Illini to release Notree from hoops scholarship

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Bryant Notree said Illinois basketball coach Lon Kruger has agreed to release him from his scholarship.
Notree, a former All-State forward from Chicago Simeon High School, is considering transferring to Illinois-Chicago, California and Southern California.
Notree had academic problems last year. He appeared to be leaving Illinois in April but reached an accommodation with Kruger and decided to stay, even though they agreed he would sit out next season.
“This is a Bryant Notree decision,” Notree said Sunday. “It was a very tough decision because Champaign is my second home, and I have made a lot of friends here, and a lot of people have helped me.
“But in the end, I feel it would be a better move for me to move on at this time. I want to make it perfectly clear that it was not a forced move. Coach Kruger and I have a great relationship.”
Kruger said, “We tried to put a plan in place that was in Bryant’s best interests over the long term. We hoped he would stick it out, but this is certainly his choice. There were a lot of ifs, but it could have been great for Bryant here.”

Council votes for hockey
ST. PAUL (AP) — The city council approved 6-1 a deal today intended to draw a National Hockey League team to St. Paul.
“I think we got an A-plus chance of getting a team,” Mayor Norm Coleman said.
The interim financing plan is for a $130 million arena to attract a franchise. The deal obligates the city, which already has agreed to pay $30 million for a new arena, to arrange an additional $65 million in interim financing that would be paid through a variety of city revenue sources.
The hope is that the state next year will make good on a commitment from Gov. Arne Carlson to come through with $65 million in bonds to replace the interim financing.
An NHL expansion committee meets Wednesday to consider bids for new franchises from six cities, including St. Paul.
Council member Jerry Blakey voted against the plan.
“I think the ticket prices are too high,” he said, adding that his constituents cannot afford to pay up to $50 for tickets.
To pay for the interim loan, St. Paul budget analysts patched together revenue from a variety of sources, including the lodging tax, an extension of the half-cent sales tax, an additional surcharge on tickets and revenues from a tax increment financing district.
The plan will also be reviewed by the Civic Center Authority and the St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority.