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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

Dayton All-Ohioan signs with Bowling Green

BLADE STAFF, WIRE REPORTS

BOWLING GREEN - Steven Wright, a 6-3 guard/forward from Dayton Colonel White, has signed a national letter-of-intent to attend Bowling Green State University.

Wright averaged 19.1 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game as a senior. He was an All-Ohio selection and player of the year in Dayton.

“He is an extremely versatile basketball player that we are excited to have,” BG coach Dan Dakich said. “He helps give us a recruiting class that is athletic and has excellent skills.”

Wright joins 6-4 wing Ron Lewis and 6-3 guard Raheem Moss from Division I state champion Columbus Brookhaven in BG's recruiting class.

BALL STATE/SMITH: Theron Smith, Ball State's leading scorer, has decided to enter the NBA draft.

Smith, the 6-8 forward who averaged 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds last season as a junior, said he would not hire an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning to school for his senior season.

Smith helped lead Ball State to upset victories over Kansas and UCLA in the Maui Invitational and a 23-12 record last season.

Smith ranked second in the nation in double-doubles last season and was one of only two players in the Mid-American Conference to average a double-double.

DePAUL/LEITAO: Dave Leitao's decision to leave Connecticut a second time was much more difficult and emotional than the first.

But this time the longtime assistant to Jim Calhoun did all his homework, asked many questions and made sure the proper framework was in place before he accepted DePaul's head coaching job.

“Everybody has varying opinions, but they don't always have the proper knowledge,” Leitao said. “Somebody will say, 'It's a great program, go,' but doesn't know there may be problems. Or they might say, 'That might not be a great situation,' not knowing the dynamics.”

DePaul certainly has shown both sides.

Once a proud program with a national reputation, DePaul fell to 9-19 last season, was beset by academic suspensions and didn't even make the Conference USA tournament.

Pat Kennedy resigned March 5 after five seasons with the Blue Demons and ended up at the University of Montana. In a recent CBS SportsLine.com interview, Kennedy, who lost several players early to the NBA, revealed some of the frustration.

It took a six-week search to replace Kennedy and DePaul athletic director Bill Bradshaw said yesterday there were 85 candidates, but that Leitao was the only one offered the position.

Michigan State assistant Brian Gregory and Philadelphia 76ers assistant and former Ohio State coach Randy Ayers were candidates but removed their names from consideration.

Leitao, 41, left Connecticut the first time after eight seasons as an assistant to become head coach at his alma mater, Northeastern, in 1994. He was 18-11 his first season but after a 4-24 season the second, he was not happy with the school's commitment to basketball. He resigned and returned to UConn, where he's been the last six years.

MINNESOTA/HASKINS: Former Minnesota coach Clem Haskins will not be prosecuted for his role in an academic cheating scandal that led to his dismissal, his attorney said.

Haskins' attorney, Ron Meshbesher, said he was told by the Justice Department that “the government is not intending to prosecute Clem Haskins.”

Last week, Meshbesher and the university reached a tentative agreement that called for Haskins to repay some of the $1.5 million he received when his contract was bought out in June 1999.

University officials said Haskins lied to obtain the buyout. Haskins' attorney said the university rushed into the buyout even though it had evidence to suspect he was involved in the cheating, and moved to recover it only after it was criticized.

An arbitrator will set the amount by April 30, and that will be submitted to Hennepin County District Judge Deborah Hedlund for approval.



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