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Draftee Involved in Brawl

From Associated Press

DeShawn Stevenson arrived at his first news conference as an NBA draft pick Thursday with a small cut on his lower lip, but there were no other signs of the brawl in a local gym the night before.

Hours after the high school star was selected by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, he was involved in a brawl at a Clovis, Calif., gym.

“I think it was just a jealousy situation,” Stevenson, 19, said in Salt Lake City.

Stevenson attended a high school all-star game he had planned to play in but as he prepared to leave, he said he was attacked.

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“I guess there were some dudes there who didn’t like me,” Stevenson said. “I got done signing autographs and five guys jumped me.”

Stevenson, who played at Fresno Washington Union High, was in the middle of a fight involving 20 youths, witnesses told the Fresno Bee.

According to Stevenson, police arrived and broke up the fight shortly after it began. Stevenson was sent home and he and witnesses said two others were taken into custody.

Stevenson arrived at the gym after halftime. He signed autographs, shook hands with fans and sat in the center of the bleachers to watch the second half.

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Joaquin Lopez, a school custodian who saw the fight, said Stevenson was jumped.

“He got punched and then landed some punches of his own,” he said. “Then four of them chased [Stevenson] up in the stands and beat on him before he got away.”

Lopez and a second witness, Will Goldbeck, said Fresno City College basketball Coach Denny Aye escorted Stevenson to his new Lexus SUV in the Buchanan High parking lot as some of the combatants gave chase.

Aye declined to comment to the Bee.

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With the draft behind him and free agency still ahead, Indiana Pacer President Donnie Walsh hopes to decide on a coach by the weekend.

“Up to now, it hasn’t been a difficult decision because I haven’t made it,” said Walsh, who in the past week spoke again with both candidates for the job, Isiah Thomas and Rick Carlisle.

“I told them as soon as the draft is over, I’ll get more into this, and that’s what I intend to do. I’m certainly going to try to do it quickly.”

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Thomas or Carlisle would replace Larry Bird, who stepped down after the NBA finals.

Carlisle, a former Boston teammate of Bird, is a longtime NBA assistant. Thomas, a Hall of Fame player with the Detroit Pistons, has never coached.

“I’m pleased with both candidates,” Walsh said.

Walsh would not say what would tip his decision.

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“I’m going to choose the guy I think can basically help our team win the most games over the course of the next X amount of years,” he said.

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Iakovos “Jake” Tsakalidis arrived in Phoenix after becoming the Suns’ first-round draft pick. The question is how long the 7-foot-2, 282-pound starting center for Greece’s national team can stay.

The Greek club AEK, for whom Tsakalidis, 21, has played since 1996, sent letters to all NBA teams before the draft warning they would not release him from his contract.

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But Phoenix officials and Tsakalidis’ representatives believe a settlement can be reached.

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The Philadelphia 76ers exercised an option on Aaron McKie’s contract to keep the guard on the team for another season.

Terms of the contract were not released.

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McKie, a Philadelphia native, averaged eight points, three rebounds and 1.8 assists in 1999-00.

He was one of only two 76ers to play in every game last season and has played in 134 consecutive games, a team high.


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