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In Sports from United Press International

April 21, 2003 at 8:01 PM   |   Comments

Self named as Kansas basketball coach

LAWRENCE, Kan., April 21 (UPI) -- Officials at Kansas Monday officially unveiled Bill Self as the school's new men's basketball coach, replacing Roy Williams.

Most recently, Self enjoyed a successful three-year runt at Illinois, and guided Illinois to the "Sweet 16" in 2002. He began his coaching career in 1985, and also has enjoyed successful head coaching stints at Oral Roberts and Tulsa.

Self, who called his hiring at Kansas "a whirlwind experience," signed a five-year contract after guiding the Fighting Illini to a 78-24 record over the past three seasons. That included two Big Ten regular-season championships, a Big Ten Tournament title, and three straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In Self's first season in Champaign, the Illini advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time since 1989.

He was asked about the rumors that he has been mentioned prominently as a possible successor to Eddie Sutton when he retires at Oklahoma State.

"This is a career-ending job," Self said. "I love Oklahoma State, (but) my future is not in Stillwater. My future is in Lawrence. It's a once-in-a lifetime job

at Kansas."

In 10 seasons as a head coach, Self has compiled an overall record of 207-105 (.663), including a 10-5 mark in NCAA Tournament play.

Self, 40, began his coaching career as an assistant under Larry Brown at Kansas in 1985-86, and succeeds Roy Williams, who resigned last week to return to North Carolina, his alma mater.

In 2002, Self became the first Big Ten coach since 1912, and just the second all-time, to lead his squad to conference championships in each of his first two seasons at a school. It also was the first time Illinois won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 50 years, and just the third time in school history.

The Lawrence (Ks.) Journal-World reported Monday that Self met with the KU players Sunday night, and apparently, he made a mixed impression.

The paper said Self told the Jayhawks' returning players that he will continue to play an up-tempo style.

"He said he will never take away from a player's game. He wants to run," sophomore guard Michael Lee told the paper. "He is a down-to-earth guy, a player's coach. He said, 'Never look at the bench when you make a mistake.'"

Self coached at Oral Roberts for four years and Tulsa for three seasons before replacing Lon Kruger at Illinois in 2000. He has a career record of 207-105, and guided Tulsa to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament in 1999-2000.


Lakers say O'Neal will play Tuesday

MINNEAPOLIS, April 21 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Lakers say veteran center Shaquille O'Neal should be available Tuesday for Game Two of the playoffs series against Minnesota.

Despite personal problems, O'Neal had 32 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday's 117-98 rout of the homestanding Timberwolves in the opener of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.

O'Neal missed practice Monday to attend the wake for his grandfather in South Carolina. Sirlester O'Neal, whose funeral is Tuesday, died Thursday.

John Black, the Lakers' Director of Public Relations, said O'Neal would be back in the Twin Cities on Tuesday morning in time for the team's shoot-around practice before Game 2.

"My grandfather died one day, and the next day my wife delivered my third son," O'Neal said. "It's been a tough weekend for me. When I arrived here (Saturday) night, the guys told me they were going to win for me. That's what they did."

The Lakers, who are trying to become just the second team in NBA history to win four straight titles, got off to an 11-19 start in the regular season before reverting to championship form, even though the slow start relegated them to begin a playoff series on the road for just the second time during their recent run.


Cheruiyot of Kenya wins Boston Marathon

BOSTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya raced to his first victory Monday in the 107th Boston Marathon in an unofficial time of 2:10:110.

Cheruiyot, 24, raced to the finish line in the Hopkinton-to-Boston run with a commanding lead over fellow countryman Benjamin Kimutai.

Meanwhile, Russian national record holder Svetlana Zakharova pulled away from the field to easily win the women's division.

Zakharova, 32, won her debut in the Hopkinton-to-Boston race in an unofficial time of 2:25:19.

Also, defending men's wheelchair champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa easily won his third consecutive Boston Marathon. Van Dyk, 29, was never seriously challenged in the 26-mile, 385-yard race from Hopkinton to Boston.

Christina Ripp of Illinois rolled to her first victory in the race in the women's wheelchair division.

Ripp, 22, second last year, pulled away from Californian Cheri Blauet heading down the final stretch to cross the finish line first.


Weathersby injured in shooting

CORVALLIS, Ore., April 21 (UPI) -- Dennis Weathersby, a star defensive back at Oregon State, was shot in the back Sunday afternoon in his hometown of Duarte, Calif.

An unidentified assailant shot Weathersby, who was considered on of the top cornerback prospects in the upcoming NFL draft, according to a statement released by Oregon State. The school added that Weathersby was listed in stable condition at a Los Angeles-area hospital as of Monday afternoon.

The school gave no other information on Weathersby's condition. It was reported that the injuries are not life-threatening, but that it could be up to eight weeks before he resumes any football-related activities.

The uncertainty about his condition could affect Weathersby's draft status, despite his impressive college credentials. Weathersby was a four-year starter at Oregon State and last year was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's best defensive back. He had five career interceptions.


