- The Washington Times - Monday, February 28, 2000

ANDY KATZENMOYER U., Ohio The mission is to take basketball's pulse going into the madness of March.

No game or crowd is too small. This is an equal-opportunity journey. All forms of basketball and miscreants are welcome.

First stop: Knott Arena in Emmitsburg, Md.

Thank you very much, Mount St. Mary's. The gesture is appreciated.

Jim Phelan, Mr. Bow Tie, has compiled more than 800 wins at this out-of-the-way Catholic institution on Route 15.

But Mr. Bow Tie no longer wins as frequently as he once did, and the least Melvin Whitaker could do is have a good ankle instead of a broken one.

Whitaker is the ultimate slasher but is not necessarily a credit to the game, the Northeast Conference and the NCAA. He is working on his second chance after using a boxcutter on an opponent during a pick-up basketball game in Charlottesville. This unusual maneuver resulted in jail time for Whitaker and 72 stitches on the victim's face.

If Whitaker is one side of the college basketball coin at Mount St. Mary's, Megan Gardiner is the other.

The fifth-year senior, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in preseason, is competing with Jeff Hornacek to be the best one-legged player in America.

Gardiner, the NEC Player of the Year last season, has checked her ego at the locker-room door and adjusted to a reduced role, contributing where she can for a team that is 19-8 and harbors hopes of going to the NCAA tournament.

Bye, Mount St. Mary's, and thanks again.

You can touch the clouds on Route 30 between Gettysburg and Breezewood in Pennsylvania. You are overlooking death, or at least a long stay in the hospital, if there is a navigational error. You pass through St. Thomas, home of the late Nellie Fox, the baseball Hall of Famer. You have a 7 p.m. deadline to be at Fitzgerald Field House in Pittsburgh.

Who is No. 42 with Pittsburgh?

No, it can't be. It is. Darn. Laine Selwyn.

She is in a so-called zone, which is different from a time zone, draining shot after shot, draining shots with her eyes closed. She could kick the ball to the basket, and the ball would go through the cylinder.

Selwyn finishes with 21 points, and Pittsburgh has 45 rebounds to Georgetown's 23, and fortunately, if you follow the teachings of the Jesuits, rebounding is not a requirement for heaven.

Phil Niekro Highway is just past Wheeling, W.Va., in Ohio, which begs the question: Is there a Joe Niekro Highway?

In case you were wondering, condoms are an important learning tool at Ohio State.

Andy Katzenmoyer had a double major when he was at Ohio State: football and condoms.

Here's what two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin says: "Motorists independent insurance agents listen. They give you solid, smart solutions. That's just one of the many reasons why I have been a Motorists policyholder for almost a decade."

As an added bonus, with Motorists Insurance, you are all set on Phil Niekro Highway.

A doctor is telling a Jerry Lucas anecdote after the Ohio State-Penn State women's game. He is doing his part to ease the indigestion caused by watching 48 turnovers.

The doctor is wearing the miniature version of Brutus the Buckeye on his heart. Brutus, if properly encouraged, plays Ohio State's fight song, as the doctor demonstrates.

The school finally retired Lucas' jersey number last week, 40 years after the fact. He is the first ex-basketball player to be accorded that distinction at Ohio State, which probably does not bode well for Bob Knight.

It was senior day for Scoonie Penn and four other players making their final appearance at Value City Arena. It also might have been junior Michael Redd's last home game. The NBA is usually irresistible.

Near the end of the game, the crowd serenaded Redd with chants of, "One more year, one more year."

"I'm really not worried about it right now," Redd said after accumulating 21 points and 12 rebounds against Illinois. "All I have to do is go out there and have fun, enjoy college life as it is right now and after the season discuss it with my family."

What's to discuss?

A zillion dollars vs. the Mickey Mouse NCAA.

Go. Get out of here.

That, incidentally, has become the rallying cry of this space.

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