Wildcats claw ranked Terps and Gators
NCAA Men's Basketball
Anyone who still thinks college basketball is predictable hasn't heard
the results of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic over the weekend.
Arizona, ravaged by the exodus of several top players to the NBA, wasn't
given much of a chance to have a successful season in 2001-02 by college
basketball experts. But the unranked Wildcats went out and stunned both
Maryland, ranked preseason No. 2, and No. 6-ranked Florida to take home
the season-opening tournament title.
The event's championship game, held at Madison Square Garden, was supposed
to be a showcase for Maryland and Florida to gauge how good they really
are this year. But Arizona spoiled their party because of the strong play
of point guard Jason Gardner, who led the Wildcats to a 71-67 victory over
Maryland on Thursday. Gardner scored 23 in that contest and then repeated
the feat in a 75-71 win over Florida.
While Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski (pronounced Shu-shef-skee, for
those who might be wondering) is looking to add another championship trophy
to his collection this season, one thing he won't ever have to look for
again is a job.
On Wednesday, Coach K, as he is affectionately called, agreed to a contract
that will keep him coaching the Blue Devils through 2011. But the most
eye-opening part of the deal is that it's open-ended, meaning Krzyzewski
can coach at Duke beyond 2011.
Krzyzewski has established his place in the annals of college basketball
as one of the greatest coaches of all time, winning three national championships
and six Atlantic Coast Conference titles.
His teams have walked off the court victorious 533 times since he began
coaching at tradition-rich Duke in 1981. And don't think Duke officials
"We think he is the best coach in America and are delighted he is committing
to remain at Duke until he decides to retire," Duke athletic director Joe
Alleva told ESPN.com.
Just to sweeten the deal, Krzyzewski was given the title "special assistant
to the president" and said he feels "well-compensated" by the money his
new contract will pay him, but would not discuss specific details.
Dajuan in a million
Boy wonder Dajuan Wagner's freshman season at Memphis got off to a shaky
start on Monday — if you consider 18 points and four assists shaky,
Wagner came to the Tigers as one of the most heralded high school players
in recent years. The 18-year-old phenom is expected not only to run away
with Freshman of the Year honors but possibly contend for the Player of
the Year award by season's end.
The No. 12 Tigers took on overmatched Wofford in the inaugural Guardians
Classic in Memphis on Monday, winning 88-61. Wagner, who is expected to
leave for the NBA after this season, clanged his first five shot attempts
before scoring on an easy layup midway through the first half.
For those of you interested in seeing Wagner in person, the Tigers face
our Cougars on Jan. 26 at Hofheinz Pavilion.