Sosa better after being hit in head

PITTSBURGH, April 21 (UPI) -- Veteran Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa was doing well Monday after being hit in the head with a pitch Sunday afternoon.

Pittsburgh righthander Salomon Torres hit Sosa in the head in the fourth inning of the Pirates' 8-2 victory, cracking his batting helmet. Sosa walked off the field, assisted by Cubs' trainer Dave Tumbas, and was replaced in the lineup by Troy O'Leary.

"It was very frightening," said Cubs Manager Dusty Baker. "The sound was unbelievable. That was probably one of the best helmet cracks I've ever seen or heard. I'm surprised that he was even conscious."

"As you all saw, he was hit in the left side of the head," said Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas. "The ball cracked the helmet, and the result of the cracked helmet was two or three small cuts, one on the ear and one in the scalp where the sideburns are. Those were cleaned, and those are fine. He was examined at the ballpark by two of the Pirates' physicians, and he was then taken to Allegheny General Hospital for a CAT scan. The CAT scan came back clear, and I'm very comfortable with the results."

"It was a pitch that got away," Sosa stated. "He was trying to pitch me in, and I was leaning in. I don't think he has anything against me."

For his part, Torres was relieved that Sosa is apparently okay.

"He's like a brother to me, Torres said. "He's an idol in the Dominican. I've known this guy for a long time. I'm glad that he's okay."

The big question is will Sosa be back in the lineup Tuesday night when the Cubs host San Diego.

"It just depends," Sosa said. "I've got to go home and relax and see how I feel. See if I have a headache or something, and if that doesn't happen, then I'll be ready for Tuesday."


Suns, Celtics look to seize 2-0 leads

SAN ANTONIO, April 21 (UPI) -- The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics can put themselves in enviable positions when their first-round series resume Monday night.

Phoenix is coming off a stunning win over the top-seeded Spurs in San Antonio in Game One of their Western Conference series, while Boston upset the third-seeded Pacers in Indianapolis in their Eastern Conference series opener.

Also playing a Game Two on Monday are Sacramento and Utah. The Kings posted a 96-90 triumph in Game One.

The Suns posted the most exciting win of the opening weekend when they edged the Spurs, 96-95, on a running three-pointer by Stephon Marbury off the glass at the buzzer in overtime on Saturday.

That dramatic shot followed a banked-in three point shot by rookie Amare Stoudemire that tied the game with 8.4 seconds left in regulation.

Marbury's heroics were made possible when Tim Duncan missed a free throw and David Robinson tapped the rebound out to the Suns point guard, who raced upcourt and nailed the shot. The win was the fourth in five games for Phoenix against San Antonio this season.

Also, the Spurs will be without center Kevin Willis, who was suspended for Game Two after elbowing the Suns' Scott Williams in the series opener.

The Celtics got their series with the Pacers off to a good start, posting a 103-100 triumph on Saturday. Paul Pierce helped the Celtics erase a 13-point deficit with 7 1/2 minutes left, scoring 21 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Pierce also set a playoff record by making all 21 of his free-throw attempts.

Antoine Walker chipped in 22 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Williams 18 points for the Celtics, who split their four regular-season games with the Pacers.

Ron Artest, who guarded Pierce, scored 26 points before fouling out in the final minute, and Jermaine O'Neal added 24 points for the Pacers, who received just 11 points from their deeper bench.

In Sacramento, the Kings seized the lead in their series with the Jazz behind 27 points and 11 rebounds from Chris Webber, and a pair of clutch three-pointers by Peja Stojakovic in the final four minutes.

Karl Malone scored 25 points to pace the Jazz, but was outplayed by Webber for much of the contest. Greg Ostertag added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Utah.

Last season, the Kings beat the Jazz, 3-1, in their first-round series, but won by an average of less than four points.

All postseason series are best-of-seven.


Robinson out for Monday night; is honored

SAN ANTONIO, April 21 (UPI) -- San Antonio center David Robinson, in the twilight of his career, will not play against the Phoenix Suns Monday night in Game Two of their NBA playoff series.

Robinson has been sidelined with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. He is listed as day-to-day with the injury.

The 7-1 Robinson, who is retiring at season's end, scored 18 points Saturday when eighth-seeded Phoenix surprised the Spurs, 96-95, in Game One.

Robinson, who has endured back problems all season, averaged a career-low 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds in 64 games this season. San Antonio did go 60-22 this season, the best record in the NBA.

Malik Rose is expected to start at center in Robinson's place.

Robinson's absence leaves the Spurs shorthanded. Already, veteran backup Kevin Willis will sit out Monday's contest to serve a one-game suspension for committing a flagrant-2 foul by elbowing Phoenix center Scott Williams with 29.3 seconds left in the second quarter Saturday.

He also was named recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award, presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.


Garland named at Cleveland State

CLEVELAND, April 21 (UPI) -- Mike Garland has been named the successor to Rollie Massimino as the men's basketball coach at Cleveland State.

