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Walton: I Had No Role in Candy Theft

February 2, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Luke Walton emphatically denied on Saturday that he had anything to do with the theft of candy bars and change from a vending machine at a Lawrence, Kan., hotel.

``My name got put in all the papers after I told people I had nothing to do with it,″ the senior forward said after No. 1-ranked Arizona’s 95-80 victory over California. ``Just some guy comes out and said he saw me. He didn’t see me do anything because I had absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s been frustrating. There is nothing I can do about it.″

A witness told police he saw Walton _ son of former NBA and UCLA great Bill Walton _ and two other players in Arizona warmups at the vending machine. One player was going through the machine while Walton appeared to be a lookout, the witness said. He could not identify the other two players.

``I don’t do stuff like that,″ Walton said. ``I got my grandma calling me, people like that asking all these questions. It is frustrating knowing I didn’t do anything and I have to answer all these questions.″

Police questioned Walton and the others in the locker room after Arizona’s victory at Kansas last Saturday. All the players denied any involvement, but as the team rushed to make a flight back to Tucson, a Wildcats assistant coach paid $80 to the hotel and no charges were filed.

Walton, a preseason All-American who normally is extremely cooperative with reporters, refused to talk after the team’s loss to Stanford on Thursday night. But he decided to vent his frustration Saturday after a game in which he was scoreless in 13 foul-plagued minutes and had six assists.

``There is nothing to do besides let it go, and get on with the season,″ Walton said, ``and hope everybody realizes it is not true and I had nothing to do with it.″

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