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Archive for Sunday, March 24, 2002

Williams miffed by drug testing

March 24, 2002

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— The often-stodgy NCAA did its part to spoil Kansas University's victory celebration on Friday night.

Four Jayhawks  Drew Gooden, Keith Langford, Wayne Simien and Chris Zerbe  were whisked to drug testing labs at Kohl Arena about midnight Saturday, after the players met their responsibilities with the media following KU's 73-69 victory over Illinois.

The foursome didn't return to the team hotel until about 1:50 a.m. Saturday because all but Zerbe had problems, uh, providing urine samples after getting dehydrated in the game.

"It was a great, great night. When you've got to do a lot of crap like that, it's silly," KU coach Roy Williams said, indicating he'd thought the NCAA fixed the yearly dehydration problem by allowing players to undergo drug tests the day after games.

"Everybody at the hotel was happy, having a good time, eating the team meal. Those guys came back and said they'd been sitting in a room the whole time. I waited so they wouldn't have to eat alone."

KU freshman Keith Langford, who iced two key free throws with 2.8 seconds left to put away Illinois, said it was upsetting he couldn't celebrate at the hotel with his teammates.

"I was tired, ready to go home and enjoy the victory with the rest of my teammates," Langford said. "I used the restroom at halftime and was dehydrated after the game. It was just a nuisance. But it's NCAA rules and everybody has to abide by them."

Simien also was bummed by the drug testing.

"It really took away from the celebration of making it this far in the tournament," Simien said. "Us staying at the arena an extra hour and a half  it took away our glorious moment. When we got back the guys were already in their rooms. The food was cold. It drug the moment down.

"Unfortunately, it has to be that way. Guys are not thinking about peeing in a cup; they are thinking about the game, and unfortunately you get dehydrated. I didn't get to bed until 3 or 4. After a big game like that you are still excited. I got up about 10."

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Lee geared for today: Like Aaron Miles, KU freshman Michael Lee is a native of Portland, Ore., and knows some of the Ducks. KU will meet Oregon at 1:40 p.m. today for the NCAA Midwest Regional title.

"James Davis  I played with him in fourth or fifth grade. Marcus Kent  I played with him the summer of my senior year on an AAU team," Lee said. "I played against Freddie (Jones) in high school. I played against Luke Jackson when we were younger. Those guys play a similar style to ours. They like to run."

Lee, like Miles a graduate of Portland Jefferson High, was asked about the fluffy, moptop hairdo of Jackson, a 6-7 sophomore from Creswell, Ore.

"I guess it's his identity," Lee said. "He is a great player."

Lee said he grew up a fan of Duke, not Oregon.

"I didn't start to understand it until I was in eighth grade," he said of Oregon basketball. "Oregon State recruited me. They stopped when they signed another guard. U of O wanted a package deal with me and Aaron, but they wanted me to red-shirt. I took an official visit to Oregon. Coach (Ernie) Kent was pretty persistent. It was a good visit."

Interestingly, the AAU coach of Miles and Lee recently called Lee with a prediction: "Troy Berry called me a week and a half ago and said we'd play Oregon in this game," Lee said. "It'll be a fun game. They really like to get up and down."

Lee was a popular interview Saturday, asked a lot about buddy Miles.

"He's a clown," Lee said of his roommate. "If I'm sleeping he'll turn on the lights and try to wake me up. In high school I was the tight end. He was the quarterback. Passing, Aaron was good for 15, 20 yards. Past that he couldn't throw the ball. The farthest routes I ran were five yards, so he threw to me a lot."

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Tough matchup: KU senior Jeff Carey on today's game, which matches explosive Oregon and KU. "I've not been able to see them play much this year. Whether they weren't on TV much or I wasn't watching, I didn't see many games. I'd say run-and-gun tempo is more to our liking. It's a better game for us than a slow tempo."

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Expectations: Collison was asked about Jayhawk fans "expecting" the team reach the Final Four today.

"People feel like just because it says 'Kansas' on our chest we should be in the Final Four and win the national championship. They don't realize what goes into it. But we love our fans and the support they give us," he said. "We do have the best fans."

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Tough assignment: Simien, KU's 6-9, 250-pound freshman forward, may guard 7-2, 300-pound Chris Christoffersen today.

"I've gone against my share of 7-footers in David Harrison (Colorado) and Borchardt (Curtis, Stanford)," Simien said. "I think we match up pretty well. He's a good, big, physical player, but I think we have proven we can play good basketball, too."

Nick Collison also will be guarding the U of O big man.

"I don't think we've played anybody that size, at that height, and being a big kid, a 300-pounder," the 6-9, 250-pound Collison said. "The things we have to do is take advantage of what we do and move our feet and don't get caught trying to lean on him or have him lean on you."

Collison is still bothered by his "loose" shoulder, which provides occasional pain. He will be tested after the season, but it's expected no surgery will be necessary to correct the problem that has occasionally flared dating back to high school

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Boobirds: Kirk Hinrich on hearing boos from Wisconsin fans, who rooted for Illinois on Friday. "When we ran out yesterday there were a lot of boos and it kind of gets you pumped up. It's like we are public enemy No. 1 out here."

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Hot assistant: KU assistant Neil Dougherty has been offered the head coaching post at TCU, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Dougherty, who has been at KU seven years, wouldn't comment on the reports Saturday.

Sources in Texas believe Dougherty could be introduced as TCU coach as early as Monday. Some other schools with openings, however, also may be interested in the 40-year-old Dougherty.

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Team's arrival: KU's team charter flight is expected to land at 7 tonight at Topeka's Forbes Field. If KU beats Oregon, a celebration will be held at 8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. In case of bad weather, the celebration will be held at Allen Fieldhouse. Highlights would be displayed on KU's Memorial Stadium video board as fans wait for the team to arrive from 7 to 8 p.m.

KU has been allotted 4,500 tickets for the Final Four. All tickets are accounted for.

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Bohl's dad dies: Kansas athletic director Al Bohl's father, Harry Bohl, died on Saturday morning at the age of 78. Harry Bohl, a tank driver in World War II, suffered a heart attack Saturday in his hometown of Vermillion, Ohio. Al Bohl was planning to stay for today's game against Oregon, then return to Ohio. Bohl's daughter, Heidi, is a graduate student at the University of Oregon.

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Jeff Boschee on Oregon perimeter players Luke Ridnour, Fred Jones and Luke Jackson: "They're a talented group of kids. I like the way they play and it is going to be a tough matchup for us tomorrow. Ridnour is an exciting play-making guard, and Luke Jackson has very good offensive abilities. I've seen Frederick Jones on SportsCenter. He's a tremendous athlete who can put the ball in from outside.

"I expect it to be an up-tempo game. Oregon is scoring around the same as we do, giving up as much as we do."

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