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Kittles Signs Deal With Nets; Prep Star Joins Trail Blazers

September 05, 1996

Villanova guard Kerry Kittles, the eighth pick in last June's NBA draft, signed a $4.5-million, three-year contract with the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday.

"We are extremely pleased to get Kerry signed," Net Coach John Calipari said. "He is a very talented player and a fine individual and we look forward to his development as a New Jersey Net."

The career scoring leader at Villanova with 2,243 points, Kittles is expected to play shooting guard and point guard.

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The Portland Trail Blazers signed center Jermaine O'Neal, the 17th player selected in the draft, to a $2.38-million, three-year contract.

O'Neal, 17, who averaged 22.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.2 blocked shots last season at Eau Claire High in Columbia, S.C., declared for the NBA draft after failing to get a qualifying score on college entrance exams.

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In other NBA signings, the New York Knicks re-signed swingman Herb Williams; the Orlando Magic signed veteran forward LeRon Ellis, a former Clipper; the Washington Bullets signed free agent forward Ashraf Amaya.

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Natalie Williams, an All-American in basketball and volleyball at UCLA, has signed with the Portland Power of the new American Basketball League.

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Champions of 30 athletic conferences will automatically qualify for next year's NCAA basketball tournament, the NCAA announced.

The conferences are the Pacific 10, Big West, West Coast, Western Athletic, America East (formerly the North Atlantic), Atlantic Coast, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big 12, Big Sky, Big South, Big Ten, Colonial Athletic Assn., Conference USA, Ivy Group, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Mid-America Athletic, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Mid-Continent, Midwestern Collegiate, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southeastern, Southern, Southland, Southwestern Athletic, Sun Belt and Trans America Athletic.

Jurisprudence

Former NFL quarterback Art Schlichter, released from prison last month after serving two years on bank fraud charges, pleaded not guilty to two counts of forgery and one count of theft in an Indianapolis court.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1. He faces up to 19 years in prison if convicted.

Schlichter allegedly forged a pair of $25,000 checks stolen from his employer to pay off gambling debts.

New York Yankee pitcher Dwight Gooden and former Met infielder Howard Johnson will pay back taxes for failing to report fees they got for signing autographs, Gooden's attorney said.

Neither athlete will face further charges, said Joseph H. Ficarrotta, Gooden's attorney.

New York Jet linebacker Marvin Jones was ordered to pay $250 in court costs, attend driving school and perform 25 hours of community service by a Miami judge after pleading no contest to reckless driving.

Motor Sports

Funeral services for drag racer Blaine Johnson, killed in a crash last Saturday at Clermont, Ind., will be held Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, 200 W. Cook St., Santa Maria.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen of Germany will be Damon Hill's replacement on the Williams-Renault team for next year's Formula One racing season.

Frentzen's appointment was expected after Williams didn't re-sign Hill, who leads the Grand Prix standings.

Names in the News

George Horton has been named baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton. Horton, an assistant, at the school since 1991, succeeds Augie Garrido, who resigned to become coach at Texas. . . . Doug MacLean, who coached the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup finals in his first year, signed a three-year contract. . . . The New York Islanders traded defenseman Brent Severyn to the Colorado Avalanche for a third-round pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. . . . Los Angeles Blade Coach Mark Hardy, a former King defenseman, was named Roller Hockey International's Western Conference Coach of the Year. . . . Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain of Spain is planning to retire from competitive cycling, a Spanish newspaper reported. . . . Dick Evans, head of the company that runs the Grand Ole Opry, has been named president and chief executive officer of Huizenga Sports and Entertainment Group, whose holdings include the Miami Dolphins, Florida Marlins, Florida Panthers and Joe Robbie Stadium.

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