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Fortson Leaves Cincinnati, Becomes Eligible for Draft

From Associated Press

Danny Fortson, the second-leading scorer in University of Cincinnati history, said Tuesday he will give up his final year of eligibility to become available for the NBA draft.

“It’s basically a business decision,” an unusually subdued Fortson told a news conference at the school’s basketball arena. “I’ve thought about working on my dream. My dream is to play in the NBA. I think I can play. There’s no doubt in my mind. I’m ready.”

Fortson, 6 feet 7, 260 pounds, leaves Cincinnati with 1,881 points in three seasons, trailing only Oscar Robertson.

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Aglow from beating Kentucky, 84-79, in overtime to claim their first NCAA basketball championship, the Arizona Wildcats returned home Tuesday to share the glory with thousands of adoring fans.

Hundreds of people lined streets and intersections all along their motorcade route from Tucson International Airport to the campus. And about 45,000 more cheering fans filled much of the university’s football stadium.

Police encountered none of the problems that surrounded a civil disturbance Monday night, in which thousands of rowdy revelers flooded onto Fourth Avenue near campus. An undercover police car was flipped, officers used a pepper gas to disperse a crowd that began throwing rocks and bottles, and six people were arrested.

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About 700 fans lined the parking lot at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday afternoon to welcome back Kentucky.

The mood was a sharp contrast to the crowd that hit the streets in an angry, bottle-throwing craze after Monday’s game. Sixteen people were arrested after police began breaking up the gathering of about 5,000 at a blocked-off campus intersection, police said.

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Monday’s game drew a bigger television audience than last year’s final, but still was the third-lowest on CBS in 23 showings.

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The game drew an 18.9 Nielsen rating and a 31 share. That was up 3% from last year’s CBS low of an 18.3 rating and 29 share for the Kentucky-Syracuse title game.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s women’s final between Old Dominion and Tennessee drew an ESPN record 4.0 rating. The game, won by Tennessee, 68-59, surpassed the network’s previous high for a women’s NCAA game, last year’s Georgia-Tennessee final, which drew a 3.7 rating. It also was the third most-watched NCAA basketball game--men’s or women’s--in ESPN history.

Also

Jerry Green, who took Oregon to the NIT this season, was hired as coach at Tennessee. He succeeds Kevin O’Neill, who quit to become coach at Northwestern. . . . Jim Larranaga, who coached Bowling Green for 11 years, was hired to succeed Paul Westhead as coach at George Mason. . . . Temple junior center Marc Jackson, citing pressure to provide for his family, said he will make himself available for the NBA draft. . . . Schea Cotton, who attended but did not play at St. John Bosco High this season, was released from the letter of intent he signed with Long Beach State in the fall.

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