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Wildcats' Anderson May Play

March 19, 1997|Associated Press

Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino said he could decide today whether injured standout Derek Anderson will be able to play in Thursday night's NCAA tournament game against St. Joseph's.

"He's going to practice again, and I'll see him one more time and I'll see him another time tomorrow and decide," Pitino said in San Jose, where the top-seeded Wildcats are preparing for the West Regional semifinals.

But Pitino, who last week said he wouldn't risk playing Anderson in the tournament, added he talked to "eight doctors in 48 hours" and there seemed to be no reason Anderson couldn't play.

Anderson was leading the Southeastern Conference in scoring when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee less than two months ago, an injury believed to be season-ending.

"I didn't think there was any way possible Derek could play, but today he actually practiced with the team, full out, no-holds barred," Pitino said Monday. "And I'm happy to report he was without question the best player in practice.

"It's as if he never left, he was never injured. Quite frankly, in my 22 years of coaching, it's the biggest surprise and shock I've had."

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Indiana guard Neil Reed said he won't return for his senior season because Coach Bob Knight pressured him to leave. "If the choice were mine, I would have returned to Indiana University," Reed said in a statement. "But the choice was not mine. Coach Knight has made it clear that in making those decisions about my future, he is accountable to no one."

Knight told Indianapolis television stations that he met with Reed and three other juniors, Andrae Patterson, Richard Mandeville and Robbie Eggers, to discuss their futures with the program. He said all four players were told what was expected of them next season, and each was given an option to play elsewhere.

"Coach Knight has created a different set of rules for me," said Reed, who averaged 12.9 points and led the Big Ten in free-throw percentage [85.2] this season. "Leadership requires respect. I have not been given any respect for three years. . . .

"Coach Knight has continued his long-standing tradition of verbal attacks and physical assaults on his players and his coaches. I have personally been at the forefront of those focused attacks during my time at IU."

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Tommy Amaker, 31, part of Duke's run of seven Final Four appearances over nine years as a player and an assistant coach, was hired as the Seton Hall coach. . . . Mississippi Coach Rob Evans, considered to be one of the two top candidates to replace Dale Brown at Louisiana State, visited the school for a second interview with Athletic Director Joe Dean. But Evans is also considering Ohio State and Tennessee, and reportedly is leaning toward Tennessee. . . . Eddie Fogler, pursued by Ohio State and Rutgers after guiding South Carolina to its best basketball season in a quarter-century, got a $100,000 raise to stay with the Gamecocks. . . . Authorities raided a $160-million-a-year gambling operation in New York and Philadelphia and arrested 25 people, timing the sweep to coincide with heavy betting on the NCAA tournament. The raids, code-named Slam Dunk, targeted "the mob's cash cow, illegal sports betting," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said.

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