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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | NOTES

Cotton Will Leave Long Beach for NBA

March 25, 1997|From Associated Press

Guard James Cotton, the second-leading scorer in the Big West with a 23-point average, will forgo his final season of eligibility at Long Beach State and make himself available for the NBA draft, he said Monday.

Cotton, a junior, and his parents met with Long Beach Athletic Director Bill Shumard and Coach Wayne Morgan to discuss his options. At that meeting, Cotton told Shumard and Morgan he had already made his decision.

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Four high-profile programs from four high-profile conferences with rich histories, big-name coaches and big-time players collect together tonight for the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament in New York.

Connecticut (17-14) will play Florida State (19-11) in the first game, followed by Arkansas (18-12) against Michigan (22-11).

The winners meet in Thursday's championship game.

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Rutgers assistant Tom Abatemarco, once forced to resign a coaching job at Drake because he verbally abused his players, will be the new coach of the Sacramento State basketball program.

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Rick Barnes, who guided Clemson to a 23-10 record and a round-of-16 NCAA tournament finish, agreed to a contract extension through 2004 worth at least $668,000 a year.

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Georgetown guard Victor Page, a sophomore who led the Big East in scoring with a 22.7-point average, said he will make himself available for the NBA draft. . . . Tommy Vardeman, coach at Centenary since 1989, resigned. . . . Florida State Coach Pat Kennedy, pointing to the late-season resurgence by the Seminoles, said he wants his contract, which has three years to run, improved. . . Curtis Carrington scored 18 points and Life College of Marietta, Ga., forced 24 turnovers and made 12 three-point shots in a 73-64 victory over Oklahoma Baptist in the NAIA title game in Tulsa, Okla.

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