Villanova Gives Everyone A Chance
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Villanova coach Steve Lappas was able to rest his starters for the final 10 minutes Friday. That’s a luxury you get when you’re leading by 44 points as the Wildcats were in routing Portland.
``It’s very important and that’s why we were taking guys out with significant time left in the game so that other people could get their feet wet and regulars could get some rest,″ Lappas said after a 92-58 win.
``It worked out good for us.″
The blowout meant more down time for start Kerry Kittles, who’d missed practice Thursday with a flu bug.
But by game time Friday, thanks to a good night’s sleep and some medication, Kittles was ready to go.
``I woke up today and I was 100 percent better,″ Kittles said. ``I was totally fine.″
JOCK OF ALL TRADES: He’s the only senior on Wake Forest’s roster but Rusty LaRue is much more. He’s a jock-of-all trades, a husband and a father.
Last year LaRue became only the second athlete in Atlantic Coast Conference history to play football, basketball and baseball in the same season. He’s the first to do so in 42 years.
LaRue, averaging 10.2 points as a guard, was also the Demon Deacons’ quarterback on the football team and completed 55 passes in one game against Duke and threw for 545 yards in another against North Carolina State. In baseball, he’s a relief pitcher.
LaRue, married to his high school sweetheart, became a father Jan. 31 and that night went out and scored seven points against North Carolina State.
And just in case he didn’t have enough to do, the computer science major is helping out on a research project for the Air Force.
LONG WAY AROUND: Portland’s Kweemada King, the Pilots’ leading scorer, arrived at the school from the Bahamas via Nebraska.
King was also a high school volleyball player in the Bahamas but no one recruited him for basketball until Western Nebraska Community College coach Dave Campbell, who was on vacation, spotted him. Campbell offered a scholarship.
``Until that happened I hadn’t thought about playing basketball in the United States,″ said King. After leading Western to a two-year record of 68-11, King chose Portland because of its size. Enrollment there is just under 3,000.
`I’m from an island with not many people,″ King said, explaining his decision to forego bigger schools.
King was chosen the MVP of the West Coast Conference tournament where the Pilots qualified for the NCAA tournament. He scored 15 points in Friday’s lopsided loss to Villanova.
FINDING TIM: Wake Forest coach Dave Odom recalled how he discovered his star Tim Duncan, who’s from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.
Former Demon Deacon Chris King was on a team touring the Caribbean and once he returned, Odom asked him if he’d seen any good players during his trip.
King then described a tall player with ability who held his own in an exhibition against Alonzo Mourning. But he couldn’t remember Duncan’s name or on which island he lived.
An interested Odom quickly assigned one of his assistants to get more information.
``In two days we had his name, his number, his island, his coach’s number and his school and I had my plane ticket,″ Odom said.
Odom only got to see Duncan play on an outdoor court. That’s all he needed.
``It was a real nice afternoon,″ he said with a smile.
NO WONDER: Tulsa first-year coach Steve Robinson wasn’t at all surprised that the Louisville Cardinals were able to overcome a 12-point deficit in the final 3:17 to force overtime and beat the Golden Hurricane.
``They are a tourney-tested team, they come from a tough league (Conference USA) and I didn’t expect them to quit. They made it into a frenzy and we lost our poise,″ Robinson said.
The Golden Hurricane’s 82-80 loss ended their 62-year run in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Tulsa moves to the expanded Western Athletic Conference next year, along with Southern Methodist, Rice and Texas Christian of the dissolving Southwest Conference.
Tulsa reached the NCAA tournament by winning its final MVC tourney with victories over Evansville, Illinois State and Bradley.
The Hurricane reached the round of 16 the last two seasons under coach Tubby Smith, who moved to Georgia last summer.