CALABRIA, ITALY FALL SHORT
* Dante Calabria scored 14 points (3-10 FG, 2-5 3-pt. FG, 6-6 FT), but Italy was unable to overcome Croatia on Tuesday at the 2005 FIBA European Championship in Serbia-Montenegro.
The loss in the Elimination Round game kept Italy from advancing to the Quarterfinals and removed them from getting a qualifying berth to FIBA's 2006 World Championship event in Japan next summer.
Calabria played in four games for Italy (2-2) at EuroBasket 2005 and compiled the following stats:
MPG: 26.0 | 13-36 FG (.361) | 7-22 3-pt. FG (.318) | 10-11 FT (.909) | 4.0 RPG | 1.5 APG | 1.3 SPG | 10.8 PPG
* Ademola Okulaja was tending to a knee injury and was not available to play for Germany. But NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, named EuroBasket's MVP, got enough help from his German teammates to get a second-place finish and a berth at the '06 World Championship for Germany.
Greece took the gold at EuroBasket with a 78-62 thrashing of Germany (silver) yesterday. France (bronze), Spain (fourth), Lithuania (fifth) and Slovenia (sixth) round out the top six teams from FIBA Europe to qualify for the '06 World Championship.
FIBA also holds four "wild card" spots to the tournament that will be awarded in late November. Italy, Russia, Turkey, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, South Korea, Puerto Rico and Canada are generally considered the countries to be in the running for those four bids.
COTA RETURNS TO LITHUANIA
* After spending a season in the Russian Superleague with expansion team Dynamo Saint Petersburg, Ed Cota is returning to play for Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, according to the team website. Cota played on domestic championship teams in Kaunas in 2002-03 and in 2003-04.
Signing with Zalgiris Kaunas puts Cota back on the Euroleague circuit, Europe's top club-team competition. Playing in Group A, Cota will encounter former Tar Heels Derrick Phelps (GHP Bamberg - Germany) and Vasco Evtimov (Union Olimpija - Slovenia). Former ACC stars Travis Watson (Climamio Bologna - Italy) from Virginia and Maryland's Drew Nicholas (Benetton Treviso - Italy) are also in Group A.
SCOTT TURNS PRO
* Recent UNC grad Melvin Scott has agreed on a 30-day contract with the Greek club team Aris Thessaloniki to begin his professional basketball career, according to eurobasket.com. Scott was signed by Aris to replace injured guard Corey Brewer (Florida).
ANOTHER SEASON CUT SHORT
* Former Tar Heel point guard and quarterback Ronald Curry, Oakland Raiders receiver, sustained a torn left Achilles' tendon last Sunday night against Kansas City. The injury happened in just his second game back since rehabilitating from the same injury he sustained against the Chiefs on Dec. 5, 2004. It took nearly nine months for Curry to return to full health and feel good enough to play football again.
The Contra Costa Times reported last week that the wide receiver would be out for the season and that Curry is seeking a second opinion on his injury before an expected surgery is scheduled.
"Obviously, it's going to hurt us," Oakland quarterback Kerry Collins said, according to the article in the Times. "Ronald was going to be a big part of what we did this year, and it's unfortunate that he won't be around."
"The guy has worked his butt off to get back to where he was, and he was just now getting back to being 100 percent," Collins added. "It's just disappointing because he's a heck of a player, and you hate to see good guys like that and good players get injured."
Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant and Carlos Francis are candidates to replace Curry as the receiver behind Randy Moss and Jerry Porter, the paper reported.
LOVE III, WILLIAMS TEAM UP THIS WEEK
* North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams will put his much-talked-about golf game on display to the public at-large on Wednesday afternoon at the Forest Oaks Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. in the UPS Pro-Am event. Williams is being paired with UNC alum Davis Love III.
It was written about Williams a few years back that "he plays [golf] 14 weeks of the year and has a 5 or 6 handicap. He tears up the pro-am circuit using the same Kroydon putter his uncle gave him 32 years ago."
Davis Love III is in Greensboro this week for the PGA Tour's Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. Love is also fresh from a Presidents Cup victory by the United States over the Internationals, 18.5 to 15.5, on Sunday at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia.
Love's 4-and-3 singles match victory over Nick O'Hern (Australia) on Sunday was his 16th win in the competition and makes him the winningest golfer in Presidents Cup history. Love has played in all six Presidents Cups. He was 2-2-1 this year and is 16-8-4 overall.
K. SMITH TO COVER THE KNICKS?
* The New York Post ran an item in their "TV Sports" column that Kenny Smith is close to signing with MSG Network to work some games on the New York Knicks' TV schedule.
According to the article, "We are currently in negotiations," Smith said, through a TNT spokesman. Smith would continue to be a regular on TNT's studio show "Inside the NBA" on Thursdays. For MSG, Smith would likely fill in for regular analyst Walt Frazier on about 20 Knicks games.
The options for MSG if the Smith deal does not go down would be to use "the highly respected Len Elmore (Maryland), [or] former Knick Hubert Davis, who showed potential while filling in on radio last year," the Post noted.
The Post had previously reported that the YES Network had pursued Smith to become the lead analyst on Nets' broadcasts.
THIS WEEK'S HAPPY BIRTHDAYS
- September 26: L.J. Hepp (27)
- September 27: Sylvia Crawley (33) and Candace Sutton (23)
- October 1: Mick Mixon (47)
- October 2: Coretta Brown (25)
- October 3: Rich Yonakor (47), LaShonda Allen (26), LaQuanda [Barksdale] Quick (26) and Justin Bohlander (21)
Look for the rest of the birthdays of October next week.