Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Shorts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sports Shorts

Article excerpt

Fed-up Fortson Hints He'll Leave For NBA

Danny Fortson has fouled out of five games and gotten five technical fouls for protesting calls. He goes to the foul line more than twice as often as anyone else on No. 9 Cincinnati.

Fouls are the only thing holding the All-America power forward back, and they might end up being the reason he goes to the NBA a year early. After sitting out roughly half of the Bearcats' 63-49 victory Tuesday night over Southern Mississippi, the junior hinted strongly that he'll leave for the NBA after the season because of the way officials are calling games. "I guess they're trying to give me a sign: `Get the hell out of here.' That's what the message is," Fortson said. And that's almost certainly what he's going to do. Although Fortson won't declare his intentions until after Cincinnati is through with the NCAA Tournament, he's not hiding his frustration with the way he's getting treated under the basket. Teams either blanket him in a zone defense designed to deny him the ball, or double-team him in man-to-man coverage. He often resembles a pinball as he moves through the lane. Fortson took only five shots Tuesday night, scored a season-low four points and fouled out with 1:05 left. One of the fouls was a technical for complaining about a call. Fortson contends opponents are allowed to push him around, but he's whistled when he tries to gain advantage with his 6-foot-7, 260-pound frame. "It's unfortunate because I don't think that (Wake Forest's) Tim Duncan gets beat on, or (Utah's) Keith Van Horn or (Kansas') Jacque Vaughn," Fortson said. "I don't think those All-Americans get the treatment I do. I know they don't. It's crazy. If you touch Tim Duncan, you might go to jail." It's not going to get any easier for Fortson. Teams concentrate on neutralizing him because Cincinnati's guards are its biggest weakness. The Bearcats' five losses all can be linked to weak play at guard. BASKETBALL Mercer Makes NBA Decision Official Ron Mercer, the Kentucky forward who leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring, is giving up his last two years of eligibility after the season to enter the NBA draft. With No. 3 Kentucky approaching postseason play, coach Rick Pitino had said that Mercer's announcement would remove a distraction from the team. Mercer, a finalist for player of the year awards, is averaging 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds and is expected to be one of the top selections in the June draft. Missouri-St. Louis begins its final home stand of the season tonight against Bellarmine in Great Lakes Valley Conference action. The women's game will begin at 6 p.m., with the men's game at 8 p.m. The WNBA, the NBA-sponsored women's basketball league, will hold an elite draft today with the spotlight on old-timers Nancy Lieberman-Cline and Lynette Woodard. …

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