- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

If you’d told me back in November that Maryland’s basketball fortunes would hinge on a Strawberry (e.g. D.J.), I would have said you were nuttier than a fruitcake.

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I’ve heard of slipping on a banana peel but tripping over a Strawberry? That’s a new one on me.

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What a house of horrors MCI Center was this season for Gary Williams’ Terps. They lost to GW there in the final of the BB&T; Classic, then to Clemson in the first round of the ACC tournament.

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Before the start of the ACC tourney, Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times noted, “The Hokies’ [NCAA] chances are so up in the air that on one ESPN program Tuesday night, analyst Digger Phelps predicted the Hokies would lose to Georgia Tech and fail to get a bid; on a different program that same night, he predicted the Hokies would get a bid.”

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Hey, at least he didn’t call them the Gobblers.

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The Carl’s Jr. fast-food chain will be selling a Kobe Bryant bobblehead doll next month at restaurants in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The doll will feature Kobe in his Lakers uniform — a big improvement over the prototype, which had him in an orange jumpsuit.

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Speaking of Mr. Bryant, the AP reported that his erstwhile better half, Shaquille O’Neal, is one of four NBA players who qualify as obese according to the body-mass index (BMI).

The other three are Robert Traylor and Jahidi White.

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If you go by the BMI, nearly half the league is overweight. Sounds like it’s time for everybody to go on the (Chucky) Atkins Diet.

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The easiest way to tell if a player is fat, of course, is if he’s got the complete collection of NBA bobbleheads from Carl’s Jr.

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News item: The Colts would consider trading running back Edgerrin James for less than a first-round pick, according to his agent.

Comment: Hearing this, Vikings coach Mike Tice immediately offered Indy a pair of Super Bowl tickets for him.

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Depending on how much competition there is for James’ services, I’m told, Tice might be willing to throw in a parking pass — but that’s as high as he’ll go.

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The last time there was a Super Bowl ticket scandal, in the early ‘80s, Georgia Frontiere’s husband Dominic became Georgia’s former husband Dominic. (He wound up doing time for income tax evasion.)

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Not that the guy didn’t have plenty of company. He was Life Partner No. 7 for Ms. Frontiere.

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As I read about Tice’s Adventures in Ticket Brokering, all I could think of was: Good thing he doesn’t coach the Redskins. He’d probably take that line in the team’s original fight song — “Scalp ‘em, swamp ‘em, we will take ‘em big score” — as an invitation.

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I miss Fred Smoot already. Not his dashing cornerback play — though I’ll miss that, too — but his wonderful quotability. They certainly enjoyed him in the Twin Cities last week after he signed with Minnesota. A sampling of Smootisms:

On the winter weather: “I rode past a lake and it was frozen; I couldn’t believe that. There was a guy skating on an open lake. How can that happen?” (Fred’s a Mississippi Stater.)

On Tice’s ticket scalping escapades: “If everything we’re trying to do here works out, Coach Tice won’t need any Super Bowl tickets because he’ll be able to go to the Super Bowl for free.”

On the Vikes exploring a trade for Jaguars safety Donovin Darius: “That would be lovely. Any time you’ve got a guy like that, putting a roof over my head, it would be nice.”

On what he’s going to do with all his bonus money (a total of $10.8million): “I’m going to take my mom to Sizzler’s.”

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Knowing Smoot, he’ll tell her she can order “anything on the menu — except the 20-ounce porterhouse and the steak and lobster tail.”

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If this is, indeed, the last we’ve seen of Doug Flutie, released Friday by the Chargers, let the record show that he provided more excitement per inch than any quarterback in the history of the game not named Michael Vick.

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The Sunday Column bids a fond farewell to Glenn Davis, the 1946 Heisman Trophy winner, who died last week at 80. Folks think football back then was played in slow motion, but Davis was a True Burner who could have played in any era. In fact, he once beat Barney Ewell, the silver medalist in the 100 meters at the ‘48 Olympics, in the 60-yard dash, clocking a 6.1. (Which translates into, what, a 4.3/4.4 40?)

Davis wasn’t as big a star in the NFL as he was at Army because he tore up his knee filming “The Spirit of West Point” right after he graduated. Still, in his two seasons as a pro, he played in two championship games and won the ‘51 title with the Rams. (In the ‘50 title game against the Browns, he caught an 82-yard touchdown pass from Bob Waterfield on the first play from scrimmage.)

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You can’t imagine how glamorous it was to be a Ram in those days. Waterfield was married to Jane Russell, Davis was hitched to Terry Moore — and both screen sirens were connected, at one time or another, to Howard Hughes. I once heard a story about Davis punching out Hughes when he caught him with Moore, but it might be a Suburban Legend.

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FYI: The $2.5million settlement Rick Neuheisel will receive from the NCAA in his wrongful termination suit is enough to fund 333 of the organization’s postgraduate scholarships — nearly two years’ worth.

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It figures that in Florida, fulcrum of the 2000 presidential election, the first-round leader in the Honda Classic would be named Chad (Campbell).

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Token hockey item (which is more than the NHL deserves): Chris Bourque, a Caps’ second-round pick last year, has had a fine freshman season at Boston University. He’s currently sixth on the Terriers in scoring with nine goals and 12 assists in 31 games.

“What stands out most about Chris [is] his edge,” Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder, an ex-Boston Bruin, told Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. “He’s feisty, sometimes chippy, and that attitude should serve him well when he tries to get to the next level [NHL]. That’s really important. Hey, we’ve all seen great talents come and go, and later asked, ‘Why didn’t he make it?’ It often comes down to that edge and work factor. Over the years, I’ve worked camps with Ray [Bourque, Chris’ Hall of Fame father] and Steve [Kasper, another erstwhile Bruin], and Chris was in a lot of those. Every day, every single day, he worked at getting better.”

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While the NBA may have its eating issues — and the NFL, too, judging from recent reports — Major League Baseball is clearly watching its waistline. Why, in a spring training game last week, the San Francisco Giants threw out four Chicago White Sox at the plate.

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And finally …

I don’t care, I really don’t, that the Veterans Committee didn’t elect anybody to the Baseball Hall of Fame again this year. I just want to know who’s going to pay for the doughnuts.

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