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Whoosh! Net News

NEWS UPDATE: McGee’s future in question; schedule news; Horizon apology

(5/08/03)

Marcetteaus McGee, the former Farragut High School star point guard, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced sexual assault charge in Madison, Wis.

McGee, who is currently enrolled at UIC and hopes to play for the Flames in the future, was released from his scholarship from the University of Wisconsin last summer.

McGee, 19, was charged with second degree sexual assault and intimidation of a victim last July, but Dane County Circuit Judge Paul Higginbotham agreed to a plea agreement with McGee after the victim said she did not want to testify at a trial. He ended up pleading guilty to third-degree sexual assault.

With the agreement, McGee avoids jail time and was ordered to receive treatment as part of a one-year first offender program.

If he successfully completes the program, McGee would not have a criminal record.

UIC coach Jimmy Collins told the Chicago Tribune’s Bill Jauss that he is taking a “wait-and-see” approach to McGee’s future with the team. Collins wants to research the situation and made it clear he will do so carefully.

SCHEDULE NEWS: Although it is far from set in stone, UIC’s 2003-04 tentative men’s basketball schedule looks exciting.

UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt shared some of the news at the team’s postseason banquet at Moretti’s Monday night.

The highlights include the possibility of playing three Big Ten teams, an invitation to the Black Coaches Association Classic, and a return to ESPN’s Bracket Buster.

The Flames will play Illinois at the United Center, which is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 30. In his seven-year tenure with the Flames, Collins is 0-3 against his former team with each of the games coming at a different site—the UIC Pavilion, Champaign’s Assembly Hall and the Rosemont’s Allstate Arena. It also represents a chance for Collins to even his career mark against new Illinois’ boss Bruce Weber. Collins was 2-3 against Weber when Weber was at Southern Illinois.

UIC also plays Northwestern at the Pavilion in what will be the Big Ten’s first appearance at the Pavilion since 1997 when the Flames beat Michigan State 70-58. The Flames pummeled Northwestern 70-53 at Welsh-Ryan Arena last season.

The Flames could also play Iowa, if the draw at the Hawkeyes’ tournament goes UIC’s way. Northern Illinois and Eastern Washington will also take part in the two-day event. The Flames will likely draw their old nemesis Northern Illinois in the opening round with a possible crack at Iowa in the title game.

UIC will open its season in the BCA Classic, a three-day event in Cincinnati Nov. 15-17. Xavier is designated as the host school. The BCA will finalize the participating teams and match-ups in the eight-team tournament later in the summer.

Besides Northwestern, other non-conference home games include Illinois State, Evansville and ESPN’s Bracket Buster.

For the second straight season, the Flames will participate in the Bracket Buster—the made-for-TV event—in February, comprised of teams mostly from the Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Horizon League and Big West conferences. Last year, UIC beat Bowling Green at the Pavilion in front of an ESPN2 audience in a victory that likely enhanced its NIT bid. The Flames are tentatively slated for a home game again.

Non-conference road tilts, include Texas-San Antonio and Eastern Illinois.

Schmidt said that there is one non-conference game to be determined. Schmidt said last year that with the change of athletic administration at DePaul, a Flames-Blue Demons match-up is much closer to reality.

Of course, a lot can still change between now and September. When the schedule is finalized and released by the athletic department, Whoosh!Net will post it.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE AT GLANCE

HOME: Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit, Loyola, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wright State, Youngstown State, ESPN Bracket Buster, Evansville, Illinois (United Center), Illinois State, Northwestern.

AWAY/NEUTRAL: Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit, Loyola, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wright State, Youngstown State, BCA Classic (Xavier, 6 other teams), Iowa tournament (Eastern Washington, Iowa, Northern Illinois), Eastern Illinois, Texas-San Antonio.

LEAGUE APOLOGIZES: According to Schmidt, The Horizon League admitted a timing mistake at the end of the UIC-Wisconsin-Milwaukee semifinal game March 8, which the Panthers won 75-73 before advancing to the NCAA tournament. The league sent the school a letter stating that there should have been about five-tenths of a second left after Milwaukee’s Clay Tucker blocked Aaron Carr’s three-point attempt out of bounds.

Horizon League Director of Officials John Adams said at the time that it was not a timing error, and the game officials did not go to the television monitors to review the play.

“[The letter] was a little bittersweet,” Schmidt said.

ATTENDANCE GOES UP: Schmidt reported that attendance at the Pavilion is on the rise. The overall attendance is up 31 percent and student attendance (thanks to the revival of the Fury) jumped 120 percent.

In other recent news:
Year-end banquet celebrates accomplishments and awards (5/06/03)
Flame tidbits: Recruiting update, Farmer signs with Vikings (4/29/03)
Western Illinois coaching search includes Coomes (4/12/03)
News, notes and observations from around the Horizon League (4/09/03)
ALUMNI UPDATE: Ford and Miller find success overseas (4/03/03)
Butler does Horizon League proud (plus recruiting update) (3/28/03)
Flames' recruiting update (3/26/03)
FORMER FLAME UPDATE: Hallberg, Brown, Solverson (3/21/03)
Comeback effort falls short, season over for UIC (3/19/03)
Off to Kalamazoo: Flames brace for Western Michigan (3/18/03)
Flames invited to "Little Dance" for first time (3/17/03)