Garland spent the past seven years as an assistant under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, reportedly beat out former Clemson Coach Larry Shyatt, and becomes the seventh coach in Cleveland State history.

"I am extremely excited to have Mike Garland as our new head men's basketball coach," said Athletic Director Lee Reed. "His coaching skills, work ethic, and high level of success were well documented when I began my search, but it was his passion for teaching, his exceptional relationship-building skills, and his moral fiber that convinced me that he would be the perfect person to lead the CSU basketball program to the championship level that we all desire. Mike Garland is what Cleveland State University is all about: hard-working, resourceful, passionate, and committed to making Cleveland and Cleveland State a better place."

In his tenure with the Spartans, Garland helped coach MSU to six NCAA Tournaments, four Big Ten Championships, two Big Ten Tournament Championships, three Final Fours, and one National Championship. The Spartans started their run to the 2000 NCAA title with a pair of victories over the Vikings in Cleveland.

Included in his duties at MSU were scouting and game analysis, off-campus recruiting, and academics.

In addition, Garland was responsible for Michigan State's self-scouting and individual improvement. His instruction helped six Spartans to be selected in the last three NBA Drafts: Mateen Cleaves, Andre Hutson, Morris Peterson, Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson, and Marcus Taylor.

"There is a lot of work to be done," said Garland, 48. "I like to think hard work and Mike Garland go together. For sure, right away we've got to get some kids signed. I want kids to come in, give us an opportunity, take a chance on us. We're going to get you where you want to go."

Garland inherits a program that was 8-22 last season under the now-retired Massimino.


Nestor named at Elon College

ELON, N.C., April 21 (UPI) -- Long-time former Wake Forest assistant Ernie Nestor Monday was named the new men's basketball coach at Elon College.

He spent the last two winters as an assistant to Dave Odom at South Carolina, after being a member of Odom's staff at Wake Forest the previous eight seasons.

Nestor, 56, has been in college coaching since 1976, and will enter his 28th season when he directs the Phoenix this fall.

His total time at Wake Forest lasted 14 seasons over two separate terms (1979-1985, 1993-2001).

him a good fit for our program and our university. We look forward to our work together."

Prior to his second stint with Wake Forest, he served George Mason University as its head coach for five years (1988-1993), leading the Patriots to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1989. That squad won the Colonial Athletic Association title, and finished the year at 20-11. The 1990 squad also reached the 20-victory plateau.

Nestor inherits 10 returning lettermen, including three starters, from last season's 12-15 team, which finished 8-6 in the program's final Big South Conference schedule to snag a share of second place.

In men's basketball, Elon will be a member of the North Division of the Southern Conference along with Appalachian State, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, UNC-Greensboro, and Western Carolina. The College of Charleston, The Citadel, Davidson, Furman, Georgia Southern, and Wofford occupy the South Division.


More surgery for Nen

SAN FRANCISCO, April 21 (UPI) -- Veteran closer Robb Nen of the San Francisco Giants has undergone further surgery on his pitching shoulder, and his expected return has been delayed.

A club spokesman indicates that Nen underwent an arthroscopic procedure on Friday. In the 25-minute process, he has inflamed and irritated tissue cleaned up by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed surgery on Nen's labrum in November 2002.

Team trainer Stan Conte said he is not sure when Nen will return.

Nen was placed on 15-day disabled list on March 30 because of a strain in the shoulder the day before. It was the first time he had tossed a baseball since the initial surgery.

"We decided to have Dr. Yocum put a scope in his shoulder and fix anything he sees," Conte told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the procedure. "We think it is not going to be anything major. There is something going on in the back of his shoulder that we need to evaluate, and the only way we can do that is arthroscopy."

The veteran righthander said he feels like an outside since he has not contributed to the Giants' quick start.

"It is frustrating," Nen said. "It's exciting and I'm happy for them. It's a real team effort, but it's tough just to sit and watch."

The 6-5, 215-pounder was optimistic when asked about being able to pitch again this season.

"I hope so," he said. "We'll just play it by ear, get treatment, and see what happens."

Nen, 33, went 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 43 saves last season on the way to garnering All-Star honors for the fifth straight season. He ranks 11th all time with 314 saves, and has amassed 206 saves since joining the Giants in 1998.


Thomas new Western Illinois coach

MACOMB, Ill., April 21 (UPI) -- Derek Thomas, an assistant at Nevada-Las Vegas the last two seasons, was named basketball coach at Western Illinois on Monday.

Thomas replaces Jim Kerwin, who resigned last month after guiding the Leatherjackets to a 7-21 record, including a 3-11 mark in the Mid-Continent Conference.

For the past two seasons, Thomas served as the recruiting coordinator for the Runnin' Rebels under coach Charlie Spoonhour.

Thomas was an assistant at Illinois under former Coach Lon Kruger and also served as a scout for the Atlanta Hawks when Kruger was the head coach there. From 1995 to 1999, Thomas was an assistant at Saint Louis under Spoonhour.

In 11 seasons at Western Illinois, Kerwin was 135-174.

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