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Ball stuff...

Despite the tepid -- at best -- response I got from new FIU men's basketball coach Richard Pitino Monday when I asked him if he'd be bringing Louisville's director of basketball operations and former Miami Pace High coach Mark Lieberman down with him, got informed this morning that Lieberman's already in the fold and been spotted at potential recruit workouts wearing FIU attire.

With Lieberman back, you have to think FIU has a shot at being the landing spot for Cody Mann, who is transferring out of Colorado State. Mann played for Lieberman at Pace before transferring to play under Shaky Rodriguez at Dr. Krop High as a senior.

(My favorite moment of the 1990 FIU coaching search: a member of the search committee looks at the five finalists selected by the subcommittee, doesn't see Rodriguez and says, "I, for one, would like to speak for Marcos Rodriguez." A member of the subcommittee replies guilelessly, "We felt he didn't have enough experience recruiting." That marinated for a beat, then two. Then, the titters started. Then, some laughs.)

Mann got into only 17 games for guard-loaded 20-12 Colorado State, playing 85 total minutes. He was quoted in reports as not seeing the sneaker ceiling getting much higher above him next year while also having a tough time being away from home.

Also, 6-5 guard/forward Charles Hankerson, Jr., Coral Reef High graduate and son of the former Northwestern principal and Edison High basketball coach, is transferring from Alabama and has been contacted by the FIU staff. Rivals had Hankerson ranked in their Top 150 for 2010. Hankerson started five of 26 games as a freshman, but none of 18 as a sophomore. His minutes per game dropped from 11.2 to 10.5.

Hankerson's younger brother, 6-3 point guard Cedric Hankerson, also is being recruited by several schools now.


Michael Gomez is now on the midseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year award, given to the best Division I relief pitcher.

In 20 appearances, Gomez has 10 saves and a 2.25 ERA with a .194 batting average allowed. He's allowed only two extra base hits in 28 innings.

And, to close, R.I.P. Levon Helm...



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