LARGO, Fla. - Tim Donaghy has become the latest public figure to write a book before reading one. The difference is that most of those other "authors" had ghost writers. Donaghy said he had help from no one - except his mother.

In his new book, Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA, the disgraced NBA referee writes that because he was never a very good student, he was proud of himself for graduating from Villanova.

"Not bad," he wrote, "for someone who had never read a book."

Yesterday, Donaghy clarified that claim a little.

"Cover-to-cover, I never had the patience to sit down and read a book," he said. "But I guess I was being a little facetious."

Donaghy, who also said he majored in English in college, wrote the chapters in federal prison and mailed them to his mother, Joan, in Havertown.

"She would send it back, and I would redo it," he said. "Then I'd mail it back to her to edit and make suggestions."

The book had been scheduled to be published by Triumph Books, a division of Random House. But, according to Donaghy, the NBA's lawyers visited the publisher's lawyers, and the contract was canceled.

The VTI Group, a public relations firm working with the ex-ref, then published and distributed it, though most book stores in the Philadelphia area had not yet received it a day after last Friday's release.