Saturday, October 16, 2004right.
Sean May: Liar, liar, pants on fire.
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As he looked at the long-range sports calendar on the front page of his Post-Dispatch sports section Friday, St. Louis Sports Commission President Frank Viverito wondered about an event that didn't make the April cut.
"I guess we have a little work to do in terms of awareness," Viverito said.
The event? The NCAA Tournament men's basketball Final Four, which will return to St. Louis for the first time since 1978 - a generation gap during which the magnitude and scope of the occasion were radically transformed.
At Cincinnati, a visitor walks under a Big East logo as he approaches Huggins' office. Cincinnati ran out of C-USA stationery, decided against ordering another batch and is already using Big East stationery. Marquette's media guide contains information on the Big East, and hats and T-shirts with the Big East logo will be on sale during this season's games. Louisville has the Big East logo on the front of its basketball media guide and has distributed golf shirts with the Big East logo to its athletic staff.
Listen carefully: Brad Holland, the former UCLA player who coaches at the University of San Diego, got in a small dig at his alma mater. "This is my 11th year representing USD, which means I'm on my third UCLA coach," Holland said. (Jim Harrick, Steve Lavin and Ben Howland, if you're counting.)
Holland, mentioned as a candidate when Howland was hired, said he got a few phone calls from people with too much wax in their ears. "They called and said, 'Wow, that's great, you got the job.' And I said, 'No, that's Ben Howland,'" Holland said.
Former Amityville basketball star A.J. Price was released from the intensive care unit at Hartford Hospital Thursday and moved into a private room, 11 days after being airlifted there with a brain hemorrhage, according to family. A hospital spokesperson said Price was upgraded from critical to stable condition...
His condition has improved so much in the last 24 hours that Price bypassed traditional monitoring in a step-down room and was moved from ICU into a private room, family said. It's still unclear how long Price, a 6-2, 190-pound guard, will remain hospitalized.
"You know he's getting better because he wanted to know where his cell phone is," Inga Price said.
Ten years later, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale still hasn't reimbursed Cory Clouse for the cost of his textbooks...
Clouse said he tried to reach Vitale, who promised to pay for his books if he made the shot, by leaving a message at several phone numbers he was given for him, although he didn't know if they were the correct numbers. He said he also left an e-mail on Vitale's Web site, but never received a response.
ASU coach Rob Evans isn't ready to say goodbye, but he'd say thanks if it played out that way this year.
It’s impressive that the Wildcat coaching staff was able to get six of the nation’s premier underclass prospects to come into town on unofficials for Midnight Madness.
UA isn’t spending one dime on them to come.
Each of the six kids’ parents are footing the bill, and aren’t exactly making an insignificant cross-town trek to get here, either.
Let’s associate each of the six kids with their respective hometowns and add the exact distance mileage-wise each has to travel to Tucson.
-Chase Budinger, 6-6 Jr. SF – Carlsbad, Calif. (437 miles).
-James Keefe, 6-9 Jr. WF – Coto de Caza, Calif. (483 miles).
-Alex Stepheson, 6-9 Jr. PF – Studio City, Calif. (501 miles).
-Quincy Pondexter, 6-7 Jr. WG – Fresno, Calif. (706 miles).
-Josh Lomers, 7-0 Jr. C – Boerne, Tex. (837 miles).
-Keith Olson, 6-11 Soph. C – Gardnerville, Nev. (839 miles).
That’s a minimum driving time of six hours to Tucson.
To [St. John's University coach Norm] Roberts, that means leaving no stone unturned - and no gym unvisited - in the effort to restock a program that has only four returning scholarship players.
"As far as reconnecting with city coaches and the AAU programs, I would give them a grade of an A," St. Raymond's coach Oliver Antigua said.
Roberts began by attending the first Catholic league coaches meeting held after he was hired. "He wanted to make sure he got to know all of us and told us St. John's was our program. I was really impressed with that," Antigua said. "From that day on he's been active and involved and calling coaches and inviting them to his office and stopping by open gyms and saying hello."
In six years at St. Raymond's, Antigua never was invited to St. John's until Roberts got the job. Christ the King coach Bob Oliva has seen Roberts four times since June; Oliva said Jarvis came to CK's gym once in his five-plus years. Gary Charles, coach of the summer powerhouse Long Island Panthers, was conducting practice with his 15-and-under team when Roberts called to invite them to Alumni Hall.
But, [Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas noted to a guest, he hadn't signed up for TiVo because that's one way "Big Brother" can intrude on your life. At the time, college basketball was on his mind. He had just returned from visiting Texas Tech coach Bob Knight, a good friend. One reason they get along so well, he told this guest, is their shared distrust of the media.
