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USF dismisses Barber, has 7 on scholarship

South Florida absorbed its third significant personnel loss of the month Monday when redshirt freshman forward Sam Barber was dismissed.

The Bulls are down to seven scholarship players and have lost their first three Conference USA games by an average of 34 points. Nine will dress for tonight's game at Memphis, including two walk-ons.

A school release said Barber was dismissed "due to conduct detrimental to the team," but Barber characterized it as a mutual decision based on a personal matter.

"I'm dealing with some stuff I just need to take care of, personal stuff that I really can't talk about," Barber said. "I really just felt like I needed to clear my mind. Basketball wasn't my main focus right now. It made no sense for me to be cheating myself and the team like that, so that's why I decided to leave the team."

Barber joins Jimmy Baxter (quit/joined track team full time) and Marlyn Bryant (torn ACL) as January losses. Barber also left the team for a week earlier this season because of personal issues, and he returned after missing two games.

He said he would like to transfer closer to his hometown of Lake Worth, possibly to a junior college.

"I'm pretty much set on leaving," Barber said. "I'm really not sure if I want to transfer to another (Division I school) and sit out a year or go JUCO for a year and then have two years at a D-I. I'm thinking about all of that."

Barber said he spoke with coach Robert McCullum before practice Sunday and then left town, returning Monday evening.

"(Barber) showed up (Sunday), but as a result of some things that happened that I don't really want to go into, we just felt like the decision made was in the best interests of the program," McCullum said.

All four members of last year's recruiting class have left since McCullum took over for Seth Greenberg in April, with Barber joining Yusuf Baker (dismissed/academics), Danny Oglesby (quit) and Sheldon Franklin (eligibility issues).

"The coaching staff, they're all cool people," Barber said. "I guess guys have just had some individual things (that led to them leaving). Mine's more of a personal thing."

Barber played five games last season before a broken foot caused him to redshirt. He started the opener Nov. 21 vs. Florida Atlantic and the past two games at Saint Louis and UAB, and he is averaging 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Coaches apologize

CONNECTICUT: Coach Jim Calhoun apologized to a newspaper columnist on Monday, two days after he reacted to a recruiting question with a profanity-laced tirade.

Calhoun lashed out at Dave Solomon of the New Haven Register after UConn's 66-56 loss to Providence when Solomon asked him to comment on the improvement of Ryan Gomes of the Friars. The Waterbury, Conn., native scored 26 points and had 12 rebounds Saturday to lead Providence in the upset of the then-No. 4 Huskies.

"I took Emeka Okafor and Caron Butler. They're not bad!" Calhoun shouted. "I can't get everyone!"

Solomon said the apology was "appreciated but not necessary."

ST. JOSEPH'S: Coach Phil Martelli apologized for calling a St. Bonaventure fan a "moron" and "nitwit."

Martelli's exchange with the fan, Mary Palmer, came in the first half of the Hawks' 114-63 win Saturday. Palmer yelled out, questioning why the Hawks were pressing the Bonnies despite leading by 25. Martelli snapped back, "Shut up, you nitwit!" A few seconds later he added: "You should be embarrassed by your own team, you moron."

Martelli said he wrote a letter of apology to Palmer and would try to call her.

State

ECKERD: The Tritons were ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II South Region this week.

FSU: Senior guard Tim Pickett was ACC player of the week. Pickett scored 30 to help FSU defeat North Carolina 90-81 in overtime. He had 18 second-half points in a victory over Wake Forest.

SEC

MISSISSIPPI: Senior forward Justin Reed was named conference player of the week. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds in a 71-60 victory against Alabama. Reed had 16 points and a nine rebounds in a 53-49 victory against LSU.

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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