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NCAA notebook

Tar Heels’ Marshall out of cast

His playing status remains uncertain

KENDALL MARSHALL Had surgery on wrist KENDALL MARSHALL Had surgery on wrist
Associated Press / March 22, 2012
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North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall is out of his cast following surgery on his broken right wrist.

In a text message to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Marshall’s father Dennis said his son is wearing a removable splint now. Marshall said on Twitter he had shed the cast earlier in the afternoon.

Dennis Marshall said it was still too early to know if his son could play against Ohio on Friday in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 16 in St. Louis. He said his son “hasn’t been ruled out, but not cleared to play either.’’

The school had no update on Marshall’s status Wednesday.

The lefthanded Marshall was hurt when he was fouled on a drive against Creighton and had surgery Monday to install a screw in the wrist.

Marshall is averaging about 8 points and 10 assists for the top-seeded Tar Heels (31-5) in the Midwest Regional. He has scored in double figures for six straight games and has been the team’s most irreplaceable player at the helm of its fast-paced attack.

If he is unable to play, freshman Stilman White or versatile senior Justin Watts would handle the point guard duties.

VCU’s Smart staying

Virginia Commonwealth basketball coach Shaka Smart ended speculation he might take the open job at Illinois by announcing he’ll stay with the Rams.

The decision by the 34-year-old coach was cause for celebration among VCU fans and disappointment for their Illini counterparts - Illinois’s search for a replacement for fired coach Bruce Weber has begun to resemble the search last year for a new football coach, when the school’s top choices reportedly turned down the Illini.

VCU said Smart’s $1.2 million contract will be adjusted, but provided no details.

Meanwhile, Smart and Kansas State’s Frank Martin will serve as guest analysts for NCAA Tournament coverage this week.

NIT semis set

Josh Owens and Chasson Randle each scored 15 points to help host Stanford beat Nevada, 84-56, Wednesday night, earning the Cardinal a spot in the NIT semifinals.

Josh Huestis added 12 points for the Cardinal (24-11), who will meet UMass at Madison Square Garden Tuesday. Aaron Bright had 10 points for Stanford.

Malik Story scored 14 points to lead the Wolf Pack (28-7), who had won six of their previous seven games.

In the other quarterfinal game, Rodney Williams and Andre Hollins each scored 24 points to help Minnesota advance to the with a 78-72 win over Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Minnesota will play Washington in the other semifinal.

In the CIT tournament, Maurice Barrow scored 19 points and Rakim Sanders had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Fairfield to a 67-61 win over Robert Morris in the quarterfinals at Fairfield, Conn.

In the other quarterfinal games, Mercer tipped Old Dominion, 79-73, and Utah State defeated Loyola Marymount, 77-69

Tarkanian in hospital

Doctors at a Las Vegas hospital decided to keep storied former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian overnight Wednesday for observation after a mild heart attack, despite originally planning to release him, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Mountainview Hospital spokeswoman Amanda Powell said Tarkanian’s status had not changed. She said he is still doing “very well.’’

Powell declined to give further details.

Son Danny Tarkanian said his father is in the hospital’s intensive care unit receiving oxygen. The 81-year-old former coach was having trouble with oxygen levels and was being tested for pneumonia or other conditions.

Tarkanian coached the Runnin’ Rebels for 19 seasons from 1973 through 1992, taking his team to back-to-back Final Fours and winning the school’s first national championship in 1990.

Turning pro

Iowa State sophomore forward Royce White is leaving the school after playing one season and declaring for the NBA draft.

White, the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year, said he intends to sign with an agent soon.

The 6-foot-8-inch, 270-pound forward from Minneapolis led the Cyclones with 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds a game this season and helped Iowa State reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.

Center Alex Oriakhi, a 6-9 native of Lowell, Mass., who helped lead Connecticut to the 2011 national title, plans to transfer for hs senior season, his father, Alex Sr., said Wednesday. Oriakhi will seek to be eligible to play immediately since UConn will banned from ’13 NCAA Tournament because of academic failings of the program over a period of time.

Oriakhi had a rocky junior season. He averaged 4.9 rebounds per game and balked at sharing time in the low post with ballyhooed freshman Andre Drummond and never found a comfort level. Oriakhi played a career-low 21.5 minutes per game this season, averaging only 6.7 points and 4.8 rebounds . . . Michigan forward Evan Smotrycz of Reading, Mass., is one of three Wolverines transferring. The school announced the departures Wednesday. Smotrycz, fellow sophomore Colton Christian and freshman Carlton Brundidge are all transferring. The 6-9 Smotrycz started 42 games the last two seasons. He was terrific early this season, going 22 of 30 from the field during a four-game December stretch. But his production slipped and he lost his starting job . . . Apparently in response to an Omaha newspaper report that Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall turned down a $2 million offer to become Nebraska’s basketball coach, athletic director Tom Osborne issued a statement saying that the school has not offered the job to anyone.

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