Everything appears in place for a big season, but coach Bruce Weber prescribed some preventive medicine Monday. He brought in former Atlanta Hawks general manager Stan Kasten to talk to the Illini about NBA scouting, the draft and agents.
Seniors Roger Powell, Luther Head and Nick Smith have pro dreams, and Powell caught Weber by surprise after last season by declaring for the NBA draft before deciding to withdraw his name…
Kasten can educate the Illini about the NBA. Then Weber wants the Illini to concentrate on being college players — his biggest concern heading into the much-anticipated season.
"Early, it would be focus on the team and not the individual," Weber said. "When you have seniors and juniors who have pro potential...I want them to be pros, but you have to make sure their focus is on the team."
Listen to the Notre Dame coaches, and Latimore may very well be the best college basketball player in the Big East whom nobody has heard of. He’s unknown because he hasn’t played a college game since he transferred from Arizona 18 months ago.
Adam Fletcher, the St. Albans star regarded as West Virginia's best high school big man in the Class of 2005, has made a verbal commitment with Miami of Ohio.
Fletcher, who averaged 21.0 points and 12.1 rebounds for the Red Dragons as a junior, called Red Hawk assistant coach Frankie Smith with his decision Sunday night...
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Fletcher, who already has reached academically qualifying test scores and carries a 3.75 grade point average, said he will sign with Coach Charlie Coles' program during the Division I basketball early signing period next month...
Miami was one of seven Mid-American Conference schools to offer a scholarship to Fletcher, who had solid offers from more than 20 Division I schools.
Coaches say the team-imposed quarantines ease any worries they may have about their players cutting loose as non-scholarship college students do on Friday nights. And with athletics budgets padded with money from football television contracts and conference bowl-game revenue, it's a luxury that Division I-A football programs don't mind assuming.
Financially, in-town hotel bed checks aren't an option for college basketball teams, which play three times as many home games as their football counterparts.
The addition of the Friars, who finished third in the Big East last season and are again expected to be a conference title contender, should significantly boost Maine's RPI (Rating Percentage Index), a statistic which is a big factor in determining a team's worthiness for an NCAA Tournament bid.
WSJ: You understood and supported Devin's decision and it worked out for him being the fifth player drafted (by Dallas).
Ryan: There was more that went into that than people realize. They have to understand and give credit to a young man that's proven he could discipline himself to do a lot of good things on a basketball court, so then, therefore, he could discipline his mind and his body to make good decisions away from the basketball court. And that's what Devin [Harris] did.
This was a decision based on information, good information, not some guy from the grocery store that ran up to him and said, "This is what I think." And it's OK for people to have opinions, but this was - and I'm not going to say no-brainer, because that's a term I don't use - this was an educated decision and Devin is going to make it work.
WSJ: Do you ever take that nanosecond and say, "We'd have been really good with Devin?"
Ryan: I haven't. My wife has said it to me. My five children have said it to me. My golfing partners have said it to me. My neighbors have said it to me. But Bo's never said it to Bo. (laughs). I'm not afforded that luxury, or that weakness. It's not a luxury, it's a weakness.
WSJ: You just have to move on, don't you?
Ryan: Yep. That means opportunity for other people.
If Notre Dame is to return next spring to the NCAA Tournament for a fourth time in five seasons, [Arizona transfer Dennis] Latimore will have to perform at a level he never reached during two trying years in the desert.
Latimore is still three-plus weeks away from his first game at Notre Dame, yet the anticipation over his addition kicked in late last season. Unable to accompany the Irish on road trips, Latimore often parked himself on a couch in the team lounge to watch Notre Dame play on ESPN.
Somewhere along the way, usually during the halftime show, former Irish head coach and ESPN studio analyst Digger Phelps would offer his opinion on Notre Dame. Millions of viewers, including Latimore, listened as Phelps stressed that Latimore was the best player in the program.
"He had everybody thinking I was like Jesus coming back to save the Jews," Latimore said. "I want to be the best player on the team, but whether I am or not, that's just somebody's opinion."
2 pieces of bread
3 tablespoons Russian dressing
2 - 5 slices of turkey
1 California Avocado
2 - 5 slices of fried bacon
2 slices of tomato
1 slice of Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese
1. Toast your bread. Spread dressing on both pieces.
2. Place turkey, bacon, tomato and cheese on one piece of the toast.
3. Mash the California avocado in a small bowl, so it is still chunky but spreadable. Spread it on the other slice of bread.
4. Assemble and eat.
Makes 1 sandwich