Enquirer staff, wire reports
Preseason accolades continue to roll in for Xavier's David West. The John Wooden and James Naismith award nominee found out Friday that he was named Basketball Times preseason Player of the Year. Not that he's paying attention or anything.
"I haven't checked it out yet," West said. "Oh, well. It's not a big deal. It doesn't mean anything."
He had the same reaction to the most recent Playboy issue that included him on its 10-man All-America team.
That is how West, a two-time Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year, has responded to the publicity surrounding him and the upcoming season: It doesn't matter unless he proves he is worthy during the season.
Of course, the reason West is receiving all the attention is because he returned to Xavier for his senior season after averaging 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game last season. He earned a spot on the Associated Press All-America second team as a junior.
"I think he is one of the better players in the country," Xavier coach Thad Matta said. "That's good for our program, and it's good for David."
Also selected to Basketball Times' All-America team: Nick Collison, Kansas; Kirk Hinrich, Kansas; Mike Sweetney, Georgetown; Dwyane Wade, Marquette.
Former Wolverines coach Steve Fisher again denied knowing anything about payments made to his former players by a booster.
Michigan imposed stiff sanctions on its basketball program Thursday, banning it from postseason play in 2003 and forfeiting victories from six seasons, including the 1992 and 1993 Final Fours, after an investigation revealed that retired auto worker Ed Martin paid a total of $616,000 to four players during the 1990s.
Fisher, now the coach at San Diego State, issued a statement Friday, his first public comments about the scandal since the punishment was handed down.
"I want to emphatically state once again that I had no knowledge of, or any involvement in, the exchange of money between any of our players and Ed Martin," Fisher said. "I am saddened, disappointed and angered by the events that have hurt so many people."
Daren Tielsch, a projected starter at forward, has withdrawn from the university.
Tielsch, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, averaged just 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds for the Nittany Lions last season. But his strength and versatility, allowing him to play both inside and outside, made him one of the players Penn State expected big things from this year.
In the team's Nov.2 preseason scrimmage, Tielsch led all scorers with 12 points, adding five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
But Tielsch didn't play in Wednesday's exhibition game against the EA Sports All-Stars, an 86-77 loss. Coach Jerry Dunn said Tielsch didn't attend the game because of a personal problem.
Junior guard Mike Sherrod, who refused to leave the scene of a brawl at the Scarlet Knights' college football game against Buffalo, has been ordered to perform 20 hours of community service. The basketball team also handed out an unspecified punishment to Sherrod.
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