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JUCO center commits to Duquesne

Duquesne men’s basketball coach Ron Everhart received his second verbal commitment for the 2010-11 season, when center Cheikh “Ali” Fall, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound Senegal native from Barstow (Calif.) College, committed to the Dukes over the weekend.

Fall, who chose Duquesne over New Mexico State and San Diego State, will have three years of eligibility when he arrives at Duquesne.

“I’m coming there to try to help the team get better,” said Fall, who joins 6-7 forward Shakore Grant, from Middletown (Del.) Appoquinimink High School, as Duquesne’s recruits thus far for next season.

Fall, who attended high school in Kochi, Japan, spent last season as a redshirt freshman at Salt Lake City College before transferring to Barstow (7-1), where he is averaging nine points and six rebounds per game.

“He’s very physical, very strong,” Barstow coach Reggie Howard said. “He’s a really good defender, protects the pain and rebounds and blocks shots well.”

» Pitt and Duquesne planned to get an early look at the brand-new rims, backboards and court at Consol Energy Center, which is hosting its first college basketball game Wednesday night. Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said the Panthers will practice today in advance of the annual City Game at the 19,000-seat arena after the basketball floor is laid down. “We would normally not shoot, but since we haven’t seen the arena, we are going to come down beforehand and practice,” he said.

» Pitt hopes to play at least one other nonconference game each season at Consol Energy Center in addition to the City Game, Dixon said. The extra date is available because Pitt is slated to play four games in a nonexempt holiday tournament each season along with 18 home games. “We would love to get another game here,” Dixon said. “One more in addition to (the City Game) would be all we could get to, and that’s going to be a challenge.” The third-ranked Panthers play Duquesne on Wednesday and No. 13 Tennessee in the Big East-SEC Invitational on Dec. 11 this season at the new arena.

• Dixon spent much of Monday’s news conference to promote the City Game discussing his alma mater, Texas Christian, and its impending entrance into the Big East Conference. Dixon, an all-Southwest Conference guard in 1987, was asked jokingly if he can now refer to himself as a former all-Big East player. “My all-league status just went up a bit,” he said.


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