Tar Heel Pros News & Notes

This week's update on former Tar Heel hoopsters. Pictured - Ed Cota


* For the second year, former Tar Heel Brendan Haywood will be part of the television broadcasting crew for the WNBA's Washington Mystics. Haywood, a three-year NBA veteran with the Washington Wizards, will again team with Dei Lynam on Comcast Sportsnet's local TV coverage of five Mystic's games starting on May 22nd with the season opener against the Charlotte Sting.

Lynam, a sports reporter for Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia and currently working the NBA Playoffs for TNT as a sideline reporter, is in her seventh season of providing play-by-play for televised Mystics games.

Lynam has previously told Inside Carolina that, "Working with Brendan most definitely was fun." She also noted that Haywood had enthusiasm, a good sense of humor and did not have the monotone voice that first-time TV people often have. "He is bright, articulate and is putting his communications degree to good use," Lynam responded when IC asked about Haywood's future in broadcasting following his first season as an analyst.


* Ed Cota and Zalgiris Kaunas have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven battle for the Lithuanian League title with archrival Lietuvos rytas. Zalgiris took the first game 90-75 with Cota scoring 11 and dishing seven assists. "It was a game that was out of character for me, but I had to take a lot of forced shots," Cota informed Inside Carolina after going 1-of-10 on three-pointers while making 4-for-6 from inside the three-point line.

Game two was more traditional as Cota took only three shots (2-3 FG, 1-2 3-pt. FG) on his way to five points and nine assists in an 88-66 victory. Tanoka Beard (Boise State) and Arvydas Sabonis took care of the boards and the scoring for Zalgiris, combining for 14 rebounds and 37 points.

Games three and four are scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday. "The defense is really forcing me to pass the ball. Hopefully, we'll take the next two, and I will be back in Chapel Hill real soon," Cota told IC.


* Ademola Okulaja played the final two games of the regular season for Benetton Treviso of the Italian League. Okulaja scored 10 points and took down 7 rebounds on Sunday as Benetton won to finish 25-9 and take third-place.

The Italian League playoffs begin this week with Okulaja and Benetton facing a best-of-five with sixth-place Oregon Scientific Cantu (20-14) featuring another former Tar Heel -- Dante Calabria. Cantu ended the season on Sunday with a 97-94 victory with Calabria scoring 19 points.


* With only eight teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs the Tar Heels are down to Rick Fox with the Lakers, and Rasheed Wallace and the coaching staff of the Pistons (Larry Brown, John Kuester, Dave Hanners and Pat Sullivan). Here is a Tar Heel recap through Sunday ---

Rasheed Wallace had early foul problems on Sunday as New Jersey downed the Pistons 82-64. The Pistons lead the series 2-1. "They won, but I'm putting an asterisk by this win. Don't even waste your time with any more questions," said an upset Wallace after being hit with five personal fouls in just 22 minutes.

Larry Brown has been involved in a war of words with Nets president Rod Thorn that started over critical comments Brown made about the mid-season firing of former Nets coach Byron Scott. "Rod's a hothead anyway. I know, I've played golf with him. He throws clubs and screams and yells," Brown said in the latest retort in the saga, according to the AP game report.

Hubert Davis is not on the Nets' active roster.

Rick Fox played only two minutes on Sunday as the Lakers beat the Spurs easily 105-81. The Spurs lead the series 2-1.


* There is much uncertainty about who will be part of the basketball team the United States sends to the Olympic Games in Greece this August. But Larry Brown has told the Detroit Free Press that he fully intends to be there as the coach of the U.S. Olympic basketball squad. "I'm aware of what's going on in the world. I don't think there's any way the NBA and USA Basketball will allow us to go unless it is safe, and I'm confident it will be," Brown told the Free Press last week.

Another international matter that currently concerns Brown involves Carlos Delfino, a Pistons first-round draft choice from last year. According to the Detroit Free Press, Delfino, an Argentinian currently playing in Italy for Skipper Bologna, has some anxiety about playing for Brown and the Pistons because of some unflattering comments Brown has made about foreign players currently with the Pistons, Mehmet Okur and seldom used Darko Milicic.

The Free Press reports the Pistons want Delfino to play behind shooting guard Rip Hamilton and small forward Tayshaun Prince next season. Delfino is concerned about not having a major role under Brown and is being advised to play another season in Italy. The Pistons are planning to have Delfino meet with Brown as soon as possible.


* After going undrafted by the WNBA, former Tar Heel Candace Sutton has been added to the training camp roster of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. The Sparks defeated the New York Liberty 68-62 in a preseason game over the weekend, but Sutton is recovering from a shoulder injury and did not play.

* In other WNBA preseason action, Coretta Brown, starting her second season with the Indiana Fever, scored 10 points (3-6 FG,4-5 FT) in 19 minutes as Indiana got by the Charlotte Sting 63-57 on Sunday. Charlotte Smith-Taylor led the Sting in scoring with 15 (5-8 FG, 1-1 3-pt. FG, 4-7 FT).


8: Joy Hairston (22)
10: Jenni Laaksonen (23)
12: George Karl (53)
17: Buzz Peterson (41)
17: Dave Popson (40)
17: Hubert Davis (34)
19: Ed Cota (28)
24: Mitch Kupchak (50)
24: Elizabeth Coughran (24)
28: Ronald Curry (25)
30: Vasco Evtimov (27)

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