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In Sports from United Press International

Lenny Wilkens out in Toronto

TORONTO, April 17 (UPI) -- After encountering more injuries than any team in NBA history, the Toronto Raptors and Coach Lenny Wilkens have decided to part company.

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Neither party would say if he was fired or resigned.

"I want to thank Lenny for his many contributions," said General Manager Glen Grunwald. "He was the right man at the right time three years ago when he brought stability, dignity, and leadership to our coaching position. Since then, Lenny has always represented the Raptors and the city of Toronto in a first-class manner in good times and in difficult times. You won't find a man of greater character than Lenny Wilkens."

Wilkens, the NBA's career leader in wins and losses with a record of 1,292-1,114, had little chance to succeed this past season with a team that missed a total of 519 manpower games because of injuries, easily shattering the league record of 480.

Even Grunwald admitted as much on Thursday, one day after the team concluded a 24-58 season with an eight-game losing streak.

"In our case, injuries were not an excuse, they were a reality that no team could expect to overcome," Grunwald said. "But in discussions with Lenny about the future direction of the team, it became apparent to both of us that parting company would best serve his interests as well as those of the organization."

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On average, the Raptors missed six players from their 15-man roster every game, and never once had the full complement of 12 players available for every game. The Raptors' star player, Vince Carter, missed 39 games, and forward Antonio Davis missed 29 games.

"If it wasn't for injuries this season, we would have continued to have success," Wilkens said. "But I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Toronto, and am very much appreciate of the support I've received from our fans, who are the most outstanding in the NBA. Their support of us through the season with all the injuries was remarkable."

Wilkens, 65, a Hall of Famer as a player and coach, became the first to coach 30 years in the NBA this season, but it turned out to be his worst as a coach, with the Raptors' 24 wins eclipsing the 28-54 mark he had with the Atlanta Hawks in 1999-2000.

After being fired by Atlanta, Wilkens was named coach of the Raptors in June 2000. He guided them to a franchise-best 47-35 record and their first-ever playoff series victory in his first season.

"I'm proud to have been the head coach here during a time when the organization jumped from being an expansion franchise to being a legitimate contender," Wilkens said.

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In 2001-02, Wilkens overcame the loss of Carter, and guided the Raptors to 12 wins in their last 14 games and an improbable playoff berth with a 42-40 record. The rash of injuries was too much to overcome this time.

"I would say it's probably 98 percent as to the reason why we struggled," Wilkens said. "When you don't have the people you need to practice and play in the games, you're going to sustain more than your share of losses."

Wilkens had a 113-133 record in his three years with the Raptors. He has a year left on his contract, which will be honored by the team.

No timetable has been set in the search for a coach. The future of the staff of assistants Dick Helms, Craig Neal, Walter Russell, and Jay Triano will be determined by the new coach.

Wilkens holds the distinction of having participated in more games (3,641) than anyone else in league history, counting the playoffs and All-Star games. During his past 16 seasons, he guided his club to 13 playoff berths.

He coached the Seattle SuperSonics to the NBA title in 1979, and also coached for Portland and Cleveland.

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Wilkens was elected to the Hall of Fame as a player in 1988-89, and as a coach in 1997-98.


McGrady wins NBA scoring title

NEW YORK, April 17 (UPI) -- Tracy McGrady of Orlando claimed his first NBA scoring title Wednesday night in historic fashion.

The Magic' superstar swingman became the first player to average better than 32 points per game in 10 years. He also became the youngest player to win a scoring title in 29 years.

McGrady averaged 32.1 points per game as he dethroned two-time defending champion Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers.

McGrady's average is the highest since the 1992-93 season, when Michael Jordan scored at a 32.6 clip for Chicago. He easily outdistanced Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, who averaged 30.0 points.

At 23 years, 11 months, McGrady is the youngest scoring champion since Buffalo's Bob McAdoo, who was 22 years, 6 months when he won the first of three straight scoring titles in 1974. McGrady also is the first player who entered the NBA directly from high school to win a scoring title.

"It's really cool, a big accomplishment for myself," said McGrady, who never has won a playoff series. "I can't complain at all with where I'm at today, but I'm not satisfied with just this."

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McGrady's season featured 50 games of 30 or more, including an astounding 14 in a row from March 5-April 1. He also had 11 40-point games, second to Bryant's 20.

Detroit Pistons forward Ben Wallace finished the season on the injured list, but defended his rebounding title as he averaged 15.4 per game, two per game more than his closest competitor, Kevin Garnett of Minnesota.

Wallace was dethroned as blocks champion by Atlanta center Theo Ratliff, who reclaimed the crown he won in the 2000-01 season.

Last season, Ratliff played just three games because of an injured hip. This season, he averaged 3.23 blocks over 81 games to edge Wallace, who averaged 3.15 blocks.

