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College basketball

Okafor's choice was Tech's loss

By BRIAN LANDMAN
Published April 5, 2004

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - It had to be Georgia Tech guard Marvin Lewis' fault.

Coach Paul Hewitt was recruiting Emeka Okafor and thought he had a fine chance to land him. He then had Lewis serve as Okafor's host during an official visit.

"I don't know if he did a good enough job," Hewitt joked Sunday during a news conference setting the stage for tonight's NCAA championship game between Georgia Tech and Connecticut, which is led by Okafor. "That's the only thing he's done wrong in four years."

Hey, wait a minute coach ...

"In regards to the visit, that was Emeka's decision," Lewis said. "I did my best. I did my part."

Okafor set the record straight.

"I had a good time there," he said. "I looked at what was going to be the best place for me, not necessarily where I had the best time."

CALL ME COACH ... MAYBE: Huskies assistant Clyde Vaughan, who spent three seasons at USF before moving to Storrs last season, could hear from USF - the University of San Francisco - this week that he is its choice to be the coach.

"I'm not going to take a job where I can't win," Vaughan said. "I don't have to be a head coach. My goal is to be a head coach, and I believe I will be one."

Vaughan said San Francisco officials convinced him they want to win, "want to beat Gonzaga" and will provide the coach with the necessary resources.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES: If his team were to win, UConn coach Jim Calhoun would join Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Texas Tech's Bob Knight as the only active coaches with multiple NCAA titles.

"I go back to the theory that you're known by the company you keep," Calhoun said. "If I'm keeping the company of Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight as a basketball coach, then I'm doing okay."

WEEKEND HIGHLIGHT: Hewitt said one of the things he'll remember about this trip is a visit to David Robinson's Carver Academy, an independent school for low-income African-American and Hispanic families living in San Antonio's East Side. Robinson donated $9-million to jump-start the project and, much to the Yellow Jackets' surprise, was there.

"If his name is on the presidential ticket, I'm voting for him," Hewitt said. "I have never met a more impressive man than David Robinson."

JUST TESTING: Georgia Tech dazzling junior forward Isma'il Muhammad has tendinitis in his right knee and, as a precaution, had a MRI Sunday. He's expected to be ready tonight.

[Last modified April 5, 2004, 01:20:27]


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