The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA Ÿ Jerry Stackhouse, the third overall pick in last June's NBA draft, signed with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, becoming the highest selection so far to join his new team.
''The word to describe Jerry Stackhouse is 'ferocious,''' Philadelphia coach and general manager John Lucas said. ''He's a competitor and a potential superstar.''
Under the league's new rookie salary scale, Stackhouse will receive approximately $6.855 million over three years after leaving North Carolina as a sophomore.
''Signing was the easy part,'' said Stackhouse, modeling his new red, white and blue 76ers jersey. ''The tough part is going to be getting the players to come together as a team.''
The 21-year-old guard joins NBA veterans Vernon Maxwell and Richard Dumas in a new lineup that Lucas hopes will give the Philadelphia the speed and aggression it needs to improve on last year's 24-58 record, fourth worst in the league.
The team is looking to the 6-5, 215-pound Stackhouse to become their dominant shooting guard, one who is not only a danger from the 3-point line, but a constant threat to knife or bull his way through the defense and open up the lane.
In his two seasons at North Carolina, Stackhouse used quick moves to the basket, a solid 15-foot jumper, and dogged inside play to average 15.7 points per game.
Last year as a sophomore, Stackhouse led UNC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 19.2 points and 8.2 boards. He was an Associated Press pick for first team All-American; and Sports Illustrated named him College Player of the Year.
''I've been working on my perimeter shooting, looking to get a little deeper,'' Stackhouse said. Lucas said he was impressed that Stackhouse came to Philadelphia early to start playing pickup games with his new teammates.
''I'm used to being a banger Ÿ now, I have to get used to being banged,'' said Stackhouse.
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CLEVELAND Ÿ Mark Price, a four-time All-Star point guard and the NBA's career leader in free throw accuracy, was traded to the Washington Bullets on Wednesday in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 1996.
The Bullets, which had the worst record in the Eastern Conference last season, had been seeking a high-profile, veteran point guard to run its talented but young frontcourt, which includes rookie Rasheed Wallace, second-year player Juwan Howard and third-year pro Chris Webber.
''With the addition of Mark Price, we feel as though we have accomplished that goal and have not had to part with any of our corps of young talent,'' Bullets general manager John Nash said in a statement.
Facing at least half a season without starting center Brad Daugherty and a need to add some youth to an aging roster, the Cavaliers felt they had to deal Price, general manager Wayne Embry said.
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MESA, Ariz. Ÿ Former Mesa Community College basketball coach Tom Bennett came out of retirement Wednesday to guide the Thunderbirds for one more season.
Bennett, 57, replaces Rob Standifer, one of his ex-players who posted a 15-15 record in his only season last year.
Standifer, 28, resigned Sept. 18 over his role in the recruitment of Richie Parker, a New York star guard and convicted sex offender.
Parker, 18, pleaded guilty in January of forcing a 14-year-old girl into performing oral sex on him in January 1994 while both attended Manhattan Center High School. He was placed on five years probation.
Mesa Community officials have allowed Parker to enroll in school, but barred him from playing basketball this season.
Bennett coached the Thunderbirds from 1976 to '94 and compiled a 412-159 record with five National Junior College Region 1 championships.
He also was the school's athletic director from 1988 to '92.
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