New Jersey guard Jason Kidd led the league in assists for the fourth time in five years, averaging 8.9 per game to beat out Memphis guard Jason Williams.

While with Phoenix, Kidd led the NBA in assists from 1999-2001. He dethroned Los Angeles Clippers guard Andre Miller, who led last season while with Cleveland.

Second-year center Eddy Curry of the Chicago Bulls ended the five-year reign of Los Angeles Lakers superstar center Shaquille O'Neal as the league's top shooter.

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Known as "Baby Shaq" during his high school days in Illinois, Curry shot 58.5 percent (335-of-573) from the field to edge O'Neal, who shot 57.4 percent. Only 13 players made more than half their shots.

New York Knicks guard Allan Houston won the free-throw shooting crown at 91.9 percent (363-of-395). It was the first title for Houston, who edged Seattle guard Ray Allen (91.6 percent).

San Antonio Spurs swingman Bruce Bowen was the NBA's top shooter from three-point range at 44.1 percent (101-of-229). He beat out Milwaukee guard Michael Redd, who shot 43.7 percent.

Iverson did lead the NBA in steals for a record third straight season, averaging 2.74 per game to easily beat Phoenix forward Shawn Marion (2.28). Jordan and Alvin Robertson also won three steals titles, but not consecutively.


WNBA labor talks resume

NEW YORK, April 17 (UPI) -- The WNBA and its union plan resumed contract talks Thursday.

The move came one day before a deadline to get a new collective bargaining agreement done or possibly wipe out the 2003 season.

The two sides met briefly on Monday after the league postponed its player draft. A league official gave no indication if the sides are close to a deal.

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"I don't have a prediction," said WNBA spokeswoman Traci Cook.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said last week that the WNBA and its union have until Friday to iron out their differences. If not, the upcoming season will be canceled.

Entering its seventh season, the WNBA saw four of its 16 teams fall by the wayside. Two teams were relocated to San Antonio and Connecticut, and Stern would like to see the league, which has been subsidized by the NBA, eventually become self-sufficient.

Stern said he has been given authorization from the owners on a budget that allows a $12 million subsidy for this year.

The commissioner said the subsidy allows for a cost of living increase for WNBA players. The union does not think the increase is sufficient, and said as much in fruitless negotiation sessions two weeks ago in Chicago.

The bargaining agreement expired on Sept. 15, and negotiations have stalled.

The WNBA rookie minimum salary is $30,000, and the veterans' minimum is $40,000 for the four-month season that begins with training camp in late April.

The majority of the players compete in other leagues outside the United States during the offseason.


Senators, Devils go for clinchers

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OTTAWA, April 17 (UPI) -- The Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils can become the first Eastern Conference teams to advance in the NHL playoffs Thursday.

After losing the series opener, the top-seeded Senators have won three straight, and can close out the New York Islanders with a home-ice win Thursday in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

The Devils won the first three games of their best-of-seven series against the Boston Bruins before losing on Tuesday, but, like the Senators, can clinch their East quarterfinal series at home Thursday night.

The top-seeded Dallas Stars needed to beat Edmonton Tuesday to even their Western Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece. The Stars will host the Oilers in the only West series scheduled on Thursday.

The Senators won the Presidents' Trophy with 113 points, and have allowed just three goals in the last three games after losing the series opener to the Islanders, 3-0.

Mike Fisher scored just 28 seconds into the game, and defenseman Anton Volchenkov scored 3:44 later in the Senators' 3-1 win at New York on Wednesday.

Marian Hossa added a goal and an assist to help Ottawa close in on its second straight trip to the conference semifinals.

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Islanders captain Michael Peca has not scored in his last 24 games, dating back to a two-goal effort against Boston on Feb. 23, but believes a trip to Ottawa less than 24 hours after the loss in Game Four will be beneficial for his team.

"I think there is less pressure playing on the road," Peca said. "I don't remember losing an elimination game on the road."

If the Islanders win Thursday, the teams would have two days off before the series returns to Long Island for Game Six Sunday afternoon.

New Jersey's Martin Brodeur stopped 82 of 85 shots in the first three games of the series, but gave up five goals on 24 shots before exiting early in the third period as the Bruins averted a sweep with a 5-1 victory on Tuesday.

It was New Jersey's worst playoff loss since a 5-0 loss to Colorado in Game One of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. Brodeur has a history of rebounding from shaky playoff performances.

Following that loss to Colorado, he made 19 saves in a 2-1 Game Two win. After a 4-3 loss in Game Four of the 1997 Eastern Conference quarterfinals against Montreal, he made 24 saves in a shutout of the Canadiens.

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Bruins captain Joe Thornton had been held to two assists in the first three games, but scored his first goal of the series with 13 seconds left in the first period on Tuesday. He has been shadowed by John Madden and Jay Pandolfo, two of the Devils' top checking forwards.

