Condition of most seriously wounded Duquesne player upgraded

Published September 23, 2006

PITTSBURGH - Duquesne forward Sam Ashaolu, one of five basketball players shot after a campus dance last weekend, was upgraded from critical to serious condition Friday and has begun to speak softly.

Ashaolu, the most seriously injured player, is the only one still hospitalized. Stuard Baldonado, a junior forward shot in the left arm and back, was released from Mercy Hospital Friday afternoon - hours before his parents arrived from Colombia.

"It's unbelievable the progress they're making," coach Ron Everhart said.

Family members said Ashaolu, sedated for much of the week, asked Thursday about two of his brothers - the first words he is known to have spoken since being shot early Sunday. He also recognized himself and a brother, while watching TV news accounts of the shooting.

Ashaolu's condition was upgraded less than a week after he was shot twice in the head - with one bullet splintering into several sections. The bullet fragments remain because it would be too risky to try to remove them due to the severe swelling from the wounds.

Doctors removed a ventilator that was aiding Ashaolu's breathing and a drain that was guiding fluids from his head.

Ashaolu, Shawn James, Aaron Jackson, Kojo Mensah and Baldonado were shot as they returned to their dormitories and apartments following the dance.

Arkansas State: Guard Jim Jones was suspended for 14 games because of an unspecified violation of team rules.

Other sports

Women's soccer: Ashley Elliott scored twice as Florida (5-3-1) opened its SEC season with a 3-1 victory at Auburn. ... South Florida (5-2-1, 2-0 Big East) scored twice in the second half to top visiting Providence 2-0. ... Jocelyn Charette had a hat trick as Tampa (7-1) beat Flagler 5-0 to extend its home unbeaten streak to 25 matches.

VOLLEYBALL: Florida State (8-3, 2-0 ACC) beat visiting Maryland in three games. ... Tampa (15-0), ranked No.1 in the Division II AVCA poll, won 3-0 at Nova Southeastern. ... Eckerd (9-5, 0-2 Sunshine State Conference) lost 3-1 at Barry.

women's golf: Florida shot 17-over 305 at the Daytona Beach Fall Preview event to tie for ninth. Sandra Gal led the Gators at 73. UCF (331) was last in the 18-team field.