REPORT: RICE TO RETURN TO COACHING
* Former Tar Heel point guard King Rice is "apparently" the choice to be added as an assistant coach to Barry Collier's Nebraska coaching staff, according to a report by the Lincoln Star Journal last week. The article noted two coaches close to the search as sources that Rice was selected over three other applicants who interviewed for the job.
Rice was most recently a personal assistant for former Tar Heel teammate and former Los Angeles Laker Rick Fox. Prior to that, Rice was an assistant coach at Providence for two years until 2000. Rice started his coaching career at Oregon in 1992 after playing pro ball in England and then returning to UNC to complete work for his degree.
Rice also was an assistant coach at Illinois State for five years and served as the coordinator of recruiting.
RODL GETS CONTRACT EXTENDED
* German League basketball club ALBA Berlin announced last week that Henrik Rodl has agreed on a contract to continue as head coach into next season. Rodl took over as head coach in January and led Berlin to first-place (22-8). "I am delighted with the faith placed in me and I will do everything to justify this," said Rodl, according to the team's official website.
Right now, Rodl, a seven-time German League champ as a player with Berlin, has his team into the playoff semifinals, but they will need to regroup after being thumped on Sunday in the best-of-five series opener by Frankfurt, 84-60. The series reumes on Thursday.
* Here's a look at how some other former Tar Heels are doing in playoff action through Sunday.
NBA: Miami Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo is enjoying a 2-1 lead over the defending champion Pistons and Rasheed Wallace, Larry Brown, Dave Hanners, Pat Sullivan and Phil Ford after the Heat outplayed Detroit in the final five minutes to claim a 113-104 win in Game 3 on Sunday night. Game 4 will be played tonight in Detroit. TNT has the television coverage for the best-of-seven semifinal series.
Italy: Dante Calabria and Armani Jeans Milano (24-10, 4th), now in the Italian League semifinals against top-seed Benetton Treviso (28-6), rebounded from a Game 1 thrashing, 82-60, to take Game 2 by a count of 58-49 on Saturday. Calabria scored 13 points (6-10 FG) to support Joseph Blair's (Arizona) double-double of 16 points and 14 boards.
Russia: After falling behind 2-0, Shammond Williams and UNICS Kazan bounced back with two homecourt wins to force the fifth and deciding game on the road against Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Superleague best-of-five semifinal series. Williams was crucial in Game 4's 86-85 victory by Kazan, coming up with clutch free-throws in the closing seconds along with 22 points, five assists and five rebounds. However, Williams had his pursuit of a Russian League title come to an end on Friday in Moscow. Dynamo Moscow dominated the fourth quarter 26-13 and closed out the series by downing Kazan 82-73, despite a 25-point effort by Williams.
Spain: Kris Lang did not play in Game 3 or Game 4 as Unicaja Malaga came up with a pair of victories to even their quarterfinal best-of-five series with Alicante at 2-2. Lang is serving as a backup to center Fran Vazquez, considered by most of the NBA draft gurus as a top-10 talent in the upcoming NBA draft.
SOME UPCOMING BIRTHDAYS
* The birthdays of early June ...
- June 2: Al Wood (47)
- June 3: Billy Cunningham (62)
- June 7: George "the Blind Bomber" Glamack (1919-1987)
- June 10: John Greene (37)
Look here next week for more June Tar Heel birthdays to celebrate.
* Neal Taslitz thinks he is on to something. Back in 1996, Taslitz, a chair designer/ergonomic expert, fitted Michael Jordan and some other Chicago Bulls' players for custom designed chairs to be used while reviewing game tapes at the Bulls' training center in Deerfield, Ill.
Taslitz came into the picture after Jordan hurt his back in a 1996 playoff game, according to the report by The Associated Press last week. The Bulls went on to win the championship in '96, and Taslitz designed and produced an oversized seat custom-made for Jordan. That chair, estimated value of $800 when it was delivered, is now being made available by Taslitz via an online auction with a minimum bid of $200,000 on eBay.
Taslitz did not to take any money at the time for the set of chairs he designed for Jordan, Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and Luc Longley, but instead wanted the chairs back when the championship squad split up. They have been in his possession and in storage since the Bulls championship of 1998.
The lofty starting bid amount of $200,000, Taslitz told AP, is based on auction prices for chairs occupied by royalty. "Michael certainly qualifies as one of the kings of the world of sports," Taslitz said. The seller's sales pitch posted at ebay.com states, "The design incorporated unique ergonomic technology, including the Gregory dual-density seat pan." The back of the black chair is emblazoned in red with "JORDAN" and "23" similar to the back of a Jordan Bulls' jersey.
Warner Saunders, who covered Jordan and the Bulls during that period and is now a TV news anchor in Chicago, thinks the custom-made chair being auctioned at ebay.com will be enticing to fans of Jordan. "The fact [Jordan's] butt was planted in that chair, it's enough for them to buy," said Saunders, according to AP.
The chance to bid on "the ACTUAL CHAIR Michael Jordan used on a regular basis while reviewing game footage ... during the 1997 and 1998 championship seasons" opened on May 26 and will close on June 5. No bids had been made on the chair at http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5201141244 through the early hours of May 31. Will anyone buy a used chair for $200,000 from this man?