If the Bruins win Thursday, Game Six is scheduled for Saturday at Boston.


van Breda Kolff fired by St. Bonaventure

BUFFALO, N.Y., April 17 (UPI) -- St. Bonaventure has fired men's basketball coach Jan van Breda Kolff who want along with a team decision not to play the school's final two this past season.

The Bonnies forfeited six men's basketball games for using an ineligible player, and further embarrassed itself by not playing the two games in question.

The school officially stated it has "severed ties" with van Breda Kolff, and accepted the resignation of Athletic Director Gothard Lane and Assistant Coach Kort Wickenheiser. Interim athletic director Paul Grys, junior guard Marques Green, and faculty members are among those on the search committee for a new coach.

St. Bonaventure was forced to forfeit six games, and was not permitted to play in the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament after it was revealed that junior forward-center Jamil Terrell did not meet NCAA eligibility requirements.

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The school declared Terrell ineligible on Feb. 26 after determining he did not meet eligibility guidelines as they relate to junior college transfers.

In response to the ruling, players decided not to play the final two regular-season contests against Massachusetts and Dayton.

On March 9, St. Bonaventure President Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, Kort's father, resigned.

Earlier this month, conference presidents assured St. Bonaventure that the school will remain a league member.


Gardner wins Pomeroy Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., April 17 (UPI) -- Guard Jason Gardner of Arizona has been named winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which is given annually to the nation's best senior under six feet.

The award is presented by the Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

The 5-10 Gardner, the highest-scoring guard in school history, averaged 14.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game this season. He joins Sean Elliott (1989) and Jason Terry (1999) as the only Arizona players to earn a postseason honor.

"It's a great honor to be named player of the year, especially from the Hall of Fame," Gardner said. "It's nice to be included on this list with so many other great players from the past."

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Gardner, who started 135 of 136 games at Arizona, finished his career with 1,984 points, an average of 14.6 per contest, and also amassed 462 rebounds, 622 assists, and 225 steals.

He led Arizona to a 107-29 record (.786), and is the Wildcats' all-time leader in games played, games started, minutes played (4,825), three-point field goals made (318), and three-point field goals attempted (875).

In his four-year career, Gardner led Arizona to the 2001 national championship game, two Pac-10 Conference regular season championships, and one Pac-10 tournament title. He is one of only four Pac-10 players to record 1,500 points, 500 assists, and 200 steals.

The Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, established in 1969, is named after the daughter-in-law of James Naismith.


Ravens sign Frank Sanders

OWINGS MILLS, Md., April 17 (UPI) -- The Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran receiver Frank Sanders to a multi-year contract.

Sanders caught 493 passes in eight years with the Arizona Cardinals.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Ravens were seeking an effective complement to Travis Taylor after deciding not to re-sign possession receiver Brandon Stokley, who had just 24 catches last year.

"We needed a veteran presence at receiver," General Manager Ozzie Newsome told the Baltimore Sun. "We now have an experienced guy who can provide some leadership and can teach our guys what it takes to work on this level, and what it takes to prepare week to week."

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Sanders, 30, missed four games because of injuries last season, and had career-lows in receptions (34) and receiving yards (400).

He caught more than 50 passes in each of his first six seasons, including a total of 164 receptions for 2,162 yards in 1997 and '98.

In 123 games with Arizona, Sanders caught 493 passes for 6,579 yards and 24 touchdowns.

He is the latest offensive player to leave the Cardinals, following quarterback Jake Plummer and receivers David Boston and MarTay Jenkins.


Rangers put Glanville on DL

ARLINGTON, Texas, April 17 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers Thursday placed veteran outfielder Doug Glanville on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a strained right hamstring.

They also activated outfielder Kevin Mench.

Glanville suffered the injury while running to first base in the seventh inning of Monday's game. An MRI done on Wednesday showed that the severity of the strain will require more than a few days of rehabilitation.

Glanville is batting just .200 with two homers and two RBI in 13 games this season.

Mench had been on the DL after straining his right oblique muscle during batting practice on March 20.

Mench, the Rangers' Rookie of the Year in 2002, batted .091 during a three-game rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League, collecting just one hit in 11 at-bats.

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Rangers put Glanville on DL

ARLINGTON, Texas, April 17 (UPI) -- The Texas Rangers Thursday placed veteran outfielder Doug Glanville on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a strained right hamstring.

They also activated outfielder Kevin Mench.

Glanville suffered the injury while running to first base in the seventh inning of Monday's game. An MRI done on Wednesday showed that the severity of the strain will require more than a few days of rehabilitation.

Glanville is batting just .200 with two homers and two RBI in 13 games this season.

Mench had been on the DL after straining his right oblique muscle during batting practice on March 20.

Mench, the Rangers' Rookie of the Year in 2002, batted .091 during a three-game rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League, collecting just one hit in 11 at-bats.


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