Arthur Lee has no apologies about his starring role in Stanford's improbable comeback against Rhode Island in the Midwest Regional championship.
But he said Tuesday he is sorry for mocking Tyson Wheeler by giving a "choke" sign when the Rhode Island guard missed three free throws near the end of Stanford's 79-77 win Sunday. The victory sent Stanford (30-4) to the Final Four, where it will play Kentucky (33-4) in the semifinals Saturday at San An-ton-io."If I was in my right mind, there's no way that would have happened," said Lee, who was at the center of the Stanford rally, scoring 13 of his 26 points in the final 2:04 and adding a key steal.
"I'm sure everyone in the whole world could see I was intense and just gone. I was in another world. I was in a zone. I hope people realize that. I really didn't mean that he was a choker. The fact is, he's a great player. He did so much for Rhode Island throughout his career, and he's going to be a great pro. It was just something that happened and it was definitely wrong."
Lee fouled Tyson with five seconds remaining and Stanford leading 77-74. After Tyson missed his first free throw, Lee stood near midcourt in view of the Rams bench and put both hands around his throat. He did it again after Wheeler missed a second time before missing the final free throw on purpose.
Stanford coach Mike Montgomery was unhappy with Lee's actions and let him know it, both immediately after the episode and after the game.
"I thought it was very unfortunate," Montgomery said. "As soon as I saw it, I started yelling at him."
Later in the locker room, "I said, `Art, that didn't look good. You know, it's not typical of you. It's not typical of us.' "
The gestures infuriated Rhode Island players, and coach Jim Harrick suggested afterward that a technical foul could have been called on Lee for taunting. No call was made.
Lee, who came into his own during the game after playing in the shadow of former Stanford star Brevin Knight all year, also raised eye brows after the game by grimly staring into the crowd for several moments.
Stanford Cardinal roster
Coach: Mike Montgomery
Pos Ht Wt Yr Hometown
3 Kris Weems G 6-3 195 Jr Kansas City, Kan.
4 Michael McDonald G 6-0 170 Fr Long Beach, Calif.
5 Peter Sauer F 6-7 225 Jr Pittsburgh
11 Arthur Lee G 6-0 175 Jr Los Angeles
15 David Bennion G 6-3 190 So Palo Alto, Calif.
20 Alex Gelbard G 6-3 188 So Sher. Oaks, Calif.
21 David Moseley G-F 6-4 198 So Las Cruces, N.M.
31 Jarron Collins F 6-9 240 Fr No. Hollywood
32 Ryan Mendez F-G 6-7 205 So Burleson, Texas
33 Jason Collins C 6-10 240 Fr No. Hollywood
35 Kamba Tshionyi G 6-2 185 Sr Eugene, Ore.
40 Pete Van Elswyk F 6-9 225 Sr Hamilton, Ontario
44 Mark Seaton F 6-9 230 Jr Cypress, Calif.
45 Mark Madsen F 6-8 235 So Danville, Calif.
55 Tim Young C 7-1 245 Jr Santa Cruz, Calif.