Pac-10 basketball notes: Tourney to remain at Staples

first_img Hurricane Taylor: Shortly after making the Conference USA All-Freshman team at Tulane, Taylor Rochestie’s right knee was in tatters after he tore “every ligament except the ACL” during a pickup game. A few months later, the rest of his life was in just as big a mess when Hurricane Katrina hit. With New Orleans shut down and the campus shuttered, Rochestie found himself in College Station, Tex., where Texas A&M had opened its doors to Tulane’s basketball team. But when he began to look at the grueling rehab ahead, the prospect of doing it in a city that was struggling with basic services proved too daunting. Rochestie, who grew up in Santa Barbara, requested his release. The first coach to call him was Washington State’s Tony Bennett, then an assistant. Bennett, a former All-American at Wisconsin-Green Bay, saw in Rochestie, a little of himself a heady left-handed point guard with an outstanding shot and no fear. “He’s darty, quick, crafty, heady,” Bennett said. “I had a few people who saw him at Tulane say he reminded them of me.” Rochestie found himself buried on the bench at the start of the season, still getting his knee right. At 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds but at ease with the ball in either hand, Rochestie has gradually gotten better, starting the last four games. Rochestie struggled defending USC’s Gabe Pruitt in Washington State’s 70-61 loss in the Pacific-10 Conference semifinals, though he did hit three 3-pointers in the final 8:08 in the Cougars’ futile rally. He had been coming off his best offensive games of the season. After scoring a season-high 21 points in the season-finale overtime win against USC, Rochestie played a near-flawless 33 minutes in the Cougars’ 74-64 win over Washington in the Pac-10 quarterfinals Thursday. He had 20 points, three assists, fourrebounds, two steals and no turnovers. “Sometimes I stop and wonder how I got here,” Rochestie said. “Here I am playing at Staples Center in front of my friends and family. I’m nothing but grateful the way everything has worked out. With the highs and lows I’ve been through, I just try make every day the best day of my life.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Staples Center will be home to the Pacific-10 Conference men’s basketball tournament for at least five more years, officials announced Friday. Fox Sports Net and Staples Center reached an agreement on a new lease that runs through 2012. Some Pac-10 coaches have expressed interest in a tournament that rotates to cities around the conference, but that won’t be up for discussion for a while with the new deal. “A lot of buildings and cities were after this,” said Tim Leiweke, president & CEO of AEG and Staples Center. “We agreed to let David Beckham play here, and that’s a huge bonus. This was an important decision for the Pac-10. It’s rich in cities like Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose and Seattle.” Leiweke said he was in the middle of negotiating a $30-$40million deal Thursday when he interrupted the meeting to watch the end of the UCLA-Cal game, which Cal won in overtime. “That was one of the better sporting events I’ve ever seen,” Leiweke said. “The competition is so good in this tournament.” UCLA isn’t the only attraction anymore. USC is benefiting from the success of coach Tim Floyd and so is the Pac-10 Tournament. While UCLA’s loss wasn’t good for tournament organizers, it wasn’t the end of the world. USC’s win over Stanford ensured many Los Angeles fans would still sit in Staples Center seats. “The ‘SC’s program is coming on, and that’s a huge factor in our growth,” said Tom Hansen, the Pac-10 commissioner. center_img “We think this is the best venue to create what we set out to be – a first-class event for the fans, athletes and coaches,” said Mitch Huberman, the senior vice president for Fox Sports Enterprises. Staples Center has been home of the tournament since 2002, and the Pac-10 Tournament has been in existence for just sixyears. Other cities made bids to host the tournament, but LosAngeles didn’t appear to be challenged much, if at all. last_img

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