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Sports Beat

Figure skater Sarah Hughes aced her final exam at the Salt Lake
City Games two years ago. Now she's doing the same as a Yale
freshman. The gold medalist says she got A's in both Computers
and the Law and Personality Psychology this semester. (She's
awaiting results for her other classes.) Hughes, 19, hasn't
declared a major ("I'm thinking about psychology," she says,
"because it's interesting to see how people act and think") nor
has she decided whether to compete at the 2006 Olympics. Though
she has been skating only occasionally, she likes to keep in
shape at the Yale gym. Says Hughes, "There are a lot of hot
athletes there."

--The courtside courtship between Britney Spears (below) and Luke
Walton has been benched--at least for the playoffs. After Access
Hollywood informed the Lakers' 6'8" rookie forward last week that
Spears, 22, had a crush on him, he replied, "Oh, yeah? I've had a
crush on her for a long time," and said he'd try to swing her a
seat to a playoff game. But oops, Spears is away until August on
her world tour. Walton hasn't had such an empty feeling since the
last time he watched Shaq shoot a free throw.

--Singer Kelly Rowland collaborated with St. Louis bad boy Nelly
on 2003's Dilemma and earned a Grammy. For collaborating with
Cowboys safety Roy Williams, she's earned a fat rock. The Pro
Bowler proposed to Destiny's Child's "number two" in front of a
roomful of Rowland's friends--including co-Child Beyonce
Knowles--and Rowland accepted. The power couple, both 23, have
been dating for six months and have been seen at several sporting
events, most recently at courtside of a Pistons-Nets playoff game
in New Jersey.

--"Little Steven" Van Zandt, underboss to both Tony Soprano and
Bruce Springsteen, made a surprise appearance in the paddock at
Belmont Park last Thursday. Van Zandt was at the track scouting
locations for an edition of The Wiseguy Show, a three-hour weekly
broadcast he produces for SIRIUS Satellite Radio. While plans
fell through for that particular show, the E Street guitarist
made a guest appearance on camera with John Lee, the host of the
track's handicapping program, chatting amiably about horses,
music and The Sopranos.

--Feisty blonde Kristielee Wilcox, remembered for sprinting onto
the Yankee Stadium field during 2002's Opening Day game and
handing shortstop Derek Jeter her phone number (she spent a night
in jail for the incident), had a run-in with Sex and the City big
man Chris Noth and wound up jobless. Wilcox told the New York
Post that she was fired from her job as a bartender at New York's
Da Marino restaurant for allegedly flirting with Noth and sending
Noth's girlfriend, Tara Wilson, into a fit. While confirming
there had been an encounter involving Noth, restaurant owner
Angelo Marino said that the twentysomething Wilcox was let go
because "she simply didn't fit in at Da Marino." ... Besides
drawing up plays for Brian Griese and Ronde Barber this summer,
Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden will be sketching X's and O's for
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock's prison football game in the remake
of the 1974 film The Longest Yard. The 40-year-old Gruden, who
inked the deal with Paramount last week, also recently starred in
commercials for the Florida Department of Citrus.

COLOR PHOTO: BIZUAYEHU TESFAYE/AP (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS The House of David baseball team once barnstormed around the U.S., spreading the word about their community, which was dedicated to reassembling the 12 tribes of Israel. This is not it. This is a bunch of crazy Red Sox fans showing support for Johnny Damon. The hirsute centerfielder had his beard shaved at Boston's Boylston Plaza last Friday in a charity event to benefit local literacy programs.



Dennis Rodman has sold his Newport Beach home because he felt his
neighbors partied too much.

NBC golf analyst, as cameras focused on the spiked hairdo of Ian
Coulter (left): "That's a tough lie right there."