|Unlike Lawson, coach loses at craps|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 03 April 2009 13:57|
DETROIT (AP) -Ty Lawson wasn't the only North Carolina guy to try his hand at craps this week.
Roy Williams went, too.
Which basically answered the question of whether the Tar Heels coach was upset that his point guard walked down the street to shoot dice at the casino Wednesday night.
``It's strange, if we don't want those kids doing it, don't put the Final Four in a city where the casino is 500 yards from our front door,'' Williams said Friday. ``And they've got a great buffet in there. I mean, come on.''
Kidding aside, the NCAA has always disapproved of gambling - it runs clinics and public-service announcements deriding it - and this year's Final Four has opened doors for some to chastise NCAA leaders as hypocrites.
Detroit is a city with three casinos downtown. Across the river is Windsor, Ontario, the home of Caesar's Palace, which is the host resort for all the basketball coaches descending on the Final Four this week.
e technically illegal. Meanwhile, Web sites like CBSSports.com, a key benefactor of the tournament, offer $10,000 prizes in their bracket contests.
And Lawson is 21 - legal to gamble in Michigan.
``I feel like the media is blowing everything out of proportion,'' Lawson said. ``It's crazy how one little thing has turned into a big deal.''
None of the two dozen-plus players asked by The Associated Press on Friday acknowledged going to the casino.
Coaches of the other three teams more or less dismissed the issue. ``I just don't really find it that problematic,'' UConn's Jim Calhoun said.
Williams didn't duck the issue. He said his team arrived in Detroit on Wednesday, and ``I'm not going to tell my guys to stay in the room and watch Bill Cosby reruns for four days, c'mon.''
He said he met with Lawson and Marc Campbell before they left for the casino and told them to get in touch with him if they felt like they were going to do something ``questionable.''
Then the coach went himself, mainly out of superstition.
Earlier this season, he lost money playing craps in Detroit, then coached the Tar Heels to a 98-63 win over Michigan State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. He got a similar result on a trip to Reno to play Nevada.
``So you've got to be halfway an idiot if you think I'm not going to go gamble and lose money before this game, too,'' Williams said.
VES: Injured UConn point guard Jerome Dyson flew in to Detroit early Friday morning and joined his teammates before their open workout at Ford Field.
Dyson, a junior, suffered a season-ending knee injury against Syracuse on Feb. 11. He had surgery soon after and recently has begun the rehabilitation process.
Dyson said he wanted to get the feel of a Final Four even if he can't participate.
``I'm hoping to get out there and shoot around a little bit, just to experience it and be with my teammates,'' he said.
Dyson said his knee ``feels good'' and that he's beginning to improve his range of motion and work on strengthening muscles around the joint.
PLAYING GAMES: Reggie Redding and Frank Tchuisi can't agree on Villanova's best player.
Redding swears it's him, and Tchuisi is equally adamant he is.
Rebounds? Points? Assists? Oh no, this is much more serious.
``I'm the best in Monopoly,'' Tchuisi declared. ``I'm the boss.''
The Wildcats are a tight-knit bunch, the entire team living within a few feet of each other on Villanova's suburban Philadelphia campus. The juniors and seniors live in one dorm, split up in two rooms, while the freshmen and sophomores live in another. When they're not at practice, they can be found together, playing video games, watching TV or kicking it really old-school with a board game such as Monopoly.
nte Cunningham was diplomatic.
``Reggie and Frank,'' he said. ``But Reggie's always talking about Frank cheating.''
Sure enough, that was exactly what Redding said.
Redding said he'll buy two properties only to have Tchuisi swoop in and pick up the third, preventing Redding from putting up money-making hotels. Tchuisi will offer it up, but only at an exorbitant price.
``Then he always winds up losing, and I just take it from him anyway,'' Redding said. ``I'm the Monopoly champion, quote that.''
Tchuisi insisted he's not a cheater, just a sharp businessman.
At least they don't fight over who wants to be the cannon. Redding always grabs the car, while Cunningham likes to be the shoe. Tchuisi will take the hat.
``It's one of our pastimes,'' Tchuisi said, ``one of our team bonding things.''
JUD'S JUNGLE: Jud Heathcote told 12 jokes - none fit to print - to a few hundred people at a Detroit bar.
Every one drew a roar from the crowd.
None drew a smile or a chuckle from him.
The former Michigan State coach - whose Magic Johnson-led team won the famed 1979 title game over Larry Bird and Indiana State - started what has become an annual event 28 years ago during the Final Four at a hotel bar in Philadelphia.
ext thing we knew, Johnny Orr from Michigan and a handful of other coaches joined us in that hotel lobby.
``The next year, Jud said, 'Where are we drinking now?' Ever since, it's been my job to find the bar.''
Faces in the crowd included Dayton coach Brian Gregory and Utah coach Jim Boylen - strong branches from Heathcote's coaching tree - and former Spartans Mike Peplowski and Matt Steigenga.
Moments after the 81-year-old Heathcote left, his successor, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo arrived.
``Tom got a standing ovation when he walked in the door and stayed for about 10 minutes,'' Gregory said. ``Jud's party is always a fun event, but it was really special this year to have it in Detroit with Michigan State in the Final Four and for Tom to make a visit.''
OL' ROY'S TIMEOUTS: Roy Williams figures about 95 percent of his coaching philosophy came from his mentor Dean Smith. That includes his strategy on when to call timeouts, an area oft criticized after last season's loss to Kansas in the Final Four.
``You go by a gut feeling,'' the North Carolina coach said. ``Timeouts to me down the stretch can make (winning) easier, and that's why most of the time I hoard them.''
inutes in each half - offer plenty of time to correct mistakes without burning up his allotment.
``I've been criticized greatly for not calling more timeouts last year in the Kansas game,'' he said. ``There were seven timeouts in the first half. Every time we left a timeout, we stunk it up anyway.''
THUMBS-UP FOR HASHEEM: UConn center Hasheem Thabeet jammed the ring and middle fingers on his left hand in the Huskies' West Regional victory over Missouri last week. Although the injury affected him in practice last week, he said it shouldn't hamper him Saturday against Michigan State.
``I've been doing rehab a lot, and it gets better every day,'' Thabeet said before practice Friday.
He said the injury hindered him as he rebounded in practice early in the week.
``But thanks to the trainer, James Doran, I've been working with him all the time, and I'm getting better every day,'' Thabeet said. ``I'm just looking forward to the game.''
AP National Writers Eddie Pells and Nancy Armour and AP Sports Writers Andy Bagnato, Aaron Beard and Larry Lage contributed to this report.