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College basketball

Signee in limbo over USF choice

©Associated Press
April 23, 2003

TAMPA -- Konimba Diarra, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound center who signed with South Florida in the fall, will meet with new USF coach Robert McCullum before deciding if he is coming to Tampa.

"I talked to the coach (Monday) night. He said he's coming to visit," said Diarra, who attends Our Savior New American in Centereach, N.Y., and originally is from Mali. "I don't know (when he is coming) yet. I am going to wait to meet with him."

If he decides he doesn't want to attend USF, Diarra, who averaged about 10 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks as a senior, said he would ask to be released from his letter of intent and likely sign with St. Joseph's.

If USF granted him a release, Diarra would have to sit out one season before he could play. He would have to sit two seasons if USF doesn't grant the release, but could appeal in either case to reduce or eliminate the mandatory wait period.

Diarra also could sign with a junior college, nullifying the letter of intent and allowing him to sign with any four-year school after junior college.

CREAN STAYS AT MARQUETTE: Tom Crean signed a new contract to remain coach, ending speculation he was a leading contender to take the Illinois job. "It's a long-term contract, and it's more than generous," Crean told about 100 students and reporters.

E. TENN. ST. HIRES BARTOW: Murray Bartow, who led the University of Alabama-Birmingham to three straight postseason tournaments, was hired as coach. He replaces Ed DeChellis, who was named Penn State's coach after leading East Tennessee to its first NCAA Tournament since 1992. Bartow, 41, had a 103-83 record in six years at Alabama-Birmingham. He resigned in March 2002 and spent this past season as a television analyst for ESPN and scout for the Memphis Grizzlies.

FSU RECRUIT HONORED: Seminole signee Von Wafer, a 6-5 guard from Heritage Christian High in Cleveland, Texas, was named to USA Today's All-America third team. He averaged 26.3 points. ST. LOUIS SIGNING: The school signed 7-foot, 250-pound center Bryce Husak of Mount Vernon, Iowa, to a national letter of intent. He originally signed with Elon (N.C.) University but was released from that commitment after Mark Simons resigned last month.

WESTERN KENTUCKY: Sophomore guard Patrick Sparks has been granted his release "to explore other options," coach Darrin Horn announced. He leaves less than two weeks after former coach Dennis Felton accepted the coaching job at Georgia.

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