give them money; and paid
a member of the women's basketball team $250 to cover up an
assault by a Rams player. (Harrick says that he will be
exonerated.)

So Georgia's season ends, and Harrick's future remains in doubt.
On Monday, Bulldogs players stood in disbelief when told by
associate athletic director Damon Evans that their dreams of a
deep run in the NCAA tournament would never be realized. "You
could see it in their faces," said Evans. "They had worked so
hard and had such high hopes. They didn't ask a lot of questions;
they were just terribly disappointed."

BC's Bell Is Pitch Perfect
Guard Has Visual Of Success

Two or three times a week, Boston College senior guard Troy Bell
goes into his dorm room, pulls a blindfold over his eyes, plays
what he describes as "techno jazz" through a pair of headphones
and thinks about nothing but basketball. "I visualize my shooting
form and how I'm going to defend my man," Bell says. "I kind of
zone out until I feel centered. Then I'm ready to play."

The results have been spectacular. Before stumbling with a
15-point performance in the Eagles' 91-54 loss to UConn last
Saturday, Bell had averaged 30.8 points over a span of 12 games
while shooting 52.0% from the field. Most important, BC won nine
of those games (the surprising Eagles were 17-10 at week's end,
10-6 in the Big East) to win a share of the league's East
Division lead.

Bell, a 6'1", 183-pound point guard, was the Big East rookie of
the year in 1999-2000 and was co-player of the year as a
sophomore. But this season BC got off to a 6-6 start that
included losses to Holy Cross and Northeastern. After consulting
with George Mumford, a sports psychologist who was coach Al
Skinner's roommate at UMass and who has worked with some NBA
players, Bell began doing visualization exercises regularly in
January, and he credits them for his late-season scoring surge.
In Big East play he averaged a league-record 27.8 points a game,
in the process becoming the Eagles' alltime leading scorer (2,550
points). Says Bell, "I feel like I've won before I step on the
court." --Seth Davis

Carolina Finally Beats Duke
Tar Heels Prove Rivalry Isn't Dead

How badly did North Carolina want to beat Duke on Sunday? With
little hope of going to the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels' best
chance to put a positive spin on a season that has been marred by
injuries and mounting losses was to beat their Tobacco Road
nemesis.

Carolina had failed to beat Duke in 11 of their last 12 meetings,
leading many to suggest that Duke-Maryland had supplanted
Duke-North Carolina as the ACC's preeminent rivalry. But the Tar
Heels showed that the rivalry was alive and well with an 82-79
victory. North Carolina's intensity mirrored that of coach Matt
Doherty, who was involved in an altercation with the score tied
at 63 with 8:16 remaining. Doherty exchanged words with Blue
Devils assistant Chris Collins and was shoved by Duke reserve
Andre Buckner after the Tar Heels' Raymond Felton took an elbow
from the Devils' Dahntay Jones. "We've been taking punches to the
face all year, and we've come off the mat each time," said
Doherty afterward. "We played a great game against a great
opponent. It was one of those classic Carolina-Duke games."

Read Hoop Thoughts by Seth Davis every week at
si.com/basketball/college.

COLOR PHOTO: CURTIS COMPTON/ATLANTA Those touched by scandal last week: (clockwise from left) Georgia's Harrick and Adams, former Fresno State coach Tarkanian, Villanova's Wright and the Bonnies' van Breda Kolff.COLOR PHOTO: JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION/AP [See caption above]COLOR PHOTO: KEVIN BONAVENTURE/WYOMING TRIBUNE-EAGLE/AP [See caption above]COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO MARK LENNIHAN/AP [See caption above]COLOR PHOTO: PAUL EFLAND/UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA/AP [See caption above]COLOR PHOTO: BOB CHILD/AP With the aid of visualization, Bell has the Eagles atop the Big East's East Division.

The Seed Report

With Selection Sunday just days away, we turn over to the real
Selection Committee our findings--four nearly unanimous No. 1
seeds. Barring total flameouts in their conference tournaments,
Arizona, Texas, Kentucky and Kansas should all be top-seeded.

But the way this season has gone, there are no guarantees. Three
weeks ago Louisville was a No. 1, but after dropping five of
their last eight, the Cardinals aren't even a top-four seed (and
are likely to lose the advantage of playing close to home).
Similarly, Duke, which has been a No. 1 seed in the last five
tournaments, is barely hanging on to a No. 3 seed. After the Blue
Devils' 82-79 defeat at North Carolina, all six of their losses
had come on the road.

EAST
1. Texas..........(22-5)
2. Wake Forest....(23-4)
3. Syracuse.......(23-4)
4. Illinois.......(21-6)

WEST
1. Arizona........(25-2)
2. Oklahoma.......(21-6)
3. Pittsburgh.....(23-4)
4. Wisconsin......(22-6)

SOUTH
1. Kentucky.......(26-3)
2. Marquette......(23-4)
3. Duke...........(21-6)
4. Stanford.......(23-7)

MIDWEST
1. Kansas.........(24-6)
2. Florida........(24-6)
3. Xavier.........(24-4)
4. Maryland.......(19-8)