Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters. [Pictured: Ademola Okulaja]

OKULAJA RETURNS TO GIRONA, SPAIN

* Ademola Okulaja has signed with Casademont Girona of Spain's ACB league for the 2003-04 season.

Okulaja previously played for Girona in 2000-01 after getting his release from the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was kept on the injured list. This is Okulaja's fourth season in Spain. Last year he was with Unicaja Malaga. In 2001-02 he played for FC Barcelona.

On Sunday, Okulaja, wearing his familiar No. 13, led Girona (3-8) with 20 points (7-13 FG, 1-5 3-pt. FG, 5-6 FT) in an 88-68 loss at Pamesa Valencia (7-4).

PHELPS RELEASED IN POLAND

* After just six games (five domestic and one in Euroleague) Derrick Phelps was cut last week by Idea Slask Wroclaw in Poland. Phelps was replaced in Wroclaw by former Temple star Lynn Greer.

Phelps contributed 10 points, three assists and some clutch free throws in Wroclaw's Euroleague opener, an 82-80 win over Olympiacos (Greece). But Lynn Greer tallied a game-high 27 and Phelps knew his days were numbered. "The whole team did a good job. I think I did too, but I know it was probably my last game for this team. We have three Americans (Maryland's Ryan Randle is the other American) and one of us will be waived," Phelps told euroleague.net. "I know they will release me because a tall player is more useful now."

COTA 12-0 IN LITHUANIA, 1-1 IN EUROLEAGUE

* With two road wins over the weekend Ed Cota and Zalgiris Kaunas have improved to 12-0 in Lithuanian league play. However, Zalgiris (1-1) did encounter defeat last Thursday in a Euroleague game in Italy when they fell 64-56 to Siena (1-1).

A series of turnovers in the closing minutes cost Zalgiris any chance for victory against a Siena team led by former St. John's star Bootsy Thornton (10 points, 9 rebounds, 5 turnovers).

"For sure it was a tough game. Siena played a really good defensive game, finding ways to cause us to make mistakes. We played horrible basketball," said a disappointed Cota to reporters after the game, according to euroleague.net. Cota played 37 minutes with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 6 steals, but only scored 2 points on 1-for-5 shooting from the field.

EVTIMOV CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARDS

* Vasco Evtimov continues to be the top rebounder in Spain's top professional league, the ACB. Sunday, Evtimov pulled in 20 missed shots (8 on the offensive end) for CSF Sevilla to raise his season total to 115 for a league-best 10.5 rebounds per game.

Evtimov added 15 points to his work on the glass to help Caja San Fernando (5-6) get by Caprabo Lleida (5-6) 88-85.

Lou Roe (UMass) is third in the ACB in rebounding at 8.8 per game. NC State's Kevin Thompson is fourth with 8.7 per game.

LANG TO FACE MISSOURI AND LOUISVILLE

* Kris Lang is trying to nail down a roster spot with the NBDL's Asheville Altitude. With the National Basketball Development League sending teams out for seven preseason games against college teams this year, Asheville, and Lang, will get tested by a trip to Missouri on Tuesday (11/18) and a visit to Louisville on Sunday (11/23).

The other games on the NBDL College Tour are Charleston at Wisconsin today, with Roanoke at Maryland and Huntsville at Purdue on Tuesday. Previously, Michigan hammered Fayetteville 90-57 and Mississippi State downed Columbus 84-77 in overtime.

FOGLER FOCUS OF LAWSUIT

* Former Tar Heel player and assistant coach Eddie Fogler has had a federal lawsuit seeking unspecified damages filed against him by James Hayes, the father of Washington Wizards guard Jarvis Hayes and Georgia forward Jonas Hayes, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

As a commentator for CBS during the 2002 NCAA tournament, Fogler used a telestrator to write a profanity below the circled face of James Hayes. The incident happened during a commercial break of the CBS broadcast of Georgia versus Southern Illinois on March 17, 2002. Fogler, working the game with Tim Brando, apparently was unaware that his writings could be seen on monitors in the United Center.

A U.S. District Court Judge previously dismissed Hayes' claims of defamation, negligence, invasion of privacy/false light and negligent hiring and retention. But a claim of intentional inflicton of emotional stress was not dismissed. Fogler was deposed by Hayes' attorneys last Wednesday and meetings with Brando and a CBS producer are scheduled for this week, according to the report.


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