NCAA notebook

Uncertain on ‘Truck’ wheel

Huggins not sure if Bryant will play

Associated Press / March 30, 2010

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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins says he doesn’t know yet whether point guard Darryl “Truck’’ Bryant will be available for the Final Four.

Bryant broke his right foot in practice last Tuesday and has sat out the Mountaineers’ last two games in the NCAA Tournament. Bryant said yesterday on Twitter that he was fitted for a special shoe in the hopes he could return to the court.

Huggins says he has no idea what will happen until he sees Bryant at practice today. West Virginia (31-6) plays Duke (33-5) Saturday night in Indianapolis.

While the Blue Devils were beating Baylor Sunday in the South Regional final, Bryant was in Durham, N.C., with Randy Meador, WVU’s coordinator of athletic training services, to get fitted for a specially designed shoe.

Meador declined to name the specialist, but said, “It’s not like we were at Duke.’’

The guard is optimistic about the shoe, which would shift weight away from his fractured fifth metatarsal. He went as far as predicting he could play “like nothing happened’’ after watching West Virginia beat Kentucky in the East Regional final.

All-Americans named
Having a couple of freshmen on the Associated Press’ All-America team is nothing new. This year, however, they are from the same school.

Kentucky’s John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins were on the team, which was announced yesterday. Joining them were Ohio State junior Evan Turner, who received all but one first-team vote, Syracuse junior Wes Johnson, and Villanova senior Scottie Reynolds.

“This means a lot to both of us. I’m surprised and glad we made it,’’ said the 6-foot-4-inch Wall, who averaged 16.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists after arriving as one of the most highly touted high school recruits. “We had to learn a lot as freshmen and we were able to help our teammates along the way.’’

The 6-11 Cousins became one of the country’s top big men and was the only player selected to the team who averaged a double-double with 15.3 points and 10.1 rebounds.

“It’s important to me but it wasn’t something I was expecting,’’ Cousins said. “This means a lot because all we really did was try to come in and help our teammates.’’

They helped the Wildcats reach No. 1 for one week in a season they were no lower than fifth in any poll.

The second team was James Anderson of Oklahoma State, Sherron Collins of Kansas, Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, Jon Scheyer of Duke, and Da’Sean Butler of West Virginia.

The third team was Greg Monroe of Georgetown, Cole Aldrich of Kansas, Damion James of Texas, Luke Harangody of Notre Dame, and Darington Hobson of New Mexico.

Aldrich to NBA
Aldrich, fighting back tears, said he’ll skip his senior year at Kansas and head for the NBA. The 6-11 center, who averaged almost a double-double for the Big 12 champions, is projected by most experts as a high first-round pick. “The last three years have been pretty special,’’ he said. Blessed with a wingspan greater than most men his height, Aldrich averaged 11.3 points and 9.8 rebounds for the Jayhawks, who were the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before they were upset by Northern Iowa. He also set a team record with 125 blocks. The Jayhawks are still waiting for a decision by freshman swingman Xavier Henry, second on the team in scoring. “We’ve known this was going to happen since last year,’’ said coach Bill Self. “To be real candid with everybody, I would strongly discourage [Aldrich] from coming back. I think he paid his dues here and I do think it is time for him to move forward into another chapter. He has made a lot of sacrifices — his family has — to come back in a time when he didn’t have to. We’re all very proud of him.’’ . . . Manny Harris is skipping his senior season at Michigan to enter the NBA draft. The guard from Detroit averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game last season and was a third team All-Big Ten player for a team that fell short of high expectations . . . Sophomore forward Patrick Jackson is leaving the Rutgers program after two seasons.

Oregon after Izzo?
Oregon television station KEZI reported that University of Oregon officials are ready to offer Michigan State’s Tom Izzo the richest coaching contract in college basketball history, but Izzo said he hasn’t been contacted and that “I’m happy with the job I have.’’ Izzo is earning more than $3 million per season at Michigan State and is under contract through 2016. The Spartans are on their way to their second straight Final Four and sixth in 12 years after Sunday’s 70-69 victory over Tennessee in the Midwest Regional final . . . In becoming the coach at Seton Hall, Kevin Willard has taken on two jobs. The first is to guide the Pirates to the next level in the Big East and land an NCAA Tournament berth. The second might be even more important: Willard must restore peace to the program after a number of controversies led to the firing of Bobby Gonzalez. The 34-year-old Willard was officially announced as Seton Hall’s coach, a little less than two weeks after Gonzalez was dismissed. Willard spent the past three years at Iona, rebuilding a program that won just two games in 2006-07. His team won 12 games in his first season and the 21 wins this past season earned him Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coach of the year honors . . . Iowa introduced 50-year-old Fran McCaffery as its coach, ending a 13-day search to replace the fired Todd Lickliter after one of the most disastrous seasons in the history of the once-proud program. McCaffery comes to Iowa after five seasons at Siena, where his teams went 112-51 and made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances . . . Central Florida has hired Donnie Jones as its coach. He went 55-41 in three seasons at Marshall, including a 24-10 mark this season . . . Joey Rodriguez scored 14 straight points during a decisive second-half surge to lead Virginia Commonwealth past Saint Louis, 68-56, in the first game of the championship series of the College Basketball Invitational in Richmond, Va. . . . A report in Boston University’s student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, said Terriers star Corey Lowe’s mysterious departure from the team during the CBI tournament was a dismissal by coach Patrick Chambers because of the player’s dealings with an agent.