* Last Thursday, Ed Cota and Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania) notched another Euroleague win, 95-72 over Istanbul (Turkey), to go to 3-1 and move to the top of the Group G standings. However, a key game between Valencia (Spain) and Tel Aviv (Israel), both 2-1, was not played when Valencia refused to travel to Israel due to safety concerns that stem from threats of retaliation against Israel following the assasination of the leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas.
Euroleague officials will decide by Tuesday how to discipline Valencia and whether to still hold the Euroleague Final Four in Tel Aviv on April 29. This week's Group G schedule has Pamesa Valencia playing at Kaunas, Lithuania and Maccabi Tel Aviv visiting Istanbul, Turkey.
Zalgiris Kaunas is scheduled to visit Tel Aviv on April 8 for the game likely to determine the Group G Final Four entrant. Zalgiris was said to be waiting for the Euroleague's ruling on Valencia and the Final Four location before making a final decision on playing in Israel, according to a team spokesman quoted by Haaretz Daily (Israel).
GUTHRIDGE TO SPEAK AT BUCKNALL'S CAMP
* Former Tar Heel Steve Bucknall has scheduled the Bucknall Essential Skills Carolina Experience 2004 youth basketball camp at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London, England from July 26 to July 31.
Former North Carolina coach Bill Guthridge will be the Coaching Seminar guest speaker, along with former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins. Bucknall's camp staff includes his former teammate and NBA veteran J.R. Reid.
Bucknall is currently playing for Iraklis Agno (13-9, 3rd-place) in Greece. In 13 games this season he is averaging 23.8 minutes, 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
WILLIAMS MARCHING ALONG
* A 23-point effort yesterday in Sweden by Donald Williams was not enough for Plannja Basket to close out the Solna Vikings and advance to Basketligan's playoff finals.
Plannja now leads the semifinal best-of-five series with Solna 2-1 after the 101-95 loss. Game four is set for Wednesday.
Williams fouled out of game three after playing just 27 minutes while scoring 23 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field (3-3 on three-pointers) and 8-of-9 free throws.
MELENDEZ WITH MAYAGUEZ
* UNC graduate Orlando Melendez is in his ninth pro season in Puerto Rico's BSN (Baloncesto Superior Nacional). Melendez has played eight games for Mayaguez (5-3) and averages 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
Melendez has played 160 games in the Puerto Rican spring-summer league since 1996 averaging 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds.
TAR HEEL BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK
* Jackie Manuel: 3/29 (21) ... Dennis Wuycik: 3/29 (54) ... J.R. Reid: 3/31 (36) ... Jonathan Holmes: 3/31 (24) ... Warren Martin: 4/1 (41) ... Asst. coach Jerod Haase: 4/1 (30) ... Randy Wiel: 4/2 (53) ... Mike Ellis: 4/2 (37) ... Larry Miller: 4/4 (58) ... Sean May: 4/4 (20) ... Shammond Williams: 4/5 (29).