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Practices get under way for men’s basketball
_Duke opened practice with its “Countdown to Craziness,” and one of the highlights was the intrasquad scrimmage that was the debut for freshmen Austin Rivers, Quinn Cook and Marshall Plumlee in front of the Cameron Crazies.
_The Syracuse team was already on the court when Orange coach Jim Boeheim gave the crowd of 20,000 in the Carrier Dome some great news.
He stepped to the center of the court bearing his name and declared “There’s one more guy here.” He pointed to the tunnel at the corner of the building and yelled the name they all were hoping to hear.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony jogged onto the court where he left his definitive mark during Syracuse’s 2003 national championship season. It was all part of Syracuse’s annual Midnight Madness.
_Hours after letting Kansas fans hear some bad news about the program, Jayhawks coach Bill Self made a lot of them smile.
On Friday afternoon, Self announced that the NCAA ruled freshmen Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor partial qualifiers and they won’t eligible to play this season.
On Friday night, Self rode to the center of James Naismith Court on a specially made Kansas motorcycle to commemorate the 2008 national championship. He was even wearing a black leather jacket and black leather chaps. It wasn’t his idea to wear the chaps.
“They told me I need to look like a biker for whatever reason,” Self said. “I tried to do what they ask me to do.”
McLemore and Traylor will be able to practice starting Dec. 16, and will be eligible for competition for the 2012-13 season. They can work out and lift on their own.
_Maryland Madness had several members of the 2002 national championship team, along with former head coach Gary Williams, on hand to mark the 40th anniversary of the first Midnight Madness. Steve Blake, Byron Mouton, Chris Wilcox and Mike Grinnon, along with current NBA star Greivis Vasquez and former NBA standout Steve Francis, participated in a star-studded alumni game.
This version of Maryland Madness had a different feel than the ones that preceded it. The first one, held in 1971 under coach Lefty Driesell, was little more than a one-mile run around the track at midnight by the players on the first official day of practice.
In recent years, the event revolved around Williams, the winningest coach in school history.
_St. John’s coach Steve Lavin wasn’t able to attend the school’s tipoff event. He did send a message to the fans.
“Last week’s surgery was a success. Now my return to coaching duties will be dictated by the healing process,” Lavin said in a statement Friday night. “I’m under the expert care of Dr. Scardino at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and we are working closely to measure the daily progress being made during this vital recovery period.”
Lavin is recuperating from prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6.
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
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