- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 24, 2002

After so many years of playing second and third fiddle in ACC basketball if not the tambourine or the triangle how sweet would a Maryland victory be today?

I've given it a lot of thought, and I've decided that Kent State is Indiana State in 1979 without Larry Bird.

Either that or UNC Charlotte in '77 without Cornbread Maxwell.

Yes, the Southern Illinois team that made it to the Sweet 16 is the same one George Mason led by 10 (38-28) at the half earlier this season at the Patriot Center. (Alas, the Salukis rallied to win 73-66 behind Kent Williams and Jermaine Dearman.)

Memo to Nolan Richardson: You're still fired.

News item: According to an indictment, Chris Webber and his family received about $280,000 from University of Michigan booster Ed Martin, beginning when Webber was a freshman in high school and continuing through his years at Michigan.
Comment: Well, at least the records he set in middle school won't be expunged.

Just think: If this had been discovered a little earlier, CWebb could have been spared from calling that timeout against North Carolina in the '93 NCAA title game.

Is there anything worse than drawing the Connecticut women in the first round of the NCAA tournament? Geno Auriemma's juggernaut has mauled its last six first-round opponents by scores of 103-35, 93-52, 97-46, 116-45, 101-29 and, this year, 86-37. Average margin of victory: 58.7 points. Closest call: a 41-point win over Fairfield in '98.

Don't ask me why, but I love it when female hoops players tummy-bump.

This week's Good Will (Head) Hunting Award goes to the Toronto Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker for his attempted decapitation of the Caps' Sergei Gonchar.

Tucker has a lot of Michael Peca in him, doesn't he? It might be time for Steve Konowalchuk to give him a talking to.

With the injuries to Gonchar, Calle Johansson and assorted other blue-liners, you know who the Caps really could have used this season? Nick Boynton. Unfortunately, George McPhee decided not to sign him in '99 (after David Poile had picked him in the first round of the draft two years earlier) and took the second-rounder as compensation instead.
Boynton is having a heckuva rookie season with the first-place Bruins (who used their No.1 on him in '99). He's plus-18, second among first-year players, and played in the Young Stars Game at the NHL All-Star Game. The defenseman McPhee drafted to replace him, 6-6 bruiser Nolan Yonkman, has shown promise but isn't quite ready for the NHL (and thus has spent most of the year at Portland).

Of course, it was the Rangers who picked up Pavel Bure at the trading deadline. The Rangers love to collect famous goal scorers. Do you realize that, over the years, they've also acquired Wayne Gretzky (894 goals), Marcel Dionne (731), Phil Esposito (717), Mike Gartner (708) and Mark Messier (658)? That's five of the top seven goal scorers in NHL history. They've also gotten their mitts on Luc Robitaille (619, 10th all-time), Jari Kurri (601, 13th) and Guy LaFleur (566, 16th). Heck, George Steinbrenner isn't even that acquisitive.

Of the aforementioned group, by the way, Messier has scored the most goals in a Rangers uniform 214. (Espo had 184 and Gartner 173.) The fewest? Kurri, with are you ready for this? one.

Saw on ESPN the other day that if Adam Oates leads the NHL in assists after being traded during the season he would be only the second player in league history to do that. (Andy Bathgate was the first, in '63-64 for the Rangers and Toronto.) Which got me wondering: How many other players in any sport have led their league in an important category after changing teams during the season? A partial listing:
Heinie Zimmerman, 1916 Led the National League with 83 runs batted in for Chicago and New York.
Dale Alexander, 1932 Led the American League with a .367 batting average for Detroit and Boston.
Gus Zernial, 1951 Led the AL with 33 home runs for Chicago and Philadelphia. Was also the RBI champ with 129.
Saul Rogovin, 1951 Led the AL with a 2.78 ERA for Detroit and Chicago.
Wilt Chamberlain, 1964-65 Led the NBA with a 34.7 scoring average for San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Mike Mercer, 1966 Led the AFL with 21 field goals for Oakland and Kansas City.
Kevin Porter, 1977-78 Led the NBA in assists, averaging 10.2 for Detroit and New Jersey.
Bert Blyleven, 1985 Led AL pitchers with 206 strikeouts for Cleveland and Minnesota.
Rickey Henderson, 1989 Led the AL with 77 stolen bases for New York and Oakland.
Mike Liut, 1989-90 Led the NHL with a 2.53 goals-against average for Hartford and Washington.
And last but not least …
Dikembe Mutombo, 2000-01 Led the NBA with a 13.5 rebounding average for Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Heinie. How often does the Sunday Column get to mention somebody named Heinie?

Note that Zernial, Wilt and Mutombo all finished their seasons in Philadelphia as Oates is doing. And here's another one: Harry Walker led the NL with a .363 batting average in 1947 for St. Louis (10 games) and Philly (130).

Web Advisory of the Week: You might want to take a look at ex-Redskin Trevor Matich's Web site at what else? trevormatich.com. There's all kinds of interesting stuff there, including opinion pieces by Trevor and photos of, among other things, him climbing a ladder to get to the TV booth in Amsterdam to broadcast an NFL Europe game. (He's a color man for CBS now and does pre- and postgame shows during the season on Fox-5.)
In one of his rants, Trevor uses the word "conceptually." (Obviously a well-educated man.) In another, he questions whether snowboarding belongs in the Olympics."It seems to me," he reasons, "that with sports like that, the next step would be to give Britney Spears an honorary gold medal for the dancing in her video 'Crazy.'"
Not bad for a former long snapper.

Say another prayer for Dexter Manley.

Howard's recently hired secondary coach, Ron Bolton, had a pretty fair NFL career. In 11 seasons as a cornerback for the Patriots and Browns (1972-82), he intercepted 35 passes and made the playoffs twice. He was on the staff at Norfolk State, his alma mater, before joining the Bison.

Southern Cal, winner of 12 NCAA baseball championships (one as recently as '98), lost a 31-7 squeaker to Loyola Marymount last week. I bring this up for a couple of reasons.
1. Only once did the USC football team give up as many as 31 points last season in a 41-34 win over Arizona.
2. The worst loss by the football team last year was by 11 at Notre Dame.

You don't suppose Paul Westhead is coaching baseball at Loyola Marymount, do you?

Baseball fans have just one more week to catch a glimpse of Shoeless Joe Jackson's "Black Betsy" bat, which has been on display this month at the Ripken Museum in Aberdeen, Md. The hand-tooled hickory bat, a hefty 40 ounces, is making its first-ever public tour after spending the last 40 years sitting on a bookcase in Easley, S.C. A sports collector bought it in an online auction last August for $577,000, believed to be a record for a baseball bat.

And finally, Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen (6-4, 275) can rest easy. The biggest southpaw in captivity is now Cleveland Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia (6-7, in the vicinity of 300).

But if David Wells ever stops counting calories, watch out.


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