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Saturday, June 4, 2005

Prep coach supports Giddens

Marshall High's Martin: 'I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. He's a good kid.'

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J.R. Giddens' high school basketball coach said Friday that he didn't believe his former player was the instigator of the fight that left the Kansas University shooting guard on crutches with a knife wound to his calf.

John Martin, Giddens' coach at Oklahoma City's John Marshall High, said Giddens was a good kid, not a troublemaker.

"It surprised me. I have confidence in J.R.," Martin said. "I've heard people criticize him, and I've heard the people at KU say they're not going to say anything until the investigation is complete.

"That's fine," Martin said. "But, myself, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. He's a good kid. The only thing I'd say to him is, 'You know, nothing good happens in a bar after midnight.' But I'm sure coach (Bill) Self has already told him that."

Martin said he arrived at Marshall High in 2003, Giddens' senior year. The team won the state Class 5A title, after which Giddens was named one of the state's top five high school basketball players.

"When I took the job, J.R. had already committed to Kansas," Martin said. "He really, really liked Roy Williams, but Bill Self had recruited him, too. So when Roy left, it wasn't like (J.R.) was going to a program where the coach didn't want him.

"After Roy left," Martin said, "J.R. sort of shifted gears and signed up with coach Self. He's totally committed to KU."

Lawrence Police on Friday said they still had no timetable for completing their investigation into last month's stabbing at the Moon Bar, which left Giddens with a slashed artery in a calf.

Police spokesman Sgt. Dan Ward said detectives still had numerous interviews to do and it would be "some time" before their report was forwarded to Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson.

Giddens and five others were injured in the knife fight outside the bar during the early morning hours of May 19.

Ward said police were trying to be thorough in their investigation.

KU sports officials continued to decline comment about the incident. Giddens, contacted at his parents' home in Oklahoma City, where he is recuperating, also would not comment.

-- 6News anchor/reporter Janet Reid contributed to this report.

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