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The Banana Peel Shoes
By: UCLA Athletics

March 17, 2001

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Is the foul line too close for Duke's Jason Williams?

The star point guard of the Blue Devils is one of the nation's top 3-point shooters at 46 percent - often firing from NBA range - but he's had his trouble recently from 15 feet away.

Williams has missed 16 of his last 17 free throws over a six-game span. He was 0-for-2 there, but 6-for-10 from beyond the arc in Duke's 95-52 NCAA tourney victory over Monmouth on Thursday night.

"It's weird because in practice I make all my free throws," Williams said. "In high school I shot 90 percent from the free-throw line, and now all of the sudden I can't make one.

"I'm hoping that it's something like a jump shot to where sometimes you're off," he added. "It's kind of a little slump and I definitely have to pick it back up.

Through 34 games, Williams is shooting 64 percent from the foul line. His 176 attempts are the most on the Duke team.

"I went through a little of the same thing earlier this year," teammate Mike Dunleavy said. "I feel like the least people say about it the quicker it will go away."

BANANA SHOES: There are two things you notice about UCLA these days - the team's pressing defense and the bright yellow shoes that about a half-dozen of the players are wearing.

The high-profile Bruins are often asked to try out new footwear by Adidas, which has a shoe and apparel contract with the Los Angeles school.

That was the case a month ago against DePaul. But these aren't just any shoes. They're bright yellow.

"We call those banana peel shoes," UCLA coach Chuck Lavin said. "As long as we don't slip and fall down and create turnovers because of those shoes, I'm OK with them.

"They remind me a lot of my rain outfit in grammar school. If I had those shoes, it would be a great match."

UCLA senior Jason Flowers said the team has gotten some interesting comments about the shoes on the road.

"I had a band member at Washington State ask me for my shoes after the game," Flowers said. "I don't know, they're something different."

COMFORTABLE COACH: Stew Morrill has won close to 300 games at three different mid-major schools in 15 years. He's posted six 20-win seasons.

Yet the Utah State coach is seldom mentioned for any openings at big-time programs.

That's fine with him.

"I've gotten a little gray in the hair and I've gotten closer to 50 than I would like to admit," said Morrill, who is 70-24 in three seasons at Utah State after coaching at Colorado State and Montana.

"The nature of our profession is it's the hot, young guys that can relate to the players that get the jobs, but there is still a place for the old grizzly veterans."

Morrill did turn down the Houston job to stay at Utah State last year.

He left Colorado State after 1998 with three years left on his contract, saying it was time to move on.

With his mother living in Utah, Morrill would like his stay with the Aggies longer.

"I would like to try to stay 10 years," he said.

AP Sports Writer

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