Ky. allowed to talk to Calipari

Hoyas' Summers to declare for draft

Griffin headlines All-America team

March 31, 2009|By From Sun news services

The University of Memphis gave Kentucky permission Monday to speak to John Calipari about the Wildcats' head coaching position, then made a final push to try to keep the coach.

Some of Memphis' key boosters met with Calipari on Monday. One booster expects Calipari to go to Kentucky, though the person, speaking to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, acknowledged the coach was torn between the two great opportunities.

The Wildcats had a short meeting at their practice gym Monday afternoon. Asked afterward whether they had a new coach, senior Jared Carter said, "I think so." Asked whether it was Calipari, Carter shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know."

Several other Kentucky players, including stars Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson, were escorted by university staffers and did not comment after leaving the Joe Craft Center.

Calipari met with Memphis players Monday morning.

"He told us he's going to keep us posted," Memphis freshman forward Wesley Witherspoon told WHBQ-TV in Memphis after Calipari met with the team Monday morning.

Kentucky fired Billy Gillispie on Friday, ready to move on after two frustrating seasons. It went right to work Monday, with two university staffers carrying large cardboard photos of Gillispie out of the practice center while media crews watched.

Kentucky spokesman DeWayne Peevy would not confirm or deny an ESPN report that Wildcats officials had already met with Calipari and were prepared to offer him the job. Citing unidentified sources, reported the offer was believed to be for eight years and about $35 million.

In its coaching search, Kentucky quickly targeted Calipari, who just finished his ninth season at Memphis and has a 137-14 record over the past four seasons. He guided Memphis to a national runner-up finish last season, and the Tigers (33-4) were ousted in the West Regional semifinal Thursday night.

NBA draft: : Georgetown junior forward DaJuan Summers (McDonogh) is skipping his senior season and declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft. Georgetown coach John Thompson III said Summers is "in the process of choosing an agent." Summers, 6 feet 8, 236 pounds, averaged 13.6 points and 4.1 rebounds this season for the Hoyas. ... Florida guard Nick Calathes has also decided to enter the draft but will keep open the possibility of returning to school next season. The sophomore, 6 feet 6, led the Gators in scoring this season, averaging 17.2 points.

All-Americans: : Blake Griffin, the sophomore forward from Oklahoma who led the nation in rebounding, was the only unanimous selection to the Associated Press' All-America team. Senior Tyler Hansbrough repeated as a first-team selection the day after his Tar Heels beat the Sooners, 72-60, to advance to the Final Four. Joining them on the team were sophomores DeJuan Blair of Pittsburgh and James Harden of Arizona State, and junior Stephen Curry of Davidson. Griffin averaged 21 points and 14.3 rebounds while shooting 63.5 percent from the field. Hansbrough is averaging 21.4 points and 8.2 rebounds. Blair averaged 15.6 points and 12.2 rebounds. Harden, the Pacific-10 Player of the Year, averaged 20.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Curry led the nation in scoring with 28.6 points and averaged 4.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Virginia:: Washington State coach Tony Bennett was hired as the Cavaliers' coach. Bennett replaces Dave Leitao, who resigned after four seasons. Bennett, 39, who posted a 68-30 record in three seasons with the Cougars, was the AP Coach of the Year in 2007.

ap all-america teams


* F Blake Griffin, Oklahoma, sophomore (71 first-place votes, 335 points)

* F Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina, senior (50, 304)

* F DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, sophomore (49, 294)

* G James Harden, Arizona State, sophomore (45, 290)

* G Stephen Curry, Davidson, junior (49, 288)


* C Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut, junior (19, 238)

* G Ty Lawson, North Carolina, junior (28, 232)

* F Luke Harangody, Notre Dame, junior (6, 135)

* G Jodie Meeks, Kentucky, junior (8, 117)

* G Jerel McNeal, Marquette, senior (7, 114)

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