Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Georgia's plight saddens Smith, UK


Wildcats coach calls penalty 'tragic'

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEXINGTON - Tubby Smith used to coach at Georgia, and most of his Kentucky players know the Bulldogs fairly well. The Wildcats seemed saddened Tuesday by news of Georgia's decision to cancel its postseason.

"It's tragic," said Smith, who coached the Bulldogs for two seasons before taking the UK job in 1997. "It's a sad time for the Georgia folks. My heart goes out to those kids, whose dream is to play in the NCAA Tournament."

Georgia president Michael Adams and athletic director Vince Dooley suspended coach Jim Harrick and ended the team's season Monday because of an NCAA investigation into its program.

"I've got a few friends there, and I still think they should have gotten an opportunity to play," UK's Keith Bogans said. "To take it out on the players, I don't think that's right."

Said Chuck Hayes: "It ain't hurting nobody but the players. It's sad it had to come to that."

PAPERWORK SNAG: Bogans did not make the final ballot for the John R. Wooden Award, announced Tuesday, because UK didn't certify that he met the award's academic requirements.

"It's kinda disappointing, but it's nothing to cry about," Bogans said.

To be eligible, a player must maintain a 2.0 GPA and be making progress toward a degree, but Wooden Award officials said they never received a letter certifying Bogans. The deadline was Feb. 21.

UK publicist Brooks Downing said he could not comment because of a federal statute prohibiting schools from regularly divulging students' academic information.

Wooden Award officials say players are dropped from the final ballot for this reason every year. Other top candidates scratched this year include Georgia's Jarvis Hayes, Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony and Saint Joseph's Jameer Nelson.

AZUBUIKE'S DAD INDICTED: The father of freshman Kelenna Azubuike misrepresented himself to investors to get them to fund business ventures, a federal grand jury indictment alleges. The 18-count indictment charges Kenneth Sunday Azubuike, 56, with interstate transportation of stolen property, wire fraud, bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud.

The indictment, rendered under seal Feb. 26, was ordered unsealed by a federal judge after Azubuike received a summons to appear for an arraignment Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla.




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