Marquette players get haircuts (again) for NCAA tournament
Last year it was shaved heads. This year, Marquette players are sporting haircuts with intricate designs as a show of solidarity.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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SAN JOSE, Calif. — A year ago, Marquette players shaved their heads as a sign of solidarity before playing their first-round NCAA tournament game.
This year, the Golden Eagles sported haircuts with intricate designs.
"The design isn't significant, but it's another thing for us to be unified," senior forward Lazar Hayward said. "Everybody wants to be in the same boat with two feet in.
"And just to have a little fun. Just to get a change of pace is always good. Last year we were bald. I'm happy they didn't choose that (again)."
Coach Buzz Williams had little to say about the new-look Eagles.
"They are silly," he said. "That's it. I didn't say anything to them. They're kids. They're having fun."
It wasn't fun and games early in the Big East season when Marquette started conference play 2-5.
After a 76-71 defeat at Syracuse on Jan. 23, players made a pact to grow their hair long and Marquette went on a five-game winning streak that saved the season.
Guard Maurice Acker isn't sure what the correlation was between growing hair and winning games, but said "It just shows the type of team we have. Nobody disagreed with not cutting their hair and that was a good thing about our team."
If it's the tournament time, then it's time for Elston Turner to shine.
Washington's sophomore three-point specialist had a breakout game of sorts last year in a second-round tournament defeat to Purdue. He attracted extra attention from Purdue and was the difference-maker for UW in the second half.
Washington ultimately lost 76-74, but Turner built a reputation as a big-game performer.
He scored 10 points off the bench in the Pac-10 tournament quarterfinals and played a vital role in the final minutes of the win over California in the title game.
"Elston plays like he's done this before, like 100 times," UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. "He's very mature as a basketball player. He's been around basketball at the highest level all of his life and it reflects in his play.
"The one thing he brings to the table is in general just good ol' know-how and savvy. He stretches the defense whenever he checks in the game and you've got to make sure someone is around Elston Turner and that opens it up for everyone else."
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida released a report Monday that showed Washington ranking among the bottom five NCAA tournament teams in graduation rates.
The report is based on statistics originally released in May by the NCAA. The NCAA measured six-year graduation rates for the freshman classes that entered college from the 1999-2000 through 2002-03 school years.
The four lowest graduation rates for freshmen who entered during those four years were Maryland (8 percent), California (20 percent) and UW and Arkansas Pine Bluff (29 percent each).
"I would like to do the research myself and see, but I know what we've done in terms of our graduation rate since I've been here," said Romar, who took over before the 2002-03 season. "You go beyond eight years, I don't know. But since we've been here, we've been successful."
A UW official said 19 of 23 players have graduated under Romar.
The NCAA issued the annual Academic Progress Rates study last spring for all sports at all schools. The APR is a number that measures retention, eligibility and graduation. A score of 925 is the general baseline for avoiding penalties
For the period measured, Washington had an APR score of 956 in men's basketball, ahead of the Division I average of 934.