Sunday, May 20, 2001

UC boots center Little


Saturday arrest was last straw

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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        Donald Little ran out of second chances. University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins dismissed the Bearcats center from the team Saturday for conduct detrimental to the basketball program.

        The Boone County Sheriff's Department confirmed to the Enquirer on Saturday night that Little was arrested at 2:18a.m. Saturday for speeding in a work zone, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, driving under a suspended license and possession of marijuana. This happened on I-75, two-tenths of a mile north of Florence, Ky.

        Little was released from the Boone County Detention Center Saturday morning.

        The 6-foot-11 sophomore, UC's leading rebounder and shot blocker last season, will finish the academic quarter on grant-in-aid “but will not be allowed to take part in any athletic department activities,” according to a statement released by the university.

        “The release says it all; that's all I'm going to say about it,” UC athletic director Bob Goin said Saturday. “He's done.”

        Huggins declined comment Saturday night.

        All this follows a May 3 incident at In The Woods Tavern in which Little allegedly kicked a female bartender in the side, according to a report filed with police. (May 5 story) Charges have not been filed.

        Also, according to Cincinnati police records, Little was arrested Sept. 20, 2000, for driving with no license plate, no license, and driving while his license was under suspension for an unknown previous traffic offense.

        Little, from Augusta, Ga., started 13 of 35 games last season and averaged 6.0 points and 5.6 rebounds. He totaled 68 blocked shots, the fourth-best single-season total in school history.

        Little did not return a phone message Saturday.

        He redshirted his first season at UC after having surgery on his left elbow and played a limited role (8.7 minutes a game) during the 1999-2000 season, backing up national player of the year Kenyon Martin.

        The coaching staff was hoping for a breakout season from Little during his sophomore year, and it was a promising sign when he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds over the first three games, including an 18-point, 14-rebound effort against Marshall. But Little scored in double figures in only two more games. B.J. Grove started at center 18 of the last 21 games.

        The Bearcats were outrebounded for the first time in Huggins' 12 years as coach.

        UC's front line will be a question mark again next season and will rely on some newcomers.

        Grove, who will be a junior, will try to keep his starting center job. The 6-11 Grove started 21 times last season and averaged 4.2 points and 3.8 rebounds.

        Competing for playing time at center also will be 6-10 Derek Hollman, a recruit from Panola College in Carthage, Texas; returning starting power forward Jamaal Davis, and incoming freshman Jason Maxiell, a 6-7 power forward from Carrollton, Texas. Maxiell, who has not secured eligibility yet, was rated as the No.65 senior — and No.14 power forward — nationally by ESPN.com.

        The Bearcats also have two scholarships available and could continue recruiting efforts to land another big man.

        UC, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by Stanford, appeared a shoe-in for the preseason Top 25 next fall.

        But in addition to Little not returning, sophomore point guard Kenny Satterfield declared himself eligible for the NBA draft, and junior forward Antwan Jones is not expected back. That means three of the top seven scorers and the top two rebounders (Little and Satterfield) are gone.

        Howard Wilkinson contributed to this report.

       



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