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News Nuggets, 04.06.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

The day after: High times in the Dean Dome


04.05.05: Williams soaks in the moment as Tar Heels deliver... Drew top QB on ECU's spring depth chart... 2005 ECU spring depth chart ... Baseball America & Collegiate Baseball Polls ... More...
04.04.05: Title game preview: Roy Williams' time has arrived ... Card return to elite status after 4-year climb ... More...
04.03.05: Little men come up big as Heels, Illini head to showdown ... Cops unleash tear gas on disruptive Michigan State fans ...  More...
04.02.05: UNC-G coach beats out Herrion for Siena job ... Terps assistant Dickerson named coach at Tulane ... 'P.H.D.' Pitino gets life in perspective at U of L ...  More...
04.01.05: Gamecocks capture NIT title in thrilling finish ... Coaches pushing for more distant 3-point arc ...  More...
03.31.05: Preparations in place for closed ECU scrimmage ... Texas legislature maneuvers to reign in BCS ... NIT master Odom leads USC into title game ...  More...
03.30.05: Night-time football on the menu for Pirate fans ... Gamecocks top Terps to reach NIT title game ... Hawks halt Memphis in NIT semifinal battle ... More...
03.29.05: East Carolina southpaw takes Conference USA honor ... Beale Street helps Memphis star cure the blues ... More...
03.28.05: McCants helps Heels seal the deal over Badgers ... Scintillating finishes supercharge TV ratings ... More...
03.27.05: Cards, Illini mount monumental rallies to reach Final Four ... Terrapins dump TCU to win Garden date with South Carolina ... Sunday preview: North Carolina vs. Wisconsin ... More...
03.26.05: Duke, State bite the dust; Heels survive ... Louisville, WVU rumble for spot in Final Four ... Fires plague Morgantown after tourney win ... Players nabbed for passing fake currency ... More...
03.25.05: Holland named to powerful USA Basketball panel ... ECU fans to have rooting interest in NIT semis ... Triangle's Sweet 16 teams converge at RDU ... Another DUI charge embarrasses Cincinnati ... More...

CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina Tar Heels returned home Tuesday to celebrate the program's fourth national title with about 15,000 frenzied fans — less than 24 hours after closing the season with a 75-70 win over Illinois in St. Louis.

In a festive atmosphere in the Smith Center that included the team serenading the crowd, Coach Roy Williams and his players thanked the fans for their support and talked about how good it felt to win North Carolina's first national title since 1993.

It was a title made even sweeter by the program's struggles in recent years, which included an 8-20 season in 2002 and an ugly coaching change a year later that brought Williams back to his alma mater.

``It's been a long journey, it really has,'' said senior Jackie Manuel, a freshman on that eight-win team coached by Matt Doherty. ``But I think the one thing I can say is we're back. We're No. 1.''

Thousands of fans — many already wearing championship T-shirts — poured into the stands and onto the arena floor before the team's flight had even landed at nearby Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The fans waited and cheered as they watched season highlights on the video boards, located high above the scoreboards reading ``Carolina 75, Illinois 70.''

That score sent a crowd of about 45,000 onto Franklin Street for a post-game celebration that lasted into Tuesday's early hours. But the fans hardly seemed partied out by the time the team's flight landed around 3:40 p.m.

As the fans waited patiently for the team to arrive, TV stations followed the team bus on its trip to campus.

The team arrived around 4:30 p.m., and was greeted by a roar from the crowd as they walked to the podium with junior David Noel carrying the trophy.

It was the first title for Williams, who was an assistant to Dean Smith for 10 years before spending 15 seasons at Kansas. He reminisced about how good it felt to watch the Tar Heels win the title 12 years ago, and now he finally has one of his own in just two seasons here.

``I can tell you the thrill of a lifetime — other than my wife and two children — was being the leader and coach of our alma mater,'' Williams told the crowd.

Several of the players talked of returning for a similar party next year, though it's unclear just how many of these players will be around. In addition to losing senior Manuel, Jawad Williams and Melvin Scott, Williams said earlier Tuesday that he expected McCants to enter this year's NBA draft.

In addition, juniors Sean May — the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four — and Raymond Felton, and freshman reserve Marvin Williams are weighing a possible jump to the pros.

Near the end of the hourlong gathering, the team thanked the fans by performing a call-and-reponse song. With Noel leading a group jokingly dubbed the ``Tar Heel Travelin' National Champions,'' the team sang a repeating chorus of ``Don't even worry, we're gonna make it.''

It seemed the appropriate close for the seniors' careers.

Multiple murder raps highlight police blotter

Former Arizona State running back Loren Wade was indicted Tuesday by a Maricopa County (AZ) grand jury for first-degree murder in the death of another former player, while a pair of former Louisiana Tech players were held in custody in West Monroe, LA, in connection with a fatal shooting in that state.

The Arizona grand jury indicted the 21-year-old Wade for the March 26 shooting death of Brandon Falkner, 25.

Witnesses told police they saw Wade approach Falkner's car and exchange words with him before a single gunshot rang out.

Falkner, a defensive back, was a three-year letterman who saw action in 26 games for the Sun Devils from 1999 to 2001.

Wade, from Los Angeles, started the first three games for Arizona State as a sophomore last season, then was suspended for the remainder of the schedule while the school investigated whether he received improper benefits from a university employee.

The university found that an assistant in the school's compliance and recruitment department put her name on a line of credit to pay an overdue utility bill for Wade. The compliance officer was fired.

As a redshirt freshman in 2003, Wade broke the school freshman rushing record and finished fifth in the Pac-10 with 773 yards and an average of 5.7 yards per carry.

In the Louisiana case, the two former Louisiana Tech football players were facing charges Monday in a fatal weekend shooting.

Johnny Jackson, 22, turned himself in Monday morning. He was booked with second-degree murder. Myron Hawthorne, 22, was arrested a day earlier and was booked with attempted second-degree murder and illegally carrying a weapon.

The shooting at a Waffle House restaurant early Sunday followed an altercation at a nightclub, deputies said. Hawthorne, who is from Dallas, and Jackson had gone to the restaurant from the club.

Then Kevin Honeycutt, 25, and Arrigo Adams, 27, arrived at the restaurant, deputies said.

Honeycutt allegedly hit Hawthorne in the head with a large pipe, and Hawthorne responded by pulling a gun and attempting to fire, but the pistol jammed, authorities said.

People ran for the parking lot, where Adams and an unidentified person attempted to drive away in a pickup truck, according to police.

As they left, several rounds were fired at Adams. He was hit him in the upper body, and the truck swerved off the roadway. Adams died at a local hospital later Sunday.

Honeycutt was booked with one count of aggravated battery for allegedly striking Hawthorne.

Hawthorne, a tight end, and Jackson, an outside linebacker from Aliceville, Ala., were on the Bulldogs' 2004 roster.

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:22 PM


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